Delight 3: Kaleb Rashad and his Icebreaker

This post was last updated on 6 months ago at 6 months ago

Part of the new series on delight.

Many people, including myself, have an aversion to the icebreaker. Too often it’s a somewhat disingenuous activity assuming that random people have a desire to connect with other strangers in a confined space when in reality they had no intention of doing anything other than listening to a presentation or at most working with people they already know.

You’ve probably been in that room where it’s just awkward. If you lean towards introversion, these experiences can be painful. If the speaker engages in a long setup of the activity, you either get up to use the restroom or pretend you have an urgent phone call and leave the room. (Confession, I’ve done both)

But when one of the goals of a meeting or gathering is to build community, then it can actually make sense and if done well provide purpose and context to the upcoming work or learning. At this point, it’s not an icebreaker but a learning activity.

I’m currently involved in coaching 4 school divisions in Virginia as a part of a larger initiative called VaLIN or … Read the rest

The Delight Project

This post was last updated on 5 months ago at 5 months ago

My journey as an educator and human has always been centred around joy, even when I didn’t realize it. The more I reflect, the easier it becomes to see. Admittedly in my early years of teaching, I didn’t seem to have the time to reflect both and articulate that I was always seeking joy. Joy was somewhat of the antithesis to the prevailing narrative of education which was and perhaps still is focused on achievement and results.  Joy is an afterthought in many instances.


So I wrote a book. I shared those ideas in presentations and talks. Occasionally I think, “Well, you’ve exhausted that topic, maybe focus on something else.” But then I remember it’s not a trend, it’s a life long pursuit that requires our attention and effort. It’s also one of those things I have to practice daily. I appreciate that I can’t avoid thinking about and working towards joy. I look at the things I read and notice that in some form or another they support that pursuit. 


One such book is Ross Gay’s Book of Delights. It’s one man’s quest to … Read the rest

The #deanies

deanie3

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

This post was last updated on July 26th, 2017 at 11:13 am

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 a 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 … Read the rest