Joy and Love

This past week was Discovery Education‘s annual summer institute affectionately known as DENSI. 150 educators from all over the world spend 5 days together at what really can’t be described as a conference or professional development. It’s something different. The affection I feel for the people I just spent the last number of days with is hard to articulate. Just watching people learn and play and laugh is intoxicating. It’s particularly amazing to see folks from other countries cross-cultural barriers to simply connect as educators and humans.

The theme for this year’s event was joy. In education words like “joy” and “love” are often reluctantly used. We have historically left those ideas for other institutions to manage. Learning can happen without them but when you include them, the idea of “community” takes on a whole new meaning and learning goes to another level.

Yesterday for our final celebration event folks came dressed in whatever outfit/costume brought them joy. A group of community members decided to dress in colored pants and a Canadian t-shirt as a tribute to me. I was humbled and slightly embarrassed at this gesture. Sheila organized it all and represents the quality of people in … Read the rest

Do We Have to Draw it That Way?

My wife teaches grade 2 and has all her students choose their own theme day. She spreads these days our throughout the year. Earlier this month one student chose Legos to be the theme. My wife had her students draw themselves as Lego characters. She had them use this image as a pattern.

As her students started to work, some of the girls asked if they had to draw it that way. My wife wasn’t sure what they were asking but soon some of the boys completed their drawings and she understood their question better.

There’s a lesson in here somewhere, just not sure what it is.


On a side note, this post was prompted in a weird way by my friend Steve‘s return to blogging. Steve was one of the very first blogs I followed back over a decade ago. Back then, educational blogging seemed more niche. People wrote about new tools and apps and conferences. I have to admit, I soon began to see these kinds of posts as less important. I tended to gravitate more towards posts that appeared to have more depth. Knowing Steve as well as I do and having the privilege of working with … Read the rest

How to Become a Brand. Or Not.

Becoming a brand takes intention and thought. It is by definition a marketing approach. In our current era, this is not exclusively for products and organizations but individuals. Educators, specifically are often encouraged to “build their personal brand“. I’ve seen others, incorporate strategies that have led them to successfully creating a brand. Let me share a few things that may help you to build your personal brand.

  1. The majority of your tweets should be links to other sites. A tweet without one has no value. Bonus if you auto-tweet them all day long. Make your brand 24/7.
  2. Never post personal content. No one wants to hear about your naps or golf game or shopping excursions with your wife. The more you tweet about yourself as a human being, the more your brand loses its focus. People use twitter for information, not your silly natterings.
  3. Blog like an expert. Your blog posts should be stand-alone artifacts of authority. Questioning your practice or showing ambivalence makes you look weak. Write as if you’re the smartest person in the room.
  4. Never engage in conversation on twitter. When people question you or reach out to you, ignore them. It’s a time and energy suck. Spend your
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Happy Birthday George, Sorry I Suck

If you don’t already know, I’m one of the Couroski brothers. I have socks to prove it.


(I’m guessing the reason that Alec is huge and George is tiny in the image is because Alec likely paid for them and George never reimbursed him)

Alec and George have been a big part of my learning for several years. Alec got me started teaching at the University and we’ve presented together many times virtually and in person. When Alec turned 40, I organized a little video with 75 of his friends to have some fun and celebrate his life.

Alec also conspired with Diana Williams to create my epic 50th #socks4dean birthday.

Over the last couple of years, George has been asking for his video.

I should have really made him one but between my laziness and lack of inspiration, it never happened. Fortunately, I have women in my life who remind me of stuff. Michelle Baldwin let me know that we missed George’s 40th last year and that perhaps some of us should step up. Michelle … Read the rest

2015: My Year in Numbers

20 years ago, we would have a New Year’s Eve party and send our kids to their bedrooms to sleep and be quiet while the adults partied. This year, my kids had parties and asked us to go to our bedrooms and be quiet. Circle of life? Not sure, but it did give me time to make this.

This is my 4th year doing this. Starting in 2012 continuing in 2013 and 2014, it’s something I can put together in an evening. It’s equal parts reflection and creativity. Maybe that’s what data should be. I don’t know. Anyway, without further ado.

2015 Year in Numbers from shareski on Vimeo.… Read the rest