Connected Principals Posts




Educators should be futurists. Now you’re probably thinking, “What the heck, one more thing I have to be. It always feels like teachers are being asked to do more and more, with less and less. One more thing!” But hang on, I’m not asking you to do more. I’m asking you to shift your perspective.



Futurists are scientists or social scientists who look ahead to the future of what might be possible. They don’t necessarily try to predict the future. No one can do that. But they do explore the possibilities of how current realities might lead to future developments in any and all areas of life.



Futurists believe in progress. They believe there is more to be done, that we can expand our capacity, that we can solve some of the most pressing problems of today. Of course, they also warn of what might happen if we don’t address some of the potential problems of the future.



Years ago, Harvard Professor Edward Banfield described a study in his book Unheavenly Cities related to factors that best predicted individual’s upward social mobility and economic prosperity. He expected factors like family background, intelligence, connections, race, or some other fixed characteristic to be most influential.



But what he found surprised him. The greatest factor related to future productivity and success was what he termed “long-term perspective.” Writer Brian Tracy describes Banfield’s findings:

He said that men and women who were the most successful in life and the most likely to move up economically were those who took the future into consideration with every decision they made in the present. He found that the longer the period of time a person took into consideration while planning and acting, the more likely it was that he would achieve greatly during his career.

The importance of long-term thinking makes sense to me. We are faced on a daily basis with decisions to do what is easiest in the short-term or do what’s best in the long-term. Wisdom is knowing the right thing to do and having the courage to do it.



But it’s more than delayed gratification and self-discipline. It is also having a vision for what the future will demand. It’s thinking like a futurist. It’s being forward-thinking and reflecting on how a changing world will impact my world, the way I live, and work, and interact.


It’s also important for educators and schools to have a long-term perspective. In my upcoming book, Future Driven: Will Your Students Thrive In An Unpredictable World? I challenge educators to reflect on their own perspective. 


Schools should be less like time capsules and more like time machines. The time capsule approach only protects the status quo. It assumes the way we have taught in the past is good enough for today’s students too. The time capsule teacher wants to remind us of everything in the past and wants to filter everything in the future through that. To be blunt, the time capsule teacher is stuck in the past.


But the time machine teacher wants to transcend the current reality. When you think about stories involving time machines, they typically involve using time travel to solve a problem or impact a destiny. They involve a hero’s journey. 


In this case, I am suggesting that time machine teachers want to create a better future. They have a long term perspective. Even though they can’t literally visit the future, they are future driven. They are pushing forward and living in the emerging future.


We are living in a rapidly changing, complex world. Our students will need a future driven education to be ready for the challenges they will face.


Educators make the biggest impact in a place where the future and the present collide. A future focus, combined with action today, has the greatest potential to produce positive change. We need to have a long-term perspective and so do our students. We have to model that for them and cause them to think in those terms. 


The place where today meets tomorrow is where you can make the greatest difference as an educator. Your impact will depend on your perspective and your actions.


I expect Future Driven to be released in a matter of weeks. It will challenge your perspective. It will help you increase your capacity for positive change. It describes how to become a time machine teacher and how to create a future driven school.


I don’t want to jump through hoops. I don’t want to go through the motions. I never want to waste precious time. I want to do my part to create a brighter future. I believe most educators want the same. You are building futures every day. 


Question: What are ways our schools are time capsules, stuck in the past? What are you doing to move forward and have a long-term perspective? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. 


Read More Schools Should Be Places Where the Present and Future Collide




Educators should be futurists. Now you’re probably thinking, “What the heck, one more thing I have to be. It always feels like teachers are being asked to do more and more, with less and less. One more thing!” But hang on, I’m not asking you to do more. I’m asking you to shift your perspective.



Futurists are scientists or social scientists who look ahead to the future of what might be possible. They don’t necessarily try to predict the future. No one can do that. But they do explore the possibilities of how current realities might lead to future developments in any and all areas of life.



Futurists believe in progress. They believe there is more to be done, that we can expand our capacity, that we can solve some of the most pressing problems of today. Of course, they also warn of what might happen if we don’t address some of the potential problems of the future.



Years ago, Harvard Professor Edward Banfield described a study in his book Unheavenly Cities related to factors that best predicted individual’s upward social mobility and economic prosperity. He expected factors like family background, intelligence, connections, race, or some other fixed characteristic to be most influential.



But what he found surprised him. The greatest factor related to future productivity and success was what he termed “long-term perspective.” Writer Brian Tracy describes Banfield’s findings:

He said that men and women who were the most successful in life and the most likely to move up economically were those who took the future into consideration with every decision they made in the present. He found that the longer the period of time a person took into consideration while planning and acting, the more likely it was that he would achieve greatly during his career.

The importance of long-term thinking makes sense to me. We are faced on a daily basis with decisions to do what is easiest in the short-term or do what’s best in the long-term. Wisdom is knowing the right thing to do and having the courage to do it.



But it’s more than delayed gratification and self-discipline. It is also having a vision for what the future will demand. It’s thinking like a futurist. It’s being forward-thinking and reflecting on how a changing world will impact my world, the way I live, and work, and interact.


It’s also important for educators and schools to have a long-term perspective. In my upcoming book, Future Driven: Will Your Students Thrive In An Unpredictable World? I challenge educators to reflect on their own perspective. 


Schools should be less like time capsules and more like time machines. The time capsule approach only protects the status quo. It assumes the way we have taught in the past is good enough for today’s students too. The time capsule teacher wants to remind us of everything in the past and wants to filter everything in the future through that. To be blunt, the time capsule teacher is stuck in the past.


But the time machine teacher wants to transcend the current reality. When you think about stories involving time machines, they typically involve using time travel to solve a problem or impact a destiny. They involve a hero’s journey. 


In this case, I am suggesting that time machine teachers want to create a better future. They have a long term perspective. Even though they can’t literally visit the future, they are future driven. They are pushing forward and living in the emerging future.


We are living in a rapidly changing, complex world. Our students will need a future driven education to be ready for the challenges they will face.


Educators make the biggest impact in a place where the future and the present collide. A future focus, combined with action today, has the greatest potential to produce positive change. We need to have a long-term perspective and so do our students. We have to model that for them and cause them to think in those terms. 


The place where today meets tomorrow is where you can make the greatest difference as an educator. Your impact will depend on your perspective and your actions.


I expect Future Driven to be released in a matter of weeks. It will challenge your perspective. It will help you increase your capacity for positive change. It describes how to become a time machine teacher and how to create a future driven school.


I don’t want to jump through hoops. I don’t want to go through the motions. I never want to waste precious time. I want to do my part to create a brighter future. I believe most educators want the same. You are building futures every day. 


Question: What are ways our schools are time capsules, stuck in the past? What are you doing to move forward and have a long-term perspective? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. 


Read More Schools Should Be Places Where the Present and Future Collide

The perception of what “innovation” is seems to be a barrier in many circumstances in embracing the idea. ┬áIn “The Innovator’s Mindset“, I use the following definition: Innovation is a…

Read More Innovate Forward

The perception of what “innovation” is seems to be a barrier in many circumstances in embracing the idea.  In “The Innovator’s Mindset“, I use the following definition: Innovation is a common term in many educational circles today and has been used a number of times in this book already. But what does it actually mean—especially … [Read more…]

Read More Innovate Forward

Blank screen… Cursor blinking and my mind feels frozen. I have committed myself to trying to blog three times a week but on some weeks, it is harder than others.…

Read More Finding Inspiration in Yourself

IPBlank screen… Cursor blinking and my mind feels frozen. I have committed myself to trying to blog three times a week but on some weeks, it is harder than others.  My energy levels are low and my inspiration levels lower. But when you commit to something that has a public audience, the accountability level doesn’t … [Read more…]

Read More Finding Inspiration in Yourself

Retrieved from http://sdaarchitects.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Joplin-IrvingElementary-Int-SouthWing2-01.jpg

With back to school right around the corner, I know many educators are thinking about how to make upgrades to their learning spaces for the new school year. The design of our classrooms can have a significant impact on learning. 



The choices you make in setting up your classroom will send a message to your students from the first day of school. Students will instantly draw conclusions: Is this a welcoming place? Will I work with others? Am I valued? What kind of learning will I be doing here? 



I believe it’s important to create an environment that values students, gives them in a voice in the classroom, and creates a space that is forward-thinking and modern. 



Although your school may not be able to purchase expensive furnishings, there are things you can do to design on a dime. I know several teachers in our building found ways to do inexpensive upgrades to their classrooms. 



Here are seven articles that I found helpful in thinking about design upgrades for our school.

6 Must-Have Classroom Spaces for Project-Based Learning

By: Danish Kurani. These six spaces facilitate learning that goes beyond the realm of the traditional classroom and can be created in almost any type of building. Whether you’re planning a new building or updating the one you’re in, these are possible for you.

Designing Learner-Centered Spaces — THE Journal

Learning Spaces Learning spaces must become learner-centered. Editor’s note: The following is excerpted from a chapter of the book, ” Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools,” published by ASCD in June. The authors and publisher have given their permission to republish portions of chapter 4, “Designing Learner-Centered Spaces.”

Tips for Creating Wow-Worthy Learning Spaces

“Look at your learning space with 21st-century eyes: Does it work for what we know about learning today, or just for what we knew about learning in the past?” -The Third Teacher Does your classroom mirror the rectilinear seating arrangement popular in Sumerian classrooms, circa 2000 BCE?

6 ways to personalize learning with flexible seating

Putting students at the center of learning takes a double commitment. One to ensure that instruction and learning address distinct student needs, interests and aspirations, and one to provide spaces that support a student-centered program. It also requires educators to consider the various teaching formats they use and creating learning environments to support them.

Flexible Seating and Student-Centered Classroom Redesign

I’m a firm believer in keeping the focus on what’s really important: the students. If student motivation and higher engagement is truly the desired end game, then we as teachers must adapt right along with our students in our classrooms.

Three Ways to Design Better Classrooms and Learning Spaces

The problems that plague education around the world aren’t the result of a lack of attention or care. Parents, business leaders, political leaders and educators in countries everywhere are dedicated to improving how they educate their people. Every year, billions of dollars are spent on education initiatives in curriculum and teaching practices.

6 Ideas for Classroom Design

As the new school year nears or begins for you, consider how the design of your classroom can have a huge impact on you and your students. Try these ideas to design your classroom this year. To learn more, check out one of our previous posts: Purposeful Learning Spaces.

What are you plans for upgrading your classroom for back to school? How will you use your space to inspire learning? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 7 Resources for Designing Innovative Learning Spaces

Retrieved from http://sdaarchitects.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Joplin-IrvingElementary-Int-SouthWing2-01.jpg

With back to school right around the corner, I know many educators are thinking about how to make upgrades to their learning spaces for the new school year. The design of our classrooms can have a significant impact on learning. 



The choices you make in setting up your classroom will send a message to your students from the first day of school. Students will instantly draw conclusions: Is this a welcoming place? Will I work with others? Am I valued? What kind of learning will I be doing here? 



I believe it’s important to create an environment that values students, gives them in a voice in the classroom, and creates a space that is forward-thinking and modern. 



Although your school may not be able to purchase expensive furnishings, there are things you can do to design on a dime. I know several teachers in our building found ways to do inexpensive upgrades to their classrooms. 



Here are seven articles that I found helpful in thinking about design upgrades for our school.

6 Must-Have Classroom Spaces for Project-Based Learning

By: Danish Kurani. These six spaces facilitate learning that goes beyond the realm of the traditional classroom and can be created in almost any type of building. Whether you’re planning a new building or updating the one you’re in, these are possible for you.

Designing Learner-Centered Spaces — THE Journal

Learning Spaces Learning spaces must become learner-centered. Editor’s note: The following is excerpted from a chapter of the book, ” Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools,” published by ASCD in June. The authors and publisher have given their permission to republish portions of chapter 4, “Designing Learner-Centered Spaces.”

Tips for Creating Wow-Worthy Learning Spaces

“Look at your learning space with 21st-century eyes: Does it work for what we know about learning today, or just for what we knew about learning in the past?” -The Third Teacher Does your classroom mirror the rectilinear seating arrangement popular in Sumerian classrooms, circa 2000 BCE?

6 ways to personalize learning with flexible seating

Putting students at the center of learning takes a double commitment. One to ensure that instruction and learning address distinct student needs, interests and aspirations, and one to provide spaces that support a student-centered program. It also requires educators to consider the various teaching formats they use and creating learning environments to support them.

Flexible Seating and Student-Centered Classroom Redesign

I’m a firm believer in keeping the focus on what’s really important: the students. If student motivation and higher engagement is truly the desired end game, then we as teachers must adapt right along with our students in our classrooms.

Three Ways to Design Better Classrooms and Learning Spaces

The problems that plague education around the world aren’t the result of a lack of attention or care. Parents, business leaders, political leaders and educators in countries everywhere are dedicated to improving how they educate their people. Every year, billions of dollars are spent on education initiatives in curriculum and teaching practices.

6 Ideas for Classroom Design

As the new school year nears or begins for you, consider how the design of your classroom can have a huge impact on you and your students. Try these ideas to design your classroom this year. To learn more, check out one of our previous posts: Purposeful Learning Spaces.

What are you plans for upgrading your classroom for back to school? How will you use your space to inspire learning? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 7 Resources for Designing Innovative Learning Spaces

Retrieved from http://sdaarchitects.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Joplin-IrvingElementary-Int-SouthWing2-01.jpg

With back to school right around the corner, I know many educators are thinking about how to make upgrades to their learning spaces for the new school year. The design of our classrooms can have a significant impact on learning. 



The choices you make in setting up your classroom will send a message to your students from the first day of school. Students will instantly draw conclusions: Is this a welcoming place? Will I work with others? Am I valued? What kind of learning will I be doing here? 



I believe it’s important to create an environment that values students, gives them in a voice in the classroom, and creates a space that is forward-thinking and modern. 



Although your school may not be able to purchase expensive furnishings, there are things you can do to design on a dime. I know several teachers in our building found ways to do inexpensive upgrades to their classrooms. 



Here are seven articles that I found helpful in thinking about design upgrades for our school.

6 Must-Have Classroom Spaces for Project-Based Learning

By: Danish Kurani. These six spaces facilitate learning that goes beyond the realm of the traditional classroom and can be created in almost any type of building. Whether you’re planning a new building or updating the one you’re in, these are possible for you.

Designing Learner-Centered Spaces — THE Journal

Learning Spaces Learning spaces must become learner-centered. Editor’s note: The following is excerpted from a chapter of the book, ” Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools,” published by ASCD in June. The authors and publisher have given their permission to republish portions of chapter 4, “Designing Learner-Centered Spaces.”

Tips for Creating Wow-Worthy Learning Spaces

“Look at your learning space with 21st-century eyes: Does it work for what we know about learning today, or just for what we knew about learning in the past?” -The Third Teacher Does your classroom mirror the rectilinear seating arrangement popular in Sumerian classrooms, circa 2000 BCE?

6 ways to personalize learning with flexible seating

Putting students at the center of learning takes a double commitment. One to ensure that instruction and learning address distinct student needs, interests and aspirations, and one to provide spaces that support a student-centered program. It also requires educators to consider the various teaching formats they use and creating learning environments to support them.

Flexible Seating and Student-Centered Classroom Redesign

I’m a firm believer in keeping the focus on what’s really important: the students. If student motivation and higher engagement is truly the desired end game, then we as teachers must adapt right along with our students in our classrooms.

Three Ways to Design Better Classrooms and Learning Spaces

The problems that plague education around the world aren’t the result of a lack of attention or care. Parents, business leaders, political leaders and educators in countries everywhere are dedicated to improving how they educate their people. Every year, billions of dollars are spent on education initiatives in curriculum and teaching practices.

6 Ideas for Classroom Design

As the new school year nears or begins for you, consider how the design of your classroom can have a huge impact on you and your students. Try these ideas to design your classroom this year. To learn more, check out one of our previous posts: Purposeful Learning Spaces.

What are you plans for upgrading your classroom for back to school? How will you use your space to inspire learning? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 7 Resources for Designing Innovative Learning Spaces

Reflection is such an important part of growth — whether that involves your own growth or the growth of your school or team. Jon Harper from BAM Radio’s podcast “My Bad” is a school leader who explores how our mistakes can teach us important lessons. In this interview, we explore how reflecting on your own […]

Read More PMP:075 Learning from Mistakes with Jon Harper

One of the challenges in being an administrator is never allowing yourself to forget the passion you had for your building when you first got there. Do you remember how excited you were when finally, after wanting and feeling like you were ready, you were named administrator? It’s an incredible feeling. It’s easy in the […]

The post Q10: As the leader, what are you MOST proud of at your school? #askanadmin appeared first on Love, Learn, Lead.

Read More Q10: As the leader, what are you MOST proud of at your school? #askanadmin

One of the challenges in being an administrator is never allowing yourself to forget the passion you had for your building when you first got there. Do you remember how excited you were when finally, after wanting and feeling like you were ready, you were named administrator? It’s an incredible feeling. It’s easy in the […]

The post Q10: As the leader, what are you MOST proud of at your school? #askanadmin appeared first on Love, Learn, Lead.

Read More Q10: As the leader, what are you MOST proud of at your school? #askanadmin

 “No matter how well trained people are, few can sustain their best performance on their own. That’s where coaching comes in.” Atul Gawande There are some organizations that are moving too fast for people, but there is also the opposite effect. A person’s growth can stagnate if the leadership is not able to push them … [Read more…]

Read More 3 Ideas For When You Outgrow Leadership

I had a chance to watch this Ted Talk from forward-thinking educator Ada McKim titled, “Why our students need to learn more about the world“. In it, McKim makes the contention that we spend a lot of time talking about our past, but conversations about our present need to be more of a reality in … [Read more…]

Read More Accountability and Action Toward a Shared Vision

It was a true honour to write the foreword for Jennifer Casa-Todd’s book, “Social Leadia“. Although I have already read it, I wanted to go through it again through Kindle and highlight some of my favourite quotes.  It is an amazing book to really promote important conversations on not only “digital citizenship” in schools, but … [Read more…]

Read More Equity At the Highest Level #SocialLeadia