Fall Break & Freebies


Hello Friends! Is there really anything better than a fall break inserted right at the end of "Shocktober?" Perfect timing! Especially for my teachers. I know October is tough and I try to do everything to keep the humor alive and support teachers. Just knowing a break was coming up was a big incentive.  Bring on naps, coffee, movies, and of course LivePD!!!

Totally forgot there was a "Freebies" page on my blog. Oops! I had my blog redesigned last year and was trying to think to the future to things I could offer or do to support principal friends and/or teachers. Who doesn't love a freebie?

I have added 2 freebies, I think:) They should be linked in Google for "anyone with the link" but I guess we will see once this goes live and everyone knows where to look. Total disclaimer here.....I do have a TpT store. I call it my "start up business" but it's been "starting up" for a couple years. It's about as vacant as the brick and mortar stores you see all over town. Eventually I will move in with more content. Check it out and "Follow me" there and you will know when I do upload new content someday.

Do you have a fall break? How do you rest and rejuvenate?

Challenges of Goal Setting


Have you ever talked yourself out of goal setting because you knew wouldn't meet the goal? That's me every time! Over the past few years I have gone through some challenging things in my life. Trying to find my purpose again. Asking, "Why?" a lot. Just trying to get my groove back so to speak.

It seemed like goal setting kept coming up in lots of aspects of my life. The people around me were setting goals. Teacher-preneurs on social media were setting goals. The podcasts I was listening to were about goal setting. The title of the podcast wasn't about goal setting but it would just pop up in podcasts all the time. I was starting to get the hint.

The problem is that in my role as a principal just about everything is about goal setting. Building improvement plan goals, professional development goals, student goals, health and wellness goals, walk-through goals, and goals and goals and goals if you know what I mean. With so many it's hard to keep track of all of them. So I just didn't. But I needed something to look forward to. So I started small and I am keeping track of as many as I can.

So far.....
Successful Goals

  • Pay off debts - Paid off two debts recently.
  • Practice gratitude - Kept a gratitude journal successfully for over a year. 3 things I am grateful for every day.
  • Be a better mom - It's just the small things I pay more attention to.

Current Goals

  • Provide more positive feedback at work - I have a visual aid and tally app on my watch to help with this. I could do better but I am more aware of the type of feedback I am giving to everyone.
  • Exercise 3 times a week - Well.......This is a challenge with 2 girls in 3 different sports but I haven't given up completely.
  • Plan the week every Sunday - I have always done the and this easy for me.

Failed goals...did/do I even try:):):)

  • Lose weight - I have actually gained weight so clearly this is not working!
  • Blog more - You can read the stats of this blog to see that's not happening!
Goal Setting Resources I've used lately:

Money Saving Mom - Make Over Your Year: I didn't take the course but there was a freebie to download. I think if you join the email list you can get access to the freebies.



Daily Private Victory - Because it's October


How exhausted are you? Noticed I didn't even ask "IF" you are exhausted. I already know the answer to that. In the world of education October is a bit of a transition month. The honeymoon is over, grade cards are due, parent/teacher conferences, discipline, and you can list all the rest.

This is year 2 for my school as an official Leader in Me school. You may be hearing more more about Leader In Me as it seems to be gaining momentum. We are a district-wide program with a couple more schools to come on in the future. I am telling you this because it is through Leader In Me that I learned to have a DAILY "Private Victory." Yes, DAILY!

Let's explore why it might be more important to find this private victory now in the month of October. I get the impression from teachers/educators online and in my own school that everyone is tired, stressed, overwhelmed, etc. I don't think anyone in education is immune to these feelings right now. (This too shall pass.)

I don't bring this up to wallow in the negative. Nor do I bring this up to be a positivity Pollyanna. (Positivity seems to be much better received:):):) The simple practice of identifying my daily private victory before I leave work has changed how I go home to my family.

How many times have you left work feeling like you just have to get out of there? Or you just need a break? (My teachers read this so I never do that.) Below is a picture of the visual I made for all my staff to help us remember our daily private victories!




Who Blogs Here Anyway???




I love blogging although you may not know that since I haven’t blogged here in a while. So let me tell you why that is...
I can’t keep up! Oh I know, believe me. “You make time for what’s important.” Blah blah blah. But what if it’s all important? I’m being serious here. It really is all important! 

My kids are important. Monday night basketball practice. Tuesday night softball practice. Wednesday night basketball game. Thursday night run errands and Friday night starts weekend softball tournament. I know that you all do it too. I also know that some of you donit by yourself too. But seriously, during this season of life, how do you get it all done? 

Some of you have reached out to me about my excerpt in my good friends book Balance LAP. (Balance Like a Pirate) I made the comment that you can have it all just not all the time. Seasons of life come and go. 

When I started this blog over 10 years ago their weren’t many, if any, other principals blogging. Look at us now! I was trying to think back to the sequence of events....
Twitter first? Then blogging, then podcast, then Facebook, then Voxer, now Instagram? I’m sure I’m leaving something out. There is no shortage of administrators on social media these days. 

So where does this blog fit in? I have no idea. My inner struggle has been about what to share. I want it to matter and most of all be helpful. So I think I’m just going to start sharing again and see where this goes. 

If you’ve read this far....bless your heart... I love you for it! Stay tuned for what may or may not be things that have already been shared or even be relevant to your life. If you’ve followed me all these years, you have been a good friend and cherish all of you. 

Here’s to 10 more years of blogging...or not!:) 

Trying My Hand at Vlogging

I am obsessed with YouTube lately! Teacher Tubers especially. I think my roots will always  be in the classroom because I totally got hooked on classroom set up videos this summer. It was crazy!

I tried to stay on the "subscription" tab on my iPhone but the app always opens on the YouTube "home" page and has a ton more suggestions. Then I got hooked on #Girlboss videos, vision board tutorials (yes, my daughters and I are making vision boards:), YouTube tips and tricks videos and on and on.

The first week of school I tried my hand at Vlogging. As I mention in the video it's just hard to remember to video all the time. As a principal there are also confidentiality issues that are different than those as a teacher. Not much of what I deal with can be shared online other than only the positive aspects of my job.

YouTube creation and creating images for social media are my Stephen Covey "sharpen the saw" go to hobbies. I can sit down for an hour and create a few images and/or watch some YouTube tutorials and all is right with the world!

Here is my attempt at vlogging:



Facebook LIVE - Summer Series, Bullet Journal Review

Live on Facebook on Tuesdays in June! Seriously Tuesday is the ONLY night we do not have games, camps, open gym, scrimmage, etc. Summer School and summer chauffeur-ing keep us quite busy.

However......In order to collaborate, share and get ideas I couldn't pass up an opportunity to connect with Facebook friends/followers of the The Principal Blog on Facebook.

Check it out! In this episode I reflect on using a Bullet Journal for a year. The good AND the bad:)


Grab-n-go Snack Bin - #momhack


Usually my posts are about "principal-ing." However, this post takes a dramatic turn to being a mom. Well, not so dramatic but working on my writing "hooks." LOL 

There is a selfish reason for this post and I just can't help it. I listened to a podcast last week about sharing fearlessly. What if you have an idea that could change someone else's life? Even if only a small change, it's worth it to share so they said.  First, there is sharing for shameless self-promotion. Second, is sharing that can help others. This falls in the 2nd category...sharing that can help.

Selfishly my hope is other moms, both working or stay at home, will share their #momhacks. And, yes, I read lots of mom blogs!

But first, a tribute. This #momhack comes from my forever #BFF who went to be with Jesus just a couple years ago. She lost a hard fought battle against pancreatic cancer. The weekend she told me she had cancer I dropped everything and drove 3 hours to spend the day with her, her sister and her husband while the kids were at school.

Advice taken - My older brother actually lost 2 very good friends to cancer. It was his advice to go see her immediately. Cancer is bad and she was going to deteriorate rapidly and family would become the ONLY THING allowed. All of that turned out to be true.

During my visit I discovered the "grab-n-go" snack bin. She may have actually called it a drawer. I can't really remember. The kids were allowed to take ANYTHING out of this drawer/basket at any time. Take for school lunch or just to snack.

My friend Tina was the ultimate mother. I will only be half the mother she was. Her #momhacks were always the best. She was my first call for mom advice, postpartum issues and anything dealing with motherhood.

Grab-n-go Snack Bin guidelines - I use "guidelines" loosely:) 

  • Buy snack size/serving sizes and dump in the bin.
  • Buy in bulk. Dump in the bin.
  • Count it out by serving size listed on the box. Dump in the bin. (I did this with Wheat Thins and Cinnamon Life in the picture.)
  • Buy fruit snacks in bulk, dump in the bin.
  • Anything non-perishable...dump in the bin.
  • Take bin out and check expiration dates every few months. Maybe more often than once a year:):)
  • There are no rules for the kids to take out of the snack bin. Open door. Take what you want. This applies to all children who enter the house. (This means if you have regular visitors or neighbor kids that come over often, they can take from the bin.)
  • Order groceries online for pick-up and you can plan ahead to keep the bin stocked!
Up next....fridge "grab-n-go!"


What are your lunch packing, snack eating #momhacks??? Everything helps!

Productivity Facebook Group Update


Click here to join!
Learning from the smartest principals in the world, yes I said WORLD, has been amazing! If you have not joined our Principal Productivity Facebook Group you don't know what you don't know.

Why a Facebook group? I am so glad you asked!

This is a specific group of people. It's principals only. Well mostly principals. When you request to "join" you are given a set of questions to answer. I guess you could lie. The recommendation from our initial group was to keep it a specific group.

So let's talk about Facebook groups. You might be in a few groups. I would guess that they are ALL OVER THE PLACE! It's hard to remember why you even signed up for the group. It's too much effort to "leave group" so it's a group just lingering out there you never check.

I started to notice that groups had "rules." Can you believe that even as adults, educated, professional adults, we still need rules? Now I know why. Do you manage a group? How big is your group? This has actually been an extremely valuable lesson for me personally and professionally. How can I use a closed Facebook group for my school community? Dare I try that? Well I have been thinking about it. And I have an idea!

While I am processing my idea for a closed group for my school, if you are a principal join us! We need you! I need my people! I need principals to help me, to inspire me, to coach me, to share with me. I know you are out there.

If you are a teacher reading this and you have been dying for your principal to join social media or just understand it....send them a link to this post! Message me your principal's contact information and I will connect with them. They will LOVE this! I promise.

Motivation BINGO - #Leaderinme

Games make everything more fun! Right? Different versions of staff BINGO make their way around the interwebs all year. I probably love 99.9% of them and want to use them all. However, I really do want activities to be relevant to my staff.

Last year my social media BFF Amber Teamann and I created a PD BINGO board that was super popular! You can read Amber's blog post about that here.
 
 
In our Principal Productivity Facebook group Amber also created "Git-R-Done" BINGO to inspire all of us busy principals to "Git-R-Done!" You can find that one HERE.
 
 
This year my school is participating in the Leader In Me training. Just like any program or initiative there is a learning curve. For me, I am trying learn and live the 7 habits in both my personal and professional life.
  • What does "Be Proactive" mean for me?
  • How can I develop positive "habits?"
  • What exactly is a "habit?" :)
So when the BINGO phenomenon hit my principal PLN I asked myself how to make it relevant to my staff. So here you go! The copy linked below is a "generic" copy. The copy I used for my school had some personalized information that would not apply to your hashtags/mascot.  

WHOA! Before you download let me explain "prizes." This was strictly a way to make teaching/learning/working on the 7 habits more engaging. A visual reminder. Something to hang in their classroom, hang in their home, hang on the bathroom mirror. You know what I mean. I am not giving them the prizes I have listed!! No, No, No!! Look at them....GURL!!!(BOY) Do you think I could afford that? They could come up with their own prizes to reward themselves.

Click here for your copy!

10 Year Blog-A-versary & Makeover

 
Anyone out there been blogging for 10 years?!!! (I feel like I am asking if you're out there in outer space. Um...NO. You know what I mean.) I cant' even believe it myself! My blog was seeming dated and I had noticed that other bloggers had updated their designs. I thought what the heck! Then when I started looking back....HOLY COW! I have been doing this for over 10 years!

Five Reflections

Re-purposing posts - Things have obviously changed in 10 years! Did I even have an iPhone back then? Going to have to take time to rewrite some things.

Tons of topics - Over the years I didn't realize all the topics covered in my writing. Check out all the labels. I tried to keep my writing organized so I could refer people to posts that were helpful. Now I probably can't even find what I am looking for. I moved "Search" to the top of the sidebar.

Productivity still wins - Most of my information seemed to be about productivity. I just like it. It's something I am passionate about and I can always learn about being more productive. Think of all the technology apps and devices that have been invented in 10 years?!
 
Connections win the internet! The absolute biggest gift this blog has given me over the years are the connections with amazing people. Never would I ever imaging meeting and connecting with so many amazing educators! 

Where am I now? Blogging may have been the only sharing social media 10 years ago? Twitter was just getting started too I think. (I don't have time to google all this stuff.) When Facebook became a "thing" I dabbled in that until my brother and I made a bet to see who could get the most followers. There wasn't even a reason to have a lot of followers at the time. I just wanted more than my brother.

Now it is even easier to connect and share. I would not be the mom/principal/person I am today without BOTH real life connections and the connections I have made online. You can find me here now:
  • Instagram - Love that it is visual and not too much reading.
  • Instagram stories - These are fun quick videos you can post. These posts can happen at the spur of the moment when you think of something or are doing something that could help someone else.
  • Personal Facebook - My personal feed/story is pretty boring. I don't really post much there. It's connected to my instagram so I can post to both at the same time.
  • Facebook Page - This page is for principal stuff and sharing ideas for school. If I like it I post it if I remember. I usually just sync this blog to that page.
  • Facebook groups - I. LOVE. THESE.  Groups are the greatest was to connect that I have found. If you're a principal you can join my 2 closed groups for principals. I am glad that I initiated the groups but I cannot take any credit for the amazing information posted in these groups.
So there it is.......Happy Blog-a-versary to me! You should try it! It's about the journey and it's been amazing!