Sunday, November 12, 2017

ANCHOR Communication

Looking at How We Talk to Students From a Written Perspective

Dear Readers,

I have always loved Beth and Shelley's ANCHOR Conversations. I have been using them the past few years with students, colleagues and administrators. It always warms my heart to see them hanging by the person I gave them to. However this year I have found an even more meaningful use for them.

As someone who is extremely private, I have always been a close keeper of my emotions and tend to not talk about what is bothering me. It has proven to be both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is I am really good talking about difficult topics and can handle stressful situations. The curse is, sometimes I am too removed from situations and have a hard time letting people in.

A few years ago, when I was going through my admin program, I remember talking to administrators and how when faced with traumatic events, they had to be the support and strength for their parents, staff and students. However, they needed to find that balance of being strong for others while also being kind to themselves and making sure they got what they needed as well.

I think we all have those times in our lives, some more than others, when we put up a front masking what is really happening inside. It might be pushing others away, coming across as angry or isolating ourselves. On the other hand it might be smiling, laughing or chatting with everyone as though all is well.

As adults, we develop coping skills and strategies to deal with what life throws at us. As teenagers, our students do not yet have those capabilities. They are growing academically, mentally, socially, emotionally and physically. Not all of them have the support and care from adults in their life to help them manage the barrage of emotions and information they sort through on a family, if not minute by minute, basis.

This year, I have found the ANCHORs as a way to communicate with students in a more non-confrontational and quieter way. When emotions are running high, I feel as though some of my students sincerely cannot hear what I am saying, positive or negative.  Consequently, when I try to help them make positive choices, and they are feeling vulnerable, they do not always interpret what I am saying as caring and supportive.

The ANCHORs have allowed me to write to them and communicate with them in a low-risk format. Students who have been upset with me, after reading them, will approach me calmer and more willing to listen.

Thank you Shelley and Beth for this idea that has become a staple in my instruction.


Friday, November 10, 2017

City of Ember Comes to Lang & Lit!

Gross' Gamification!

Dear Readers,

Ever since I read Explore Like a Pirate: Gamification and Game Inspired Course Design to Engage, Enrich and Elevate Your Learners by Michael Matera, I have wanted to gamify my classroom. 

Not being a gamer myself, it is definitely an area of instruction outside my comfort zone. I have read the book a couple of times (I am currently on my third reading) and lurked in the #XPLAP weekly chat when I am able. The community is sincerely one of the most gracious and collaborative I have met. 

I strongly encourage you to subscribe to Michael's Youtube channel. 

My Theme

I wanted my theme to be literature related and tried to think of the ultimate fantasy worlds and settings. It came to me, The City of Ember. 

Creating the Setting

  • It was easy to replicate the feeling of being underground by turning off the lights and closing the shades. I also have a tree with lights on it, plan on buying Christmas lights to string around the board and purchase a couple of flashlights.
  • I created a space that looks like a "greenhouse" with a fake tree, flowers, leaves, a runner and pumpkin. When it is flourishing, it will all remain there, but if the city starts to deteriorate, it will be easy to take those away. I covered the counter with brown packaging paper to simulate the ground if all the vegetation dies. 
  • I found black paper decorations that will indicate a blackout. I have 5 total, the more that are hung, the longer the blackout will be.
  • The light-bulb was easy to create using paint, glitter and art paper. It is the focus of our game board.

Creating the Collaborative Badges 
(will be earned based on group challenges)

The badges represent the various assignments from the City of Ember. I have attached other items for when the students are involved in a quest or challenge. The emojis are the badges that students will earn. The shapes will be part of the game corresponding to the badges they can earn.

Badges: emoji faces
Game Pieces: bags, raffle tickets, shapes

  • The Messenger: They wear red jackets so the red paper bags and raffle tickets represent their role. Messengers usually are happy to deliver most requests so I chose a smiley emoji. To coordinate with them I have chosen a yellow heart.
  • Pipeworks: The Pipeworkers wear orange. They usually have bad news to deal with. I chose a worried emoji and an orange star for them.
  • The Greenhouse Helper: They deal with growing things and worry about the food supply in Ember. I chose a sad green face, green bag and raffle tickets to correspond to them. I also chose a green clover.
  • Cheats: The "cheats" to me represent an idea. I chose little raffles with Bright Idea along with pink bags and the sunglasses emoji. I also am using a pink thumbs up.
  • Black-Out: The citizens get terrified when they have a black-out so I chose the scared emoji in purple with the corresponding purple bag.

There are 5 different badges the students will have the opportunity to earn throughout a 10 week period (1 marking quarter). Approximately every couple of weeks they will participate in a class wide quest or challenge.

Creating Individual Badges
(to be earned independently)

Schoology has a variety of badges that can be assigned to students. I was able to correlate them with Covey's Habits of Highly Effective Teens as we are a Leader in Me and Lighthouse accredited middle school. They will have the opportunity to earn each of the following badges weekly:

  • Good Listener (Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood)
  • Participation (Synergize)
  • Positive Attitude (Think Win-Win)
  • Problem Solver (Be Proactive)
  • Star Performer (Find Your Voice and Help Others Find Theirs)

I also taught myself how to create my own. They can also earn:

  • Weekly Status of the Class (Put First Things First)
  • Monthly Status of the Class (Sharpen the Saw)

Break-Out Box (Break-In Lockers)

To kick off our Gamification Investigative Journalism unit, we are going to use a Break-Out Box. I am also fortunate to have lockers in my classroom that are not currently being used by students. I have access to approximately 8-10 lockers that I can incorporate into the lessons.


What is a game without players? I wrote each of my 8th grader's names on index cards and hung them on the game board. Then asked them to create a "Gamertag" name and a strength they offer to the group. Some students found this challenging and others knew their strength right away. 

The Story

One of the first steps in creating a Break-Out is to begin with a story to hook your students and set the scene. I know I would be setting the stage for an entire quarter. 

I was able to incorporate the IB-MYP Learner Profile Traits (we are an IB-MYP accredited middle school), as well as the district's Pal-Mac Way (character education). Additionally, I was able to incorporate The Habits as well. Here is a draft of a story idea:

Dear Journalists,

We are starting our Investigative Journalism unit and you are going to learn to write like a journalist. Your first assignment will be to write about The City of Ember. However, in order to do this, you must go undercover as citizens of the community. Be warned, the mayor is not kind to outsiders and will do anything to prevent his city from learning about the above ground world.

To give you a little background, at one time the mayors of Ember wanted to protect their people from all the negative effects of war, famine, climate change, etc. In order to do that, they built an underground city. The mayors knew the city would not sustain itself forever, so they set a locked box to open in 200 years, which would provide instructions for moving out of the underground world.

However, the box was tucked away and when the time came for it to open, there was nobody to receive the instructions. Life in Ember continued, but the city started to deteriorate. One of the most devastating events is the break down of the generator which causes city wide black-outs. If the generator is not repaired, the city could be enveloped in permanent blackness.

You have the ability to uncover the secrets and save the people of Ember. It will take collaboration, problem-solving, communication, knowledge and inquiry. You will have to demonstrate the Pal-Mac Way by showing responsibility for your words and actions, respect to people and the physical environment, caring about releasing the people of Ember and exhibiting positive citizenship by being an active participant. 

It is a Win-Win situation for all involved should you succeed! Synergy among the group is essential when solving puzzles to gain access to the lock combinations. You must Seek First to Understand Then to be Understood when working with others. Be an active listener, have an open mind consider other perspectives and gather as much information as possible. 

I wish you the best of luck!

Ms. Gross

Next Steps

Unfortunately, that is all I can reveal at this point. I do have ideas for:

  • Lock Combinations (4-Digit Lock, 3-Digit Lock, a key lock and an ABC Multi-Lock)
  • Puzzles/Clues (using the book as inspiration, I have ideas on puzzles they must solve)
  • Boxes (there will be one big box to break into followed by a smaller box)


It has been a journey that continues. It has taken my about a month to create this much. I would recommend, which was an idea from the book, setting your theme first. Once you have your theme, everything else starts to fall in place. 

I did a lot of collecting of both objects and ideas. Then when I knew my setting, I was able to incorporate them and use them for various badges, game pieces, etc.

Regardless of my minimal gamer background knowledge, it has been an incredible learning experience. It has made me look at instruction differently, it has made me think about our upcoming unit differently, it challenged me to incorporate IB, Covey's Habits and our Pal-Mac Way, in addition to, implementing something relevant to most of my students.

I highly suggest taking the plunge and trying it out! Start as small as you are comfortable with and work up from there. I still need to figure out how to keep track of individual badges so they can "level-up", as well as, gamifying my instruction with quests and challenges. 

Happy gaming!


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Hooked at First Event


Dear Readers,

I was fortunate to attend my first EdCamp this past weekend. It was held at Canandaigua Middle School and it did not disappoint! A huge shout out to the staff who not only organized and ran the day, but to those who opened their classrooms to the participants. Thank you for allowing us into your school and rooms.

I have expressed my gratitude and appreciation for my #CoffeeEDU Group here in Rochester, NY. One of those members who has become more than a colleague in the profession, but a friend, is Katie McFarland (@Katiemc827). She is an amazing person who is always full of positive energy and fantastic ideas. Thank you for the incredible event you helped put together.

Wondering what an EdCamp is like if you have never been? Here is how my day progressed.....

  • Woke up, started thinking of sessions I wanted to propose and texted Katie about 5 different ideas. (Which she graciously responded to with enthusiasm.)
  • Was greeted at the front door by an incredibly warm and friendly Steve Holmes (@kylelaurie), administrator in the district. I was promptly asked to fill out a raffle ticket, shown where to grab some swag and was shown into the library.
  • There was food, coffee, water and post-it notes everywhere! We were encouraged to start filling out the session board.
  • After a warm and welcoming hello and good morning, we were given time to start filling in the sessions. It was quite entertaining watching the sessions fill up. It was quick, efficient and organized!
  • Sessions started promptly at 9:00. I was so very lucky to moderate #BookCampPd from the library. I had a lovely group of people who were ready and willing to learn about Twitter and chats. I had a blast!
  • Session 2 started at 10:00 and I was provided a very informative introduction to FlipGrid by another #CoffeeEdu member, Jason Cring (@iliketech). Thank you for helping me create an account!
  • Session 3 started at 11:00 and I spent 50 minutes in heaven discussing Young Adult Literature.
  • We then gathered back in the library for the raffling off of door prizes.

My Take-Aways:

  • It was truly a personalized professional development. I loved being able to put my wish list up on the board.
  • It was a collaborative, warm and inviting environment. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone.
  • Since it was on a weekend, the people who attended sincerely want to be there to learn with others.

I am hooked and cannot wait for the next one! I hope you attend one near you!


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Halloween Memories

Costumes, Cousins & Candy

Dear Readers,

A Jerry Seinfeld clip regarding Halloween in the 80's prompted me to write this post. Boy how times have changed.

Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays. It was one of my favorite holidays with my dad who passed away 12 years ago this past Thursday. Every year is bitter sweet for me.

I have fond memories of.....

  • My cousins coming over to trick or treat.
  • Getting a family picture on the front steps.
  • My mom buying cider and donuts.
  • Wearing my witch costume that won me 1st prize at the local Fire Department Parade. (I saved that $5 for a LONG time!)
  • Dressing up early to go to the grandparents house.
  • Walking around the neighborhood with my dad while mom stayed home and handed out candy.
  • Knowing which houses gave out the "good" candy and the "large candy bars".
  • Dumping our bags of "loot" out on the living room floor and exchanging with each other.
  • Hoping my mom had candy left over from trick or treaters because she always bought the good kind.
  • It being dark early so it was spooky when we walked around the neighborhood.

Then I have other memories of Halloween. Jerry Seinfeld reminded me of some of those......

  • The plastic costume that tied around the neck and ripped almost as soon as you put them on.
  • The plastic masks that were stapled together and cut into your face.
  • Living in NY where it was either warm or freezing cold. You might trick or treat in 70 degree weather or sludge through snow, possibly sleet or rain depending on the year.
  • Trying to fit costumes OVER the jacket you were being forced to wear because it was too cold to go without it. Or even worse, having to cover your costume with the jacket. Then nobody knew who you were.
  • The make-up. I once had my face painted entirely green with a fake nose and wart to go as a witch. Better yet, having to replicate it for the elementary school parade.
  • Having so many props such as the wig, hat and broom when dressed as a witch. Having to carry that while holding a trick or treat bag.
  • Having a reaction to all the make-up (sensitive skin just doesn't go together with green costume face paint).
  • Having to take my younger brother trick or treating who, by the way, never listened to me and wandered off frequently.
  • Trying to stand on the "porch" with about 15 other kids crowded around you.
  • Trying not to get hit by the door as the resident opened it to hand out candy. (Or fall off the porch.)
  • If you were the last one in line, having to run to catch up to your group. (Fun when it was dark and you couldn't see anyone.)
  • Having someone in the group who was "tired of walking and wanted to go back" while you were ready to push ahead to as many houses as possible!

The joyful memories of childhood. May you all (if you celebrate) have a spooky and treat-filled Halloween!


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

An Anonymous Coffee Thank You

My Heroes: First Responders

Dear Readers,

Exactly 12 years ago tomorrow morning my dad took his own life. My world was turned upside down and has never been the same again. I have always respected and admired first responders, but after that day, they are truly heroes to me.

They run into situations we run out of. They risk their lives to save others. They do not question or hesitate. They bravely and blindly walk into circumstances we could not even fathom.

I was heading into school early today and stopped at DD for coffee. I was turning right and someone was turning left so I got in line first. I hate doing that to people so I usually pay for their order. I happen to glance in my mirror and saw it was an ambulance.

What are the chances that today, of all days, a first responder would happen to pull in behind me? I paid for their beverage and unfortunately it was just a cup of coffee. I wish he or she would have ordered an entire breakfast.

Thank you. Thank you to the police officers and EMTs who were called to my dad's house that day. Thank you for being brave enough to enter the house and take care of things. Thank you for all you do for those you may never meet. Know you are appreciated.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

There Was a Knock on the Door........

Friday the Thirteenth Fun!

Dear Readers,

Visualize the following scenario if you will........

Date: Friday October 13th
Time: 10:45 AM EST
Place: Ms. Gross' Classroom
Task: Read Aloud The Monkey's Paw from SCOPE Magazine

Setting the scene: turn off the lights, close the shades and play a thunderstorm in the background for sound effects (it helps to have movement as well, see link below)

You walk into the classroom to find this message and posting.

You are seated in somewhat of a circle in the darkest corner of the room. You have already read the short story. (see link below for full story)

We start to is a very general outline of the events.....

The story begins.........

  • The Whites are visited by Sargent Morris.
  • Sargent Morris has a Monkey's Paw that legend says is cursed.
  • Mr. White insists on having the paw.
  • However, before leaving, Sargent Morris warns him of its curse.
  • Mr. White wishes for money to pay off his house.
  • The Whites go to bed.

The following day.........

  • The Whites find out the horrific news their beloved son has died.
  • The company compensates the family with the exact amount of money they had wished for.
  • Mrs. White is grief stricken.

That evening........

  • Night falls and Mrs. White realizes they have two wishes left.
  • Mr. White wishes for his son to come back.
  • All of a sudden......they hear a knocking on the door.......

It is at this exact moment that a colleague banged on the door and the entire class screamed and jumped!!!!!! 
Two of my students raced to the door to see who it was. 
But nobody was we continued........

The End.......
  • Mrs. White frantically tries to open the door.
  • Mr. White makes his final wish, for "IT" to go away.
  • Mrs. White finally gets the door open when......

My colleague comes crashing through the door screaming, 
"There's someone at the door!!!!!!!!"
Everyone screamed and jumped in their seats.

"Ms. Gross we are going on a haunted hayride tonight!"
"That scared me!"
"I wasn't scared."
"Ms. Gross, did you plan that?"

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!


Monday, September 25, 2017

"Falling" into Reading

Building our Reading Lives in 8th Grade

Dear Readers,

As we near the end of September, I cannot believe we are almost four weeks into the new school year. It is a joy being back among the students and staff doing what I love.  As an 8th grade class, we have started to implement a few new ideas to build our Reading Lives together as a classroom. The part I love about looping........ having the opportunity to keep what we love, get rid of what we did not and try something new!

Book Corner

After reaching out to my PLN and receiving amazing feedback, I made some changes to the book corner. I decided to put some books with spines facing out. while I created baskets of others. In addition, I labeled the way I thought students would look for books-series, authors, vampires, adventure. etc. 

Reflection: It seems to be working well. Some students still wander aimlessly, but for the most part I see them pulling out bins and using the signs.

Student Recommendations

Last year, as 7th a grade classroom, we tried a few different ways to recommend books to one another. This year, I wanted it to be more visible and a place where we can actually put the books. Each student has a space to place book recommendations. 

Reflection: I think this is also a work in progress. When students were first looking for books, a few used recommendations from others. In fact, a student took HIS own recommendation because he was reading the second book in the series and wanted to refresh his memory. As with anything, I think we need to give this time as we get further into the school year.

Ms. Gross' Recommendations

Using what I knew from last year and the books students recommended at the beginning of September, I chose one book suggestion for each student. One of the greatest joys I have as a Language & Literature Teacher is putting books they will love in their hands. I am pleased to say many took my recommendations. 

Reflection: Over the years I have learned to get to know my students as readers and I love connecting with them through books. I spend so much time reading Young Adult Literature and making purchases for the classroom. I have had the pleasure of watching students who thought they did not like reading read book after book after book. Whether it be an author or series or genre I have hooked them on to. The time and commitment is priceless. 

I have also seen students sharing titles quite a bit the past few weeks. I love hearing, "I am waiting for _______ that _______ is reading. Can I take this one for now?" I also love hearing, "I want to read this next. Can you hold onto it for now?" Of course!!!!

Wildly Important Goal (W.I.G.)

As a Leader in Me and Lighthouse School, goals are an essential component of our school and classroom. A student created the format and structure and is in charge of keeping track. 

Reflection: We decided to keep the same goal from last year and see if we could improve. "As a class we will read ______ books by the end of the ______ quarter. However, we implemented some expectations this time to make it a bit more accurate and challenging. For example, students have to finish the book before adding to the count. Last year, they did it as they were checking them out so they would not forget. 

Bringing Book Love into the Classroom

Penny Kittle's recommendation for Status of the Class has worked beautifully! The students have 10-15 minutes of independent reading time every day. They look forward to that time and I read with them. It has really helped with a smooth transition into class. Every day we record the page number we end on in a log. It is a great formative assessment for me to gauge what and how much they are reading. I also post my reading status. 

Reflection: I have seen a huge increase in the amount of reading! Some students have already read several books (depending on the genre). They can get comfy on the pillows and floor or sit at their desks, they can choose their reading spot. I even had one student say to me the first week, "I can't believe I just read for 15 minutes straight!" I had another student say, "I wish we could read all period!" This is definitely a practice we will continue.

Warm Reading Wishes

We hope that you are enjoying reading as much as we are!


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Bittersweet Fall Memories

"Don't Let the Last Chapter Write the Book"

Dear Readers,

"Don't let the last chapter write the book." That is something a friend used to say. We both lost loved ones to suicide and the message was, do not let that define their lives. I lost my father 12 years ago October 26th. He was a son, a husband, a father, an uncle, a brother, a cousin, a nephew, a grandson, a friend, a carpenter, a colleague and much more to many people. We always have to remember who are loved ones were before tragically leaving us forever.

Recently, Paul O'Neill posted a Question of the Day on #PLN365 that made me stop and reflect. 

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall....which is your favorite season of the year and why

Fall has always been my favorite season. I love the cooler weather, fall clothes, football, changing of the leaves, pumpkins, hay rides, back to school, pumpkin flavored coffee at Dunkin Donuts and scarecrows. I love driving down a tree lined road as the sun lights up the different colors-red, orange, yellow-on the trees. I enjoy bundling up for a Friday night football games. But hands down, one of my absolutely favorite sounds is crunching leaves. I am that person who will "wade" through a nice deep pile of leaves. I refrain from jumping in them as to not destroy someone's hard work. 

In 2005, it was just like any fall day, the unthinkable happened. It was Wednesday October 26th and a phone call divided my life into before and after. I was devastated to hear the news regarding my dad's passing. It has been 12 years and it does not get easier, it is just a way of life now. The anniversary will always be there, the feeling of loss and knowing I will never see him again.

Over the years I have watched a remarkable transformation in myself. I have turned that loss into being a voice and advocate for mental health awareness. I have volunteered for AFSP and participated in the Out of the Darkness Walks. I have moderated chats (thank you #ImpactMatters) on the topic of suicide and been a participate in mental health awareness chats (thank you "PeopleSkills). I have been to conferences and Survivor Days. I have done research and shared resources. I wanted to learn and do as much as I could.

Parallel to these wonderful actions though, there was always a feeling of despair and sadness that I could not quite shake. The questions that would never be answered. The feelings of guilt, anger, sadness. Feeling like my world was turned upside down and was no longer living in the world I once was. The feeling that I could no longer relate to peers. I struggled with feeling like a member of an exclusive club I did not ask to join.

Somewhere over the past few years, my perspective has changed. I need to remember, although it was a traumatic, life changing event when I lost my dad, it cannot define my fall. It is one aspect that I will always have with me, but it is up to me to decide how much it is going to impact me. 

Members of my PLN have been instrumental in helping me move forward. You know exactly who you are. You have supported, encouraged, pushed me and been an amazing friend to me when I needed it. 

Now, when I get teary, it is not because of my loss. It is because what I have gained. I am overwhelmed sometimes by the friendships that have developed with people I still have not met! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do for me.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

A Glimpse into My Twitter PLN

Learning, Sharing & Growing Together

Dear Readers,

I would never have imagined the connections I would make via Twitter. It has completely changed my life and I do not say that lightly. I have found, over the past few years, summer is an amazing time to make new connections and strengthen old as we participate in book studies, chats and conversation. Here are a few people, out of many, that I am thankful to know. You inspire me, you support me, you brighten my day!

@Mr_U79: You are an amazing teacher. Your blog pulls at my heart strings, the relationships you build with your students is magical! I am honored to follow your flash-mob journey each year. Hopefully I will have front row seats one year!

@mjjohnson1216: Meredith, thank you for asking me to join you on the #BookCampPd journey. It is an absolutely pleasure and delight to collaborate with you. 

@EmilyfranESL: Emily, you are so positive and I love seeing your tweets go through my feed. You always capture the positive moments and share them with the rest of us. Your passion is contagious. 

@PaulOneill1972: Paul, you challenge me daily with the #PLN365 Question of the Day. There have been times where the answer comes easily and others where I really need to reflect and think! It was a pleasure having the opportunity to moderate #PLN365. I look forward to more challenging questions!

@tishrich: Tisha, you are an absolute joy to know! Just looking at your happy face makes me smile. I just adore the #XPLAP community. You are patient and and welcome anyone regardless of prior background knowledge. I learn so much from you. I look forward to our GHO later this fall!

@ElemCoach: Elaine, it has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you through #BookCampPd. Your positive energy is contagious! I look forward to learning from you and connecting this school year!

@D4Griffin3: Dennis, it was a pleasure meeting you through the #InPraiseDuFour book study. I enjoyed your insights and contributions every week. It is a pleasure learning from you. I look forward to connecting this school year!

@_KELewis: You are an absolute joy to know! I am so excited to connect again this school year. Your GHO with my students at the end of the year was amazing! I am looking forward to future collaborations!

@tolbertplant: Michelle, I am always excited to connect with other Middle School ELA teachers! I have enjoyed the conversations we have had so far. I look forward to further discussions this school year. Maybe we can figure out this student blogging thing together!

@historycomics: Tim, I love seeing how you incorporate Graphic Novels and Comic Books into your instruction. It is a genre I am not super familiar with, yet like to provide my students with many text options. I look forward to continuing to learn from you! 

These are just a few of the amazing individuals I have the honor to interact with and learn from. Thank you for being part of my PLN! May you all have a wonderful start to the new year!


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Collaboration: Analysis, Perspective, Celebration

Lucy & Miley

Dear Readers,

I am fortunate to be staying at a friend's house to watch their two precious pups while they are on their family vacation. Lucy, a sixth month old chocolate lab, happens to live next door to her sister, Miley. They truly are best friends. 


They play together, cause mischief together and just make me laugh out loud. I was watching them the other day as a ball fell into the pool. It reminded me of teams.

1. Analyzing the Situation: What Should We Do?

So many times we see a problem and want to jump in and solve it as quickly as possible. When we see that ball floating in the pool, sometimes it's better to sit back and patiently consider our options. Do we jump in after it? Do we wait for it to come to us? Do we walk away and forget it? It helps to look at the big picture when faced with decisions we must make. It can also be easy to make a decision without consulting others. A true collaborator sits beside his/her teammate(s) and waits. They approach the problem together. 

2. Change Your Perspective: Do We Need to Look at this From a Different Angle?

Sometimes it helps to look at different perspectives. Perhaps someone sees something that we do not. Looking at a problem from a different angle can provide many possibilities and opportunities! It doesn't mean we jump in just yet, we still patiently consider the options. If I look through a different lens can I see the solution coming closer? How do I communicate to my team that I see an answer to the problem? How do I gain trust and respect so my team will share in my discovery with me?

3. Come Together: Problem Solve as a Team and Share in the Celebration


When we have a plan, it is important to implement it as a team. Considering all the options, what would make the most sense? How can we all benefit? Does it propel us toward our vision, mission, goals, etc? Sometimes we have to listen, process and consider taking someone else's idea because it is the best one. One of the most important stages of the journey is celebrating! Celebrate small and big successes!

May you all have amazing collaborative teams to go back to this year!

Teresa (Lucy & Miley)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

I Was Never Told.........

"Well behaved Women Seldom Make History." ~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Dear Readers,

Yesterday I visited the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY. It was an incredibly powerful and moving experience that I have been reflecting on today.

These are just a few of the incredible women I found myself surrounded by.

From there, I went to Elizabeth Cady Stanton's home. 

After that, I went to the Wesleyan Church where the first demands for Women's Rights was held. It was a powerful experience to be in that room where so many gathered so long ago.

The Declaration of Sentiments was etched into a never ending waterfall outside.

One of my favorite moments was visiting the statue of the "chance encounter" between Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

I was able to see the newspaper when Susan B. Anthony was arrested in Rochester, NY for trying to vote.

I have been reflecting today on my experience. 

I was never told:
  • I had to get married.
  • I could not get divorced.
  • I could not own property.
  • I could not go to college.
  • I could not vote.
  • I could not be a lawyer.....a doctor......a astronaut......
  • I had to wear certain clothing.
  • I could not wear make-up.
  • I could not join the military.
  • I could not practice the religion of my choice.
  • I could not learn to read.....write.....speak.......
  • I could not be a nurse......a journalist......a politician.

This was a powerful display at the visitor center that caused me to stop and reflect.

I was never told:
  • I could not play with dolls.
  • I could not play with trucks.
  • I could not like pink.
  • I could not like blue.
  • I could not play with Barbies.
  • I could not play with action figures.

This display in a local store also moved me.

I was never told:
  • You cannot marry a man if that is who you love.
  • "I could not find an appropriate card for you and your husband to be."
  • People close to me would be victims of violence and prejudice based on who they love.
  • How lucky I was to be born into the "right body" and feel comfortable in my own skin.
  • That people close to me would be told they would not make "good parents" because of who they chose to spend their lives with.
  • People I love and care about would be judged because of who they love. 
  • I would be scared for people I love and care about. 

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~ Mya Angelou

"The best protection any woman can courage." ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton