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upworthy
Education

A mom was frustrated that there weren't shows for kids with developmental delays. So, she made one herself.

Ms. Rachel has taken the internet by storm with her show geared toward educating parents and toddlers.

Ms. Rachel; Songs for Littles; YouTube; TikTok; parenting

Mom couldn't find a show for children with developmental delays.

If there's one thing a determined parent will do, it's make sure their kid is getting their needs met. Even if that means they have to reinvent the wheel to do it. Rachel Griffin Accurso, or as parents across TikTok and YouTube know her, Ms. Rachel, found herself without any real options for additional resources to help her toddler who was diagnosed with a speech delay.

Accurso was looking for a developmentally appropriate show for her son but she wasn't having any luck. That's when she decided to take her teaching degree and get to work on creating her own show. It became a family business when she teamed up with her husband, Broadway composer Aron Accurso, who has been there every step of the way. He's even in the episodes singing along.

"Songs for Littles" has infiltrated homes across America. If you have a toddler and internet access, you've likely heard of it. The show has more than a billion views on YouTube. Yes, that's billion, with a "B." Ms. Rachel also has more than 19 million likes on TikTok and has speech pathologists everywhere singing her praises.



Accurso is intentional with all of her videos, doing close-ups on her mouth when introducing new words and pausing to "hear" responses from her viewers after asking a question. In her interview with Today, Accurso admitted, "A lot of things I teach are things I wish I had known for my son." She explained that everything she does is backed by research and is recorded in her small apartment in front of a green screen.

Parents on TikTok often upload videos thanking Accurso or showing off the skill their child learned from watching her show. The journalist who interviewed "Ms. Rachel" for Today even got to record an episode of "Songs for Littles" with her.

Check out the cute video below:


This article originally appeared on 01.10.23

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Taryn Charles blew everyone away with her BGT audition.

For nearly two decades, people have been enjoying "Got Talent" competitions all over the world, inspired by the first "America's Got Talent" in 2006. And thanks to social media and YouTube, we can enjoy the most memorable auditions over and over again.

For instance, this one from Taryn Charles on the 2024 season of "Britain's Got Talent."

Charles is a music teacher who works with special needs kids. She even brought one of her students and her parent to be part of the audience during her audition. When the judges asked why she wanted to be on "Britain's Got Talent," Charles said, "I love to make people smile and I think my voice is alright."

Talk about an understatement.


As she stands waiting for the music to start, she shakes her hand by her side a few times, clearly getting some nerves out. But as soon as she starts to sing the first line, "Looking out on the morning rain, I used to feel so uninspired…" it's clear from her rich, raspy voice and easy stage presence that she's got something special.

And it only gets better from there. "(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman" was written by singer-songwriter Carole King, then famously covered by Aretha Franklin, which is a hard act to follow. But Charles knocked it out of the park, blowing away the audience and judges alike. In fact, the performance earned her not one but two standing ovations and inspired judge Bruno Tonioli to smash the Golden Buzzer button before the judges even began to offer their feedback.

Watch:

What makes this performance especially memorable is how humble and unassuming Charles is before and after her knock-out performance. If you didn't watch til the very end, you may have missed her hilariously real, "I think I've wet myself," which only makes her even more endearing.

"WOW I was blown away with her angelic and powerful voice," wrote one commenter. "And yet she is so humble and has a beautiful soul. Plus, I have never in my life seen a double standing ovation, she so deserves a golden buzzer, wishing her the best success."

"This is how you do an audition, stunning tone to her voice.....if anyone deserves a chance it's this lady......BOOM!!" wrote another.

"This was so inspirational. Taryn I am in tears," shared another. "I know what it feels like to struggle with self-worth. You are a mirror to show me that that those people are not always right. You are phenomenally gifted and you have an amazing career as a professional singer ahead of you! Blessings!"

Talent competition judges often warn contestants about the challenge of singing songs done by big vocal divas, and we've seen singers attempt to sing the likes of Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey and fall flat. It's not easy to sing an iconic song most people associate with Aretha Franklin—the Queen of Soul and Rolling Stone's #1 singer of all time—and have any hope of impressing people. And yet, Taryn Charles managed to make the song her own and wow everyone in the process with her unique voice.

We'll definitely be keeping an eye on this humble music teacher as she makes her way through the "Britain's Got Talent" gauntlet. Heck of a way to kick it off.

This needs to be a ringtone.

For many of us, elementary music education consisted of banging out a painful rendition of “Hot Cross Buns” on a recorder. But for the kids of the Louisville Leopard Percussionists, it looks a little more like rocking out to Ozzy Osbourne.

Thanks to Reddit, a 2012 clip has resurfaced showing the clearly gifted 4th to 6th graders using xylophones, drums, keyboards, and a single bass guitar to absolutely slay a cover of Osbourne’s 1980s hit “Crazy Train.” And let’s just say—the video is just as impressive as ever.

It’s not just that the kids were able to hit the notes with extreme proficiency—it’s the evident passion and joy put into their performance that really has people wowed.


“I love how they open with the chant and how jumpy and enthusiastic they are,” someone wrote on YouTube.

“I don't know whether to laugh or cry for joy. Someone hug that music director,” added another.

A new viewer even commented, “Seeing this for the first time in 2024. These talented kids would now be in their late teens, early twenties. It would be great to know if any continued in music! Maybe a couple are on Broadway or studying music in college.”

The clip got so popular during its original debut that Osbourne himself took notice, saying, “Myself, my whole family, and my fans all loved your rendition of 'Crazy Train.' Keep up the good work!” This eventually led to an opportunity for the kids to perform for Osbourne and his family in 2018.

Watch below:

The Louisville Leopard Percussionists, founded in 1993 by Diane Downs, in a non-profit organization that aims to provide a comprehensive music education to kids of diverse backgrounds not solely to learn instruments, but to “build creativity and self-confidence and teach life-long values of personal discipline, cooperation, leadership, responsibility, and community.”

Since their “Crazy Train” cover, the kiddos have had quite a few other equally badass viral hits, including songs by Led Zeppelin and My Morning Jacket. You can find those, and even more, on the organization’s YouTube page.

And if you’d like to donate to help the program create even more of these bops, click here.

We get to see the world through Mr. Kitters' eyes.

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a cat? To watch the world from less than a foot off the ground, seeing and hearing things humans completely miss, staring out the window for hours while contemplating one of your nine lives?

Well, thanks to one person, we need wonder no more—at least about what-they're-seeing part.

The TikTok channel Mr. Kitters the Cat (@mr.kitters.the.cat) gives us a cat's-eye view of the world with a camera attached to Mr. Kitters' collar. And the result is an utterly delightful POV experience that takes us through the daily adventuring of the frisky feline as he wanders the yard.


In a video titled "Spicy cats," which has more than 74 million views on TikTok, we begin with the cutest cat sneeze ever. Then we hear Mr. Kitters' meow as we walk with him through the grass before the scene switches to a thrilling, yowling cat chase he witnesses across the yard (while tucking himself even more securely under the bush he's in).

The best is seeing his kitty paws as he walks and then digs in the mulch. And there's apparently something very exciting that needs to be pounced on right along a chain link fence.

Watch and enjoy:

@mr.kitters.the.cat

Spicy cats 🌶️ #fyp #cat #meow

The commenters made their delight known.

"I love how he saw the cat fight and was like that's not my business today," wrote one person.

"WHEN HE DIGS WITH HIS LIL PAWS," declared another.

"People: Cats only meow at humans." Mr Kitters -Meows at everything-" wrote another.

And of course, countless people responded simply to the sneeze with "Bless you."

Mr. Kitters has other POV videos as well. This one demonstrates how chatty he is and shows his black cat buddy as well.

@mr.kitters.the.cat

“What do you want?” “Nothing!” #fyp #cat #meow

It really sounds like he says, "Let me in," doesn't it?

And this "extreme sports" video is riveting.

@mr.kitters.the.cat

Extreme sports 💀 #fyp

It's funny how something as simple as putting a camera around the neck of a cat can draw in tens of millions of people. We're all so curious about the lives of the creatures we see every day, and the adorable quirkiness of cat behavior is a big part of why we keep them as companions in the first place. Seeing the world through their point of view is just one more way we can enjoy and learn about our pet friends.


This article originally appeared on 6.15.23

Education

Adults are sharing things a teacher said or did to them that they've never forgotten

The power of a teacher's words and deeds should never be underestimated.

Teachers have a lasting influence throughout our lives.

Few people in our lives have the powerful influence of teachers, for better or worse. During our formative years, feedback from educators and mentors can build our confidence or crush our spirits, make us believe in our abilities, or fill us with self-doubt.

The messages we get from teachers often follows us into adulthood. When those messages are positive, that can be the voices inside our head telling us we're capable and not to give up. When the messages are negative, it can create internal obstacles we have to struggle to overcome.

People on Reddit are answering the question, "What did a teacher say or do to you that you've never forgotten?" and the answers are a testament to the immense responsibility teachers have when it comes to their words and deeds. While there are some painful recollections of uncaring or insensitive teachers, most are a reminder of how many teachers go out of their way to make a positive difference in students' lives.


Support through family issues

"My parents had just divorced and they shared custody of us. When my mother had us, she wouldn't feed us, send us a lunch, bathe or groom us so we'd show up to school tired, hungry, and dirty. When my 1st-grade teacher figured out what was going on, she started keeping a brush and wipes for me in her desk along with lunch money. She'd take me aside before other kids showed up and groom me and feed me. That was about 35 years ago and I still think about her all the time. Ironically, her name was Mrs. Severe. What a beautiful soul. I really needed that maternal care that she gave me."Temporary-Author-641

"I became quite close with one of my band teachers in high school and viewed him as a father figure in many ways. My parents were freshly divorced, and i was floundering without a male role model at all (my father never made attempts to see me). The teacher noticed some changes in me and figured out the story. All it took was a sincere, eyeball-to-eyeball statement of 'I believe in you. You are better than you realize.' And the sun shone brighter, and the clouds parted a bit. When he retired, I made sure to go to his final school concert, and we caught up. It was amazing, but then i saw his wife of several decades. I walked over and introduced myself and thanked her for sacrificing their time together for all those years so he could be someone that his students needed in their lives. We both started crying and hugged.

Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Rizzo. You are better than you will ever realize."woodworkLIdad

woman holding a cat

Teachers can make a difference outside of the classroom, too.

Photo by Mel Elías on Unsplash

Care and compassion

"Once on the way to school, I found a kitten and couldn't leave it behind. It was dirty, hungry, and in need of help. I had to take it with me to school. At that moment, my parents were against me having a pet... and so, after school, as I sat there crying and not knowing what to do with the kitten, my teacher approached me. She calmed me down and took the kitten with her. After that, she sometimes brought him to class. This way, we continued to communicate. She named him Inkblot. As far as I know, he lived until he was 17. I will always remember this act, as she didn't break my little heart and saved the cute kitten. Double Shot."Wooden-Ranger-8765

"'I know there’s a senior party tonight, if any of you can’t drive at any point during the night you can call me for a ride and I’ll take you home. I won’t tell your parents or get you in trouble, I just don’t want anyone drinking and driving." — Senior biology teacher." chateauboxer777

Understanding mental health struggles

"My freshmen science teacher noticed I was starting to have a panic attack, wrote me a note to go to my counselor and then I left to do so. He was my favorite teacher, I failed almost everything but had the best grade in his class. I will never forget that man, the teacher can make all the difference in a student's work." bigshark276473827

"I had to miss the last 2 months of my sophomore year of high school because I went into an eating disorder treatment program, and had to spend the whole summer making up my classes. My chemistry teacher offered to meet me weekly at the local coffee shop so that she would still be able to actually teach me and make sure I understood the material (as opposed to just teaching myself out of the book like I had to do with the rest of my classes). Graduated college with a bachelors in chemistry 6 years after that." caffa4

"In high school I was the class clown always made people laugh and was there for them. I put up a front 'the happy and cheeriest one' but I was struggling so bad with mental health issues, hated life and myself. Borderline suicidal. Anyway, one day, when I was telling a joke and 'laughing' with everyone, this one teacher took me aside and said, 'You’re such a joy to everyone, but I can see the pain in your eyes. Your place in this world matters and would be so much poorer without you. Don’t give up'. Well god damn I thought I was so good at hiding it from everyone. And it kind of broke me that someone could tell. But yea a moment I’ll never forget."Sarkeshikian

Memorable words of wisdom

"'You’re not a good liar. You shouldn’t do it'…Probably the most useful lesson I learned in all school before college." witblacktype

"'Those who do not have the talent can compensate for it with diligence.' It was a reply to a worry I had, and he was right."mochi_chan

"'What good is going to the church every week if you just gonna go home and abuse your kids?' This was said during a religion class in Ireland secondary school." timchenw

"'Get out before you get stuck.' It was simple wisdom from my 12th grade English teacher that I repeat in my mind quite often. I think he was referring to getting out of our small town, but it rings true for many things in life." RemarkableBeach1603

"'I don't know but I can find out' - my physics teacher Mr. Gould. It's a little thing but it really stuck with me. You don't have to know everything and you don't have to appear like you do either."DarkflowNZ
teacher standing in front of a class of students

Some teachers aren't as nurturing as others.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

The ones you had to prove wrong

"'You won't achieve anything in your life.' I am now an engineer. Every time I was studying I thought about this sentence and it motivated me to be better and work harder to prove him wrong. Even today, every time something is tuff in my life I go over it and remember this sentence, I have to prove him wrong."No_Comment_50

"My science teacher told my parents I 'didn't belong in her class' when I was 13. It was an accelerated class and I finished the year top of her class. Still not sure whether she was a dumb cow or an evil genius." Rosserman

"I remember in my penultimate year of school, my English teacher told my mum in a parent teacher meeting that I should drop to the lower class because hers was too advanced for me. I chose to stay in it out of spite and ended up being one of the top students in my year 🤷♀️" – tlaxette

"Ms. Fowler. My 11th grade math teacher. Told us early on in the school year, 'if you don't understand something the first time I go over it, it's because you weren't paying attention, and I will not waste my time repeating myself.' As someone who struggles with math, I learned the hard way that she meant it. I tried and tried and tried, but I just couldn't get it and she was never any help. Ended up giving up. Just putting random answers to assignments and tests. Flunked out of the class. Think my final grade was in the 20s. Was given the option to pay $150 and go to summer school where I'd just do assignments until I got a passing grade, likely have the same teacher as well. Or, flunk out, repeat the class as a senior and graduate on a lesser plan. I took option B and felt like a failure.

On the flip side. Senior year I got a new math teacher, Mr. Kerr. My grade never went under a 90 in his class. I understood things I never did the year prior. Even got decent at trigonometry. He built a confidence in me I never knew I could have."Klown1327

The ones who believed and encouraged

"I love to sew. I have been sewing since I was a kid. In high school, I took a sewing class as an extra and was miles ahead of the other students. I made a grey, wool, floor length cloak with a red lining while everyone else was making pajama pants. My teacher graded me according to my skill and not compared to the other students. Then she found me a year later and showed me a pic in a catalog of a Renaissance-style dress she thought I'd like. It was a wedding dress but I loved it anyway. My mom took me fabric shopping and the next semester I took that class again and made the dress. My teacher stayed in with me during lunches, after school, during study periods, and guided me through making that dress. She even helped tackle the challenge of gathering many layers of heavy silk and jacquard and linings, tapping into every trick she knew to get it to work. (Zig zag stitch over dental floss finally did it.) Then she graded me according to my skill set. I got a 94. Dinged for some less than perfect hand stitching on the hem.

I then put it on and ran over to my favorite science teacher's classroom to show her (I took biology, anatomy and physiology, ap bio, and ap anatomy and physiology from her—huge science nerd here) and she stopped her class so I could get up on a desk and show off my dress.

8 years later... I wore that dress to get married. They were both at my wedding (as well as my 7th and 8th grade English teacher) and singled out as honored guests along with the moms and grandmas as people who were highly influential to me. I will never forget their support and encouragement and dedication to their craft that has inspired me for all my life. I'm 43 now. I was an x-ray tech for 20 years and I still sew regularly."Routine-Register-575


"5th grade teacher, Mrs. W. I doodled and drew a lot as a kid. I’d finish my work, flip the page over, and cover the back with drawings. Most teachers didn’t mind as long as the work was finished, but Mrs. W loved my drawings. I’d recently gotten a 'how to draw dragons' book and kept drawing a specific one over and over to improve. She asked me one day to draw her one on a blank sheet of paper, and after I was finished, asked me to sign it, because, 'You’re going to be a famous artist one day and I want to have a signed copy of one of your original pictures!'

It was such a small thing, but it made me feel really good. She ended up passing away relatively suddenly from cancer when I was a sophomore in college, going to school for 3D art. She was on my mind during the portfolio review at the end of the term. I wished I could’ve shown her some of the art I’d created. She crosses my mind a couple of times a year ever since and I always get teary-eyed thinking about her."soap-bucket

Photo by Hafit on Unsplash

Guy teaches little brother 'duties as a man' in sweet video.

Families often have different ages that they teach children about a big life topics. Some conversations are bigger than others, but generally speaking they're had with the best of intentions. Anish Bhagatt felt like the time was finally right to teach his younger brother, Dhruva, his "duties as a man." The little boy had just turned 12, so certain talks needed to be had and Bhagatt felt he was best suited for the job.

The older brother picked Dhruva up from school to take him on his journey to manhood. From the look on the little boy's face, he knew he was in for a treat hanging out with his older brother. This may not have been the chat he was expecting, but the boy soaked up the knowledge eagerly.

Bhagatt started the video by saying, "So Dhruva, you're a big man now," before the little boy happily interjects stating, "Yes, I'm 12!"


Immediately the conversation shifted into a direction that surprised commenters. Instead of launching into a talk about the birds and the bees, Bhagatt asked if his younger brother knows about periods, which did not come with any of the stereotypical middle school boy disgust. Dhruva was engaged as his brother explained what periods were and why women have menstrual cycles. He even showed the preteen how to purchase sanitary products. People were impressed.

"This is healing generations of silence and toxicity. Well done, gentlemen," one woman says.

"The fact that it was his BROTHER that took him to go buy sanitary pads. Not his mom, not a sister. His brother. This is what good male role models are like," another writes.

"Ok guys, this is what people mean when they say healthy masculinity! Big bro is a Saint, and little bro is so sweet and compassionate! I am amazed and thrilled that people like this exist," someone else gushes.

"I am literally CRYING right now! Oh my gracious… these young folks will save us," a commenter cries.

The video is beyond wholesome and may serve as an example of what it looks like to educate young boys on what half the population goes through. In the end the boy declares, "I promise that I will make all the girls around me feel safe," and if he keeps having these kinds of chats, there's no doubt that he will do just that.