Do you sometimes have to stop?

I fell asleep quit easily last night. Actually my body just could not stay awake for much longer.  Sometimes there are so many things to get done, that we catch ourselves working for longer hours than we had planned.

Remember too:

Take breaks between tasks

We will be able to cumulatively work for longer periods if we take short breaks to rejuvenate the mind.

Make a plan and try to stick to it

Sometimes we say that we have a plan, it is in our heads.  What sometimes happens is that the plan in our heads gets side-tracked.  We may add or remove task without thinking how it will affect other things.  So write it down.  It is easier to see and make changes if you really have to.

Use a timer

Sometimes when we do not schedule the length of time for an activity, we find ourselves staying a bit too long on a task, or paying little attention to details that needed attention.

 

 

 

 

Advisory: 22 Ways to Build Relationships for Educational Success

Taken from:Nashville Big Picture High School

A shy and quiet ninth-grade student, Harley didn’t want to make friends when he entered Nashville Big Picture High School. He didn’t think he could. “Freshman year, I didn’t think I could really do anything,” remembers Harley, now a Nashville Big Picture alumnus and a rising college freshman. “Now, I believe in myself.”

On the first day of school, everything changed for Harley in his ninth-grade advisory when he met Michael, today one of his best friends. “He helped me to expand myself, talk more, and become friends with more people. I can now easily go up to somebody, shake their hand, and start a full-on conversation with them out of thin air,” notes Harley. His confidence shows in his senior capstone project, a 20-minute documentary honoring his graduating class. “I interviewed every student, every teacher, and most of the staff that we have ever interacted with,” recounts Harley. He also interviewed his peers about student voice and choice for Edutopia.

Relationships are the hub of advisory. Students stay with the same peer group of about 15 students — as well as the same advisor — throughout all four years. “Advisory gave me a place in school that I looked forward to,” recalls Harley. “In middle school, I would dread every day having to be with those kids again, but at Big Picture, I looked forward to seeing not only the group of people I considered friends, but the group I considered family.”

Students at Nashville Big Picture attend advisory Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (their on-campus days) for 15 minutes in the morning before classes and two hours at the end of the day. (They’re off-site at internships on Tuesday and Thursday.) During advisory, they have individualized learning time where they work on projects and assignments for their classes; ten-minute one-on-one meetings with their advisor weekly (the frequency and time can change depending on their students’ needs); and relationship-building activities, like family meals, problem-solving discussions, and games of Uno.

Nashville Big Picture has a 95 percent attendance rate and a 98 percent graduation rate. “They want to be here because they feel welcomed,” says Chaerea Snorten, Nashville Big Picture’s principal. “They feel like they matter. They feel loved and appreciated.”

If you want to create a culture where your students feel supported, appreciated, and safe to open up to you, here’s how you can adapt Big Picture’s philosophy of building intentional relationships, both inside and outside of advisory.

How It’s Done

22 Ways to Build Intentional Relationships With Your Students, Even If You’re at a Big School

If you can’t fit advisory into the master schedule, you can implement a lot of what Big Picture does during homeroom, in your classroom, or during lunch and break periods. At the heart of advisory is building intentional relationships with your students. Here are 22 ways to do that.

1. Know your students’ names, suggests Snorten. When you use someone’s name, you’re recognizing their identity. It’s simple, but it helps your students know that they’re being seen.

2. Recognize something that your students like. “Even something as simple as, ‘I know your favorite color is green,'” recommends Snorten. “Or, ‘I know your favorite football team is the Washington Redskins’ — anything like that. It’s a talking point.”

3. Notice something about your students. “‘Hey, I love your blouse. It’s really pretty.’ That extends itself for a conversation,” explains Snorten.

4. Ask your students about their experience in after-school activities. You can say something like, “’Hey, I know that you were able to go speak in front of the mayor. Tell me what that experience was like for you,’” suggests Snorten. “Or, ‘You all had a softball game the other day. I understand it was pretty tough. Share some fun things about it.’ These kinds of conversations are quick, and they don’t take hours and hours to build.”

5. If a student is late (or acting up), check in with them. “Instead of saying, ‘Go to class,'” suggests Courtney Ivy Davis, Nashville Big Picture’s school counselor and internship coordinator, “start a conversation, and say something like, ‘Hey, I’ve seen that you’ve been late for the past couple days. What’s going on? Do you need some help with anything?'”

6. When you’re having conflict with a student, use that as an opportunity. As a teacher, you’re positioned to help students problem solve and work out their issues. The language that you use in these situations is key, and Snorten advises asking the following questions:

  • What happened with this situation?
  • Was there something that you could have done differently? What would the outcome have been?
  • What are resources that you can use to help you work through issues or concerns that you have?

Related Resource: 13 Common Sayings to Avoid

7. Have your students address you by your first name, offers Snorten. This helps humanize you to your students. You’re not just their teacher or principal, but you become Miss Courtney or Mr. Gary who has two cats and loves to freestyle rap.

8. Know that it takes time to build relationships. Whether the role of advisor is new to you, or your advisory group just graduated and you’ll be starting over with freshmen again next year, remember that building relationships takes time. “It takes time to get through your students’ walls,” says Derick Richardson, a math teacher and advisor. “I have an awesome young lady in my advisory. It took a few years for her not to blow up on me whenever we had conversations revolving around conflict. Now I know how to present things to her so she can receive it.”

9. Be open, honest, and vulnerable with your students. “There’s nothing off limits,” says Gary Hook, a Big Picture history teacher and advisor. “I’m honest with them, I’ll say, ‘Hey, I had an argument with my wife this morning. I’m sorry if I’m in a bad mood. We’re going to get through it.’ I’ll say that, and it disarms them, and they may say, ‘I had an argument with my mom this morning, and I’m feeling …’ I like to take that approach because, at the end of the day, I know the real student versus a false personality. We get in touch with the human side of one another.”

10. Bring your personality into your advisory. If you walk into four advisories at Big Picture, you’ll notice that each one is different, and each one reflects the advisor’s personality. In Hook’s advisory, for example, they’ll sometimes have freestyle Fridays. He has been a fan of hip-hop since he was ten, and now he uses hip-hop as an avenue to connect with and engage his students; they challenge him to freestyle rap battles. “I’m pretty much undefeated,” he says. Another Big Picture advisor ends each advisory with a game of UNO, which has become an ongoing tournament.

11. Help your students learn that not knowing the answer is OK. “The number one thing that students think about is not wanting to appear as if they don’t know something,” says Laura Davis, a history teacher and advisor. “That’s a big hurdle to get over, getting them comfortable with asking for help.”

12. Guide your students to become resources for each other. “They learn who is good at computers, who is good at art, who’s good at organizing, and who is good to practice their presentations with,” says Davis, “and that is a life skill.” Help your students recognize their strengths — as well as the strengths of their classmates — so that they can support each other and know who they can reach out to for help.

13. Make sure you take care of yourself. Staying balanced is necessary, says Hook. As a teacher, you’re always thinking about your students. The same is true for being an advisor, and maybe even more so. When considering your students’ needs, don’t forget your own in the process. If you’re burnt out, you won’t be able to be fully present for your kids.

14. Create advisory expectations with your students on day one. “The most important thing in ninth grade advisory, from day one,” emphasizes Davis, “is setting what the culture of the room will be like. What are the expectations for the students and for the adult?” Have your students create the classroom norms, but allow yourself veto power. Be clear on each expectation and what that looks like. If be respectful is an expectation, what would being respectful look like?

15. “Whatever happens in advisory stays in advisory,” stresses Davis. It’s important to include confidentiality in the advisory expectations so that your students are comfortable sharing their feelings, struggles, and successes in a safe space.

16. Focus on teaching your students skills with long-term benefits. “Teaching them how to manage their time, their projects, due dates, syllabuses, and multiple apparatuses of online tools — that’s extremely key,” says Davis. “Reflecting, journaling, we do that every day. That happens at the very beginning. I want them to take these skills with them all four years. These are things I model every day.”

17. Check in with each student for ten minutes. If you have an advisory or homeroom, use some of that time to check in with your students one-on-one. “We talk about school, internships, life, and things they want to let me know,” explains Davis. “If you’re in a school with 500 students,” adds Hook, “and you don’t have the ability to connect with a small group, start having conversations about how to do that. Could it work if you add 15 minutes to your day, or if you take ten minutes away from your lunch?”

18. Do something fun. “If you have a homeroom of 36 kids, what could you do tomorrow to build relationships?” asks Davis. “Do something fun to get your students to start slowly breaking down their walls.”

19. Let your students do walk-and-talks when they’re having a hard day. When Davis’ students are having a difficult day, she lets them leave class momentarily to walk with her (while someone covers her class) or with a peer so that they can share what’s on their mind. “I think that’s really important for kids to know that they have a supportive group of peers — and an adult — that will listen,” says Davis.

20. Use family meetings to resolve conflicts. If there’s an issue, “we gather in a Quaker Circle and talk about what has happened and where we move from here,” explains Davis. “It prevents the ‘he said, she said,’ dialogue. Anyone can call a family meeting. I can, or the students can.”

21. Host family meals. “Every first Friday, we pick a menu, and every person has a responsibility,” explains Hook. “They bring in their food, and we eat, hang, and laugh together. That’s just my way of bringing them all back to this space, refocusing our energy, and hitting home the idea that we’re a unit, and we’re moving forward.” Family meals initiated from a holiday brunch. Hook’s students loved coming together to cook for each other, and they came up with the idea to have a family meal to celebrate all of the birthdays for each month. Hook begins each family meal with a lesson or philosophical question, like discussing what is wealth, or what traditions the modern American family no longer follows and what’s the impact of that. “Sometimes they entertain my questions, and they want to talk about it,” says Hook, “and other times, they’re just like, ‘Oh, gosh, here he goes again.'”

22. Reflect on your practice. At the beginning of each school year, as well as bi-monthly with their professional learning community, Nashville Big Picture’s staff looks at how they can improve what they’re doing. “We don’t just sit in one place,” says Ivy Davis, “and say, ‘Hey, this works,’ and leave it that way. No, we’re always looking at, ‘Is this still working? Do we need to keep it? How can we enhance this?'”

Building relationships is one of the most critical elements at Big Picture, says Snorten. “That’s key because it’s the catalyst. When a student can relate to you, and they know you care, that makes a big difference.” Nashville Big Picture has cultivated a relationship-focused culture, and advisory allows them to deepen those relationships.

Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.'” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.

Teamwork and reflective practice in the family.

Imagine a company is going through some economic challenges and it comes to the point that the only way to survive is to make some immediate changes. So the Chief Executive Officer gets all the ten managers together for a meeting. You happen to be one of the managers.

 

One by one, he comes down the line asking what could be done to have this company, and by extension jobs saved. After the ninth manager, here comes your turn. With all eyes on you, the question is asked: “What can we do to save this company and your job?”

 

With a confident smile on your face you blurt out: “I have absolutely no idea!”

 

Now, if you were the last one that the company was depending on to come up with a good idea, then, there goes the jobs and the many lives depending on the employee.

 

Hi, my name is Allick, and I’m the Behaviourist Buy, and today I want to talk about actively thinking about the needs of the family as it pertains to building a stronger, better team.

So what are we talking about here?

 

There comes a time, when a parent, husband or wife, need to reflect on the direction the family is heading, and what can be done to ensure the family see the success it deserves.

Now this approach of becoming a reflective practitioner can help solve most, if not all major problems a family may have.  The following are some steps you can take to help you become more reflective of issues affecting the family and how to solve them:

 

Step 1: Identifying the problem.

An adult may say to a child: “You never listen to me when I say go cleanup your room.” And this is normally followed by some kind of argument, back and forth. Now, most times the conflict would have been averted if the adult had said something differently. What I mean here is that if the adult was more specific in what the child appears to not be doing, this may reduce the chance of a conflict escalating.

 

So the next time you are having a disagreement with your child, try to be specific.  For example, if you want them to cleanup their room, let them know what is to be done.  So we are looking at things like remove clothing and books from the floor and pack them in their respective cupboards, dust writing desk, place shoes under bed, side by side in a straight line.

 

Step 2: Try to see the problem as though you were the other person.

This means, that you must walk in their shoes, as it were. That would mean, that you look at the named issue, and try to see if it would really be considered a problem for all persons.

 

Let say, again, it has to do with cleaning up their room after playtime. You as the adult may look at the entire room and say it is untidy. But, could you see, that for a child, it may be that they can still get to bed and sleep; at least if they arch their body just right, they can actually fall asleep between the rubble. And, that is a reason why they may not see an untidy room as a problem.

 

Step 3: Think in terms that the child may not be previously aware of the behaviour we are calling to their attention.

The child may see for instance the room with a number of stuff thrown about, but a question that could be ask is: Are they aware of the reasons for keeping their room clean? Don’t take for granted that they know.

 

Why?

 

Because they are 10 years old or 12 years old or because they are teenagers?

 

Sometimes what can happen is that we look at the child’s physical structure and make a determination, that cognitively or their ability to reason, should be commensurate with how they look. And that’s, not always the way to determine knowledge.

 

Step 4: How could I modified the child’s behavior?

It is often stated that a picture can paint 1000 words. This means that at times you may have to show them a picture of what behaviours you are expecting them to engage.

 

Video content is something that can keep the interest of a child. So it may be that you show them someone engaging in the behavior you want them to also engage in.

 

At times you may have to tell a story from your experience.  For example, when you found as a child a scorpion in your untidy room (or something else with a little shock factor). Let them know how you felt scared and what you decided to do after that experience (hopefully it was to start keeping your room tidy!).

 

You may need to also build, or purchase cupboards for them to pack away their stuff. Also, teach your children how to label sections of the room, so that they will know exactly what goes where.

 

Step 5: Think about whether you are showing reasonableness or patients.

Sometimes you may want a particular behavior to stop immediately. Fidgeting for instance or speaking out of turn might be one of them.

 

Or once more, for them to clean up their room.

 

But it is important to think about the age group of the child, and the length of time they may have taken to develop this unwanted behaviour.  As such, it may also take some time to reverse, or learn different behaviours; or the more positive ones.

 

It is important to note that there are some behaviors that are simply age specific. And so, more than likely, with proper guidance or appropriate discipline, the child will grow out of this unwanted behaviour.  Please understand that this will also take time, patients and reasonableness on your part as the adult.  In so doing, you will help the child to successfully navigate through this time.

 

So, you are a good manager, who can come up with how to solve family problems.  Especially with how you interact with a child when there is a perceived problem. Follow these five steps and you’ll be fine.

 

Well, that’s all for now. This is Allick. Hope you learned something.

 

See you next time.

 

Basic Principles of Behavior Modification

Video created by New Zealand Psychologist Dr Alice Boyes. This video is an experiment in making some basic videos.