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.

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6 Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of Failure As A Startup Entrepreneur

6 Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of Failure As A Startup Entrepreneur

by Tyler Basu

Many would-be entrepreneurs let their fear of failure stop them from starting a business. Maybe it’s because of all the statistics we’ve heard (you know, the ones that tell us that 90% of all new businesses fail within 3 years, or something along those lines).  

There are many reasons why a business fails (and just so you know, it’s not the end of the world when it does), but the fear of failure alone should never be enough to justify not starting one. It is perfectly natural to have feelings of uncertainty about what you’re getting yourself into as you become an entrepreneur. The trick is to not let those feelings paralyze you and keep you from taking action.

The only way to truly overcome a fear is to face it. You must decide to take action in spite of your fear. Yes, that fear will reappear from time to time, but the good news is you can learn to ignore it and stay focused on building your dream.

Here are 6 strategies to help you overcome your fear of failure as a startup entrepreneur:

1. Redefine what it means to fail

One of the main reasons why many aspiring entrepreneurs allow the fear of failure to stop them from starting their business is because they view failure as something that is negative. Interestingly enough, if you study the lives of successful entrepreneurs you will discover that in most cases their careers were riddled with “failures” before they succeeded.

Failure is not the opposite of success. It is a part of success. A failure is nothing more than a result that you get that you do not want. It is neither good nor bad, it is just feedback. By learning from feedback, and continuing to take action and make decisions that produce more feedback, you eventually learn precisely the lessons you need to learn to earn your success.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

Every industry has a select group of individuals and companies that rise to the top of that industry. One of the most effective ways to succeed quickly is to learn from their approaches and emulate them. In fact, it is wise to study the successes (and the failures) of entrepreneurs in general, regardless of what business or industry they are in. Just be careful not to compare yourself to them.

In order to build a unique business, you must hold on to your uniqueness as an individual. It is unwise to compare yourself to others for the simple reason that you are not them, and you shouldn’t try to be them either. Admire the success of others, but don’t envy them. Respect the results that other entrepreneurs are able to create, but focus your attention on the results that you want to create.

 

3. Just keep going

Another effective way to overcome your fear of failure is to take action in spite of fear. When doubts, fears, or any other negative thoughts enter your mind just stay focused on taking action. Fear is a common feeling when you do things you have never done before. When you try something new, you leave your comfort zone – you enter the unknown. But instead of retreating back to your comfort zone whenever you feel fear, embrace that fear and praise yourself for having the courage to step into a new, unfamiliar experience.

By facing your fear head on, and continuing to take action, your comfort zone expands and eventually that new experience becomes a familiar experience and the fear will subside. Successful entrepreneurs have learned to use fear as a motivator to keep moving forward. Whether it’s the fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of mediocrity, or the fear of poverty, they purposely use that fear to fuel their motivation to succeed.

“I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

4. Don’t focus on problems, find solutions

Never forget that businesses exist to provide products or services that solve specific problems to the marketplace. To succeed as an entrepreneur, you must learn to embrace problems, but not focus on them. Learn to perceive every problem as an opportunity to create a solution, to fill an unfilled need.

If your employees are complaining about specific challenges, there may be an opportunity there. If your customers are having challenges in certain areas or with certain products, there may be an opportunity there. If your suppliers are complaining about something, there may be an opportunity there. The more problems that you and your business are able to solve, and the more people you are able to solve them for, the more you will be rewarded (financially and otherwise) for providing those solutions.

 

5. Stay positive

Another important point for overcoming your fear of failure as a startup entrepreneur is to maintain a positive attitude always. As a leader of an organization and as the visionary for the future of your business, you must remain focused on the possibilities of the future and not so much the challenges of the present.

Expect setbacks and obstacles and know that overcoming them are the price you must pay to succeed. Your team will be looking to you for encouragement during difficult times, and so you must never fail to display a positive, optimistic attitude.

Keep in mind that a positive attitude alone will not be enough to save your business from failing (would a positive attitude alone have saved Blockbuster from failing as Netflix emerged?). It is important to acknowledge market conditions for your business and face certain facts that may not be ideal. You must operate from objective reality, but lean on your positive attitude to look for the hidden opportunities within that reality.

“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” – Robert T. Kiyosaki

6. Start small and count your successes

The final strategy for overcoming your fear of failure is to start small, achieve positive results, and build on that momentum. You may have the expression “go big or go home”. Many people have used this expression to justify taking massive action or taking no action at all. In some scenarios this is a wise approach, but for many startup entrepreneurs it is better to begin with smaller goals – goals such as setting up your website, launching a crowdfunding campaign, or acquiring your first customer – and then building on those successes.

Success breeds success. By consistently achieving positive results on a smaller scale, you build momentum. That momentum is what will help to create the larger successes later.

Post:http://app.mhb.io/e/tfyj/8

 

Child Behavior: When nothing else works, consider these 7 strategies:

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

Parents are saying discipline, consequences, time out and stickers don’t work. Parents are presenting as more and more defeated when it comes to managing the behavior of their children. They have a long list of tried that – didn’t work scenarios including many of the more popular parenting programs. What’s up with that? Why does it seem near impossible to get kids to listen? What can parents do differently?

To know what to do differently, we first need to appreciate what’s at play creating challenges out of children’s behavior and undermining parental authority. This brief history of the world is needed – or at least a brief history of the past 70 years. It goes like this:

  • 1950’s: Intact two parent families with a primary breadwinner and a primary homemaker;
  • 1960’s: Women’s Movement begins and gender equality begins to be examined publicly;
  • 1970’s: No-fault divorce appears in many jurisdictions, divorce…

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7 Simple Steps to Banish Stress From Your Life Forever

By Peter Economy

Stress can be a killer–in more ways that one. Take some simple steps to kick stress out of your life once and for all.

 

CREDIT: Shutterstock

We all face stress, and it’s what we do when we’re stessed that defines the outcome.

While some let themselves get overwhelmed and shut down, others use stress to motivate and push them to greater heights. Without the proper stress management tools, it’s easy to give in and find ourselves overcome by stress. By following these seven steps, you can banish stress from your life–once and for all.

1. Look at the big picture

While you may be coming uncomfortably close to a deadline, your lack of progress is not your wife’s or your children’s faults, and probably not your coworkers’ or employees’ either. It’s very important to remember what’s most important in your life, and to be aware when you’re blaming others for your problems and then taking it out on those closest to you. Sometimes we get so stressed that we blow up, which just causes more stress and drama in our lives.Try to keep things in proportion and you will see your stress level diminish daily.

2. Exercise

Being active is healthy for the body and the mind. When you’re feeling stressed, take a quick break and go for a walk outside your office. This short interruption will give you a fresh perspective while removing immediate sources of stress. And as an added benefit, the endorphins released in your brain from the physical activity will make you feel better and at peace.

3. Eat healthy

Sugar crashes are a real thing, and with sugar hiding out in most every kind of processed food, it’s extremely important to be aware of what you put in your body. Start out your mornings with a big, healthy breakfast–something along the lines of eggs and vegetables–and be sure to take breaks for lunch no matter how busy your day is. Keeping your brain fueled with healthy foods helps to keep stress from creeping up on you.

4. Keep track of progress

Write down how much you’ve accomplished on a project. Keep track of your average progress and make a goal for when you can and will complete it. Through this process, you can truly see how much is left to be done and plan accordingly instead of feeling overwhelmed inside because you aren’t sure how much is left to accomplish.

5. Stay organized

Disorganization in any form causes the brain to feel stressed. Organize your work, your surroundings, and your activities in a way that gives you the most breathing room. If you are sitting in a room of clutter, your brain won’t be able to focus on the task at hand. The more organized you are, the better you feel subconsciously. If you are feeling disorganized, spend 10 minutes a day on organizing different areas of your office and the work itself, and set a schedule for yourself.

6. Remain positive

Don’t let yourself hang onto negative thoughts that you won’t accomplish whatever it is that you need to to do. Tell yourself that you can and will finish on time, get organized, and get healthy. Make a goal, write it down, and hold yourself accountable. 

7. Make time for fun

The old saying is work hard, play hard, but if you’re focused on only work and set aside no time for fun, you will get stressed and burned out. Be happy, and spread some of that happiness around. Plan non-working vacations, get-togethers with your employees outside of your office, and fun-filled activities for everyone to participate in within your office.

Original post:http://www.inc.com/peter-economy/7-simple-steps-to-banish-stress-from-your-life-forever.html

3 Habits of People Who Achieve Their Dreams

By Kyle Hunt

Ever since I was a little child I’ve thought about how far my dreams can really take me. I’ve spent most of my life working toward my dreams: the dream of finding a fulfilling relationship, a career that I’m passionate about, a body that I’m proud of and spiritual abundance that can comfort me in times of need. I spend hours of my time everyday, every week, and every year taking steps toward achieving those dreams, and I can honestly say that I’ve been able to accomplish a lot of the things I’ve set out to do.

The key to achieving your dreams is to have a detailed plan that will allow you to form good habits along the way. All the successful people I’ve met in my life have a certain pattern for the way they do things, and those patterns end up translating into habits that stand the test of time. If you want to achieve your dreams, then I’d suggest making these 3 habits a part of your life.

#1: They Fight for Their Dreams All Day Everyday

If there is anything I know about people who achieve their dreams, it’s that they fight for their dreams like their life depends on it. They live life to the fullest and love what they do, but they know that if they aren’t spending an adequate amount of time everyday getting closer to their goals, then someone else out there is. They realize that they can’t spend hours everyday lounging on the couch or surfing the web—they have to act!

#2: They Take Care of Themselves Physically, Mentally and Spiritually

Following your dreams can take a toll on your body and your soul, but those who know how to achieve their dreams understand that if they don’t take care of themselves physically, mentally and spiritually, they won’t make it through. If you want to perform at your peak, you need to follow a clean diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables and healthy protein. You also need to exercise at least a few times per week. And lastly, you need to get in touch with your spiritual side—going to a religious ceremony or even practicing regular meditation can do the trick.

#3: They Will do What Others Will Not

When I say this, I’m not talking about lying, cheating or stealing to get to the top, but people that achieve their dreams are always willing to go the extra mile when others only want to rest. If you want to achieve your dreams, you have to learn how to be ferocious about chasing what you want. Sometimes you’ll have to sacrifice free time to work another hour or finish up a project, but that’s ok, because it will put you one step closer to achieving your dreams.

Original post: http://www.goalsontrack.com/blog/2016/03/14/3-habits-of-people-who-achieve-their-dreams/

My late teens and writing.

In my late teens, I was able to see patterns or categories appearing in the records I kept. Suddenly, I saw clearly, there were activities needed to get done before others, hurdles to cross and much research to take place before I could recognize my goals. I think that making such observations kept me doing the journaling. It also kept me inspired and motivated to continue doing what I was expending energy behind.

Educational goals.
By now you will be recognizing that the process of journaling, or writing down the dreams you have and the possible steps to obtain such dreams, will go hand-in-hand with your achievements. I would like to now share with you the plan writing had allowed me to formulate. At this period of time in my life, I was coming to the end of my secondary school’s experience. By this time, due to the work that I was doing, that of journaling my thoughts and my expectation for the future, I knew it was coming near to another important phase in my life. It was true that from form four and into form five, among the academics we were also coached as to the various career paths available to us students. While this was done in a group I had a feeling that at least if I had a one-on-one session with my form teacher, I may have benefited the most. And so, I arranged to have a meeting with my form teacher.

The benefit of the meeting was particularly noteworthy. I was assisted with information pertaining to choosing of a university. Owed to out meeting, I was able to gain insight as to the financial cost and length of time it will take to complete the undergraduate programme. My form teacher also assisted me in understanding that if I wanted to be a psychologist or to get into medicine I had to go through a graduate programme.

Setbacks and reevaluation in my educational pursuit.
I completed the registration form and within a few months got a call that I was accepted by the University to study at the undergraduate level. Now in my written plans I had sort the fuse together psychology and biology and the correct paths that surrounded the two. Because of the courses I had done at the secondary school level, I was easily accepted into the natural science faculty to study biology. Keep in mind that I was also passionate about the field of psychology. So I enrolled in the psychology and sociology programme, in the Faculty of Behavioral Sciences. I began studying for the double major, Biology and Behavioural Science.

Almost at the onset, the courses in the biology program proved itself to be tough. I distinctly remembered two courses that made me feel like I was swimming against the strong currents of the Atlantic Ocean. Those two courses were organic chemistry and physics. Twice I wrote the exam for organic chemistry and failed. I remember sitting in the exam for physics and feeling like I was in a foreign country with the language I did not understand but needed to get around to find my way home. Like a lost child at the bus station, I almost cried.

Upon reflecting a way forward I made discovery which I may not have seen had failure not prevailed. A matter of fact I made a number of discoveries such as failure can happen, even in the midst of hard work and that sometimes fear and disappointment can have you questioning whether or not you should continue on the path leading to your goals. The one I will share with you though, had to do with the cognitive dissonance or confusion relating to a step in the plan that no longer fit directly with a particular career I talked I wanted to pursue. That was a career in neuropsychology or cognitive psychology. I looked at the career paths of the written plan I had made, my vision and what needed to get me there and recognized that I needed to reevaluate. What I noticed as to the objectives to choosing this career path aligned the more so to educational psychology. After speaking with my academic advisor, the decision was made to drop biology and continue to completion, the degree in behavioral science. Doing a double major meant that I would have had more course credits to complete, and therefore will have had to stay an extra year—providing I had made use of all the semester summer sessions over the years. Thus far I had already completed a number of biological courses and dropping this degree now, at least two years in, would have meant I needed to stay an extra year.

If I did not take the time to diligently record all the steps or processes needed to obtain my educational goals, I may have felt overly frustrated, which in turn could have dampened my view of myself. There many persons in life who do not have these set goals, who do not have a journal of their plans to referred too and can have their self-esteem or self-concept significantly affected should the failure prevailed temporarily. You do not have to fall into this category of persons who feel lost, not knowing where to go next because they had not written down clearly defined goals, and should reevaluation be necessary they are confused as to where to begin.

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