Now what?


Photo credit

After TED and Saturday’s workshops, I asked myself the above question and then quickly remembered– Oh yeah! I’m bringing two students to the Board Office (insert angelic chorus and shaft of light beaming down from the heavens–just kidding. I’ve worked there. I know.) to share their experiences with Ning and bookclubs with some intermediate teachers.

I feel like I’ve missed a lot of class lately so I was feeling a little guilty but now as I sit at home at 3:30(!) sipping a caramel machiatto and eating some cookies and reflecting on the day–guilt be gone! I did–or rather–we did good today!

My super smart and talented friend Heather who I abandoned last year to return to the classroom asked me if I’d be willing to come and speak at the final sessions of a series of Creating Strategic Readers workshops. Now while I’m thrilled to be back in the classroom there are a number of things I really miss about being a learning coordinator:

  • having time to direct my own professional learning
  • being a part of important board initiatives
  • being in the loop
  • the salad bar in the cafeteria
  • being able to go to the washroom whenever I want (!)
  • But mostly — I miss working with all the cool people (particularly Heather–or H-Dawg as I like to call her. It’s her street name. It’s a thing. … never mind)

So when Heather asked me to come in I was really excited–also because I got to share things that I’d actually tried with students–unlike last year where I had to speak in theoretical terms which was often frustrating. Heather also asked me if I could bring some students.

I chose two girls from my 4C class last semester. They weren’t the highest achievers in my class and they weren’t the stereotypical “good students”, but they were really great kids–one very outgoing and confident, and one a little shy and quiet. We drove down to the board office and I explained to the girls that I would talk for a bit, but that the teachers would be way more interested in what they had to say.

The girls rocked! It was so awesome when a teacher asked me a question and I was able to redirect to the girls. eg/ Teacher: So did you find that the boys in the class were more engaged when using your class Ning?

Me: Girls?

Superstar student #1: Oh yeah!

Superstar student #2: Totally!

Superstar student #1: Like Andrew–he’d never read a book before!

Teacher: But what about bullying? How did you find the other students were when it came to saying inappropriate things?

Me: Girls?

Superstar Student #1: Well, like Ms. Barker was monitoring everything so we know we couldn’t say bad stuff–not that we would–

Superstar Student #2: Yeah, and actually I felt like the opposite happened. Like even if you didn’t really like someone, you were still writing positive comments. It’s like were a big team and we all want to help each other out.

Me: I paid them to say that.

So cool. The girls were great. I think the coolest part was what we talked about when on the way home. The girls talked about how teachers needed to be open-minded and try new things and they liked it when teachers tried to value the things they did outside of class. I know they were only two of my students, but it was so nice to feel like all of my hunches about what made good teaching were true at least for them. Plus they were so much more credible as experts than I ever could be.

No, the coolest part was when I overheard a teacher say to another teacher “They’re awesome!”

And sure, some of the teachers were resistant, or they felt like they couldn’t do this with their students, or that it must take way too much time, but now that I’m a classroom teacher, my response is simple: Yes it takes time. Yes there are challenges. But it’s worth it to me because I see the difference it makes in my students’ learning. If you feel like you’ve got enough challenges right now, or you don’t think it’s worth the time, don’t do it. I’m just sharing.

So liberating. Seriously. Last year when teachers would push back or come up with excuses I would get really defensive. Now I smile and nod and say, “Then this may not be the right choice for you.” And I can say that because I know what works for me and it’s totally worth it–especially when I hear Superstar Student # 2 say “Wow I think we really rocked that, don’t you?”

Yep. We rocked that.

Will Richardson is teaching me lots today

Just a short post to say how much I’m enjoying today’s conference. Probably the most interesting part of the day for me was watching everybody start to see the potential of twitter as they started to add people.


I also learned about hashtags which has nothing to do with anything illegal ;) We used it to see all the tweets about today’s conference. Right now people are learning about blogger so I’m differentiating my learning. 

Will write some more later.


It’s Saturday morning and I had a good night’s sleep for the first time in many days.

Just wanted to link this post to some of the things other people are writing about:

Doug spent more time summing up yesterday than I did. He even included a video. I’m glad he included the message from our unions about technology and communication. 

Shannon posted this link to Mike Fisher’s examination of Bloom’s taxonomy and digital technology. It’s an interesting way to sort the different types of technology.

Also Will Richardson replied to my tweet about curling. Just for the record, that’s two replies from Will Richardson. 

I’m a geek.


Stolen Goods

I stole this from another teacher’s blog. 


With so much concern out there about liability, teaching, and online technology, I thought this was a great set of rules and guidelines to keep teacher/class blogs professional and safe.


This blog is one place where Ms. Barker’s students will be practicing their communication skills for this class. Assignments will frequently have a blogging component, so expect to check in here often. Some things you should know about this blog:

  • Any posting that might compromise your privacy or safety will be deleted. I’m going to be moderating comments, which means that I’ll be checking each comment before it goes on the blog. I’ll be looking for things like a safe user name (first name and last initial only) and no personal details in the content.
  • Keep it professional. Any objectional content will be deleted. (And deleted posts mean no marks …)
  • Feeling shy? If you really don’t want your comment to go public on the blog, just put “please don’t post” in your comment and I’ll read it, mark it, and then delete it. But it’s a whole lot more interesting if you put your comments out there for others to read …
  • Remember that the only electronic contact between you and me will take place in public virtual spaces like this blog – places where I will be posting messages that the entire class can see and respond to. I will never email you, IM, chat, or otherwise contact you personally. If you receive a personal message from someone who seems to be me, please let both me and a trusted adult know right away.