Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Thankful Heart at School

Many years ago, I first heard of a gratitude journal from Oprah. She shared the concept on her show, and talked about writing 5 things down each day that she was thankful for. Off and on through the years I have followed Oprah's lead and reflected daily on the things for which I am grateful.

With the Thanksgiving holiday this week, our focus for the #ALedchat twitter 
chat was Appreciation and Gratitude. Each week my co-moderator, Holly Sutherland, and I research our chat topics to create engaging, thought-provoking questions. 

Here are 2 blog posts I discovered in my research that I want to share with you:

Can we teach gratitude to students? Is it something that we should look for in lesson plans? Dr. Robyn Silverman shares ways that parents can teach gratitude to teens, and many of those ideas can be used in education. Want some practical ideas? Just Google "teaching gratitude lesson plans" (without the quotes) for a ton of great ideas!

We are very blessed at the school where I work. We are part of a school system where character is part of the mission statement and is carried out in our school recognition programs. The school is full of building and classroom leaders who are collaborative, compassionate, and smart. The community stakeholders are supportive and involved. The students are spirited, empathetic, accepting, and eager to learn. My Thanksgiving wish is that everyone can find or create an atmosphere like the one in which I am lucky enough to work in each day.

What are you thankful for at work?

Do you have a culture of gratitude?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Do Something


Do Something.

Do Something. Two simple words that are shared by Stephen G. Peters in his book, Do You Know Enough About Me to Teach Me? 

How often do we want to do something, but we are unsure of the effectiveness? Or maybe we aren't confident that we are doing the "right" thing? We let opportunities slip by, when all we need to do is to do Something.

How do we overcome fear and find courage to do something? 

Here are 3 ways to find courage:

1. Take baby steps. "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." Don't try to do it all at once. Small changes can lead to bigger changes.

2. Find moral support. Find a trusted friend, colleague, or boss whom you can share your fears and ideas. They will provide encouragement to help you take the next step.

3. Don't wait. Ask yourself, "What will happen if I don't act?" Then get started doing something.

What other ideas do you have for finding courage to do something?

Can you remember a time when you weren't sure what to do but you did something anyway? What were your results?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Who's in Your PLN?

Jim Rohn was a fantastic speaker, motivator, mentor, and businessman. I have listened to several of his CDs, and I find wisdom in them each time I re-listen to his messages. One of my favorite quotes of Jim's is "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."

This is a topic that I have written about and one that I share with adults that I am coaching as well as students at our school. With the adults that I work with, this is one of my topics early on. "Describe the five people you surround yourself with the most." We then discuss whether or not those people are providing a positive or negative influence. With the students at school, I tell them about the quote and ask them to evaluate the types of influence their friends have on them. In all situations, I encourage others to make a conscience choice about whom they spend their time with. 

Creating a Personal Learning Network on Twitter is an opportunity to connect with others who may not be in your neighborhood or town but who are positive people who share your same dreams and goals. Members of your PLN can also stretch your thinking and help your personal and professional growth.

Over the last week my colleague and I, Holly Sutherland, have done three presentations on Twitter and how we use it at our school.  In each presentation, I have shared with the audience that we encourage PLNs that are not "echo chambers" but are filled with diverse opinions, backgrounds, and experiences in order to help us grow. The one thing that I think is important, though, is that POSITIVE people are in your PLN!

I believe that hands-down, Twitter is the best source of Professional Development that I have ever gotten in my career. Much of that is because of the people that are in my PLN. Rockstars who encourage me, challenge me, support me, teach me, and celebrate with me. I'm a better person and professional because of my PLN. 

What about you? Who's in your PLN?