I was tagged by a fantastic colleague of mine Velisa Anusic to reflect on #10goodthings. I really feel honoured every time being mentioned and asked to participate in #peel 21st edtech leadership blogs. There are so many great teachers in our school (Castlebrooke) and board who are doing fantastic things with their students that it’s difficult not be inspired on a daily basis! I agree with Velisa that it’s great once in awhile to get a “pat on the back” for the things we as teachers do in our classrooms and with our fellow colleagues to inspire our students. To be honest, I don’t really enjoy highlighting or even thinking about things that make me look good but I certainly don’t mind sharing the things that made me feel good…
1. November Tech Den Blitz:
In November, a few of us decided that we would use a full month to use specific tech topics of interest (and a free lunch!) to get staff to come out and and learn about different tech tools. Not only was it great to see staff respond positively, but it was also great to see those who previously had limited tech experience want to share a tech tool with other teachers.
Velisa and I quickly realized that the best day to get staff to come out was in conjunction with our hospitality program chef Ed who offers a fantastic meal every lunch on Wednesdays. We now have declared every Wednesday #TDW (Tech Den Wednesdays). I feel great about this!
2. Model UN mayhem!
Last year a student in my law class asked me “Sir, can we start a Model UN club?” I thought about it for about 2 seconds and said “of course!” This past November we took 10 amazing students to participate in the University of Toronto’s SSISM Model UN crisis simulation and even had two of our students win awards! This made me feel great. To give these students an opportunity to experience something they may never do in their academic career was awesome.
3. Writing for Emond
This past year I was asked by the publisher Emond Montgomery to contribute writing resources for an law online publication that I had used in my classroom for many years called “Class Action”. I wrote several teacher resources with activities based on current legal issues. This experience really gave me the confidence to be able to write and reflect on my own teaching practices.
This semester, I taught a blended grade 12 law course. What an experience it was. The ability to collaborate and communicate with my students in different ways at different times was truly amazing. When I invited them in they were always just as enthusiastic to learn as they were online.
5. BRING IT (2014)
In November I had the opportunity to do a presentation with my principal Cathy Semler and Velisa Anusic at one of the more popular annual #edtech conference held in Niagara. Presenting on the topic of leading teachers to embrace technology really resonated with me afterwards and made me realize that I am making a difference and trying to lead the way with sharing and collaborating with staff to embrace technology.
6. Trying new tech tools.
I love technology, and I love teaching. I’m always thinking of ways to bridge the two with the goal of answering the question: how can my students be more successful? This semester one of the best tech tools I tried was in my 2P History class where, the students created Holocaust children’s books using the infamous APP Book Creator. What a great little APP on the IPADS that teacher’s can use with their students to turn any topic into a story. The best part was when we had students read them in class to each other!
7. Mock Trials, Mock Trials, Mock Trials!
Other than technology my passion is Criminal Law. While some of my interest lies in the fact that my wife is a lawyer, and my brother is a Superior Court judge, really it’s seeing my students participate in mock trials that puts a smile on my face. The amount of work they put in and how for two weeks they feel they own the case makes me feel good about what we are doing to get them interested about law. This year we even had the new director of OJEN (Ontario Justice Education Network) in to watch our trials!
8. Google Apps for Education
Like Velisa, I love it! I’m going to try to use Google Classroom next semester to see how it compares to Edmodo which I’ve been using the past several years.
9. Link crew
I work with some awesome teachers, trying to build student leadership in our school. Recently we just finished our Coco and cram study hall with our grade 9s and the turn out over the two days was great. So far it’s been a great year!
10. The World Juniors!
I was able to go see our junior team throughout the holidays and man what an experience that was!
*11. Health = Happiness
So I decided to try a program called the the whole 30 and two weeks in now I feel amazing! I wanted to start 2015 by committing to something that would fundamentally bring change in me in a positive way. I decided that developing healthy eating habits was going to help me do more amazing things this year but most importantly make me feel good about myself.
* I had to add an extra
So there you have it, my #10goodthings…thanks for reading, can’t wait to read yours too!