My Top Three List for 2012 (with apologies to Chris Kennedy)

Ahhh…I too have drafted a top three list. Thank you to Chris Kennedy (@chrkennedy) for inspiring this post but sincere apologies as well. As you can see, my categories are a bit different. Unlike Chris, this list does not represent a long tradition but a spontaneous moment of reflection. I am still drowning from “drinking from the firehose” but will endeavour to mark some important moments in the past year. I must say, however, it is a struggle to remember the past year. Hasn’t it rushed by in a blur? What did I really learn? Why can’t I be as reflective, profound and wise as others to nail down the most salient features of my year of learning? Here is my half-hearted and whimsical attempt at some of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Books I should have read and didn’t (see photo):

1. Finnish Lessons
2. Fierce Conversations
3. Where Good Ideas Come From
I started them, I caressed the covers, I read the author’s bios and skimmed the introductions with the fond thought that I might read them, write a review and post it in my blog. Alas, I read the intro, maybe a chapter or two, but I did not read them. They did not hold my attention but I’m sure they are all great books.


Books I did read that were really worth it:
1. Why School? by Will Richardson
2. Inquiry: A District Wide Approach to Staff and Student Learning
3. The Connected Educator
Why School? was fabulous. I bought copies for all my Innovative Learning Designs schools. Inquiry is a book all senior leadership staff should read. What does it mean for members of leadership team to engage in inquiry? Do we share that inquiry with others? Where are we on the learning journey? How can inquiry permeate the organization system-wide? The Connected Educator I read poolside last year during spring break while my personal pool-boy delivered bottled water and pistachio nuts. The four boys (ages 16, 13, 8 & 5) were chained to digital devices in the motel room so I could have a moment of peace and quiet. No wonder I loved the book.

Pro-D Events I wish I attended but didn’t:
1. Learning Forward
2. Workshop: How to write regular posts that others want to read
3. A private boot camp on technology designed just for me (so much to learn, so little time)
I should go to a Learning Forward conference because I have never been and because this is the central focus of my work as a Director of Instruction. I want to go but have not yet made it a priority. As for writing posts, is there any way to make this easy? What a struggle. I hope to write a post weekly but if I manage to get two done a month I am grateful. Writing is hard work. Finally, I want my own boot camp. Someone could walk me through the things I want to learn (this would be personalized learning at its best). And they could show me, hand over hand, just what I need to do. I watch, I do. Repeat (because I forget easy). I wouldn’t have to read a manual or watch a video. It would be face-to-face. This is a totally selfish fantasy. We all need to have at least one.

Professional Development Events I attended and loved (and not necessarily in this order):
1. ISTE 2012
2. Connected Ed Canada Conference 
3. Apple Educational Leaders’ Institute (an invite only event)
These events were about learning and people. Those were my highlights. I love learning and sharing or talking about it with others. It wasn’t just the sessions, it was the in between conversations, walks, discussions, and dinners as well. I was inspired. I was rejuvenated. I was refreshed.  I wanted more.

Things I should have taught my four boys but didn’t:
1. Using technology to create rather than consume (that’s why they need teachers)
2. Creating ibooks rather than playing Minecraft, Travian or Flow
3. Solving inter-personal problems with your brothers (there must be an app for that)

Most Rewarding:
1. Working with teachers
2. Learning
3. System change/innovation
I really like working with teachers. I love learning. I am fascinated by system change. End story. Full stop.

Things I hate:
1. Sitting still in long meetings (I just have to fidget with something)
2. Paper & more paper (Where should it get filed? Is there no respect for trees?)
3. My calendar (For my secretary, it’s a dirty word)
These are the reasons we call “work” “work”.

Best Personal Activities:
1. Starting running, again
2. Family boot camp in Arizona (mountain-biking, hiking, running, weights)
3. Outdoor adventures
Work is sedentary. I need to be physical. Work generally takes place inside offices and meeting rooms. I crave the outdoors.

Best Non-Educational Reading:
1. The Sharper the Knife the Less you Cry: Love, Laugher and Tears in Paris at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School
2. The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks
3. Childrens’ Books (too many of them to choose)

Favorite Treats (indulge when inbox is overflowing):
1. Ms. Vickie’s chips (preferably with dip)
2. Starbucks, especially when someone else is treating (Can you say skinny Caramel Macchiato?)
3. Chocolate covered nuts

Worst Things in my World:
1. Being injured, again
2. Sleep deprivation
3. Workload

Things that make me smile:
1. Outrageous videos (don’t some days just feel like this?)

2. People that make me laugh
3. My children (occasionally)

Things I can’t control:
1. Other people
2. Budgets
3. School Act

Things I can control:
1. Creating space for teachers to experiment with their learning
2. Designing opportunities for innovation
3. Connecting learners together

It was a crazy year. I had lots of fun. I loved making things happen and pushing the envelope of innovation. If it has made a difference for students, for teachers, then there is some gratification. Thanks for being with me (and putting up with me) on my outrageous learning journey!

4 responses to “My Top Three List for 2012 (with apologies to Chris Kennedy)

  1. Love your post. What an amazing year of learning, leading, and inspiring others to be more innovative. You have accomplished so much this year. By the way, when you find someone to give you the personalized learning style bootcamp, let me know. I would like that too. There is so much yet to learn. I especially enjoyed the photo of Jess and I with you at the conference in Calgary. That was an amazing conference. Thank you so much for encouraging me to attend. I know that Jess and I found it made a huge difference to our learning and to our school and it was so much fun. Thank you for this.

  2. Healthy Ventures

    I love how you take a break—spontaneous moments of reflection! What I didn’t know about you was your love of non-fiction cooking books. Maybe part of the fantasy is looking for a recipe that mixes the physical, the salty taste of Miss Vicki’s Chips, the warmth of the sun with MANY tour guides who can be ready when you momentarily understand what you need and want to learn. The results–fabulous comfort food coupled with a deep CALL predominately feeling like ‘life work’ as opposed to ‘work-work’. Hey, the best part is that you get to share this recipe with all of us who work and live with you. I think it may be time for some chocolate covered Macadamias nuts!

  3. Pingback: My Top Three List for 2013 (with Apologies to Chris Kennedy) | innovative learning designs

  4. Pingback: My Top 3 for 2015 (with apologies to Chris Kennedy) | innovative learning designs

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