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. …

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…

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.

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…

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.


The Brookings Institution (Brookings) just released a report on the value of cities using mental health teams rather than police to address many of the issues that arise in communities. It is an idea that has already received traction in some circles and there is federal funding for these efforts.


I want to use this piece to raise an issue that will be arising and our schools and how the ideas from this new Brookings report can be transported into our schools. …

He’s a “Complicated Fella;” Why is that an Insult in the Sports World?

Demeaning Aaron Rodgers

Recently, the President of the Packers Mark Murphy (citing a now deceased General Manager) referred to quarterback Aaron Rodgers as a “complicated fella.” He then added “So, I’ll just say that.” Clearly, Murphy did not intend the words “complicated fella” as a compliment. Apparently, it was/is code for someone who is difficult or irascible or different.

Stated in decoded words: Aaron Rodgers is just plain hard to deal with as a player.

Listening to sports talk radio over the past several days, it is clear that many…

The French Open and Grand Slam Media Requirements

I am still thunder struck by the absolute density of the French Open Tennis Tournament’s fining Ms. Osaka $15,000 for failure to appear before the media. And, add to this fine, there was the accompanying threat from the other upcoming Major tournaments that she would be “defaulted” from participation for failing to do needed media events. And, it appears these decisions were swift. She is the highest paid women’s athlete in the world.

Pause for a moment and reflect on a myriad of “why” questions. “Why” are media appearances so important at the Grand Slams (and other tournaments)? “Why is…

When I was in DC…

When I lived in Washington, DC, I spent Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery. Each entrant to the cemetery was given a rose or two by a volunteer to place on a tombstone. I went to two tombstones that my close friend serving Afghanistan would have visited had she been stateside. I left special stones at each of these grave sites. Then, I proceeded to put the roses on tombstones that it appeared that no one ever visited — Vietnam veterans, many of whom we treated as anti-heroes not heroes when they returned from horrific battle. And I always stared…

Illustration by a former student reflecting on starting college

Transitions Are Tough Sledding

As a society, we have never been particularly good at transitions. This is most obvious in the context of schools. Consider whether students transition well into Elementary School. Then, how well do they transition into Middle School? How’s the transition to High School? And, reflect on the transition to college, whether a student is living at home, returning to college after years away having stopped out or dropped out or never started or living on campus near or far from home.

The Pandemic and its aftermath including our de-masking and return to engagement with others outside…

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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