5 Leaders, 1 Question

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...
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Leadership and Learning

  I love quotes. The quotes I appreciate I find motivating and inspiring. Sometimes when I read a quote it resonates with me because it's something that I've had difficulty articulating. In any case finding and sharing memorable quotes is part of my day. I have an app on my iPhone that I browse each day and I have an extension for chrome that provides me with thousands of quotes in many categories.  My favourite quote of all time is the one pictured above - "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." ~ John F. Kennedy. For me it speaks to everything that a school administrator should strive for. As a leader when you are learning on your own, or co-learning with colleagues and staff you are demonstrating the values of what a learning community looks and feels like. That's why I love that quote. I'd love to hear...
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Inspiration

" No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world." ~ Robin Williams   Inspiration can come in many forms. Words, videos and actions by others can have a huge impact on your work or your life. This month I'm inspired to follow the lead of a colleague and friend who I admire for her leadership, values and conviction to education. For the month of May @sburyns blogged about something every day. 31 thoughtful and inspiring posts. There wasn't a day that went by that I wasn't inspired by her post. So for the month of June I am going to follow her lead and blog every day. You might read this and think I'm crazy to attempt this in possibly the busiest month of the school year for administrators, but I'm up for the challenge. My only fear is where the posts are going to...
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Lead Learner or Co-Learner?

  If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader John Quincy Adams   I first came across the term Lead Learner in 2013 at EdCamp Leadership in New Jersey. At first I thought that it was a unique way to demonstrate that the leader in the building was also a learner. For me, this is an important message. The leader is also a learner, a life-long learner. I didn't really think much more about it other than I wasn't sure if I could give myself that title if I ever became a principal. Then two recent blog posts pushed my thinking about the title lead learner. Pernille Ripp ( @pernilleripp ) wrote a very insightful post describing what the term Lead Learner means to her. You can read the entire post here . While she understands the meaning behind...
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The Time for Excuses is Over

"We can no longer afford to sustain a school structure built for a time long past." ~ Eric Sheninger The quote above is one that resonated with me immediately after reading it. I received my copy of Digital Leadership - Changing Paradigms for Changing Times by Eric Sheninger shortly after it was released from Corwin. Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to start reading it until last week. Better late than never. Although I am only on chapter 5 there have been times where I have caught myself saying "Yes!" out loud and times of quiet reflection about the path my school is currently on. It was chapter 2 - Why Schools Must Change and in particular the section titled The Time for Excuses is Over that is the inspiration for this post. During my time as a classroom teacher, learning technologies coordinator and vice principal I have tried to...
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3 Things Schools Can Learn from Germany's World Cup Win

  "The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime." ~ Babe Ruth   Spain 1982 was the first World Cup that I remember being totally engrossed in. I was 12 years old at the time playing for an Italian soccer club where I was the only Canadian on the team. Every game I watched was a learning experience. I realized quickly the passion Italians had for the game and how it was entrenched in their culture. I remember our coach telling us to watch every game, picking the player that played our position and to watch only their movements. I remember watching the Italian hero Paolo Rossi score 6 goals in the tournament. But what I remember most was how Italy grew...
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5 Observations on Connecting With Today's Students

Below is a guest blog post from Tim Elmore. Tim is the President of Growing Leaders and author of Habitudes. He is committed to training the next generation of leaders. Enjoy. I'd love to hear your comments.   Because of the rapid cycles of change we're experiencing these days, I propose that we must rethink how we connect with students every four years. Let me suggest a few. The following observations are about Generation iY (i.e. students born since 1990) that may help you as you attempt to communicate and connect with students today:   Observation #1: They want to Belong before they Believe. Today's students are different than those of past generations. They don't necessarily make decisions based upon logic or statistics. I know professors, salesmen and ministers who will try to convince a young person about something before they build any sense of relationship or community. Students today...
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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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Looking Back, Moving Forward

  "Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other" ~ Abraham Lincoln   It's that time of year where you begin to see more and more blog posts reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the next. It's a time when many people make resolutions. You can find lots of strategies and suggestions for making and keeping your resolutions but I have always found that above all one of the most important strategies is to put them in writing. By committing your resolutions to writing, especially in a public space like a blog, will bring your focus and purpose together to make that commitment strong. If you don't have a blog, write them on paper and post them where you can see them often. Whether your resolutions are personal or professional the only way you will succeed is to find...
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12 Apps for School Administrators

12 Apps for School Administrators
Flickr CC image courtsey of Sean Macentee  "There's a mobile app for almost anything you may want to do, any situation you confront." ~ Jacqueline Leo     As the start of the school year draws near I thought it would be a good idea to blog about the apps that I will be using frequently throughout the year. Most of the apps listed below I'll use on both my iPhone and iPad. Although not an exhaustive list of apps for administrators, they are my favourites to use. Of course I will still occasionally utilize apps such as Google +, LinkedIn, Foursquare, About Me and FlipBook, but the apps below are the pillars of my day. I'd love to hear about your favourite apps.   I primarily use Hootsuite to manage my Twitter feed. It allows me to create a number of tabs, streams and lists to keep the flow of...
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4 Steps To Take After A Mistake

    "Success does not consist of never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time" ~ George Bernard Shaw Mistakes. Big, small, personal, professional, stupid, unintentional, they come in all shapes and sizes. We all make them. Lord knows I've made my fair share. I started thinking about mistakes after I came across the quote under the picture above. There are lots of emotions that you will go through when you make a mistake. Embarrassment, fear, anxiety, maybe even anger. These are all normal. Being mindful or your reaction to making a mistake is the first step in alleviating any discomfort regardless of your position.  If you are in a leadership position how you react to your mistake will make a big impression on your team. All eyes are on you. Below are steps that you might consider taking when you realize that you've made...
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Thoughts on School Design

"School is a building that has four walls with tomorrow inside." ~ Lon Watters If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that in September I will be starting a new vice principal assignment at a large elementary school that is only 4 years old. In June as I met the staff and toured the school I began to notice things with the building that had me thinking about the principles of the design. It is a lovely new building with all the amenities that one would think a new school should have. However, that is simply a superficial look at the building. Looking deeper at the design I started to wonder how the school could have been built to suit the needs of students today. I admit that I don't know the building code or specifications for new builds from the Ministry of Education but...
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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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6 Books I'll Be Reading This Summer

  The worth of a book is to be measured by what you carry away from it ~ James Bryce One of the many things that I love about Twitter is the amazing book recommendations that fill my stream. Throughout the school year I have read some great reviews and opinions on books that have me running out to Chapters to buy them. How Children Succeed by Paul Tough is an example of a book that I had to read once I saw the conversations on Twitter about it. As the school year rolled along I started making a list of books that my PLN were either currently reading or were recommended as great reads. I plan on having a summer full of reading and relaxing. Below are the 6 books I plan on reading this summer with a brief summary and a link to GoodReads. Maybe one or more...
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Edcamp Hamilton ~ Reflections

As I made the journey to Ancaster on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning with @sbruyns , @technolit and @cordym I couldn't help but feel a sense of anticipation and eagerness about my first experience at an Edcamp. Each of us have been involved in organizing and planning conferences in our own district but going by everything I have read about Edcamp this was going to be a much different venture.  To start I must say congrats and well done to the organizing committee of Edcamp Hamilton ~ Sue Dunlop ( @principaldunlop ), Heidi Siwak ( @heidisiwak ), Aviva Dunsiger ( @avivaloca ), Michelle Horst ( @michelle_horst ), Cindy Lee ( @dangergirl1218 ), Lisa Neale ( @lisaneale ) and Karen Wilson ( @kawilson68 ) ~ what a great job. I'm sure I speak for everyone that attended that the hours you put into planning Edcamp are very much appreciated.  So onto...
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Equity and Inclusion

"Inclusion is not bringing people into what already exists; it is making a new space, a better space for everyone". ~ George Dei     Friday was a professional development day in our district. Part of the day was dedicated to providing inservice on the provincial government's Equity and Inclusive Education document. Our learning goal for the session was to deepen understanding of the goals of the Ontario Equity Strategy and to examine the relationship between assumptions, power and privilege and the learning continuum. After some introductory comments on the document and viewing a TED talk from Chimamanda Adichie we moved into an activity based on what is called the Equity Lens. Staff were presented with the following question - You are about to embark on an 8 hour flight. The airline has given you the option of sitting beside one of the following people. Which one would you choose, and...
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A View into a 1:1 iPad Classroom - Part 2

"Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have faith in people, that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them." ~ Steve Jobs     After interviewing Michelle Cordy ( @cordym) and visiting her classroom it's taken me a couple of weeks to reflect on what I saw in Michelle's class and to form my own opinions about the impact of a 1:1 iPad classroom. While not many teachers will have the opportunity to teach in a 1:1 environment there are lessons to be learned that can help support any method of technology use in the classroom. If you read the interview with Michelle you will note that she has experienced challenges with the implementation of a 1:1 program. This should give everyone pause for thought. Regardless of your experience with integrating technology instructional design needs to be purposeful. You...
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Build on Your Strengths

"Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?" ~ Benjamin Franklin This post has been a long time coming. A year ago I was given a book called Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath which immediately went on the bookshelf to be forgotten, until I did some reorganizing a few weeks ago. I knew nothing about the book or the author other than it was a Wall Street Journal Bestseller, and I got that from the cover! With my Comparative Education Masters course finished I decided to make it my next reading, as I could tell from flipping through it that it wouldn't take long to finish.  The premise of the book and the research behind it is that almost any learning program is trying to help us become who we are not. In other words, helping us develop our weaknesses. The author Tom...
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