Making Me a Better Billiard Player

Photo Credit: fdecomite via Compfight cc
I love math, I love that math is all around me – in nature, in music, in architecture, in food, etc. Recently I was reminded of a silly yet pertinent math video that I used to watch in grade 7 math class. @theteacherlist recently showcased it and this brought found memories of the great math video clips my grade 7 math teacher would show us.

The video I am referring to is Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land where Donald is ‘schooled’ by the Spirit of Adventure on the appreciation and relevance of math in our lives. I would break up the video in these sections:

* 0:00 intro and music

* 7:15 pentagram, golden rectangle

* 11:15 pentagon in nature

* 13:43 math in games

* 22:00 closing

Before showing any of the above sections with students, I would have them brainstorm in small groups with paper or a collaborative tool (Google Doc, Titanpad, Padlet, etc.) about how they use math to solve problems or where do they currently see math around them and/or in their community.

A teacher’s guide was developed that incorporates activities for grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 once they have viewed a particular section. This is accessible at

For me it was a great reminder of the importance of mathematics in science and technology. Also a reminder to share the great provincial math resources from Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium with the Math Program of Studies Learning GuideNumeracy Learning Guide and The 2Learn Education Society’s resources found at go to student sites, chose Math and then the particular concept to get to the available resources.

Now, I think I’ll go back to 13:43 and re-watch the billiards strategy so I can become a better pool player!


Making Respectful Connections

In today’s digital world, our students have a variety of ways to stay connected with their peers, their parents, other adults as well as organizations. It is important to guide them in their virtual and physical lives via in-depth discussions, asking questions, making comments, and sharing exemplars. I came across this fantastic TedX video clip from Whitehorse that I believe is a great clip to share with students and start and/or continue to digital citizenship discussion in your classes.



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.



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