10 Lessons for Parents and Teachers from Dumbledore

14375894180_94dc0b2c4b_z(This post first appeared on Edutopia. It features 3 new lessons from Dumbledore that were suggested by readers from the Edutopia community. I think they are fantastic additions! Did I miss anymore wisdom from Dumbledore? Please let me know in the comments and I can add more.)

One of my favorite times of the day is when I settle in with my two young daughters for read-aloud time. For several years, we have been working our way through the Harry Potter series. I had read them all before, but it has been a delight to read them again with my girls, using as many voices as possible, and seeing the incredible story through their eyes.

It has also shared many secrets about teaching and living with me on this second reading, especially when it comes to Dumbledore. The way he interacts with Harry, fellow teachers, muggles, and various magical creatures has lessons for all of us — especially teachers and parents. Whether you have read the Harry Potter series or not, there is wisdom from this character we can all learn from.

“You do care,” said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached. “You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.” – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Calm Acceptance: No matter what Dumbledore is faced with, he calmly accepts this reality. When Harry is throwing Dumbledore’s belongings around his office — devastated from the loss of a parent-like figure — Dumbledore is a witness to Harry’s emotions. He doesn’t escalate the situation by getting angry, yelling back, or sending Harry to a break or time out. He simply allows Harry to have those emotions and reflects them back, showing that he is listening. He is witnessing. He is calm. Isn’t that what most of our students want? To be heard, witnessed, and have a calm adult to help them? There are many lessons for me in this as a parent and a teacher. Continue reading

Thank you: Two Older Mothers at a Coffee Shop

418292208_efe715a463_zThis week I had a daily gift. For the first time in 9 months, I had a few hours to myself each day. You might think this is a small gift, but I do not. You see, I’m a parent of young kids, a full time teacher, and a student. Personal, free time moments are rare.

While my daughters were in camp, I had a beautiful canvas of time before me. I painted it how I saw fit. During one of these moments I stopped into a coffee shop. I pulled my book out, settled in with my coffee and bagel, only to notice a woman next to me. She had a white splash of hair atop her beaming, smiling face as her friend came over to the table. They embraced and it was clear these were two old friends.

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3 New books to inspire a love of reading and nature (grades K-8)

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image: Julie Falk on Flickr under CC

First posted at Momsrising.org

How can parents motivate kids to get outside and read this summer? We know that students can lose about a half to a full year of reading skills and comprehension over the summer, and that too many kids are staying inside on devices or screens. Summer is the perfect time for books that inspire kids to get outside and explore the nature around them.

Here are books of a wide range of student ages to jump start young readers and motivate them to develop a love of nature and the environment.

  1. Grades K-2: Treasure Town by Doug Wilhelm. This rollicking early reader is sure to engage your K-2 grade child. About buried treasure, pirates, maps and a giant boat? Yes please! The illustrations are delightful, engaging and humorous and the text is lively, exciting and fun. If you have a reluctant reader– or any young reader– they are sure to enjoy this book. I like that they feature the stories of female pirates as well– fighting sexism. These characters get outside and find adventure there. Continue reading