The #deanies

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What are the #deanies? Simple. They are a prestigious award designed to recognize the very best in education. Or maybe not.

As with much of my goofiness on twitter, this started on an impulse. I’m not 100% sure what triggered it but I think I was reading my stream and someone posting about an award they won. There is lots of controversy out there about the need and purpose of awards. Frankly, I’m not that invested in the conversation. However, I think, for the most part, they don’t mean a lot other than someone thinks you deserve some recognition, which is a good thing. But the reality is, most awards are given by small groups of people with little or no authority. Again, that’s not a big deal but then I wondered, what’s stopping me from giving out awards? And the first #deanie was born.

Since then, I’ve given out more than 100 #deanies. You can view them here or here or even here (be sure to filter by twitter). My criteria follow strict guidelines of whim … Read the rest

An Oscar Type Moment

During any talk or presentation I give I make sure that people can reach out to me to share a story, ask a question and even challenge me. I value the ways in which we don’t need to let a one time presentation but a one time presentation.

Recently, someone shared a great story and I thought I’d pass it along here. It’s a story about gratitude, joy and storytelling, three of my favourite things

I was a PETE&C this year where you were the keynote speaker.  I just wanted to let you know that Joy still exists, at least in my school.

This is one way I used technology in my classroom.  Not a lot of teachers would voluntarily video tape their lesson and post them on YouTube. However the good news is that when Google needed an example of someone teaching a technique for a commercial they were going to air during the Oscars, they scoured the internet and found my classroom.

The following is the email I sent to my friends, and attached is the press release the school sent out.

 As I was watching the Academy Awards last night and was sitting through the long acceptance Read the rest

How to Start Changing Culture Today

I realize how simplistic this sounds and also that many will read this and nod their head and feel like either they already do this or it’s perhaps a nice, but not necessary component, but I can tell you that in general schools and districts generally suck at this: Gratitude.

I’ve been working for Discovery Education for 2 years and am still taken a back at the frequency and sincerity at which people say thank you. I don’t know where it’s written anywhere but it’s a company that demonstrates and values gratitude. Almost every meeting, phone call or email includes some type of thanks for someone who simply did their job. It’s never done simply as a courtesy but it’s very specific and intended to be shared with others to help us see how various team members contribute to our success. Working with people all over the continent, we often have no idea what great work people are doing and we work hard to make sure that good work gets noticed and gratitude is given. I cannot say enough about the value of this trait in the culture of this company.

I think there are a couple of reasons schools … Read the rest

Whatever Happened to Joy? or A Culture of Joy: Part 2

In May I was fortunate to be able to speak at TEDxWestVanEd. Some outstanding talks that I’d encourage you to peruse for yourself. If you’ve never been to a TEDx event, I highly recommend. Knowing how long it takes to craft a 15 minute talk, you know folks are giving you the good stuff.

It’s probably pretty apparent if you follow my work at all you’ll see that a theme of joy is emerging. It was the unplugged event in 2011 that clarified this for me. It’s a message that definitely resonates with many educators who devote so much of their lives to helping children, only to be told in subtle and not so subtle ways that joy is only important if tied to achievement. Baloney.

That’s essentially the the message here. As always I borrow heavily from my network. Kudos to :

Also thanks to the great support of folks that came out that day. I always feel a lot of love from the great crew from Surrey who did an obligatory jumping photo with me.

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 … Read the rest

I have the best job

Cross posted on The DEN blogs

The other day I was in the middle one of my regular google hangouts with my teammates and my wife happened to be home over hearing the conversation. “I hate you”, she said in jest. “All your calls include lots of laughing, lots of encouragement and a bunch of new cool things you’re doing.” Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

Fast forward to today where I’m in Surrey, BC, a suburb of Vancouver where I’ve spent the day working in various capacities with staff and students. This morning I was able to spend an hour at Fraser Heights Secondary School where I’ve been before. Sheila Morrisette, the principal, invited me to share an hour during lunch so I had the chance to work with 25+ staff exploring the notion of creativity and how we can begin to work our creative muscle using tools like the Daily Create and PechaFlickr. Nothing earth shattering but hopefully some useful ideas for folks to add some opportunities for students to think about and do more creative things. It’s always fun to spend a few minutes with folks actually doing stuff instead of just listening to … Read the rest