As educators, the first thing we establish is the vision and the mission. We need to understand the how to motivate staff and students to accomplish them but especially teaching and learning. How can we help students encourage themselves to learn?

Content and crucial academic skills can be provided to students but are unlearned if students are not motivated to learn. Other issues can prevent students from learning, and as educators, we must take steps to find out those things which are the barriers to learning.


Incentives and consequences are not the conditions we seek to provide students sustainable progression. The best learning motivation comes from within students and the choice to learn. Generating this intrinsic motivation, drive to learn and strong desire is found when students:


How to help students build motivation

Students arrive with different needs, interests, hopes, and aspirations. Knowing as much as we can about each student will help us design experiences in learning they’ll find to be more motivating. Providing more choices is a great strategy to assist them in understanding education is something we do with them.

Our long-term goal for students is to recognize how they can motivate themselves with learning. There are many strategies we can use for self-motivation.


Mission

Our mission is to help all children along the educational path by guiding, facilitating, and supporting all needs on the road to achieving all they desire. Be the solution today in a world that needs you!

Teaching and learning are a priority. This is our number one concern in helping to build a strong foundation. Our focus is not to seek those who are seeking to answer correctly but to continue to question and seek.

To continue to grow, we need those who will search for new ideas, find discoveries, explore, innovate and discover. Pushing thoughts and ideas and preventing opportunities to question and choose will cause group thinkers.

As you look at the world through your lens, what do you see?


Education, I have said for decades now, is “Something we do with children, not to them.” The perspective we take, the choices we make, and the relationships we develop will impact education. This is a powerful influence for today and future generations and in what lies ahead. Sitting in our classrooms today are those who will be in charge, leaders, and innovators who will change tomorrow.

Through my lens today, I see a much-needed change. People are working to bring changes and provide hope and encouragement. It is a time for everyone to work together; at home, school, and community, and I believe there is one more piece at least to add to this puzzle. Maybe you can help me find it. I know the pieces I used as I worked to help the individuals I served, and I know you will too!

Reading is vital to me as an individual, mother, grandmother, teacher, and leader. I want children to love reading. The more you read, the more you know and learn.

My parents could not complete school and, therefore, could not read. This had a significant impact on my life, and I felt it as a young child. Going to school, the teacher read nursery rhymes to us. Most of the children knew all of them, but I did not. I felt nervous instantly.

Children sitting in your classroom may feel more than nervous; they can be fearful, stressed, and uncertain. Our children have faced trauma issues in some form over the past decade. Many are more severe than others, but trauma's effects still exist in every classroom across our country.


When I was a child, we often had to take turns reading out loud for the class. You knew when it would be your turn and if you struggled with reading all you could do was think about when it would be your turn. Could you read all of the words? You would look at the paragraph and try to make sure you could do it. So all of the material that was being read, you had no idea what it was about.

It is my hope we are not still doing this round-robin kind of reading. This style of reading turns students off from reading, but also of the content they need to learn. Children who are in a state of fear and trauma, will retrieve information differently from the world than one that is calm.


As a teacher, I know the importance of the development of fluency. Fluency affects comprehension, so how can we access fluency without doing a round-robin?

Struggling readers spend much time learning about how to read and not enough time reading. Having time to read books for the joy of reading is what we want to instill in all our students. We want them to pick up books and read them.

In my classroom, we had books, recording devices, and reading areas. I was blessed with volunteers who would come to help in the school. The kids enjoyed reading to them and also recording to hear themselves reading. It is compelling.

I listed these quotes in my weekly, but without their authors. Today I have added the authors. I ignored who I selected, but only in the content of the quote. They have the points I wanted to make about the importance of learning and how we can sometimes forget.


Quotes about learning

These are just a few quotes about learning? Which one from the list would you select as your learning quote? Maybe you have one of your own, please share.

Curiosity and Imagination

I shared in a blog post a week ago that I was given the best opportunity a grandmother could ever have. My daughter and son-in-law asked if I could home-school my youngest grandson for the rest of the year before he goes to Kindergarten in the Fall of 2023. My heart is whole!

He would identify with the second learning quote. He said to me as we were working, “I love using my imagination to create.” He loves building things with his hands, and he is a big storyteller. I love his imagination. My hope is, he will continue to have a growth mindset, utilize his imagination and creativity to discover his potentials in making a difference in the world.


Did you know that early in life, Albert Einstein was not considered very intelligent? He continued to grow and became one of the most outstanding scientific thought scholars known. I often think about what my former teachers would think about some of the students they taught and what they have accomplished in their lives. Did they see them succeed? Did any of the performances surprise them?

Can you recall the learning journey you followed and are still following? As you grew up as a child, what are the things, people, places, or ideas that would spark you into wanting to learn?


When working as an educator with students, staff, and families, it is vital to know one approach will not work. Every child is different, families have different cultures and expectations, and the staff approach teaching and learning with diverse backgrounds and specialized talents is rich when shared.

Looking forward to taking time to check on different posts within different groups as they discuss the remaining school year. Looking to see how they are working to keep student engagement, building on curiosity and imagination as the school year ends. The important part of education is helping to fire up the brain to learn with curiosity, innovation and not by filling it with information. Teaching students to think, not what to think. Helping students learn to explore outside and around to find their purpose, opportunities, interests, and more learning.

When you look at Patching Holes, it brings a visual to your mind of a hole. Then the word patching indicates this will be a temporary fix for this hole which will remain to exist.

I have been involved in education for over 25 years. I can testify we have been working on patching holes the entire time. When we meet to discuss the results of the test scores results reported each year, the same things come up in the discussions.

Those are the basic go-to patching holes all school districts address. If I have missed any, please feel free to share it with us.

There have been new approaches, new curriculum materials, lots of professional development, and no improvements. Taking time to look deeper into these issues is what is needed as we now find ourselves leading out of a global pandemic with students who have lost two years of academic, self-awareness, social-awareness, and foundational skills.

What is the solution?


There is a process to follow in making the best decisions for those we serve. It cannot be one school, some schools, all schools, but schools, families, and communities working together to develop plans to support the entire child as we help them build up; it takes legislators to fund schools adequately across all states and locations equally. All areas must have high-quality connections and equipment to serve students.

We do not need to patch the holes in education; we must fix them today. Education is not a political game, and it has cost generations of quality education.


Everyone has two basic needs to have filled. They need to feel good and safe. Let’s begin with my Two Rules in helping all schools, homes and communities with feeling good and safe. What does that look like and sound like?

These are just a few of the points, to begin with, helping to bring action items to the table to start establishing safety. There is a great deal of work to do, but this is the beginning of not patching holes but establishing foundations.

Curriculum in education seems to be something people are talking about right now. However, we are not talking about the right points of curriculum. We need to puch asside all of these extra topics which is adding layers and layers of work to the teachers, not to mention taking time away from students who are two years on average behind in the foundational skills they need in order to become successful in their lives. Children are not reading at grade level and they are not at grade level for math. These are two critical points which must be addressed today. Look at the data. We have seen an overall decline for years. Even those who were at level or above, were not making the gains they should have been based on their skill sets. Can we refocus our efforts on helping students learn foundational skills?

Less than half of middle and high school students say they have an adult at their school they can talk to when they feel upset. Students are facing depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues that are holding them back. However, it is not having that needed support like counselors, school social workers, and psychologists who they can speak to at the time they are experiencing their issues that is adding to their problems.

While talking with other Principal Coaches and Mentors, one mentioned how much the jobs of educators seem to be switching to look more like counseling and mental health supporters. Sometimes the principals help staff to find ways to release anxiety.

Finding ways to help students engage in learning and feel a sense of belonging is a big task, not just for a single classroom teacher to do with their students. A school is a community. Presenters often talk about climate and culture, but they speak about bringing staff to the table to discuss how to improve. Many times they also include how to get families more involved or engaged. How about also pulling up some seats for students?

Bringing students to the table to discuss climate and culture is a great way to engage students. In Two Rule Philosophy, the critical element in building a foundation where everyone feels good and safe, students, staff, families, and the community is involved in helping to develop a sense of belonging. Communities can work to bring in organizations to provide those extra resources students seek to support their needs. Working together, we can give so much to enrich our environment.

Please share with us any ideas you have or what you are doing. Thank you for being part of the solution daily.

Courage

What does it mean to have courage? What does it look like in the workplace? How do you describe an individual who has courage? I believe standing up for what you believe in is one way of showing courage, especially when it is not the popular thing to do. Courage allows you to put aside your fear of failure and take the first steps. Courage helps you overcome the fear of rejection and will enable you to attempt things that you have not tried before, despite your fear of looking foolish.

How do you respond or react?

As situations in your day transpire, do you react or respond? What is the difference? Do you have time during your day to think about your interactions? While driving down the interstate today, I looked at the sign flashing on the bridge. It said, “Stay calm and avoid road rage.” I paused for a minute and thought, is everyone reading this as they go by? Do we have a lot of road rage?

Instructional Strategies

Instructional strategies lead to student engagement, build interest, sustain persistence, and support self-regulation and a sense of belonging. And when students feel that they belong, their engagement increases and they are more willing to participate in small group discussions, persevere through challenges, defend their thinking, reason through the review of others, and make connections.

Compounding

As a teacher and principal, I loved to add to the vocabulary of the students I served. Enriching the minds and language of others is always important. As I experienced my brain injury and began my recovery, understanding how to continue to work on these skills daily is an essential part of life.

Compounding is the process by which we add interest to a fixed sum, which then earns interest on the previous sum and the newly added interest, then earns interest on that amount, and so on ad infinitum. It is an exponential effect rather than a linear or additive effect. Money is not the only thing that compounds.

Inspiration, Motivation and Reflection

Every week and each day, we will find thoughts, ideas, places, and stories to make our hearts sing. It is always important to face each moment with a heart full of joy no matter the storm as we find the way through.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:14

One of my rules is about feeling safe. As a child, I was terrified of the dark. When the lights went out, I could not see, and what I could not see scared me. How I did not know in reality, even when the light is on, there are things we cannot see we should be terrified of.

We’ll leave the light on for you. Is it an excellent marketing hit for what hotel chain? It is the best phrase and the spokesman Tom Bodett has the perfect tone of voice to capture the emotion the advertisers want.


At this moment, there seems to be a spotlight being used to flash from this political talking point to the next. Some politicians change their points of view based on polling numbers and then personal attacks on each other. I know I have watched these things happen before in my decades of life, but today they seem to be a little more dangerous.

My heart broke as we flipped on the TV going through stations, and saw a report of several people killed. The shooter had been killed in the process, he was 15 years old. Then another story I read about police officers responding to an emergency call of domestic violence which could have been just a way to get them to come so they could be attacked. Why so much anger?


Another spotlight is shining brightly on education. It should be! I am a retired educator and I have always wanted more attention on education, someone to look at the equity of the funding for education and to look at how we support education overall.

Starting my career as a Teaching Assistant and ending as the Director of Educational Support Programs, I have been blessed to see through the lenses of many. I have been in rural schools, urban schools, high-poverty schools, and diverse schools, and I have worked with gifted students and special needs students. However, the spotlight is shining with a twist on education.

What is happening in education, to education, and with education?


Parents should be involved! Students should be concerned! The community should be involved! “Education is something we do with children, not to them.” My Two Rule philosophy includes partnerships of home-school-community. The center of the philosophy is the child. Children are developing and growing on a life-long journey. Our responsibility is to provide a strong foundation of skills to help them reach the highest possible levels and to provide a pathway to success.

Now that the light is on education, it is time to show what you need, what you are doing, and how you will build partnerships to achieve for the students you serve. Step into the light and make your voice heard to push back on the positives you are doing. It is time to let your light shine bright! Please let me know if I can help you. Education for all children is essential to all of us.

What is wrong with your arm?

“I fell outside on my elbow and was sent to the nurse. She looked at it and got me ice. Told me to go to class, but it hurts really bad.”

Why didn’t someone tell me? I am right here! MaryAnn can I go ahead and leave, I am taking her to the doctor.

“Yes, go right ahead. Not a problem.”

I got my things together and told Sarah not to move her arm; we went straight to see Doc. I saw the nurse as I was walking out of my room, heading for my car.

“I gave her some ice; I am sure it will be fine.” the nurse says as we are walking down the hallway.

“What, I am right down the hallway, and you did not think to get me. We are going to see the doctor straight now. I do not think she is fine. I am furious with you right now. It is best not to have a conversation.”

We were pulling up to the doctor’s office in town where I used to work, and they took us right back. The doctor took one look and said she needed to go to Champaign. Do not let her eat. She may need surgery, but we will not know until they exray it. We will call ahead to let them know you are on your way.

It was not fractured to needing surgery but was very close. The doctor stated it was broken, and they would need to put her in a cast. It was close to needing surgery, but she was a lucky girl.


My daughter is now a special education teacher with three children of her own, 14, 7, and 4 years of age. At the time of her injury, she was in third grade, and I was teaching right down the hallway in a Title I Resource Room. No one had to go out of their way to find me. So the “fracture” of communication with parents has been in place for some time.

I did not let it go or get by without something being done about it, and I stood up for not just my child but all children. I continue to do so. Parents have the right to know, need the ability to ask questions, and approve of the things going on in the schools. It is a collaboration together. Children spend a great deal of time at school. Parents and families need to be able to trust, respect, and feel good about all of those in the care of their children. Open communications, collaboration, and listening help to get things moving in the right direction.

If family engagement and involvement are not a priority for you, please make it one. This is how things will begin to change and improvements made.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2023 Brenda Yoho
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