What’s in Your Playbook?

While watching football tonight, I saw a commercial of a football team at a deaf school in California. That’s right…an all deaf football team.  Take a minute to think about how they communicate the plays and how they work together to make things happen on the field. They must have an astronomical playbook with a common vision that gives each player the best possible opportunity to succeed.  A playbook that spells out each strategy with the right people to make it happen.

So, I ask…What’s in Your Playbook?

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A playbook begins with a shared vision, mission, and core beliefs.  It has goals to accomplish throughout the year. It’s the game plan to help each child be successful in all that they do.  Who do you call in to make it happen? Each player contributes to the team in different ways.

There is a different lineup to help with all the aspects of the game.  These special teams are in place to help achieve the goals. The instructional lineup consists of the grade level teachers or specialty teachers who collaborate on lesson plans, curriculum, assessments, and instructional strategies in the classroom.  The leadership lineup is the voice of the school.  They help the administration (coaching staff) make decisions about what happens within the school.  Within each playbook, there is a lineup of wellness and parent/community players who work together with input from the community.  One of the most important lineups are the members who make up the intervention team. This team works together with the instructional lineup to create opportunities for students to succeed. With all the teamwork…opportunities are created for success.

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The team members need strategies (or plays) to provide guidance for success.  There are so many different strategies (or plays) that can be used to help teachers and students during the school year.  There are PLCs, ongoing-embedded professional learning, peer observations, data/RTI meetings, interventions, curriculum units, lesson plans…the list could go on forever.  It’s knowing if one isn’t working, then you reflect and try another.

So, I ask again…What do you and your team members have in your playbook for a successful school year?

Click here for the commercial: Football, Teamwork, and Technology

 

What’s Yours?

Intentionality: Knowing your purpose and your mission.  Is it part of your School Brand? Vision? Mission? Core Beliefs?  If you know your purpose and mission, do others know it?  See it?  Hear it?  Feel it?

IMG_9223.JPGPurpose. What is our purpose? Being (and creating) Life Long Learners.  Throughout the year, we should be engaged in ongoing professional development devoted to learning and moving instruction forward.  To see improvement of instruction, we must take action in learning, growing, and improving our strategies. Being intentional gives all students opportunities for life-long learning experiences.  As learners ourselves, we must strive to seek new and exciting ways for students to learn in the classroom.  Our kids deserve to walk into the classroom each day like it is a candy store! 

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Mission. What is our mission? Student Success. We must continuously look at what else.  What else can we do to help students be successful?    We should see ourselves as the number one determinant of their success or failure.  Socially, emotionally, and academically successful at all times.  This means leading with a full heart for kids!

Our Purpose and Our Mission…What’s Yours?

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I want to be THAT Leader!

I want to start by saying I wrote this post prior to reading the Learn, Lead, and Innovate chapter in the book! My hope now is to continue with the innovative mindset as an innovative LEADER!

As I am reading Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros, he asks the question “Would I want to be a learner in my own classroom?”  I found myself asking “Would I want to be a teacher who worked for THAT Leader?”  When I decided to become a principal 10 years ago, I had a friend tell me to watch, listen, and learn from the leaders who I worked for while I was a teacher.  I also listened, watched, and learned from my fellow teachers about their own expectations for a leader.  In a few short years, I would be applying what I learned to my own leadership.

As I read not much further in the book, Couros begins talking about the characteristics of an innovator’s mindset.  I started to reflect upon how principals must have an innovator’s mindset as leaders within their own school community.  And then the question came, “Am I that Leader?”  Do I have the 8 characteristics of a leader with an innovator’s mindset? Because I should…if I want my teachers to have an innovator’s mindset.

Image Created by @Sylviaduckworth8-characteristics-of-the-innovators-mindset


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Empathetic. Would I want to work for me? Each time I make a decision I should ask myself two questions: What does this effect our kids?  How does this effect my teachers? It hasn’t been that long ago that I was in a classroom and felt the pressures of everything you had to teach with all the demands that come with the paperwork.   From the beginning, I have built relationships with my teachers, so when they feel stressed they can come tell me.  Then I act upon it!  It may be a simple double planning time or an extra recess that I can cover.  Anything to give them a quick opportunity to catch up on things while I get to spend time with the Kids!

Problem Finder/Solvers: Bottomline. Teachers are professionals.  This year we have taken a new approach to professional learning.  It has been teacher driven during PLCs. Teachers have developed the “look fors” during colleague observations that produce the highest student achievement.

Risk Takers: Create Opportunities.  Give teachers a reason to want to take risks in their classrooms whether it be with implementing flexible seating or starting a classroom blog. Each teacher has their own unique teaching style, so I want to be able to provide them with the support and freedom to take the risks.

Networked: When we developed our “working agreements” or “how we will work together,” teachers wanted “Share Your Strengths and Ideas” as part of our agreement. Opportunities must be given for the teachers to share across grade levels to share with others what is working in their rooms and gain new ideas.  This is why teacher observations and discussion time is so important!

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Observant: Not just observations!  Sit back listen and pay attention to what the teachers are saying, asking, and needing from you.  Provide teachers with different avenues of social media to learn from others that our outside of our walls.

Creators: The biggest shift in a school culture is when teachers can go into another teacher’s room and take their new learning and integrate it into what they are already doing in their rooms.  Give them opportunities even if it means you have to walk into the room and pick up the teaching so they can GO!

Resilient: Push Forward.  I always resort back to the question…What is best for our kids?

Reflective: Including teachers in reflection is important in answering the questions…Did this work? What do parents think? What do the teachers think?  Should we do this agin?  How can we make it BETTER?

I want to be THAT Leader.  

I want to be THAT leader who has an innovator’s mindset with teacher’s saying

“I want to work for THAT Leader.”

#OneWord…Embrace2017

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For the past week, I have been trying to find my #oneword for 2017.  Before moving on to 2017, I took a minute to look at 2016 (#oneword2016 was gratitude). Looking back, I began to think about the summer!  I have so much to be thankful and grateful for during 2016.  I knew it was time to hold on tight and support all that had happened in 2016. And with that…I found my #oneword2017 in EMBRACE.

GRATEFUL for Summer 2016

Family. June. After a year of being two hours apart and only having weekend visits, our family was once together again. I am forever GRATEFUL we are all back together.

Kids. July. Found my true core belief, vision, and mission all in one.  #KidsDeserveIt  I am very GRATEFUL for Adam Welcome and Todd Nesloney for their movement with always putting kids first. I am GRATEFUL for my SES team in embracing it with me!

My Tribe. August. Participated in my first overnight team building trip with my staff from @SheridanSES.  GRATEFUL for each of the SES Tribe and what they have done for me! Participated in my first Twitter Chat.  Met #JoyfulLeaders such as Bethany Hill, Sean Gaillard (#CelebrateMonday),  Lindsy Stumpenhorst (#momsasprincipals), & reconnected with Karen Norton. AND More! GRATEFUL for all of the Learning! Continue reading “#OneWord…Embrace2017”

Spreading Joy

fb-twitterEncouraged by the reactions from last year’s Facebook challenge, this year’s Facebook/Twitter SES Spirit of Christmas had to step it up! (It even got a new name!)  I am constantly thinking of new ways to spread the joy with my teachers, staff, and students. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the teachers and students brings the JOY to me!!

What if Spreading Joy became contagious with our students?  What if our students learned to spread the joy?  When was the last time you spread a little joy?  How would you feel if you saw smiles with the joy that you gave?

thank-youI Know How I Feel…

I feel thankful, blessed, grateful, and FULL OF JOY!!  My heart is always excited to help people feel loved and appreciated.  I love to listen to my teachers talk about who won the nightly FB contest and even better to see them each congratulate the winner!!  The contests have grown to not only FB but Twitter with the #sesrocks to see who can show students having the most fun while being engaged in the learning!  The pictures and videos were amazing!!
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My Challenge to You…Spread a Little Joy

The Joy Spreading has happened for some this past week, but I want to challenge each of you to spread a little joy.  It can be a simple letter to a colleague or friend, an ornament for a family member, thank you note, phone call, or anything to make someone SMILE!!!

 How will you spread the JOY?

Spread Joy…Make Someone Smile

 

 

Engaged Kids are Inspired Kids

Quality Learning…

If you were to ask your staff what does quality learning look like in your classroom, what would they say?

When I asked my own staff, it was almost unanimous with one word…ENGAGING.

Of course, quality learning must be engaging because Engaged Kids are Inspired Kids.

When we have kids who are inspired to learn, then it makes our jobs easier.  If you really think about it, all of the words on the list involve engagement.


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 CHALLENGING. Kids are highly engaged in their own learning when they are challenged by the teacher. They think it is a game and want to win!! (Same goes for challenging adults!) EXCITING. Everyone wants their learning to be exciting no matter how old you are!  No one said learning couldn’t be FUN.  MEMORABLE.  If learning is fun and exciting, then it will surely be memorable.  The first activity at my new school was a community scavenger hunt.  It was the most fun I’ve ever had at a PD, and I learned so much about my new team members.  VALUABLE. A scavenger hunt was not the purpose of the learning, but learning who was on my team was valuable. MEANINGFUL. Learning is meaningful for all learners when there is a purpose.  Someone leading the learning has told me “why” so I now know it is important and ESSENTIAL.  The learning needs to be DIFFERENTIATED to meet the individual learning styles and needs so the learner can ACHIEVE.

Quality Learning is ENGAGING but as Learners Ourselves…

Remember…It is so much MORE!

Answer With…”Our Kids Deserve It!”

I love my kids.  As each day passes, I find my love for my kids growing stronger.  Now let’s clarify…I love my OWN kids more than anything in this world.    From the moment I started following #KidsDeserveIt I knew we were in for something BiG. (so were our kids!)

In the first chapter of “Kids Deserve It, ” Adam (@awelcome) and Todd (@techninjatodd) begin with a big challenge of taking a leap of something BIG and CREATIVE!!   We wanted to try something new by making the first day magical!  We rolled out the red carpet and made each kid (and even families) feel famous!  Teachers cheered each child on as many walked through our school doors for the first time.

I was later asked…How do you know your first day of school was great?  How do you know your students want to come back to your school?

              Ella (2)magical (1).PNGStevens Kids (1)

Celebrate MondayFor me that was only the first day of many for our students.  We are working daily to find new ways to showcase our students through different social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, a school blog, and an online weekly newsletter through Smore.   We have joined the weekly #CelebrateMonday trend on Twitter.  New teachers joined and are tweeting daily about the AWESOME things happening with our kids daily.   I ask… Are you sharing with others the amazing things happening inside the classroom walls?  How does your community see students learning at your school?

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Learning to Tweet! #seslearners

Next Up…Kids Begin Tweeting

We have a Student Tech team that we started last year, so we want to use those students who are continuing as 2nd graders to help teach other students about acceptable messages and pictures to share with our community.  We are making “commercials” about upcoming events.  Teachers are blogging about what is happening in their classrooms.  It is now part of responsibility as teachers of young learners to ensure they are using the new technology correctly before it’s too late.  If we don’t teach our students, who will?

Check one of our videos out here… Coming Soon: Grandparents’ Breakfast.

lunchLunch with Mrs.Bohler

My favorite time of the week!  Lunch with students who were chosen by their teacher for showing good behavior, attitude, and character throughout the week!   It’s our time to talk and get to know each other.  I show the students pictures  and videos of my family while they also share stories about their siblings and extra curricular activities.  Of course we have to take a selfie!! Each kid gets their very own copy too! Parents tell me they see me every time they open the refrigerator!

 New this year…Read to Mrs. Bohler!

officeA time we will also dedicate to making Happy Calls from my office.  

And finally the Questions Come…

There are questions every minute of every day in the world of education. Students are asking questions, my teachers ask questions, and parents ask questions throughout the week.  Through each busy day full of questions our number one answer should always be “because our kids deserve it.”  Our kids deserve it for us to open the car doors each morning with a smile on our face.  And the parents do too…I mean they are leaving us with a little piece of their heart each day!  Our kids deserve to have relationships with each of us at the school because who knows what kind of relationships they have at home.  We never know what they experience when the leave us every afternoon.

As much as I love my kids, I love my staff too!  They are my tribe.  They help me tell the story of our kids.  I look to them for answers to better help our kids.  Here we are going into our 4th week of school and my addition to the answer will be to never stop.

Never stop believing that our kids deserve it.

Best you