How did it go today?

Today I presented a brand new workshop called “Surprisingly Awesome”. I described it this way:

 Shakespeare, The War of 1812, the Pythagorean theory are just a sample of things we teach in schools that
for many aren’t very interesting. Yet there is something incredibly satisfying and ful lling when you can help students see the awesome and interesting things they originally dismiss. This session will explore some tools and strategies that can turn those kinds of topics into learning that is surprisingly awesome. If you have a great strategy or approach that’s been effective in making something mundane become surprisingly awesome, bring that idea to share.

I blogged about that title and its origins a while back. For those of you who are classroom teachers, you get to try out new things every day. I don’t have that luxury so I’m super excited to be able to test out new ideas and concepts from time to time.

Today was one such day.


I was careful to alert folks that this session had a high probability of failure. Click To Tweet I also warned them that they would be working together and that their feedback about the session would be critical. … Read the rest

Insight and Inspiration 

There are some people that inspire me and some people that make me think. Sometimes they are the same person. Sometimes they aren’t. I see the act of inspiring people different from being insightful.

People that inspire me are those who display extraordinary determination or will to overcome challenges. Sometimes they are people who have shown a consistent character over time.

My Dad inspires me. He’s been an example to me for my whole life. His legacy speaks for itself. His faith and approach to life are honorable, to say the least.

 

 

 

 

My wife inspires me. She’s not only a fantastic mother and wife and educator but knowing some of her recent health challenges, makes what does even more impressive.

 

 

 

Lance Rougeux inspires me. I’ve worked for Lance for 5 years. He’s the best leader I’ve ever seen.  He constantly filters out the things that don’t concern his team. He’s never too busy for anyone and is the first to share gratitude. His goal is to make everyone’s job easier. He’s had to deal a lot but never complains.

People I find insightful are those that are typically well read and also are … Read the rest

When Beauty Leads to Empathy

I’ve been blessed to speak to a variety of audiences and events around the world. But in September it was my great privilege to speak alongside my youngest daughter to a TEDx audiences in West Vancouver.

Having spoken in West Vancouver a few years ago, I was asked to return. A few weeks before my invitation, Martha, who was in grade 12 mentioned that one day she would love to give a TED talk. So I asked Craig Cantlie if he might be willing to take a chance and have Martha and I speak together. Craig listened to our proposal for a talk which was really a thread of an idea and decided to take a chance.

This talk is based on Martha’s passion around feminism. She has taught me a great deal and I tried to take her learning and mine and put it in a broader context. Our process of collaboration began with her writing what she wanted to say. I then tried to compliment her story as best I could.

Given the events of the past few weeks, I think the talk offers much to ponder. My personal passion for civil discourse and a focus … Read the rest

Yesterday, I Wasn’t My Best

First of all, I’m fully aware I have one of, if not the, best job in the world.  Most days I acknowledge this fact and work passionately to fulfill our goal to build and foster community. But occasionally, like all of us, I have a day or moment when I don’t give my best.

As part of Discovery Education’s Summer Institute, we host a unique event for principals. What a great group of enthusiastic leaders who are give up 3 days of their summer to further their learning. Yesterday I gave a presentation I had done once before called “No More Boring Presentations”. While I don’t think it was boring, I also don’t think it was very good. It certainly wasn’t my best. The first time I gave it, it was for a different audience. Instead of taking the time to rework the content for a different audience, I tried to adapt on the fly. I ended up with a disjointed session with hopefully a few takeaways but a largely unsatisfying experience. In short, I sucked.

People are too kind. This image was created during my session and I’m guessing many walked away with an idea or … Read the rest

Critical Literacy


In case you missed it, Discovery Education offered a free virtual conference in October that centered around Kathy Schrock’s 13 Literacies for the digital age. Unique presenters all shared in 30 minutes or less many perspectives on these various literacies. All of them have been archived and edited so they are great for review and sharing at staff meetings or PD events.

I closed the event with a presentation on critical literacy. There were some new elements I had to explore and had a great time putting together this talk. My colleague and friend Steve Dembo did some fancy editing to remove the 10 minute debacle that took place as I lost sound to my computer and had to transfer my slides to another machine. All in all, it worked out and here’s the presentation if you care to watch.

Critical Literacy, featuring Dean Shareski from Discovery Education on Vimeo.… Read the rest