Without a doubt, one of the best books that I ever read and completely bought into was Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  

I like to think that it helped me become as organized and focused as I could with the end goal being success.

I stumbled into it by accident.  There isn’t anyone in business who hasn’t at least heard about Covey’s work.  Education, less so.  But as a Business Educator, it was part of the unit that was taught about management, leadership, and leadership styles.  Plus, if you had ever driven the 401 by Cambridge, you would have noticed their former building alongside.

The accident part?

I was having a discussion with a friend of mine who had just participated in one of the courses.   I liked everything that I heard and applied to take a course.  I think that everyone in education knows that there are some professional learning events that are always a “go” and others that aren’t because of “budget problems”.  I was in the latter.

But, there was a self-paced course that you could purchase from FranklinCovey.  I took it and found that it matched my needs immediately.  The planner that came with the course changed the way that I organized my life and learning.  Over the years, I’ve always purchased the refills and have upgraded that planner a couple of times.

Time and technology moves on.  I do things more electronically now that I have a device with me all the time.  I’ll be honest though; I don’t have the same amount of success and organization this way.  Perhaps there are just too many more distractions to there’s a desire to multi-task more than I would otherwise.

A former superintendent liked the way I had things organized and planned and he took the course.  A Filemaker Pro followist; he turned his learning into that format.  He said it worked for him; it didn’t work for me.  That’s OK – we don’t need to be apologetic that one particular approach doesn’t fit all.

Covey’s seven habits though, are as good today as they always were.

  • Be Proactive
  • Begin with the End in Mind
  • Put First Things First
  • Think Win-Win
  • Seek First to Understand; Then to Be Understood
  • Synergize
  • Sharpen the Saw

Covey’s work has spawned all kinds of others who would have you improve your life.  And, if that’s true, what a legacy!

Turn to education now.  Here’s an opportunity for your own legacy building.  What things happen in your classroom that are enduring and will live on long past your engagement with your students?

Do Covey’s seven habits make sense?  If so, there are lots of posters and Covey quotes available on the internet via a simple search.  Living in an age and with students who need video?  Check things out here.

OTR Links 02/23/2017

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

It’s more than a “yeah, me too”

It was this line in a comment from Aviva Dunsiger on my post yesterday that got me thinking about blogging.

the never-to-be-underestimated, value of a reply

When I started in the blogging world, there were only a few others that I knew about or cared to read.  It was not uncommon to post a comment on every blog that you would run across.  After all, that’s what the ability to reply or comment is all about.  Who remembers the excitement of the hashtag #comments4kids as a way to get comments for class blogs?

Things, most certainly, have changed.

I don’t dwell on statistics but every now and again, I take a peek to make sure that there’s at least one or two people reading my thoughts here.  I’m always humbled when I see the numbers – there are good days and there are not-so-good days and that’s to be expected.  Since I’m rather random in thought sharing, not everything appeals to everyone.  I write because I enjoy it and, just as we are convinced it’s good for student’s memories, I find that by putting thoughts down  I’m a little more likely to remember things.

And, in the beginning comments were very frequent here.  WordPress lets you know who your most frequent commenting visitors are.  It’s a confirmation that there are regular readers/commenters and for that I’m grateful.

I’ve mentioned in the past why I think people are getting away from commenting.  Probably the biggest reasons that I can think of (short of just a bad blog post) are that there is just so much to read these days and people are finding ways to read blog content without actually visiting the blog.  For whatever reason, people do what they do and that’s great.

I was reading a technical blog post this morning dealing with a Windows 10 issue from a few weeks ago and the author was pretty much begging for comments at the bottom of the post.  Nobody had when I read it.  When I left the post, there still were no comments.  Even now as I type this, I feel a bit badly that I didn’t respond.

Then, I turned to the local newspaper, where “every whacko with a keyboard” posts a comment, it seems.  The paper uses the Facebook plugin and it’s very easy to see the people that have a legitimate Facebook account versus others.  If nothing else, the comments are entertaining.

But I go back to Aviva’s thoughts.  “The value of a reply”.

Most certainly, there are values and connections to be had with replies.  The original blogger extends her reach and makes new and important connections when people comment.  The blogger may realize that they absolutely have nailed a concept, they may find that there are other ways at looking at a topic, or they might be convinced that they were completely wrong.  Without that feedback, the blogger might just go through life thinking they know everything about everything.

Constructive thoughts continue and extend the conversation and can make new connections.  There are many folks who don’t blog for whatever reason and that’s their choice.  But, if they’re reading other blogs, they can do their own mini-blog by sharing their thoughts.

What do you think?  In one way or another, you’re reading this.  Does any of this make sense to you?  I don’t mind being proven wrong if you think I am.  Do you see the value in replies?  Or, is it something else?

OTR Links 02/22/2017

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

This is why we do it

I was actually out of town yesterday but my phone was still connected to back home. It was getting a workout with notifications.

The whole thing started innocently enough…for me anyway.

It was in last Friday’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs post here that I took a real interest in a post by Debbie Donsky.  She had a rather long title for it “Listen with Compassion and Act with Love The Roles We Play and the Impact We Have as Educators“.  It was a rather long post, consistent with the length of the title.

It caught the blog reading eye of Aviva Dunsiger who shared her thoughts…

… a nice reply by Debbie…

As a result, Aviva was inspired to write a post based on her thoughts inspired by the original post.

This Is My Story. What’s Yours?

I enjoyed reading both posts.  They represent the thinking of two passionate educators.

Stepping back from the posts, I can’t help but think about the bigger social media part of all this.  I know Aviva personally and through her interactions online; I know Debbie but only from her thoughts that she elects to publish.  I can’t comment on whether the two ladies know each other.

But what made this all happen?

It wasn’t like the two of them happened to sit down together at a school staff meeting.  It wasn’t even something more social than sitting together at a coffee shop.

Instead, it was one person who decided that she would share her thoughts with the world.  Then, it was another person who happened to find the post, promoted it, and then was inspired to write a blog post of her own.  It’s the sort of professional dialogue that education has wanted to have for years.

How many times have we all sat in a lecture hall or district provided PD and listened to a certain extent to someone who talks, gets their money, and then goes home?  Interaction optional.

This whole interaction between the two of them wasn’t passive.  It was incredibly interactive and brought anyone who was connected into its midst.  Although my phone was beeping and vibrating, I couldn’t be part of it in real time.  It was only when I got home and got caught up that I found it.  That’s OK too; we can’t be online 24/7.  If you weren’t part of it on Sunday, follow the links above.

I can’t help but ponder over how many other great thoughts and sharing goes on; but by policy or choice, it resides behind some school district’s wall of protection.

Had Debbie originally written and posted her thoughts that way, the world would never have had the choice to read and reflect about her message.

Both messages didn’t get vetted by a superior officer and there was no disclaimer that “this message doesn’t reflect the values of anyone else”.  It was just two professionals speaking from the heart.

Isn’t this just a great wakeup message for those making decisions?

OTR Links 02/21/2017

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

A duet

I have two musical goals in life.

  1. Play a piano duet with Sir Elton John
  2. Learn how to play the piano

Probably neither of these will ever happen.  I may even have them in the wrong order.

But that’s OK.  Google has me covered with a new “experiment” called A.I. Duet.

I’m fascinated with the intelligence that can be built into a computer and the results that we see and read about daily.  I think that we all know that we’re on the edge of great things as terrific programmers take on and understand concepts and create something new.  In particular, it’s impressive when it’s something new that the computer has created for us.

That’s the premise behind the A.I. Duet.  Watch this video; it may be the best two minutes of learning you do today.

I found the discussion of machine learning and neural networks fascinating.

Even more fascinating is playing with this experiment and watching it respond to my touch.

In the classroom, what a wonderful hands-on example to begin discussion.

  • How does it do this?
  • How does it respond to different tempos or combination of notes?
  • Does it do a better job with someone who knows how to play versus the “kitten on the keys?
  • Does your interaction with the experiment make it smarter or dumber?  How?
  • Can more than one player make it work harder or get better results?

I’m no better now playing the keyboard than when I first started playing around.

But, I do now have a partner to play duelling pianos with.