Teacher, you never smile…

imagesIt’s been a hectic few weeks settling into a classroom routine again.  I will admit that my biggest professional challenge is just learning the technology that now accompanies our 21st century learning environment.  Students of all ages are using computers, tablets, smart phones and the like in their classrooms and I am WAY behind the times when it comes to utilizing technology in the classroom.  As I told the techies in my school, “I know enough about computers to be dangerous!”  After their countless trips to train me and try to undo my computer crashes and glitches, they now believe what I say.

Will I ever get it right?  *sigh*

I’ve been in a classroom long enough to notice the signs of stress, not in my students per se, although they certainly stress out, but in my colleagues and my friends who teach.  There are days that weigh heavily on me and I just feel overwhelmed but something I promised myself I would do is SMILE…a lot.

It happened WAY back when I was the director of my own preschool.  Not only did I have the responsibility of being the owner and operator of the preschool I also taught the four year old classes every day.  I loved being in the classroom but after a particularly stressful week I was reading a storybook to one little guy who looked up at me and said, “Teacher, you never smile…”

His matter-of-fact statement shocked me.  I had fallen victim to a common malady amongst teachers: letting our feelings/stress show on our faces.  Oh my!  I hugged the little boy and apologized and immediately put a big smile on my face.  I didn’t feel like smiling but I smiled because my students needed to see their teacher smile.  I did it for the kids!

Teachers, we spend a lot of time preparing our classrooms and lesson planning and organizing fieldtrips etc. etc. etc. but the easiest thing you can do for your students is give them a smile everyday!

Case in point.

I have been teaching a vocabulary, grammar and spelling unit to my junior high students.  Admittedly the content is dry.  It’s hard to motivate students to find anything remotely “smile-worthy” about conjunctions, adverbs and pronouns so I applaud Weird Al for helping me out this year with his video: Word Crimes.  At least my introductory lesson was fun when I shared that video with the class!  Yesterday we were trying to wrap our heads around yet another grammatical term and one boy pulled out his iPhone-there’s that new technology again :) and asked “Siri” what the definition of that term was.  For those of you who are even more technologically disadvantaged than me: Siri is that little Miss Know-it-all that comes with your smart phone that acts as the voice of all the internet wisdom of the world.  Hahahahaha!  Definitely being sarcastic here.

Anyway, I immediately put the kibosh on using Siri to look up definitions…I’m still “old school” and think my students should use a good ‘ole fashioned dictionary in book form even.  So I said, “I ban Siri from this classroom!”  I was probably frowning when I said it.  A student piped up immediately, “Are you Siri…ous?”

Okay…I smiled… then I laughed…belly-laughed even.  The rest of the class laughed with me and we had a good, but unexpected introduction to the humour of using puns.

One young man commented that it was one of the best language arts classes he had attended all year.  I had to agree.

So remember to smile Teacher, and I even recommend laughing out loud in the class.  Some days it’s hard to laugh, hard to smile but do it anyway.  Smile for the kids!  It will make their day and it will make your day too!

 

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Terry Fox – A Great Canadian

I was a young bride, thirty-five years ago.  I was studying at the University of Calgary on my way to finishing my education degree.  My husband was going back and forth from Calgary to Comox, B.C. to visit with his mother who was battling cancer.  We did not know that cancer would affect us so much then or later when his mother lost her battle in 1981, my mother would lose her battle with the same disease in 1990, and I would be diagnosed with breast cancer eleven years later.  To say that cancer has touched this family would be a drastic understatement.  It is no surprise then that one of the people I admire the most is Terry Fox.

Terry Fox is considered one of Canada’s greatest heroes of the 20th Century.  Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1958, and raised in Port Coquitlam, B.C., Terry lost his right leg at age twenty to cancer.  Instead of wallowing in self-pity and remorse, the young athlete decided to run from coast to coast in order to raise awareness and money for cancer research.  He began by dipping his leg in the Atlantic Ocean at St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980, with the goal of dipping it again in the Pacific Ocean at Vancouver, British Columbia several months later.  He ran an average of forty – two kilometres a day, a unique running style evident in a hop-skip approach that took tremendous effort and stamina to maintain the grueling pace.  No one had ever done anything similar to the task Fox was undertaking.

At first there was little media attention for the young runner, and his “Marathon of Hope”  but slowly and surely word of the courageous young man began to spread.  It began as idle curiosity and then spread to admiration across Canada.  Communities welcomed him and others began to prepare for his arrival.  It was like a national cheer or wave starting at the east coast and spreading to the west.

I remember watching the news reports and catching the “wave” with millions of other Canadians who cheered on his progress.  Terry and I were the same age and I marveled at his determination and strength.  Then on September 1, 1980 just north-east of Thunder Bay, Ontario after 143 days, running 5,373 km. (3,339 miles) through Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario, Terry was forced to abandon his run.  Cancer had spread to his lung.

I remember the interview he gave so vividly as I watched the news on T.V. that day.  His voice was hoarse, arms crossed over his chest as he lay on a stretcher, tears in his eyes; he promised he would return to the run as soon as he was able to.  Terry had raised $1.7 million dollars for cancer research during his run.

Unfortunately Terry died on June 28, 1981 at the age of 22, one month before his 23rd birthday, but not before becoming the youngest person ever to be awarded the Order of Canada.

Two-and-a-half months after his death, the first Terry Fox Run was held on Sept. 13, 1981.  More than 300,000 Canadians took part in the event at 760 sites across Canada.  The run raised $3.5 million.  Since then the amount raised in over 30 years of Terry Fox Runs is well over $600 million!

Fox’s heroism inspired other Canadians to similar feats in the name of charitable causes.  Steve Fonyo, another runner who had a leg amputated to cancer retraced the same route as Fox and completed the run in the name of cancer research.  Rick Hansen, a paraplegic athlete, made his own trek around the world in his wheelchair to raise funds for spinal cord injury research.

In 1982, British singer/songwriter, Rod Stewart, wrote the song “Never Give Up On a Dream” as a tribute to Terry’s Marathon of Hope and proceeds from the song went towards cancer research.

Terry’s goal was to persuade every Canadian to donate one dollar for cancer research.  Now the run has become a global event with over two million people running world-wide in organized Terry Fox Runs.

I’m not a runner, I’m a writer, but if I can help raise awareness through this blog, I will have done my part.  I encourage my readers to click on this link and generously donate to the Terry Fox Foundation  today.

http://www.spiritus-temporis.com/terry-fox/

Parenting 101- What to Do If Your Child Is Being Bullied.

I have three very unique, very different children.  I am constantly amazed by them!  Certainly there have been times  that I (and they) have questioned my sanity…or lack thereof…in trying to parent these children but for the most part I wouldn’t trade a minute of it!

My daughter Laurelle is now a grown, married woman.  She is a phenomenal young woman with a passion for teaching and raising my two grandbabies in the “way they should go”.  I had no idea when we signed her up in kindergarten french immersion way back when, that one day she would actually teach French to other children and to my grandchildren!  How did that happen?  God had a plan and a purpose for her for today but the journey started many years ago.  Who knew?  God did.

I remember that little girl learning to ride a bike.  She fell off that thing more than she stayed on.  At one point, after crashing once again to the pavement, she picked herself up and in tears kicked the seat with all her might announcing to her father that she would never learn to ride a bike!  It’s hard for a parent to watch their children struggle, but it’s also a time to instill a value, “Don’t give up!  Don’t quit!”  her Dad said, and taking her by the hand, straightened her helmet, and plunked her back on the bike.  “You can do it!”  he said and with a push, he sent her on her way again.  Yes, she wobbled and yes she even fell off a few more times but eventually her perseverance paid off and she mastered bike riding.  It was hard but she didn’t quit.

In grade seven, Laurelle became the victim of bullying.  It was the worst time of our lives.  She had become the primary target of sBullyingome malicious girls at her school who took great pleasure in undermining everything about her.  They called her degrading names; called her stupid, and maligned her every chance they could.  They tripped her, pushed her into her locker and laughed at her.  Her marks plummeted, she started to look sickly and pale.  She started to dress in sombre colours and she rarely smiled.  She had few friends and at one point she wanted to die.  Her father and I tried to question her about school but she was tight-lipped and was a good enough actress at home to make us believe that everything was okay.  We had no idea how serious the bullying situation had become until her piano teacher, who was also a close personal friend, called me and said that Laurelle had confided to her in the middle of her piano lesson that she was thinking thoughts of suicide.  In horror and in panic, I ransacked her room looking for anything that she might use to hurt herself, instead I found her diary.

As a parent, you make split second decisions some times.  In this case to save her life was much more important than respecting her privacy.  I didn’t hesitate.  Page after page of heart wrenching pain was written in her handwriting.  I wept with grief over what my child was going through at school, things she had never shared with us.  When I confronted her later about it, she was horrified I had read her most private thoughts.  I had betrayed her trust.  I didn’t apologize for that.  I wished I had done it sooner.

For a day or two, Laurelle was more angry with me than she was at the bullies at school.  I was okay with that.  Now that I knew what was really going on in her life I could come alongside her and help, even though she rejected that at first.  We immediately contacted the school, set up meetings with the school counsellor, her teachers, and the principal and we illicited prayer support from our church family.  Over the next several weeks, everywhere Laurelle turned she heard, “Don’t give up!  Don’t quit!”    God placed people in her life that supported her, encouraged her, and loved her.  Bullying had caused her to lose hope.  She felt alone and afraid.  Now she was surrounded by people who wanted to help her.  She wasn’t alone and it gave her hope.

Laurelle’s school counsellor, a precious young woman, told Laurelle to journal her thoughts and her pain to God and to trust Him to help her.  Although I had said much the same thing previously to her, she wasn’t ready to listen to me yet because she was still mad I had invaded her privacy, so I praised God when He used another person to speak to her.  It was truly a “God thing” because in this particular public school, teachers and counsellors did not give spiritual advice to their students, they were discouraged from doing so in fact, but I believe God gave this woman boldness to speak to Laurelle about embracing her faith in God and it impacted Laurelle at a critical time in her life.  She also gave Laurelle some very practical ways to “stand up” to the bullies at school.

  • Hold your head up.  Act confident.  Do not retaliate or get angry.  (Bullies are intimidated by those who do not fear them.)
  • Respond evenly and firmly to them or say nothing and walk away.
  • Develop other friendships and stick up for each other.
  • If bullying continues, tell someone, preferably a trusted adult.  Tell your parents, a trusted teacher, counsellor, or principal.

Within several weeks, after rededicating her life back to God and then utilizing the strategies her counsellor had given her to combat the bullies, Laurelle’s confidence came back.  She developed new friendships and her once tiny circle of friends grew.  Eventually her group of friends was much larger than the “bully group” and as such the “safety in numbers” factor cut in.  The bullies lost interest in tormenting her, and on occasion if they tried to intimidate her, she was no longer afraid of telling on them.  She got her “no quit” attitude back and it propelled her through the rest of the year and has remained with her ever since.

A while back I was on Facebook and noticed that one of Laurelle’s Facebook “friends” was one of the girls who had bullied her that fateful year in middle school.  I must admit I was quite surprised to see that Laurelle was actually corresponding back and forth with her quite regularly.  I marveled how God had helped her come to a place in her life where she could forgive and forget so completely.  When I commented about it to her, she just smiled.

Laurelle has had opportunity through the years to share her testimony regarding that bullying experience.  God has given her great sensitivity and compassion towards those young people who are victims of bullying.  She shares how angry she was at me for reading in her diary, but how glad she is that I did.  She shares how God brought people in to her life to help her, to encourage her and to love her at a time when she thought she was all alone.  And lastly she tells them: “Don’t give up!  Don’t quit!”

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Remembering Sept. 11, 2001

I was recovering from my last round of chemotherapy.  My hair was starting to grow back, but I was still weak from my recent battle with breast cancer.  I had just stepped out of a shower and slowly starting my day when my husband called me from work and told me to turn on the T.V. telling me that there was a catastrophic plane crash in New York City.  I tuned in just in time to see the second plane careen into the World Trade Centre.  It’s one of those scenes you never forget in your lifetime.

On Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists hijacked four passenger jets, each carrying tanks full of fuel and large numbers of travelers enroute to various destinations in the U.S.  The hijackers commandeered the planes and deliberately flew to U.S. landmarks where catastrophic destruction was achieved: The World Trade Centre in NYC and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.  The fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, just north of Camp David, the Presidential Retreat in Maryland.  Their efforts to destroy yet another U.S. landmark that day was thwarted by the heroic passengers on that plane.  Thousands of people were killed; property damage estimated in the billions of dollars, and yet, the world remembers today the countless acts of heroism and bravery by ordinary people who exemplified the human spirit and did extraordinary things!

Memorial Tribute at St. Paul’s to the Victims of Sept. 11, 2001

As a Canadian watching the drama unfold, I was overcome with emotion for my brothers and sisters in the U.S.  Words cannot adequately describe the shock and horror I felt on their behalf.  Later that afternoon, I gathered with many of my American friends who live and work here in Cochrane.  We met at our church and we wept and prayed, clinging to one another, drawn together in mutual grief over the tragic events of that day.

In 2008, my husband and I had the opportunity to visit NYC.  We had never been to the “Big Apple” before so in three short days, we tried to take in as many of the sights as we could in that amazing city.  Of course, one of the places we wanted to see was “Ground Zero”, the site where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre once stood.  Despite the fact it was over seven years after 9/11,  I felt a haunting solemnity in approaching the site.  The rebuilding was starting there, most of the rubble had been cleared away, and yet it was like thousands of voices were whispering in the wind: “Don’t ever forget about us!”

Tribute to the Firefighters, Police, Port Authority and Rescue Teams

Across the street from Ground Zero stands St. Paul’s Chapel.  It is one of the oldest churches in NYC.  Though situated directly across the street from the World Trade Centre, St.Paul’s Chapel miraculously sustained little damage.  The massive Sycamore trees, hundreds of years old, took most of the impact and shielded the tiny building from the flying debris when the Twin Towers collapsed.  As a result, not a single pane of the precious stained glass was broken.

Days after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, families of the victims came to the church to grieve and receive comfort while they awaited news of loved ones who were missing or searching under the rubble of the World Trade Centre.  Later they put up memorials in tribute to those who lost their lives that day.  Each memorial has been left standing and lovingly maintained by the church, and the small congregation now serves and ministers to those families who suffered such loss on that fateful day.

Tributes were also sent from around the world for all the brave firefighters, police, port authority personnel and rescue teams who risked their own lives to save those trapped after the initial attack.  Unfortunately many of the numbered dead are those men and women who responded first to the emergency.

As my husband and I silently, reverently, passed by each display of tribute to those lost on Sept. 11, 2001, I was once again overwhelmed with emotion.

Looking towards Ground Zero from St. Paul’s Chapel. Take note of the blackened headstones as a result of 9/11 and a few of the Sycamore trees that protected the church that day.

As we returned to our hotel, we reflected on what we had just seen at Ground Zero and walking through the theatre district and around Times Square, I was struck by how NYC had managed to rise above the ashes on that day.   As I thought about how that little church surrounded by Sycamore trees had been shielded and protected from harm on Sept. 11, 2001, a scripture verse came to mind:

“To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness.”      Isaiah 61:3

“Trees of Righteousness”… may it always be so!

Say It Isn’t SNOW!

You will note that I haven’t been blogging as much these past couple of weeks as I settled into the routine of teaching full-time.  To those who think that teachers have an “easy” time…I beg to differ…the earliest I’ve been home from school since it started was 5:00 p.m.  Then, of course, I’ve brought papers and more to do at home, so I’ve usually not been done work until nearly 11 p.m. each night.  Yes that includes the weekends too.  Am I a keener?  Nope.  Just an ordinary Junior High School Teacher.

That said, TODAY I was actually home by 1 p.m. on account of a SNOW DAY!  Yep, you read it right…

Southern Alberta is buried under the earliest snowfall on record for Sept. 9th and 10th and after braving treacherous driving conditions to get to school this morning I learned too late that school was cancelled for the day.  My white-knuckled driving was all for naught I suppose, but I decided to play “catch-up” with lesson planning and long-range goal setting since I was at the school anyway so I almost feel like I can actually take the afternoon off and not think about unfinished school work.

Now, I’m not saying I like the idea of a SNOW DAY in September.  It’s sad that on Saturday it was summer here and +25 C and today it’s snowing and -2 C.  It’s like Alberta went from Summer to Winter and just skipped Fall entirely.  Fall is such a neglected season here some years.  The problem is that the trees were not in Winter mode yet, having not shed their summer greenery and leaves so this blast of winter has caused all kinds of problems as tree branches snap under the weight of heavy snow.  Power outages and slick driving conditions have me already saying “Bah Humbug” to winter and it’s only September!!!

Still, on my way home, my knuckles pale from gripping the steering wheel too tightly, while trying to avoid skittering off into a ditch all the way, I spotted something spectacular.  I stopped only metres from my driveway and snapped this picture of a white-tail.  She looked just as bewildered about this sudden turn of weather as I was.  I couldn’t help feeling awed and amazed by God’s creation around me.  The snow will likely melt in a day or two, that’s the way it goes here in Alberta, but I will always have this memory of today and I can’t help but feeling blessed.

Winter's Surprise

Back to School!

You will know if you’ve been checking out my Facebook statuses the last week that I have embarked on yet another new “adventure” for the next several months.  I am teaching Junior High Language Arts full time covering a maternity leave for the regular teacher.  It’s been a steep learning curve navigating around a new computer program, as well as setting up a classroom in preparation for the students to return to school especially since most of the teachers had to move entire classrooms, myself included to accommodate the phenomenal growth our school will see this year.  One hundred more students than last year!  Whew!   Needless to say, it may be a bit of a challenge to blog as regularly as I have been but I’ll try!

I LOVE working at the school, a private Christian School, where I have been a regular substitute teacher for the past eight years.  I know the students already, either by name or reputation ~ tee hee :) so I’m pretty fortunate that I’m not really the “new” teacher on staff, however I am still relatively new to the back to school preparations the faculty and staff go through each year and it is truly a privilege to be amongst a group of teachers who will spend their first morning back at school praising and worshipping God!  What a great way to start the year off!

Perhaps the most profound words I have remembered over time were spoken by a guest speaker in chapel several years ago, who asked all teachers to consider NINE LIFE/EDUCATIONAL PRINCIPLES TO LIVE BY:

~PURPOSE is more important than position.

  ~WHO YOU ARE is more important than what you do.

  ~PEOPLE are more important than things.

  ~RELATIONSHIPS are more important than skills.

   ~FEELINGS are more important than facts.

  ~VALUES are more important than knowledge.

  ~GIVING is more important than receiving.

  ~DEVELOPING OUR STRENGTHS is more important than correcting our weaknesses.

  ~The WALK is more important than the talk.

“Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” 

Hebrews 12:2

I am blessed to be a Christian teacher, to interact each day with men and women who love the Lord and want each one of their students to grow in their faith and to become those disciples called by God to reach a hurt and hopeless world.

Help Stop Bullying

It is the start of another school year and as excited as I am to be back teaching full time, I know there are young people (and some adults particularly teachers and administrators), who are cringing about starting another year that may be filled with bullying and cyberbullying.  Security measures are being put in place but Principals are already getting phone calls and emails from irate parents who are disappointed about some school policy change or the fact that their child did not get into the class they wanted.  Some parents keep bullying teachers and administrators until they get what they want…sad but true.  So today I am reposting a blog I wrote in 2010 about the insidiousness of bullying.  Perhaps if we get the message out early this school year, there will not be as many victims walking the hallways of our schools!bullying_stops_here1

It was 1996 and my daughter came off the bus for what seemed to me the 100th time, crying.  No amount of coaxing would get her to confide to me what was bothering her but I noticed that over a few short months, my vivacious, happy-go-lucky girl had changed in appearance and personality.  Always an extrovert, now she barely talked.  Always a child who loved to wear bright colours, now she dressed in blacks and greys.  She wouldn’t meet our eyes when we talked to her.  Her marks at school plummeted.  We talked with teachers, we met with the principal, but somehow we couldn’t break through some kind of “code of silence” that prevented her from sharing what was bothering her.

Finally one day I got a disturbing phone call from my daughter’s piano teacher.  Not wanting to betray confidences, but still concerned that this was something that could not be kept from us, the piano teacher told me that Laurelle had confided in her that she was the victim of bullying.  Laurelle then confessed that she did not know what to do and she was starting to think that the only way out of the bullying nightmare was to take her own life.

I was in a state of shock and panic.  I remembered that Laurelle had a diary and I did something I never thought I would ever do…I invaded the privacy of her room and ransacked it to find the diary.  Sure enough, on each page, written in her fine hand, were picture words of the torment my child faced just walking down the hallway of her school.  Name calling, shunning, books knocked out of her hand, pushing, shoving, ostracizing.  She would be tripped, pushed into her locker, laughed at and ridiculed.  The bullying didn’t stop at school, it continued on the bus.  She was called every known expletive demoralizing her spirit and her character.

I just sat on her bed, reading her words, and I wept.  I wept because of what my child was going through and I wept out of guilt not realizing what was happening to her, and rebuking myself that I hadn’t added up all the signs and stepped in much, much sooner to help her.

When my daughter came home from school that afternoon, she was appalled and angry with me for invading her privacy, and reading her personal thoughts, but I did not apologize for that.  I wrapped my arms around my child as she wept out of shame, humiliation and fear for her circumstances and then I told her she was “not alone anymore”.

I knew when I began my writing career that I would have to address the topic of bullying in my books.  As a teacher and a youth leader and a parent, I have seen what bullying can do to a young person.

Recently I contacted Bill Belsey, President of Bullying.org Canada.  Bill happens to live right here in Cochrane, and I thought since my books, Shoot the Wounded,  Heal the Wounded and Love the Wounded deal at length with the topic of bullying, I wanted to be able to link our two websites so that we might bring even more exposure to this insidious topic.  Bill eagerly wrote back, enthusiastically approving of the idea.  Since then, both my books have been selected as “Helpful Resources” on what some consider the largest anti-bullying website in the world.  I invite my readers (especially parents of teenagers) to go to Bill’s award-winning Web site: www.bullying.org  and spread the word: Help STOP Bullying!

Bill Belsey is the father of two teenagers and a classroom teacher.  He founded Bullying.org Canada over a decade ago.  Mr. Belsey is a winner of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Technology. He is also a recipient of the Royal Bank Fellowship from the Mathematics, Science and Technology Group at Queen’s University and the Roy C. Hill Fellowship for Innovations in Education from the Canadian Teacher’s Federation.  In May 2006, Mr. Belsey received Canada’s National Technology Innovations Award from The Learning Partnership and his presentation “Change the World 101” was given the “Conference Award” as the most outstanding work presented during the entire gathering.  In October 2006, Mr. Belsey was named as a Fellow of the World Technology Network in the Education category at a gala event at San Francisco’s City Hall. At this same ceremony, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore was inducted as a Fellow in the Environment category and Tim Burners-Lee, one of the co-creators of the World Wide Web, was honoured in the Internet category.

In November 2007 he was recognized with a nomination for the YMCA Peace Medal.  Mr. Belsey was asked to offer his input into the United Nations International Research Study in Bangkok on Violence and Children.  His print interviews have appeared in Parenting Magazine, the Globe and Mail, and the Christian Science Monitor. He has appeared numerous times on the CTV and CBC National News. He has been a consultant to “The Dr. Phil Show” and ABC News 20/20 with Diane Sawyer and “Anderson Cooper 360” on CNN. In an interview with Mr. Belsey on CBC TV’s “The National”, Peter Mansbridge referred to http://www.bullying.org as “One of the best Web sites in the world for children”.

Mr. Belsey, who now lives in Cochrane, Alberta, with his wife, Helene (also a teacher), and two teenage children, decided to return to the classroom.  He currently teaches grade five at Springbank Middle School for the Rockyview School Division. To check out his students’ innovative work, do a Google search for “Canada’s Coolest Class” then click on “I’m feeling lucky”, you will be directed to www.coolclass.ca.

He is a much sought-after speaker and presenter on the topics of bullying, cyberbullying, technology integration, innovation, community development and global education. He has presented at many conferences across Canada and around the world.

Let me share Bill’s response to me:

Hello Lynn,

Thank you for your message, for sharing this information about your writing and for your concern about the issue of bullying.  I would be pleased to have you make links from your Websites to mine.  You can also add your book(s) on www.bullying.org by using the “I Want to Share -Submit a Helpful Resource” option.

FYI, I am a father of two teenagers and a classroom teacher, see www.coolclass.ca and/or http://is.gd/eZfxV. I founded Bullying.org Canada over a decade ago.  Bullying.org Canada created www.bullying.org, a multiple award-winning Web site that was developed to help people address the issues of bullying within a safe, positive, moderated international community.  www.bullying.org is a supportive online community where people can learn that they are NOT alone in being bullied and teased, that being bullied and teased is NOT their fault and that they CAN do something positive about it.  People can contribute their personal stories, poems, images, oral stories (audio files), music and even animations and movies. All of the original submissions and the replies to them are read and moderated by real people to ensure that the Website is a safe and respectful online community.  www.bullying.org also has a “Helpful Resources” section that features a huge listing of articles, books, legislation and policies, research and multimedia resources. www.bullying.org also has the worlds first and largest online moderated support groups for adults and youth. The Web site receives nearly one million visitors and contributors from around the world each month and is often listed as the number one “bullying” referenced Web site in the world by Google and many other Internet search engines.

www.bullying.org has been chosen for the ChildNet International Award that goes to project that make the Internet a better place for youth, as well as being a finalist in the Stockholm Challenge Award which has been called the Nobel Prize of the IT (Information Technology) world. In an interview I did on CBC Television’s “The National”, CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge referred to www.bullying.org as “One of the best Web sites in the world for young people”.  www.bullying.org has been featured by other media around the world.

Bullying.org Canada is also the creator of www.cyberbullying.ca, the world’s first Web site specifically dedicated to the emerging issue of cyberbullying, in fact, I have often been cited as the first to use this word and define this new behaviour.

We are also the founders, creators and facilitators of the annual National Bullying Awareness Week. We would like to encourage you, your organization, and your community to participate. Please invite others to visit http://www.bullyingawarenessweek.org for more information.

Middle or high schools in your area, you can encourage them to join the Bullying.org Peer Power Youth Presenters Network. We have a research-based multimedia CD along with an accompanying script they can use  to practice with and then make arrangements to come and have these older students present to your younger students. It is very powerful and effective. The cost is only $5, which pays for discs, envelopes and mailing costs. The main commitment is finding a teacher at the local middle or high school who will agree to work with the older students prior to their presentation at your school. Please visit http://www.bullyingawarenessweek.org and click on the “Resources” Web page link for more information.

We are also the creators of the groundbreaking Website, www.bullyingcourse.com. This new educational resource offers affordable online courses and Webinars (online presentations) for educators and parents about bullying and cyberbullying.  Here’s what www.bullyingcourse.com offers:

-Webinars: These are online multimedia presentations you can order and include in your next Professional Development Day, conference, Parent-Teacher Association meeting or community gathering. All you need is a computer, access to the Internet, a multimedia projector, projection screen, speakers and you are good to go! They can be paused, played and replayed to meet your schedule throughout the day you have ordered the presentation for.

-Online courses: These non-credit courses are self-directed introductory courses intended for personal and professional learning and growth.  You proceed at your own pace. 100 level courses are offered on a continuous basis throughout the year. 100 level courses have no enrolment limit.  100 level courses are assessed as Complete or Incomplete. A certificate is issued upon successful completion of these courses.  At the 100 level, we currently offer E101, an introduction to Bullying for Educators, see http://bullyingcourse.com/mod/resource/view.php?id=226 and P101 course for parents, please see http://bullyingcourse.com/mod/resource/view.php?id=225 for more information.

Here is some feedback from a recent E101 course participant:

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I recently completed the Introduction to Bullying for Educators E101 course and found this to be a very valuable learning, theoretical and practical experience.  As a student teacher I have found that this serious social issue has been overlooked in my teaching preparation courses.  I highly recommend that teachers, student teachers and other professionals working with children attend this course.  This is my first online course and I found the course very easy to navigate. The content provided in the course is appealing to a variety of learners and the use of multimedia enhanced my learning.  Most importantly, I found the course assignment to be practical and something that I can use as I begin my teaching career.  The assignment of creating my own anti-bullying action plan truly brought the course to life for me.  Having completed the assignment, I now understand how I can respond to, prevent and advocate
against bullying in the classroom, school, community, workplace and worldwide web environments.  Bullying is a topic that every person is faced with at some point in his or her life.  As teachers, it is our professional responsibility to
understand, prevent and respond to bullying so that supportive, encouraging and caring environments are available to all children at school.  This course is a great place to start this understanding and develop our own anti-bullying action plan, which can be implemented in our own schools.”

-Kimberly Dawson

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We have created a free brochure in PDF format that you can download that contains many ideas as to how students, teachers and parents can use www.bullying.org as a safe, supportive, free, non-commercial, and deeply engaging multimedia teaching and learning resource. This can be found online at:
http://www.cyberbullying.ca/pdf/Bullying.org_Teaching_Ideas_Pamphlet.pdf

Here is a free copy of our famous “Take the Pledge” anti-bullying poster you may download, print and distribute for non-profit, educational purposes:
http://www.cyberbullying.ca/pdf/FC_Bullying_POSTER04.pdf

Here is our video that accompanies our award-winning “Take the (anti-bullying) Pledge” campaign:
http://www.cyberbullying.ca/video/pledge.wmv

If you would like to learn more about the presentations we offer, please visit:
http://www.cyberbullying.ca/pdf/Bullying-Cyberbullying_Presentations.pdf

You can learn more about Bullying.org Canada at:
http://www.cyberbullying.ca/pdf/Bullying.org_Overview.pdf

You can learn more about what people are saying about our work at:
http://www.cyberbullying.ca/pdf/Bullying.org_Kudos.pdf

You can read the latest “Friends of Bullying.org Newsletter” online at
http://is.gd/gQIzM

Please help us by sharing this information with others.

Most sincerely,

Bill Belsey

President,
Bullying.org Canada

I appreciate the opportunity to share these links with my readers today.