Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How to host your own blog images

Recently, I had an overnight hospital stay for some planned surgery. I knew that coming home I would have some down time away from work, and I had planned to write some blog posts as well as do some maintenance on my blog. 

Imagine my surprise when I checked my blog last week and saw the following image several times in the right-hand margin of my blog! 

I went straight to Google to see if this was a common issue, and it turns out that it is. Photobucket, a photo-hosting site, without warning, changed its policies and limited third-party hosting to only paying customers. I almost fell out when I saw the price... $400!

Now, photobucket has(had) a great thing going. With as many customers as photobucket has, they could have charged us a reasonable amount and we would have accepted it and paid it. Unfortunately for them, there are a ton of comments across the Internet of people who feel like I do - that it is a ridiculous amount and they will find another option for image hosting.

I immediately turned to help from the Xomisse website. I found a blog post with instructions on how to host images on my own blog and not have to use a third-party site like Photobucket. 

(To see the instructions from Xomisse for Blogger and Wordpress, click HERE).

My instructions are for blogger, since that is the platform that I use for The Compelled Educator. 

First, open a new post, and title it "Images for Blog." You are NOT going to publish this post. You will only save it and close it, leaving it in draft mode. 

In the picture above, you can see that I uploaded new images for social media buttons (downloaded for free from this site) as well as our Compelled Tribe badge. 
Above, you can see the HTML code of the images that I have uploaded. If you are only uploading an image and not linking it to anything, you can highlight the code in YELLOW and paste into an html widget in your blog layout. Hint: Look for the second set of triangular brackets and copy the brackets and everything in them.

The href just prior to the image code will link the image to another "location." (See green highlighted text above.) 

For example, the social media icon containing the envelope will take blog readers to my email address. To do the same on your blog, use the following code just prior to the code for your social media icon. 

<a href="mailto:thecompellededucator@gmail.com">

You need to change the text in red above to YOUR email address. 

For twitter, facebook, pinterest, etc... just change the text in the quotation marks (above) to the web address of each.

Pin the image below to try later on your own blog. Feel free to contact me if you need help!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

5 strategies for success with strong-willed children

Have you seen the video below? In the video, Aaliyah (the daughter of Nailah Ellis-Brown, the CEO of Ellis Island Tea) has her mind made up! 


I love the video because Aaliyah reminds me of my own daughters. I have two strong-willed girls that, when their minds are made up, won't change their minds easily. (I think I know exactly where they get that!)

As you watched the video, what words came to mind about the toddler? The dad? The mom? How does this relate to us as educators?

The mom and dad had different strategies when faced with the strong-willed child. Dad told Aaliyah the correct information over and over. Still, she wouldn't give in to what he was telling her. 

The mom (Nailah) had a different tactic. Instead of trying to convince her daughter that she should accept what Dad was saying, Mom asked the daughter to count to four. 

This is a great tactic when trying to change our beliefs about something. Sometimes we have to experience cognitive dissonance in order to change what we believe. 

Have you ever worked with a student who had certain beliefs that were hard to change? How about a strong-willed student? I've known educators who have reacted on opposite ends of a spectrum when working with strong-willed students. I've known some to  get frustrated and quit on students, and I've known some use patience and consistency as they work with students.

While there are some differences in dealing with toddlers and dealing with teenagers, I wanted to share 5 strategies for success from Cynthia Tobias:

Five Strategies for Success
1. Choose your battles.Don't make everything non-negotiable. Is this a battle worth fighting? Choose the things you want to go to the wall for and leave the rest alone.
2. Lighten up, but don't let up.Ask them, "Are you annoying me on purpose? If you are, you are so good at it." Smile more often. When you are a strong-willed child, nobody is all that happy to see you when you walk in the room.
3. Ask more questions and issue fewer orders."Are you about done with your homework? Are you going to mow the lawn before dinner? Are you about ready to go or do you want to be late?"
4. Hand out more tickets and give fewer warnings.Take more action and show less anger.
5. Make sure your strong-willed child always knows your love is unconditional.They have to know no matter how they act that you are still going to be there for them.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A new teacher group we're starting at our school

I've shared before on this blog that the teachers at our school have 2 off periods during their school day. One period is for planning, and one is a PD/PLC period. This allows teachers of a content area to share a period with others who teach the same content. This is a huge help with pacing, curriculum planning, and using results to drive instruction for teachers in a small group. 

This year, in addition to weekly PLC meetings, our teachers have met as a PLC during Collaborative Hour, where they have learned a literacy strategy each nine weeks to implement as part of our school-wide literacy plan

Next year, we're trying something new. It's called the Innovative Teaching and Learning PLC (or ITLPLC for short). 

I recently sent out a school-wide email, asking teachers if they would like to be a part of the new PLC. You can see the email below:

Are you a teacher with creative ideas that you implement in the classroom? Do you know your content standards well? Are you looking for a support network of other innovative teachers at HHS who will brainstorm, encourage, challenge, and uplift you? 
Next year, we will pilot a new PLC, and if you answered yes to the questions above, this PLC may be for you! 
For those who would like to be a part of the PLC, there will be a book study this summer on George Couros' book Innovator's Mindset. The PLC will be for any teacher in any content area. *This means that you would be in the "Innovative Teaching and Learning" PLC and not a PLC with your content-area teachers.  
If you would like to be a part of a new PLC called "Innovative Teaching and Learning," please let me know by Friday at noon, as Carrie and I are working on the master schedule for next year. 

 I had 18 teachers respond that they would like to be a part of it, so I immediately ordered George's book for them. 

I also asked each teacher to sign up for Voxer and send me a Vox so that I can create a book study group for our ITLPLC.

On the master schedule, I broke the large group into 3 smaller groups spread out across 3 periods (so that it would work in each group member's schedule). This way, there are three small groups that will be able to support each other throughout the year during a designated PLC period, and the entire group will be connected on Voxer, too. (We have over 200 teachers at our school. Teachers can go weeks without seeing certain other teachers in the school.)

We're "building the ship as we sail it," and we'll see where this idea takes us. Our school is known for it's willingness to try new things and take risks. I'm excited for teachers to have this intentional time in their schedule!

How could you create an opportunity like this in your school? 
What other ideas do you have about this ITLPLC?

Friday, May 19, 2017

What teachers can learn from coaches

Yesterday I wrote a post titled What PLCs can learn from coaches. I think there's a lot of great coaching practices that are really effective teaching strategies that could and should be used in the classroom. Today I'm going to share one coaching strategy that is important for a successful classroom. 

I recently attended my daughter's basketball banquet for her college basketball team. At the banquet, Mike Ricks, the head coach who just finished his second season with the team, shared a little with the attendees about the basketball program.

The first thing Coach Ricks talked about was culture. When Coach Ricks took over the program two years ago, the program was not a successful one. Coach "inherited" players who were invested in the school and program who had to adjust to a new way of doing things. He needed buy in from the returning players, even more so than from the new players coming in.

Coach Ricks and his staff wanted the program to feel completely new. They set out to do a complete overhaul on expectations, the definition of TEAM, as well as style of play. 

Now, we need to remember, these are college players. Those who love the sport. Those who want to play at the next level. These are the self-motivated, self-disciplined players, right? Coach Ricks and his staff can take the motivation piece for granted... right?

Coach Ricks and his staff have done A LOT of things to motivate the players. 

Just check out their locker room...

Do we agree that classrooms can impact students' motivation, interest, and behavior?  Coach Ricks was very intentional about the physical space he has created for the women's basketball team. He sends a clear and consistent message about team unity, hard work, and "The Panther Way." The players also go through Camp Five as part of their pre-season where they have mental breakthroughs and learn to depend on each other physically and emotionally.

It would be easy to say that the players are motivated and decorating the locker room or having a theme or motto aren't necessary. Do you believe that Coach Ricks sees himself as a motivator as much as a teacher of the game of basketball? Do classroom teachers see themselves as motivators as much as they see themselves as teachers of a content area?

What can teachers learn from coaches? We need to MOTIVATE our students, from the least motivated to the most motivated. We have an impact on their motivation, positively or negatively, by what we DO or DON'T DO.

Let's create opportunities for students to team-build together, let's create inviting and motivating spaces, let's encourage and uplift, let's protect each other, and let's wrap up our "season" with a celebration (not just semester exams). Let's see ourselves as motivators.

Motivating others is not easy, but it's possible. Start talking to the successful coaches you know. I bet they all know ways to motivate others!

Do you know any successful coaches and how they motivate their players? I would love to hear from you in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter. 


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