Stuart's Spectacular Students

This is dedicated to my amazing students. The goal is for each and every one of them to feel unstoppable by the time they walk out of the classroom door for the final time in May. This chronicles their journey; their own Chronicles of Self-Actualization.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Open the Greatest Gift

I truly have received the best Christmas, Hannukah, and Id-e-Milad presents this year from my children and students. No matter what their religion or race or color of their hair, they have all given back to me what I have given to them.......seeing themselves for what they truly are.....

Beautiful, possible, and capable of anything they set their minds to

They have given me the shining of their inner beauty.........and as I realize what they have already done in just half a year I feel as if all the holiday lights are shining within me

The math class began the year as the lowest performing students on last year's state tests. On an online program they are now number one in the school and the district, and second in the county among all classes. They are also ranked as the 40th highest among all classes in the state and the 18th highest of all 5th grade classes.

THIS IS HUGE and VERY IMPORTANT for all of us as it could and should lead to the evolution of mankind! How does a group of students/people change so fast in such a short time?

Because they BELIEVED they could, and learned to use those POWERFUL FEELINGS to guide their thoughts towards a POWERFUL PURPOSE.

In reading more students now score A's than anything else, and most do it without sitting in their seats all week being "taught". Instead they spend their time learning about the things THEY WANT TO, and take the tests "cold", seeing the story for the first time, and still ace it.

****(This is a solution for the age-old complaint, "You can lead a horse to water but can't make him drink." - While this is true, what you can do is find out what he or she is thirsty for. What do they want to know more about? If they can master the traditional curriculum (ace the tests) they set themselves free from being chained to their desks by it.)

In social studies and science students tell me they can't wait to get to school to work on and show their projects, one telling me he dreams of being able to come to school at 2am to have the time he wants to work on his boat.

And they have done all this in less time than any other class I've taught. Instead of one group spending all day integrating their subjects, they have to do it in @ one hour then move on to another class.

What it's taken is an accelerated process of what it means to truly dream big (believe in the beauty of yourself) and do big. I've hollered the hades out of them and hugged more heaven into them faster and harder than I've ever done with any class before.

Three different times I've seen my maker beckoning me home before politely refusing the invitation. (Thank you Ray - I needed help refusing one of these requests and you were there to do it. And thank you son, hugging me two years ago after you made a mistake and promised me you wouldn't think you were a mistake because of it.)

It is OK to "work ourselves to death"....for what? To make the boss happy, pay our bills, provide for our children, make as much money as we can, etc.

And we admire our greatest heroes, our sports champions, who "play in pain"....for what? To win a game.

The point is we are all so much more than what we're living, and have been living for thousands of years. We all live, we all sometimes hurt, and we all die. The question we don't ask ourselves is what are we going to live for, suffer in pain for, and eventually die for?

If we're living for more than individual fame and glory, to bring out the best in those around us, to help them see and develop their most beautiful and powerful selves........then we're living for is the most valuable and powerful thing of all........LOVE for more than ourselves.

And what we're one day going to die for is something very valuable and worthwhile.....that leads to the evolution of mankind where more people succeed at becoming more evolved

I just asked Sofia, "What does Daddy live for?"


"What is Daddy going to die for?"


"Are you OK with that?"

"Of course", she just said with a confused look (validating once again that we do know the truth as youth, before it is "taught" out of us and forgotten during adulthood).

"No Dad, you live for money!", she just said with a mocking grin.

With real sadness I told her that's what most of us do end up living and dying for, with short breaks in between called vacations and holidays.

Teachers can also do this math program and I accomplished in one week what it took some to do in 11 months. Very quickly I moved to #1 in the state and 7th in the country. This can only be explained by the fact that I teach to many students individually at the same time, causing my brain to adapt and grow very quickly on a daily basis. 

This is the second program that ranks me as one of the smartest people in the country (the other one in the world). And my mother thought I might be mentally handicapped when I was younger, but so was Einstein and Edison.

I'm thinking so-called "geniuses" are simply those whose brains resist the unnatural filling of its neurons with memorized information and instead learn TO USE their brains to think, connect, solve and create at faster and faster rates. And it's very possible that the smartest of us might still only be using 10% of our brains.

This is what brain plasticity is, and what we're ALL capable of, which the students in my classes are proving as an undeniable fact year-after-year-after-year.

If education doesn't change because of this, then despite how loving, smart and strong I have become, I have failed in becoming nothing more than a poster on someone's wall in the future for someone who probably doesn't need the motivation anyway.

And education will continue to be dotted with teachers who believe they can only hope to reach at least one student each year, and those rare teachers who reach all students in at least one way.

Every single one of us is deserving of having the best brought out in us, each and every year, and going on to spend our lives, living and dying to change the world for the better in our own very special and very powerful way.

We change history by changing the future, and we change the future by changing the present. It's a beautiful thing to see the people around you change and see how beautiful they truly are...

Thank you for doing this kids.

From all of us to all the world,

Happy Holidays

May the best present you open this holiday be yourself.

**Definitely watch this.....every day if possible.....and FEEL it. (same clip but better quality - embedding disabled)

Another great and important clip from the movie about how the brain works

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winners Cry While Losers Whine and Wallow

One of my students asked if I saw the Florida/Alabama game last weekend (college football) and mentioned how the losing quarterback was crying at the end of the game. I told them that was because he (Tim Tebow) was a winner, and that winners cry when they lose because of how deeply they feel. It is this depth of feeling that makes them winners, in times of great frustration and of great happiness.

Mark Ingram cried when he won the Heisman Trophy tonight. Brosden cried after I spent 20 minutes the other day telling him he was better than how he was behaving for his mother. Sofia cried when she heard for the first time how on the day she was pulled out of my school 2 years ago I found out because I stopped by her class to give her a love note. Bella has teared up and so have I as one student after another tears up as I communicate very clearly they are more than they are giving and comes back the next day believing in themselves so much that they do things they've never done before.

And tonight my friend and neighbor told me how he cried at a movie he saw today. This guy is a champion tennis player and a champion Kindergarten teacher. He gets his students to believe in themselves and accomplish incredible things because he does in himself.

Anyway, it's just another random thought I thought I'd share before it passes through my head is soon forgotten because I didn't write it down.

Instead of pretending that you don't care, powerfully practice caring more.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

You Think You're All That

The day after the student with no electricity at home found a way to still do his online math assignment, his friend who also rarely does his homework became the next day's highest grower in terms of points earned. I noticed he was looking at his friend in amazement and pointed out to him that when he does go on the program he does well, which shows me he is very smart.

What further helped him believe in himself was that this observation/praise was coming from his teacher who was the number one teacher in the state on the program and in the top 10 of all teachers in the nation......and it was done in one week as opposed to teachers who have been on the program for 11 months.

So if his friend thinks he's capable of all that and his teacher thinks he's capable of all that....then why not believe he is capable of all that too?

When people "criticize" us by telling us "Oh you think you're all that!", what they are really telling us is that they themselves are feeling insecure at the moment, and our self-confidence is intimidating to them so much that they react by trying to put us down.

The truth is, if we don't believe we are capable of all that - all that growth, all that greatness - how are those around us supposed to believe they are capable of all that too?

The next day after that the student with no computer at home became the day's highest grower by going to the local library and using their computers. He is now the 3rd highest in class overall.....and he doesn't even have a computer at home. What he does have is belief in himself to find a way to overcome his problem.

Another student who has never been the player of the day in class has been our player of the day for the past three days in a row, and two of those days the player of the day for the entire school, and went from a 46% on the Fall county math test to a 96% on yesterday's Winter math test.

This great belief that nothing is impossible has spilled over to the rest of the class - there are 9 people with over 1,000 points on the program - and into the reading class which some of them are also in.On Friday's reading test the lowest score was a C, and there were more A's than any other grade (15 students kicked their desks out of the way by earning their freedom this week to work on projects they want to know more about....when I first started doing this only 2 or 3 were able to earn this freedom).

Yesterday we went outside to practice the vocab for this week's test by saying the word and its definition then running across the field to catch foam golf balls I was sling-shotting high into the air. Last week we used my late Grandfather's golf club, and the results speak for themselves.

And what the results say is that when you don't think you're all that it's not just you who suffers......It's the world around you that does too. If you stay small and afraid of criticism from insecure people, so do those around you. 

But the most important "Oh, Adam you think you're all that" was yesterday. For some reason when my son is with me he is an amazing person who is capable of amazing things, and doesn't need to be on his meds to do it.

And what have I heard? "Oh Adam. You think you're all that."

You better believe I do. He is my son! And if I as his father don't think I'm capable of helping him realize he is capable of all that......How is he suppossed to believe it and become it himself?

It's not what the world thinks of you that matters. It's what the world thinks of itself. It's time to show it that it's not about Me, but We.

Think Big! Be a hero for someone around you everyday.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Today We Become Heroes

One student who didn't do any work over break on the new online math program didn't have electricity. This is the same one who used to throw chairs and punch people. Because I do believe in him and want to protect who he's becoming, I said, "So? That's just an excuse. It's a pretty good one, but it still stopped you didn't it? This other student right here who doesn't have a computer went to his grandfather's a couple of days over break and had the second highest growth in class because of it. How about coming in with a stack of papers filled in with your work, telling me, "Mr. Stuart, I didn't have electricity in my home but I did have it in my heart. Look at what I did do."

What about doing math in the dirt with a stick? Go ahead and cry if u want. Refuse to do the classwork if u want. It's your life. It's your children you'll have to explain why you don't have electricity to as an adult because you didn't overcome the problem as a child.

You can't change the past. You can only change the future. Find a way!

He came up to me in the hallway during bus dismissal and told me his cousin was going to come over with his wireless laptop. I told him if he follows through, if he really does find a way to overcome a very real problem that would hold most people back, he breaks the cycle holding him back......and becomes the stuff movies are made of. All I was trying to do was help him break the cycle by building him into something bigger than the problems creating it.

Because whether or not a movie is actually made of this kid's life, he is the star actor in it. Is he acting with the courage, passion, and power he could and should be? Is he the hero in his own life? Or is he the villain?

The answer is, yes he is the hero. When I checked the progress this morning he grew enough to put him in the top 10 of the class in most growth yesterday.

And it just may have broken the cycle and changed his life because of what he had to overcome in order to do it.

The question for the rest of us now becomes, are we acting with the same courage as this 11-year old? And are we changing our lives because of it?

My uncle died yesterday. I bet he would take on any difficulty no matter how great just to be alive again.

Let's not wait until it's too late. What stopped us yesterday that we won't let stop us today? What obstacle or limiting belief can we overcome by having the courage of an 11-year old?

Let today the day we become heroes.
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