My #OneWord for 2018

Wow, so hard thinking of just #OneWord…being a father of three (7 year old son, and 5 year old twin gals), husband and Volunteering Fire Fighter, not to mention a full time 5/6 teacher (new to junior division even….) one word is tough to decide upon. So, something that I always strive to tackle is ‘obtainable goals’; therefore my 2018 #OneWord is… Agility.

I thoroughly believe that life has a plan and no matter what obstacles it throws at us there is a reason; sometimes it is a rotten and horrid reason but it is something that we can learn and adapt from; therefore with the crazy, busy lifestyle that this ‘life’ has thrown at me I believe that I will need the tack, but mostly importantly ‘Agility’ to juggle everything within it!

Family, work, interests, hobbies and time for myself is very important to stay happy and healthy and without the acknowledgement and understanding of agility I think things within this busy lifestyle can fall apart very quickly!

Let’s start with #1; Family. My wife and I enjoy keeping our kids busy in Hockey, Swimming lessons / dance (during the winter) and Baseball / Soccer (Summer), we are lucky to have one evening a week not out and about doing / going somewhere with the kids sports and activities. Moving ahead in 2018 this needs to change otherwise burn out will fade in quiet quickly after a much needed break this Holidays! Knowing that using personal agility to ensure I am prepared, mentally and physically (less sleep deprived and more time in the personal gym downstairs in my hockey shrine (Detroit Red Wings Room) will be important to ensure that I am ready and able to take on any task, event or problem when / if they arise!

#2; Work. This year has been a challenge for me personally, a new division, a new school and an extremely challenging class! So, I am taking a step back not trying to tackle everything and anything within the curriculum as I felt I needed to within the past 4 months during flight and fight mode! I am going back to basics; teaching MY students life lessons and them first and foremost before going at the curriculum! Having the agility to know when and how to add in pieces within the next 6 months to each inquiry driven learning experience will be of the utmost importance!

#3; Volunteer Fire Fighter. I love being able to jump and help people in need. My training allows me to utilize the skills and knowledge for any problematic, emergency situation in a clam orderly fashion without stress effecting my work. Automaticity is extremely important and agility comes in handy as I need to take all situational awareness into consideration to problem solve and work through anything that arises!

#4; Personal Interests. I love the technological world; Microsoft Canada and the Educators Network, showing, sharing and teaching my colleagues, friends and students what I know and also using twitter PLN to push my own personal learning as well! I am an avid twitter lover and user and agility will be something I will use to learn, share and work with others via twitter through blogs and facebook, skype and OneNote. Agility will allow me to presue my interest and professional learning further and deeper in 2018! My goal is to reach 3000 twitter followers as well and agility will be important in that as well to show, share and learn alongside people while blogging more, interacting and exploring more and more tweetmeets and whatnot (that fit within my schedule).

Something else I really want to continue once the 2018 school year starts up in a week is my 45-60 minutes home gym routines 3-4 times a week. I am now into my 5th day and feeling like a million bucks as I did during the summer when I hit the weights HARD! Agility will be important to stay motivated, on schedule to make time 3-4 times a week and also planning and implementing various circuits; as I find working within circuits allows me to reach twitch muscles and hit them harder to get more out of a 45 minute workout that will last a day or two, also agility to understand and maintain recovery periods too.

A friend used ‘Presence’ which I love as well; but I think Agility is something that is obtainable for myself! Goals are important but you have to ensure they can be achieved….slightly out of the norm as of now but achievable with hard work and determination! Another word I love is resiliency; especially in learning and especially with my students this year as this is something they do not understand nor know…..therefore with agility in teaching come the understanding of being resilient myself and share my successes with my students to ensure that it could / can be reached by them as well!

Thanks Vicki for challenging and request my #OneWord…..so to continue the theme; what is your #OneWord friends?!?

Looking forward to reading many of these in the near future!

75 Years of Port Dover Minor Hockey history…but, so much more!

So, this weekend marks the 75th anniversary of Port Dover Minor Hockey and the Great; Red Kelly’s homecoming at the local rink.

In August, I recall a call out to all Port Dover Alumni Players to be part of this big day in November. At the time I originally thought; ‘Hey this could be fun to be part of’, but as this week approached and I was getting updates and scheduling information for tomorrows event I began reflecting and recalling, remembering all the wonderful experiences, events in time that are still fresh in memory and friends that were made a long the way.

Let, me take you all on a very cool journey; one in which I did not realize brought me into the life that I have today until recently reflecting upon things.

I recall, 1983 easily as I was 3 years old wheeling around on blades faster then I was actually running or able to walk at the time. Mom and Dad had the outdoor rink that was my playground throughout the winter months, which during those days were long and cold unlike what we get currently. I was playing tyke hockey for Mummery Fisheries; this was an avid memory as I still recall the awesome ride on the Mummery Tug Boat that was given to our team that year. I like many other players experimented with goal tending, and apparently was half decent at it so luckily enough for me I got asked to play atom house league as a goalie, because they had no goalies in that division. This was the beginning of the end for my parents, as I fell in love not only with the game but with the time spent on the ice mastering my newfound love and craft.

My second year in tyke hockey I would play goalie, and out in my aged group, but also played goalie for atom house and even peewee house league from time to time, lots of practices too for various teams. I also was able to somehow get Mom and Dad to take me to Friday and Saturday free skates. My time on the ice was greatly increasing and the passion continued growing. I was Mark Messier in the 80’s ripping around the ice and Grant Fuhr while tending the net; the Oilers were my team and my Grandfathers too. My Dad an Torontonian at heart being born and raised in Toronto was a poor misguided soul of a Leaf fan. Lots of heated debates and many numerous conversations on route to the rink about players and teams and trades occurred between my father and I. Hockey became a passion, hobby and lifestyle for me, it was the be all end all through and through!

When I reached Atom I made the rep team, played goalie, but mostly out as I found I would get to move around and obtain more ice time if I did both. It helped that I increased my tending skills and played peewee house and bantam house with my fathers friends team. Power skating was introduced and Friday, Saturday free skates continued. My life revolved around one thing….hockey.

I was waking up early everyday, getting Mom or Dad depending on if Dad was on nights (he was a shift worker) to lace up my skates at sometimes 5:30 am to hit the backyard rink, coming in to get a quick breakfast and running down Don Jon to Doverwood school just in time for the bell. Living close to school was wonderful as at lunch I would high tail it out of school home, get Mom to lace my skates up again for the 55 minutes of lunch time at school before heading back to beat the bell again. After school the same; until we were called in for dinner, then whichever team had a game, practice or power skating. Day after day my poor parents and grandparents navigated our families schedule around my passion for hockey and the game I still love today.

We won Silver Stick, OMHA’s and many tournaments that year. This only infused a profound dedication to push harder, master my art and craft. When summer hit it was road hockey in the driveway. Mom and Dad paved that driveway 3 times, due to ware and tare. The poor garage door received endless patch works and when my brother Mike began firing the puck; my father finally decided a mesh net would save lots of patchwork time and lots and lots of money! Me, I couldn’t shoot for the life of me, still cannot to this day, but I have never been a huge goal scorer. My passion of the game was instill by watching the Great Moose; Mark Messier. He was amazing, but no Gretzky! However, Mark made those around him better and I loved that! So, I emulated my craft similar in fashion to The Moose! Tough, determined, lead by example and made those around me better! Assists for me became everything, goals…not so much. I still liked them but I prefer and still do to this day making that extra move or setting up that team mate for the perfect pass! It felt great giving others a chance, giving others gratification and achievement of a goal.

Looking back and reflecting I began seeing how my passion and love of the game slowly became and lead me to where I am today….

We won Silver Stick and OMHAs again the following year in Atom, then again in Peewee the year afterwards. Tournaments anywhere in Ontario became the ultimate prize; especially bringing home a new trophy to add to the multiple shelves Dad had to continue building year after year along with medallions, plaques, flags, pins and so much more! I did hockey schools, summer camps, summer hockey even traveled to Blenhiem to partake in their yearly summer hockey school where I was asked to come down to help run drills and chase pucks down for the Warner Family; yes…..Todd Warner a former Toronto Maple Leaf and NHL player.

Bantam hockey was my last year in Port Dover, memories became a little vague as I reflect on these days; once in high school focus become less and less but my passion lived on despite the Oilers being dismantled! These were tough years; however I always enjoyed watching highlights from another Canadian unsung hero in Steve Yzerman, so began my love for the Detroit Red Wings….and continues to this day! My rec room is Red Wings top to bottom, lots of memorabilia of any kind I could begin getting my hands on! There is a story behind everything…. I also began supporting others and was asked to help coach my youngest brother Tim’s hockey team and loved more ice time, but found a love for sharing and teaching the skills I had to others learning the game at an early age.

This summer I was asked to come out and play summer hockey with Rob Blake, Nelson Emerson, Geordie Kinnear and Jassen Cullimore….a funny story to go with this was one time I had the puck flying in the corner and the next thing I knew I woke up on the bench, standing over me was Rob Blake. I recall this like it was yesterday; he said ‘Sorry buddy, you were going too fast and I was afraid you would make me look bad’ I got knocked out by THE Rob Blake! One of my claim to fames! hehehe

My second year in Bantam took me elsewhere; to Brantford….this was an incredible year where I traveled so much it was actually quite ridiculous, I still to this day do not understand how my parents made it happen with three boys! Long story short I was approached by Michigan State for a full ride hockey scholarship….fast track ahead to the following summer. Coming home from summer hockey which was a yearly request after hitting Atom level, I recall being tired and exhausted after a dry land workout and two hour practice dazed and on the verge of a much needed snooze, somehow reaching a state in which I was dreaming….and dreaming of a roller coaster ride, which was odd for me as I do not do heights. As it turned out upon reaching full consciousness being covered in red, blood and feeling numb all over we were t-boned driving through an intersection in Boston when someone ran a stop sign….life changed in that moment for me! Hockey and the NHL was the dream, the be all end all! But, with two bummed knees from the accident, things went South in a hurry!

Tried as much as I did, pushed myself harder then ever and three knee surgeries later I could never get back to where I was and the path I was on. Scholarship got revoked, depression set in and blackness filled my life, hockey was no longer an option, numerous doctors said it would never happen! I tried so hard to get back but began realizing it wasn’t going to happen after a try out weeks after the accident once again waking up on the bench from passing out while skating….turns out walking into rink on crutches in Michigan with a hockey bag on my back, strapping skates on and reaching into the depths of courage and heart lead me passed out again from a shock I put my body into way too early as the doctors and my parents said. Heart….I couldn’t and wouldn’t give up, but I realized in that moment my path in life changed and altered.

What next? Where to go? I had no intentions on anything but a career and life in hockey, but as it turned out all my time on the ice learning and mastering a craft from others, working hard and diligently on failing, trying again and again and finally mastering cross overs, stick handling and so on and so on, I found showing and teaching others my skills was fun. My parents actually put the notion into action; I recall ‘Hey Joe, you love sharing and teaching younger people your hockey skills as a coach, and a coach is basically like a teacher and you are great at coaching, why not teaching?’….hmmm well low and behold when one door closes another opens. This was when I learned that life sucks, but their is a plan and everything is meant to be, even the crappy stuff! What will be will be, if I continued on my hockey path I would not have spent the night watching Steve Yzerman finally hoist hockey’s greatest prize over his head, tears rolling down his eyes and celebrating with my friends Detroit Red Wings winning Lord Stanley’s Cup, only to kiss my future wife that evening and setting a new relationship and love into motion.

Shannon and I started dating this year in 1997; fast forward through college, university, teachers colleges and masters program, married, three kids and now living and working as a teacher in Port Dover in 2017. 20 years in the making on the 75th anniversary of Port Dover Minor Hockey I get my homecoming as well…after 9 years of teaching, targeting returning back to Port Dover I have now reach my newfound dream; to return back home to my beloved hometown and teach at Lakewood.

You see Minor Hockey gave me a love, a passion a dream. When that dream shifted and altered hockey lead me into a newfound love and passion similar to Messier and Yzerman; leading by example, setting the tone for others and teaching others…..as a teacher! Now, I love running into former teachers of mine and when asked what I am doing today, they either do two things; laugh so hard or instantly obtain ‘jaw drop’. I guess I was not the greatest student, but what I heard often was I loved my hockey and what I love becomes everything for me! My family, my wife, my kids, my sport now my career….although it is not the original path and dream it is now my new dream!

Being a father and a teacher is unbelievable! I get to mold and craft young minds to find their love and passion for whatever it may be; watching that unfold and take flight is the greatest feeling in the world! Hockey brought me to this life and my wife, infused me into this town something fierce, I grew up rollerblading the streets, playing road hockey in various driveways, bringing trophies, plaques and banners to our beloved rink in Port Dover. Now I teach next door to the local rink, as a  Fire Fighter at Station #2 Port Dover we support the members of our amazing community in many ways as well. I coach my kids, my friends kids and live and breath Port Dover!

Watching my kids find themselves through hockey now is the ultimate gift! I see myself in my son often while he is on the ice; his stride, heart and intensity and hope and dream that not only he, but also my daughters find the incredible love and life lessons hockey offered to me!

Wrapping things up I reflect upon past Port Dover coaches, my father, Kent Cleland, Eddie Hunter, the late Tom Breeze and many, many others and think if not for them where would I be; so in closing to all those parents out there take the leap….get your kids into the most amazing sport of all! Its OUR game as Canadians’ its our games as kids, parents and fans loving and living the moments ourselves and alongside our kids! Get involved and infuse yourself into sport in some form fashion or another….you can and will make a difference for the little bodies finding themselves on the ice learning life lessons such as sportsmanship, dedication, teamwork, manners, cooperation, determination, heart, hardwork and perseverance! Teach those little ones that in a lose is a learning moment, a time to reflect and learn from….life sucks! But in sport we learn how to deal with all the crap life throws at us….overcome defeat, job loss, divorce….reset, fail, reset, fail, reset and overcome! Learn from mistakes, failures and loses….teach your kids that sport and this incredible game is so much more then just a game!

Thank you Port Dover Minor Hockey for taking this youngster through some amazing up’s and horrific downs, but for teaching me along the way that entitlement is not a given but effort, determination and hard work is rewarded as so in life as an adult!

Live in the moment and enjoy your time! Learn from the moments and craft your life in which you can be proud of! I found myself in hockey….and in hockey I became an adult, a husband, a father, teacher and fire fighter whom works hard at everything I do and will ever do!

Without Port Dover Minor Hockey, my passion and dreams would not have been fulfilled and reached! Thanks to minor hockey past, present and future members for molding the children and youth of Port Dover’s past 75 years and the next 75 to come ahead.

#ScreenBeamEdu within classrooms…

So, this month there was a fantastic little challenge put out by the ScreenBean crew, which I decided would be a prefect time to explore and expand my own personal usage of screenbeam within the classroom.

I used ScreenBeam Actiontec 750 after receiving it from last years trip to Toronto during the Microsoft Educational Exchange; otherwise known as E2. This product was incredibly easy to install, use and connect within moments, immediately having a drastic impact within my classroom last year. I was able to teach from anywhere within the classroom without a wire restricting me to the front of the room by the projection board. With students that have behavioral concerns; screenbeam allowed me to be more agile and supportive discretely during my lessons with the entire group. With the ease of walking around still discussion, sharing and collaborating with everyone, those in need of a gentle tap on the shoulder or subtle reminder to use attentive listening, or back on track ‘miss magoo’ my classroom management was made incredibly easier and less disruptive in nature.

This year in a junior classroom with a rather challenging group of students I am still able to provide a lesson with a little more effort I will say; but within the same manner….but during this months challenge I decided to amp things up and use collaboration and as many programs within the O365 suite to enhance the learning occurring with screenbeam. So, here is what transpired throughout this month!

  1. Various Skypes; Guest Speakers, Skype Field Trips, Cultural Exchanges, Mystery Skypes (using maps and sharing desktops to problem solve and eliminate areas within the map of the world) allowed my grade 5/6’s more agility and means of collaborating in a shared manner, constantly connecting and disconnecting from one tablet to the next to share each others insights and thoughts.
  2. Snips / Office Mix; these are two easily infused programs that I try to teach students at the beginning of the school year for digital inking. Snip and Mix allow for audio and video recordings showing student work, which infused with screenbeam allow me to preset success criteria that kids try to hit / reach when explaining their inquiry into problem solving new techniques and methods of working through a math equation using BEDMAS, Input / Output Tables (which ScreenBeamEdu’s own David Lopez was on sight at Lakewood to see in action – super cool having you visit two days this month buddy!). Students began seeking out Snip and Mix once completed other work to try digital inking and problem solving math equations outside of math time, recording their work and requesting that I share with their classmates during math class using screenbeam from BYODs students are bringing in on their own.
  3. Video Recordings of presentations; students would create Snips / Mixes and go up to present, while….ready for it…..wandering around the room simular in nature to how Mr. Archer does it during lessons. When I asked one student why she was doing it in that manner, she told me that it helps so and so, and these others stay on task, stay focused and hear the lesson and learning, so she wanted to ensure they heard and understood her as well! Talk about powerful…..I know as teachers we see things, hear things and can picture why it would be helpful, useful and practical for us as educators, BUT when students see, identify and begin using it, this just goes to show the true power and ability to reach all, any student within a classroom.
  4. Presentations; I recently took my Lakewood Ed Tech team (grade 5 and 6’s) to share their skills with Snip / Mix to NTIP (New Teachers) so they can teach within their classrooms. I totally forgot my screenbeam, and the kids were restricted to the front of the room. The sheer frustration of being tethered to the front of the room was well known throughout the presentations. Many teachers actually requested more info on these ‘screenbeams’ the kids kept referring too! Super funny too!
  5. I am a Fire Educator on the side in my role as a volunteer fire fighter. We train with fellow fire fighters from ages (19-70 years), so I thought why not try the power of screenbeam, digital inking with adults too. As a newly fire educator I tried teaching / presenting without it my screenbeam at the fire hall and it was like walking into the dark ages, caveman world again. So, I put out a call for help and was giving a great opportunity and it is working amazingly with the adult learners. Within the fire hall we have deeper conversations, more thorough explanations and visual representations rather then verbal indications of what is being presented. We can teach, discuss and actually walk around and show group work with a quick snap of a photo, record a discussion and share with the entire group on running portable pumps, pump operations on specific trucks, how to trouble shoot this or that. The learning has enhanced drastically.
  6. Now, to top things off….throw into the aforementioned into the world know ‘OneNote’ and you have a a super duo combination. Think this ScreenBeam and Pedagogical Documentation…..bing bamb boom! Photos, videos and snips, mixes etc….of student learning / real time student learning which is saved within OneNote that demonstrates anything and everything within the continuum of learning! From the beginning steps to trials and finally achievement….you have the whole gamete! Think now of parental conferences, team meetings and professional supports…..now you are not talking about someone you can show that actual student live in action for anyone not within that moment in the classroom with you! I have shared with parents content that day or days afterwards their child learning occurring in real time OR struggle with long division….actually circle the missed step(s) so parents can support at home as well! Powerful!

So, I have to stay within my allotted timeframe (doing report cards currently) otherwise I could go on forever about these amazing devices! ScreenBeam will take you into the 21st century of teaching! It will be your ultimate tool that enhances your professional growth and development in so many ways!

I am incredibly excited to continue learning, using and implementing ScreenBeam within my classroom, sharing with others and super pumped for the release of Classroom Commander shortly which is an addition to the already incredible usage of ScreenBeam within the classroom!

Keep up the great work ScreenBeam….loving that you are keeping it simple yet dynamic!

#IMMOOC – Week 1 – Innovation from Adversity

Over the next four-five weeks I will be partaking in the Innovator’s Mindset Massive Open Online Course (short form IMMOOC…I always wondered….now I get it) with George Couros’ and many other awesome people from TVDSB and hoping to see other friends too!

This is the 3rd event to be discussed around Georges’ book; The Innovators Mindset. Just Like Marc Hodgkinson and many others I am assuming, I read the book last year, attended George Talks in Brantford live face to face and walked away with so much its hard to share within a short period of time (I have 20-25 minutes before having to leave for my sons hockey practice).

This week we are to read the Forward and Intro of book. We have to share two things…so here we go!

  1. Why is innovation in education so crucial today?!!?

Well, friends Innovation is soooooo incredibly important in education today as we are all venturing into a new territory, and world that requires us to adapt, change and become innovative and create new wave extensions and means of making our future better, stronger and long lasting for the next generations. Not much different from past generation but moving within the 21 century things are changing so fast we need ti instill, infuse and create an inherent passion within our students, as this will be thoroughly ingrained and infused into their soon to be reality and work force. Without being armed and ready they will falter and dwindle out! So lets arm them with the know how, ability to innovate and inspire! George says; ‘To succeed (students) will need to know how to think for themselves and adapt to constantly changing situations’; which is basically what I have said above. I read another fantastic book this summer; A.J Juliani and John Spencer’s; Empower and also another book by Nicolas Provenzano; Your Starter Guide to Maker Spaces. What I learned within both reads was that going beyond outside of the box and becoming an innovative individual utilizing a ‘Maker Mentality’ we can go far outside the norm and standards set within education systems today. The Maker Mentality as I see it is Inspiring Innovation that sets others around spinning on their heels to achieve similar standards….which on route change and adapt into something different every time into a new wave and or change from the original project…thus innovation at work!

As Marc mentioned within his blog posting ‘We need fearless creators in our future,…that don’t shy away from challenges! Just today I was working on some awesome coding using Micro:bits http://bit.ly/2hs9u9K  (Click on the link for a quick video) on https://makecode.com/ which are amazing if anyone has not used them! You can purchase these from https://www.fairchancelearning.com/ anyways one of my students was recreating a ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ game using the project tutorials….once completed he came to show me….I suggested he ‘tweak’ the game and program somehow; so he left came back with ‘SAM’ (which was his name….SAM stands for ‘Screw Driver’, ‘Atomic Bomb’ and ‘Mom’s Look’ – which I am guessing is the ‘your in trouble look’) he had new faces and new program behind it so that the variable ‘M’ for ‘Mom’s Look’ occurred not 33.333 chances but with a probability of 40%. This jumped into a large scale class discussion and lesson on probability….something so simple yet so powerful from one simple ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ algorithm. Innovation….I think so! Creative?!!? Without a doubt (I can relate to that ‘Mom’s Look’ for sure…I will leave it at that one this one). Students like this took creativity to new highs within a passion for Micro:bits and Coding….students need to be adaptive, innovative and passionate as Marc mentioned in his blog posting too! Thinking on Juliani and Spencer’s; Empower Book….Sam took his previous understanding and tweaked things to make it intreguing and fasinating for others to play….I cannot wait to hear the conversations about ‘Mom’s Look’…..

2. Talk about a time you dealt with adversity in education, and how you overcame it?

Well, I am not your typical teacher, nor was the atypical student; which I believe is why I can relate to those ‘not so desirable students’ easily and within time. Growing up I was set on one thing; becoming an NHL Player…made it through Junior hockey at the age of 14 (doesn’t happen often….actually kind of rare) then got a full ride scholarship at Michigan State University. School was not my thing, nor remotely close to anything I wanted to do….beside getting the full ride for hockey to the next step on route to NHL. Well….I guess it was not meant to be…that summer someone ran a stop sign and dinged my Dad’s van on the passenger side (which was where I was sitting), two knee operations and many hours or rehab later I tried to push myself to summer camp two week after accident…well, not happening! I spent a year at community college and training hard, really hard to get back physically where I was at….this never happened and my dreams dwindled quickly!

At the time I was coaching hockey for my younger brothers and was told I was great with young kids and people suggested to become a teacher….well for someone not interested in school in the past this was not something I wanted to hear…..but the more I thought about it the more I loved it….(July and August seemed wicked awesome too) so I jumped but wow I didn’t realize how much I missed out on when diverting and letting my mother do my work for me! I did not know how to be a student…..it was the hardest battle I have ever had! Getting back into that form and mindset was incredibly difficult….but for me reflecting now I see it as ‘what was needed for me’ in order to fully understand and reach my students today! Most people complete teachers college in 4-5 years….well being the dismal student I was and was eager to change it took me 8 years (2 community college….used transfer credits to get BA in University…which was 4 years, decided to do a victory lap as developed a love of history and Great Books and then one full accelerated year in teachers college in the States….which included my Masters in Technology Integration in Education). Low and behold I did it….school was and still is hard, but constant reflection and always believing in myself along the way pushed me now into whom I am today….which I think is a pretty good teacher…well at least I try!

So there we are 20-25 minutes later all done, wish I had a little more time but that’s it for today! Looking forward to tonight!!

 

Lets Get Started Already!

Well, its that time of year again! Labour Day weekend has become the ‘turning point’ within each year for me since 2009 when I obtained my one and only LTO. Its the time when a new year and new beginning starts…

So, after spending the past week within my new school setting up my new classroom; I am ready to get this show on the road! You can see the classroom here https://youtu.be/hQIj0H9VZ2g

I always find myself preparing for the upcoming year mentally this given weekend. I always wonder why not earlier, but truth of the matter is that I try not to prepare too much as each year is different, each set of students, grade level, teaching partner and even principal is different….not to mention the parents as well. So, for my sanity I tinker, gather and implement things unconsciously up until this point in time. This given weekend always marks the turning point for me, as I get the wheels turning and spinning again, knocking those cobwebs off and really beginning to plan out things….

This year as I ponder, plan and program I see things in a much larger global scale of things. I recently was chosen to become a Microsoft Innovative Educator Fellow, but also was turned down as a Skype Master Teacher. A big high, yet a bit of a blow too….so as I plan I began consuming more and more Mystery Skypes, Virtual Guest Speakers and booking many Virtual Tours that link to Social Studies and Science Curriculum links and expectations. The elusive Skype Master Teacher will be a target I set my sights on throughout this year and taking my programming into a global atmosphere with Skype Collaborations on the Global Climate Action Project, TeachSDGs Worlds Largest Lesson, Hackathon, Skypeathon, and so many others….I feel I am on the right track to obtain that esteemed honour of Skype Master Teacher.

The way I look at things has always been, everything happens for a reason and this is one of yet many unforeseen circumstances that have graciously slipped into view in the last 4-6 months! All these items have pushed and lead me into some amazing learning opportunities and circumstances as well enhanced my teaching pedagogy. As I continue to jump into those uncomfortable unknown charted waters I continue to grow, develop as a teacher and my students obtain a much richer program and learning experiences.

So, thinking and transitioning myself into planning mode I am looking at the endless possibilities, learning experiences and inquires we are going to dive into and explore this year with excitement that I have not felt before! Its more elated passion and eagerness to share my love, passions with my students to take our learning outside the walls of the classroom into real world global learning and issues out there and help my students understand that they can always make a difference and impact on live of others anywhere within the globe.

I am super eager, excited to partake in Write to Give again for my second year; I am hoping as a Teacher Ambassador again! This program is unreal in its impact on my students and those in Africa as well! I think this program will be that much more meaningful to me this year as I am going with Write to Give August of 2018 to Africa to schools being built with the funds raised by the Authored books we create and sell to our loved ones.

Utilizing Twitter and the Microsoft Educators Community, Skype and Microsoft O365 Tools we will create a global footprint with @Archers56s this year. After reading Jenn Casa Todd’s SocioLEADia I have a knew profound love of Twitter and creating student profiles that can and will make a difference across the world.

So, 2017-2018 school year here we come!

With anxious anticipation and delight its about to get interesting, intriguing and exciting yet again!

Best of luck everyone and best wishes on the year we mark our impact on the globe, the year we take learning to new heights and levels of understanding and sharing with others!

Godspeed All…..

Top 5 Defining Moments; What has defined my career?!?

A PLN friend on twitter; Johnathan So aka Mr. Bowtie tagged me in a great reflection piece entitled ‘Top 5 defining moments; whats has defined my career’, in this he reflected on his moments; one of which was with his daughter Izzy starting school….so the following is my top 5 defining moments….(at least as I see them at this point in time….tomorrow could be another day – as it should be).

These are in no particular order just as they filtered through my memories…

  1. Opening my classroom to partnerships; now for me partnerships began as face to face partners within the classroom. Some of my most notables are my classroom Mommies (My first gigs classroom Educational Assistants; Linda and Kathy), these ladies ensured I was well taken care of (ate my lunch, took my breaks, laughed and learned to love my job, the kids and the new profession I just walked into), I thoroughly believe these two incredible ladies began my partnership / teamwork understanding / mindset and know how into what it is now! They among another EA; Starr were invincible, powerful and the best of partners!! They all taught me one thing…..you need to laugh and laugh often! To this day anyone teamed up and partnered with me I am sure would say one thing; he loves to have fun and laugh often! Thank you ladies for teaching me this! Once I walked into kindergarten I had two amazing Early Childhood Education partners in Kim and Krista; again two incredibly hardworking, lovely ladies whom made my practise and the students classroom experience that much more powerful, stimulating and fun as well! I cannot say enough about these two!! Partnerships are not only hired hands; I see my High School Co-op Students / Mohawk College DECE Students / University Teaching Students / NTIP Mentee’s (Natalie, Athena Tiffany, Nicholas, Christina, Presley, Joseph, Cheri and so many more). Twitter / Skype / and digital PLN partnership are so powerful too! All these partnerships have made me whom I am today; someone who loves mentoring and instilling a love and passion for this incredible profession we work in. We alongside our partners can make an impact that will last a lifetime, set memories that will never be forgotten, instill a love for life long learning in all that walk through the doors! These partnerships for me will never be forgotten, names will always be close to heart as they all inspired and change who I am and how I do things today! Take the leap people….make that partnership key as I did….I know consider all these amazing people colleagues and teammates that still inspire me today….align yourself with incredible people and they will bring value to your practise in times when needed!
  2. That ‘Person’ at work who believes in your crazy antics, ways and methods; for me this ‘Person’ is really two people; Dennis (hired me on my first contract) and Janice. This sounds funny but these two are very similar in nature! They know what they want to see, they push you to go the distance and stand behind you on your journey. They also are great at bringing your head back down from the clouds and ensuring your feet stay planted on the ground too. I always say that the body within the office can impact things within a school, as well as your practise as well. I had a really ‘bad’ experience too, and I went to a very dark and depressing place…but with some guidance I choose to leave a school, community, staff and students I loved, and it worked out incredibly well for me! So, while applying to job be aware of what you are getting into, know what you have to do and understand your place and consider if this IS the place for you! I am moving to a new school this year, in my hometown, where I went to school, where I did my High School, College and University Placements, where my own children go, but the body within the office is someone I trust, someone that will believe and inspire everyone within the building….I know this is the right place for me at this time at Lakewood Elementary! I will miss Hagersville Elementary; my home for the last 4 years!
  3. The Choice to become ‘Uncomfortable’; this one sounds funny, so let me try to explain this. I was taught rote learning, worksheets, read and summarize, drill and kill patterns and remembering and recalling dates, details, sets in solving long division; when I got outside this traditional teaching method and got uncomfortable and really ‘let go’ my experience and practise with inquiry driven student lead learning soared. I grew more as a person, changed my questioning techniques, conferences, guided which eventually turned to becoming a learning within the journey with each student as well. When I got uncomfortable I started learning more about what was being taught in the classroom, I was a students within my classroom alongside the kids, I became one with them. When this occurred I seen ‘more’ I actually seen why kids were still struggling with wanting to learn, and as any teacher does I adjusted, flipped and changed my ways….the outcome is what I design, how I work alongside kids, partners and colleagues now. When I walk into a situation my first thought is how do I become uncomfortable; because within this IS the growth in learning! I am constantly told my practise is incredibly progressive, totally outrageous and out there in good ways, but not the norm….my response is always ‘Great, I learn more from the kids then they do from me!’ So get ‘Uncomfortable’ people take leap of faith and try crazy, outrageous and becoming a big kid….its so much fun, doesn’t even feel like work and this is the true power of uncomfortably; changing from being a job to becoming something you thoroughly look forward to everyday!
  4. Getting into the Microsoft Educator Community; now let me start with this….yes we are a Microsoft Board, yes we use O365 all the time, but it is not the be all end all! I love Microsoft products, in fact my Surface Pro 4 is unbelievable!! By far the best computer I have ever had, highly recommend it too people! Working and learning within the MEC I learned so much about accessibility, and differentiation and how behaviour / classroom management could be eliminated with simple DI and mind blowing leveling programs that even the playing field for all! Within this journey I learned that there is NOT one answer for all, not one name but IF you explore everything Apple, Android, Microsoft, Samsung etc….there are so many possibilities we can find something that works for all! My journey took me into the Microsoft Innovative Educator Pathway route two years ago, which lead to the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Microsoft Innovative Expert Trainer, Microsoft Surface Pro Expert last year and just recently a Microsoft Innovative Educator Fellow! Yes I love my Microsoft!! I learned to develop those partnerships through Skype, O365 tools and that distance is no longer problems or issues as collaboration and teamwork can be done despite time zones, distance! Through my Microsoft Connections I learned about Remind 101 (communication tool for home school connections) and became and Remind Ambassador, I learned about Write to Give (Incredible Learning adventure – please see other blog postings) and became a Teacher Ambassador and will be venturing with Write to Give to Africa next August to meet the staff, students and schools in Africa. Microsoft brought me to the incredible team at Fair Chance Learning; Martha and Dustin are amazing people! Lia; whom after meeting her at this years E2 in Toronto feels like one of my previously mentioned EA Mommies….through email and twitter I feel as if I know her for my whole life and that first face to face meeting and hug was something that set a tone and inspired me to continue working on my partnerships on twitter even though they are overseas! Because as Kaylyn Dorland (another inspiring amazing twitter friend and Ignite speaker partner) has seen on her trip this year in Spain; she actually connected and met with a few of her twitter friends during her trip. I met Brian, Lisa and Derek through FCL whom inspire and push me everyday! I love Brian’s crazy ways with anything and everything he does and Lisa’s fantastic video’s of her children trying new innovations and her inspiring coding demo’s and Derek’s passion and energy in his practise! Microsoft has started an incredible journey that I hope is long from being over!! I thoroughly look forward to all things Microsoft everyday!
  5. My children; now I know Johnathon did this one as well, but I have to totally agree with him! I was a different person, a different teacher prior to kids. I was also a different person and teacher prior to my three amazing kids; Xander (6 yrs), Callie and Abbie (4 yrs my Twins) started school. Xander really struggled and I truly finally seen the ‘other side of the coin’. When parents come to us and state their case, their concerns for their child, I honestly thought I knew what they were talking about….but during my first conference with Xander’s kindergarten teacher (whom was also my highschool co-op and college placement supervisor) I stopped dead in a middle of my parental concerns for my child, totally lost my train of thought and finally seen / understood past, current and future parents perspectives….it was this moment when I was given insight into truly understanding parents! I remember my wife and that teacher being concerned I had a stroke or something…but it was a flash of reality! I have tried to explain this to others, but honestly I do not believe nor think anyone without a child (even without a child IN school) can see and understand this! Not that I am promoting having kids, although I would consider them my greatest achievement in life to date and they challenge and drive me nuts everyday but I love them so much that I wouldn’t change a thing! Xander and my girls are all totally different people, yes my identical twins (whom even have identical teeth…or so I was recently told by the dentist after x-rays) are different…each child is unique, incredible and come with different backgrounds, experiences yet they also come armed with ammo! Just like Johnathon’s daughter Izzy and my son Xander their ‘ammo’ can spark such powerful learning, we as teachers need to see what their arsenal, bag of tricks is and bring it out for all to see! I just had a flashback on a blog posting on ‘My Friend Gabby’ this past year….that was a moment I will never forget…all it took from me was acceptance! All kids are gifts! I thoroughly believe everything happens for a reason and its a comforting notion in hard times, but also uplifting to know at the same time as teachers! Each child is unique and there with you for a reason….find that reason, build rapport and get to know your kids…..when I learned this I took my rapport building to new heights and levels. The best feeling is the last day of school each year as tears run down your face because you love each child and will miss them so much, but the best part….know they will be awesome because of the time you had together!

OK, so there we go, all done, but when thinking and reflecting on this I know tomorrow this list could / should possibly be different! On so it should, having a growth mindset and forward thinking movement the future should always bring forth learning for you, everyday holds something new, every experience and moment can teach you something….grab it, embrace it and learn from it!! Until tomorrow…….

Summer Innovation with Fair Chance Learning!

Well, here we are again; reflecting upon a trip that was inspiring, innovating and also very emotional for me too!

Being an Avid Twitter Follower of the remarkable, inspiring and incredible work Fair Chance Learning does not only for teacher support, students learning but also provide opportunities for ALL types of learners, people and situations as seen in today’s posts with Children’s Wish Ontario! I had seen a few weeks back the awesome learning environment / situation / experience they provided for Peel Students, I decided to reach out and inquire about the possibility of bring some kids from Grand Erie District School Board.

Martha (Director of Professional Services); responded back to me with an eager yes! Anyone who knows, witnessed or been part of a Martha Jez workshop would understanding this; ‘Eager Yes’…she is an incredible speaker, innovator and empowering leader in our field!! So, with this I would love to share our awesome-sauce (as current International Space Station Astronaut; Jack Fischer would say) adventure with Fair Chance Learning and Microsoft Canada!

So, I; myself am walking into a new school at Lakewood Elementary, new grade level (5/6) with new students whom I wanted to bring along to instill a passion of innovation from the best; Martha @marthajez and Dustin Jez @DustinJez, Derek Tangredi @dtangredi. Being tied closely to my former school (my home away from home) I also wanted to include them as well; so three students from Hagersville Elementary, our wonderful principal; Janice Hughes and her two boys came along as well. Alongside Janice (principal), a step father of one of my students this year came along (whom is a special education teacher consultant) and myself (classroom teacher) we had a lot of bases covered within Grand Erie @GEDSB with a small contingent. A highlight personally for me was that Fair Chance and Microsoft allowed my son; Xander (6 years old) to tag along as well with his little buddy.

After a little side work organizing we were all set and pumped for the big day! Carpooling and navigating through some intense traffic we arrived at our destination at Microsoft Head Office in Mississauga. On most trips this traffic would instill a sense of a strong desire for some coffee, however walking into a place of innovation, empowerment and invigorating passion to inspire, infuse and instill a growth mindset; coffee was not on my mind at all…..however, the washroom was!

Upon walking into the front doors you feel as if you were walking into a nerd/geek dream. A side note; my wife calls my trips and workshops ‘geekfest’ when doing anything related to technology and or computers, but I am totally fine with this! I could rock the Big Bang Show alongside the geek squad!

Martha met us; shook hands with each student, parent and introduced herself and welcomed them all with open arms into the world of Microsoft! After a hug for myself (yes, we geeks tend to do that when inspiring young minds is in hand for the day) we went upstairs where we seen the ‘brain trust’, the storage of anything and everything digital within the Microsoft World. Being an avid fan of the new series Salvation; I felt we were walking into Darius’ realm of innovation and meeting ‘Tess’ (his virtual brain working alongside everyone as an Artificial Intelligence being). We were brought into a room where the energetic, creative Derek Tangredi was to meet us (I would have been incredibly pumped; but Derek and I touched based the evening before via twitter, so I knew he would be there – If anyone gets a chance you have to sit with Derek sometime……talk about an empowering person to get behind and model your practice from!!). I also finally, officially met Michelle Valtas (Director of Marketing and Communication for FCL) Karen Truyens (One of Microsoft’s Leading Ladies) and my Buddy Alex from a TweetMeet I hosted a couple days before!

Karen welcomed us to Microsoft Head Office and partook in the days events with us; provided us with some awesome OneNote Avenger Capes for the students and us big kids as well, and as incredible as these were this was far from a highlight from the day! The highlight was watching pure eagerness turn into a desire, invigoration a passion to explore all the cool tech on the table in front from the kids! We had Makey Makey, Sphero’s, Windows Computers and today’s big exploration…..the new Micro:bit!! (Insert crazy fun music now!!)

With Derek at the helm leading the micro:bit education we began coding our initials; an easy simple starting point for anyone getting started! A few of my former troops programmed; when A/B both touched the LED’s lit up writing ‘My brothers feet smell’ and ‘My sisters are crazy’ (simple yet a step another step in the learning process of scratch / block coding). After some laughs and frowns from brothers and sisters within the room it was time to get funky!

Derek lead a lesson in creation of some awesome activities that could be used for physical education / DPA through coding and programming the kids coded programs that ran hula hoop counters, egg catching games and even limbo! Watching the kids learn the basics of code and the immediate application into a fun game right afterwards was awesome! Soooooo much fun playing the games with the kids….but the conversations were the best! I heard ‘I cannot believe I made that into a game’ and ‘coding can do this!?!’, ‘Mr. Archer I am going to miss this next year’ (former students), ‘Mr. Archer we have to do lots of this stuff this year (new students) and ‘Dad this is the stuff we do at home, but sooooooo much better’ (From my goofball; Xander).

Some of the key highlights was watching parents, my former principal and also the teacher consultant desire to dive in and try (all of which walked away purchasing a micro:bit by the way – so you know they were inspired!!), explore and ask so many deep and amazing questions that connected to curriculum content, clubs, activities, Camp 21’s and from one parent ‘I just love the smile on my kids faces when they are inspired like this’. One word comes to mind; empowering!!

On a more personal note; watching my son interact and learn from Dustin and Derek (two idols of mine in education was incredible to see). Xander is a really, really busy kid! He does not sit long nor attend to anything he is NOT into, however he was glued to each and every word these two said and time they spent with him. Something that does not happen often with Xander, yet another reason these two guys inspire and are models from my practice!!

We also had the opportunity to finally meet the Jez clan! The power couple; Martha and Dustin brought along their kids and a friend and seeing them pure enjoyment with the tech in them just drove home for me the incredible power we all have on and for our kids! In a place so far from home in a totally new environment it felt homey and very family oriented! Microsoft Canada; Karen Truyens and Fair Chance Learning not only spoiled us with an incredible day of innovation but also what seemed to become of rather larger new family of passionate people with a desire and eagerness for innovation!

To top things off we were even spoiled with lunch from Microsoft! If you talk to any parent; those dreaded brown bags lunches are dreadful (insert ‘oh crap’ September is around the corner on those lunches are coming back). We sat in the cafe; along with the buildings employee’s and even these people welcomed us with open arms and conversations too!

This little summer adventure just instilled so much more passion and desire to continue my learning journey with Microsoft and Fair Chance Learning in my own professional practice! Being an innovator as the aforementioned professionals within this blog takes hard work and commitment to be the best and explore, fail, adapt, change, fail some more and more and more and then you get it! But, then something new comes along and the process begins again, to be an innovator you have to get ‘uncomfortable’ as my friend Derek says! Growth is found in uncomfortable situations that are not the nor…..be innovating for you kids, students, parents and families people and most of all give anyone and everyone a ‘Fair Chance in Learning’ and explore accessibility, coding and differentiated means of delivering and accessing material using Microsoft’s O365 tools!!

The possibilities are endless….develop a PLN on Twitter otherwise opportunities such as this would not happen….twitter is my adaptation into innovation and global teaching, let it by your guide and voice as well!

 

Fall of 2017 is fast approaching!!

Well here we are in August, on the downward side of summer holidays and school is fast approaching again!

Looking ahead I am not entirely sure what the future will hold in the new school, with a new grade level, new students, families, colleagues and whatnot but what I do know is that it will be a new adventure! I always say change is good; therefore this move will be a nice change of pace and location for me, as my own students will be at Lakewood, which will make life before and after school a wee bit easier for my family!!

As for my new students; I am looking forward to an older crowd! Last year we touched on many new and innovative things in grade three, but I found we started to top off around April where and when I could not take kids much further into the digital world, as things began to become a little too far abstract and difficult. So, as with any problem and issue; I reassessed and regrouped and thought why not lets give an older group a whirl and see how far and where I can take them!

So, looking ahead this year one of the things I am very excited about is the sheer independence and depth I can take kids on through a new means of acquiring learning; project based student inquiry driven assignments and tasks. Very individualized and hands on more so for the students and less so for me. So a bit of a flip for most people; myself I will have to adapt tracking, conferencing, documentation and consolidation methods. Be more insightful and creative with my ideas and suggestions for students to add more depth into their projects, consider teaching students the ability to connect and collaborate into a new realm of twitter, skype and blogs within the safe confines of the classroom as well. I want to instill the passion I have for collaboration, networking and learning alongside people digitally and globally!

Some of the projects we will be jointly exploring during student driven 20% time; thanks A.J Juliani and John Spencer (Empower Book – Fantastic Read by the way!! Highly recommend it) will be; Write to Give writing and publishing a book for students in Kenya, Africa (where I will be travelling next August – thanks Write to Give!!), Koen Timmers; Global Climate Action Project in October (very excited to partake alongside over 250 other classes throughout the globe and 59 other Countries), Working with Micro:Bits and @dkiang ibook ‘Making with Micro:bit’ and actual Micro:bits (I will be requesting parents to purchase) first time ever exploring this but have worked through the 14 week Intro to Computer Science Coarse during the summer with my own three kids and they loved the Project Based Learning / Maker Projects!! Super excited to work with these great little coding machines and continue learning from https://www.fairchancelearning.com/ Team (Fantastic Group of very knowledgeable people); Lead by the energetic tandem of Martha and Dustin Jez; the dynamic dual behind the Company! This team provides so much; please take a peak at their site for lots of awesome stuff; also online purchasing of Makey Makey and Micro:Bit Kits too!!

Something I am going to continue rolling with and amp up even more so this coming year will be the depth of Coding and amazing tech to lead and use with Coding such as; Makey Makey, Micro:bits, Ozobots, mBots, Dash and Dots (can now borrow from Public Libraries), Vex Lego Kits, Sphero / Ollies (purchased two this summer from Kijiji) and so much more! Endless possibilities and links throughout the entire curriculum!

Another thing I am getting right into this year is Maker Spaces! I am going to work on a ‘Maker Mentality’ type program within my classroom, which will be the driving force behind all project based learning throughout the year! I have acquired many, many resources and will be requesting items from home, community partners and much more! Super excited to partner with Norfolk Public Library for 3D Printing to add more depth to my Maker Mentality / Mindset within the classroom…..possibilities are endless this year!! Super excited to take what Nicholas Provenzano (‘Your Starter Guide to Maker Spaces’) and John Spencer / A.J. Juliani’ Empower Book taught me about Maker Mindset and Spaces!! Two incredible reads if interested in Maker Spaces!!

A side note; Norfolk Public Libraries (I also know Brant as well) are implementing and trying to support schools with STEM learning, so please be sure to connect and touch base with them before school to see what they can support and offer to classrooms too!

Super Excited to also implement and include my former Nipissing Teaching Students STEM Club OneNote Binder within my weekly schedule! We will be exploring their numerous STEM activities and lessons weekly to link students to curriculum in meaningful / fun and exciting ways!!

STEM is excited but armed with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and the amazing Surface Dial I am going to add the ‘A’ to STEM and make lots of ‘STEAM’ going the distance and adding Art into programming within STEM! Look out Archer’s 5/6s this year are going to be ‘STEAMING HOT”!!

Looking forward to connecting with new colleagues, teaching / grade partners at Lakewood, developing new connections within the community (which should not be too hard seeing as I live in Port Dover already and work as a Volunteer Fire Fighter and have numerous connections already). Also excited to continue working alongside Nipissing University taking on Teaching Students; hopefully would love to continue with High School Co-op Students, and for sure will be continuing with Indispire Native Support for the fourth year!!

This will be the first year I will be remote from my amazing A-Team comprised of some dynamic teachers (Krista King, Nick Reynolds, Presley Sibbick, Joseph Bishop, Christina Demeter) distance will be troublesome yet just a small hurdle to work around!

Looking ahead; things look super exciting and bright!

And there goes July…..

Well July came and gone so fast and now we are into August!

Its funny when you think about it; but as a teacher the somewhat dreaded ‘August’ just means we are back to the grinding stone soon.

Personally refreshing in the summer is awesome; but I think summer is even more amazing for us all to reset, read, learn and create with some actual time on our hands. People do travelling and day trips but one of my favourite things this summer has been taking my own kids into the 21 century and learning along side them with the Micro:bits coarse! They have made and created some very cool things; but by far the best is watching my son independently coding the micro:bits on his own now….simple things but still on his own.

Reading, reading and reading some more! Jenn Casa-Todd’s SociaLEADia is awesome (still working through her book), A.J Juliani and John Spencer’s; Empower Book is amazing for project based learning and maker space concepts too!

Been working hard through the Microsoft Educators Community on Summer School 101 and 201 too! Learning and create Microsoft Team for this year, my new super OneNote Binder (Which I inserted within my Team) for Lakewood Elementary this school year too!! Lots and lots on the go!

So; bring on August and lets see what it holds!

One final thought before signing off; it is now 1 year before I leave to go to Africa with Write to Give as well! Super excited it is now within reach!

Have a fantastic August everyone!!

Summer PD for a teacher…future looks bright!

So, we are well into week two of summer!

Been busy planning, creating and reading lots and lots of various things for my new classroom, new school and new grade.

Trying to continue my growth and development in the 21 century usage of tools and strategies moving forward next year and look back it was a fantastic year, but looking ahead with an older group the possibilities open even more so!

Had a discussion with my wife regarding how moving to a new school, closer to home is exciting, but also to some degree a bit of a step backwards again; as I was thoroughly involved, invested and part of Hagersville Elementary; covering the office, leading student ed tech, the tech lead within the school and a go to guy for anything and everything! Looking into the Fall of 2017 I am now starting off yet at the beginning again; however all the involvement is somewhat lessened…now I was thinking a bit of a step back, but rethinking, reflecting and planning ahead I see more time, opportunities and possibilities with an older group (grade 5 and 6 students).

I plan on taking the new room, and well moving in take the design concept of a Maker Space / 21 Century Flipped Paperless Classroom; driven by student lead inquiries and project based learning opportunities seem like another step ahead and forward into my personal desire to continue to grow as a 21 century educator.

I have yet to determine a classroom motto; which I always create and try to focus on with the students throughout the year, so if you have any thoughts and or suggestions please let me know! Innovation and Collaboration Project Based Learning need to be incorporated within the motto. I want a strong, clear direction once read people gather and fully understand it!

Last year with Write to Give we looked to expanding and creating a better tomorrow for others; so in some manner I would like to continue that as well somewhere within the classroom motto too.

I am hoping to continue my Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator journey; expand horizons, connect, collaborate and instill a love for learning and eager anticipation to obtain differentiation instructions using the O365 tools we have at our disposal from Microsoft Canada too! I am also anticipating a few announcements myself; hoping to become a Microsoft Fellow, Microsoft Master Skype Teacher and also a Microsoft Surface Pro Trainer to support and teach others using my amazing Surface Pro 4 computer to show others the limitless possibilities of O365 apps and programs!

Another piece I am thoroughly looking forward to is the NEW Microsoft Teams and my continual growth with OneNote Classroom with my students, my new super OneNote 2017 – 2018 Binder that has my Day Book, Mark Book, Pedagogical Student Documentation, Field Trip / Permission Forms / Fundraising, Co-op / Mohawk / Indispire and Teaching Student Info / Student Emergency Contact Information / Computer Passwords and Account information, grade 5 and 6 curriculum documents across all strands. I have included links within this Super OneNote Binder that links to my OneNote Classroom (Collaboration, Library etc…) and student pages for direct access to anything and everything students are doing within the classroom. I also have links to my day book and even my Archer’s 5/6’s Microsoft Team too! I even downloaded the new stickers to add to the learning tools and math add-in’s too!

I am slowly adding content to my Teams channels and pages. Students are included already within Teams and OneNote Classroom Binders (both incredibly easy to do so through search tools). So between these two tools the direct, easily access to network and collaborate within the classroom will be incredibly powerful and simple using student devices, cell phones and computers anywhere within the globe.

I am also looking at adding Student Blogs and Twitter Handles into programming as well so that not only students can link out to the globe through our classroom twitter handle, they can do so on their own as well and start to gather and create a digital presence that begins to instill contributions and support as valued citizens.

I constantly am told that I am beyond out there; that I am very ‘forward thinking’ and even ‘almost to far ahead for others’ but I think its key and important to lead by example, to show our kids, students and family as well as friends that yes the digital-verse can be scary but if used appropriately and efficiently it can open so many doors for students as it has with me!

One of my larger goals this coming year is for students to be able to include a twitter handle, blog link to resumes in the future so that future employers can visit and see what incredible, remarkable change makers they have the possibility of hiring for their business’ and companies!

So, again looking back to the conversation with my wife about taking a step back; it doesn’t look so painful as I really thought! I am excited for a new change and new group, new classroom, school, and colleagues to work, learn and share what I know with!

I have always called Port Dover my home since I was born. I went to grade school, high school here! I did my HS Co-op placements at Doverwood, College ECE placement in Kindergarten at Doverwood and even my Teachers College; Teaching Placement at Doverwood. I grew up playing minor hockey and baseball, I coach my children now going through minor hockey and baseball! I bought my first house in Port Dover (still own and currently a landlord with this original house), purchased our second home, got married and had my three kids here and also a Volunteer Fire Fighter at Station # Norfolk in Port Dover. Now, I get the ultimate prize the ultimate goal I always said I wanted to reach at some point in time; to get to Doverwood! Well, the Old Doverwood school is no longer but Lakewood Elementary is our towns local public school and basically the same thing, so I made it, I got it and the goal has been reached!

I am looking forward to becoming even more invested, infused and part of Port Dover’s culture and future instilling a love for our town with the students of Lakewood and supporting our towns growth and development as well!

Port Dover; I made it back home! See you in the fall Lakewood Elementary!!