Day 53 (of 189) talking about mental health….even in #Movember it’s not just a men’s issue with ❤️ to @hattiegladwell

Day 53 (of 189) talking about mental health … even in #Movember it’s not just a men’s issue with ❤️ to @hattiegladwell

I appreciate seeing all the hairy faces – from moustaches to “more” that indicate an interest in willingness to talk about health issues – #colchat could easily have had a bonus session just talking about this with the comods already embracing the furry look. My own November growth is coming in….

But I also saw a tweet reminder that there are also other people struggling at different levels and needing different lenses:

“I’m fine

-I’m actually really struggling but don’t want to waste your time

– I’m scared if I tell you what’s wrong you’ll say say something to make me feel worse

-You won’t believe me anyway”

A tough tweet to read and respond appropriately to.

We still need to change our lenses on mental health – for men’s and women’s sakes. @hattiegladwell continues to be an amazing advocate for showing why we need to see the mental health as important as the physical health.

And as my mobro ( ) reminder for the middle of the month points out , there is not an easy visual of “what ‘it’ looks like”:

Unlike those people who have casts or wheelchairs, there is never a clear marker – so we have to accept the words we hear. And not think/say things like:

  • You think you have it bad?
  • Suck it up
  • It’s not that bad
  • Why can’t you just …..
  • Sure – you just want attention/a day off/ etc

A good reminder that being sad does not equate to understanding depression

Worries are not the same as anxiety

(And as I said in my tedx talk – we wouldn’t equate a sore throat to somebody suffering throat cancer)

Let’s spend the second half of November being mindful of the words we hear from others, because “fine fine fine” rarely means “fine”…..

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Day 52 (of 189) on boredom with thanks to @perfinker

Day 52 (of 1i9) on boredom with thanks to @perfinker

A neat share happened earlier this week about boredom and creativity…

I liked the link:

and the followup question – in an age of connectivity, what do we do to “get bored” – mindfully as Disney+ launched and I watched the Mandalorian before falling asleep on launch day (heard a rumour it would be live at midnight pdt and it was…!) – which is a good reminder that in today’s day and age we don’t ever have to be bored, in fact we may have to work harder than ever to become bored….or as Ron Swanson put it (Parks and Rec tv series)

Because it is almost hard to be bored. Netflix is amazing enough, but with Disney+ and Amazon Prime among others (looking forward to binging Man in the High Tower! Ooh and a new episode of The Mandalorian is released today!!!) it is too easy to have more than enough stuff to do (let alone the pile of books on my physical and digital shelfs still to be read!)

And I encourage that “delightful pause” that is boredom. The brain needs processing time and boredom is a great opportunity for the mind to get busy – once it realizes it can and doesn’t have to keep processing new data inputs!

Heck – in class times and presentations I have even used “Boredom Breaks” of various lengths. No reading. No colouring or doodling. Just being. It is not as easy as it sounds in an era when it is so easy to put on a song or podcast while waiting for people or things to happen. I admit that is a good thing to a great extent but there is a reason when my kids (at home or at school) say “I’m bored” that I respond with “you’re so lucky – stop bragging”

So find a time and be bored. Even for a few minutes. I still believe it is a valuable exercise and practice for our minds!

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T3D 203: John Dewey

T3D 203: John Dewey – do you know more than just the name?



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Day 51 (of 189) when you get the text that reminds you why we have certain drills….

Day 51 (of 189) when you get the text that reminds you why we have certain drills…

Got the text a parent hates to get:

Before you hear (uh oh – nothing good can follow a startup like this…can it?)

Shooting. (I still remember being in a high school when the shooting in Taber Alberta happened let alone the news stories too often on CNN… so I’m not happy….)

No immediate danger to the school (no immediate….but possible???)

But we are on hold and secure (and here is when I thank her for letting us know she is safe and lighten it by commenting that this is why we do the annual school drills for fires, earthquakes and lockdowns….

And fortunately a quick social media search confirmed there was not a shooting AT the school but in the area:

and again a reminder that school sometimes use exercises like this in order to ensure safety based on area issues, not just em things that happen in the school – so the students who wanted to go move their cars and avoid a parking ticket would have to wait and possibly get a ticket (though I suspect police in the area would be otherwise occupied and lenient knowing what was going on…)

And especially when there is another shooting being reported on drudgereport…

And when you know the people with the gun are in the area and on foot…

Social media is both a reliever and a stressor – we need to be mindful of that! But we also can’t hide from everything that might happen…but being well planned for those events definitely makes it easier – especially when three time zones apart….

Just a reminder that “those things” can hit close to home – even when far away!

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Day 50 (of 189) on Mr Rogers #CardiganDay #worldkindnessday

Day 50 (of 189) on Mr Rogers #CardiganDay #worldkindnessday

It’s a beautiful day in this neighbourhood…. there aren’t many who are unfamiliar with this refrain (though there is a Mandela effect claim that it should be ‘in “the” neighbourhood’ but, whatever…) but beautiful doesn’t always just refer to the weather – it is much more complex than that!



Mr Rogers is a fascinating character study – his calm demeanour and presentation style were carefully crafted and designed. A very mindful individual. Why TV? Well, “I went into television because I hated it so, and I thought there’s some way of using this fabulous instrument to nurture those who would watch and listen”.



Some key takeaways as I think back on what I know about Mr Rogers:


Mr Rogers did not have a desk in his office. He felt that a desk would create too much of a barrier between him and others. Instead, Rogers opted for a sofa and armchairs. Something I am mindful of when I design my office area….a little bit different from the office my dad had as principal. 



His weight was always 143 pounds because 143 stands for I Love You (the number of letters in each word) Pennsylvania even celebrated 143 Day and I think I know the topic for my blog on day 143 (of 189)



And what an advertisement for the value Wait Time: Mr Rogers wasn’t afraid of dead air: He once invited a marine biologist onto the show and put a microphone into his fish tank, because he wanted the kids at home to see (and hear) that fish make sounds when they eat. While taping the segment, however, the fish weren’t hungry so the marine biologist started trying to egg the fish on. But Rogers just sat there, waiting quietly. The crew figured they’d need to re-tape it, but Rogers didn’t want to. He thought it was a great lesson in teaching kids the importance of being patient.



Mr Rogers was regularly parodied, and he loved it. The first time Eddie Murphy met Mr. Rogers, he couldn’t stop himself from giving the guy a big hug. And I LOVED Mr Robertsons Neighbourhood episodes on SNL!



A Yale psychology study compared children who watched Mr. Rogers to children who watched Sesame Street. Kids who watched Mr. Rogers not only remembered more of the story lines but also showed a higher “tolerance of delay:” an ability to wait for promised treats or adult attention.



His final TV words:  I’m just so proud of all of you who have grown up with us. I know how tough it is some days to look with hope and confidence on the months and years ahead. But I would like to tell you what I often told you when you were much younger: I like you just the way you are. And what’s more, I’m so grateful to you for helping the children in your life to know that you’ll do everything you can to keep them safe, and to help them express their feelings in ways that will bring healing in many different neighborhoods. It’s such a good feeling to know we’re life-long friends.”


My T3D video on three other things about Mr Rogers:


Theres still a lot of great takeaways from Mr Rogers.


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Day 49 (of 189] my prethink on guest modding #Atassessment

Day 49 (of 189] my prethink on guest modding #Atassessment

The assessment of personalized learning journeys has become more and more of a focus as I have used efolios more and more and seen others using them as well. The focus. I longer needs to be the paper task that goes home, but the hinkin…practicing..hands-on times….discussions….etc that take place during the learning journey. Heck after reading Isaacsons DaVinci bio, I am thinking that some of the incomplete works may be worth looking at more so than those finished things…

So in thinking and rethinking and reflecting, I came up with some questions for @katiewhite426 and @mandystalets to preview for a chat where I want to have people thinking about the learning you don’t always see on the tasks that end up going home, but could be seen if/as efolio assessments show more of the personalized learning journey….

Q1: Organization Question: do you organize your grade book & daily plans by task or learning intention or other means? (Learning outcome, Big Question, curricular organizer) Why? I ask this because one of my first shifts in thinking was when I put the learning outcomes at the top of my grade book and adjusted the number (1-4) based on what was going on in the classroom. It pushed me into my first use of descriptive feedback which, despite my humanities background, was on a math assessment…

Q2: Which students do you give extra consideration to when designing lessons? I often say that there are some students who you adapt for at first and then realize you can adapt for all since we are all on personalized learning journeys and all need the right adaptions…and motivations…and one size does not fit all…and rarely even most…

Q3: Is your learning space designed to meet your needs? Students needs? Hybrid? How? Most recently in the classroom I let students self select their seating spaces and locations – I ended up in the middle of the classroom with tables desks (sitting and standing versions of both) around the room – it looked chaotic to outsiders but worked for the learners and our PBL focus. Spaces for silence and noise were also available, and the right music helped one of my students who for much of his career was in his own room become part of the larger classroom more and more….

Q4: Can we compare where students “are” based on “where they came from”? Or does it have to be “by grade 6 all students will…” statements? Again, with a focus on where each student is and where they need to move to next, it becomes less and less to compare common tasks to each other and instead enable each student to compare their own growth to themselves and not to what the others in the class are doing. Not everyone has to show their learning in the same ways.

Q5: Is it just the final project, or can we value and assess the journey students take “instead of” the finished product [eg the “night before projects despite the weeks of time given”] This is the one I am getting most interested in as we look at how we synthesize and prepare for our work. Do students always need to be visibly doing something to show they are making “good use of their time” or can it be done different. I synthesize a lot before I write, but (as my blog will attest to) edit not as much….woe be sent to the editors of my larger writings😇

Cut due to time but worth thinking about still: Q?: I use the descriptor “reporting student achievement” for those who use report cards and “communicating student learning” for those using eportfolios. Are these fair descriptors? For me, this was a significant MindShift (as per my “faster horse blog” ) as I was enabled to think of assessment in another way than reporting on achievement of common tasks; and instead share how learning was happening for each individual that happened to be in the same classroom as me (which led to another thought about why we assemble learners based on their year of birth – but that’s another vent). Our provincial government changed the reporting our language to enable teachers to better focus on individual growth rather than comparable lists ranking students based on success on common tasks – the game of school where you’re first or worst. Comparing yourself from where you were to where you are though – with descriptive feedback loops instead of scores…well the coach in me knows they descriptors were always more helpful than “landy that tackle was a 3 out of 10 – do better next time” (how? tbd I guess)

Q6: When do assessments need to be comparisons between the other learners in the room? In edcamp sucks/doesn’t suck events I often shock my peers when a question is asked about standardized tests and I head to the “doesn’t suck” side. Because I like many standardized tests. They help us identify learning disabilities, autism, giftedness, and whether we like it or not, they (even BCs dreaded FSA) have their questions analyzed and justified over and over – the questions and why each potential answer was selected; a lot more thought than I ever gave my chapter/unit tests…. but as a discussion I had today pointed out: even an IQ test just tells you how well someone does on an IQ test…for most people not much more than that. We gotta know why we test who <– and I know they fragment is clunky. It’s meant to be.

Q7: How do you communicate how students are achieving whey they move partway through the year? In my years looking at descriptive feedback and efolios (starting with PowerPoint) the common “sticking point” has been “how to share where a student ‘is’ if they go to a school that does not have a descriptive feedback/efolio mindset. What is a mechanism to communicate summatively when the focus is formative assessment?

One of the tools I am starting to use:

But need more eyes on it – especially “is this enough info to move forward with” if this information came with a student to your school?

Looking forward to seeing the shares at #atassessment 

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Day 48 (of 189) Remember Remember the 11th of November (my thoughts on Remembrance Assemblies)

Day 48 (of 189) Remember Remember the 11th of November (my thoughts on Remembrance Assemblies)



I’ll admit that I have some thoughts on Remembrance Day. Probably the most important assembly to me of the three that the School Act requires that schools in BC have. I worry because as we have fewer and fewer veterans of the World Wars to share their stories, their memories fade and the necessity of this day of Remembrance fades with it. My new emphasis is starting to be around remembering the memories. I know many of us emphasize the recent actions of Canadas military as peacekeepers and partners with the United Nations and NATO in their actions, but we can’t remember the origins of Remembrance Day as “the war to end all wars” didn’t…. but the memories of these war atrocities can maybe make a difference.


So, as I continue to try to do some different reflections via my “days of learning blog”, I am doing a version of the Guy Fawkes poem – from Bonfire Day (November 5th) and nearly a week later – for Armistice Day:



Remember, remember!

The 11th of November,

The world war reason and vets;

I know of no reason

Why the actions of veterans

Should ever be forgot!

The Legion and their companions

Did the scheme contrive

To wear poppies and have assemblies

To keep memories alive.

Threescore years have flown by

Since a war encas’ed the world

But, by our providence, they will be remembered

with Poppy adorned, lighting all assembled

A poppy sticker or pin

for the veterans sake!

If you won’t give me one,

I’ll take two

The better for me

The remembering for you.

A video, a song to keep the memory alive

A donation to help the charity survive

A poppy for me a poppy for you

And a jolly good wish to never repeat what happened

Holloa, folks! tansi, folks! make the memory last

Rappeler folks! weyt-k folks! Remember why

Lest we forget




Take a moment on November 11th (and in schools, the school day before the 11th) to Remember and Honour our Veterans and the world they helped create.

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