Friday, December 30, 2016

Readers' Favorite Posts of 2016

Hello, Friends! I love this time of the year because I get to catch up with friends and family while I reflect on the year and plan for the new one. I hope your holidays have been wonderful, too!

I'm thrilled about starting a new year with this blog. Thank you to all of you who have read, commented, and shared posts from The Compelled Educator. You light my fire and keep me lifted up as I pursue my passion of helping others become their best! 

I'm closing out 2016 with today's post of "The Best of..." It's always so much fun to read back through blog posts from the year and reminisce on what was going on at the time that caused the words to flow. The posts are the ones that were most-read, so grab your cup of coffee and let's go!





I'm always trying to learn, and one of the things on my list has been how to create a "clickable collage." You've probably seen them on other blogs where you can click the different pictures in the picture and it links to different sites, pages, or posts. I've been working on it today so that I could include it in this blog post. 

When I tried to go live with the post, I realized that my image map was not working. I've got to get back to the drawing board and figure out what is causing the issues. In the meantime, you can click the links below the graphics to access the blog posts. :-)



I was excited to see that #6 above was in the top 10 for the year. It's about an event at our school that was special for the recipient as well as for MANY of our students. Check it out if you missed it.



It's exciting for me that # 2 & #3 were both about twitter. Here's why it fires me up: 1) Twitter is THE best source for PD, 2) It's accessible "on demand" 24/7, and 3) Everyone who's on twitter WANTS to be there. The enthusiasm is contagious! I believe that school leaders have a responsibility to share the awesome things happening in their schools, and I hope to contribute to helping as many people as I can in accomplishing that. Educators and students deserve to have a positive story shared about them!



The most-read post of 2016 was a post about a movement that started in my Women in Education Leadership Voxer group. We were talking about ways to keep teachers and students motivated during the last month of school -- a month where engines are drained, motivation is low, and everyone's ready for a break. We shared ideas and resources for ways to celebrate and motivate teachers during May so that it would "fill their bucket" throughout the month. It was energizing to see the photos and ideas that were being shared on social media! 

Were any of these posts your favorite from the year? I would love for you to leave a comment or reach out on Twitter or Facebook

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping to make 2016 one of the best! 



Saturday, December 17, 2016

Classroom Hack: The Joy Jar

Starting a new calendar year is a terrific time to make new commitments and set goals, both personally and professionally. Since the new year arrives around the half-way point in most school calendars, it can be a time of renewal and excitement about what's to come. Relationships have been forged, procedures have been learned, and the classroom community is fertile ground for student learning. 

Today is a quick post about a classroom hack that can be started after the holidays. It's called a Joy Jar. The idea is that each day the teacher and/or student writes down something from that day to be joyful for and puts the slip of paper in the jar. Maybe it's about a student who normally doesn't come to class prepared who has his homework completed for the third day in a row. Or a student's mother has just returned from overseas. Or it a was a great day of learning and high fives. The point is... it can be something large... or it can be something that seems small. 

On the last day of class, the teacher reads the slips of paper from the jar. Not only will it be exciting to remember the special times from the semester, but the classroom climate that will result from the teacher and students being intentional about looking for joy each day will be very special. 

The jar can be decorated to "fit" the theme of the class. I'm a huge fan of mason jars, and there is lots of inspiration on my "Mason Jar Ideas" Pinterest board

I would love to hear about your favorite classroom hacks! Please leave me a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook







Tuesday, December 13, 2016

4 must-do items for 2017


As we wind up the last few days of school before we take a holiday break to relax and recharge for 2017, it’s a perfect time to create our “to-do” list of things to accomplish over the break so that we will be ready to start gaining momentum for the second half of the school year. 

Telling your school’s story is of great importance, given the media onslaught of negative education news and the uncertainty about what the future holds for public education. I strongly believe in public education and the possibilities that lie within school walls, and we need to share the awesomeness! 

Highlighting the awesomeness in your schools does several things:

     -It’s a terrific morale booster - getting recognized for hard work is always affirming!

     -It’s a culture changer  - teachers WANT administrators (and others) to come into their classrooms when they know that visitors are there to “see the good”

     -It’s a tool to inform stakeholders - parents, community members, business, and alumni can get a glimpse into the wonderful things happening in the school

Here are 4 things to put on your to-do list now:

  • Create a school hashtag. *Do a search to see if anyone else is using it. If not, it’s YOURS! When you get back to school in 2017, share it with everyone!
  • Find a “twitter partner” in your school. You don’t have to embark on this journey alone. Find someone else who will consistently tweet with you. You can light each other’s fire throughout the year!
  • Get familiar with Tweetdeck. You can schedule tweets here and create a column with your school’s hashtag in order to connect with others who are tweeting about your school.
  • Get familiar with Canva. Canva has all kinds of templates and free images that you can use to create eye-catching graphics that will help you tell your story on twitter. Visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. Source

If you're looking for an easy-to-use guide with step-by-step instructions and action plans, then download my digital workbook and start learning today! 

Twitter is not the only social media available to share your school’s story, but building a presence on twitter will also help you make professional connections that can lead to personal learning and growth unlike any other PD. 



 





Sunday, December 11, 2016

Teams aren't built on practice plans alone

Patrick Lencioni is a best-selling author of several books on management and leadership. I remember reading Five Dysfunctions of a Team and The Three Signs of a Miserable Job and truly enjoying the parable-style writing of Lencioni. Those books inspired today's blog post, written Lencioni-style. 


Chapter 1
This is a story about Mike, a new high school basketball coach. Mike’s history as a basketball player makes him seem like the perfect candidate to be a successful coach, since he was an all-star player at his high school and now had returned “home” to take on a struggling team. You see, Mike really enjoyed playing basketball. He did everything he was told to do, at practice and even on his own by attending camps in the summer and off-season. Mike was now ready to put his experience and ideas into practice by, in his words, teach his athletes the game of basketball as well as some lessons they could use in life.

Mike only had 5 players on his team. He had enough to put a team on the court, and he told himself he would have time to build the program and get more players to join the program in the future. He met the players before the season and thought they all seemed like great kids - respectful, attentive, and polite.  He was eager to start the season.

As October approached and it was nearing the time for the first practice, Mike reminded himself of some of the drills he had to do as a player, and he also looked through a book of practice drills written by J.W., a successful high school and college coach. He felt like he had enough for the players to do for an entire practice, so he felt ready when the first day arrived.

Coach Mike spent the first 30 minutes or so showing the players the drills. Thanks to his morning pick-up games before school at the local church gym, he was still in good shape and his skills were still sharp. Mike went through each drill, demonstrating the skills for the players and then allowing volunteers to try them a few times. He made sure to ask the team if they had any questions about the drill before they were going to do it on their own.

With only an hour left of court time, Mike knew that his players needed to practice. He trusted his players to give good effort, so he left a list of the drills for them to do on their own while he worked on some other things in his office that he needed to get completed. The practice routine continued until the first game. With only 5 players, everyone would get to play every game.

At the first game, Coach Mike was surprised at the outcome. His team had lost by a large margin. He had seen some good things from some of his players, but there were other things he had seen that were not executed well. He realized that almost if not all of his players were not rebounding strongly. He understood that he didn’t provide enough opportunities for them to practice that skill. He found fault in himself with that one. As for the other skills, he blamed the players. “They’ve had opportunity after opportunity to practice the skills and get better. I’ve written good practice plans. They must not be trying hard, or maybe they’re skipping some of the harder drills intentionally,” thought Mike. He demonstrated more at practice. He really wanted his players to see what the skills looked like when done correctly.

Coach Mike wasn’t sure what to do about his players’ not reacting to different game situations that required them to use their skills at certain times. For instance, when he showed them how to anticipate a pass in practice and had a few players to try it while he was there, they did fine. They knew the skill itself. During the game, the players didn’t know when to use the skills they had learned at practice.

Was there something Coach Mike could do differently at practice to help them perform better in the game?

What advice would you give at this point?

How does this story compare to classrooms?



Sunday, December 4, 2016

Igniting Teacher Leadership


Teacher leadership looks different for the many roles teachers take on in their schools and districts, therefore there is no single definition of what teacher leadership looks like. There are common traits that teacher leaders possess that include 

  • being a reflective educator, 
  • believing in and promoting coaching and mentoring, 
  • skillfully utilizing technology to further learning of students and teachers, and 
  • possessing courage to take on new challenges. 

While these are not all-encompassing, you would be hard-pressed to find teacher leaders who don’t possess these qualities in today’s world. 

A misunderstanding about teacher leadership is that it means serving on a committee or leading a department or PLC. An article by the Association for School Curriculum Development (ASCD) defines ten possible roles of teacher leaders. 
  • Resource provider
  • Instructional specialist
  • Curriculum specialist
  • Classroom supporter
  • Learning facilitator
  • Mentor
  • School leader
  • Data coach
  • Catalyst for change
  • Learner

Dr. Bill Sterrett is an expert in the area of teacher Leadership. He is the author several books, including the recently published book by ASCD titled Igniting Teacher Leadership: How do I empower my teachers to lead and learn? He will be the guest moderator on Monday night’s Alabama Education Chat (#ALedchat) on twitter. 

Here are some questions to inspire your own thinking about teacher leadership. The actual questions will be given during Monday night’s chat. 

  • How does teacher leadership impact a school’s culture?
  • Can a teacher leader be defined as one who takes risks inside his/her classroom?
  • What advice would you give to a school leader who wants to grow teacher leaders?
  • How can teacher leadership lead to more satisfied teachers?
  • What are the characteristics and dispositions of teachers that make them ideal candidates for teacher leaders?
  • Does having teacher leaders in a school lead to “too many chiefs?” 
  • What conditions are needed to promote teacher leadership?
  • How might teacher leaders extend their reach beyond the school?

Please join us as Dr. Sterrett gets the sparks flying on Monday night! 


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 tweetchat.com 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.


Friday, December 2, 2016

One assessment practice in schools that needs to change


I heard it from one of our band directors yesterday… she said, “It’s not enough to know [the note], students need to know how to use the knowledge.”  Over and over we hear and discuss this important concept about application of knowledge by our students, yet we continue with instructional practices that reinforce knowledge-level concepts. 

As we approach the end of the semester, high schools across the country are gearing up for semester exams. At the end of the semester, students have spent about 18 weeks learning about a subject, and it could be a wonderful time to have a culminating assessment or opportunity for complex thinking and problem-solving. For so long the semester exam has been about how long the testing period lasts, how many questions are on the test, and a check to see if the student still remembers something that was taught several to many weeks ago. 

Bloom’s Taxonomy and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) provide a framework to help with progressing beyond the recall of facts to higher level thinking questions. Bloom’s Taxonomy asks, What type of thinking is needed to complete a task? while Webb’s DOK asks, How deeply do you have to understand the content to successfully interact with it? How complex is the content?




For teachers trying to move from recall to higher-level thinking questions on assessments, verb charts are a great help in the growth process. 


“Understanding is nuanced, it has degrees and facets, therefore, it's helpful to attend to degrees of learning: ‘To what extent do you want your learner to know something?’”  
                    -Israel Galindo, Wabash Center



~If we believe “it’s not enough just to know the information," how do we change our practices to align with what we believe? 
~What do semester exams look like in your school? 
~What could they look like? What needs to happen to make it a reality?

I would really love to hear from you about the semester exam practices at your school as well as your responses to the questions above. Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter or Facebook



Sunday, November 27, 2016

Will mentorship create better teachers?


Kids need the best teachers. To be the best, educators must be on a personal journey of reaching every student and helping students to maximize their potential. Teachers must also be able to see potential in students that the students may not be able to see themselves. To bring out the best in students, teachers must have confidence in their own abilities, too

How do we get better as teachers?

Simply put, mentors matter. 

John Maxwell states that mentors do three things for you:
  -Know the way
  -Show the way
  -Go the way

Pre-service teachers who are doing their student teaching in a school get to work with an experienced teacher who help the pre-service teachers prepare for their own classrooms. The student teachers get observed by their cooperating teachers as well as their university professors. But what typically happens when the student teacher gets his/her own classroom? Is there a feedback/growth loop? Is there a regular conversation that occurs between the new teacher and experienced teacher(s)? Who grows the cooperating teacher?

Mentors are important at every stage of a person’s career. Having the right mentor will give a person insights about his/her strengths and ignite courage. Be aware, though, that being vulnerable with a mentor is a personal challenge that must be overcome. This is especially difficult for teachers who are used to being the “expert in the room.” 

Dan Rockwell, a.k.a. @LeadershipFreak, gives 3 tips for mentorship: (read entire blog post here)
     1-You haven’t outgrown being mentored. Humble yourself. Arrogance blocks      growth.
     2-Transparency opens the door to mentoring. Share your dreams, fears, and      frustrations.
     3-Have many mentors. Learn from everyone.  
Monday night we will discuss mentoring on twitter at #ALedchat.  Here are some questions to get you thinking about mentorship. Actual questions will be posted during the chat. 
  • What role does the mentee play in establishing rapport with the mentor?
  • What qualities are important in a great mentor?
  • How important is reflective practice in a mentoring relationship?
  • What are the benefits of being a mentor?
  • Can mentoring and friendship be mixed?
  • Are virtual mentors as effective as face-to-face mentoring?
  • How do people grow as a result of mentoring?


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 tweetchat.com 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.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

What is High Quality Professional Development?


The list of complaints about professional development is long…

  • Too much “sit and get”
  • What is being taught is not being modeled
  • “Drive-by” approach with no follow up
  • Emphasis on education fads
  • Too general; no direct impact on instruction
  • __________________ (*I bet you can fill in the blank)


In 2012, then U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asked “What do you think we spend on professional development each year? $2.5 billion. But when I say that to teachers they usually laugh or cry. They are not feeling it. We have to do better with professional development money.”

Why do we continue to sit through, tolerate, and provide low quality professional development?

According to research, there are 5 characteristics of high quality professional development:

  • Aligns with school goals, state and district standards and assessments, and other professional-learning activities
  • Focuses on core content and modeling of teaching strategies for the content
  • Includes opportunities for active learning of new teaching strategies
  • Provides the chance for teachers to collaborate
  • Includes follow-up and continuous feedback

How can we be a part of the solution and not the problem? Discuss it with educators from across the country on Monday night, November 21.


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 tweetchat.com 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.


Related Posts: 
Make this one change to PD and see what happens
PD activities that get positive feedback from teachers
When it comes to PD at your school, is anyone being overlooked?
An easy and awesome tool to flip your PD



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Your "inlook" determines your outlook


We all have a little voice inside that tells us messages. The script we tell ourselves is made up of many messages we have received throughout our lives, whether told to us by someone else or messages that we created through experiences. It can be a hard habit to break, but once we recognize that it’s a habit and not necessarily a truth of what is happening in the moment, we have a better chance of breaking it.

Check your script throughout the day. Are you hearing positive messages or negative messages?

When we want to have a positive outlook, we must first have a positive “inlook.” 

Here are four positive messages that we should all be telling ourselves.

You deserve happiness
We are all unique and special, and we deserve happiness. Sure, we have setbacks that may cause us to be temporarily unhappy, but overall happiness will prevail when we believe that we deserve it. 

You matter
Every single human being is unique. It is a special gift, and together we are part of the beautiful, colorful tapestry of life. Our differences, similarities, relationships, and voices all contribute to making the world a beautiful place. 

You are enough
While we can all learn, grow, and improve, don’t mistake the journey of self-improvement as an indicator that a person is not enough. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not enough, and don’t believe the lies.  Each person is enough just by being a part of the human race.

You, not your past, will determine where you will go
No one is predetermined to a future position based on his/her past. Each of us can learn from our past in order to - along with hard work - propel us to where we want to go. 

What messages are you telling yourself on your journey? Is it time to change your script?





Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Twitter Tweasure Hunt - Guest Post by Barbara Kurtz



Thank you, Barbara Kurtz, the newest member of the Compelled Tribe, for your guest post below!


How do you demonstrate the worth of Twitter to new and occasional Twitter-using teachers and administrators? Take them on a Twitter Tweasure Hunt! 

Our school advocates an “open” PLC policy. Twenty-five minutes at the beginning of each day are set aside for professional development, and teachers are encouraged to pursue learning needs or interests, preferably in small communities of learners. With this in mind, I designed a Twitter PLC and offered it on Thursday mornings. Ten responded initially, though the number fluctuates as some join in occasionally, and others decide not to pursue it after a brief introduction.

My role in this Twitter PLC is composed of four “phases”:
     1. Explain why Twitter is the best form of professional development for educators and administrators;
     2. Model for teachers and administrators by connecting with them, and then pointing them to valuable resources that most suit their needs and personal preferences;
     3. Troubleshoot difficulties: some teachers have used Twitter personally and transition quickly to a professional platform; others have never used Twitter and it can be overwhelming. I need to help them learn the Twitter “language,” and then give them a safe and comfortable way to build a PLN and interact with them.
     4. Challenge teachers to make the most of their Twitter experience, thus the Twitter Tweasure Hunt.

It’s difficult to begin to use Twitter because it is enormous. I would liken it to a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle with no picture guide and no corner/edge pieces. How do you begin? The Tweasure Hunt breaks Twitter down into manageable bites. Participants can preview the categories and choose one or two to pursue for points when they open Twitter on their computer or phone.



Before asking my colleagues to complete the various challenges of the Twitter Tweasure Hunt, I first had to be sure that I had completed each of them. I want to lead by example. https://twitter.com/BJKURTZ

Begin with the basics: it’s important to create your Twitter profile with care. You are a professional; your profile should show who you are and why you want to use Twitter. Participants can earn points for these:
  • Establish your professional Profile
  • add a profile photo
  • display your professional profile: who are you, where are you, what are your passions, hobbies, interests, why are you on Twitter, what do you want to accomplish?
  • add a header photo

Build your PLN (professional learning network): connecting with others on Twitter is a continuous process, but beginning can be difficult. How do you find people to follow? I suggested that they try to build using these guidelines:
  • Find and follow another member of the MASH faculty (not on your team)
  • Find and follow another member of the CCSD faculty (not at MASH)
  • View the people/groups that someone else at MASH follows, follow at least one
  • follow an educator (teacher, admin, specialist) in another school district within 50 miles of MASH
  • follow an educator (teacher, admin, specialist) in another state
  • follow an educator (teacher, admin, specialist) in another country
  • Follow someone not from MASH/CCSD and be followed back
*Note: “MASH” is our school, Meadville Area Senior High School; “CCSD” is our district, Crawford Central School District. We are in northwest Pennsylvania, about 1.5 hours north of Pittsburgh. #MASHPD is what we're using to communicate with each other on Twitter.

Communicate about educational topics: several participants expressed that they felt an immense pressure to choose their first tweet carefully. Many didn’t know how to begin. Prior to our third PLC meeting, I gathered multiple tweets by “quoting” the tweet with our own “#MASHPD” hashtag. Then, participants could search for the hashtag and find items to begin their Twitter journey. Here are some of our Tweasure Hunt categories, varying from “beginner” to “advanced”:
  • "Like" a tweet
  • Retweet a tweet
  • Tweet something you've learned recently
  • Tweet an activity that went well in your class(es)
  • Tweet a quote from a book (educational/relevant topic) you're reading (or have read). Cite the author. If the author is on Twitter, include his/her Twitter handle (@...)
  • Read a teacher's/administrator's blog, retweet (adding your own comment)

After reading a blog, one of our MASH faculty shares the article with coworkers.
  • Find a valuable ed-tech resource, link or tip; tweet/retweet it to another member of the MASH faculty (not on your team) who you think would find it interesting or helpful
  • Ask a question (education topic) via Twitter; receive at least one response
  • Research a topic of educational interest/relevance and gather at least three sources
  • Download an infographic that you can use in your classroom.
  • Enter a contest or giveaway
  • Retweet an education-related quote that you find true/inspiring.
  • Respond to a question



  • Be "retweeted" (by someone not on your team)
  • Send an encouragement tweet to someone (not on your team)


My colleague, Leann, said "I am having twouble with Twitter". But she persisted and a short time later posted her first tweet ever. I was honored and touched!

I want Twitter to “invade” our high school, to give our professional staff a living connection to a passionate PLN, to help them learn, grow, mentor, encourage and be encouraged. I want all this to happen instantly.

But this isn’t an instant process. In order for them to find the value, I must provide a lot of patient support, offer help, make suggestions, answer questions, ensure a safe environment in which to try these skills, and model, model, model. They have to find the value of Twitter for themselves, but I can be there to encourage them along the way.



My colleague reminds me that "change is hard" (but not impossible)  https://twitter.com/Pancakesnprose/status/790414873721204736



I accept the responsibility to model and help the newcomers.

But I am not alone. Two of our administrators, Mr. Mike Ditzenberger, assistant principal, (@MBDitzenberger) and Mrs. Stacey Walsh, technology instructional coach and dean of students (@StaceyWalsh70), are sharing links and resources, and encouraging the faculty. They are both great leaders. 

To them, leadership is not exercising control, but authorizing freedom.

Our technology instructional coach shares her view of leadership.

Several of the teachers in the Twitter PLC are reaching out to others and helping them on their Twitter journey. One even told me that curiosity is increasing as there is now “Twitter Talk” in the lunchroom. I'm hopeful that our school, and district, will gradually develop a large Twitter presence in which we interact with each other, and with the vast educator network outside our immediate area.

What does this mean for school leaders, administrators, and technology integrators? Twitter is a valuable resource for you and for your school. You need to lead the way by inspiring curiosity, sharing resources, encouraging your faculty through Twitter, and offering opportunities to learn and grow. Be patient. Persuade, don't insist. Lure, don't entrap. Model, don't dictate. Have fun and share what you are learning.



Let's present Twitter as a valuable option, and help newcomers to have fun uncovering the "Tweasures"!





Monday, November 14, 2016

I choose UNITY


I once posted about an incident that happened at school while I was the principal there. The post was about FOCUS, and choosing to focus on the positive in ourselves rather than the negative in others. 

When we continue to talk about division in our country (which is usually the case after an election), I believe our focus is misdirected. We need to focus on becoming a united country. I’ve heard many times that our differences is what makes us great. I truly believe it. 

Our focus should be on what we control. 

We control our attitude each day. We can decide that we are going to be positive for ourselves and others. 

We control our thoughts. We can assume the best in others or not, whether we agree with them or not. 

We control our actions. We choose the topics we discuss, the tone we use, and whether or not we see things from another person’s point of view. 

We choose whether or not we build bridges or dig chasms.

We choose what we share on our blogs, on social media, in our homes, in private company, in mixed company, and when we will be silent. 

We choose whether or not we can agree to disagree with others.

We choose if ALL means ALL.

I choose unity. I hope you will, too. 




Sunday, November 13, 2016

Gratitude Conversation Starters {free printable}

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year. We have a family tradition of my family and my sister's family eating dinner at my parents, watching football, looking through the sale papers, and sometimes we even go shopping on Black Friday. 

This month at school, our character word of the month is Gratitude. I thought it would be fun to create some Gratitude Conversation Starters for our teachers to use in advisories as part of our character activities. 

If you have been following me for a while, you know that I created some New Year's Conversation Starters that I shared last year. The New Year Conversation starters were used by some teachers as journal prompts in December and when students returned in January. A friend of mine who held a New Year's party created her own DIY placecard holders and put the conversation starters in them on various tables around her home. They were a big hit with the party-goers and my friend. 


The Gratitude Conversation Starters can be used with students at school on days leading up to Thanksgiving. 


They would also be perfect to have on the table at Thanksgiving. Simply print, cut the strips, fold and place in a jar or bowl, and take turns answering the question. 

Want the free printable? Click the picture below. 


I would love to hear how you use the Gratitude Conversation Starters

Feel free to share a picture on twitter and tag me (@Jennifer_Hogan)!









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