Author: cbirk

As we are getting ramped up for the start of another school year in British Columbia, I have now shelved my John Grisham novels and Sports Illustrated magazines until next…

Read More Eliminate Failure with “Flow”

Recently I had the opportunity to go to the British Columbia School Superintendent’s Association Conference in Vancouver, BC.  At the conference, there were more than 450 District Superintendents, Principals, Vice…

Read More Wine and Education

1:1 technology in classrooms is a much talked about topic in our Personal Learning Network.  In various schools and districts both large and small, students and teachers have their own…

Read More We Can’t Afford 1:1

Over the past several months, there have been a number of posts and articles about evaluating teachers in K-12 education.  And in just the last few days, the media in…

Read More Evaluate me!

Yesterday, I read yet another article on “The Entitlement Generation” published in the Globe and Mail.  It was a scathing account of the younger generation of today, written by some…

Read More Up hill both ways in a snowstorm

False dichotomy: aka. the either-or fallacy, fallacy of false choice, black-and-white thinking or the fallacy of exhaustive hypotheses) a type of logical fallacy that involves a situation in which only…

Read More The Dichotomy Defense

Recently, I read an interesting post by @4moms1dream which involved a virtual Q and A session with three outstanding BC Educators in Chris Kennedy (@chrkennedy), Chris Wejr (@MrWejr) and David…

Read More Engaged

I love baseball.  My wife and I are both huge Boston Red Sox fans, however, with our two little daughters, life can be pretty busy and we don’t always get…

Read More Educational Boxscores

It is the “month of AprilMayJune” (so coined because it goes so fast that it seems like three months compressed into one) and like it is for everyone in education,…

Read More Reflecting on the Run

How many times have we presented to our peers on a topic, hosted a staff meeting, had a parent night, or given a lesson in a class, and the wrapped up our topic, folded up our laptop and walked away wondering if “they got it” and “Did I do a good job?”. I would endeavor to guess that this is fairly common for educators, but how often do we actually take the time to find out if the message that we were hoping to deliver was the message that was actually received? Getting feedback from our audience is one of the most important things we can do to improve our practice, but it requires a process to get the feedback, effort to collect it, and the courage to accept constructive criticism and change as a result.

Read More Feed ‘Em

As an administrator, when a problem confronts us, it is easy to be lured into the ‘solving the problem’. It seems quicker, it seems cleaner, and it allows us to get on with our day. However, when we ‘solve the problem’ rather than choosing to become facilitators of the problem-solving process, we often lose the commitment and engagement of our stakeholders and ultimately miss the opportunity to truly find a workable solution.

Read More Don’t Solve The Problem

On the journey of implementing technology into our districts, schools, and classrooms, we are often confronted with red tape, bureaucracy, and the conflict between the technical “back end” and the educational “front end”. At times, when these roadblocks can frustrate and seem insurmountable, it important to have a supportive, positive and progressive relationship between policymakers, IT personnel and educators. With synergies between these partners, we can truly make strides.

Read More Strides

Ever been to a meeting when your Blackberry is more interesting than the presenter? How about to a meeting that was so exciting that “it had you from hello”? What made the difference between the two? What made you engage as a learner?

By maximizing interactions between participants, we can engage learners and make meetings and classes so much more than an opportunity to catch up on emails or play video poker on our iPhones.

Read More Engage

Have you ever had to crawl into a gymnasium filled with laughing students, teachers, and principals while you were dressed only in a diaper? Have you ever been tied to another Grade 8 and have to walk through the halls? Did you ever have to be a slave to a senior? Do you know what a swirly is? Ah yes, I remember Initiation Day, the most dreaded day in the my high school career.

While high schools have changed their approach for transitioning students into their buildings to make that experience more positive for incoming students, are we really preparing students for when they make the leap to post-secondary? Do we make them jump? Or do we give them wings?

Read More Wings

There are certain times in our life when we come to a fork in the road and have to make a decision. Do we head down the traditional, beaten path that is clearly marked and know where we are going to end up? Do we hike down the less conventional trail which has twists and turns, but that will still take us where we think we would like to go? The people who are really changing my thinking today seem to do neither: these individuals are not the type who follow a pathway anyway, they blaze a trail which is often in a completely different direction than most people are going. And these people have one thing in common that propels them through these uncharted waters: each of them has GUTS.

Read More Guts: An alloy much stronger than gold

As an educator, have you ever been late for anything? Have you ever missed a deadline? Even better, have you been late with something for your boss, and then had them tell you “I needed it yesterday, not today, so you can’t turn it in?”.

Before we judge students in this way with antiquated assessment policies, we need to remember that kids, like us, are human. And the most effective consequence for not doing the work is TO DO THE WORK. If it’s important enough for you to have assigned it, it’s important enough for a student to do it. Don’t dock student paychecks.

Read More Docking Student Paychecks