#DBCBookBlogs: TeamMakers

When is the last time you worked with others as a team to achieve a goal? How far back to you have to think? Are you lucky enough to be part of a terrific team right now?

I love the focus of the 81st book in the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line! TeamMakers: Positively Impacting the Lives of Children through District-Wide Dreaming, Collaborating, and Change is written by Laura Robb and Evan Robb. There is a clear emphasis on creating sustainable change as a district. I’m blown away by the way Laura & Evan take on this topic, which has the potential to create scapegoats for educators on every level. They address each level head on – central office administration, building administration, and teachers – and share how each of us as a role to play in the betterment of our schools for students.

TeamMakers

Some of the quotes that really resonated with me are:

“…in many classrooms technology is simply an ornament. How students learn hasn’t changed.”

“…when staff and administrators share with students dreams and personal stories about their teaching and learning lives, students feel safe to share theirs. Sharing dreams and stories builds positive relationships.”

“…risk-taking can initially raise fear and uncertainty but ultimately produce enthusiasm and courage.”

“…no one role is more valuable than another.” -Marc Ferris, EdD

I also truly enjoyed Chapter 8: Mentors and Coaches! The interludes from current educators at various levels was enlightening and terrific examples how it looks when true teamwork is happening everywhere in a district. There is so much to take away from this book, and it presents the perfect literature to create a district-wide book study! The whole idea is that we can’t make it happen unless we are willing to put in the work and create a team that has one another’s backs. We must all share a vision and a mission to move education forward in a system.

I am so blessed to work in a school system where this idea of TeamMakers is a reality. There is always room for improvement, but my school system is frequently leading the way and as a whole, we function as a pretty impressive team.

Implementation

Valuing the work of every individual in a system is vital to a team achieving its goals.

My oldest daughter plays softball, and she has played right field in every season. After playing softball for many years myself, I knew what playing “right field” meant – or so I thought I did. I jokingly said something to one of her coaches about Bailey playing right field because she was still learning and had a l.o.n.g. way to go in coordination, speed, processing the play of the game, etc. He (rightfully) put me in my place by telling me she’s in right field because we can count on her to always back up the play on first base. She’s in right field because she’s got a decent arm on her. She’s in right field because when a ball gets by her, she’ll go chase it down. Every position on the softball field is important because every position has their own role to making sure the team achieves success.

My implementation is to make sure that every person I come in contact with feels valued. Sometimes our custodians, nutrition workers, nurses, front office staff, assistants, etc feel as though they aren’t as important as the classroom teachers. In education, the focus, unfortunately, is on test scores – so unless someone is a classroom teacher in a tested subject area, it can be easy to overlook their importance to the team. Every person in the building has a purpose and a value to the overall dream. I have no idea what this will look like, but I’m going to come up with some way to help others feel valued, and continue to feel valued throughout the year.

Check out the Sneak Peek video from the authors (link here)! You can also get a free preview by visiting this website (scroll to the bottom)!

Follow along with the conversation using #TeamMakers and be sure to pick up your copy of Laura & Evan‘s book! I believe you’ll enjoy it & it will help you look at each role with a new lens.

#EduEyeExam Information

Good evening, friends! We interrupt this irregularly scheduled blog site to bring you some pretty awesome information! Well, at least I think it’s pretty awesome!

This blog fulfills the implementation of several books from #DBC50Summer!

In the very first #DBC50Summer book post (Teach Like a PIRATE by Dave Burgess), my implementation was the quote, “It’s not supposed to be easy, it’s supposed to be worth it.” I had no idea how that would be played out, but I knew that I needed to remember that when obstacles made something difficult, it would be worth it on the other side.

In the post for Stories from Webb by Todd Nesloney, I shared that I knew I needed to write & share my own story.

When I finished The EduNinja Mindset by Jennifer Burdis, I knew I wanted to create my own mission statement.

Later on in #DBCBookBlogs, Run Like a PIRATE by Adam Welcome inspired me to start now and try big things!

Shortly after that blog post, I did a thing. I started and definitely decided to try big things! It wasn’t easy! I wrote more than a mission statement. I nailed down my educational philosophy, my vision; I wrote my story and talked to Shelley Burgess about having Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc publish it.

Here we are almost 9 months (to the day) after that conversation with Shelley. I received an email early this morning letting me know that edits were finished and the final files were being sent to DBC, Inc for publishing!!!

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If you’d like more information about the release of Educational Eye Exam: Creating Your Vision for Education, along with information about book signings and more, subscribe by completing this form.

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! Please share using the hashtag #EduEyeExam on Twitter and Instagram!

#DBCBookBlogs: Word Shift

Our words matter. What we say forms our character and our reputation with others. The old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is a lie. Words hurt. Words can also heal.

I was in a meeting yesterday as my principal reminded us that our students are listening to what we say, whether we think they are or not. She said that we need to choose our words wisely. I immediately reached into my bag and pulled out Word Shift by Joy Kirr and handed it to my assistant principal.

wordshift

Joy also wrote Shift This, the 26th book in the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line so I couldn’t wait to read Word Shift! With the feel of a dictionary, Joy shares words that need to be seriously reconsidered, many even eliminated, from our vocabulary. She gives us alternatives to use and her reasoning behind making these shifts in our word choice. Some of my favorites are:

Allow/Let/Permit –> Provide opportunities or Encourage

Give Up [Time] –> Invest

Have To –> Get to

Intervention . –> Next steps

Let It Go –> Soak it up

My –> Our

She also discusses practices that we need to reconsider such as behavior charts, homework, grading, assessments (that students can google the answer to), and again suggest alternatives for these practices.

Joy and I certainly see eye-to-eye on many of our philosophies and I was highlighting and writing “yaasss” beside many of these sections. Even if you grapple with some of these ideas, Joy lays it out in such a way that it makes sense how these practices or words could be harmful to our students.

For part of the implementation of Empower Our Girls by Lynmara Colon and Adam Welcome, I am focused on eliminating “guys” from my vocabulary as it is not inclusive of all students in my learning environment. I will continue this by intentionally saying “students” or “readers” when addressing a group of students. Joy gives us a list of labels that build up students and peers that I’m so excited to pull from when addressing others.

My implementation for Word Shift is to use the suggested phrases, sentences, and questions located at the end of the book purposefully this year. I love that Joy has us asking questions like, “What drives you,” “What is on your mind,” “What makes you unique,” “How can we make this more relevant to us,” etc.

My favorite quote from Joy’s second book:

“Many of these stressors are not something we can change. What we can change, however, is our focus… be in charge of our attitude.”

~Joy Kirr, Word Shift

This short book is packed with what makes Joy so awesome! Her positivity and genuine soul shines through the pages and I can’t help but imagine her class to be a place of acceptance, warmth, and love. What student wouldn’t be driven to learn that in environment? You can see a piece of Joy’s heart in a preview of the book here (scroll to the very bottom). Check out her sneak peek of the book below (or click here).

Finally, check out more of what Joy has to say by following her on Twitter at @JoyKirr and subscribing to her blog here. Check out the amazing resources in Joy’s LiveBinders here! Be sure to grab a copy of her book Word Shift, and go ahead and get a copy of Shift This while you’re at it! Both of these will move you to make intentional tweaks to your practice!