January 6, 2013

Happy New Year, Goals, and Leader In Me News

Well, hello 2013 and happy new year to all my readers, followers, and people that stop by courtesy of Pinterest.  How've you been?

Me?  I've been good. In fact, I've been great.  I have been loving the two weeks we had off from school.  My husband and I flew back to Seattle to see our families and we froze our buns off while we were there.  We are 100% Texas converts and 30 degrees is darn cold.

Now, I'm back and ready to kick off my year right!

Ahhh...don't you love the beginning of the year.  You can start over fresh.  You can push aside all those bad habits and proclaim... "This year will be different!"

And with that, I have decided to share with y'all my three goals for the new year.

#1) I will cook at home more.  Now, I currently eat at home a lot, but I don't always cook. I'm pretty sure there is a big difference.

#2) I will get heart healthy. Lately, I've started to feel old and I'm beginning to worry about my achy joints and muscle pain.   It is time for some action.  So, I started taking vitamins loaded with calcium and vitamin D. I have been going to the gym <insert shocked gasp!> and drinking lots of water. Bad soda bad!

#3) I will (and this is where y'all come in) blog five times a month.  Five is really a fairly arbitrary number, but it just feels right, so I'm sticking to it.  I will put down my books, flip off the TV, and spend some quality time getting back to blogging about what I love...teaching!

The good news is that it is finally pleasant to be in my office again.  You may or may not remember, but something died in my wall during the last part of the summer. Ugh! It was awful and almost impossible to sit at the computer for any length of time.  Naturally, we tried to cover it up with every air freshener possible.  This only enhanced the headache while inside because you were hit over the head with "air freshener" and could still smell death.  No good I tell you, no good. So, months later... I'm back in business and ready to begin #3 of my New Year's goals.

First post of the new year:
Our Leader In Me School

This is our first year launching the Covey Leader in Me program at my school.  We are the anomaly in our district because we are the only title school committed to the program.  If you are not familiar, it is a great school-wide program based on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that promotes student leadership in the classroom, around the school, and within the community.

Now, as I said, we are only in year one, and it takes baby steps to change the culture in your school, but I wanted to show off what we've done so far.

Our first step was to make some changes to our school environment and (of course) we needed our own 7 habits tree. Voila!

One of the teachers in our building designed the tree.  The rest of us just painted within the lines. See those rays of the sunshine and all those black letters?  Yup, I painstakingly painted those. 

(Learn Together, Live Together, Lead Together is our school mission statement.)

Here is a close-up of the tree.  The frames around the 7 Habits signs are made out of twigs. Cool, huh?

This is a second mural in the front entry way.  Those letters (by the way) totally done free hand. Not by me, but still...impressive, right?

Naturally, our fourth grade hallway needed a tree too but after painting two we went with paper.

This is the last picture for today.  I just love the colors and it is the perfect Leader in Me message.

So, halfway through the year we are getting the hang of Leader In Me.  My students have got the language down (with hand movements even) and they always catch me when I am not using Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, Than to be Understood.  Ha! I typically catch them not putting first things first.  *wink, wink*

I really do love this program and the habits it promotes in the classroom and around the school.  It's been a slow start at our school, but we are hoping to steamroll it with the new year.

Anyone else starting the Leader In Me program?  I'd love to hear how it is going in your classroom and at your school...especially if you are at a title campus. The more insight the better.  Please share!!

Happy New Year!


  1. My school has started the Leader in Me program as well this year. I al so have a tree outside my room. My students place seasonal shaped messages about one another next to the habit that they see other students implementing. We have a school-wide period a week to teach the habits. It is going nicely, but it has to take time.

    1. I love your idea about the seasonal shaped messages about one another using the habits. What a great way to encourage them to look at each other and notice leadership qualities. Great idea! I agree this program has to take time. We are off to a good start this year, but I know it will really begin to take shape after a few more years when everyone (kids & staff) are used to using the program and everything becomes a habit. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I'm trying to be more heart healthy as well. I am in week two of no coca-cola or red bull! LOTS of water for me!

    Happy New Year!!

    1. Go you! Coke is so hard to give up. Even the diet stuff. Hope we can both stick with it. :)

  3. Amanda ~ so glad I found your blog (moving to 4th next year after 15 years in 1st...SO EXCITED!) A group of teachers and I are trying to get our overly involved board to approve the 7 habits for our school...we've been to a lighthouse school and know what the difference is, but are having trouble getting the support we need to continue. Do you have any tips/ideas we can try to get the ball rolling? Our admin. tells us there is money available, but our board is so against change (small town, generational thing in the middle of AZ) and we are stalled. I'd appreciate any ideas. Thanks!

    1. Hi KatyJo! I tried to email you back, but you are a "no-reply blogger." So I'm replying here just in case you check back. I'm thrilled that your school is starting Leader In Me. It's a great program but it does take some time to implement. You have to integrate the language first. At our school we found that be putting up bulletin boards about the habits and posting quotes around school about leadership helped us think about the habits all the time and in turn we remembered to use the language. Obviously, the environment is not what gets the program really going or the heart of the program but it didn't provide visual reminders for faculty and students to use the language and practice the habits. If you have money, I would spend it there first. Best of luck!! :)

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