Our Hope for Tomorrow

IMG_1665Easter Sunday at church our pastor said, “They are our hope for tomorrow.” (talking to and about our kids during children’s church)   What a powerful statement for us all to take a step back and truly reflect upon.  Hope.  A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.  What is our expectation?  What is our desire?  What certain thing do we expect and desire?  Those are questions we should ask daily about our kids.  What is our hope for our kids?

Influenced by my recent reading of “Lead Like a Pirate” by Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf.

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I hope…there is a passion.  When kids see how passionate we are about being at school with them, everyone wins!   Kids will work harder when they see that you care (and teachers will too)! It is our passion that pushes us to be better, to be inspired, to be empowered, and to serve those around us.  “Our passions are what drives us!” (Shelley and Beth)

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I hope…there is action.  A few months ago, I had a mission to get out of my office and be more visible in the classrooms so I could be connected with my kids and teachers.  I became intentional about my schedule by prioritizing what was the most important…Our Kids. We need to be part of the game not on the sidelines coaching the game!

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I hope…there are relationships.  Building trust helps to build strong relationships. Every decision made during the school day determines the kind of relationships within the school culture.  Relationships in a school culture are built on trust and commitment to a common goal.  If we are all part of the same team, we all win!

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I hope…there are questions and answers.  Throughout the school year, we continuously ask questions to reflect and find answers on how to make each day better for our kids and teachers.  Our goals, strategies, and plans should all reflect on how the decision moves student learning forward.  We must ask ourselves why, how, and what!

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I hope…there is change.  A growth mindset is BIG in education. In order for our kids to be the hope of tomorrow, change must happen.  We must be willing to take risks and make mistakes but more importantly, let our kids see that it is ok!

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I hope…there is enthusiasm.  Bring it Everyday. I tell my staff (especially office staff) that if I’m not smiling then we can worry!  I can honestly say in two years…I’ve only not smiled once!  I had one teacher catch me not smiling and she said: “You’re not smiling?”  I quickly realized I wasn’t!  Kids can (and should) FUN while learning!

My hope is we all have the desire for our kids to be OUR FUTURE.  

Spring Break of Firsts!

Spring Break.  A time to relax, reflect and re-energize to finish the school year strong!

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Family First.  We did a first as a family and went “tent” camping without water, electricity, and wouldn’t you know no reception!  We (all three of us) slept in a 10 person! Yes, my daughter needed a 10 person tent.  We learned a lot together in those three days! We learned to cook over an open fire, keep the raccoons away at night, and enjoy each other without interruptions! We went on a walking hike, fought raccoons all night, attempted to fish, and sat by the fire.  It was a relaxing and much need time together as a family. We are better today at camping than yesterday.

My First National Conference. I’ve been to many conferences during my years in education, but I’ve never been to a National Conference! IMG_1587I went to so many amazing sessions on how to grow and lead as a lead learner.  Talk about being on fire!! From Danny Steele’s “A BluePrint for Awesomeness” to LaVonna Roth’s “Ignite Your Shine,” I came back being inspired to serve, inspire, and empower all those around me.  More importantly, I learned to take it slow when I got back to school.  In a session by Jill Thompson and Lisa Already, they demonstrated how we as teachers sometimes pour in so much information to our students they can’t remember it all.  I sat in that session thinking of how leaders do the same thing to teachers, so here goes…take my time…introduce slowly.  Make it meaningful, purposeful, and have the why ready for teachers to understand their new learning.

 I’m better today than yesterday!

Not only did I attend amazing sessions, but I met the most amazing educators face to face!  I participated in a “live” twitter chat with #leadupchat early Saturday morning!

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Compelled Tribe Members (Debbie Campbell and Jennifer Hogan), Lisa Dabbs, Leslie Kinnard, Michelle Hill, Danny Steele, Beth Houf, Neil Gupta, Dave and Shelley Burgess

The Power of How We Learn

Sitting in a very inspiring and motivating session at ASCD, I couldn’t help but think of how the session information could directly be related to teachers.

How Youth Learn: Ned’s GR8 8 (check it out here) It’s centered around providing for Kids!

My connections...

I feel OK. As leaders, it is our responsibility to make sure the teachers feel ok when in the middle of their learning.  Snacks are always a must and make sure plenty of breaks are provided throughout.  Maybe even a GoNoodle or fun activity to get everyone excited about the day! 

It Matters. Adult learning (what we like to call professional development) should matter to the teachers. It must be relevant and meaningful.  Teachers should have a voice in the learning with individualized learning plans.  This is a huge barrier to teacher learning.  If we expect teachers to do it for students, shouldn’t we provide that expectation for teachers?

It’s Active. Again, we expect for teachers to provide hands-on engaging lessons for our students. Is our adult learning active or engaging? Or are we going old school with the presenter doing all the talking?  

It stretches me. Learning should be challenging for all.  It should push us to be better and inspire us to take risks!

I have a coach. Professional development shouldn’t be the days in the summer where you learn it all.  That just doesn’t happen! We as leaders need to be the coach on the sideline who is inspiring, motivating, and encouraging teachers through their implementation of their new learning.  

I have to use it. It must be directly applied to the teacher’s classroom either with their instructional practices or their students.  It can provide immediate evidence of student learning.

I think back on it. Reflection…do we give teachers time to reflect back on their learning to see how they are going to use it in their classrooms or with their students.  They need the opportunity to plan and see how they will use the new learning.

I plan my next steps. This is part of the reflection and collaboration.  What steps will I take as a teacher with my colleagues to use my new learning to help move student learning forward?  

Is this how we are teaching teachers? Our expectations for teachers in the classroom for students should mirror our expectations as leaders!

Thank you to Jill Thompson and Lisa Allred for your amazing session!

For the Love of Learning

Ever since I graduated college, I have been on a journey of learning. Sometimes my husband asks if I will ever be done or my mom says “And what is this for?”  Truth is…I will never be done learning…in fact, I have a love for learning.  I absolutely love to learn new things, take risks, read educational books,  take on new challenges, and share with others around me.  In fact, sometimes I get ahead of myself (ask my teachers)!  Here lately my learning has moved past a degree or anything a college can provide for me!

Twitter (and Chats!)

Twitter has been an amazing journey of learning that has unleashed endless opportunities. The amount of learning that happens in a twitter chat is beyond any textbook out there.  I have used many ideas like the idea To My Awesome Colleagues from Danny Steele, handwritten notes to my students, taking on challenges by Principals in Action, and sharing our own school story. Some of my favorite chats are…#Ohedchat, #kidsdeserveit, #IMMOCC, #leadupchat, #JoyfulLeaders, and soon to be #EduAR. There are so many out there!  Check the topics. Mark your calendar. Get engaged.  Grow your PLN. Move your Learning.

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Reading for Fun

IMMOCC.JPGSince jumping into Twitter, there are so many authors who I have connected with and learn from in their books.  Right now…I am in the middle of reading three..right three books at once!  As soon as I get into one, another one pops up!  I’ve listed a few that I am in the middle of right now…

Connecting 

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Back in the fall, I made the most awesome connection with Bethany  Hill (@bethhil2829) and Karen Norton (@nortnik).  These two ladies have been my motivation and inspiration to be a better leader.  We are behind the Connecting for Kids movement with the #EduAR hashtag and new chat starting April 6!  You can read our reason why, how, and when here with our collaborative blog post: Connecting for Kids.  Just as I talk about making connections with my home state girls, I am also making connections with educators all over the state and country!  Super excited to be part of a live #leadupchat while I am at ASCD conference in Anaheim, CA.

Conferences

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AR Reading Conference #RISEArkansas

By attending state and national conferences, my journey takes on a new kind of learning. The most exciting thing about these conferences…I get to attend sessions with people I have met through Twitter.  Even better…I get the opportunity to present at two conferences this summer in Arkansas (more chances to connect with others in our great state).

 

For the Love of Learning 

 

love that I have a love for learning!  It’s my inspiration to be better than I was yesterday and a chance to be awesome tomorrow!  Have you found your love for learning?  It doesn’t have to stop at taking a graduate class or just your PD hours required by the state.  Learning can be a lifelong journey if you want it to be.  So, Go…Be a Lifelong Learner.

 

Connecting for Kids

Kids Social Media

What do you do when you are trying to do what’s best for kids?  We CONNECT. We connect with kids. We connect with parents and families.  We connect as teachers.  We connect as leaders.  We find any way possible to connect, so we can do what is best for our kids. Education was once considered a lonely profession. Consider the one room schoolhouse, where one teacher served an entire rural community and everyone knew she was not to be seen after dark! Through the years a culture of connection and collaboration has slowly unfolded. Today, with social media at our fingertips, we have endless opportunities to establish connections with anyone and everyone. We have the ability to invite the community in via pictures and videos. We have networks with amazing educators to help us grow stronger in our profession.  There simply is no reason why we shouldn’t be connected educators…we have every reason to be connecting for kids.

Why…By Bethany

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One of my favorite authors, John Maxwell, wrote a book entitled, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently. I read this book many years ago when I first entered the world of administration, and it opened my eyes to the importance of how we communicate, and the real purpose of it. My superintendent assigned the book for our team to read, and it was a game changer for me. If our communication isn’t reaching others, we are defeating our purpose. Authentic connections will not happen without authentic and purposeful communication. When we connect with others, we are validated, challenged, inspired, and our emotions are brought to the surface. This is what helps people become better versions of themselves. When we as educators connect, we become better educators. Our kids deserve nothing less than our best. Flying solo as an educator is no longer an option. When we struggle, we connect for support. When we succeed, we share to support others. When our beliefs are challenged, we share to ignite passion. There is power in connection, and connecting for kids is something we must ALL do. After all, it is about them, isn’t it?

So…remember the WHY behind connecting for kids!

  • To seek support and advice
  • To be validated for innovative thinking
  • To gather resources (blogs, images, podcasts, etc.)
  • To share our successes and thoughts
  • To strengthen our core beliefs
  • To inspire and be inspired
  • To celebrate the AWESOME we witness each school day

This list could continue, because the WHY behind connecting for kids is immeasurable. We owe it to ourselves, and we owe it to our kids…they are ALL OURS.

How…By Lindsey

Bohler QuoteIf you want to make the best connections, you must be visible.  Visibility should be at the top of our “To Do List.”  As lead learners, our lists are full of emails, phone calls, meetings, and paperwork, but we must have visibility (in permanent marker) at the top of the list.  We should intentionally (put it on the calendar) be in classrooms, at recess, in the hallways, and out front during morning/afternoon dismissal to see first hand what is happening in our school.  When you are visible to all, relationships begin to bloom because you learn to know the people with whom you work with…your Kids, your Teachers, your Staff, your Families, and your Community.  What a positive feeling it is for parents to see you in the mornings greeting the kids with high-fives and hugs.  What a rewarding feeling to enter a classroom of fully engaged kids and leave a handwritten note in appreciation to the teacher.  Through each of our actions as leaders, we begin to make connections through our interactions with kids, teachers, and families.  

You may ask…How do you do this?

    • Morning Greetings/Afternoon “See You Tomorrow”
    • Mobile Office to be in the classrooms
    • Eat Lunch with the Kids
    • Spread the news of what’s happening at your school
    • Give Kids a Voice on what happens at their school
    • Share with Kids are Awesome they are can day!
    • Go Beyond the School Walls

When…By Karen

IMG_8257When do we connect with/for kids. When do you not? We should be making connections and building relationships with and for kids constantly throughout each and every day.  Kid connections should be the unwavering compass needle pointing us to and keeping us aligned with our why. So often, lead learners get inundated with infraction forms, system issues and trivial problems that weigh us down and make us feel as though we are trapped in our offices.  Don’t let your office become a trap…get out and connect with and for kids. It must be a conscious, culture changing mindset to become a lead learner who values and insists on building relationships with students. The BIG question often becomes… when do we do this?

  • Through Celebrations!
    • Academic Milestones
    • Behavior Milestones
    • Character Milestones
    • Attendance Milestones
    • Positive phone calls home
  • Through Collaboration with Adults AND students about concerns
    • RTI (academic and behavioral) – Social/emotional concerns through formal/informal conversations during lunch, recess, bus duty, hallways…the list goes on and on.
  • Through Communication – Share, Share, Share
    • Face to Face with students (find their passion…their why), parents, ALL stakeholders…bring them into the school and put yourself out there.
    • Via social media – sharing our story and our why
    • Newsletters

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Are we connecting everyday for our kids?  Is our story being heard around the state?  These are the questions that got us to thinking we need a movement to connect educators across the state of Arkansas for our kids!  And why not connect for our kids?  After all, it is about them, isn’t it? Kids deserve us to be the best version of ourselves, so what if we had a place where we could go for continual conversation, resources, great ideas from our schools, and…yes…a Twitter chat? This is the WHY behind #EduAr…to connect FOR kids! We need to learn together, from each other. Learning goes beyond the 6 hour professional development session, beyond the talks in your hallways and in team meetings, and beyond your district. Arkansas kids (and the rest of the nation’s kids) need us to learn from a larger source. We owe that to them. Let’s do this!

Information coming soon on a set time for the #EduAr weekly Twitter chat! Look for slow chat questions, or images with a post for the day. Please begin sharing by using #EduAr in your tweets. Let’s get connected within our state, and reach out to other states as a unified group of educators. Ready?

Lindsey, Bethany, and Karen

Building Relationships

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It all goes back to relationships!

Relationships are the essential element in our schools. The old adage, “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” is true especially in today’s society when kids are used to so much choice in their world. Also, in today’s busy world, it’s important for teachers and school staff to make positive connections with students. We must be intentional and taking time with these relationships must be purposeful.

Members of the Compelled Tribe have teamed up to share practical ways for educators to build relationships with students. As connected educators, we also embrace the notion that it is the power of the team that drives much of what we do. How do you build relationships with those that you serve? See the list below for ideas to add to what you may be already doing in the buildings and districts in which you work.

  1. Greet students at the door. Smile and call them by name. Tell them you are glad to see them.
  2. Ask your students to share three things about themselves. Let them choose what they share. Keep them on index cards to help make connections throughout the year.
  3. Know your students families. As important as it is to know the students, make the connection to home. Great relationships with your kids starts where they kick off their day. As the year continues and both the good and bad arise, having that connection will be crucial to getting the results you are seeking.
  4. Journal writing is an activity to get to know your students well and give students a voice in the classroom.
  5. Make positive phone calls home especially within the first two weeks of the school year.
  6. Genius Hour/Passion Projects really give teachers an opportunity to learn about student passions.
  7. Have kids make something that represents them out of Play-dough and share.
  8. In the first couple of days of school, learn the first name of every student in your first class of the day, and something personal and unique about them that has nothing to do with your first class of the day.
  9. Be vulnerable!  Let your guard down and show your students that you are a learner, you make mistakes, and persevere.  They will see you as a person, opening the door for a relationship built on trust. Share stories about yourself as a learner or challenges you’ve faced when you were there age and help them see what it took to overcome it. It’s easy to forget how much a simple connection can make the difference.
  10. Eat together.  Have breakfast with a small group of kids or join them at the lunch table.  Gathering around meal time provides an informal way to have conversations and get to know your students.
  11. Hold Monday morning meetings (We call them “Weekend News Updates”).  Ask each student to share about their weekend – good or bad.  Ask questions.  Be sure to share about your weekend too!  Occasionally bring in breakfast or make hot chocolate.
  12. Laugh with them. Frequently. Show them that school, and your class, is just not about learning stuff. It is about sharing an experience. Tell them you missed them if they were out.
  13. Keep in touch with past students.  Show past students that you do not have a 1 year contract with them.  The ongoing relationship will also model to your current students the value of a positive classroom community.
  14. At the elementary level — hold morning meeting everyday as a class and stick to the routine of greeting, sharing, team building activity, and morning message.  This is a sacred time to build and maintain a culture of risk tasking and building relationships.
  15. Send positive postcards home to every child. Have them address it on the first day of the quarter, keep them and challenge yourself to find at least one thing each quarter to celebrate about your students, let them and their parents know.
  16. Find their interests and what motivates them! Sometimes it may take a bit to break down barriers and build trust, but through being genuine and authentic with them this will happen in no time.
  17. Make personal phone calls to parents. Find one good thing to say about the children in your class.  It can be how they contributed to a class discussion or how well mannered they are in class or in the halls. For older students it can be how diligent a student is at learning challenging content.
  18. Share something about yourself that they will find relevant or interesting to extend your relationships with students.
  19. Tell a story from a time you were their age. This approach allows students to see teachers as they once were and make connections easier to establish and maintain.
  20. Create a unique handshake or symbol for each of your students.  Use it when you greet them at the door or say goodbye.
  21. Eat lunch with a group of kids throughout the week. They will enjoy a time dedicated just to them. (And you will enjoy a peaceful lunch!)
  22. As a school, hold monthly celebrations to recognize students and educators their accomplishments.
  23. Take pictures with students. Print. Write a special note on the back to the student.
  24. At the end of a term or year, write a thank you to students telling them what you have learned from them. Be specific and honest – authenticity goes a long way. Try to make the note handwritten if possible, but email works well too.
  25. Each day write two students a personal  note about something that you have noticed about them.  Go into some detail and be specific. Keep track of who you reach out to over the year and try and reach as many students as you can. The time you spend doing this will deepen connections and pay off 10 fold.
  26. Have dance parties! It is so fun to let loose and get down with students. Students love seeing you have fun with them, and the saying goes, “The class that dances together, stays together”.
  27. Play with students at recess or during a free time. Climb the monkey bars, play kickball, or tag. Students will never forget you connecting with them on the playground.
  28. Hang out in the hall to give high fives or to have quick conversations with students. Relationship-building can be squeezed into any time of the day.
  29. Notice students having a bad day. Ask questions without prying. Show that you care. Follow up the next day, week, etc.
  30. When a student is having a rough day, ask if he/she has eaten. We are all more unreasonable when we are hungry. Keep a supply of snacks on hand (ex: breakfast bars, crackers, etc).
  31. Go see students at their events: sports, theater, dance, volunteering. Meet parents and families.
  32. When a student stops to say “Hello” and has a friend in tow, introduce yourself and be sure that the guest feels important.
  33. Stop class from time to time with a comment such as, “Hey, everyone, Katie just asked me a great question. I think you’ll all benefit from this. Katie, could you repeat that for everyone?”
  34. Sing “Happy Birthday” to students; send birthday emails (I use “Boomerang” to schedule my birthday emails each month).
  35. Say “I missed you yesterday” when a student has been absent. Be sincere.
  36. We have to make time to grow relationships with our students. This time can not always be in a planner or a calendar. Sometimes, this simply means just being there for your students.
  37. Mail them a postcard for their birthday. They are always amazed to receive personal mail!
  38. In a leadership position, learn as many names as you can. Greet students by their name as often as you are able.
  39. Music! Bond with your students over music. Play soft classical music while they are working. Incorporate music/songs into special events or lessons.
  40. Classroom: Start a compliment jar. Share comments at the end of class or randomly throughout the day. School: Do shout-outs during morning (or afternoon) announcements/news show.
  41. Smile and make eye contact.  “Good morning”, “Good afternoon”.  Something as simple as a greeting in the hall with smile and eye contact conveys both warmth & safety.  Try it tomorrow.  
  42. First day of math class have them choose 10 numbers that are significant to them (3 for number of cats, 1 for brothers, 20 for number of hours they work, etc.).  Everyone shares out.  You will learn lots about all your students in one day.  
  43. Cut them some slack every now and then.  “What were you doing?  What should you have been doing?  Can you do that for me next time?”  We all make mistakes.  
  44. Hold class celebrations and have students develop unique cheers for various accomplishments…these can be anything from a sports team victory, to being selected for something, to earning a grade, and they need not be school related.
  45. Allen Mendler’s 2×10 strategy for challenging students. Spend 2 minutes per day for 10 consecutive days talking to a student about something not academic.
  46. Share your own goals, successes/failures. Don’t be a mystery to your students.
  47. After morning announcements have students participate in a daily discussion question.  Have a student read the question and set a timer for two and a half minutes.  Each person turns to a partner and answers the question then volunteers share with the whole class.  Each question, in some way, will help you get to know your students.
  48. Halfway through the year, have your parents and students fill out a feedback form.  In my classroom, these forms look different.  Allow them to evaluate you so you can keep what works and change things that aren’t working.
  49. In your summer introduction letter, include a letter asking parents to write about their children in 1,000,000 words or less.  Keep the assignment voluntary and open so they tell you what is most important to them.
  50. Don’t be too busy to truly listen.  Listen to understand, not to respond.  Are you starting a lesson when a student interrupts and tells you they are moving?  Take the minute to hear them out.  That time will mean more to the student than the first minute of the lesson ever will.
  51. When students get stuck in class, teach the other students to cheer them on.  We do a simple, “Come on, [Name], you can do it,” followed by three seconds of clapping.
  52. Teach students call and responses to uplift each other.  When a student responds with something profound and someone loves it, that student gets to start the cheer.
  53. When you check in with groups to give them feedback or see how it’s going, make sure you are seeing them eye-to-eye.  If they’re sitting, don’t stand.  Pull up a chair next to them.  If they’re sitting on the floor, sit down on the floor next to them to avoid standing over them.
  54. Give honest feedback even when it may not be positive.  Your students will appreciate that you expect more out of them than they’re showing.
  55. Create a “You Matter” wall.  Take fun pictures of each of your students.  Print each photo and put each student’s photo in an 8×10 frame.  Hang them all on your wall under a “You Matter” heading.  At the end of the year, send the photos home with students.
  56. Tell them what was hard for you when you went through school and how you worked to overcome the challenges.  It shows they aren’t the only ones who struggle.
  57. Defend your students in front of other people.
  58. Take risks so students feel comfortable doing the same.  Don’t ask them to do anything you wouldn’t do.
  59. Create something that is unique to your class.  For us, it’s a house competition.  It’s something that connects my past students and current students.  It’s also a family bond that only the students who have been in my class understand.
  60. Apologize when you make a mistake.
  61. Cook together and then you can eat family style in the classroom. Some fun and easy crockpot meals: applesauce, vegetable soup, chicken and dumplings. Then, make cupcakes for dessert!
  62. Every so often, take the pulse of your building according to students. Convene a volunteer roundtable with student reps from various groups (athletes, scholars, quiet, loud) and ask them for critical feedback about topics you are working on. Some ideas I’ve seen discussed in this format include schoolwide incentives (assemblies, sledding event, etc.), dress code, and discussing recess options for winter.
  63. During your informal walk throughs, saddle up right next to students and ask them the purpose of the lesson they are involved in. Why do you think the teacher is asking you to work on this? You’ll be more than surprised with the honest feedback.
  64. Bring board games back! Add a few games like Checkers, Uno or Chess to your lunch table options. See if any students are willing to play a game or two with you and others.
  65. Use sidewalk chalk to decorate the entry of your building with positive messages to students. Have teachers help you write and draw the notes!
  66. Leave nice notes on post-its for students on the outside of their lockers. Recruit other students to help spread the kindness throughout many lockers!
  67. Forgive them when they make mistakes. Remind them that mistakes are opportunities for learning. Don’t hold grudges against misbehavior and don’t allow other adults to hold them either.
  68. Make time for dismissal. Tell them you can’t wait to see them tomorrow and share high fives on the way out!
  69. Notice which students still don’t have money to pay for lunch. Help them out when you can. Treat them to a snack they don’t usually get to purchase at lunch time.
  70. Find special projects that need to be done around school and recruit the most unlikely helpers.
  71. Remind your students you and your staff were all kids once too. Have your team bring in pictures of themselves as children (at the ages you have in your school). Post them and have a contest allowing students to guess which teacher is which. Those 80s pictures are the most popular!
  72. My favorite question to ask my students or any student I come in contact with is what are you into lately? This opens communication with your students and let’s them know you are interested.
  73. Allow students to do a job shadow. Give them a peek into what you do and how you make daily decisions.
  74. Host an ice cream social for students that meet certain goals.

The list will grow as our experiences and our connections grow. Feel free to reach out to any of the Tribe members listed below to learn more about the power of our team and how our tribe constantly supports each other in our teaching, leading and learning.

Compelled Tribe Contributors:

Jennifer Hogan, The Compelled Educator  @Jennifer_Hogan

Jonathon Wennstrom, Spark of Learning  @jon_wennstrom

Craig Vroom, Fueling Education, @Vroom6

Allyson Apsey, Serendipity in Education, @allysonapsey

Sandy King Inspiring The Light @sandeeteach

Gary Kidd Reflections and Rants from the Asst Principal, @hinotewailer

Jacie Maslyk   http://jaciemaslyk.blogspot.com/    @DrJacieMaslyk

Jodie Pierpoint  Journey In Learning @jodiepierpoint  

Jim Cordery   Mr. Cordery’s Blog  @jcordery

Allie Bond   The Positive Teacher @Abond013

Angie Murphy ConnectED to Learning @RoyalMurph_RRMS

Karen Wood https://karenwoodedu.wordpress.com/ @karenwoodedu

Lindsey Bohler lindseybohler.com @Lindsey_Bohler

Starr Sackstein http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/work_in_progress/ @MsSackstein

Debbie Campbell The Curious Educator @DebraLCamp

Michael McDonough M Squared at the Microphone @m_squaredBHS

Barbara Kurtz bkurtzteachermentor.blogspot.com @BJKURTZ

Stephanie Jacobs www.thisblogiswhy.blogspot.com @MsClassNSession

Michael Todd Clinton Motivated teacher blog  @MotivatedThe

Cathy Jacobs https://cathyjacobs.org/ @cathyjacobs5

Reed Gillespie Mr. Gillespie’s Office @rggillespie

Molly Babcock Sweet Tea and a Live Oak Tree @MollyBabcock

Lisa Meade Reflections @LisaMeade23

 

Drink the Kool-Aide

Here’s Your Sign, Lindsey:  What Flavor is YOUR Kool-Aide?

  • Read the blog post, What Flavor is YOUR Kool-Aide, by Bethany Hill and Danny Steele
  • Read the chapter in Start Right Now about “Knowing the Way”

At the end of the blog post, the question was posed: “We are all in — day in and day out.  So… what is the flavor of your Kool-Aide?  And is everyone in your building drinking it?”

People are My Kool-Aide

Energizing. Through a survey in the book, Stand Out, my strength resonated true to my personality. Stimulator.  I always ask myself, “How can I raise the energy?”  At any given moment throughout the school day, I find myself thinking how can I make things better for not only our kids but our staff as well.  Sometimes I even get a little too ahead of myself and need to take a step back for the sake of my teachers. And I am thankful for those relationships because they know they can come tell me when I need to slow down!

lunchOur energy comes from morning music greetings and different classes leading the school with our kid mission song.  Last Spring, I began “Lunch with Mrs. Bohler” for the kids. Each Monday, I eat with 10 different kindergarten students (followed by Tuesday’s eight first graders and Wednesday’s eight second graders).  Selfies are taken and the pictures are given to the students at the end of each week.  The kids eat it up! (Ha!)

I am always looking for ways to encourage, motivate, and inspire the people around me.  I took on Danny’s “awesome colleague” challenge in February.  With some questioning the reasoning behind the challenge (just another thing we had to do), I chose to see the JOY that others were getting from reading their messages.  Some even said I read it over and over again…thinking someone thinks this of me? 

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Missing a Few Kinder Teachers…

 

In January, I started Dinner with Mrs. Bohler. Since I do Lunch with Mrs. Bohler, some of my teachers thought I was inviting students over for dinner! Never did it cross some of their minds that their principal would have them over for dinner!  I feed off energy, so the more people together, the more energized I feel.  And so it began and continues…1st grade is up this month!  (Oh, and by the way…my husband does the cooking!)

February saw something new but filled with awesomeness! A school-wide Family Rally to celebrate our students and have fun as one big, happy family! It’s a time to celebrate and focus on being the best #seslearner possible. It’s encouraging.  It’s motivating.  It’s full of JOY. It will soon turn into a time to not only celebrate our students but our wonderful team of teachers as well.

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These people aren’t ‘just’ students or ‘just’ teachers or ‘just’ staff members.  They are my kids, my teachers, my staff.  They are MY SES family.  I do whatever I can to become part of their lives.  I seek to know their passions, their likes, their dislikes, their strengths, their weaknesses, and more importantly their families.  I view this aspect of my job as number one priority.  

I spend time with my kids and teachers whenever I get the opportunity.  

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Watching our boys play flag football
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Watching My Girls Perform (gymnastics)

Are they drinking the Kool-Aide?

I hope we are all drinking the kool-aide at SES where we put people first.  We say we are the best, and the best educators put people first.  I truly believe we are all drinking the kool-aide because we want to be full of JOY not only for ourselves but for our kids.

And if some aren’t drinking the kool-aide…

I got to keep on mixing it up until they are ready to take a DRINK!

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