In the Fan Club

Here’s Episode 20 of “The Principal Liner Notes Podcast.”

It is entitled “In the Fan Club.” I explore how the recent release of the “Yesterday” movie connects to my pride in being a Beatles Fan. I also explore connections from the film to our noble profession as educators.

https://anchor.fm/sean-gaillard/episodes/In-the-Fan-Club-e4fp3t/a-ahua79

 

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Embrace the Crossroads

Here’s the latest episode of “The Principal Liner Notes Podcast.” It’s entitled “Embrace the Crossroads.” I explore how a pivotal moment in the “Mad Men” television series coupled with a song by Buddy Holly connects to the infinite possibilities at the end of a school year.

Here’s the link for the podcast: Click HERE.

Please feel free to share the podcast with friends and colleagues. Thanks for listening!

#143DayEdu: A Day of Kindness in Education in Honor of Mister Rogers

#143DayEdu: A Day of Kindness in Education in Honor of Mister Rogers

By Sean Gaillard and Jennifer Williams

A renaissance for kindness has surfaced within the last few years as a vital component of a schoolhouse’s culture. Educators in classrooms all around the world are finding ways to slow things down a bit and take notice of acts of kindness and goodwill — prioritizing relationships and making memories together along the way.

Fred Rogers, children’s broadcasting icon, promoted kindness for 31 seasons in a simple and sincere way on the television masterpiece, “Mister Rogers Neighborhood.” In honor of Mr. Rogers, the state of Pennsylvania has designated May 23 (the 143rd day of the calendar year) as #143DayinPA. This stands as a tribute to homestate hero, Fred Rogers, and his favorite number. “143” is numeric code for “I Love You.” We thought it would be fitting to extend the 143 culture of kindness to education with the #143DayEdu hashtag.

#143DayEdu

Using the #143DayEdu hashtag, we are encouraging all educators to share examples of kindness happening on May 23. To join in on the fun, simply use #143DayEdu to promote acts of kindness and compassion happening in the schoolhouse. You are also invited to join us this Thursday, May 23 at 8:30 – 9:00 p.m. EDT for a special Twitter Chat where we intend to promote positivity and celebrate the enduring legacy of Fred Rogers.

Here are the questions and times for Thursday night’s Twitter chat. To join, simply head over to Twitter by clicking HERE at 8:30pm ET and watch for the Qs from @smgaillard and @JenWilliamsEdu.

  • Q1: Thinking back to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, what are some of your fondest memories of the show? (8:35 pm ET)
  • Q2: What lessons can we learn from Mr. Rogers that we can apply to the classroom? (8:40 pm ET)
  • Q3: How did you promote kindness in your school recently? (8:47pm ET)
  • Q4: What are some ways we can finish the school year promoting kindness with our school communities? (8:53 pm ET)

Pass It On

As we prepare for #143DayEdu and the #143DayEdu Twitter chat, we invite you to consider this quote on kindness from Mr. Rogers along with these related resources. Please feel free to share the invitation for a Day of Kindness — pass it on! We look forward to this special week and the opportunity to celebrate you — just for being you!

Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.

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Traveling Wilbury Dreams with The #EdWriteNow Band

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There’s a wonderfully poignant moment in the “Handle With Care” Video by The Traveling Wilburys. Here is an amalgam of rock heroes huddled around an old-fashioned microphone suspended microphone harmonizing. In the video clip, smiles are abounding between the musicians as they knowingly take satisfaction that they are to onto something that is simply cool and transcendent. It’s a beautiful spot for a band that is hiding in a seemingly anonymous humility. It is pretty easy to pick out George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne in this line-up of musical goodness. These are music icons stepping away from myth and pretense joy-filled that they have found a collaboration that soars.

Five friends playing music and taking joy in each other’s company. That is in essence the definition of a supergroup. Friends coming together bound by some mutual purpose or common bond for the pure love of music. The Traveling Wilburys fall under the category of supergroup.

When I got the noble nod from Jeff Zoul to join the second configuration of the Education Write Now Writing Retreat, I was purely overjoyed. In fact, I did hear the strains of “Handle With Care” in the distance. I would have the opportunity to collaborate with a supergroup. This was a supergroup composed of friends and colleagues from my PLN. We were joined our passion for Education and our task to write a book in two days was nothing short of Nirvana for me. Jeff and the band he was putting together for Education Write Now, Volume II was made up of educators that I greatly admired. One could even say that I was a longtime unabashed fan of all involved. Jeff’s books served as virtual sherpas for me in my first days as a principal. His invitation was akin to George Harrison asking me to join The Traveling Wilburys. What made this gig even sweeter was that all proceeds were to go towards a teen suicide awareness and prevention group known as the Will to Live Foundation.

Our purpose with Education Write Now, Volume II was to write in a common key pertaining to an issue that we felt other educators would benefit from in our noble profession. All roads led back to the core of our passion in the profession: Relationships. We had two days and 5,000 words each to make this book happen.

Gathered in Chicago, ideas flowed freely. There was humility and support as fingers danced on laptop keyboards. Respectful space was given as individuals roamed within the internal space of individual thoughts. Supportive feedback was shared. Critical questions of clarity stirred.

As I gazed around my surroundings, I realized I was in a supergroup like The Traveling Wilburys. There was Randy Zigenfuss quietly nodding at one of my references to the bombastic 1950s bandleader, Stan Kenton. Winston Sakurai was across the table from me immersed in deep thought. Rosa Perez-Isaiah and Sanee Bell are trading drafts. Danny Bauer is putting the finishing touches on his chapter and doing pre-production work for his podcast. Lauren Davis of Routledge Publishing is providing encouraging editorial support  Elisabeth Bostwick is typing at such a speed that the keyboard cannot keep up with her amazing insights. Jeff Zoul is wordsmithing away in concentration. Laura Gilchrist is sharing an encouraging smile as Onica Mayers reminds us all of our collective purpose with the rallying cry: “Relationships matter, people!”

My chapter is entitled “Connecting with the Center: Bringing Passion to the SchoolHouse.” I take a childhood memory involving hearing “Rhapsody in Blue” for the first time during a class field trip and how it almost got me thrown out of a concert hall a the age of 10. My solo involves how it’s vital for passion to be immersed in the schoolhouse as a vehicle to build authentic relationships. Music is my passion and connecting to my journey as an educator has provided a power entry point in building relationships with the students, teachers and families I serve.

Here’s a quick snippet from my chapter contribution:

Passion is the denominator for so many ways to compel positive change and sustaining relationships. Classrooms and schoolhouses are transformed when this passion is in the foreground of the vision and mission.

We must also remember that passion is as two-way street in the schoolhouse. Students and Teachers must be able to feel free to share their respective passions for learning, interests, pursuits and hobbies. In other words, we typically align this with students expressing their passion. There are many vehicles for students do this in creative projects that run the gamut from Makerspace, Project-Based Learning, Passion Projects, Google 10% Time. Teachers are often looked to be the sage on the stage or the facilitator compelling students to share and express their passions and gifts. The paradigm has to shift to a norm where teachers can take risks and share their passions, too. When I was a classroom teacher, everyone knew I loved music and films. The classroom walls were filled with posters of The Beatles, John Coltrane and The Who. I encouraged students to share their music posters as well. Any time I could talk Music with students was an opportunity to build a relationship. Incidentally, it’s important for school leaders to follow suit. Modeling our excitement over a passion in hobby or some aspect of educational practice, school leaders can help ignite a culture of positivity and creativity fueled by sincere passion.

Sharing our passions unabashedly in the classroom or schoolhouse is meant to build that community of possibility for our students. Placing more passion in the day-to-day operations of the schoolhouse will only uplift students. Students need any opportunity given to express their gifts, ideas and passions. It is part of our calling as educators to make that happen.

Stay tuned for another anticipatory post and the conclusion of the blog series Danny Bauer! Be sure to follow #EdWriteNow as we head towards the December release of Education Write Now, Volume 2: Top Strategies for Improving Relationships and Culture. You can pre-order the book HERE.