October Optimism

Happy October, dear reader; if you've been looking up,
you may have noticed that the skies have been stunning.

September seems to have come and gone as quickly as the color in that cloud burst. I know that here in the south we are hoping that October brings with it a reprieve from the sweltering temps and high humidity.

Today I'm excited because I'm heading home to WI for some Fall foliage, two author visits and a reunion with extended family and a few faraway friends. Yay! So eager to experience this ...  

... and this again. I love this color explosion from Autumn 2019. 😍

Before I head north, a few reflections and updates.

First, I'm grateful to share with you this podcast episode;

Charles was a delight to chat with about student agency, voice and choice.
It's also available {here} if you're an Apple Podcast subscriber.
Doesn't he have the most soothing velvety voice?

 Next, if you've been an elementary educator for a few years, I'm going to encourage you to take a day and either sub at your local high school or just go walk the halls. I got to do that last week when I stepped in as a guest teacher and I've got to share that it was the biggest boost of reconnection, joy, hope and love. Here's how it went:

I would hear a gasp, then a "Mrs. Gruener?!"

Then I'd get a huge heart hug. Like fierce. And so genuine.

Some students, like these sisters who aren't in the same class, texted each other my location in the building, so that they could come and greet me. One young man, a junior now, came in for a hug and I called his name as he was asking if I remembered him. He backed away in surprise and could not believe that I remembered him. And his name. I wish you could have seen his face when I said his name after all those years. There truly are no words but if I could bottle that feeling ..... 

One young lady brought her boyfriend by to meet me.

Another asked if I still have my puppets. 

More gasping as I pulled Winthrup from my bag.

Several shared with me what those visits to my office meant to them.

And a week later, my soul is still singing.

Speaking of singing, turn up my favorite new song.

Reminds me of this throwback truth.

And finally, a few incredible books that have found me.

First, for those older elementary learners, this Mini Books About Mighty Fears series by Dr. Dawn Huebner is a must for your teaching, parenting and/or counseling resources shelves.

With fun facts woven in to keep its readers engaged, these little treasures are an empowering GPS for facing giants and learning to conquer hurdles to our happiness. I'm currently reading Facing Mighty Fears About Baddies and Villains and wishing I'd have had these when our children were going through their despairing upper-elementary-school doubts. Check it out; this series has my enthusiastic endorsement.

And then there's this new-to-me picture book that recently arrived from Amazon:

In a super creative way, this gem normalizes getting angry.

Fergal felt fiery ... he just couldn't keep his cool.

It addresses fairness and the feeling of getting fiery
while ultimately offering a few strategies for processing
those hard, uncomfortable feelings in healthy ways.

Ask your learners what gets them all fired up
and what are their favorite ways to deescalate.

Then sing this little ditty, to the tune of the Addams Family:

 🎶 When I get mad (snap, snap),
When I get mad (snap, snap);
Here's what I do, to get me through
when I get mad (snap, snap).

I practice my square breathing,
I slowly count from one to ten.
I talk it out or exercise
'til I'm content again. 🎶

That's it for today; as always, make it awesome.

You've got this and I'm rooting for you and
cheering you on from deep in the heart of Texas.

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I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!