Dear Difference Maker,
I’m going to be straight with you today about what really needs to happen to make things better and make it happen now.
The stories in this week’s blog beautifully illustrate how anyone can make a positive difference that has an exponential reach and it only requires something as simple as a preference. What if acknowledgment really could make it completely better in an instant? It’s my hope you are intrigued enough to take a hot second to find out!
Reaching out …
Make It So ’19-’20: Acknowledgment Works!
Excerpt from Make A Difference Power of Acknowledgment UTrain Curriculum
Recently I spoke at an association who is at the forefront of creating and sustaining innovative and intellectually challenging schools.
But before I get into what happened, let me preface this by saying that I’ve traveled the country speaking to over 20,000 people in a two year period. I received evaluations at the end of every day and so I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback over the years about my audience engagement.
I’m not telling you this to impress you but to give you a frame of reference about what I am going to share. Advanced as we are technologically we are still inclined to approach the problematic areas in our schools today from a place of waiting on someone else to fix it. The #1 issue being the social-emotional problems that need to be, must be, solved beginning with the adults in charge – that is if you want to see those test scores go up.
Back to my experience with an organization whose mission statement is to be the forefront of change in schools.
I opened with one of my most engaging activities to get audience involvement right away. It is something I do deliberately to get a feel for what they already know so I don’t take them down a road they’ve already traveled.
As an educator, I always have a Plan A, B, C etc. depending on what an audience reveals about themselves within the first 10 minutes of our time together.
This activity is designed to get people to think beyond their current situations into the future they’d like to find long term solutions for. In fact Step 2 of this process is to identify “How they’s prefer that it be” within each of the problematic areas they’ve already identified in Step 1.
When we got to this question, “How would you prefer that it be?” it was like looking at deer in the headlight. No one raised their hand with a preference. I encouraged them to reach for it in their minds. I instructed them to think beyond what they thought was possible or realistic and get to the heart of what they’d really like to see happen in education.
Tick-tock-tick-tock. Nothing. I waited much longer than I normally would need to with a business or entrepreneurial group.
Finally a young woman with really bright eyes raised her hand and said how she’d prefer that it be in one of the identified problem areas. Excellent! We wrote it up on the board.
Next, a more mature woman who was a Principal, offered her preference. Excellent. It went up on the board. Silence. I leaned in and waited for it. Then a middle aged man offered his. Again, an excellent preference which I was able to segue into the next Step with.
My point in sharing this with you today is to address a limiting paradigm in education that is pervasive – even with 75 of the most innovative teachers in the United States attending my session – and that is our willingness to wait on someone else to tell us what we should be doing and how.
The big problem with this paradigm is that rarely does it spark real, life changing action. People walk out the door and do things exactly the way they have been because they were not part of the collective solution gathering, goal setting, step building experience.
It is because of this old paradigm that I designed a series of UTrain Programs. They are DIY: DO IT YOURSELF programs that can help any one who really wants to be making a difference. Any one who is done waiting on someone else to fix things that is.
I designed it with YOU in mind. The one I’m featuring today is an easy to follow and implement. It has a straightforward step-by-step “flexible” curriculum that will help you uplift and unify the community you are feeling the most strife in.
YOU CAN DO THIS! I’ve done all the heavy lifting and now all that is needed is people who care enough to just do it.
If you are like me, then you get really antsy waiting on others to step up do something that will make things better.
Now, you don’t have to wait on the powers that be to help people feel better so they can do better. You don’t have to sit by and let things escalate any more than they already are. Dig into your own entrepreneurial spirit and DO IT YOURSELF.
Because it’s that time of year when leaders are thinking about their THEME for the fall and winter seasons just ahead, today I’d like to do something I haven’t done before and that is lay out what a 12 month Make A Difference YEAR can look like with just doing 2 a Quarter:
August: Kick off In-Service with your top tier leaders setting the theme of Making A Difference with the Power of Acknowledgment Movie and I Make A Difference Ceremony. Your leaders then take the session you just did with them out to their people and they take this session out to their people, etc…
July: Make A Difference with the Power of Giving Back.
=> Each Session has it’s own movie, discussion and building community (team) activities all laid out for you step by step.
=> You don’t even have to prepare ahead of time (I would but that’s just me).
=> You open up the designated Lesson and play the movie and follow directions.
=> When time has run out, you wrap it up and save back whatever you haven’t used for another In-service when you need it.
No Program Police!
Now, let’s say for example you want to Kick-Off your Make A Difference Year with the Teddy Stallard Story Movie instead of the Acknowledgment Movie.
Then you get to decide! Move it up into your first Session and go ahead and launch.
Then you can move the Acknowledgment Movie back to September which will coincide with National Suicide Prevention Month. This movie is a true story about how a very simple and heartfelt Acknowledgment Ceremony caused the actions of one teacher to dramatically altered the life a business man and his 14-year old son.
YES! You Can Do This …
Click here to see how you can make it so!
Hello, fellow PTA Members, School Faculty and Staff,
As the former PTA President of Ford Middle School in Allen, Texas and the initiator of the “Make A Difference Week” concept two years ago, I can tell you the activities during this week altered the energy in the school, as random acts of kindness filled the halls and expressions of appreciation and acknowledgement were the priority.
The inspirational videos (one of which was Mary’s Acknowledgment Movie ) that the students silently watched with emotion, made a huge impact, and the stories related directly to the activities that were asked of the students throughout the week.
I have observed troubled students transformed from the power of “Make A Difference Week” as they came to life by the simplest acknowledgement of their good nature from their teachers.
The purpose of this week is to demonstrate to the students new ways of making a difference in our world. These next generations are our future leaders, and the world is greatly depending on them to create a more peaceful coexistence for humanity. It’s crucial for kids to understand the important role they play in the world, and it’s up to us to remind them. “Make A Difference Week” is a fun-filled week that encourages students to be the “highest vision they have of themselves,” to bring out the good in others, and to practice the power of acknowledgement, appreciation and kindness.
One week can truly make the difference in our world by impacting the lives of our children, as we empower them to be the positive role models and community heroes for the generations that follow.
Now this amazing, nationally-recognized educator – Mary Robinson Reynolds – has taken “Make A Difference Week” to the next level.
I highly recommend her Make A Difference with the Power of Acknowledgment Week Program for the upcoming year as a way to create a tradition in building a caring and compassionate community of young adults in your school.
Please pass this email along to your Programs chairpersons.
PTA President, Ford M.S., Allen, TX
TOTALLY FLEXIBLE PROGRAM
The activities can be adapted to a One-Day, a Week a Month or a YEAR-long Program. For the greatest impact, the Month-long model offers one week of daily activities followed by 3 weeks of weekly activity-based learning. The Year long program is as described above. In all of the variations, this program will help each student develop a strong Sense of “self” and “purpose,” and provide the motivation for developing positive Life Skills.
Is today the day that you just own it and get out there and do it?
Master’s in Educational Psychology Counseling and Development K-12 from the University of Nebraska; demonstrated expertise with every imaginable label awarded childhood behaviors, physical attributes and learning styles. This includes: Youth At-Risk, Substance Abuse, EBD, Suicide Prevention, GT, ADD, Special Ed, i.e. Intensity, Academic and Behavioral. Extensive experience teaching educators the key to “connecting” with students and adults based on their attitudinal energy, labels and expressed (as well as non-verbal) expectations.
PPS … Let’s not forget that if you have been feeling like there’s something more that you want to do, you can take this program beyond where you currently work by becoming a Certified Make A Difference Facilitator. For those who feel the pull to make a difference and a living at this, I will give you 1:1 time every step a long the way.
Heart Publishing, the Pacific Northwest