Help Your Children Develop Empathy From This Story

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Hey everyone, March 10, 2023 is SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING DAY. Here’s a great story you can share with your kids that can help them to develop their empathy for others: Moko the dolphin charmed the locals and tourists by catching and throwing beach balls at Mahia Beach in New Zealand. He pushed their kayaks with his nose. But Moko was … Read More

Social Emotional Stories: Lessons and Learning from Plants and Animals

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You probably remember the beloved story of the Ugly Duckling. It resonates with anyone who has ever been left out, teased, or lonely—which pretty much includes all of us. We feel empathy for the misjudged duckling. And when that “duck” discovers he’s a beautiful swan, it gives hope to all that when we discover our true identities, we can also … Read More

Beyond the March: How Students Can Sustain the Gun Reform Movement

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By Barbara A. Lewis, author of The Teen Guide to Global Action: How to Connect with Others (Near & Far) to Create Social Change One of the largest youth-led protests in US history occurred March 14, 2018. One month after the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, thousands of students nationwide from more than 3,000 schools walked out … Read More

10 Tips for a Successful School Garden

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By Barbara A. Lewis, author of The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects: Over 500 Service Ideas for Young People Who Want to Make a Difference   If you offer brussels sprouts or a forkful of kale to a child, he will probably gag. This is not so true for those who feast on their own tenderly nurtured school garden produce. … Read More

Simple Strategies to Incorporate Character Education into Your Classroom

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By Barbara A. Lewis, author of The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects: Over 500 Service Ideas for Young People Who Want to Make a Difference Hey, classroom teachers—are you frustrated with trying to incorporate character education into your classroom? You may have: Too little time Too much paperwork Too much curricular material to cover And on and on . . . … Read More

5 Ideas for Summer Service Projects

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Have you ever watched TV or spent a few moments on social media, noticed a problem that a student or someone else in your neighborhood had, and gotten a weird idea about what people could do to help out? That is what Caragan Olles did. She was diagnosed with dyslexia in third grade. The diagnosis made sense and explained why … Read More

Gratitude Is Good for the Heart: Teaching Kids the Value of Giving Thanks

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“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.” (A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh) Today I read a letter that came in the mail from one of our granddaughters. She thanked us for attending a special occasion for her birthday. As I looked at the scrawled handwriting and the misshapen hearts … Read More

Ten Things Every Student Needs to Hear from Teachers

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When I returned to teaching after taking a 20-year hiatus to raise my own children, I had an opportunity to take over a sixth-grade class during the last six weeks of school. When first entering the room, I dodged ricocheting spitballs—not a prime situation for success. I knew I needed a strategy fast. I thought if I focused my attention … Read More

Peace Corps and Service

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By Barbara A. Lewis, author of The Teen Guide to Global Action Students at the University of Michigan in 1960 must have caught their breath when John F. Kennedy challenged them to contribute two years of their lives in volunteer work. What? Two years? Within weeks of his inauguration, President Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961. Any U.S. citizen … Read More

Inspiring Kids to Serve Interview With Nicole Lawrence

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I was recently invited to participate in an interview with the delightful Nicole Lawrence of the site Service Minded Families. During our conversation, I was able to share some of my experiences facilitating service opportunities for kids. Some of the main points I shared include: Parents can facilitate service projects, but may not necessarily initiate the service projects. Parents can … Read More

Building Character With Nature’s Lessons

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Weldon lost his homework somewhere between the front door of the school and the school bus. He regularly lost it—dropping it in puddles or allowing the wind to whisk it away. When he arrived home with his latest excuse, his mom did not smile. She had tried rewarding him if he demonstrated responsibility. She had tried withdrawing privileges if he … Read More

The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects Interview

One of my favorite books that I’ve authored is The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects.  This book is so much fun for educators, parents and students alike and provides many ideas and valuable insight on how to serve in the community.  During my interview with Dr. James Sutton, we discuss youth oriented service projects, how to get kids excited and involved … Read More

Listen to the story of Lulu, the pig who saves its owner

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I’m really excited about my most recent book, Building Character with True Stories from Nature.  Each of the 25 lessons describes a particular plant or animal and its distinctive qualities.  The stories are engaging and written to kids.  One of my favorites is about Lulu, a heroic pot-bellied pig that saves it’s owners life!  Listen as Heidi from Free Spirit News … Read More

Educational Articles That I’ve Had Published

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Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to write numerous articles detailing my experiences in student education and community involvement.  The following is a running list of articles I’ve had published: Tweens & Teens, the Parentguide, “Truth Be Told—How to Encourage Honesty in a Dishonest World”, Oct. 2005 The Navigator, “Service With a Smile”, Duke University, fall 2005 Chicken Soup … Read More