Joe’s Videos

It’s hard not to like Joe Sanfelippo. Despite his annoying habit of posting the Packer logo after they win, he’s a good man, doing good work. He also uses video in a pretty unique way. As part of a workshop I was doing with some local administrators, I wanted to share Joe’s approach and thinking around how and why he uses this content. I was intending to have him share during our live session but he wasn’t able to make that time so he graciously agreed to sit down with me via Zoom for a quick chat. Here’s the edited version of our conversation.

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Delight 22: Peyton and Eli

Football is the only sport where I’ll watch any game even if my team isn’t playing. I’ve been a big fan of Monday Night Football since the 70’s when I discovered it as a kid. The production value, the fact that it was on during primetime and the announcers made it must see TV for me. Over the years MNF has lost much of its lustre and even now, Sunday Night Football is generally seen as the main event for NFL fans.

So while I don’t make MNF must see TV, unless it’s a particularly engaging matchup, I’ll watch. This week was the first Monday night game and I didn’t even bother to record it. I checked the score and since it was somewhat close I thought I’d watch the last quarter. It was being shown on 3 different TSN channels which gets the ESPN feeds. I assumed they were all the same but realized they weren’t. There was the standard broadcast but there was also an alternative that featured Peyton and Eli Manning, watching remotely and Russell Wilson was joining them. It took me a few minutes to realize this was not a insert from the main feed but … Read the rest

Understanding How Communities Work

Having held the title of “Community Manager” and been directly involved in this work for a decade, you’d think I’d know more about the topic. The truth is I’ve been searching for a framework, structure or maybe a magic bullet the whole time. By many accounts and metrics, I’ve had success in this role. I can think of all the events, relationships and connections that I’ve made and fostered and feel pretty good. And yet, I still struggle with how to articulate what community really is and how it can be created, designed and how to grow and nurture it.

I suppose it’s much like teaching. Yes, there are many frameworks and strategies that can be useful ways to think about teaching but the reality is, teaching in schools is really about connecting with humans and that is something that comes with uncertainty and variables that are very difficult to control.

My current role with ALP includes a continued pursuit of building and creating community. It’s always a challenge to explain this to those inside the education world, let alone those outside it. I continually reflect on things that have worked for me and others. When I engage others in … Read the rest

Delight 19: Data

I can’t believe I’m actually saying this but I do love data.

It shouldn’t really surprise me. As a kid, I fell in love with sports, particularly baseball because of statistics. Baseball is a sport that loves numbers and data. Well before cyber metrics came along, baseball fans followed home runs, batting averages, strikeouts, stolen bases and other individual races as much as they followed the pennant race. Same with football and hockey for me. I remember in grade 5 being asked my favourite book and I said “ Pro Football’s Street and Smith Official Yearbook 1975” Mrs. Cram was not impressed. I would memorize stats and could tell you Fran Tarkenton’s throwing percentage and Chuck Foreman’s yards per carry.

Fast forward to adulthood and teaching and data were equated to tests and other measures. While this practice of “data-driven” instruction was taking root, I intuitively felt at odds. Without having the language or research I knew teaching was a human experience and there was a danger in trying to quantify learning. The work of Alfie Kohn in particular started me on the path of de-emphasizing grades and data. This has remained a theme for me.

It was about … Read the rest

Delight 18: Grass

Not that kind of grass. Grass represents summer which as a Canadian is something I feel we savor more than those who have never or rarely experienced -40F/C temperatures.

Grass, for me was first associated with baseball. John Fogerty’s opening line of Centerfield says it well:

Well, a-beat the drum and hold the phone

The sun came out today

We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field

Baseball diamonds are special places. Even the word “diamond” adds a bit of delight to what is essential a pasture. I remember seeing major league ball parks where the groundskeeper would etch a logo into the outfield.

It’s totally unnecessary, superfluous and yet brings delight to those watching and playing. My love affair with grass shifted to golf courses. As I began playing more golf as a teenager, I also worked on a golf course and learned a little about growing grass, types of grasses and how to maintain them. I can tell you about Bent, Bermuda, Rye, Poa Annua, Kentucky bluegrass and various other strands. The experience of walking on these carpet-like surfaces is in itself delightful. The softness, the smoothness and the smell are all part of a visceral experience … Read the rest