Archives For February 2013

Several years ago, while doing my Master’s of Education degree at Western, my supervisor George Gadanidis told me a story.  I had just found out that I was not short listed for a job I wanted, and he shared this story to make me feel better. It has stuck with me.

He told me about “a friend” of his, as these stories often go, that was interviewing for a job.  The company had completed the process of reading job applications and there were two lists: the people to be called and offered an interview and those that were to be called and NOT offered an interview.  These notes were passed along to an administrative assistant.  The lists got switched!  Somehow, those people that were supposed to get the sorry-we-are-not-interviewing-you got the call saying they were to be interviewed.  The company had no choice but to select from the candidates on the ‘reject’ list.  So, in my dismay over not getting a job interview, George shrugged and said “maybe they called the wrong list.”

Well, if you allow yourself to think that in bad times, I must also consider this to be the case in good times.

I have just received my email saying that Apple has selected me for the Apple Distinguished Educator Program.  I am thrilled!  But, a little cloud of humility hangs over me, and I am glad it does.  I hear George saying “they called the wrong list.”  I am reminded that luck often has a lot to do with these things.

Congratulations to my fellow colleagues who applied for the ADE class of 2013.  Right list, wrong list, selected or not: we are all on this journey together.

Photo Credit: stargardener via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: stargardener via Compfight cc

Imagine this: Your child is amazing at playing video games, much to your chagrin.  Your child spends hours on the games and has become especially adept at driving games.  Your child turns 16 and learns to drive a real car. Guess what, your child is actually a much better driver than other non-video-game playing kids. In fact, your child is so good, they aren’t allowed to race in amateur race series.

What?  (This moment you should be giving your head a shake).

While you read the details below, consider the following: “Child banned from provincial EQAO testing: Video game reading skills too high.”


Photo Credit: DeclanTM via Compfight cc

The game is called Grand Turismo and the very best players, selected at Nissan’s GT Academy are not allowed to race at British GT.

Why? Because the amateur racers are too fast! Read more here.


Photo Credit: andrewrennie via Compfight cc

“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” –Jessica Hische





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Genius Hour

February 6, 2013 — Leave a comment

Genius hour is an hour for students to be innovative and to work on their own unique projects.  I set the following expectations for the hour:

Genius Hour Exp

Genius Hour Expectations

  • make something
  • 45 minutes to make, 15 minutes to share and perfect
  • cooperate

I went on to explain what “cooperate” means to us:

Cooperate (does not mean that you have to work with a partner, but…)

  • help others if they ask for help
  • join (if someone needs you to be in their project, go for it)
  • be nice
  • be easy going
  • don’t be sneaky
  • don’t act too clever (no boasting/bragging like a  certain hare in a certain fable).

During this hour, I was conferring with students about their Duct Tape Procedural texts, iBook Capacity Centre Recounts and Minecraft Area and Perimeter projects that we are nearly complete.  So, that was the other stipulation: I was allowed to pull any kid, at any moment, for a conference.

The result for the kids:

  • “Thanks for looking at my GeniusHour work” said between students with total sincerity during sharing time.
  • Meaningful activities rich in creation, oral language, collaboration 
  • Practising being good citizens by participating in other people’s projects
  • Self expression and opportunities to go beyond prescribed school tasks

The result for me:

  • A space for conferring about iPad projects 
  • Giving my students time to explore apps and dig deeper

Tweet Genius hour


I got some serious grade 3 and 4 love from two of my kids:

Best Teacher


Thank you to  Lynda Hall @MsLHall and Todd Conaway @Todd_Conaway for telling me about and suggesting Genius Hour.

Thanks to  ETMOOC for creating a learning space where @MsLHall , @Todd_Conaway and I could connect.