Category Archives: Reflection

Becoming a Google Educator Vice-Principal…

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 6.37.40 PMWhen I attended the Google Summit in April, I was quite intrigued about becoming qualified in some “Googley” way. However, I did not necessarily want to become a trainer. You can become a Google Certified Teacher. You can become a Google Certified Trainer. Why can’t you become a Google Certified Vice-Principal?

My main purpose is to increase my knowledge base and figure out how I can help create a Google School … a Schoogle (a favourite term I must give Doug Sadler credit for) where I could help staff and students alike get more Googley too.  So I decided to become a Google Educator.  And that’s more than good enough for me.

This venture involved taking part in 5 different learning modules from Google for Education:

  • Google for Education: Gmail
  • Google for Education: Calendar
  • Google for Education: Drive and Docs
  • Google for Education: Sites
  • and an elective which I chose – Google for Education: Chromebooks

The learning modules were packed with great information that was highly applicable as an educator. But the exams were a little ridiculous (providing great cognitive dissonance for a recent A&E consultant) with 60 multiple choice questions in a time crunched 90 minutes, with 80% as a pass. Remember the ones? A & B, B & C but not D, All of the above, Only three of the above, None of the above? Talk about craziness for second guessing yourself!  I must say that this test environment kept me on my toes, with my heart pounding for the entire 90 minutes, with the little voice (OK… very loud take-over type voice) telling me “You must pass! You cannot fail!” the entire time.

The good news… we’ll be on our way to helping staff and students become more Googley come September!  I’m open to any suggestions from Administrators out there who use the Google platform to organize their schools.  Please share any ideas and I promise to go slow 🙂

Now… where to begin?


Just do SOMEthing!

DSC_0196My problem is… I overthink things.

I overthink things to the point of not even beginning something that should be a relatively easy task, if I were to just begin. I am constantly trying to think of an even better way to begin or set things up or roll out a plan. To the point of sometimes sitting very still for a long time.

What’s the best way to organize my garage?  What’s the best way to switch my winter clothes out of my closet and start bringing out my summer stuff? What’s the best way to sort out the content on my sister’s Greenhouse website?  By the way, none of these 3 tasks have been started.  I get stuck.

A few weeks ago, I was quite geeked to be a part of a 4 day professional learning experience involving a “Google Bootcamp” and a “Google Summit”.  Many ideas streamed by me for 4 days at lightning speed… people sharing ideas… apps to try… extensions to add to Chrome… and solid pedagogical practices that were shared.  For 4 days, I tried to organize it all in my head and figure out a strategic way to implement some of the possibilities with my staff.  I struggled with how to “dial it back” a notch to begin at a reasonable speed.

I had a great discussion tonight with a few colleagues as we shared and brainstormed about “what would be the best way” to share ideas with our staffs regarding curriculum, pedagogy, and integration of technology.  We shared our ideas of our weekly newsletters that are sent electronically.  We shared our attempts at organizing blogs according to strategies we see in our schools.  We shared our face-to-face discussions.

And then I started to talk about my vision of how I’ve always wanted to start a separate page on my website that I could begin sharing weekly ideas with my staff, that would be archived online for future access as well.  And as I listened to myself say “I’ve always wanted to do that, but haven’t figured out a way to organize it all yet”, I realized that I could be putting it off for a very long time.  I stared into space for a brief moment, and I realized… stop trying to organize it all and just begin.

The process just repeats with me.

Learn… reflect… do.

It’s the timing of each that seems to vary with me.

What have you been spending too much time organizing your thinking around? What can you begin tomorrow?


She made me do it!

My Master’s buddy, Laura made me apply to graduate on October 13th.  And now I’m freaking out.

I received the email awhile ago from the University telling me that the deadline to apply for graduation was August 1st.  So I pretty much just closed that email and didn’t look at it again. Part of it was avoidance, part of it was denial, and part of it was me not wanting to feel freaked out about any deadlines.

I even lost touch with my Master’s buddy, Laura for weeks, with both of us blaming it on our busy end-of-school-year schedules.  And now I’m wondering if maybe, subconsciously, it might have been more of a deliberate avoidance.  Just maybe.  Laura and I have taken all of our courses together and decided that we would write a thesis according to the same timelines. We both knew we could do it in a tight timeline, if we kept each other on track.

When summer came around and I realized I was behind in my tightly planned schedule, I had to check in with Laura to see what our plan was going to be. It turns out we were still at the exact same stage –  Just finishing our analysis of data.  We discussed the possibility of October 13th as a graduation date, and wavered between “no, we can’t” and “yes, we can” for a couple of days. How could we possibly finish analyzing our data, meet with our advisors, prepare our discussion and conclusion, finish all revisions, submit it to our third reader (who I haven’t even met yet) and prepare for a defense before a deadline of September 19th? It sounds a little closer to impossible for me.  Especially since I haven’t really spoken with my advisor about this deadline.

But then when Laura emailed and said she applied, and that I was just a few clicks away from doing the same,  something happened…  I realized the short deadline was exactly what I need (not to mention the competitive nature of thinking that Laura would graduate without me).  Plus, we both agreed that the worst thing that could happen, would be that we’d have to wait until spring to graduate.  Ugh. No way!

So now I’ve been back at the table for days.  Trying to make sense out of all of my data and figure out how to compile it into a comprehensive paper that will make sense to the reader. I have read a number of other peoples’ theses to see if I can get a little more inspired, or un-stuck, and start listening to the “you can do this” voice in my head that pops up every once in awhile.  As well, I have a meeting scheduled with my advisor on Tuesday to show him my progress.

So I’ve learned a few things here….

  • I always enter freak-out mode when I move onto a new stage in this process.
  • At first it paralyzes me.
  • Then I find every other task that NEEDS to be completed first.
  • Then I finally hit a point where I admit my creative avoidance.
  • That’s when I begin by accessing my resources.
  • And then I just need to sit down and begin.
  • And make sure there are a lot of snacks in the house.

But above all, I continue to learn and realize… I’m a much better ME when I surround myself with people who believe in me and push me beyond my limits.

On October 13th, I’ll be the one in the graduation cap! Beside my Master’s buddy, Laura in her’s 🙂


What I should have shared at #unplugd11…..

90 seconds. That’s what we were given to share our final thoughts at Unplug’d11. I felt the time frame just couldn’t capture what moved me most during the adventure. So I played it safe. I went into consultant mode and shared a let’s keep learning together and sharing our knowledge together snippet.

What was that?

Authentic-Kelly is usually the one you get. But sometimes, when I get rattled, I think I play it safe. I think when authentic-Kelly wants to come out and play, but she’s feeling rattled, proper-Kelly takes over and says… Just play it safe. Say things in a way that will make everyone happy. Don’t cause discourse among people. And yet, discourse is healthy. Discourse causes us to think and reflect, and go a little deeper into our souls and our purpose.

As I reflect back… the moments that truly allowed me to grow into a better version of myself go way beyond “let’s keep learning and sharing together”.

Thanks to @charbeck10 's Flickr photostream

I biked 23 freaking kilometres just to get to the location. And I’m still convinced it was all uphill! But what was even more awesome about that experience, was being given the opportunity to connect with others. Body, mind and soul. I connected with others’ souls on that bike ride. You can’t beat that.

My essay was authentic-Kelly taking a risk. It was written to trigger reflection in others by invoking a little bit of cognitive dissonance. And what matters to me is the level of personal reflection you apply to the discourse you may feel at times. I value that ability in others. So when I received feedback from my group that I felt was leading me back to revisions that would have been proper-Kelly’swriting, I felt paralyzed. I sat and stared at my computer absolutely paralyzed. It rattled me to my core.

Thanks to @kimmcgill 's Flickr photostream

I felt that if I made the changes, I would be removing my voice from the written piece. Something I had worked so hard incorporating. So I struggled. It was an emotional, intellectual battle. But after being led through my own personal reflection with some awesome questions by others, I was able to do it. I was able to find the balance between taking suggestions that would enhance my work, but still maintain my voice in the process. But I couldn’t have done that alone. Again I connected with others’ souls during the editing process. That was worth the struggle.

I learned how to solo paddle a canoe. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time but didn’t believe I had the strength (Physical? Emotional? Hmmm… not sure). I wanted to shout at the top of my voice “Look mom & dad, I’m paddling my own canoe!!!” Maybe I should have… my dad would have been so proud.

Thanks @tomfullerton for capturing the moment with a photo!

At times, I was so captured by the nature, I just wanted to sit and stare and open up my heart and soul to listen to the sounds of Northern Edge. It was difficult for me to find the balance between my own personal reflection time I craved, and the time I wanted to spend connecting and hearing people’s stories. But that’s ok. I tried to allow time for both. Learning how to paddle a canoe by myself was reflective and inspiring.

The magic was compelling. There are so many moments I have captured in my journal as a means to reflect and learn and grow even more. That’s what it was all about. Unplug’d11 was about connecting with other peoples’ hearts and souls, trusting others enough to be confident with your own voice, and feeling empowered to be who you are.

But the greatest learning of all for me, was learning about when I’m willing to sacrifice my voice for others, and when I’m not. I was given the opportunity to stand up for my voice.  And I am thankful.


Reflections from Infusion, 2011 – North Bay


I was super excited to have the opportunity to present a Keynote at the Infusion, 2011 Conference in North Bay this weekend.  Being a “northern girl”, it felt like I was coming home to the Great White North.  But far beyond connecting with the North again, it allowed me to share a little bit of what I love doing most…  working with aspiring teachers, and sharing experiences of what I have learned in the classroom, through my connections with kids.

The framework for our presentation (co-developed with @benhazzard) focussed on thinking about the infusion of technology into your classroom following a gear-system approach of:

1.  Think it – What is your key learning purpose?  How do you plan on infusing this technology to meet with your pedagogical purpose and student learning goals?

2.  Find it, Bring it – If you don’t have access to your “ideal piece of technology that you envision”, what could you use instead?

3.  Try it – It’s ok to learn as you go, and yes, it can be messy! – try it, refine it, try it, refine it, try it, refine it … just keep trying it!

4.  Learn it – Reflect on what works and what needs to be tweaked.  And start the process again.

The essence of the gear framework is that you can jump in at any point.  And the turning of one gear, builds momentum in the other gears and allows the learning process to unfold.

So as you reflect on the pedagogy behind one piece of technology you are currently using in the classroom … forget about the shiny features of this technology …  What purpose is it serving in your classroom?


Reflecting on Assessment FOR Learning

Assessment FOR Learning (Growing Success, 2010)

The ongoing process of gathering and interpreting evidence about student learning for the purpose of determining where students are in their learning, where they need to go, and how best to get there.  The information gathered is used by teachers to provide feedback and adjust instruction and by students to focus their learning.

What can I do in my classroom to know and engage my learners?


Reflecting on Assessment AS Learning

Assessment AS Learning ( Growing Success, 2010)

The process of developing and supporting student metacognition.  Students are actively engaged in this assessment process:  that is, they monitor their own learning, use assessment feedback from teacher, self, and peers to determine next steps; and set individual learning goals.

Reflect on what you have heard today around the Teacher-Student relationship.   How will you support students to become self-directed assessors of their own learning?