My Idea

  "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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Stratosphere - A Book Review

  "The teacher as change agent is crucial, or we will get aimless multi-tasking" ~ Michael Fullan   If educational technology is an area of interest for you then Stratosphere by Michael Fullan is a book that you should consider reading. This brief review provides my thoughts and impressions of the book but by no means is it a comprehensive review. It is a very quick read that will provide many areas of thoughtful discussion with your colleagues as you move to more meaningful integration of technology in your school or district. In typical Fullan style, he uses his knowledge of change, without being too verbose, to set a framework for the use of technology in the classroom. He cites the work of Mark Prensky, Tony Wagner and John Hattie to illustrate the need for a new pedagogy, one in which students are partners in learning and teachers act as...
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A View into a 1:1 iPad Classroom

I met Michelle Cordy (@cordym) around 2004 when I was a learning technologies coordinator and she was a young, energetic teacher looking to make her mark in the classroom. I knew at that moment in the computer lab at Althouse College that we would cross paths again. Since that first meeting I have watched Michelle grow into a fantastic teacher who integrates technology into her classrooms providing her students with amazing opportunities. I recently learned that she was successful in obtaining a grant that started with investigating the use of ePortfolios and then evolved into a 1:1 iPad classroom. With my own school moving to purchase more iPads I was keen to see how a master teacher utilizes iPads to engage students. Before making a visit to her classroom I decided to ask her a few questions to get a deeper understanding of her experiences plus I thought it would be...
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Professional Reading Favourites

This week my office was in need of cleaning and organizing, especially my bookcase. As I re-arranged the shelves to accomodate an ever growing library I found some gems that I had forgotten about. The books listed below changed the way I taught, or moved me to establish new practices to meet the needs of my students. Now there may be ideas that are considered antiquated in today's classroom but I am confident there are still great practices contained in them that would be valuable in any classroom today. Below are my personal favourites with a brief description of each. The Teaching Gap (James W. Stigler and James Hiebert) - The description of math practices in Japan, Germany and the United States literally had me searching for more research on effective programming. It led me to implement a math program based in problem-solving. This wasn't lost on my principal and colleagues as...
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Inquiry in Kindergarten

All week I found myself thinking back to the picture you see to the right and the resulting conversation with a struggling 4 year old student I'll call Sammy.  Sammy has some challenges that unfortunately interferes with his learning in the FDK (Full Day Kindergarten) program.  Nevertheless he comes to school everyday supported by his teacher and the classroom Early Childhood Educator.  But it was a simple conversation with Sammy that demonstrated the power of the inquiry-based learning philosophy of our FDK program.  As I walked into the classroom the first student I saw was Sammy.  He was totally engaged in his painting but was soon to be distracted from his masterpiece by another student wanting to take his blue paint.  Sammy didn't take kindly to the student just wandering over and not asking.  As I approached the arguing students I asked what the problem was.  The other painter said Sammy would...
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