2018 One Word: Hourglass

The past week I have been looking back at 2017 and looking at all the good that happened. While I have talked about how 2017 has been one of the most difficult years I have faced in a decade. I have made it through (well in 4 days fore sure). When 2016 was coming to an end, I was looking at my “One Word” for 2017, which was Passion. What is the One Word?  The “One Word” approach is choosing a word that is a driving force for the year, rather than creating a list of  New Year’s resolutions, the One Word has been my go to the last two years.  However, in year’s past I’ve settled on “a word” for the year, but I never really get it move past the first five months. When January 2017 began and news of my mother’s health had come out. I fell back on my One Word and focused on my drive as an educator and technology. It was one of the few things that was getting me through the first few months of 2017 as more bleak news kept coming at me. Especially when July 1st rolled around and I was refocusing on changing my teaching style as I searched for a job. I also focused on my One Word as I went back into the classroom in August and tried to keep it alive as the days went on. The problem was, I kind of went with my One Word on a semi basis instead of a plan or driving points.

IMG_2584 (1)My friend, Tisha Richmond  recently did a post on her blog, The Digital Kitchen about her One Word and her plan. I’m planning something similar with my Elephant Planner. I’m going through a different angle though as my One Word is “Hourglass”. Based on H is for Hourglass from P is for Pirate by Dave and Shelly Burgess. The page reads: “Every minute counts, even those minutes ‘around the edges’. Brief interactions during the passing period and breaks those off-hand remarks and nods in the hallway, those extra-curricular events you attend and clubs you run– they may make a all the difference. Each minute spent informally with a student is worth ten hours of class time.” Something I have spent over the last few years. After I teach my lessons, I give the other half of class time to spend on work and then I talk to them. Not just with asking if they are understanding, but to see how they are doing. What they have questions on and so forth. Something I have constantly done over the years is trying to create rapport and relationships with my faculty and students.

One of my plans for second semester with my students is teaching them how to set goals and goals. We all know as teacher and administrators that while we live busy lives, our students do too. Especially in middle to high school, where it seems their lives are as busy as ours if not more so. Tisha broke it down from her blog on using a passion planner in this process.


1. Define Your Goals

  • Define and prioritize WHAT you want to do. Make a list of goals you want to accomplish. Dream big & be creative!
  • Determine your intentions by going back and circling or highlighting the goals that mean the most to you.  List them in order of importance.

2.  Examine Your Goals

  • What’s your WHY?  Why have you chosen these goals? Tweak goals to align with what you value.

3.  Examine Your Challenges

  • Figure out the HOW.  List the challenges you think you’ll face in achieving your goals.
  • Look at the challenges you listed.  Brainstorm strategies to cope with each and leave a note of encouragement to your future self.

4. Break it Down

  • Plot your goals by breaking down into do-able steps. It gives a table to list each:
  1. Goal
  2. Steps to take
  3. Time Frame (start and finish time)​

IMG_2633For my two projects I’m using for both my Business Basics and Multi-media classes is having them create passion planner of their own. While I am currently running a Donors Choose for their own sets, I am using a digital template that I can print out for them. From there we will follow the plan from above. The idea is to start each week by identifying major objectives, upcoming highlights, and challenges.  This way, students can begin every morning by filling out their goals, to-do’s, and what they are passionate about. By the end of each week, students and I can reflect on what worked and what changes they need to make to their short-term and long-term goals. Since I teach business and technology classes. This is a great way for students to learn how to plan, make changes to goals and continue forward. Which brings me to the second part of my One Word, Hourman.

img_2629.jpg  Hourman is a DC Comics super hero created by Ken Fitch and Benard Baily in 1940. Hourman was a scientist, named Rex Tyler, raised in upstate New York, developed an affinity for chemistry, particularly biochemistry. Working his way through college, he landed a job researching vitamins and hormone supplements at Bannermain Chemical. A series of discoveries and accidents led him to the “miraculous vitamin” Miraclo. He found that concentrated doses of the “miraclo” given to test mice increased their strength and vitality several times that of normal. After taking a dose himself, Rex found he could have superhuman strength and speed for the hour that the vitamin’s effects lasted, before returning to human levels. He set out being a costume super hero fighting crime where he went. However, while he used his “hour of power” to fight crime, he used it as an escape from the stresses of work, life and sadly later on his family. Basically, it was a reverse of a workaholic. So, what did Rex do? He finally decided that he had to make time for his family. He made changes to his schedule and as the old saying goes: “swallowed his pride” and made time for his family.

As we know, making time for not only our students, but also ourselves can become quite the balancing act. In Rex’s long history and later both his son, Rick and future descendant, Matthew Tyler who would go on to be Hourman themselves, had to learn about using their time for those important to them. Many times our students don’t feel they have enough time to do work or things go by so fast they don’t know when to ask for help or feel they need more time with the teacher. During the fall semester, I had students earn XP points and when they reach a certain amount, they would choose from an XP points mini envelope. Inside were a set of power-ups that they could use for extra assignment projects. Two of the power-ups were the time badge. Which allowed a student an extra day on an assignment or project. Similar to Michael Matera‘s eXPlore like a Pirate power trading cards he uses in his classroom. I only had three students get the power-up during the semester and one of them needed it badly as they missed over a week or school. During Christmas I discovered a set of clock tokens, I am giving students opportunities to use these for an extra 3 minutes of help time when they are confused on an assignment.

img_2580-1.jpgI’m using the tokens as another way to plan their time. As we know many times we feel that we don’t spend enough time with students who need more help and time with assignments and projects. With these time tokens that are earned through other means. A student with these tokens get an extra 3 minutes of help time they can cash in at anytime. Other students who know who has a time token known to wait until the token has been cashed in and time has been used. This also builds patients with others as they know they have to wait until the token is used up. Plus, the token can only be used once during work time in one class. So, if a student has earned more than one, they can only use them once during a class. Keeps from being over used and still allowing time with students who need help as well. I’ll be refining the use of these tokens and other “Planned Hour” power-ups as the semester goes on.

It all comes down to time management, not just writing everything down, but how to use time wisely in and out of the classroom. I only have an hour a class period with students and I want us both to plan and use our Hourglasses well during the semester. It’s the One Word of the Year and one that I plan on using well.


Special thanks to Tisha Richmond: The Digital Kitchen for the use of her planner guide. 




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