Inspiring Mentorship

This evening as we close out another week, I'm on Cloud 9 about all of the amazing things going on at our school. One of my favorite annual events, our Round Up Carnival fundraiser, is just around the corner. In fact, the Fun Run is tomorrow morning. The generosity of our community really shines at Round Up time. From the countless hours of volunteerism leading up to the event, to the staff members who donate Teacher Treats and provide gathering opportunities to our students, to the giving family members who buy tickets not only for their own kids but for our families in need, I am blown away and stand in awe. Of all of it.
All of it, for the kids.

Thank you, Shelley Burgess, for this beautiful reminder.

We get more of what we focus on, so it just makes sense to affirm and encourage the positivity and passion of these dedicated volunteers and servant leaders.

Another reason I'm super energized this week is because I got to Skype with Paul Solarz's fifth graders in Illinois yesterday and I couldn't have been more impressed with this student-led classroom. Their plan is to mentor some kindergarten students in their school family and I was invited to empower and equip them 
with some start-up skills.

Because of some obvious front-loading, leadership and coaching from an award-winning educator, this pirate classroom could quite clearly run itself. Talk about your positive climate; I seriously didn't want the hour to end. We focused on strengths and self-esteem as we collaborated to launch their mentorship program.
I asked reflection questions like these: 
What is your superpower?
How do you use those superpowers for good?
Who is your superhero?
To whom are you a superhero?
What is your Kryptonite?
What superpowers will you use as you mentor? 
They asked me questions back:
What is my superpower?
Can a pet be a superhero?
What happens when I can't cheer someone up? 
What made me want to write the book?
What are some of the chapter titles?
What's the name of my website?

I challenged them to use their Covey wisdom and begin with the end in mind, then suggested a few activities that they could use as they build that relationship with their little buddies. In honor of National Poetry Month, they willingly and eagerly attempted my Empathy Switch poem and hand challenge with me.

So as I prepare to call it a day, my emotional reserve overflows with the assurance that there are students like my new friends at Westgate Elementary at the helm and taking the lead. 

Check out Learn Like A Pirate and see for yourself how you could set the course for such smooth sailing with your shipmates.


  1. Looking forward to this book. I have several I use: We are Different we are the Same. It's Ok to be Different, the Colors of the Earth but my favorite is The Skin You Live In. I like not using black or white but butterscotch etc. The kids seem to really like the story.

  2. Love Maria and her books! I use The Crayon Box That Talked to celebrate diversity. We are an IB school and we talk about being open-minded and reflective when making new friends! I like what the first poster "Jo" wrote about using butterscotch instead of black, white, etc. Great idea!

  3. Good information. Lucky me I came across your website by accident (stumbleupon).


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