Becoming a Tweep Through the Twitter Challenge

As part of our OJCS DocuMENTORS experience, I am reflecting on my Twitter journey as part of a Goosechase digital scavenger hunt.  I will try my best to be concise because this is one of many tasks I hope to complete today as part of this capstone challenge on a year that has enriched and stretched me (for the better) as a professional.

I signed up for my Twitter account years ago and didn’t really connect all of the dots at the time as to all of the richness it could/would bring both personally and professionally.  This year that has all changed.  I began using Twitter on a daily basis and was consuming everything everyone else had to share.  I came to love meeting new people, hearing about current educational practices and as a news source.  I suddenly had go-to Tweeps, started better understanding the trends and hashtags (i.e. book selfies, #selfreg, etc…) and started uncovering what I am passionate about as a school leader, educator and even as a parent.  I came to understand what a powerful means of communication and networking it truly is.

When I began working with Silvia Tolisano and the rest of the OJCS DocuMENTORS team, I started to gently participate far more actively in sharing out my own ideas, visuals and voice through Tweets.  I needed that nudge to not just enjoy what others had to share, but to value what I myself could lend.  It was so gratifying to deepen my connections through more active participation.  Then came the Twitter challenge.  That should have been in caps locks!  Then came the TWITTER CHALLENGE!  Here is a visual of the challenge, with thanks to Silvia for permission to share, so you see the scope of it.

What I discovered is that I was a pro at many of the tasks because I was already fairly immersed at that point.  It really helped me better understand the culture of Twitter, more closely consider the features of amplification and also experience the whirlwind that is Twitter chats (which I need more practice with).  It was a wonderful experience overall and definitely stretched me for the better.  I continue to work on evolving my engagement with Twitter and really do see it as an invaluable addition to my toolbelt as an educator and as a school leader.  Feel free to comment below to share your personal experiences with engaging a Twitter challenge or consider being inspired to try it yourself.

OJCS NOW Literacies Bingo Challenge

Our OJCS DocuMENTORS journey with Silvia Tolisano teaching us all about NOW literacies has evolved each and every one of us in our own ways.  I have begun my journey as a blogger, tried my hand at Sketchnote, leaned heavily toward creating visuals through Adobe Sparks and Word Swag, created pic collages, used Flipgrid, signed up for a Digital Citizenship course through Ampeduca and am now using Twitter on daily basis.  I have found all of these new tools (aka NOW literacies) so enriching.  More importantly, I also now always have in mind what challenges I would like to engage next (i.e. taking on a blogging challenge to find a daily rhythm and to start listening to audio books through Audible).

The big question is, now that OJCS is deeply invested in Pineapple PD and throwing open our classroom doors so that we can learn from each other, how can we share all of these NOW literacy riches with our colleagues?  How do we help colleagues who aren’t actively engaging in the Silvia Tolisano tutorials move farther down the path of uncovering what tools will unlock further potential and help them document their process, and therefore their learning.  I wanted to create something that would invite OJCS faculty to try new tools that are of interest, inspire them to learn from/with DocuMENTORs, or from each other.  Enter the idea of a NOW Literacies BINGO challenge.  It would allow for personalized learning, encourage colleague-to-colleague coaching and promise both big learning and big FUN!

I consulted with Silvia about what tool would be best to create the digital bingo card.  I have much practice with Canva, but it felt too finicky for this particular project.  Silvia suggested Keynote, so I downloaded the app and tinkered until I produced this:


I then shared it with the DocuMENTORS team and asked for feedback, after all ‘we learn better together’.  What was truly wonderful was that they had much perspective to share and they too had areas of defined interest that they put forth to strengthen what was featured on the BINGO card.  Chelsea wanted a clearer objective for the “About Me” blog page challenge.  Shira commented about the value of adding QR codes, as this has come to shape the way her students document their learning for art pieces they create.  Ann-Lynn thought encouraging others to create a classroom Twitter account would be a good addition, as she has just experienced this with her class.  Melissa shared that including hyperlinking would be a valuable tool.

So, here is the revised version in all its glory:


With their feedback in mind, I made these helpful adjustments and then we launched the OJCS NOW Literacies BINGO challenge at our April faculty meeting.  I’m hoping everyone will own their own learning and try 5 new NOW literacy objectives this term.  Of course there will be prizes to motivate and incentivize them to participate, which may be the carrot for now…but soon as they try out new apps, tools, strategies and stretch themselves, that will undoubtedly be the true reward.

As a next step, we may try creating a similar BINGO NOW Literacies challenge for our students!

I will keep you posted on how this initiative goes!  Hopefully we’ll be yelling BINGGGOOOOO many times over!


First Pineapple Party!

We did it!  We had our first Pineapple PD experience today at OJCS.  We have the extraordinary opportunity to be working with Silvia Tolisano, author of A Guide to Documenting Learning, and so used this as a launch into Pineapple PD.  Mrs. Bennett bravely opened her classroom to a group of interested teachers who documented student learning during an inquiry lesson.  I documented their Pineapple PD experience.

Mrs. Bennett hosting her first Pineapple PD session.

Mrs. Bennett shared that at first she was apprehensive about having other educators come in and see her teaching.  She is of course far more comfortable with just her students.  Well, today she invited a small group of teachers to come in and we all learned so much from both her and her students.

Some of our DocuMENTORS cohort observing.

We all understand as educators how critical sharing ideas and working collaboratively is to our craft and our growth as professionals, and yet classroom visits haven’t been a platform for learning.  What is it about teaching in front of other adults that brings feelings of discomfort?  In an interview with Mrs. Bennett she shares the following:

It reminds me of a time when I was teaching a Grade 2 class dressed as a pirate (eye patch, parrot and all) and reading a story, when an educator from across the hall appeared in my doorway to take in the show.  My first initial response to her seeing me as ‘Captain Keren’ was reticence, with a little dash of worry about what she would think.   There is something very private about how silly, playful, animated and energized we get when we teach.   We take risks in the name of engaging our students in deep learning.  So, the question becomes, can we begin to take those same risks and show our passion for engaging students with others?  Can we tear down the walls and invite others in?  Of course we can, but we need to reframe what being observed means.  We also have to deeply value what it means to our teaching and learning, and the teaching and learning of others.  It makes us better at what we do!  Your successes and expertise shared outward grows others.  Being able to visit others and learn from them stretches us in new directions.

As we prepare to fully launch Pineapple PD at OJCS, I am thrilled that today’s experience was positive for all involved.  I will continue to document our journey as we continue to reach for our North Stars.

Documenting the Pineapple PD journey.


Diving in!

It’s been so interesting considering blogging and preparing to take the plunge so to speak.  I have been thinking and thinking and thinking about what to put out there into the universe.  What thoughts and ideas do I want to share?  How do I fit the writing element of this practice into a hectic day?  How do you overcome the permanence of a post?  I am also wanting the artistry of the whole process and appearance to be well thought out and planful.  I have been endlessly climbing to the top of the ladder and edging my way to the end of the diving board and peering into the water down below.

It’s so interesting and healthy being a fledgling at something again.  We tend to lean into what we are naturally good at.  And yet we ask this kind of risk taking of our students all of the time.  It is fundamental to their learning.  So I am both excited and overwhelmed and intrigued to see where this new deep dive takes me.

Artifact – Metaphor of Professional Self


Today we took our first baby steps – trying and testing new tools.  It was wonderful to take those leaps with all of you!  I wonder if our students feel this same sense of comfort and support when they take risks with their learning?  I certainly hope so…

For my artifact I chose a pearl necklace and here’s why: