I’ve been facilitating groups of graduate students for a local university for about ten years. When I first began I was introduced to a warm-up activity entitled GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS by my colleague, Michael Anderson. At the time I thought it was a pretty basic activity, primarily giving us something to do while others filed in for the beginning of class. The group members did not seem terribly excited about this group check-in where we sat in a circle and everyone had a chance to tell about any good or bad news they wished to share. To my surprise, as the group repeated this activity session after session, more people began to participate, offering their positive and negative experiences from the week and listening to others as they took their turns. They even began to comment on each other’s musings, offering support and connections to their previous comments. I began to be aware that something special was happening to the group and I think it had something to do with this activity.

I began to use this activity when I met with groups of children in my role as a school counselor. They had the same response: they liked the opportunity to talk about aspects of their previous week. One child asked if they could offer comments of a random nature, not good or not bad. Our activity was renamed GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS/JUST NEWS.

It’s taken me a while to understand the power and meaning of this simple activity. I believe it has something to do with the fact that people today have little time to tell others about themselves and to listen to others doing the same. It may be because there is a relationship between sharing feelings with others and building trust with those others. That is, as people trust other members of a group, they are more willing to share their thoughts and experiences. And as they share their thoughts and experiences with others, the result is trust building.

Adults, especially teachers, have little time in their busy days to share their professional and personal feelings with others. We keep all of these thoughts bottled up inside because we have not the time or the place to share them. Finding opportunities to do that offers great release and increases professional efficacy and personal satisfaction. We challenge you to find opportunities to do this for yourself and also to create opportunities for the same with your students.


February 28, 2010. Uncategorized. 5 comments.

Our Children are in Good Hands

I recently retired from the St. Paul, Minnesota Public School District after more than thirty years of teaching. Looking back on my career, I find that one of my life’s best decisions was to go into education. I have thoroughly enjoyed my career and the students in my classroom. I have continued my career in education by having the honor of teaching students in the education department at Hamline University, which is also located in Minnesota’s capital city.

For years now we have heard how the field of education struggles to attract quality teachers. I am thrilled to say that I believe this is definitely not the case at Hamline. Since teaching at the University, I have been encouraged and inspired by our education students. I find them to be committed, passionate, and dedicated to a career of helping children grow and learn. Teaching classes to this group of education students has been refreshing. I believe that if the quality of students at Hamline is any indication of the type of students the field is attracting nationally then our children are in good hands.

February 8, 2010. Uncategorized. 3 comments.