Helping to find solutions daily for those in leadership, education and seeking to serve others. Providing motivation, encouragement and inspiration daily as we all seek to be the solution daily for all.
We can find something to celebrate every day! The solution to the problem of negative effects is positive actions! If you want to turn problem frowns into solution smiles, find things to celebrate! My husband, Zeke, celebrates his birthday this week. He thinks we should celebrate every day, so we will! Why not! To prepare for the week of celebrations, you will be glad to know that today January 16, 2022, is National Nothing Day! So celebrate today by doing absolutely nothing to rest up for the rest of the celebrations this week!
January 16- National Nothing Day
January 17- Martin Luther King Birthday
January 18- National Winnie the Pooh Day
January 19- National Popcorn Day ( makes sense. It is my dad’s birthday)
January 20- National Cheese Lovers Day or Zeke’s Day in my house
January 21- National Hug Day (With COVID, I know we shouldn’t, but?)
January 22- National Blonde Brownie Day
Tag me @BrendaYoho on Twitter #️⃣ with a picture celebrating your favorite day this week. Also, on Instagram, brenda.yoho! I can’t wait to see your photos! I will share mine as well. If you find out how we can propose celebrating a day, let me know. I think we need a Be the Solution Daily Day! Thanks for being part of the solution! Celebrate!
I have been selecting My One Word each year for several years. This year I have chosen commitment. I am committed to bringing my Two Rule philosophy in book form to publishers and supporting all who want to begin this practice. Two Rules can be applied to every aspect of life and work. The Two Rules are simple in stating and purposeful in implementing their approach. It begins with mindset.
The goal of every action plan is to Improve areas identified by leadership teams. Before the action plan is developed, a clear Mission needs to be established that all members believe in and support. Building strong Partnerships with all stakeholders will provide valuable input into the improvement action steps required for overall gains. As the plan is developed, it is essential to establish timelines, assign roles, and a measure of Accountability. The collaborative approach in building Capacity in Teaching and learning contributes to a focused mindset on achievement for all. The Two Rule philosophy will IMPACT the overall quality, performance, and achievement.
John Hattie’s research and author of Visible Learning provides us with a wealth of knowledge regarding practices and strategies to support learning. Hattie tells us everything we do in education works, but it is the level of impact it has on learning. Looking at the research he provides, comparing your data and practices can provide a foundation to start as you develop a plan to improve achievement. Before teaching and learning can begin, establishing a culture with the Two Rule philosophy can provide the environment you need.
When introducing any new concept to staff, students, families, or the community, providing a clear understanding is where you begin. The Two Rule concept starts with providing a baseline understanding of our mindset. To help others grow, we need to have a willingness to grow as well. The growth mindset is best known from the work of Carol Dweck.
Our mindset is instrumental in our approach to coping with life challenges. Dweck has identified we have a “fixed” of “growth” mindset regarding learning. A “fixed” mindset reflects thinking you are born with a certain amount of intelligence. A “growth” mindset believes you can learn new things and improve your intelligence.
Introducing the Two Rules concept supports the “growth” mindset in understanding we look at the actions we take, the words we speak, and the choices we make impact how we feel emotionally and physically. Two Rules will guide individuals in their “growth” as this concept is applied to daily life.
Everyone will feel good.
Everyone will feel safe.
There will only be two rules to guide all of us here. Everyone who walks through our doors will feel good about being here and feel safe. Before we take action, speak, or choose, we will think of these two rules. It is always our choice to be part of the problem or the solution. The Two Rules concept will provide the guidance, problem-solving, and solutions to discover the positive growth needed.
In education, we measure, collect data, and report on students’ performance at grade levels. However, what matters in the big picture of learning? Accountability of the test scores reported on the school, district, and the teacher in the evaluation process plays an important role. Teachers are asked to set growth goals; schools do the same, and districts are told to keep up. So what matters to student achievement?
“In reality, it is through classroom assessment that attitudes, skills, knowledge, and thinking are fostered, nurtured, and accelerated-or stifled.”
For the last decades, the measurement of what mattered to the standardized test scores did not equal the results in the overall learning capacity. These measurements lead to increased test scores in areas but without increased learning. Students could memorize information but not apply skills. Students need to have a clear understanding of the content and the skills. The instruction and measurement must have a balance between content and skills.
Transferring knowledge to other areas requires students to have a high-level understanding of the skills and content to apply in various contexts. In measuring this level of expertise, it moves beyond multiple-choice and short answer questions. Students will need to demonstrate through problem-solving, analyzing data to conclude, matching learning to a rubric with other anchor papers, or testing a hypothesis.
The critical solution as a takeaway is this: The meaning, purpose, and values students see in what they are learning will play the most significant role in the retention of learning, motivation to use the teaching, and the interest to continue to learn.
I had written before about excellent teachers who were the best storytellers to hook students into learning and those who were so creative! I believe in students being in charge of their knowledge as they lead themselves in goal setting and explaining where they are regarding the learning standards journey. Student lead conferences are the very best as students take charge of presenting their progress.
As you hold conversations with your team on what matters keep these questions in mind:
What steps do you need to take to align learning measurement tools and practices in your classroom? School? District?
Making these changes would impact students how?
What measurements do you have in place? Do you utilize all of them, and how? Do some measure the same thing? Do you have too many, not enough, or not the correct measurements?
Keep in mind the title of the post. What Matters! Student Achievement is the purpose of education. Along with achievement are learning, discovering, asking, inquiry, and stretching minds. It is in finding the love of learning. In addition, it is the character, hopes, inspiration, relationships, understanding of acceptance, dealing with difficulty, mistakes, overcoming trauma, and so much more that matters. Life is complicated, and unfortunately, it starts young with all of its trials. Know your children, families, staff, and community. There are supports for what matters! If you need help finding them let me know. We will be the solution daily for what matters.
There are many different styles of leadership and at times we may find ourselves utilizing various components as we work to be solution-focused to unravel the issues we face. We can no longer be leaders of instruction and curriculum. Leaders in the day of Covid-19 need to be prepared for the rapid changes, responses to the growing needs and pivot with ease in knowing how to respond with the skills you need.
I featured Illinois Principal Association last week as a resource I have utilized for decades. In addition, there are many other sources I utilize as well as leaders I genuinely respect. One of those leaders is Peter DeWitt. He is the author of several books and is someone to follow. A seat at the table is a great resource! I have the link below for you. He does podcasts, articles, blogs and so much more! Visit his website at https://petermdewitt.com
Also join in with https://www.betterleadersbetterschools.com Take the opportunity to follow Daniel Bauer. If you want to find him on Twitter, it is @alienearbud Danny is an amazing leader with a wealth of knowledge and insight. Pick up his book Mastermind and continue to grow! Leaders keep getting better with opportunities to learn from other amazing leaders.
I continue to enjoy learning, sharing, and discovering ways to lift leadership. Ken Blanchard is one of the leaders I have followed for years as well. His words always touch my heart, spirit and drive my passion for helping others. Use his words to inspire you as well!
Every day is an opportunity! You will hear me say this often. It is a gift you unwrap each morning to use in any way you choose. What are the choices you will make today to help be the solution daily?
If you are in the teaching profession today, why? Why did you become a teacher? Most likely, you have a vision of individuals who inspired you to dive into this profession. It is the inspiration that often leads us into the lifelong career paths we find ourselves in today.
Looking at your classroom today, you have seated in your room many different career paths. You may be looking at someone who will be standing in your spot one day. I know my teachers would never have guessed the career path I have made, and you can’t either. However, you can do what teachers did for you! Your teachers inspired you! Students’ excitement should rarely exceed our own- unless a student arrives with a strong interest in what we are teaching. If you have a student who shows up like this, then capture this and generate energy to get everyone excited!
“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do we reflect on how we were inspired to do what we do and why? Who is asking the students in your classroom the questions about inspiration? Who are their influences? What are we doing to help them find inspiration?
Leaders have many responsibilities and essential aspects involved in the role of a leader. The list of tasks to complete daily to operate ( manage) the operations daily can be overwhelming. Administrators in school-level buildings have little time left for the essential piece of their role; teaching and learning.
So how can a leader balance all of the manager’s duties and essential pieces of their responsibility? There are many ways but let’s start with the basics. “The 21 Responsibilities and Day-to-Day Management of a School” (Marzano, Waters, McNulty, School Leadership that Works pg.98)
Develop a strong school leadership team
Distribute some responsibilities throughout the leadership team
Select the right work
Identify the order of magnitude implied by the selected work
Match the management style to the order of magnitude of the change
Many blessings to you this week! I look forward to your comments, questions, ideas, and thoughts. Conversations are shared to bring about possibilities of new ideas, thoughts, and solutions to problems. This week I have been asked to help out at the Illinois Principal Conference. This takes me back to my beginning as a leader. There will be many familiar faces but so many new leaders. I am blessed to return and to see the excitement this conference brings.
Solutions are always my focus; however, trauma and social-emotional needs became more of the center of my practice after 2010. I always focused on the needs of others, but my personal experience provided me with a more in-depth and enhanced view.
I have always had two rules in my philosophy to school, but also two foundational learning practices are added as well. The two learning practices are social-emotional-learning and trauma-informed. Currently, we are dealing with the trauma of a global pandemic, and the effects are not touching only our students but our staff, families, and communities.
Always remember everyone has a story to tell. Build relationships so all feel safe, heard, understood and building skills to understand all of the “how-to” in relationships.
If you have ideas, thoughts, questions or need support with an issue you are facing please send me a message. My purpose is to provide support, solutions and strategies. One of the things I want people to know about me if you do not already know me is, my generosity. I give away more and more. I have always done this and I always will. Giving to others is important to me. I am working hard to create more free resources for you.
Each day we are reminded of the importance of many things, but leadership is essential in every aspect of life. Leadership is the deciding factor of accomplishing the work, goals, and delivery of success to every component in our chain of command.
Make people feel important who work for you, with you, or come in contact with you. Leadership is about motivating others. Show genuine concern for and interest in the lives of your team members, as well as those you serve. Thank them for a job well done – even if it’s a small job.
Validation, respect, and compassion are ways to let your team know you appreciate them. I took time to explore comments made on a Twitter feed from a question posed to a teaching group. The question was: What else can be done to help stop the rapid burnout for teachers? Covid is responsible for the changes of instruction, shutdowns, mandates imposed by the government, but it was not part of all the answers given. The responses were to: Give us more support, value us, show us compassion for our losses, and it continued with similar statements. I heard similar pleas a few years ago in my position as Director of Education Support Programs. The addition of the stress from Covid-19 has added a layer to an already stressed system
What can you do to help your staff or coworkers?
Tips to Help and Support
Listen-take time to actively listen to others. Seek them out in their comfort zones and ask, “How are you doing, and what can I help with?”
Don’t make a promise- We want to help, but some things are not in our control. Do not make promises you cannot keep. Listening is always a significant first step. There are always a few things we can do.
Drop little notes of encouragement on desks after you have visited.
Write personal thank you letters and mail to homes.
Please get to know what their favorites are and place one on their desk when they need a pick me up.
Know their birthdays and send cards.
Speak to, say hello, learn everyone’s name and display it as you greet them daily.
Notice everything! “Love your haircut!” “Great smile today!”
Partner with others- People are willing to help each other when there is a need. Brainstorm ideas together of things to do and people who can support. Here are a few things to think about:
Date night for families- Host an evening where child care is taken care of so families can have a few hours together. A rotation within your organization can accomplish this by trading off who participates. One family enjoys date night; the other is helping with the child care activities in a central location.
Wellness Weekend- Work with area businesses to gain free access to massages, nail care, workouts, yoga class, or healthcare checkup.
Book study group-Professional of Personal fun books
Let’s talk-Groups get together to have conversations about work, home, and life
Do not fake! Please do not try to fake any of these connections and emotions. Be authentic in your delivery of all of these supports for staff and those you serve. If you are not, it will have the opposite result for you.
Together we travel the road of life. As the road receives many travelers, we need to support each other on these worn-out paths to clear the way for a successful journey. Life is a journey, not a destination. We need each other for continued support to our final destination.
Safe travels to each one and blessings to those seeking to be the solution daily on the road to success.
Which comes first, wisdom or knowledge? Wisdom is built on knowledge. So does that mean you can be both wise and knowledgeable? Then you can’t be wise without being knowledgeable. What do you think? Is it the same as an egg before chicken or the chicken before an egg?
Knowledge is knowing about something. I have knowledge of the food in my garden and what grows on my trees. Wisdom is knowing how to apply the knowledge I have. In addition, how to use it in context. Like this old example: knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to use it in a fruit salad. However, some people would say this is common sense.
I believe knowledge is gathered from learning and education. The more knowledge you gain about a subject area you can be identified as an expert in the area. Just because you have knowledge, it does not make you wise. When you have knowledge, you can make decisions with clarity of facts and truths.
In order for individuals to gain wisdom, it must be gathered from day-to-day experiences and is a state of being wise. Wisdom is the practical ability to make consistently good decisions in life from the individual’s knowledge and experience.
Wisdom is a virtue. Is that a true statement? Wisdom can only be acquired through experience. Anyone who is interested in trying new things, reflecting on the process, analyzing, testing your knowledge and having a growth mindset has the ability to gain wisdom. In this process one should have knowledge first in order to become wise.
How do you compare knowledge and wisdom? Do you know individuals who are wise?
Teachers, if you do not know about StoryWalks, please take a look at the following article! I love it! As a 5th grade teacher, we did many different things to engage readers, but this is the best idea ever!
I can see how you can utilize this as a fun family night activity! So many things you can do. The author of the attached article “walks” you through creating, selecting, and organizing a StoryWalk. I can see the creation of mystery walks during fall. We can make a fun StoryWalk about our school, community, or state. How about science? A StoryWalk through a human cell?
I have worked with some very creative teachers and administrators who could, I know, do amazing things with StoryWalks. If you do one, please, please share with me. I would love it! Happy to share with others and brag on you! This seems so incredible to me.
I am looking forward to seeing your StoryWalks! If I can help you with ideas, send me an email at Yohobren@gmail.com.
Have you heard this, thought this, or said this? As you glance in a classroom, talk to students or staff, you get an idea of this statement.
Sometimes we are quick to place a label on something without further examining the roots to discover a solution. Engagement is our go-to word. Students are not engaged in learning, so they do not care. Whoa, stop! This is a snap judgment call without really diving in to look at solutions.
I have included a link below to a great article from EL Magazine. It is a quick read packed with great insight on how to look at barriers students may have as they face learning.
Standing in front of the class and giving information in hopes students will receive it with learning, as a result, is not a reasonable expectation. Then to think they can take this information and apply it. Well…
Students are not always interested in what we want them to do in the classroom or to learn. This does not mean they do not care. We have not uncovered how to motivate them with their interests, ways of learning, removed barriers or found the right strategies.
Students need clear feedback, a success that is important to them and to know peers are not judging them. Helping students reach their full potential can be accomplished.