Thursday, January 21, 2016

Exceeding expectations

Have you ever set a goal only to fall short?  I"m sure that we all have.  But then there are those times when you've set a goal and exceeded it.  That's what happened last week with our Penny Wars for me.  I never shared this, but I was hoping to raise $500 for the school in South Sudan.  I had a glimmer of hope for $1000.  No way did I think the kids would raise over $1700!  They truly exceeded my expectations.  Why did this occur?  There was a purpose behind the Penny Wars, Mr. Flynn came to speak with them, there was some competition, and there was a chance to wear pajamas.  Do we know which of these reasons reached every student?  We certainly don't, but the variety of reasons definitely reached nearly every student, the hook that Dave Burgess speaks about in Teach Like a Pirate.  So it made me think, what's the hook that we use in our daily classroom lessons, or assemblies, that keeps the students interested, engaged, and willing to learn?  I don't have the answer for every lesson, and neither do you, but we have to find that hook, that reason for the learning to continue.  We all have it in us, and it takes effort, but I've seen all of you in action and you do it well.  Now what about exceeding expectations with our kids?  There's one thing that we can do every day, and it only takes a minute or two.  Share your hook with a colleague.  Ask a colleague about their favorite hook.  And to take it one step further, here's a Google form to use to share your hook with all of us.  Can you exceed expectations with this request?

Wednesday, January 27th      Google fun at 8:00 in the Library
                                                   Workout Wednesday (Break out those workout clothes!)
                                                   Jay's leaves early for a physical

Tweets, quotes, and blogs
Are we preparing students to be chefs or cooks? (from @ajjuliani)
"Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment."- Oprah Winfrey, media personality, businesswoman, and philanthropist
Before you turn out the lights (from @Jonharper70bd)
"If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters.  Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude."- Colin Powell, military leader and statesman
One little change in how you talk to your kids can help them be more successful (from
"Difficulties increase the nearer we approach the goal."- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer and statesman
"Our business in life is not to get ahead of other people, but to get ahead of ourselves."- Maltbie Babcock, clergyman and writer
@mertonint on Twitter
#mertonint on Twitter
Merton Intermediate School Facebook page
Family smore for 1.21.16.

In honor of Glen Frey of the Eagles (Thanks to Mike B. for finding this.)
With the death of Glenn Frey, of the Eagles, Dan Rockwell posted these tips for teams-thoughts for the day.  7 ways to expand your personal team:
  1. Get over yourself. Stay open to receiving help. You don’t need to do it alone.
  2. Join someone else’s team. Ego isolates; humility connects. You might be thinking, who can join my team. Try the opposite.
  3. Hang with talent. Go where they are.
  4. Watch for bright eyes. See who lights up when you light up.
  5. Hire great people. Don’t fill positions.
  6. Include weirdos. Cookie-cutter-people, seldom change the world.
  7. Connect with your opposite. If you’re a visionary, you need a doer. If you’re good with the soft stuff, find someone who’s good with the hard stuff.
Bonus: Use a coach or find a mentor.
By the way, we have a wonderful coaches in our district.

And one final positive to end the semester...
I received this email from a guest teacher this week.  I have taken out the names, but the message is still there- we have great kids and our parents and you have gotten our kids to be this way.
"Yesterday, I was in for XXXXX and spent a large part of the day with XXXXX.  During that time, I witnessed a number of unnamed students (unnamed because I don’t know theirs) make an effort to befriend and / or help XXXXX and also saw a number of students nonchalantly say hi to XXXXX or make a conversational remark to him. That sort of inclusive behavior was demonstrated in XXXXX’s room, in the rooms of XXXXX and XXXXX and in the halls.  I was able to remark to some of those students.  That sort of behavior is a real mark of character, kudos to those students."

Have a great weekend!