Leadership, Personal, Professional Development, SEL

Focus on the Positives: A HyperDoc Activity

Years ago, I read a book called How Full Is Your Bucket while I was attending graduate school for my administrative services credential. Although it wasn’t technically an “education” book, it was probably one of my favorite books of my master’s degree program. In this book, the author talked about the “magic ratio” of positive and negative moments that make up a person’s day. Essentially, the ratio is a 5:1 where it takes five positive moments to combat the one negative moment. Five to one…This means that four positive moments are outweighed by one negative moment in the day. It means that only at five positive moments do we break even with the one negative moment.

The magic ratio has been weighing heavily on my heart and mind this week.

I absolutely love my job but, I would be lying if I didn’t say that there were a lot of negative moments in my role as a Vice Principal of discipline. It’s just a simple fact that I don’t always get to see the students at their best moments. Although this is a fact, I have found that I love this role and forming relationships with some of our most struggling students. It’s amazing to see the progress that some of our students are making as we go throughout the year. Yet, it can be easy to fall into the trap of the magic ratio and allowing that 5:1 ratio to dictate the outcome of my day.

I remember thinking this way in the classroom, too. Perhaps it was reviewing the results of an assessment and seeing that 30 of my students performed well, while 5 of my students  struggled. It could have been the times where I reviewed a note from a substitute to find that four class periods were amazing but one class was disrespectful or off-task. The 5:1 ratio still held true in these situations. I couldn’t focus on the positive and all of the amazing things that happened that day. I could only focus on the negatives.

While there is a lot of research to support the idea of the magic ratio for positive and negative emotions, I’ve decided that I want to actively break that ratio into nonexistence. I want to be more mindful of focusing on the positives, rather than negatives – because guess what? There are a lot more positives in the day than negatives and those should carry the most weight.

While I have been thinking about this a lot lately, I was surprised to find that this was apparently on the minds of many people in our district. In fact, our district leadership meeting this week focused on this very idea, specifically on how we can create lasting positive change in our schools and lives. To help us start to develop sustainable and lasting change, our district leadership was taken through a series of videos and activities. These activities were short and simple ways to create more positivity…which has inspired me to create an activity for you to share with your students or staff, too!

Based upon some of my reflections, plus our amazing district leadership meeting, I created a HyperDoc that could be used with either staff or students to inspire positive thinking and change on your campus. Again, I have to reiterate that a majority of these activities were completely stolen from my own district, so major props to them for bringing great PD to us!

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(The easiest way to share this with staff for them to create their own link is by sharing the “copy” link above.)

As I move forward, I am hoping to put more of these “five actions” into, well, action in my own life on a daily basis. I do believe that it help defeat the magic ratio and bring more positivity to myself and those around me. There are so many positive things to focus on in our lives and in our careers – we just have to be more mindful about it!


How do you support your staff or students in creating and developing a positive mindset? Share in the comments below!

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