Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thursday, November 17, 2016

crowd source

I keep a stack of post-its on my night table.

Often, I get ideas that wake me or ideas that keep me from sleeping or even unformed ideas that rattle me out of sleep altogether.

The ideas sometimes are so random in nature that when I look at them  with full attention I have no way to interpret their meaning - the moment of inspiration has passed, the dream faded. There has been once or twice my imagination did come back to an idea over several evenings. Then the small yellow squares with obscure scribbles and words formed a clear enough picture of my sleepy intentions.

But this is rarely the case.

I have tried to focus in those twilighty creation sessions but that ultimately leads to being fully awake - and when an idea gets a hold of me at 2:00 AM, guaranteed I am not getting a decent night's rest. So in the end, scribbles, a shape, or a vague word is what I go on.

The other day I looked at a note and could not make sense of it right away.

Somewhere between taking the dog out and the second half of my coffee cup the letters made sense. The I, Q, and b lead me to Inquiry Based ... learning, well I assumed learning and went with it.

IQb learning is constantly on my mind. I feel it looming around my pedagogy constantly. It wags a finger at me, tsk-ing and demanding that I do better in my program delivery- but I gotta abmit, I am not clear enough in my understanding of it to confidently action it.

So I Tweet.

Mornings are pretty busy and staying on track with routines is a priority, but I also knew that IQb was not going to unlock itself. I chose 5 members of my PLN and posted out. These tweeps are all rockstars in their own rights, but collectively I knew that something cool would happen by reaching out to them.

Here's the cool thing about my PLN...
🌟 it constantly and positively reminds me of the questions that I have yet to ask
🌟it  constantly and positively reminds me of the human elements necessary to learn socially

Within several minutes Rolland Chidiac jumped in. Soon after Jen Giffen , Will Gourley, and Derrick Schellenberg threw in their supports. Not only did they share but they riffed off of my questions and added their own spins to it. Definitely a masterclass here.

Max Cooke of CEA wrote back in 2012 that... collaboration that is “sustained over time and supported by specialists results in improvements in teachers’ attitudes and beliefs, teaching strategies used…and students’ attitudes and behaviour, and students’ achievement.”[6]

And I could not agree more. My greatest regret in my own personal learning journey is that I did not engage with Twitter sooner. I wish I could have had Jen Giffen's latest post  to help me move from 'as if' to 'what if' in fewer steps. My constant curiosity has connected me with hundred's of people that I do not encounter in my daily stomping ground, and that is the greatest asset to my learning.

When I learn, I move very quickly from curiosity, to trajectory, to people connecting, to interacting, and then reflecting and writing. Along the way I set reminders and timers for follow up. All of this is made possible with my current digitech tool kit.

Since hearing George Couros' talk at #yrdsbQUEST a few years back, where he convinced me that everyone should have a digital learning portfolio, I have ardently pursued and posted my process. The iterations have flowed from personal journal blog, to Twitter, to public blog. The shift is necessary. Our board has been moving into this modern learning frame intentionally over the last two years. The fundamental understanding that I have taken from my own modern learning journey is that education is no longer about what you know, or even where you learned it, but rather what is your relationship to what you know, what could you do with what you know [or can't because you don't], where have you openly shared your experiences, and what have you learned from the process?

How we speak about our learning takes new words and phrases, and possibly new value systems to accredit the learning that now is at the fingertips of every teacher and student.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


The life lived
without self
makes life great
for someone else.

Your care spent wide
[Your care spread wide]
for other's need
spreads life around
[sprouts life abound]
wholehearted seeds.
[from wholehearted seed.]

Your heart has writ
without haste
short times made long
words, not waste.

Your life is writ
[A life is writ]
in acts and trusts
bound by lives
and booked for us.

some superheroes

Dauntless and selfless
You stand watch.
The last to sleep,
First to wake.
Always on guard.

You move amongst us
In sometimes secret ways
At dark hours
Around sharp edged
Fallen dangers
That squeak, and beep,
And really really hurt heels.

Measured footsteps falling
Too close to
that special thing
that should have been
put in a special space.
And why don't they
ever put thier s#!+ away!

Why would they?
The precious want to be
Besides, finding the lost
Broken ,tumbled, tossed and
In need of mending,
Is part of your grand purpose.
Who else could
See these things?

Super powered
Goes beyond x rays.
It stretches and flows
Through memory
Into sacred moments.
Travels in time,
Make past a present
-A gift given often
That then flees again.
Behind the couch
Under the bed
Into the backpack.

Thank goodness!
Because you want to be,
Because you have to be,
And just because,
You are everywhere.
No secret, your identity
is known, all of it.
Not masked nor caped
To those in your care
Hero status means little.
As long as
their dreamy innocence
Is protected by
The most powerful
Person in their universe.

How unremarkably amazing
It would be
To have your own hero
Reading stories before bed
Doing pickup after school
And making KD for dinner.
Some superheroes
Clock in and out
Chasing the minimum
Waging battle between
Me time and ‘thee’ time
-Not you.

False calls happen
You fly in,
Them dreaming.
Or mumbling,
Or wrestling
With dark thoughts
And crying out.
Still best to check up,
Tuck in and
Peck lightly.

Other times,
You, called to action
Lifting fever like broken bridges
From your lips to their
The cooling whisper.
An illness broken.
A day saved.
Some superheros
Track win loss
Like stock markets.
But winlosswinlossswin in
Its metronomic meter
Throws shade on shine
And sure to unsure.
Lost footage of meltdowns
Pieces of glass and iron
Falling, tumbling
My god it was only a toy...
Sure that action looks great
On film, but, the truth
About superheros
Is that there’s
No marvel in the work
No justice in their league
It just is what it is.

When true heros do get
Caught on film-
No poses, no pretense,
No pauses, few witnesses.
Hugs and kisses
Pay the debt in full.
Public works of
Private love is never work.
And in private
Your labour never ended.
Nor could it.

This little big planet
Is under your
Mom teacher
Actor mentor
Guardian angel.
Future battles not
Worth stating, not
Withstanding the beauty
Of now.
Your fond, small followers
Smiling and safe.

They are your origin story,
Standing together
Moving in opposite
Making futures of your past,
Passed presence
Now sends them safely,



theres nothing that
she dont do
her spirit soars

after this, what next?

the spark grew
and that glint
in her eye
scared me a little
awed me a lot
fire does that

so we
ran along fences
swung from trees
threw stones
climbed mountains
lost our breath
in endless

we were that
in summers
in fall winters
we found our
separate places

never far from us
always bound by this


my back is yours
yours is mine

we held
and will hold



a really long time
of longing
logging our convos
peaked on other peoples
on other projected issues
none of them

fixed on fixing  
friends and family
shared strategies
and stories
some near
many far

could you imagine
for just one second
things could have been

me neither

you me and life
could have found a way
to aggressively aggregate
ourselves into that small
small world
of tightly fit friends
knit friends
our wit and odds and
and really
some spaces look
better than they feel

but was there any doubt
that fast thin life
not fattened yet
not flattering enough

never faltering
not fretting about much, really-
‘you going for a coffee?
would expand and
leave us
out of reach
beyond call
but not undone

choices made,
distances grow
and the line
between here and then
gets studded with
new relationships
good relationships
rich soil set on permanently
sunny shores

and horizons that
previously could not
be seen from where
we were standing
become the sky
of others
now sitting under
our settled suns
retrospective re enactments
of the whole we once knew
mom and dad, man
they really did teach us
so much

now we pass over
and over onto unto
our ‘others’
our partner
our children
our circles
our spaces
happily and willingly
a phone rings
and odds are
that its not you
and I dont break down
cause I know that these
spaces between us
have been filled with
life and love and important

no degrees of separation
will ever deplete
first times
and high times
and low
feeling my head tip
and ‘is that a tear
‘...but I’m smiling...’

still standing
so separate
by many spaces
our partnered parallels
play out the music
a simple score
sweetened naturally

like grabbing tendrils
its not about the sun
its about holding on
our lives
defeat distance