Gregorian Rant – Friday, January 31

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

On display at White Cube Bermondsey in London from January 22 – April 14, 2014 is a new solo exhibition from artist and photographer Darren Almond entitled, To Leave a Light Impression. In a breathtaking series of night-time landscape photos, Almond takes 12 – 30 minute long exposure photographs under the light of a full moon. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Almond explains: “With long exposures, you can never see what you are shooting, but you are giving the landscape longer to express itself.”   The ‘Fullmoon’ series have taken Almond to every continent over a period of 13 years. Born in 1971 in Wigan, United Kingdom, Darren Almond lives and works in London. He graduated from Winchester School of Art in 1993 and held his first solo exhibition in 1995. For more information on the exhibit, visit WHITE CUBE.

On display at White Cube Bermondsey in London from January 22 – April 14, 2014 is a new solo exhibition from artist and photographer Darren Almond entitled, To Leave a Light Impression.

In a breathtaking series of night-time landscape photos, Almond takes 12 – 30 minute long exposure photographs under the light of a full moon. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Almond explains:

“With long exposures, you can never see what you are shooting, but you are giving the landscape longer to express itself.”

 The ‘Fullmoon’ series have taken Almond to every continent over a period of 13 years. Born in 1971 in Wigan, United Kingdom, Darren Almond lives and works in London. He graduated from Winchester School of Art in 1993 and held his first solo exhibition in 1995. For more information on the exhibit, visit WHITE CUBE.


What Is a Maker Space?


Copyright 2013 by Grand Center Arts Academy in St. Louis, Mo.

The Grand Center Arts Academy (GCAA) Makerspace in St. Louis, Mo., is a drop-in, laboratory-like environment where students design products that serve an authentic purpose. Students choose what they want to make and are mostly self-guided in their creations. Andrew Goodin, facilitator at the GCAA Makerspace, provides an array of low- and high-tech materials for student tinkering. Goodin might use probing or clarifying questions to help students think about their design challenges, but generally, his role is to be a guide on the side—Makerspace learning is student-directed.

The so-called “Maker Movement” is an approach to invention and innovation with a decidedly do-it-yourself ethos. Businesses and institutions are dedicating virtual or real “maker spaces” that are a sort of sandbox for launching and testing ideas. Schools like GCAA are integrating maker culture as a way to engage students in interdisciplinary, creative problem solving.

GCAA consolidated the layout of their library to make room for their Makerspace, which they characterize as a “STEAM room” because it maximizes students’ creative application of STEM concepts in a project-based atmosphere. “Rather than learning a concept first, and then demonstrating their understanding on a test, students in the Makerspace synthesize background knowledge and apply their artistic skills to learn and create,” write GCAA educators.

Learn more about GCAA’s Makerspace by following the Makerspace project’s blog.


ASCD Express, Vol. 9, No. 9. Copyright 2014 by ASCD. All rights reserved. Visit



Discovery Education

“Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.”

Wendell Berry

artwork from the Wabano Centre


Today’s Theme – Discovery Education

The Discovery Educator Network (DEN) is a global community of educators passionate about teaching with digital media, sharing resources, collaborating, and networking. Our 4500+ STAR Discovery Educators have provided professional development to over 1 million educators worldwide, both on-line and in-person. Discovery Educators have exclusive access to a wide range of resources, professional development activities, networking opportunities, exclusive Discovery events and more!

Dean Shareski @shareski will be in Ottawa next week to talk to principlas about Digital Resources and Discovery Education  blog – 

Quiz Builder on Discovery Education

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SAMR in the schools – where is your staff?

It is very exciting to see what is happening on our staff.  With a good representation of the SAMR model (below) it is possible to get a good idea on how our staff is progressing.  There is still a good deal of work to be done, but the survey gives a good idea of what my role as principal and what our staff need to continue to work on.

Think back to September, where would you have put yourself according to the SAMR model





Now that you are half way through the year where would you put yourself on the scale?

Substitution 4 40%
Modification 4 40%
Augmentation 2 20%
Redefinition 0 0%

Where do you plan to be by the end of the school year?

Substitution 1 13%
Modification 4 50%
Augmenataion 0 0%
Redefinition 3 38%

Is there anything that I could do to help you move to the next level

I am using some technology that is listed in all of the SAMR categories but because I only use them some of the time I probably was (in Sept) and still am at the S level. I still have a long way to go and would really benefit from some in-service. We have spent a lot of money on the technology and none on teacher training in the use of it. I am not tapping in to the full potential of the iPads (or even the SMARTBoard for that matter even though I use it all the time). ? More time to explore and train with devices and programs. Also – not much for you to do on your end but – tech support is not always available to us when we really need it ASAP. ( understandably, INFO TECH is always busy, but why are they not adding more “IT” staff to reflect the increase in number of devices and tech items were are using compared to a few years ago? We still only have one very busy service IT for so many schools. You have done an outstanding job of putting technology into the hands of teachers and students. Thank you.

To move to the next level, a couple of half day in-school workshops from Lisa Langsford or Marcie Martel (or similar) to SHOW us how to use some apps and show us some real student samples of how to use them would help a lot. And allowing some hands-on to explore what they are teaching us. (Or after school if funding is not available). We must be able to tap into some board funding??? I get the feeling we are only scratching the surface of how we can be using the ipads.

If there was a set (minimum 4) Chrome books in my class all the time I could reasonably incorporate them into constant use, therefore making them a full time tech choice. Continue educating us on shortcuts or new apps at staff meeting I need concrete suggestions for primary activities where tech can be substituted on a more regular basis. What aps are best for primary level which students can use on their own to produce work? Personally, I find my tech goals are pushed back by lack of time but I would make an effort to take the time if I had to present my activity to others or had a deadline to send student work to you. My goal is to use it on a more regular basis though… Not just for one project to demo. Provide some in-school PD time to learn a new tool.

WiFi – are there any areas of the school where the wifi signal is not strong. ie you can’t pick up a signal

library and the hallway outside of it, staff room No issues! ? Staffroom hall, and please share comment above with them as well all OK as far as I know x in and near library Staff room and library

Thanks for all your comments – we are up to seven!!

I promise some action will come out of this survey and i will amke sure the Board knows there are no weak wifi zones

 Click here to download the PDF – will really help you figure out where you are and where you are going!!

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Gregorian Rant Friday January 24

 L0030150 Credit: Wellcome Library, London 

Illustrated Sinhalese covers (inside) showing the events between the Bodhisatta’s renunciation and the request by Brahna Sahampati that he teach the Docrine after he becomes a Buddha. 
19th Century 
From: Dhammacakkappavattana sutra 
Size: 5.9 x 43.9 cm 
Collection: Asian Collection 
Library reference no.: Or Singhalese Manuscript 143 

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 2.0, see 

A Prayer to Know Presence
Friday, January 24, 2014

My colleague and fellow faculty member of our Living School for Action and Contemplation, James Finley, offers a prayer for us to experience union with Divine Reality:

May each of us be so fortunate as to be overtaken by God in the midst of little things. May we each be so blessed as to be finished off by God, swooping down from above or welling up from beneath, to extinguish the illusion of separateness that perpetuates our fears. May we, in having our illusory, separate self slain by God, be born into a new and true awareness of who we really are: one with God forever. May we continue on in this true awareness, seeing in each and every little thing we see the fullness of God’s presence in our lives. May we also be someone in whose presence others are better able to recognize God’s presence in their lives, so that they, too, might know the freedom of the children of God.

Adapted from Oneing, “The Perennial Tradition,” Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 81-82
Excerpted from the epilogue to James Finley’s forthcoming book,
Little Things that Fill the Whole World:
Gospel Metaphors of Spiritual Awakening.

Gateway to Silence:
That all may be one


SAMR Survey – please look for this in your e-mail.  Please complete, the information will be important to assess how we are doing with the adoption and use of technology.  This survey is for our use only and will not be shared.  I will also use the survey to make sure that our wifi signal is of sufficient strength throughout the school.  If there are problems with wifi coverage, I will be sure to contact Francis Liu to fix any problems.

The ten ‘Golden Rules’ of Google Apps for Education

Google Apps, and cloud solutions in general, are revolutionizing the way educators teach and students learn.

googleGoogle Apps are revolutionizing how educators teach and students learn. Here are 10 ‘Golden Rules’ to consider when using them. (360b/

Using the power of interactive, cloud-based technology, school administrators and teachers can connect with students in a meaningful way, enhancing the overall learning experience. That said, first approaching these platforms can be overwhelming.

For those of you embarking on the Google Apps journey, here are ten Golden Rules to consider:

1.Energizeeveryone in your school community with a compelling internal marketing plan. Help lead the charge to have everyone be a part of this exciting new technology. Get everyone on board.

2.Expandyour knowledge by taking advantage of the training that Google offers. You cannot fully utilize the program if you’re not aware of what it can do. Check out the list ofGoogle in Education Global Summitsand see when sessions are going on near you.

3.Protectyour data with a reliable third-party backup partner. Google is secure, but you never know when it will have an outage or when a student might accidently delete important data. You would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to safeguarding all the information you’ll be pouring into Google Apps.

4. Inviteparents to participate through interactive components like Gmail, Calendar, Spreadsheet, and Sites. Make it easy for them to be part of their students’ educational experience.

5. Collaboratewith other teachers in your school or district with Google Docs. Share lesson plans and notes from meetings quickly and easily.

Teacher Team inquiries

Stephen Katz emphasizes that the adult learning that takes place in a school should
be directly connected to student need – “Given that we have evidence to suggest X
is the most urgent student learning need, what does that suggest is the most urgent
teacher learning need? And from there, what is the most urgent leader learning
need?” (Leaders in Educational Thought, 2013). Student learning is the catalyst for
educator learning and “forms the essential material” of professional inquiry (Capacity
Building Series – Collaborative Teacher Inquiry).
Capacity Building Series :  Dynamic Learning

Our triad teams – three schools – St. Daniel, St. Gregory and St. Monica are starting on our second round of inquiries.  My goal this term is to do a better job of documenting the work that the triads do.  Each group was given a half day last week to review the inquiry from the first term and come up with a new inquiry for the second half of the year.

The videos here are my attempt to capture some of the learning that is happening within the groups.  I am hoping to record the work of some of the groups as the term progresses.

Triad teams working together
Triad teams working together

“If we teach social skills to a target group then will we see an increase in self-regulation and positive social interactions outside of the classroom, within the target group (s).”

special education inquiry

What is most important to the teachers and principals of the triad schools is that we are in charge of the learning.  When teachers are able to create their own inquiries, they are the ones setting the agenda, they are the ones who develop the ideas for inquiry.  As principals, our job is to facilitate this learning process and make sure that a good record is kept of the results of these inquiries. These inquiries and the findings of the teachers then become the basis for our school improvement plan.

“If we use a graphic organizer to introduce descriptive writing, then the students will be able to write short descriptive paragraphs related to various different areas of the curriculum.”

grade 1-2 inquiry – term two 

Reflect / Discern  Analysis / Assess

How does this change our teaching practice?   What have we learned and discovered? Where to next?  Now what?

It taught us to take our time and move at the students’ pace. It also made us allow time for reflection on new concepts before moving on to something else.  Allows for time to consolidate student learning in more depth than the standard 3 part math lessons.  Looking at the “proof” and “reflection” sections really shows which students are ready to move on and which are not. We are also taking the time to produce quality work with the students rather than simply quantity to get  through the curriculum.

taken from ‘evidence of learning document’ created by grade 4,5,6 teachers’ math inquiry

Over time, we have been able to reach some conclusions:

  • teachers who set their own learning goals are much more motivated to learn
  • teachers are able to clearly indicate inquiry goals and key learnings based on these inquiries
  • over time, a much wider variety of evidence is being used to document learning
  • communication tools like Google Drive and Google+ are indispensable tools that drive deeper collaboration
  • as principals, we have a much better understanding of what learning is going on in our schools

This is an important process to document, as a firm believer in this process I will devote more time this term to keeping a good, visual record here on this blog of the work that will be going on.

It will be an exciting journey!

Research shows that teachers working together to support children’s
learning is an effective means of teacher professional development.7,8,9
Professional learning communities (PLCs) facilitate knowledge sharing
and collaboration – often with experts in the area – to support teacher
professional learning.10 Features of effective PLCs include job-embedded
learning, group meetings held during the workweek and use of technology.11
What Works?  Research into practice Research monograph #46
students working on math journals - part of the grade 4-5-6 math inquiry
students working on math journals – part of the grade 4-5-6 math inquiry
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