Motivation Monday

Every once in a while we'll come across a person, research or a personal story that is truly inspirational.

Sometimes you hit the jackpot and find all three.

Almost every Monday we'll send you a story about a teacher, a parent or a child that will motivate you as you kick-off your week. Join our mailing list. You don't want to miss out.


From and Connecticut Public Radio: Making Sense. Deaf Children and the Choices Their Parents Must Make.

Read or listen to the story below. and Connecticut Public Radio. Making Sense. Deaf Children and the Choices Their Parent's Face

🤟 What is the most difficult choice you've made as a parent or teacher? Why did you make the decision you did?

24 years ago, I had to make similar calculations about what would be best

Alex with cochlear implant

for my child, "Emma". I was already behind the curve. The state of Tennessee didn't automatically test a child's hearing at birth. While technology and research have made some of these decisions easier, the concepts and cultures of deaf or Deaf often conflict.


Andy Mineo's song for his sister Grace. Grace is deaf and Andy only realized the importance of sign language later in life.

Andy Mineo's awakening to his sister's deafness.

13 May 2019

🤟 “Hear My Heart” Andy Mineo’s song for his sister Grace - CAUTION your heart won't be the same.

 🤟 “It's not that I did somethin',

it's the fact that I didn't”

Haven’t we all been there? Watch Andy's video. You can’t help but see/hear his heart.

Two mothers, two stories, same unshakeable love.

6 May 2019

In celebration of Mother’s Day, today’s story will focus on two mothers, one who speaks from the TED stage and the other from this newsletter’s page.

 Heather Lanier TED Talk "Good" and "bad" are incomplete stories we tell ourselvesAlexandra (Emma) with her cochlear implant.

Read about these otherwise everyday moms here. Or click on the pictures to see their stories.


What is it that makes bilingual or multilingual brains different? 

TED Ed and the bilingual brain

 29 April 2019

From the TED_Ed Talk

“It's well known that the brain's left hemisphere is more dominant and analytical in logical processes, while the right hemisphere is more active in emotional and social ones, though this is a matter of degree, not an absolute split. The fact that language involves both types of functions while lateralization develops gradually with age, has lead to the critical period hypothesis. According to this theory, children learn languages more easily because the plasticity of their developing brains lets them use both hemispheres in language acquisition, while in most adults, language is lateralized to one hemisphere, usually the left.”

Click here to view the entire message.

A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.  (Bruce Wayne)

15 April 2019



Heroes are teachers, parents and caregivers. Everyday you stare challenges in the face; you wipe away tears and sooth fears. You solve conflicts that would subdue world leaders. You communicate through smiles and hugs;  you speak to the children on their level, in their language; seeking to make a connection that will enable each child to grow and prosper. Click on the images and share with your superhero.




Eli as I LOVE YOU man. Superhero and sign language teacher     I LOVE YOU in sign language with description of how to sign I Love You.







To see the full communication click here.

Do you remember watching Marlee Matlin in Children of a Lesser God?

8 April 2019

I have memories of how romantic I thought it was that a handsome man could fall in love with a young deaf woman. I wanted to learn sign language; I wanted to be strong and independent just like Marlee's character. But honestly -- I didn't want to be deaf.  Nor did I want to share her frustration and isolation. Little did I know...

For the rest of the story, click here.

It was the ability that mattered, not disability, which is a word I'm not crazy about using.

We aren't handicapped in any way except by what other people think. Marlee Matlin quote.


Sticks and may break my bones but words...  

Will what? Break the spirit or empower? Slam down or raise up? 

1 April 2019








  Shane Koycazn TED TalkShane tells his story of growing up in a world where words were used crush his soul. And where words were his path out of that world, where he found solace and acceptance in poetry. 


Learn more about this beautiful story.

The Man Bringing Hip-Hop to the Deaf

Chance the Rapper was backstage when he saw Matt Maxey interpreting hip-hop music for deaf and hard-of-hearing fans. He'd never seen an interpretation like that before.

The man bringing hip-hop to the Deaf, Matt Maxey

Matt is the hip-hop signing sensation who makes music more accessible to the deaf and hard-of-hearing. He didn't begin signing until he was 18 years old when he learned so that he could sign along with his favorite hip-hop songs.

Matt Maxey is the creator, founder and CEO of DEAFinitely Dope. Watch him wow his fans and inspire awe in musicians.

See the full story here.

This is personal.

18 March 2019

A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.  Agatha Christie

This is the first part of an email exchange that Stacy Eldred, the author and founder of Emma and Egor had with her new illustrator Lucía Benito.

Eldred Family Photo. Emma and Egor founder Stacy Eldred.
" When Alex was little I was always frustrated about not being able to communicate effectively with her. This was such a challenge emotionally for me. I was a single mom and was struggling financially (really really poor) and in many other ways. Alex kept me focused and on track when I really wanted to give up. I had to be creative when teaching Alexandra because she was so visual I couldn't keep her attention (unless I was standing on my head) haha.

She was involved in a Deaf/Oral school called Louisville Deaf Oral School which gave her an advantage over 99% of the HOH (hard-of-hearing) kids in America.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

What do rewards have to do with motivation?

They are not always as effective as we think.

11 March 2019

Puzzle of Motivation. TED Talk

From Dan's talk, "Think about your own work. Are the problems that you face, or even the problems we've been talking about here, do they have a clear set of rules, and a single solution? No. The rules are mystifying. The solution, if it exists at all is surprising and not obvious." 

See the whole communication here.

Love and Chores. Grades and Scores.

4 March 2019

TED Talk How to raise successful kids without overparenting.What do chores have to do with good grades and getting into the "right" college? Let Julie Lythcott-Haims explain in her TED Talk. We push our children, manage their fun, hover, helicopter and then hope that they are happy and well-adjusted in their checklisted childhood.

Click here to see the original.

A Passionate Advocate for Children

25 February 2019

Today we're saying thank-you to Gerilee "Geri" Gustason and honoring her memory.Gerilee "Geri" Gustason

At Emma and Egor we strongly believe that sign language benefits all children. Our introduction to sign began over 20 years ago when a young child, "Emma" and her family learned to sign.  The sign language chosen was SEE. SEE is a sign language system designed to be an exact representation of English vocabulary and grammar.

Gerilee and her friend and colleague Esther Zakolkow co-authored Signing Exact English. View the full post here.

Joy. Laughter. Play. Learning.

18 February 2019

"If you are a parent, you know that kids love to keep making circles." The children in this school run more than 2 miles a day, they jump, climb trees and yes, they sit on the roof.

Welcome to a President's Day version of Motivation Monday. Today, it's all about rethinking about what a school might look like if designed by children.  In Japan an architect did just that.

Takaharu Tezuka walks us through a design process that lets kids be kids.

TED Talk The best kindergarten you've ever seen

View the full post here.

Mmmm, Broccoli. Ewwww, Yuck, Crackers.

11 February 2019

"What do babies think? turns out that there's a relationship between how long a childhood a species has and how big their brains are compared to their bodies and how smart and flexible they are."

TED Ideas worth spreading. Alison Gopnik on What do Babies Think?It's Motivation Monday and Alison Gopnick shares research she conducted to answer the question,

"What is going on in this baby's mind?"

View full post here.

Language. Deaf. Connection. Storyteller.

4 February 2019

"When you think about language, it's something that you were exposed to from birth. It's assumed that it's a given, and that language then in turn is your key to opening up doors to different worlds."
 Melissa Malzkuhn on the power of connecting through language. PBS NEWS HOUR Brief but Spectacular

In this week's Motivation Monday it's this story from PBS News Hour's Brief but Spectacular about Melissa Malzkuhn. Born into a family of gifted storytellers -- all deaf -- she tells her story about how early access to language built her connection to humanity.

 She's now the creative director of the Motion Light Lab at Gallaudet University. From PBS NEWS HOUR.

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, "They don't pay me to like the kids."

Her response: "Kids don't learn from people they don't like.'"

A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level. Watch her TED Talk.

Rita Pierson spenter her entire life in or around a classroom. From the TED stage, hear her talk "Every kid needs a champion".

Freakonomics Radio Early Education




Check out this story from Freakonomics Radio and superstar Dr. Dana Suskind


#UChicago Thirty Million Words Initiative - Parenting Language to Build Children's Brain, Dana SuskindYou'll also want to know more about The Thirty Million Words Initiative

"We believe that engaging parents and caregivers is a critical missing link. Science has identified parents and caregivers as key contributors to foundational brain development, but most early childhood efforts focus on children rather than the adults in their lives. Parents and caregivers are an untapped resource with the incentive and capacity to make a significant difference." The University of Chicago Center for Early Learning and Public Health

No biting! Emma and Egor sign language curriculum attributed to drop in biting in toddler classroom




Interview with Charissa Shulsky, Director of Compton Children's Academy.





Does learning sign language at an early age enhance the way children communicate? More importantly, does it have an impact on biting?

Compton Children's Academy is the first school to pilot the Emma and Egor sign language curriculum. Learn more here.