The Domino Effect

Who doesn't love to experience a little first-day-back motivation? I first got hooked back in like 1987 when our district invited Toody Byrd to deliver the keynote. She was HILARIOUS and I still remember her and her message. We haven't had many more that impacted me the way she did; the other two that come close are Rick Rigsby and Riney Jordan. The most authentic keynote ever, though, was when one of our own Westwood alumni, Alexandra Landon, recorded a message for us on her summer break from Princeton. Click {here} to find Alumni Paints the World Blue in the playlist and watch the one I will NEVER forget. It'll be the best eight minutes you've spent online in a very long time, I promise.

Every time I'm ignited by a potent dose of inspiration
I think to myself, I could do that! 
And I actually did, once, in New Jersey, back in 2008, the keynote to kick off the school year for the elementary educators in Hamilton County. Here they are, all of them showing me their respectacles, well, most of them anyway. . . just look at these FUN teachers!

This week, I get to keynote again! About six months ago, I was invited to give two opening day presentations in Alabama and Wednesday and Thursday are the big days. The story behind the invitation is actually pretty amazing; Pam, a retired principal who started Character@Heart, found me through our school's website a few years back. She contacted me, we corresponded, and she looked into coming to visit my school. She decided instead that she'd like to bring me there. We've never actually met. Yet. Except for our talks over the phone and by email. And she hired me, sight unseen, based on the work I've shared online, to affirm and motivate, inspire and influence her character educators. 
I am SO jazzed! 
Here's the bookmark my friend Libby and I created for my audience.

Last year after I did a workshop, a veteran teacher wrote me the nicest compliment. She said, "Best workshop ever; you are changing the world."  When I shared with my son Jacob that I felt that might be a bit of an exaggeration because the world's a pretty big place, he answered:  You are, you know. You've spoken in D.C., right? And Indiana? Tennessee and New Jersey? Texas and California? Pennsylvania and maybe Alabama?
Those ripples are eventually going to touch, mom.

Such an incredible opportunity, to drop a pebble into an auditorium full of educators (have I mentioned there'll be 1500 in all?), and watch the magic of its momentum. My son Joshua created a visual to illustrate 
the ripple:

I'm flying out Tuesday afternoon to set the first domino in motion . . . 


  1. Barbara, I wish I could be in that audience. I'm sure you'll do wonderfully. (I'd love to hear from about respectacles.)
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. Thanks, Tammy. I have the audience make "respectacles" as part of my meaningful movement segment . . . when I teach about them to kids, I have them make respectacles as a visual for looking for respect. One year in particular that I did this with kinder as part of my first lesson, one class would put on their "respectacles" EVERY time they saw me in the hall . . . it was SO cute. As a follow up to that discussion, you can actually make glasses out of pipe cleaners and remind kids to 'put on their respectacles' and watch for signs of respect - it's a powerful tool to put respect in view. Thanks for asking . . . maybe I need to blog about it . . . oh, how I wish you could be there, too!

    2. I'd love for you to blog about this. It sounds like something I'd love to use in my own classroom. Thank you for always sharing such meaningful posts with us.

    3. As you wish . . . RESPECTacles post coming Wednesday!!

  2. No doubt you will be fabulous! Every time I read one of your posts, I am inspired to be a better teacher and strive to make a difference in kids' lives!
    Swersty’s Swap Shop

    1. Thank you, Swertsy, for stopping by the Corner and sprinkling sunshine my way!

  3. Barbara...congratulations...what an amazing opportunity for you to help others and spread your positivity!!!
    I wanted to give you a heads-up on the Show Me How School Initiative...I'm donating a dozen copies of my award-winning book to schools across the country...people can nominate their favorite school or other childcare facility by leaving a comment on my blog: http://viviankirkfield.wordpress.com/2012/08/12/sunday-post-close-up-simple-tips-for-first-day-of-school-anxiety/
    Please pass this info along if you can...and best of luck at your presentations!!!

  4. Hi Barbara! You are more than a ripple. You have no idea how many lives you touch with your wisdom. I'm with Tammy, I'd love to see a post on respectacles. I'll be looking for it Wednesday!
    I love that your son would set up the domino effect for you :)

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs


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