Above All Watch with Glittering Eyes the Whole World around you because the greatest secrets are hidden all around you. -Roald Dhal (modified)

Jason Richea invited me to give a hundred words about what 21st century learning means to me. I had to think about that.  It means so many things to me, but I have only 100 words.

WHOOPS! I almost forgot this is a part of a blog hop with Peel District School Board.  So once your done here click a link below and see some other answers from some others in Peel.

What does 21st century learning means to me?

It means freedom.

It means freedom for my students to find an entry point through several different learning styles and abilities in my class.  It is liberating to be able to see my students search for information and be able to consume it and display it in ways that they, and others can relate to.  In turn I have to remind my self not to be a gate keeper when it comes to my students.  Give them the choice in how they access their information and how they display it.  Give them their freedom, and they will surprise you.  Now back to looking at beyblades and gears (Grade fours are amazing as to what they can come up with…)

Thanks for reading and continue the hop below:


Susan Campo @susancampo
Jim Cash @cashjim
Greg Pearson @vptechnodork
Phil Young @_PhilYoung
James Nunes @jameseliasnunes
Donald Campbell @libramlad
Ken Dewar Bestbefore2030
Graham Whisen @grahamwhisen
Lynn Filliter @assessmentgeek
Debbie Axiak @DebbieAxiak
Alicia Quennell @AliciaQuennell
Jonathan So @MrSoClassroom
Jim Blackwood @jimmyblackwood
Jason Richea @jrichea
Tina Zita @Xna_zita

A Ship in Port is Safe, but that is not what Ships are Built for. -Rear Admiral Grace Murry Brewster Hopper

I found this website today.

It basically runs through what you think it does, at dizzying speeds.  The amount of information on the Internet is mind numbing.  I posted this site on twitter commenting, as I do, that some of my Math friends and some of my Tech friends might find it interesting to use in class as a basis for discussion.

In response one of my Twitter friends posted this:
@Libramlad @tina_zita @MatthewOldridge @avivaloca @MrSoclassroom that made me feel very small & insignificant

I know how he feels.  There is so much information out there you can drown  in theories and ideas even before you get to the classroom.  I immediately tweeted back:

It was not my intention to make you or anyone else feel small.  The quality of your tweets make you feel bigger.

What I meant to say is that what people I have chosen on Twitter to follow make a difference to my teaching.  They help me understand hard concepts and thoughts.  They make the thinking work easier with wit and insight, just like real life colleagues do.  They do this not in person but online, through the internet.  I am a better teacher, maybe not because I tweet, but because I read other insightful tweets.  I can pull together ideas much faster and more succinctly than I could if I were on my own.

This got me wondering:

How do I find interesting, mind stretching ideas, education or otherwise, on the internet.  I always feel I am missing something.  I do, it’s the internet, but have I made a good go at what is out there to make my teaching better?  Do I read enough blogs, probably.   Do I comment enough or show my ideas, probably not.

How do I make my voice heard, not above, but amidst the throng of other voices.  How am I helping my colleagues near and far ?  Well maybe I should start with blogging more.

There that is a start.

If the folks that regularly tweet and blog feel small then maybe it isn’t just me.  Maybe it’s there way of putting their own ship out on the Internet Sea full of Ideas for someone to find and thereby help.  So, I think I’m going to  pull my ship out of harbour now and set this idea free, by letting other people know it’s here, and we will see how it goes.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” ― Fred Rogers

Today I realized how powerful a Learning Community can be.  I work at a small school in Brampton Ontario.  Today was Dot Day #DotDay14.  We had a wonderful day in class, all because of My learning community and the community of learners I am building in my classroom.  Before the internet came into the classroom my Learning community involved the teachers I knew at my current school and the people I graduated with from teachers collage.  Now through sites like Twitter, Pintrest, and Instagram I have teaching colleagues from all around the world to listen to, read their ideas, and bounce ideas off of when I am not sure.  I get so many ideas that I sometimes have to use a digital Pocket to file ideas away to look at later. ( I am so glad my digital files don’t look like my paper files).

I think that it is fantastic that we have all these people to talk to over various forms of communication and I have had these wonderful talks with people I have only met over twitter, but they come up to me and say Hi because we have all ready built a relationship online.  It makes the days easier and the planing not so hard when you have many hands to lighten the load.  Its nice to have helpers.  Now a days you don’t have to look too far.

“It is the obvious which is so difficult to see most of the time. People say ‘It’s as plain as the nose on your face.’ But how much of the nose on your face can you see, unless someone holds a mirror up to you?” ― Isaac Asimov, I, Robot

I saw this robot today, and he got me thinking about my teaching and Technology in the 21st century.  I guess my main worry is that I am not preparing my students sufficiently for the 21st century.  If this little guy is two or three years away, what else is possible?

My Dad in 1981 made me take grade 9 typing as an elective, I had no choice, that was what I was taking.  I was the only boy in the class and I despised it because it was hard and I barely passed.  He made me take typing because he could see the future of computers coming through the number of them appearing at his workplace.  He saw that trend and made sure his kids were comfortable around computers.

I think of my parents and growing up in mainly rural Southern Ontario, the closest thing to a computer they had was a telephone, or maybe a radio.  The main source of information was through experience, learning from someone older and  through books.  I cannot imagine seeing what we have in 2014 from that vantage point, it boggles my mind.  Now hold that thought.

Moores law is a law that states ” over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years”.  Which means that the number of transistors has gone from 2,300 in 1971 to, wait for it,  2,600,000,000 in 2011. (and yes it is 2014 so it has all ready doubled again) Whoa!  This in turn gives an upgrade to computing power every 18 months.  

If the power of the computers in the world gets stronger every 18 months I need to keep my skills as a teacher in the 21st century sharp or they are going to become rusty very quickly.  I hope I am giving the skills my students need to become members of the workforce in jobs that don’t even exist today.  What I wonder about is what are some of the things we can teach right now that will help our students become successful when we cannot really see where technology is going.

I don’t think I can just send them to typing class.





“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” ― Mary Anne Radmacher

Todays blog is about setting up kids for success, not every time but for the long haul.  I think for some students I have taught If I could distill liquid courage and perseverance and have them drink a cup of it every day I would, and sometimes its not enough.  Those little words of encouragement I find when no one else is listening, during reading or writing work well at giving kids a boost.  

Boosting them only gets me so far though.  

I have to remember to let them fail sometimes so that they can see that it is ok to take a chance and not hit your target.  Earlier this summer I was fortunate enough to go to the OAME Math conference and listen to Mawi Asgedom.  His talk was all about how to show kids that when we fail, we haven’t really failed we just increase our circle of understanding to a smaller level than we hoped.  I keep using his ideas in my class.  My students have started to realize that failure is not an option, not because they won’t fail but because their mindset is different.

“Daylight was coming outside, but it was not only that: courage cast its own light.” ― Guy Gavriel Kay, The Summer Tree

Today was the first day of a new year in Grade Three for me and my new class.  There has always been something about the first day of school that make it great.  Seeing old friends, making new ones, the smell of pencil shavings or old crayons, and mixing a little fun while learning.  It is one of the best times of the school year.

We started on our learning journey today.  We talked about our first habit, from Stephen R. Coveys book  The Seven Habits of Happy Kids.  The first habit is to be proactive.  You are responsible for your actions and your moods. If you are bored then you have the responsibility to find something to do.  

We also read a great book by Roy McGregor called The Highest Number in the World all about changing your mood and seeing the positive when you don’t get exactly what you want.

I find after these kinds of book reads, heavy thinking and big messages, that we need to move our bodies around as much as our heads, so we got our muscles moving and then sat down to talk aloud about what the two books meant for us at school.  Our Partner conversations were good and the ideas about how to work in class proved much better than setting out class rules.  A good example followed by some good paired and group discussion seemed to work on the first day.

We started the Daily Five with Read to self, attempting to read for a full 20 minutes silently without any interruption, this is hard but we will get there, we will persevere.

We also started with the Daily Three in math with Math by myself, where the Manipulative bins are, and how to use them properly.  We finished the day by reading one of my favourite books called Frindle by Andrew Clements. 

The end of the day was really rainy and soggy wet.  Hopefully everyone will be dried out by tomorrow.

I am starting to think about my Wonder question and what I am going to be doing in my classroom to change my practice for the better.  Tune in this week to find out.  (I think I am going to continue looking at active discussion as a beginning to any writing we do in class, but this may change)





“The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, Until it joins some larger way Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring



Here starts a New journey for Me.  This is where I will be writing about what I have learned and what I am trying to learn during this year of teaching.  Come with me on the Journey.  To start the year off I saw this video tonight and thought it appropriate with what I am trying to think about and do, and also because I like grilled cheese, a lot.

Why we need problem solvers


Best Regards