Field trips, books to read, tips from Sheryl

Happy Friday everyone,

Each year, I go on number of field trips to get a better idea of our students’ learning experiences. I also go on our trips to build relationships with the students, the parents, and support our teachers. An ancillary benefit for me and the other adults is that we are learning too. A few of the trips that I shared with your children this year included the beach trips, Project Look, Ardenwood, Elkus, and Mendocino.  

We learned about invasive plant species and its impact on the environment and ecosystem such as carpobrotus edulis (aka ice plant…which coincidentally, makes for a fun mini-trampoline and snack area) or the Tragedy of the Commons (both at Mendocino last week),  monarch butterfly sanctuaries and that the migrant population has dropped by close to 90% in the last decade – the answer to why is unclear and complicated! (Natural Bridges), and various mediums of art, the theory behind them, coupled with hands on activities to develop an increased appreciation and literacy for a range of media (Project Look).

These adventures are rich with contextual learning and meaning for children and adults. The conversations that result from these trips are engaging and thought provoking and a natural extension of the learning and philosophy of our program.

What is your favorite field trip/learning adventure at your time at McAuliffe? What is your child’s favorite learning adventure so far?


Last week I made some time to read a few books:

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)

Beautiful – Being an Empowered Young Woman (Naomi Katz)

– Interesting read for middle – high school girls with a focus on “body image, self-confidence, sex, relationships, peer pressure”

Option B (Sheryl Sandberg)

– I loved the candor and vulnerability of Sheryl’s story.

I immediately resonated with her comments around journaling. She shared that since she was young, each year she would start a journal and after a short time it would be tossed aside. And she would start again the next year.

Journaling can be a powerful way for us to reflect on our lives, process our feelings, challenges, and regrets.

A few months ago I tweeted Søren Kierkegaard’s quote,  “Life can only be understood backward but it must be lived forward.” I loved that Sheryl used the same quote in her book!

Here are two strategies that worked for her and I invite you to join me in trying one or both of these strategies.

Strategy One:

Each evening write down three moments of joy every day. Three happy moments in a notebook. They can be whatever makes you happy and small is okay.

Strategy Two:

Psychologists Jane Dutton and Adam Grant suggest that gratitude is passive in nature and makes us feel thankful for what we receive.  “Counting our contributions is active. It builds our confidence by reminding us that we can make a difference.” Option B, Sandberg and Grant

Spend 5-10 minutes writing down three things that you have done well each day and why. Start small and don’t aim for perfection or expect that you will do well all the time. Include moments of success for you…what moments of success can you find?






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