Day 98: Tech Assumptions

Let’s continue with some questions to think about regarding technology. I learned this use that there is an equitable issue regarding access. 

My assumptions included that all of my students had regular access to consistent Internet. I learned a few months in that this was not the case.

I have a questionnaire I would like to ask my families in September. This will inform how I communicate with families.

What questions would you add/change/keep/delete?

1. Describe your access to high speed internet.

2. What technology do you feel comfortable using and have access  (mobile phone, tablet, Internet, e-mail, text message, etc).

3. Do you prefer online communication or paper copies (newsletters).

4. If you don’t have Internet, do you have access to community resources (the library)? Would you be willing to spend 1 hour per week at a resource centre to access online resources?

5. How much screen time does your child view everyday? Every week? And what is the breakdown in that screen time (e.g., tv, computer, tablet, gaming console).


Day 97: #longweekend

It has been an abnormally busy day so that = short post.

3 questions without answers, perhaps you can fill some in.

1) What’s the most under used piece of tech in your classroom/school?

2) What’s the most needed tech in your classroom/school that you don’t have?

3) What’s happens to your usual day of all the tech was removed? 

Day 96: Is the 21st Century Outdated?

I have seen a variety of tweets and blogs that argue that 21st century as a reference to modern teaching terminology is already outdated since we are 16 years into the century.

I believe 21st century teaching and learning is still relevant and is just beginning to actually take shape.

At the beginning of the century, from 2000-2010, I spent time as a student in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions. When returning in 2012 as a student teacher I had noticed a significant change to how I was instructed to teach from how I was taught. 

It seemed that the way I was taught was part of the old model, and during my transition from secondary to post-secondary this had suddenly shifted. 

I think that by calling it 21st century teaching and learning we chronologically acknowledge a shift in the system. I can imagine that by the end of this century we will have shifted/evolved several times. 

For now, let’s recognize it as 21st century. 

Day 95: Teach to the Top of Their Intelligence 

Another borrowed rule from the world of improvisation.

When playing a character on stage, you must respect each character and play it to the top of their intelligence. It promotes a deeper level of play that moves beyond the surface where stereotypes are found and into a world of archetypal journeys.

I try and take this idea and apply it to every human interaction I have, including teaching. A common obstacle is telling yourself that your students can’t do something before you give them an opportunity to try. 

You may know your students very well, but don’t forget that you are allowed to be surprised by them once in a while too, provide opportunities for that to happen. Discoveries are richer when they also grow your perspective of your own students. 

Provide project based learning instead of just projects. You’ve seen my genius hour posts, but it doesn’t have to be genius hour. If you cap your students potential you allow yourself to therefore cap your own ability to move them forward. 

There are many obstacles in life that our students will have to face, school is a time to push their limits and provide them support and encouragement as they try new things. 

How can we expect them to reach for the stars if we have grounded their potential by limiting our expectations of their success?

Teach to the top of their intelligence.

Day 94: University isn’t for Everyone, and it’s Okay!

A report today released by Ottawa University suggests that those with a post secondary degree could expect a higher and quicker rising income over their non-university counterparts.

A quick aside to note that when a university publishes a report on how good going to university is, you need to be a little skeptical. I haven’t looked over all of the report as this post isn’t about the merits of this, rather the implication that university is better.

The goal of the traditional education system is for everyone to keep moving up. The true success stories then are those who float at the University professor level. Please note that I value university and professors…but we all don’t have to go to one or be one to be successful and happy.

Choosing an option after secondary school shouldn’t be based on an option list that promotes university at the top, all options need to be valued equally. I believe that learning should be based on interest and passion, not on economically benefits. 

Can you measure success by numbers? Sure! How do you measure happiness within that success? I’m not sure. 

We can however strive to provide equitable access to all options, including university. We must be careful to make sure that we also contribute positive examples towards the workplace, gap year, and other options. 

As educators we must make sure we acknowledge that university was the correct path for ourselves, but that it isn’t always the best or right option for our students. Think about every student in the system is being taught by a university educated person, we must ensure that we consistently provide examples of the other pathways.

Day 93: Find Your Challenger

I am fortunate to be surrounded by a group of dedicated educators who are compassionate, passionate, and driven when it comes to their pedagogy. I have learned that I have two choices when discussing pedagogy with colleagues:

1) Take it personally and risk the opportunity to gain another insight that could enhance my own perspective.


2) Listen and engage critically in discussion, understanding that the one of the great strengths of my profession is the unique approaches that are out there.

The 1st option is that of a fixed mindset and limited, how boring would it be if everyone just agreed. I would be dishonest if I didn’t tell you I started off as the 1st option, I think it’s a common approach in the early years. Teachers college I found was very positive, but I could have benefited from more critical partnerships.

You want to make sure you surround yourself with those who will support you, and understanding that support sometimes looks like challenges and questioning your approaches. 

The important key to always remember is not to take it personally, take it professionaly. 

Day 92: Blogging Discoveries

As I near the 100 day post I look back on what I have learned over the past 90ish days. 

Part of me thought I wouldn’t be able to make it everyday, and aside from one late post after midnight I have managed to keep it on track. By posting to Twitter I felt an outside obligation that kept me accountable.

Some posts came naturally while others took longer to think about. I am finding it difficult in the summer to keep it interesting as I am not in the school mind mode as much. I think this is more so because I am not collaborating with colleagues…I miss that part during the summer.

I never took this on to have people follow and read, but it has been encouraging to hear feedback and responses. My goal was to improve my writing, something I used to do regularly but had stopped in recent years.

As for the future of my blogging I think that stopping would be counter to why I started. Perhaps a weekly post instead of daily could be a realistic expectation. I can’t get a ahead of myself, still a final week of daily posts to go!

Day 91: 3 Tips to Stay Creative

I have found a few things help me stay in that creative zone- especially when I am running on empty or running out of ideas.


  1.  Give yourself a time limit.

Don’t be easy on yourself- push the timeframe for completing a project. I tend to be more creative while under pressure. If I have a long deadline I will usually wait until the last possible moment to get started. Some may call this procrastination, I prefer to call it a stylistic choice.

2. Be accountable to a human.

If I know that someone has to look at my work, I tend to have more thought and consideration put into something. I have a strong group of people who are not afraid to tell me something is crap (they are my friends, I promise). I have a need to please as well- it usually allows me to put in that extra something.

3. Shouldn’t all lists include 3 things?

I don’t know why I feel the need to sit here and think of a third point…but I don’t have one. Follow the first two. I will use this blog as an example. I have a time limit which is 24 hours to complete the blog post each day. I am accountable to a human, that is my twitter audience. I don’t think people are waiting to read it, but in order to put pressure on myself to complete it everyday (in sickness and in health) I pretend people are waiting to read it.

Happy Creating!


Day 90: Know Your Audience

Standing backstage during the final show this week I am reminded of how much the audience is an integral role to the process. There is a certain energy that allows the young actors to play off of, another character to their scene. Their family and friends make up the crowd, the most supportive environment you could wish for, an added bonus for those taking the stage for the first time.

The parents and guardians of students are the educational counterpart for the audience. A strong relationship is needed in order to support the kids, understanding that there is an important partnership. You need to communicate effectively in order to provide a structure for support. I have found that social media is a great way to spark this conversation. Sending pictures, short messages, and a scheduled message (daily) provides consistency.

The audience wants the actors to succeed, they will try their best but need to be met halfway. My role during camp is to facilitate the message that the kids are trying to convey into a theatrical piece that is coherent and engaging. My role during school is to facilitate the learning, based on the curriculum, and inspired by student interest/voice.

3 weeks of camp complete, 3 weeks of camp to go.

Day 89: What’s the Point?

In theatre school I was asked to only answer one question before putting something on stage…What’s the point? It is the question I ask myself not only when devising theatre, but in all aspects of my life including education.

It is a simple question that ultimately is the beginning of the reflective process, even before the actual process is complete. I have applied this to lessons, professional development, and the introduction of tech and maker ED into the classroom.

This question is the gate keeper between strong ideas grounded in fact and thought, and the spur of the moment, hop-on the bandwagon new thing. It has served me well in the classroom, but as mentioned before it’s roots for me began with theatre.

I am still running theatre camp and our weekly show is tomorrow. Today was the final edits of scenes where the tech and the props and costumes are added in. Sometimes the idea that sparked everything on Monday transforms itself far away from the initial interest (which is OK). My role is to ensure that the message being presented by the kids is articulated to an audience who is there for the product. The meaning can get lost along the way, and therefore the question needs to be re-asked. What’s the point of this?  If it doesn’t make sense or the kids do not understand why they are doing what they are doing, chances are the it will fall flat to an audience (even when the audience is filled with family and friends).

In the classroom, sometimes a great lesson idea can be sparked from an initial provocation. I may think I am going in one direction, and by the time I am ready to introduce something to the class it may have veered off the path. By asking the question I ensure that I am able to articulate what it is I am doing, or at least trying to do. The curriculum is always grounded in this, the joy is being creative with the delivery of it.

Pokémon go is my current interest, I downloaded the app and have ventured out into the real world with my virtual game. The initial spark was that the kids would be interested in it and therefore I should try and find a way to connect curriculum through the game. I am currently developing a plants and animals unit based around it. For example, students would have to create a natural habitat for their Pokémon and justify their choices (or find an existing habitat and select Pokémon that would thrive in it). This can be all well and good, but I have to remember in September to go back to that question. If the kids are no longer interested in it then what’s the point?

Strong colleagues will find a way to challenge you on ideas like the one above in a professional manner. I don’t always have the best ideas, and I believe our profession demands that we push each other and question each other to further our development. Otherwise, what’s the point?