Connected Principals Posts

One of my favorite blogs is “Barking Up the Wrong Tree.” It is funny but always pushes my thinking and provides strategies for personal growth.  In the most recent post,…

Read More Thriving Through Adversity

One of my favorite blogs is “Barking Up the Wrong Tree.” It is funny but always pushes my thinking and provides strategies for personal growth.  In the most recent post, “4 Secrets From Stoicism“, it shared some advice that kind of threw me for a loop: Many of the greats embraced the concept of “Amor … [Read more…]

Read More Thriving Through Adversity

It is not uncommon for us as educators to share our disappointments when we find ourselves dealing with certain situations that cause us frustration.  For whatever reason, some educators have felt safe lately sharing with me some of their personal […]

Read More 7 Ways to Avoid Losing Credibility

It is not uncommon for us as educators to share our disappointments when we find ourselves dealing with certain situations that cause us frustration.  For whatever reason, some educators have felt safe lately sharing with me some of their personal […]

Read More 7 Ways to Avoid Losing Credibility

Having just received an email from someone starting a new “technology” position in their school, they asked me what advice I would give.  I shared the following advice: My only…

Read More Don’t add. Make better.

Having just received an email from someone starting a new “technology” position in their school, they asked me what advice I would give.  I shared the following advice: My only suggestion for you is to start from the curriculum and work backwards from there, not try to force technology into the curriculum.  If teachers can … [Read more…]

Read More Don’t add. Make better.



In Future Driven, I wrote about how educators often want something that can be implemented quickly. We want something we can learn on Tuesday and use on Wednesday.

We want the strategy that can be used tomorrow. We want the handout, the cheat sheet, the quick fix. The hack. We want solutions that can be tossed in the microwave and heated up when we need them. Even if they taste like crap.

But the best solutions aren’t microwave friendly. They come through deliberate practice. They come through deeper thinking. They come by shifting perspective. So kick the quick fix to the curb. Do the hard work of challenging the status quo. Ponder the deeper questions and look at the world in new and interesting ways.

Question everything.

Getting better results doesn’t happen by having a magic bullet. There are no magic bullets. Better results come from having a long term perspective and working diligently to make things better now and in the future. We need to have a process for growth we can rely on, not just a quick fix.



Quick fixes usually make things better just for a moment. But looking good is not the same as being good. Looking good is on the surface. It’s superficial. We want to actually be good and continue getting better. Ultimately, we want to help students succeed for the long term, not just for today.

Lots of educators are working tirelessly every day to try to make sure students succeed. They are trying to be as productive as they possibly can. They’re putting out fires left and right. They’re dealing with urgent problems. They’re attending workshops to learn new ideas. And trying to implement new ideas.



But many feel like they’re spinning their wheels. And it’s no wonder.



In the busyness of everything that’s urgent, it’s really easy to neglect the importance of growing. Are you really examining your own growth? Are you looking inward? Are you developing greater self-awareness? Are you reflecting? And most importantly, are you really investing in building your own capacity?



Schools need to create environments to support educators in the process of growth. We must make sure professionals are given time, encouragement, and opportunity to build their own capacity. Leadership needs to support growth, not just demand productivity.



We focus lots of energy on problems. But how much time are we focusing on how we can become better problem solvers? Too much professional learning seems to try to “teacher-proof” the instructional process. It turns educators into implementers instead of initiators. And that’s clearly not professional learning. I believe professional learning should actually help people grow as people and professionals.



One of the best strategies for solving problems is building capacity for solving problems. Everything about your school can be improved as the people in your school grow and learn together, all of them—students, teachers, everyone. The best way to improve a school is for the people in the school to be focused on improving themselves. The entire school becomes a dynamic learning environment.



Here are 5 ways you can be more dynamic in your learning and build your capacity for solving problems:



1. Listen Before You Act



As we get input from our colleagues, mentors and PLN, we can grow into problem-solving before we rush into problem-solving. We become more like the people we spend the most time with. Spend more time with people who are growing and who are capable problem-solvers. Soon, you’ll be stronger too. 



2. Think, Don’t React



Better schools are built on better thinking. Take the limits off and look at issues from all sides and as objectively as possible. Emotions may say one thing, but careful thought may lead you in a different direction.



3. Test Ideas and Solutions



We can become better problem solvers when we are open to trying creative solutions. Generate lots of ideas and test them. We can’t keep doing the same things and expecting different results. Try a slightly different approach. Try a radically different approach. And see what works. Sometimes a massive change is needed.



4. Make Time for Learning



The most successful people make time for learning, not just doing. Benjamin Franklin, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates all follow the 5-hour rule. At least five hours a week should be dedicated to learning something new. Always be learning.



5. Look Within, Reflect



Self-awareness allows us to examine our own thought process. When we take time to reflect, we learn more from our experiences and the experiences of others. Without reflection, we are constrained by our bias, blind spots, and habits. We won’t grow as problem-solvers unless we acknowledge the areas where we need to continue to learn and grow.



So what’s your reflection on these thoughts? Are you making time to learn and grow? Are you only focused on being productive (checking off your list each day)? Or, are you also focused on building your capacity? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I would love to hear from you.












Read More 5 Ways to Build Capacity for Solving Problems



In Future Driven, I wrote about how educators often want something that can be implemented quickly. We want something we can learn on Tuesday and use on Wednesday.

We want the strategy that can be used tomorrow. We want the handout, the cheat sheet, the quick fix. The hack. We want solutions that can be tossed in the microwave and heated up when we need them. Even if they taste like crap.

But the best solutions aren’t microwave friendly. They come through deliberate practice. They come through deeper thinking. They come by shifting perspective. So kick the quick fix to the curb. Do the hard work of challenging the status quo. Ponder the deeper questions and look at the world in new and interesting ways.

Question everything.

Getting better results doesn’t happen by having a magic bullet. There are no magic bullets. Better results come from having a long term perspective and working diligently to make things better now and in the future. We need to have a process for growth we can rely on, not just a quick fix.



Quick fixes usually make things better just for a moment. But looking good is not the same as being good. Looking good is on the surface. It’s superficial. We want to actually be good and continue getting better. Ultimately, we want to help students succeed for the long term, not just for today.

Lots of educators are working tirelessly every day to try to make sure students succeed. They are trying to be as productive as they possibly can. They’re putting out fires left and right. They’re dealing with urgent problems. They’re attending workshops to learn new ideas. And trying to implement new ideas.



But many feel like they’re spinning their wheels. And it’s no wonder.



In the busyness of everything that’s urgent, it’s really easy to neglect the importance of growing. Are you really examining your own growth? Are you looking inward? Are you developing greater self-awareness? Are you reflecting? And most importantly, are you really investing in building your own capacity?



Schools need to create environments to support educators in the process of growth. We must make sure professionals are given time, encouragement, and opportunity to build their own capacity. Leadership needs to support growth, not just demand productivity.



We focus lots of energy on problems. But how much time are we focusing on how we can become better problem solvers? Too much professional learning seems to try to “teacher-proof” the instructional process. It turns educators into implementers instead of initiators. And that’s clearly not professional learning. I believe professional learning should actually help people grow as people and professionals.



One of the best strategies for solving problems is building capacity for solving problems. Everything about your school can be improved as the people in your school grow and learn together, all of them—students, teachers, everyone. The best way to improve a school is for the people in the school to be focused on improving themselves. The entire school becomes a dynamic learning environment.



Here are 5 ways you can be more dynamic in your learning and build your capacity for solving problems:



1. Listen Before You Act



As we get input from our colleagues, mentors and PLN, we can grow into problem-solving before we rush into problem-solving. We become more like the people we spend the most time with. Spend more time with people who are growing and who are capable problem-solvers. Soon, you’ll be stronger too. 



2. Think, Don’t React



Better schools are built on better thinking. Take the limits off and look at issues from all sides and as objectively as possible. Emotions may say one thing, but careful thought may lead you in a different direction.



3. Test Ideas and Solutions



We can become better problem solvers when we are open to trying creative solutions. Generate lots of ideas and test them. We can’t keep doing the same things and expecting different results. Try a slightly different approach. Try a radically different approach. And see what works. Sometimes a massive change is needed.



4. Make Time for Learning



The most successful people make time for learning, not just doing. Benjamin Franklin, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates all follow the 5-hour rule. At least five hours a week should be dedicated to learning something new. Always be learning.



5. Look Within, Reflect



Self-awareness allows us to examine our own thought process. When we take time to reflect, we learn more from our experiences and the experiences of others. Without reflection, we are constrained by our bias, blind spots, and habits. We won’t grow as problem-solvers unless we acknowledge the areas where we need to continue to learn and grow.



So what’s your reflection on these thoughts? Are you making time to learn and grow? Are you only focused on being productive (checking off your list each day)? Or, are you also focused on building your capacity? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I would love to hear from you.












Read More 5 Ways to Build Capacity for Solving Problems

The term “digital immigrants” and “digital natives” is almost as annoying as the fights are about the terminology.  These terms are often credited to Marc Prensky, and from when I have had the opportunity to have heard him speak, he doesn’t believe that kids have an innate ability to use technology over adults. They have … [Read more…]

Read More Kids are not better at technology than adults.

I’ve long been a fan of Kasey Bell and her laid-back approach to #allthethings google. We’ve planned together, we’re brainstormed together, and flat out learned from each other. I call her my #digitalbestie because if there is a question I’ve had in regards to PD, Google training, or regional support from her “real job”, she is […]

The post Win an autographed copy of Shake Up Learning…and EVERYone wins! appeared first on Technically Yours Teamann.

Read More Win an autographed copy of Shake Up Learning…and EVERYone wins!

You know that session you led at that conference recently with the 99% positive reviews?  Which review do you remember the most?  The 99 that were awesome or the one that was a bit mean? I was having this conversation recently with a colleague of mine, and we were discussing this phenomenon of being so … [Read more…]

Read More Keep Your Head Up and Keep Creating

I have been paying a lot of attention to mental health lately, and the connection it has to social media, learning, and teacher wellness.  Part of this focus is because…

Read More Saying “Yes” To Yourself

I have been paying a lot of attention to mental health lately, and the connection it has to social media, learning, and teacher wellness.  Part of this focus is because this seems to be more of a challenge in education than it has ever been (or maybe people are just more open about it), but … [Read more…]

Read More Saying “Yes” To Yourself

I’m a frequent flyer. The more I fly, the harder I find it is to stay focused when flight attendants are reviewing safety procedures. They could be standing right in front of me with the safety cards in hand, but I’ve heard it so many times, I usually think about something else. On the other […]

Read More PMP:111 Reflections for Education Leaders & Wearing Your Air Mask



Someone with many years in education was visiting our building recently and commented, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a high school lunch period this quiet.” 



I think they caught us on a good day. But it was a nice compliment.


I know our lunches aren’t perfect. In fact, there were a few grapes flying around recently too. Kids will be kids, right? But I was a proud principal after hearing the visitor’s perspective, because I think it is a small indicator of our culture.



I was speaking with another educator who shared, “At my previous school, we had to have supervision all across the lunch room to keep everyone’s behavior in line.” It sounded like they had a bunch of people on guard to make sure there weren’t any problems.



It’s possible to achieve good behaviors by “running a tight ship” or by being “heavy handed.” There are lots of ways to influence behavior. And forcing compliance is one way to change behavior. Fear is a way to change behavior. Sticks and carrots are a way to change behavior. 



So don’t mistake a culture of compliance for a culture of character. There’s a difference in doing the rights things, and doing the right things for the right reasons.



What happens when the adults aren’t watching? How will the students act in those situations? That’s when character is revealed. We can keep our thumb on them to get what we want, but are we really helping them develop the decision-making and responsibility they need?



I want students to learn why character matters. 



I want them to show empathy.



I want them to be upstanders and not bystanders.



I want students to understand how they treat all people makes a difference. 



I want students to know it’s important to be honest, with themselves and with others.



I want students to learn to admit mistakes and move past them in a positive way.



I want to see students take full responsibility.



Ultimately, my goal is to create an environment that brings out the best in our students. I want them to feel supported and valued. And I want them to know I have very high expectations for them, not because of what they do but because of who they are. I believe in you, want the best for you, and I’m here to support you. That’s the message I want to send.



I think the traditional model of education has been very focused on compliance. In fact, compliance is often celebrated. I’ve had parents and teachers talk with admiration about teachers and administrators who ran classrooms and schools with an iron fist. They applaud the strict adherence to commands and rules. I have to admit that used to impress me too. 



But not anymore. I’ve come to realize that schools can be extremely orderly and run with precision and under the surface have a character deficit. I’m all for discipline, but I want to see that students are taking ownership for their behavior and can self-manage in positive ways. I want to see students empowered to do good and make a difference in the world. That won’t happen in a culture of compliance. It will only happen in a culture of character.



Is any of this making sense? I want to hear from you. I’m convinced that teaching character and developing it in our schools is as important as ever. What do you think? Leave a comment below or respond on Twitter or Facebook.

Read More Culture of Compliance or Culture of Character?



Someone with many years in education was visiting our building recently and commented, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a high school lunch period this quiet.” 



I think they caught us on a good day. But it was a nice compliment.


I know our lunches aren’t perfect. In fact, there were a few grapes flying around recently too. Kids will be kids, right? But I was a proud principal after hearing the visitor’s perspective, because I think it is a small indicator of our culture.



I was speaking with another educator who shared, “At my previous school, we had to have supervision all across the lunch room to keep everyone’s behavior in line.” It sounded like they had a bunch of people on guard to make sure there weren’t any problems.



It’s possible to achieve good behaviors by “running a tight ship” or by being “heavy handed.” There are lots of ways to influence behavior. And forcing compliance is one way to change behavior. Fear is a way to change behavior. Sticks and carrots are a way to change behavior. 



So don’t mistake a culture of compliance for a culture of character. There’s a difference in doing the rights things, and doing the right things for the right reasons.



What happens when the adults aren’t watching? How will the students act in those situations? That’s when character is revealed. We can keep our thumb on them to get what we want, but are we really helping them develop the decision-making and responsibility they need?



I want students to learn why character matters. 



I want them to show empathy.



I want them to be upstanders and not bystanders.



I want students to understand how they treat all people makes a difference. 



I want students to know it’s important to be honest, with themselves and with others.



I want students to learn to admit mistakes and move past them in a positive way.



I want to see students take full responsibility.



Ultimately, my goal is to create an environment that brings out the best in our students. I want them to feel supported and valued. And I want them to know I have very high expectations for them, not because of what they do but because of who they are. I believe in you, want the best for you, and I’m here to support you. That’s the message I want to send.



I think the traditional model of education has been very focused on compliance. In fact, compliance is often celebrated. I’ve had parents and teachers talk with admiration about teachers and administrators who ran classrooms and schools with an iron fist. They applaud the strict adherence to commands and rules. I have to admit that used to impress me too. 



But not anymore. I’ve come to realize that schools can be extremely orderly and run with precision and under the surface have a character deficit. I’m all for discipline, but I want to see that students are taking ownership for their behavior and can self-manage in positive ways. I want to see students empowered to do good and make a difference in the world. That won’t happen in a culture of compliance. It will only happen in a culture of character.



Is any of this making sense? I want to hear from you. I’m convinced that teaching character and developing it in our schools is as important as ever. What do you think? Leave a comment below or respond on Twitter or Facebook.

Read More Culture of Compliance or Culture of Character?

I will admit that I am a sucker for those “list” posts. They are succinct, easy reads, and always give you something to think about. One such post that I…

Read More “Leverage Worry and Fear”