I recently finished reading a great book called Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith. (Thank you, Mr. Smalley, for the book!) I’ve found that certain books stick with me. They cause me to think long after I’ve put them back on the shelf. In this case, Triggers is one of those books that has changed the way I think.
In the book, Goldsmith explains that simple changes in the way we talk to ourselves can trigger us to change our behavior. Have you ever set a goal for yourself only to find that soon after setting it you simply stop trying to reach it? Have you ever said, I’ll start again tomorrow. Have you ever told yourself, I’m too busy right now, but next week things will be better. Or, have you made an excuse as to why you didn’t work towards your goal?
I think it’s safe to say that all of us can think of at least one example of a time we’ve avoided our goals or abandoned them completely. However, asking ourselves a simple question can keep us on track to achieving our goals and more importantly help us change our behavior.
First, I challenge you to think of something you want to accomplish. Maybe it’s a skill you want to build like being a better listener or being more grateful. Maybe it’s a life style change you want to make like being more frugal with your money or eating healthier. When you come up with your goal you need to frame it in the form of a question like this, “Did I do my best to ___________________, today?” That’s it! It’s that simple.
Did I do my best to spend my money wisely today?
Did I do my best to be a good listener today?
Did I do my best to make healthy food choices today?
That’s it! The way we question ourselves about our goals can trigger us to be more focused on what we want to accomplish.
Try it! If you’re like me, you’ll be amazed by how these simple questions can trigger big changes in your behavior.
Here is your staff update for January 26th.
Better Today Than Yesterday And Better Tomorrow Than Today is a motto that we live by. As we continue along our journey to ELITE, we know it's important to strive to be better each and every day. I know for a fact that I am better today than I was yesterday and in the conversations that I've been blessed to have with many of you this week, I know that you too are better today than yesterday.
I'm sure you all know what brought about this growth! This week we were lucky enough to embark on our first every JW GROWS day. As I spent the day with you, observing the amazing teaching and learning that occurs in our school, I was humbled by your professionalism and vulnerability. You were willing to share what you want to try in your classrooms, your ideas for the future, your successes and your failures. You were willing to allow your colleagues in your room to watch your teaching and happily answered questions about why you made the choices you did with your students. This place is so special. You are all so special!
Here are some of my biggest take-aways from JW GROWS:
1. Teaching language-Explicit, clear teaching language and prompting is crucial.
2. Feedback is key-Sharing throughout the reading, writing and math workshop holds children accountable, reinforces your teaching points and provides valuable feedback to all students.
3. Redefinition is occuring-Ipads have truly changed education-from book clubs to writers' workshop to title reading we are reading the REDEFINITION phase of technology use. Students are engaging in book clubs via technology and even taking their learning with them digitally as they travel from reading group back to their classrooms.
4. Our students are engaged-The expectations across this building are extremely clear and extremely consistent. Our students are highly engaged in their learning and very little misbehavior occurs.
5. No matter where Scott goes, he finds a unicorn.
As we continue to strive to be Better Today, I encourage you to reach out to your colleagues and visit classrooms again. We will do JW GROWS again? Absolutely! But, you don't have to wait for us to organize it for you. Email your colleagues. Ask each other questions. We are one another's greatest resource.
Here is your staff update for January 19th.
It’s amazing how much power one single word can have. Like me, many of you choose ONE WORD to guide you throughout the year. However, for the first time, we have a word that is guiding our staff. I feel like there is even greater power in collectively working on something with a team. And, in my opinion there is NOTHING better than working with THIS team from JW!
As you know, we have been focusing on the word GROWTH during the 2017-2018 school year. As I planned this blog post I was able to reflect on all of the growing we’ve done this year; check it out (in no particular order):
-Monthly mini data teams have helped us continuously reflect on our practice and refine our teaching
-Title teachers meeting directly with classroom teachers to align practice
-Gifted clustering-teachers working on 30 hours of PD and collaborating with one another to provide new learning experiences for kids
-ELL coteachers recreating what instruction looks like in the general education classroom
-Title teachers incorporating technology into small group instruction
-Twenty-four JW YOUniversity courses offered to our students
-R Factor becoming part of our daily language with a direct focus weekly in every classroom
-Observe Me Challenge-with HUGE participation-this was voluntary and you chose to participate
-At least 10 groups have come through our school to learn about everything from best practice to culture to blended learning
-We started a World Language program and are offering Arabic
-Donors choose projects
-A garden grant
-A change from Safety Patrol to Kindness Krew
-Power Hour offerings for students
-And boy did we grow today as we dismissed 500 kids 2 hours early with very short notice!
And…something that I am BEYOND excited about…we will finally do our JW Grows Challenge on January 17th!
As you embark on the JW Grows Challenge, next week, I hope that you all really take the time to enjoy the opportunity to learn and GROW from your colleagues. Lisa and I will be accompanying you on your visits and helping facilitate your debrief time. This day is a chance for us to dig in to the practices that occur in our school. We will all have a unique opportunity to learn the BEST educators in the district. What a gift that is.
I am so excited to continue to GROW with all of you this year. As I work to grow as your leader I ask that you fill out this form and share your expectations of me as a leader. I will analyze your answers and create a list of expectations that I will ask you to rate me on. Ten of you filled it out already but I’d love to have more of you participate.
Here is your STAFF UPDATE for January 12.
I love this time of year. Winter break has just come to an end and I’ve had time to relax and refresh. The break helped me feel ready to jump into January with a clear head so that I could reflect on the previous year and make plans for the future.
This year, I spent time intentionally thinking about not only what I want to DO in 2018, but most importantly who I want to BE.
Here are the questions that I’ve asked myself as I begin to look ahead to 2018.
I challenge you to slow down, reflect and look ahead. Remember, January is a great time to hit the reset button. You aren’t bound to be who you were in 2017; you aren’t tied to the behaviors and habits of the past year. As Marshall Goldsmith author of Triggers says, “Fate is the hand of cards we are dealt; choice is how we play those cards.”
What choices will you make in 2018?
Here is your STAFF UPDATE for January 5th.