Does a Checklist Really Work? {Team Meetings}

Does a Checklist Really Work? {Team Meetings}

If you didn’t read my first post on the power of checklists to manage the teacher/coach/principal workload, then click this to take 10 seconds and get caught up!

I am checking out another checklist that I created – what do you think?  What am I missing?

Checklist for Team/Department Meetings

1

Sign-in sheet and time arrived

2

Read agenda together

3

Set time for Item 1, discuss and record next steps/questions

4

Set time for Item 2 discuss and record next steps/questions

5

Set time for Item 3 discuss and record next steps/questions

6

Review individual notes, responsibilities and next steps

7

Each teacher signs off notes back to principal/coach

8

Sign-in sheet time dismissed
Does a Checklist Really Work? {Talking with Parents}

Does a Checklist Really Work? {Talking with Parents}

I have been really obsessed with the book “The Checklist Manifesto.”  To say it’s changed my life would be a little wild, but it has definitely changed my perspective.  A lot.

One of the things that I learned about the power of checklists is that is helps us manage the cognitive load of all teachers have to handle in a day/week/month/year.  I mean, we don’t need anyone to tell us that we just have TOO MUCH TO DEAL WITH.

Things gets lost in the shuffle – we forget things that we would ordinarily remember.  We are running around like crazy.  More is definitely not more!

Checklists help us deliver the important stuff reliably across time – I think a series of simple checklists might really be able to help us manage all that we have to do.

As I was writing a new presentation I’m giving on a webinar in few weeks, I really though about what a checklist would look like in real school life, so I’d like to share some ideas with you and see what you think!  I have three to share…here is the first:

Working with/Talking with a Parent

1

Prior to call, pull any data, notes or information you need to reference

2

Greet the parent and tell them how happy you are to talk in person/by phone

3

Confirm the purpose of the call and let the parent know the amount of time you have for the call

4

Encourage parent to share concern/information related to the purpose of the call

5

Summarize what you hear the parent saying, “So, I want to make sure I understand what you’re sharing with me…”

6

Propose 1-2 solutions to the concern or propose 1-2 next steps and have the parent choose which he feels is the best

7

Confirm with the parent when these solution/next step will take place

8

Compliment the parent for taking time to work with you – end on a positive
“We are waiting to get him tested”

“We are waiting to get him tested”

“We are waiting to get him tested” is not a teaching strategy.

I couldn’t resist sharing this image I created a long time ago…it is as true today as it was when I created it.  I posted it back then because I had just been to a school visit where every other student who needed intervention wasn’t getting it because “they were waiting to be tested.”

The thing that cracks me up (well, it doesn’t crack me up really – it makes my blood boil actually!) is that the only thing that testing can provide is the same thing that intervention can: a pathway for knowing where to start teaching!

A Special Ed designation or learning disability designation just means that we need to take special care in providing instruction…but when it comes down to it, it’s all instruction anyway.

I also wish that we’d stop saying this because it totally degrades our profession.  It makes us look weak.

And I don’t like to look weak in a profession that I’ve chosen to be a lifelong part of, do you?

An Honest Look at 2016 and Personal Goals for 2017!

An Honest Look at 2016 and Personal Goals for 2017!

For quite a few years, I’ve done a January 1st post about my goals for the year and sometimes threw in a review of the year prior.  I think I do it to hold myself accountable…or, if nothing else, feel like I’ve spoken what I’ve set out to do out into the world in hopes that someone will slap me upside the head if I don’t get cracking on things!

So here it is, January 1st again.  I mean, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?  it feels like it should be June or maybe July at the most!

Here’s my review of 2016 in a sentence: She had big plans but ended up taking a nap.’

She (meaning me!), had plans (you can read them here) to get a tone of stuff done and take the world by storm, buuuuuuuuuuuttttttttt, what really ended up happening is that I needed to take some time and regroup.

Here’s why: For 10 years I ran a trained people and had a big training team I managed.  I traveled.  A lot.  Like virtually every week some years.  Along the way many people said, “You need to write books!”  So I did.  Four of them in about 3 years time.  Side note: The 5th books is actually written, but it’s been in the hopper for about year with no progress…I’m not even sure it’ll ever be released now that I think of it a year later.

What I didn’t realize is that writing, editing, printing, publishing, fulfilling and shipping books was like starting a new business.  I thought it was an extension of what I was already doing!  Um…SUPER NAIVE thinking on my part!

We had unbelievable response to the books (I am so so thankful for everyone buying them and using them!), but I needed to figure out how to get the word out to people who didn’t know me.  That proved to be much tougher.  And I basically spun my wheels trying to figure that out for the first part of 2016.  During that time I did one thing: took naps.

Not in a depressed, push-the-world-out-and-close-the-blinds way, but in a super tired for a lot of years way.  I know you can relate.

So, I napped and I thought about books.  And I did very little traveling for work (like one trip a month).  And something happened.

I missed people.  I missed seeing people work with kids.  I missed all of the flood of ideas about how to help teachers I get when i am actually with teachers.  I missed writing.  I missed prepping demo lessons.  I missed the whole thing!

So, here I am after using 2016 as a recovery and discovery year and now I’m ready to roll.  As it turns out, I needed some naps, but napping as a serious hobby didn’t work for me long-term!  (And yes, I know I was very lucky to be able to take naps…I realize this is a luxury…but it is not all it’s cracked up to be, I can assure you!).

With that said, here’s a smattering of the goals I will be CHARGING TOWARD in 2017!  I am ready, I am rested and I am very very excited to be discovering and sharing new content with YOU to help make teaching and coaching simpler for you! (Note: I write the goals in super specific wording as if I have already accomplished them!)

  1. I have attended Sunday services at my church weekly whenever I am in town
  2. I have had my first meeting of my investment/dinner group
  3. I have successfully baked a layered cake, a pie, croissants, cinnamon rolls, French bread, tortillas, pretzels, fry bread, a soufflé and crepes sucre.
  4. I have lost 50 pounds by December 310, 2017
  5. I keep regular work hours each week

Nothing super fancy, but things that, when accomplished, would have a super big impact on the quality of my year!

Question for you: Do you set goals?  I’d love to hear yours…or why you don’t set them!

 

 

 

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