Top 20 Training (Tom Cody & Kevin Brennan)

 Session #1 Roadblock to Success: I AM STUPID!

  1. Equal Sign lets ‘Stupid’ out of the box


  1. Reactions to Feeling Stupid:


  1. Withdraw: quit + quiet
  2. Pretend
  3. Emotional: embarrassed, angry, upset, sad, worry, nervous, stress
  4. Judgments: I’m not good enough; I don’t know anything; I’m bad at

everything; I am stupid.

  1. Attack: argue, swear, challenge, bully
  2. Defensive: judge (“This is stupid…you’re stupid.”)
  3. Motivate
  4. Numb: being numb is better than dumb

5 Causes of Stupid

  1. Called: stupid, dumb, idiot; laughed at; non-verbals
  • “When I say something and others say it’s stupid or someone says something and I don’t know what they mean and they call me stupid…I get mad.”
  • “Every night my dad tells me I’m stupid…I wish I could leave.”
  1. Comparison: others are better; I’m not good enough
  • “When I am taking tests and am one of the last people taking the test…I rush through it and don’t read the questions or answers.”
  • “When some of my friends brag about their grades…I tell them my grades are good then think to myself, ‘Oh, I’m stupid.’”
  1. Confusion: I don’t know; I don’t get it
  • “When guys are talking about stats and football and I have no idea what they’re talking about… I usually just don’t talk or I pretend I know what they are talking about.”
  • “In school when I don’t know the answer…Pretend, blush, don’t raise my hand as much.”
  1. Can’t: failure, mistakes
  • “When I strike out in a baseball game…I feel that I’m not good at baseball and I’ll probably strike out again.”
  1. Certain situations: class, activity, needing help


Teacher Tips for Keeping Stupid in the Box:

1. Initiate professional conversations among faculty to (a) become aware of stupid and (b) consider ways to reduce student experiences of stupid.

  1. Make stupid part of the curriculum:
  2. A. Share personal experiences of feeling stupid.        B. Teach the 5 causes of stupid. C. Explain how ‘comparison’ can lead to learning. D. Explain the importance of ‘confusion’ in learning.
  3. Stress the value of failure and mistakes to learning and growing.
  4. Be aware of when stupid might appear: Have a large EQUAL SIGN in your room and refer to it when and where someone might be feeling stupid.
  5. Every few weeks ask students if they have felt stupid.
  6. Ask students if they have felt stupid
  7. Empower students with the UNEQUAL SIGN.
  8. Help students discover how they are smart.
  9. Practice the script:


“I am smart. I just don’t understand _______________ yet.”


“I am smart. I’m just confused about _________________.”


“I am smart. I just can’t ____________________________.”


To order Top 20 Training products or for more information on bringing us in for professional development, contact Top 20 Training: • • Tom Cody #651-983-2698



Top 20 Training (Tom Cody & Kevin Brennan)




Job #1: Help Others Succeed


How could I help others succeed in ways that I am not currently doing?



Communicate ‘You Matter’


  1. Seek the other’s benefit.


  1. Listen to understand.


  1. Value differences.



How do I specifically communicate “You matter”?





How do I communicate “You don’t matter”?




Honor the Absent


            Honor the Absent: Speak well of those who are not present.


            Dishonor the Absent: Speak negatively of those who are not present.


  1. Thin Ice!


  1. Problem Naming or Problem Solving.


  1. Keeping My Lake Clean:


  • How do I communicate “Dump Here?”



  • How do I or could I communicate “No Dumping Here?”


  1. Name is Sacred


  1. Practice the 2-out-of-3 Rule: Say someone’s name.

Say something negative.

Say it to someone else.



See the Problem, Own the Problem



Assessing Our Culture:


8-10    Significantly present in our culture

6-7      Often present in our culture

4-5      Seldom present in our culture

1-3      Significantly absent in our culture


_____            Job #1: Help Others Succeed


_____            Communicate ‘You Matter’


_____            Honor the Absent


_____            See the Problem, Own the Problem


_____ Total


 To order Top 20 Training products or for more information on bringing us in for professional development, contact Top 20 Training: • • Tom Cody #651-983-2698






Top 20 Training (Tom Cody & Kevin Brennan)


Session #3 : THE FRAME: What We See Is What We Get



The Frame:            How we SEE something influences how we FEEL.

How we FEEL influences what we DO.

What we DO influences what we GET.

What we GET reinforces how we SEE.



  1. When what we are feeling is real, we think that what we are seeing is _____________.


  1. When not getting what we want to be getting:


Bottom 80s:                                      Top 20s:


  • Change nothing. Get Curious: Change how we see it.
  • Change what we do.
  • Blame: Gets activated by our

need to be right.


  1. How do we operate when we are: Right Curious






  1. Three Types of Rights:


Bottom 80R = R   When I think I am right, I am RIGHT.


Top 20:          R = W When I think I am right, I am WRONG.

I just don’t know what I’m wrong about YET.


Top 20:          R = R When I think I am right, I am RIGHT (correct)

but not complete. There is more that I don’t see.




  1. Four Ways to See More or Differently:


  • Create a crisis.
  • Ask someone else how he/she sees it.
  • Change roles.
  • Say “Maybe.”




  1. Two Paths: Top 20 Bottom 80


We are blind.                         We are blind.

We know it.                            We don’t know it.

We are curious.                     We blame.

We are responsible.                        We are victim.

We maintain our power.       We give up power.

We make a difference.         We are stuck in yuck.




  1. What’s a situation in which I am not getting what I want to be getting?



  • How do I see it?



  • What do I feel? Do I have a need to be right?



  • What am I doing? Am I blaming?



  • What am I getting?



Re-Frame: How might I see this differently?



To order Top 20 Training products or for more information on bringing us in for professional development, contact Top 20 Training: • • Tom Cody #651-983-2698


Top 20 Training (Tom Cody & Kevin Brennan)

Session #4: Relevancy (What’s in it for me?)


  1. Content & Grades


What’s the impact of grades on your students?




  1. Intellectual Muscle: Developing Problem-solving Potential


What activities do you offer in your class that build Intellectual Muscle for problem-solving in the future?



How do you ‘sell’ homework?




  1. Star Qualities:


What is the IQ name of your class? _____________________________


What is the EQ name of your class? _____________________________


What Star Qualities do you want to develop in your students during their                                                experience in your classroom?



Star Qualities

Internal Strengths:

Self-confidence: believing in my self and my abilities

Risk-taking: taking the difficult road to expand my comfort zone

Self-motivation: getting myself started

Enthusiastic: having energy and interest for what I’m doing

Reflective: truly looking at myself

Reality based: dealing with what is in front of me

Emotionally aware: in touch with how my feelings influence my actions

Empowered: realizing that I’m in charge of my future

Responsible: being dependable; someone others can count on

Self-disciplined: taking control of myself

Flexibility: adapting to change and the stress created by it

Toughness: dealing with adversity when things aren’t going my way

Challenge: seeing problems as learning opportunities

Courageous: responding in spite of fear or lack of confidence

Commitment: valuing putting forth my full effort

Optimistic: hopeful, valuing the positive

Social Qualities:

Fun: realizing that learning and working with others can be joyful

Respectful: honoring others by my words and actions

Acceptance: valuing diversity and people who are different than me                         Communication: willing to listen to others and share appropriately

Honest: valuing living with truth and communicating truth

Empathetic: understanding what others are going through

Team player: helping; working well with others

Open minded: accepting points of view different than my own

Negotiate: using compromise and give-and-take in dealing with others

Tact: expressing myself with concern for other’s feelings


Problem Solving Skills:

Time management: making good use of my time

Proactive: seeing what needs to be done and doing it

Focus: keeping my attention on the task or goal

Persistent: sticking with the job until it is finished

Patience: realizing that success often doesn’t come easily                                                            Organized: able to look ahead and keep my life in order

Logical: solving life’s problems in a sensible, orderly manner

Goal setting: planning to meet long and short-term needs




Top 20 Training (Tom Cody & Kevin Brennan)

Session #5: Above and Below the Line: How Our Thinking Governs Our Experience


Above the Line


A positive view on life and                             Positive attitudes and beliefs

how we see the world                   Hopeful and optimistic

Energetic moods and emotions                  Power to control my life

Focused on what is important



Below the Line


A negative view on life and                           Negative attitudes and beliefs

how we see the world                                    Hopeless and pessimistic

Depressing moods and emotions               Powerless victim of life

Lose focus on what is important


  1. Living or Visiting
  2. Life Looks Different from Above or Below the Line


  1. Making Decisions Below the Line à Mess


  1. Conditions Do Not Determine Experience: Keep Your Day


  1. Invitations: conditions/situations that invite us to go BTL.


  1. Indicators: feelings we have or behaviors we manifest when BTL.


  1. Submarine: maintaining dignity during our BTL visits.


  1. Trampolines: means by which we can think straight and bounce back ATL.


  1. Outside/Inside: Bottom 80s wait for outside conditions to improve…then the inside experience gets better.

Top 20s improve the inside first…then the outside condition gets                                                     better.



To order Top 20 Training products or for more information on bringing us in for professional development, contact Top 20 Training: • • Tom Cody #651-983-2698


Top 20 Training (Tom Cody & Kevin Brennan)

Session #6: Learning from Mistakes: Moving Outside Our Comfort Zone



  1. Mistake:



  1. Responses from others when I have made a mistake:



  1. Bottom 80 responses to mistakes: a. Deny/Hide, b. Blame, c. Justify, d. Dwell


Top 20 responses to mistakes: Own and Learn


  1. Lesson:


  1. (Comfort Zone) à Mistakes à Big Learning


Fear of Other Peoples’ Opinions                Fear of Failure



  1. ACT: Awareness of my belief about myself as a mistake maker.


Conscious Choice:


  1. How do I want to respond when I make a mistake?




  1. How do I want to respond to others when they make a mistake?




Talk about mistakes we make.



To order Top 20 Training products or for more information on bringing us in for professional development, contact Top 20 Training: • • Tom Cody #651-983-2698


Top 20 Training (Tom Cody & Kevin Brennan)


Session #7: Implementation


The Top 20 curriculum can be presented in many ways.

            – Daily class

            – Weekly class

            – Front loaded at the beginning of a semester                                                        – Grade level teachers

            – During homeroom or advisory period        

            – Part of another class or classes

           – After school program

            – Summer session

            – Incorporated into extracurricular activities



PODS: The Key to Top 20 Class Interaction


Purpose of Pods: To create a new type of classroom atmosphere by enhancing the group experience, having every student’s voice matter and developing a sense of belonging and connection.


Randomly assign students to a four-desk unit (Pod). Questions in class are then routinely directed to these Pods. Students follow a set of guidelines in responding:


  1. Each student is assigned a letter (A, B, C, D) which corresponds to a task for that day:


A = Asker – the person who repeats the question for the Pod.


B = First – the person who responds (or passes) first.


C = Scribe – the person who writes down the responses; the note-taker.


D = Voice – the person who reports back to the large group using the Scribe’s

notes if necessary.


Note: Make a laminated sign of the letters and tasks. It’s handy if the letters are attached to the sign by velcro so they can be easily moved. Put the sign on a bulletin board in the front of the room.


  1. The tasks rotate each day. The second day, A is the First to respond, B is the Scribe, C is the Voice and D is the Asker. Simply rearrange the letters to designate these changes.


  1. The Pod members are changed every 6-7 class days ensuring that the students interact with a wider variety of people.


  1. Pod rules include:


  1. Everyone gets to answer every question.


  1. Respect is shown to the speaker;


  • No side conversations
  • Face (shoulders towards) the person who is speaking
  • Use good non-verbals


  1. No inter-podding or talking to students in another Pod.


  1. No Pod ripping.



To order Top 20 Training products or for more information on bringing us in for professional development, contact Top 20 Training: • • Tom Cody #651-983-2698