Author Archives: LiterateOWL

About LiterateOWL

An avid outdoorsman and passionate photographer and painter. Seeking joy through knowledge, creativity, adventure and Grace.

thank you Heather Daly and BCTLA

Thanks to my BCTLA, fellow TL members and President Heather Daly for your thanks and good wishes. OMG I can’t believe it! What a journey. My career as a teacher since 1980 has been varied and rewarding. My chapter as a teacher-librarian was such a challenge, delight and motivation. Our school libraries in BC contribute so much to our kids education. 

My reflections-

I thank many professionals but now especially you, Heather Daly. So many of my BCTLA colleagues have been supporters and motivators for my TL pursuits. My short stint on the BCTLA Executive was inspiring and illuminating. My predecessors hooked me with the advocacy concept and helped me raise my game- the challenging and vital role as a school librarian. People like Sylvia, Karen, Val, Bonnie, Gordon? Etc and you Heather, were such beacons of excellence for me. Furthermore, my own network expanded with TL’s like Jeff Yasinchuk and Nicola Kuhn. The social media world was exploding and my BCTLA connections matured.


Me and my stalker TA, Elspeth. 2014


 There was a time I felt like a such a novice until the BCTLA experience gave me confidence and a vision that I knew I could contribute.  I now have great memories and professional satisfaction but also many TL contacts around the globe. Our PSA has been sustaining and proactive. #bced is so enriched by you all. 

Your contributions Heather, on programs and governance has been so exemplary and unsung! I plead daily with my TL colleagues to get involved, not just for school libraries but their own individual job satisfaction. I celebrate my exit today because my career was rewarding not simply a job.  I now have 2 stellar teacher-librarians, supported by their LSA, sustaining our investment in the KSS program. Our teens will be well served.  I was so lucky to inherit a vital school library with Kay Treadgold and share developments with Sharon Bede. We have been the lucky ones and our school learning community has been rewarded. 

I humbly acknowledge that our school now lives the spirit of a school learning commons and it is a contribution to public education in Kelowna.  The legacy is that our program is bigger any one individual.  This TL goal would not be realized without the support of COTLA and the BCTLA. My own district and local Admin deserve credit too for giving us and other schools their support and confidence. Regardless of how hard you may build capacity in your school or advocate for libraries, success is measured by attributes of a culture that embraces it’s library. 

thank you so much Heather for your contributions, not just of my growth, but for your commitment to empowering our teacher colleagues with progressive methods and insight. There are many stronger libraries today because of your influence and many others that have been rescued from political bonfire. 

Thanks, with love, 

Al Smith, Kelowna. 

On Wednesday, June 24, 2015, Daly, Heather <> wrote:

Good evening,
This school year was a challenging one which began with a prolonged strike and the loss of a beloved member of our teacher-librarian community. The ramifications of the strike affected BCTLA’s financial and operational capacity. Thanks to a successful BCTLA 75th anniversary gala dinner and conference, we will begin the next school year with only moderately lower finances and membership. This year saw additional successes, including the launch of From School Library to Library Learning Commons: A Pro-Active Model for Educational Change. Download the document at and watch the webinar at Learning Commons Webinar – January 28h, 2015. 
Upcoming professional opportunities:
* Join us on August 31 for the BCTLA Summer Institute: Makerspaces (9:00 to 4:00, Two Rivers Art Gallery, Prince George). Where does one begin with makerspaces? Learn what works best from some K-12 makerspace pioneers! Next, try it out at the Two Rivers Art Gallery MakerLab and take away some practical makerspace ideas for your library or classroom. More information about the summer institute, including registration details, can be found at  
* Planning for the 2015 BCTLA conference in Surrey is underway. This year’s theme is, “Charting New Paths” and the keynote speakers are Lyn Hay and Lee Watanabe Crockett. For more information, check out the conference website at   
Thank you and congratulations:
Thank you to the 2014-15 BCTLA Executive: Heather Daly, Grahame Rainey, Devika Chudy, Ann Titford, Moira Ekdahl, April Hilland, Emiline Downs, Maria McAllister, Wendy Amy, Patricia Baisi, Gordon Powell, Marilyn Lunde and Rhea Woolgar. Thanks also to those individuals who have retired from the Executive this year—Jeff Yasinchuk, Sylvia Zubke, and Lindsay Ross—for all of their contributions. Thank you also to the BCTLA Chapter Councillors and to all of our Chapter Executive members, to our formal liaison representatives to other associations, and last but not least, to our Members and Subscribers.
Congratulations goes out to the incomparable BCTLA President’s Award winner Al Smith and to an amazing BC Teacher-Librarian of the Year, Sylvia Zubke. Al and Sylvia are two of our many incredible teacher-librarian colleagues retiring this June. Congratulations, Al and Sylvia! We love you and wish you and all of our retiring teacher-librarian colleagues all the best!     
Have a great summer!
Thank you for your continuing support,
Heather Daly
BCTLA President
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Climbing the teaching mountain – a reflection

So I finally reached my summit. After 35 years of teaching, I’m hanging up my teacher gear- bag, tools and first aid kit. I write perhaps with with far too much sentimentality but with sincerity. Most of you know I hold little back. :-)

I use the my beloved mountain climbing hobby as a metaphor.  it seems an appropriate device but I am a reader not a writer. Like climbing rock, a gradual and arduous task, despite the glory of reaching various summits, has crux and crag. As a teacher, we experience some heavy lifting. Being a professional is never easy but the  current generation of colleagues embrace a task more complicated than my own. I write to my predecessors but mostly my junior colleagues.  Teaching need not be just one trek but a series of climbs and opportunities. You have to work at something. Try to love what you do. Forget ‘missionary zeal’ just have fun whenever you can. Your authenticity is what makes you unique and worthy of guiding our grandkids. 


I notate ‘opportunities’ because I’ve been a lucky teacher to have dabbled for 35 years in a variety of professional assignments.  SD23, despite my frequent rants of impatience, has offered me transitions and opportunities that met my diverse yearnings.  From teaching high school PE to eventually landing my dream job as teacher-librarian at Kelowna Secondary, I respect the flexibility our District accommodated my professional growth.  I never dreamt or planned on a library career but maybe that’s why it’s worked out so well for me- I had passion and insight when the door opened. I have taught something to ever grade K to 12.  It’s been a trek not a stroll in the park but I only wish the same to the talented hard working educators behind me. 

In 1981, I took an temporary assignment as a PE teacher at KLO Secondary, as this was my major and obsession at the time, I was naturally delighted.  Jobs were tough to acquire in 1980, so it was a timely opportunity. I was soon pulled out and asked to teach a Grade 7 class at Raymer Elementary because of an urgent vacancy. Having completed half my SFU practicum in elementary school in Vernon, it was fortuitous. I loved my novice years at Raymer but mostly it affirmed my career choice as an educator.  I have now taught these students’ children- a surreal but rewarding experience. Many of my predessors have commented on the same truth. Kids, and teachers come and go. 

I moved schools initially because an admin/mentor Al Stonehouse argued that 5-7 years at a school is the most impactful.  Off to Hudson and Pearson Elementary, where I learned the art and science of teaching and had many terrific experiences and relationships. I explored other curricula and the burgeoning education technology  field, including post-graduate studies at SFU. The experience was a trek that almost broke me but I acquired new insights and many skills. This phase was a series of small delightful hikes as opposed to an ‘Everest’ expedition. I was taxed but now I knew I wanted to try other destinations.  I had the encouragement of District staff to attempt a revisit to high school. They had an opening at Mount Boucherie Secondary School in the Ed-Tech field so as the manic risk-taker I can be, I gave my k-7 binders away and brought my Apple Mac Plus to high school- 20mb drive and all! 

Although I had the chance to venture out and explore interests like fine arts, outdoor education, and even some special education, my focus was on an information technology program. At the time, it was an alien notion. It wasn’t business or computer science but a new field trying to react to the new internet world.  What I didn’t comprehend was that my trek through elementary instruction and technology, not PE, would lead me to a career as a teacher-librarian. A novel ascent I never even considered, never mind aspired to.  I spent hundreds of self-taught hours and grabbed many courses and workshops along the way but I would soon be transformed as a librarian. 

By the opportunity of solving the dreaded timetables and the foresight of my colleague, Sharon Bede, I found myself hiking into the library one September day. I am a man for challenges, fed by, as I know now, my bipolar disorder; :-) so I naturally headed up the trail without much planning or awareness.   There would be nasty MBSS Bears on the trip but I wasn’t afraid- I was young and stupid.  Sharon asked the administration to fill the 0.3 TL with me rather than search outside. In my naive- and yes, manic, compulsive manner, I said yes. 

I loved the interaction with staff and the diverse curricula.  I was a voracious reader, so it seemed prudent to build on the opportunity to stretch myself. I went back to school and lifted my professional development up this unique unpredictable climb as a librarian.  I had Bede as a guide, so I wasn’t going to fall in a crevasse! I was delighted with the burgeoning new role of school libraries and could see that my resume would equip me well. I had so many rewarding and fascinating years at Mt. Boo. I worked with so many master teachers, like Bede, Colin Castle, Rob Eikenaar, Lois Flavelle, Bob Dickeson, Catherine Heymen, Barry Kingsley and Don Treadgold to name a few. People like Hugh Gloster, Dave Swanzey and Terry Bush, who showed confidence in me to lead students into the alpine, emboldened my sense of value as a teacher. I had opportunities like travelling to Europe with Rob Eikenaar, other chaperones and senior students, including a trip with my son to Italy. I have so many fond memories of our adventures but it was librarianship that had become my new obsession.  The Library at MBSS was so valued by the school it felt like an honourable vocational to aspire to. I was an impatient man who needed change but the librarian role felt appropriate and enduring.

I hated to leave my dear friend and supporter, Sharon, but the door opened up for a transfer to Kelowna Secondary School as a 0.5 part-time librarian. The timing was perfect for another new trip. My children were going to enter KSS and as a lifelong coach, participating with my children in their sporting life was ideal. Having my children at my alma mater seemed a sentimental but practical option.  I knew Kay Treadgold, the award winning TL at KSS, and was assured the Owls were a good choice.  knew I was fortunate to find another expert guide, not just for librarianship but my life. 

I have playfully called myself, a ‘Sherpa-librarian’ because I realized I too had become a library guide. My expeditions were scary, venturing into the Internet with students. There was resistance.  Not everyone was a willing member of the digital reality but Kay kept me motivated and resilient, especially when we both planned and moved to a new library at the newly built KSS at Raymer Ave.  Leaders like Rick Shave, Craig McLeish and Bill Lang invited me into the process. I could contribute to the building of a new Everest expedition. Kay and I could design and plan a newer vision of school libraries by constructing a facility that would take us out a dark old library into a large bright centre that could provide teaching opportunities we only dreamt about. The training and new gear set us up to deliver services to a school that we knew would be embraced by fellow trekkers. 

We soon found ourselves putting the expedition into high gear when Principal, Susannah Brown, encouraged our vision. Our energetic, passionate staff soon joined us in a progressive approach to a school library program. Unlike the old stereotype, our library was not wear old teachers go to pasture.  We were not your ‘grandmothers library’.  I think our friend Sharin Bede, at MBSS, was now envious but always a cheerleader, along with our friends at the Central Okanagan LSA. It was a heady time with many new potential methods, resources and curricula to explore.  Wow! I had found myself on a trek into the high alpine. I was on an ascent of Everest of soon I would be rejoined by Sherpa Bede- the Hungarian guide extraordinaire. 

With some trepidation, knowing Kay was retiring soon, we found ourselves in a crux. Finding a top notch TL to replace Kay was a daunting ascent.  This time, Susannah Brown was the guide who had a map. We would recruit, steal, bribe Bede to cross the bridge to the dark side. Now how could I not be happy? Luck, Grace or Brown’s divine  intervention, I had my partner back. Kay could not be happier. Win. Win. 

Now I’m saying that my journey wasn’t without blisters, scrapes and fatigue. I battled personal  issues for years. I had spells of bad health and personal challenges but my fellow professionals helped pick me up- literally. We sadly have just witnessed Sharon’s health ordeal. Colleagues get sick, transfer, retire- whatever. It’s life.  Life intervenes, like the weather, and one can’t direct every course but only dress for the cold and wet, hoping for sunshine. My vocation had intimately become part of my life over the years. Colleagues, and even students have guided me to safety.  KSS rescued me from the abyss many times.  I could not have climbed my mountains without the help of fellow hikers.  I like to think I grabbed a hand or two over the years.  Like my friend and hiking mate, Roger Kirk, says, “not arriving home safe isn’t an option. Safety first.” Look after yourself. Put the safety of your family first. JSS thrives as a team effort.

Last year, with fellow teacher Sherpas, Kirk, Moisan, and Pendray, I fell short of summiting Mount Rainier, but succeeded nonetheless. I reached new high ground.  Teaching has been like mountaineering, you aspire to some insane, lofty goal but enjoy the trip regardless of what altitude or landmark you accomplish. You ascent as a team but not every person summits. That is the way.  The school library program at KSS became my Rainier and I climbed it. 

Teaching is a very intense demanding human service. It’s a very honourable profession with very little respect and a modest renumiration but the rewards can be a personal and social journey. We occasionally can find solace, if not glory; like when we see girls grow into women and boys into men.  I’m always humbled by the huge transformation we can see in our teens.  We sometimes cannot believe our eyes. Periodically, like sunshine after a storm,  they even seek you out and thank you for being there- as a cherished guide- a compass.  During my career, I have had alumni connect and share their gratitude.  Although rare, even parents write letters of gratitude.  Our career is a sacred one. Cherish it. Defend it. Our efforts are respected, even admired, by the coalition of the willing.   

Those moments of dignity, help heal the frustration and isolation that many of our fellow Sherpas periodically feel. When the cycle of despair occasionally hits you- and it will- lean on your fellow climbers and focus on your own family. If you stumble or find yourself exhausted from the trek, remember that any hike is a reward in itself and ultimately, you grunt your way uphill for them. 

With love, devotion, and fond memories,

Your Sherpa-librarian,

– Al Smith, KSS 1999-2015


A few images to reflect my journey…

Outdoor Ed, MBSS, ‘I really took teens up here!’ 

Every new climb is a new success    

Nancy and I trekking skis up Kokanee Glacier- on a weekend! Really? Youthful indiscretion 



It takes all kinds of Sherpas. These ladies can carry a heavy pack.


excellent service, including access, welcoming scholarship and things like free books…


Despite hazards like Sharon’s absence, 2015 was a special year. Thank you


COTLA. Fellow Sherpa-librarians


Remember, witnessing students apply your guidance and strategies, large or small,  is a landmark event.

Athletic challenges at KSS, as player, coach or organizer, since 1973! A rare tradition 


Not all accomplishments are on mountain tops. Sometimes it’s just getting yourself a new glorious view.
Chez Moisan- Preparation need not be complicated. 

Celebrate every hill. You earned it. 


Integrate your personal experiences into your classroom world.


Find gratifying ways to convert one success into new endeavours


Experiment – take chances with things that you love. [ like trying to paint the ones you love ;-) ]


Grad ‘speed dating’ – we host WWII & WWIII


Gotta love teens make themselves at home :-)


Even big kids can read little kids big books. These 2 read aloud Henry Climbs a Mountain, ” you mean you guys have that book?!” Cute. 

Some students learn to own it. 


Access and opportunity- the rest is up to them

Authentic traditions are worth the effort to uphold.  


Thanks Pierre, for being my Sherpa! 


Filed under Editorial, Library Update, Personal Learning Network, Photos, Professional Development, Reflective Learning, School Library, Teacher Professional

Geography AP Reading Project 2… TASK


Grade 12 students responses to a non-fiction reading PBL is a great reminder of how rich content and support envigorates thinking.

Originally posted on KSSreads:

Project 2…Non-Fiction Task

Why blog writing?

Scholarship and personal learning grows with the written word.

  • The written word is a primary device for acquiring meaning, evaluating understanding and sharing perspectives. Not unlike the expansion of culture, ideas and technologies, during global exploration, today’s online reality has expanded the potential to engage in discourse far beyond our borders.
  • Connected learning and dialogue is the new commerce. Blogs are a platform that exchanges content beyond the level of a status update.
  • Often credit and/or personal courses include ‘response’ evidence.
  • Your feedback builds academic capital for KSS and future students.


Organizer notes with references to your book choice. The notes must be :

  1. One(1) or more blog comment below and
  2. One(1) REPLY to (1) student comment(s) for a book other your own.
  3. Criteria:
    1. Comment:
      1. proficient exam writing,
      2. with a paragraph(s), your book’s…

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Hub, MOOC, Learning Commons- all serve an aspiration

i recently read an Open Book blog post and was reminded of how all our modern systems and paradigms are really just what all exemplary libraries aspired to be. Bygone days or new variants, libraries serve the needs of patrons- of people. Oddly, our culture rewards an institution of progressive services with anchors of stereotypes. Libraries are just old irrelevant dusty books. Librarians are either old cranky grannies or sexy introverts. The reality in public libraries or school libraries is quite contrasting. The library as an access point for resources or discourse has never been so vital and frequently adopted. The stereotype still prevails while Google and hitech resources get all the accolades yet serve just the mechanics. If you want quick facts by all means Google but this doesn’t serve the majority of patron needs. People visit libraries more than ever for diversified content, expertise and service. They patronize libraries for cultural reasons not simply fact finding. 

Jaqueline Van Dyk, Open Book blog, writes about a public MOOC. Although my experience with moocs was an academic course with edtech background, it was clear the concept of open and integrated connected learning would sustain itself. It’s not all roses but serves many social learning needs. I say social learning as opposed to prescribed learning. Credit or GED etc all have specific exit outcomes that are mostly indifferent to the learner. Not that standards are evil but a MOOC addresses a user driven model more than a administrative model. Libraries, as a whole have adopted these personalized learning options for ages. It’s in their DNA to serve from a patron’s view of needs. Service is foundational. Librarians embrace open access and sharing just as we cherish breathing. 

Sometimes learning is playful and other times just damn hard work. Fulfilling your learning needs is a personal and time specific exercise. Sometimes it’s not pretty. Falling down repeatedly in order to grasp wakeboarding. Learning how to read and write at 30years old. Occasionally learning is fun and seems easy but that’s in conjunction with a persons background, goals and degree of task. Whether a public library MOOC or high school virtual library, librarians usually are driven by patron service. Our sexy little librarian or reserve matron are images that fulfill parodies or fantasies but not reflect our reality. 

The trend for finding a ‘learning commons’ is none other than trying to leverage the roots of all library programs. Advocacy, marketing or good design; MOOCs, learning commons or damn good library, all are driven by serving others. It’s like first aid for the mind. :-) 

-Al Smith. Middle aged, male, extrovert, high school librarian. Where did they find me?! ;-)

…as an extension of what we’ve been doing as libraries in facilitating lifelong learning. What’s new is that we’re creating an atmosphere for that, for bringing people together to do that. It makes the library more of a place of connection. In that regard, it’s a professional departure – by facilitating these activities and using the technology as activities unto themselves, we’re extending what we’ve been good at traditionally in new and interesting ways with our programs…
Paul’s view is that this experiment represents an exciting professional departure. “With the MOOC, we’re providing recreation – people are having fun, getting to know each other – and it provides interest in more reading materials. We’re providing an opportunity to learn and absorb materials together and talk them over and people are lapping it up. Traditionally, people used libraries for education as a solitary activity. Now we’re providing the same educational role, but with an opportunity to share and enhance their learning by learning together. We are extending what we’ve been good at traditionally in interesting new ways.”  (VanDyk)


“What’s a Mooc and Why You Should Know and Care!” Social Media Today. N.p., 25 Apr. 2013. Web. 20 May 2015. Image. <;.

Van Dyk, J. “Mooc Ecperiment.” Open Book. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May 2015. <;.

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Kite Runner suspended after a complaint- removes freedom to read

Originally posted on KSSreads:

As a librarian, it is always concerning to read about books being banned. The larger implications created when we narrow the opportunities to read, think, share and learn, are trouble for society. Diversity in our culture builds understanding. The diversity of ideas in books should be a reflection of our reality. Constricting access to ideas and authorship doesn’t protect our children but rather put them at risk. Loss of empathy, hate or radicalization is a likely result. The current discord and misinformation about race and theology in the Muslem community is an example. We need more knowledge and empathy not less. Books, especially well crafted literature, like Hussein’s Kite Runner, provide potential for discourse and freedom of expression.

Many classrooms around the world use the Kite Runner or provide copies in their libraries. Most schools use this title with Grade 12s. Like many situations, one needs to know…

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Nomads and Rhizomes- Dave’s blog revisited

I read this blog awhile ago during #etmooc course but thanks to my Twitter PLN, I rediscovered it.  Today, in the climate of confusion and discontent in British Columbia public education, the themes could not be more contradictory with our classroom experience.  Teacher professional development and reform doesn’t function in a vacuum. It is organically growing within the classroom setting- embedded with our young people. It is rhizomatic learning. Adapting, reaching out, and evolving in multiple tentacles, Pro-Dev thrives with good soil and fresh air.  The BC Government is currently smothering teachers and even elected school boards. Public education as a societal ambition demands an empathy and execution much like we now see our ecological issues. Schooling is an organic collective of human beings much like a sensitive but resilient environment. It can absorb many body blows yet wanton disregard for life does result in extinctions and degradation. 

People learn collectively and individually. Teachers and pupils forage for meaning. They flourish when nomadic not constrained inside a cage. The cages may be the restraint of many policies and cultures.  Wreckless or ideological, leadership needs stewardship of people and environments not just accounting.  BC education IS people. It is a living thing. It’s rhizomatic. Parents, teachers, students and our public deserve to treated by their elected officials less like container ships of iron ore and more like a rich vegetable garde.  Teachers should be respected more like proficient caring gardeners and less like endentured labour. Leadership, like good parenting cannot be arrogant. Like gardening or parenting, family or nation, our children need measures of experimentation, boundaries and love.  David Cormier’s blog, although assessing paradigms, is observing human relationships and culture. How does your garden grow? 

 Cormier tackles pedagogy and approaches change with the #rhizo15 paradigm. His insights are interesting  for teachers embracing their own professional development. Sadly, #bced Bill11 is legislating mandated PD structures for teachers, while espousing ‘personalized learning’ for students. The paradox, if not hypocrisy, of this government’s strategy flies in the face of many progressive education reform. Teachers need considerable professional autonomy in order to be innovative and effective. The climate of teacher learning does directly impact the nature and degree of student learning.  – Al Smith

  • Why do we teach?
  • What does successful learning look like?
  • What does a successful learner look like?
  • How do we structure successful learning?

It is that map that I think successful learning looks like. Not a series of remembered ideas, reproduced for testing, and quickly forgotten. But something flexible that is already integrated with the other things a learner knows. Most things that we value ‘knowing’ are not things that are easily pointed to. Knowing is a long process of becoming (think of it in the sense of ‘becoming an expert’) where you actually change the way you perceive the world based on new understandings. You change and grow as new learning becomes part of the things you know.
Sounds a bit like networked learning…? The rhizome is, in a manner of speaking, a kind of network. It’s just a very messy, unpredictable network that isn’t bounded and grows and spreads in strange ways. As a model for knowledge, our computer idea of networks, all tidy dots connected to tidy lines, gives us a false sense of completeness.( Cormier )


What does a successful learner look like?
In a recent blog post i tried to offer three visions for ‘what education is for’ to help provide a departure point for discussion. Workers take accepted knowledge and store it for future reference. They accept that things are true and act accordingly. The soldier acquires more knowledge and becomes responsible for deciding what things are going to be true. The nomads make decisions for themselves. They gather what they need for their own path. I think we should be hoping for nomads.
Nomads have the ability to learn rhizomatically, to ‘self-reproduce’, to grow and change ideas as they explore new contexts. They are not looking for ‘the accepted way’, they are not looking to receive instructions, but rather to create.(Cormier )


Cormier, D. “Dave’s Educational Blog.” Daves Educational Blog. N.p., 5 Jan. 2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2015. <;. 

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The cure for childhood obesity parents will hate

The editorial says schools should make exercise the norm by ensuring that mandatory physical education classes in elementary and high school.  But it’s not enough to have physical education.  It says physical education classes need to be long enough and vigorous enough to meet recommended activity levels and not just token nods to exercise.  It adds that schools need to cut sitting time by getting kids moving in class with short exercise breaks and what’s called kinetic learning.  (Goldman, CBC)

Goldman, Dr. Brian. “The Cure for Childhood Obesity Parents Will Hate – Blog | White Coat, Black Art with Dr. Brian Goldman | CBC Radio.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 30 Mar. 2015. Web. 30 Mar. 2015. <;.

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Struggles Realities of Student-Driven Learning and BYOD

As our technological world rapidly evolves and our social and work place environment changes, it’s unacceptable that we don’t address the low income demographic for anything not just schooling. The civility of our society cannot afford to only protect the 1%. Letting poor schools fend for themselves and not funding them to be progressive is akin to permitting slavery by justifying the economic benefits of free labour! 

National surveys consistently show that students in low-income schools are getting short-changed when it comes to using technology in school. A 2013 Pew study revealed that only 35 percent of teachers at the lowest income schools allow their students to look up information on their mobile devices, as compared to 52 percent of teachers at wealthier schools. (Schwartz)

-I personally think Giulucci below is over enthusiastic. Even with polite and engaged students, my experience is that the urgency if not obsession to txt is stronger than any force. Even college classes are now banning phones. People still txt and drive when they know it is severely hazardous. I think lesson design and engagement can only go so far. Although I implement every technology I can, I also have an explicit class management regime that includes a course of action for use and abuse of mobile devices. -Al Smith

Many advocates of using mobile technologies say the often cited issues of student distraction are just excuses not to try something new. Mark Giuliucci, a freshmen social studies teacher at Sanborn High School in New Hampshire, said it’s not the end of the world if a kid sends a text in class. “The way you discourage it is engage them in the activity so they don’t even think of sending a text,” Giuliucci said. “You’ve got to jump in and play their game or you’re going to lose them.”(Schwartz )

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The Story Behind the Anahim Lake School Viral Video

Originally posted on Big Rocks First:

Trent Leon, a student from Anahim Lake Secondary, takes a shot on his hero, Carey Price, on a recent visit to Montreal. Trent Leon, a student from Anahim Lake Secondary, takes a shot on his hero, Carey Price, on a recent visit to Montreal.

Mikel Brogan is the Principal of Anahim Lake School.  Last Friday afternoon, Mikel and I sat down in my office to watch a video telling the story of a young student from his school who had the chance to spend time with his hometown hero, Carey Price, a couple of months ago in Montreal.  Of course, the video was not a surprise for either of us as the preparation time, a week of filming in the school and the Anahim Lake community, and a crazy few days in Montreal had been pretty intense.  It had been six weeks of anticipation leading up to the release of the video on youtube.  After watching the video, it was pretty easy to predict that the video had an excellent chance of going viral.  At the time…

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Top 10 Psych myths debunked -TED Why education gets tricked ..

Cautionary tale. Learning styles are not science. They are myth. How many other themes to we impose on students that are based on narrow self interest, ‘systems’ sales or institutional mythology? 

Not long ago I recall our entire school undergoing a Learning Style Inventory. We bought products, booked rare ProD days and tried to find ways to transform our practice. No one really objected. Most had some fun but why did we believe this learning style program ( or any inventory) had efficacy? 

Our entire organization bought it- literally! Abstainers were written off as party poopers or unprogressive! Teased even! Results were fun like astrology charts but not education science. So why do we get ‘sold’ on these myths? How does a study become the next education reform? Why are experienced teachers, who usually filter out the bull from the curious, so often marginalized when they resist or raise doubts? 

I think it’s because educators so frequently have their heart in the vocation and desperately want to help, that they adopt practices out of desire not objective research. They are so loving they trust every ‘speaker’ who introduces a new idea . They comply with admin or leaders who tell them the pill to swallow is good for them. Our profession’s embedded good nature and care sets us up for following myths not sound pedagogy. 

Except, of course, as you’ve probably guessed, that it doesn’t, because the whole thing is a complete myth. Learning styles are made up and are not supported by scientific evidence. So we know this because in tightly controlled experimental studies, when learners are given material to learn either in their preferred style or an opposite style,( TED )

“10 Myths about Psychology, Debunked.” Ben Ambridge:. TEDX Manchester, Nov. 2014. Web. 13 Mar. 2015. <;.

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