#AppMaddnessChallenge Bracket

Sunday, March 24, 2019
I enjoy reading George Couros’ Principal of Change blog. He is an inspiring leader and in his recent post he tried something new - #appmaddnesschallenge - inspired by a visit to the New York Knicks game.  He encouraged others to try it as well... so here it goes! The #Appmaddnesschallenge Bracket - set up like March Madness basketball bracket.

Here are my top 8 last used apps according to the battery usage on my iPhone: (*This would be totally different using my iPad.)


I was surprised at my list of 8 but I’ll go with it!

Round 1

1. Weatherbug vs Accuweather

Interesting that my number 1 and 8 spot are both weather apps! Weatherbug is a recent download. What I like best about weatherbug is the map that shows lightning strikes! It shows how far away the strikes are - and where. It also shows a map of current fires. Being in California, the fire part is useful. We rarely have lightning - but most recently we have had some storms with lightning and I downloaded the app to see how far the strikes were from school. They were 3 miles away! However, Accuweather is my go-to weather app. I love how it gives a minute by minute forecast for rain - something very useful when it comes to deciding indoor or outdoor recess! It has radar, future radar, US satellite, watches and warnings, alerts, and even Zika risk from mosquitoes when traveling to other countries.

Winner - Accuweather

2. Instagram - SportsTracker

Eeks. Do they really have to go against each other? I get inspiration from Instagram. I prefer visuals so I like it over Facebook. I enjoy watching my daughter and son-in-law’s stories so I can keep up with their running. (@loloverun and @mrsetht) I was surprised to have SportsTracker show up because I am a Strava fan. However, I did use SportsTracker yesterday to track my MTB ride. If Strava were on the list, it would probably win. But it wasn’t so -

Winner - Instagram

3. Mail - Music

Eeks again. I have to choose? That’s tough. I see this as productivity vs. entertainment. I love listening to music. But...I have to give it to mail. It’s a must for work. I just use the regular Mail app from Apple and all my email streams to the same location. Easy Peasy.

Winner - Mail

4. Messages - Podcasts

Tough again. I text often and prefer it to the phone. But I love listening to podcasts as I commute each day. Currently in my library...Stuff You Should Know, The Joycast, Dr. Death, GastroPod, How I Built This, and Up and Vanished. I like Ted Talks Daily but too many posts caused my library to fill so I just listen to it every now and then.

Winner - Podcasts

Round 2

1. Accuweather - Podcasts

Accuweather helps me figure out weather I want to head out on a bike ride or call indoor recess. However, I can also go outside and make a pretty good guess. And - a little bit of rain won't hurt me, right?  Podcasts entertain me while I drive to work. They distract me from a long commute.

Winner - Podcasts

2. Instagram - Mail

Hmmm. Mail can be quite distracting. I find it is best to check just a few times a day. And I can always check it at work on my computer. Sometimes it's best for me NOT to check my email on my phone. I end up replying back short, quick texts since I don't like to type on my phone. It's better for me to reply on a computer.  Instagram is more of an inspiration to me. Again, I like to see my daughter’s stories and videos on Instagram. I just like hearing her voice. Family wins.

Winner - Instagram


Podcasts - Instagram

We all know social media can be too much of a distraction. As much as I enjoy Instagram, if I want to truly connect with others, it has to be real. I need to make personal visits. When I want to see my daughter, we will use FaceTime or talk on the phone. And she comes in 2 weeks to visit! Woo hoo!

Winner by Pam Jimison Apps- Podcasts

Podcasts help me enjoy my commute. I can choose inspirational, informative, spiritual, or suspenseful stories. 

This was a fun process. If someone were to ask me my favorite app, I don't really know what I would choose! I have apps for entertainment, productivity, information - it's a tough choice. Want to take the challenge, too? Use the hashtag #AppMadnessChallenge. I'd love to see your winner! 

How Do You Learn?

Friday, October 12, 2018

When was the last time you learned something new? 

I mean - totally brand new? I had to contemplate this question myself if I was going to ask you the same! I think for me, it was back in April when I had my eye surgery from a torn retina. I was on bed rest and had to lay on my side and do nothing. That's a hard request for someone who always likes to be on the move! So I signed up for Skillshare - a site that has hundreds of online classes on many topics. I had a 2 month free trial and took as many classes as I could. I had a blast learning new things - brush lettering, creating hand-drawn wallpaper, ink and watercolor, doodle art, and much more. I chose things that were of interest to me. I love writing (I was the kid that loved writing research papers!) and wanted to improve my handwritten documents. Plus, I love making things. I found that I could learn the new material easily because 

  1. It was visual (I am a visual/spatial learner)
  2. I was passionate about the topic
  3. I practiced using hands-on application (I am also kinesthetic)
  4. I could pause and repeat (I forget easily and need to see it again)
  5. I made the time to do it

How does your child learn best? I loved studying Howard Garner's Multiple Intelligences when I was in college. I find that it is quite true and I loved sharing the theory of multiple of intelligence with students. I consider about my own kids. My daughter excelled in school, especially reading and writing. She was driven to do her best (and she still is!). My son did not really like school. He wanted to pursue art and music, originally. He grew up thinking he "wasn't smart" because spelling was difficult for him. I knew he was brilliant. He just didn't feel that way because he was comparing himself to others that were linguistic. He pursued his music career until one day the science behind wires intrigued him. He set out to study physics and graduated from Berkeley with a Physics degree. Lauren is body and linguistic "smart" and Brett is musical, spatial, and logical "smart". God has given each the talents and abilities they need to do HIS work. 

You see, there are several types of "intelligences" and schools often focus on linguistic (spelling, reading, writing) and logical/mathematical (math). So, if students struggle with reading or math, they deem themselves as "not smart" which simply isn't true. (Another great reason to study the Growth Mindset.) These areas CAN be improved even if they are not the strongest in this area. Most likely your child is "smart" in one or more of the following "intelligences":

  • Spatial: Art, the ability to see things in the mind, conceptualize. These students do well looking at pictures in order to learn.
  • Body/Kinesthetic: the ability to move the body to solve problems. These students benefit from movement, acting, sports, building things, taking apart things, hands-on activities
  • Musical: sensitive to sounds, tones, music. These students benefit from songs in order to memorize, etc.
  • Linguistic: the ability to make meaning of words. These students do well reading, writing, journaling
  • Logical/mathematical: the ability to conceptualize logical relations. These students enjoy numbers, charts, graphs, data
  • Interpersonal: the ability to interact with others. These students enjoy group work, collaboration, teams
  • Intrapersonal: the ability to understand one's own goals and feelings. These students enjoy working on their own, planning, journaling
  • Naturalistic: the ability to make distinctions in the world of nature. These students enjoy animals, plants, being outside
Most people tend to know their own strengths and reading through the list, you may have an idea which appeal to you most. It's fun for kids to learn about their own strengths. Here is a fun self-assessment if you want to try it out! 

Please - share with your kids that God made them just right! He has given them specific skills, talents, interests, and "intelligence" to do His work in the world. We need people with skills in ALL these areas! 

Healthy Parenting

Friday, September 14, 2018

As an educator and administrator, I've seen tons of families come and go through the years. And, I've witnessed many, many types of parenting styles:

Absent parents.
Lenient parents.
Loving parents.
Adventurous parents.
Silly parents.
Committed parents.
Over-bearing parents.
Helicopter parents.
Lawn-mower parents.
Godly parents.

I want to address the last three on the list!

Many of us have heard the term "helicopter parent."

As quoted from Parents.com...

"Helicopter parenting refers to "a style of parents who are over focused on their children," says Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders near Detroit and author of Anxiety Disorders: The Go-To Guide. "They typically take too much responsibility for their children's experiences and, specifically, their successes or failures," Dr. Daitch says. Ann Dunnewold, Ph. D., a licensed psychologist and author of Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box, calls it "overparenting." "It means being involved in a child's life in a way that is overcontrolling, overprotecting, and overperfecting, in a way that is in excess of responsible parenting," Dr. Dunnewold explains."

The problem with helicopter parenting is that it backfires leaving kids with decreased confidence, low self-esteem, increased anxiety, or undeveloped life skills (Bayless, Parenting.com). I have to admit, I think I did some of this with my own parenting. As a teacher at the school where my own kids attended, I was overly concerned with what was going on in the classroom. When my kids were in high school, the grades were online and I checked their grades every night. I look back now and realize although I had good intentions, I should have had more of a healthy balance.

You may also have heard about the term "lawn-mower parent."

It's been said that the lawn mower parent is the new helicopter parent. "Lawnmower parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure." (WeTeachers) This is the parent that immediately comes to the child's rescue so that the child does not face a struggle or failure.  "We are creating a generation that has no what idea what to do when they actually encounter struggle. A generation who panics or shuts down at the mere idea of failure." (WeTeachers

I know parents have the best of intentions. And, I realize I was definitely a lawn mower parent. I made sure I mowed down most of the difficulties my kids might face. I placed items in backpacks for my kids even when they were in high school! I drove home to get missing shoes. I  heard it once said that it's good to allow kids to fail while they are young so that they may practice what to do with the failure while in the presence of a wiser person. They learn how to deal with struggles and difficulties. If we mow down all threats, they don't practice and don't learn what to do. Now - don't read into this too much! Parents need to keep their kids safe and loved. Protecting our kids from struggles or difficulties is sometimes necessary.  It's hard to have a healthy balance.

So, I look to the final strategy on the list and that is to use God as the example of parenting. He loves unconditionally. He listens. He instructs. He disciplines. His mercies are new every morning. There are many voices that may tell you how to parent - my answer is to listen to what God says through His Word.  Read the Bible often. Teach your kids to live by His standards. Help them through tough situations by praying for them and with them. Demonstrate patience. Find time to spend quality time together. 

Share! Do you have any great parenting tips?

When the Going Gets Tough...

Saturday, September 1, 2018

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Yes, I know it’s cliche. But, it is really quite true. It’s soooo easy to give up on things when it gets tough. I have to use my daughter as an example of determination. She is my inspiration.

Our daughter is a marathon and ultra runner. She is simply amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as determined as Lauren. Well, her husband Seth is just as determined! They work hard and train hard. They are both amazing athletes. They have gotten this way through a LOT of hard work...more than the average person would endure. They get up early, eat healthy, work a full day, and put in a second set of training. They push themselves physically and spiritually. They are active with church and their social groups.

Lauren ran in the Olympic trials, and Seth took 4th in the World Duathlon in 2016 (Racing-at-Duathlon-World).  Besides training and working full time, they are also coaches

I am writing about Lauren this weekend because today she finished another big event. She ran in a 50k trail run. Yes, 50k - that’s 31 miles of trail running. Trail runs are beautiful but hard and technical. A trail run involves not only running, but paying attention to rough terrain, climbing, rocks, streams...let’s just say it’s hard. She came in 1st female  - state champion for women! It was a great accomplishment. 

I try not to be a quitter but sometimes it’s just hard! Last year I ran a 21 mile trail run after spending 10 days in India, getting sick, and not running for 3 weeks. Not a smart idea. But, I went for it. At mile 15 I was done. I mean...done. I didn’t think I could even walk. Then, Lauren called. She talked me through the rest of the run. I was so glad I completed it and thankful that her call came in just in time. She encouraged me and told me I could do it. 

Parents, help build determination in your kids. It’s a wonderful quality to be able to persevere when times get tough. It’s easy to bail our kids out or let them quit when they get frustrated. But building perseverance and determination are character traits that will help them in many aspects of life. Things may get tough. Encourage your child. Tell them they can do it. Cheer them on. Whether sports, music, academics - whatever the challenge - help your child not quit through your encouraging words. 

Gratitude in All Things

Friday, August 24, 2018

Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16

Sometimes life just gets hard. The week before school started, my son had heart surgery, my mom that just moved in with us was diagnosed with cancer, and my father-in-law became so ill my husband had to fly out to Oregon to be with his family. Yet within all of this, I had peace. God is in control.

God calls us to have a grateful heart. One year I was blessed to be able to visit a school in a poverty stricken portion of Ethiopia. The teachers had a classroom stuffed with 80 students. The room was equipped with four clay walls and benches. That's all. Oh - and one very small chalkboard with simple paper for classroom information. Many students walk 2 1/2 hours to get to school (one way) and they carry their prized possession...if they are lucky to have one...a textbook. (See pictures above) The joy that exuded from the classroom was clear. Students were filled to the brim with gratitude. They were so thankful to be able to receive an education. The classroom often pushed the limits of 80 students so others would stand outside, all day, and peer in through the window just to be able to hear the teacher and take part in learning. I remember the culture shock returning to our American school - a school full of every thing imaginable as far as educational supplies - yet lacking in gratitude.

"Nothing turns us into bitter, selfish, dissatisfied people more quickly than an ungrateful heart. And nothing will do more to restore contentment and the JOY of our salvation than a true spirit of thankfulness." Billy Graham

Whenever life gets hard, or whenever I am feeling upset or concerned, I count my blessings. Sometimes it's as simple as, "Thank you for this comfy chair I am sitting in. Thank you that my dogs greet me each night. Thank you for glasses." I literally start thinking of absolutely everything I can be thankful for. I pray. I give my burdens to the Lord for HIM to carry. He fills me with His peace. Joy returns.

This little girls walks 2 hours and 30 minutes each WAY and each day just to get to school. She LOVES her textbook!

A simple classroom.