Archive for Professionalism

Breaking Out of Isolation

Being a principal is my passion; a role that I am grateful to have and enjoy *almost* every day.  While their are many positives to school administration, one of the pitfalls is the isolation that comes with being an administrator. I have previously written and shared in presentations (along with Curt Rees, Jay Posick and Matt Renwick) that is like being on Admin Island. Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 9.34.11 PM

 

I have to honestly say, that I don’t know how I could do this job without being a connected educator.  I learn so much everyday from other educators across the world on Twitter, Voxer, Blogs, and Pintrest everyday. I am certain that if I were to go back into the classroom, I would be a far more effective teacher today than before I was connected.

One of my greatest connections has been with Spike Cook and Theresa Stager through creating the #principalpln podcast, a weekly (ok, almost weekly) podcast focused on providing current and aspiring school leaders with advice, support and ideas. About a year ago we embarked on an exciting journey to write about how getting connected can help break out of isolation, but also address how being connected can also lead to isolation (quite a pardox!)

Breaking Out of Isolation Cover

Getting connected is one thing, and many educators are taking the plunge to become connected. Once connected, how does the leader avoid the isolation inherent in leadership? We have learned from conversations with others that many educators need help balancing their connected journey, and working with their peers. We wrote this book to ensure that the leadership wheels do not fall off.

In this book we help the readers understand the importance of being connected to benefit individual professional learning, mindfulness, and avoiding the traps of isolation . We use vignettes of leaders to give a picture of what the connected leader looks like. We also address the common challenges that come with being connected, such as criticism, isolation and battling mindset.

Pre-orders are available by visiting the Corwin site.

I am excited to announce that this book is now off to the printers and should be out by the end of this month!

The Mindful School Leader

This is a cross post from the #PrincipalPLN podcast:

 

How do you handle to stress?

 Does this sound like you? Maybe you just feel that way at times, which is certainly common in our overwhelming roles as school leaders. But, it doesn’t have to be!
In this episode, the #principalpln crew have an amazing discussion with the authors of The Mindful School LeaderKirsten Olson and Val Brown share their amazing wisdom with us on the importance of mindfulness for school leaders and how we can get started.  We felt a sense of peace and calm come over us just in listening to them speak!
We highly recommend you read the book, but until it arrives you can start with these recommendations from Val and Kirsten:

 


  • You eat a meal every day…choose one meal to really taste your food. Put down your devices and taste your food!
  • Look at the sky.
  • At times throughout the day, stop and notice your breathing.
  • Make a commitment for 10 minutes of alone time in your office.
  • Schedule these things so they become routine.

 


 

 

Do you have your own tips to share with being mindful or just taking care of yourself so you can be a better leader? Or are you (like us) a work in progress and just starting your path to mindfulness? Share your comments below or tweet your tips/reflections/progress using #principalpln.




 

#WEMTA15 Presentations

wemta

I’m super excited to attend the WEMTA (Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association) Conference this week as a Spotlight Speaker while getting the opportunity to hear some great educators.

Here are the slides/resources for my presentations:

Teacher 2:0: Social Media Tools for Teachers 

Using Twitter to Build Your Professional Learning Network

Evernote for Teacher Organization

Principal 2.0 Resources for #IPANewAdmin14

I’m excited to join forces again with Amber Teamann on July 25 as we spend a day with the new administrators in Illinois for #IPANewAdmin14.  Amber and I will be presenting:

Principal 2.0.png

Within this full day workshop we will share the power of social media for school communication, social media for personal learning and web 2.0 tools to keep up with all the work!

You can find our slides HERE and all of other links of resources HERE.

And please help us welcome these administrators to the Twitter PLN as we get them connected while we use the #IPANewAdmin14 hashtag!

A Principal’s Principle: Patience

 

patience

Patience is a necessary principle for principals, yet it is not a strength of mine.  I am, by nature, a very fast-paced person.  I don’t like to sit idle; I am constantly doing something or even a few things at one time.  Seriously, even if I’m “relaxing” by watching a TV show I am also playing Candy Crush, painting my nails, or checking Twitter (or a pathetic combination of all of the above).  It pains me to sit and watch my child attempt to tie his shoe on his own for two minutes, when I can get it done in two seconds.  As a child, I was the devious kid that secretly opened my Christmas presents in the night and rewrapped them, because I was too impatient to wait for Christmas morning.
While I recognize the guidance in Joyce Meyer’s quote “Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting” the practice of improving on my patience often feels more like this:
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What does this have to do with the principalship?  I recognize that patience is a weakness that I am constantly working to improve and a principal’s hectic days certainly provide many opportunities to practice patience!  I think it would be very challenging for a principal to be successful in this role, while constantly being impatient.  If I wasn’t aware of this as a weakness then I might blow off a parent or staff member needing to talk to share concerns so I can get something else crossed off of my previously written to-do list, I might make a quick decision on an issue without taking the time to check policy that would advise me on the right decision or I might miss opportunities to develop relationships with students during times that I would rather catch up on my loaded-up email inbox.  I also recognize that I can work hard to practice patience all day at work and then may readily lose my patience at home.  Recognizing that patience is not a strength, I keep in mind wisdom from David Allen:
patience2
The topic for this post was inspired by a group of fellow PLN
principals that I connect with daily.  You can find each of their
posts on Patience below:
 

Plans to “Sharpen the Saw” this Summer

Here’s the latest cross-post from my staff memo blog:

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In Stephen Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the 7th habit is one that I think we all know well (whether we call it that or not): Sharpen the Saw.  While many think that educators have “summers off”, we all know that is not the case.  Many of you teach summer school, take graduate classes, attend other workshops, read professional books/journals and continue to reflect/grow.  Covey writes about the importance of as an effective habit for you to “preserve and enhance the greatest asset you have–you.”

 

While I try to stay fresh and “sharpen the saw” on weekends, I have to admit that I look forward to summer for this extended opportunity.  In addition to family time to rejuvenate, here are my summer plans to “sharpen my saw” to continue my professional learning:

 1. Read some of the professional books that have been stacking up on my to-read list. The top on the stack is our summer admin book study choice: Willpower.

2. Explore some of the iPad apps I’ve downloaded, but haven’t touched yet. Top on my list is Aurasma and HERE is a great blog post to start learning about it.

 3. As always, continue my learning from others on Twitter. This summer there are many conferences/webinars (many all just online) that are archived in this one google doc: Summer Learning I’m planning to pick a couple to follow online.

 4. Learn something new at a Regional Summer Teacher Academy session.  Packets will be coming out this week and you can sign up HERE to attend.

 What are you planning to do the “sharpen the saw” this summer?

 

Learn How to Be a Digital Leader

Here it is…the recorded PrincipalCast podcast #14 with Eric Sheninger!

You will also be able to download/subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or in BeyondBod on android.

Digital Leadership with Eric Sheninger

SheningerEric Sheninger is releasing a new book this month:Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times. The Principalcast Podcast will be interviewing Eric on Sunday, January 12, 2014 at 8:30 PM CST on teachercast.tv.

The reason we chose to interview Eric is because he has been the champion for the connected educator, specifically, the connected administrator. Administrators throughout the world have benefited from Eric’s tireless efforts to ensure we are prepared for the changing paradigms of education.

Our interview will focus on the practical aspects of the book, and how it can help improve students, parents, teachers and administrators. If you would like to ask questions, feel free to tweet Principalcast. We will also be giving away a signed copy of the book for one lucky listener on Sunday night.

According to Todd Whitaker, Professor of Educational Leadership at Indiana State University:

“This book is THE book on digital leadership. There is no one I can recommend more highly than the most connected educational leader today – Eric Sheninger – to help us navigate all of the changes taking place in classrooms, schools and districts. The book is perfect to help everyone initiate transformational change in a digital world. Whether you are a cutting edge techie or a nervous newbie this book is for you.”

I was lucky to read this book in draft form prior to its publication and had this to say about it:

“I loved this book! It is filled with many examples of how technology is impacting learning in classrooms across the country.  Whether you are a technology guru or learning to embrace technology, every school administrator should read this book to learn ways to prepare their students to be successful in the 21st century. Leadership 3.0 is a mindset that every school administrator needs to embrace and lead with. I am going to request that my superintendent purchase it for my fellow administrators, along with the educators on our district technology team.”

Once again, be sure to join the Principalcast crew as we spend time chatting with Eric Sheninger on Sunday, January 12, 2014 @ 9:30PM EST on teachercast.tv.

My Reading Resolutions for 2014

Resolution_Read_Logo

A new tradition for myself each New Year is to make Reading Resolutions, which I made last year in this post.  Just like any goal, I like to review my progress and make new goals.

In 2013 my reading resolutions included:

1. Use Goodreads to track my reading.  I have used it all year and love using Goodreads. I have found that I get many new book ideas added to my list, thanks to those that I follow on Goodreads that have similar book interests.

2. Have family “Read-to-Self” time with my kids. With sports schedules, I haven’t been as faithful to this as I would like. We read together everyday, but not as “read to self.” I also realize that I often don’t, because I don’t trust that my son is reading. We just had a conversation about this and just as teachers need to extend that trust to their students that they are reading, I need to do the same at home with my own child!
3. Read 1 professional book a month I wasn’t faithful to finishing one each month, but I did read 12 total this year.

4. Read 280 books. In this goal, 55 were to be for novels, professional books and kids’ chapter books.  I hit 51, which is pretty darn close and I am almost certain that number would have been much lower if I hadn’t made a goal at all (that’s why goals are good to have!).  As for the rest adding up to 280 for picture books. I don’t know. I wasn’t faithful to adding books into Goodreads, because I would often read those books to my kids at bedtime, doze off and forget to put them in. I’m not going to put pressure/guilt on myself about recording these this year.

I liked these goals last year and am going to basically stick with them again:

2014 Reading Resolutions

1. Read 55 books (not including picture books)

2. Read one professional book a month

3. Have family “Read to Self” time

 

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Jessica has
read 0 books toward her goal of 55 books.
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Principal 2.0: The Connected Administrator

Yesterday Amber Teamann and I joined the great principals in Indiana for the Indiana Principal Leadership Institute (#IPLI) to share with them how Social Media can be a useful tool for school communication and for their personal ongoing professional learning.

A big bonus for us on this? Joining the great Todd Whitaker!

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As promised to all those in attendance, here are our presentations/handouts/video clips:

3, 2, 1…Blast Off (Prezi on School Communication)

Social Media and Leadership…Where do I Start?

Podcasts for Principals

Twitter Island (I must give credit to Curt Rees for the Gilligan images!)

Getting Started with Twitter Checklist

Getting Started with Feedly to Follow Blogs

The Principal Meltdown video clip

Girl’s First Ski Jump – Remember, Social Media is just like this ski jump. It seems scary at first, but once you get going it will be GREAT!