Saturday, March 31, 2018

We must Maslow before we Bloom

Maslow over Bloom by @Jennifer_Hogan

The fourth quarter of school is a special time. 

At this point in the school year, teachers and students should know each other well, the warmer weather welcomes outside play and activities, and the approach on the close of one of life's mile markers rapidly approaches. 

It's at this juncture that we as educators must ask ourselves, "Have I made a connection with each student?" and "Have I helped students meet their needs in my classroom?" 

We must remember as we enter into this last phase of the school year that we must "Maslow before we Bloom." 

Abraham Maslow (1908 - 1970) was a psychologist who developed the Hierarchy of Needs in a pyramid form with five levels. He describes human motivation as being driven by unmet needs. The lower level of needs must be met before one can move on to the next level. 

Maslow was driven by a desire to understand self-actualization and "peak performance," where a person experiences life at a level of wholeness, service to others, creativity, and profound happiness.


Maslow over Bloom by @Jennifer_Hogan


Each and every interaction that is made on the way to and from school and at school in a classroom, hallway, office, lunchroom, playground, or gym can contribute to a student's needs being met. 

The importance of building relationships goes back to the age-old saying, Kids don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. 

We can't focus on Bloom without first making sure that students' needs are met. 

So at this time, I encourage all educators (myself included) to reflect about the relationships that we have developed with students at school and ask ourselves, Is there anything more I can do?

While there can be no checklist that is comprehensive enough to ensure positive relationships between teachers and students, there are a few things that can be done during the fourth quarter of school to make sure that students' needs are met and relationships are repaired, created, or nurtured. 

I would love for you to share in the comments about what you think should be added to this list.

Is there anything more I can do?

1 - Smile and greet each student. (If you are a classroom teacher, be at the door to shake hands, fist bump, and greet by name. Also, look students in the eyes as an initial barometer of how they're doing that day.)

2 - Avoid the use of sarcasm. (It doesn't matter how "funny" you are or how sarcastic the student is, avoid it.)

3 - Do a survey of your room for visual clutter. Do you have papers piled up on the counter/desk/floor? Are there items in the corner that you meant to throw away and just haven't gotten to yet? Are old student projects taking over a section of your classroom? If needed, clean your room and provide order for your students.

4 - Teach / re-teach behavioral expectations when working with a partner or in groups. Provide opportunities for students to practice behaviors and be consistent on respectfully enforcing behaviors. Avoid judgment.

5 - Say I'm sorry. If sarcasm is used, apologize. If you recognize that the words, body language, or tone damaged a relationship, apologize. 

6 - Forgive. When a student messes up, forgive him. When a student apologizes, say "I forgive you."

7 - If you notice a student is unhappy, pay attention and ask questions. It just may save a student's life. 

8 - Keep snacks in your drawer/fridge. Students don't usually binge on healthy snacks. Keep carrots, apples, crackers on hand for the hungry student. (I learned the carrot idea from Allyson Apsey.

9 - If you don't have systems and/or routines in place, incorporate them for the last quarter. How to turn in homework. How to schedule a make-up test and/or re-take. What to do when entering the classroom. What to do with cellphones while in the classroom. How to transition from individual work to group work.

10 - Give lots of praise. Even for the things that students should already be doing. Think about the last time you were praised at work... did it make you want to do more or less?

11 - Try the "2 x 10" strategy. For those students you don't know much about or with whom you have a strained relationship, spend 2 minutes a day for 10 consecutive days having relationship-building conversations. Don't talk about school and/or assignments. Talk about life outside of school, dreams, likes, dislikes, etc. to build or strengthen a relationship with a student. 

12 - See below....






If you haven't seen the video below, it is a wonderful reminder of the importance of every interaction at school. While we can't meet the needs of students while they're away from us, we can be intentional about our interactions while they're with us. 




Sometimes at this time in the school year, we can take for granted our relationships and each other. We get focused on content and curriculum, but we must remember that positive relationships always come first. 


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Maslow over Bloom by @Jennifer_Hogan





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 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.

















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