A Beautiful Miracle ~ If You're Out There

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The student I risked getting arrested for last week, risked believing in himself this week.

The day after it happened I looked at him in class and told him, "You don't get it. I love you; who you are, and EVERYTHING you can be."

"I can see it. And I won't stop seeing it. I won't give up on you. But our time together is running out. You got to start seeing it too."

Up until then he'd finished 7 of the 200 questions on an online science program, just 04%. Tuesday night he finished 21 more, and I pointed out that was 3x as much as he's done in the past 6 months.....That in ONE day he had done THREE TIMES as much as he had ALL YEAR.

This was PROOF of what he was capable of when HE BELIEVED he was capable of doing it.

He told me he was going to go home and work on every question until he mastered it. I've never heard him use that word as part of his vocabulary, and I told him I believed he would because as he uses more powerful words he has more powerful thoughts.

His more powerful thoughts will create more powerful feelings.

His powerful feelings will give him powerful belief.

And his powerful beliefs will lead to powerful actions as ALL of his thoughts and energy will go towards creating WHAT HE WANTS to accomplish.

Nothing else will matter. Fear, doubt, worry, stress and difficulty of not accomplishing it won't matter. These will be overcome, or they won't even exist.

The only homework I assigned was for him to hear only powerful and positive words in his head that night. He assigned himself the rest of the program.

He risked believing he could create another mini-miracle........But he didn't.

He created a major one.

He didn't do 3 times as much as he had done all year. He did 24 times as much.

He did it all.

172 questions in one night. He completed the entire program. From 04% to 100%.... in.... just.... two.... days.

The administration does care about me and does their best to protect me from myself. I don't know what's going to happen to me and if this situation is over, but I don't care as much as I do about the change that's happened because of it. What's happened to him is why I was here in the first place.

When you learn to believe in yourself, you become a beautiful miracle.

I can't post a picture of this kid. I can't show you what a beautiful miracle looks like.

But you can show yourself.

Go look in the mirror.................................and don't look away until you see it.

If You're Out There.........BECOME A BELIEVER IN YOURSELF!

If You're Ready..........WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD


Not Allowed to Play Small in My Presence

Up analyzing student data to determine each one's lesson plans for next week. Watching the movie Coach Carter while doing this. Saw so many parts that made me realize just how special the things happening in class really are.

I've been telling these kids not to focus on the grades but on the learning. As this has been happening the grades have risen like a rocket. We went from 7 students with all A's and B's the first grading period to 14 this quarter. My grading doesn't get easier as the year goes on, it gets harder. I expect more.

I don't spend all week going over the reading story anymore. I consider this spoon-feeding them. Instead I teach them how to think and learn, and give them the test cold, meaning not even looking at the story until they get the test.

They're not going to see the state test stories until test time. In their real-world jobs they're going to get the questions and problems first and then have to do a lot of reading and research to be able to answer and solve them. Why not prepare them for this, instead of teaching to the test?

If I put a math problem on the board and then show them how to do it, IT NO LONGER IS A PROBLEM, but a formula or algorithm to be memorized. Instead we take the time to struggle together to figure it out.

An A in my class means true mastery, not a master at memorization.

Last year we went from one student with all A's the first quarter to 13 all A's the fourth quarter. At first I was criticized for being too hard, then I was criticized for being too easy. I hadn't changed. The kids had BECOME MORE, rising to the high standards I had set for them, and not one student had a D or F by the end of the year.

Not one of them were failures, just temporarily failing, so I absolutely could not allow any one of them to see themselves as failures.

One student this year who has gone from C's and D's to all A's and B's from the first grading period to the next is calling me Hancock after the name of the superhero Will Smith played in the movie. What this young man needs to realize is that HE is becoming the superhero. I give them super human effort so they can become the superheroes of their own lives, period.

We all sometimes feel that nothing we're doing is working, that we're trapped and helpless.

We panic and give up.

That's when we need someone to step in and protect us from what seems impossible to stop, to show us just how powerful and unstoppable we really can become,

....giving us the courage to grow stronger ourselves.

Another student who has never received all A's just received straight A's for the second report card in a row. And it gets even better. She scored a 100% on this week's reading test, but guessed on two of the questions. Even though she got them right, she didn't feel she deserved the credit, and asked me to change her grade to a 92%.

I told her she made intelligent guesses and deserved the 100%. She said, "Mr. Stuart. I only want grades that reflect my true knowledge", and stepped past me and changed the grade herself.

I looked at her in amazement and asked why there couldn't be more people like her. Then I said, "That's a terrible question. HOW can there be more people like you?"

Two other students wrote such inspiring essays after watching Obama's Inauguration they were read to a school in New York, positively affecting a large number of people they have never met. I told them they didn't throw a pebble in a pond making a little ripple, they threw a big ol' rock in a big ol' lake making a big ol' ripple!

And another kid made a HUGE splash in his own internal lake. He began the year way behind the 5th grade level. He's finally turning in all his homework, and this week for the first time turned in a test with no questions left unanswered.

He scored an 87%, without it being "taught" to him beforehand. Instead he was taught how to think, and based on his other tests is predicted to score on grade level on the state tests.

This may not be the easiest way to teach, but it is definitely worth it. Just this week a parent threatened to have me arrested for expecting too much out of her son and pushing him too hard. I told her she didn't expect enough out of him, and if I was going to bring out his best I couldn't worry about what she or her son thought of me, but put everything I had into what he thought of himself, even if it meant I went to jail or lost my job. At least it would be a job worth losing.

What is happening again this year IS very special, because the kids are feeling and acting very special.....which is exactly how you BECOME MORE THAN YOU ARE, instead of remaining just full of potential.

I refuse to play small in my belief in every student I teach. And I refuse to be the best thing that's ever happened to them. THEY MUST BECOME THE BEST THING THAT'S EVER HAPPENED TO THEMSELVES. And they are not allowed to play small in my presence.

Be sure to read the last lines at the end of this video.


The Direction of Our Lives

Our thoughts lead to feelings

Feelings lead to thoughts

Both direct our choices

Of action to take or take not

The actions we end up choosing

End up leading to the choosing of our lives

We keep the ones that have led us in the right direction

And change the ones that have led us down the wrong path

The changing our actions

Begins with the changing our thoughts

We choose to have thoughts that empower us

And get rid of the ones that do not

As we begin to feel more powerful

We begin to take more powerful actions

Our lives take on a new direction

In the direction that we want.......

And changing the direction of our lives

Is just as simple as that

- Adam Stuart (2009)


Success Beyond the Test

I ran into another parent telling me their child is having great success in middle school. This one is also in advanced placement classes and getting straight "A's". What worries her mother is that she does her homework on the bus and hardly studies for the tests, as opposed to her older child who also gets straight A's but spends hours studying, sometimes till midnight.

I told her what I hope is happening is that last year her daughter learned how to process information by making sense of it. As opposed to trying to "stuff" unfamiliar information in her head via repetitious memorization, she is connecting the unfamiliar things her teachers are presenting in class by attaching them to the familiar things she does know.

"I don't know" was not allowed last year because it meant she wasn't thinking. She always knew something. Each one of her billion neurons had up to 10,000 possible connections.

Instead of trying to cover everything, we tried to uncover as many of those connections as we could.

Instead of teaching to the test, we taught to her brain.

Now she works with her brain instead of against it, and what used to take hours now takes minutes.

And she is more powerful and happier than ever.

They say it's too difficult to teach the right way for every student. Here's another student saying it's not.

They say the risk is too great deviating from the standard curriculum and that teaching to the individual is impossible. The risk IS great, and many times IT DOES seem impossible.

......And yet here's another student, another life-long learner capable of making an impact in their world, saying they were worth it.

*Sofia wasn't doing well in reading at the beginning of the year. Once she learned how to make sense of what she was reading, she became a very active reader (as I think you can see :-)

She now has the highest level of reading points possible for a first grader, is passing 3rd grade tests, and I find her reading my 5th graders' science books........proving once again that no matter who we are, when we learn to use our brains to make sense of what we're trying to learn, we learn to do seemingly impossible things.....and that real success lies in educating ourselves how to develop this source of inner strength


Why Are We Covering When We Should Be UNcovering?

There's a lot of emphasis in the C.Y.A. program at schools nationwide (cover your a**).Part of doing this covering comes in the form of covering the curriculum. The job description isn't teaching the curriculum, just going over, or covering it. That way the teacher has done his or her "job".

But what job is really being done?

The reality is that if one hand is covering your behind, and the other is covering the curriculum, there are no hands left to UNCOVER what's preventing a student from learning and UNCOVERING how smart an "A" student can really become when required to demonstrate and apply their "A" knowledge.

There are no hands left to point out how truly wonderful each child already is, and point in the direction of just how far they can go when they connect their heart and mind to a powerful purpose.

And there are definitely no hands left to hold onto them with unquestionable belief while they struggle to hold onto and fully believe in themselves.

Since children live what they learn, as adults they have learned to live stressed out trying to cover the bills, the job, the kids.....instead of continually uncovering and developing more and more of their own potential.

Before Christmas Break we took a new math test which I graded very hard. No one passed. We took the time to put all their data on a spreadsheet and graph each student's individual progress, using this data to UNCOVER what was stopping each one, and working on that.

This Monday we took our 5th test. All but 5 students passed. Two of the students who had failed four tests in a row finally had a MASSIVE BREAKTHROUGH and scored a 95%. Even more important than their increase in math ability is the HUGE increase in their confidence and self-esteem.

"You're as big as the obstacle that stops you."


And that beats just covering my behind and the curriculum every time.

There is a whole new world that exists when you rise above fear, and I know that if I'm ever going to get fired, I'm going to get fired from a job that really matters.


The Ripple Effect

Yesterday morning was further evidence that what you think and feel affects what you do….and that what you do affects what happens in the world around you

By 5am I was already dropping fast in energy, so much that I was aching to call in sick and spend the entire day in bed…..Then I decided to drop one pure thought at a time……of what I wanted to feel…..what I wanted to think….what I wanted to happen

And as one slow drop after another fell into the lake that makes up my life…..the ripple effect began it’s process……

Although we were running late to get Brosden to school on time (he starts 1.5 hrs before we do), I didn’t let the traffic or drivers get to me…..I didn’t let reminding him 3 times to put his shoes on get to me…..and he appreciated it so much that he rippled his appreciation back into me…

When I signed him in for excused tardiness we were having so much fun in line that everyone around us was smiling, even one of the deans….I teased him how he wouldn’t want me teaching there next year because I'd embarrass him with my constant sayings like, “Losers only lose because they lose heart”.

When I dropped Bella off at her house I danced with her in the driveway to the music of Luis Miguel…telling her how much I loved her…until Sofia said “What about me?”….and jumped out of the back of the jeep into my arms.

At school I picked Sofia up and danced around the room to Sinatra’s, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”.

The power to choose this moment’s thoughts…..thoughts that draw energy to you and becoming empowered by the positive thoughts chosen………rippling into one another after another until a wave of energy is flowing back into you……all before the day has officially begun……setting the stage for a powerfully creative day....which it was (the students' goals ended up being developing their super human powers of heart and mind).

And I wanted to stay in bed yesterday

*As I wrote this post I knew I should include these pictures of Brosden. When I saw the picture of me kissing Bella's hand surrounded by water I knew I had to include it too.

The Earth is 75% water. Our bodies are also up to 75% water. Water is everywhere around us and within us. It is a perfect conductor for the electricity between two people, in this case the love in my heart for my daughter and the smile it creates on her face.....and elevates us both to incredible heights