Delight 16: Coffee

I feel like that title is either going either attract those who are coffee aficionados or be completely ignored if you aren’t a coffee drinker. The truth is I think I’d like to be an aficionado but I’m not. I’m not quite like my Dad who has never had a bad cup of coffee in his life, but certainly not to the extent that many are. If my grandfather were alive today and was told that people buy bottled water when tap water is almost free and people spend over $5 for coffee that you can make for pennies in your home, he would be in shock. And while on the one hand that is somewhat absurd, most of us can appreciate that coffee, like wine and beer and other beverages are now things created and nurtured by artisans. So many of us take great pleasure in experiencing these drinks in a much more intense and intentional way.

Still, for me I’ve never been one to have a strong preference over any particular brand of coffee. My palette is really only able to distinguish strong and weak. Once in a while I’ll have a cup that I really like but … Read the rest

Delight 15: The #Deanie Awards

Starting in 2015, I decided to take time at the end of the year to celebrate my network. The randomness that I’ve always loved about Twitter is the chance encounters I’ve had both in-person and online but often stemming from a conversation on Twitter or just something that made me smile.

I have no real formula or criteria for doling these out. This year I tried to favourite tweets that caught my attention and used many of these in my celebrations. You’ll see some are very thoughtful and serious while others are pure frivolity and that’s kind of the point. I recall one of the reasons I started this was some conversation about the value of awards and how often it left people feeling left out or that it was some type of popularity contest. I’m not sure how much this award tries to be the antithesis of that but for me, it is about the delight I find in small interactions or gestures of others. When I think about these people, some of whom I know very well and others I’ve never met, I smile. They bring me delight.

I know these awards mean absolutely nothing. I still worry … Read the rest

Delight 3: Kaleb Rashad and his Icebreaker

This post was last updated on March 11th, 2020 at 11:10 pm

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 Virginia … Read the rest

The Delight Project

This post was last updated on May 6th, 2020 at 10:31 pm

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 document … 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