Archive for November, 2014

Photo by @Jaymaisel

First Snow, Elizabeth Street Photo by @Jaymaisel

I woke up today after whirl wind of recent days past.  ECOO, EdCampSWO and back to the school house and family!  I am always tired at days end. Its the kids and my kids that bring me great joy that I do not realize my fatigue until 9 pm at night when I K.O. in 3 minutes flat.  This morning I woke at 5 am to head out to the gym to realize it was snowing.  Falls first snow.  It has been amazing to me since I was a kid.  I get real joy out of listening to the kids oh and ah at the window. I decided to stay home from the gym and wait for them to wake up just to hear them this year.  It was as I expected.  Zoe threw on boots and took Hawksley Sirius (the dog) out for a run in the snow.  The flakes were huge here in Essex County.

When ever this happens for the first time I remember the words I heard Taylor Mali speak at Learning Forwards Annual conference in 2010.  He blew me away with this one and I have never forgotten.  So today to honour kids, snow and learning everywhere I picked up the P.A. handheld and read Undivided Attention to the entire school with no intro or warning.  I share it with you here.  Enjoy.

Undivided Attention
by Taylor Mali

A grand piano wrapped in quilted pads by movers,
tied up with canvas straps—like classical music’s
birthday gift to the criminally insane—
is gently nudged without its legs
out an eighth‐floor window on 62nd street.

It dangles in April air from the neck of the movers’ crane,
Chopin-­‐shiny black lacquer squares
and dirty white crisscross patterns hanging like the second‐to­‐last
note of a concerto played on the edge of the seat,
the edge of tears, the edge of eight stories up going over—
it’s a piano being pushed out of a window
and lowered down onto a flatbed truck!—and
I’m trying to teach math in the building across the street.

Who can teach when there are such lessons to be learned?
All the greatest common factors are delivered by
long‐necked cranes and flatbed trucks
or come through everything, even air.
Like snow.

See, snow falls for the first time every year, and every year
my students rush to the window
as if snow were more interesting than math,
which, of course, it is.

So please.

Let me teach like a Steinway,
spinning slowly in April air,
so almost-­‐falling, so hinderingly
dangling from the neck of the movers’ crane.
So on the edge of losing everything.

Let me teach like the first snow, falling.

Mali. Taylor. “Undivided Attention.” What Learning Leaves. Newtown, CT: Hanover Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN: 1-­‐887012-­‐17-­‐6)

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Principal Growth Plan

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@Brockbulldogs (Mark Roth) and myself are on the way home from #bit14 in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The Educational Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO) and Ontario Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) have closed their second combined Bring IT Conference at the Scotia Bank Centre. So… we are going home, happy, full, and contemplative.

There is much conversation in the car. Most regarding our respective roles as administrators in schools full of awesome students and caring teachers. All of whom are doing their best to improve the lives of each other. Completing a blog post while my compatriot drives affords me the opportunity to consider and ask him about his highlights. I have asked Mark to consider his experiences in three categories:

  1.  Learning Highlights (ie.  I know something different now and will do something different because of it.)
  2. Challenging Highlights (ie.  I heard something and wish to challenge it as I get positive results the way I do it already.)
  3. Questioning Highlights (ie.  This new knowledge makes me ask further questions.)

The Learning Highlights:

  1. The repeated message that Children, Pedagogy and Relationships of the Heart come before any technologies (from the pen to the iPad).
  2. Collaboration in the Learning Space with Peter Skillen when he stated the SAMR model is simple.  It is just a way of being.  There is nothing complex about it and it can be applied all over the educational landscape
  3. PBL, Maker Space, Inquiry and any other push to move away from the industrial model of education to the more robust and 3 dimensional constructivist and creative nature of learning is the transformation that we continue to need.

The Challenging Highlights:

  1. To paraphrase George Couros we too believe that teachers do not love the status quo as Ron Canuel alluded to (somewhat cheekily).  Teachers love kids.  They do the best they can with the information they have.  Our job is to be certain we are all using the best and most recent knowledge base to deliver learning. (ex. Brain research that states kids learn better after physical activity).
  2. The continued argument regarding the use of social media as a tool is complicated.  Warnings about students impacting their future versus the Danah Boyd research in It’s Complicated is challenging for us all as adults.  Do we look away or use the teachable moments?
  3. The continued references to digital citizenship is bothersome for us.  There is no digital citizenship, only citizenship.  We don’t say “Show a little digital kindness.”  Nor do we turn on the light switch and say wow, that technology is amazing.

The Questioning Highlights:

  1. How do we guarantee equity for students when there are classrooms that are not engaged in the transformation whether that be an ill prepared teacher, nervous leadership or a misuse of resources?
  2. What is our next immediate set of behaviours that will make our learning permanent?
  3. The world we are building is for the kids.  Can we all listen to what they want and still sleep soundly at night?
  4. Can we make this learning opportunity (#bit15) a reality for an entire division of Principals and help the cause, the transformation?

Thanks @dougpete and @Cyndiejacobs and the entire “Kelly Green” team for a great learning conference.


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Watch EdCampSWO Live

Live streaming video by Ustream

Watch and share your thoughts, learning on Twitter with the hashtag #edcampswoTV

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You coming to EdCampSWO?

This Saturday represents our third instalment of EdCampSWO. This season we are playing host to over 300 participant leaders and learners! To suggest we are excited is an understatement.

This year we were approached by the GECDSB in hopes that we would partner with them to offer somewhat of a hybrid experience including a keynote speaker and some board level presenters. We obviously agreed on the grounds that we would remain true to the core elements of EdCamp.

1. It remains free for everyone.
2. The folks that show up are the ones that determine and deliver the learning. 3. Commercial vendor space is not a part of the experience. 4. Teaching/Learning and Technology integration are key dialogue points. 5. The learning is determined the day of the event on a main matrix board. 6. Sharing through social media space is encouraged and expected.

This year we partnered with the GECDSB to help us bring George Couros to EdCampSWO as a participant and keynote speaker.

With over 300 registered we are slightly excited, check that, we are stoked!

Are you coming for some, all, the full monty (after glow)! If not you still have time to register.


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