#together - My One Little Word

"The best way to predict the future is to create it" ~ Abraham Lincoln   I can't believe that it has been an entire year since I last posted to my blog. Too long. I can sit here and make excuses but at the end of the day I need to make a commitment to write on a regular basis, which I will do! However, this post isn't about my writing goals for the year, it's about what my "One Little Word" will be for this school year.   It always amazing to me how things manifest when you're present in the moment and pay attention to what's happening around you. This summer as I enjoyed the break with my partner Jenny and my beautiful daughter Zoe, I reflected a lot on my first year as Principal and what I learned about leadership. The time I spent with the two...
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The Maker Movement

  "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...
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The More Things Change ~ Reflections from #BIT14

  "Excuses change nothing, but make everyone feel better" ~ Mason Cooley   I started the title for this blog with a partial quote "The more things change..." because of what I have experienced with the use of technology in the classroom over my career. The technology has changed dramatically, but not so much how it is used and who is using it. For the second year in a row I was honoured to present at the Bring IT Together conference in Niagara Falls. This year I presented with my good friend @sbruyns on being a connected administrator. Although I thought our session went very well I left the conference with a sense of emptiness.  The sessions I attended were valuable and the keynotes were excellent. What really struck me though was something that Ron Canuel  talked about during his Friday morning keynote. The idea that it's always the same faces,...
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Thank You EdCamp London Sponsors

As we move closer to EdCamp London on April 12th it is important to recognize those that have provided either financial support or gifts in kind, which are going to make great prizes!  Without financial sponsors we would not be able to offer EdCamp for free. Below are the sponsors who provided financial support. Please give them a click and support them!            The groups below were kind enough to provide amazing prizes for the draw at the end of the day. Make sure you give them a click and check them out too! And if you're coming to EdCamp don't miss our closing session for a chance to win a prize.                      Don't forget to check out the EdCamp Website as we get closer to April 12th. And even if you can't make it follow along...
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EdCamp London - Just Around the Corner

    The excitement is starting to build for London's first EdCamp. For many in London and the surrounding area it will be their first experience at an "unconference" so there may be a bit of apprehension about what to expect. With less than 50 spots remaining I wanted to use this blog post to give a bit more insight into what to expect at EdCamp and to try to convince those that are sitting on the fence that this will be a great day of professional learning with people who love education.   Lots of discussion - at the heart of the EdCamp experience is the chance for attendees to discuss those burning issues that may not be the topic of conversation in the lunch room. It's a chance to go deep with your ideas in a safe environment with other people who have similar passions.  The law of...
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Another EdCamp, Another A+

  "The smartest person in the room, is the room." ~ David Weinberger   This past weekend I attended my third EdCamp and it was another A+ experience. Every EdCamp that I've been to has had different strengths and takeaways that have moved my learning forward. EdCamp Waterloo was no different. Below is a reflection of my day in Waterloo and what I learned. It's always great to share a day of learning with friends. Saturday was no exception as a number of the EdCamp London organizing committee decided to make the hour long drive to Waterloo, not just for the day of learning but to gather more information and ideas for our own EdCamp which will be held in April.  It's also great to make personal connections with those in your PLN. The first person from my PLN that I saw and had a great conversation with was Mark...
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Open to Learning

    This post has been rumbling around my head for the last couple of weeks and I've finally been able to put some perspective around my thoughts on professional learning. I believe strongly that everyone in education has a responsibility for continuous learning. This includes senior administration, administrators, teachers, support staff, custodians and facility services workers. What this looks like from an individual perspective can be much different. Some may choose to attend conferences while others may decide to read journals, work with a mentor or even take courses. The value of committing to ongoing professional learning is that you accept the idea that in order to bring your best to the people you work with, there is always something that can be improved. In my experience being open to learning is not always the case and this challenges me on a professional level. How can I as an...
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School Based EdCamp - The Verdict!

  "At first I couldn't believe we were going to pick our own topic to learn about, then it happened!" ~ FDK Teacher   What is it that makes a professional learning event successful? I'm sure we could all come up with ideas and make a great list, but after having some time to reflect on our school based EdCamp event the idea that I keep coming back to is choice . When teachers are given the opportunity to choose to learn about something that is relevant to their immediate context it becomes meaningful. When teachers are given the opportunity to choose what their professional learning will be they become invested in making it successful. When teachers choose their learning needs they feel empowered. These are all points that are probably on some list somewhere, maybe even in a book written about how to create effective professional development, but I...
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School Based EdCamp for Professional Learning

  "Questions are the purest form of expressed curiosity." ~ Steven Katz   Have you ever read a blog post and said to yourself as you were reading it "I was just discussing that the other day"? Well it happened to me recently. Last week we began the process of planning for learning networks within our community of schools. This is an opportunity for teachers to work with like grade teachers in other schools for professional learning. This year is a little different than in the past as administrators have been given more leeway on how the money for the release time is spent. More autonomy has been given to administrators and teachers as long as the professional learning is based on Collaborative Inquiry, Differentiated Instruction and/or the use of data. This is much more open than the prescriptive directions given in the past. So with the ball in our...
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ECOO 13 - Reflecting on Learning, Part 2

  "Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school" ~ Albert Einstein    My last post focused on two of the keynote addresses at ECOO 13. They were engaging and uplifting to say the least. But ECOO 13 was much more than great keynotes. There were hundreds of sessions scattered over the 3 days in lovely Niagara Falls. This post focuses on the sessions that I was lucky enough to attend. I must first give a huge shout out to the organizing committee and in particular Doug Peterson and Cyndie Jacobs for putting together an amazing selection of sessions. It was so hard to choose which sessions to attend, they were all so enticing. Below are my thoughts and reflections on the sessions I attended.   Using Technology in Innovative Ways - Karen Lirenman ( @KLirenman ) When I was browsing the Lanyrd mobile...
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ECOO 13 ~ Reflecting on Learning

 "Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow." ~ Anthony J. D'Angelo     It's been a whirlwind of professional learning for me over the last 4 days. Wednesday night I arrived in Niagara Falls for ECOO 13, ready to present on Thursday afternoon and to attend as many of the amazing sessions as I could. Then on Saturday I was back in London to attend our district's annual iCon conference where I was presenting a session on Twitter for administrators. Now it's Sunday morning and I've had a chance to rest and reflect on what was an amazing 4 days of professional learning.  There is just so much to write about that I've decided to break it into 2 blog posts. Today's post will be my thoughts on the keynote presentations from Amber MacArthur and Jaime Casap . The second post in a...
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