Category Archives: General


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I’m a day late.

But I likely wouldn’t have joined at all if today wasn’t a snow day. Yes, it’s April 4th and there’s a blizzard out there. Wanna see?


The blizzard is also responsible for my project choice: #ruralroutegardensdailyvideo. Because I just happened on #the100dayproject, I needed an idea in a hurry. And because I haven’t allowed myself any planning time, I needed to choose an idea that is eminently doable. As I gazed out over the thick blanket of snow covering the gardens this morning (just yesterday almost snow-free) my hopes for an early start to the season disappeared, but the idea to film one part of the garden for 100 days sprung to life.

I love my gardens. I love that I designed and built them. I love watching them grow and change from day-to-day.

For #the100dayproject, I won’t be capturing random photos of my garden because I am taking to heart the advice of Elle Luna and Lindsay Jean Thomson, facilitators of #the100dayproject, who strongly suggest setting some constraints on the project. Here then are the criteria:

  • Action—> video a day
  • Location—> front garden
  • Type of shot—> pan left to right for 30 secs
  • Time—> random
  • Tools—> Pixel 2 phone, no filters

And here is the first video:


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#onewordOnt Introduction

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Why take on the #oneword challenge?

There are many reasons why one would take on this challenge, but for most, it comes down to focus and intentionality. Having one word through which to “see” your practice, to guide your work, and to reflect on your professional learning gives you a chance to be really intentional about your professional growth. Having one word to concentrate on allows you the time to delve into the nuances of the word, to look at it from various angles, to hold it close and then to view it from a distance. Having one word gives you the chance to be shaped by it.

Scroll through our Twitter hashtag #onewordOnt to read the vibrant and supportive conversation in this community.


Read a few of the #onewordOnt 2016 posts.

Sue Dunlop

Aviva Dunsiger

Donna Fry

Diana Maliszewski

Heather Theijsmeijer

Tina Zita

Julie Balen

Then consider what your word of the year will be.

Join us by tweeting out your word to #onewordOnt.

You can also write a post where you can make your thinking about the word visible. Remember to share your post to #onewordOnt, too!!

There is no deadline. But, all of the words shared to #onewordOnt by January 20th will be collected into a word cloud!!


Finally, to ensure that I don’t miss your word, please check this document before January 20th.  If your word is missing, let me know via Twitter or in the comments below.

I am so eager to see our 2018 list!

Context:The #OneWordONT project began in 2015 with #OSSEMOOC (Ontario School and System Leaders Edtech MOOC – OSAPAC’s community of leaders learning how technology can change practice in education). By 2017, the Ontario Ministry of Education cut funding for OSSEMOOC, but I decided to continue the project since I believe that it helps build community and it offers a personal, non-threatening entry point to Twitter specifically and to a PLN generally. 


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Poplar trees and tablets. Thinking about engagement.

When my family gets together there is always at least one project on the agenda. From building furniture to changing the brakes on a car, the kids come home to do their ‘making’. “It’s great to do projects here”, they say. “The space, tools and materials are all at hand!”

We don’t mind. The kids, all in their 20’s, are ready to learn from us. They now want to know about buying tires, making jam, and planting trees. 

Last week, on December 24th actually, the project was to take down an old poplar in the back of the property. Tricky business taking down a 60 foot tree.


But this kind of project is exactly the type that gets everyone ramped-up. There are calculations to be done, and re-done, and theories regarding the falling tree’s trajectory to be hashed out (and then bet upon). Oh what fun!

My job is to document the process, and I did by snapping pics and posting them to the family Google hangout. 

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And then an unexpected message appeared.

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Last year for Christmas, I got my 85 year old father a tablet. Learning to use it has been a slow process. He doesn’t have a smart phone (yet), so everything is new for him. Each time he comes for a visit, he learns or relearns one thing. This fall he began to attend a class to learn more about how to use the tablet.

And he joined the family hangout.

This was always the goal. The family chat is lively with lots of pictures shared. It is one way we stay connected, and I knew that beyond appreciating the conversations, he too would be more connected to all of us. He never chatted with us though, preferring to ‘listen in’. 

Last week when my dad saw what we were doing, he was intensely jealous. He wanted to be there with us to be part of the excitement. In fact, he was so engaged in the event that he overcame his fear of texting, of doing something wrong, of looking silly in a public space, and he typed out his disappointment and admonishment.

How come major move happening without senior advisor?

This story is a terrific example of what engagement can look like at the various stages of learning. Clearly, my dad was motivated to learn how to use  the tablet. He persisted in his learning even though he didn’t always have a teacher. He sought out direct instruction and he practiced. As his confidence grew, he showed a willingness to join the hangout and then to participate in it.

Engaging our learners is not about entertaining them. It’s not about making things easier. It’s not about doing everything for them. It’s not about how much fun they’re having. Rather, student engagement is his or her intellectual commitment to learning. It is building the skills and knowledge needed to make that leap, conduct that inquiry, or create that project. It is the day to day, week to week, month to month learning that makes taking that risk possible. 

I’d love to hear your observations about learner engagement.

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Edcamp Manitoulin 2014 in the news

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The first edcamp for Manitoulin Island, Sudbury, and the North Shore took place on Saturday, May 10, 2014 at beautiful Red Lodge, on Lake Manitou. Nineteen participants from across Ontario and representing Public, Catholic, and First Nations School Boards invested their Saturday to learn professionally and diversify their ideas.

The day began with some opening “minds-on” activities by Jenn Chan and Colin Lacey of Exhibit Change ( a Toronto-based design-driven community engagement firm), and then participants built the day around the conversations they wanted to have. Caroline Black, teacher at Wasse-Abin High School in Wikwemikong connected with Andy Forgrave, middle school teacher from Belleville, Ontario, to co-host a conversation on how to inspire students’ curiosity and imagination, while another group of participants gathered to talk about strengthening the Professional Learning Community process. Other conversations included how to integrate the Arts in all subject areas, how to integrate technology in the teaching and learning process, and how to think about educational change.

Response to the day was overwhelmingly positive. Donna Fry, Ontario Education Officer, and former Manitoulin Island resident, commented that “The conversations were really rich.  I saw “aha” moments in peoples’ eyes. We all learned and shared and saw the power in that.”

Participants also made new connections that day. Jillian Ospina, from the Sudbury Catholic School Board, was glad she made the trip over to the Island. “I met some really fantastic people.  I really enjoyed hearing from others and sharing my experiences a supportive and non-judgmental environment.”

Connie Freeman, a grade 8 teacher at Lakeview School in M’Chigeeng, reflected on the fact that Edcamp Manitoulin Island crossed school districts and grade divisions, which was a unique experience for most edcampers. “It was a good networking opportunity and a chance to share with teachers from other locations and boards.”

Edcamps are one way educators can build their professional learning networks (PLN) and keep up with new ideas and educational practices. “You got the chance to interact with forward-thinking educators who all want to make a difference, which is very refreshing, “ explained Manitoulin Secondary teacher, Heather Theijsmeijer. Heather, along with Yana Bauer from Manitoulin Secondary School and Julie Balen from Wasse Abin High School, was instrumental in connecting Edcamp Island with Edcamp Sault (also holding their first Edcamp on May 10th) to help extend the conversations in both events.

Edcamp Manitoulin Island was well supported with 3 of the Manitoulin School Boards providing sponsorship for the event: KTEI, M’Chigeeng Lakeview School, and the Rainbow District School Board.


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