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The Lazy Kid

Kids want to be useful and contributing members of society. They want to be treated like responsible young people, sometimes even adults.

More often than not, when given the chance to rise to the occasion, I see children rise.

Rarely, however, do we actually give them the chance.

Here is a short story that has been played out every single year that I have been in education.

A student is described as lazy, disruptive, or uncaring by nearly every adult that is working with that child.

Plans are created to get the child to "buy into the system" and there is no response, again and again.

Finally, the adults realize that the student is not going to buy into their system, and they finally ask the student to design a system that is going to work for him or her.

When the student is finally given that chance, the behavior changes, and the student is suddenly no longer lazy, disruptive, or uncaring.

Rather than go through all this frustration trying to get the student to do the system we talk about, why don't we just start by engaging them, instead of focusing on getting them to buy into our system?


News or Opinion?

I've been thinking about trust a lot lately.

I read a news article about a church recently, and it was not an opinion piece, and while it gave facts, it only gave facts from one perspective.

I read a news article about a certain senator recently, and it was not an opinion piece, and while it gave facts, it only gave facts from one perspective.

I read a news article about a trial recently, and it was not an opinion piece, and while it gave facts, it only gave facts from one perspective.

I read a news article about ___ recently, and it was not an opinion piece, and while it gave facts, it only gave facts from one perspective.

I read an opinion piece recently. It looked just like the news articles mentioned above. I'm having an increasingly hard time trusting and discerning between news and opinion.

If it is hard for me as an adult, I can't imagine how difficult it is and is going to be for our kids.


Modern Learners on Transformative Principal

Today on the podcast, I have an interview with Will Richardson and Bruce Dixon of Modern Learners. It is a fantastic interview where they talk about Change.School and other great things that they are working on. 

We even go so far as to say that maybe all we need to teach is soft skills. 

Also, this week, I released a bunch of interviews that I did with kids at my school who are doing amazing things during our synergy block.

Finally, this week your opportunity for signing up for 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever closes. Speaking of modern learners, I really believe that this approach, where you go find your own "courses" to take is the future, and it is already here. If you're still on the fence, join a webinar right now!

If someone interviewed with me for a job, and they said they had taken Michael Hyatt's goal setting strategies to heart, there would be some things that I could assume about them:

  • They care about their own personal growth

  • They invest in themselves

  • They set and achieve goals that are meaningful to them

  • They are probably one of the best in their area

I can confidently assume all these things because I know Michael Hyatt's work. Even if I didn't know him, I would know all those things because that person participated in something that showed they had all the qualities. 

You have the chance to make 2019 better than ever, so join a webinar for 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever


Synergy Success Stories

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This week students presented their synergy projects to a panel of teachers that didn't know their projects. We had 37 projects greenlighted to continue, 18 that need some more organization before they continue, and 15 that were discontinued. 

We have seen some amazing efforts on this, *|FNAME|*, and it is amazing. 

I did some audio interviews with the top 8 synergy projects. What they have in common is that they all learned things that are the things that you said in a survey you really want your kids to learn: teamwork, collaboration, perseverance, grit, patience, overcoming challenges. These are presented in no particular order:

  1. Chess Club - This isn't your grandpa's chess club. These students are not only learning chess themselves, but they have partnered with Ladd elementary to teach chess to someone else. 

  2. Ed Videos - These students are creating educational videos to teach other students how to do stuff. Their target is 1-3 graders who will listen to something because it is not from an adult! 

  3. Tanana Step Crew - These students have expanded from their original start last year and are working on making bigger strides in their performances, and are actually performing in North Pole on Saturday. 

  4. Yurt - Students are creating a Yurt. They're following a plan and trying to create something cool. They've got it standing already.

  5. Drama - These students are creating short films about topics they are learning about in other classes. 

  6. SOS - Signs of Suicide helps students know how to talk about suicide in a safe and healthy way that gets kids help they need. In the past, this has been an after-school or during lunch group. With synergy, more students have access to participate because it is during the day. This group also has students who are part of TATU, Teens Against Tobacco Use. 

  7. Tanana Team Leaders - These students share their love of cheer, volleyball, and soccer with students at Ladd. The students come over on Thursday to learn about these sports. 

  8. Minty Business - These students are in the slow process of creating a candy business, starting with their own recipe for making butter mints. 

This is just 8 of the great projects that are engaging kids in something they can be passionate about and gives them an opportunity to learn without limitations. 

Synergy groups. Green means move forward, Yellow means needs more work, Orange means discontinued. 


A bit arrogant perhaps...

Many times when we talk about proficiency, we say that the highest form of a student mastery of a given task is their ability to teach it to someone else.

Doesn't this seem a little arrogant that we think our chosen profession is the highest form of accomplishment?

When we talk about student mastery of learning, we have to have a more nuanced approach.

Let's take driving for example. Educators typically say that if you get everything right, you have mastered and should be able to teach it to someone. Just because a 16 year-old gets a perfect score on the written and driving tests doesn't mean that I want that 16 year-old teaching my child (or anyone else's child to drive.

That's why I love this rubric:

 Novice: concept and/or skill is brand new. I’m just getting started in the learning. I need a lot of help and guidance from a teacher. Apprentice: I’m figuring it out, but still need a lot of prompting and support from a teacher for the new concept and/or skill. Practitioner: Concept and/or skill can be done consistently and independently. Now I just need occasional prompting or guidance. Scholar: I can apply the concept and/or skill to new and/or different situations without help from a teacher. I am ready to build on the learning. Change Maker: I can use the concept/skill to make connections with other learning. I understand and can apply, evaluate, analyze, and create using the skill/concept.

Novice: concept and/or skill is brand new. I’m just getting started in the learning. I need a lot of help and guidance from a teacher.
Apprentice: I’m figuring it out, but still need a lot of prompting and support from a teacher for the new concept and/or skill.
Practitioner: Concept and/or skill can be done consistently and independently. Now I just need occasional prompting or guidance.
Scholar: I can apply the concept and/or skill to new and/or different situations without help from a teacher. I am ready to build on the learning.
Change Maker: I can use the concept/skill to make connections with other learning. I understand and can apply, evaluate, analyze, and create using the skill/concept.

This is from Anastasis Academy. There truly are skills where being a novice is just fine. For example, I am a novice at a lot of things. And I probably always will be. I'm ok with that.

I am a change Maker in other areas, where I am really passionate.

We need to focus on making our teachers and students aware of the expectations and needs of different levels of learning as they grow.

We need to determine what knowledge is worth pushing to change maker status and what knowledge is acceptable at the novice level.

In education, we pretend that everyone should succeed at the same level in everything, and we even make goals and work towards that. We need more honesty about what truly matters.


How my procrastination stalled my career

About six years ago I was offered an opportunity, and I passed, because I thought I could do it myself without any help. If I could go back and give myself some advice, I would say, "Do it! Your life will be so much better if you do!"

I love talking to other people and learning about what they are doing. I've known this for years. It is exciting to me to learn about how people do different things.

An idea was forming. I could start a podcast, and talk with amazing people all the time and get a ton of good information.

Transformative Principal is actually 5 years old. You see, I started thinking about it early.

I watched the videos and the webinars for 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever, and didn't really think that I needed any help. I said, "I can set goals all by myself, because I have before."

So, I set a goal to start a podcast, but as I mentioned, I didn't have a plan. It was just to start a podcast.

I debated and hemmed and hawed about what I should do. For almost a YEAR! I finally launched on December 1, 2013, five years ago, instead of six.

What ended up happening because of this procrastination?

I had many different people that I could have interviewed for my podcast go by, without that positive, growth-inducing connection.

I was too scared to ask people to be on the podcast, so I never took action. I didn't have a plan for what to do, so I never started.

In fact, the first person I asked, I was so nervous she would say no I didn't check my email for fear she would reject me.

Had I taken action and joined a goal-setting system, I would have started my podcast much earlier in 2013.

How did that stall my career?

I would be 9 months further into this journey than I am now. Does 9 months really make that much difference?

You bet it does!

There's an old proverb that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is today.

My growth over the last nine months has been incredible, and I can't wait to see where I will be in 9 more months!

Because I didn't have a plan or a system, I missed out on opportunities to be successful that I could have experienced.

Look, I'm not depressed or bummed out because I started later than I should have. It's not worth it to ruminate and get all bent out of shape about it.

Here's the takeaway: I thought I could do it myself, without support. I thought I could not afford the cost of the support.

Here's the reality: There are things we can do by ourselves, but we can do them so much easier and better with support.

Starting today, you can get 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever and have support in reaching your goals. I am really excited for where I am going to be in 9 months, and I wish I would have taken the help earlier.


Why I am blogging every single day

About five years ago, I started Transformative Principal. Before that, I blogged regularly at my other blog. My podcast goes there automatically, and that is all well and good, and the posts there have been consistent with the podcast.

When I started the podcast, I said to myself, "This podcast is putting something out there, so that is good enough."

Eventually, I started writing a book, and while Seth Godin has been telling me for years to write daily, I haven't done it, until I started writing the book. Once I did that, I was writing 1000 words per day, sometimes much more.

I had been making excuses about not writing.

On November 1st, I just decided to stop that line of thinking. It had nothing to do with it being the first of the month.

I was ready to start my final 66 day challenge for 2018, and decided I would blog every day. Right now, I am 41 days into my 66 days, and I'm going to continue after the 66 days are over.

Here's three things I get from blogging daily:

  1. An outlet. Sometimes, we are so caught up in our own mind games, we just can't handle it. Blogging daily helps me get that out.
  2. Clarification. There is a lot that goes into writing, and it's not just about the writing. Writing helps me clarify some of my own thoughts.
  3. Reflection. While clarifying my own thoughts, I have also been able to reflect on lessons learned.

It's good. I have missed blogging daily, but glad to be back at it.


Don’t compare yourselves to others

I heard this today in church from Elder J. Devn Cornish:

“Please, my beloved brothers and sisters, we must stop comparing ourselves to others. We torture ourselves needlessly by competing and comparing. We falsely judge our self-worth by the things we do or don’t have and by the opinions of others. If we must compare, let us compare how we were in the past to how we are today--and even to how we want to be in the future. The only opinion of us that matters is what our Heavenly Father thinks of us.”

I’m going to continue talking and emailing about goal setting, and if you set goals and desires so that you can compare to others, you will always feel inadequate.

I can’t tell you enough how powerful it has been for me to learn, slowly, so slowly, this skill. I still have a long way to go, but my millimeters of growth in the last couple years has taken kilograms off my shoulders.

A few years from now, I know I will be even further along, and can’t wait for that.


Blockchain in Education

I don't understand blockchain well enough to comment too much on this, but the thought greatly intrigued me, and it happened to be the first few seconds of this podcast: StartEdUp with Don Wettrick and Jeremy Williams.

Anything that will get us further away from meaningless grades is a step in the right direction.

Imagine if the feedback we gave students actually mattered! It would be incredible.

Take a listen to this podcast and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Yes, I've already reached out to Jeremy to learn more about how this could work.

Side bonus: the school evaluation model in UAE sounds really fascinating, too! Much better than basing it all on test scores.