Tuesday, August 29, 2006

tips, tricks and treats

Every year our Instructional Services staff gets together to share what they've learned as they've attended summer seminars, talked with colleagues, read, googled and otherwise encountered great ideas. And, as if that's not enough, there's a free lunch. Here are a few of the things I learned at this week's session:

1. PBS tops the most-trusted institutions list (2-year old research but new to me) 2. Jared has a blog. Annie has a blog. I already knew that Doug had a blog. 3. You can learn it at film school or get it free here. 4. The $100 Laptop will change the world as we know it. 5. Catchy name, great resources at netsquirrel.com.

And a couple of the things I shared from my NSPRA meeting in Chicago:

Seeking “place at the table” within your superintendent? You are the table. It goes with you. Provide unsolicited, useful information and advice. Tell her something she doesn't already know. Say things that matter. All crises happen explosively and are solved incrementally. Alliteration for effective human relations: Be simple, sincere, sensitive; focused, forceful, fair; practical, purposeful, powerful. -James Lukaszweski, Inside the Mind of a Corporate CEO

Making Daymakers – A daymaker is a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place (David Wagner, Life As A Daymaker, 2003) “Every person you meet wears an invisible badge that reads ‘I’m special, I’m important; recognize me.’” (Author unknown) “Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” (John Watson) -Gold Mine Session by Dianne Pavia, Riverside Unified School District, Riverside California

p.s. As for tricks, there was actually only one. Lick a dime. Stick it on your forehead. Great attention getter with kids or adults, and surprising how long the dime will stick. An icebreaker to get people laughing and talking.

Monday, August 28, 2006

benefits of expressive writing

The quick brown fox...
Originally uploaded by CodeFin.

Earlier this summer I found this quotation while looking for something else:

“Since the Mid-1980s, an increasing number of studies have focused on the value of expressive writing as a way to bring about healing. Across our first four studies, those in expressive writing groups had 43% fewer doctor visits for illness than the control group that wrote only about superficial topics. There are probably a thousand ways to write that are beneficial to you.” -James W. Pennebaker, Telling Stories: The Health Benefits of Narrative

Although I haven't tested it out in any controlled way, the idea rings true from years of journal writing, some of it expressive, much of it not. The quote also fits in well with this one:

"What if writing were a simple, significant, yet necessary way to achieve spiritual, emotional, and psychic wholeness? What if writing were as important and basic to wellness as healthful food, pure water, clean air, and rest? Writing has helped me heal. Writing has changed my life. Writing has saved my life." -Louise DeSalvo

Note to myself: Yeah, sure, expresssive writing now and then may provide a breath of fresh air, but if you want to breathe even more of that clean air, why not spend more time in the mountains?