Tag Archive for 9x9x25


There are many items that contribute and determine a student’s success, but I’m only going to touch a few that can help further define a success.  Just to be clear, there are many and diverse items that help determine a student’s success.  These are just a chosen few.

Scholarship being defined as a fund of knowledge and learning is a key with regards to a student’s success in life and career.  When an individual comes into the classroom, their focus should be directed to the learning process and how that learning can be benefiting them in their career and life.  One of the exercises in my career and personal development class is designed to help them consider what their values are and how they match the various roles they have in their life.  From that they need to sort them in a quadrant of roles that are required or self-directed and fulfilling or unfulfilling.  In some cases, I find that students have placed items in the self-directed and unfulfilling quadrant.  I have to ask the question why?  I have found that some students do understand how the acquiring knowledge and learning can serve them well and help them succeed.

Talent is a special ability to something well.  We have all seen students that have “talent.”  We have also seen students that have talent and never seem to fulfill their talent.  As a teacher, we need to encourage students to stretch themselves and use their talent for success.  We also need to remember that as a teacher, we also have talent that we need to exercise and stretch and grow.  Never become complacent.

Understanding is the power to make an experience intelligible by applying concepts and categories.  Teaching is helping students not only understand, but also helping them understand on how to apply their knowledge and learning.  This could be the greatest challenge, but also the most important.

Determination is a quality that makes an individual continue trying to or achieve something that is difficult.  As a teacher, we are also cheerleaders, provocateurs, and drivers for students.  We have to engage and challenge them in the learning process.  Help create their determination to succeed, not only in the course they are taking, but also in their personal life.

Employment can be defined as the occupation by which a person earns a living; work; or business.   From my perspective as a career coach over the last 20-years, employment is the success individuals usually use as a measure of their success.  When we meet someone for the first time, the first question typically is what do you do for a living?  Or what’s your sign?   Students are taking classes to better themselves and increase their standard of living.  Hopefully, they are taking classes that help them grow in their career.  Our curriculum should be aimed at helping them reach their goal of why they are taking classes.

Nurturing is as simple as supporting and encouraging students during their period of training and development.   I feel that all students need support and encouragement – both in the classroom and, at times, with their personal choices.  We should be in a position to direct them to the help they need when they are in need.  We need to be aware of what services are available to help students so they can succeed. Transitioning is moving from one state or form to another.  We need to be aware of our student’s individual needs when they transition into the classroom environment and be prepared to help them as they transition into the next phase of their life.  In some cases, remaining a mentor, in other cases, helping them manage their new career outside of the safety of the classroom.  In rare cases, helping them survive their own success.

Playing with Clay in College

Studying anatomy can be pretty straight forward when you have a list of things you must know and identify. Physiology starts to warp their minds when they have to figure out how things work. Anatomy can be difficult when all the things look the same and are the same shade of tan or grey. I am talking about a brain. A preserved sheep brain, specifically. It looks like a squiggly blob and then they get a list of things they have to identify and know what it does.

So we are actually talking about ‘brain surgery’ here. Where can you cut or if you cut what will you affect?

To get my students to really figure out the brain in a 3-D way I have them play with clay.

During my brain lab, I begin with asking students to build a brain. They are using clay and have to build a three dimensional brain including all the features they have to know about. My online students have to do the same thing. All my students build a brain. When they are done, they have to tell their classmates about it. In class, each student group (they sit at round-ish tables) will have one representative that ‘presents’ their brain. Then the class votes for the best one. Online students do this individually. They have to make a brain with clay and post a video to their blog pointing out each of the features Fellow students then comment on their colleague’s brain.

Students laugh when I first present this assignment, but then are excited to get to work. Some of them are fantastic and very detailed. The activity forces every student to do something and get involved in the learning as they each have to make different parts of the brain, even if there is one person putting it together. It is very much a collaborative project.

After students complete their clay brain and have presented it to the class (or video) then they "get to dissect" a preserved sheep brain. Students then show me the same features from their list that they had to know and make for their clay brain. I have found that students do so much better on learning the brain features and functions when they do the clay brain activity first. I noticed a significant improvement in brain identification and regional understanding when the clay brain project was incorporated compared to previous semesters when I was not using the clay activity. The purchase of clay is included in my syllabus class requirements now and I have expanded it to also make a clay model of any eye before dissecting a cow eye.

there’s a class for this?

I teach  Stretch and Flex.


PHE 110A. Stretch and Flex (1). Flexibility and stretching exercises to improve posture, increase joint flexibility, and reduce stress reactions.

Oh the joy of teaching this class!  We warm up with about 12 minutes of cardio.   This all important step will gently increase our heart rate to get more blood flow to the muscles, tendons & ligaments and prepare our body for what’s to come.  We sometimes giggle, sing, and shout out happy birthdays…  We get comfy and back into our bodies after being out of the classroom for a few days.

Then I bring our heart rate back down with some dynamic stretching.  Dynamic / moving stretches activate our muscles while  improving range of motion and body awareness.  The energy in the classroom comes down and goes within.  We get out of our happy, cardio head and begin feeling the body.  I’ll incorporate balance & slow strength during this segment which can sometimes be as sweaty as our warm-up because we are so focused.

Some days we use weights.  Hand weights.  We ‘throw’ these around to enhance our muscular control and endurance.  Some days we use the big fitness balls.  These are great for accentuating our entire core.  Ever try a push up or plank on the fitness ball?  It’s a great workout :)

I really like to sense the energy of each class and go from there.  So much of our life is full throttle so the  simplicity of rediscovering our parasympathetic  nervous system is a real treat. Taking the time to deeply relax and go within can add years to our life.  After integrating a relaxing experience, the students will look around with a softened gaze.  They feel soooo relaxed.  “This is good”, I tell them. “Take the time to enjoy this.   ahhh”~

When was the last time you felt amazingly relaxed?


Giving Away our Pizza for . . . Wait for It . . . Partnership!?! – An Allegory

“What do you want Barry?" Tony asked brusquely. Barry just stared back at Tony with his impish little grin which often meant that he was about to ask for something he shouldn’t. This time, Tony was more than prepared to take a hard line against Barry and his ludicrous demands.

“You know what I want Tony" Barry said imperiously. “I want your recipe. I want to sell your pizza, right here in my shop, and I want you to give it to me for free."

Fat chance of that, Tony thought. Even if the little wimp had my recipe, he couldn’t deliver my service, my quality and he can’t even get his hands on my ingredients. I’ve worked with these suppliers for years, getting the best ingredients at the best prices and it’s been a win-win for everybody, now he wants in on the action, just like that, in the name of “partnership". I don’t think so. Not to mention, his under-qualified staff could never pull-off our product. Tony forced a smile. Got to keep it civil though, Corporate wants things civil between us, although I don’t know why.

“I don’t know Barry, that’s a tall order. Let me check with corporate and see if there is anything that I can do for you."

Tony’s astonishment at Barry’s nervy request betrayed itself in his stammering gait as he exited Barry’s dinky little Prescott Pizzeria with its dingy paint job and dilapidated eighties-something dining room, complete with chipped Formica tables and hideous orange indoor/outdoor carpeting.

“Can you believe the nerve of that guy?" Tony muttered to himself as he stopped by Yavapai Pizzeria, ‘Prescott’s pizza exploration station—pizza explored’, to pick up the daily sales report. Corporate is never going to go for it. Prescott Pizzeria, how ridiculous. They don’t even have a sales slogan. “Pizza explored," now that’s going to sell some pizzas.

. . . .

“Well, if we don’t partner with Barry, someone else will. So, I think we should just give him what he wants." It was Don Andersen, corporate lackey, on the other end of the Skype conference.

Let him partner with someone else! We have the best pizza in town, for the best prices. The mark-up on another partnership will push his prices too high and none of his clients will want to pay it, especially when they could get the quality of Yavapai Pizza from us, for much less. Besides, I’ve ran the numbers. If we give him our recipe, we’ll lose money on each and every pizza he sells. How is that good for US; a partnership is supposed to benefit both parties, not just bonehead Barry!"

“Let’s just give it a try Tony. All the other big pizza joints are partnering with the public pizza joints like Barry’s Prescott Pizzeria. There might be future clients in it for us one day".

“So let me get this straight, we’re going to give Barry our recipe for free, to start making our pizzas with unqualified chefs and low quality ingredients, then he’s going to slap Yavapai’s label on the box and sell it out of his shop. And to top it all off, each time Barry sells a pizza, we lose money?"

“Yes, and don’t forget that we’ll be paying Barry to make our pizza, so he’ll be taking home a little extra in his paycheck each month, not to mention the fact that he will also see a stark increase in his clientele, because word will spread quickly that Prescott Pizzeria is going to be making our pizza now, and giving it to the public for free."

“Wait, wait, wait; he’s going to be giving our pizza away for free?" Tony asked as he tried to pick his jaw up off the floor.

“Yep. But don’t worry; his target market is just high schoolers. You know, the annoying little adolescent types. His clientele isn’t as refined as ours. His increased revenue shouldn’t short change us . . . much anyway."

“How is that fair to our clients who pay good money for our pizza. If he gives it away for free, what’s in it for him?"

“He markets that he sells Yavapai Pizza and his clientele instantly shoots up for all his other products."

“No offense sir, but it might be slightly difficult to compete with someone who gives our pizza away for free, even if he doesn’t get the recipe perfect, like we do here at Yavapai Pizzeria. Close enough is good enough when you are getting a version of our product for free. How in the world will we recover our losses?"

“Well, when they get a taste for our pizza through Barry, they’ll be hooked and have to come to us."

“What if they get their fill of pizza and want to move right into the higher priced restaurants, like Northern Arizona Stake House, in Flagstaff? Do we have any proof that they’ll come to our pizzeria after Barry?" Tony wanted to know.

“Well no, we don’t actually have any proof of that."

“So, wait, one more time. We are going to give our pizza to Prescott for free. Barry, who will earn a stipend, paid by us, for his efforts, will use underqualified staff and cheap ingredients to produce a counterfeit version of our pizza which he will slap in a box with a Yavapai label on it, and in turn, give away to his customers for free; we’ll lose money on all of his pizzas, and to top it all off, we have no way of knowing if we will ever pick-up some of his clientele, due to our new found ‘partnership’?"

“Yep, that about sums it up. We’ll also keep our losses low by not paying you anything extra for going out to train Barry and his staff to make our pizzas" Don said, with an upbeat tone.

“Oh, well that’s reassuring. So, other than the fact that we lose money and likely lose clientele, what’s in it for us again?" Tony asked.

“Partnership, Tony! Aren’t you looking forward to working with Barry? Spending all your extra time coming up with common final recipes, training his staff and overseeing his production? What a great bonding exercise."

“To be honest, we had a pretty good partnership prior, but now Barry’s developed the most annoyingly smug laugh and he’s a nightmare to be around. Plus, he’s cancelled all of the monthly workshops we used to do with the other little pizza shops in the area because he’s afraid they’ll get wind of our partnership and want to partner with us too. To be honest, I’ve never felt more distant from Barry. So besides partnership, is there anything else?"

“Well, we also have the peace of mind that we’re doing what all the other county pizzerias are doing."

“You mean, the ones that are teetering on the verge of bankruptcy and the ones who have slashed their pizza making departments?"

“Yep, those ones. They’re all doing it, so maybe we should too."

“Don, did your mother ever ask you a question about what everyone else was doing and a bridge?"

“What are you talking about Tony?"

“Never mind, Yavapai Pizzeria, over and out".

. . . .

In the coming months, Tony spent most of his free time with Barry who was becoming richer and richer with the increased clientele, and of course, he was becoming subsequently more and more smug.

“Hey Tony, is that your Vespa in the parking lot? I think that I accidently ran over it with my new Hummer. Don’t worry, I’m sure my platinum-level insurance will cover it! Danny’s going to hold down the fort for me again today. I’m headed to Cancun with my new girlfriend, her purse dog and her new surgically enhanced body! Call me if you have any trouble babe!" then he formed his right thumb and forefinger into a gun, clicked his tongue as he pulled the trigger and winked at Tony over the top of his brand-new Ray Ban aviators.

“Gosh that guy is getting on my nerves" Tony said.

Danny, Barry’s protégé, just shrugged his shoulders and went back to grating the mozzarella. Tony had to admit though, Barry was doing a fair job with his pizza. Despite his annoying demeanor, Barry had done some culinary studies and his pizza was improving, with painstaking efforts by Tony. The problem was Danny. Danny was a good guy and he meant well, but he was left making the pizza more and more often and Danny, well, Danny was horrible. When Danny was left alone, the pizza looked and tasted bad, nevertheless, he’d shove it in the Yavapai box and some people thought it was Tony’s pizza. Tony and Yavapai Pizzeria were starting to get a bad reputation, mostly because of poor Danny.

“He means well, he’s just never made pizza before and he’s only had the most basic culinary training. There’s not a lot that I can do with him. He just doesn’t have the skills" Tony complained to Don Andersen via Skype. “What can I do? His pizza is horrible and he’s making us look bad."

“Just be patient with him. You’ll have to. I just got a Tweet from Barry. He’s not coming back from Cancun. He’s started working for Amway in Mexico. Apparently, they haven’t heard much about multi-level marketing down there and the Poblanos are buying into it, hook, line and sinker. Barry’s making money hand-over-fist down there. He’s going to be bigger than the cartels, lucky son-of-a-buck! He’s making Danny the new store manager."

“Danny! He’s not even qualified to make our pizza."

“According to Barry he is and that’s good enough for us. We really don’t have a say in the matter."

“Why not?!! It’s our pizza, isn’t it?" Tony was furious. “Don’t we have a say in who makes it. We’d never hire the likes of Danny to make our pizza here at Yavapai, yet he’s at Barry’s making horrid pizza and putting our name on it. What is Norther Arizona Stake House hears about this? They’ll never consider my application!" Tony was shouting now and that little vein was coming out on his forheas that looked like the Flux Capacitor from Back to the Future.

“Calm down Tony! You’re a great chef and trainer. I’m sure you’ll make it all alright. How’s that pay increase treating you? Three percent this year, not bad, right?"

. . . .

But things didn’t turn out alright. Danny continued to pump out horrible Yavapai pizza at the Prescott shop. He continued catering to adolescents, but most of them already had eaten all of their required pizza by the time they wanted to come see Tony and if by some miracle they weren’t ruined for pizza consumption by Danny, most would-be customers figured that they’d already had Tony’s pizza, because “it’s all Yavapai Pizza anyway, right?" Eventually there weren’t enough clients for Tony and Danny to both stay open, so Yavapai Pizza closed down. Danny still pumped out his version of Yavapai Pizza, but community members were locked out entirely because they didn’t feel comfortable picking through the hormones and SnapChat messages in order to actually pick-up Yavapai Pizza at Danny’s shop.

So, Tony packed up his “Top Cheff" and “Cheff of the Year" medallions and trophies and loaded them onto his beat-up Vespa and turned the lights off on his beloved little pizza shop for the last time. As legend has it, he carved out a pint-sized life teaching Italian at a quaint little community college in Arizona somewhere. Those culinary trips abroad finally paid off for something, but unfortunately for Tony, it wasn’t for really great pizza at an affordable price. It’s a shame too, Italian professors are a dime a dozen, what the world needs more than anything though, is a really great pizza chef.

Two Reasons SmartMat’s Second Promotional Video Ain’t Too Smart

After watching SmartMat’s first promotional video, as a Yoga instructor, the first thing I felt was “WOW!”

SmartMat’s First Promotional Video on Youtube

Then all my thoughts got jumbled in my head as I tried to make sense of what I just watched. So, like any ‘SmartPerson,’ I went to SmartMat’s website, googled around, and looked on Youtube, and then, I saw SmartMat’s second promotional video.
SmartMat’s Second Promotional Video on Youtube

Honestly, SmartMat’s second promotional video just ‘ain’t too smart,’ and it probably hurts their promotion more than helps. The video shows people putting down in-class Yoga instructors. I get it. It’s a business, and as a business, they think they know their competition, but they don’t, and they think it’s a smart business tactic, but it’s not. Here are two simple reasons why:

Reason 1: Technological modes of how to do Yoga from a VHS Yoga tape to Yoga on the Wii Fit have never been in direct competition with in-class Yoga Instructors. The reason is simple. People who want an in-class Yoga class, take an in-class Yoga class. The people who don’t, guess what, they don’t. Rather, they do Yoga by watching an old VHS Yoga tape they may have, a Yoga DVD they just got on Christmas, an Online Yoga video they saw on Youtube, Yoga on Netflix or Wii Fit, and so on. These technological modes of how to do Yoga is SmartMat’s direct competition, not the in-class Yoga instructor.

Reason 2: The world of in-class Yoga instructors is huge and extremely influential in promoting any Yoga product. So, as a business, SmartMat should want the in-class Yoga instructors on their side. SmartMat needs to be smart, creative and get these instructors on their side. For example, for me, when I get my SmartMat, I may include the SmartMat into my college Yoga courses, allowing my online Yoga students to use it, encouraging my onsite Yoga students to use it, and who knows, I may even end up teaching a SmartMat Yoga college course all online or all onsite.

Now, I know the crowdfunding for the SmartMat is just awesome, raising double the amount asked, $110,000 to $233,646, as I write this. So, yes, people have faith in the product. But the Yoga industry is a billion dollar business, and I mean, billions, with millions of people who practice Yoga, and I mean millions. So why not simply make more money by knowing who’s who in the World of Yoga, and by simply enlisting the 70+ thousand Yoga instructors and not rejecting them.

The crowdfunding for the SmartMat – Indiegogo, Inc.