Suicide Prevention

April 19, 2017 Leave a comment

During a staff meeting last week we had a presentation on Suicide Prevention by Alex Yannacone from CU Johnson Depression Center.  The information was so well organized and informative that I thought I should share. First of all, everyone should put the suicide prevention number in their phone.  (800)273-TALK (8255).  If you live in Colorado, the Colorado Crisis Center is a 24 hour hotline also that you should use (844)493-TALK (8255). If you live outside of Colorado, check your state’s resources.

We watched Kevin Hines video about being one of 20 other people who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and lived to talk about it.

We also watched and talked about the empathy video by Brene Brown “I don’t know what to say right now, but thank you for sharing with me.”

Remember to use QPR – Question, Persuade, Refer

How to Make Comments

April 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Mrs Boyce, a 6th class teacher in Kanturk, in Cork has written some really good guidelines for writing great comments. Here they are – read what she suggests and see if you can incorporate some of her suggestions into your comments. Leave me a comment about this post!

  1. Make your comment at least 1 to 2 sentences long.
  2. Be positive. Say what you liked about the blog / story.
  3. Ask a question.
  4. Proofread / spellcheck your comment before posting it. Don’t forget CAPITAL letters and full stops.
  5. Don’t use slang or “text words” or criticize grammar or spelling.
  6. Never give away personal information like your surname , address, phone number etc…. in your comment.
  7. Invite others to visit and comment on our Class Blog. “Please visit our Class Blog at
  8. Here is a list of Useful Words and  Phrases to help you.
  • I enjoyed reading the part about….
  • I enjoyed how you set the scene.
  • I loved the way you described the….
  • I really liked your description of……
  • What a wonderful description of …….
  • I particularly liked ……
  • I was wondering what happened to …..?
  • I can imagine you….
  • Did you…..?
  • Who really did ….?
  • I found it……
  • Great story / Great writing / Nice work.
  • Very creative writing. Well done.
  • This reminded me of……..
  • Keep up the good work. Keep blogging.
  • I agree with…..
  • I am glad that….
  • ………. …. sounds interesting / scary.
  • I think that …….
  • You used some excellent adjectives like……..
  • What a clever idea to……
Useful Words
  •  Vivid Descriptions …. Adjectives ….. Good Dialogue…. Adverbs…… Very interesting ……. well written….. Descriptive Vocabulary …… Cliff hanger ….. Great suspense ….. Fantastic powerful verbs….. Good sentence structure……….beginning….. Middle …… Ending…..

Thailand Interim Trip #servicelearning @FVSofColorado

April 2, 2017 Leave a comment

by Guest Blogger Languages Faculty Nathan Eberhart

On our Interim to Thailand, our service learning experience took place in the mountaintop village of Mae Salong. Situated less than five miles east of the Myanmar border, the village is known for its tea plantations and its Yunnanese Chinese migrant population. Our guide, Chris (his anglicized nickname for Kitiphot), has family ties to Mae Salong and connected us with the Ban Klang School, the local K-9 public school serving students of the various hill tribes of the region. We had learned through Chris that the school had two major projects on their horizon and that they were interested in welcoming American student visitors for some cultural and linguistic exchange.

First, they needed to build a new small water storage system on their campus and wanted our help with its construction. Second, the school was building a roadside café to raise funds for its programs. They hoped we could share some recipes for American cookies, sandwiches and other café fare the students could sell. Additionally, they asked if we could teach them some useful English phrases pertaining to coffee shop sales. Before leaving the U.S., our students agreed eagerly to partner in these endeavors. They began compiling some easy recipes and also collecting children’s books to donate to the school.


Fast forward to our arrival in Mae Salong: after nearly 22 total hours of flying, only a few hours of sleep in a Bangkok hotel, and then a long and bumpy drive on the winding mountain roads, we finally made it! Our jetlagged Danes piled out of our two vans and climbed a steep staircase cut into the hillside, past a magnificent yet unassuming golden statue of Buddha and onto the grounds of the Ban Klang School. At the top of the hill, the principal and several of the school’s English teachers greeted us with big smiles.

Early the next morning, we returned to the school to meet the students and begin our service projects. After formal introductions in the school’s covered outdoor cafeteria/auditorium building, our Danes broke into pairs to begin getting to know the Ban Klang students and to play games like “Simon Says” to practice their English skills. After a couple hours of fun and games, it was time for us to begin our projects. The principal met our group at the site of the water storage system and introduced us to the builder who was overseeing the project. With Chris translating instructions, our Danes got to work mixing and laying concrete, transporting stones and sand uphill to the work site, and finally setting into place and sealing the massive water tank tube sections. The principal beamed as he watched our Danes make quick work out of the project alongside the builder and some of the Thai students.

With much of that project complete and needing time to dry, we began our next task: cooking and language lessons for the staff and students who would run Ban Klang’s roadside café. When we returned to the pavilion where we’d introduced ourselves to the students earlier, we found that a table had been set up with a small oven, a mixing machine, and ingredients for chocolate chip cookies. This would be easy, we thought. The Ban Klang teachers narrated as our students got to work on a chocolate chip cookie recipe one of the English teachers had found. It looked like a pretty good recipe, although it called for nearly two pounds of butter and close to a dozen eggs. When the oven timer rang, we pulled out the baking tray to find incredibly thin, melted pastry discs—not chocolate chip cookies. While the Ban Klang students and teachers were excited about the results, one of our students was determined to show them real American-style chocolate chip cookies.


The next day, we returned to Ban Klang to finish work on the water storage tank and also to conclude the baking lessons and begin teaching useful café phrases. Our students also found and brought in a Nestle Tollhouse cookie recipe. While the new batch of cookies baked, the Danes split into teams to teach English phrases for students and staff to use in the café, such as: “Hello, what would you like?” “I would like a ______ please!” “Okay, that will be ______ bhat.” “Thank you!” “You’re welcome. Enjoy!” After a few rounds of this game, we could smell the glorious scent of chocolate chip cookie success. The students and staff were excited to try American style cookies. They liked them, though one teacher commented that they were very sweet by Thai standards.

That afternoon, we put the finishing touches on the water storage tank and wrapped up for the day. The following morning, we returned to Ban Klang to observe their Friday ritual of singing the national anthem in a ceremonial fashion before class. We then gathered with the staff and students one last time to say goodbye. Our students presented the Ban Klang principal with our donation of children’s books as well as some money we all contributed to help get the café business started. They were very excited. Our donation of just under $150 is more than a teacher’s salary for a month there.

We all really enjoyed working with the students at Ban Klang and were glad we had the opportunity to help out with projects that were important to the School. We hope to stay in touch with the Ban Klang School and to follow its progress with its café. We would love to return to Mae Salong on a future Interim trip to grow our connection with the community there.

Youtube by Nathan Eberhart:

Sammy’s Organic Thai Cooking Class –


Originally posted at

Risk Management with Student – Teacher Relationships

March 28, 2017 Leave a comment

I wasn’t going to write a post on this professional development experience but then I thought, why not?  This is important too.  David Wolowitz is an attorney from McLane and he presented on the four guideposts on a healthy student-teacher relationship.  Those four guideposts to look for are our roles, boundaries, power, and accountability.  Roles can either be successful using professional roles and role models or unsuccessful by using personal, peer or parent roles.  Boundaries can be successful by using clear guidelines and informed crossings or unsuccessful by using blurred boundaries and boundary violations.  Power can be autonomy and student focused or dependent and self-centered.  Accountability can be developmental growth and transparent or regression, opacity and secrecy.

We are all on a developmental pathway and if we aren’t making good choices and working hard we might not get to mastery.  Then the developmental pathway defaults to the slippery slope towards disaster.  As teachers we are trying to help our students stay off the slippery slope.  The largest message was to ask co-workers for advice if you ever are wondering what to do and always say thank you to them even if you don’t agree with the advice.

Mystery Skype as part of Student Life @FVSofColorado

March 3, 2017 Leave a comment
Technology is part of our daily lives, but the use of technology also means learning to use the tools responsibly. That’s why Fountain Valley School takes the time to discuss digital citizenship with all students.
Responsible use conversations start as soon as students enter FVS, and these discussions are spearheaded by Director of Digital Communications Laura Fawcett, Director of Technology Bryan Bolding, and Library and Technology Educator Toni Olivieri-Barton. Freshmen tackle technology questions during the Chapter One program, while sophomores discuss netiquette in student life meetings.
Juniors work with the Hawley Library staff, including Olivieri-Barton, to explore technology issues further. They discuss plagiarism and copyright issues that they will face in high school, college and life. This semester, the staff wanted students to focus on another aspect of digital citizenship—actually practicing these skills.
That’s where the popular Mystery Skype game comes in … a game introduced to FVS by Olivieri-Barton. It’s a video-conferencing game where a mystery guest connects online, but the students do not know where he/she lives. The students develop yes/no questions to determine the guest’s location. As with researching, students start with a large idea and ask questions to make the idea smaller.
During the call, students can use Google Map and Wikipedia to search out answers. They use their communication and problem-solving skills to find the correct location.
“Mystery Skype is a great way for our students to practice their 21st-century skills of communication, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration,” Olivieri-Barton said.
It’s also great fun to solve the mystery.
“The Skype call was a fun experience,” said Hannah Mancuso-Buxton ’18. “Using investigative skills and geography to have an activity was something quite new. It was an event that was out of the ordinary in a good way.”  mystery skype with Juniors.jpeg

The Law of Subtractions by @MatthewEMay

February 13, 2017 1 comment

Just finished the book “The Law of Subtractions” By Matthew E. May.  My husband had bought it for me a while ago, but I just got around to it.    I love the simpleness of it.  There are 6 Laws of Subtraction.

  1. What isn’t there can often trump what is.
  2. The simplest rules create the most effective experience
  3. Limiting information engages the imagination
  4. Creativity thrives under intelligent constraints
  5. Break is the important part of breakthrough
  6. Doing something isn’t always better than doing nothing

In each of the chapters they also highlight business people who have used the law of subtraction in their work.  This is a great book for anyone to think about what can we do without and how does doing without make our lives better.

What is Tech in the Classroom?

January 23, 2017 Leave a comment

I had a co-worker ask me this question.  I was a little surprised because I think the teacher does use technology in the classroom, but still didn’t know what it was?  Tech in the classroom can be any number of things.  It could be the teacher using PowerPoint, or Prezi or a video to teach a point.  It could mean students doing papers on Google Doc or present with PowerPoint or Prezi.  It could mean that students are researching online or creating a video.  I think teachers need to model, but more importantly students need to create.  There is a great quote I read somewhere: “Learning isn’t consumption, it is creation.”  Find was to get tech in the classroom so all have access to it and let the students lead us to new ideas.

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