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Flat Stanley travels to Indiana — Again

In Books, Children, Children's Literature, Comic Books, Education, Family, History, Lafayette Indiana, Literacy Month, Malavenda, NEA, NPR, Pablo Malavenda, Purdue, Reading Across America, Story Book Leadership, WBAA on May 29, 2016 at 9:12 pm

Dear Mrs. Burt’s Second Grade Class,


Thank you for sending Flat Stanley to visit me in Indiana. Flat Stanley and I have had a great time going to many of my favorite places in my hometown of West Lafayette as well as Lafayette, Franklin & Indianapolis, Indiana.


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First, I introduced Flat Stanley to my parents — as well as my brother, Maximilian, and our dog, Bailey (see the picture below). Max is a junior in high school; and Bailey is a “double dapple” miniature dachshund.


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Flat Stanley loved Bailey — but who can blame him? I then gave Flat Stanley a tour of our neighborhood, which is called Hadley Moors. It’s named after Hadley Lake which is near our house.


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Next, I brought Flat Stanley to see one of the many corn and soybean fields in Indiana. Indiana corn and soybeans are used all over the world for lots of foods like popcorn, tofu, corn syrup, soy milk, and even ethanol gas for your cars.


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Look at Flat Stanley next to the corn stalks. He’s almost as tall as them because they just started growing. By August those stalks will be over 15 feet tall.


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I then took Flat Stanley to school with me. I am a sophomore at William Henry Harrison High School in West Lafayette. Besides my classes, my favorite activities at school are the Sunshine Society, photography and band — I play the flute.

Below is a picture of Flat Stanley looking at some of the pictures I took this year. The picture I took of the purple flower and the bumblebee won first prize. It’s a coneflower (also named Echinacea) from our flower garden at our house.


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My high school is named after President William Henry Harrison. President Harrison was from Indiana; and as the Governor of the Indiana territory, he led the Battle of Tippecanoe. The Battle of Tippecanoe is one of the most important battles in the history of our country – and it took place in 1811 (over 200 years ago) in the next town over from me – Battle Ground, Indiana. Our county is now named Tippecanoe; and the Wabash River separates our two cities – West Lafayette and Lafayette.


In addition to corn, Indiana is known as the “Crossroad of America” for many reasons including having lots of trains going through here.


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Flat Stanley & I are pictured on a bridge above the Four Corners Depot along the Wabash River in Downtown Lafayette.


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The Wabash River flows right into the Mississippi River. There are several trails and bridges that go along and over the Wabash River. Flat Stanley and I explored a few different parts of the Wabash River during his stay.


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My dad works at Lafayette Urban Ministry in Lafayette only four blocks from the River.


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Downtown Lafayette is a fun place to visit. Today Flat Stanley and I attended the “’Round the Fountain” Art Fair and the Farmer’s Market.


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The county courthouse for Tippecanoe County is in Lafayette, Indiana on the other side of the Wabash River. Above is a picture of Flat Stanley and me with the Tippecanoe County Courthouse in the background. On top of the courthouse dome is a 14 foot statue representing “Liberty.” In December the dome is filled with lights for the holidays.

Lafayette and West Lafayette were named after Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, who was a famous French General who helped President George Washington in the Revolutionary War.

Here is Flat Stanley with me at the courthouse fountain with a statue of General Lafayette.


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My hometown of West Lafayette is best known as the home of Purdue University.


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Purdue University is the flagship university of the State of Indiana. There are 40,000 students enrolled at Purdue. Purdue is named after John Purdue who gave land and money to the State of Indiana to start this state university. Flat Stanley and I are sitting below with the statue of John Purdue in front of the oldest building on campus, University Hall.


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Some of the famous alumni of Purdue include Orville Redenbacher (the popcorn guy); three NFL Super Bowl winning quarterbacks Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Len Dawson & Bob Griese (Miami Dolphins); John Wooden, basketball hall of famer; Ryan Newman, winner of the Daytona 500; Olympic gold medalist in diving, David Boudia; and 23 astronauts including Neil Armstrong. I actually got to meet Drew Brees when he was a student and heard Neil Armstrong speak at the dedication of this building — memories I will never forget.

Flat Stanley and I are pictured below at the Neil Armstrong statue in front of the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering.


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My mom works in this building as the Communications & Marketing Coordinator for the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics in the College of Engineering.


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On display in Armstrong Hall are a full-scale replica of the Apollo 1 command module and a lunar sample also known as a “moon rock.” Flat Stanley and I are pictured above with the Apollo 1 space capsule. We are pictured below with the moon rock.


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We then went to the Purdue Airport. At Purdue, students can learn how to be pilots, airport managers, and air traffic controllers. All kinds of planes fly in and out of this airport including some really fast jets. The sports teams also use this airport to travel to games.


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West Lafayette is also the home of the Indiana Veterans’ Home. The Indiana Veterans’ Home is a place that helps all US veterans from the whole state of Indiana.


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I have been to the Veterans’ home many times to serve the veterans and to sing to them with my school choir on Veterans Day each November.


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The day we visited the Indiana Veterans’ Home there were lots of flags on display to celebrate and remember veterans on Memorial Day.

Flat Stanley and I then did a lot of my favorite things in town.

We started by visiting the Celery Bog and Lilly Nature Center.


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They have lots of cool programs like “how to catch fireflies.” My family often walk our dog, Bailey, on the trails here and ride our bikes on the bike trails.


There are lots of great restaurants in our town. While Flat Stanley was visiting, we ate at two of my favorite restaurants. Below, we’re at Igloo Frozen Custard where we shared a burger, fries and chocolate milk shake.


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Below, Flat Stanley and I stopped at the Dog N Suds Drive-in restaurant and had Coney Island chili dogs and Dog N Suds root beer in a frosted mug. My friend, Brett’s dad owns Dog N Suds.


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The next day we went to the Columbian Park in Lafayette. Columbian Park is named after Christopher Columbus. It is a great park.

It has a train that looks silly but is a lot of fun.


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It also has a really awesome water park called Tropicanoe Cove, which has water slides and a lazy river.


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The Columbian Park also has a Zoo. The Columbian Park Zoo is free!


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The Zoo has hedgehogs, miniature horses, spider monkeys, prairie dogs, chinchillas, foxes, singing dogs, goats, porcupines, tamanduas, pot-belled pigs, armadillos, wallabies, polecats, llamas, gibbons — and a lot of birds, reptiles and other animals.

Flat Stanley liked the spider monkeys and gibbons the best. When I was your age — I attended a Zoo camp and had to milk a goat. We visit the park, especially the zoo, a lot in the summer.


This year, the State of Indiana is celebrating its bicentennial. This means that Indiana became a state 200 years ago this year. There are a lot of events planned to celebrate the Indiana Bicentennial — including the BISON-tennial Bison Project (get it?).


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Each of the 92 counties will each have at least one Bison on display. Our county, Tippecanoe County, has three bison. Flat Stanley and I visited the one called “Guardians of the Bond,” which was painted by artist Elizabeth Lincourt (see picture above).


Another day, Flat Stanley and I traveled to Franklin, Indiana — home of Franklin College. The city of Franklin and the college are named for one of our country’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin. The City of Franklin is about 96 miles south of West Lafayette.


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Here is a picture of Flat Stanley and me at the Ben Franklin statue on the Franklin College campus.


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I was most excited to bring Flat Stanley to see me dance.

I am a member of the company dance team at Studio b in Lafayette.

I dance ballet, jazz, lyrical, and hip hop.

We compete several times a year. 2016-05-28 Flat Stanley 2007 (2)


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While Flat Stanley was visiting, we competed at the Groove Dance Competition in Indianapolis. Flat Stanley saw me dance in three different company routines and one ensemble with the entire company team. Dancing is a lot of fun — and we even get trophies sometimes.


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The picture above is Flat Stanley with the Studio b company team at Groove Indy.
Below is a selfie we took with my friend, Meredith.


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Lastly, Flat Stanley and I went to Mass at our church, St. Thomas Aquinas.


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Above Flat Stanley and I are outside the church. Below is a picture of Flat Stanley with our pastor, Fr. Patrick.


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Flat Stanley and I had a blast. I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of all of the places Flat Stanley and I visited in Indiana. Thank you again for sending Flat Stanley to me. See you soon.


Your friend (& first cousin once removed),


Zoe Katherine


Save the UConn Coop

In Books, College Students, Malavenda, Pablo Malavenda, UConn, Uncategorized on January 31, 2016 at 3:23 pm

uconn_logo1Dear Distinguished Members of the UConn Community –

I am writing to strongly recommend that you save the UConn Coop. Please do not be tempted by a quick profit from a commercial bookstore or a sales presentation that makes promises that cannot honestly be kept in such a tumultuous time in the history of book stores and book sales — especially textbook sales. (Remember Borders, Walden Books, Tower Books, Crown Books, Bookland, etc.)
The UConn Coop has served the UConn students, faculty & extended community for so many years — with great success. There is so much value in what they have offered — member owned, member run and focused on service. The UConn Coop for decades has been offering things that a corporate bookstore would not — like supporting local authors, sponsoring book signing, hosting authors, presenting film festivals — and even replacing water damaged books in a residence hall and working with the library to offer unique services benefiting students. Most importantly they are always supporting and fighting for the students and faculty at UConn — not some international board of directors.
I am one of many alumni voices in my family — and we are all united to save the UConn Coop — and quite frankly surprised that this is even something being discussed. Whatever UConn is being offered to potentially replace the UConn Coop is NOT WORTH IT!
Thanks in advance for considering my request. Please save the UConn Coop. (I would like it to be there when my two high school age children attend UConn very soon.)
Sincerely,
Pablo
UConn 1984, 1991

Lifetime member, UConn Alumni Association


1/21/2014 Grabs Co Op Crowds by Patrick Gosselin


What Can You Do?

The Co-op needs your help! If you believe that the UConn Co-op is the best operator for the UConn Bookstore, then please share your support by writing a letter or email to:

Members of the selection committee: (martha.bedard@uconn.edu;alan.calandro@uconn.edu; eliza.conrad@uconn.edu; patricia.fazio@uconn.edu;robert.hasenfratz@uconn.edu; michael.kirk@uconn.edu;kyle.muncy@uconn.edu; sally.reis@uconn.edu)

Martha Bedard, vice provost for University Libraries

  • Alan Calandro, senior advisor and director of special projects, Office of the Executive Vice President for Administration
  • Eliza Conrad, student
  • Patti Fazio, assistant vice president for brand strategy
  • Michael George, alumni
  • Robert Hasenfratz, professor of English and chair of the English department
  • Michael Kirk, deputy chief of staff, President’s Office
  • Kyle Muncy, associate director of athletics for trademark licensing & branding
  • Sally Reis, vice provost for academic affairs, Letitia Neag Morgan Chair in Educational Psychology, & Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor

President Susan Herbst: (president@uconn.edu)

Members of the UConn Board of Trustees: (boardoftrustees@uconn.edu)

Further, our proposal for Making the Future together will be publicly available on our website so that you can see exactly how the Co-op plans to move forward. We will host a public event Monday Feb. 8th from 10 AM – 12 PM to demonstrate public support during our presentation to the university, followed by a forum to listen to your feedback and discuss further ways to support our selection as UConn’s official bookstore. Keep an eye out on @UconnCoop,Facebook page, and #SaveTheCoop for further details.

Finally, share this message via your social networks both on-line and off-line.

Flat Stanley travels to Indiana

In Books, Children, Children's Literature, Comic Books, Education, Family, History, Lafayette Indiana, Literacy Month, Malavenda, NEA, NPR, Pablo Malavenda, Purdue, Reading Across America, Story Book Leadership, WBAA on June 1, 2014 at 1:26 am

Dear Mrs. Egan’s Second Grade Class,


Thank you for sending Flat Stanley to visit me in Indiana. Flat Stanley and I have had a great time going to many of my favorite places in my hometown of West Lafayette as well as Lafayette and Battle Ground, Indiana.


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First, I gave Flat Stanley a tour of our neighborhood, which is called Hadley Moors. It’s named after Hadley Lake which is near our house. Next, I brought Flat Stanley to see one of the many corn and soybean fields in Indiana. Indiana corn and soybeans are used all over the world for lots of foods like popcorn, tofu, corn syrup, soy milk, and even ethanol gas for your cars.


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In addition to corn, Indiana is known as the “Crossroad of America” for many reasons including having lots of trains going through here. Flat Stanley and I are pictured on a bridge above the Four Corners Depot along the Wabash River in Downtown Lafayette.


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I then took Flat Stanley to school with me. I am a freshman at William Henry Harrison High School in West Lafayette. Besides my classes, my favorite activity at school is band. This year I played alto-saxophone in the marching band, the pep band and the jazz band. I also am on the cross country team.


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My high school is named after President William Henry Harrison. President Harrison was from Indiana; and as the Governor of the Indiana territory, he led the Battle of Tippecanoe.


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The Battle of Tippecanoe is one of the most important battles in the history of our country – and it took place in 1811 (over 200 years ago) in the next town over from me – Battle Ground, Indiana.


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Battle Ground is named for the site of this battle – the site of the battle is now a Registered National Landmark, with a statue of William Henry Harrison (see us below).


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Today, the Battle Field Park is a fun place to go to learn about the Battle of Tippecanoe and to hike on the trails along the river — but it also has lots of festivals throughout the summer. Two of my favorites are the annual Indiana Fiddlers’ Gathering (music festival) and the Steam and Gas Power Show.


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The battle took place near the Tippecanoe and Wabash Rivers.


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Our county is now named Tippecanoe; and the Wabash River separates our two cities – West Lafayette and Lafayette.


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The Wabash River flows right into the Mississippi River. There are several trails and bridges that go along and over the Wabash River. Flat Stanley and I explored a few different parts of the Wabash River during his stay.


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Downtown Lafayette is a fun place to visit. Today Flat Stanley and I attended the “’Round the Fountain” Art Fair and the Farmer’s Market.


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The county courthouse for Tippecanoe County is in Lafayette, Indiana on the other side of the Wabash River.


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Above is a picture of Flat Stanley and me with the Tippecanoe County Courthouse in the background. On top of the courthouse dome is a 14 foot statue representing “Liberty.” In December the dome is filled with lights for the holidays.

Lafayette and West Lafayette were named after Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, who was a famous French General who helped President George Washington in the Revolutionary War.

Here is Flat Stanley with me at the courthouse fountain with a statue of General Lafayette.


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Lafayette also has several big factories that make lots of the things you enjoy in Connecticut —— like Subaru Outback cars, Caterpillar equipment, and Alcoa aluminum, which is used to make aluminum bats. Here are pictures of Flat Stanley and me at these three factories.


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My hometown of West Lafayette is best known as the home of Purdue University.


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Purdue University is the flagship university of the State of Indiana. There are 40,000 students enrolled at Purdue.


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Here, Flat Stanley and I are pictured under the Purdue Alumni Gateway Arch and the Bell Tower. Look carefully at the base of the Bell Tower and you will see us. The bells in the Bell Tower play music — even the Purdue Fight Song.


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Purdue is named after John Purdue who gave land and money to the State of Indiana to start this state university. Flat Stanley and I are sitting below with the statue of John Purdue in front of the oldest building on campus, University Hall.


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Some of the famous alumni of Purdue include Orville Redenbacher (the popcorn guy); three NFL Super Bowl winning quarterbacks Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Len Dawson & Bob Griese (Miami Dolphins); John Wooden, basketball hall of famer; Ryan Newman, winner of the Daytona 500; Olympic gold medalist in diving, David Boudia; and 23 astronauts including Neil Armstrong.


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I actually got to meet Drew Brees when he was a student and heard Neil Armstrong speak at the dedication of this building — memories I will never forget.


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Pictured below is Flat Stanley and me with my friends at the Neil Armstrong statue in front of the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering.


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Purdue sports play in the Big 10 conference. They have lots of sports teams including basketball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, track & field, wrestling, swimming, diving, baseball, softball, rowing, sailing, rugby, gymnastics, ice hockey, and football.

Flat Stanley and I are pictured below at the Ross-Ade Stadium where Purdue plays football.


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I performed here with my high school marching band during half time of a Purdue football game last September. That was a very cool experience.

Flat Stanley and I visited the Grand Prix Track (a student go-cart race), and the soccer and baseball stadiums.


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We then went to the Purdue Boathouse, home of the Purdue Crew Team, on the Wabash River.


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I also took Flat Stanley to see the Purdue Airport. If you look closely in the upper left hand corner, you can see the air traffic control tower.


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At Purdue, students can learn how to be pilots, airport managers, and air traffic controllers. All kinds of planes fly in and out of this airport including some really fast jets. The sports teams also use this airport to travel to games.

West Lafayette is also the home of the Indiana Veterans’ Home. The Indiana Veterans’ Home is a place that helps all US veterans from the whole state of Indiana.


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I have been to the Veterans’ home many times to serve the veterans and to sing to them with my school choir on Veterans Day each November.


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The day we visited the Indiana Veterans’ Home there were lots of flags on display to celebrate and remember veterans on Memorial Day.

Flat Stanley and I then did a lot of my favorite things in town.

We started by visiting the Celery Bog and Nature Center.


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They have lots of cool programs like “how to catch fireflies.” My family often walk our dog, Bailey, on the trails here and ride our bikes on the bike trails.

We then went to the Tippecanoe Amphitheater. They have an outdoor stage where we have seen shows. There are trails here, too. The trails at the Amphitheater are the official cross country trails for my high school cross country team — so, I run these trails a lot.


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There are lots of great restaurants in our town. While Flat Stanley was visiting, we ate at two of my favorite restaurants. Below, Flat Stanley and I are sharing Broccoli Cheddar soup in a bread bowl at Panera Bread.


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Below we stopped at the Dog N Suds Drive-in restaurant and had Coney Island chili dogs and Dog N Suds root beer in a frosted mug. My friend, Brett’s dad owns Dog N Suds.


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Flat Stanley and I then went Bowling…


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and Played some Air Hockey and…


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Played a little bit of pocket Billiards (pool).


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I then took Flat Stanley to Von’s, my favorite local store. Von’s sells lots of stuff including comic books, books, and records/CDs/DVDs.


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We then went to the movies — which I love doing. We saw the new X-Men movie.


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The next day we went to the Columbian Park in Lafayette. Columbian Park is named after Christopher Columbus. It is a great park.


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It has a train that looks silly but is a lot of fun.


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It also has a really awesome water park called Tropicanoe Cove, which has water slides and a lazy river.


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The Columbian Park also has a Zoo. The Columbian Park Zoo is free!


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The Zoo has hedgehogs, miniature horses, spider monkeys, prairie dogs, chinchillas, foxes, singing dogs, goats, porcupines, tamanduas, pot-belled pigs, armadillos, wallabies, polecats, llamas, gibbons — and a lot of birds, reptiles and other animals.


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Flat Stanley liked the spider monkeys and gibbons the best. When I was your age — I attended a Zoo camp and had to milk a goat. We visit the park, especially the zoo, a lot in the summer.

Before Flat Stanley went home to Connecticut, I wanted him to see where my mother works. She is a news producer on National Public Radio at WBAA radio station. Flat Stanley used the microphone in the radio studio where my mom works.


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Lastly, Flat Stanley and I went to Mass at our church, St. Thomas Aquinas. It also happens to be where my father works as the parish administrator.


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Flat Stanley and I had a blast. I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of all of the places Flat Stanley and I visited in Indiana.

Thank you again for sending Flat Stanley to me. See you soon.


Your friend (& first cousin once removed),


Maximilian Xavier


 

Happy Birthday To You, Theodor Geisel!

In Books, Cat in Hat, Children's Literature, Dr. Seuss, Literacy Month, Lorax, Malavenda, Pablo Malavenda, Story Book Leadership, Theodor Geisel, Uncategorized, Yertle the Turtle on March 2, 2013 at 7:44 am

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

March 2nd is the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel known worldwide as the beloved Dr. Seuss.

Theodor GeiselDr. Seuss was born Theodor Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904. While on a family vacation he was captivated by the rhythmic sounds of the cruise ship’s engine and came up with And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, published in 1936. The Cat in the Hat was published when he turned 50 (in 1954), and the rest is history. Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991. Dr. Seuss is eternal with 44 children’s books to educate and inspire many generations to come.

Dr. Seuss famously said, “Children want the same things we want. To laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained Dr. Seussand delighted.” Inspired by this quote and a class project many years ago, I have been using Dr. Seuss to teach LEADERSHIP to college students for close to 25 years. Although, one could easily use any of Dr. Seuss’ stories to teach leadership, my favorite is Yertle the Turtle. I use children’s books (a lot of Dr. Seuss books) in many different ways.  Adults including college students love to regress.  The joy on their faces when you pull out a children’s story book is priceless.  Once they realize you are serious about using a children’s book to teach leadership, students really get into. After reading the book out loud to the group, I lead a discussion using a tried and true “reflection” outline asking three questions: WHAT? – SO WHAT? – NOW WHAT?

 Yertle the Turtle and Other StoriesThe discussion is lively, fun, and meaningful. The insights about leadership the students come up with are incredible. It is magical. Thank you, Dr. Seuss for your wonderful stories which continue to teach and motivate.  Dr. Seuss’ birthday has sparked me to launch a series of PCPop blog posts about “Story Book Leadership” — starting with Yertle the Turtle.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

{Now off to the movies — The Lorax opened in movie theaters worldwide this past weekend, Dr. Seuss’ birthday — but read the book first, please.}

The Lorax


For more information on Story Book Leadership, read the PC Pop posts as follows:


“Harold and the Purple Crayon” — Story Book Leadership

In Books, Children, Children's Literature, College Students, Education, Harold & the Purple Crayon, Leadership, Malavenda, Pablo Malavenda, Story Book Leadership, Uncategorized on November 12, 2012 at 7:33 am

Story Book Leadership -- Harold & the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnsonby Crockett Johnson (1955, Harper & Row, New York)


{First Read PC Pop post: Story Book Leadership — Getting Started — 8 Steps to Powerful Presentations, which you will give you more specific information on how to use children’s literature in teaching leadership to college students and adults.}


Topics:

  • Controlling your Destiny
  • Crisis Management
  • Creativity
  • Goal Setting
  • Problem Solving

Plot (in six words):

Harold takes adventures with his crayon.


Plot Summary:

The story begins with Harold wanting to take a walk and explore with his purple crayon. Soon Harold is fighting dragons, feeding pie to porcupines and falling off a mountain ledge. Harold uses his purple crayon throughout the story to draw his way out of each of his dilemmas and life threatening accidents. After a while Harold just wants to go home but he is a bit lost. Again he uses his quick wit and his purple crayon and finds his way back to his room and drifts off to sleep.

Despite all of Harold’s adventures, it is an easy paced story. The artwork is simple and so is the story. But the lessons for Leaders are powerful and inspiring.


Getting Started

When I use children’s literature to teach Leadership to college students — I like to surprise them. I keep the book hidden until we are ready to begin. I ask them to take it seriously and be ready to discuss the book and its leadership lessons. I also like to use props like real purple Crayola crayons or a big (3 foot) purple crayon bank. I have also led the students to our room by having them follow a purple line on the floor — made by using colored duct tape.

Once the students are settled and I have selected someone to show the pictures from the story book, I read the book to the students and then begin the reflection. For the reflection discussion I basically use a three step process asking: WHAT?, SO WHAT?, and NOW WHAT? Ask the question and wait for a response. Be ready for creative and insightful answers. As the facilitator you should encourage a lively and meaningful discussion by not being too judgmental but keeping them on track. Practice active listening and clarify and summarize their comments when necessary. For more specific information on the Story Book Leadership method, read the PC Pop post: Story Book Leadership — Getting Started — 8 Steps to Powerful Presentations.

Below are suggestions on specifics questions to direct your discussion and some answers to expect after reading Harold & the Purple Crayon to your group of student leaders.


WHAT.

Question: What was this story about?

  • This is a story about an adventurous and imaginative boy name Harold who has a magic Purple Crayon. When Harold gets in trouble he uses his crayon to draw.

SO WHAT.Story Book Leadership -- Harold & the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Now that you know the story — So what? Why do you think the story was chosen for you at this stage in your leadership with this organization.

  • Question: Who is Harold?
    • Person with authority, with titles, with power
    • Leaders, student leaders, bosses, organization officers
    • Team members, committee chairs
  • Student Leaders need to be…
    • Adventurous, Risk takers, daring
    • Innovative, creative
    • Forward thinking, visionary, moving forward
    • Confident, decisive
  • Attitude — Remain positive, calm, and be able to Make the Best of each situation
  • Problem Solving/Dealing with Crises
    • Be able to deal with problems
    • Don’t blame others
    • Focus on solving the problem not who’s at fault
    • Make sound and quick decisions — decisive
    • Be able to Act
    • Use all of your resources and experience
  • Question: What is represented by the Purple Crayon?
    • Your “wits”
    • Resources
    • Decisions, problem solving
  • Question: How did Harold react to the Police Officer? How did Harold react to each dilemma or crisis?
    • Harold kept calm
    • Harold used his Purple Crayon, his resources and experience, to take action and solve problems
    • Harold remained polite — even when others like the police officer were not helpful
    • Harold remained positive — never wasting his time or energy trying to find out “who is to blame”
    • Harold focused on solving the problem
  • Question: What is the meaning of the Moon, the Bedroom Window, Bedroom? What is special about Home?
    • There are things that guide us morally in life — the Moon, Window — and we must always keep them in view
    • Home is a comfort — and we all eventually want to and need to go Home
    • Home represents family and community focused values
    • Even the most adventurous leader must “go Home” and rest — get renewed

NOW WHAT?

Now that the students are aware of the lessons learned from the adventures of Harold and his Purple Crayon — Now what?

  • Question: As leaders, how can you use this information and new insight to make a positive impact on your organization and environment?
    • Encourage the participants to use “I” statements like “In the future I will be more patient when problems arise and focus on the problem and not on who to blame.”
    • As a leader, I will take more risks and use all of my resources and experience to persevere even when times get tough or things don’t go my way.

CLOSING THE SESSION

  • Lastly, ask the group a few closing questions like:
    • How did this exercise make you feel?
    • Did you enjoy learning in this manner?
  • Encourage the student leaders to use Story Book Leadership in their workshops, meetings and retreats.

The information above is merely to give the presenter a better idea of what to expect during the discussion of Harold and the Purple Story Book Leadership -- Harold & the Purple Crayon by Crockett JohnsonCrayon. The key to making this a successful exercise is allowing and encouraging the participants to engage in a meaningful conversation about the Leadership Lessons in the book, how it relates to their current leadership experience, and what they can do NOW to use the ideas from this book to improve their organization and their environment.

College students and adults love to regress with a quality children’s book. If you select a well-written, well illustrated book that is relevant to the leaders — you will get a wonderful response from your participants. They will laugh, learn, and gain new insights while enjoying every minute — what more could you hope for?


For more information on Story Book Leadership, read the PC Pop posts as follows:


Superheroes — Lessons about Power and Leadership

In Avengers, Batman, Comic Books, Dark Knight, Exploring Leadership, Harry Potter, Justice League of America, Komives, Leader, Malavenda, Movies, Nance Lucas, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership, Spider-Man, Timothy McMahon, Tuckman Stages, Uncategorized on July 3, 2012 at 7:22 pm


This summer you can’t escape Superheroes. From the Avengers movie which is smashing all box office records to The Amazing Spider-Man (reboot) to The Dark Knight Rises (big screen’s 7th Batman actor so far) — not to mention Dredd (Judge Dredd reboot) and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance — superheroes are saving the world in teams, with side-kicks, and alone on multiple, multiplex screens.  Even Broadway in New York City is currently smitten with a superhero — Spider-Man — Turn Off the Dark.

Leadership and Power — there is no better example than Superheroes.  According to J.W. Gardner (1990), Power is a social dimension; it is the capacity to ensure the outcomes one wishes and to prevent those one does not wish. Gardner (1990) also explains that Leadership and Power are two different things but are intertwined in many fascinating ways. The important questions are — What do you do with Power when you get it? How did you get the Power? How and when do you use it? Why do you use your Power — toward what ends?

Over the past 25 years, I have led many discussions about Leadership. Everyone has an idea of what Leadership is and what defines a Leader. Since I am more interested in engaging individuals I developed a highly interactive session. My goal is to give the participants an opportunity to think rather than be told what to think. I start the conversation about Leadership and Power with a simple yet important question —


Why Be a Leader?


What are the benefits? Why do individuals aspire, work, lobby, and fight to become the leaders of their groups or communities. Being the “Leader” is often not easy. Being the Leader means taking on responsibility, working harder than others, and not getting much recognition or praise. Being the Leader is often unfair. Leaders rarely get credit for the successes and almost always get blamed for the failures. In many cases, the Leaders are hated just because they’ve been given the title or position of authority. Take for instance the President of the United States. As soon as they win the election, they are hated and disrespected by a large portion of their constituents. Often even Superheroes like Batman, Spider-Man, Green Hornet, Blue Beetle and Green Arrow are misunderstood by the public they are serving and vilified in the media. So why would anyone want to be a Leader? What are the benefits and rewards? The audience thinks and begins to offer answers.

  • Because I could do it better than everyone else
  • To Make things better
  • To have a say in what happens
  • To control what is done
  • To learn and grow personally and professionally
  • To determine your own destiny
  • To give back
  • To serve others
  • To make a difference
  • Because no one else will

When the participants start running out of answers, I usually stop and tell them there are two answers they have missed.  I also share that I am not surprised that neither of these answers have been mentioned yet — because for as long as I have been asking this question, these two answers rarely come up.  They usually look at me dumbfounded.  With a few more hints — they finally realize the two mysteriously missing answers to the question, Why Be a Leader? are: MONEY and POWER. In an academic or intellectual setting, it just isn’t appropriate to share that your goal in life is to be a Leader to get a better position with a better salary, incredible benefits and retirement plan. Emile Henry Gauvreay gives an insightful description of our attitude of Money today in this observation:


I was part of that strange race of people aptly described as spending their lives doing things they detest to make money they don’t want to buy things they don’t need to impress people they dislike.


Pursuing money as a benefit to being a Leader is not all bad unless it is your only motivation.  After all we must live, support our families and feel that we are being compensated appropriately for our work and effort.

And POWER also has a very bad name — individuals in our discussion talked about “control,” “determining the destiny,” and “having a say” — but they won’t use the “P” word for fear of appearing greedy, corrupt and immoral. Power is typically used in a negative context thanks to powerful political leaders and powerful corporate CEO’s who have behaved badly. This quote from Lord Acton in an opinion piece from 1887 says it all:


Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.


As for POWER, again, if it is the sole reason for being a Leader it will most likely bring trouble. But I would argue that POWER is actually quite necessary to make any positive change as a Leader.  Without POWER what really can be accomplished? The key is how you use the power — for good or for evil.

Everyone is with the Justice League. Each member of the Justice League has great power. But unlike the Super Villains, Superheroes use their Power for good not evil. Another example — a bit more obscure — is the Disney movie, Sky High (2005). In looking at Power and Leadership, I love Sky High. The storyline in Sky High is similar to Harry Potter. This 14 year old finds out his parents are very famous Superheroes (The Commander and Jetstream), and he now must attend a special school for Super Heroes kids called Sky High.  The first day of school, the gym teacher has all of the new kids gather in the gym and one at a time they have to show him their super power.  Based on their demonstrated super power, the gym teacher identifies them as Superheroes, Villains, and Side-kicks.  The concept of a side-kick I think is fascinating.  The role is to support and complement the Superhero without ever being in the spotlight. I like this idea because I can definitely see myself more as a side-kick than a Superhero or Villain. Superheroes use their Power for Good — Villains for Evil.

Leaders typically have some degree of Power; but Power can exist without Leadership.  The person who puts a parking ticket on your car’s windshield has Power but not the permission to lead. Parents have Power; School teachers have Power; Mid-managers have Power. Some have power because of their title and position — but they may not be Leaders.  Others get Power because of more intrinsic reasons like their physical appearance and attractiveness, their leadership skills, or ability to persuade others (Gardner, 2003). Superheroes are not Leaders until they can harness and control their Power, understand how their Power may be used for Good, and must commit to using their Power only when necessary and always for the good of others.

Power is essential.  If you read the essays by Robert K. Greenleaf (2002) about Servant Leadership — you see that he acknowledges that indeed little may be accomplished in a community without Power. A wonderful example of an individual whose means and ends were so admirable and so well respected that seeking Power is justified.  The leader is Green Arrow who gained power and used the power to fight crime in his home town. Loki on the other hand used Power to an end that was horrifyingly destructive and despicable. The Justice League of America (JLA) and the Avengers are similar in that each Superhero and Villain acquired their super powers in different ways.  Most gained their super powers because of an accident — like being blasted off their home planet (Superman, Wonder Woman), falling into a vat of toxic goo (The Joker, Poison Ivy), exposed to alien technology (Green Lantern, Blue Beetle, The Thing, Invisible Woman), being exposed to radiation (The Hulk, Captain America), being bitten by a bug (Spider-man), morphed with an animal (The Penguin, Beast Boy), struck by lightning (The Flash), using themselves as  test subjects in an experiment that goes really wrong (Green Goblin).  Others chose to find or create their power like the billionaires who have different identities by day (Ant-Man, Batman, Green Arrow, Iron Man, Wasp).

In Exploring Leadership, Komives et al (2003) affirm that Leaders must have the power to get results. Leaders though must be held accountable. Leaders also must be careful not to hoard power; hence their emphasis on Empowering as a key element of their Relational Leadership Model (Komives, 2008).  Power can be indeed shared and amplified but Leaders should be hesitant to merely give it away (Gardner, 2003). Most of the time Superheroes act alone or with their sidekicks. But this summer with the wildly popular movie The Avengers, we see Superheroes needing to figure out how to work together. Like any group of Leaders who are put together in a team to focus on one task, they progress through a series of stages of group development (Tuckman, 1965).  This is seen in the Avengers — and the success of the movie is that they eventually pass through the “storming” stage, begin to “norm” and ultimately “perform.”  You even see some evidence of them saying goodbye or “adjourning” (Tuckman, 1977).  During the performing stage you can see all of the Superheroes sharing power and in effect amplifying the overall power of the group — of Avengers, who defeated Loki and his alien army. And the DC folks are working on a Justice League of America movie; so, we’ll get a chance to see shared Power and Leadership among Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Cyborg, Flash, and Aquaman soon in a theater near you.

Lastly, J.W. Gardner (2003) cautioned that Leaders must always be accountable. To avoid Leaders hoarding power or using Power for their own benefit, there must be a system of checks and balances.  More importantly, Leaders who are given extraordinary Power must be able to use the Power well. As Spider-Man recalled from his last moments with his surrogate dad, Uncle Ben:


Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words:

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I’m Spider-man.


So next time someone asks you “Why Be a Leader?” — don’t be afraid to say for POWER. But don’t forget to explain that like Superman, Batman, Spider-man, and all of the Avengers — YOU will choose to use your POWER for Good not Evil.


References:

  • Gardner, John W. (1990). On Leadership. New York: The Free Press.
  • Gardner, John W. (2003). Living, leading, and the American dream. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Greenleaf, Robert K. (2002). Servant Leadership: A Journey Into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness – 25th Anniversary Edition. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.
  • Komives, Susan R., Lucas, Nance, & McMahon, Timothy R. (2007) 2nd Edition. Exploring Leadership for College Students Who Want to Make a DifferenceSan Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Development sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63, 384-399.
  • Tuckman, B.W. & Jensen, M.A.C. (1977) Stages of small group development revisitedGroup and Organizational Studies, 2, 419-427.

Saying Goodbye: You’re Off to Great Places

In Adjourning, Books, College Students, Dr. Seuss, Exploring Leadership, Group Dynamics, Komives, Kouzes, Leader, Leadership, Malavenda, Nance Lucas, Oh the places you'll go, Pablo Malavenda, Posner, Timothy McMahon, Tuckman Stages, Uncategorized on May 6, 2012 at 8:51 pm


Congratulations!

Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places!

You’re off and away.


Saying Goodbye can be a powerful and transforming action that many Leaders overlook. Leaders spent a tremendous amount of time and energy building a hardworking, cohesive team and often see great results. But Leaders fail to give appropriate praise and recognition which should include some type of ceremony at the end of the year. In many team situations there is a clear and definitive “end” of the year, completion of the work and inevitable dissolution of the relationships. This is especially true in organizations in which the leader, chairperson, or president must be elected (or re-elected) each year — like student organizations and societies in college and high school. It is that time of year when some students are getting ready to graduate and for life after college, and all of the other students are preparing to move on to the next level of leadership. Leaders often let the outgoing members of student organizations just fade away though and allow the incoming  Leaders and the formal graduation ceremonies take precedence. What Leaders must do however is give formal recognition to the accomplishments of the team which has been together for the entire year and most likely has many wonderful things on which to reflect and of which to be proud.

Great Leaders spend part of their tenure recognizing accomplishments, rewarding good work, working on team building and trust among group members, and empowering and encouraging their team members to work hard, take risks and make history. Ironically these same Leaders often leave office and fade away without properly “Saying Goodbye” and more importantly without allowing the team members to say Goodbye to each other. When Kouzes and Posner talked about “Encouraging the Heart” they were not only referring to recognizing individuals throughout the entire year but also having an upbeat year-end celebration to give closure to the entire team (Kouzes & Posner, 2008).

Encouraging the Heart is based on two commitments: recognizing contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence and celebrating the values and victories by creating a spirit of community (Kouzes & Posner, 2003).  For some leaders Encouraging the Heart comes naturally but for most it is not their strongest trait. Believe it or not it is easier for many Leaders to “Challenge the Process” but Encouraging the Heart frightens them. Yet is it so important that Kouzes and Posner dedicated an entire textbook to this one behavior of their Leadership Challenge — Encouraging the Heart. Now there’s a book, Encouraging the Heart workshops, and the Encouragement Index. So don’t blow it by not coordinating an end of the year celebration. According to Kouzes and Posner the importance of Encouraging the Heart is backed up by research that reports that approximately one-third of North American workers say they NEVER are recognized for a job well done, a little more (44 percent) say they receive little recognition for a job well done, and only 50 percent of Leaders say they give recognition for high performance  (Kouzes & Posner, 2003). Great Leaders know that people matter, and Leader must make people feel in their hearts that they are valued and appreciated — and we’re not necessarily talking about money or salary.


You’ll be on your way up!

You’ll be seeing great sights!

You’ll join the high fliers

Who soar to high heights.


Also remember that every group, team or organization goes through developmental stages explained well by Bruce Tuckman’s Group Development Model. Tuckman’s original stages of development, as you will recall, are as follows: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing (Tuckman, 1965).  In 1977, Tuckman with Mary Ann C. Jensen added a fifth stage: Adjourning. Adjourning has also been referred to as the De-Forming or Mourning stage.  Tuckman and Jensen (1977) realized the function or design of many groups is to complete a series of tasks and to dissolve.  Even if the group continues to exist the members of the group will be different and the developmental stage would revert to the Forming stage also know as Re-Forming and Re-Storming.  Adjourning allows for the group to continue on with new members, new leadership and a new set of goals and tasks to complete.  According to Tuckman and Jensen (1977): When it is time to end or change the group in some way, managers can be perplexed by the blind refusal to change or contemplate a future that is different from today. This requires the skills of “Change Management” Leaders to be deployed, for example in celebrating the successes of the past whilst steadily revealing the inevitability of the future (Tuckman & Jansen, 1977). As with beginnings, rituals help people cope with the changes of ending. If properly implemented the Adjourning stage which includes Encouraging the Heart behaviors can be transforming for all members including outgoing members and new incoming members as well.

The 3-steps to a successful “Goodbye” are as follows:

  • Celebrate
    • Bring all members together
    • Have a meal
    • Dress up
  • Recognize
    • Say Thank you
    • Recognize major accomplishments
    • Honor members – leaders, staff, volunteers, advisors
    • Give a Keepsake
  • Leave a Legacy
    • Pass the Gavel
    • Introduce New Leadership
    • Share Vision for Future — finances, services, programs, and leadership


On and on you will hike.

And I know you’ll hike far

And face up to your problems

Whatever they are.


From an organizational perspective, plan the ceremony and pick a date as soon as possible.  Get the event in everyone’s calendar and make it an expectation to attend.  Assign the planning of the event to someone on the executive team.  I prefer the event to be coordinated and planned by the vice president.  The VP has enough knowledge and connection to the entire organization to plan something appropriate and special.  Make sure the event is within the budget and communicated as an expectation as well as a priority.  Most of your budget will be needed for food and beverages and the gift to all members.  That being said focus on the objectives of the event which represents the Heart of the organization — the people, relationships, memories, and the personal growth of each member; therefore, don’t let the lack of funds prevent you from planning something creative and special.  Everyone should attend. Everyone who attends should feel very special at the event.  Everyone should be acknowledged, thanked and recognized — EVERYONE.  This is consistent with the principles of the Relational Leadership Model concerning Empowerment and Inclusion (Komives, Lucas, McMahon, 2007). Be careful not to plan one of those banquets that makes a few people feel great and most feel ignored and under-appreciated (again).  A proper Goodbye is wonderful and uplifting for EVERYONE!


And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)


How you Say Goodbye is up to you and should be appropriate for the culture and consistent with the values of the organization.  Here are some ideas that may work for you.

  • Thank You — A thank you gift that each member may take away. It may be engraved with the “year” or term of office or something that can be personalized like a picture frame.
    • Flowers — a flower for each outgoing member
    • Gift — glass, mug, picture frame (for the group photo mentioned below)
  • Recognition
    • Plaque – may include photo, name, year or term of office
    • Certificate of Achievement/Excellence — this is most inexpensive recognition item you can give but it will be treasured by the members.  They look great if you use multi-colored certificate paper, and they can be personalized and signed by the VIPs of the organization.  For a few more cents, you purchase certificate covers and fancy stickers and ribbons to make the presentation even more dazzling.  Check with your national/international office for pre-printed certificate paper.
    • Photo of Group — the photo may be distributed electronically or made available online; the photo should include a “key” with names of everyone pictured and not pictured.
    • Logo Item — a lapel pin, patch, medal, hat, fancy pen, coaster, etc.  If the organization is a national/international or has a specific logo, there may be items for sale from the national office.
  • Program
    • Emcee, Keynote, Presenters — decide who will be hosting and emceeing, select and invite a keynote, and select presenters
    • Keynote Remarks — should focus on Leadership and leaving a legacy for the future. Considering using creative, leadership focused quotes and books like Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. {More information on how to use Story Books in Leadership may be found in this PCPop post: Story Book Leadership: Getting Started.}
    • Script — Write a script. Do not ad lib or “wing it.”  Don’t deviate from the script once it is written because it was developed to give everyone equal recognition and assures that no one is singled out as extra special (unless that is part of the original plan).  We have all witnessed this disaster — when the emcee calls up each member to receive their certificate and offers personal remarks about one particular member and then has to come up with something equally impressive for everyone else.  It never works out well, and it makes the program awkward for everyone.
    • Awards — are optional.  If you choose to give awards like best program, best committee, best chairperson, best senior, best alumnus/a, etc — make sure they don’t do more harm than good.
    • Special Recognition — decide if you wish to honor specific groups or categories of members like all graduating seniors, all executive team members, advisors, staff, or committee chairs.
    • Creative Presentations: Superlatives, Limericks, Funny Awards for each member.  With these creative presentations you must make sure there is one for each member.  A small group of officers or committee members may create these presentations or they can create the awards and superlatives and have the members vote (like “Most Likely to Succeed”).
    • Passing the Gavel: Give the outgoing president an opportunity to give remarks about the year’s accomplishments and highlights.  The outgoing presidents then presents an engraved gavel to the new president for the upcoming year.  The new president shares his/her vision for the next year building on the success and hard work of the outgoing members.
    • Photo/View Slideshow — Every organization should have a director of communications who is responsible for taking pictures and video at all events.  Their ultimate goal is to have enough photos to create a meaningful slideshow for the end of the year banquet.  The slideshow can then be shared online with all members — another gift for all members — as well as alumni and friends of the organization.
    • Music/dancing:
      • Dinner music –if you have the funds, during dinner it is a nice touch to have live music featuring a piano player, jazz combo, violinist, or harpist.
      • Dancing — After the formal presentation, some group may enjoy dancing to a DJ, who will also play “dinner” music and supply you with a microphone and sound system for your keynote and presentations.
  • Food & Beverages — Dinner, Lunch or Breakfast
    • Plated — served, sit-down meal; must coordinate special dietary meals in advance
    • Buffet — hot meal, easier to accommodate special dietary needs
    • Picnic – variety of menus will work: burgers/dogs, steak/potatoes, shish kabobs, bbq (ribs, chicken), clam bake
    • Hors d’oeuvres — this is a great option if your budget will not allow for a full meal but make sure the food is hot and plentiful.
    • Desserts — this is another great low(er)-budget option but make sure you have healthy options too like fruit smoothies, yogurt, granola, fruit salad or fresh fruit platters.
      • Buffet with a chocolate fountain (Yum!)
      • Ice Cream Sundaes — make your own — make sure you have lactose-free (soy) and lower fat options like sherbet.
  • Beverages
    • Cash Bar — general rule of thumb is that if more than half of your honorees and guests are of legal drinking age a cash bar would be appropriate.  You may disagree but I don’t think using organizational funds to pay for an open bar is appropriate.
    • Coffee — if dessert is a part of the event, coffee would be a nice addition.
  • Venue— once you decide on the program and the food you would like to serve, you have a few options for venue.  Remember to ask about catering options, food charges, vegetarian options, tax charge, service fee, tip/gratuity, bar fee, bar minimum, security requirements and any other costs.  Make sure you ask about specific requirements and the cost, if any, for a microphone, lectern, video projector, screen, dance floor, linens, flatware, centerpieces, table for awards, etc. Options for your venue are as follows:
    • Banquet hall
    • Hotel banquet room (tend to charge extra for everything — so, get a quote!)
    • Private home (obviously technology challenges)
    • Park, beach, golf course club house, country club, pavilion, outdoor plaza/patio, neighborhood clubhouse
    • Restaurant — private room
    • Museum, gallery

So…

Be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray

Or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,

You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So…get on your way!

(Dr. Seuss, 1990)


It sounds like a lot of work, but the rewards are tremendous.  Each one of your members will feel wonderful about their experience with the organization, be proud of what they were able to accomplish, and be confident that their contributions are appreciated and valued. New incoming members and officers will be inspired to continue to work hard toward accomplishing the mission and vision of the organization.  You will have started a meaningful tradition that members will look forward to attending each year. You will have become a great Leader who is comfortable Encouraging the Heart and understands the importance and significance of the Adjourning phase of group development. “You’re off to Great Places – Today is Your Day – Your Mountain is Waiting – So, Get on Your Way!”


References:

  • Komives, Susan R., Lucas, Nance, & McMahon, Timothy R. (2007) 2nd Edition. Exploring Leadership for College Students Who Want to Make a DifferenceSan Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Kouzes, James M. & Posner, Barry Z. (2003). 2nd Edition. Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Kouzes, James M. & Posner, Barry Z. (2008). 4th Edition. The Leadership Challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Seuss, Dr. (1990). Oh, The Places You’ll Go! New York, New York: Random House.
  • Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Development sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63, 384-399.
  • Tuckman, B.W. & Jensen, M.A.C. (1977) Stages of small group development revisitedGroup and Organizational Studies, 2, 419-427.

For more suggestions on must-read LEADERSHIP books, check out this PCPop blog post:


For more on Story Book Leadership, check out these PCPop blog posts:

Pinterest, I’m Outnumbered

In Books, Lists, Malavenda, marketing, Men, Pablo Malavenda, Pinterest, social media, Survivor, Uncategorized on April 13, 2012 at 11:41 am

Pinterest


Recently I raised my bushy man eyebrows at the latest news about Pinterest.  The media has reported that 90% of the Pinterest users are women – and then there’s me.  On Pinterest, I’m Outnumbered! Personally I feel like the luckiest guy on the inter-webs because the odds are in my favor (JK).  For me though it is just one more time where I find myself surrounded by women and quite OK with it.  When I was growing up, the men in my family were the ones in the kitchen.  Not that the women in my family didn’t cook but the men felt just as comfortable in the kitchen cooking the Sunday family feast as did the women.  In high school, when given a choice of elective classes, I wanted to be with the women so I chose “sewing” and “cooking” classes over shop and wood-working. In college after a failed attempt at chemistry I ended up in psychology with a majority of women.  And today, you can find me in the kitchen, doing the weekly grocery shopping, and more likely to bake cookies for the softball team than coaching the team (which my wife does willingly and well).  So it was not much of a surprise to me that I am outnumbered 9 to 1 on Pinterest — and surrounded by women.

I do quite a bit of consulting on social media, communications and marketing; and therefore, explore most of the new emerging sites push pinlike Pinterest. Similar to Twitter (and years ago with MySpace), I did not really see the value in Pinterest at first. The main reason I was drawn to Pinterest was to cross-market my content on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WordPress. I soon realized that it is quite addictive. I am intrigued and slightly obsessed with Lists.  Pinterest is an ideal platform for list-o-maniacs.  Within a short time, I created boards based on lists like: My Favorite Books, Celebrities I’ve Met, People I Admire, Favorite Places in NYC, Cars I’ve Owned, etc.  In some cases I created the lists from PC Pop blog posts of mine.  This is a great way to get started on Pinterest with minimal effort.

What I have found from my limited use of Pinterest is that it is useful for collectors (and hoarders).  If you have a number of recipes that you refer to often online, Pinterest gives you a place to collect them, store them, share them, and easily retrieve them whenever you need them.  My favorite guacamole is Alton Brown’s recipe which is posted somewhere on the Food Network website.  Each time I need it, I have to do a Google search and hopefully find it.  Well, now, Pinterest allows me to create a “recipe” board and pin Alton’s guacamole recipe – very convenient.  Pinterest has also become my “go to” web-place to search for recipes.  If you search Pinterest, you get quite a few hits and the results have photos and reviews right there at your finger-tips.

I have noticed though that there are a gazillion blogs about food, and these bloggers repost other people’s recipes.  They credit the original chef and link to the original post of the recipe but it is bit annoying.  It’s annoying because you may have to click through a Pixar's Cars 2 - Mater Sandwichcouple of blog posts before you find the original recipe.  The other thing I have noticed is there are a lot of very ambitious DIY bloggers who share their latest theme-related, holiday craft project to do with your kids.  These craft projects are beautiful and inspiring but how in the world would anyone (especially a parent) find the time to do all of these things with your kids.  Personally I struggle getting the Pumpkins carved by Halloween, Easter eggs colored before Easter Sunday, getting the Christmas tree up soon after Thanksgiving (and putting it all away before Valentine’s Day), and getting food on the table for dinner every night.  Making my sandwiches look like Mater from Pixar’s Cars is not a top priority for me most nights.  You have to be careful to not let Pinterest make you feel like a neglectful, under-achieving parent. That being said, our new favorite potato dish, baked ham glaze, and Irish soda bread came from Pinterest.

Similar to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and my blog, Pinterest gives you great joy when someone follows your boards or “repins” one of your pins. I recently pinned a recipe for cinnamon sweet potatoes and was on cloud 9 because it got close to 100 repins.  Sounds silly but you know you’ve been there.  But seriously, like any social media and marketing site, it only has an impact if it is engaging, people are following you, you’re getting comments on your pins and most importantly with Pinterest, your pins are getting “repinned.”  To make this happen you have to explore other people’s boards, follow others, comment on pins, and repin other’s posts.  You also need to add pins regularly.

Pinterest logo labelLastly, Pinterest is a great place to practice cross-marketing.  If you have a collection of videos on your YouTube channel and several posts on your blog, Pinterest boards give you a place to market and share them.  Create a board on Pinterest with a theme and pin your videos and blog posts.  When your Pinterest followers click on your pin it takes them directly to your blog post.  With videos, it plays the video on Pinterest and allows you to click through to YouTube and watch it there as well.  Another way to increase traffic back to Pinterest is to create a hyperlink within your photos on your blog to a board on Pinterest.  If you click on the photos in my blogs about Survivor Leadership, you will be directed to a board on my Pinterest site called Survivor Leadership.  This board contains all of the photos from all of my blogs post about Survivor.  The pins on this board then link my Pinterest followers to my blog posts.  Cross-marketing is the best way to increase traffic across all of the platforms you’re using.

More and more people are finding Pinterest and joining the fun.  Pinterest’s numbers have exploded in early 2012.  Pinterest is nowhere near the world domination status of Facebook or Twitter. But another measure of success is the amount of media attention a site is getting – and in this category Pinterest is winning the race.  Pinterest is dominating the media lately.  I hope I have given you some ideas in this post on how you can join the party and use Pinterest to increase your presence online.  You will be sucked in initially and spend hours exploring, creating boards and pinning.  (At one point, I thought I needed a Pintervention.) Each day there are more and more companies, politicians and universities jumping on board but for now it is just me and all of these women.  And just like high school cooking class, I’m enjoying being outnumbered and part of the 10%.  Check out my boards, repin my pins and follow me.



Read other PC Pop blog posts about Social Media & Marketing:


Read other PC Pop blog posts about my issues with being a man (and a feminist):


Story Book Leadership – Getting Started – 8 Steps to Powerful Presentations

In Books, Children's Literature, Dr. Seuss, Group Dynamics, Leadership, Literacy Month, Lorax, NEA, Pop Culture, Reading Across America, Story Book Leadership, Theodor Geisel, Uncategorized, Yertle the Turtle on March 15, 2012 at 10:01 am
Story Book Leadership

“Children want the same things we want. To laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and delighted.”


Inspired by this Dr. Seuss quote and a class project many years ago, I explored the use of story books in my work in higher education. {Read PCPop blog post: Happy Birthday to You, Theodor Geisel!} I have been teaching LEADERSHIP to college students for close to 25 years and have been using Children’s literature for over Dr. Seuss15 years. When attending retreats, workshops and conferences, adults including college students love to regress. The joy on their faces when you pull out a children’s story book is priceless.  Once they realize you are serious about using a children’s book to teach leadership, students really get into it. After reading the book out loud to the group, I lead a discussion using a tried and true “reflection” outline asking three questions: WHAT? – SO WHAT? – NOW WHAT? The discussion is lively, fun, and meaningful. The insights about leadership the students come up with are incredible. It is magical. (Read the entire story in the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Teaching College Students Using Kiddie Lit.)

So follow these 8 simple Steps for a successful leadership development teaching experience using Children’s literature.


Story Book Leadership guidelines are as follows:

  1. LEARNING OBJECTIVE – Decide what your learning objective is (see list below).
  2. SELECT A BOOK – Select one or several Children’s Book(s) with a similar message. (Read the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Book List for suggestions.)
  3. FORMAT – Decide how you will use the Children’s Book.  Some ideas are as follows:
    • Read to large group; lead large group discussion.
    • Split large group up into small groups; have each group read the book and have a small group discussion; have all small groups report back to large group; lead large group discussion.
    • Use the book as the focus or a primary part of the workshop or educational session.
    • Use the book as a small part of a larger retreat or full day conference.
  4. Have at least two copies of the book — one for you to read; the other for showing the pictures to the group.
  5. SETTING – Have the room set up like “story time” in Kindergarten; have an arm chair for the reader and ask the students to sit on the floor around the chair. Be creative and have fun with it — wear a cardigan like Mr. Rogers.
  6. ENGAGEMENT – Recruit a volunteer to show pictures to the group. This is where the extra copies of the book come in handy.
  7. GET STARTED – Sit and Start by doing the following:
    • Show the book — Read the title and the author
    • Explain expectations – ask them to:
      • pay attention
      • listen with leadership in mind
      • be ready to have a lively and meaningful discussion after the book is read to the group
    • Read the book – using a lively, animated voice – taking it seriously though
    • Make sure the volunteer showing the pictures from the story is keeping up
    • Finish – repeat the title and author
    • Begin reflection discussion, using the following questions:
      • What?
        • “someone please give us a plot summary describing the main elements and themes of the story”
      • So What?
        • “why do you think that I chose this book to read to you at this time with your group?”
        • “what lessons do you think I had hoped you would get from this story?”
      • Now What?
        • “now — how can you use this new information learned from this story to make a positive change in your group?”
        • “please give some examples of things you may do or changes you may make based on the lessons learned from this story.”
  8. CLOSING
    • Question — “how did you feel during this exercise?”
    • Give a summary of the comments you heard during the reflection discussion
    • Challenge them to follow up on some of the suggestions made during the “Now What?” part of the discussion.
    • Thank them for playing along and being good sports — and emphasize how you can learn a great deal from Children’s literature.

Some of the LEARNING OBJECTIVES or topics that can be further explored using Story Book Leadership techniques are as following:
  • Brainstorming
  • Budgeting – Financial Responsibility
  • Burnout
  • Communication
  • Co-sponsorship
  • Creativity
  • Diversity – Inclusion
  • Fund-Raising
  • Holidays
  • Individuality
  • Meetings
  • Overcoming Fears
  • Peer/group pressure – Group Think
  • Persistence
  • Power
  • Problem Solving
  • Responsibility
  • Risk Taking
  • Role of Advisor
  • Social Action – Civic Engagement
  • Stress management
  • Team-Building
  • Time management – Prioritizing
Also remember that every group, team or organization goes through developmental stages explained well by Tuckman’s Group Development Model. Story Book Leadership works well in starting a discussion with a group to help the members work through or enhance the “stage” in which they are or are approaching. The Tuckman’s stages, as you will recall, are as follows: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning.  I particularly enjoy using Story Book Leadership during the Storming and Adjourning stages.

Selecting the perfect book is the next challenge. I encourage you to select one of your favorites from your childhood — your passion for the book will add genuine excitement to your presentation.  I would love it if you also went to your local library and bookstores (locally owned, of course), sat on the floor over the course of a few months, discovering and rediscovering the wonderful world of Children’s literature.  But in case you don’t have time for that level of commitment, a list of some of my favorites can be found in the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Book List.


Please follow PCPop with Pablo to read the series of blog posts featuring many of the Children’s books (listed in  the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Book List) starting with one of my favorites, Harold & the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.


For more information on Story Book Leadership, read the PC Pop posts as follows:


Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole world watching you on TV. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!

(Dr. Seuss)


FrederickBig Bad BruceHarold & the Purple Crayon

Story Book Leadership — Book List

In Big Bird, Books, Cat in Hat, Children's Literature, College Students, creativity, Dr. Seuss, Group Dynamics, Harold & the Purple Crayon, Leader, Leadership, Lists, Literacy Month, Lorax, Malavenda, Maurice Sendak, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Purdue, Shel Silverstein, Story Book Leadership, Theodor Geisel, UConn, Uncategorized, William Steig, Yertle the Turtle on March 6, 2012 at 7:29 am

stack of children's books

I have been teaching LEADERSHIP to college students for close to 25 years and have been using Children’s literature for over 15 years. When attending retreats, workshops and conferences, adults including college students love to regress.  The joy on their faces when you pull out a children’s story book is priceless.  Once they realize you are serious about using a children’s book to teach leadership, students really get into it. The discussion is lively, fun, and meaningful. It is magical. (Read the entire story in the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Teaching College Students Using Kiddie Lit.)

If you too want to use Story Book Leadership techniques with your students, find out how to get started by reading the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Getting Started. Selecting the perfect book is one of the first steps in the process of using Story Book Leadership.

children readingI encourage you to select one of your favorite’s from your childhood — your passion for the book will add genuine excitement to your presentation.  I would love it if you also went to your local library and bookstores (locally owned, of course), sat on the floor over the course of a few months, and discover and rediscover the wonderful world of Children’s literature.  You can learn more about my story by reading the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Teaching College Students Using Kiddie Lit. But in case you don’t have time for that level of commitment, a list of some of my favorites are as follows:

  • A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith ViorstAlexander
  • Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
  • Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  • Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss
  • Benjie by Joan Lexau
  • Berenstain Bears and Too Much Pressure by Jan & Stan Berenstain
  • Big Bad Bruce by Bill Peet
  • Brave Irene by William Steig
  • But Not Billy by Charlotte Zolotow
  • Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin
  • Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss
  • Eli by Bill Peet
  • Ella by Bill Peet
  • Farewell to Shady Glade by Bill Peet
  • Five Minutes’ Peace by Jill Murphy
  • Frederick by Leo Lionni
  • Gertrude McFuzz by Dr. SeussBig Bad Bruce
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  • Hector, the Accordion-Nosed Dog by John Stadler
  • I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today by Dr. Seuss
  • I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew by Dr. Seuss
  • I Saw Esau by Iona & Peter Opie
  • If I Were in Charge of the World by Judith Viorst
  • I’m Mad at You! by William Cole
  • Ira Says Goodbye by Bernard Waber
  • Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber
  • It’s Not Fair by Charlotte Zolotow
  • Jennifer and Josephine by Bill Peet
  • King Looie Katz by Dr. Seuss
  • Let’s Be Enemies by Janice May Udry
  • Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky
  • My First Hanukkah Book by Aileen Fisher
  • My First Kwanzaa Book by Deborah M. Newton Chocolate
  • My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Deamons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins, or Things by Judith Viorst
  • Nobody is Perfick by Bernard WaberHarold and the Purple Crayon
  • Nobody Stole the Pie by Sonia Levitin
  • Oh, the Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss
  • Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! by Dr. Seuss
  • On Beyond Zebra by Dr. Seuss
  • A Person is Many Wonderful, Strange Things by Marsha Sinetar
  • Play Ball Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  • Pooh: Oh, Bother! No One’s Listening by Betty Birney
  • Pooh: Oh, Bother! Somebody’s Grumpy by Betty Birney
  • Rosie and Michael by Judith Viorst
  • Seven Candles for Kwanzaa by Andrea Pinkney
  • Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
  • Spinky Sulks by William Steig
  • Tacky the Penguin by Helen LesterFrederick
  • The Ant and the Elephant by Bill Peet
  • The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola
  • The Big Bragg by Dr. Seuss
  • The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
  • The Chanukkah Tree by Eric Kimmel
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • The Glunk That Got Thunk by Dr. Seuss
  • The Gnats of Knotty Pine by Bill Peet
  • The Hating Book by Charlotte Zolotow
  • The Island of Skog by Steven Kellogg
  • The King’s Stilts by Dr. Seuss
  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
  • The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein
  • The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein
  • The Painter and the Wild Swans by Claude Clements
  • The Whingdingdilly by Bill PeetYellow and Pink
  • The Wump World by Bill Peet
  • The Zax by Dr. Seuss
  • Timmy Needs a Thinking Cap by Charlotte Steiner
  • What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss
  • When the Wind Stops by Charlotte Zolotow
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  • Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? by Shel Silverstein
  • William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow
  • Yellow and Pink by William Steig
  • Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss

Yertle the TurtlePlease follow PCPop with Pablo to read the series of blog posts featuring many of the Children’s books listed above starting with one of my favorites, Harold & the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. If you too want to use Story Book Leadership techniques with your students, find out how to get started by reading the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Getting Started.


For more information on Story Book Leadership, read the PC Pop posts as follows:


To enjoy my Pinterest board on Story Book Leadership, click here.

Children Reading

Please suggest new books for the list — the list is a work in progress and will be updated as needed. What Children’s Books inspire you and would be perfect for teaching LEADERSHIP…and why? I would love to hear your suggestions and stories.