Tuesday, March 21, 2017

20 motivational quotes by inspiring women

Inspiring women by TheCompelledEducator.com

It’s the week of the ASCD Empower conference, and my excitement is growing for several reasons. I’ve never been to California, and I'm thrilled to be spending the day at Disneyland with my friend Debbie Campbell. Many of my Twitter friends I’ve never met in person, and I can’t wait to hang out with them while we learn at the ASCD Conference! 

Another reason I’m excited about attending the conference is that I will be presenting Leadership is a Team Sport with several ladies from our Women in Education Leadership Voxer group. Who would have thought that when I started this group almost three years ago that we would have grown into the close-knit group that we have become today. We are a group of committed leaders who support, encourage, challenge, and inspire each other on a daily basis.

Leadership is a Team Sport

In honor of the upcoming ASCD presentation and our Women in Ed Leadership Voxer group, I’m sharing 20 motivational quotes with you today. Whatever your role -- leader, innovator, trailblazer, disruptor -- I hope you find inspiration!

1. “My best successes came on the heels of failures.” -- Barbara Corcoran

2. “You can never leave footprints that last if you are always walking on tiptoe.” - Leymah Gbowee

3. “’Restore connection’ is not just for devices, it is for people too. If we cannot disconnect, we cannot lead. Creating the culture of burnout is opposite to creating a culture of sustainable creativity. This is something that needs to be taught in business schools. This mentality needs to be introduced as a leadership and performance-enhancing tool.” -- Arianna Huffington

4. “I choose to make the rest of my life the best of my life.” - Louise Hay

5. “My father had a simple test that helps me measure my own leadership quotient: When you are out of the office, he once asked me, does your staff carry on remarkable well without you?” -- Martha Peak

Motivational Quote by TheCompelledEducator.com

6. "Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you." – Caroline Myss.

7. “I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.” -- Ginni Rometty

8. “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” -- Dolly Parton

9. “You can’t give up! If you give up, you’re like everybody else.” - Chris Evert

10. “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” -- Eleanor Roosevelt

Motivational Quote by TheCompelledEducator.com

11. "True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed... Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection." -- Sheryl Sandberg

12. “When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” - Audre Lorde

13. “We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”  – Marie Curie

14. “Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” -- Sara Blakely

15. "I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well." – Diane Ackerman

Motivational Quote by TheCompelledEducator.com

16. "Getting past those labels, for me, pretty much really easy because I define myself." -- Serena Williams

17. “It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” - Maya Angelou

18. "The most effective way to do it, is to do it." – Amelia Earhart

19. “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.” - Brene Brown

20. “Do not wait on a leader...look in the mirror, its you!” -- Katherine Miracle

If you're going to be at ASCD Empower, I hope you will join us for our session! If not, you can follow the conference on twitter at #Empower17.

ASCD Empower by TheCompelledEducator.com

Thursday, March 16, 2017

An effective vocab teaching strategy for any grade level

I’m on a mission to get rid of assignments that consist of writing down vocabulary words and copying definitions from the text. In a digitized world, the equivalent of this is creating digital flashcards to “learn vocabulary.” 

Today’s post is about a strategy that can be used to help students learn vocabulary. 

Synectics is a problem-solving technique that promotes creative thinking by making a comparison between two seemingly unrelated terms/objects. The strategy of synectics forces students to make connections about vocabulary words in creative and uncommon ways. Because of this, students are more likely to remember vocabulary definitions. 

How to use this technique with students

1.Provide vocabulary words along with words that are not related to the content. 

For example, if the word is meiosis, you may provide the words:
clover             bracelet                  octopus               pinata

2. Demonstrate to students how to use the synectic:

Meiosis is like a _____________ because __________________.

Meiosis is like clover because meiosis is the division of a cell into four daughter cells, and clover has 4 leaves. 

3. Allow students to create their own comparisons, either individually or in pairs. Students can use the comparison words you’ve provided or create their own. 

4. Have students to create an image to represent their synectics.

5. Ask students to share their synectics with the class. 

What we need to spend less time doing:

Asking kids to list vocabulary words and copy definitions.

Asking, "Who knows what _________ means?"

Giving students complex definitions to words.

Having kids look up definitions in the dictionary. (The teacher can use the dictionary to create student-friendly definitions that can be explicitly taught.)

What do you think we need to spend less time doing? 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Free Twitter Quick Start Guide

Twitter Quick Start Guide |  TheCompelledEducator.com
I've been answering a lot of questions about Twitter lately... questions about how to get started on Twitter, how to join Twitter chats, how to host Twitter chats, how to build a PLN, how to increase followers, and more! 

I really enjoy teaching others about how to use twitter for professional learning, connecting with others, and branding their school/district. While I love doing this in person, I also saw a need for a "no frills" Quick Start Guide. 

This workbook is for anyone just starting out on Twitter or for someone who is looking for a "reboot." Feel free to share this blog post link with your teachers, colleagues, staff, and/or friends so that they can get a copy of the guide.

Also, feel free to share the guide at your first (or next) Twitter Party. I only ask that you share the workbook it in its entirety with no modifications to the content. 

To get your copy, all you have to do is click the button below.

If you are interested in having me work with your staff on how to use Twitter to grow professionally or brand their school/classroom (or other topic), I will work with you to create a custom day of hands-on training. Shoot me an email at jhogan.hhs@gmail.com. 

Want to find this later? Pin the image below.

Twitter Quick Start Guide |  TheCompelledEducator.com

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

74 practical ways to build relationships with students

It all goes back to relationships!

Relationships are the essential element in our schools. The old adage, “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” is true especially in today’s society when kids are used to so much choice in their world. Also, in today’s busy world, it’s important for teachers and school staff to make positive connections with students. We must be intentional, and taking time with these relationships must be purposeful.

Members of the Compelled Bloggers Community have teamed up to share practical ways for educators to build relationships with students. As connected educators we also embrace the notion that it is the power of the team that drives much of what we do. How do you build relationships with those that you serve? See the list below for ideas to add to what you may be already doing in the buildings and districts in which you work.

1. Greet students at the door. Smile and call them by name. Tell them you are glad to see them.
2. Ask your students to share three things about themselves. Let them choose what they share. Keep them on index cards to help make connections throughout the year.
3. Know your students families. As important as it is to know the students, make the connection to home. Great relationships with your kids starts where they kick off their day. As the year continues and both the good and bad arise, having that connection will be crucial to getting the results you are seeking.
4. Journal writing is an activity to get to know your students well and give students a voice in the classroom.
5. Make positive phone calls home especially within the first two weeks of the school year.
6. Genius Hour/Passion Projects really give teachers an opportunity to learn about student passions.

7. Have kids make something that represents them out of Play-dough and share.
8. In the first couple of days of school, learn the first name of every student in your first class of the day, and something personal and unique about them that has nothing to do with your first class of the day.
9. Be vulnerable!  Let your guard down and show your students that you are a learner, you make mistakes, and persevere.  They will see you as a person, opening the door for a relationship built on trust. Share stories about yourself as a learner or challenges you’ve faced when you were there age and help them see what it took to overcome it. It’s easy to forget how much a simple connection can make the difference.
10. Eat together.  Have breakfast with a small group of kids or join them at the lunch table.  Gathering around meal time provides an informal way to have conversations and get to know your students.
11. Hold Monday morning meetings (We call them “Weekend News Updates”). Ask each student to share about their weekend - good or bad.  Ask questions. Be sure to share about your weekend too!  Occasionally bring in breakfast or make hot chocolate.

12. Laugh with them. Frequently. Show them that school, and your class, is just not about learning stuff. It is about sharing an experience. Tell them you missed them if they were out.
13. Keep in touch with past students.  Show past students that you do not have a 1 year contract with them.  The ongoing relationship will also model to your current students the value of a positive classroom community.
14. At the elementary level -- hold morning meeting everyday as a class and stick to the routine of greeting, sharing, team building activity, and morning message.  This is a sacred time to build and maintain a culture of risk tasking and building relationships.
15. Send positive postcards home to every child. Have them address it on the first day of the quarter, keep them and challenge yourself to find at least one thing each quarter to celebrate about your students, let them and their parents know.

16. Find their interests and what motivates them! Sometimes it may take a bit to break down barriers and build trust, but through being genuine and authentic with them this will happen in no time.
17. Make personal phone calls to parents. Find one good thing to say about the children in your class.  It can be how they contributed to a class discussion or how well mannered they are in class or in the halls. For older students it can be how diligent a student is at learning challenging content.
18. Share something about yourself that they will find relevant or interesting to extend your relationships with students.
19. Tell a story from a time you were their age. This approach allows students to see teachers as they once were and make connections easier to establish and maintain.
20. Create a unique handshake or symbol for each of your students.  Use it when you greet them at the door or say goodbye.

21. Eat lunch with a group of kids throughout the week. They will enjoy a time dedicated just to them. (And you will enjoy a peaceful lunch!)
22. As a school, hold monthly celebrations to recognize students and educators their accomplishments.
23. Take pictures with students. Print. Write a special note on the back to the student.

24. At the end of a term or year, write a thank you to students telling them what you have learned from them. Be specific and honest - authenticity goes a long way. Try to make the note handwritten if possible, but email works well too.
25. Each day write two students a personal  note about something that you have noticed about them.  Go into some detail and be specific. Keep track of who you reach out to over the year and try and reach as many students as you can. The time you spend doing this will deepen connections and pay off 10 fold.
26. Have dance parties! It is so fun to let loose and get down with students. Students love seeing you have fun with them, and the saying goes, “The class that dances together, stays together”.
27. Play with students at recess or during a free time. Climb the monkey bars, play kickball, or tag. Students will never forget you connecting with them on the playground.
28. Hang out in the hall to give high fives or to have quick conversations with students. Relationship-building can be squeezed into any time of the day.
29. Notice students having a bad day. Ask questions without prying. Show that you care. Follow up the next day, week, etc.

30. When a student is having a rough day, ask if he/she has eaten. We are all more unreasonable when we are hungry. Keep a supply of snacks on hand (ex: breakfast bars, crackers, etc).
31. Go see students at their events: sports, theater, dance, volunteering. Meet parents and families.
32. When a student stops to say “Hello” and has a friend in tow, introduce yourself and be sure that the guest feels important.
33. Stop class from time to time with a comment such as, “Hey, everyone, Katie just asked me a great question. I think you’ll all benefit from this. Katie, could you repeat that for everyone?”
34. Sing “Happy Birthday” to students; send birthday emails (I use “Boomerang” to schedule my birthday emails each month).
35. Say “I missed you yesterday” when a student has been absent. Be sincere.

36. We have to make time to grow relationships with our students. This time can not always be in a planner or a calendar. Sometimes, this simply means just being there for your students.
37. Mail them a postcard for their birthday. They are always amazed to receive personal mail!
38. In a leadership position, learn as many names as you can. Greet students by their name as often as you are able.
39. Music! Bond with your students over music. Play soft classical music while they are working. Incorporate music/songs into special events or lessons.
40. Classroom: Start a compliment jar. Share comments at the end of class or randomly throughout the day. School: Do shout-outs during morning (or afternoon) announcements/news show.
41. Smile and make eye contact.  “Good morning”, “Good afternoon”. Something as simple as a greeting in the hall with smile and eye contact conveys both warmth & safety.  Try it tomorrow.  
42. First day of math class have them choose 10 numbers that are significant to them (3 for number of cats, 1 for brothers, 20 for number of hours they work, etc.).  Everyone shares out.  You will learn lots about all your students in one day.  

43. Cut them some slack every now and then.  “What were you doing?  What should you have been doing?  Can you do that for me next time?”  We all make mistakes.  
44. Hold class celebrations and have students develop unique cheers for various accomplishments...these can be anything from a sports team victory, to being selected for something, to earning a grade, and they need not be school related.
45. Allen Mendler’s 2x10 strategy for challenging students. Spend 2 minutes per day for 10 consecutive days talking to a student about something not academic.
46. Share your own goals, successes/failures. Don’t be a mystery to your students.
47. After morning announcements have students participate in a daily discussion question.  Have a student read the question and set a timer for two and a half minutes.  Each person turns to a partner and answers the question then volunteers share with the whole class.  Each question, in some way, will help you get to know your students.

48. Halfway through the year, have your parents and students fill out a feedback form.  In my classroom, these forms look different.  Allow them to evaluate you so you can keep what works and change things that aren’t working.
49. In your summer introduction letter, include a letter asking parents to write about their children in 1,000,000 words or less.  Keep the assignment voluntary and open so they tell you what is most important to them.
50. Don’t be too busy to truly listen.  Listen to understand, not to respond.  Are you starting a lesson when a student interrupts and tells you they are moving? Take the minute to hear them out.  That time will mean more to the student than the first minute of the lesson ever will.

51. When students get stuck in class, teach the other students to cheer them on.  We do a simple, “Come on, [Name], you can do it,” followed by three seconds of clapping.
52. Teach students call and responses to uplift each other.  When a student responds with something profound and someone loves it, that student gets to start the cheer.

53. When you check in with groups to give them feedback or see how it’s going, make sure you are seeing them eye-to-eye.  If they’re sitting, don’t stand.  Pull up a chair next to them.  If they’re sitting on the floor, sit down on the floor next to them to avoid standing over them.
54. Give honest feedback even when it may not be positive.  Your students will appreciate that you expect more out of them than they’re showing.
55. Create a “You Matter” wall.  Take fun pictures of each of your students. Print each photo and put each student’s photo in an 8x10 frame.  Hang them all on your wall under a “You Matter” heading.  At the end of the year, send the photos home with students.
56. Tell them what was hard for you when you went through school and how you worked to overcome the challenges.  It shows they aren’t the only ones who struggle.
57. Defend your students in front of other people.
58. Take risks so students feel comfortable doing the same.  Don’t ask them to do anything you wouldn’t do.
59. Create something that is unique to your class.  For us, it’s a house competition.  It’s something that connects my past students and current students.  It’s also a family bond that only the students who have been in my class understand.

60. Apologize when you make a mistake.
61. Cook together and then you can eat family style in the classroom. Some fun and easy crockpot meals: applesauce, vegetable soup, chicken and dumplings. Then, make cupcakes for dessert!
62. Every so often, take the pulse of your building according to students. Convene a volunteer roundtable with student reps from various groups (athletes, scholars, quiet, loud) and ask them for critical feedback about topics you are working on. Some ideas I’ve seen discussed in this format include schoolwide incentives (assemblies, sledding event, etc.), dress code, and discussing recess options for winter.
63. During your informal walk throughs, saddle up right next to students and ask them the purpose of the lesson they are involved in. Why do you think the teacher is asking you to work on this? You’ll be more than surprised with the honest feedback.
64. Bring board games back! Add a few games like Checkers, Uno or Chess to your lunch table options. See if any students are willing to play a game or two with you and others.
65. Use sidewalk chalk to decorate the entry of your building with positive messages to students. Have teachers help you write and draw the notes!
66. Leave nice notes on post-its for students on the outside of their lockers. Recruit other students to help spread the kindness throughout many lockers!

67. Forgive them when they make mistakes. Remind them that mistakes are opportunities for learning. Don’t hold grudges against misbehavior and don’t allow other adults to hold them either.
68. Make time for dismissal. Tell them you can’t wait to see them tomorrow and share high fives on the way out!
69. Notice which students still don’t have money to pay for lunch. Help them out when you can. Treat them to a snack they don’t usually get to purchase at lunch time.
70. Find special projects that need to be done around school and recruit the most unlikely helpers.
71. Remind your students you and your staff were all kids once too. Have your team bring in pictures of themselves as children (at the ages you have in your school). Post them and have a contest allowing students to guess which teacher is which. Those 80s pictures are the most popular!
72. My favorite question to ask my students or any student I come in contact with is what are you into lately? This opens communication with your students and let's them know you are interested.
73. Allow students to do a job shadow. Give them a peek into what you do and how you make daily decisions.
74. Host an ice cream social for students that meet certain goals.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Personal Wellness: The overlooked lesson plan

Recently, in our Women in Education Leadership Voxer Group, I asked the ladies in the group to share their plans for the week for working on their personal wellness. Perhaps someone had planned her menu for the week to include healthy, nutritious foods, or maybe someone had put appointments on her calendar for workouts throughout the week. I hoped to remind the women in the group that we must take care of ourselves so that we can care for others. 

A lesson I learned the hard way is one that I try to share with new school leaders at every level, including new teachers. One of my regrets during the time that I was a school principal was that I didn’t make my health a priority. I only exercised a handful of times, even though I had been athletic my entire life and knew what a boost exercise was to my emotional well-being. When we have a big career change, even if it to a position we truly love, it’s easy to throw time and energy into the work instead of using some of it to keep our energy replenished. 

Just like a good lesson plan, we must plan for our health and wellness. 

Here are a few ideas to include in your lesson plan:

Eat a green vegetable every day. While this sounds like a simple concept, it’s a cornerstone for the health & wellness challenges I host on Facebook. What I’ve found is that when people try to include a green vegetable every day, they start reviewing all food choices and have more well-balanced meals. 

Pack your own lunches. You will know just how the food is prepared, and you can control portion size. 

Plan your dinner menu for the week. This is especially helpful when you have a family with activities (practices, lessons, meetings, etc) during the week. You can plan for crockpot meals, make-ahead, or on-the-go entrees. What if you could grab dinner from the fridge and pack it in a cooler in the car rather than hitting the drive-through?

Find an accountability partner. This is simply a person with whom you can exercise, share recipes, and share goals and plans. I have a friend with whom I run on the weekends. Without her, I can’t say that I would complete as many long runs as I have. This past weekend, we set a goal to run in the Seaside half-marathon at the beach next year. (It’s not too early to send good thoughts my way. I’m very far from being ready for a half-marathon.)

Preview your schedule for the week and plan for your exercise. For example, here’s a sample schedule for a week: Monday it means that you can do a short, yoga workout in the morning before before work, Tuesday and Thursday you can walk after work, Wednesday morning is for body-weight exercises, Friday is a day off and Saturday is a day for a long run or one-hour group exercise class. Sunday could be family day for hiking. Go ahead and put it on your calendar, including the times for your exercise. 

Get enough sleep. Be sure to enlist the help of your family to get done what needs to be done so that you (and they) can get to bed early each night. Kids learn more from what we model for them than what we tell them, so if you are a parent, this is an important priority to model for your kids. 

Make time each day to be still. Some people like to do it each morning over a cup of coffee or hot tea. Some like to do it just before bedtime. For some, it is finding a small window of time between activities that breaks up the busy-ness of the day. Whatever works best for you, find time to tune out the distractions of television, radio, computer and just be.

Practice breathing. Try taking 20 deep breaths each morning before you get out of bed. This strategy is also helpful when you find yourself in the middle of “stress-causing activities” such as working on a busy project with a tight deadline, about to teach a difficult concept, or about to enter a parent conference.

Lesson plans sometimes change, too. Saturday I left the house and headed to the trail for a long run, but I turned around after half of a mile. I had too much on my mind and too much to do. I knew that I would get in a long run the next day with my friend, Karen, so I gave myself permission to take care of the other things on my to-do list. 

If you are just starting out (or starting back) on the road to health and wellness it will be difficult and there will be challenges. Forgive yourself for your missteps and stay the course. You will be able to better serve your students/staff when you are your best YOU.

I would love to hear from you the ways that you make your health a priority. You can leave me a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook