Sunday, March 18, 2018

Free Download: Goal-Setting Guide

It's mid-March, and you still haven't done that thing that you said you would do. 

It's mid-March, and you don't have a way to track your progress on your way to reaching your goals. 

It's almost summer, another school year over, and you've given up on one (or a few) of your goals you set for yourself back in January. 

Can you relate to any of the sentences above?

With Spring Break around the corner, I wanted to share some inspiration and a FREE GIFT with you today. 

Feel free to print the images below for your classroom, office, car, or any other space where you need and want inspiration. Also, be sure to fill out the form below to get a copy of my FREE Goal-Setting Guide. I want you to ROCK YOUR GOALS this year, and it's not too late!

Just hover over each image and choose right-click and "save image as" to your computer. 

I created the Goal-Setting System to help me with my goals this year, and it has helped so much already this year that I wanted to turn it into a free download to help others, too.

Just fill in the blanks below and get a link sent to your Inbox for a FREE, instant download. 

Keep rockin'!

Sign up here to Rock Your Goals with Jennifer Hogan's Goal-Setting Guide.

* indicates required

After signing up, check your Inbox for an email from me with a link to the Goal-Setting Guide. Be sure to drop me a line and let me know how it's working for you!

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Staying balanced in life

How are you doing at staying balanced in life?

Is it simply a work-life balance... creating an equal number of hours at home and at work? There's so much to juggle in life that we can't just talk about work-life balance.

A balanced life has many things to consider, such as
  • nutrition
  • emotional health
  • physical health
  • work
  • family
  • self-care
  • social 
  • productivity

In order to have balance, we have to be willing to pay attention, reassess, and recalibrate often. I can guess what you're thinking... How do I do these three things when I'm busy trying to keep everything balanced?

Have you ever heard someone say that they don't have time to meditate or exercise, but when they do it they feel so much better? There have many times in my life that I have scolded myself for not taking a walk, because I know that the benefits would far outweigh the sacrifice of time that I would have to make in order to take that walk. 

From the food we eat to the time we spend moving our body to the news we read, we must pay attention to how we feel and how what we do affects us. If you feel tired, stretched in too many directions, or overwhelmed, chances are that your life is out of balance. We must reassess our actions and how the choices we make are affecting our lives. 

To recalibrate, sometimes it means letting go. It means something that you thought you would do, you won't. Accepting that something else has to take front and center first. Sometimes it means re-writing your goals, or simply re-writing your timeline for your goals. Again, this will be different for each person. 

To help me with reaching my goals this year, I've done more writing down of my goals than in the past. To keep balance, I've made sure to use one specific method to keep myself from burning out and to make sure I reach them. I like having a visual map of where I'm going and what I need to do to get there. Also, using my quadrant system keeps my fire list all year long. 

Also.. here's the secret sauce that it's taken me 24 years as an educator to learn...

When life gets out of balance, don't hunker down. Reach out. Lean in. Lean on. Find a group of friends, colleagues, or family members that you can share your burdens with. I have learned this the hard way, and now I know the easier way. 

If you want coaching from me and how to keep all of the plates in the air while keeping your sanity, please contact me. I would love to be your coach.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Iron Sharpens Iron: The Importance of Mentoring

The importance of having a mentor is extremely important and often overlooked. 

Why is it overlooked? Here are a few reasons...
  • Fear holds us back from asking for help (afraid that others will think we're not capable), and sometimes we get messages in education that collaboration is not important. Those kinds of messages lead us to overlook the option of looking for and acquiring a mentor. 
  • Since education is a heart-based, service profession, some believe that mentors are necessary in the business world, but not in the education field. 
  • Someone may have been subjected to a "mentoring program" when first becoming a teacher and didn't find it to be impactful. If so, a person with that kind of experience is skeptical about having or being a mentor. 

Good mentors are inspiring, trustworthy, and nonjudgmental. They create a place where questions can be asked, ideas can be exchanged, and mistakes can become learning opportunities. They can stretch us to set goals that we may not otherwise set, and they give us the honest feedback that we may not get from our closest colleagues. 

What if you want a mentor? I value the insights from Jon Mertz of Thin Difference, and he shares four ways to create a "mentor" if you don't have one. I also respect Jeff Goins and his work. I appreciate his post "How to find (and keep) a mentor in 10 not-so-easy steps. 

Tomorrow night (Monday, March 5), MENTORSHIP is the topic of the weekly Alabama education twitter chat (#ALedchat). Here are some questions to inspire your own thoughts about mentorship. The actual questions will be asked during the chat.
  • An effective mentor/mentee relationship _____________.
  • What have you mentored others on or what would you like to be mentored on? 
  • What do you picture when you read “effective mentor-mentee relationship”?
  • What are characteristics of an effective mentor?  
  • What does a mentor DO that makes them effective?
  • In what ways do you create a legacy by mentoring others?
  • What is the role of the mentee in an effective mentor/mentee relationship? 
  • Why is mentorship important for educators regardless of position and experience? 
  • In what ways could we build mentorship programs within our schools/communities?
  • What are the benefits for mentors in the mentoring relationship?
  • What (if any) is the difference between being a leader and a mentor?

Jodie Pierpoint of Dream Big Mentorship will be my co-host for #ALedchat. Jodie has created a national platform for aspiring leaders to connect virtually to mentors.

Everyone is welcome to join us Monday nights 9-10pmCST for #ALedchat. We value the insights, perspectives, and experiences of those in our PLN.

**Here’s a time converter to assist all of you around the globe in converting 9pm CST to your local time. 

TIP: If you have never done a twitter chat before, you may find it helpful to go to and enter the hashtag #ALedchat. Sign in with your twitter account. The website will "filter out" all of the other tweets except for the ones with the hashtag #ALedchat. The website will automatically add #ALedchat to your tweets, and you will see a scrolling list of tweets from the chat on the page. (P.S. The hashtags are NOT case-sensitive.)

I'm one of the founders and hosts of this chat. If you have any questions, feel free to email me

Everyone is welcome. I hope you will all join us Monday night for #ALedchat.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

How to hold a data meeting at the high school level

I've been blessed with the opportunity to write collaborative blog posts here on The Compelled Educator with some incredible people and thought leaders.  One collaboration that I truly enjoyed was getting to work on a blog post with Texas A & M Women's Basketball Assistant Coach, Bob Starkey  (@CoachBobStarkey).

The blog post Coach Starkey and I wrote together, Why Data is Not the Villain, is one that I hope everyone will go back and read and re-read. Coach Starkey's team goes into great detail with their data (stats in basketball). They don't just keep stats like points scored, where the shots were taken, or what percentage of free throws were made... they keep stats to measure hustle - such as diving on the floor or taking charges. They create their own stats... for things that are important for the success of their team, such as the number of screens set to get a teammate open. 

If you don't understand the game of basketball, this may sound like Greek to you. But I think you get the point of it... those coaches subscribe to the philosophy of keeping data and using it to get better. Find the weak points and strengthen them. Find what's working and keep doing more of it. 

Coach Starkey makes a connection to teaching, which happens in the classroom and on the basketball court, too. 

     "Of course, stats alone can’t take the place of teaching itself.  But when properly utilized, I think they can help the teacher better pinpoint areas in which the student needs help.  We chart turnovers and we are specific.  So after a practice or a game, if we see Jill has 5 turnovers and 4 of them were bad passes into the low post (which would be on that stat sheet), we can then show her some video of her performing that particular pass — both successful and unsuccessfully — while outline teaching points...the next day in practice, we can have some drills to specifically work on that skill.  If we didn’t chart that area, we may not realize that she needs help."

I hope that you will go back and read the collaborative post I wrote with Coach Starkey before you keep reading on about our data meeting we had recently. Beliefs and mindset is important to me, and because I believe in the use of data as feedback, holding data meetings with our teachers is important to me. (And based on feedback from our teachers, they find it important, too.)

The meetings I led recently were mid-year data meetings for our teachers of 9th and 10th graders. These data meetings are new for me, so I'm going to share what we did because a) I think it went really well and b) I would love to hear your feedback on making it better. 

We've worked hard to share ownership for the data of our students, as all subject areas contribute to their growth and success as readers. Our 9th and 10th grade students are assessed three times during the year on reading and Algebra or Geometry. Also, in an effort to be transparent about our data, I did a sort of "State of the School, 9th and 10th Grade version."

At the mid-year data meeting, first, we CELEBRATED! Yes, we celebrated! For our Continuous Improvement Plan goal this year, it's written based on achievement as well as growth on the Scantron Assessment. 
For our growth goal, all but one area showed improvement. Reading 9 & 10 met the goal as well as Algebra. Even though Geometry didn't meet the 3% increase, their percentage compared to last year remained the same (so it didn't go down.)

For our Performance goal, we want to show a 2% decrease in students scoring Below Average from fall to spring in math and reading. I showed the teachers where we are at this mid-year checkpoint. In all areas except for Algebra, we are moving the needle in the right direction at the mid-year point. I'm looking forward to seeing how much of a decrease we can show by the spring assessment. 

Prior to the meeting, each teacher was to print a copy of their "Class Standard Detail Report" and discuss it in their PLC meeting. The report shows the number of students who attained or did not attain specific grade-level standards. These are THEIR students in their classrooms as a grade-level. Through the online assessment system, teachers can log in and see the performance and growth of each individual student that is in their classrooms. 

It is truly something new for us as a high school - to have this kind of data about our students. In fact, each math and English teacher gets an "On-Track" report that shows the percentage of students in their classes who are "on track" to make one year of growth by spring. I know elementary teachers are used to having and using this kind of data, but it can truly be intimidating for some teachers as we start on our data journey. 

I asked teachers to think about and discuss the following questions prior to our mid-year meeting. 

          -What factors led students to meet/not meet their gains targets?

          -What influence do I as a teacher have over these factors?

          -How do we ensure that students meet their goals/targets?

          -How do we continue to help students take ownership of the data?

After reviewing all of the data, I asked teachers to answer the questions above on sticky notes. After writing their answers, they posted their sticky notes on the corresponding posters at the back of the meeting room. 

The first data meeting of the day

After posting their sticky notes, I asked each teacher to get a pad of sticky notes and writing utensil and do a Gallery Walk. They were to read what was posted and to add another sticky note with an answer if anything they read prompted them to think of a different answer. 

By the end of the two days, we had 4 posters full of sticky notes and lots of good questions and suggestions to help us move forward. My next step is to consolidate all of the answers into a Google Doc and share it with the teachers. I also plan to conference with the Algebra teachers about our plans to improve student performance. 

I'm so proud of our teachers who are embracing the use of data as feedback to improve what they are doing in the classroom. John Hattie says, "The biggest effects on student learning occur when teachers become learners of their own teaching, and students become their own teachers." It's time for all of us to become learners of our own teaching and have higher expectations for students than what they have for themselves.

What are the data meetings at your school like?
What suggestions would offer to improve the next meeting(s)?


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