Day 29 (of 187) inclusion matters – not just some of the time – thanks @mradamwelcome

Day 29 (of 187) inclusion matters – not just some of the time – thanks @mradamwelcome

Today started with a great tweet on my feed:

And as I blogged earlier ( ) I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about inclusion for my (new to me) students. But I appreciate the work people do to make the world more inclusive – for all learners.

And it was great to “hear” the enthusiasm and authentic excitement – even in a tweet…

Because I was so excited to see our staff enable a walk to our outdoor classroom for the entire class. And while he may not like getting wet, there was no rain and had a great hike.

I look forward to the time when we don’t need to celebrate these inclusion moments because all students will be able to have equal access and equal opportunities – whether blind or deaf, mute or screaming, sensitive to light or sensitive to dark. When we accept that we all have differences and that there are indeed times when the wants of many do not get chosen over the rights of the few – because indeed what we do for our most vulnerable learners matters – because the eyes of everyone is watching to see how we respond when school may become difficult for them….

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Every journey starts with a single step. Thank you to Adam for helping a person be able to take part in a marathon – much as our kindy was enabled to take a hike with his class to our outdoor learning space. Not because it’s a big deal, but because it’s what “we” do…..right?

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Day 28 (of 187) a “techno-minute” think about resources prior to our Sunday #bcedchat with @lisaread 7pm Oct 14

Day 28 (of 187) a “techno-minute” think about resources prior to our Sunday #bcedchat with @lisaread 7pm Oct 14

Lisa Reid is a bcerac expert and knows a lot about resources – including how there is no one “best” resource that fits all….

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Day 27 (of 187) a friendship innovation idea – tech infused of course….

Day 27 (of 187) a friendship innovation idea – tech infused of course….


We were invited to apply for some “Innovation Grants”….. during our IEPs, the worry about “friendships” came up again and again – and I reflected on some work we did with the Wii a few years ago…. using a tech device that encourages teamwork, competition and many other competencies (creative & critical thinking, communication, etc).  While it worked well with some specific students, it also surprisingly worked well in our parents room – especially good was the moms having a boxing tournament….



So this year, I thought maybe we could “level up” and try something with the newer nintendo system…


The Technology Innovation Grant is intended to help teachers find new ways to integrate new technology into their current teaching practices. Rather than focusing on hardware (laptops and ipads) this process is looking at innovation; application, software, activities, that could use some money to help get them off the ground. 


Please give a brief description of your project


Friendship and Collaboration for students who struggle with Communication

Teaching friendship skills, how to take turns, how to lose, how to respond to others emotions, how to make a choice as a pair/group. 

Using tech as a tool to help students work together while also developing a coding mindset (use to setbacks, extra lifes, collaborating, plotting, building off others successes & helping others succeed)



What curriculum will you cover with this project?


Core Competences are our focus, but also. Working on behaviours to help students learn skills (ie patience) to be more successful in classroom by focusing on skills in small partnerships. Communication, Personal Awareness and social responsibility while also unlocking and practicing critical and creative thinking in safe and stressful situations, but all under “gamification conditions”. 


How do you see this project being done in other classrooms?


This may be replicated as a Center-style approach; both in-class or in “alternate environments”. The device is small and discreet but still allows for multiple “players” to learn and practice skills needed to be successful in school. 


How will this project empower students?


This helps meet some of our vulnerable learners “where they are” – many of our learners use key skills while playing games – both face to face and virtually, but they can’t always see how that transfers into “real life”. By taking a “gamers mindset” we hope that we can have key friendship competencies modelled and practiced in an environment that they feel comfortable taking risks in. 


What are the costs of your project? Please break down into individual items (teacher replacement costs are not covered by this grant)


Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Lab x 3


LEGO World

Mario Cart




Would you be willing to work with another teacher if they wanted to give it a try?





And happily this grant has been accepted, so now I get to start working on gathering the supplies and making a list of who should be joining me on some “gamification” around self regulation and collaboration (aka friendship) skills!

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Day 26 (of 187) pushing my inclusive boundaries – thanks @tweetsomemoore

Day 26 (of 187) pushing my inclusive boundaries – thanks @tweetsomemoore

I got a great compliment the other day about my inclusive mindset. But today I had to overcome a fear. A worry that I wasn’t sure I could overcome to ensure I have inclusivity in my assembly. 


I like to do “month in review” videos. They help me pop into classrooms and have students share their learning. I use sampling’s from a variety of musicians and it’s usually well received and even sometimes magical (and why I can’t listen to Fireflies by Owl City….)



But today. Today I had a challenge. I have two brothers – grade three and kindergarten.  And they are blind. Not a little vision impairment – canes and clear hallways required. So I’ve been doing some thinking (and asking their mom for advise on my plan) to keep them included. How can a learner with a visual impairment take part in a video experience?



With Described Audio of course. 



So I had to put on my “radio voice” and narrate the collection of video clips that are on the iMovie file. And being self conscious I wanted to censure myself. To do many do-overs. But I had to get over that mindset. So I practiced by doing my Friday daily blog as a vlog. To push me out of my comfort zone. To meet my kids where they are. 



And as I was sharing this project with the brothers – on my laptop with an earphone splitter and “my” headphones (beats and monster because sound matters)….well, they weren’t sure how to take it….because it wasn’t the same as the others…..and he preferred to sit in the row with his classmates. He felt that the headphones were “too different” from everyone else…



Which is fine – because it is his choice – the same as everyone else. And the “described video” is ready when he is….



And our vision teacher came up to me after and reminded/informed me that the boys likely have not had much/any exposure to described video and that she will try again later. That she thought it was the right idea….so we will see where it goes….



A sample of what I put together (without images as per foipop) is here:


Any other thoughts/suggestions are also greatly appreciated! 

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Day 25 (of 187) the job isn’t what you think it is

Day 25 (of 187) the job isn’t what you think it is

Being a principal is complex. Sometimes I like to tease (as an opposite to the US Army slogan) that I get less done by 12 pm than most people do before coffee! I know it’s not exactly correct and is more likely I get less “Planned Work” done because there are always “Unexpectancies” that pop up!

So….Educational Leader! Yep – absolutely – or at least I try! But Education Leadership as a principal is more about activating and encouraging teachers to be leaders (the work I did on redefining report cards essentially “stopped” when I became a VP because I was no longer a teacher (even if I often teach as part of my assignment). It’s more prompting other leaders to see their own leadership. It’s slipping articles/videos/links to all – even if you only want “one or two” to see it. It’s about always having time for “one quick thing” even when you’re already running late.

It’s about solving problems – coming up with ways for everyone to retain a level of dignity even if they messed up. And as far as “discipline”, we’ll, I heard a great share this morning when an Education Assistant was trying to get a student to do her job…..

Do I have to go get Mr Landy? (and from across the room from one of my “regulars” started to yell/plead- no! get him for me! get him for me!) because she’s learned to enjoy one of my most powerful office tools: time

(Time to: listen, to think, to speculate, to plan, to guess, to make things right. And sometimes make things better – admittedly not always, but a batter who gets one hit out of three tries is on their way to Cooperstown!)

Mr Landy, someone squeezed my neck! (More to the story – over the weekend. More more – at home)


At least I’m not alone. I know my secretary feels similar (we each think the other is much more successful than we give ourselves credit for…)

My Learning Resource Teacher also talked about it – specifically how our jobs enable us to be fluid – allowing us to be responsive when necessary because now matter how proactive we feel we have been…..well….the start of a week (especially after a long weekend <— the arch nemesis of all mental wellness) can throw some curveballs – and as this years NY Yankees team can attest…sometimes they get away from you….

But the nice part of education is the Groundhog Day (movie) secret. We always have tomorrow to get better – even if it doesn’t always seem or feel like it!

So we will continue to hear that “teacher training didn’t prepare us for ____” and neither did any Masters program. Nor did many mentoring practicums or BCPVPA shortcourse (okay – that one probably did the best to help “prepare for the unexpected”). But teaching is messy. It’s both humbling and empowering – sometimes at the same time.

But it’s not the job you think it is. It is so much better!!

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Day 24 (of 187) if teaching was easy…. #worldteacherday

Day 24 (of 187) if teaching was easy…. #worldteacherday

after all….if teaching was easy, everyone would do it…!

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Day 23 (of 187) Adopt-A-School via @chaptersindigo and @indigolor

Day 23 (of 187) Adopt-A-School via @chaptersindigo and @indigolor

I’ve applied for the Adopt-A-School program before but never been selected. My love of literature is what led me to be a librarian and while in university to get a job with Chapters (third store in Canada but #1 in our hearts)

So I was thrilled to learn that the school I joined this year has been selected as an Adopted School!

I’ll admit the stores management team has been fabulous – they’ve spent time in our school – volunteering, checking out our library… cleaning the fish tank. Literally a dream team!

And helping us raise $ for new books for our library. I always start the budget for libraries at $5/student (and usually cheat and go above that).

So yes – I am “that guy” who loves seeing the “have you read these 100 books” lists because almost all of them get a check mark from me. For instance:

So I love it when I see kids find a love for reading. I’m also good with different formats of reading. I don’t like books on mp3 as much because I am often driving but often reading sparks an idea I want to get down- not a good idea while driving. I also use podcasts to fall asleep and when I’ve used an audiobook sometimes I’ve fallen asleep and lost my place. I do like ebooks – in a sense because I can have a couple books “on the go” and with me without taking up much space.

But I do love “real” books. The smell of bookstores. The sight of stacks of books. I may have gotten rid of a lot of my library during my last two moves, but I still have a good collection. I love that my oldest devours books about as fast as I do! I have learned from my youngest that sometimes books being read aloud are better when kids can follow along with a text (when I read Wonder our loud I found my class last year did appreciate having some text to read on the overhead screen…)

And as a librarian, I know that the library can be the heart of the school but with library programs frequently being the first area to be “downsized” it can be tricky to have a robust library. I’ve seen some shelves that are so sparse it makes me sad. I’ve loved seeing some spaces that expand to include graphic novels (I know my comic collection helped me become an avid reader) and people like Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp help me identify some of the best new books to read in school! And even promote the idea that picture books can be enjoyed by kids in all grade levels!

I love that my kids love visiting book stores … even if they get distracted by the non-book items….much like the scholastic book fairs that come to schools – there are books but sometimes the bookmarks pencils etc can be more enticing!

But I have many fond memories hanging around bookstores – both used and new! – my dad was a book aficionado so our family’s love of books in all shapes sizes….and formats…is generational (even though my grandparents weren’t big readers till later in their lives….schooling K-12 for all is still a relatively new concept)

I appreciate that Chapters Indigo wants to help support our readers and libraries because the more kids get hooked on reading, the more books get sold and the more writers who will get published….and tour at schools to further connect kids with stories!

So thank you to ChaptersIndigo for adopting our school and for the final days push to get as much love for our school as we can!!

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