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What's under your cape?

Hi EduMagicians,

This month I read "What's under cape", written by Barbara Gruener. I met Barbara via Twitter years ago and she has always been a positive presence in my feed - from quotes, to inspiration, to sharing ways to include character training in the curriculum she is a go to ! When she was a guest on the EduMagic Podcast she shared two copies of her book and we chatted about kindness and character. Do you want to listen to the episode? Check it out - it is Episode 6. I want to share a few of my favorite takeaways from a few of her chapters. You will have to read the rest to find out more!

Dr. Sam Fecich reading What's under your cape by Barbara Gruener
Dr. Sam Fecich reading What's under your cape by Barbara Gruener

S - Service

This chapter focused on having a servant's heart and attitude. Gruener shares ideas to incorporate this mindset into your classroom through jobs and leadership role serving others in the classroom. She also mentions the great work being done in the area of service learning. She provides many creative and fun ways to engage students in service learning projects at any grade level! It reminded me of a section in EduMagic where I share the power of service learning with my students. Here is a little snippet, "As a class, we were honored enough to have Mike Soskil join us via Skype and talk about his experience and service learning project for his students. By being a connected pre-service teacher, Abbey Mae was able to reach out to him, interview him, and bring in his expertise into her discussion with her peers. Here is her story about the experience in her own words: The inspiration for this paper came from a guest speaker we had in Technology of Instruction class, Mike Soskil, who did a service learning project with his class. Hoping to gain some practical advice for my paper, I tweeted Mr. Soskil and asked to do a Skype interview. He enthusiastically agreed. The interview was such a wonderful and helpful experience. Mr. Soskil provided very insightful advice on how to create a classroom culture that embraces the creative thinking needed to run an effective service-learning project. His personal stories added vividness and clarity to all his information and suggestions. Most of all, it was hugely encouraging to talk to someone who had successfully implemented both an exploratory, self-motivated classroom culture and successful service learning projects. This connection would have been impossible without the resources available through Twitter. How powerful is that? Think about that: she had a Teacher of the Year award winner and service learning guru available to chat with her! She was able to bring in first-hand experience with service learning." I have completed service learning projects with my preservice teachers and it is a great way for them to reach out, have a leadership role, and contribute to the world. What are your ideas for implement SERVICE in your classroom?

U- Unconditional LOVE

This is a concept we hear a lot of when it comes to faith, but maybe not so much in the classroom. We need to show our students unconditional love and be there for them and love on them. Sometimes the students that need the most love are the hardest to love. In her book, Gruener shares one of my favorite concepts - the most valuable A's. I am going to share this with my students in the fall and show how they can be incorporated into ANY classroom.

The most valuable A's a student can earn
The most valuable A's a student can earn

Some students come to class and they want to know, "How do I get an A?" In EduMagic I share with readers, "’s not about the A! Please don’t strive for the A or be all about the points, it’s about the learning – not the A. Please, learn this lesson now. Let me say it again, but in different words so it sinks in a little deeper." But, learning is about these A's that Gruener shares - she goes on in her book and gives ideas and examples to reach each of the A's. So maybe it is all about the A's!

P - Perseverance

"I get knocked down, but I get up again you are never gonna keep me down" - Chumbawumba TubThumper if you grew up in the 90's you know this one hit wonder. Well it popped into my head while reading this section of Barbara's book. Going the distance and not giving up. It's all about the mindset shift and "you gotta keep your head up" - for you Andy Grammar fans. How do you show perseverance to your students?


This chapter reminded me so much of Kristen Nan's post Creating Impact: Take A Walk in My Shoes. Both Gruener and Nan share the power of empathy and teaching it to students through concrete examples . Barbara shares how empathy can be discovered in digging deep and knowing other's needs and reaching them in a special way.

R - Respect

OK I'm sorry but as soon as I finished this chapter I couldn't help by picture this little video segment. My colleague Connie Nichols showed me this video a few years ago and we laughed so hard! In her book, Gruener shares practical strategies to teach respect to even our littlest learners through books and specific questions. My favorite feature of this chapter is the way she shares about the concept of respect through different perspectives.

Friends, Barbara goes on to share in her book more tried and true examples, lesson ideas, and books that relate to honesty, enthusiasm, responsibility, obedience, encouragement, and self discipline. This is a go to book for any teacher looking to cape up and be a superhero in his/her classroom. Barbara's book is available on AMAZON here so pick up today!

Want to win a copy of EduMagic and What's under your cape?
Want to win a copy of EduMagic and What's under your cape?

Contest time!

Win a signed copy of EduMagic and What's under your cape head on over to to learn more.

  1. Follow @Sfecich and @BarbaraGruener on Twitter.

  2. Post one takeaway from the interview - be sure to tag me and Barbara and don't forget hashtag #Whatsunderyourcape and #EduMagic.

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