College Ready

Sharing strategies for student success, college readiness and academic coaching

A Love Letter to Teachers…or…What a Teacher Does

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Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to all of you amazing educators. Thank you for guiding, mentoring and inspiring students every single day. For the smiles you share. The hugs you give. The belief you have that every single child needs just one caring adult who believes in them. Thank you for being the change. You make all the difference.
With love and admiration~~Lisa

College Ready

What a Teacher Does

Encourage, Influence, Guide, Inspire…and so much more.

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Empathy in Education: 3 Simple Steps

Here’s a simple and easy to understand definition of Empathy:


Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. We all need this reminder… children and adults, alike.


When kids understand and practice empathy, bullying decreases, in the classroom and online. Community and compassion increases. We need more of that–that’s the good stuff.

Take some time to help the young people in your life understand what empathy really is. And don’t just tell, but show. Some simple suggestions: start a random acts of kindness campaign on campus, have older kids serve as “buddies” to the younger students, collect pennies for peace, or suggest another easy community service project that gets the whole school involved. Kids helping kids is a constructive way to foster empathy and watch it grow. Kids-Helping-Kids[1]

Best way to teach empathy–show empathy. Best way to affect change, not only in our classrooms, but in the world…be the change.

xo~Lisa, aka: The Happy Teacher

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Hot and Passionate …

“White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.” Roald Dahl

Creativity and Connection in the Classroom

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85% of college-educated professionals say creative thinking is critical for problem solving in their career.

Here’s what else they had to say on why creativity is such an important factor in our classrooms, in our careers, and in our everyday lives, as well:

Creativity and Connection in the Classroom

The study interviewed 1000 college-educated professionals who were employed full-time, 25+ years of age. See source “Creativity and Education: Why it Matters,” by Adobe.

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5 Quick and Easy Steps to Make your LinkedIn Profile Irresistible

Add some SWAG to your LinkedIn Profile in 5 Easy Steps.

Here’s why:

LinkedIn is THE most popular social media site used by recruiters in all professions. That’s right. A recent survey from “Jobvite found that 93 percent of job recruiters tap into LinkedIn to find qualified candidates,” according to CNET. 

Make sure you are making the most of your profile page. You want to be Irresistible…don’t you? Of course you do! So, start with these 5 simple steps to getting found!

5 Tips to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Irresistible

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Trends | Preparing Students for 21st Century Success

Preparing Students for 21st century Success. These are the “skills necessary for students to be able to learn effectively and live productively in our increasingly digital world,” according to We all need to help prepare students to succeed in college and/or career.

EdTech Digest

Preparing Students for 21st Century Success - Infographic

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Page One, Chapter One: Happy New Year!

Wishing you all the best for a 2014 that is filled with family, friendship, laughter, and new opportunities.

Thank you so much for supporting this blog for the past 6 months. It has truly been a labor of love. I have been so fortunate to have visitors from 47 countries and I appreciate each and every visitor here.  I’ve also enjoyed reading your posts, and learning and growing from all of you!

I’m looking forward to a new year chock full o’ possibilities and opportunities to share and connect with all of you.




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Wise Words Wednesday: Positively Positive


As educators, we need to fill ourselves up with positive thoughts, so we can pass that on and pay that forward to our students. It is essential.

When students are discouraged and disheartened, they do not learn at their full potential. One of the sometimes daunting but always awe-inspiring aspects of being an educator, is that what you do every day matters. In the life of a child. And that’s a crazy, hard, challenging, but yet oh-so-rewarding responsibility, right?? Because every time you fill a child’s bucket, so to speak, with a positive thought, or an affirmation, that he or she can figure that challenge out, will make sense of that problem, and can and will make it to the finish line, you are propelling them forward. Yep. What you do. What you say…

You Empower.

You. Change. The. Trajectory. Of. A. Child’s. Life.  One word for that: Wow.

So to all you amazing educators out there, please take a moment, and remember…

that quite simply & in so many amazing, wonderful, complicated ways…

you matter.

Thank you for that.

xo, Lisa

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10 to Zen: Recipe for a Peaceful Life

Zen: To be at Peace.

10 to Zen. What can you Let Go Of to find your Zen? Here are 10 suggestions from Buddha Heart. For best results, please repeat #10 multiple times a day. Add a dose of sunshine and smiles and you just might mix up the recipe for a Peaceful Life. 


I’m not a practitioner of Zen, but this list resonated with me, and I found myself reflecting on its lessons:

#10 is easy for me. I have kids and they keep me laughing. #6…well, that is a work in progress. I tend to think I come from a long line of worriers, and that I’m moving in the right direction on that one. The worry monster still creeps in from time to time.

Let’s be honest, #1 is challenging in a world of social media and facebook posts. We know who traveled to what tropical paradise as it happens, and it usually happens when we are at home with a pile of dirty laundry. It’s the new normal. Shrug that off. Let go of comparing.

My personal recipe: I aim to live by all of these, and I assure you I don’t always succeed. I probably fail multiple times a day, in fact. But I am really guided by #2 & #3. Those lessons have led me to my own little slice of Zen, on those days when I do find it. In my life, each day is a fresh start for being at peace. Sometimes, what I need to be happy with is a peaceful afternoon, a peaceful hour, or a peaceful moment. Just one little moment in those 24 hours when I exhale, look around, and say:

“Life is Beautiful.”

That’s my Zen. Being aware of the good stuff. A smile from my daughter. A hug from my son. The sunshine on my patio. Simplicity. Harmony. Nature. Letting Go.

How about you, do any of these resonate with you, challenge you, or help you stay sane? Let me know, I’d love to hear your personal recipe for living a peaceful life. 

xo, Lisa

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3 Ways to Stop Bullying: Stand Up, Connect, Care

October is Bullying Prevention Month.

“Nobody likes you. You can’t play on this court. Not at this lunch table. You talk funny. You’re not one of us. Too short. Too tall. Too fat. Too dumb. Too smart.” Hurtful words that cut deep. And in the rapid-fire age of social media that our kids live in, these words become wounds that spread quickly. 

We must all work to prevent bullying–in our classrooms, our communities, and our homes. October is Bullying Prevention Month. No, it’s not fun, it doesn’t have a catchy ring to it, and sometimes, adults are actually afraid to talk about the issue. But, it’s our job. We need to stand up, be role models and work for change.  

STAND UP. Be the Change and Stop the BullyingWe all need to be a part of the solution. Do your part. Stand up and speak up when someone is being a bully—whether it’s an adult, or a child. I found out that my child was teased at school recently, and I can tell you, it wasn’t a good feeling. Luckily, she told me about it, and I was there to make sure something was done. But lots of kids are silent, ashamed, or don’t know who to turn to. Be a Hero. Be a role model. Don’t shrug and say “kids will be kids.”

Let’s give our kids some tools to talk about bullying, to prevent bullying, and to come to us if & when they have a problem. The best way to make sure that happens is to remain open, caring and truly engaged. 

Connect. Create a Culture of Respect:  James Dillon, a retired elementary school principal who now speaks at workshops on this issue, recently told education website Edutopia that: “Little things can make a big difference. Simple and genuine gestures, such as regularly greeting students, talking to students, and addressing students by name, help to make students feel connected.” 

When students are connected to a school, a classroom, or even the community, they are less likely to engage in bullying behaviors. When children know educators and adults genuinely care about them, they are more likely to report bullying at the early stages and get the help they need. 

Care. Participate in the Movement: This infographic gives a snapshot of ways you can reflect on and participate in the anti-bullying campaign, this month and beyond. There are facebook pages, an anti-bullying pledge, and even a text-based game. It can be as simple as having a “Unity” day on campus, where students are encouraged to wear orange, the color that symbolizes taking a stand against bullying.

Educators: Do your part. October is bullying prevention month. We need to all care enough to be part of the solution. Kids must feel safe at school.

Let’s make schools safe and inviting for all students. All students deserve that.

Want more resources? Here’s a link to the article from Edutopia called “5 Tips for Bullying Prevention” with different ideas for principals, teachers and parents. And here’s a lesson I’ve posted before, from Squarehead Teachers, which even the youngest children will understand and be strengthened by. The National Bullying Prevention Center has teacher toolkits, resources, and a listing of events designed to raise awareness and get everyone involved to…

Help Stop Bullying: Stand Up. Connect. Care.