21st Century, Creativity, Inspiration

Inspire My Kids…and yours, and theirs….

On my old blog (sorry blog, I still love you and promise I will visit soon!) I posted about this great website called Inspire My Kids.  Inspire My Kids is a website where you can find real life stories to inspire the kids in your life. The site is organized under four headings:


– such as goodness, perserverance, responsibility and sportsmanship


– such as leadership, charity, environment, sports and music


Age Range
– 5+, 8+, 12+, 18+ and All


– article, podcast, reference or video



According to the website itself, here are ten reasons teachers should be using Inspire My Kids in their classrooms:


1) It’s good for the world and your kids.

2) The site makes it fun for kids to see the pillars and traits of character education in action.

3) Get ideas and inspiration for Service learning projects.

4) Students love it. Really.

5) It’s free and you can use it today.

6) You and your class can help us shape the site.

7) inspiremykids is being used successfully in classes today.

8) The content might even inspire you! You will likely be amazed (and probably brought to tears) by the amazing stories we feature here.

9) Did we say that students love it?

10) You likely started your career to help inspire children and make the world a better place. We’re here to help you do this.


This website is perfect for everyone but especially those doing the PYP Exhibition.  We want kids to take meaningful action?  What better way to get them motivated to do so than by searching through some of the content on this website?  What I really like is that not only can you get inspired, you can offer inspiration to others and share your kids stories in order for them to continue to share the love with other kids.


Inspire My Kids turned 1 in November last year.  In recognition of this, they published the 11 posts they felt had made the most impact.  What I also like (I will say this a lot – there is nothing to ‘dislike’ about this site!) is that at the end of each post, they don’t just leave the reader hanging.  They offer some follow-up prompts to encourage further thought and discussion on the ‘inspiration’ piece.   Here are the top eleven followed by the three question sets you will find at the end of each post:  Topics for discussion, Take Action, and Teacher Features.

11.  Eric Thomas – The “Hip Hop Preacher”

10.  High School Track Star Crawls Her Way to the Finish Line

9.  Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things

8.  Wesley Autrey – The “Subway Superman”

7.  The Panyee Football Club – A Near-Impossible Dream Realized

6.  A Brilliant Idea – A Special Soccer Ball That Provides Energy to Developing Countries

5.  Rory (Craig) Koonce – Making the Impossible Possible!

4.  The Ultimate Act of Sportsmanship

3.  Nadin Khoury – From Bullying Victim to Brave Spokesperson

2.  The Incredible Story Behind the Star-Spangled Banner

1.  Friends at First Sight – Suryia the Orangutan and Roscoe the Dog


Topics for Discussion:

  • Which Inspire My Kids post is your favorite? Why?
  • Which Inspire My Kids posts have inspired you to make changes in your life?

Take Action:

  • As you read through the top ten posts, look at the Take Action sections and see which ones you can participate in today!
  • Set a goal to take positive action in your life, just as the people (and animals) in these posts have done. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the subject of one of our future posts!

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


I am looking forward to seeing how this website will help inspire my kids as they start to think about taking authentic action as part of the Exhibition – and their lives. I am looking forward to seeing how they do at putting themselves ‘out there’ and sharing their thoughts and actions with others.



SIDE NOTE: With the idea of ‘putting themselves out there’ fresh in my mind, I just read an article written by someone who does ‘put themselves out there’ and in doing so, subjects herself to the possibility of criticism.  I think this is a really interesting point worth talking about and in many ways, links back to creating a positive digital footprint.  I was surprised when I googled my name that high up on the list was a link to a comment I had posted on a friend’s website.  I was writing ‘to him’ but clearly I was also writing to the whole world.  To me, this reinforces the comment made by Marina that digital citizenship is really just ‘citizenship’.  What makes you a ‘good person’ in real life also applies to your digital life.  If you disagree with someone’s ideas in real life you don’t go up to them and call them ‘ugly’ or ‘stupid’ but it is ok to respectfully share your different opinion.  When it stoops to name calling – inappropriate.  Take a leaf out of the Inspire My Kids book and use your words for good.

21st Century

Positive Digital Footprints

What happens when you Google your name?  Try it.  What you see is just part of your digital footprint.

Creating a digital footprint.  This is something I have been thinking about for a while now.  More recently it is pressing on me to learn more, do more and educate more on this topic.  Here is why – read the following conversation between myself (STB) and one of my gorgeously curious and motivated students (GCMS):

STB: Hey!  What’s up?  How’s your blog?

GCMS: Fine.  I don’t want to blog any more though.

STB:  Egads! Why ever not!?

GCMS: Because no one reads it, so what’s the point?

Honestly, I have to agree with her.  I don’t blog so that I can check my stats and see who is reading my posts (ok….I DO get a kick out of seeing where my readers are from AND I like that WordPress is so cute and encouraging when I have a ‘good reader’ day!).  I blog for a lot of reasons:

  • to learn
  • to connect with likeminded people
  • to learn
  • to share with and give back to the education community
  • to learn
  • to learn
  • to learn
  • to learn

Don’t our kids want the same?  I learn when people comment.  I learn when I see posts retweeted or ‘liked’.  I learn by doing and by getting feedback.

Here is why my gorgeous student has no readers.  Her blog is like Fort Knox.  It literally is in a black hole of nothingness, accessible to no one but those with the link to her site.  No one will stumble across her work by accident.  The same is true of all my kids blogs.  They are missing that huge factor that makes blogging better than a notebook – they have missed out on having an immediate global audience.   Here is (in part) why:

In his article “Positive Digital Footprints”, author William M. Ferritter asks a group of 7th grade students at an international school in Maryland, USA what a digital footprint is.  Here is what they said:

The students gave me a definition right out of my worst nightmare: Digital footprints are the trails people leave behind when they live online—and Internet predators use these trails to track down careless tweens and teens. “At our elementary school, they really tried to scare us,” explained a group member. “It’s like they wanted us to be afraid of what would happen if we used the Internet.”

He goes on to quote technology expert, Will Richardson:

One of my worst fears as [my children] grow older is that they won’t be Googled well. … that when a certain someone (read: admissions officer, employer, potential mate) enters “Tess Richardson” into the search line of the browser, what comes up will be less than impressive. That a quick surf through the top five hits will fail to astound with examples of her creativity, collaborative skills, and change-the-world work. Or, even worse, that no links about her will come up at all. (p. 16)

For this reason – among many more – I want to make sure that my kids are ‘well googled’.

One way to ensure this would be to follow the very comprehensive digital citizenship program in effect at Yokohama International School.   It was not in place when I worked there so I can’t speak of it first hand but it is definitely something I want to investigate (and post more on) in the very near future.  Thanks to Kim Cofino, Technology and Learning Coach at YIS for being so generous in the sharing of your work!  I look forward to thoroughly investigating further!

Here is some more reading:

Positive Digital Footprints