Parents are part of the child’s life too!

Children can benefit from the collaborated efforts of parents and school teachers. When parents are not part of the decision making process of education in the classroom, they can feel isolated. It is also critical that feedback on the student’s positive performance be shared with parents and not just negative ones.
This episode of the podcast looks at some practical ways to bridge the gap between parents and teachers.


The driving force

Sometime ago I was speaking to a group of students at a self development program.  The objective was to bring inspiration to them, and so, motivation to achieve whatever they positively set their minds to.

I remembered preparing for the presentation and an interesting question came to my mind.  I asked myself, what is the driving force behind achievement?

I took the word GOAL, and create a mnemonic to help them with this.

On a piece of paper I placed the word GOAL (one letter per line on the page) and then started thinking about it deeply.  What is it in this word GOAL that can make us achieve, focus, and make us successful in the pursuit of our dreams?

As the creative process in my mind went to work, my hands started writing on the sheet of paper.

I then looked at the letter G.  The letter G, stood for get up and get the work done, become actively engaged, get the information necessary to complete this task.  It is by means of initiation, a push or pull action that work gets done.  Remaining stationary is self-defeating when seeking to bring a dream to reality.

The other letter O, reminded me of being organized.  Many times persons may have a vision, know exactly where they need to be or what they need to be doing.

Probably it is an overwhelming action or habit in your life that you want to change or a quality you want to develop.  There is a level of organization that must take place.

Person’s dreams, goals or their purpose may not yet be realized, though they know where they want to be in life, but because of failure at seriously organizing themselves, work may not get done.


There are a few electronic programs you can use to get organized. The ones I generally use are: Evernote, Google drive and Google calendar. From time to time I still use a pencil and paper to record an agenda for the day. If you are unfamiliar with the programs or apps (Evernote, Google drive and Google calendar) you can do some research online on them. YouTube has a great deal of information on all of these. Learn how to use them to organize your day, week, and even months. They have great reminders and can sync well with your smart phone and other electronic devices (tablets and laptop computers).

Reflective practice activities

In thinking of our goals and how organization is critical, think about what you need to do.  

  1. Is it that you need to get up earlier to study for a course you are enrolled in?
  2. Is it that you need to prepare your meals for that diet you have embarked on and will need to get your food containers and meals prepared before leaving the house; not leaving it to chance, believing that you will past by a health food store on your way to work?
  3. Or is it that you need to pack your school bag or meeting case the night before, so that the materials needed for that class or meeting is ready to be a part of your success the following day?


It is important you ask yourself these questions, as organization is essential for success.  The answers you will obtained from these questions may be viewed as simple and something that people already know, yet reflect on your situation for a moment and you may observe something you do not know.

Reflective practice activities

Questions to ask yourself

  1. If I already have these answers how effective is my organizational skills, given I know what I want to achieve?
  2. Am I using these skills to the full, as a habit, or am I just using them occasionally when I feel stressed or remember to do so?

To be organized, you want to have access to a personal daily planner book (this book should have the feel and comfort that is inviting to you, as well as the pen you use) for recording your plans for that day—actually, using it each day of the week, and yes even on Saturdays and Sundays.

Most persons have these planners but seldom use them correctly or use them at all.

My encouragement to you is to start recording your plans for today and future days, today.  See what you have to do and feel the joys of ticking or crossing them out as they get done.

We live in the technological age.  Do you have a cell phone?  A number of persons today on the planet will say yes to this question.

Interestingly today, cell phones are not only use to communicate with other people, be it verbal or text.  With the use of Windows, Android apps and many other user platforms, games, eBooks, movies, Skype, emails or just surfing the World Wide Web has been made possible.

On a number of these devices, storage capacity is quite enormous.  As such, if you already have in your possession, one of these cell phones or tablet devices, use the digital planning programs they come with (or download one, most of them are free) for creating agendas or plans for the day or for the week.  This may take a few minutes but the outcome will be great.


NOTE: When you plan a productive day, the feeling of accomplishment and the knowledge that whatever we are working towards is getting done, is indeed fulfilling.


A friend of mine asked me once, after a meeting we had.

“How is it that you get so much done and not be stressed?”

I remember looking at my friend with a gentle smile then a slight chuckle, “Well, from time to time I do get stressed”.

“Oh, really!”

“Yes really, but I am never stressed over what I need to do next or where I need to go.  I just check my calendar of events for that day on my smart phone and off I’m gone.”

“I need to be more like you,” was my friends reply.

I must admit though that at the beginning of my career, this was not something I was accustom doing.

There was this particular week, I remembered having a series of meetings to attend and presentations to prepare for and students course materials I had to mark, trying to remember client’s information.  Not remembering to check the email my boss called and asked me to read and give feedback on.  That was a big problem for me.  This was a challenging week, this was my disorganized week!  So yes, you can say I learnt the hard way but that should not be your experience.  So create the habit of being organized by including tools in your environment to assist, and see yourself moving one step closer to accomplishing what you set your mind too.

So to conclude on this point of organization using electronic devices.  Remember to take note of what you need to get done on your Smartphone/ tablet and sync the information onto all your other electronic devices.  So any one you log onto, the information is there.

Do not be afraid that you may lose your phone or someone will steal it, your information is sync on all of your devices.  If you are still concerned, put a pass word on your phone, tablet or computer, and so if you lose your phone, someone else can not steal your plan for the day!


NOTE: Remember that failure to plan is self defeating.  Be organized and achieve your dreams.

Parents are part of the child’s life too!

Children can benefit from the collaborated efforts of parents and school teachers. When parents are not part of the decision making process of education in the classroom, they can feel isolated. It is also critical that feedback on the student’s positive performance be shared with parents and not just negative ones.
This episode of the podcast looks at some practical ways to bridge the gap between parents and teachers.


Be as careful of the books you read as of the company you keep, for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as the latter.-Paxton Hood

It is no secret that most persons have the desire to start something great in their lives.  But the problem with most persons is that the knowhow to sustain an action that will get them to where they want to go remains a secret.  And so, with the passing of time their goals, dreams or aspirations dwindle into oblivion.

I want you to think of an occasion in your life when you made a decision to make some change.  This can be anything.

Try to recall the oath you made with yourself.  Maybe it was an exercise programme you wanted to implement.  You bought your sports clothing; matching shoes to go with it.  You made a schedule, and even started.

The first day of your exercise programmed was great, and then the second too.  Then the rain fell.  It is wet outside; you shouldn’t go out today, maybe tomorrow, a thought running through your mind.  You acted on it.

Then tomorrow came and you remembered that this was a rest day, so you can’t go out today, no, you shouldn’t, that will be cheating.  Remember the plan, the plan has a rest day built in, you already got thrown off with the rain this week.  Another thought entering your mind.

Before you know it, exercised days become swamped with other activities but exercise. Activities such as TV watching, or going to the movies may become priority. Now do not get me wrong, I’m not saying that anything is bad about these however the time they start occupying, are time originally set aside for exercise.

The gym equipment you purchased at home now becomes a hanger for clothing.  In this case, the plan to live a healthier life style, got side tracked.  A habit of consistent discipline for exercise was not developed.

I know of persons who are planning forever to return to school and finish that degree they started.  The days turned into months and the months into years.  The drive to complete the remaining course then vanished.

What is the course for that?

There can be many reasons.  But failure the stick to a plan of action consistently, speaks to a faulty process of forming the habits to take you where they want to go.

People want to achieve so much in life, too be more spiritual, learn a new language or to develop better friendships or greater wisdom in some area of their lives.

Some persons are able to accomplish so much in life whereas others struggle.

So what may be a significant deciding factor as to why some persons never achieve their dreams?

The answer could be as simple as that, they failed to develop proper habits.

When goals are not attained, most will just give up or frustrate themselves with self blame and doubt. When, what you should be doing is looking at are areas to develop more positive habits. If these habits are developed, the same persons get an intrinsic value that becomes beneficial to them in a significant way.

You see, people tend to be energized when given rewards—intrinsic or extrinsic—for their industriousness.

When we experience successes in life, owed to calculated actions and attention paid to details, we are motivated to repeat the behaviors which made us successful.

It is as though, through a learning process, we pair achievements of our goals with a specific routine.  This routine over time becomes automatic.  These are habits.

Good habits, they bring less pain physically or emotionally, as such, they are then repeated again and again.  The expectation is that we have similar positive responses each time.

If this good feeling is not experienced, or disappointments prevail, one of two positions is taken:

  1. One position might be to give up and no longer chase our dreams.
  2. The other position is to make adjustments to our routines and persevere.

Behaviorist Ivan Pavlov supported this idea of pairing specific action with outcomes.  In his work on, classical conditioning he showed that you can pair two things together that is as though they become one and the same.

Borrowing from this idea, we can see how we can pair together good habits and productivity. In other words, good work habits come to mean productivity and vice versa.

Developing powerful habits can propel plans.  Powerful habits can get you from the point at where you are right now in your life, to where you want to be.

From today, from this point on ward, you are going to succeed.  You may have tried before at various endeavours and experienced some type of setbacks.  But you will overcome, you will achieve greatness.  I therefore say to you, it is possible, and within your reach to accomplish goals you set for yourself.

Your approach to life, your attitude to growth of what is humanly possible for you must change.  After you have read and put these steps into practice, you will not remain the same.  This means that you must continue to be progressive in what you do to make your dreams a reality.

Someone once said that: “Good things come to people who wait, but better things come to those who go out and get them”.  So let nothing prevent you from achieving all that you possibly can.


…you could accomplish all you want too, all on your own.

With the world becoming more and more individualistic, achievement is promoted as a lonely process. This kind of thinking is far from the truth. I made mentioned above, that for everything we do, eat, wear for instance, it was made possible because of someone else.

While it is true that your goals, and at least achieving them depends significantly on you, it will be erroneous to think that you can achieve these solo.

Any good student in life knows, that learning takes place by someone showing or by you the student observing. So, even if you look at it in this broad way, you no doubt get the picture that even in the case of observation learning, you need someone else.

Some persons are of the view, that to share their talents, time and wisdom with others will take too much time away from them.  They see what they are working on as too important to stop and lend a hand. So, opting not to assist in coaching others to realize their dreams, they focus on theirs.

Not only is this selfish, but in preventing someone else, or maybe not preventing but not contributing to the success of others, they may be inadvertently preventing their true success.

On the one hand, when we stopped to assist others we develop qualities such as love and compassion.

Imagine if a mother was working and being a better appearance but failed to assist another who probably was younger at parenting. This person would have missed valuable lessons which can actually make her better at parenting.

Think for a moment an entrepreneur, who was so focus on developing a personal brand and did not assisting another to develop theirs, can actually sully a relationship which could have developed. This is so as many businesses depend on collaboration and networking to survive in today’s competitive markets.

Then there are others who are very much skeptical, believing that if they share their ideas with others, they will be stolen. While it is true that there are some who can be very unscrupulous, sharing ideas of persons puts you in a good position to receive feedback.

To make any product better feedback is important. To know if you are working on yourself, and becoming a better person, feedback is also important. So the idea here is to put yourself or your dreams before others to examine. The positive critique you receive will be very valuable on your way forward.

For other, they feel that if they ask for assistance, they will be viewed as weak.  And this is a major problem.

A person venturing out into something new will make mistakes. They will not have all the answers and so they will be vulnerable. But vulnerability should not be seen as a problem; at least it should not be looked at as one. Again, this provides an opportunity to receive feedback and produce something of greater value.


From: 6 Powerful Habits For Success: Achieve Your Goals, Live That Dream And Add More Meaning To Your Life.

Copyright © 2017 Allick Delancy

All rights reserved.

16 Books Educators Should Consider Reading in 2016

Books 2016.jpg

If you’re anything like me you get on Twitter, Facebook, or other social networking platforms and your education geek friends start listing books that you need to read. It seems as though there are new education books that come out every day … and that’s probably due to the fact that new education books come out every day.

Besides writing this blog for Education Week and running presentations and giving keynotes, I do a lot of work behind the scenes in publishing. With Ariel Bartlett and Arnis Burvikovs, we created the Connected Educators Series for Corwin Press which turned out 21 short-form practical books for teachers and leaders, and we are working on a new leadership series now.

And, if I don’t read enough through editing the books in the book series, I’m a reviewer of manuscripts for a couple of publishers. Over time what I have noticed is that the books with the big publishing machines get a lot of notice … as most of them should, while other books that come from smaller publishers don’t often as much publicity. So, I thought I would help out a bit by providing a list of some books, both big and small, that I think educators should know about.

What often happens with lists like this is that some books are forgotten, and commenters leave rather nasty comments about books that I should have listed but didn’t. First and foremost I apologize if I left off your favorite education book, and please feel free to leave the title in the comment section. Just to be fair, I didn’t put my own books in this list, so before you get angry at me for leaving off your favorite, please know I didn’t even include mine! All of the books were published in 2015 or early 2016.

If you have the time in your busy days ahead in 2016, you should consider reading some of these books because they are worth the time it takes to read them. I promise that you will need to take notes on your laptop, in your notebook, or on the book itself, because these books will inspire you to think differently.

Visible Learning Into Action (John Hattie, Deb Masters, & Kate Birch) – For full disclosure, I work with John and all three authors are colleagues and friends. Hattie has written some of the most popular academic books ever, and I truly value his research, which is why this book is at the top of the list. When I’m on the road doing Visible Learning trainings I often get asked, “Where do we start?” Visible Learning Into Action helps leaders and teachers understand where they need to begin, because each case study offers a different school’s journey through the VL process.

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education (Sir Ken Robinson & Lou Aronica) – It’s Sir Ken Robinson. I’m still not sure whether I like his amazing TED Talks or insightful books better. He weaves in research, thought-provoking information, and an amazing sense of humor into this book, which will be a top-seller for many years. I love books that will be relevant for decades and this is one of them.

Better Conversations: Coaching Ourselves and Each Other to Be More Credible, Caring, and Connected (Jim Knight) – For the next full disclosure, I work with Jim Knight as an Instructional Coaching trainer. I have long valued Jim’s coaching style and have been on the receiving end of it as well. Jim practices what he preaches and I have an inordinate amount of respect for his work and who he is as a person. This book is well worth the time and will not only enhance your relationships at school but also at home.

Uncommon Learning: Creating Schools That Work for Kids (Eric Sheninger) – Eric has been a friend for a few years and I loved his first book. There is no sophomore slump here, and it is filled with great ideas for teachers and leaders. Eric was a building leader, so he understands the need to keep it real and make it practical. He does that very well in this book. Someday perhaps uncommon learning will be a bit more common.

Engage Every Family: 5 Simple Principles (Steve Constantino) – Steve is someone I met a few years ago. Lots of people talk about how to engage parents, but Steve has been actually doing it for decades. Constantino is a superintendent in Virginia, and he writes with a hard-hitting yet humorous style. Full disclosure #4 is that I wrote the forward because I am a huge fan of Steve’s work.

The Tech-Savvy Administrator: How do I use technology to be a better school leader? (Steven Anderson) – There are a few books on the list that involve technology, but I have long valued Steven’s approach to the topic because he was the director of technology and now works with tech companies and schools. Plus, this is a book in the ASCD Arias series, which are short-form practical books that leaders can read in one sitting.

Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems (Michael Fullan & Joanne Quinn) – Michael Fullan should be on a Top 10 … or 14 … list every year, especially with the book The Principalship that he released a couple of years ago. Coherence is equally as good. Fullan is internationally known for his work in systems thinking. In Coherence, he and Quinn keep their message practical and research-based, and this book will help leaders improve their practice. It helps streamline where our energies should be placed.

The Power of Questioning: Opening Up the World of Student Inquiry (Starr Sackstein) – Starr used to write guest blogs for me, and I quickly saw that she needed her own space to communicate with readers. She writes the Work In Progress blog for Education Week Teacher and I reviewed The Power of Questioning. It is a very well-written book that will inspire many, many teachers. Starr is truly student-centered and this book hits the core of who she is as a teacher, and offers steps for other teachers to take to meet that same goal.

The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity (George Couros) – George is a passionate speaker and has been inspiring leaders and teachers to think differently through his Principal of Change blog for a few years now. The Innovator’s Mindset has hit the ground running and when you read it you will be inspired by George’s passion for education and kids.

Evaluating Instructional Leadership: Recognized Practices for Success (Ray Smith & Julie Smith) – This book was one of the best books on leadership that I read in 2015. Ray and Julie are colleagues through the consulting I do for Visible Learning, and this books brings together a great deal of research as well as decades of practice that they both had as teachers and leaders. We often talk about evaluating teachers but spend little time talking about how to help evaluate leaders. Smith and Smith do it well.

What Connected Educators Do Differently (Todd Whitaker, Jeffrey Zoul, & Jimmy Casas) – Todd Whitaker has been a major influence for me ever since Sharon Lawrence, my former assistant superintendent (and predecessor as building principal), gave me What Great Principals Do Differently back in 2006. Todd is a friend, but he also has a way to offer very practical insight with a humorous style. He brought in Jeffrey Zoul and Jimmy Casas, both of whom are amazing school leaders, to help him offer additional insight with this book.

Hard Conversations Unpacked: The Whos, the Whens, and the What-Ifs (Jennifer Abrams) – This book by Jennifer Abrams comes out in a month, and I reviewed this one as well. Abrams focuses on a very important topic, which is how we communicate with our colleagues. I think we all have been in schools where teachers don’t talk to one another because of something that happened five years ago, and Jen offers practical steps on how to communicate so we don’t have to ignore our colleagues.

Leading Collaborative Learning: Empowering Excellence (Lyn Sharratt & Beate Planche) – I would read anything from Lyn Sharratt, and this book is no different. Sharratt and Planche offer practical steps on how leaders can lead collaborative learning. Collaboration is something we talk about often but it’s not done to the degree it could be in schools, and Sharratt and Planche show us how to meet that goal.

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era (Tony Wagner & Ted Dintersmith) – It would be easy to just say read this book because Tony Wagner is one of the authors, but educators should read this book because Wagner and Dintersmith tell a very important story about our educational system, and everyone can learn from it. I love books that provoke a great deal of thought and this one certainly meets that criteria.

Rethinking Multicultural Education (Edited by Wayne Au) – When I was a young teacher working in a city school in 1997 I picked up Rethinking Schools and I have been a big fan of their work ever since. They made me feel as though they understood what I was seeing as a teacher, and helped me become a better teacher due to the resources they offer. They explored issues that other publishers wouldn’t touch, and they did an awesome job every time. This book by edited by Wayne Au is in a long list of other publications, but I think it will be your favorite for a long, long time.

The STEM Shift: A Guide for School Leaders (Ann Myers & Jill Berkowicz) – We have been talking about STEM for many years, and Myers and Berkowicz address the topic beautifully through philosophy and practical steps based on decades of experience. For full disclosure (#5 or 6) I was in, and graduated from, the Sage College of Albany doctoral program with Jill and Ann was one of the founding members. I have a great deal of admiration for both of them and have learned a lot through our conversations in the program and those conversations that have taken place over the last five years since I graduated. Myers and Berkowicz write the Leadership 360 blog for Education Week, and if you like the blog, you will love this book.

There you go. It’s my list based on books that were released in 2015 or early 2016 that I have read or reviewed. If you have time, please choose one of them and give it a read. If you have other suggestions that I didn’t include, please add them to the comment section.

Thanks for taking the time to read it.


Original post:


Knowing Yourself: Gaining Understanding And Promoting Your Potential For Greatness.

Gain accurate understanding of yourself through the process of reflection. (2)

Click here to download a copy of this book:


We all have the potential to move towards excellence in life. You can reach to the point of what is possible for you this year. The secret is to build a strong foundation in your mind and build from there with action. So where do you start? You start with your awareness, which comes from reflection. As you become more aware of yourself, you will see areas to improve on in your life, thus increasing success for you. This book will help you to do so.
Table of Contents:

The Essence of Who You Are.
The Question Of, Who Am I?
The Mind and You.
I. Questions for Reflection.
II. Questions for Reflection.
Reflection for Improvement.
Distractions and losing yourself.
III. Questions for Reflection.
Using Data to Make Decisions.
Maintain in spite of challenges.

Click here to download a copy of this book: