Have You Considered????

Have You Considered???

In a workshop this week I had the opportunity to share ideas on goal setting.  Goal setting is very powerful and I have watched it unfold and help me move forward in both personal and professional areas of my life. I’ve always been a goal setter, but in July 2008 I set out on a mission to really focus on making things happen.  I started by making a list of 30 things that I wanted in all aspects of my life.  Within three years I found that 23 of the items on that list had been accomplished.  I didn’t look at the list every day, but by categorizing that list I was able to prioritize them and focus on them in my thinking.  Some were small accomplishments, but others, like finishing my doctoral degree were huge.

In our session this week each participant listed 15 things that they wanted.  Some struggled with 15 items and others were able to fill their sheet quickly.  We then did something a little different.  Instead of personally focusing on the top five immediate wants, we moved to a discussion phase to provide guidance on making the goal setting process work.  Two participants shared one of their wants with the group.  I encouraged the group to help these participants by framing suggested ideas with this question, “Have You Considered … and then state an idea for setting the goal?”  This process helped the participants realize that others ideas and considerations are helpful in moving our thought processes forward.  What do you need to consider when setting your personal and professional goals?




Connecting Jobs, Skills, and Students

The challenges our high school, community college, and college students face in finding a job after graduation are difficult and often very frustrating.  The connection between available jobs, required skills, and the education system is very limited creating a disconnect in student understanding of where opportunities will be when they receive their diploma, update their resume, and set off for the world of work.  The EdVenture Group is in the process of planning an event to connect teachers and industry as we strive to better educate our students on the opportunities that are available upon graduation from high school and post secondary education. 


Connecting teachers and counselors with current industry information is instrumental in helping students understand the reality of the current job market.  Making this connection takes a real commitment on the part of everyone involved.  There are a number of jobs available in our communities, but the challenge is making sure that students are aware of the jobs and helping teachers and schools understand where there students need to turn for opportunity.  A number of efforts are surfacing in a variety of locations to help address this issue.  Be aware and give some thought to how you can help students understand the opportunities and the skills that they need.  As educators if we pull together to help students understand the lineup of skills and opportunities, their futures will be much brighter.  I hope to hear from you with ideas on how to help make this happen. 




Iphones and Two Year Olds

I have a dear little friend, Emma who just turned two on June 30th.  Emma enjoys summer days in her little pool with her mom, her pets, books, and bubbles just as my children did twenty years ago.  When I meet Emma and her mom for lunch Emma always wants to see my phone.  She is quick to ask for pictures and then she knows exactly how to fulfill her needs from that point.  She scrolls through my pictures with her little fingers and squeals as she finds a picture of herself or my daughter.  If she finds a video she touches the arrow to play the video and entertains herself quite happily during lunch.  I’m amazed as I look at this brand new two year old and how comfortable she is with this mobile device.  I find it very interesting when I compare her to my own children when they were two.  Our phones were still attached to the wall in the kitchen.


During our last lunch visit her mom mentioned that she had given Emma her dad’s laptop and that her first move was to swipe her finger across the screen.  I reflected on how excited I was to get my first laptop and how odd that device must seem to Emma.  I’ve been writing about change in each of my blogs and wanted to share this story, as it is a true example of the changes we are dealing with as we continue to advance in this world of technology.  Our youngest generation embraces the tools and easily accepts them as a normal part of everyday life and access to information.  It certainly seems that a very large percentage of our population have some type of mobile device.   Emma sends a reality check, a better pay attention to all of us as we plan our instructional delivery in our classrooms.


In our book, Transforming 21st Century Learning Environments, we discuss Generation I or Generation Immediate to characterize children born after 2001.  Technology has helped form them into individuals that want immediate response.  Emma likes to see the pictures quickly and move on to ones that interest her without asking any questions.  She also gives us a feel for her technology expectations and information.  As you are thinking about delivering information to students push yourself totally out of your comfort zone as you prepare for Emma, and a generation of students like her, to make it to your classroom.


Enjoy the summer day,





Same Message….New Format

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet with the principals of the WV Catholic Diocese. Our conversation focused on the ever changing world that we live in and how it affects what happens in our education system.  Specifically, we focused on how we can deliver the required content and standards in new ways to engage students of the 21st century.    To kick off our conversation, I shared the video mash-up of Mr. Rogers from PBS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFzXaFbxDcM&feature=plcp , and found it to be a great example for our reflection and discussion.   Mr. Rogers provided messages to children for years in a specific style that many of us can remember still today.  The video mash-up blends several of his messages and delivers them differently.  Same message…new format.   This is a great example of one of the unique challenges we face in education.  How do we deliver our message in a way that students will find interesting?

Ask yourself how you can deliver your message in a new way for the students growing and learning in your 21st century classroom?  Share your thoughts; I’m eager to hear what ideas are out there.

Summer Time Thinking

A Change Agent for Education

As summer begins and teachers often go their own way in an effort to find some quiet and solitude, an opportunity exists to spend some of the summer moments thinking about personal steps one can take in the continual path of providing the best learning environments for students.  In our recent book we share ideas for personal growth and stepping out of your comfort zone, both areas that we all can benefit from.  My focus for this introductory blog is on teachers and those that spend time with children.  As a former classroom teacher, a consultant, and a mom I know it is challenging to find reflection time just  for you.   However, finding this time is truly one of the most important things we can do for ourselves.

My favorite quote is from Margaret Meade and we have it posted around our office, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” As you reflect this summer consider that you, classroom teachers, are the thoughtful, committed citizens that can create the type of education reform that we need in this country.  I don’t believe reform will come from policies and procedures even though they may help, I believe reform comes from each one of us in our classrooms.  My friend and colleague, Jill Fratto and I published a book in May 2011, Transforming Learning through 21st Century Skills, which provides assistance in how to approach and think about reform for individuals and schools.

This summer take a few moments of reflection each day and think about defining each of the following for you and then for your students.  When school begins again be prepared to implement some of the things that you have considered this summer.  The steps you take, no matter how small, can and will make a difference as we all strive to better prepare our students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century world we live in.

1.  Why do we need to deliver content differently  for students today?  Compare the
world 10 years ago to the world today and then do the same with your classroom to
help you answer this question.

2.  Determine 3 things you can do when school begins that will address the answer to
question number one.

3.  Ask yourself how comfortable you are in doing the things you listed above.
Spend time in personal reflection to determine what it takes to help you make these

4.  Create a plan for implementing these three things and write it down.

I look forward to your ideas and thoughts as you make the adjustments you have prioritized to continue to prepare students in the best way possible for the world we are living in.  Remember you are the thoughtful, committed citizens that will.

Enjoy reflecting,