Tuesday, September 28, 2010

30 Seconds....

In my attempt to focus attention on personal improvement I have been accessing a number of resources from the local library that deal with communication and efficient business techniques. I was fortunate to come across an older book (copyright 1986) by Milo Frank entitled "How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds - or less"

The title was intriguing. Immediately I began to think about numerous questions. How long does it take me to make my point? How much time SHOULD it take? 30 seconds, can it be done? Certainly seems feasible since advertising does it all the time, but can you take an advertising strategy and apply that principle to general communication.

I found this book and the approach used by Frank to be delightful. The basic ideas were simple and straightforward. The concept is to focus, specifically on 3 main ideas.

1) Your objective
2) Your audience
3) Your approach

The example that Frank used that made the biggest impact to me was the story of Dorothy in The Wizard of OZ.

Her Objective - Get Home

Her Audience - The Wizard

Her Approach - The Yellow Brick Road

After being introduced to this example in the text, I really understood the main principles Frank was trying to relate.

So while this post has taken longer than 30 seconds to read, and attention doesn't change for the written word, here is the main idea in 30 seconds or less...

There are numerous compelling reasons as to why 30 seconds has such importance and significance. The shortness of time and inability to remain focused are two of the most important. The 30 second message is a tool. It can quickly become a regular way of communication if you simply put forth the effort to think and prepare what you would like to be heard. Know the three basic principles, and allow them to become ingrained into your thinking and you will find yourself preparing 30 second messages all the time.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Came To Mind

Today I was asked why it took me so long to publish a new blog post. As I responded I thought maybe this would be good time to share that answer with others, and let you see how that question has spurred me to new perspectives on learning. What initially came to mind was Time. I felt that my time was better spent and more valuable when I read more blogs and gain understanding, rather than generically addressing some issue that another has probably already addressed in a more thorough fashion.

I find inspiration in the visions and words of others. The eloquence, and analysis of the blog posts that I read often cause me to feel better served spending my time reading posts, rather than writing them. The ways in which others challenge my thinking is remarkable. I would like to take a moment to share three of the influences and how they shape my thinking.

First, I am Challenged to Change.
George Couros, a principal in Stony Plains Alberta, challenges me to discuss and contemplated learning. His blog, The Principal of Change, reflects creative ideas and commentary that bring about personal reflection about educational strategies and instruction.

Second, I am Inspired to Incorporate. David Truss is a principal of a PreK-9 Foreign Nationals School in Dalian, China. His blog, Pair-a-dimes for your thoughts, inspires me to look beyond the classroom. To initiating contact with parents and those around me in an attempt to promote outcome and achievement. His focus on student challenges and success are the driving force behind my planned outcomes.

Third, I am Compelled to Confront.

Susan Carter Morgan is a PLP Social Networking Strategist. Her blog, scmorgan learning in open spaces, compels me to view education through the 21st Century mindset. Confronting the reality that change is inevitable, and the more open and receptive we are to accept change will enable us to lead rather than follow. I must always create instead of react, and be excited rather than anxious when learning something new.

These were the thoughts that were going through my mind after being questioned. But alas, then a revelation struck...

Reflecting about my blog silence, I was afforded opportunity to pause and consider my motives. This question served as an avenue that provided me with a quality insight regarding networking and communication. I began to think about how I have been influenced by others, and was challenged in my thinking that maybe I influence others too. We all play a part in the collaboration of ideas. Sometimes as the taker, and sometimes as the giver, and sometimes we fill both roles simultaneously.

By thinking in this manner, I am faced with the choice to become less selfish in just my reading and learning, and more challenged in my sharing and distribution of thoughts and ideas. Ultimately it is the sharing that will further increase the knowledge rather than just data acquisition. So I challenge you as well as myself, make an opportunity to share something with someone. You may feel it is insignificant, but to them it may be extremely relevant and needed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Scholar Club

In an attempt to promote and reward academic excellence and achievement at the High School level I have created the Scholar Club for the social studies students in room #63 at Hinsdale Central School. This program has been created to motivate students to strive for quality in their work, to go beyond the everyday expectations, and to demonstrate the leadership capabilities of someone who cares.

Our format for inductions is as follows, each month the students who meet the required criteria for membership will be inducted into the Scholar Club. In order to become a member students must meet class avg percentage requirements, must have one of the top five grades on a project, must have completed one voluntary community service project, have not been issued a detention, and must have no unexcused absences. If these criteria are met the student will automatically become a Scholar Club member and receive the rewards associated with membership.

Here is what being a member of the Scholar Club provides. First, the student will be showcased in the newsletter with a descriptive narrative describing their academic achievement. Next, the student will be recognized on the website and their project will receive special display format. Students will also have the option of dropping a low grade from their homework or a quiz. Finally, they will be granted special privileges for visiting either their locker or the library, and using the restroom during class time.

I often feel that high achievers are overlooked in a small rural environment and felt that this initiative would benefit those who aspire to achieve more. Due to the fact that I am limited in my authority, I was attempting to provide rewards that would viewed as special privileges from the students.

I am curious to see how this progresses in the coming months, but have already heard a buzz around the hallways.