Summer of Learning 2019 #6 Creativity (Unlocked) – blending @katiewhite426 and @perfinker #ILLG

Summer of Learning 2019 #6 Creativity – blending @katiewhite426 and @perfinker #IILG

I love thinking about creativity. I have been identified by others as a creative person and thinker (which has been likewise identified as both a strength and weakness). I was asked to take part on a provincial team looking at how creativity could be seen as it gets added as a key competency in our provincial curriculum. I have been asked to sit in on thinktanks involving creativity, and proudly declared (a couple times) that creativity as an objective cannot be defined as “by age/grade 6, all learners will demonstrate creativity by….

So it was with great excitement when I saw a book called Unlocked by Katie White – with the subtitle: Assessment As the Key to Everyday Creativity in the Classroom. @katiewhite426 is one of my Twitter go-tos (educrush?) because her thinking, reflecting and doing in a range of areas from #caflnchat to #atassess and provincial chats like #saskedchat have prompted my own work. So when I saw she had created a book blending two of my passions…I was looking forward to getting it!

Assessing creativity ain’t an easy topic to talk about – yet Katie does it. It is well researched yet also has a variety of useful reproducibles and even more important: deep questions for self reflection as well as to prompt others…especially the creators! Especially as the imagination question for June #ILLG was nice timing for me reading Unlocked by @katiewhite426

“What are specific facilitative skills, “moves”, and strategies that are the MOST effective for cultivating leader imagination” was the #ILLG wonder this month.

As Katie challenges us to reimagine assessment as a tool to help develop a learners creative potential, especially with some great AFL strategies such as:

  • Daily formative assessment
  • Self assessment
  • Peer assessment
  • Constructive and targeted feedback
  • Goal setting
  • Long term reflection and criteria setting

All of these blend with my own love of eportfolios which document ongoing descriptive feedback loops and my own interest in focusing on the learning journey rather than just end products (highly influenced after reading Walter Isaacsons bio on da Vinci….

But Katie also spends time delving into what the creative process “is” including: exploration, elaboration, expression, and reflection. As well as looking at differences between “Big C” Creativity (magical and new to everyone) and “little c” creativity (new to self as part of a complex world ). And tying in creative feelings to that state of “flow” when time becomes meaningless (as opposed to those times when every second seems to slow down….just me in some of my classes as a student? Okay!

Katie does an amazing job showing how assessment is not an enemy to creativity, including talking about some myths about assessment such as:

  • It is always done just by the teacher
  • It is one dimensional
  • It happens only after learning
  • It only measures written products
  • Assessment is objective while creativity is subjective (I love it when people misbelieve that the % is never in error!)
  • Students do not accurately self-assess (which is sometimes true in that many are harder on themselves, but I have also had conversations with secondary teachers bragging about how well their students self and peer assess – which is a reminder that in elementary, we need to focus on a gradual, guided release of responsibility of self/peer assessment so that they do get good at it!)
  • Feedback should be immediate (which does not mean take two weeks, but it does mean be timely with the feedback, which may be different for different learners…)

Again, Katie goes into an amazing amount of depth and description and I can only share some highlights that have so much more to them!

Such as,

Roles of teacher (eg actions in elaboration stage)

Listener/observer and feedback agent

Facilitator of reflective process

Knowledge enhancer

Skill enhancer

She has pages of questions – for self-consideration and to ask creative learners! There are reproducibles for self and others. There are guidelines and directions, such as some of her “Ingredients for Creativity”

  • A willing partnership and a desire for productive conversation
    A trust and relationship between the participants
    Strong listening skills
    Shared purpose

And so much more within this list (page 137) and one share directly from the book to share how detailed a Katie is….creativity is not something that happens by chance 😜

As she goes into details such as those around the “creative stages” of exploration (generate questions, visualize possibilities, confer with others etc) elaboration (prepare a plan, consider feedback, experiment with technology, make inferences, etc) expression (consider possible audience, consider impact, refine details, etc) reflection and response (examine feedback, generate new Qs, document ideas, reflect on criteria, etc) and a valuable reminder to choose a reflection method that is useful and relevant to you, both in format and in time commitment!

I love that Katie expands in ideas such as “the role of the teacher”, some actions such as self reflection and actions to consider when reflecting. Qualities of “creative people” – so many scaffolded levels to better understand this wonderous term: creativity.

Needless to say I have many dog-eared pages in this book for quick reviews, and have been passing the on the title to other educators, though my usual passing along my copy of the text may be a bit delayed while I soak it in a couple more times!

Inspiring me to continue to:

think different.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer of Learning 2019 #5 how I use twitter and blogs as an educator with #tiegrad #bcedchat

Summer of Learning 2019 #5 how I use twitter and blogs as an educator with #tiegrad #bcedchat



Why I love social media comes down to my own experience growing up in a small town and seeing my very creative father limited by the travel costs to going to a conference and meeting with other educators (and hopefully some like-minded educators) to share ideas with. Face to Face is always great, and I love opportunities such as the recent BCPVPA/UBC ShortCourse to meet with others on my twitter #PLN (and even get some feedback on my own dents into the education universe including some writing and some videos I have recently added…) but sometimes not having barriers helps. And in my current community, while I fully support the bumper sticker that “Two Ferries Can’t Be Wrong”, sometimes the borderless, asynchronous nature of the digital world can be empowering.



5 Hashtags I love (and recommend)

#bcedchat (of course)  Sunday 7pm pst (weekly)

#saskedchat Thursday 7pm pst (weekly)

#sblchat Wednesday 6pm pst (alternating weeks) @leeannjung @roweRikW

#atassess Tuesday 6pm pst (alternating weeks) – bonus follow: @garnet_hillman @mandyStalets

#edchat just a good handle to pop into and keep in mind every now and then!



5 Twitter handles to follow (that don’t have blogs but are awesome!)

@mathgarden (simply the best reimaginer of mathematics) current book: Math Recess with @cbrownLmath

@katiewhite426 (fabulous synthesizer of all things assessment) – current book: Unlocked: Assessment as the Key to Everyday Creativity in the Classroom

@edutopia (great articles and think pieces – not always what I agree with, but that matters too!)

@mindshiftKQED (another resource/article sharer that has some great readings)

@shareski (Dean Shareski also has a blog he sometimes uses 😉 but more often than not, as the inspirer behind ignite events, has random thoughts and pushes of educational thinking that are simply amazing)

so many more too…. @brewerhm for disruption, @bhallerbc & @sylviaduckworth for sketch noting , @hattiegladwell for mental wellness


5 Blog addresses (and a bonus 5 twitterers to follow) @pernilleripp is simply THE BEST when it comes to literacy and literature awareness! @theweirdteacher – Doug is amazing and has a fabulous book on the student teacher/mentor relationship @chrkennedy – superintendent of West Vancouver, has some great insights and shares about education and leadership

View at  @mraspinall – talker and sharer of the power of coding (even if you are not a coder – maybe especially if you are not a coder!)  @kellywchris – founder of #saskedchat and UofR sessional lecturer – great education mind


Landy current must-read books (beyond the ones mentioned above) include:

End of Average & Dark Horse by @ltoddrose

Drive & When by @danielpink

Mindset by Carol Dweck


Sharing of Resources (a bonus feature of social media sharing)

Landy book on Descriptive Feedback & ePortfolios: (full copy today, sneak peek version later!) Personalizing Learning

Landy book on Mental Wellness IN schools: My Rant


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer of Learning 2019 #4 ShortCourse Day 4 – organizational leadership

Summer of Learning 2019 #4 ShortCourse Day 4 – organizational leadership

Today’s “different style of blogging” will focus on questions. I am going to reflect on my day based on some questions about school organization that I hope will prompt my memory as I review these notes.

  • How do you get ready for the day? Value of morning walk? Quiet time? Paperwork?
  • What jobs do you have: each day, week, month? How do you check? bcpvpa has a planning guide – which is a guide, not a “must do” as every district has their own uniquenesses
  • How do you set up the first staff meeting?
  • What is the format and role of a staff committee?
  • When is your first assembly? Is a gathering/performance different – aka does O Canada need to be played all times students gather? (My bias, assembly yes, gathering for jump rope et al, no)
  • Do we acknowledge territory at all events (my bias yes)
  • Do we acknowledge territory at staff meetings? (I haven’t, but think I will!) morning announcements? (Hmmmm)
  • Is first assembly planned? Is schedule of assemblies important?
  • How are students leaders in the learning community?
  • Do you have connections with community groups (for special events)?
  • Is there a value in monthly themes and special event days (just in-class or ‘whole school’)?
  • Are decisions being made with a kids-lens?
  • PAC “meetings” to include info themes – vaping, tech, myed access,
  • Different locations for PAC to help connects some that may be reluctant to be at school – eg Vaping at Brooks, Tech use/misuse w Jesse Miller at the library?
  • What are the pros/cons to have a shared calendar online that anyone can edit?
  • What are the “hard date” deadlines? Assemblies, concerts, etc
  • Does school handbook have all forms?
  • Does the organization of the school help or hinder staff working? How to change long standing practices?
  • Does everyone feel school is a safe space for kids to be at?
  • Where do we ‘get’ our responsibilities from? School Act? TRB? Law? Collective agreements? OH&S? Contract?
  • How important is trust (especially with a fiduciary responsibility & need for confidentiality) as “the holder of information”?
  • What is the future of school (both site specific and in general!)
  • How important are these three leadership roles to encourage teachers ongoing learning: creating a vision of new possibilities, providing leadership to the schools adult learning programme through participation and adding expertise, and by making sure the adult learning opportunities are well organized and supported?
  • Is the culture adaptive to the learning of adults as much as everyone else?
  • Are we building leadership capacity in all? Most?
  • Is there a “best way” for leadership learning to occur? Harvard, Australia, Singapore, collective collaborative capacity?
  • What is your learning journey? What has it looked like? What is next?
  • Is the complexity and volume of education leadership (volexity) manageable?
  • How to address the two parts of wellness/balance: How you think & What you do…?
  • How do you avoid “professional isolation”?
  • How do you pursue work-life balance (acknowledging it is always in flux…)?
  • What about change factors influencing education: demographics, urbanization, climate change, globalization, tech disruption, future of work
  • How are we encouraging the use of technology?
  • Do we have a healthy, welcoming environment for all?
  • Do we take guidance from data – such as G4 fsa results to grad rate…
  • What is next on the “learning agenda” – always being mindful of moving forward! – ?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer of Learning 2019 #3 ShortCourse day 3 with thanks to @bhallerbc & @sylviaduckworth for pushing #sketchnoting

Summer of Learning 2019 #3 ShortCourse day 3 with thanks to @bhallerbc & @sylviaduckworth for pushing #sketchnoting

I wish I was more artistic than I am. My kids have skills I wish I had. Secretly I’d love to have skills enough to do cartooning – but even the self effacing Gary Larson has better penmanship than I. But I am working on it. I read articles talking about the benefits of drawing with memory:

I see beautiful examples from Sylvia Duckworth and Brooke Haller that I have stolen and shared (usually with credit – at least I try to remember to cite my steals!)

From @sylviaduckworth

From @bhallerbc

From me…..on ShortCourse day 3

A work in progress….but a style of “blogging” I am intrigued by!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer of Learning 2019 #2 Shortcourse Day 2 @getrocketbook

Summer of Learning 2019 #2 Shortcourse Day 2

Today’s focus has been on instructional leadership. And today I tried using my Rocketbook for note taking. The Rocketbook is a great notebook that uses a frixion pen and an app to write notes and then text/email/other the page to yourself so it can be erased and be used again. Amazing “stealth technology” especially as they continue to work on their script to text tool (they even interviewed my daughter about this as she is a “power user”).

Here’s a sampler:

Which came across as:

And the converter did its best with my unique font:

Page two:

And page three

Some good reminders that are text based. Tomorrow: sketch notes.

Some prethinks about instructional leadership:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer of Learning 2019 #1 ShortCourse Day One

Summer of Learning 2019 #1 ShortCourse Day One

It has been a couple years since I have been at ShortCourse – an event for newish Principals and Vice Principals (with some teachers in the mix) to work with experienced PVPs (such as me). It is refreshing to be back. While there are some things on my “to do list” at my school, an opportunity to embed myself with other education leaders cannot be understated. There is an opportunity to learn, think and reflect – both on new thinking and questions – and as a morning theme included: to sometimes disrupt our thinking.

Day one focuses on our own ethical leadership. Within our Professional Standards this includes Leading a Community of Caring

and Learning and Decision Making.

What are our core values?

This is important as there are many formal and informal leadership roles “we” have as educators. As John Hattie says: know thy impact (because it is more than you may think – or even want it to be).

From Suzanne Hoffman: the ten Ohs of school leadership:

1. Oh wow – stay well (know however you got to your leadership position, it is a big deal – and sometimes we are too humble – not always a bad thing😜)

2. Oh my – this is why being humble is important. Reference to The Flat Army – a Book by Don Pomtefract which introduced me to the mindset of situational leadership – where different people are leaders at different times – the right times.

3. Oh no – that parent, the student is here again…that staff member….that meeting – whatever brings out the pit in the stomach.

4. Oh for goodness sakes – have a vision. Personal vision, school vision statement, district vision statement.

5. Uh oh. Be sincere. With both what we do as well as what is done to us… honesty is transcendent – explain the “why” the tipping point with first followers:

Day when you’ll do better – then do so

6. Oh boy. Gotta be confident. ie something as “simple” as declaring a snow closure day knowing that many kids get breakfast and lunch at school…something to weigh and consider…and what do staff do? Is it the right thing to do…A rightish thing? Right enough?

7. Oh Yeah! Celebrate! Year end thanks? Ongoing? What do you have planned? (For me, a card in the summer because essentially we have no staffing changes this year!)

8. Oh awesome! The power of innovation – what is new next year?

9. Oh yeah – be hopeful – 3 words that describe the culture from one year to the next…

10. Oh wow. Inspire! How are you supporting those that need support – developing purposeful work – teams with focused sense of purpose. Be intentional

11. (One add-on) Xs & Ohs: we are the ones we have been waiting for – June Jordan

Sidebar conversation on maths led to a quick share to my table:

Couple math shares (based on a couple conversations) to consider reading:
Mathematicians Lament (I won’t talk about math if people haven’t looked at this)
Turned into a great book!
Must reads
Sunil Singh: Pi of Life
Sunil Singh & Chris Brown: Math Recess

And the amazing Norm Bradley with his reminders…

Energy is important – how will you bring it?

Consider Madeline Hunter (focus on: student motivation)who articulated much of how we teach today…. as an example, Wooden was not the best basketball coach, but a best teacher who happened to teach basketball.

Emotion drives Attention

What is something you can teach others (the staff)

From caring comes courage. Lao-Tzu

To staff: what are three things we are going to toast in June? <– make this the most important things

Doing vs Being (the power of mindfulness)

And we can’t forget….

Life is not a race, slow down _____

Only two things can happen: we celebrate OR we learn.

Reflection focus: what did I do well? What did I learn?

How do you build upon what yo do? Reflection/Performance journal


If nothing is different, you have maintained…you have not led…

Saying you’re a leader does not make you a leader, leading makes you a leader – Sinek

From Norms dad:

The legal perspective regarding standards of teachers (and PVPs) which takes all actions into consideration, a key question is: what were you thinking? Not in an accusatory yell, but an inquisitive ponder to get mindset into consideration – because the old commercial “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is dated in the age of social media and transparency.

Heck, with our fiduciary responsibility to the board as agents of the board, we cannot speak individually about our personal feelings about things like contract negotiations. Teachers are part of a collective agreement, PVPs have an individual contract of employment….and an obligation to undivided loyalty to our board of education.

And then there is ethical decision making

Understand: how do we make decisions?

Level one: pre-conventional morality “what is in it for me” punishment/rewards

Level two: conventional morality “what others think of me” perception/authority

Level three: post conventional morality “how do I wish to be” social/principles

From Rushworth Kidder “How Good People Make Tough Choices”

Ethical fitness (gotta practice) right vs wrong, right vs rights

What’s the difference between values, morals, and ethics in decision making…

Values that which has intrinsic worth: a principle, standard or quality that is worthwhile or desirable.

Morals actions or relative values according to custom or code – having to do with right and wrong and relationship between people

Ethics talking about the “why” it is that you Beckie e what you do.

Obedience to the unenforceable because it is the right thing to do

Obedience to the enforceable because it is the law

Eg bicycle helmets

And…what are your core values as they relate to being an educational leader?

Some decisions are complicated. Timetables.

Some decisions are complex. Classrooms

Be mindful of the 4Rs when figuring out if a decision is required:





Wonders include:

Whose problem is this?

Who is the actor?

Are there more than one?

Can you select a primary actor?


What are the facts of the primary problem?

What is the context?

Testing for right vs wrong

The legal test

The professional standard test

Gut feeling test

Front page test

Role model test

When two values come into conflict right vs right

On one hand it is eight times if x because… on the other hand, it is right to do y because….

Value Paradigms

Truth vs loyalty

Individual vs community

Short term vs long term

Justice vs mercy


As always, a very full day. The imagery often used is “drinking from a fire hose”. So much thinking and I am so impressed with how responsive and respectful my table team has been working with each other. And we even won the first “game” because if the competition is real…we can be competitive!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 188 (of 187) based on a true story

Day 188 (of 187) based on a true story

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment