Tag Archives: #leadbyexample

We ARE Better Together


We recently returned from Charleston, SC where we presented at the 2015 Center for Scholastic Inquiry’s International Academic Research Conference. We learned from and with some of the best of the best practitioners across the globe in the areas of education, business, and behavioral science. And, of course, we enjoyed a little pleasure and relaxation on top of it all.

Our research presentation was on Bloom’s Taxonomy mixed with Web 2.0 tools used in Higher Education. Besides the little bit of a technology glitch, our presentation went well. Better than we ever imagined. We’ll share why in a second.

We attended many sessions as well. We learned from experts – researchers and practitioners – in the areas of preparing candidates to teach English learners, Instagram use in education, bullying in the workplace, teacher candidate dispositions, and much more in fields of education, business, and behavioral sciences. Our lightbulb moment was realizing that we are not alone when it comes to dealing with some of these issues – and across various fields and workplaces.

Alone, we are smart, and we handle whatever issue may park itself in our departments. Together, with all these experts from varied disciplines and various locations across the globe, we discussed and brainstormed, and shared. Together we were brilliant and found solutions to these issues.

If you have not heard of this conference, we recommend you check it out. Hopefully next year we will get the privilege of learning with and from YOU in Scottsdale, AZ! Because as Steven Anderson noted, “Alone we are smart. Together, we are brilliant.”

Oh, yes, and about our session. We won the ‘Best Presentation’ award. Not bad for our first time being there! 🙂 It’s kind of like golf…you have that ONE good shot that keeps you coming back. We had that ONE good presentation that will keep us going back time and time again. (Thanks, Dr. Tanya Yerigan!).


Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

How to Accessorize Your Staff Meetings with Children’s Books



It is back to school time. A new beginning. A time to come together as a team. Elementary principals from all corners of the United States are preparing what they will say to their staff when they return. Planning that important first-day-back staff gathering can be a challenge.

Any of you principals use children’s books to accessorize that staff meeting? May we suggest that you give these delightful books a try? If they don’t seem to work, ditch them. (…and then it wasn’t us who suggested them. 🙂 ) If the lovely books do seem to bring home an important point, by all means add a title to the agenda now and then.

Phillips and Wong (2010) advised us to “think of literacy as a spine; it holds everything together.” Holding it together at the beginning of the year and all year long seems like a great plan to us.

Here are a few titles that we used when we were elementary principals, and also a few titles shared with us by other administrators, and also how they used those children’s books in their meetings. We hope they bring a little ‘bling’ to your staff meetings – because really, who doesn’t like a little bling now and then?! 🙂

BLOG children's lit 2

The Crayon Box that Talked by Shane DeRolf –“I used this book at the beginning of the year with my staff to remind them that we all play an important role in making the school a place where we all need to work together.” ~Pat W., Superintendent

 BLOG children's lit 3

 Hooray for Diffendoofer Day by Dr. Seuss –“I read this book at the all-school assembly at the beginning of the year and changed the names in the book to the names of my staff which allowed for some laughter from the students and faculty.” ~Dr. Wendy C.S., former principal

 BLOG children's lit 4

Look out Kindergarten, Here I Come by Nancy Carlson –“I used this book for kindergarten round up in the spring and for preparing my own children for school.” ~Dr. Sonya V., former principal and parent-in-training

 BLOG children's lit 5

 Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss – “I read this book at the end of one of my staff meetings to celebrate the fact that we met AYP.” ~Jason S., principal

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Testing Miss Malarkey by Judy Finchler – “I read this book the day before grades 3 – 5 take their MCA-II tests.” ~Dr. Connie H., former principal

 BLOG children's lit 7

 Math Curse by Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith – “Math is our biggest challenge for AYP, so we are brainstorming all possible ways to have our students perform better in math.  Thought that we should start thinking “math” like in the story — just a fun way to bring a point across.” ~Melody T., retired principal

 BLOG children's lit 8

 Zombies: Evacuate the School by Sara Holbrook – “Use at your back-to-school staff meeting. Read ‘100 Percent Me’ then have each teacher give percentages of who they are. Hang up in the lounge or office. These show how each one of us is unique.” ~Dr. Wendy C.S., former principal

 BLOG children's lit 9

Pip & Squeak by Kate Duke – “I used this to work on developing relationships in the school and home environments.” ~Dr. Sonya V., former principal and current parent of “my 3 sons”!

Accessorizing adds beauty – it can make an outfit or make a meeting. Just don’t overdo it or it will lose its’ luster. We would LOVE to hear of any children’s literature that you are currently using to adorn your staff meetings or all-school assemblies. Please share them in the comments below with us and others.

We wish you a fabulous year filled with enjoyable reading and lots of bling. 🙂

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

The Moral of the Story Is…

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The other night there was a documentary on the National Geographic channel. It was called Brain Games: Morality, and it was rather thought-provoking. One particular situation in the documentary was setting unknown participants up to receive too much change back from the cashier at a coffee house. Every time the person who received the money returned it… until – the cashier became a distracted and less polite person, who was busy texting on her phone and did not seem to be too bright. In that situation, the persons receiving the extra change – which was $20 – kept it. Wow… this is based on people passing judgments on others and not because the buyers, or customers, were any different. Not sure why this happens but it seemed to consistently be the case. One thing we know for sure – we are glad we weren’t the unknown participants caught on tape! It does cause us to consider how people behave when others are not watching. What application does this have for us in the classroom, business, or simply life in our world?   What is the moral of the story after all?

Hold that thought…

True Story. After just having viewed the documentary the previous evening, I experienced a simliar situation of chosing between right and wrong. It was like I was being set up wtihout knowing it. My son was competing at the junior high speech meet in one part of a school building, and wanting to see the high school team’s first post-season basketball game, we walked to the gym area. The ticket table was waaayyy down another hall, but the gym doors were right in front of us. We knew that we would only be there for a short time as we were waiting the awards ceremony to begin for speech. The devil angel on my shoulder thought for a split second “just go in because you won’t be here very long,” but the angel angel on my shoulder immediately spoke up (maybe yelled?) “you WILL do what is right – especially as you are modeling for your impressionable son.” Of course I listened to my angel angel and paid the $12 for my son and I to attend. We didn’t stay long, but I could at least sleep at night knowing I did what was right. I didn’t make the explicit connection to my story and the morality documentary until considering this blog.  The $12 costs far less than integrity.  …Sure glad there wasn’t a documentary being made at the time, but at least I could be part of the first group who returned the extra change – at least this time, right?!

The moral of the story is that we need to do what we know is right and not what we think we can justify with a long story because it might be the easier road to go – for us physically or mentally… or for our wallets. We need to remember to lead by example because it is our actions that tell most of our story. A word of advice to our teacher candidates here – remember they are always watching so model what you want to see.

Have you been “caught” in a morality documentary of your own recently? Tell us your reality story.

Stay Calm & Lead On!

Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.