Posts Tagged ‘communication’

Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere

To begin with … I am, and have been, a supporter of social media.  I have been on Twitter since June of 2012 when I went to the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals Summer Workshop in Austin and went to a session on using Twitter as a tool for personalized learning. I talked to my teachers about it and many of them have also joined in and use Twitter on a regular basis for their own learning and sharing.  I also use Instagram to share pictures and information, mainly because most of my students use it, and I wanted to be able to get information to them as well as show off the good things that are happening at our school.  I do see the value in social media !!

However, I have not ever been on Facebook even though I knew it was the most widely used form of social media. The superintendent at my previous school would not allow us to have a Facebook account for our school (he called it The Evil Empire), so I just didn’t worry about it for my school or for myself.


I have been contemplating getting on Facebook for a while now, not really personally, but for my school.  I think we have done a fair job this year of reaching parents, but I knew it could be better.  I got with one of my teachers the other day and she talked me through creating a personal Facebook account so I could then create a Facebook page for our school. After doing this, I linked it with our school’s twitter account so now when I post on Facebook, it automatically posts on Twitter. That was one benefit … one post goes to two places, but the main benefit so far has been the ability to reach so many more people.  To be honest, I was really amazed and pleasantly surprised.  In just a few days of my school being on Facebook, we have tripled the amount of people who we reach and that are able to get information.  Now more people can see all the good things that are happening at our school.  It is important that we tell our stories of all the good things that are happening in our schools because many people never hear about the good … they only hear the bad … and if that’s all they hear, then that’s all they think is happening.  People thrive on the negative, but I want to spread the positive.

So with that, I am now officially personally on Facebook and I am a little shocked.  It amazes me not only the sheer number of people that are on Facebook but also how much time people are on it as well as the amount of information that gets posted.  I have used Twitter as a tool for my own learning and then occasionally I would share something that is just useless random information.  But with Facebook, I will have to get used to people putting every bit of their personal information out there for people to see and read about.  And I will have to caution myself to not do that as well.

Being on Facebook for these last few days has really opened my eyes even wider to the value of social media and the ability to reach so many people.  It also has reminded me to be wary of the pitfalls and that we should exercise some caution while connecting in the world of Facebook.

And to anybody who is my friend on Facebook, please be patient with me as I am still learning.


Last week at the #TASSP14 Summer Workshop for Texas Secondary School Principals, I was able to attend some very good classes each day and will be able to utilize many of the ideas immediately as well as for this upcoming school year.

In addition to the classes that were held throughout the day, I was able to hear three excellent keynote speakers — Kevin Honeycutt, Pedro Noguera, and Todd Whitaker.   Instead of taking noted during these sessions, I tweeted out my notes.  Here is what I tweeted …

Kevin Honeycutt

  1. Flipping classes can be easy.  You don’t have to be Spielberg to do it.
  2. Don’t judge your students too hard.  You never know what they are going through.
  3. Thank teachers who try new things.
  4. Be a “Funnel of Opportunity”
  5. Use Edmodo to post your student’s work
  6. A 3-fingered shop teacher talks about band saw safety !!! ( You can take this however you want to).
  7. The most dangerous place to be in school is … alone!  (for a student, but also for teachers.  Think about it).
  8. EMPOWERMENT comes from being trusted to attack learning according to your own strengths!
  9. “Digital Possibilities Group” — #GreatIdea
  10. The only one who can stop you is … you!
  11. This one I re-tweeted from @tjadams105  — Kids are playing on digital playgrounds and no one is on recess duty.  (We must teach and model digital citizenship!!)

I really enjoyed this guy.  He talked about his personal situations as a kid in and out of schools as well as what he is doing now as an educator and a school board member.  I would highly recommend looking him up on on twitter — @kevinhoneycutt and also on YouTube.


Pedro Noguera — You can follow him on Twitter @PedroANoguera




  • To move from good to great requires a different set of skills.
  • We need honest conversations about what we need to do.
  • Ask yourself — Where do we need ongoing growth?
  • The most important work in schools — teaching and learning in the classrooms.
  • ABT — “Ain’t Been Taught!!”
  • Ask your students about your school.
  • Culture matters!!  And, you can’t mandate the culture of your school.
  • The morale of your staff will affect the outcome of the students.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.
  • Poverty is not a learning disability!
  • Staff development for teachers must be differentiated.
  • Capacity building is a reflective process.
  • Homework is an equity issue!
  • We’ve got to build better partnerships with parents, despite all obstacles.
  • Great idea!! – Have parent meetings on Saturday mornings rather than at night during the week.
  • Be accountable to parents.
  • Be willing to empower parents.
  • Focus on getting kids excited about learning!  This will raise student achievement.
  • Re tweeted from Todd Nelsonsey (@TechNinjaTodd ) — If your school does just well with successful students , it’s like a doctor who’s just good with healthy patients.

I really liked his message.  And I also liked how straight-forward he was.  He didn’t hold anything back and was very thought-provoking.


Todd Whitaker — You can follow him on Twitter @ToddWhitaker.  (I can honestly say that I was completely surprised how funny this guy was.  I had seen some of his videos before and had read many of his books, and I knew he had some wit and humor; however; I was not expecting him to be so funny.  Still, within all of his humor, there was a great message.)




  • @ToddWhitaker is cracking me up!!
  • New principal advice from @ToddWhitaker — Blame your predecessor.  Blame the superintendent.  Prepare 3 envelopes.
  • Q -How’s your day?  A – Great!     Be positive!
  • Whiners whine because … It works!
  • Start treating people as if they are good.
  • Shift the Monkey — have crummy people do some work.
  • @ToddWhitaker is in the Power Zone!! @LYSNation
  • Don’t respond to serial pouters.  #ignore
  • It doesn’t make sense to treat all teachers the same.
  • Take care of the good people. #ShiftTheMonkey
  • You can’t mandate effectiveness!
  • Re-tweeted from Carrie Jackson (@jackson_carrie ) — Your worst teachers want to talk about hats, gum, cell phones, dress code … anything but teaching and learning.


These were three different speakers but had, at times, very similar messages.  I am glad I listened to these guys and was able to take away some valuable pieces of their wisdom.










This post is taken from Jon Gordon’s weekly newsletter, Positive Strategies to Fuel Your Life and Career.


Jon Gordon's Weekly Newsletter


While watching the Oscars I noticed that almost every award winner said they couldn’t have done it without their team, family, and the support of others. The fact is no one achieves success alone. We all need a great team to accomplish great things. We are at our best when we are surrounded by those who want the best for us and when we are bringing out the best in others. In this spirit I want to share 9 ways to be a great team member.

1. Set the Example – Instead of worrying about the lack of performance, productivity and commitment of others you simply decide to set the example and show your team members what hard work, passion and commitment looks like. Focus on being your best every day. When you do this you’ll raise the standards and performance of everyone around you.

2. Use Your Strengths to Help the Team – The most powerful way you can contribute to your team is to use your gifts and talents to contribute to the team’s vision and goals. Without your effort, focus, talent and growth the team won’t accomplish its mission. This means you have an obligation to improve so you can improve your team. You are meant to develop your strengths to make a stronger team. Be selfish by developing you and unselfish by making sure your strengths serve the team.

3. Share Positive Contagious Energy – Research shows emotions are contagious and each day you are infecting your team with either positive energy or negative energy. You can be a germ or a big dose a Vitamin C. When you share positive energy you infectiously enhance the mood, morale and performance of your team. Remember, negativity is toxic. Energy Vampires sabotage teams and complaining is like vomiting. Afterwards you feel better but everyone around you feels sick.

4. Know and Live the Magic Ratio – High performing teams have more positive interactions than negative interactions. 3:1 is the ratio to remember. Teams that experience interactions at a ratio equal or greater than 3:1 are more productive and higher performing than those with a ratio of less than 3:1. Teams that have a ratio of 2:1, 1:1 or more negative interactions than positive interactions become stagnant and unproductive. This means you can be a great team member by being a 3 to 1’er. Create more positive interactions. Praise more. Encourage more. Appreciate more. Smile more. High-five more. Recognize more. Energize more. Read more about this

5. Put the Team First – Great team players always put the team first. They work hard for the team. They develop themselves for the team. They serve the team. Their motto iswhatever it takes to make the team better. They don’t take credit. They give credit to the team. To be a great team member your ego must be subservient to the mission and purpose of the team. It’s a challenge to keep our ego in check. It’s something most of us struggle with because we have our own goals and desires. But if we monitor our ego and put the team first we’ll make the team better and our servant approach will make us better.

6. Build Relationships – Relationships are the foundation upon which winning teams are built and great team members take the time to connect, communicate and care to build strong bonds and relationships with all their team members. You can be the smartest person in the room but if you don’t connect with others you will fail as a team member.(Tweet This) It’s important to take the time to get to know your team members. Listen to them. Eat with them. Learn about them. Know what inspires them and show them you care about them.

7. Trust and Be Trusted – You can’t have a strong team without strong relationships. And you can’t have strong relationships without trust. Great team members trust their teammates and most of all their team members trust them. Trust is earned through integrity, consistency, honesty, transparency, vulnerability and dependability. If you can’t be trusted you can’t be a great team member. Trust is everything.

8. Hold Them Accountable – Sometimes our team members fall short of the team’s expectations. Sometimes they make mistakes. Sometimes they need a little tough love. Great team members hold each other accountable. They push, challenge and stretch each other to be their best. Don’t be afraid to hold your team members accountable. But remember to be effective you must built trust and a relationship with your team members. If they know you care about them, they will allow you to challenge them and hold them accountable. Tough love works when love comes first. Love tough.

9. Be Humble – Great team members are humble. They are willing to learn, improve and get better. They are open to their team member’s feedback and suggestions and don’t let their ego get in the way of their growth or the team’s growth. I learned the power of being humble in my marriage. My wife had some criticism for me one day and instead of being defensive and prideful, I simply said, “Make me better. I’m open. Tell me how I can improve.” Saying this diffused the tension and the conversation was a game changer. If we’re not humble we won’t allow ourselves to be held accountable. We won’t grow. We won’t build strong relationships and we won’t put the team first. There’s tremendous power in humility that makes us and our team better.

This video fits right along with the message of #YouMatter.



How do you feel about showing compassion?  How do you fell about telling someone … “You Matter” ?

Teh Scot Wright Daily

Every morning around 7:30 ( I just changed it from 8:30) my online newspaper, The Scot Wright Daily, comes out electronically.  It has articles, videos, photos that can give you ideas, tips, motivational tools, technology information … there’s something everyday that you can learn from.

If you want an easy way to get one small bit of your daily dose of information so you can learn, please consider subscribing to it.  It comes out daily on twitter as well, but when you subscribe, it comes out via email to your inbox.  You don’t have to do anything but read, learn, and share.  (Remember to share with your PLN and help them learn too).

Thanks for reading my blog, The Wright Stuff.  I hope you like it.  And I hope you consider reading and subscribing to The Scot Wright Daily.

Thanks for sharing.

I got an email today of a tweet that had a simple, yet powerful question …


Great question!

Would you want to be a student in your classroom?

Just for the fun of it, let’s add some more questions to it …

  • Would you want to be a teacher in your school?
  • Would you want to be a player on your team?
  • Would you want to be your child?
  • Would you want to be your spouse?

Would you?

Think about this for a moment …  What if the answer is NO?

What do you need to do to get the answer to be YES?

I can’t tell you what you should do.  But, if you take some serious self-reflection, I bet you can come up with some good answers, some ways you can improve at whatever it is you need to do to be a better teacher, administrator, coach, parent, spouse.

Self Reflection 2


On Friday, May 31, 2013, Ore City High School held its graduation ceremony for 43 seniors.  Prior to the ceremony, Art teacher Rita Clawson presented each senior with a key, a small token that was a symbol of the the main subject of her graduation speech.  No one knew she would be speaking at the graduation ceremony.  It wasn’t in the program, and I didn’t even tell our superintendent who has been prompting me each year to get a speaker.  After the salutatorian and the valedictorian gave their speeches, just prior to awarding the diplomas, I made the announcement that we had a surprise guest speaker …. Mrs. Clawson, the HS art teacher would be giving a speech.  (She told me earlier in the day that she had been practicing and it would be right at five minutes.  That was the stipulation … no more than five minutes.  That time limit really wasn’t set in stone: I just told her that because I knew it would be really hot and I didn’t want to use too much more time because I didn’t want parents and grandparents griping at me after the ceremony was over.  There’s always that one person who has something negative to say after graduation each year!  In any case, she took the limit seriously as she prepared her speech.)

Here is the speech given to the Class of 2013 by Rita Clawson, Art teacher at Ore City High School .  (You can follow fer on Twitter @RitaClawson, and follow her blog at

I gave you a small token before you marched out here (and you all look so good in those gowns).  This small token is a symbol of the main thing I’m going to be talking about tonight.

Keys, most of us have them.  Some have more than others.  Some keys just open stuff, lock things up, or just dangle from a cool little key chain waiting to be used.  Everyone, at least knows what keys are and can acknowledge that they all have some type of purpose.  Just like you — you have a purpose.

I know today that you are not totally sure what that purpose might be, but you are on your way — I guarantee that.  Whether you like it or not, after tonight, you will be on a path — just as you have been on a path up until this point.  Where this path takes you, no one REALLY knows. 

Ohhh … I KNOW.  Some of you KNOW exactly what you want to be, where you want to go, what kind of person you want to marry, and the list goes on.  But keep in mind, we are not promised tomorrow and even though it’s HIGHLY important to look to your future, today is a gift that you should enjoy — NOW!

This very night is one of those moments that you may think is all about you, and to a certain extent it is, but really — it’s for your parents, grandparents, family members, etc. who are here right now thinking how proud they are of you.  Those tears welling up in their eyes right now, because they can’t believe their baby is graduating  …  that is the main reason for tonight.  Not just so you can be honored — although that is important — but so those people can see you being honored.  (addressing the graduates … find those people in the crowd now and throw them a kiss or wave at them … appreciate them because they are so proud of you!)

Back to those keys … I’ve listed a few KEY points that you should never forget.  It’s kind of my KEY list on how to live a happier life.  You may be thinking “Why does this crazy art teacher think she can tell me how to live?”  I understand your point, (you are like 17 or 18 and I know, you know everything.  Your parents, I’m sure have heard that line) but let me just try to share these KEYS with you — and maybe you can take something out of this list that will assist you.  Even if it’s one little point that helps you be a happier 2013 graduate, I will have done something positive tonight.  And don’t forget, I’m older than you and I’ve done things in my life that have definitely not made me happy so I’m trying to give you a head start on the important KEYS that can only promote, support, and contribute to your future happiness.

  • I know I’m not a perfectly happy person all the time (who can be), but I absolutely strive to be as happy as I can be and if you need some cheering up, I’ll be the first one to try.  Everyone needs a cheerleader.  You should be that for others in your life.  This is KEY.  Be a big bright shiny smiley face to those around you.  You might get weird looks or even a few comments (believe me … it will happen), but that is what makes it even more worth it!  If you can be hated for your smile or having a great attitude — I’m willing to take that chance to help others feel better about life.  Be that someone for others in your life.
  • Another KEY … Don’t judge others.  This is so KEY.  You truly don’t know where they’ve been or what they are going through.  Don’t allow your quick-to-judge attitude or anything like that to get in the way of you being able to love others.  Liking them might be hard to do sometimes and you are not going to like everyone you come in contact with.  You already know that, but LOVE should never be a question.  You don’t have to like everything about someone to have love for them.  And I’m not  talking about couple love, or give-me-sugars love … I’m talking about genuine love for humans.  When you really truly figure that out … expect BRIGHTER, HAPPIER & SUNSHINIER SUNNY DAYS (even when it may be cloudy outside).
  • It is KEY to always be thankful for the present and always look ahead.  You can’t change the past so why dwell on it.  This is KEY!  Work daily on moving forward and away from things that get you down and that sometimes want to creep back up from the past.  Don’t let it.  Look ahead to the things that you CAN DO instead of anything you didn’t already do.  Leave the past in the past.
  • A KEY that you have probably heard me say before if you were in one of my classes or just in my classroom for a bit, and if you didn’t hear it, you could read it — it’s written on the wall right behind my desk:  IT’S ALL ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK AT IT.  This saying has been a motto, slogan, mantra of mine for many years, which basically means that any situation, no matter how bad it may be, can be looked at in a different way.  There is always something good going on.  Sometimes you just gotta find it and sometimes you have to dig really deep to find it!  Keep looking — because it truly is all about how you look at it.
  • The last KEY I’m going to share with you tonight, to me, is the most important … Don’t hold grudges no matter what.  Grudges are heavy.  All they do is slow you down.  Without those ugly, nasty, heavy things, you will feel lighter and more able to travel through this life with ease.  Who doesn’t want a smooth path to travel?  Grudges make your way full of potholes and obstacles.  They cloud your mind and make your outlook dark.  WITHOUT them you will have more time to do the fun things you want to do because you aren’t wasting time thinking about some stupid grudge.  There’s nobody in this world worth holding a grudge against.  It doesn’t hurt them by you holding it, because most of the time they do not care.  There’s a quote that says:  Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.  Get it?  DO NOT waste your time on that.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!!!

Tonight, it’s important you treasure this moment you have with each other.  You hold the KEY to so many things, but most importantly you hold the KEY to your own happiness!  

I hope that some of these KEYS I talked about tonight help you open that door.

Again, I promise you, from an ole, crazy art teacher … IT’S ALL ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK AT IT!!


As she concluded her speech, I looked around at the graduates sitting in front of me and I could see a few wiping tears from their eyes.  And at the end of the graduation ceremony, I heard the photographer tell some one that this speech made her cry.

Obviously this speech touched some of the ones in attendance.  Maybe these graduates will take at least one thing from Mrs. Clawson’s speech.  And hopefully someone in attendance will take something from it as well.