Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

I've been doing quite a bit of reading lately on giving thanks, saying thank you, and being grateful for all we have in our lives. I've included a couple of links below to provide some reading material on the benefits of an attitude of gratitude.

Sometimes we overlook the simplest of things for which we are grateful. Our lives, the air we breath, and if you're reading this, our sight. I've read many authors who have stressed being grateful in some way every day. Whether this is writing a thank you note every day for a year, as this man did, writing in a daily gratitude journal, or some other form of giving thanks, it is important to consistently do it. At first, it seems either awkward or repetitive, as there are days when you may not be able to think of anything different than what you have listed before. But that is okay, as being grateful daily for the most important people and things in our lives helps us appreciate them.

So, I encourage you to give daily gratitude a try if you don't already. It can and will change your outlook and provide opportunities you may not have seen before.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Live your own life

The quote below, by Steve Jobs, reminded me of another quote I read a long time ago. I had gotten a plaque that said, "To live your life in your own way, to reach for the goals you have set for yourself, to be the you that you want to be, that is success." One of the philosophies I've always tried to live by is that we need to model the things we want our children and students to learn. It's time we all start, if we haven't, to teach our children to live their own lives and give them the skills to follow their heart.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Friday, November 11, 2011


It's Veterans Day today and a special day at that. Not only the 11th day of the 11th month, but it is also the 11th year of the century. (Okay, I know technically it is not the 11th year because 2000 is the first year of the century, thus this is the 12th year, but allow me the discretion to use the symbolism.) Guernsey-Sunrise schools held the third annual Veterans Day celebration/assembly today and General Kathy Wright gave a keynote speech. She talked about the "story behind the uniform" and encouraged us to learn that story from our veterans and servicemen and women.

In a conversation with her after the ceremony, something she said struck me as a lesson we could all use to get better individually and collectively. She mentioned that she was never looking to the next promotion or aspiring to a certain rank. She said she just focused on doing the best she could in her position and learning how to get better and when opportunity happened to appear, she was ready. So, immediately after hearing that from her, an article I read had the following quote: "The only real measure of your value is the tangible contribution you make, each and every day." While this came from an article on entrepreneurship and was discussing the skills and attitudes necessary for starting your own business, I felt it could be applied to anything we do.

It reminds me of the phrase, "what have you done for me lately?" While many will lament the fact that we have to keep proving ourselves day in and day out - and our past successes and contributions may or may not be recognized or considered - it provides a basis for continual improvement in the pursuit of excellence. Happy Veterans Day.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Kids and technology

Yesterday I wrote about PLNs and how they can be a valuable resource for learning and ideas. I have also mentioned previously, the importance of reading, and finding time to read things not only in your area, but outside your area of expertise and knowledge as well. Valuable insights can be gained by looking at and learning about different perspectives. This link is for an article from Parade magazine about kids and their use of technology. It provides data about what and how often kids are using different technologies. It's an important reminder that kids are more and more likely to use technology to connect with people and ideas outside their communities.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Personal Learning Networks

How many of you have a personal learning network (PLN)? If you don't, it's time you got one if you want to a) have a wealth of resources for questions you might want answered; b) want to keep up with the ever-changing world of education; and c) be a model for life-long learning for your students.

PLNs are social networks of like-minded people willing to share their expertise, answer questions about topics you are passionate about or interested in, and provide resources that you may have never found or don't have the time to find. I have found several resources that I have used myself and/or passed on to staff. In this article, Kevin Honeycutt reviews a book by Gallup's Jim Clifton on the need to "teach our kids to invent, create and innovate and not in the near future but right now, today." It came from the social network Plurk and is a jpeg, so I think you can get to it without being a member.

Another blog I came across was about "Freelance leaners" and the fact that more and more people are able to be entrepreneurial in nature and become basically freelance workers. They may work on a project until completion, disband, and then get together with different people on another project. Are we teaching our students to be able to do this or are we still expecting them to get a job and stay with it for their career? Or are we giving them the skills to change careers multiple times based on their interests and opportunities?

A PLN provides us with tools to learn more, create more, and find more resources than we could on our own. Getting started is easy and helps streamline our learning process.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Extra Hour

I almost forgot tonight was the end of Daylight Savings time and the clocks get turned back an hour. so, what will you do with your "extra hour?" Like most people, I'm guessing I will sleep with that hour, although I'm actually hoping not to do that and get some work done.

But what would you do if you could find an extra hour every day? And the more important question is "can you find an extra hour each day?" We're all given the same 24 hours, but the choices we make determine how we use our day. If you could find that extra hour every day, what would you do? Would it be time to relax and read a good book or maybe extra time to exercise? There are a lot of things you could choose to do and finding something you enjoy and is productive for you will be a great use of that hour.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


The 19-day challenge to write a post everyday results: 15/19 days with 16 posts. Not perfect, but the momentum is turning. Just as in any challenge, there are obstacles to overcome and I feel pretty good about not going more than two days without posting. Hopefully, there were some interesting items that either helped you learn something or spurred some reflection or thought.

On to the next 30-day challenge - Movember.

No, I didn't spell it wrong. It is officially Movember, the month when men around the world will grow moustaches to raise money and awareness for men's health. As an advocate for better health for all, this particular drive has a personal touch for me. My dad died of prostate cancer when he was only 70; way too young. It is my goal to help men and women become more aware of the importance of good health and exercise. Plus, I don't have to shave for a few days. :)

So, check out the Movember site, participate if you would like, donate to a good cause, or just follow along and have fun watching the progress.