Sunday, December 31, 2017

Best of 2017: Top Ten Blog Posts

On this last day of 2017, I want to say a big THANK YOU to all of you who have read, commented, and shared blog posts this year. I continue to learn from all of you, and this blog is a huge part of my accountability, learning, and growth. 

I believe in reflection as a tool for growth, and this time of the year it is important to reflect on the year as we prepare for the new one. Going back through the posts from the year is an awesome way to look for patterns, new learning, and opportunities for goal-setting. I always look forward to re-reading and sharing the top ten posts with my readers. I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Break out of your snow globe in 2018

One of my favorite movies is Lean on Me, in which Morgan Freeman played inner city high school principal Joe Clark. Do you remember this line from one of the students... "Mr. Clark don't play!" ??

I thought of this line as I read one of Dave Burgess' recent blog posts.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

A final reflection on 2017

As the year winds down, it’s a time for a final reflection of all that has happened and to make plans for the new year. 2017 was a year to remember, full of many personal and professional opportunities and achievements. 

My 3 words for 2017 were Pivot, Go, and Grow. These words truly guided me as the seasons changed, as one school year ended and another began, and as I leaned in to all that would come in 2017. I think as you read through my reflections, you’ll see these words echoing throughout. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

8 ideas for teaching listening and speaking skills

Literacy used to be defined as the ability to read and write. Today, it means so much more. Literacy today is about being able to read, write, listen, and speak effectively. Literacy strategies must be taught and used by students to understand and analyze information, summarize, and communicate, and it’s quickly becoming a collaborative activity. 

Speaking is an important skill, and it is more than oral presentations. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

20 ways to take care of yourself over the holidays

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting when you shop through a link.

The days leading up to the holiday break can be event-filled and stressful for educators. I want to encourage everyone to make time for self-care during the holiday break. We have to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others.

Here are some ideas for self-care over the holidays.

Be social

  • Write and send an encouraging email
  • Write and send a thank you note to someone who’s not expecting it
  • Invite a friend to meet you for coffee
  • Bake cookies for a neighbor or friend
  • Call a friend or relative 
  • Visit a nursing home

Nurture Yourself

  • Start your day like Jessica

Get creative

Finding time to nurture yourself can be a challenge. It's especially hard if you're not used to making yourself a priority.

How to create more time for yourself

  • Wake up 15-30 minutes before everyone else and meditate in the quiet
  • Get your coffee ready the night before so it is ready for you in the morning
  • Don’t check email until you’ve done your “chores” or “to-do list”
  • Turn off notifications on your phone & apps
  • Create “no electronics” times during the day
  • Consolidate your errands

I would love to hear how YOU take care of yourself over the holidays! Please leave me a comment below or reach out to me on twitter

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Low-prep ways to incorporate writing activities in a lesson

Low-prep writing activities

When was the last time you got to be the student and the teacher?

Recently, our teachers attended a workshop where they got to be the student and the teacher. In the 45-minute workshop, they did 5 different low-prep writing activities as a student. Afterward, they put on their "teacher hats" as we discussed the activities and how they could be used in their classrooms. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Permission to disconnect

It's Sunday afternoon as I write this, and as I sit on my back porch watching the squirrels play and the leaves fall, I am in awe of the beauty in front of me. I celebrate the past week of visiting with family and friends and having my college-age daughters home for a bit. 

It's hard to believe that the week is almost over... feeling so long at times and so short at others. I feel the Sunday angst and excitement creeping in, knowing that tomorrow is back to the place where lives have an opportunity to be changed for the better. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Are twitter chats 21st century PD?

When we get our teacher or administrative certification, it doesn't mean it's time to stop learning. In fact, for most educators it indicates that the learning has just begun. 

In a school - a teaching and learning organization - having educators who pursue learning is vital. When teachers and leaders actively seek out learning opportunities and apply what they learn about the most up-to-date strategies and information, the result is meaningful change and growth in the organization. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Helping kids to be successful in the classroom

I had a great conversation the other day with another assistant principal at our school. We were talking about student performance, the impact of teachers on student outcomes, and how to tell if students are well-prepared in their classes. 

The other assistant principal and I discussed a lot of topics that day, and one topic we were discussing was vertical alignment in subject areas. We agreed that in a vertical alignment, teachers of later grades often know how well students are prepared in certain teachers' classrooms in earlier grades. I remember when I worked in another district, an English teacher of 11th graders told me that she could always tell which students had which teachers in 9th grade based on how well the students knew their grammar rules. They would tell me, "Certain teachers have a way of getting their students to learn grammar more effectively than other teachers." 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

How to turn PD into a Party!

The fall is one of my favorite seasons. In Alabama, it means football Saturdays, cooler mornings, beautiful landscapes, sweaters and scarves, and a TWITTER PARTY at school!

We recently held our FIFTH annual Twitter Party at our school. It's a fun event where teachers get to learn about connecting and celebrating our school on social media, without the traditional "sit and get" learning!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A New Twist on Think-Pair-Share


One simple way for teachers to increase engagement in a classroom is to increase the number of students involved in discussion. To make this increase, the teacher has to realize that he or she cannot be a common factor in the discussion. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Importance of What If Questions

I love asking "What if.." questions. They help me to think big... to think the impossible... to have hope. When I reflect on my blog posts, tweets, and comments, I tend to ask "What if" questions a lot. I also use them when I'm coaching or mentoring another person. Asking "What if" allows others to thinking beyond their current realities and barriers.

Over the summer, I shared the question below on twitter, and it resonated with many people. 
This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may make a commission at no cost to you. 

Here are a few other of my "What if" questions. 

What if Questions

(I led a book study via Voxer for teachers on The Golden Rules by Bob Bowman, coach for Michael Phelps.)

(blog post)


(blog post)

(blog post)

I shared on twitter how our school rewards positive behavior with Praise Referrals, and got asked the AWESOME "What if" question below...

By asking questions that push the boundaries, it can create a change in mindset and approach to a problem. "What if" also implies the hypothetical and sets no demands, which reduces anxiety about change. It does open doors for creativity and opportunity, and it sometimes exposes the root of the problem.  

"What if" opens doors for creativity and opportunity, and it sometimes exposes the root of the problem. 

When asking someone else these types of questions, it helps others to develop a vision for what could be. We also must remember that it can be overwhelming to some, especially in situations where the other person(s) is not used to generating ideas to solve a problem. 

Have you asked or been asked a "What if" question that you found impactful? I would love to continue the conversation. You can tweet me or share in the comments below. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

5 ideas for supporting new teachers

I am sure you have always heard, throughout practicums and internships, “You have to go into the classroom the first day as a new teacher. Be stern, straight faced, and heaven forbid DO NOT smile until Christmas.” I have to say that’s probably the worst advice anyone could give a new teacher. 

I would much rather have comfort in knowing some tricks of the trade, what to expect, what I need to do, and who can help when facing the world of teaching. I hope this blog can provide some insight into some of the successful tips I have had coaching new teachers. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Please come observe me

As I start my 24th year as an educator (12th year as an administrator), it is extremely exciting when I come across an idea that is truly inspiring as well as being one that I believe will help me be a better leader. 

The members of our Compelled Bloggers Community inspire me in different ways. Their blog posts reveal their vulnerability, passions, stories, and their experiences. I learn from each of them!

A while ago, I read a blog post by Arkansas principal Lindsey Bohler that got me fired up about the new school year! 

You see, I'm a big believer in relationships and teams. I also value feedback that promotes growth. These two reasons are why I love the #ObserveMe movement started by Robert Kaplinsky

Well, Lindsey wrote a blog post describing how she, the principal, was going to participate in #ObserveMe in her school!

Wow! I knew that I wanted to do the same this year at my school. 

Lindsey shared in her post how she decided on her goals, and she also shared a copy of her graphic that she will post outside her office. 

I totally copied her. :-)

I sat down with my favorite pen and a piece of paper and listed all the things I wanted to work on during the new school year. It was a long list, and paring it down to three focus areas was tough! It was a reminder of the exercises I had to do in graduate school, but this time I had a lot of leadership experience under my belt and it was awesome to go through the exercise. 

While I write my three words each year, I haven't written out my school goals in a while. (There's just too many! Ha!) Doing this was extremely satisfying and rewarding. I am very excited to start the new school year. 

My plan is to post my sign on my door to my office. I also will share my goals with the staff and ask them to give me constructive feedback. I've also asked the rest of our administrative team to give me feedback and join me in this adventure. 

I often say that "people learn more from what we do than what we say." I'm going to walk the walk and ask for feedback on my goals. I want to build on strengths and work on my weaknesses. I can only do this when I get rid of my blindspots, and I'm hoping that participating in #ObserveMe will help me with this. I thought it was important to model vulnerability and transparency in another way, and I also thought this may be a creative way to assist me on my leadership journey. 

Did I mention that it's scary? Did I also mention that I hope that the feedback I get is helpful and not hurtful? 

Don't teachers ask these same questions? 

If you are a school leader and are doing this already or are going to join the #ObserveMe movement because of this post, I want to hear from you! Share in the comments or on twitter

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Key takeaways from the book, The Innovator's Mindset

This school year, some of our teachers have volunteered to be a part of a new group called the Innovative Teaching and Learning PLC. As part of our summer learning - as well as creating a shared experience - I led a book study with the group via Voxer on George Couros' book, The Innovator's Mindset. I had heard a lot of positive feedback about the book and seen some really great quotes from the book on twitter, and it seemed appropriate for what we are trying to accomplish in our PLC. 
As a side note, I will share with you that our school has a long history of being known for risk-taking. We have a culture and climate that gives permission to try new things. We encourage innovation, new ideas, and failures. We don't see innovation as a buzzword or a fad that will fade out over time; instead we constantly try to keep getting better and better at what we do for students. The book seemed like a natural fit for us, and after reading it, I can honestly say that it was (and is) a terrific resource for us. 

As a connected educator, many of the ideas in the book are ones that I have heard of, seen or discussed, and/or read blog posts and articles about. It was very powerful to hear the comments in the Voxer book study from teachers who were reading some of the ideas for the first time. I want to share with you some of my favorite parts as well as those that were most impactful for the group.

George's book is divided into 4 parts

     Part I: Innovation in Education (Chapters 1-3)
     Part 2: Laying the Groundwork (Chapters 4-7)
     Part 3: Unleashing Talent (Chapters 8-12)
     Part 4: Concluding Thoughts (Chapters 13-14)

Here's how we scheduled our book study:
**A question was posted from each chapter on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
     June 12  Chapters 1-3
     June 19  Chapters 4-6
     June 26  Chapters 7-9
     July 3     OFF
     July 10   Chapters 10 - 12
     Aug 2     (F2F)  Chapters 13 & 14
The face-to-face meeting was valuable, because it gave teachers the opportunity to sit with their small group (who have the same PLC period during the day) and have discussions with the people they will be working with all year in their PLC. It was a wrap-up-the-book-study-and-kick-off-the-new-year collaborative hour!

In no particular order, here are my favorite takeaways from the book...

The three most important words in education are: Relationships, Relationships, Relationships. Without them, we have nothing.
(page 68)

It is important that "innovation" does not become an event for our students but the norm.
(page 112)

Our world today is participatory; sharing should not be the exception in education but the rule. I want to note, too, that the use of technology does not lessen the value or impact of face-to-face connections. In fact, if we use technology to share on a consistent bases, face-to-face connections will likely improve.
(page 177)

Focusing on individuals' strengths that contribute to the vision of the school helps to move us from pockets of innovation to a culture where innovation flourishes.
(page 135)

A great teacher adjusts to the learner, not the other way around.
(page 38)

On page 212 in the book, George shares a story about a group of educators in Atlanta who would ask members of their learning community, "What did you learn today?" George's school adapted this and created a blog called 184 Days of Learning where learning community members could showcase their learning for every day that students were in the building in a school year. 

We talked as a group what it might look like if we were asking each other (all adults) as well as students, "What did you learn today?" We agreed that it would make us more aware of what we were learning throughout the day. We also thought it may shift students' focus on "getting the work done to get the grade" to more of a focus on what they learned while doing the work. Also, we thought it would shift the focus from teaching to learning.

I challenged our group of teachers in the ITL PLC that each time we see each other, we will ask the question of each other, "What did you learn today?" We hope that by our asking it of each other, it will spread throughout our school. I'll keep you posted on our progress!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Is time spent on social media worth the investment?

Sharing positive messages on social media about education is something I'm very passionate about. There are so many public perceptions about education that are negative and very wrong about what we do in our buildings, and if we keep quiet, there are limited positive messages out there to help shape or change perceptions. 

I recently sent out a tweet asking educators on twitter how they will continue - or start - to share their stories on social media during the new school year. 

I continue to be impressed and inspired by the educators on twitter who step onto the battlefield and fight the generally negative perception of education by sharing the awesome things that students and staff are doing across this country each year. 

In addition to sharing positive messages about education and potentially diluting the number of negative messages out there, another side effect to doing this. YOU will be happier. I promise. 

By focusing on the good in others, it brings a positive vibe to all that you do and share. You start to see and highlight the small things as well as the big things, and we know that an educator's school year is filled with many small, consistent, positive interactions that create an amazing experience for their students and colleagues. 

No matter what our challenges are, there will be something positive in each day that will bring joy. We have to look for it and celebrate it.  It DOES take time to create a twitter account. It DOES take time to tweet each day. It DOES take time to see the good in others. All of the time added up is minuscule when compared to the positive contribution you will make to your school's culture, other's lives, and your own life.

If you need ideas on how to tell your school's story, check out my digital workbook. It's full of practical tips and planning worksheets to help you make this school year one of the BEST. Let's challenge ourselves to answer the question, "What if every educator sent out 1 tweet per day of something positive in their school?"

"When you choose to see the good in others, you end up finding the good in yourself."

Friday, July 21, 2017

13 blogging basics every blogger should know about

Do you ever have time in your life where different experiences seem to converge and create either a need or a solution? I have experienced this over the past few days and thought I would turn it into a blog post in case it could help others.

First event:
Recently, I posted what turned out to be a very popular post on how to host your own blog images without using a third party host. The blog post got a large number of views, and I got several DMs, text messages, and Voxes thanking me and asking for more help with blog images. 

Second event:
At the end of the school year, I asked if there were any teachers who would like to join a different sort of PLC for the 2017-18 school year, called the Innovative Teaching and Learning PLC (ITLPLC for short.) We have been doing a book study on Voxer this summer of George Couros' book The Innovator's Mindset (which has been awesome!) In Chapter 11, George asks the following Quesiton for Discussion: How are you actively sharing your learning with your school and global community? Several of the teachers in the Voxer group stated that they wanted to be more reflective and wanted to share their learning to a greater capacity. They also shared that they were afraid that they didn't have time to blog.

Third event:
Two different people who follow me on twitter have asked for consulting help with their blogs. They are at two different places with their blogging journey (as we all are), where one is just starting and one is at a standstill and wants help staying on track and committed. 

These events lead me to this blog post. I wanted to share some Blogging Basics. There is no magic sauce. Other people may have different ideas. Here's what I've found has worked in my 8 years of blogging.

1. Don't compare your blog or your journey to anyone else out there. You and your story are unique and should be shared and not compared. 

2. Make time to learn each day. While you will be blogging about things that you are passionate about and are knowledgeable about, the technical side of blogging will require you to Do the Work and learn something new almost each and every day. You will be uncomfortable, it will take time, and it will be rewarding.

3. Blog regularly. Whether it's once a week or several times a week, your readers will want to see regular posts from you.

4. Forgive yourself when you don't post. It happens to most bloggers, and it will probably happen to you. Give yourself permission to take a break, but make sure the "breaks" don't happen too frequently. 

5. Put your social profile links on your blog. Either use social media buttons or post your links on a Contact or About Me page.

6. Learn how to schedule posts ahead of time. You can write several posts at once and schedule them to go out at specific times. 

7. Use an online photo editor like Canva or Picmonkey to create graphics for your blog. Take your own photos or use free stock images to create eye-catching graphics. Use at least one image per blog post. 

8. Actively engage on twitter. Share links to your blog posts; include graphics from your post or that are relative to your post.  

9. Have an About Me page and a Contact page.

10. Include links to previous posts in your blog posts.

11. Leave comments on other people's blog posts and respond to each comment left on your blog. 

12. Use white space and readable typeface. Readers want to get through content fast. Try chunking content and leave a blank line between paragraphs. Make sure your fonts aren't too curly or hard to read. Avoid cluttered backgrounds and designs so that the readers' eyes can focus on the important part of your blog - your content. 

13. Keep a blog idea list. This can be done indifferent apps on your computer or phone or it can be as simple as written in a notebook or planner. Do whatever works best for you. Sometimes I start blog posts with titles only and keep them in draft mode until I can go back and expand on the topic.  

What would you add to this list? Leave me a comment below (and I will be sure to respond!) 

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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. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What PLCs can learn from coaches

I first heard of the concept of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) over 12 years ago. I was fortunate to go to several conferences to hear from experts such as Rick and Becky DuFour, Robert Marzano, Bob Eaker, and Eric Twadell. It was in these conferences that I was first introduced to the four essential questions for PLCs:
  • What do we expect students to learn?
  • How will we know when they have learned it?
  • How will we respond when some students haven't learned it?
  • How will we respond when some students already know it?
It was Becky DuFour who said (and I summarize) that we should examine every practice and procedure and their impact on student learning. The focus was to be on teaching and school practices, but ONLY in regard to the focus on student learning. 

There was a SHIFT of focus from teaching to learning. 

It was refreshing. It was "results focused," and it was team oriented. Under the PLC concept, teachers were collaborating with others, comparing results, sharing ideas, and working to improve the learning that was taking place in classrooms. It was the opposite of the "close your classroom door and teach" philosophy.

The PLC concepts were all concepts that I had experienced as an athletic player and coach. At the end of each game or match, the score is on the board for all to see. It's posted online, it's in the newspaper... in other words, it's a public display of your impact as a coach. Because of the public results and the competitive nature of coaches and athletes, successful coaches are always looking for ways to get better. Each year, there is a different group of athletes to reach and motivate in different ways. There are new drills, workouts, and strategies that are developed. 

The successful coaches I know talk about the game, pick other coaches' brains for ideas, attend workshops to keep learning, and more. Coaches ask, "What do I need to do as a coach to win?" It's asked because coaches understand that what they do impacts the outcome. The focus is on the players and their results.

Let's not just ask, "What do I need to do as an educator?" 

Let's finish the question and ask, "What do I need to do as an educator that will have the greatest impact on student learning?"

Let's also not hold our student results hostage. Let's put kids up to the same challenges, see how they do, talk about how we prepared them, and then figure out what works best. 

One game doesn't define a player or a coach, and one test score doesn't define a student or a teacher. 

Tomorrow's post... What classroom teachers can learn from coaches.