We attended our final Digital Sandbox for Administrators session this past week. Our Deputy Superintendent, Jordan Tinney, led four blogging session for administrators this year, as part of our Digital Sandbox series for our administrators in our district. This was the final blogging session and was meant to celebrate all the wonderful learning and sharing happening around us and between us. To widen the influence, and to introduce the concept of blogging to others, all bloggers in our district were invited and then encouraged to bring a friend. We were to bring anyone who may be interested in blogging, interested in learning about others, or just interested in learning a bit about this new culture “out there”.
We had a George Couros (@gcouros), a friend of #sd36learn who visits our district regularly, come as a guest to help facilitate the blogging session. During the session, we were challenged to reflect upon and share our answers to a number of questions. You can see these questions and a storify on each of the answers here on fellow passionate educator Joe Tong’s blog. (@teacherTong).
Our final challenge was to answer the following questions:
Why did you become an educator?
What do you want your legacy to be? Continue reading
Posted in Leading the Learning, Reflection, Uncategorized
Tagged educator, halbert, inquiry, kaser, legacy, personal, reflection, spirals, why
We have a Breakfast Club at our school which is open each morning from 7:30-8:25, when the morning school bell rings. In all honesty, it actually usually runs past this time because kids are not often turned away when they come in late and we know they’ve not had breakfast.
Last week, we had the Breakfast Clubs of Canada bring in a group of individuals who wanted to learn more about our Breakfast Club and how it impacts students and student learning. There are the usual answers, of course (you can find some of those answers here and here). Yes, the students are more able to sit and concentrate when they have food in their bellies. Yes, they are more likely to be more cooperative (and less cranky) when they are not hungry. Yes, they are more able to think more clearly. Yes, they are more likely to have fewer behavioural challenges. All of these things lead to better student achievement and more overall learning. But, Breakfast Club is so much more than about the food and the benefits of eating breakfast. It is more than filling those bellies which makes our Breakfast Club (and others) an essential component to these kids days (and future, I would like to suggest). Continue reading
I was asked recently to share my thoughts on what student achievement meant to me and how an elementary principal contributes to student achievement. What interesting and powerful questions. These questions are both huge and could be the topic of a thesis! I had about 10 minutes to present my thoughts.
So, I thought I would share my thoughts here.
The position of elementary principal can be a powerful one – both positive or negative. A principal really shapes the culture of learning in a school. Go into any school that is thriving and full of excitement around learning, and I believe you will find a principal with that same enthusiasm and excitement. Likewise can be said for the opposite school as well. Being a principal is a very important role and must been seen as such and not taken on lightly.
Here is my powerpoint (and, as funny as it might seem, this is the first powerpoint I have ever created! – Although, I did create my first Keynote presentation on my iPad here): Continue reading
I’ve been reflecting a great deal lately about what I’ve learned (and continue to learn) about leadership and leading. I would like to share a few of these reflections here. During my nearly 8 years as a vice-principal (with two 6-month maternity leaves thrown in there), a number of leadership lessons stick out for me (if you click on most of the bolded titles, you will be brought to a more in-depth post on that topic).
1. Go slow to go far. We will move forward faster, with more sustainable change, if we go forward slowly than we would if we moved forward quickly without the input of those we work with.
2. Relationships first. We truly can not move forward without first developing relationships with those we work with – students, teachers, education assistants, or parents. It is important to develop trust with everyone – without trust, people will not feel comfortable to take risks in their own learning which is what is needed to move forward and make change.
3. Parents are our students first and most important teachers. They know their children better than we ever will. It is imperative that we realize this. Parents are also doing their best with their children, even if sometimes it may not seem like it. We are all after the same thing – for students to be the best they can be – to prepare our students/children for their future. We must keep student learning at the centre of all we do. Continue reading
The other day, I was asked a question about who inspires me.
What a great question!
I could go on and on for hours about all the people who inspire me each and every day. As administrators, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with many people: kids, teachers, education assistants, parents, community member, administrator colleagues, and our PLN. I general terms, let me tell you about some of the people who inspire me:
- I am inspired by those students who struggle on a daily basis to work at the level that is expected of students their age.
- I am inspired by students with learning disabilities who find ways to display their learning in unconventional, but very effective, ways.
- I am inspired by students who come to school without breakfast and welcome what we have to offer them.
- I am inspired by students who are pushing their learning to new levels and who are embracing new ways of learning.
- I am inspired by our students who are blogging for the world to read.
- I am inspired by our education assistants who are embracing new ways of learning and ways their student’s can express this learning. These professionals are rolling with it and doing their best to make the learning of their students the best it can be – all with a positive attitude. Continue reading
Posted in Learning, Personalized Learning, Reflection
Tagged ea's, inspire, learning, life-long, parents, pln, question, students, teachers, thoughts
In part, he World English Dictionary defines passion as
“A strong affection or enthusiasm for an object,
concept, etc: a passion for poetry.”
We’ve been hearing a great deal about “Passion-Based Learning”. People are realizing the importance of giving our students the opportunity to learn about things that are of interest to them – things they are passionate about. We talk about the importance of involving students in real-world solutions to real-world problems. Our students and children thrive on doing things to help others. They thrive on knowing they can (and are) truly making a difference. They are motivated by knowing that they are making a difference and that they can inspire others to do the same.
Here are a few examples of passion-based learning:
Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) visited our school district in January to talk to 200 very enthusiastic educators in our school district about how his students were clearly making a difference with their involvement with KIVA. They were making micro-loans to people in Third World Countries who were trying to raise money to start a business to support themselves and their family. These students were passionate about supporting others around the world. They were so passionate, in fact, that they took their own time to support other classes, make videos to promote their project, and present to businesses to raise money for their passion. Continue reading
Posted in Leading the Learning, Learning, Personalized Learning
Tagged choice, enthusiasm, geniius, heart, leading, love, motivation, passion, personal, personalized learning, teaching
A couple of weeks ago, I received a surprising, but very pleasant, direct message on Twitter that went something like this, “Going to be in Surrey in a couple of weeks… want to get together?” Umm… Yeah! Absolutely! The message was from Dean Shareski! Dean presented at our district’s Engaging the Digital Learner Dinner Series in the fall and has also been involved in the #ETMooc currently being offered by Alec Couros and crew.
Dean expressed interest in doing something in a classroom with kids and maybe doing something after school with educators around the district. So, that’s what we (meaning @teacherdiana1) started planning.
Grade 3 teacher, Diana Williams, was very excited and took the idea and ran with it – literally. She had already planned on creating a video to promote her student’s involvement in KIVA (a website where you can make micro-loans to people in Third World Countries who are trying to start businesses). What a better opportunity than to create the video with help from Dean Shareski! So, through pneumonia, Diana worked tirelessly (even though we did
order her to stay home recommend that she stay home and rest and this opportunity would present itself again another time) rewriting the lyrics to a song so her students could become KIVA Ninjas. She taught the song to her Grade 3 students, complete with props and actions. They were adorable! Continue reading
Posted in Collaboration, Connections / Relationships, Leading the Learning, Learning, Professional Development, Technology
Tagged cassidy, discovery, discoveryed, discoveryeducation, googlehangout, ideas, learning, sd36learn, shareski, sharing, Smackdown
First of all, I have a bit of a confession. When I started on Twitter again almost 2 years ago, I didn’t deeply understand when I read, “It’s not about the technology.” Yes, I understood it on a surface level, and nodded in agreement whenever I heard those words. But, I didn’t really deeply understand.
Fast forward almost 2 years and I am beginning to get it. I say beginning because, really, I am not sure if one can really understand the depths of this new ever-changing, ever-evolving learning environment. Just when we think we “figure” one thing out, something changes (similar to how I feel about raising my children, I might add).
So, this is my take on it….
It is not about technology at all. It is all about pedagogy. Continue reading
Posted in Instructional Leadership, Leading the Learning, Professional Development, Technology, Uncategorized
Tagged battle, change, confession, leading, learning, pedagogy, perspective, questions, students, teaching, technology, Twitter