Sometimes my left elbow aches. I have a scar there from when I broke it falling from a horse almost twenty years ago.
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When it starts hurting, I can usually be certain the weather will turn stormy. My aching elbow reminds me of another story. When I was a boy, I often helped on my Granddad’s family farm. His brother was my Uncle Jimmy. One day Uncle Jimmy and I were driving in his pick-up truck. The windows were down, and I was hanging my arm out of it and playing in the breeze as we rumbled down the gravel roadway.
As we passed a nearby pond, the cattle were gathering around for watering, and two calves were prancing about the field, butting heads and chasing one another. Uncle Jimmy pulled the truck to a stop and nodded that direction.
“See those calves?” he asked.
“There’s a storm coming.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
The skies were blue, the weather warm. (This was long before the days of GPS or Smart-phones.) “Whenever you see calves acting like that, you can be sure there’s bad weather on the way.” Continue reading →
This week’s post is an encore episode I shared a year ago. Have you thought why your time away from school can help you better serve your school?
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Regardless of whether someone is an educator or not, or whether your vacation time is long or short, taking time away from work is healthy for a number of reasons. Also, if you listen to then end, I share one of my creative moments with you from a previous vacation: a song and recorded from a trip to Colorado.
School leader and podcaster Danny Bauer shared a conversation with me about his education journey as well as how leaders are collaborating together to keep growing personally and professionally.
Danny “Sunshine” Bauer is the founder of Better Leaders Better Schools and facilitates weekly mastermind groups to support leadership growth. His podcast has hosted a hundred highly effective school leaders who share best practices for other leaders.
When I was in high school, my dad reenlisted in the Navy and we moved to New York where he was stationed while his ship was in dry-dock.
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For a country boy from West Tennessee, New York was a culture shock. I remember being so afraid to speak because I didn’t want others making fun of my southern accent.
One day I was standing in front of grocery store in Brooklyn when a man stopped to ask me what time it was. I realized I was wearing a watch and he wasn’t. So I just held up the watch without saying a word and let him read the time. Continue reading →
Invisibilia is a fascinating podcast about the invisible forces that affect us without us being aware. In a January 29, 2015 episode, the reporters narrating the episode were talking about a phenomenon known as “entanglement.”
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They began by describing a physics experiment where scientists have been able to isolate particle atoms in separate locations, change the motion, and cause the two separate atoms to react to the change at the same time in separate locations.
That’s right. In one experiment, an atom contained in a box four feet away from itself in another box was demonstrating simultaneous responses in both boxes. These atoms are not mirror images of one another; this research suggests that they are one another. Separate but one: a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement. Charles Q. Choi from Live Science explains that scientists theorize entangled atoms may stay connected even if a universe a part!
Scientists are able to explain how to make this happen, but they are still unable to explain why this is possible. Continue reading →
Occasionally my wife will remind me when it’s been awhile since I’ve cleaned out my closet.
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So I’ll take time to sort out what I don’t need anymore. I can easily fill a couple of trash bags with items to donate to the local Goodwill store.
Summer break is a great time to “clean the closets” of our schools. I’m not talking about literal closets (which can also be helpful), but I’m talking about issues, priorities, goals, and conversations that have been neglected as you have been finishing a school year.
We just finished another school year at my high school. We wrapped up curriculum standards, graduated seniors and hired new teachers for next year. Many people ask me what I do with my summer break. The short answer is: I prepare for next school year. I often tell others that leading a school is like landing a cruise ship. When you finish one tour, you spend the break restocking for the next launch. Continue reading →
Last month I was asked to share a webinar on how to prepare for our state’s accreditation visits. I decided to begin the conversation with the practical steps we take with my school team on sharing, planning, scheduling, and compiling for accountability.
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Half way through the webinar, however, I switched gears and talked about celebration ideas our students and teachers had embraced for finishing the school year with enthusiasm. One way my school’s student leaders wanted to end the year was by doing something to help others. They designed an amazing idea called BARK week. Our school mascot is the Bulldog, so the theme fit perfectly.
Here’s an explanation our student council sponsor shared a month in advance: Continue reading →
During my daughter’s first year in high school, I drove to the local lake dam spillway to meet her teammates for a weekend track workout.
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After twenty minutes of warm-up running on the grassy path to the spillway and back, they lined up for drills. These included twelve sprints up an intimidatingly steep grassy incline to practice increasing speed.
It was a joy to watch all of the students working hard and pushing themselves. As they neared their tenth sprint drill, their legs began shaking, their shirts were lined with sweat, and their chests heaved with every breath. Their movement was a mass of arms pumping, legs kicking up the hill, bending over to catch a breath, standing up tall before making the climb down to run up again. Continue reading →
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Daniel asked Jethro, an Alaska principal, “What is one of your regrets from your time at your school?” I really liked Jethro’s response because he focused on how relationships were such an important part of his work, and he wished he had been able to better bridge the gap with some of his colleagues.
As important as it is to celebrate our wins with students, it is also a good reality check at times to reflect on where we wish we could improve. Continue reading →
A few nights ago, I was sitting on the couch with my wife, Missy, when our four children slowly made their way into the living room.
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Our lives are so busy with three teenage girls and an eleven-year-old boy that we rarely find time to all be together these days. Emily, our oldest, came and sat on the floor so she could get “mommy scratches” while she played on her iPhone. Mattie, our second oldest, was across the room. She had placed her laptop on the piano bench with a video of dancers from the musical Beauty and the Beast, and she danced along practicing moves.
Katie, our third girl, was on the opposite couch with her guitar. She was playing a version of Hello from the Other Side while Emily was humming harmonies along with her. And then there was Jack with a snack of cheese crackers on the table. With a cracker in his mouth, he was everywhere: sometimes carrying his basketball, moving it between his legs or bouncing it. Or he’d sit on the couch and hum along with the music and then jump back up for another cracker. Continue reading →