I have been wondering about really good gifts this year. I want to make sure we give something now that has real meaning. I gave bowls from Serve Kindness and a portion of all sales in donated to a selected charity. And bowls message too — about serving kindness in the form of sustenance and kindness.

Then I realized all the children who haven’t been in school and may not be getting many presentsw Then I thought about the parents who want and can afford to give to their children and their children’s teachers. …


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Let me begin here: I write a children’s book series titled Lady Lucy’s Quest about a feisty multi-racial heroine who becomes a knight in the Middle Ages. With her team of trusty helpers (Dillon the Dragon; Tapestry the Unicorn; and Quincy the Belgian Shepherd), she goes on a myriad of quests that call for creativity, ingenuity, tenacity, endurance, strength and courage to reach resolution. And, when faced with inevitable and seemingly intractable problems, Lady Lucy and her team find solutions where none appeared to exist.

The most recent book in this series, Lady Lucy’s Dinosaur Quest (the cover of which appears above), is being released on Christmas Day in St. Margaret’s Church in Ockley (a village in Surrey), England. (It will also be available at Northshire Books in the US at the same time: www.northshire.com.) …


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Holidays are hard for many generally and now specifically. So, here’s something to try whether you are near or far, in person or remote: Tongue twisters!

Yes, really. They have a long educational history. They promote learning and enunciation. They build vocabulary. They showcase mistake making and trying again. They enable laughter among young and old. They are plain fun.

Try this downloadable right priced PDF — it can be ordered by several families and the tongue twisters tried (they are listed alphabetically). There are other word games in the book and one can also create one’s own tongue twister.

Then, share with all of us your favorites and stories of using them. …


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We need to help children (and adults) process the election for President. Here are a set of strategies/activities that educators can adapt and use for students at all ages and stages. More will be added as time progresses in the transition but this will be beneficial now!

Classroom Strategies and Activities:

1. Consider games that involve rules and rule-making and then changing the rules mid-stream or arbitrarily picking a winner or having too many rules. Here’s an example. Suppose that students each have separate piles of an item, ideally identical (paperclips; spaghetti; marbles; countable items). Then say: Let’s play the paper clip game. Students will say: How do we play? Collectively the students can make the rules without distinguishing between them. Then, let students try to play but it is too confusing. So, one needs to prioritize among the rules. Assume a set of rules are adopted but as the game is played, the teacher keeps changing the rules mid-stream. Then assume students play by the rules but the teacher arbitrarily picks a winner, not the actual winner. The point is we need rules, we need to play by them and we need to be fair. We cannot change rules mid-stream or after the fact. …


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Worried about the election and possible violence? Me too, regardless of outcome. This creates anxiety and tension and possible trauma. This isn’t good for anyone. Our autonomic nervous systems are on high alert and likely the absence of a definitive outcome on election night will cause more issues in our minds and bodies.

Can you hear a wee yipes?

Consider making trauma toolboxes for adults and children, teachers and students and families and communities. Be prepared. Order this how-to guide and there is time to both vote and create trauma toolboxes.

www.karengrosseducation.com/trauma-toolbox-a-how-to-guide/.


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A Nation Divided

As I listen to the hearings today, I am more worried than I was before the hearings began. We are, without question, a nation divided and the hearings show in neon lights how different political figures see the events of last Wednesday and the legacy of our President. The quivering voices of some of the elected officials is telling.

There are lots of things about which we can disagree and upon which we can legitimately have differing views. But there are some values which we hold dear as a nation and as individuals. We cannot trample those. …


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Join us for this book chat on January 27th at 5:00 pm. Free of charge.

To answer the posed question here and in the flyer: yes, schools can become places of healing for trauma (and some already are). And what we need to is make them places of healing trauma by helping educators at the macro and micro level create both trauma responsive pedagogy and institutional culture.

Given the state of our world with the Pandemic and in person learning truncated in many locales and illness and death and family dysfunction, we now have violence and threats to our Democratic institutions. All of this, when viewed as a whole, means we need places where children of all ages and stages can find pathways to heal from the trauma of our time. …


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We know you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube — not matter how hard you try. And genies don’t go back into the bottle. And, importantly in today’s politically chaotic and tragic time, “apologies” (more on that in a moment) do not erase bad acts.

As an educator, I appreciate apologies and I think they are critical in terms of helping students grow when their behavior is outside acceptable norms. Apologizing is not easy; it requires that one accept one’s errors and own them. But, make no mistake about this: apologies do not server as erasers. They do not eliminate what was done. …


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I have been privileged over the years to get wonderful reviews of my adult and children’s books. (Yes, there were a few really nasty ones for a book released in 1997 — and there is one reviewer with whom I have simply agreed to disagree.) Reviews are often general and not personal to the reviewer (ie. devoid of personal reviewer stories). Some are short and some are longer; some are detailed and some reference specific sections of the books or note particular qualities (say the art in the children’s books).

I recently received a review of my newest adult book from Dr. Will Wootton. He is an author and educator and was the President of Sterling College in Vermont when I was the president of Southern Vermont College. …


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My newest children’s book in the Lady Lucy series was released on Christmas in the UK. Now, it is available in the US. Look for it at www.northshire.com. A story to inspire: Lady Lucy’s Dinosaur Quest. And, it is based on a true story and it has amazing illustrations. Try it for the new year — and it has the spirit of a new year and a new season. Enjoy and stay safe and be well and take care.

About

Karen Gross

Author, Educator & Commentator; Former President, Southern Vermont College; Former Senior Policy Advisor, US Dept. of Education; Former Law Professor

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