Our habit this week is compassion. Teaching this habit is probably the most effective way to rid our families and schools of bullying. Compassion cares, listens, stands up for those who can’t, and gives support to those in need.  The root of the word compassion is “passion” and passion is defined as pain. To be com-passionate is “to be with someone’s pain”. When we stop to listen, assist, and serve others in need we experience harmony in our families, schools, and community. Compassion uplifts a person in need as well as the one providing the lift. Compassion, like physical and academic skills, is something that is not fixed, but rather can be enhanced with training and practice. If we fertilize our child’s mind with compassionate ideas and provide experiences to practice this habit their brain will wire this way. Amazingly, it appears that it only takes a bit of practice (3-20 times) to develop the neuro-pathway.  Here are a few key principles for fertilizing compassion:

  • Expect help
  • Outlaw name calling
  • Point out heroes
  • Monitor media
  • Speak with good purpose

Most nightly news shows save the best stories for last by reporting on episodes of human compassion at the very end of the newscast. Watch these with your kids and have a discussion about the purpose and power of compassion. Here are a few other ideas to help teach our kids this critical habit:

  • Heart – allow your child to serve a family member who isn’t feeling well.
  • Mind – read stories about compassionate characters.
  • Body – do chores for a neighbor in need.
  • Soul – discuss times that you were on the receiving and the giving ends of compassion.

“Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” Nelson Mandela

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”  – Dalai Lama

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Low and behold, concentration is our habit of the week! It’s a simple thought with profound effects. As it did for the DI kids, concentrating on the use of our intelligences leads us to great success and happiness. To concentrate is to focus our attention. With knowledge doubling every 18 months, what should we be concentrating our attention on? How about what is true and admirable? When our thoughts are concentrated on these things we act like these things. When our thoughts are focused on yuk and the negative in life so too will our heart, mind, body, and soul be. Listening to positive music, reading great stories, speaking kind words, and finding the best in people – these things  provoke joy, compassion, and peace in our lives. Just like feeding our bodies healthy foods, healthy thoughts nourish our hearts and minds. A concentration on these things improves our well-being and guides us toward happiness and achievement.  Concentrating is a mindful choice to focus and center ourselves on what is right and good. Habituating healthy thoughts will habituate a healthy life. Generally, smart people don’t react to life; they make a conscious decision to think smart. It is an intellectual character trait that can be nurtured in children.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Heart – ask your child to concentrate on the sounds within nature. Listen intently for the various sounds of animals and plants.
  • Mind – examine the stories that you and your child are reading and talk about the traits of their favorite characters and why they like them.
  • Body – provide concentrated practice in an effort to improve a physical skill. Throwing a ball, following a dance step, shooting baskets, etc.. are basic concentration habits. It takes hundreds of attempts to get good at such a task.
  • Soul – ask your child to listen to a piece of music and to identify the various instruments being played.

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Saint Paul

“Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a DESTINY.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“What do I mean by concentration? I mean focusing totally on the business at hand and commanding your body to do exactly what you want it to do.” –  Arnold Palmer


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Metacognition may be a big brain-babble word, but it sure is nice to stop and think about what we think about. All too often our thoughts are driven by the noise of the day and not so much by the passion or purpose of life.  

Metacognition is the core of all the habits we teach each week. One of my favorite sayings is, “Learning is something we do; it is not something that happens to us.” This is what metacognition is all about. Recognizing what we are thinking, saying, and doing is the first step to controlling and telling our brains what to think, say, and do. In her book, Switch on Your Brain, Dr. Caroline Leaf explains how we have complete control of what our brain thinks and therefore, what we choose to do. When you are cognizant about what you are thinking, saying, and doing, you are driving your brain. You do learning! This is the power of proactive and positive living. Being in the driver seat requires clear direction and assertive behavior. Thinking about thinking is precisely that. Too often the circumstances in life drive our actions and we become slaves instead of masters of circumstances. Let’s help our children to think about their thinking this week. One powerful way to teach this to kids is to model it. Talk about what you think about. Show your children how to think about thinking by saying it out loud. Here are a few other ways to support this habit:

  • Heart – role play a challenging situation.
  • Mind – talk through a math problem before writing out.
  • Body – practice the steps to a sport skill verbally, then do it physically.
  • Soul – talk about how a piece of music makes you feel and think.

“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.” – Socrates

“When the mind is thinking, it is talking to itself.” – Plato

“So few people are really aware of their thoughts. Their minds run all over the place without their permission, and they go along for the ride unknowingly and without making a choice.”  ― Thomas M. Sterner, The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life

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AACA hosts ribbon cutting for new Maker Space

San Miguel, CA –  Almond Acres Charter Academy students now have access to an on-site Maker Space. The Maker Space provides a place for students to learn by being innovative and creative.  The space includes a soldering station, Lego wall, 3D printer, laser engraver, craft supplies, materials to make textiles and circuits, hand tools, and more. Salvaged parts of technology equipment and other items encourage students to tinker and learn by doing.  “This all started with a $500 grant from SESLOC. We wanted to teach our students circuitry and coding with Makey Makey’s, but it has blossomed into this amazing creative space for the students,” said Jill Ogorsolka, Maker Space and Destination Imagination Team Coordinator at Almond Acres.  

Keilah Smith, aide to State Representative Jordan Cunningham, presented a Certificate of Recognition at the ribbon cutting ceremony on behalf of the Representative, congratulating the school on the grand opening of the Maker Space.

Almond Acres will be hosting its 2nd Annual School Maker Faire on Friday, June 8. If you would be interested in having a community booth to share your Maker skills with the students, please contact Jill Ogorsolka via email at

To learn more about Almond Acres Charter School’s dedication to providing 21st century skills and whole child education, visit their website at  

Via: Paso Robles Press