Taking Pride in Your Work

    When you really listen it's amazing what you can hear. Yesterday I was at the grocery store getting a few items when I overheard a conversation in the produce section between an older grocery store stocker and a younger stocker in training. It was the message that the elder delivered to his trainee that really lifted my spirits and had reflecting on life in a school. As he demonstrated how to arrange the apples he turned to his younger friend and said "Yesterday I arranged the Granny Smith's so perfectly that I stood back and didn't want anyone to touch my creation. That's how you should feel after everything you do here. Take pride in what you do!" Wow, what great advice. As I finished my shopping I kept thinking back to the advice the elder stocker gave to his protege and how it could apply to life...
Continue reading
Tags:
27064 Hits
5 Comments

What Makes a Field Trip?

  "Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you." ~ Frank Llyod Wright   I have lasting memories of many field trip my from elementary school career. Montreal, Quebec City, Niagara Falls, the Welland Canal, Fort Henry, Casa Loma and Pond Mills were just a few that pop to mind. We loved them all and never wanted to miss them. They were great fun, but learned a lot, even if we didn't realize it at the time. I'm beginning to feel that field trips today have changed and I'm at a loss to understand how this has happened.  I look back on what I learned on those trips and I'm thankful for all my teachers that took the time to find learning experiences that also were a great deal of fun. The history lessons in Montreal, Quebec City and Fort Henry meant nothing when we...
Continue reading
1661 Hits
3 Comments

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...
Continue reading
2582 Hits
7 Comments

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...
Continue reading
1557 Hits
4 Comments

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...
Continue reading
2322 Hits
4 Comments

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...
Continue reading
4711 Hits
4 Comments

They're Like Metronomes

"Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future" ~ Dennis Waitley   I've been asked many times what my philosophy of education is, by people in education and those outside. During one of my Principal qualification courses I was asked to write my philosophy of education and defend it to the group and the instructor. As a piece of writing it was fine. It was honest and thoughtful but nothing spectacular that would get me published in a leading educational journal or magazine. But as I entered my sixth year as a vice principal I began to really pay attention to the subtle nuances that are the centre of every educator - the students. It's not that I didn't recognize the differences in how students learned before now, but something really changed in my philosophy of education, more specifically...
Continue reading
2919 Hits
4 Comments

Thinking Time

  Thinking: The talking of the soul with itself ~ Plato   The other day my secretary and I had a conversation about the differences between men and women which culminated in her statement that "men and women just think differently". I asked her what she meant by that and her response was "when I drive to work I'm thinking about what to make for dinner, what I have waiting for me at my desk, what my daughter is doing today. My husband, when asked what he thinks about on his way to work is nothing". Needless to say that had me thinking not only about what I think about when I drive to work but about those time that I find myself thinking deeply about something.  I'm trying to be more mindful. It is something I have been working on since September as I read Mindful Leadership by Maria...
Continue reading
3067 Hits
2 Comments

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...
Continue reading
4047 Hits
2 Comments

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...
Continue reading
8204 Hits
4 Comments

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...
Continue reading
7651 Hits
8 Comments

4 Reasons Why You Need to Be a Connected Educator

"A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate." ~ Seth Godin   Last week I attended EdCamp Leadership in New Jersey held in the beautiful (but cold!) STEM Building at Kean University. It was the second EdCamp that I've attended and it didn't disappoint. I attended sessions on BYOD and Branding with Eric Sheninger and a session about what teachers really want in back-to-school PD with Joe Mazza. But the session that really got me thinking was with Tom Whitby on the importance of being a Connected Educator. The discussion led by the passionate Tom Whitby and my own thoughts on being a Connected Educator led...
Continue reading
8035 Hits
4 Comments

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...
Continue reading
8418 Hits
0 Comments

App Smashing

App smashing is simply defined as the process of using multiple apps with each other to complete a task. App smashing could be completed on a smartphone or tablet like an iPad where students may be completing a project. As part of my annual growth plan I made the commitment to not only make my own learning visible but also make the learning activities of our school visible to the parents and community at large. One way that I do that is provide regular daily tweets accompanied with pictures and short descriptions. Here is an example of a daily tweet.   Awesome writing this morning in kindergarten ow.ly/i/1wRUy #tweedsmuirps #writing — David Fife (@DavidFifeVP) February 15, 2013 The culmination of a month of learning is a video I produce and post for our community to watch and enjoy using Animoto. I get lots of feedback from parents that not only...
Continue reading
5204 Hits
0 Comments