Here is $5 At Educents

I received an email a few days ago offering my readers $5 at Educents. I have been watching them for the past year and they have had some great buys and great products to promote creative education. So if you’re in the market for educational products, as many homeschooling families are purchasing curriculum at this time, here is $5 to a great resource if you’re a new customer. Just click on the big red $5.

*Full Disclosure: I am a recent affiliate of Educents and I only promote things I believe to be beneficial to my readers and supportive of their educational endeavors. Don’t worry, this blog won’t turn into a shameless promotion of products.

The Obligatory Thanksgiving Post – a.k.a. The Power of Gratitude

[I haven’t been blogging a year yet but I figure the day before Thanksgiving I should probably dust myself off and write my first holiday inspired post.] It seems that science is catching up with religion. There are happiness gurus (positive psychology) like Shawn Achor (saw him on a Ted Talk) and others that study the psychology of happiness and have amazing things to tell us. However, they are some millnneia behind the major religions of the world, especially Christianity. So its official, 5 out of 5 scientists and religious leaders agree (can agreement really happen between those two?!?) that gratitude is a key to happiness. It is interesting that they both don’t say the same thing but rather compliment each other. The Bible tells you what to do and how to do it. The scientists tell you the results and why you’ll be glad you did it.

Tara is a student of mine (I Dragneted her name) that has seen leaps and bounds in term of her performance. She came as a very shy and timid person and she is still that way. She is very quiet and thoughtful in her lessons and after each lesson she is instructed by her parents to thank me for her lesson. This is new to me and it made me reflect on current and past students. Those who quit, those who burn out and cop attitudes of apathy or even arrogance, lack or slowly lose their gratitude. It took me some time to see it but it is a common denominator among them. Perhaps not the only one but a significant one.

Think about it. We see this in our daily lives and especially around this time of year. Black Friday….

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I can’t remember when Black Friday became a “thing” but I am pretty sure its been sometime in the past 30 years. We didn’t always have it. We use to stay at home with our families, play outside, watch football, and eat leftovers. Now, however, we wait in line on Thanksgiving night or Black Friday Eve for stores to open at ridiculous hours to sell us junk we don’t really need so we can get a bargain to sooth our greed. Sure you can get stuff at really good deals but don’t you feel like a slave? Don’t you feel like you’re worshiping consumerism and materialism by bowing to the schedule of the retailer?

I have heard tale of stores now opening this year on Thanksgiving to get an earlier jump on Black Friday. This makes me sick. The mob, the majority have made black Friday what it is, a blatant and unapologetic support of obtaining stuff. I bet if you had to work on Thanksgiving you’d raise a little ruckus and fuss, no? Then why go to a retail store, buy their junk, and support them being open on Thanksgiving (or Black Friday for that matter)?

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When I was young growing up in the Midwest, we couldn’t even think about shopping or eating out on Sundays because EVERYTHING was closed. Sound foreign? It happened less than 30 years ago. Forget about holidays and black Friday. It was unheard of.

As for me and my house, we are getting back to gratitude. In support of our initiative, we will not be participating in any shopping this holiday weekend. I would rather my family find gratitude with one another, for the needs provided, and for the extra “stuff” they already have. Oooooh….there is a really good sale going on at Cabela’s where I could finally get…NO! Sorry, that was a relapse. I think I did Black Friday once of twice in my life and it just gets into your system.

So back to Tara. I have no solid evidence, as my longitudinal study needs more time, but I am very sure that her attitude of gratitude has led to many musical successes in her short time learning from me. She may be shy and timid but she consistently has some of the best performances every recital. She enjoys playing piano. I think enjoyment and gratitude feed off of each other in a never ending positive psychological cycle. So get hooked on it. And for only $19.99, you can be part of our Attitude with Gratitude sys…..SORRY! It creeps up out of nowhere.

So I guess you could say that gratitude is my 2nd ingredient to academic excellence and life success. Joy and gratitude. How do you incorporate gratitude in your life, education, or homeschool?

 

[for a bigger rant on Black Friday from a different blogger…click here…fun stuff]

Creative Education News Bulletin

Every once in a while there comes a flood of stuff I am interested in regarding creativity and education. So since this was one of those weeks, I decided to consolidate some of the things that have crossed my email, social networks, and conversations. You’re in for a treat because there have been a lot of eyebrow raising events in education this week.

Let’s start off with a positive.

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A Creative Tech Tool Everyone Can Use

I have been gone for a while on a hunting trip (I just hunted with my camera while the rest hunted for real…I was just the camp cook.) I finally finished the piece of technology that I found a while ago. This is Prezi. It is like Powerpoint on steroids. It gives you more creative control over your content and is snazzier in presenting your information. It doesn’t take a huge learning curve to understand the basics but it will take some practice to make your presentations just stellar cool. Here are my ideas on how you can use it as a homeschooler and even a blogger!

One Major Skill Missing From Today’s Youth

For those of you that may not know, I teach music as a profession. I have taught anything from high school bands to elementary choirs. I  even taught a very cool Junkyard Taiko percussion group at a middle school in Buena Park, CA. My current venture in teaching music has led me to owning my own studio where I mostly teach piano and a few band instruments like flute and trombone. Through my public school and private studio experiences, I have noticed something about today’s youth (most of them). They are missing a key ingredient that can help ensure successful learning in both their personal lives and in vocational pursuits.

I have a piano student, let’s call her Stephanie. We start out Stephanie’s lesson with a piano technique book called Dozen a Day. I ask her to play song #3 on the page and she does so but not without some trouble. So to ascertain what her problems might be, I ask her to play it again but this time only to play the first two measure where I suspect she is missing some understanding. She then commences to play the entire song. I ask her to start again but this time to play just the first measure of the 4 measure technique. She plays up to the middle of measure 3. Whhhaaaaaaaaa? Inside my imagination, I am the helpless conversational companion of Ted Striker just trying to find a way out of this horrible situation

Ted Striker reminisces about a love lost.

Ted Striker reminisces about a love lost.

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Secret Traveler #2 Dosier and Travel Visa

COVERT COMMUNIQUE FROM HQ: 

We had to send your next destination  more encrypted than the last because we believe you are being followed. So please watch your back. You are about to leave a beautiful area and get on a cruise ship headed for Hawaii. There you will head one of two directions (E or W) to a port. When you get to the port, you can rent a car from here: Continue reading