Every leader needs to look back once in awhile to make sure he has
General Rules for Solving Problems
1: Define the problem
Ask yourself, "What is the problem? State it as specifically
as possible, giving attention to all facets of the problem.
2: Collect facts and opinions of others
Collect as many facts and opinions as you believe may be necessary to
provide insights into the problem. Beware that you do not use fact
gathering as an 'excuse' for putting off solving the problem.
3: Consider all solutions.
Gather all possible solutions no matter how wild. This is a sort
of brainstorming process whereby all solutions that can be collected are
done so regardless of who, where or by what means they are
4: What results are expected from solving the problem?
Without applying solutions, determine the best possible results that
would be achieved by solving the problem.
5: Pick the best solution.
Which of the solution in step 3 would be most apt to give the result
outlined in step 4? Go back to all of your solutions. Pick
the ones that would be most likely to give you the results you specified
in Rule 4.
Rule 6: Act.
Start acting on the solution. Keep in mind the more problems are
unsolved by no decision than by wrong decisions.
from The Public School Administrator
problem ever comes to the President of the United States. If
they are easy to solve, somebody else has solved them.
Communicate with Teachers
is that time of year when students are coming home with their first
reports about classroom work for this school year. Many schools
hold parent conferences around this time of year, as well. Here
are some suggestions on how to get the most out of conferences:
Prepare for the
conference in advance. Make a list of things that will help
the teacher understand your child better....for example outside
interests and hobbies. Make another list of things you want
to find out from the teacher, such as daily schedules, services
and programs the school offers, discipline and grading policies
and extra-curricular activities.
Discuss the teacher's
homework expectations and ask how much time your child should
spend on homework each night.
Discuss your child's
study habits and find out what you can do at home to help.
experiences affecting your child such as a death in the family, a
best friend moving away, parental divorce or special medial
If your child has
special needs relating to a learning disability, behavior problem
or limited language skills, find out where you can go for help.
Involve your child.
Your child will be curious about the conference. Talk it
over with your child before the conference to get ideas about what
should be covered and to help relieve anxiety about the
Illinois Association of
Tom peters, co-author of In
Search of excellence and A Passion for Excellence, claims
exceptional leaders have many traits in common. Prominent among
They soak up information often
take notes obsessively and realize they can learn from anyone,
regardless of title or position.
They're constantly looking for
ways to make things better. They're starving for thousands
of tiny improvements. To them, no idea is too small.
They delight in the success of
others. They never attempt to hog credit. They give
credit where credit is due.
You Hide from
We sometimes will run for cover
when swept over by change. If you have a tendency to join others
in the corner, hoping you won't need to be involved, you're probably
doing more harm than good. Refusing to be intimidated by change,
Maintain the respect of your
family by keeping everyone together with you as the coach.
Staying busy helps the time pass and gives everyone a sense of
accomplishment at the end of each day.
Be a doer. Keep all
family projects going, because if you let too many things stagnate
while you wait for the change to happen, you may miss an important
Don't be afraid to make
decisions. This may actually help you to regain some control
over your destiny.
Adapted from Working Smart
Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the
You a Procrastinator?
All the experts on time management
agree on at least one rule for getting results: "Do it
now!" But tacking tasks now is not always as easy as it
sounds. To procrastinate means to put off doing a
task....for no good reason. That last phrase,
"for no good reason," is the key, because there are
sometimes excellent reasons for putting off a certain task. In
fact, deciding to do one thing before another is what prioritizing is
However, if you have organized your
"To Do" list and are having trouble working through it in
priority order, then procrastination may be the problem. It
that's the case, try these ideas.
Most procrastination is the result of irrational thinking because you
think the task is awful. You talk yourself into putting off the
task. Convince yourself that the task is worth doing, even it
it's hard getting started.
Challenge Your Excuses for
putting the task off. For example, if you generally excuse
yourself by saying, "But I work so well under
pressure," argue that "Working under pressure really
leaves me harried and tired and I don't have the time I need to be
yourself to do something uncomfortable or frightening helps to prove
that it wasn't so bad after all.
Remove the Reward.
Don't let procrastination be a pleasant experience. If you must
procrastinate, do it in unpleasant conditions. When the fun goes
away, the procrastination will too.
Write a Contract. Make
a written promise to yourself that states a goal and includes a reward
for accomplishing the goal.
Jog Your Memory. Put
important papers in a red folder. They must be done today.
Signify important items on your "to do" list with a red
star. Use any gimmick that keeps you on track.
Divide and Conquer.
Break big tasks into small pieces and complete one piece every
Discipline Yourself for five
minutes. If you really don't want to do a task, promise yourself
that you will work on it for five minutes. Set a timer.
When the timer buzzes, decide whether to work for five more minutes or
Develop a Routine.
Confirmed procrastinators usually work in a feast or famine
pattern. One way to fight the tendency is to schedule frequent
tasks for regular times.
Post a Chart and make sure
you can see it easily. Give yourself a gold star for each task
completed in priority order and a red minus for any you miss.
(Think what affect this will have on youngsters in the family.....you
are setting a good example.)
Adapted from Practical Supervision
A Stress Tip
Next time you're feeling the stress of a
difficult situation, ask yourself how your favorite cartoon character
would handle it. This might cause you to pause and
Steve Allen Jr., The Washington
The more words you use in speech, the
more likely you are to be misunderstood. Simple English has been
drowned in jargon that ranges from psycho- and technobabble to the
globaloney of bureaucratic speech. "At this point in
time" takes a lot longer to say than "now" and doesn't
contribute much to clarity.
It isn't easy. Words have multiple
meanings and have to be understood in the context of usage. One
study found that the 500 most commonly used words in English have a
staggering 14,070 meanings. That's an average of 28 per
And then there's the psychological
overtone of words, the negative codes that attach to them and set
people's teeth on edge so they tune you out without your having a
clue. Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Practice talking short. Use
simple, clear sentences driven by active verbs. You'll find
radio newscaster good guides.
- Use and read body language as part
of your communications arsenal. Look at your listener.
Fasten on his right eye. Watch for signals. A shift to
the right could mean he's lying, wandering eyes express boredom,
enlarged pupils signify increased interest.
- Define the subject you are
discussing and gear its presentation to your listener's needs and
priorities. Rank any benefits in order of importance.
- Repeat and summarize at the
end. It's not enough to "tell 'em what you're going to
tell 'em, and then "to tell 'em." You must also
"tell 'em what you've told 'em."
Adapted from Executive
Teenagers Like to Learn
designing a learning program, accommodate these findings on adult
training to the older teen's learning preferences:
Teens need to
understand why learning something is important. They should
be told how a new task or procedure will help them.
Teens need to feel as
if they're in charge of the situation. Since teens are used
to feeling responsible in many capacities, they should also
be made to feel responsible in the learning situation.
Teens need to feel a
sense of respect for their accomplishments. Most teens will
have had many successes. Learning sessions that make them
feel inadequate or foolish will backfire.
Teens are motivated by
being involved working on something. They do best when given
specific objectives and precise instructions.
Also important: constant
feedback and praise. praise as you go. Don't wait until
the session concludes.
Nilson, How to Manage Training
Work Shouldn't Be Like
expect their students to work at a sprightly, steady clip all day
long. And many of us expect this of ourselves. We believe
we should fill every minute with productive work. This
expectation is contradictory to human nature. Clocks tick along
at a consistent pace at all times. But clocklike regularity is
not the way of nature.
nature, no day, not even one minute, is the same as any other.
The amount of light and darkness changes from day to day and the
weather is shifting....sometimes obviously, sometimes
imperceptibly....from moment to moment. There's no precedent in
nature for the relentless, unvarying pace of our full-schedule
schools. repetitive office work or our factory assembly
Edward Thompson has studied the pace of work practiced by people
who're not regulated by external forces, mostly self-employed people
such as artists and writers and small farmers and craftsmen. He
found they don't work at a steady pace throughout the day.
instead, they alternate bouts of intense labor and idleness....mixed
together into their own personalized work rhythm.
organizations might also do well to loosen up the pace at which people
work. Michael Young, also a sociologist, writes, "No one
can know what fits someone else. The more people pick
their own rhythms, the better the chance they will pick the right
ones. Society would not survive everyone's making their own
choices....but at least there do not need to be so few choices for so
few about how to make use of their most precious asset [time]."
Before you give somebody a piece of your mind, make sure you can get
by with what you have left.
Time More Effective
make your study time more effectively the SQ3R method. The
letters stand for a five-step process that works.
Quickly look over the material to get the main idea. Look at the
title. Check headings. Read the bold type. Look at
pictures, charts or other visuals. Turn to the end of the
chapter to see if study questions are listed. This should be
quick....spend no more than ten minutes on this first step.
Now that you know the main idea, think of questions to answer.
As you read, ask yourself Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.
Now it's time to read the assignment. As you read, look for
answers to the questions you developed.
After you've read the chapter, see if you can restate the main
points. This is also a good time to take notes on what you've
read. Put what you've read into context with what you already
the end of your study session, spend a few more minutes
reviewing. Did you find answers to all your questions?
What else did you learn?
Association of School Administrators
Halloween Online: This is an extensive Halloween resource, with decorating and costume tips; a guide to carving and displaying your pumpkins; a selection of featured articles and interviews; Halloween recipes; downloadable graphics ("Scream Savers") and music files; e-cards; online games; and a large collection of links.
Handwriting for Kids: Worksheets online to help our children or students tackle
Manuscript (printing) or Cursive letters. Sheets for manuscript handwriting include
months of the year, days of the week, and basic sentences.
Kelley's Problem of the Week (Calculus): This site is
on a hiatus for this year, but past pages are still available for
viewing. Calculus students and teachers can brush up on skills and
even visit the Problems of Christmas Past area to test knowledge of calculus. Students will appreciate the interactive cheat sheet, listing
all the formulas needed for the AP test (you can find this under the link "Fun Calculus Stuff").
Kindergarten Resources: A
great list of kindergarten resources with lots of resources and tools for the early childhood
educator. Resources, Themes and Literacy are some of the categories of
links to great things on the web. With a little research you, too, can
create your own page of resources.
Fed 101 - The Federal Reserve Today:
Why does a change in the interest rates by the Federal Reserve always
make headlines? Students can learn the history of the Fed, follow the
path of a check written at a neighborhood store and become a virtual bank
examiner. This is great information and activities for middle and
high school students.
Westward, Ho: Westward Ho is now taking registrations. The wagon train leaves in
January, so pack your wagon and start heading to Independence, MO, the
starting point for the journey. If you want to participate in this trip, which will be filled with thrills,
you will need to register ahead of time.
World Almanac for Kids: Once we jumped off the very busy home page,
we found this almanac very easy to use. Students can find information about animals, inventions,
space, sports and research who was born on their birthday.
ESLHome: Online Passages and Reading Exercises: This hot
list links to good resources created for older students to test
reading comprehension. You can find quizzes, online activities and other
helpful materials that are well-organized and easy to navigate.
Have a Bewitching October!
From the Staff at Knowledge
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Chicago, IL 60631
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