Day 110 (of 190) on dress codes…

Day 110 (of 190) on dress codes…

I never like it when school dress codes are in the news because there is often ‘more to the story’…. but yesterday’s attention focused on a girl in Kamloops being sent home for heat she wore raised some discussions in my household….

And my kids know I do have limits – no drug/alcohol references or profanity. And some clothes can be too revealing…. but they know I hold that standard to all students, not one gender over another…. even if some might worry “it’ll be distracting for learning” – I’m not really sure what that actually means…

My girl fought back when she was told she had to change from her basketball jersey…. but the boys in the morning drill didn’t have to…. we joke that it must’ve been her sexy shoulders…. but even I have worked to soften stances on width of shoulder straps as a disqualification and held all students to the same standards: shirts stay on even if it’s hot (though I do relent on beach days because of societal norms around bathing suits…)

And I still like the old guideline of one high school I worked on: outer wear must cover underwear…. and I don’t think lace makes something indecent…

But maybe I’m wrong. maybe I’m getting tolerant in my old age. https://cfjctoday.com/2021/02/24/norkam-students-protest-school-dress-code-in-support-of-student-sent-home/ Because we have taken kids to get a change of clothes at home…. or requested the hoodie be worn…. or pointed out that some clothes are getting see-through; but discreetly and with explanation and support…. but never because it may be “distracting”… and never in a way that is going to make someone feel ashamed for what they are wearing (unless they wear a shirt with a lewd picture into a kindergarten classroom…. people doing that can feel shame).

Because if a girl is sent home because wearing an article of clothes that made some (two) think of a ‘slip’ was enough for someone to go home… what is the equivalent for the males… wearing something with red or blue will make someone uncomfortable because of connections to gang colours? Okay – really, that example knows no gender… just like dress codes should be… non-gender descriptions/details.

So undoubtably Karma is going to send me something interesting to consider around dress codes at the end of this week!

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Day 109 (of 190) on pink shirt day

Day 109 (of 190) on pink shirt day

An initiative started by a small group of children as a reaction to someone getting teased/bullied about wearing a pink shirt to school. I love it when student initiatives get momentum – though there are always worries about where they go – MeToWe being an example of a great idea becoming almost bigger than its initial mission statement. And too often others don’t have enough stamina to keep momentum (l- I wear a superhero shirt on the last day of February as at a former school we had superhero day to raise $ for BC Children’s hospital – sometimes the symbol may be more important than the action?

And I like to “tease” pink shirt day by wearing some pink leading up to the final Wednesday in February.

And usually (and did happen today) what I wear makes people panic “was it today” and I reassure them my pinkness is just the reminder about the Wednesday target (and also sharing that pink can be worn any day…)

Because pink thoughts are more important to me than the visual of pink shirts (though they do make a great visual) as I worry that it becomes a token “event day”… and I am likewise mindful that though there will be a ‘sea of pink’ – there will be accidents made – even/especially on “this day”…. whenever we talk about a topic such as snowballs… playground words…. anti-bullying… it tends to sit on the front of some brains and be unavoidable/inevitable – kinda like when someone yawns… or mentions how much their nose itches….

So, while we are also celebrating “Hundreds Day” and have a staff meeting and a Garden Event alll happening on the same day… I am happy to put on my latest pink shirt (@cknw childrens fund is known in our province for having the media parent company cover the ’employee costs’ so that the money raised by shirts such as the one I have today do not have to be used for that cost and can instead be focused back on youth and the community….

Happy Pink Shirt Day! Let’s lift each other up during this weird time of doing the educations!

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Day 108 (of 190) Day 113 loometh – aka we are entering ‘that time of year’

Day 108 (of 190) Day 113 loometh – aka we are entering ‘that time of year’

One of my mentors noticed something, and my blog helped confirm it (or saw a correlation – whatever) that “this time of year” is hard. In normal times it was hard – always popping up at the end of feb/start of march – around Day 113 of my blog – the toughest day in schools; not just my school, but via social media seeing more struggles ‘around now’ than there ought to be. Though I admit it may be similar to ‘the full moon’ wonders that are often incorrect for ‘crazy days’, we are in the spot after winter break when spring break is within sight, but there is so much going on and a lot of the balancing acts start to tumble and fall.

And it has kinda struck already. I’m hearing too many rcmp/mcfd “visits” to families. Too many ‘court dates being set’. Too many “they are very emotional right now” comments. It’s true. This time of year is hard. (I will withhold any comment about the return of the FSAs – our provincial tests for grade 4 & 7 students to ‘this time of year’ for now….)

It is not for a lack of trying to break this particular cycle – I know many colleagues who try to ‘brighten the days’ as the sunlight arrives a little bit earlier each day… just in time for daylight savings to wreck things again. Yep, we have one more (at least) time change to deal with until our modernization movement finally gets read of that archaic relic…. so we try to distract (it works with anxiety). We try to set up rewards for ourselves. We try to remind ourselves of the activities we do that bring us joy and relief – for me, more walking and more reading… but it’s hard this time of year…

And when we add Covid onto the pile… even I’m feeling the stresses. So from experience, if I’m feeling it, others are too. Which was proven as a couple students yesterday and today have said “I’m done and going home” 2/3 stayed… one left – all over relatively minor reasons – but what seems minor to us can be overwhelming to others – something I have learned as I transition the “P” in ptsd from post- to personalized-

So, while I would normally give ‘the warning’ about it being ‘that time of year’ closer to the Day 113 blog itself… I’m thinking I need to remind myself and others a bit sooner than usual… so slow things down – give yourself time to think, breathe and reflect. Stay mindful and try not to overreact, even when an overreaction seems appropriate… things are tough ‘this time of year’… for every one…. think the day plan is going to be filled with “prepare to react to something” for the next week or so…

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Day 107 (of 190) GLEF –> @Edutopia (a PBL webinar) #LearningWeNeed Edutopia.org thanks for leading todays session @annmariebaines

Day 107 (of 190) GLEF –> @Edutopia (a PBL webinar) #LearningWeNeed Edutopia.org thanks for leading todays session @annmariebaines

I was a huge fan of GLEF and it’s first magazine. Now, most know GLEF as it’s evolved name: Edutopia. But it started as the George Lucas Education Foundation with a magazine – I probably have issue #1 hidden away somewhere….

Anywhere, GLEF/Edutopia have long been my go-to resources on my own journey to and through PBL – Project Based Learning – an amazing tool to personalize learning and engage the key competencies in learning journeys…. and today, we had George Lucas himself open a webinar around “Learning We Need: The Case for Rigorous Project-Based Learning”.

It is because hundreds of people have worked on PBL, there is research that shows that this approach works – along with a big thank you to those who have tried using PBL and seen it help students be successful in their learning! I remember GLEF wondering how many would be interested – and I heard 16,000 educators signed up for the webinar!

PBL helps with equity. It helps with engagement. It provides ownership. To ground us: PBL is an inquiry based program with learning done through projects, rather than projects being capstone projects. Centred on good questions (that often lead to more questions) – and works across racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Student shared the structure of traditional classrooms where ‘the teacher knows and distributes the information’ with seating in rows. The movement to PBL led to a more community based classroom – physically changed seating and metaphorically changed thinking…

PBL also encourages reaching out to the community – which was something that a student was able to reflect on that worked well for her learning. Not remaining limited to the knowledge inside the classroom, but being able to look (and sometimes work) beyond the school walls.

With a nice wonder – how do you do PBL with virtual learning environments…. students reflected that it may not be as much of a stretch from in-class to on-line – the setting is the setting; you can still collaborate and make friendships online and work with others (or on your own) whether live or asynchronous. The connections for some were different, so difficult for some to form – especially as they may be scared to make connections from the confines of the bedroom…. but it has been done, and can be done!

Regarding equity – there is systemic reasons why there has been, and continues to be gaps in achievement and attainment. This is a threat to the long term health of our communities (political and economy) and student engagement & passion around education can lie on the other side from success.

Then we got into some of the research – which I have often mentioned earlier as difficult because for ‘research’, the PBL movement has been relatively small and narrow to begin. But over the years, there has been critical mass reached so that studies have been able to be done, and shared – and best of all, confirm the successes that many of us ‘early adopters’ (though PBL in many ways has been used forever and has always ‘felt’ like it should work – much like AFL…, it is just that it has been formalized in a way that can be looked at with qualitative data). Across the studies, deeper learning was identified as having huge impacts both in knowledge and practice of science standards. Practice and skills in use. And has impacts outside the targeted domains. When students value (and are valued) in collaboration, this helps make learning meaningful.

Now instead of ‘just’ being a gut feeling, we have more evidence to support its effective and effectiveness. Here is a link to some of the research that was shared today to link up with todays webinar: https://www.edutopia.org/article/new-research-makes-powerful-case-pbl

PBL not only helps kids learn, but is better than traditional strategies and approaches. The good results took time. Refinement matters (much as it has with AFL – peer and self reflection/feedback don’t ‘just happen’ but take practice, mistakes, successes and growth. In the researchers with districts that still use letter grades… they saw an 8% improvement across the board in class success… and the teachers who signed up for the research STAYED with the project – many often fade out, but in this case teachers stayed with the research because they were seeing value for their classrooms!

When it comes to equity and inclusion – ALL students deserve rigorous PBL instruction – because they can! Nobody needs to be left out – we don’t need to stop and ‘fill in the gaps’ but instead let students use the skills they have to explore and push and use the skills they have, or acquire the skills they need.

My own PBL started small – little projects based on good questions… not giving recipe cards for students to follow…. it started as “embracing the chaos” (what I first said as I left the staffroom) and over time became “trusting the process” (what I later said as I left the staffroom). Small became bigger. It was things like “making a song for ‘dads/people who do the job of dads’ for Fathers Day” and exploring GarageBand with me ‘not being able to help because I’m old and don’t know the program’. Creating a cardboard arcade to invite another class to come and explore based on Cain’s Arcade. Then posing questions (and our BC Curriculum is now focused on Big Questions) and allowing students to learn and create in the same mindset. To collaborate at times (Big Fan of Sugata Mitra’s SOLE’s) and work solo as they wish. Not balancing groups, but allowing groups to work or fail on their own – and keeping track of the journeys where a failed project does not mean a “fail” on the report card, but different learning that has been done and can be recorded – admittedly best on an efolio following the learning journey, less so when it is a report card with a letter/number/% and a sentence. Sometimes a lot of learning happens when a final project is not completed…

Big Q – what do I need to know and do to answer that question? Is the project the dessert? or the main course? It should be the bigger part of learning… and doing! This is an approach that can work across the board – irrelevant of economics, reading levels, etc.

Final Messages from the panel:

Amber Graeber:@ambermgraeber PBL makes me excited to go to work every day and the kids to come to school.

Deborah Peek-Brown: works for all teachers and all students.

Joseph Krajcik: @krajcikjoe to reduce achievement gap for racial equity… this is it!

Britte Haugan Cheng: @brittecheng achievement gap has been around too long – gotta close the gap and change what education ‘means’ to our learners. Need our innovators and critical thinkers more than ever today – and the research shows we have an approach that helps students see they have a voice that matters in their education journey.

Michael McDowell: @mmcdowell13 PBL admin advocate: Rigor and Relevance matters and is part of this – kind of like whole language, PBL needs a little bit of everything – so sometimes a lecture may be useful. We need to work together to see this as a place of balance and working together – whether together or via distance learning. Gotta make sure ‘kids are with us’ when starting out the learning – what is the content… what is the task… what is the curriculum… what is the competency… are you on the right/same path? How are we connecting as professionals to help ensure our projects are engaging and authentic in our practice.

With a big thanks to AnnMarie Baines @annmariebaines who kept us on track and on time for this topic that could easily take us a full day….! And reminded us that this is not a product to buy, but an idea to work with and make use of as a skill/strategy – and LucasEdResearch.org has a lot to explore – as does Edutopia.org

Let’s make PBL the norm!

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Day 106 (of 109) a book deal! for real… @codebreakeredu

Day 106 (of 109) a book deal! For real…. @codebreakeredu

Last April fools day I joked about having a fiction deal… https://technolandy.wordpress.com/2020/04/01/day-129-of-189-a-book-deal/

But today, I did get a real contract for a book around personalizing learning (project based learning with eportfolios…) and I know I still have work to do… but also know I need an editors eye to help me make it move from a booky-thing to an actual book.

I have been impressed with the books from CodeBreakerEdu since the first book by Brian Aspinall – Code Breaker. I finally got up the nerve after taking some time to actually put my notes (and fragments from blogs) into long form…. and submit it for consideration….

Today was the day….

And I admit, that I am not expecting it to rocket up the nonfiction charts, but I have been doing a LOT of thinking… reflecting… practicing… on how to use efolios in place of report cards… as well as use them to archive key moments to show learning journeys in authentic ways (myriad: much better than a vague “B/3”.

I am looking forward to seeing where a fresh set of eyes pushes me, and where we end up as we get ready to make my passion project public… my days of learning blog is one level of vulnerability… actual authorship where a price is attached…. this is new territory! Looking forward where Code Breaker Edu pushes me next!

For now, a little celebration…. taking a breath…. and preparing for more weekend work!

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Day 105 (of 190) Comics, not ‘graphic novels’ 😇 thanks @MagsVisaggs

Day 105 (of 190) Comics, not ‘graphic novels’ 😇

I’ve gotten back into a comic frame of mind. I have been sorting my collection for the first time in yeeeaaarrrss – and stunning my kids with just how many I have (and I still have some more crates to open…)

And then my comic state of mind was caught up in a thread by Magdalene Visaggio (@MagsVisaggs) who was giving some challenges for aspiring comic book writers:

Because comic book creations are not ‘easy’ to do. Though we get some great frames to develop, and authors such as Neil Gaiman do some amazing shares and inspiring work, but it takes work. Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Carl Barks et al are not ‘recreational writers’ – they work hard. There are some great start points that people like @Jarrett_Lerner share as well – and comic templates are available everywhere – and I’ve had students do amazing work with comic strips via apps and hand drawings. But we can’t assume ‘comics are easy’.

As a point @MagsVisaggs nicely points out some key ideas to work on:

  • Focus on developing your skills in VISUAL STORYTELLING rather than yammering at the reader.
  • Writing comics is not writing prose. It’s a completely different medium with completely different best practices that you have to know how to follow before you break them. Go read early Claremont Uncanny X-Men and then read him five years in. He goes from telling you whats happening in crowded, wordy captions to pulling back and letting the page do the work. The end result is a much more inventive interesting experience.

In other words, show – don’t tell (works in non-comic writing too… just slightly differently)

I know many of us have worked on creating more legitimacy (https://technolandy.wordpress.com/2019/06/11/day-175-of-187-do-graphic-novels-comics-still-need-defending/) for the use of comics in the classroom (I always had a stack of comics in my classroom – and still have a stack in my office… and usually have one or two in my bag (feel free to ask me if you see me live in person!). Comics helped me become a voracious reader – I even did a long lost essay in my teacher training program about using comics to get readers to classics – I tried to recreate it a couple years ago: https://technolandy.wordpress.com/2018/01/22/day-85-of-186-comics-to-classics-reinspired-by-a-chat-with-theweirdteacher-and-excaliburpdx/

Comics are not ‘easy writes’. Publication is even more challenging. A family friend was a shop teacher and would also do political cartoons – often used in local newspapers, but not always – and he was very talented! But talent does not always equal great success. The Far Side was rejected many many (many) times – and the publisher who first signed Gary Larson up even started with “You’re sick!” before following up with the reassuring “I love them!”. Even Calvin and Hobbes took some time to evolve from Spaceman Spiff into one of the best selling strips of all time – Far Side and Calvin were key reasons I purchased one newspaper and not the other (and have both hard cover anthologies). Because they were well written and often led to more thinking than just a joke… though sometimes there was just a joke, and that’s okay too. And from news strips (which still help me start my day) we get to the ‘comic books’ – or graphic novels for those that would prefer to not consider ‘the funny pages’ as actual literature…

Comic ‘books’ are equally complex. Many stories get a first attempt. Some struggle (Groo by Sergio Aragonés had starts with Pacific Press, Dark Horse Comics and finally a long run with Marvel). Some find their audience right away (X-Men, Superman, Batman) others ebb and flow – even my favourite Disney comics went through many publishers: 4 Colour –> Dell –> GoldKey/Whitman –> Gladstone (after a hiatus) –> Gemstone and IDW. And then they need story arcs to keep them going periodically – which is why many start small and then expand. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a great example – starting as a black and white publication to getting a cartoon series and multiple movies! Sledge Hammer was a comic based on a ‘tv show that refused to die’ (got cancelled frequently but somehow ABC kept it alive a couple times) and the comic likewise lasted a few issues – I may have been one of the very few who actually owned an issue – and rarity does not mean it is super valuable as most have no idea what I am referring to (but still makes me laugh).

as an aside, while starting to sort my comics, I came across a comic that looked familiar – and it rekindled a memory – that was an issue that one of my ‘letters to the editor’ was published in (my youngest was very impressed…..)

But while I am a comic fan, I am not someone who can put together a comic. I have tried some short and long format efforts, but my artistry gets in the way. And I know that is why there is often a team that works together… but… we often don’t like collaboration when doing writing in class (I remember being yelled at for doing that in grade one when a friend and I illustrated and wrote a story about a worm in an apple and learning that in writing at school, we do it solo…. hard lesson to unlearn…). Yes, that is a not-so-subtle suggestion to let teams of students work on comics – and maybe more writing too…but especially for ‘comics’. They are complex. Getting the drawing right takes time. As a story about a Carl Barks writing “The Lemming with the Locket” his wife (and co-artist) was thrilled when they finally finished drawing the last *** lemming in the herd heading to the ocean. It’s not always easy and ‘fun’ to make the ‘funnies’.

Thank you @MagsVissags for also reminding us of the ‘story’ that belongs and moves the many levels of ‘comics’ that entertain us, even if they need to be disguised under the guise of ‘graphic novel’! Comics are complex writing – even if they don’t always look like it!

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Day 104 (of 190) a social media presentation

Day 104 (of 190) a social media presentation

Digital Media Presentation PDF HERE:

After a misadventure on tiktok by one student and a slightly in appropriate instagram share by another, I opted to do a whole-class presentation on the social medias for my budding teenagers – not bringing out shame, because I do not agree with our recent district pro-d keynote speaker who liked France’s thought of banning mobile devices in school to help avoid the social medias, because if we don’t help our learners explore the medias at school… where are they going to learn it? At home? From their friends – how well does sex-ed go when that is the strategy!?!

So, with an absence of shaming, I start my share:

Slide One: An introduction to the idea of Digital Footprints – where we go, we leave tracks much like we do when walking on the beach (we are a coastal community, so this analogy makes sense) but wherever we go, there is not a tide that washes it away… I then ask if anyone knows what tasty treat sees what we are doing and where we go….

Slide Two: An introduction to ‘swimming through the social medias’ like a turtle – why a turtle? Because we can create a shell that will help protect us, but the shell does not provide 100% protection…

Slide Three: which is why when we leave footprints, we can use different levels of protection: barefoot when we don’t care who sees us or what we are doing. This is when we are on public wifi when we are at starbys or McDs. Regular shoes when we want a bit more protection – my home wifi has a password and a small firewall. Good for most occasions, though not all. The workboots are when extra security (steel toed) is needed. My work connected to students has a stronger firewall and multi layered passwords including face/fingerprint identification. Yet even that is not completely impenetrable – but it does a good job for most occasions. Likewise with passwords – my password for my games is pretty weak. My twitter/wordpress is better. Getting onto my device – pretty devious.

Slide Four: why do we need the social medias? And I tease this because it leads into a discussion on needs vs wants. But it is Fun, allows us to Connect with people, provides Distractions when we need it, gives us a lot of Information and provides sometimes interactive Entertainment.

Slide Five: looks at the same wordings but from the mindset of why some want to just ban the social medias… though I also add in the sense of jealousy – I know as a kid I wished that I could have my video camera (fisher price one that used cassettes!), walkman and Atari could fit in my pocket. Now I have all of that and ways to connect with others as well!

Slide Six: a little survey to see who uses which social media platform. And admit that Facebook is typically used by older folks – and while it is a way to connect with other family, it is also a good tool to practice social media posts and interactions with. Because on this tool, and twitter, my kids had to let me follow them. Once I felt confident, they did not need to include me on their ‘other twitter’ account and instagram etc. A gradual guided release of responsibility. Also a chance to see if there are other social tools that we should be aware of (really hoping nobody says their family uses Parlor exclusively….) and the acknowledgement that no matter what, there is a 100% chance that mistakes will be made. I’ve made them and others have/will as well.

Slide Seven: Strategies of being online: the troll. And letting them know that I know that many have their public account @technolandy and their secret account (I am NOT @educelebrity)

Slide Eight: A look at the mindsets – what a white hat is vs black hat – and how most of us are in the grey – not being horribly destructive, but sometimes our actions make others get hurt.

Slide Nine: that our online presence also communicates many things to the audience – including senses of ‘help’ needed. I have posted things and then got DMs/texts from people checking in on me. Didn’t realize I was being a negative person, but the online friends could tell things weren’t going well. Nice to know others care – and I have returned the favour checking in with others when I sense a change in their texts.

Slide Ten: An awareness that there are intentional and unintentional audiences – and we talked about how some socials promise privacy – and we chatted how even though snapchat lets you know if someone keeps a picture, when I take a picture of something on my iPad with my iPhone… there is no notification whatsoever. This made some eyes open.

Slide Eleven: I also share how people find friends online. And while the horror stories of a troll friend making a connection and kidnapping someone have a basis in fact, there is more a danger of a parent trolling a kid, forming a ‘relationship’ and then dumping them to teach them a lesson (took this example from an episode of Sherlock I had rewatched the night before – serendipitously).


Slide Twelve: We talked about the permanence of the digital footprint. Even though the tiktok and instagram shares were ‘removed’ – they still exist in other locations – which is why we need to be aware of now just how our audience will react to it, but how future people will respond to it as well. As my counsellor also pointed out: thank goodness there were not these devices when we were kids…. though, again, I would’ve loved to have some solid evidence on some actions of others who had a community reputation of doing no harm…. 

There were obviously more things being talked about than this summation – some good questions from the kids. And I also shared with regards to security, even though they think they are secretive, I’m pretty confident that with the support of some of my extended tech team (check out @mediatedreality ) and the rcmp, nobody is completely anonymous online… the cookies and IP addresses are not as easily hidden as they show on television and movies….

Feel free to use as images were either mine already or taken from ‘free use’ areas.

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Day 103 (of 190) I don’t like Tuesdays (I mean, long weekends are fine, but they sure come at a cost…)

Day 103 (of 190) I don’t like Tuesdays (I mean, long weekends are fine, but they sure come at a cost…)

I like ’em, but….

Long weekends have long been a mixed blessing to me – nice while in them, hard as heck to get the transition back-to-school going in some mindsets (especially where anxiety is present). 3 Day weekends are tough enough – but with a Pro-D on Friday and Family Day on Monday (let alone Valentines Day squished in between…) it’s been a tough day for some learners – and a higher than usual absence rate from the adults as well…. hmmmm…..

The shakeup of routine is hard. “A day off” is not always a good thing.. the only thing worse than a 3 day weekend…. is a four day one – though I do wonder if the districts that run with 4 day schedules see it as being ‘easier’ because the 3 day weekend has become routine… gotta remember to ask some people in those scenarios….

One struggling student resorted to “decorating” her desk… and her neighbours… and their bag with graffiti… convinced her to come for a walk and talk and it became pretty clear that she was just ‘out of synch’. Joked about how weird it is to start on a Tuesday and she confessed “I woke up thinking it was library day… and it wasn’t…..” she got a chance to make a connection with another about the Percy Jackson book series and suddenly the worst day ever was forgotten… but it was a clear reminder how much routine matters for many.

Just one more of the things that looks good on paper, but in application… less so.

So just a reminder that while many (me included) may anticipate some of these ‘extended breaks’ for many – it is a tough re-entry to school when routine is tweaked.

I regularly remind myself and others that the longer some learners are away, the more we will have to work to make the return successful. Long weekends included…

5 weeks until the nexts scheduled interruption known as spring break….

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Day 102 (of 190) pro-d Friday – slow education sketch note-ish

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Day 101 (of 190) on valentines ❤️

Day 101 (of 190) on valentines

We are about to embrace a long weekend… a pro-d day on Friday, Family Day on Monday – with Valentines day squeezed in between. I always like to tease – why would we celebrate a day that is hosted on a weekend? Even a holiday that is less and less religious and more and more chocolatey since being pushed hard by Card companies to sell cards and stickers. Another ‘event’ that I continue to question if it is appropriate to include in our school calendar. The pains and angst of all ages about who to give a valentine to… everyone… someone special… a special card subtly given to that one person… which I seem to recall being in my mind even in primary years – and as principal I see the crushes and disappointments of the exploration of ‘love’ by students of all ages… all sanctioned by schools with our “special day” of envelopes to be filled with Valentines whether people take part in days named after saints or not…. so some people stay away for the day… maybe not many, but is exclusion part of the ideation of Valentines Day? Just because it’s “a lot of fun for most learners” does that mean we do it if it isolates ‘fewer’?

Sigh. For every good memory of events and Pinterest shares of all things Valentines – and I plead guilty as I have a different themed tie for each day of the week leading to V day….

there is the “Charlie Brown” example of hoping for many and getting none…. or none that matter from the red headed girl…. metaphorically speaking to literal one-direction affections…

And with Covid…. once again… do we do a rethink of why pay we do each year and why? Yes, the colouring sheets are fabulous and the crafts can be fun (a friend shared a fabulous rock family project) and the Pinterest rivalries are real… but – do we need to think about quarantining cards before they are shared? Current rules say ‘no’. Can we share treats? Current rules say no to home made items, but treats from a commercial store, individually wrapped are fine…

For now…

But as a parent shared their concern that I might be tossing the $100 worth of treats they bought (from a commercial vendor and prepared for individual – so all good), I wondered how much self imposed pressure people/families are putting on themselves to try to overcompensate for holidays during Covid…. and why….

Halloween Christmas Valentines and then to a lesser emphasis Thanksgiving St Patrick’s Day…. mixed Mothers Fathers and Family a days, along with the new additions of Orange, Black and Pink shirt day… it’s a lot…. ( of even including things like Terry Fox runs, Jump Rope For Hearts, Fun days, concerts, emergency drills etc) and we are in a fluid time of “old ways” and “new events”… which means we are mixing memories of what used to be/has always been in school and what ought we be doing better as we learn more about inclusion)…

I can’t help but wonder what events we are doing that upon reflection are gonna be the future ‘what were they thinking’ list…. is valentines on the shortlist for “reconsideration”…. people may do an over generalization when they talk about “cancel culture” but there are some events that we definitely need to consider for their influence on and in our culture…

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