Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Online Book Reflection/Journaling -

Please post 5 total entries regarding our chapter readings by clicking on post a coment below. Entires can be a ? (somehting you questioned), ! (AHAH moment), or (,) something that made you pause and think. This is an opportuity for us to learn from one another regarding our reading.


  1. Chapters 1 – 4
    I thought it was great that the chapter right after how hard and unfair life can be was about how funny and enjoyable it is as well.
    I am so thankful that through everything I have had to deal with over the past several years, I have never lost my appreciation and enjoyment of life. Being able to laugh at things and at times act silly is truly a wonderful thing. I do believe that laughter and fun can heal or at least sustain people in the midst of some terrible situations. With that said, I never thought of making a conscious decision to have laughter be a part of my daily routine or life. To specifically set time aside to laugh each day is pure genius. Why let funny things happen by chance? It makes much more sense to surround ourselves with things that bring us joy. Whether it is displaying certain images and making sure to put them in specific places that I will see them or watching a favorite clip from a TV show or movie each day I plan to intentionally try and put more humor or laughter into my life.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Mike. I am glad that you have found the area of adding conscious specific time in your daily life for laughter useful.

  2. Chapters 5 – 8
    I know that at times it is so easy to get caught up in how bad things are in our lives. The self-pity game doesn’t take much practice in or to master, but it is such a waste of time and energy. No matter how bad we think we have it, everybody else is dealing with some difficulty in their lives as well. So what is the difference between being happy or miserable? Our attitude. I like the idea that a positive attitude, like many things, is a habit that can be learned and nurtured to grow. If I speak the right words and continually put the right thoughts into my mind, I will stay positive.
    To me, this goes hand in hand with my faith. For me, I don’t see how having a positive attitude is possible in our current world without believing that there is a God who loves me and will always be there for me. We are constantly being bombarded with negative things and all the problems that face our world. I don’t know how I could change my thinking or renew my mind without my faith or the words of God that are found in the bible. My attitude and faith gives me comfort and reassurance to know that no matter what I face, I have the ability to overcome it.
    So how do we live a happy life? We choose it. The difference is definitely our attitude. An even though it is a daily, sometimes moment to moment battle, I agree with Hal Urban that if we make the right choices, it’s a battle which can ultimately be won.

  3. Chapters 9 – 12
    I have never enjoyed the topic of goal setting. It many times seemed like a lot of time and hard work and then once you finish setting them, you put it aside and never really look at it again. After reading chapter 12 though, my opinion has totally changed. I think that if done in the right way, setting goals can make a drastic difference in what can be accomplished and how we can grow as individuals.
    My change is in seeing that the focus needs to be put on the process or steps that lead to the goal and not the end result itself. It reminds me of one of my favorite movies called, “What About Bob?” In it the main character (played by Bill Murray) is afraid of pretty much everything, but uses a new theory called Baby Steps and is eventually able to take small steps toward reentering society. I think everyone is more productive when they have a clear focus they are working towards. Having a direction increases the chances of actually getting things accomplished and as this pattern continues, no doubt confidence and reaching the goal will be the end result.
    What a great thing to teach kids, the process of setting goals for themselves. By taking them through the steps and showing students that it can be used in all areas of their lives, I believe anyone will become much more successful in whatever they are doing.

  4. Chapters 13 – 16
    Chapters 13 – 15 were challenging ones for me because they made me think about how to get people motivated and do things that they don’t want to do. Hard work, sacrifice, and delayed gratification are not topics that most people, especially kids want to hear about. Our society is set up completely opposite of these beliefs and as time goes by, I believe they will continue to get harder and harder to instill in people. That is why to me, it is so important to help kids choose careers that they truly love. If going to school or work is a dread each day, how can a life of happiness ever be attained? By helping people get into careers they love, getting them to work hard and spend extra time doing them will not be as difficult.
    With that said, I do realize everyone has to at some point do things they would not rather be doing at that time. Then, I think it goes back to creating habits and setting goals. If you can keep the big picture in mind, and see continual progress toward it, then self-discipline and hard work I believe will become much more manageable. No matter what I think teaching people to work hard is extremely difficult.

  5. Chapter 17 – 20
    Of all the ideas that were presented in the book, the one that most sparked my thinking was the necessity of balancing and developing the mind, body, and spirit. I think particularly in education and our society too much is focused on the mind first, body second, and little or no emphasis is placed on the spirit. No matter how intelligent we become or how healthy and fit we are, at some point we will need something more. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes everyone in some form or fashion and when it does, will we be ready? So, when one of the first two break down, either for us or someone we know, how do we deal with it? If our spirit is strong, we will endure. As we develop our spirit, our lives have more meaning and we truly discover what is essential in life. We think more about others and their needs while our selfish thoughts and desires take a back seat. We appreciate all the blessings we have and our mind and attitudes can’t help but be changed for the better. I believe that all of the qualities found in the book: respect, honesty, thoughtfulness, and kindness, are all nurtured and become more important to us as we develop our spirit.

  6. Chapter 3
    This chapter probably connects with who I am the most. I try to laugh at myself and show my mistakes to students in my classroom on a regular basis. This helps to show me as a "human" and not some robot who stands in the front of the room that pukes out information. I remember thinking that my teachers lived at school when I was younger and that they didn't go out into the real world. Laughing at life and sharing our misadventures can be a powerful tool for connection!

  7. Chapter 4
    Hal Urban's list of most important choices on pages 34, 35, and 36 will soon be posted in my classroom. I could see each one of these concepts becoming a short mini-lesson in the morning at the beginning of the school year. Kids need more guidance when it comes to the power of choice. It seems they like to push blame on everyone but themselves. They need to be taught to recognize moments when their choice can hinder success or propel them forward.

  8. Chapter 7
    I was able to do the "thankful" exercise before the end of the school year. I modified it so it was less complex for fifth graders to figure out. We discussed complaining and we focused on the list of things to be thankful for. I found that the students read their thankful lists to fidelity. They showed up to school with more energy and I could tell there was a stronger appreciation for their seat in class. We followed up with a discussion about perspective and how we have to take a step back in life to really appreciate all that we have. It was a great exercise in reflection! I will definitely do it again next year.

  9. Chapter 9
    To this day, the biggest frustration I have as an educator is when students and parents are dishonest. It doesn't matter if it has to do with an assignment, a disagreement on the playground, or missing materials, when people lie it sticks out like a sore thumb and can make you feel cheap and betrayed. I love how Urban called a section of his chapter "the cost of dishonesty". By giving weight to lies people can see how much of an impact dishonesty can have on others.

  10. Chapter - The Whole Book
    I hope that all of you enjoyed this book as much as I have since Dan passed it along to me in April. When it first touched my hand I was drawn to the simplicity of the message but also the critical need for its application in the world of education. In the 15 years that I have taught, I have seen a growing trend toward students who are missing life's basic social/survival skills. There has been a decline in door holding, "thank you", "ladies first", and other interactive skills that show balance in a "me first" world. The scary part is that over time this lack of social training will permeate into our adults and the results can already be felt in our world today. Hal Urban has given us a handbook of sorts that reminds us of many things that help create well balanced individuals that not only find academic success but also social acceptance at an accelerated level. I hope you are able to reflect on these chapters, internalize them, and find a way to infuse them into your lives and your classrooms.

  11. Chapter 3
    Laughter is so very important. My favorite teacher all had a knack for making us laugh. I believe that sometimes in education, teacher are afraid to allow too much laughter in the because they are worried the class will get out of control. To have laughter in the classroom, a teacher must have clear expectations so the students know when it is tiime to turn it off and get down to business.

  12. Chapter 19
    Make integrity the cornerstone of your life. Follow the rule, play fair, and be honest in all things. These are very powerful words. If you look in the mirror and don't like the person looking back, It's your own fault.

  13. Chapter 1
    68 percent of of senior executives interviewed said they neglected their family lives to pursue professional goals. I would like to know if their families would give up the big money to have them home.

  14. Chapter 6
    Habits!!! They can be good and bad. But not when it comes to being a good person. Just like eating healthy needs to be a habit, so does being a good person. You don't want to have to try to be nice, you want it to part of who you are and what makes you you.

  15. Chaper ten
    Building people up is more effective than tearing them down. I think sometimes in the pressure of teaching, we all sometimes forget this. We need to be aware of this and step back and get our thoughts back in line. Our students are awesome and unique and need different things at different times.