Delight 14: Learning to Love Winter

As a kid growing up in Canada, winter was never seen as something negative. Probably a little nostalgia I’m sure but winter as a kid was all about snowball fights and hockey. For me mostly hockey. While I played organized hockey since I was 8, some of my greatest memories were skating in my backyard rink and playing pickup games with the kids from the neighbourhood.

I stopped playing hockey when I was 35. That was about the same time I began to travel in the winter for work. For the past 20 or so years, I’ve been able to go south for a least a week. More recently I probably spend at least 6 weeks escaping winter much of that with my Dad who wintered in Florida. I developed a theory that your tolerance for cold coincided with your age. For example when your 50, you get cold with any temperature under 50 F. My Dad who is now 88, keeps his apartment at that temperature. Once happy to be outside in winter, I now would regularly vocalize my distain for the season.

There are many things I don’t like about this pandemic but we are pretty blessed. I … Read the rest

Why Am I Still Using Social Media?

This post was last updated on 7 months ago at 7 months ago

Since the inception of social media which emerged in and around 2005-07, it has gone from something as silly and useless to essential and powerful to dangerous and divisive. Perhaps all of those elements remain in some respects but certainly, the danger and divisiveness is the dominant narrative. If you’ve watched The Social Dilemma or done any other extensive reading, you’re quite aware of the harm it has and continues to cause our society. There isn’t a current issue that isn’t ripe for controversy, misinformation and vitriol. We’re overheating everywhere.

When I joined Twitter in 2007, it was definitely a silly and seemingly useless space. There were no such thing as followers, hashtags or mentions. As someone interested in the power of connectivity and networking, I found it to be a fantastic way to find interesting people. While some were already using it as a space to share serious and useful content, I just wanted to get to know others. As an educator is was a virtual staff room. A place where educators would come together to try and get away from the challenges of teaching but … Read the rest

Delight 13: Press Record

This post was last updated on 8 months ago at 8 months ago

This post is part of a series of posts I’m writing on delight.

I’m big PVR/DVR guy. I record sports, news, shows, you name it. I realize in an age of streaming, the PVR has become somewhat antiquated but it’s still a useful tool for me. Specifically for sports. Given the amount of sports I like to consume, without it, it would be both impossible given many events are on at the same time as well as incredibly time-consuming given the length of these games and events.

For example, I’ve developed some strategies that get me through an NFL game very quickly. My remote has a 30 second advance button. Given there are 40 seconds between plays, a quick press will have me with the teams at the line of scrimmage ready to execute the next play. Fast forwarding over all the commercials and I can see every play in just over an hour. I also watch a lot of golf. If I’m following a particular player, I’ll fast forward to see all their shots and if it’s a close tournament, may watch the last couple … Read the rest

Delight 12: Older Kids Playing with Younger Kids

I’m so grateful to be able to watch my granddaughter Harriet develop. I’ll freely admit that as a father of four, my recollection of my own kids’ childhood is fuzzy. Partly due to the passage of time and partly because all parents are focused on protection and providing that they can be less attentive to the joys of growing up.

We live in a neighbourhood with lots of young kids. Unlike many kids their age, they play outside and it seems to be a bit of a throwback to my Wonder Years. Not only that but they are kind and caring. So when Harriet comes to visit, we often walk around to see if any are playing outside. She’s watched them play before and had small interactions but today they invited her to play with them.

They let her tell them a story, played The Three Little Pigs, tag and taught her London Bridge. I stayed well back and watched. It was a delight. Not just how Harriet loved the attention but how the kids showed patience and creativity as they played.

One of my beliefs is that children should not be confined to learning and experiencing the world … Read the rest

Education’s Dysfunctional Relationship with Happiness

This post was last updated on 12 months ago at 12 months ago

If you asked parents “What is it that you want for your kids?” You’d have an overwhelmingly common response of: “I just want them to be happy?” While they may add other things like health, a job they love and good relationships, happiness would top that list and likely cover all those other things as well. So if happiness is what most parents want for their kids, why are schools so afraid to use the word or actually teach happiness?

Certainly there is a legacy that still believes that happiness, fun, play and joy are not compatible with all mighty goal of academic rigour. While most educators may not be this explicit in stating this, it remains an unspoken belief. Whenever children are laughing, having fun, playing its often seen as “childish”. We might tolerate it but we also might be quick to transition to more serious work. While I’m generalizing here, my guess is that you can place this in a specific context in your world. As Jal Mehta says:

People have a lot of false dichotomies in their heads, like either they learn the content

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