Friday, June 24, 2016

10 Surefire Ways to Keep your Cup of MOJO Full this Summer!



Mojo is the moment when we do something that's purposeful, powerful, and positive and the rest of the world recognizes it.
-Marshall Goldsmith

Summertime is the perfect time to fill your cup of mojo! Here are TEN surefire ways from the Compelled Tribe to keep or get back your mojo this summer.

Exercise - @Jennifer_Hogan
I find that when I get to exercise, it keeps me motivated, energized, and confident. Exercise is a time when I can disconnect from the world and just be “inside my head.” It allows time for ideas to percolate without interruption... time that I value and appreciate. It also provides the whitespace I need as an introvert. For me, it encourages creativity and problem-solving while the endorphins are being released! Done consistently, it’s a true mojo-maker!

Connecting - @jon_wennstrom
For me, I draw energy from being around positive people. Connecting with educators during summer learning sessions, sharing and learning from others on Twitter about books we’ve read, and of course blogging and reading blogs. I’m definitely an extrovert and being around other educators helps inspire me and always leads to new ideas to implement and helps me keep my mojo! 

Theater - @sandeeteach
I love Broadway musicals, plays, and other theatrical productions. It’s a way for me to escape and immerse myself in a story. One of my favorite theaters spoofs popular shows. For example, this year two of the shows will be “Indiana Bones Raiders of the Wal-Mart” and “Captain American Fork The Worst Avenger”. (American Fork is the city where I grew up.) The actors and actresses are masters of improvisation which makes for a night of laughter. Another favorite theater performs in the round which is always a delightful experience. There are beautiful theaters in downtown Salt Lake City for Broadway musicals and outdoor shows in many local communities. For a few hours, I can lose myself in another world. But upon further reflection, I always relate the experience to teaching because that’s just what teachers do. We get ideas that benefit our students from everywhere. 

Find a good read, or two - @Vroom6
There are lots of ways to find joy and rejuvenate during the summer months. And, I am all about work hard, play hard. With that, one of the greatest joys I get from the summer months, and a way in which I keep my mojo running full steam ahead, is by catching up on some of that much needed reading that took a back seat during the school year. Often times the days we are in session with students and teachers are filled with more scripted reading and writing. So for me, it is the summer months that I get to find that much anticipated new release on best practices in our field. Whether striving to become a better leader, or a better learner, it is the books that I carry with me to the beach, the pool or the park that I enjoy the most.

Dream big together - @allysonapsey
When my mojo needs a pick me up, I dream about what could be for our students, but I don’t do it alone. Just like everyone else, I find myself focusing on the trees rather than the forest from time to time. When monotony sets in, I push back by collaborating with the amazing teachers I work with. I am astounded after each conversation--we feed off each other, we divide and conquer, and we multiply our creativity for the sake of our students. Through these type of conversations this year, we came up with an amazing service learning project, we started plans for a Makerspace, we piloted new 
reading initiatives, we shared professional reading that has inspired us and so much more. While we are dreaming big together, we are building stronger relationships, laughing, and challenging each other. 

Pause and Reflect - @KarenWoodEDU
When my mojo needs some rejuvenation, (and it sometimes does), I first take a few minutes to reflect.  I find that sometimes my initial desire to “rejuvenate my mojo” may have my efforts focussed in the wrong areas or in areas which may not be productive for educators or students in the long run.  Reflection leads to focus and clarity.  From clarity goals can be set and then the fun begins!  Once my goals are established I jump in full force and do so with collaborative efforts.  It is very important that the shared vision of success is truly understood by all.  The last strategy I feel is essential for rejuvenating mojos is time to step away from work.  I admittedly do not do this well, however I find when I can clear my head (by going to the beach, going for a walk, kayaking, swimming, or practicing yoga/meditation, etc.) I return refreshed, focussed, and ready to ramp up my mojo and the mojos of others around me. 

Get into some music! - @PrincipalStager
I was a music major in college and a music educator prior to becoming a principal. Whenever I need to get my mojo back or need to decompress, I find a piano and PLAY. I play in a group at my church so I have the opportunity to play rather often. I understand not everyone has the ability to sit down and play a musical instrument, but when I don’t have a piano to play, I drive in my car or just put my headphones in and JAM! There is nothing like a great playlist of uplifting and energetic music to get your energy back and your cup overflowing! This is my sure-fire way to get back on track.

Make a “bucket list” - @jodiepierpoint
I decided to make a “bucket list” of things I wanted to accomplish within a year, but I’m finding summer is a perfect time to accomplish them.  Things such as volunteering and baking cookies for friends have been real pick me ups! Training for a quarter marathon has led into a half, simply because I’m out with great friends chatting while I’m doing it.  I check my list all the time, call a friend, and pick an activity to do - it’s a great way to rejuvenate not only myself, but others too!

“What if People” & Quiet Time - @Debralcamp
I do my best thinking when I am with people that like to say “what if”.  There is something about the words “what if” that allows walls to come down.  When discussions are lead with the words “what if” it takes away the threat of there being wrong answers and allows for brainstorming to happen in a way that doesn’t in a lot of conversations.  I find it very motivating to be pushed and pulled by other people’s thoughts and ideas.  Positive energy comes when people work together and create as a group. There is a collective product that is created as well. I find on the flip side that quiet time and reflection after being with “what if people” takes me to a space in my head where more ideas can be generated.  Revisiting and reflecting again with the same group consistently allows for new ideas to develop and to be tried. (They don’t always work but the process sure is fun and motivating.)

Balance - @Abond013
Often times when I am feeling overwhelmed, I find that I need to prioritize. It is important for educators in any role to find time to take care of themselves. We need to give students our best and that is challenging when we are running on empty. Besides exercising, traveling, and spending time with family or friends, I find that fueling my passion keeps me going. For example, if you are passionate about literacy, continue to take interest and learn more. Surround yourself with people who share your passion.


Be sure to pin this so you can refer to it later!



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

10 ways to go from lurker to connected on twitter



“You should be on Twitter.”

“It’s the best source of PD, 24-7!” 

“Twitter is the best place to learn about trends, hacks, and best practices.”

Maybe you’ve heard these statements when someone is describing the “power of twitter.” I know that I myself have said these things, too. Being on twitter is great… but it’s not just from having an account or tweeting about what’s happening in one’s life or school. The POWER of twitter comes from the connections that are made there. But how does one move from being a “lurker,” or one who passively reads and watches conversations to being “connected?” 

Here are 10 suggestions on how to make the most out of a twitter presence and maximize your learning through the social platform. 

1. Participate in the #followfriday community. Each Friday, recommend several people to follow and use the #FF or #followfriday hashtag. 
2. Find a twitter chat that interests you and be a regular participant. Be sure to contribute to at least each question and retweet or comment on others’ tweets.
3. Share some inspirational or motivational quotes and images, and tag others in the tweets.
4. Regularly share links to blog posts from bloggers you follow. 
5. Occasionally share personal interests, such as hobbies, fun facts, or insights into your personal life. Let others know you’re human!
6. Use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to easily follow hashtags. Be sure to retweet, comment, and share the tweets you like or find interesting.
7. Always talk back to those who want to engage with you.
8. Don’t SPAM or clog someone's feed with an overload of tweets.
9. Learn conference hashtags when you attend and share relevant quotes, questions, and photos while tagging them with the conference hashtag.
10. Remember that learning is a social activity. Share insights, ask questions, reflect and “think out loud” with others to tap into the opportunities for professional growth.


Which one resonated with you the most?
What would you add to this list?



Sunday, June 12, 2016

Let's teach our girls to be brave


I love watching the Women’s College Softball World Series each year. When I was a kid, playing softball was something I at which I excelled. At that time, the only sports that were on television were men’s sports. When in high school, I can remember finding the WCWS on television at 3:00am - not an ideal time to generate interest or excitement for the sport or the athletes. 

Nowadays, it’s exciting to watch the series as the top female softball players in the country put all of their skills and efforts from practices into the biggest competition of the year. It’s been fun for me personally as I’ve watched my friend Pat Murphy coach the University of Alabama many times in the World Series, and this year Auburn University made it to finals for the first time.

It was in one of these games that I saw the shortstop make an error, and when the camera zoomed in on her face, she looked like she was down on herself. She had just made an error on a huge, public stage.

Immediately, I went into “coach mode” and said outloud to the television, “Come on. You’ve got to recover from this. Keep going.” 

I also immediately thought about the TED talk I had recently watched, Teach Girls Bravery, not Perfection.

Click here if you can't see video on your device:

And I also thought in that moment how thankful I was that the girls that I was watching were playing sports, that I had been an athlete and coach, and that my own daughters were athletes. I believe that athletics can be a breeding ground for leaders, especially female leaders, because of the lessons that are learned.



Some of Reshma’s words are pretty strong, but they’re words we need to consider, especially for all of the female leaders who are reading this:
“And I'm not alone: so many women I talk to tell me that they gravitate towards careers and professions that they know they're going to be great in, that they know they're going to be perfect in, and it's no wonder why. Most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure. We're taught to smile pretty, play it safe, get all A's. Boys, on the other hand, are taught to play rough, swing high, crawl to the top of the monkey bars and then just jump off head-first. And by the time they're adults, whether they're negotiating a raise or even asking someone out on a date, they're habituated to take risk after risk. They're rewarded for it. It's often said in Silicon Valley, no one even takes you seriously unless you've had two failed start-ups. In other words, we're raising our girls to be perfect, and we're raising our boys to be brave.”
As a female educator in a leadership position, I can’t help but draw from statistics in the field. According to this 2011 eSchool News article,
“Seventy-two percent of the education workforce consists of women, yet the number of women in leadership positions falls far short of that statistic. They fare best in the role of elementary school principals, with 54 percent of these jobs being held by women. But at the secondary school level, only 26 percent of principals are women, and in the head job of superintendent, 24 percent are women.”
Where are all of the female leaders? I know that I personally was told by a teacher (female) that “she doesn’t trust any female in an authority position.” Imagine how that felt, as a leader who has spent a career on building trust, walking the walk, and being honest. Facing comments such as this require courage. Are we teaching our young girls to be brave? Are we supporting other females the same way we support males?

One lesson all athletes learn by playing sports is that “We’re not perfect.” Athletes learn that mistakes happen, that no amount of self-pity will change the mistake, and that the best thing to do is to forgive one’s self and learn from the mistake. Athletes also learn that dwelling on mistakes can lead to future mistakes. When we’re a part of a team, we also learn that we have to forgive each other’s mistakes and support each other when they’re made. 

I hope that this post inspires you to reflect on how you’re raising your daughters, how you’re influencing female students and athletes, and how you’re supporting women to be brave. We need to get girls involved in athletics or other programs where they can learn “persistence not perfection” at a young age. We also need to support all ages of females who are doing brave things.

I believe in you.
Let me know how I can support you.





Friday, June 10, 2016

Be in the Moment


Be in the moment. Pay attention. Care.


It can sound so cliche. It seems too simple. Lives can be changed by these three actions? YES! It may the other person's, and it may be yours.

I’ve written about the moment that changed my life, I’ve shared about the teachers who ask, “Why not me?” and leaders who lead from the heart. Across twitter, my PLN uplifts and encourages and reminds us all of the importance of our work. We matter. Every moment that we spend with kids is a moment to be a positive influence.

This summer, while you're away from your students, take some time to learn about you. Re-charge and refresh yourself, because you will have a new group of kids in the fall who are going to need your best you. They're going to need you to be in the moment, to pay attention, and to care. Kids won't remember days; they will remember moments.

A friend sent this poem to me a while ago, and I knew I wanted to share it with you.


The Cab Ride…

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. When I arrived at 2:30a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away.

But, I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.

So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase.


The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware. "Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

"It's nothing", I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated". "Oh, you're such a good boy", she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?" "It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly. "Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice".

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long." I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked. For the next two hours, we drove through the city.

She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing. As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now." We drove in silence to the address she had given me.

It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse. "Nothing," I said. "You have to make a living," she answered. "There are other passengers," I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you."

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?

What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware - beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.



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