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Discover Your Unique Character Strengths

We know strengths are important for leading successful lives. Strengths and talents can help us grow and thrive when we intentionally use, develop, and cultivate them.

Have you ever thought about what your character strengths are?


Scientists began studying the psychology of strengths in earnest decades ago. They started to explore what it looks like when we focus on developing what is right instead of fixing what is wrong. In 2004, leaders in positive psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Peterson developed the VIA Classification of Character Strengths and Virtues (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). Following that, the personal strengths assessment, VIA Survey, was developed, measuring 24 character strengths under 6 Virtues in human beings (Find a copy of VIA Classification of Character Strengths and Virtues here).


Character Strengths are defined as the positive parts of your personality that impact how you think, feel, and behave in daily life. You can discover your unique profile of strengths by taking the FREE VIA Survey online. Users need to register and create an account in order to take the survey.


According to leading positive psychologists, we each have strengths we are naturally good at. These are called our signature strengths. Find out your unique profile and your TOP 5 signature strengths!


When you have your signature strengths (TOP 5) identified, consider these questions to help you reflect on how to develop greater awareness of your strengths:

  • Do they seem to fit you well?
  • Are you surprised by any of them?
  • Read over your list of signature strengths. Think about ways in which you already use them in your life. 
  • Do you underuse any of your strengths?
  • Do you overuse any of your strengths?
  • Brainstorm ways in which you can use them in new ways, and write down a list of specific actions you can take to use your strengths more in healthy and balanced new ways. And then, commit to using your strengths in new ways each day this week. 


You can also invite others to take the survey and have some fun activities with them!

  • Families: Invite your family members to take the survey and make a Family Strengths Tree!
  • Friends / Colleagues: Invite your friend to do this survey and have a discussion with them! Share with each other a story about one of your strengths and ask them to guess which strength it is!
  • Romantic Partner: Have you ever had a strength date? Invite your partner to take the survey and have a Strength Date with them! 



 - 05/25/2020 - Fiona Zheng

Google Hangouts Meet Resources You Need

Resources for Hosting in Google Meet

 - 04/10/2020 - Fiona Zheng
Meditation Challenge

ARE YOU READY? 25-DAY Meditation Challenge Through Zoom

Starting from April 1, Wednesday, 8:00pm, Areté is launching our first 25-Day Meditation Challenge for youth and families from Mott Haven, South Bronx through Zoom!


EVERY WEEKDAY. From 8:00-8:30 PM for 25 consecutive weekdays. Are you ready to accept this challenge to reduce stress and anxiety, relax, connect to your body, self-care, self-love, and be kinder to yourself and the people around you?


We are waiting for you! We will be holding hands together, virtually, and we will breathe through this crisis TOGETHER!


Email fiona@areteeducation.org to confirm your spot!

 - 03/31/2020 - Fiona Zheng

Learning Zoom Basics

Are you also using Zoom as the digital tool for communication and classes as school moving toward a virtual space?

Updated COVID-19 Resources from Zoom (4/14/2020)

Please find this collection of useful resources Zoom basics:

Learn to use this tool to maintain communication in the school community and spread knowledge, love and care to students and families today.

Update March 16, 2020

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan Is Giving K-12 Schools His Videoconferencing Tools For Free in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Zoom is temporarily lifting the 40-minute time limit on free Basic accounts for schools affected by the Coronavirus.
If you are part of a K-12 School, complete the K-12 School Verification Form to gain Pro access for your entire school.

Step 1: Sign up for a free Basic account using your school’s email address.

Step 2: Fill out the information for your school to remove the 40 minute time limit for anyone on your school’s domain after verification. Personal email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook are not eligible.

 - 03/17/2020 - Fiona Zheng

Learning Graphic Design Through Canva

Canva is a popular graphic design platform that allows users to create presentations, posters, social media graphics, and other visual content. It provides millions of fonts, images, illustrations, and templates, and many of them are FREE!

What many people do not know is that they also provided FREE short courses to teach you basic knowledge of graphic design:

Graphic Design Basics

Canva in the Classroom (For Teachers)

Here are more FREE courses on other topics:

Social Media Mastery

Branding Your Business

Presentations to Impress

Enjoy learning design!


 - 02/14/2020 - Fiona Zheng

Spend 1 Minute Per Day to Track Your Moods

Recently, I found this amazing app Daylio that allows you to quickly check-in and keep a daily journal of emotions and activities.

It is a simple two-step creation! Pick your Mood, Add related Activities, DONE. If you'd like it in an old school way, you can also add notes and keep a diary in the app. Daylio collects your recorded moods and activities in the statistics and calendar. You can explore the statistics monthly and yearly created from your log of emotions and activities.


The entry takes just seconds, but it may help you in a powerful way. It allows you to understand your habits and discover your hidden patterns. You can find your pattern of activities and emotions and explore how they are interconnected.  You can further use Daylio to create some useful habits and patterns like running, eating more healthy, or waking up earlier to become more productive.

Check out the video here to learn more about it:

It is both available on Google Play and App Store. Most importantly, it is FREE!

 - 02/11/2020 - Fiona Zheng

FREE Yoga and Mindfulness Videos for Kids

Alo Gives is dedicated to bringing movement and mindfulness to kids of all ages. They have produced high-quality, free, scholastic-approved videos to introduce kids to the necessary skills to calm minds and bodies, mute negativity, and promote self-care.



Their yoga and mindfulness programs contain 5-minute videos as well as creative, thought-provoking printable worksheets. They are designed to be used in classrooms or at home. Teachers and parents can utilize the videos and practice with the kids. All the videos can be found on their website.


They created these programs because they believed in that "Giving children of any age the skills to move and breathe helps them learn to confront challenge, amplify the positive, and be present, calm and clear-headed and in the midst of challenge, fear or frustration."


Areté has the same belief, too. We are actively making positive changes in school environment by infusing Social Emotional Learning elements. We are making changes one breath at a time.


 - 02/08/2020 - Fiona Zheng
Screen Shot 2020-01-31 at 10.12.08

Practice Makes Perfect?

Many people use the phrase "Practice makes perfect" to depict the process of learning. Ulrich Bose pointed out that this is a remarkably ill-defined expression. Does practice mean endless repetition? Does practice involve feedback and reflection? Should practice be hard or fun?

Learning is a complex process. A growing body of research has shown that practice alone is not enough. We also need learning strategies. We need to be smarter with the practices by designing and utilizing strategies. Many research studies have consistently suggested that learners are not born but made. We are ALL able to be good at something through the dedicated practices and constantly refined strategies.

Research is making it clear that when it comes to become expertise, learning strategies can be more critical than raw smarts. Marcel Veenman found that people who closely track thinking and continuously reflect learning will outperform those with high IQ levels in terms of learning new things. His research also revealed that focusing on how we understand is 15 percent more important than innate intelligence when it comes to develop mastery. Learners are made, not born. IQ is not the only answer, EQ has to be concerned and actively be engaged in the learning process.

Areté has been strategically employing emotional intelligence in our after-school programs. Emotional Intelligence simply denotes being smarter with feelings. We provide students ample opportunities to understand emotions, to develop self-awareness and to reflect about their learning. By being smarter with feelings, students are able to identify their thinking, feeling and action patterns in learning, design and refine learning strategies and adjust the practices accordingly. Through this iteration process, they gradually get better at learning.

We do not simply urge students to practice and practice all the time because we believe practice is not enough for making perfect. We help them to learn smartly by employing strategies. We believe it is not enough to give them fish, but more importantly, teach them how to fish.

 - 02/03/2020 - Fiona Zheng

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