Monday, April 29, 2013

The Urban Dare

On Sunday, April 28th Ben and I teamed up to take the "Urban Dare". Along with the team of Michael and Lauren Feeback we  teamed up to conquer the  "Amazing Race" around Lexington, Kentucky in the amazing time of 1 hour and 43 minutes.

Clue List - click to enlarge
Map we used to plot our course
We solved the twelve clues and covered over 6.5 miles around the streets of Lexington to a 10th place finish out of nearly 130 teams.  As proud as we are of our  finish we are more proud of the way we worked together to compliment each others strengths.  We took our time and figured out all of the clues, plotted all of the locations on a map and then decided the best and fastest route to all 12 checkpoints.  Taking time to plot our course before we started running enabled us to never having to double back at any point.

Ben and I at Memorial Hall
 It was a very special day exploring both Lexington and the University of Kentucky with my son.  We have both spent our lives just outside of Lexington and I am an alumni  of UK and Ben is currently a sophomore.  It was really special to count on him to use his expertise to solve clues and find check-in points that I didn't know existed   It was really cool to see the city  and my son through a different perspective.  The picture above is Ben and I at the answer to clue #8 - Memorial Hall.

To better understand  the competition I have included three of the twelve clues below along with pictures that we took to prove we were there.  (The clue sheet above has all of the twelve clues.)

1.  This "Black Box" theater was named for a woman who was a champion and philanthropist for the arts in Lexington.  (Ben's knowledge of the College of Fine Arts saved us a ton of time on this one.)

2. Get a picture of one you on bended knee proposing marriage to a Non-Race participant.  If the bride is wearing a traditional white wedding dress you will earn a 5 minute bonus. (We were just fortunate to have this lovely lady around to propose. )  

3. A person locally know for ignorance and stupidity.  Take a photo at an eating establishment that is named after this definition.  (I think I am pointing at Ben is this picture.) 

Once you arrive at some of the checkpoints, you must complete a "dare" in order to have your passport stamped.  An example of a dare was when we arrived in Duncan Park we were asked to give the last name of the actor that played John Coffey in the "Green Mile".  Spread around the park were the letters of the alphabet with numbers under the letters.  We had to find the letters of (Clarke Duncan) add them together and tell the number to the judge in order to have our passport stamped.  

The Urban Dare is a great competition that test both brains and brawn and we simply can't wait to do it again next year.  

Friday, April 26, 2013

Six Great Ideas

   Today's blog is courtesy of Michelle Cassady, Director of Instruction for Woodford County Schools.  Michelle has sent a lot of wonderful ideas that can be used to increase morale in many different areas.  I am sharing just six of the ideas today.    My thanks to Michelle for sharing ideas and I look forward to sharing more ideas over the next couple of weeks. 

   1.  “Another Great Week” Coffee CafĂ© celebration—end of week get-together with coffee house atmosphere (coffee, tea, scones)—play someone’s IPOD playlist or invite a musician to play
 2.  T.G.I.T. Refreshments—Thank Goodness It’s Today---everyone writes a note about what they are thankful for on a post-it note to display
3.     Adult Wellness Time—teach a hula hoop session (or have someone else teach) every Monday after school for 15 minutes for the adults
  4.  Above and Beyond Drawing—have faculty member put names of other colleagues in a drawing when they see them do something that shows they are going “above and beyond” in their jobs—have a drawing where the winner gets the principal teaching their class for one hour
 5.  Have your student leadership team make signs to decorate the teachers lounge (after school) to surprise the staff with Bravo, You’re Great, You Rock. 
6    6. Have the oldest students in your school and/or PTO write in colored chalk every teacher’s name and positive messages.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Online Motivation - Lose It

If you are needing a little extra help with your goals, there are a number of online motivational tools/applications  that can help.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will share  my experiences with three of the online motivational tools.  The following three (with hyperlinks) will be the focus of the blogs:   Lose ItRun Keeper and StickK.

The tool I have used the longest and the tool that I enter data in everyday is Lose It.  Lose It is an application for computer and phone that allows you to set a goal weight and a time period to reach the goal.  Once the goal and time period is set, the application will set a limit of calories that can be consumed per day that will enable you to meet this goal. You enter the amount of food you eat and the amount of exercise you complete throughout the day.

As most of us know, weight loss is generally a simple math problem.  Burn more calories than you consume and you will lose weight.  The Lose It application allows you to see vividly how many calories you are consuming and how many calories you are burning through exercise.  What I personally found was the large number of calories I was consuming through snacking.  By simply keeping a closer eye on snacking and becoming more dedicated with my exercise I have been able to lose nearly 20 pounds since Thanksgiving.
Sample Daily Log - Click to Enlarge

Lose It as a very good application.  The positives are:  it is free, can be used on phone or computer, has a fair number of preloaded food items,  great variety of reports,  allows you to create your own foods and it allows for a good number of exercises you can enter that will deduct from your daily calorie intake.

The concerns are:  the food choices are limited and I often find myself having to search other sites in order to input my meals and I feel the exercise counter may be a little too liberal in awarding calories burned while exercising.  I also find it very tedious inputting all of my meals and snacks every day (as a matter of fact, I am taking off a week from entering to see what happens to my weight during this time).

As you can see the concerns are minimal and the results are good.  I highly recommend this as an application for those trying to get his or her calorie consumption under control.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

National Library Week

Two great competitions from the Scott County High School library.

The first competition has both students and staff guess "Who is behind the book".  The wall of the library has 21 pictures of staff members behind one of his or her favorite books.  Prizes go to the students and staff members that can both identify the book and the reader.  Feel free to guess the two posted readers in the comment box below.

The second part of the competition has students and staff members look at a combination of  clues to identify famous books.  Take a shot at the one to the right and place your guess in the comment box below.  Click on pictures to enlarge.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fact or Fiction Competition

In my ebook, I describe Three Truths and One Lie as a Team Competition.   In Three Truths and One Lie, each competitor writes three truths and one lie about himself or herself.  The other competitors have to decide which statement is the lie.  An example of what a competitor’s question may look like in Three Truths and One Lie is listed below.

John Doe
A. Was on Romper Room as a child
B. Rode a mule through a Mexican city
C. Loves to scrapbook
D. Attended 7 different schools as a child 

Eastern Elementary has developed this idea into a Fact or Fiction competition.  Kelsey Davis describes the competition from the Sunshine Club below. 

Click to Enlarge
 We went with a “two truths and a lie” theme.  Each staff member composed three statements—two are true, one is a lie.  All three statements are posted in the lounge.  We’re having a blast trying to guess what is true and what is false!!!

Rachel Wilhoite, our art teacher, designed the board.  It has a detective theme with file folders, finger prints, and a magnifying class.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Thank You Notes

Sending a staff member a Thank You note is one of the most effective ways to increase staff morale.    As I walk through our buildings I see the notes teachers have received posted on the wall next to his or her desk. We all have staff members that deserve a note of thanks but may have never have received one.

A simple way to increase the number of notes to our deserving staff is to start every administrative meeting by having each member of the administrative team write a note of thanks to a staff member.  Place on the agenda as the first item - 1.  Write Thank You Note.   By making this a priority, we make it important to recognize our staff on a regular basis.

As a school principal my administrative team wrote notes at most all meetings for three years.  Almost every one of my staff members received at least two to three notes during this period.  I  may not be able to measure the effectiveness of this practice with my staff but it was personally very rewarding.  By taking time to actually write a note enabled me to think of how blessed I was to have such a great staff and how all of my staff have gifts that made my school so effective.