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 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.

Reflecting on #documenting4learningblue 3/10

Sometimes you just stumble upon things at the right time. I may have been a little distracted on Saturday while working on my small part of a session we are doing tomorrow on digital portfolios as part of the ministry’s Creating Pathways to Success document. In preparing for the session as a team, a lot of our conversations focused in on reflection, it’s relationship to learning and how to document that process. So as I was scrolling through my Twitter stream and saw Sylvia Rosenthal Tosilano’s challenge of documenting blue for a day I thought what better to prepare myself and put theory into practice.

So the challenge is simple:

For a day notice the blue in your world taking images if you like. At the end of the day choose a picture that you feel best represents blue and share it on social media with the hashtag #documenting4learningblue with your thinking.

It is funny how simply focusing your observations can change what you see around you. From the blue apps on my iPhone to blue shirts in my closet, street signs and cars, buildings and labels, I was seeing blue everywhere. I never noticed how often blue is used as a complimentary colour while driving up Hurontario. Then there were a few moments where I had to ask myself: “Does this qualify as blue?” “Is it a shade of blue or turquoise? Does it matter?”

If you want to check out my Instagram Story from through out the day, click here.

The beauty of blue is it’s various textures and shades. It can call attention or calm you down all at once. As I went through my documentation through out the day I realized how I had to compose my own definition of blue to help me filter through my documentation and questions. I think the first time I read the post my mind went straight to my typical representation of blue: lake and sky. Maybe the gray skies were a blessing in disguise today as it forced me to be in the moment, focused on the learning at hand instead of jumping to a go to image. I could see how the process of choosing just 1 image to represent the Raptors could be an activity in understanding my own assessments moving forward.

It may seem like a simple task but what a wonderful opportunity to live the experience of documentation. Why not try documenting your day of blue! Don’t forget to share with the #documenting4learningblue hashtag.

Happy documenting!

The Why – We All Need Reminders 2/10

*We were tiding up after a lunch and learn today when an educator came over to share how she used the app we explored a few weeks earlier. After students created their story, they shared it with the homeroom teachers. The best part: a student was heard for the first time because of the app.

*I was walking down a hallway as a kid came over and started excitedly sharing: “Hey, I made two games. It was hard.” It took me a few minutes to place where we had worked together, I had only been in the school 2 or 3 times. Then it hit me, it was an exploration of Scratch before the holidays. A few minutes later he is sharing his username and we get in to a chat about persisting through the difficult times.

*I was sitting across a friend as we were trying to get DASH the robot all the way around the circle. Our first strategy didn’t work and we were trying to trouble shoot and adjust our path so we could be successful. “Well it is 150 cm because 5 times 30 cm is 150.” I rebuttled with a bit about a measurement we used earlier in the morning when he schooled me responding: “Well it is shorter than the 200 cm by about 50 cm.”

Sometimes when I get busy, I forget the why of it all. It’s easy to hop from appointment to appointment and not stop to reflect, to bask in those aha moments. Amongst the policies, sessions and pedagogy versus technology debate the three stories were reminders of why I champion digital tools in the classroom: student voice, choice, and empowerment.

My Commitment for 2017 1/10

You probably have seen the clip below. I can still picture the first time I saw it sitting in the board room at Peel Disctrict School board. The clip was a simple reminder of the importance of sharing.

As much as I share on other platforms, I find that I have neglected this blog especially over the last year. It’s so weird how I can jump in on Instagram and/or Twitter but here I find I am stumped. The doubts set in:

  • Will anyone read this?
  • What can I possibly say?
  • Has someone else posted this already?
  • Will someone else want to post this?
  • They say it so much better!

And then there is the editing.

  • Can I find a quote?
  • Is a story enough?
  • That doesn’t sound quite right.

Although I stumbled into the 10 day/10 post challenge last year, it was the reason for trying it again this year: get in to the practice of writing daily to model and lead by example.  Then tonight a colleague challenged me to dig a bit deeper. As much as the 10 posts in 10 days is a stretch, I very much know it is achievable. It’s a sacrifice of time for those 10 days but I do have to admit the countdown is enjoyable. Was I challenging myself enough? Could I push a little further?

This year has really made me reflect on my impact in my current role and as I stumbled on this quote it reassured me for that need for a long term commitment. A diet or cleanse is good to jolt your system but we all need those long term habit changes to see a difference.


So here it goes-my commitment:

I will use these 10 days to jump start my writing, to let go of some of the doubts and remember why I love to write.

For the remainder of the year I will post twice a week even if it isn’t polished, revolutionary or grand.

Now that it is in writing I have to hold myself to it. YIKES!

What will you commit to this year? What is pushing you out of your comfort zone? 

Every one needs a buddy that nudges them to be better. Thank you! 

Knowing When… 9/10

I love Seth Godin’s blog. On top of the sage advice, his brief, to the point posts always have made me slightly envious so here is my poor attempt.

Knowing when…

  • Knowing when to push and when to step back
  • Knowing the line between just enough and too much
  • Knowing what cause to champion and what battle to let go
  • Knowing what is in our control and what we can not
  • Knowing when to lead and when to pass on the baton
  • Knowing when fear or ego are becoming roadblocks
  • Knowing when it is time to stay and when it is time to move on

Some of the hardest lessons that I continue to learn as a teacher leader are the above. Not just knowing when but being at peace with the decision as well.

Knowing when…