“Thin ice can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.” – Seth Godin

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“Thin ice can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.” — Seth Godin

This line from one of Seth Godin’s recent blog posts has stuck with me for a while.

The focus of his post was about always feeling like you are on thin ice and how that affects your behavior and your performance.  Deep down we all know Godin is right — “All that panic doesn’t pay off”.  When we spin our wheels in the wrong direction, we end up creating more work for ourselves.

The trick is to play the long game.  We need to act with the thought, This, or something like it, will probably happen again, so that means I need to learn from this, get better, and be willing to help others when they experience this too.

Managing my energy is always a challenge, but it’s been tougher to manage lately.  I knew I had to stop and think about what was different — I was spending too much time thinking about school, staying plugged in, and dwelling on what had happened rather than what is happening.

I started to make a change recently that is helping. I turned off my email and Twitter notifications, deleted the Facebook app from my devices, and started taking longer walks with the dogs in the morning.  It probably doesn’t sound like much, but these little tweaks have upset the negative habits I had and just enough to help me start to reduce my stress, calm my mind, and be more present.  The sleep thing, well…I’m being patient while that part gets better too.

The battle to be more balanced is not with others, it’s really with myself.

How often are we feeling we are battling what’s going on in our classroom, at our school or in our district?  How often are we putting ourselves on thin ice when we could be thinking about how to stay grounded and to have the patience to play the long game?  The last thing we need is more work for ourselves, so consider the habits that might be blocking you from staying away from the feeling of being on thin ice. Keep the main thing the main thing.  Stay true to your vision and to your purpose – This will go a long way in staying balanced.

Have a GREAT week!

Herb

 

Articles Worth Reading

How thin is your ice? http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/04/how-thin-is-your-ice.html

6 Essentials of a High-Quality Classroom Library http://www.booksourcebanter.com/2017/03/07/6-essentials-of-a-high-quality-classroom-library/

 

Upcoming Dates

 

17 – 4th grade field trip to Supreme Court & Statehouse

18 – 5th grade Math test; Fire Drill, 1:40 pm

19 – 4th grade Math Test; Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30; PTO Spirit Day at Firehous Subs, 10:30 am – 9:00 pm

20 – Principal’s meeting (Herb, AM); 3rd grade Math Test; Garden/Compost Club, 3:35 – 4:30

21 – 2nd grade field trip to Art Museum; Tornado Drill, 9:35 am

22- Hilliard’s Earth Day Celebration, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

24-28 – Book Fair, open til 5:00 on 25th; open during Art Show on 27th; open 8:00-9:05 am on 28th

24 – Gifted model parent meeting, 6:00; Vidic’s Medicine Safety Presentation (4th=1:00 – 1:40, 5th=1:45-2:30)

25 – 5th grade Science Test; 4th grade Social Studies Test; Vidic’s Medicine Safety Presentation (2nd=1:00-1:30; 3rd=1:40-2:10; 1st=2:15-2:45)

26 – Staff meeting, 3:40; Walk-A-Thon, 9:00 am – 2:30 pm; Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

27 – Elementary Transfer meeting, 8:30; Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am; Compost/Garden Club, 3:35 – 4:30; Art Show, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

28 – BAC meeting, 8:00; fruit & veggies (grapes & snow peas); clean office lounge

 

May

1 – Bus Driver Appreciation Day; 3rd grade Music Performance, time TBD; School Community Meeting – “Make a Difference”, 10:45am;

2 – No School for Students (Waiver Day)

3 – Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

4 – Admin. Meeting (Herb AM); Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am; PTO Flower Sale Pick Up, 4:00-7:00; PTO Spirit Night at Chick-Fil-A, 5:00 – 9:00 pm

8 – Kona Ice Truck here; PTO Meeting, 7:00; Spirit Week (daily themes TBD)

9 – BIT meeting, 8:00; KG/1st Data Teams; Retirement Party, 3:45

10 – 2nd/3rd Data Teams; SLSP field trip to Dare Equestrian; 5th grade field trip to Art Museum; Lambright’s Math Mindset Parent Night, 6:30 – 7:30; last day for Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

11 – 4th/5th Data Teams; Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am

12 – 4th grade field trip to Art Museum; 5th grade Growth & Development, 1:30 – 2:30

14 – Mother’s Day

15 – Field Day, 8:30 – 11:30 am and 12:30 – 3:30 pm

16 – Focus fieldtrip to Falling Waters, 5:30 am – 9:15 pm

18 – Principal’s Meeting (Herb AM); Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am; See Kids Dream 5th grade field trip to Riffe Center

19 – Last day at preschool; 4th grade field trip to Zoo

22 – PTO Spirit Night at Dave & Buster’s, 4:30 – 7:30 pm

23 – 3rd grade field trip to Art Museum; PTO Family Luau, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

24 – 1st grade field trip to Art Museum

25 – Mental Health & Wellness meeting, 8:00

26 – Last Day of School!

Stuck in the mud

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When you’re driving for 9 hours in a car alone, you tend to have an ample amount of time to think.

So on my way back from my daughter’s cheer competition in Virginia Beach on Sunday, I got to do a lot of thinking about life, my career, my kids and my family, which is probably way too much time for me to be alone with my own thoughts.

I was listening to the audiobook version of 1776 by David McCullough, who has this rich voice that goes so well with storytelling.  I was inspired to revisit stories from our country’s past as we drove to Virginia Beach, passing such places as the Shenandoah Valley, Yorktown, Richmond and other sites made famous by battle.

McCullough’s storytelling included a humanizing of people like Washington and revealed some of their shortcomings as leaders.  The shortcomings revealed at times just how much luck played in the success of the Revolution, which was led by minimal military knowledge and supported by a ragtag army of men and boys of all colors, backgrounds and ages.

One story from the Battle of Brooklyn stood out to me the most.  Washington was retreating his men through a marshy part of the East River to try and escape back to Manhattan.  Those who got stuck or who couldn’t swim were captured while the rest were able to escape later on that evening by ship during a wild summer storm.  None of this had to happen either.  Washington had made a miscalculation and split his troops when basic military strategy says to not split your force when facing the enemy head-on (or so I learned from the audiobook).

So many times, the Americans were close to losing it all due to blunders or lack of foresight.  Yet, they seemed to come out in the end to fight another day in that all-important year of 1776. 

The one aspect that seemed to hold throughout the Revolution was the resolve of the people.  Change was in their heart.  It drove them to continue fighting for what was right.  Their resolve, what was in their heart, was what helped our Founders find success.

I am not trying to compare the work we do in education to fighting a revolution or going into battle, but there are some takeaways for me that I thought about as I drove home.

  • Change will happen not matter what.  Some of it will be small and manageable and much of it will be monumental and unforeseen.  Change is a predictable Event in education.  Our Response is key.  We get to learn from change and from our missteps in response to it.

 

  • Let your heart lead the way.  When in doubt, listen to your heart.  Sometimes we all know what must be done, but no one wants to say what needs to be done or even wants to act on it.  Leading from the heart is a powerful force — It could be what gave our country its freedom.  But it also is my driving force as an educator.  The relationships we build and the connection we have to kids will endure and outlast most of the knowledge we tried to impart onto them.  As George Couros says, we have to make a connection to the heart before we can make a connection the mind.

 

  • Dig deep and find the determination to keep moving forward.  This one has been a thought I’ve swirled on a lot this year.  I’ve been off my game a lot this year.  That’s not to say we haven’t accomplished many wonderful things for kids.  It’s more of a personal reflection. I’ve dropped habits that have helped me to keep moving forward and to stay idealistic.  I’ve stayed neutral in conversations when I should have pressed more.  I’ve not stayed as committed to lifting up our campus project like I have for the past two years.  And it sucks.  I’ve felt stuck in the mud at times. I hate feeling that way because this moment that I have as principal is it — There is nothing else for me to wait for.

It’s time to get unstuck!

Have a GREAT week!

  • Herb

Worth Reading!

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. – Life in Focus

These fifth-graders turned a class assignment into a massive service project – The Washington Post

These high school journalists investigated a new principal’s credentials. Days later, she resigned. – The Washington Post

It’s Time to Rethink How We Are Educating Our Children

Act Like You’re New – The Principal of Change

Completely Satisfied – Teacher At Heart

Upcoming Dates

10 – Preschool IEP meetings (Herb/Brian H), throughout day; PTO Meeting, 7:00

12 – Staff Meeting – Progress check on Data Team goal; KG ELL testing; SLSP Fieldtrip to Steak N Shake (morning); Urban Zen, 3:45 – 4:45; Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30; Lambright’s Math Mindset Parent Night, 6:30 – 7:30; Full moon!

13 – Mental Health and Wellness Team meeting, 8am; One2One Principal meeting, 10am; KG fieldtrip to Franklin Park Conservatory; 2nd grade Wax Museum; Last day to submit requisitions; Staff Luncheon; Garden/Compost Club, 3:35 – 4:30; Interims go home, as needed

14 – Holiday, No School

17 – 4th grade fieldtrip to Supreme Court & Statehouse

18 – 5th grade Math test

19 – 4th grade Math Test; Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30; PTO Spirit Day at Firehous Subs, 10:30 am – 9:00 pm

20 – Principal’s meeting (Herb, AM); 3rd grade Math Test; Garden/Compost Club, 3:35 – 4:30

21 – 2nd grade fieldtrip to Art Museum

22- Hilliard’s Earth Day Celebration, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

24-28 – Book Fair, open til 5:00 on 25th; open during Art Show on 27th; open 8:00-9:05 am on 28th

24 – Gifted model parent meeting, 6:00; Vidic’s Medicine Safety Presentation (5th=1:30 – 2:15, 4th=2:15-3:00)

25 – 5th grade Science Test; 4th grade Social Studies Test; Vidic’s Medicine Safety Presentation (2nd=1:00-1:35; 3rd=1:40-2:15; 1st=2:20-2:55)

26 – Staff meeting, 3:40; Walk-A-Thon, 9:00 am – 2:30 pm; Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

27 – Elementary Transfer meeting, 8:30; Art Show, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

28 – BAC meeting, 8:00; fruit & veggies (grapes & snow peas); clean office lounge

May

1 – Bus Driver Appreciation Day; 3rd grade music performance, time TBD; School Community Meeting – “Make a Difference”, 10:45am;

2 – No School for Students (Waiver Day)

3 – Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

4 – Admin. Meeting (Herb AM); PTO Flower Sale Pick Up, 4:00-7:00; PTO Spirit Night at Chic-Fil-A, 5:00 – 9:00 pm

8 – PTO Meeting, 7:00

9 – BIT meeting, 8:00; KG/1st Data Teams

10 – 2nd/3rd Data Teams; SLSP fieldtrip to Dare Equestrian; 5th grade fieldtrip to Art Museum; Lambright’s Math Mindset Parent Night, 6:30 – 7:30; last day for Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30; Full Moon!!

11 – 4th/5th Data Teams

Habit: The Double-Edged Sword

Before we were married, my wife Carrie once asked me, “Why are you so grumpy all of the time?”  I honestly had no idea why.  I had a pessimistic view of the world and thought there was nothing right with the world that couldn’t be broken by what was wrong with the world.

One day not too long after, Carrie gave me the book Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom, and said that I needed to read it.

It’s hard to explain what happened to me as I read and finished the book because it completely changed my outlook on life. Here was this beautiful person who was lying on his deathbed but who was also so grateful for everything he had throughout his life. It wasn’t the first time I had heard the life lessons Morrie’s shared – to live life to the fullest, to be grateful, and to love. But for some reason, his story connected with me and changed me for the better.

Most of us wake up either with a smile or ready to complain about the world around us. Both responses are habits of mind that have become ingrained inside of us over time.

If you stop and thought about the default responses you have to the predictable events of a typical day – the alarm going off in the morning, traffic, kids not following expectations – which side of the ledger would you see most of your responses?  On the positive side or on the negative side?

What does your balance sheet look like at the end of the day?

The bad news is that habits are hard to break.

The good news is that new habits can be made as long as we are committed to changing and forming habits that help our default responses be more positive ones.  It takes self-reflection, commitment, and finding people in our lives who will hold us accountable maintaining our goal to change.

I like this reflection sheet from our R-Factor training:

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What should we stop doing and what should we start doing to help make our lives more positive and happy?
Commit to putting more marks on the positive side of your daily balance sheet.

And read Tuesdays with Morrie. It’s worth every minute!

Have a GREAT week!

– Herb

Worth Checking Out –

How Personal Learning Is Working in Vermont
http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar17/vol74/num06/How-Personal-Learning-Is-Working-in-Vermont.aspx

Upcoming Dates –

April (State Testing dates listed below)

3 – School Community Meeting – “Adjust and Adapt”, 10:45am; Board of Education meeting at ADE, 7pm

4 – BIT meeting, 8am; 5th grade ELA, Part 1; Staff Breakfast, 8:20 am

5 – IMPACT PD (K-2 Teachers); 6th grade transition meeting, 2:00 – 4:00; 5th grade ELA, Part 2; Newsletter items due; Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

6 – Admin meeting (Herb, AM); Blue Jackets Choir performance (before game); 3rd & 4th grade ELA, Part 1; Garden/Compost Club, 3:35 – 4:30

7 – 3rd & 4th grade ELA, Part 2

10 – Preschool IEP meetings (Herb/Brian H), throughout day; PTO Meeting, 7:00

12 – Staff Meeting – Progress check on Data Team goal; KG ELL testing; Urban Zen, 3:45 – 4:45; Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30; Lambright’s Parent Ed Camp, 6:30 – 7:30; Full moon!

13 – Mental Health and Wellness Team meeting, 8am; One2One Principal meeting, 10am; KG fieldtrip to Franklin Park Conservatory; 2nd grade Wax Museum; Last day to submit requisitions; Staff Luncheon; Garden/Compost Club, 3:35 – 4:30

14 – Holiday, No School

17 – 4th grade fieldtrip to Supreme Court & Statehouse

18 – 5th grade Math test

19 – SLSP fieldtrip to Steak N Shake; 4th grade Math Test; Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

20 – Principal’s meeting (Herb, AM); 3rd grade Math Test; Garden/Compost Club, 3:35 – 4:30

21 – 2nd grade fieldtrip to Art Museum

22- Hilliard’s Earth Day Celebration

24-28 – Book Fair, open til 5:00 on 25th; open during Art Show on 27th; open 8:00-10:00 am on 28th

24 – Gifted model parent meeting, 6:00; Vidic’s Medicine Safety Presentation (5th=1:30 – 2:15, 4th=2:15-3:00)

25 – 5th grade Science Test; 4th grade Social Studies Test; Vidic’s Medicine Safety Presentation (2nd=1:00-1:35; 3rd=1:40-2:15; 1st=2:20-2:55)

26 – Staff meeting, 3:40; Walk-A-Thon, 9:00 am – 2:30 pm; Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

27 – Elementary Transfer meeting, 8:30; Art Show, times TBD

28 – BAC meeting, 8:00; fruit & veggies (grapes & snow peas); clean office lounge