Why Joy Matters

A month ago, I participated in a unique and powerful event called Unplugd. I’ve posted bits about it and will likely refer to it often in the future as it offered some outstanding experiences that have a direct impact on how we learn and how we do school. The product we created was a book on What Matters Now. We’re releasing each chapter a week at a time in order to give people a chance to digest the content. The first three chapters have already been released. The essays are quite compelling along with the video stories.

This week, the chapter I was involved in developing is now available. The process of writing these essays is a powerful story of collaboration, feedback and assessment for learning. I’ll share more about that in the future but I will tell you it was a great model for collaboration.

For now, here’s my small contribution entitled Why Joy Matters.


Today, more than ever our students often experience of a lifetime of heartbreak, disasters and disappointments before they even arrive at school. When school could be the best part of their day, it’s simply another negative experience. I wonder if we

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Thinking about Stuff

Perhaps my greatest accomplishment this summer is that I did a lot of nothing. My July was unusually quiet, void of the summer gigs at conferences that have kept me in presenter and work mode. Outside of my PLP commitments, I played a lot of golf and took the odd nap, read a little, wrote very little and hung out with family and friends. I needed that. 

In the early part of the month I took part in an unique event called Unplugd. As part of the organizing committee, it was a year long process that finally came to fruition over the long weekend. For me it was a bit odd as I went from doing nothing to being placed with some pretty incredible and passionate folks ready to work, share, think and play. As soon as the event ended, I went right back into vacation mode and had little time to really reflect. I'm not even sure I'm ready yet. There was and is much to process. Many have already written some great personal reflections

As I prepare to begin a new year I'm also going to be presenting at the ABEL Summer Institute. I playing Read the rest

Writing: Are we Teaching it Wrong?

For this school year, I've been asked to support teachers in the writing portion of the English Language Arts Curriculum. I'm not a writing teacher by speciality but I'm a writer and a teacher so that's start. 

As I scan the list of concepts and issues I've been asked to support, I continue to wonder about the relevance of these ideas for today's students:

·         Writing benchmarks
·         Writing process
·         6 + 1 Traits of Writing
The assumption for 90% of teachers and parents is that writing is about text and text is usually linear. I don't very much that many of the understand the ideas here:

These questions envelope my thinking around writing:

  • How much of past practices and instruction about writing continue to remain relevant?
  • Can we teach writing in isolation?
  • Does writing need to be authentic? Is writing an essay for your teacher authentic? Can we do better?
  • Does it work to teach writing without a firm understanding of what it means to write for screens?

Will's latest post in particular raises many questions.

I've no doubt the much of the … Read the rest