Sunday, August 24, 2008

Banking on your abilities...

How is it that I didn't know about community Time Banks until today? Using your own skills and abilities to help others, and then, in turn, you get to benefit from the skills and abilities of someone else. All hours of work are valued equally. Wow! Wonderful concept... great way to build community, and an innovative way to contribute, while getting a job done. What's great is that just about everyone can participate because everyone can do something... even if it's simply to keep someone else company for a while. Click here to learn more, and to see if there's a Time Bank program in your area (check out the short video on that site about Time Banking... the video was created entirely with Time Bank hours!).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Michael Phelps: Finding focus

When I heard that gold medal Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps (the most decorated Olympic athlete in history), has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), I admit I felt a pang of excitement. I was excited that he's not only another amazing role model for people of all ages with ADHD, but he's yet another person who has proven, to anyone who has ever told a child with ADHD "you can't," "you won't," "you'll never," or "you shouldn't," that anything is possible. Phelps can be added to a long list of "famous" individuals, from presidents to scientists to artists to actors to writers to athletes, who have found a focus and reached great success in life, despite having ADHD or ADD.

Yesterday I came across the two articles below - good reads for parents (and educators) who have a child with ADHD.
Click on the titles to be linked to the articles.

Michael Phelps' Mom Gives Parenting Advice - Here's a great article from ADDitude Magazine about the moms of Michael Phelps, Ty Pennington (from ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition), and Danielle Fisher, the youngest person to ever climb Mt. Everest, as well as all of the "Seven Summits." The article explains how these moms parented their children with ADHD, and how their support made a positive impact.

ADHD and After-School Activities: Finding the Right Fit - from WebMD

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Juggling something new...

Last Saturday my Mother and I went to the Farmer's Market down in Deering Oaks Park. It was a lovely morning and always great to not only have a reason to stroll through the park, but to buy the freshest produce around. And then there are the people - running into people I know, meeting new people... and simply the fun camaraderie among all the shoppers, whether they know each other or not. But, I had no idea that we'd run into some wonderful performers at the Farmer's Market! A Mime juggling fire... lit torches... while another performer played the accordion! Later the Mime walked, and even rode a unicycle, on a slack rope strung between two large trees. And the show ended with a woman doing aerobatics on a rope hanging down from a tree. Kids, please don't try this at home - at least not juggling with fire, or doing tricks on ropes.... but, by all means, DO try something new! Even juggling (just not with fire!)! Question: What was the last "new" thing you tried to do? I think for me it was... to create a blog! : )

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Can Do! Ability Survey

The new school year is about to start! Consider kicking it off by having your students complete a Can Do! Ability Survey. It's a great way for kids to start recognizing all the things they CAN do, as well as how they use their many abilities. Students can store their completed survey in their individual student portfolios, and then complete another copy of the survey again at the end of the school year. Students, parents, and teachers will have fun comparing the "before" and "after" surveys - seeing how students and their responses have changed and grown over the course of the school year, as they've learned new things, gained new perspectives.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Camp No Limits

This morning I saw a great story about Camp No Limits in Rome, Maine. Founded by the No Limits Limb Loss Foundation, Camp No Limits is a camp for kids who have lost limbs (i.e. have had amputations)... a camp where they can discover they're not alone, learn new ways of overcoming challenges, gain confidence, and have fun! In addition to Maine, Camp No Limits also has locations in Idaho, California and Florida. Click here to watch the local news story about it. Check out the "Camp No Limits" Web site to learn more.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Climbing To Great Heights

I was digging through a box of old photos my Mother recently gave me, and found this one of me up in a tree with my siblings... probably around 1973. I'm the one in yellow to the right. The tree was in our back yard, and one we loved to climb. There was something very satisfying and rewarding about climbing a tree. It didn't matter if I managed to get up there on my own, or if someone had to give me a boost - as long as I could get up to sit on even the lowest branch, I felt a great sense of accomplishment... it made me feel as if I could do anything. What a wonderful place to be!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Big Dreams

The 2008 Olympic games begin tonight in Beijing, China (I'm actually watching the opening ceremonies as I type). I was just remembering how, every time I ask children what their "Big Dream" is during an Olympic year, there are inevitably a handful who respond that their dream is to be "An Olympic swimmer" or "An Olympic gymnast" or "An Olympic basketball player." The Olympics seem to help many children see the possibilities, and believe in them... at least for those interested in athletics. This always makes me smile. What I enjoy is that few ever say their "Big Dream" is to be a "gold medal" Olympian, or any medal winner, but simply to be an Olympian. To me this speaks to the appreciation of abilities, and the effort... the journey... rather than the destination.

Whether dreaming about using abilities to participate in an Olympic sanctioned sport, to create a new computer game, to create a best selling book, to create a cure for cancer... or to simply ride a bike to a friend's house... I hope all children learn to develop an appreciation of their abilities, whatever they
can do, no matter how big or small, no matter where those abilities take them.