Tuesday, December 29, 2009

We did it!

We did it! My agency was notified earlier this month that we've received Early Head Start funding! We will be providing services to pregnant women and children under the age of three. This is an exciting time for my employer and I am proud to be a part of the excitement. I am including some resources below that pertain to Early Head Start, IDEA part C, Resources for pregnant women, and Infant/Toddler Mental Health. Enjoy!

Early Head Start
Early Head Start Benefits for Children and Families
Special Quest B-5

Idea Part C
Wrights Law
Special Education in Plain Language
Wisconsin B-3

Infant/Toddler Mental Health
Zero to Three

Resources for Pregnant Women
Accessing Women's Health Care
Postpartum Depression
Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation
Center for Women's Mental Health

Early Childhood Screening
Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin
WI Child Find

Did I miss something? If so, leave me a comment and let me know!

Keep Playing,


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Autism Talks

This has certainly been an exciting year for me on the Adjunct teaching front. I have been picking up more continuing education classes for NTC and I am very excited to be doing a three-part Autism series in the Spring. It will be offered at the Medford, Antigo, and Wausau campuses. I will be covering a number of topics during these talks such as what are Autism Spectrum Disorders, common forms of Autism Treatment, how to seek a diagnosis or make a referral, supporting children on the Autism Spectrum in your classroom, and much more. It should be a fun and educational three days.

Speaking of In-home therapy, I ran into a family that I used to work with this evening. What a treat! It's always to run into families and get updates about how the children I used to support are doing. In this case, the child is doing very well, receiving minimal services. I had a pretty significant weight loss since I worked with that particular family, so I was pretty surprised that the mom recognized me.

This week I am including some resources that are specific to Autism Spectrum Disorders, advocacy, and treatment. I hope you find them helpful and interesting. Have a great weekend!

Keep playing,

Rachael :-)

Autism Society of Wisconsin

Autism Society of America

The Gray Center
The Play Project
Floor Time
Natural Environment Teaching
National Institute for Mental Health
Making Visuals
Tony Attwood
Wisconsin Children's Long-Term Support Waiver
Wisconsin Autism Insurance
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Autism Advocacy

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mentoring new teachers

One area of interest I have is the retention of highly qualified Early Childhood teachers. All too often I hear of excellent EC teachers leaving the field to go work for a school district or leave the field all together. I spend a lot of time wondering, "why?" I often get the response that this happens, "because of the money." While that may be true in the short run, I have a hard time believing that this gets to the heart of matter. There is quite a bit of research that indicates that people are really not any more happy because of money, as long as their basic needs are being met. When I think about how to retain teachers in the field, I think about all the reasons why I thought about leaving the field from time to time. . . .
  • My work load was too heavy
  • I was not receiving enough support at work
  • I did not feel valued
  • I did not know what I was getting into
  • I did not receive adequate training
I propose a method of addressing some of the above concerns might be the mentoring new teachers by experienced teachers. There is some research regarding this topic, however, not as much as I would like to see. Particularly, I have not discovered much for current (within the past four years) research in this area. In Wisconsin, teachers who pursue a DPI license, are paired with a mentor in order to hold their Initial Educator License. However, this is not required of E/C teachers in our state. Other states, such as California, New York, and Montana have mentoring program and could be used as a model for the state of Wisconsin.

Are you an E/C teacher who has been part of a mentoring program? Did you find it beneficial? If yes, why? If no, why?

Below are some links to Mentoring programs within Wisconsin School districts. Again, these are specific to elementary schools, not specific to preschool or childcare centers. However, they could certainly be used as a template if your preschool or child care center wishes to begin a mentoring program.

Keep playing,

Rachael :-)

New Teacher Mentor Handbook
Mentoring Teachers Course at UW-Stout
New Teacher Mentor Check List
New Teacher Center Wisconsin
Wisconsin New Teacher's Academy

Monday, November 23, 2009

Touch and Go (Reprint from Exchange Every Day)

Childcare Exchange has an e-mail newsletter chocked full of interesting tidbits. Below is one of the tidbits I received recently. I found it interesting especially since I recently presented on the topic of attachment, which touch is an important part of.

The following story of Tad Waddington appeared in Psychology Today (November 2009):

"Monkeys go nuts and die if they are not touched. Touch is critical for survival and well being, so we carried 'our little monkey' everywhere and learned that humans have a latent ability to do anything one-handed. Our son, now a teenager, continues to be what Californians call 'centered' and normal people call 'well adjusted.'"

Friday, November 20, 2009

Updates and Such

Wow--it has sure been a busy couple of weeks. I've returned from my trip to Hawaii with lots of motivation to work on my KAM and the courage to start my first statistics course in December. My new Head Start position has been really enjoyable. Today I had the opportunity to present to our lead teachers and family advocates information about the effects childhood trauma. I then went into a little bit of information regarding one of our screening tools, the DECA (which has been developed by the Devereux Early Childhood Initiative). Additionally I provided information about attachment and teacher-child relationships. Overall, I think it went okay. Our group of lead teachers can be a bit of a tough crowd, so I'm just happy folks weren't snoring away as I presented.

I'm quite excited because North Central Technical College has again asked me to present a variety of topics for continuing education. I even will be doing an Autism series at three of their sites. My hope is that my patience will pay off and I will get asked to teach a "for credit" class soon.

Finally, next week I'll be meeting with some staff to help plan for a child who has some extreme challenging behavior. I thought it might be nice to link to some of the resources that I shared with that staff person in hopes that you'll find them helpful also.

Functional Behavior Assessment
Functional Behavior Analysis
What Works Brief 9
What Works Brief 10
What Works Brief 11
Paul White Training
Becky Bailey's 10 'To-D0's' for Discipline
Using Conflicts as Teaching Moments
Using Daily Conflicts as Learning Opportunities

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Extra Resources!

This has been a busy week! I'm getting everything ready to head to Hawaii on Friday, getting things planned for some trainings I'll be doing in the spring, and getting my feet wet in my new position with Head Start. This week has brought some interesting challenges my way and thus a few new resources to share with you all. Here they are, enjoy!

Rasmussen College Early Childhood Blog
BP Kids
ADHD child
Conduct Disorders
Typical Speech Development
Talking Child
Sharin' with Sharron

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I'm going to take the leap of faith and try my hand at a little private consulting. Mainly because I've been getting asked alot about different kids or ides for setting up classrooms to accomodate children on the Autism Spectrum. My website can be found here.

In other news. . . .
I have offically transitioned into my new Head Start position of Special Services Manger. So far, so good! I'm enjoying conducting Vision and Hearing Screenings and I am looking forward to the Birth to Three transition meetings that I will be attending. I have also been managing I.E.P's and helping teachers come up with ways to support children with I.E.P's in their classrooms. I'm trying to organize some training for teachers, in the future also, so if you're interested in donating your time to present a topic drop me a note!

Helpful Special Education Links:
DPI Early Childhood Special Education
LD Online

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Social Emotional Resources

Wow, what a whirlwind this month has been already! July went by so quickly and now my Head Start year has begun. I'm excited and a little overwhelmed right now. First and foremost, I'm trying to get airline tickets nailed down for my second residency. I'm lucky enough to be attending this residency in Hawaii and I'm looking forward to it!

I've also recently been promoted to the Special Service Manager where I'm working. This is a position that focuses on Disability Services and managing services such as Vision and Hearing screenings, along with Mental Health Visits. I'm eagerly waiting to start that position and I am getting the classroom ready for my replacement in the mean time.

Finally, my local NAEYC affiliate is working hard to get our fall kick off rolling. We're going to be offering our DAP training that night along with a training by staff from the Registry. Speaking of DAP, my state NAEYC affiliate (WECA) began a great book club discussion about the DAP. It sounds like we may be doing it again in the fall, so I hope all of you will sign up and join in! Needless to say, things have been busy!

This is a week of Social Emotional Training! Today and tomorrow I'm attending a training that is presenting information from the Center on the Foundations for Social Emotional Learning (CSEFEL). Particularly, we are focusing on the bottom components of the Pyramid Model. This is not new information for me. I have been using many of the resources suggested and promoted for most of my time working with young children, but I'm finding the training interesting from a training and technical assistance point of view.

There is great information about how to adopt the Pyramid Model that can be found here. I'm looking forward to the training tomorrow and finding out more about an additional two-day training that covers some of the most extreme behavioral challenges found in the early childhood setting. CSEFEL describes these children as needing intensive interventions. What's wonderful about CSEFEL is that all the materials are available on their website for FREE. This included the facilitator's handouts and power points. There's also a variety of helpful links on the CSEFEL site that are quite useful in understanding and implementing strategies such as positive behavior support.

Sunday through Tuesday I will be at a Loving Guidance training (sometimes referred to as Conscious Discipline also). This training will not be presented by Becky Bailey, the founder of Loving Guidance, but will be presented by the only two certified presenters in the state of WI. I've met them both when I was presenting at the UW-Whitewater EC conference. They were all delightful so I KNOW that the training will be a fun and educational time! What's great is that the information I'll be getting at this training will only further compliment what I've received from the CSEFEL training. I've used some of the ideas suggested in these trainings but it will be great to look at things from a trainer's perspective.

With all the training I'm going through this week, I feel like I'm not getting ANY writing done. Also, currently I'm looking for a proof reader. I specifically need someone who is familiar with APA formatting. I have found that I'm not able to submit things to my university writing center as often as I would like so I'm hoping finding my own editor/proofreader will be more convenient.

That's it for now! Gotta run

Want more Bristle Blocks and Fire Trucks? Follow me on Twitter!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Statistics and Research and Data! Oh my!

Research, and now statistics, has taken a strong hold over my life. I'm currently laid off for the summer, so I have been able to dedicate most of my time to Attachment theory research and writing. As I am reading though my journal articles for the Depth section of my KAM, I am bombarded with statistics terminology that I do not really understand.

I am also reading lots of references to all sorts of prior research and different testing models used in the education field. Again, much of this information I had little or no knowledge of until I really started digging into my reading. Therefore, I am putting together some resources here that have helped me make more sense of these statistics terms, research models, and testing models.

For those of you who are not statistically inclined, as myself, you might enjoy reading these things to help you better understand journal articles or the foundations that some of your curriculum is built upon. Enjoy!

Stats Glossaries--I have been using these frequently since I have not had a statistics course in years. Yes, I have listed several glossaries. This is because I was unable to find everything I needed in one place.
Glossary 1
Glossary 2
Glossary 3
Glossary 4
Glossary 5
Glossary 6

Research Organizations (places that conduct research)
The National Institute for Early Education Research
There are many wonderful research tools here. Specifically, I like the expert data base. State data is also available.

The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center
Research information regarding early childhood special education topics.

Early Childhood Research Institute on Inclusion
More research regarding early childhood special education

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
This organization conducted a large study called, "Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development." This study was longitudinal (over many years) and is referenced in many of the journal articles I am reading about teacher-child relationships. Also, it I found it interesting that my state of Wisconsin was a participant in this study. This organization has its own listserv and I though it would be interesting to join.

The National Center for Education Statistics
There is lots of usable data here for anyone needing some! This is a nice resource for anyone who is interested in research in the field of early childhood education.

Testing M0dels (different testing models used)
Woodcock Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-Revised
This is a test designed to measure cognitive ability for children 2 and over. It is referenced several times in a variety of journal articles that I'm currently reading. This test is considered to be reliable and valid.

Bayley Mental Development Index
This test is intended for children 2 and under and is also for measuring cognitive abilities. This is part of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development and is pretty commonly used.

The Child Behavior Checklist
Used for reporting behavior. This has been referenced and in several research studies.

Early Childhood Measures
A list of many of the early childhood measures available.

Notable Contributors (Secondary Contributions in the Depth Section of KAM 1).
Dr. Robert Pianta
This name continually comes up in regards to studies involving teacher-child relationships. Some of his notable contributions include the MyTeaching Partner Website and the author of several journal articles.

Erin O'Connor
Another name that seems to come up frequently in current studies regarding attachment and relationships.

Kathleen McCartney
Kathleen is the the Dean of Harvard,s School of Education. She has several journal articles published and also a few books.

Assessing Research
Information on how to assess research can be found here. Additionally, other topics regarding research are located on this website.

APA Formatting
I'm required to follow APA style in my work with Walden University. Those of you have not had the good fortune of working in APA style, well, consider yourself lucky! For those of you who have to learn APA, here are some additional resources, besides my trusty APA manual (a must).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More on attachment theory

Right now I'm living and breathing attachment theory, forms of attachment, and how attachment affects teacher-child relationships. I'm exploring how teacher-child relationships affect behavior (or vice versa) and academic achievement. I'm thinking that I want to do something regarding how to improve teacher child relationships, especially with those children that teachers deem as, "challenging" for my application project. As teachers we all seem to understand that having a good relationship with students is a good thing. In fact, for some children it serves as a protective factor. We know this, yet, sometimes we allow the challenges of the day to get the best of us and we have a hard time developing those postive relationships.

How do you build positive relationships with your students, even those students who you let "push your buttons?"

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sensory Processing Disorder

Although it may not result in an IEP, Sensory Processing Disorder is a real challenge for some children, their families, and their teachers. Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) can be difficult to diagnose because it can look like other challenges and there are still some doctors who refuse to believe that SPD is a real disorder.

So, what are things that I do in my classroom? First, I will take an informal assessment of a child a suspect is experiencing some sensory issues. I use this one. Keep in mind, I'm not an OT (nor do I play one on TV!). I do, however, have about ten years experience working with children on the Autism Spectrum and have learned to recognize what sensory problems can look like. Based on what my assessment reveals, I will then incorporate activities into that child's day to help give that child proper sensory input. There are some wonderful activities here. I also enjoy activities from the book, The Out of Sync Child Has Fun. This assessment and set of activities I plan out are not designed to diagnose a child, but are there to help make that child's day more enjoyable and productive in the classroom.

SPD Resources
SPD Foundation
Sensory Integration
Incredible Horizons
The Gray Center
The Out of Sync Child
Work to get SPD in the DSM-5
Ang Therapist
SPD Companion

Using Visuals in Your Classroom

My classroom is visual rich. I work with many children who are on the Autism Spectrum and have found the use of visuals so helpful. They also become a source of interest for the children who are not on the Autism Spectrum. My other students will often take interest in the schedules and as for me to make them their own (which I do). I do have a large visual schedule posted, but for some children I have smaller more detailed schedules. It really just depends on what the individual child needs. Here are some resources about visual schedules that I would like to share with you. Enjoy!

General info about why visual schedules are helpful
IRCA Articles
Autism Information Message Board
Teaching Children with Visual Supports
How and Why
Places to make picture cards (for those of you without Board Maker)
Mrs. Riley
Cindy's Support
Visual Schedule Samples
Autism Papers
Lucas Works
Child Autism Parent Cafe
Set BC

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Attachment Theory

I'm currently working on my Ph.D in Early Childhood through Walden University. We use something called a KAM Model in my program, which is essentially writing several large papers. This process really allows me to get into what I'm studying, which currently is Attachment Theory and teacher/child relatiohships. I've decided to include some resources for you regarding Attachment Theory. Enjoy!

Noteable Contributions
Melanie Klein
John Bowlby
Mary Ainsworth

Teacher/Child relationships
Harvard Graduate School
Vanderbilt University
Research Connections
Administration for Children and Families
Psychology Testing Center
Improving Teacher-Child Relationships
Relationships and Stress Levels in Children
Supportive Teacher-Child Relationships

Attachment Theory
Types of Attachment
Attachment Theory
Close Relationship Questionaire

Reactive Attachment Dissorder
Rochester Institute of Technology
DSM-IV Criteria

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

UW Stout Conference and other happenings

The UW-Stout conference went well and I've been asked to do a few more book club topics at NTC. I'm getting closer to meeting the requirements needed to get a few more adjunct opportunities, so things are really just fine. I'm excited that I've been asked to do some writing about play for WECA. I'm thrilled at this opportunity to share an absolute passion of mine. I've written about it once, here. I've been asked about some Speech and Language info and some special education into so I've posted some links below. I've also written about Early Childhood Special Education previously here.

Speech and Language Links
Speech Sound Development
Speech Sound Development 2
When to make a speech referral
Applied Verbal Behavior
Language Facilitation
Language Facilitation 2

Early Childhood Special Education Links
The Division for Early Childhood
Topics in Early Childhood Special Education
The P.L.A.Y. project

Sunday, April 19, 2009

UW Whitewater Conference

I had the opportunity to present at the UW-Whitewater Early Childhood Conference. What a treat! There were some wonderful presenters there including: Dr. Becky Bailey, Holly Elissa Bruno, and David Stokes. My presentation went pretty well. The feedback was about 85-90% positive, much better than my last presentation. The feedback I was given was very constructive and I'll use those pointers for my next presentation. What has been facinating about this whole experience is the amount I have grown as a presentor. Seeing more experienced, nationally recognized speakers gives me ideas for challenging and improving my speaking style. Each opportunity to speak is a chance to grow.

Naso was present there. I had no idea this company was located in Ft. Atkinson. They had a tremendous sale and I was able to get a Bev Bos book for only 4.00!!!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More resources for challenging behavior

At this point in my life, I feel as though I am living and breathing challenging behavior with a few children in my classroom. My staff are frazzled and I am working hard to give them the resources they need, but what I am doing for them just does not seem to be enough. When the idea of more training is suggested, I get the response, "I don't know. . . . . " To me, that sounds like staff have given up and choosing to be miserable, but perhaps I am just being cynical.

Since challenging behavior, staff burnout, and stress are weighing heavily on my mind, I thought I would add some resources for these issues.

PBS Parents
Positive Intervention and Behavioral Supports
Teacher Burn Out
Managing Stress
Managing Teacher Stress
Education World Stress Relief Kit

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Weca advocacy

My state NAEYC affiliate, WECA, has developed a wonderful advocacy blog. Take time to check it out and comment on the issues that matter to you!

Friday, March 20, 2009

You will want to read this blog

If you're thinking about technology and what that means for teachers, you've got to check out Mark Milliron's blog. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak while at my Walden Residency and was truly inspired.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009


Finally, I had the opportunity to teach my first adult education class!!! I taught a continuing education class based on the book, 12 Simple Secrets that Real Moms Know. I had a great time and really enjoyed teaching adult learners. I have the opportunity to teach another class in April and I'm hoping that this will help get me more calls in to teach (I'm in the adjunct pool, already).

I'm also excited to be presenting at the 2009 Early Childhood Conference at UW-Whitewater. This is a pretty big conference so I am hoping that I won't get too nervous, especially after my speaking disaster at the 2008 WECA Conference (I was pretty nervous and did not do my best work). As I have these experiences, I learn so much. Each time I present, things get easier!

In other news. . . . . .
Things in the classroom are going pretty well. I am excited to know that I may end up with two part-day Head Start classes next year instead of a Head Start with Child Care room. I am excited to have the opportunity to reach even more children this way.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

WHSA Recap

I attended some wonderful sessions at WHSA and will recap the highlights of my favorites here.

I attended a presentation by Wendy Young, Director of Kidlutions. This presentation covered some topics regarding behavior. If you click on her website, you should be able to get a copy of the WHSA handout there. Here are some of the things that I will be using from this workshop:
  • Bug and a Wish--"It bugs me when ___________, I wish ____________."
  • Two put ups for every put down
  • Mad box (playdough, bubbles, paper, and markers) for a child when he/she is angry.
  • Measuring anger with a string.
  • Having a an anger thermometer.
There were MANY other things that I will try, those were only a few highlights. As I try them, I'll post my results. One of the main points she brought home was putting the solution to a problem in the child's hands. This is something that I do in my classroom, but I'm vowing to do it more.

I also went to a wonderful leadership training that was run by Dr. Tim Nolan from the Center for Leadership Excellence. His presentation was spent doing some reflective practice and was far too short! I will definitely be returning to the provided materials and spend some time in reflection.

I attended another presentation about social/emotional education and addressing behavior. They provided participants with many ideas and suggestions from CSEFEL. There were many ideas that I want to take back to my room and use but the main one that I will be using is the compliment/manners tree. Basically, myself and my teacher assistants will write on a leaf every time we see a child doing something such as helping a friend, giving a compliment, cleaning up their area, etc. I'll read them off during transition time and the child will get to tape his or her leaf up on the tree. At the end of the month, they'll get sent home so parents can see all of the positive things their children are doing. The powerful thing is that one thing must be found for each child. The goal is to catch children doing the right thing.

The final presentation that I want to write about was probably the most profound for me. At one point in time I worked for an Even Start Family Literacy program. I really enjoyed my time working for this now disolved program. The presentation that I participated in covered a program called Families and Schools Together. Much of what I saw there reminded me of the togetherness and support felt in the family literacy program. I'm intersted in learning more about FAST and I am hoping that my current employeer will take interest in starting a FAST program in our area.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

WHSA, FISH!, and a few other things

Well, tomorrow is the WHSA conference. I'm not presenting here, just enjoying myself. I look forward to many topics on behavior and leadership! I'll post upon my return.

I wanted to add some information today about the FISH! Philosophy. I'm not going to spend time writing about the WHAT but I do have a neat batch of ideas that I found online regarding the HOW. I found these ideas here. There's lots of great information here and I look forward to trying out lots of ideas at home and work. After all, FISH! isn't just for business. I am going to try one thing in each area, my goal being that slowly FISH! will catch on at work with out me ever saying thing about it.


Create a employee bulletin board with pictures, likes, hobbies, family, pets
Have a central area to share good news (births, weddings, promotions, kid's achievements)
Have a joke bulletin board where jokes can be posted
Create a bulletin boards to have fun - any employees can add anything within reason to the board, can be to have fun with someone in company or a national figure or issue, no ridiculing!, no hurtful comments!
Get a Polaroid camera for work. Fill a bulletin board with photos
Photo Day - Baby Photo Contest
Post a cartoon every day. Make someone responsible for different days
Cartoon pictures that may relate (or use cartoon, but make up a new "improved" caption related to subject).
Have an area in which you post photos of staff having fun at work
Display pictures of all the staff - a wall of fame
Bring a camera for funny moments and hang pictures
Roving random photographer

Poke fun at yourself
Tell a funny story about yourself
Require everyone to bring in a joke for a staff meeting and tell at the beginning
Joke around with one another
Tell a "bad" joke to the first person you meet every morning
2 minute joke drill
Share a joke or funny story
Kid around with co-workers - it helps make the day fun and go faster
Tease a resident good naturedly, i.e.,"seen any good looking men lately?"
Come up with a funny story, quote, or comic for each day and share it with everyone
Do a joke chain letter
Morning announcement joke (over loudspeakers)

Have silly days-everyone participate
Do foolish things to make them laugh
Do something silly
Make a spectacle of yourself for the residents amusement
Wear clown noses on busy days
Laugh at yourself - don't take life so seriously
Prank calls to the kitchen from the phone on the loading dock
Practical jokes like: Lock the bathroom door, write women's room only on unisex bathroom, decorate your boss's office at least once a day
Joke and play- have wheelchair races
Answer the phone "Zachery's Pizza" or as some other local business
Put bubble wrap under chairs for feet and entry door mat, so it pops

Start a fun committee to help organize events
Have a team brainstorming session to explore acceptable ways to have fun in your workplace

Theme days e.g. pajama, Hawaiian shirt day
Have a Spirit week- crazy hair day
Wheelchair and walker races
Beach party in January

Happy Unbirthday Week
Have a No Whining Day
Create holidays on non-holidays
NASCAR Day - Dress as your favorite driver
Color for the day - all wear same color to work for unity
Have a resident/employee social
Celebrate not only boss's day, nurses day, etc. but celebrate the first snow day, etc.
Have a Dress Up Day - come to work as a character or costume on Halloween
Hat Day, Dress Up Day, Costume Day
Wear fun clothing, bright colors, fun jewelry on certain days
Say Thank You Day
Do a Good Deed Day
Resident / staff activities - scavenger hunt, wheel chair race, ice cream social, breakfast, supper
Bring in hypnotist, magician, $5 massages, etc
Ice cream social or other activity
Play with water balloons in the summer
Celebrate holidays
Invent a "holiday"
Sponsor a cookout/softball game/swimming activity at a nearby state park
Talent show
Penny wars (winner/loser) must do something like kiss a goat.
Don't be so serious - decorate for holidays (i.e. Halloween)

Do some team building activities
Ice breakers in unit meetings e.g. write a secret about yourself and then guess who it is
Team building exercises once a month- intellectually challenging & physical
Play some new non-competitive games as a team
Monthly, pick a day and have department go somewhere in the afternoon, such as climb a mountain together then go somewhere to eat fattening Italian pasta
Outside activities (bowling, picnics, ball games)
Put together a department scrapbook
Go on a field trip
Contest of some sort...using department teams
Do something for the community as a work team
Enable employees to volunteer on work time at non-profits once a month, quarter or year
Bring department together once a month to share good stories and problems. Keep everyone aware of what is going on in the hospital. No one should be in the dark

Switch roles for one hour
Have a job swap - pick a different job
Change places with our residents-let them be staff and us, the residents
Be someone else for a day - who knows you may like that person - you never know
Reverse days - pick students to run class
Change job responsibilities for a short period of time or job shadow for an understanding of what others do

Have everyone share their most embarrassing moment (if they dare) during a special project, etc.
Let the kid in you come out
Twirl when all fails (per Loretta LaRoche)
Put humorous stuff in the newsletter every week
Act like you just had a large coffee
Dress up your office or space with fun stuff
Put out toys to play with
Play with hula hoops
Have a toy box in work area - with groucho glasses, clown noses, koosh balls, paddle balls
Buy a rubber fish
Keep a squirt gun handy
Build a pyramid out of muffins
Toss a few nerf balls once in a while
Have a anti-stress box with serious and fun things in it - Tylenol, punching bag, big eraser for big mistakes

Dress up funny for the residents on special occasions (Halloween, Picnics)
Wear wild clothes to help start conversations

Answer call lights together. "49 is ringing" "49 is ringing"
Respond with playfulness - let go of worrying "what they will think" and instead find opportunities to surprise people.
Put a face of someone from the dept or hospital on every screen saver in the dept
Send notes between offices as paper airplanes

Play music
Sing-people will either sing with you or laugh-either way you have a brightened a day
Play: Music/entertainment in the cafeteria at times
Don't post the daily menu. Sing it to the residents together.

Make written messages amusing
Change boring routines: wear a funny hat when serving meals
Tie a helium balloon to a resident's wheelchair
Allow a fun environment
Throw candy at my cubby, "mates!"
Greet everyone every morning in your office by standing in front of their desk and bowing
Birthday balloons for everyone, delivered and sing
Model fun
Shock people, wear a wig to work
Do something unexpected (i.e. pull out glasses with a funny nose while going over instructions)
Do something fun at the beginning of each meeting - icebreaker
Raffles - parking spaces, free meal tickets - use money for charity, good causes, purchase hospital equipment
Clown to make rounds to see staff and patients
Have someone act like Miss Disorganized running around on roller skates
Have shift cheer or code phrase to start the day
Start the day with a group cheer!!
Secret pal games: could be done quarterly
Do something unexpected
Leave a goofy message on someone's voice mail
Recess (free time to play, meditate, nap, relax) - non structured time
Entertainment (carnival acts) during lunch/dinner in the cafeteria
Compile a department or hospital wide journal of employee work stories - humorous, thoughtful, emotional (like Chicken Soup books)

Find something to celebrate, even a small thing
Celebrate small "wins" not just big projects
Make a day/week or month a "Celebrate Success" day: Within department, remind ourselves of most recent successes.


Tenth customer gets something special
Find ways to thank customers for their business
Events for customer appreciation
Customer Prize Day - "You are the one millionth customer..."

Do a little extra for one person every day
Activities and lots of love
Customer and employee socials
Compliment a customer / patron (and mean it)
Do something special for your customers - unexpectedly
Assist visitors who seem disoriented or lost in your workplace
Create a fun playful attitude with your patients and their families
Involve the residents in activities (chain effect)
Have the customer of the week - someone you pick for a silly reason or an accomplishment and start a bulletin board
If a resident looks sad, give them a hug
Be extra kind if you see someone is having a bad day
Do unexpected things, surprises
Make patients feel like they are noticed, share your love
Go beyond work description (to help customer/co-workers) and show them that you care
Bring fresh flowers from garden for residents - They love it
Give stickers ( I had a good check up) goofy, but maybe adult may like it, kids love stickers.
Laugh more with customers at the front desk, start with a big smile and take it from there
Write them notes or cards I tell the residents that I love them

Sending anonymous notes of appreciation
Leave a happy note for your co-worker
Tell everyone you see during the day, what you appreciate about them or a positive thing about them
Show appreciation for a co-worker
Give co-workers compliments
Get ideas from staff of items they enjoy and would like to receive - comes in handy when recognizing
Tell your boss you appreciate what he/she does for you.
Pass an award around (fish) secretly with a note saying why the person deserves award
Give out 1,000,000 candy bars as a "bonus" for going above and beyond at work
Snickers awards
Say thanks for the smallest thing
Let employees know they are appreciated by taking time to write them notes or doing something special for them
Have a pass around stuffed mascot - awarded by group consensus
Have an appreciation day - Hand out cards to everyone and have them choose a person they appreciate at work and them why and forward cards to common place. Post the results and have silly rewards
Staff appreciation - Managers wash their cars
Acknowledge physicians for their accomplishments
Celebrate people's birthdays by cutting out paper balloons and having everyone write down something that they appreciate about the birthday person
Everyone who works this weekend gets .... movie ticket, gift certificate
Focus on what people do well, and thank them when they do something that is good
Use a physical thing (ex; stuffed animal) and give to a new person each day/week for doing something good or who needs extra support.
Have a secret partner that we could exchange small gifts
Invade a meeting to honor someone who has done something for another area totally unannounced
Make a banner for another department or discipline, tell them how much you appreciate them and hang it up in their area
Surprise one of your co-workers with a cup of coffee, etc

Treat your fellow staff workers well
Be caring to one another
Treat people the way you want to be treated
Do a kind deed for a not so close friend
Always be ready and available to help other workers
Go out of your way to help e.g. someone finish a project
Random acts of kindness
Leave a surprise trinket/chocolate/etc on someone's desk
Ask "Can I help you with something, or do you need any help?" once a day
Do things to make the other person's job easier - everyone benefits
When a co-worker feels down in the dumps, say something to lift their spirits
Be extra kind if you see someone is having a bad day
Lend a hand whether it's your job or not
Giving a flower to the aid, nursing or kitchen staff person
Bring in books you've read, clothes/toys kids have outgrown to share with co-workers
Pick a posy on your way in and present it to the first person you see
Bring flowers

Surprise food, flowers, treats
Trade lunches
Take turns bringing in something for coffee break
Bring a cake to work for no reason
Bring in homemade goodies
Maple syrup / pancake cook-off
Pot lucks once a month
Have lunch together (send out for pizza)
Have a jar of m&m's (or any favorite candy) available for everyone - it's bright, colorful, and gets people talking even if they don't want to!
Have a candy bowl out at all times
Bring in candy to bring cheer
Drink more coffee
Start the day with coffee, donuts or bagels
Make popcorn to share
Make cookies to share with people who come into your office
Team lunches or gatherings to acknowledge work accomplished and individuals' efforts (preferably off site)
Have office parties - quick lunch, picnics, etc
Random acts of kindness - bring in cookies
Games after hours for the families BBQ
Run special activities, like pot luck lunches, to help bond staff on a more personal level at work
Plan staff retreats, picnics, parties (or for customers)
Have Pizza Day once a month
Have little goodies to share
Bring popsicles for all-especially on a really hot day
Treats for staff when they don't expect it (candy or ice cream)
Take a peer to lunch just because


Smile more
Smile, knowing someone will appreciate it
Always greet with smile and friendly word/friendly touch

Greet everyone you see
Say "Good Morning"
Stop into someone's office just to say "hi"

Listen to what others have to say
Ask how people really are and LISTEN to the answer!
Don't interrupt
Assure people you heard their concerns by restating that you heard

Give undivided attention/focus
Be attentive 100% to every customer - make them feel important

Do your best knowing that it will be appreciated
Be dependable
Strive to give 100%
Do your best while you are here
Make the most of present moment with a person

Ask customers about something they enjoy and build a relationship with them
Engage in meaningful conversation
Get to know your co-workers at more than a superficial level

Everyone needs human touch-hug and touch residents
See each person as God sees them-special
A touch, a pat on the back, a hug, smile
Enjoy the person you are with
Find out about someone's hobby
Be interested in people's lives
Be glad to see people
Care about employees lives outside of work
Learn from mistakes
Be supportive when someone has an idea
Be true to yourself
Notice when someone is down
Pay attention to who you're with no matter how much is on your mind
Ask the residents about their day - talk to them about the old times, the weather - something that brings back memories, smiles & tears
Ask customers about themselves. Find out what they want to talk about
Genuinely take an interest in what people are saying
Spend a few moments to meet a new co-worker - learn their name and position
Take few moments to find your balance, emotional and mental center

Do no harm
Answer phone promptly - return messages and e-mails
Remember that you can make a difference without realizing it at the moment


Count your blessings not your troubles
Be grateful every day!!!
Take a few moments before starting work and reflect on the things you are grateful for
Write down why you love your job
Take time to celebrate your successes
Remember each day is a blessing share the joy of life with those around you
Feel lucky to have a great job, home, etc.

Choose a positive attitude and let it be contagious
Accept responsibility for your attitude
Don't let circumstances or others set your attitude
Start each day fresh - Don't give past struggles continued power over your life
Do not carry over a bad day to the next day
Wake up each morning and make a decision to be happy that day
Have a positive attitude regardless of how your day is going
Actively choose to have a good day, regardless of those around you
Don't let others set your attitude
Think about difficulties as a way of strengthening your character, an opportunity for growth

Enjoy the moment - Appreciate life and its rewards
Look for the humor in situations and life
Find the humor in situations as well as the seriousness
Place a humor section in everyone's job description, where you are expected to enjoy yourself at work
Don't take life too seriously - No one has ever come out of it alive!
Don't take things personally
Find the silver lining in a bad situation - Turn a negative into a positive
Choose to be happy and tell someone about it
Choose to see other people as important and affected by your attitude
Don't sweat the small stuff

Don't participate in group griping
Stop complaining and blaming others for your problems
Do not grumble even if you feel like it
Stop complaining (do something about it)
Distance your self from others with a bad attitude or be willing to invest the time and energy into learning why those people have a negative attitude and in helping them change it
Avoid making negative comments to both customers and co-workers

Don't gossip or spread gossip

Keep the big picture in mind - it makes the day-to-day struggles easier
Make it your job to cheer up fellow employees everyday
Make an effort to be more patient with others

Make negative tasks fun, do them as a team, make games out of them
Make the best out of every situation possible
Never buy into their down attitude - acknowledge it but turn it around
Make an ordeal an event. (Turn a difficult task into a group party!)
Take a negative situation in stride

Inspirational signs, posters, and quotes from people we know
Quotes for encouragement
Happy photos on walls
Make sure the environment is bright and cheerful
Put positive notes on your desk for yourself & others to read
Start with your workspace: What does it look like? How can it be more fun? inviting?

Start each morning with a prayer and ask for God's help and patience
Psych yourself up before walking in the door
Positive thought for the day
If you are doing something that you don't like, dress up first so that people compliment you and you feel better
Look for the good in everything, because there is good in all of us
Talk positively
Be upbeat. Don't act like you are down about something. Everyone has a "hook" in their life, they are trying to cope with.
Set an example-with a positive spirit/attitude
Come to work with a positive attitude (there are always people in worse situations)

Do something to lighten your day
Try to help yourself and others see the humor in everything around them
Evaluate your actions and reactions - are you choosing the attitude you want?
Walk in another's shoes, yours is not the only job that may have problems
Honor your work

Throw some fish if you start your day with an attitude
Treat yourself special every day - go first class with little things
Make it your job to cheer up fellow employees everyday
Think of something nice about everyone you encounter every day

Accept the fact that things are going to go wrong once in a while
Take a break (go for a walk) when you feel you are getting frustrated
Take a mental health day when needed
Have a mental health moment - where you stop what you are doing, relax, take a deep breath, do some stretches, clear your brain of any obsessive thoughts and refocus. Then get back to work you slacker!
Expect the best from a situation or circumstance - be an optimist
Remember difficult circumstances don't last forever - This too shall pass!

Friday, January 16, 2009

A few resources

I have discovered some wonderful resources that I wanted to share! Some are geared toward parents and others toward teachers, all are useful and interesting (at least in my opinion!). Enjoy and if there is something you think I should address in my blog, leave me a comment!

BAM! Body, Mind, and Child
Body Brain Boogie
Preschool Curriculum--What's In it For Children?
Child Care and Early Education Research