Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Tuesday morning memo ~ 25

There's something revitalizing about coming back from a break... perhaps it's because we feel rejuvenated and recharged. Perhaps it's because we just needed a good chunk of time to reflect and think about what's happened so far in the school year.

Either way, Spring is in the air, and now, more than ever, there are an increasing number of variables and factors vying for not only our attention and focus, but also that of our students.

As we start this week anew, consider these questions as you prepare to end the school year even stronger than when you started:

When was the last time...

- You did something you have been procrastinating...

- You asked a colleague or a student for help...

- You laughed so much that your jaw hurt...

- You made a point to "pay it forward..."

- You tried something new...

- You encouraged a student, friend, family member, or colleague to do something great...

- You made a list of the great things going on in your classroom and in your life...

- You took a walk & simply observed the world around you in a non-judgmental way...

- You said something positive to someone who was obviously having a bad day...

- You rekindled a strained relationship by being open & honest...

- You listened to some up-lifting music driving toward no particular destination...

- You thanked someone you had forgotten to thank...

- You exercised and broke a sweat...

- You helped someone because you knew they were struggling...

- You pushed yourself to be great...

If we all did just one thing from this list on a daily basis...think how much better the world would be!

Approach every day with the goal of making the world a better place than it was yesterday... 

**Also, don't forget, we will be talking formative and summative assessments and increasing rigor after school (3:30 - 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, 4/2) at the main floor computer lab at Clark-Vitt Elementary. We hope to see you there!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Monday morning memo ~ 23

Here are 15 books that will have a positive impact on your role as an educator, as well as on your life.

The Art of Possibility - Rosamund and Benjamin Zander

- The Zanders really do a great job of pushing you to think "outside of the box." They emphasize the importance of "possibility," and that through traditional thinking we are unfortunately limiting ourselves. An interesting and thought provoking read here.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team - Patrick Lencioni

- This book hits on some of the most common problems we face when it comes to teams and working together. The message is woven into a story and does an excellent job of providing solutions and alternatives when working with a team of people.

Winning with People - John Maxwell

- This is a fantastic book about building and establishing strong relationships. This book was well received because it not only has professional advice, but also had personal advice. Strong relationships are the keys to so many doors.  

Tribes - Seth Godin

- Godin describes a world in which nothing is possible without "tribes." Tribes have throughout time pushed and helped our society to evolve, therefore their importance can't be ignored. An interesting read when it comes to establishing groups, teams and followers.


The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell does an excellent job of describing how something becomes "something." Once an idea or concept reaches "the tipping point," the idea or concept is really able to take off. This book has some valid points in the educational setting, and will most certainly get you thinking. 

Brain Rules - John Medina

- The brain is a hot topic right now in society, and as educators it has great value to understand more about how the brain works to better meet the needs of our students. Medina addresses some common myths and misconceptions as it pertains to the brain.

How Full is your Bucket? - Tom Rath

- An inspirational book about filling the buckets of others. When you are negative you end up taking from somebody's bucket; when you are positive, encouraging, and solution oriented, you are able to add to someone's bucket.

The Fred Factor - Mark Sanborn

- This is the extraordinary tale of a postman named Fred. Fred takes all aspects of his life to the next level. No matter what he is doing he makes sure to do his best. Great inspirational book applicable to all educators.

Drive - Daniel Pink

- An extremely popular book right now. Pink outlines the three main factors of motivation: mastery, purpose and autonomy. This book really questions what it means to be either extrinsically motivated or intrinsically motivated.

The Energy Bus - Jon Gordon

- A great story about harnessing and taking advantage of positive energy. This book is applicable to educators of all levels and backgrounds. Check out Jon Gordon's website.

What Great Teachers do Differently - Todd Whitaker

- This book illustrates 14 traits and characteristics that make a great teacher. Simple and straight forward read that is enjoyed by many teachers.

The Radical Leap - Steve Farber

- Awesome book on extreme leadership. Farber explains why we need a new form of extreme leadership, as well as ways one can accomplish this. This book is a simple read full of great ideas and motivational moments.

Mindset - Carol Dweck

- Great book about the "fixed" mindset vs. the "growth" mindset. The fixed mindset is static and unable to change, while the growth mindset focuses on the journey and the process. It's a shift from what isn't known, to what isn't known "yet..."

Quiet - Susan Cain

- Fantastic read about the undervalued power of the introverts in our society. Typically, we listen to and respond to the extroverts, while the introverts are pushed aside. A great insight into the role introverts play in our society, and one of the hottest books on the market right now.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 - Travis Bradberry

- Bradberry argues that one's emotional intelligence could actually be more influential than one's IQ. Once you are better able to understand and respond to your emotions you will have found a new way of approaching life. This is an interesting read that debunks most traditional thinking of IQ versus EQ.