Posts Tagged ‘Connected’

today was a good day

Today was a good day for me.  I was fortunate to hear two great educators — Todd Whitaker (@ToddWhitaker) and Eric Sheninger (@E_Sheninger) and while both of them had different points in their sessions, they both had a common focus, which should be our focus in everything we do in our schools.  We need to focus all our efforts so the students can benefit in their learning. We (the adults) have to improve ourselves and what we do in order to create an environment at our schools to where the students can benefit, which means learning and being prepared for life — today and after high school.

Most of our schools are not like it is in the real world, and we must do whatever we can to change this.  I’m talking about everything in our schools … from the actual school day and how it is divided up, to how we treat the other adults and how we treat the students, to how we use the everyday tools that we all now have, to how we learn, to everything. We need to open our eyes, out hearts, our minds, and begin to assess what we are doing NOW and evaluate that against where we need to be and decide what we need to do so that we can begin that move in the right direction.

I also attended a session today from Abi Adam (@aquatexas), Technology Specialist from Seminole ISD and Kevin McCasland, Principal of Seminole High School. This was something I was looking forward to since I first got the conference program and started mapping out my sessions.  This title of this session was Taking Paperless Beyond the Classroom, Effective workflow practices through the use of Google applications.  I know that there are a wealth of tools from Google that are FREE and that can help me be more efficient, and I want to learn more about them so we can be more effective at my school.

One specific topic within this session that I was particularly interested in was what time during the day they scheduled their mandatory tutorials and how they scheduled the students for this time. There are many different approaches and thoughts on this subject, and I am always looking at other schools and how they do it.  To me, this is one area from my school that I will tweak so that we can be more efficient and maximize the time that we can help our students be more successful.  This session goes together with one I attended yesterday with Lyndsae Benton, Principal from Crowley High School and Stefani Allen, Principal from North Crowley High School where they use what they call “Power Hour” to transform their campus culture and increase / improve their test scores and student achievement.

Today was a good day.  So was yesterday.  I, along with principals from all over the great state of Texas (and from other states too) are fortunate to be able to attend this conference to learn and grow.  Thank you @TASSP1 for a great summer workshop.

Click HERE for the link to resources that Eric Sheninger shared today

Click HERE for resources that Angela Maiers shared yesterday.  (This is a topic that I will come back to in another blog post)

I want to leave you with these words … this picture says it all !!!

never stop learning

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Today I was looking through my twitter feed and came across these pics and I thought they were very relevant so I thought I’d share.

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Leave a comment and let me know what your thoughts are.

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 atwww.FeedthePositiveDog.com

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.

Growth

This post is inspired and adapted from a recent blog post I read from Jeff Delp (Fostering a Growth Mindset, follow Jeff on twitter at @azjd).

As educators our jobs is to inspire and create learning opportunities for our students.  But sometimes it is difficult because either the students feel like they can’t learn or they just don’t understand so they give up.  They exhibit what Carol Dweck would say is a “fixed mindset” about learning.  These students feel like “what you see is what you get,” many believing that they have little (or no) control over their level of intelligence.  What we have to do is create that environment to where the students feel that it’s OK not to know the answer. 

As educators, our words matter.  The way we talk to our students, the type of feedback we give, and the little things we do to encourage students are essential to helping them acquire a “growth mindset” — the belief that their intelligence can be developed through hard work, practice, and persistence.  As teachers, it is critical that we work with our students in ways that foster the belief that intelligence is a product of effort, and that we establish classrooms where grit and tenacity are encouraged.

This is something that we have to model.  By doing this ourselves — showing grit and determination in our own learning — we are leading by example.  When our students see us working hard to learn, then they will see the we are “practicing what we preach”.  To me this is the best teaching tool there is.

In the following video, Angela Lee Duckworth explains here theory of “grit” as the greatest predictor of success.

 

How do you foster a growth mindset with your students?  Do you lead by example?  Do you show “grit” in your personal learning?

Learn and Grow

What is the purpose of school?

It doesn’t matter if it is Elementary, Middle School / Jr. High, or High School.  The purpose of school is for the students to learn.  It’s our job as educators to teach them so they can learn.  It’s that simple!

As teachers, we already know everything, right?  We know everything there is to know and we can teach it to every student that walks through our doors, right?  And we know the best way to teach it to them so they can learn it, right?

Really!  (Can you detect a little sarcasm here?)

So what do teachers do to learn?  This is a good question … a question that doesn’t have just one answer because all teachers learn differently, just like their students.  There is not a right way or a wrong way.  What’s important is that you have to learn.  If you don’t, your students will suffer.  And that is unacceptable!

Your students depend on you for help.  Your students depend on you to learn so they can learn!

Here’s the challenge:  get connected, reflect, explore, read, watch, listen, model, collaborate, search, take notes, blog, lurk, discuss, encourage, share, and  …………… grow!

grow

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.

Locked Out

It’s 2013.  It’s the 21st Century.  It’s not 1983, when there was no internet in schools.

When I was in high school, we didn’t have computers.  I had to take a class called Typing, and we used typewriters (which I don’t know if they even make them anymore).  We went to a convenient store to play Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man.  Every so often they would get a new game.  Galaga, Asteroids, Frogger, Space Invaders are the ones I remember.  When we wanted to watch a movie, we had to go to the movie theater.  There was no Netflix or YouTube.

I had a U.S. History teacher who put his notes on an overhead for us to copy.  Page after page!  We had a test every Friday.  We couldn’t talk or ask questions.  Remember this … read the chapter and answer the questions at the end of each section?    Teachers checked attendance and put the paper on a clip outside the door.  What’s scary is that there are some teachers today who would still like to be like this!!!

Remember, there was no internet back then.  But today, we are fortunate to have access to the internet and it is a great tool.  (Thanks Al Gore for inventing it!!)   Students today have grown up with the internet.  They don’t know life without it.

Luckily it’s now 2013.  We have access to the internet and it is a great resource for the teachers and students.

Let’s lock it down and see what happens.

I can tell you what happens.  It creates a lot of turmoil.  It creates a lot of chaos.  It creates uncertainty with teachers and students, who have been fortunate enough to have an almost all access pass to the internet.  They do not understand why this had to be done.  Our filter has taken care of the bad sites for the most part.  Now, though, it was totally locked down but is gradually allowing certain sites to be allowed.  All this has been done for a reason, but most people don’t care what the reason was.

Many of us have taken for granted what we have and how fortunate we are at my school.  What I am afraid of, though, is that the loss of most of our internet access will set us back.  Maybe not as far back as the 80’s, but at least a few years.  Back to a time where the teachers didn’t feel comfortable using technology.  What I’m afraid of is that we’ve lost a year’s worth of technological progress in just one week.

I hope not!