Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgving Memories

The kids table! I felt so grown when I was about 11 years old and was able to leave the kids table and sit in the formal dining room at my Grandmother's house for Thanksgiving dinner. The white linen tablecloth, silver and china were carefully placed on the table. I was scrunched on the corner, but I did not care as I was so excited to be with the grownups. There was an endless array of food and my grandmother made delicious pies. Those pies were cooling on the sun porch when we arrived. The meal is a hazy memory, but I have distinct recollections of the women laughing and talking in the kitchen afterwards while doing the many dishes. The men often played cards including a competitive game of casino.

We will be gathering at my house this year and now I am the grandmother. Oh my! We will be using paper plates for the crew of over 20, but I will use the good silverware and light the candles. The grandkids actually seem to love the "kids table" as they are all close in age. I wonder what their memories will be as they grow up. What snippets of this Thanksgiving will they remember?

I hope your memories of past holidays are blessed ones and fill you with the joy of the season. Take a few moments to consider and cherish the idea that you are creating new memories for those near and dear to your hearts. As you reflect on your treasured memories, try some new traditions and be sure to include laughter in the Thanksgiving plans that you create for your loved ones.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ice Breakers

I depend on ice breakers for my workshops and training sessions. When I first tried using these handy tools, there was inevitably someone in the audience who would groan, roll their eyes, or give an icy glare (pun intended). Initially this negative reaction made me question the wisdom of incorporating these gems into my workshops.

As I have continued to provide seminars on brain research and humor, it has became very clear from the cognitive research that games, fun and activities add incredible value to the entire learning process. Yep-you heard that right! Ice breakers are not just used at the beginning of the workshop, but can be woven through your program to accomplish your goals and objectives. If you have not tried using icebreakers, I highly recommend you consider incorporating them , as they can provide great benefits to learning (as noted in chapter one of my book, Using Humor to Maximize Learning. )

One benefit for icebreakers is that they give participants the opportunity to review their learning. Pair/share activities are one of my favorite techniques for this review. Another favorite technique is the ball toss assessment. I am sure that most of you have experienced successful icebreakers as a presenter or as a participant.

If you would like more information on ice breakers or would like to contribute your ideas, AATH (Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor) is in the process of inviting their members to share their favorite suggestions for publication on their updated web site. If you are a member of AATH, please contribute your ideas to President-elect, Chip Lutz at or send your suggestions to the links found on the AATH web site

Of course feel free to contact me with your ideas as well. Let's break ice together!