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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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They can be created easily and as a guide explains, they can help us all to deal with acute and deferred trauma.

Try them. It is better than doing nothing about one’s feelings.

So, please vote and please create a trauma toolbox. Now is when both are needed.


Sadly, anniversaries of traumatic events retrigger trauma. Learn strategies for dealing with the many trauma anniversaries that are upcoming.

This course is virtual, offered by Rutgers Grad School of Social Work. It is December 9 from 9 — noon. Concrete strategies will be provided. Powerpoint slides for future use. Case study.

Sign up, learn, engage. Right priced.

Stay safe and see you there.


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These are difficult times. That is for sure. We know too that positive feelings are important and to think positively, we need three positives for every one negative.

That is why I created this Positive Feeling Tree. Each day, we take positive feelings from a jar filled with them (a gift from a friend) and we read them and put them on the tree.

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Each saying is different and they can inspire differently, depending on the day and the mood and the time. Some appeal more to some people than others.

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The nice thing about this tree is that we can actually illuminate the feelings at night — and they shine and send cheer and positivity across the table and for all to see. …


What Am I Feeling?

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As this holiday (so to speak) ends, are you struggling to identify what you and others around you are feeling? Are the feeling strange or off base or is it even hard to find words?

Me too.

That is why Dr. Ed Wang and I (among other reasons) created The Feeling Alphabet Activity Set. It helps you and yours name feelings so you can tame them. Family and friends can each get a set and do the activities remotely or in person. Try 3 positive feelings for every negative one.

This is an activity for our time. It will help. Share how it works for you. Available for download for $4.99 at:

www.karengrosseducation.com/thefeelingalphabet/

And, this works for people of all ages and stages. We need this as we move forward in these trying times.

Take care. Be safe. Identify your feelings… with help is OK.

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There are many upcoming trauma anniversaries (if that is the right word to use). Holidays can be anniversaries; so can school shootings and marathon bombings. There are “COVID” anniversaries on the horizon, with the first case being reported (depending on sources) in Nov/Dec. 2019. That is NOW.

I think we need to reflect on all “negative” anniversaries that are in the offing and plan ahead for how to address them. It is not wise to let them creep up on us and then realize, “Oops, we need to do something as a means of commemoration.”

There are approaches and solutions to be sure but we have not focused on them. Let me be clear and blunt: Hiding anniversaries dates away or pretending they will disappear is a fiction with consequences. …


Yes, COVID cases are rising at frightening rates. We should be alarmed. But, I also want to point out that as we approach Thanksgiving, we are also approaching the anniversary of the first #COVID case. It is the first of many difficult anniversaries ahead. Please consider taking this course at Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work on how to manage trauma anniversaries — from the pandemic to death to illness to school shootings to natural disasters. Sadly, these will be upon us all. Concrete strategies provided. Dec. 9 — from 9 til noon. Reasonably priced. Valuable for educators, psychologists, businesses, non-profits as well as social workers. We can handle anniversaries for effectively and it’s best to start planning now.

http://ssw-web.rutgers.edu/ssw/ce/index.php?m=catalog&cid=2328&fbclid=IwAR0sT7hQapLhh70zp6T8CP8HXa5qiKC9-k-UQqvC4qyupO_y9KbIUfEYQ-U


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The Marblehead Incident(s)

I recently read an article about a party in Marblehead, MA attended by 20–30 young people. Apparently, no masks worn were worn. It seems there was no social distancing. There was, it appears, sharing of drinking cups (unclear what was in the cups). Now, this party occurred in a private home. (No word best as I can read as to where the homeowners/parents were.)

Apparently, most of the attending students scattered when the police arrived. That means that contact tracing is tough sledding since the names of party goers is not known. …


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Here is a recent piece with the voices of many educators to help improve online learning.

As one educator who thinks and worries about the absence of in-person learning, these strategies improve the engagement of students. Many are implementable at low or no cost; many are things that are creative and may not have been tried to date; others reinforce educator intuition. Try them; you might like some of them as might your students. And, most can be adapted to different age groups and different environments and different contexts.

Share reactions and by all means, test these out. They are for you — the educators in the trenches.

Onward.

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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