"My blogging life is basically goalless. I like the zen nature of that, and paradoxically, it improves results." ~ Seth Godin   Well it's over. My month long challenge of blogging every day has finally come to an end. Looking back on the 29 blog posts it has been a real learning experience. There were days that I struggled to come up with a topic but suddenly an idea found me. It may have been that I was more present than normal through the month so I was open to seeing clearly what was in front of me or it may have been that I just pushed myself to get my thoughts and ideas into a post. Either way it has been a wonderful experience.  Over the month of June my posts generated over 10,000 hits, 33 comments and 100's of shares on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn. But the...
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  "There are no regrets in life, just lessons." ~ Jennifer Aniston   Today as I drove to the book store a song came on the radio that immediately sent me back to my childhood. It wasn't the particular song that had me reflecting it was just the music and what it had me doing...playing air guitar. I'm sure the cars next to me thought something strange was going on but for me it was trip down memory lane. Regrets, we've all had a few. It's my belief that regrets aren't always a bad thing. Like the quote above says; they are life lessons. Growing up my nights were filled with my father playing either the piano or organ for hours on end. Although the majority of his playing was church music, which wasn't really my cup of tea, it was still a powerful influence. My father encouraged my brother and...
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  Below are the tweets that caught my eye this past week. Scroll through and check them out!     "Today is your day and nothing can stand in your way" Shania pic.twitter.com/3k0621ywcY— Sue Bruyns (@sbruyns) June 22, 2015 Music education key to raising literacy and numeracy standards http://t.co/CUsSo8cmrP— Jordan Shapiro (@jordosh) June 22, 2015 “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” - Martin Luther King Jr.— Angela Maiers (@AngelaMaiers) June 22, 2015 Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal. #vision Vince Lombardi— Dan Rockwell (@Leadershipfreak) June 23, 2015 Champions. pic.twitter.com/lZVThtlrh5— MichaelSmithSupt (@principalspage) June 23, 2015 Do you see yourself as a learner? How do you make your learning visible for your students/staff? pic.twitter.com/yj8yI9Xj4v— Sue Bruyns (@sbruyns) June 24, 2015 If a principal is not willing to confront resistors on the faculty, you will never have a...
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Tagged in: Favourites PLN Twitter
  "A good teacher is like a candle — it consumes itself to light the way for others." ~ unknown author   On Friday I made my way out to the front of our school to change our sign for the summer. As I opened the case an older neighbour was walking by and said to me "I bet those two are leaving for the summer happy people!" At first I was a bit confused but then I looked at the letters I was about to remove and I realized what she meant. The week before we put a message on our sign congratulating 2 of our teachers on their retirement. Both teachers had an amazing career, positively impacting students. But then I began to think about what the neighbour said. I wonder what it must really feel like to retire?  I can only imagine the emotions that a retiring teacher...
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  "School's out for summer." ~ Alice Cooper   Today the hallways are quiet, the classrooms are empty but my mind is full. It's always a weird feeling for me the day after students have left for the summer. There's always the odd student returning because they forgot something important in their desk or just to say one last goodbye to their teacher, but for the most part it is eerily quiet. But as I said, my mind is full of thoughts about next year and how I can help move the school forward and support students and teachers. So as my mind continues to spin thinking about ways to best support students and teachers next year, below are my thoughts. More integration of our developmental education students. In fact, we have considered changing the name of our developmental education students to active learning students. For me integration of our active...
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  "After the stress of getting our hair and nails done and dressing up, the dance and Photo Booth let us be ourselves."  2015 Mitchell Hepburn Grad   It was a great night! The students and their families were treated to a special night as we celebrated the graduating students of 2015. After all the certificates and awards were presented it was time to let off some steam and have fun. This is what graduation is all about. Celebrating and having fun, not stressing about awards or marks. And as you can see from the picture above the students certainly had fun. If you've never had a Photo Booth at a graduation ceremony or other event I would highly recommend it. Get lots of props, a good backdrop, some lighting, good music and you're set. The kids will take over and have the time of their lives. The night flew by with...
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  “Like any other tool for facilitating the completion of a questionable task, rewards offer a "how" answer to what is really a "why" question.” ~ Alfie Kohn   It was the summer leading into my first teaching assignment that I read Alfie Kohn's book "Punished by Rewards." It had a huge impact on how I decided my classroom would function. It was an idea that I really hadn't thought deeply about because growing up playing lots of sports I was blessed with a large trophy case to display all my awards. Thinking back on my younger days, however, I really didn't pay much attention to the awards and trophies. They were just there, in my trophy case for all to see. I was more concerned about participating and playing with my friends. I wasn't playing for the trophies. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to win, but the award at...
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Tagged in: Awards Graduation
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  "Photography to me is catching a moment which is passing, and which is true." ~ Jacques-Henri Lartigue   When I began this month long blogging challenge the best piece of advice I got was from Sue Bruyns (@sbruyns) when she said that my photographer's eye will become my writer's eye, constantly looking for the next idea for a post. Sue was right. Along with being more present I have found myself being more observant to the things happening around me, using my photographer's eye. Photography is a passion of mine. It's something that I picked up in my early thirties and have continued to work on my craft. I'm asked often about tips and tricks, what I like to shoot, and what equipment I have. So here you go! Camera - I have a Canon 6D. It's an entry level full frame camera with a 20.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor that...
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Tagged in: Camera Photography
in General 261 2
  "The most important thing in the world is family and love." ~ John Wooden   The quote above says it all for me. Being a father is special, but the most important thing is family and love. Yesterday as I received text messages, emails, and phone calls wishing me a happy Father's Day I couldn't help but thank my lucky stars for the joy that is my daughter. She is growing so fast that I need to remember to enjoy every second I can and not let those moments pass. It feels like just yesterday that my little leap year baby blessed us with her presence. My hope for her is that she knows how much she is loved not only by her mother and father, but by her extended family as well, because family and love are the most important thing in the world. I hope all the father's...
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Tagged in: children Fathers Day
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  Below are tweets that caught my eye this past week. Scroll through and have a look!     The goal of life is not to have our lives mean something to ourselves. The goal of life is to have our lives mean something to others. — Simon Sinek (@simonsinek) June 15, 2015 Acknowledge effort as well as achievement. #leadership — Dan Rockwell (@Leadershipfreak) June 15, 2015 Too busy to question the status quo? #ticl2015 pic.twitter.com/35HvEtXFTH — Tony Vincent (@tonyvincent) June 15, 2015 5 Habits of Highly Innovative Educators http://t.co/9Nas10aMQ3 #edtech #edchat #21stedchat pic.twitter.com/iDfesZdZIE — Fishtree Education (@fishtree_edu) June 15, 2015 Look in the mirror, but remember you seldom see yourself without the help of others. http://t.co/1k19KJs88S — Dan Rockwell (@Leadershipfreak) June 16, 2015 A 21st Century tchr should not look, act or teach as a tchr of the 19th & 20th Cent, but many of our Tchrs are products of...
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    "When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful." ~ Malala Yousafzai   I was doing a bit of organizing and cleaning of my files last night when I came across a report that I had written in 2008 when I was a learning technologies coordinator. In late 2007, upon the request of my superintendent, I organized and ran a Student Voices Forum on Technology with the purpose of gathering input from some of our high school students on the current state of technology in schools and more importantly what they thought school needed in order to help them learn. We invited 2 students from each high school to participate in a variety of activities with no teacher or adult support other than 6 learning technologies coordinators to guide and facilitate the conversations. The students did a masterful job of articulating their thoughts and ideas for us....
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  "Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you." ~ Frank Llyod Wright   I have lasting memories of many field trip my from elementary school career. Montreal, Quebec City, Niagara Falls, the Welland Canal, Fort Henry, Casa Loma and Pond Mills were just a few that pop to mind. We loved them all and never wanted to miss them. They were great fun, but learned a lot, even if we didn't realize it at the time. I'm beginning to feel that field trips today have changed and I'm at a loss to understand how this has happened.  I look back on what I learned on those trips and I'm thankful for all my teachers that took the time to find learning experiences that also were a great deal of fun. The history lessons in Montreal, Quebec City and Fort Henry meant nothing when we read...
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  "Saying goodbye doesn't mean anything. It's the time we spent together that matters, not how we left it." ~ Trey Parker   Today was the day that many teachers and administrators dread, the year end assembly where staff members that are leaving or retiring are recognized. It's always a difficult time, not only for those leaving, but for those left behind. I don't think I've been to one where there wasn't a tear shed. Today was no different. Our school said goodbye to a number of staff members who will be heading off to new assignments or retirement. The students gathered in the gym without really knowing who was leaving. So in a way it was a bit of a shock to many as they learned who wouldn't be with us next year. Of course I realize how difficult it is for the people leaving. They get up in front...
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  "With mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment." ~ Nhat Hanh   I've been lucky to be trained by some amazing yoga teachers. Baron Baptiste, Paul Grilley and Shiva Rae have all helped me to gain a deeper understanding of yoga and mindfulness. I have experienced the benefits of each of these practices. But more and more we are seeing the benefits that they have for students. There is plenty of research now to show how a regular mindfulness practice in school can have a positive impact with students.  Our school is lucky to have a teacher who has experienced those benefits too. If you were to walk into Jenny's grade 8 classroom you would hear, see and feel a classroom culture that is steeped in mindfulness. They enjoy the yoga classes Jenny leads them...
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Tagged in: mindfulness yoga
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  "If we talk about literacy, we have to talk about how to enhance our children's mastery over the tools needed to live intelligent, creative, and involved lives." ~ Danny Glover   One of my favourite professional books on literacy is "The Read-Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease. It's a fascinating read about how the power of simply reading aloud to your child is one of the most powerful things you can do to support literacy. It's a must read for every parent and teacher. However, when we talk about literacy in school there are many more aspects to a balanced literacy program that teachers need to develop in order to support the variety of learners in their class. I've always been a person who believes that teachers need to use every tool in their toolbox, or find new tools, in order to support all students. We should leave no stone unturned!...
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  "There is no innovation or creativity without failure. Period." ~ Brene Brown   I'm intrigued by the whole idea of the maker movement. It reminds me of my childhood where we had a room full of Lego and my dad's workbench that my brother and I used to make things on during our downtime. Now as our school moves from a traditional library to a learning commons, with a makerspace, my focus has shifted to how to support our teachers and students. I want to create the conditions that will best support a makerspace in our school. But how do that when I really have no background knowledge of what effective makerspaces look and sound like or how they are utilized to meet the needs of young learners. My professional learning plan over the summer will consist of a lot of reading and research. I came across the book "The...
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  Below are the tweets that caught my eye this past week. Scroll through and check them out!     You have to be willing to constantly disrupt your best ideas and your best work…— David Culberhouse (@DCulberhouse) June 8, 2015 The number one indication of wisdom is the passionate pursuit of wisdom.— Dan Rockwell (@Leadershipfreak) June 8, 2015 You can’t standardize creativity. #tlap #pblchat #satchat #whatisschool #aussieED #caedchat #edchat #SuptChat pic.twitter.com/BTH3KnvSkw— Christopher Tienken (@ChrisTienken) June 9, 2015 Creating pockets of intentional disruption...allows us to reframe our perspective towards change and innovative thinking and doing.— David Culberhouse (@DCulberhouse) June 9, 2015 What can I say to myself instead... via @VisibleLearning #edchat #unionrxi pic.twitter.com/K8v1eTmSaf— Dr. Justin Tarte (@justintarte) June 9, 2015 I've done WAY more professional reading since joining Twitter. Educators who I trust curate & bring the best stuff to my attention #tepsa15— Dave Burgess (@burgessdave) June 10, 2015 pic.twitter.com/LwCJTyofUy— Ann...
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Tagged in: Favourites PLN Twitter
  "Technology should be present but ‘invisible’. When we pick up a pen or pencil, we don’t call it a ‘pencil activity’, the same goes for any other technology." ~ David Truss   It's amazing how things come together. On Friday I was fortunate to be covering for a principal at a school close to mine while she attended a meeting. Fortunate because I was invited to be a guest in a grade 5 classroom that was presenting their research findings to the local member of provincial parliament (@JeffYurekMPP), the mayor of Central Elgin, representatives from Kettle Creek Conservation Authority and Erin Mutch our learning coordinator for environment education. The project was designed by the classroom teacher and Jen Aston, an instructional coach with our board. As I moved from group to group and talked to the students I began to formulate this blog post in my mind. Then, this morning...
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Tagged in: #gafe technology
  "The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it's to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they're valued." ~ Sir Ken Robinson   Yesterday my post asked the same question to 5 leaders from my PLN that I respect. The question was; "If you had the power to make 1 change, and 1 change only that would help to improve schools, what would it be?" They didn't disappoint with their responses, they were great.  Soon after I published the post, Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca) asked what my 1 change would be. I'm glad she asked because I had planned to post my idea today. As I considered the many ideas that would have a positive impact on schools I kept coming back to something I see almost every day in some shape or form - inquiry. Whether it's through passion projects,...
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Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.   What I have been thinking about a lot lately is the big idea of change, and in particular, making 1 change that would have the biggest impact on students. So with that question in mind I reached out to 5 leaders in my PLN that I have the utmost respect for. Each has made an impact on my practice as a school administrator and as a learner. Below are 5 leaders responses to the question: "If you had the power to make 1 change, and 1 change only that would help to improve schools, what would it be?"   Sue Bruyns (@sbruyns) - Learning Supervisor, TVDSB. Master principal and teacher respected throughout the district for her knowledge, work ethic and love for kids. Although it might seem trivial, I often wonder...
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