Friday, November 22, 2013

Why Twitter = Awesomeness

As a leader it is so important to be a lead learner.  The title of my blog is Reflecting to Learn.  Reflection is important, but learning is so much more.  Continuous reading, studying, watching and tweeting??  Tweeting??  Yes, I will say it, Twitter=Awesome.

Learning is a cycle that must be continued throughout life.  When you are improving you are getting worse.  As educators we must take every day by the horns and soak in all we can.   Learning from other people can be the most powerful.  Meaningful conversations that are intentional.  Networking-Who is in your professional learning network?(PLN)

Building a professional learning network can take alot of time.  Going to conferences, sending emails, also many times it may involve taking classes and spending lots of money.  All those instances are great for connecting to individuals that share the same passion or have similar/different ideas.  Twitter is free and you don't have to leave your couch to get professional development.  Example-There was a time in June where I was sitting on my couch in my front room in my sweatpants and at the same time I was attending the Missouri State Ed. Conference.  One of my PLN friends was tweeting from the conference everything that was happening-How awesome is that!  I have learned so much from Twitter and have made so many life long friends--My PLN challenges me, supports me, and questions me.

The most important part about my PLN is that they are my positive people.  Many times I will get an email or a tweet from one of them that just brightens my day.  There are challenges out there and will continue to be-Surround yourself with positive people.

So take a few minutes-sign up for a Twitter account-and start Tweeting.  #PLN #education #positivepeople  #ifyoudontknowwhatahashtagisthatsok .  For educators there are numerous chats each and every night that I have learned so much from.

*Bonus-If your kids have Twitter you can follow them-We must learn and know what our kids are doing


Next Week is Thanksgiving Break

--Remember to be thankful for those things that you have and give to those that are less fortunate!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Soft Skills at Home

Does your child know how to properly greet an adult?  Do they know how to sit in an interview and be appropriate?  Do they make eye contact when they are speaking to someone?  Can they work as a team and get along with fellow co-workers or classmates?  Are they able to communicate their beliefs, thoughts and disagreements in an appropriate manner? 

We have to as a school, parent, and community begin to teach our children soft skills.  Many adults in our society today lack the proper communication and problem thinking skills to compete in the job market.  Our students of today don't know how to advocate and stand up for themselves.  
We have to begin to develop curriculum and strategies to help kids learn those skills to interview, work as a team player and communicate-They need all of these to be able to develop relationships not only in the workforce but in their personal life.

How many times these days do we see kids instead of go talking to someone just text them?  How much easier is it to just send an email rather than pick up a phone and call someone?  I am 100% for using technology and communication thru technology is important and vital, but the skills it takes to pick up the phone and call someone is still important.  

Below I have pasted some comments from an article written by Larry Buhl from Yahoo.  It was posted on, which is a highly regarded search engine for jobs.

You'll likely see these "soft skills" popping up in job descriptions, next to demands for technical qualifications. Employment experts agree that tech skills may get you an interview, but these soft skills will get you the job -- and help you keep it:
Communication Skills

This doesn't mean you have to be a brilliant orator or writer. It does mean you have to express yourself well, whether it's writing a coherent memo, persuading others with a presentation or just being able to calmly explain to a team member what you need.
Teamwork and Collaboration
Employers want employees who play well with others -- who can effectively work as part of a team. "That means sometimes being a leader, sometimes being a good follower, monitoring the progress, meeting deadlines and working with others across the organization to achieve a common goal," says Lynne Sarikas, the MBA Career Center Director at Northeastern University.
This is especially important for more-seasoned professionals to demonstrate, to counter the (often erroneous) opinion that older workers are too set in their ways. "To succeed in most organizations, you need to have a passion for learning and the ability to continue to grow and stretch your skills to adapt to the changing needs of the organization," Sarikas says. "On your resume, on your cover letter and in your interview, explain the ways you've continued to learn and grow throughout your career."
Problem Solving
Be prepared for the "how did you solve a problem?" interview question with several examples, advises Ann Spoor, managing director of Cave Creek Partners. "Think of specific examples where you solved a tough business problem or participated in the solution. Be able to explain what you did, how you approached the problem, how you involved others and what the outcome was -- in real, measurable results."
Critical Observation
It's not enough to be able to collect data and manipulate it. You must also be able to analyze and interpret it. What story does the data tell? What questions are raised? Are there different ways to interpret the data? "Instead of handing your boss a spreadsheet, give them a business summary and highlight the key areas for attention, and suggest possible next steps," Sarikas advises.
Conflict Resolution
The ability to persuade, negotiate and resolve conflicts is crucial if you plan to move up. "You need to have the skill to develop mutually beneficial relationships in the organization so you can influence and persuade people," Sarikas says. "You need to be able to negotiate win-win solutions to serve the best interests of the company and the individuals involved."

I think that all of us can do our part in teaching our children these soft skills.  When your daughter whines the next time you are in the store do you break down and buy her what she wants?  When your son can figure out how to tie his shoes, do you just go buy him velcro?  When your 17 year old child is in a fight at school, do you dive in in rescue him or do you teach him conflict resolution?  Is this how you really want your children to grow up?

We at BLHS are working hard to incorporate these skills into each and every classroom.  When I talk to students, the most important thing I talk to them about is communication. You can't assume anything.  
Talk to your kids at home about the necessary skills needed to be successful in the workplace.  As of right now, many of them are still missing it.  

Follow me on Twitter- @jfuhrman3932

Upcoming dates for BLHS

Fri-Nov. 22nd- Meet the Bobcats-Winter Sports
Wed. 27th, 28th, and 29th--Thanksgiving Break(Remember what you are thankful for and have a great holiday!)

Here are a couple other articles regarding soft skills:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thank your Teachers

Have I ever told you that the teachers I work with are awesome!?  Have you as a parent, student or educator ever thanked a teacher for what they do?  Many times when we graduate we go off to college or work and don't think twice about high school. Its not until years down the road we look back and see what that one, two or three teachers did for us when we were in school.

At Basehor-Linwood High School we have a group of outstanding teachers.  All of them work countless hours to see that they help each children learn.  They plan lessons, grade papers, build curriculum and spend countless hours working with our students to ensure success. Our teachers that we have don't always get the credit they deserve.  We as leaders, students and parents ask so much of them without even knowing it.  Think about that teacher that inspired you.  Did they teach you how to measure angles, read about Romeo and Juliet or that there really was a 2nd gunman on the Grassy Knoll?  Or did they teach you how to have respect, critically think and problem solve?

I remember a teacher that I had in middle school.  The one that inspired me to be an educator.  Mr. Spangler was my middle school English and Social Studies teacher.  I honestly don't remember much about English and Social Studies, but I do remember how much he cared about me.  I remember how hard he worked to come up with lessons to keep me engaged and how he showed up years later at a family function still showing his support.  He taught me how to respect other people and hard work.  I had teachers in high school and college who pushed me and challenged me more than I had ever been pushed.  At times I didn't like them, but now I appreciate them more than ever!

Take a few moments in the next couple weeks and Thank a teacher.  Thank them for the work they do with your child.  The teachers at BLHS work hard at building relationships and they put themselves out on a limb for our students.  Trust me-It's an awesome group that we work with and I would put them up against any group anywhere.  So from the bottom of my heart-Thank you to all teachers and I hope that all of you take a minute to say thank you also!



Next Week in Bobcat Land!

November 11th--No School-Inservice/Collaboration for the teachers

November 14th-17th-  SHREK the Musical
Make sure you contact the BLHS for reserved seating tickets 913-724-2266

November 11th-15th  "Dead Week" Before Winter Sports Practice Starts

November 18th- Winter Sports Practice Starts