I recently read an article in Fast Company where 12 entrepreneurs shared a lesson they learned from a teacher. While some of the lessons were related to math or physics, many of the lessons extended beyond the pages of a textbook. The article was insightful and I realized the lasting impact of words from wise teachers.

I reflected on my own education, and my high school Health teacher Mr. Weckesser immediately came to mind. Mr. Weckesser (“Mr. Weck” as we affectionately called him) taught me a lot about health. But, his most permeating lessons revolved around living a life of balance and positivity.

Mr. Weck’s favorite term was “homeostasis” simply meaning: life in balance. Homeostasis is a rhythm and lifestyle. School/work is balanced by time with family and friends. Hobbies are thrown in there too and everything functions by taking good care of your body. Instead of being obsessed with one thing, living in homeostasis means prioritizing in order to enjoy each moment. This allows one to be fully present in daily responsibilities.

Homeostasis is important in every stage of life. I applied this lesson in high school, college and now my life as a professional. It helps me focus my attention and do tasks well. Mr. Weck also taught about positivity and viewing the world full of opportunity. Along the way, this means valuing others and encouraging them to pursue homeostasis as well.

The middle school years are a pivotal point of transition and development. The body and mind are working to find balance and make sense of all of the “newness.” Homeostasis may seem impossible at this time, but finding a rhythm of life can help middle schoolers embrace the changes taking place. 

Like Mr. Weck, at TomTod we also believe that students have the ability to be passionately others-centered, noble, and giving. This is a positivity approach where students recognize their capabilities. In the process, they value others and encourage them to impact their community.

Mr. Weck taught me “nuggets” of wisdom that I will forever cherish. We are grateful for the talented educators we work with through Grasp. Go. Grow. and our other programming. If you have the chance, thank an educator, past or present, for the impact they made in your life!

Thank a teacher

Last week we shared Part 1 of our interview with Jason Pigott, the cooperating teacher at the Early College Academy (ECA). Jason co-leads Grasp. Go. Grow., an ideation based in school program, with TomTod’s Executive Dreamer Joel Daniel Harris. The Grasp. Go. Grow. students’ topic of study is “Food: Changing the Canton City Schools Experience.” Read on for part 2 of this interview!

TomTod: How have the students responded to the speakers/topic?

Jason Pigott: At first they were a little bit nervous. Students were starstruck when WKSU Reporter/Producer & Web Editor ML Schultze visited. The greatest growth is that they now ask more poignant questions with guest speakers in the room. Rather than asking “What?” questions, they ask more critical thinking questions such as, “Why?” and “How?”

TT: What are the intended learning outcomes for the semester? 

JP: We want to expose students to different things and at this point they are still figuring out their ideas. Some students want to explore ethnic foods and others are interested in GMOs. Our overall intended outcome is for students to use the knowledge they’ve gained to help the common good. We want to start small and build, discussing the future of food, if food is just about nutrition and what food brings to the table.

TT: What is the plan for the rest of the semester?

JP: Students will focus on the knowledge gained and use it for the common good. We will discuss how they can take what they learned and share it with others. Right now we are talking about guerrilla gardens and school lunches. Hopefully by the end of the 3rd 9 weeks we will get things out to the community.

TT: What do you hope students gain from this experience?

JP: I hope students look at things in a different way, as critical thinkers, to think about the products that are going into their bodies. We don’t want to necessarily sway them to be organic or vegan. We want to encourage them to not take food at face value and to think more about what they are consuming.

Grasp. Go. Grow. students at ECA will continue with this topic for the rest of the school year. To read more updates, check in to this blog and follow our Social Media @tomtodideas.


Students’ “Go” field trip experience: A Canton Food Tour.


For the 2014-2015 school year, TomTod Ideas partners with an 8th grade exploratory class at the Early College Academy (ECA) in Canton City Schools to provide Grasp. Go. Grow. Jason Pigott, a 7th grade Social Studies teacher, co-leads the class with TomTod’s Executive Dreamer, Joel Daniel Harris. We asked Jason to share more about Grasp. Go. Grow. in part 1 of the 2 part interview.

TomTod: Grasp. Go. Grow. is part of an Exploratory Class period. What is the nature of the Exploratory Class?

Jason Pigott: Students don’t receive grades for exploratory classes. The classes are divided into enrichment and intervention. Grasp. Go. Grow. is an enrichment component where high level students engage in activities to increase their knowledge. It a critical thinking and thought provoking class.

TT: Why did you choose the topic “Food: Changing the Canton City Schools Experience?”

JP: Exposure has always been the focus. We focused on food because a lot of students don’t know what’s in their food or where it comes from. They don’t understand food other than it’s something that you eat. We want to explore the different areas of food, how it’s made and food access. Our poorest population in the US is often the most overweight population…why is that? We want to expose students to food and what it means. The hardest point is remaining as neutral as possible.

TT: Who were the guest speakers?

JP: We had a great group of folks speak to our students about food, presenting from various angles:

-Julie Sparks, Director of Special Projects for JRC (integrally involved in Stark Fresh)

-Amy Weisbrod, Executive Director of the Stark County Hunger Task Force

-Jean Paddock, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Aultman College of Nursing

-Nick Kennedy, Organization Director for the Ohio Farm Bureau for Stark, Columbiana, Portage, and Summit Counties

Check back next week for Part 2 of the interview! Until then, view the album from ECA’s Canton Food Tour on our Facebook page!


Julie Sparks from JRC.


Students enjoyed learning from each speaker.


Though the calendar won’t change to fall for almost a month, fall starts this week for most of my middle school friends & educator friends.

The school year is upon us.

With each year of schooling, a lot of attention is given to what we’ll be learning. The first days in classes largely consist of laying out guidelines and expectations, of passing out syllabi, and giving overviews of what’s to come.

But what if the most important things we learned this year weren’t what we learned, but who we learned it from.

Read More

12 Dec / 2012


Today my Facebook feed has been overwhelmed by the observation of 12/12/12. The world seems absolutely giddy for corresponding numbers and the fact that this particulary numerical occurrence is a once in a lifetime occurence.

My friend, Tim, had a more tempered reaction. “Every date only happens once… that’s how time works…”

And he couldn’t be more right.

Read More

sidebar-splatTo innovate & create, you have to try a lot of ideas to see which one works. Throw them at the wall & see what sticks. Some ideas will splat & blossom into something wonderful. Others will drop to the floor & our task is to scoop it up, reform it, & try again.

The Splat/Drop Wall is TomTod’s place to play catch with you & a world of opportunity, tossing around possibilities & ponderings to see what might splat & what might drop. So put on your play pants & add your dreams & hopes to the mix!

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