Day 65 (of 186) Goodnight Lab

Day 65 (of 186) Goodnight Lab
As a thinking support for sundays #bcedchat on “where technology should live”, I am reminded of “Goodnight Moon”….so



Goodnight Lab

In the great green school

There was a modem

And a RGB monitor

And a picture of –

An Apple IIe saying Think Different

And there were three little students sitting on chairs

And two little projectors

And a pair of switches

And a little toy modem

And a new mouse

And a comb and a brush and a bowl left behind

And a quiet librarian who was supervising saying “hush”

Goodnight Lab

Goodnight modem

Goodnight Apple IIe saying Think Different

Goodnight switch

And the RGB screens

Goodnight mice

Goodnight things left behind

Goodnight nobody

And goodnight to the supervisor saying “hush”

Goodnight buzzing lights

Goodnight A/C air

Good night noises everywhere




Technology belongs in classrooms. Not in labs.

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Day 64 (of 186) a day of Wonder thanks to @RJPalacio

Day 64 (of 186) a day of Wonder thanks to @RJPalacio

The past few weeks has been a Wonder-ful “read aloud to class” time. I have some non-readers who really connected with the writing of R.J. Palacio @RJPalacio – who many of the students were suprised to learn that the authors first name is Raquel….

We wound up our “study” with a trip to the movie as our local theatre is community owned so they have been opening up for ‘morning matinees’ for schools and classes to bring their students down – because even if you haven’t read the book, there are a LOT of great takeaways from the movie.

I admit that I have a number of apathetic readers so it was very encouraging as we were reading to hear some of my most reluctant readers ask me to read “just one more part” was very difficult to say no to…. – the book and movie are broken down into points-of-view which help show that any one event can have many different perspectives and ways to see it (a key part in growing empathy)

My wife and oldest girl were very enthusiastic that there will be many scenes from the movie that will connect well with a lot of lessons that I do connected to the Friends for Life program and other self-regulation strategies. And after watching the movie, I have to agree – I loved the book and appreciate how the movie was made the way it was!

I especially appreciated the secondary characters. The main characters were good, but the secondary characters felt pretty perfect to me – tough to do with child actors! My class really enjoyed the movie – and we had a neat discussion about what was left out, what was missed and an undecided question: if a person could only read the book OR watch the movie….which should they do?

And we ended the day in our school library where our librarian did a story time read of “We are all Wonders” – a picture book also by RJ Palacio – because the experiences of Auggie are universal and should be accessed by readers of all ages – don’t judge a book by it’s cover and don’t judge a person by their face!

Love the message. Love the interpretation of the book. Love the book/movie comparison! And really looking forward to seeing where this story leads our classroom community!

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Day 63 (of 186) on the first day of Christmas….

Day 63 (of 186) on the first day of Christmas….


Tis the season of many UPS and FedEx and Canada Post and other delivery trucks popping around the neighbourhoods. And while expecting a few packages to rewrap, I’ll admit to being happy to receive an early birthday/christmas present (those of us with December birthdays become accustomed to blended presents…)


But this time, from a location I had not placed an order from….Crowin Press – where about a year ago I was contacted by an education hero of mine, The Grade Doctor Ken O’Connor asking if I would write a little something for the 4th edition of How To Grade For Learning…. and as a fanboy who was heavily inspired by both HTGFL and A Repair Kit for Grading on my own shift away from report cards and towards eportfolios (as I continue to mouth off: we are trying to get report cards to do something that they are not meant/designed/able to authentically do what we want it to do – be descriptive)

15 Fixes copy

15 fixes.png


So I’ll admit to being a little giddy when putting some of the work I’ve been doing into words that might actually be seen by a few more people than normally read my words 😉


But it was a great challenge – especially as an introduction into the world of “big league publication – and editing…. because a few people are challenging me a bit more regularly to put some of my thoughts together for a longer read…. and I’m starting to feel a bit more confident to undertake this risk….


Especially when on this ‘first day of christmas’ I was able to open a package that had a book that had some of my writing in it….

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 8.14.52 PM.png


Might be one of the better envelopes that I open this month….!

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Day 62 (of 186) #hourofcode with thanks to @hadip 

Day 62 (of 186) #hourofcode with thanks to @hadip

Today as we were going over our daily schedule one of my boys started a dreaded statement “what? #hourofcode this afternoon…” his statements like this usually end with “that sucks” or “I hate that” or “omg” etc. So my ears were surprised when he finished with “that sounds fun!”

I don’t just do an hour of code on the first week of December – though a few years ago that was when I was doing library work and trying to normalize coding “games” in my daily practice – but since then coding has become a normal part of practice – but I still highlight “coding week” to support and encourage others.

But CUEBC has been amazing – the class has benefitted tremendously from using iPads and spheres to differentiate coding:

from remote control drones

to simple codes

to complex codes

(and talking and thinking about earning ‘badges’ as they ‘level up).

I love emphasizing the “coding mindset

  • we are going to get frustrated (but not stay frustrated)
  • when we don’t know what to do, we will do something (not the same thing again and again)
  • we can build on the work of others (‘research’ is just a fancy way of looking over shoulders and stealing what somebody else is already doing)
  • we can support each other as a community (if I know something, I will share and teach it because that’s the right thing to do – white hats)


And to help my class, they get to choose some different ones on my virtual assignments page or go to

On my site the following coding challenges can be found (as a way for my colleagues on-staff to give them a try)


Starting simply:

Coding Tree Light Up:

(I’ve used this as a start to a ‘class record’ mini-competition – last year i had a grade 2 girl complete the light-up in under a minute….beat all the grade 8s who thought they were unbeatable – so far our fastest is 578)


A tad more challenging:

Google’s Logo Challenge:



and of course for the most diverse collection of coding options: for the full meal deal!!


I appreciate that coding has so many different entry and exit points. It allows visual learners to be visual while still enabling tactile learners to be involved and linear thinkers to think linearly.


It is truly fantastic how Hadi Partovi has turned a little concept – an hour of code – into a huge mind shift change. So if you’re nervous about what coding is all about (and I have done coding centers that don’t even need electricity….because it’s about the mindset more than the screens) give it a try – has a huge range of activities to engage students into authentic coding experiences….and it’s just for an hour! (to start……bwah ha ha ha) and it’s making Gary Larson’s comic a little more real…


Image result for gary larson far side parents hope

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Day 61 (of 186) night events

Day 61 (of 186) night events

I confess: I like night time events at schools. Tonight was our “way too early winter concert” (schools rotate the final four weeks of the calendar year in order to share chairs and staging – and this year we are week one)

But it’s neat seeing kids dress up and combing their hair, or dying it, to be extra daring. And the night time in a school is different.

The lighting is just a bit off

There seems to be extra echos

It’s tempting to run everywhere

Do the rules even really apply?

But then in winter….

Are the roads safe?

With so many cars parking, are pedestrians going to be seen?

Are morning easier for families than evenings? (especially with karate and soccer and hockey and so many more events going year round AND trying to coordinate their own winter celebrations/calendar windups. Part of me likes a breakfast concert to keep the nights flexible….


Showtime is extra challenging. It’s one thing to be up on a stage with nobody else in the gym. It’s tricker when there are people sitting in real chairs. It’s harder still when chairs are full and more people are standing around the edges….


Third chances? (I was thrilled when our music teacher gave some challenging students an opportunity to join the performance even though they decided not to awhile ago – easy to say no, harder to take a chance) additional: after this experience they had their best music class of the year!

And for my anxious kids – they did great. Sure their dancing was supposed to last a bit longer before they ran off the stage, but who wants to be last out of the gym??

And while day concerts are safer, there is something neat about bundling up and slipping & searching for where cars were parked as a family!

It’s always one night that can leave a lot of memories!

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Day 60 (of 186) December Disruption

Day 60 (of 186) December Disruption

I had to do it…..I was just too tempted.

I stole some classes today and had my class do a little December bonus tech art with them. I have an old app on my old MacBook Pro called Santa Snaps. It let’s us take pics and add on some themes to make us look like a Santa. Or an elf. Or a nutcracker or reindeer. Even a present for those who don’t celebrate some December holidays….we aim to be inclusive!

I know some of the teachers weren’t expecting me to steal their class, but I could sense that a “bonus break” might be needed (even if it wasn’t wanted). And I have to admit I was able to be proud and see my class shine as they helped create picture frames while the photos got printed off.

We embraced chaos and thrived! I love it when a plan comes together. The kids were willing to make a change to the day plan and collaborate and cooperate and work with a variety of other classes while everyone did some final prep for our winter play.

And it was neat seeing a decade-old program still making kids and adults smile! Sometimes we need to remember to have fun and smile! After all – December is the best month! It has my birthday and a few other things as well (so I’ve heard…!😜)

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Day 59 (of 186) december eve

Day 59 (of 186) december eve


I love December – especially as a december baby who was NOT held back a year….yet knowing others who (may have) benefitted from starting a tad later – continuing the ongoing debate about whether it is good or  bad to delay entry into school….my bias: if you think they’re ready….start them!


Anyways, I appreciate December for Winter Concerts – the evolution of Christmas Concerts to be more inclusive of the many different events that are celebrated between the start of winter and the new year. I love seeing the mix of presentations from various schools – from the over-the-top wonders of a Grinch play including a slide for the sled to go down Mt Crumpit to the simplicity of songs with candles and everything in between.


Even the “report card” season has been easier as I’ve been using eportoflios – more of a “check-in” on ongoing descriptive feedback loops as opposed to an assessment of tasks – but with some specific comments and connections to the “new” competencies that are important components of BCs Curriculum. Though my oldest is dreading some of the pre-winter-holiday exams that some hope to fit in before people take off on family vacations.



I know my wife likes that I act like a big kid this time of year – the blending of birthday and christmas has always been tricky, but my parents (and now my wife and kids) have always done a great job acknowledging both and not treating them as “one” event (I have  a friend whose birthday is a day away from christmas and that was a bit trickier….) but I always like how this time of year helps encourage family and friends to get together





I’m also aware of how stressful this time of year can be. The quest for ‘the right gift’ still reminds me of the quest for the cabbage patch kids that impacted my sisters wish list – though we avoided the tickle-me-elmo craze! And that “perfect present pressure” isn’t the only stress…..being away from school for a couple of weeks doesn’t make re-entry any easier for many learners – consistency is a good thing and a break from school is like a break from meds – it may seem sound in theory but the practice makes it harder on the kids. And the worries: where will people sleep as they visit? Will there be weird food? What if……well, the blanks are endless…..


And as the grinch pointed out: the noise noise noise noise! the disruptions because of late nights and parties and get togethers and travelling make it a very busy time of year.


SO….as I advise/remind myself regularly: when kids (or in this case events) escalate, I gotta get low. So when the chaos of concert rehearsals is going on – I am planning some calm days with a lot of flexibility….and introducing a variety of self-regulation strategies via our Friends For Life program


As a long December looms (concert on the 4th, last day on the 22nd) we are planning some projects to keep us engaged in the learning process (with some commercials being planned, some on-going design thinking projects, some readers theatre) while having some flexibility for when things seem chaotic (knowing that everyones perspective of calm vs chaos ebbs and flows at different rates).  I hope to model a calm learning environment and relying on inspiration from my #PLN and some self-care strategies of my own (walking and reading has been very helpful lately).



Ahh December. Perhaps some snow….definitely some music….hopefully a lot of fun….especially since the CP Holiday Train arrives in our town on my Birthday – nicely planned, especially with Great Big Sea’s Alan Doyle performing after dinner!

But I’m still going to start the month with a well-earned “reward” coffee to kick the month off…..just in case!

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