Yes, go ahead and LOOK UP!


cc licensed (BY SA) 500px photo by Andrea Goh

I have a moment right now and am taking a few minutes to clean and organize my inbox email messages. I’m finding a variety of tweets, links, resources, ideas, questions, discussions AND gems that just….

  • inspire
  • compel
  • evoke emotions
  • are powerful

One such resource is ‘Look Up’ (written, performed and directed by Gary Turk) which is a video shared via a love story, where connection is key but not always attempted.

Take time to view this video. Where do you see yourself in this scenario? What about your students? How can we promote daily interactions that are meaningful, relevant and authentic using a variety of resources, including technology but also promote the human spirit?

If you do work with students, show them this video, ask them beforehand where they rate their screen time (with phones, tablets, computers, digital gaming, TV). Do they see themselves more so as tech-centric or people-centric? Then watch the video and hear out their opinions about what the video speaks to and what they think. Do they have an action plan? Has the video changed any of their pre-reflections?


What’s Your Story and Commitment?

locks bridge

I just had the opportunity to view two short video clips on the Leadercast Now site that I subscribe to that spoke to vision and commitment. Like the love locks bridges that I visited this summer in Slovakia and Czech Republic, these two videos will have an everlasting effect on my and my leadership style.

The first video clip was of Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP AG, entitled Changing the Mindset of Your Organization where he shared the “double it” strategy. In order to change the ‘headset’ of an organization, you need to look at what’s possible and then double it. A clear vision, strategy and commitment needs to be laid out and understood by all members of the organization. Everyone working with the same common goal, yet understanding what their part of the growth is in this project, adventure, process, quarter earnings, etc. is. The important work is to take time to listen to groups of people/departments; have brainstorming discussions on a regular basis that asks them what success looks like if personal and business goals were doubled AND is it already occurring or do ‘tweaks’ need to be to achieve this? What kind of support and/or resources are needed? Suggestions for achievement? All this ideas should be put on the table for discussion and then action plans can be developed.

Other businesses that come to mind with the ‘double it’ are ones like Unilever whose purpose is “to make sustainable living commonplace” and a vision “to double the size of the business, whilst reducing (their) environmental footprint and increasing (their) positive social impact”. So too are business looking to Kickstarter Canada, Indiegogo or other Crowdfunding Canadian platforms.

My question is – when have you sat down with your team, group of teachers or even group of students to lead a brainstorming session that asks them to envision the success that would come if they doubled their personal and school/work goals? (Not added more to the plate, but doing things more efficiently, sharing/collaborating on projects, etc.) It certainly would be interesting to hear and write down the ideas. So go ahead, it may surprise you!!

The second video clip “When It Becomes Their Story, Not Yours” via Scott Harrison, founder of Charity: Water. (See his story HERE.) Scott shared his three ideas on reinventing charity: 1) 100% of proceeds to go to the intended people, 2) prove where the money went and 3) create a long lasting brand. He wanted success for this charity by connecting and collaborating with established businesses, celebrities, identifying specific water projects and even having people give up their birthdays. Scott’s ideas and actions show that one can act differently, be socially minded and still have success. Overall, Scott says that we need to get out of the way and let others tell the story. We’ve seen the viral actions of 1000s with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which has similar successful results. In my current role, I see that I need to support our students in PSD to tell their learning stories on their blogs, on the district 184 Days of Learning blog and throughout their learning projects. No longer does learning need to be an isolated event or one just shared via a triad of teacher – student – parents. As my own birthday is occurring this week, I thought it may be a nice change to start my own Water campaign. If I can help women and children and communities by donating $$ instead of spending it on a lunch, then so be it!

I invite all of you to check out my campaign at Water is Life; its open for another 100 days and your gift will be matched.


Love Locks Image



Learning in 2014

I came across this video the other day and wanted to share it out. I find that it is a succinct and well explained and directed resource for anyone who asks:

What is so great about technology and learning in the 21st century? What makes it different from 10, 20 years ago? What should schools be doing to engage students?

Well, PBSLearningMedia, who created the video, I believe have done it. Take time to view it.

21st c

Click on to view the video clip.


Inclusive Practices: Hollywood-style

Now Hollywood has given us a variety of unforgettable movies throughout the century. I do appreciate the time that Taylor Hansen has taken to grab various movie video clips to showcase Inclusion and Differentiated Instruction.

What other video clips could have been included in this list? Would there be other strategies that weren’t mentioned that should have been included?

This video certainly has various colleagues discussing their beliefs and actions about Inclusion and Differentiated Instruction!


C is for Champion

Every student needs a close connection with an adult in their school, whether its a teacher, an educational assistant, an administrator, a custodian, a librarian, a parent volunteer, a secretary, etc…. Any adult who regularly works with students has the ability to connect with students, make them feel special, develop profound and pertinent relationships.

This TED Talk with teacher, Rita Pierson, is always an excellent example to share with colleagues as to the importance of building relationships with the students we work with.



Healthy Relationships are Cultivated

relationshipOver the past couple of years on this blog, I have had the opportunity to really develop my leadership abilities by delving into several foundational areas of leadership. These experiences have enabled me to draw into a deeper commitment and understanding about who I am/what role do I play? and what kind of an impact I can make/have made with my leadership.

Some key resources that I’d like to point to are the Intentional Leader guide from Leadercast which contains monthly themes, weekly directions and daily activities. Each week I would review the theme, read and answer the questions, reflect individually, do some action-research and discuss my thoughts with colleagues. This resource was a fantastic way for me to focus my energies to increase my confidence, my influence and my ability to make a real and lasting difference as a leader/colleague. (See my first post about this HERE.)

My second key resource was recently acquired. The Leadercast Now is an online subscription website that allows me to watch specific video clips on leadership followed by choosing and/or creating action steps. The video library has 100s of real leadership scenarios (with regular additions) for me to choose to watch. Just as the Intentional Leader was focused on specific themes, Leadercast Now has 7 behaviors of a Leader Worth Following – simplicity, bravery, beyond you, vision, culture, insight and creativity.

So for the 2014-15 school year, I pledge and will actually book a weekly timeslot to watch one video, make/complete an action item and blog about my findings/learnings.

This week I took time to watch Dr. Henry Cloud’s “Great Leaders Cultivate Healthy Relationships” video clip. Not only is it important to have growing and healthy relationships, but also to have trust, encouragement and connection with others. Dr. Cloud notes that there are THREE important things for humans to survive:


Humans require oxygen to breathe, glucose for food and relationships to grow and develop.

Another piece he mentioned was that it is important to LISTEN to one another. Taking time to ask colleagues questions about a particular situation/topic, “What is it like for you? What is it like for your clients (staff/students/parents)?” Holding a time and a space to share these answers will be key for a department to move on or to develop a new process or to ask for further assistance, etc. The main thing is that people are being listened to…..which in this 24/7 fast-paced global world may not always be considered important. This time allows for encouragement and connection which changes the situation into a more positive light and energy.

Dr. Cloud’s talk reminds me of Kid Presidents Pep Talk for teachers and students:

It also warms my heart to know that I don’t have to do life and work on my own. I am able to collaborate, bounce ideas, disagree, share, learn and give/receive support and encouragement. I’ll take a few moments to either call, email or visit a few key people over the next few days that support and encourage me – hearing/reading these comments are a good thing!


Do you have ideas on how you will build your own leadership abilities and experiences? Feel free to share in-person or online.



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Going for Growth


In Alberta, every teacher must develop and implement an annual plan for professional growth that shares the various activities a teacher will undertake throughout that school year in regards to professional learning. The Alberta Teacher’s Association has in-depth tutorials found HERE for those teachers new or unsure of how to develop a professional growth plan (PGP). Although the literature and various research and exemplars online make this plan look like a boring document, it really doesn’t and shouldn’t be!

Over the years my plans have varied with 2-3 goals, tying closely to a school’s Ed Plan and ensuring that I can achieve most or all of it during the school year. As of the past few years in my current role as Curriculum Educational Technology Facilitator with Learning Services, I find that my PGP continues to have established goals, outcomes, strategies, support and indicators of success, HOWEVER, I now also include an overview page – sort of an overarching BIG set of ideas. (See last years at I then share with my colleagues and superiors and of course, now the public via my blog. I also post it on my Office wall to view and read daily. These actions generate some good discussion both off and online which I appreciate and respond to. I don’t believe that my PGP is a stale, sit-on-the-shelf type of document. To me, it’s an ever-developing document.

PGP’s are for teachers to acquire and apply new knowledge/skills, enhance reflective practice, contribute to various professional learning communities and have an impact on student achievement. My actions, accomplishments and blogging are closely linked with my PGP as well as other Teacher Quality Standards. I hope my example gets your thoughts and ideas flowing!!

My draft PGP overview is in the photo above and my 2014-15 goals are:


Facilitate, cultivate and design learning environments and instructional design for staff that provide rich experiential learning and sharing opportunities connected to PSD’s Vision, Mission and Inclusive Ed philosophy.


  • Acknowledge the diverse needs and contributions of all
  • Offer physical spaces and PD to develop knowledge, skills and engage learners
  • Create virtual spaces and connections both local, national and global
  • Access resources, services, information and collaboration opportunities
  • Hone academic, social/emotional and physical skills through knowledge-building, creativity and innovation
  • Utilize a variety of resources, technologies and spaces to support learning through thoughtful instructional design and collaboration as well as effective assessment of learning
  • Model and share learning experiences to empower real-world and relevant learning experiences


  • Learning Services Team
  • Senior Exec
  • Admin Teams
  • Learning Coaches
  • Inclusive Education Leads
  • Frameworks: Fierce Conversations, Cognitive Coaching, Bucket Filling, Cooperative Learning, Critical Thinking, Universal Design for Learning


  • Ongoing
  • Monthly meetings: Lead Team, Learning Coaches, Inclusive Education Leads
  • Bimonthly: Learning Services Team

Indicators of Success

  • Contribution to Learning Services work is recognized
  • Learning Services Team work plan is moving PSD Vision, Mission and Commitment Statements forward as per Admin meetings, PSD Voice, Student Advisory Committee


Advance, model and assess the successful use of inclusive technologies to meet business goals, enhance team productivity, engage PSD staff, and remove barriers for students.


  • Refine instruction for essential digital literacy, research and inquiry and communication skills
  • Build opportunities for staff learning and innovation to be demonstrated, shared and showcased
  • Intentionally plan for and assess the success of technology integration in the work and learning environments
  • Build staff capacity to ensure sustainability and attainment of PSD/School Ed Plan/Tech goals
  • Advocate for the essential and effective uses of technology
  • Refine and demonstrate strong digital literacy skills
  • Explore and connect personalized learning while embracing the use of digital literacies and skills to empower independent learners
  • Foster an active online networking culture
  • Assist staff in taking ownership of their digital rights and responsibilities in building their digital skills


  • Listservs: QIAT, ATLE, ORC
  • Alberta Education, School Technology Branch
  • PLN
  • ERLC Advisory Committees
  • ATLE and ATLE ProLearn
  • Frameworks: TPACK, SAMR, UDL, DI, RTI, SETT, LTPF
  • Twitter feeds
  • Blogs
  • 2Learn
  • GAFE
  • Synergyze
  • PSD – IT Dept, Senior Exec, Lead Team, Learning Services, staff, students


  • Ongoing
  • ATLE Conference – November 2014
  • GAFE Summit – March 2015

Indicators of Success

  • Staff utilizing, documenting success and sharing how they are using technology in learning, for efficiency, etc.
  • Marked improvement between Fall 2013 and Fall 2014 ET/IT survey with Admin
  • Well attended PD sessions and follow up work with staff

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