Do you have a Unified Improvement Plan?

August 30, 2015 Leave a comment

Develop a plan that includes recruitment and retention strategies based on the instructional plan for your school. The instructional plan defines how your school approaches instruction and may include special programs or focuses, student population needs, and staffing needs.
Students in past classes have asked many questions about the instructional plan and it appears that some schools do not formally define an instructional plan. Your school should have a Unified Improvement Plan; this is one source of information that you might use to identify instructional needs, but it may not address diversity issues or special programs and populations. For example, my last school was an arts integration school that encouraged learning through and about the arts and also the use of the arts to reflect learning. When we advertised for new positions, we wanted to ensure that new hires would support the program through their advocating with families and planning for instruction.

Tech Tools (weekly)

August 29, 2015 Leave a comment

Tech Tools (weekly)

August 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The Gifts of Imperfection by @BreneBrown

August 6, 2015 Leave a comment

This summer, I had my choice of three books to read: The Way of Mindful Education by Daniel Rechtschaffen and Jon Kabat-Zinn, The Road to Character by David Brooks or The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.  I decided on the last because the library had a copy of it.  It was not what I would expect my new school to ask for us to read but the theme was Self Awareness. I might have to read the other ones too.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“Knowledge is important, but only if we’re being kind and gentle with ourselves as we work to discover who we are.”  “Courage, compassion, and connection seem like big lofty ideals. But in reality, they are daily practices that when exercised enough, become these incredible gifts in our lives.”

She uses the acronym DIG for Deliberate, Inspired and Going.

“Courage originally meant “to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” “Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”  “The better we are at accepting ourselves and others, the more compassionate we become.” “ is impossible to practice compassion from a place of resentment.”

“Somehow we’ve come to equate success with not needing anyone.”  “Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves.” “…hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving.”

“We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to.”  “Practicing self-love means learning how to trust ourselves, to treat ourselves with respect, and to be kind and affectionate toward ourselves.”

“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” “Shame resilience is the ability to recognize shame, to move through it constructively while maintaining worthiness and authenticity, and to ultimately develop more courage, compassion, and connection as a result of our experience.” “Shame needs three things to grow out of control in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgment.”

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” “Authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle; and nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe that we are enough.”

“Life-paralysis refers to all of the opportunities we miss because we’re too afraid to put anything out in the world that could be imperfect.” “Perfectionism is self-destructive simply because there is no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal.”

“Hope is a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to purse them, and believing in our own abilities.” “Tolerance for disappointment, determination, and a belief in self are the heart of hope.” “it’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.”

“Marianne Williamson says, ‘Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.'”

“Intuition is a rapid-fire, unconscious associating process – like a mental puzzle.” “Calm as creating perspective and mindfulness while managing emotional reactivity.” Calm . ..”People who can bring perspective to complicated situations and feel their feelings without reacting to heightened emotions like fear and anger.”  “Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” by Howard Thurman.

“Criteria for meaningful work – complexity, autonomy, and a relationship between effort and reward.”

Check out

Reading this book made me realize that we are all imperfect. We should love our imperfection. We should look for the good in everything and we should dance as if no one is watching.  Great, easy, fast read.

Happier at Home by @gretchenrubin

August 4, 2015 Leave a comment

Some amazing quotes directly for the book. I love Gretchen’s writing and there are so many other things in the book but these are the ones that I had to highlight.  Get her books and read them!!!

Frank Lloyd Wright quote from the book. “Elimination, therefore, may be just as meaningless as elaboration, perhaps more often is so. To know what to leave out and what to put in; just where and just how, ah, that is to have been educated in knowledge of simplicity.”

Rules for cleaning: “Clean as I go.”

“Happiness doesn’t always make me feel happy” “The only person I can change is myself.”  “One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy myself.”

“In every area of my life, I dislike the feeling of uncertainty or unfamiliarity. I love mastery.”

“Research shows that the group member who scores lowest on conscientiousness, agreeableness, and emotional stability often sets the tone for a whole group.”  “The  grouch is the most common form of the happiness leech.”

Some suggestions:  “Avoid being alone with the happiness leech.” “Communicate through email if possible.” “Keep a sense of humor. ” “Instead of contradicting pessimistic or negative statements, acknowledge them.”  “Act they way I want to feel; behave the way I want to behave.”  “Mind my own business.”

“Tiggers emerge in contrast to Eeyores, and Eeyores emerge in contrast to Tiggers.”

“It’s so easy to wish that we’d made an effort in the past, so that we’d happily be enjoying the befit now, but when now is the time when that effort must be made, as it always is, that prospect is much less inviting.”

“If something’s important to me, I should reserve time for it in my schedule, make a place for it in my home.”

“What makes you feel good?”  “What makes you feel bad?” “Is there any way in which you don’t feel right about your life?” “Do you have sources of an atmosphere of growth?”

The Eight Spledid Truths:

  1. To be happier, I have to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.
  2. One of the best ways to make myself happy is to make other people happy. One of the ways to make other people happy is to be happy myself.
  3. The days are long, but the years are short.
  4. I’m not happy unless I think I’m happy.
  5. I can build a happy life only on the foundation of my own nature.
  6. The only person I can change is myself.
  7. Happy people make people happy, but I can’t make someone be happy, and No one else can make me happy.
  8. Now is now.

The Happiness Project is a website at

11 Tips for dealing with a really lousy day:

  1. Resist the urge to “treat” yourself.
  2. Do something nice for someone else.
  3. Distract yourself.
  4. Seek inner peace through outer order.
  5. Tell yourself, “Well, at least I…”
  6. Exercise.
  7. Stay in Contact with someone.
  8. Things really will look brighter in the morning. Get to bed early
  9. Keep perspective. “Will this matter in a month?”
  10. Write it down.
  11. Be grateful.

Wow! Teachers and Learners Roles are Changing – Chapter 3 #plearnchat

July 30, 2015 Leave a comment

This chapter of “Making Learning Personal” starts with the great Benjamin Franklin quote: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”  The book explains that it is hard to leap directly into personalized learning so there is a process. The way education currently works in most schools supports teacher-centered environments. The tradition schooling includes teacher-centered learning with explicit or direct instruction. Stage one is still teacher-centered with learner voice and choice. Teachers in this stage use the Personal Learner Profile to determine how each learner learns best. Teachers then use that information to create a Class Learning Snapshot which is based on four diverse learners. Learning strategies are then based on that Class Snapshot with the idea that if you can reach the four diverse learners, you will be able to reach them all. Stage two is learner centered with teacher and learner as co-designers. Stage Three is learner-driven with teacher as facilitator and partner in learning.  Personalized learning looks different for every student, classroom and school who is trying to personalize the learning for their learners.

Switching Jobs

July 23, 2015 Leave a comment

In January or February, I heard of a friend that would be leaving on a grand adventure to live in Mongolia.  Heather was the Library Educator at Fountain Valley School. I have always been intrigued by the school which is an International Boarding school on the south side of Colorado Springs with 1000 acres and only 250 high school students. I was somewhat familiar with it because of friends and my son Frank’s desire to go there for high school.  I decided to apply. The first phone screening was pretty basic. The interview was a whole day affair. It was energizing discussing ideas with new people. I was offered the job of Library Technology Educator (Heather changed the name before leaving). I start in a few weeks and look forward to being at the high school level again and opening my eyes to new experiences.  Fountain Valley School seems to believe in Outdoor Education and Service Learning.  I can’t wait.


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