When Ideas Collide 10/10

I was doing a session last night for Ontario Teacher’s Federation on Play, Math and Digital Tools for the early years. Together we explored a variety of tools from Shadow Puppet Edu to Chatterpix to Scratch Jr. We wanted apps that had “low floors, heigh ceilings and wide walls” as Mitch Resnick recently mentioned in a journal article but more than anything we wanted to share ideas that fostered that curiosity and inquiry we see in play.

Innately curious, children explore, manipulative, build, create, wonder, and ask questions naturally, moving through the world in what might be called an “inquiry stance.”

Ministry of Education

Then this morning I saw it unfold in front of me as grade ones coded with Scratch Jr (always great when you get that reassurance after a session). From the student who forcefully was insisting no one feed the ducks in their local park as he recorded his voice to another friend discovering on her own the purpose of certain blocks of code. It was a quiet excitement as I walked over and she said: “hey I found this block. It makes everything repeat.”

Then I kept thinking of professional learning opportunities and adult learners.

  • Are there opportunities to play?
  • Will people respond to playful learning experiences? What do they look like for adult learners?
  • Who documents the learning?
  • Am I willing to play and become uncomfortable?


Addendum: Then I wake up this morning to look through the chatter from MIT’s day honouring #SeymourPapert and more questions abound.


So I Don’t Forget 9/10

Sometimes you have a quick AHA moment, a moment that reminds you how complex but utterly fantastic our job is. As quick as it comes it is forgotten. Today I had one of those moments and I don’t want to forget.

We were working on a green screen activity at one of the schools I support today. The kids were awesome. After a discussion using some images as a prompt we did some general exploration and now were working on responding to a blue spruce book, Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox.  You can imagine the energy with grade 3s and green screens sprawled across the library. Learners were looking for images that represented the animal they most identified with. Through all the chatter and excitement, there seemed to be a friend that seemed indifferent. It took a few minutes to discover that he was struggling with a language barrier (later finding out him had just arrived to the school).

So I pull out my iPad and open Google Translate, speak in the prompting question: Sometimes I feel like -that didn’t work. So second time around I asked what his favourite animal was. You could see the smile start forming across his face as the iPad spoke in Arabic. He quickly hit the record button (how do kids figure it out so quickly) and the iPad stated it was lion. Skip ahead a few minutes later and he is telling us how he feels in Arabic with the Touch Cast app.

I could see myself in his hesitation as I could remember being in that spot where the words around you sound like gibberish.


So I’m leaving the story here so that I remember how those little moments can make a difference. It’s always worth that quick second change of plans.

Constant Reminders 8/1o

So it’s 2 minutes to 12 and I haven’t started this post yet. The presentation isn’t ready for Wednesday. The re-write for OISE was lost as I hit the wrong button last night. The to do list is growing by the minute.

Yet in it all I’m reminded of my last MEd course a few years back. It was a stretch as I tackled mindfulness and education. A step out of my comfort.

CLICK HERE to access the Adobe Spark.

As I went back through the clips it reminded me of that need to take time daily to refocus.

Maybe I need to use this clip as a daily reminder this week to get outside and just breathe before diving into the hustle and bustle.

How do you stay focused and tackle the long to do lists that arise?

My One Word for 2017 7/10

I meant to write this post on the 1st of January, then the first week before going back to school and then the first week of school. Here we are on January 22nd and I hope it isn’t too late to reflect on my one word for 2017.

I went back to last year’s post and the idea of focusing on the necessary. I feel like this is an idea I still have to master or even begin to tackle. That being said there were moments when I made the choice to focus or take the time to refocus, reset.

And now, one word for 2017. I’m torn as there are so many possibilities but the word that keeps popping to mind is fearless. I have a bad habit of overthinking things to the point I talk myself out of them.

This year I want to be fearless:

  • fearless to say no when I need to, want to, know I should
  • fearless to tackle the projects that seem they may be a little too ambitious
  • fearless to stay the course if the tool and medium serve a purpose.

What’s your one word for 2017? Share with the #oned #ossemooc community!

The Image of an Educator 6/10

As I was pulling a few things together for a session with OTF on Play, Math and Digital Tools this Wednesday night, I went back to How Learning Happens and the Kindergarten Program Document.

This quote has stuck with me today:


“A view of an educator in a state of constant change and becoming.” How amazing is that! But what has stuck with me through the day is more the second half of the quote. What is our roles whether we are leading in a classroom or leading educators? Are we listening? How can we provoke, document, and negotiate meaning?

Something to ponder through out the week.


Last year we had a blast with the #ossemooc group looking at George Couros’ book the Innovator’s Mindset. As I have been exploring the maker mindset, design thinking and 21st century skills, Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student popped to mind and I wondered if anyone would be interested in chatting/learning together. So I put the call out and what would you know, we have some folks interested in chatting.


Are you exploring #MakerEd in your program? Looking at how you can bring creativity into your practice? Maybe you are searching for a practical guide to support design thinking in your program. Let’s take a look at John Spencer and Aj Juiliani’s book Launch: Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring out the maker in Every Student together.

What will it look like?

With reports and end of term here in Ontario we know it is busy times (and you may still be waiting on your book). There will be a question posted both this upcoming week and next on Flipgrid.com. We will follow up with 4 Twitter Chats over February and March to work through the chapters, again providing a question on Flipgrid in between for those interested.

Mark the dates for our Twitter chats in your calendar!

February 9th, 23rd, March 9th & 23rd

We hope you will join us in working through this great practical resource. If you are interested let us know a bit more about you HERE.


Get More Through Giving 4/10

A short post and not what I had planned but staying true to my commitment for the 10 posts in 10 days challenge.

You don’t make soup for the first time for 50 people.

The zucchini was cut too large. The carrots were still crunchy. The pasta stuck on to the bottom of the pot. A simple online recipe turned in to a two hour chopping mad dash to feed 50 folks.

I was worried it was a complete failure. As we dished out their portions I kept apologizing. It  did not look like the soup from any local restaurant, that’s for sure. My biggest fear was that it would not be edible. Since they came back for thirds I think at least that fear was abandoned.

As they came back they brought reassuring words, compliments. Feedback was specific whether they loved the zucchini or enjoyed the heartiness of the dish. Here I was thinking I was the one that was giving. I planned the meal, brought the groceries, chopped for way too long. I had it all mixed up. Looking back I’ve realized how much I have learned to cook with my 6 meals a year with the Toronto Sharing Place.

How many times do we have that same experience in education. We come with our well laid plans, glossy handouts, lesson plans ready to give but end up receiving so much more in return.