Tag: #Writing

Input vs. Output

I have questions about the title of this post. Do you have more input or output in your day? In other words, are you receiving (input) information more than you are producing (output)? What are the sources of the information you receive?

Accountability has leaders focused on the source of output and making sure there is a high volume daily. Depending on the field of work, I question the quality of the volume of output measured by the input. Should leaders focus more on the input their staff is receiving?

I spend 60% of my day reading. What are the sources of this reading? I select books based on recommendations from other leaders, also from the organization I work with to help authors with book launches, blogs, podcasts, webinars, articles from professional organizations I belong to, emails, and my daily devotionals/bible. This input is valuable to me, but most importantly, it influences my thoughts.

I wrote a book about school improvement; it’s not good enough. My opinion! I took time to learn more about how to have a quality book, what the steps are, what do you need to do, know, and so many other things. I was gaining lots of input! During this seeking input time, I had opportunities to meet, listen to and gain wisdom. It is a blessing to have taken the time to do this and to write a new book.

Time is a non-renewable gift! I always say, “Unwrap today as a gift. It can not be returned, exchanged, or saved. Use the hours wisely.” The time I have spent on writing has provided me with healing, sharing, ways to serve a purpose, and opportunities to provide support to others.

Take aways

  • The quality of the work we do depends on the inputs of information we allow to influence us.
  • Output accountability should be measured on quality and not quantity.
  • Leaders can support individuals by providing quality resources for input.
  • Time is non-renewable!

Review your calendar, agenda, or schedule. How much time is allowed for input? As a leader, what are you providing to staff to enhance the quality of the input others are receiving? Remember, time is non-renewable! Make all communications quality and not just quantity!

Be the solution daily! Others count on the quality of your output to influence the input they receive!

Word walls-new words,language

We have power in our words! Language is beautiful, meaningful, and complete. Teaching vocabulary, in my professional opinion, is essential. My journey through life provided me with love for words as they make their way to blank pages revealing stories of truth, history, love, and worlds unknown.

“Today, we will be reading nursery rhymes by Mother Goose,” said the teacher. All of the children were excited as they called out names of poems. As I looked around at all of them, I wondered if they could see me.

“I know you are all excited. I am sure your parents read you these at home, maybe at bedtime.”

I looked around as kids shouted out yes. I realized I was maybe the only one that did not know Mother Goose. I was feeling nervous. My parents don’t read to me.

As a young child, I found myself unsure about reading, language, and school in general. My parents were older, and they had moved her from their home in Kentucky. They were from large farming families and did not receive formal education.

Teaching vocabulary and helping students increase their knowledge of words is a deep dive. We are going to dip our toes in first to get started. Giving students a vocabulary list with definitions to write is not the way.

The first step to helping children with vocabulary is to use it! Talk it, explain it, provide examples and keep adding to it. We do not talk enough with children. The keyword with! The next step is to see things from students’ perspectives. How do students see the words?

  • I have never seen this word before
  • I heard this word before but did not know what it means
  • If I see it in text, the content helps me understand it

Reading, reading, and more reading will help increase vocabulary. As we look at ways to continue to support growth, vocabulary is necessary for academic success.

Read to your children, no matter what age. Let children read to you! Challenge yourself to learn a new word each week. So fun to enjoy the beautiful words to create masterpieces large and small. Our children need these experiences.

Understanding language and being able to communicate effectively provides the tools needed in being the solution daily.

Thoughts to ask, Think it Through

Today is a new day! A gift to unwrap full of opportunities! What will it bring today? It begins with the choices I make to start the journey today that leads the way.

As we set out each day in our life journey, our purposes drive us to achieve as we move toward our destination. We need to see results in our daily efforts that are helping us inch closer to the goal.

I ask, do you find yourself stopping to ask: Is it more important to have results or to enjoy the journey?

I ask this question because I have set my expectations to grow my foundation of followers. I have established this goal to demonstrate to publishers that I am ready to move forward with my book. I do not look at this as a task but a journey.

I need results to demonstrate growth as a writer and author. To show people are interested, inspired, and seek to learn more from me. However, the number of followers is not as significant to me as the journey itself.

It would be amazing to have thousands of followers, as I see on other author sites. I am an unknown individual who people get to know about one post at a time. It is exciting when we can connect, and I have had a few who we have had conversations together.

If my words can help one individual, they are worth sharing. My writing journey has provided me with joy. I am involved with so many different circles of authors, book marketers, editors, bloggers, and my list could go on. The enrichment of my learning and motivation is attributed to all of those in my current journey.

So going back to the question to “Think Thoughtfully on Thursday, ”: Is it more important to have results or enjoy the journey?

Can you have both? I think so! I hope so. If not, I choose to enjoy the journey. The journey provides many learning opportunities, focuses on skills you may not have had before, invites new people into your life, and highlights something bigger than you.

What do you think? Do you have a destination you are trying to reach? Is it the journey or the results that drive you?

What is the solution? If you know a better way to get my results to let me know, but in the meantime, I will enjoy this journey. Enjoy your journey as well! If you think I can help you, please let me know. There is nothing I am advertising for sale. Just trying to help other travelers on great journeys to destinations of success!

The story inside you

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Maya Angelou

As a young child, I spent hours writing. I would write poems, wrote a daily journal, loved to write Bible verses, and would write songs for the church. My minister Rev. Leon Korb would sometimes share my songs or poems at church. He was always making me feel special. He was a special person in my life as he rests now in his heavenly home.

In high school, one of my teachers, Mr. Bob McMurray, challenged his high school students to set goals. He did more than teach academic skills. It was the life messages in the lessons that guided us in planning a solid foundation for our futures. He stayed connected with my husband and me into our adult lives. This month he would have celebrated his 74th birthday. I remain associated with his with Glenda, but Mr. McMurray is always present in my mind when I work on my book.

I have achieved all of the goals I wrote in his classroom except for one. I said I would write a book. I have written a book, but I have yet to publish it. I thought you write a book and publish it. No, there is so much more to publishing a book. I am learning about the entire process and meeting many amazing people.

So, Mr. Bob Mc Murray, I have many stories inside me I want to tell them, and I have great people helping me learn the way. My turn is coming soon, and I thank you for planting the seed. As I know you are watching over all of us, I will do my best. It has been a long process, and we still have a way to go, but I never give up on things I say I will do no matter what!

I have been blessed by so many. The courage to share your stories with others is enormous! The regret of not trying is significant as well. So we are working to make sure I can find success when we say let’s go! Building a solid following is a priority, and I am trying hard to accomplish this goal.

There is a story inside all of us we need to share. Maybe you don’t want to write and share it with the world, but a story for your loved ones to remember a piece of family history. Documenting personal history as well as overall history helps all of us learn, appreciate and grow.

Helping others is always my priority. Living life for a cause, never applause, keeps you focused on doing what is right and best for others. The goal of the book is not to check a box that I wrote a book, to have financial gain(my author friends are laughing now), becoming famous, or so everyone knows my name. It is because one teacher, one classroom, one school, believed in one student by saying, “Great goals, and I know you will accomplish each one.” I sure will!

Be the solution daily, and you will be the one who makes the change in another today. Thank you for all you do. To all the teachers who do this daily, thank you! My Mrs. Teresa Arnold was the best teacher, and I always tell her, “thank you for helping to make things better for me every day!”

Making it Meaningful, Making Proffesional Development Stick @EducationalLeadership

I have found the essential way to support staff to continue to grow, offer them precisely what they want. Why would we continue to do our professional development in the same way we tell our staff they should not teach in the classroom? We need to differentiate!

Jim Knight is an expert! The article he has written for the edition in Educational Leadership is a great one to utilize as you plan your professional development. It also provides you with an understanding of the implementation stages for staff.

Change takes time, and we all know from our experiences it can be met with challenges, unforeseen issues, a little craziness, and then all of a sudden, things start moving in the right direction. Well, sometimes.

One of Knight’s points is people are hesitant to make a change because they do not think it will make a difference with “their” students. He hits this precisely right! I have heard these words for many years. “Sure that looks great but it won’t work in my classroom.” “I would like to see him do that with my students!”

As the Director of Educational Support, my team wanted to improve our writing and overall language arts programs K-12. We worked to coordinate the training so teachers would have it simultaneously, and it was tailored to what was needed.

Understanding all of the needs for an effective writing roll out I needed to work with my team to plan this out accordingly. So I handpicked a group to attend a workshop of the lady I wanted to present to our district. I selected the presenter because of several reasons. They included her energy, enthusiastic approach, her background and overall ability to make the transition we needed! Her name is Kristina Smekens http://www.smekenseducation.com

The group went to her workshop and began texting me from the conference. They were sold! We invited her in and we worked together to make the time exactly what staff needed. As the individual in charge and being nicknamed Hallmark, you know my inner Oprah came out! We worked with Kristina to find where she would have a break in her training and something the staff would need to apply in their classroom. So when she finished demonstrating for staff she would pause and say….everyone gets one. Then we would walk around to give each staff member what they needed to take back to the classroom to implement immediately.

Now, as you read in the article, staff need to know it works with their students. So as a follow-up, we invited Kristina to come in and do a model lesson in a classroom. We would hire floating subs so teachers could watch and then debrief. Then we would have staff create a lesson, draw names, and one person would teach the lesson in someone’s classroom, and they would assess the lesson. We utilized floating subs again to support the learning. We repeated this process until the teaching teams felt confident. They loved the way we made this approach to a new initiative.

I recommend Smekens to your school! It will be one of the best professional development you can provide for staff. Jim Knight is an expert, and he gives you so much knowledge and expertise to guide you through your leadership.