social-media

As I was sitting in the drive-through line at our local don’t shop this morning, I began reading a blogpost from Eric Sheninger called Relationships are Everything, http://esheninger.blogspot.com/2017/01/relationships-are-everything.html , and it got me to thinking about my own story involving using social media.  I use social media but I am by far, not a pro at it. 

This is my story….

I’ve been a principal for 16 years now at three different schools.  At my first school, social media was just getting started but most people, including me, didn’t participate.  After a few years as social media grew, I knew about some of it, like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, but I still didn’t participate. 

At my second school I had a superintendent who was dead-set against us using any forms of social media at school, even really in our personal lives.  There was in incident at either our Jr. High or our elementary school and a parent got really upset at something (I don’t even remember what it was).  She BLASTED the school and our superintendent on Facebook.  From that point forward, he referred to Facebook as “The Evil Empire” and he thought there was nothing good that could come from social media, so he really was against it.

It was during this time that I attended a conference in the summer of 2012 and I joined Twitter.  I went to a session and the presenter showed us how she used Twitter as a way to learn.  This was something that was a way for me to expand my own learning opportunities, so I signed up at the end of her session.  She showed me how she looked at someone’s bio, looked at who they were following, and read some of their tweets before she started following them.  That is what I did as well.  Soon, I had built up a pretty good group of people I was following and at the same time, many people started following me. 

I went back to my district and shared what I was doing on Twitter.  I got many of my teachers involved but the other administrators were slow to follow.  Remember, my superintendent thought of Facebook a “The Evil Empire” and he really never got on board with what I was doing with using Twitter as my personal learning network, my PLN.  He did allow me to start a Twitter account for my high school but warned me that if there was anything negative that came from it, I would have to delete the account.  I could use Twitter but NOT Facebook.  In reality, very few of the parents at that time followed us on Twitter.  They were all on Facebook so our communication efforts via social media were very limited.  I eventually started a school Instagram account, so I was able to have Twitter and Instagram but still no Facebook. 

I eventually took a position at my current district and in talking with my new superintendent, he was agreeable to me using Twitter, Instagram, AND Facebook.  He said just to be cautious.  At this time, I was familiar with Twitter and Instagram but not Facebook.  I didn’t even have a personal account, so I got signed up.  I started my own personal Facebook account and also one for my school.  At this time, my school had Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts.  My district did not have an account on any of these nor did the other two schools in my district.  I kept telling them how much of a benefit it is and how we were reaching more people and sharing information and good things that were happening in our school and that they should really get started doing this.

Now our district and all three campuses have Twitter and Facebook accounts (my school is the still the only one who currently has an Instagram account) and this has been very positive for our schools and district.  Even my previous school district still uses social media and even has given in to “The Evil Empire” and began using Facebook.

My personal use of social media has changed a lot since I started being connected.  I have been able to learn from many other administrators from all of the country and the world.  Not only have I been able to learn more, I have been able to learn more of what I wanted to learn.  Rather than just going to a workshop or conference and just keeping all the information to myself, I am able to share with others.  I can learn from others and I can share with others. 

I have a system on how I use social media.  I use Twitter for professional learning and I use Facebook just socially and for fun.  I will share some personal stuff on Twitter, but not very often.  For my school, I am able to connect my Twitter account to my Facebook account so I can just post one time and it posts to both.   When I first started doing this, I would post to Facebook first then is automatically posted to Twitter.  I have since switched this and post to Twitter first and it posts to Facebook automatically. I got this idea from my superintendent.  By posting to Twitter first, when we tweet and have a photo with it, that photo will show up on the Facebook post as well.  When we posted to Facebook first the photos would not show up on Twitter until you clicked on the link.  And I still use Instagram but not as often. 

My goal is to better utilize all forms of social media.  I have a Snapchat account both personally and for my school but I don’t use it.  I keep asking my daughter to teach me how to use it, but she doesn’t want to help me.  I am also going to begin to utilize YouTube for my school.  This is what I am working on now.  Stay tuned.

Since I began my journey into school administration, a lot has changed.  Unfortunately, there are those who do not want to change with the times.  These are the ones who will get left behind.  We must all be open to the new as well as being able to stick with what is working … just making it better.  My social media journey has been fun.  There is something out there every day to learn, videos to watch, new recipes to try, old friends to find, and much more. 

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The Benefits of a PLN

Posted: June 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

For all teachers, administrators, and educators everywhere … (this post was updated from a previous post I had written a few years back)

We all know that professional development and professional growth is important; however, the truth is that many times we get a one-size-fits-all approach to PD that just doesn’t work for everyone.   A few years ago I had a group of teachers meet to discuss Personal Learning Networks and the importance of building their individual PLN – Personal Learning Network.  This way, teachers can be in charge of what they get so it works for them.  And they can also be in charge of what they give so they can help others as well.

PLN

 

Here’s what some of them had to say about PLNs …

“PLNs are a “must have” for teachers … sharing ideas for class projects with lessons accessible through technology.  Technology is our future, now.”

“PLNs – The opportunity to set my own agenda for what is relevant, useful, and important to me.  Also, to steal every good idea I come across and to share the few I periodically have.”

“I’m always looking for new ideas or a better way.  Personally, I’m not very creative, but I can mix and match from other teacher’s ideas and create something that suits my needs.  There is so much out there as far as technology, and I do not have the time to sample everything but PLNs will be the time saver. We can all be of benefit to others.”

“My PLN will be beneficial to me.  We are living in a time where “time” matters.  Kids want things to be automatic – and so do I.  The more information I can have in one click, the better off I am.  This can help me learn new ways to learn as well as teach what I learn.”

Taking charge of our individual professional development is the way to go.  In this day and age, we have access 24/7 (Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) to all sorts of information  and things we can learn and share.  No matter where you are in the world, there’s always someone available to answer questions and share ideas about what works (and sometimes what doesn’t work) in schools and classrooms.  It used to be that we had to rely on just a few people within our districts to do the “Staff Development” for everyone in the district.  Now it’s not that way anymore.

You can start your own PLN today with just getting together with one other person who is like you and wants to share, collaborate, and grow to become a better person.  And then you can find another person, then another, then another …. Now that’s taking charge of your own learning !!!

And when we learn, it benefits the students. That’s what it’s all about.

common sense

 

COMMON SENSE — using good sense and sound judgement in practical matters

Good Sense!   Sound Judgement!   Practical Matters!

All it takes is to think a little bit before doing something that questions whether you have any common sense at all.

Think!  Just a little!

I know some really smart people who lately have have shown a real lack of common sense and I am somewhat at a loss for words as to why they do what they do.  It is a shame because there are so many people who have such a strong distaste for education, educators, and schools today.  You are just adding fuel to their fire.  There are many reasons why people feel this way, but I’m not here to get into that debate.  However, what I can do is give you just one reason why.  It is simply because for some reason something was said or done that defies all logic and shows such a lack of common sense. And because of this, all the good that we’re trying to do in our schools becomes overshadowed by the negativity that comes from lacking common sense.

I’m not here to offer any psychological answers as to why this is.  What I am here to do, however, is to issue a challenge:  THINK !!!!!

  • Think about how your actions will affect your students.
  • Think about how your actions will affect your colleagues.
  • Think about how it will affect how people will think about our schools.
  • Think about the example that you should be setting.

Please!

 

 

 

life
Very good words of advise from a mom to her kids.
–Thanks, Renae
Some of the life lessons I hope my kids learn from sports…
  1. Life is not fair. No matter how hard you work or how much you want to win, sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t. You are not a gladiator; you will not die from losing.
  2. Coaches (like teachers, bosses, etc) usually have favorites and or know some other player’s family, etc. Get over it. You cannot change that. Do your best and move on.
  3. Referees (judges, bosses, parents, and anyone else that settles disputes) are human. They make mistakes, they possibly might make a bad call based on their mood, they might have bad information, they might not understand the rules. Get over it. Accept the decision and get on with the game.
  4. You are special. But you are not irreplaceable. No matter how great you are, there is someone else who can play third base, run a forklift, manage a budget, or complete the project. You have to earn your position (whether or not you believe anyone else has earned theirs) and keep earning it. Quit if you must, but do not think the sun will not rise without you.
  5.  Some people are born with more talent at various things than you, and some with less. But everyone can raise their level of performance through hard work and practice.
  6. No matter how good you are at what you do, odds are there is someone in the world better at it than you. That does not mean you cannot enjoy what you do.
  7. Bragging about yourself makes you look ridiculous.
  8. You do not have to understand WHY you have to do something. If your coach (parent, teacher, boss) tells you to do something, just do it. They probably do have a reason, and you will probably understand it as time goes by. But if you don’t, so what? Just make peace with not being in control of everything at every second and keep going.
  9. Win or lose, fair or not fair, do your best. The members of your team (family, co-workers, clients) deserve your best. You would hope the same from them.
  10. Ragging on your teammates or trash-talking the officials or opponents will not help anything, and it WILL make you look like a crybaby.
  11. Learn from your mistakes. Even better learn from the mistakes of others. Both are opportunities for you to improve your game.
  12. Finish strong. Even if you seem to be 20 points behind with a minute left on the clock, the game is not over until it’s OVER.

Wednesday

Today is Wednesday, January 13, 2016, and today was “one of those days” !!!

It started off good, went bad, then ended up good again.  Notice that there were two positives to only one negative so that pretty much sums it up.  The positive outweighed the bad today, so I’m not going to talk about the negative here.

Last week when we returned from our Christmas Break, I met with my faculty and staff and we discussed a few things, one of which was an “idea” I had.  One of my goals is to get my teachers to get together more so they can learn from each other.  This is not a new idea at all.  It’s done everywhere …  on Twitter, in libraries, in cafeterias, in teacher’s classrooms.  Everywhere except at my school.   Not really … that’s an exaggeration.  It does take place at my school in pockets, on a small scale.  And often times, it’s done begrudgingly.

What I want to do is have a day once a week where my teachers get together and share ideas with each other. I decided on Wednesday after school — 3:45 in the library.  I told everyone on my campus about it last week.  This week I sent an email to the Jr. High and Elementary teachers and invited them to come.

This is what I said about the Wednesday Learning Opportunity (the name I made up):

What it is–
  • Learn from each other
  • Share ideas
  • Discuss Articles/books
  • Use of Social media
What it not —
  • Gripe session
  • Mandatory

I knew that I didn’t need to force this on them at all, so I made sure to put that it was NOT mandatory.  I still had one teacher ask me if she had to come!  Again, I said that is was not mandatory.

So today, before I went to bus duty, I stopped by the library and got the computer and projector set up and wondered if anyone would show up.  I was curious and told myself that if no one showed up today that I would try again next week, and then again the next week if I needed to.  In reality, I thought to myself that the “Not Mandatory” part of it would offer a free ticket for them not to come!  After all, the first question I got about it was from a teacher asking if she “had” to come!!

While at the bus stop this afternoon, I got an email from an elementary teacher letting me know that she wasn’t going to make it because she had a sick child at home, but that she would be here next week.  That was cool.  Somebody wanted to make it today but just couldn’t.  And I knew that I would have at least one person next week.

So as the last bus leaves at 3:40, I make my way to the library.  I walk in and to my surprise there are 11 teachers, 1 counselor, 1 assistant principal, and 1 superintendent.  That was 15 people (including me) getting together to talk, ask questions, and share ideas.

Not a bad way to end the day.

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Positive Energy For 2016

Posted: December 29, 2015 in Attitude, choice, Energy, Reflection

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This is a repost of one of my posts from two years ago. As the end of 2015 and a new year approaches, this is the perfect time for me to reflect, make some adjustments and changes, and make 2016 a great year

The following post is a summary of The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon. It is an easy read and it also gives us easy to follow strategies to make our lives better by being more positive and having more positive energy

The Energy Bus follows George, who is forced to ride the bus to work because of a flat tire on his car. George meets a unique bus driver and an interesting cast of fellow bus riders who, over the course of two weeks share the 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy. In the process, they help George turn around his life at home and at work.

It all begins with positive energy. No one goes through life untested and positive energy is what is needed to overcome these obstacles we all face in life. Positive People and Positive Teams produce Positive Results — and the essential ingredient is POSITIVE ENERGY.

As he begins his journey of transformation from riding the Energy Bus, George meets the driver, Joy, who is instrumental in changing his life. She, along with the other passengers, give George (and us) 10 rules that will change his life (and ours) forever. It’s all about the positive energy we get from these ten rules.

Rule #1 — You’re the Driver of Your Bus

People feel like they don’t have a choice so they give up. But you do have a choice! Take the wheel and choose to create the life you want … one thought, one belief, one action, one choice at a time. It starts with a decision — decide what you want. Then YOU start creating it. Create your world.

My vision for my life is (including my health) is …
My vision for my work, career, job, and team is …
My vision for my relationship and family is …
It all starts with these three statements and the ENERGY to think about it and to identify what you want.

Rule # 2 — Desire, Vision, and Focus Move Your Bus in the Right Direction

Joy, the bus driver, shares this important piece of wisdom. The more you focus on something, the more you think about it, the more it shows up in our lives. Again, there is energy in thought. Spend your time thinking about what you want rather than what you don’t want. Don’t complain. Complaining is focusing on the negative.

Be a Winner, Not a Whiner!

Rule # 3 — Fuel Your Ride With Positive Energy

There is power in positive energy! It is important. Positive energy will keep your bus moving forward with momentum. As you know, there is a lot of negativity in the world, so choosing positive energy is important to help deal with the negative people and negative situations that can knock you off course.

One passenger on The Energy Bus named Danny shares this formula: E + P = O

“E” stands for “events” in your life. “P” stands for “perception” (and it also could stand for “positive” energy). “O” stands for “outcome”.

You can’t control all the events in your life, but you can control how you perceive them. Your perception can control the outcome.

Remember this, positive energy and positive people create positive results.

Rule # 4 — Invite People on Your Bus and Share Your Vision for the Road Ahead

You cannot always do things by yourself. You need a good team. You need to get like-minded people on your bus, and the more positive people you get, the more positive energy will be created. Share your vision and make it clear what you expect.

Rule #5 — Don’t Waste Your Energy on Those Who Don’t Get on Your Bus

The enemy is negativity and it’s everywhere. How do you deal with it? Simple. Don’t worry about it. Don’t waste your energy on it. The more you worry about it, the less positive energy you will have.

Rule #6 — Post a Sign That Says: NO ENERGY VAMPIRES ALLOWED

Surround yourself with a positive support team. These people will have a big influence on your life and whether it’s successful or not. You want people around you who will INCREASE your energy not DRAIN your energy (energy vampires). You have to be strong enough to let people know that negativity is not allowed.

Rule #7 — Enthusiasm Attracts More Passengers and Energizes Them During The Ride

Positive energy works. It spreads one person at a time. You need to be the CEO – Chief Energy Officer. The CEOs are excited, positive, and optimistic. They don’t let fear stop them. When you are enthusiastic, people will want to get on your bus. People notice it. People feel it — energy and enthusiasm. This is like a beacon of energy coming from your heart. It’s real. And when you are energized, others will be energized. A positive culture will out perform a negative culture every time.

Rule #8 — Love Your Passengers

To tap into the power of your heart and lead with a positive, contagious energy, you must love your passengers. You have to love your employees, your customers, and your family. And, you have to share that love. You have to let people know that you care about them…really care about them. When you do this, you’ll get love back.

Let your people use their gifts, their strengths. Allow them to do what they do best. Bring out the best in others, and by doing this, it brings out the best in you.

Rule #9 — Drive with Purpose

Purpose is the ultimate fuel for your journey through life. When you drive with purpose, you don’t get tired, bored, or burned out. Find excitement in the mundane, the passion in the everyday, and the extraordinary in the ordinary. Find your purpose and share it. This is positive energy.

Rule #10 — Have Fun and Enjoy the Ride

Don’t focus on what stresses you. That’s no fun. Know that you are too blessed to be stressed. Remember all of the things you are thankful for because this feeling of gratitude will fuel your performance everyday. It is uplifting. Live and work like you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Be optimistic. Be positive. Find Joy!

Everything happens for a reason and we don’t necessarily know why. Life is a test. Adversity helps us grow. Negative events and negative people teach us what we don’t want so we can focus our energy on what we do want. There will always be challenges and problems and we must face each challenge and problem with a positive outlook. Learn from the past and don’t focus on the future — focus on the path. Experience Joy in everything you do and everywhere you go.

I Should be Ashamed of Myself !!

Posted: November 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

As I was going through my daily newspaper feed looking at articles to read, I saw the address for this blog and I started going back and reading through some of my old posts. Some were longer, some were shorter, and some just had pictures.

Then I looked at my last post and it was dated June 24, 2015. Today is November 15, 2015 ! My last post to this blog was 5 months ago!

What!

5 months ago!!

 

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It’s not like I don’t have time … I spend a significant portion of my day on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so time is not an issue.   I spend a lot of time in the evenings watching TV so again, time is not an issue.

So what is the issue?

Simply put … The issue is that I just haven’t taken the time to do it.  How much time does it actually take?  Not long. I just haven’t done it and I should be ashamed!

So with that, here’s my plan.  I will post at least once (hopefully more) per month as I get back into the routine  of writing for this blog.

And with that, as I continue to try to read and learn every day, maybe with this blog I can help someone else learn something along the way as well.