Donuts, Veggies or Ice Cream? Choices

Do you hold meetings? If you do, do you provide a snack? When people walk into your meeting, do they find chocolates or candy on the tables? What do you think about offering food or something for meetings?

I am curious about this idea. I know I have, it seems, always had candy on the tables and offered snacks. During my career, I never used a line budget for my building expenses. I thought doing this was my choice, and I usually paid for it myself. Sometimes I had vendors who would send stuff, but mostly me or sometimes my Assistant Principal would get things.

Eating together promotes teamwork and family

While in an online meeting, one of the ladies talked about what she was trying to do. Her goal is to work on creating recipes for families to get them back to the table together and not forget to leave a space for Jesus. I thought she had a fantastic idea. How many families are sitting down to eat meals together? So many wasted opportunities to share stories, strengthen bonds, and create memories.

When serving food at meetings, we are trying to create this environment. Staff will come up with better ideas, get to know each other better, and share fantastic food helps everyone feel better. In education, I know we miss plenty of well-balanced meals.

The staff appreciates all of the efforts to bring everyone closer together and strengthen the bonds. We are creating environments and cultures of trust, and collaboration, along with health and wellness supplies staff with what they need to continue to grow. However, we have to caution ourselves about what kinds of foods we serve. This is where it gets tricky for me.

Choices? I will always choose…..

I am no fan of eating healthy. I will choose ice cream first! My second choice will be candies and last donuts. I will not check the box next to vegetables. In my previous district my hand was always the first to go up to volunteer to delivery the trays of cookies to the buildings for appreciation days. This is my kind of treat! When we needed to take veggie trays, not my kind of thing.

I do realize the large portion of sugar which is present in most of the snacks I select initially supplies the brain with energy and achieves awareness. Then, it leads to a very rapid rise in blood glucose levels, and you will find yourself crashing just as fast with a decline in the power of concentration.

We need to sustain an energy supply level. Eating the wrong things makes us slower and concentrate less. However, I still believe ice cream is my superfood. It makes me happy, and I can accomplish a great deal when I have some.

When selecting meeting snacks:

Donut worry, I will eat these if no one else will! You donut know how much I love sweets! I believe you should always eat dessert first!

It is essential to consider the length of your meeting, the time of day, and who you have attend. This will determine the quantity of food you need and the presentation of the food. If you are having a meeting over lunch, it is a meal, not a snack—the same for dinner meetings. However, lunch foods are to be light as people still need to return to work. Dinner meetings people will be leaving to go home.

You want the foods you serve to fulfill the purpose of your meeting and to not fight against you. The foods should not just fill the stomach but fuel the brain. We do not need a short burst of energy but long-term concentration. Meetings are held to maximize time to accomplish the tasks, make important decisions, and achieve.

Meeting snacks should:

  • Supply the brain with fuel and energy
  • Be free from possible allergic reactions, separated and labeled clearly
  • Be easy to serve and eat
  • Variety of foods for all tastes (I think you can have a few of my sugar choices, or people like me will be upset.)
  • Provide comfort, fuels our human side

Word of the Day

I am a big believer in vocabulary! We do not spend enough time exploring, providing, and giving children time to explore “words.”

It could be because I come from a home where my parents did not know how to read. When I would go to school in my early years, I can remember my Kindergarten teacher saying, “I am sure your parents have read this story to you, but I am going to read it today again.” Nope, my parents had not, and I heard it for the first time. We forget many children do not have rich conversations or have exposure to reading materials or opportunities to visit other places. How can we help to improve their vocabulary for them?

You can join word of the day by having it sent to your email daily. It is a great way to provide yourself and those you teach with opportunities to enjoy a new word daily.

Emolument: Compensation, based on time and length of activity, for employment, services, or holding office and is generally used in a legal context. Emolument is derived from the Latin term “emolumentum,” which could mean either effort or labor, or benefit, gain, or profit.

You can decide to choose your own words for each day. Maybe you want to focus on positive words, vocabulary words used in your curriculum or special topic words. It really does not matter the focus of the words as long as students are able to engage, explore and explain the words they are learning.

Encourage students every chance you can to read, write and share!

Brenda Yoho

Getting Back to Center-How?

“Today, we will be following an early out schedule. We will have an all-school assembly for a special announcement from the central office.”

“What? I had a test planned for today. The kids will not have enough time to complete it with a reduced class period. I know they all probably studied for it and many have games tonight. Doesn’t anyone else think about this?”

“We are all going to be off-balanced today! Nothing will be right!”

We have had this happen many times in education. I have called for an assembly before at the last minute. Things happen you do not expect, and we all try to make the most of the situation. However, we still feel off-balanced.

A change in a schedule for one day is a slight change; what about starting a new job. Does this make you feel a little unbalanced at first? How about getting married? Suddenly, you are married and taking everything you own, moving across the United States to an unfamiliar place. A double wham!

How do you get yourself back on track when you are off-balanced?

What to do?

  • The first step is to learn to calm and re-center your emotions. Many people choose to meditate, take time to focus on a breathing technique, close their eyes and relax. Schedule this time daily. This should be done daily whether we are in need or not. It is a habit we need to have each day.
  • Establish an area you consider to be a safe place. Place things in this area to remind you of calming, like unique scents, pictures, or items.
  • Surround yourself with items to be a reminder of your “why,” the purpose you have in each day. It could be a journal, a memorable quote, diploma, or picture.
  • Review strategies to get yourself back to accomplishing your goals.

It took me many years to figure out that when people say you need to find a good balance, it is an impossible task. If you have a mind, you should have a perfect balance between home, work, and social life, then the only one who is losing is you; when we mention that sequence, we never identify self as an important piece in all of the time in the day. In order to be able to serve anyone else, we have to serve ourselves first. Wait one more minute as well, in the sequence we did not mention God. We have essential pieces we forget to mention i; in the sequence; we did not mention God.

Life uses many things to distract us away from the essential parts of our life. It is up to us to determine how to prioritize our life to maintain a balance when the world throws several things our way. This is why having a solid foundation to work from is the key to the success of recovering when we find ourselves off-balanced. Finding a true balance may be impossible, but getting back to center is in your reach.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Fast Forward-Leadership Skills Needed

As we have witnessed in the past three years, leaders have shifted to rapidly respond, react and realign approaches to meet the needs of change. Change is not something new to leaders, but a change at this level of magnitude left leaders scrambling. We have not seen this level of change happen at his rapid domino pace.

What do we need from leaders based on the experiences from the past three years to prepare for our future? How can we be readily prepared for rapid changes? Can we give this some thought and reflect on what we have learned as we move forward?

Looking at, listening, and reading about companies, schools, and government issues, a great deal of work is needed to develop systems, procedures, and protocols. Many of the links in our chains did not seem to connect to meet the needs of those they served. Gaps were noticed, service was interrupted, and a clear need for improvements.

What skills do leaders need?

  • Emotional and social intelligence: As we have learned, we have to navigate through and out of disruption and change at a rapid pace. Leaders need to be self-aware and be “team” aware regarding building emotional and social intelligence. “Social skills drive human innovation and knowledge.”-Team Emotional Intelligence 2.0, (Greaves, Watkins)
  • Technology savvy: A leader does not need to know all aspects of technology, but they need to be able to utilize technology. Technology is critical in a world growing faster today than yesterday. Being digitally fluent and present in the technological world will be the key to unlocking the doors to communication, innovation, and creativity.
  • Communication: This skill is changing the most as we move forward. Leaders need to be exceptional communicators to cut through the noise of the world to be heard, but at the same time listen to what is not being said. As we work with others, we need to listen more to what is not said, what is said and do more than hear. Communication is an action step to take.
  • Solution-Focused: It is easy to point out problems but not as easy to point out solutions. Having a Solution-Focused mindset allows leaders to look at all possibilities in decision-making. Keeping up with trends, looking at the future, exploring options, and always seeking to find better ways keeps everyone moving forward.
  • Coaching abilities: Leaders need to have the skills to help build up those they work with and to help them continue to grow. We need leaders who know how to appreciate, support, encourage, engage and develop others. One glove does not fit all and we need to approach our leadership with getting to know our staff. What are the needs each individual has, and what are their strengths? Praise them for their efforts and help them with what they want to improve.
  • Authenticity: As we deal with change, we cannot change. What is meant by my statement? As a leader you must have a solid foundation you stand on with core values and beliefs. When the world is yelling louder, you cannot yell too! You have to be the calm in the sea of waves. If you are not consistent in what you are saying, stand for your beliefs and values, then those who follow you will begin to question you. When high waves come crashing in, they want you to be the calm to quiet the sea. Being true to who you are, demonstrates integrity, trust, and consistency.

Solution Weekly May 15-21, 2022

Getting Back to Center

Have you ever felt like you were off-balanced? A change happened in your life, and now things as you knew as “normal” are now the opposite. Oh, yes, the pandemic! The Covid-19 pandemic is one example. Can you think of more? Many things can impact us in positive and negative ways, which cause us to feel off-balanced and not centered; how do we handle it.

Word of the Day

I am a big believer in vocabulary! We do not spend enough time exploring, providing, and giving children time to explore “words.”

It could be because I come from a home where my parents did not know how to read. When I would go to school in my early years, I can remember my Kindergarten teacher saying, “I am sure your parents have read this story to you, but I am going to read it today again.” Nope, my parents had not, and I heard it for the first time. We forget many children do not have rich conversations or have exposure to reading materials or opportunities to visit other places. How can we help to improve their vocabulary for them?

Are you facing “Drainout”?

In our current situations, we have all faced many critical, unpredictable conditions not seen before. We have dealt with in our years of service overcoming what many have referred to as “burnout”, not motivated, exhausted, and leads me to what I believe is replacing all of these words in our workplaces today: “Drainout.”

Think about how you and your co-workers feel right now. How do you feel overall? “Drainout” is not something that happens just at work, it can happen in every aspect of life. We will discuss more this week.

Donuts, Veggies or Ice Cream? Choices

Do you hold meetings? If you do, do you provide a snack? When people walk into your meeting, do they find chocolates or candy on the tables? What do you think about offering food or something for meetings?

I am curious about this idea. I know I have, it seems, always had candy on the tables and offered snacks. During my career, I never used a line budget for my building expenses. I thought doing this was my choice, and I usually paid for it myself. Sometimes I had vendors who would send stuff, but mostly me or sometimes my Assistant Principal would get things.

Fast Forward-Future Skills Needed Today!

As we have witnessed in the past three years, leaders have shifted to rapidly respond, react and realign approaches to meet the needs of change. Change is not something new to leaders, but a change at this level of magnitude left leaders scrambling. We have not seen this level of change happen at his rapid domino pace.

What do we need from leaders based on the experiences from the past three years to prepare for our future? How can we be readily prepared for rapid changes? Can we give this some thought and reflect on what we have learned as we move forward?

Flexibility and Engagement

It is May, and the end of the school year is fast approaching. As the weather begins to warm up, so do the temperatures of everyone. We see a wide variety of changes happening as the end of school closes in on all of us.

Many teachers face life changes as some are retiring, some are taking on leadership roles, and others are moving to different locations. These are life changes that spark genuine emotions even if we do not feel like they impact us in any way.

Our students are feeling the stress of the timeline as well. Many will be heading off to start a new life journey with college or careers. Some will be facing issues of what they feel like is a safe place for them being removed, or ending a structured time with friends, a regular time of receiving meals, and knowing they will not have others to be with each day they can trust and count on daily.

These emotions still do not distract us from our purpose of teaching and learning. We have until the last bell rings to engage in and be flexible in our teaching and learning. It takes some out-of-the-box thinking, but the creativity we all have can capture the moments we have with amazing things.

Helping our students to engage in learning is essential to reaching the academic goals we establish and meeting the needs for their learning. Our expectations can offer significant benefits to the learning environment but not eliminate the high expectations. I am referring to the need for choices, providing students with a clear understanding of the “how” and “why” the expectations relate to them and “what” they can do.

Reflecting on my own teaching experiences, I can recall being transferred to another building with a principal who did not know my teaching style. The first time he walked into my classroom, the look on his face was priceless. He did not find the desks in a row with students all sitting quietly with me at the front of the room giving an instructional lesson. Instead, he found: A group of students in the back of the room with one of my volunteers reading, three students at computers, a student with me at my desk, and students with books and folders at their desks. Some students took papers to trays to turn in, and others selected new books.

I excused the student I was working with and told him he was ready to move forward. I walked over to speak to the principal. “Good Morning!”

“This classroom looks very busy, and everyone looks like they know what they are doing. I have never seen anything like this before.”

“Oh, I am sorry. This is how I teach and work. I can provide you with a more detailed plan for organizing our time. Each student has a mailbox. Inside their mailbox, they have folders for their subject areas color-coded. Right now, we are working on Language Arts and our Reading Logs. Students are working through the stations. We have a reading station with our volunteer today, Mr. Lucas; three students come back to take a test on their book and record it on their log, others are working through their assignments, and I individually call up students to do a progress check. The clothespins on the daily assignments bag indicate to everyone what station they are at. When a task is completed, the students change their clothespin to the station they will be in so others can see the openings.”

“I can see they know what they are doing. It seems like it is working.”

“Please feel free to check in on any of them to ask them about what they are doing and the goals they are working on.”

My teaching was many years ago, but I knew the choice formstudents was a big part of allowing students to take ownership. I need to mention at this time in the ’90s, grouping by abilities was a “thing.” I was the “new teacher” on the block, so my students were at risk primarily, but my Homeroom students were a mixture of students. It did not influence how I approached teaching and learning. I had high standards, and we worked the same way and accomplished goals.

Movie Making

At the end of the year, we still had lots to cover in our social studies books. I decided to let the kids take control. I put the subjects/topics on the board. Students wrote down what they were interested in learning or teaching to give to me. Then we talked about a unique group project to end our year.

I divided the students up into teams based on their interest levels. Then they worked together on the chapters to develop the vocabulary list, discussion questions, answers, vital information to know, and a short assessment.

Finally, we would turn this information into a History Rocks at RidgeFarm Elementary Radio Show. We would watch a couple of episodes of the Schoolhouse Rocks videos to get an idea of how the format could be and how to make a design set.

The kids were engaged, we were flexible, and we could show it to our grade level. Then we even showed it to the 4th graders to prepare them for 5th grade.

We took the assessments that the students made, we learned the vocabulary and everyone learned so much at the end of the year!

The Fear of Friday and 13

Well, today is the day! It seems to bring fear to many as the unluckiest day of the year brings out that scary movie, and if you talk to teachers or ER people, it is a ridiculous day full of crazy behavior. When I say ridiculous, I mean this is when the children and people seem to have behaviors not usually seen on other days.

I have worked in both the medical and educational fields, so I have witnessed some of these behaviors and heard stories from the ER doctor I worked for who did a rotation in our office during the week. But I think it is not explained by the date or day. Some say the moon causes changes, but I do not know. I seemed to have seen some issues during a full moon. Is it all true? Can there be a way to change this? Is it in our heads? What is the big deal?

Superstitions have danced around for decades! Do not walk under a ladder, do not break a mirror, or have seven years of bad luck, do not let a black cat cross in front of you; the number 13 has been labeled unlucky. However, the ancient Chinese and Egyptians thought the number 13 was lucky.

“Long considered a harbinger of bad luck, Friday the 13th has inspired a late 19th-century secret society, an early 20th-century novel, a horror film franchise, and two unwieldy terms—paraskavedekatriaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia—that describe fear of this supposedly unlucky day.”-https://www.history.com/topics/folklore/friday-the-13th. The Western superstition is still going strong I believe or is it?

Do you believe it is superstition? What ones did I not mention? Do you think we need to know about it? I know many stories, sayings, and things to remember passed on from generation to generation. When you get married you need something new, something borrowed and something blue. I think I got it right!

It is Friday, and it happens to be the 13th. I say have a fun Friday with friends and family! Fantastic things happen when you bring people together to enjoy the beauty of the space we share in joy and happiness. I stick with my faith!

Know yourself- Do you?

I have written about growth several times. It does not matter what age you are, where you are in the process toward “retirement, or if you are retired. As an individual who is getting up each day to be part of the glory of the day, you are growing!

No, I am not talking about the scales for your weight or the tape measure for your height! Although, my granddaughter has set the goal to be 5 feet tall. I hope she makes it! The growth I am referring to is in your mind and spirit.

We are constantly doing things in our lives to enrich ourselves daily. We use the intention to focus on the things that enhance areas we desire to improve. Longevity of life is sought after, but it is the quality of the life we live that matters the most. What are we doing in the time we are blessed to enjoy?

What are the strengths you have? What are the areas you would like to grow in? Is there something new you would like to learn?

Know Yourself

“In Ancient Greece, the philosopher Socrates famously declared that the unexamined life was not worth living. Asked to sum up what all philosophical commandments could be reduced to, he replied: Know Yourself.”

Understanding ourselves is a first step in avoiding mistakes in several areas of our lives and is also essential in our abilities to establish goals. If we cannot identify our strengths and weaknesses, it isn’t easy to move forward. When we are true to ourselves, our relationships and work improve—getting to know ourselves better increases our growth over time.

The answer is hidden in the question!

Do we take the time to get to know ourselves? Are we so busy in our lives pleasing others, taking care of things, and doing tasks we forget to take note of ourselves?

Begin or end each day with a question for yourself. Keep a journal with the answer to the questions. This is how you begin to understand who you are and to get to the why of what you do. Being self-aware is critical to the success of life.

  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What is your favorite color
  • Do you like cold, hot or warm days?
  • What is the biggest mistake you have made?
  • Who or what comforts you?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • If you had only one wish, what would it be?
  • What are you worried about?
  • Name something you like about your job?
  • What is your happiest memory?
  • What values do you have?
  • What do you believe in?
  • Where do you feel the safest?
  • If you were not afraid, what would you do?
  • If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • What matters most to me?
  • What short-term goals do I have? Long term?
  • What is my favorite food?
  • If I am feeling stressed, I_________?
  • When am I angry I_________?
  • Who are my support people?
  • I am ashamed of_______?
  • Am I a night owl or a morning person?
  • Am I passionate about___________?
  • I like being around people, or I’m not too fond of it.
  • My thoughts tell me I am not good enough or can do it.

Keep adding to your questions to dig deeper into who you are as you get wiser in understanding how to continue to grow.