Choose Kindness- The Movie “Wonder”

Is it better to be kind, or right? #choosekind

Today, the fourth and fifth grade students had the opportunity to see the movie “Wonder”. It is a highly recommended film for teaching kindness and for starting a discussion about how to include others who are different than you. Based on the book, “Wonder”, Auggie, the main character, has extreme congenital facial anomalies and starts public school for the first time. He has had 27 surgeries and often wears an astronaut helmet to hide his face.

Auggie says:

“I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid….I know ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds.  I know ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go… It’s like people you see sometimes, and you can’t imagine what it would be like to be that person, whether it’s somebody in a wheelchair or somebody who can’t talk.  Only, I know that I’m that person to other people… To me, though, I’m just me.  An ordinary kid.”

The movie does a great job diving into the emotions of the boy Auggie, his friends, his family, and the people he comes in contact with at school.

Take Aways: 

  1. Don’t judge a book by its cover
  2. Be kind to people who are different
  3. One kind action can have a ripple effect

Strengths of the Movie:

  1. Emotions of the main character are shown clearly and makes him highly relatable
  2. Reinforces the idea that every child, no matter how they look or what they do, want to build genuine friendships with others
  3. One brave act can inspire other children to do the right thing

Possible Considerations Before Watching the Movie:

  1. It is rated PG
  2. Some kissing moments between the mom and dad, and the sister and her boyfriend (our students tended to react with EWWW and laughing at these parts)
  3. Some scenes of adults drinking wine and there is a mention of getting drunk once in the movie
  4. Also, there are fighting scenes between the boys/students (which is praised by the dad)

Classroom Follow-Up Activities:

  1. Wonderful Website: http://wonderwebbook.weebly.com/wonder-ful-activities.html
  2. Teacher Pay Teacher: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:wonder
  3. Choose Kind Challenge: https://lionsgate.promo.eprize.com/wonder/

Additional Videos for References:

The Dancing Barista

Meet Starbuck’s newest employee: the dancing barista. If Starbucks wasn’t great enough, Sam makes the Starbucks experience even greater. Growing up, Sam was told he would never be employed because he moves as he works. Instead, his boss gave him a chance and now he is excelling as an employee.

Sam is truly one of my favorite internet stories and I love how Ellen highlighted him on her show. Please watch his videos below and get inspired by Sam’s story and success.

 

 

Just $10 Can Make All The Difference

$10 can make all the difference in places like Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In order to even attend school, students need to purchase a $10 uniform that they wear every day. Unfortunately, many students cannot afford the uniform, let alone school books and pencils.

According to World Vision, 57 million children are not enrolled in school. Every Christmas, I add to my family’s gifts by sponsoring a child to attend school. For only $10, one child can attend school for the year. It seems crazy, but $10 can make all the difference for children around the world.

Consider sponsoring a child or donating school supplies today. There are many sites to do this through, but one I use is World Vision. (By the way! $50 will supply $600 of school supplies since your gift is multiplied by 12x). Watch their video and see how you can impact those living in impoverished areas.

Please consider donating $10 (or more!!) today to change a child’s life.

Introducing the First Nonverbal, Autistic Talk Show Host

The world has been watching Carly Fleischmann, and her viewers have just increased by becoming the first nonverbal, autistic talk show host. Carly speaks through her I-pad and communicates with others with the help of technology. After many hours spent with her therapists and supportive family growing up, Carly has found a way to communicate with the world.

Her first interview —with the famous Channing Tatum —-gave viewers a good laugh as she asked questions that could make some feel uncomfortable. Her sense of humor, love, and youthful energy comes alive through the interview. I am excited to see the other guests she invites to her show in the future.

For now, be sure to watch Speechless –the newest talk show featuring the one and only –Carly Fleischmann!

Introduction: 

First Interview: Channing Tatum 

Jack of the Red Hearts

A new movie showing a realistic depiction of what it is like to raise a child with autism is coming soon to theaters. Jack of the Red Hearts by Janet Grillo is being praised for showing both the challenges and joys of having a child with autism. Criticizing the films that solely depict autism children as savants, Grillo brings an honest picture which captivates children who are non-verbal and more dependent. disability movies media autistic

autism movie disabilities media

For more stories about autism posted by the huffington post please visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/autism/

Wheelchair Snow Plow

This week, a lot of the states were hit with major snow storms ranging from 25 to 30 inches. A lot of times, with massive snowfall, the streets and sidewalks become unaccessible to wheelchair users and others who rely on smooth walkways.

This video shows one man who decided to modify his wheelchair to meet his needs due to the snowy weather. This idea is definitely on my “top 10” list. I am looking for others to replicate! Justin Anderson is an accessible icon.

Support Accessibility in Italy

Accessibility has become an increasing problem in historic places such as Italy, Israel, and parts of Africa. Cobblestones, cracked side walks, and lack of ramps make it difficult for people with physical disabilities to travel. A group of operators in Venice decided to do something to help fix this problem.

Who: Gondolas4all

Where: Venice, Italy

Problem: Currently people in wheelchairs are not able to access gondola rides unless they are carried onto gondolas, which can be dangerous

Solution: To build the first ever automated wheelchair lift on a floating jetty

Picture taken from crowd sourcing site:  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gondolas4all-gondola-wheelchair-access

Picture taken from crowd sourcing site: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gondolas4all-gondola-wheelchair-access

What Makes a Good Teacher

An article from The Washington Post recently was published describing the attributes of a great teacher. After being in several classrooms, grades, and school districts, I agree that the top two characteristics of a teacher are love and grit.

  • Love-Focusing on the emotional, social, and academic needs of a student
  • Grit- Refusing to give up on a student

Another important emphasis was the idea that teaching is both an art and a science. While there are definitely effective strategies teachers can implement on a day to day basis, it takes the skillful teacher to properly entwine research based practices in the classroom with specific students.

Although our current education system is focusing on the science behind teaching (which is appropriate within limits),  the art part can be overlooked in the process of collecting hard data. While hard data is important, I believe the art part of teaching can be measured from student wellness. For example, 1. How students feel about themselves as learners 2. The excitement students feel in the classroom 3. The overall happiness of each student. While I acknowledge that a lot of external factors (such as home life) can heavily influence these feelings, all students, to some extent, should be able to feel the magic of the classroom and the love of learning. If not, our school systems should be focusing on self-health so students are engaged in the beauty of living.

What do you think? Read this article to engage in the discussion.

 

Different Kinds of Minds Contribute to Society

Gordon College hosted Temple Grandin, subject of a 2010 Emmy-winning HBO movie to speak during Beyond Disabilities week on February 21. I personally booked her, introduced her, and was able to spend the whole day with her. Needless to say, she was amazing. To get a glimpse of her advice, knowledge and wise council, please view her keynote address: Temple Grandin’s Keynote Speech at Gordon College with Leah Serao.