Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Paint your palette blue and grey (Don McLean)

Photo by Ryan Hutton on Unsplash
I've been away from home for four days helping my youngest daughter build some gates and fences at her new house. 

She and her partner live 8 hours away by car so a large chunk of two days was spent travelling back and forth.

During that time I had infrequent time to check my emails from my school account. Things are hotting up.

Greetings from various people, students asking questions, staff getting in contact: usual preliminary stuff about two weeks out from school starting again for the academic year.

Nothing drastic or vitally important.

Sometimes it's good to get away. Like looking at the night sky and gazing at the moon or the stars.

Gives a sense of proportion and perspective.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

There's a way out of this (Edie Brickell)

Photo by Hamza El-Falah on Unsplash
Attention. Spans. 

Mine is lousy. I flit like a fantail from idea to idea. 

However, I'm not anywhere near the severe end of the attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) spectrum and my failures as a school student are not blamed on my short attention span. 

It's just that my boredom threshold is comparatively low. And I didn't think this is a bad thing. I don't see it as a problem to be solved.

All these things come to mind as I embrace a new timetable this year. I wonder how I would cope with three long periods in a day, or a whole day in the learning centre.

Without some awareness of my issue and some careful chunking of my day, I suspect I'd be in trouble. Then problems ensue.

So, some advice for teachers that helps me with my attention span issues:

  • Establish good routines and habits
  • Build in breaks and movement as part of the routine
  • Establish positive relationship with me - acknowledge my challenges
  • Use socratic questionning skills
  • Offer choices - foster self-directed learning (and I need routines and structure for this too)
  • Variation - use a variety of strategies - small groups, pairs, independent work
  • Encourage practical hands-on real world learning - have me write and act out stuff, record an assignment on video, make models, solve problems, do SOLEs
  • use UDL techniques to suit my strengths

Thanks. I feel better having shared that.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The secret of success lies in the determination to attain the goal (Hsing Yun)

Photo by Uroš Jovičić on Unsplash
Setting goals was obviously on Hsing Yun's mind at this time of the year. 

I especially like his analogy of a machine: If you force the machine to produce over its capacity, there is a high chance the machine will break down and fail to achieve the desired output. 

Having goals and targets that exceed our capacity is like having no goal at all.

Instead, Hsing Yun says, a goal is set by considering its feasibility, the necessary conditions, what steps need to be taken in what order, and our capacity to achieve it.

In addition, he refers to the famous story of The Tortoise and the Hare.

This year, I have set a goal of having a post going viral. So I will work away at that over my blogs and, like the tortoise, I will keep on crawling/posting every day to give my goal a chance at success.

In the end, I will reach that goal (it might take some time).

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Goin' mobile (The Who)


viral
ˈvʌɪr(ə)l/
adjective
  1. 1.
    of the nature of, caused by, or relating to a virus or viruses.
  2. 2.
    (of an image, video, piece of information, etc.) circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another.

    "a viral ad campaign"
noun
  1. 1.
    an image, video, piece of information, etc. that is circulated rapidly and widely on the Internet.

    "the rise of virals in online marketing"

Goin' viral. Specifically: the urge to go viral.

I suspect it's aligned to the modern craving for celebrity status, a hunger for one's 15 minutes of fame.

So, it's a slightly twice shy goal of mine, this need for popularity, but I'm heartened by the fact that going viral is a total fluke.

Basically there is no formula for going viral. Something resonates, is shared widely and then, boom = viral.

Thinking about it, I can only see it happening on this blog or Wozza's Place. That's where the original content lies. Well those two and Goo Goo G-Joob, but I can't see my music blog hitting those freakish conditions easily.

With that and Austin Kleon's example in mind, I've started a notebook to collect my idle thoughts about potential post topics for my blogs (yes, writing about going viral is in there).

The clock is ticking; I have a year. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

It's getting better all the time (The Beatles)

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Now that I've sorted out my goals for the year (easy peasy lemon squeezy - see my last posting), I have to reset and aim to be better.

Better Than Before (BTB) has been my mantra this year at school; that has all been about establishing a positive collective culture of improvement.

But it has to start with me! 

As Seth Godin says: 

Next year is almost here. And doing what you did this year probably isn’t going to be sufficient.

That’s because you have more to contribute than you did this year.

To reach your goals, you’ll probably need more effective and powerful ways to tell your story, get clients, gain market share and serve your audience.


Venerable master Hsing Yun's instructions match Seth's: 

Do more good deeds to accrue virtuous merits. Create more good thoughts in order to accomplish right thoughts. 

Those are fine things to keep in mind as I begin the pathway to 2018 - Do more. Create more.

Monday, December 25, 2017

My goals beyond (John McLaughlin)

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash
Holidays always help turn my attention towards what I want to achieve in the new year (which is next week). There's plenty of down time around family get togethers to reflect and ponder.

Resolutions are not my bag, maan, but setting some short term objectives mos def is (my bag). As you all know: Your focus determines your reality (Qui Gon-Jinn).

Clarity is easier for my professional goals. Here they are:

Get into more classrooms - provide better feedback for teachers - improve my appraisal for others and myself.

Personal goals are trickier. Basically, I have no idea...yet.

Dan Rockwell's post is helpful here as he asks good questions.

#1. What do you need to stop doing in 2018? (If you can’t completely stop it, how might you do less of what drains the life out of you?)

#2. What might you do that gives you energy in 2018?
  • What did you do in 2017 that lit you up?
  • What projects jazzed you up?
  • What personal values were in play when your energy went up?
Values of personal enjoyment/ learning and communicating via reading (50 books in 52 weeks) and writing (my blogs) are my answers.

This year, maintaining the reading discipline proved relatively easy compared to being more proactive with the blogs.

To help with that and reduce the vast number of bookmarks (in my education, music and personal folders) I'm going to concentrate more on writing in 2018.

So, maybe less reading (a book a week became fairly all consuming) and more writing will create the much needed balance to the force.

To have a post go viral  is my personal stretch goal, my wildly audacious goal, my goal beyond for 2018. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Killing me softly with his song (Roberta Flack)

Photo by Aaron Lee on Unsplash


Time to check my soft-skills (with Seth Godin's list):

What am I better at? I don't believe in multitasking as a thing, but I've become better at juggling multiple demands on a daily basis.

Have I asked a difficult question lately? Yes, I do this pretty regularly.

Do people trust me more than they did? Mmm, I believe so. Nothing like time and experience. I've been in my current post for a year now so people have seen me work and understand that integrity is everything!

Am I hiding more (or less) than I did the last time I checked? Less

Is my list of insightful, useful and frightening stats about my work, my budgets and my challenges complete? And have I shared it with someone I trust? No and no. Something to focus on in the new year, once I've figured out exactly what Seth means by this!.

If selling ideas is a skill, am I more skilled at it than I was? No, but I'm not sure I need to sell my ideas in the role I have. I'm more interested in letting others sell theirs, or starting an idea and stepping back (as with PBL in my school this year).

Who have I developed? A variety of people - teachers and support staff.

Have I had any significant failures (learning opportunities) lately, and what have I learned? Yeees. Plenty. Still working on the lessons learned.

What predictions have I made that have come to pass? Am I better at seeing what's going to happen next? I'm pretty good at the vision thing. The timetable adjustments for 2018 are some way along the road I've been advocating for a loooong time (as long time readers will attest).

Who have I helped? Especially when there was no upside for me...Plenty of students, and plenty of staff, and plenty of parents.

Am I more likely to be leading or following? Leading AND following.

Your turn!