How Are You An Artist?

Lyn Hilt is a school administrator I enjoy following for her thoughtfulness and creative thinking. In her recent post “Be An Artist”, she refers to Seth Godin’s book Linchpin. Godin talks about how people can be indispensable in their organizations by becoming artists and doing the emotional work they need to become linchpins. At first, I did not really see how I was being artistic in the work that I do as a school administrator. After all, let’s face it, the word “artist” doesn’t instantly come to mind when we think of “administrator”. But reading through the criteria that Hilt refers to in her post, I started to get it.  She says: Continue reading

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Reporting for Real Life

I had the opportunity to meet with some colleagues today to discuss revisions to our Division’s reporting of student achievement. There has been a great deal of rich discussion and creative thinking around ways to report that could potentially leverage teacher practice and improve student learning. At a pivotal point for me during the meeting, we examined a document recently put out by Alberta Education called Inspiring Action on Education (found at http://engage.education.alberta.ca). The document lists some key competencies for the 21st century learner. They are: Continue reading

Leaving it on the Field

Recently my grandmother passed away at the ripe old age of 92. Ninety-two is a long time to live, but it’s still a sad thing to watch someone’s life come to an end.  I have a lot of respect for my grandmother. I don’t ever recall her making a big deal about the fact that her first husband died from leukemia when my mom was ten years old, and that she was left to raise eight kids. Nor do I remember there being anything particularly emotional in the way she told me about the death of her little girl, Trudy. And she never seemed to think it was odd or unique that she outlived three husbands. These were just the cards she’d been dealt. Continue reading

Mistakes Are More Fun

A young man sits at his desk.  Furrowed brow, furious scratchings on paper, shoulders hunched, one hand gripping the desk. He struggles with the concept, working and reworking the ideas. Realization begins to creep across his face.  He follows the path.  He looks up.  Our eyes meet, and his hand shoots into the air.  We share a knowing smile. I nod, playing casual. The class waits, ready with either admiration or disgust, depending on where they are in the food chain. Continue reading

Homework For Learning

My mom life has recently begun to get a little more hectic since my son added school sports to his already demanding schedule of competitive soccer.  We have always advocated that he use his class time as efficiently as possible so that we don’t have to deal with the homework issue that often.  However, I do appreciate there are times when stuff needs to or should come home, and I’m delighted when I can engage with my children about their schoolwork.  After all, it’s what I do. I’m not much of a “milk and cookies” mom, or “playing with Barbies” mom, or (God help me) “arts and crafts” mom, but I am definitely a kick-butt “help with homework” mom. Continue reading

Fingers, Digits, and Baby Math

Whoever would have thought that being able to count would have been a survival advantage? Or that using our fingers to count would have implications for how our brain developed?  I’ve been reading How the Brain Learns Mathematics (David Sousa), and there are some interesting tidbits that support the recent changes in approach to how we teach math. Continue reading