“That’s how you get it wrong but right sometimes”

I was scrolling through my Facebook page one day when I stumbled on a clip of Jamie Foxx on the Graham Norton show, talking about his first encounter with Kayne West.  A line at the end of the clip caught my attention

That’s how you get it wrong but right sometimes.”

After planning and chatting with the classroom teacher, we started our 3 part design task with a grade 6 class creating games in Hopscotch. Convincing friends of any age to design a game is usually not a hard task but this time around there was a friend that didn’t quite seem to buy in. He wasn’t really causing a rukus so it was all good. I was a little bummed but I was reassured by educators who knew him better than me that he was engaged. Fast forward to our last session together. Our games were starting to come together and I looked over to see my friend’s game. I looked over to see random shapes across the screen. Like Jamie in the clip, my brain was thinking “what is this?” but instead of jumping in I decided to ask a question. One simple question and I was blown away. Not only were the random shapes not random, but he had figured out code we never chatted about. We even chatted about how we could improve the game.

A lesson learned: sometimes things aren’t as they seem, sometimes my first thought can be wrong, sometimes a simple question can teach you so much more.

“That’s how you get it wrong but right sometimes.”

Summer Learning

Or this should be titled, how I got myself it to two projects a week before the end of the school year.

With only 2 more days with little ones and three days left to the 2016-2017 school year, you would think it would be time to slow down yet the excitement of summer this year has led to two summer adventures. They may fail miserably but there is no harm in trying I guess.

Empower Online Book Chat

A small group of us did an online book chat with A J Juliani & John Spencer’s book Launch this spring. It was a great opportunity for growth made even greater when we were able to do a face to face inquiry with some of the group this spring. So when we saw that a new book Empower was coming out we were really excited. I mentioned to Wendy on Twitter when I first saw the post that we should do a book chat and have to admit I forgot. Then Brandon mentioned a book chat for the book as well and I thought, why not let’s see whose interested. I’m always amazed how educators will so willingly give of their free time to learn. We already have 12 on the Google Form and can’t wait to get our hands on the book. The group has decided on a slow chat over Twitter so if you are interested, leave a few details on the form.

#peel21st 10 Summer Challenges

It was the end of June after a strike and in the middle of work to rule for me. With the gift of time Jay and I were sitting around (I promise for just a moment) wondering how we could help kids see that digital tools were more than Youtube, Snapchat and Clash of Clans so we came up with 10 summer challenges for the summer. Each week we would tweet out a different theme with resources to help folks get started. We had 2000 views that first summer and would share it when we had a chance but like most things with time it needed an update. I didn’t know if it was worth the investment of time. Fast forward to the end of this month and I was chatting with Sylvia one day. As excited as some friends are for the summer, we know others are not as excited to leave the structure and learning of school. It seemed like the summer challenges could be a resource to support some of our friends looking for an adventure. As I updated the cards and site I realized we needed something more. How do kids like to get information? All I could think of was Youtube and video. Enter the new Clips app by Apple.

If nothing else the weekly prompts will be an opportunity to work on my skills with Clips. At beast I hope a few learners find a spark to their own summer learning journey. If you want to join in, I’ll be posting the weekly prompt to a dedicated Flipgrid where you can share some tips around the theme for that week or where you can show off your creations!

So the year may be coming to a close but the learning is just ramping up.

Happy Summer!

#the100dayproject: Can you help?

 

So I have made it to the half way mark of #the100dayproject or almost, one more Canadian emoji picture to go. As I look back it’s interesting how the same project, daily taking a photograph for 100 days, can have different learning outcomes each time.

The take away in year one was all about using more than the automatic mode on my camera and creating with friends. Year two was more about photography. I learned big lessons around black and white photography and minimalistic shots. This year brings with it a different lesson, one about the subject we photograph and how it can spur a conversation. With all the Canada 150 celebrations I decided to do #100daysofCanadianpics this year (I know it should be 150). It feels like the collection of images this year is spurring conversation. It has been so great seeing others jump in with their own images or suggestions. I’ve tried to stay to themes of 10 as it makes the 100 days go by faster. Only a few days behind as I’ve captured Canadian foods, red and white, tried to capture the national anthem.  My favourite set though was the first where I created 10 images for Canadian words. One of the suggestions from Janet and her class was meegwetch, the Algonquin word for thank you. I didn’t just want to squish it in and have been pondering where it could lead.

I was a little embarrassed this week as I thought about all the discussions in my undergrad linguistics degree and I couldn’t remember ever discussing indigenous languages. I’d love to say my program was at fault but if I am completely honest, I don’t know if I would have noticed. So this next theme of images is an opportunity to expand my own understanding. It would be wonderful to connect with speakers of the languages instead of just Googling. There is so much more to our favourite words, phrases than just the literal translation.

This theme will really push the boundaries of collective learning for me. So can you help?  Know someone I should connect with online or perhaps you can help me yourself.

Thanks in advance!

 

An Invitation

Earlier this month I was so excited to be a part of our district’s early years conference and it wasn’t just for the food trucks (but seriously how can it not be awesome when you have food trucks!). It’s the one conference a year that always pushes my thinking around what an adult learning experiences could look/feel like and this year was no different. As attendees came they were invited to explore the various playscapes around the building, designed and facilitated by awesome early years educators.

Invitations & Provocations are something the early years team has been exploring for awhile now and we can see brave educators take the idea to more grade levels. If you are unfamiliar Louis Jupp in her blog defines the terms invitation and provocation as the following:

Invitation – something that encourages someone to do something or that makes something more likely to happen; written or spoken request for someone to go somewhere or do something.

Provocation – an action or occurrence that causes someone to begin to do something.

I know I am personally working through the difference between the two terms but they both serve the purpose to spark a learning experience.

I escaped the green screen playscape for a few minutes to look around. Each space had beautiful materials arranged in bins, baskets, jars and tables all begging to be explored. Many had questions or statements to help guide you to new questions or ideas you hadn’t thought of. All the space was used from floors to table tops and then the walls. It was impossible not to touch, play, explore.  It reminded me of countless early years classrooms I’ve visited or follow on social media where educators have done the same with carefully selected and organized materials.

As I wandered I kept coming back to the idea of provocations or invitations for adult learners. The playscapes during the conference were just that, an invitation to think differently, to play, explore, to learn as a community. How was I inviting educators to play, explore, and learn? What materials could I use to spark a conversation? What does an invitation look like when it comes to modern learning and how would educators respond?

Maybe everything we do is an invitation: an invitation to think differently, to change our practice, to play, explore and learn. The trick is making it irresistible and provoking the thinking further along the way. Something I will be reflecting on this week.

 

 

 

The Education Battle

I went to see Gifted last night with a friend. I’ll admit it isn’t hard to convince me to see a ‘pull on your heart strings‘ movie with Chris Evans in it.  I expected the tears (you could hear the sobbing in unison at one point in the theatre) but not the reflection on education. Maybe that’s silly, it’s a movie about education after all.

In case you haven’t seen it, the movie in a sentence: An uncle is raising his math prodigy niece in a less than ideal but happy environment when grandma, mathematician herself  wants to pull her away to study math and solve unsolvable problems.

It’s always hard watching movies about education. There are always a few cringe worthy moments like the teacher mentioning ‘we don’t speak unless spoken to’ to the grade 1 class (YIKES). But as GIFTED flows you realize the story comes back to the purpose of education. It’s the same dilemma we see on TV, in our conversations at dinner tables, with siblings, sometimes around our staff rooms as well. What is the purpose of education? Philosophy is pegged against Mathematics, academics versus the ‘feelings’ part of education.

As I was watching the movie I kept thinking of Logan LaPlante’s TED talk a few years ago.

The beautiful complex, competent, capable bundle of energy math prodigy needed them both in the end to be happy and healthy. Don’t we all?

If I have to choose one though I think I would go for the ‘decent humans‘.

 

 

 

Jumping In – A Nudge

It’s always quite the milestone to make the first marker of a long project like #the100dayproject.  As we completed our first week Monday I was reminded why I love the project. Once again I’m learning and being inspired by great individuals sharing their practice openly. Sometimes it is friends like Sharon Drummond and her daily data doodles. Other times the inspiration is from someone new like parade.made and her whimsical daily Kawaiiness prints. I have to admit though that one of the most exciting elements this year is that my dad is joining in.

It was a simple mention. I can’t remember why I tagged my parents in a post about the project but I just mentioned in passing on Facebook they should join. My mom has always been artistic. The calmer pace out in the East Coast is giving her the opportunity to create more (really it is all the snow days). I thought she might appreciate the challenge. My dad is just getting in to photographs and Instagram. I didn’t expect them to follow up (first mistake). And in typical fashion my dad just jumped in. I opened my Instagram account to see my dad’s first post. We then chatted back and forth about hashtags and how it all works: a unique hashtag for his project, the collective hashtag to connect with the community. The hashtags are muddled up most days and the pictures may be of the ordinary but they demonstrate a commitment.

A commitment to a shared experience between us despite the miles, a commitment to try something new, a commitment to continuously learn.

I hope I am willing to jump in so freely the next time I am nudged with a new learning opportunity.

Morning PEI #100daysofcapturingPEI#100daysproject@2847michaelzita

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Learning in Conversations

It was the first time I had been to a conference the size of SXSWedu and the number of sessions was astounding. At any give time you could have 3 or 4 highlighted that you wanted to attend. And yet through all the sessions I was reminded that much of our learning comes in those informal conversations.

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Conversations…

  • over breakfast with your table neighbour Amanda where you pick up a quick strategy like  yes, and 
  • during a social network hearing an awesome idea from Suzie & Alicia about recycling old  admin phones for VR.
  • with individuals at a Maker Meet Up like Mo whose work you have followed on Instagram for a long time and end up in those random deep conversations about education .
  • in a session where you hear about the great stories of a group like UrbanTxt from Oscar
  • where you are able to connect with the people behind some of your favourite tools like Joey from Flipgrid and Kaja from Kahoot (who would have expected an Ontario/Queens university connection in Texas with someone from Norway).
  • over dinner with new and old Apple Distinguished Educator friends where you can share stories and tools with friends like Ann Kozma.
  • with your colleague that ping pong between education, neuroscience and life in general reminding you how awesome of a human they are.

The best part about learning from conversations? They aren’t bound by a specific space or time. Every day brings with it the opportunity to learn from awesome humans.