November 2009 Archives

It's the long Thanksgiving weekend, and so natually I decided to write about what I am thankful for. I'm not going to write about the usual things I am (and should be) thankful for, such as my children, my health and my good friends. I try hard to be grateful for these things all year long and not just on this holiday. Since this is a blog by leaders for leaders, I want you to think about the things you are thankful for in your leadership position. Maybe this is your first year as an administrator or maybe it's your ...


The family is the cornerstone of most communities and civilization in general. It is what binds humans together and brings us peace and comfort. Family is there for us in times of happiness, hardship-- through good times and bad. Jane Howard writes, "Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one." This quote applies to the school community which is a one kind of family that most of us spend more time with than our real families. Unlike many organizations, schools embody individuals ...


It was revealed on the evening news that there were multiple warning signs that the shooter at Fort Hood might have been mentally unstable and capable of violence. Last month I wrote about the precautionary lockdown we experienced due to a disgruntled, mentally unstable former employee. While that article focused more on the information disseminated to the public regarding the situation, this article addresses the actual events that led to the lockdown and the subsequent actions taken by the school district in response to the "warning signs." What led to this lockdown was a series of events, all of which ...


What happens to Attention Deficit Disorder when it grows up? Sometimes it is channeled into extraordinary gifts. So Michael Phelps Picasso JFK James Carville Robin Williams... ...are all reputed ADHD guys. This is hardly an exhaustive list but it's enough to give you a flavor. I think if they named every person ever diagnosed with ADHD we would be surprised by some of the folks that were on the list-- and yet not surprised at all. We would recognize the extraordinarily talented individuals who have managed to channel the annoying distractability, the daydreaming, the incessant fingers tapping on the desk, ...


I heard the CEO of a Fortune 50 company speak about what the organization expects of senior leaders. One of the points he made was that once you move to an executive role, you are expected to be able to dig into deep issues that will affect the organization both in the short term and the long term. His next comment struck home: "You MUST make time in your calendar to think. That is what the organization expects of you. If you simply move from event to event, you are doing yourself and your organization a disservice." I'm sure I'm ...


(Cross posted at drjansblog.com) Well, as I have mentioned before (yes, yes, I am proud), I get to teach (adjunct) for Kaplan University.  Now it's been more than a couple of years since I got my doctorate from Vanderbilt (1986, to be specific-- I was a child).  Now, I am teaching graduate students in education about the incredibly wonderful field of education.  And, in the time honored graduate exercises requirements, my students have to write research papers and do it RIGHT.  At Kaplan, that means no plagiarizing and always using APA formating and referencing.  I have had more than...


A teacher's language is a powerful teaching tool. Our language can build children up or tear them down. It can model respectful and caring social interactions or just the opposite. Effective language encourages and supports students in their learning, rather than criticizing them for their mistakes.  Effective teacher language also: Is clear, simple, and direct Is genuine and respectful Gives specific positive feedback rather than general praise Focuses on the child's action or behavior rather than generalizing about the child's whole person Avoids qualitative or personal judgment Showsfaith in childrens abilities and potential Once, I began to use the encouraging...


As we explore the design and application of formative assessments, it is important that we look at the culture of the classrooms in which they will be administered. Formative assessments will increase their effectiveness when they are administered within a supportive classroom culture. When individual students - and the class as a whole - understand the benefits of assessment, the value of those measurements is increased significantly. The real purpose of assessment is to improve individual learning results and not to raise test scores for campus or district accountability ratings. The history of test results being used primarily to hold ...


Twenty months after expressing her wish, and with a lot of help from many friends, Karen Armstrong's TED Prize wish will come true. A wish that many people now embrace as their own. On November 12, 2009 the Charter for Compassion will be unveiled.


I'm a tall person and from my earliest years was drafted into the world of basketball. I had a fair amount of success on the court ranging from high school and college teams to various tournaments and Men's leagues. I've coached at the HS level and when my children were born, I was privileged to coach their tyro teams and as they got older, their AAU clubs. When kids are young and learning to shoot basketballs in their driveways they have to generate a lot of motion and energy to get the ball up to the hoop which is 10 ...


October apparently was ‘Library Month’ for me. I was the keynote speaker for the Minnesota MEMO conference and did a breakout session for the Iowa Library Association (ILA) conference. I also brought Dr. Mike Eisenberg to Iowa for three days to talk with school administrators about technology and information literacy. As a result, I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on books, reading, and the future of libraries and librarians… Random questions What constitutes a “book” these days? When books become electronic and thus become searchable, hyperlinkable, more accessible to readers with disabilities, and able to embed audio, video,...


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