Welcome to an early MMT and happy Fathers Day 2019. For many of you tomorrow may be the first Monday Moanin in a long time when you can hit the snooze on your iPhone alarm. Enjoy the experience! Today, I think about all of the men who have influenced me in my life and I am grateful for their help. Today, I honor two of those men. Of course I think about my dad, Don Hickey, with fond memories and appreciation. He passed away in 1991 and there is not a day that goes by where he is not in my thoughts. His humor, work ethic, faith, caring attitude, and his love of family and his wife Rose, has rubbed off on all of his 6 sons. As my brother Bill said at his funeral, Don Lives! Another father that is a wonderful model for me is my father-in-law, George. He has been my other Dad for 29 years. He also is a model for me and he exhibits all of the traits I admired in my Dad. Above all he is the definition of a giver. At 85, he is an avid golfer, friend to many, loving husband, and caring father. He is a person who always puts others first. He gives freely in caring for his wife Manya, as they live daily with the challenges of Alzheimer’s. Not an easy task but he handles it with love and grace, guided by a strong faith. I am so grateful to these incredible men for modeling what it means to be a father and a husband. Thank you so much. Read more
Happy first Monday Moanin June, 2019 to all of you. For many of you this may begin the final weeks of school of the 2018-19 school year. For many students, these final days can be filled with lots of emotions, distractions, and for some, anxiety. Not all kids are looking forward to a summer break. School could be there safest place. Read more
Wow we did it. We made it to the third Monday Moanin of May 2019. For many of us educators, the month of May signals the school year will be ending soon. With this comes many invitations to focus more on being reactive than proactive. It is a real challenge to focus on good teaching and learning. As a young teacher, my principal always reminded our staff to be well planned and intentional for the final weeks of school. Read more
It is hard to believe that we have reached May, 2019. Happy Monday Moanin to all of you. As I wrote in the last two MMT’s this is the time of year for a renewal and a good cleaning. This is also the time of year for many year-end activities that simply put, are filled with lots of emotions and distractions. As a result, dealing with the complexities of this time of year can be challenging and some times paralyzing. Let’s simplify our leadership and enhance our effectiveness by focusing on MVP. Let’s break it down: Read more
Happy Easter/Passover Monday Moanin of April 2019. For most of us in Michigan we have reached the time of year to begin the annual event of spring cleaning. OMG, we hit the 70 degree mark yesterday. It’s finally time to open up the windows and get rid of the cooped up stale winter air and welcome the newness and hope of springtime. This may be a perfect time to conduct a professional spring cleaning. It’s time to let go of some things and freshen up and enhance your practice. Use the questions listed below to guide your reflection. They are: Read more
Happy Monday Moanin to all of you. Many of you may be returning from a much needed spring break. While others of you have already started your last quarter of the 2018-19 school year. Wherever you are in the school calendar it is important to realize that these next few days can set the tone for the final stretch of the school year. It is a great time to focus on those actions that lead to a spring cleaning or better yet, a renewal. The final weeks of spring are filled with many distractions: school wide testing, increased field trips, early dismissal for rescheduled athletic contests, and end of the year activities. All of the above issues may lead to reduced instructional time and increased pressure for teachers to cover the essentials of their curriculum through a more narrow window. This is why the spring may feel like the most difficult and challenging part of the year. Listed below are five suggestions that may help finish the year strong and successfully. I encourage you to focus your energy and get to work on your renewal! Read more
Welcome to the latest Monday Moanin Thoughts. I am just returning from a 2 week visit to Valencia, Spain where our son and his family are living. It was relaxing and wonderful and I did not think about this MMT until we were home a few days. It became clear to me that this is a perfect week to focus on leadership and begin thinking about your spring message. For many, this is a couple of weeks before a well deserved Spring Break. My mentor always encouraged me to write a welcome back message to staff as they return from their break. If you are planning to do the same, consider getting started on it now. The goal is to validate the hard work and commitment of your staff and set the stage for the final weeks of school. Below are five prompts from leaders they sent to their staffs that set the tone as they began the home stretch to the end of the school year. Consider using these as a prompt for your message.Read more
Happy Monday Moanin to everyone. To assist you with your work this week, consider focusing on my top five tweets from December 2018-February 2019. All of these had a minimum of 4000 impressions. They will serve you well as you begin the challenging weeks of late February through the tunnel month of March.
Thursday thought from from @ToddWhitaker; “It is the people, not programs, that determine the quality of a school.” #reachout #reinforce #validate
Friday thought from @DavidGeurin; “Be a difference maker…
3. Show up
4. Lead up
5. Lift up
6. Never give up
Thursday thought from @SteeleThoughts; “Great teachers don’t always have the best lessons. But they always have the best relationships with kids.” #connect #respect #lead
Monday thought from @SteeleThoughts; “Great teachers can look past the bad attitude. They realize there’s always something else going on.” #payattention #respect #SEL
As you plan for next week, be reminded that Monday the nation honors Dr.King. Let his quote guide your work. Dr. King wrote; “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of education.”
Have a great week and keep finding the good stuff. MMT will return on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2019.
Happy First February 2019 Monday Moanin to all of you. Here in Michigan we have survived last weeks Polar Vortex and are looking forward to a more calm week. Over the weekend I was happy to receive my quarterly book from ASCD. It is titled All Learning is Social and Emotional, by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher , and Dominique Smith. Through the few chapters I have read it is a book full of important information about learning and a great resource. I want to share some initial highlights and encourage all of us to begin spending some time focusing on the connection between academic and social skills of our learners. The authors define this early in the book. They write;
” In still other circles, worthwhile learning is understood to include mastery of social and emotional skills in addition to academic ones. Proponents of this view of learning-and obviously, we are among them-believe explicit instruction focused on the social and emotional aspects of learning (SEL) will result in improved academic learning.”
Too often the pressures around student performance and achievement as well as the expectations of teachers to deliver on this may cause a growing gap on the relationships between the learner and the teacher. To help close this gap, social skills can be taught and practiced and are critical to the learning and growth of all learners. Skills such as effective communication, teamwork, and empathy to name a few are essential life skills and require attention and focus.
I want to close with two questions to consider focusing on this week. Frey, Fisher, and Smith ask;
“Do students in your school have strong social relationships(with their teachers, with one another, with themselves, and with the school?”
“What communication skills do your students need to develop to improve their relationships with others?”
Have a great discussion and a productive week and keep finding the good stuff.
Happy frigid Michigan January 2019 Monday Moanin to all of you. Today we celebrate the American federal holiday marking his birthday Let’s honor Dr. King’s memory as we begin our work this week. The following Dr. King quote can help us reflect on the work we are doing in our schools.
” The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of education.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The above quote raises some questions for all us to think about. Reflect on the following questions.
Does your school have high expectations for all learners?
Are there the same opportunities for all learners?
Is critical thinking reinforced in your classrooms? Is it taught?
Is character education a focus in your school?
Is there a culture of acceptance and respect in your school?
Are you serving others in your school community?
As you begin your week, keep the above quote in mind as you reflect on your practice. Consider using one of these questions at your next staff meeting as an opener. It could lead to a very rich discussion on best practice. Have a great week, lead with compassion and keep finding the good stuff.
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that a system which produces beggars needs restructuring.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.