Are you a Drainer or a Charger?

I just came back from Spring Cue in Palm Springs. While I have so much to reflect on about my experience, I really wanted to jot down my thoughts on something I tweeted while watching Ann Kozma during the #CUEBoom event (a rapid-fire 3 minute inspiring talk with a maximum of 9 slides).  It was AnnKozma quoting Julie Adams #FULLYCHARGED Keynote about the importance of charging up our students & staff by meeting their Maslow needs, when we don’t, we act as drainers. Schools can be uplifting (Disneyland-like) & the place people WANT to be when we do so.  I tweeted:

For many, this tweet resonated, but for Brenna, in Australia, such an absolute statement proved problematic. (Take a look at the whole thread as she expands upon her point of view).

This is unrealistic at best, harmful at worst.
Is it better to pretend to be posiitve when we’re not feeling positive? Push down negative feelings when we’re having a tough time? Always put on brave face? Ignore our feelings in the hope they’ll go away?

— Brenna McNeil (@msbmcneil) March 17, 2018

Brenna is referring to the mental well-being of teachers. I appreciated the conversation. I clarified my thinking and Brenna expanded upon hers. Even with 280 characters on Twitter, we were still able to see each other’s point of view.

Another person, Malcolm responded:

“No. That’s how a very bad school got away with keeping its staff in miserable acquiescence. Everyone seemed to be ‘happy’ and the parents thought everything was okay. ‘Negativity’ can be resistance.

Their comments made me ponder whether or not I should have made such an absolute statement. And so I wondered about the impact of the two possibilities in a school:

Imagine if a school leader said, our school is going to ensure that we provide a positive culture for our learners. We approach everything from a growth-mindset perspective. We smile. We don’t complain for the sake of complaining. We don’t gossip. We are never malicious. We presume positive intentions. We motivate, celebrate, and re-charge our students and each other.

vs a school where a leader either doesn’t overtly address negativity, gossip, or malicious attitudes, or doesn’t care about this at all.

I would like to work and learn in the first school. Here’s the other thing. I just came back from a conference where I got to hang out with my #PLF–people who inspire me and re-charge me with their own positivity. And I smiled for two days straight.

I am also reading Learner-Centered Innovation by Katie Martin. So many lines in that book resonate with me, but in particular, for this conversation this one does:

“We can’t change who we serve, but we can change how we serve them.”

–Katie Martin

Katie often talks about the learning environment and how important it is for the vision to align with the reality.

I try to lift others up and be a positive force on others. But do I do it at the expense of my own well-being or the well-being of others? When I approach a situation with positivity, I am often rewarded with positivity coming right back at me. And my students have commented that they always feel happier when they leave my Library Learning Commons. Sometimes, I give out stickers, just because everyone can use a sticker every once in a while. Other times, when kids have their heads down, I check in with them and ask if I can help them in any way. And every day I greet my students and colleagues with a Happy Monday (insert day of week here). Am I masking my own fatigue or stress to put on a smile for them? Sometimes. But sometimes, that fake-in-the-moment smile, leads into genuine happiness. A recent Stanford study suggests that our brain works better on positivity.

But the counter-argument does have validity. If we are trying to make our school the happiest place on earth, are we undermining those who are struggling with anxiety or depression? I recently saw a similar charge/vs drain image. It was shared at a self-care presentation. It showed an image of a cell phone and asked:

“Would you ever let your phone totally drain down to 0%? But for some reason we may allow ourselves to drain down to 0%”

This really resonated with me. So here is the new image I came up with.

What do you think? Please check out the comments below and add your own. 

Student Digital Leadership in action

Sometimes, I use my blog as a space to reflect on what I experience in order to make sense of it. This is one of those times.

I have been watching the #NeverAgain movement over the past week. I am always reluctant to share anything overly political; especially when it comes to American politics, because I know that as an outsider things look simplistic when indeed they may be very complicated.

So politics aside, I want to focus on what I see as the epitome of what I mean by student digital leadership in Social LEADia. The students who are leading the movement are indeed using the vast reach of technology and social media to improve the lives, well-being, and circumstances of others (Couros 2013)–in this case any future schools who will go through what they are going through. They are using their voices and leading change. They are doing this in person, but they are also leveraging social media networks to mobilize support and even funds.

Regardless of your political affiliations, we need to acknowledge that this group of students are succeeding in using their voices to stand up for a cause about which they care deeply and emotionally.

As adults, why do we bristle? It may be because we don’t truly believe that students have the confidence or ability to lead. How can they possibly know what to do? They are just kids; adults must be behind this.

I know this to be untrue. I know it because I have met students who are changing their world and the world of others.

In Social LEADia, I feature Mari Copeny (@LittleMissFlint), who kept the #FlintWaterCrisis in the consciousness of people even after the headlines stopped reporting about it. I also feature Joshua Williams and Braeden Quinn and their conviction to stomp out hunger at very young ages and into their teenage years. Wizard Ayush, a 15 year old Indian boy who is so passionate about the UN’s sustainable development goals that he created @SDGsforChildren.  Wizard reminds  us that age does not matter when it comes to leadership. And I can’t help but agree.

What can we do?

As adult mentors, let’s make sure that we comport ourselves on and offline with a lens of empathy and perspective taking: that we may disagree with an idea, but that we model how we expect others (kids and adults) to behave online.

I for one will continue to respond positively to the kids who are taking a risk to express their passion for a cause about which they are truly convicted. I will be mindful of the grief and suffering they have experienced. I will report any inappropriate or hostile behaviour I see towards any of these students.

I think there is another important aspect to this. We have spent very little time in school helping students to respond to each other respectfully online.  Although rich in literacy potential, have we helped students consider multiple perspectives or seek clarification on their social media posts?  We tell them what NOT to do, but don’t actually allow them the opportunity to use those communication skills under our guidance. And so, the other thing I will do is respond to kids who are lashing out in inappropriate ways online and help them to reflect on their choices.




Let’s Talk: Social media and mental health

Last week I had the honour of being involved in a Mental Health Summit which was organized by Lisa Craveiro and the committee at my school, along with Natalie Rovere and the student leads at her school.

It was a day dedicated to eliminating stigma and having open and frank conversations about mental illness.

The morning began with Leah Parsons sharing the story leading up to the suicide death of her daughter. We all sat in stony silence as she shared the details leading to her daughter’s suicide. Parsons urged us to talk about consent with our daughters and sons and the extent to which we can all make a difference when we see something inappropriate shared online.

Sam Fiorelli, another speaker shared the story of his son’s suicide. What was so interesting about his story is that his son was seemingly put together, popular, accomplished, and good looking. and no one actually knew he had mental health issues. After his death, Sam was approached by so many people who shared that Lucas had helped them with their mental health; one even saying that Lucas had even inspHis main message: “One ‘hello’ can start a conversation that saves a life,” He said, “We have the power to connect to those who are suffering in silence and all it takes is a simple ‘hello.'”

For my session I wanted students to talk. They had been talked to for almost two hours and I wanted them to explore the idea of social media and how it contributes to their own mental wellness; but also how it CAN contribute in ways they may not have thought about. I began with 3 random facts (an activity that I saw on Twitter a few weeks earlier). Students shared 3 random facts with one another and then introduced each other to the group.  We then played, Like Me (an adaptive schools technique I picked up a million years ago). Students stand up when they hear a statement that reflects a truth about them. The protocol is meant to show participants that they are similar to others in the room; I made sure to include some light and silly ones (I have a ridiculous fear of spiders, I used to have a favourite stuffed animal, etc…). I didn’t have in front of me a class with whom I had developed a relationship; many of the students in the group did not know each other so I needed to make sure they felt comfortable sharing for the main activity.

Next I used a tried-and-true literacy strategy that had helped me chunk reading for students to elicit class discussion. I have always called it a Gallery Walk.  I wanted to be sure that I was not initiating or leading the conversation (as we often do as adults) and that students had time to think about what they would say. I had printed out slides and taped them onto chart paper. On the slides I included quotes or images and nothing else. Students, in partners, visited each chart paper with one marker. They needed to:

  1. read or view what was there;
  2. talk about what is there and what they think of it;
  3. agree to write a question, comment, or draw an image.

They moved clockwise in the room, spending about 3 minutes at each station. When they came back to their original, they had to go back around, this time responding to the quotes or questions of others. The prompts were designed to balance positive with negative.

The resulting conversation was so good. The students did most of the talking but I also shared my Social LEADia perspective, which you could tell they never considered. Adults are mostly reinforcing the negative instead of redirecting to what positive things they can do online to help with their mental health. I shared some of the ways technology and social media has connected me to the perspective of others and how when I had a concussion and in the depths of depression, people reached out to me via Twitter and Voxer to check in on how I was doing and how much that meant to me.

We then discussed strategies. Again, students took the lead on this discussion. One student shared how she started following famous photographers instead of only friends and how that has changed what she posts but also what she sees online. Another student shared her journey to recognizing that her true self cannot be affected by the edited self of others. I did have access to a psychology support in case some of the conversations got too personal, which I would recommend.

We ran out of time for the final activity which was to create a poster that represents a positive way teens can act online. I deeply regret this. Conversations are great, but positive action is necessary.

Here is a copy of my slide deck. Please modify it and use it to start your own conversations. If you add something that really works well, please let me know!



Learning, Complexity, & Scaffolding

About a month ago, we got an extra-large chess game in our Library Learning Commons. It currently sits on the floor while we await the Woodworking class to make us a table for it. I bought it because on any given day, the four chess boards in the Library are being used by students playing chess.

Since September, I have wanted to learn how to play. I will sometimes join the other students gathered around to watch to see if I could pick up the game, but the learning doesn’t stick. There are too many pieces and it is too complex. I am going to admit, I felt kind of stupid not being able to pick up the game.

So the other day, I picked up a Quick Chess game that touts, “The Quick & Easy Way to Learn Chess!” The game takes each chess piece and creates a mini-game out of it so that you learn the role and function of each.

It also provides Quick-reference diagrams. My husband and I first played the Pawns game–learning about the role of the pawns, followed by short games isolating each of the other pieces (rook, bishop, king, queen, & knight). I was not nearly as frustrated as I had been trying to watch a Youtube video or watching others; I learn by doing. Each time I played a mini-game I felt more and more confident and the role of each piece became committed to my memory.

After I would say about two hours, my husband and I were ready to play an actual game. I’m not going to be a pro any time soon, but I feel confident enough in my abilities, that I may challenge a student to a game sometime this week. I will also bring this game in for the students, who like me, are watching all of the students and longing to play the game, but are too scared to try or feel it’s too complicated to learn.

Real learning is fun. It’s not about worksheets but about trial and error, the iterative process and feeling successful.

This experience has prompted me to wonder:

-How do we scaffold learning for students in a way that is easier for them to grasp complex topics, but not necessarily boring?

-What role do anchor charts play in teaching and learning?

-How might we incorporate gamification and game-based learning in the classroom to make challenging information more fun?

-How might we use this approach with professional learning?

I think about my Amazing Race EDU collaborative game and Breakout EDU games, as well as Design Thinking challenges (check out Global Day of Design created by AJ Juliani and John Spenser) and recognize that there is really positive movement towards active learning and a plethora of resources to support teachers to try this.

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.



Today I think of love

Today I think of love

amidst red and pink flowers


and romantic gestures 

Today I think of those who feel unlovable,


and alone.

and those whose homes are not so happy

circumstances grim.

Today I can be the hope

the love

the warm smile.

Today I think of love 

that costs nothing

that means everything

Today I don’t think of love; I show it.


Jennifer Casa-Todd


Random Acts of Kindness Week

Kindness is my #oneword (well technically one of my two) for 2018 and today marks the beginning of Random Acts of Kindness Week.   I am not a fan of isolating one day or one week to engage in what should be a daily practice. Nonetheless, it does provide a good impetus to begin.

As this week begins, however, let’s not just limit our acts of kindness to in-person (though these are extremely important).  Every day, we have opportunities  both online and in person to make someone’s day brighter.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to see positivity and kindness take over the internet??

Ideas for RAK Week and beyond

  • Tell your students that every day you will, as a class, connect with someone to let them know they are special by sending them a direct message or a tweet or an email or a post-it note
  • Have students write their name in fancy letters on a sheet of cardstock and pass it around for students to write positive adjectives on it
  • Do an extra special clean up of your desk or area so that your mom, dad, guardian, or the caretaker at school doesn’t have to do it
  • Send someone a GIF that will brighten their day
  • Bake a batch of cookies and surprise someone with it
  • Leave $2 for the next senior citizen in line at a coffee shop to get a free coffee
  • Send someone a special note on one of your social media platforms
  • Invite someone who is sitting alone to come and sit with you
  • Go out of your way to say hello and smile to every person you meet for a day
  • Check out the tweets by the students in Rachel Murat’s class by searching the hashtag #positivelykind


  • Check out the RAK website for ideas and inspiration
  • Check out the PSA these kids created:

Check out our #RAKWeek2018 PSA!! Teamed up with my heroes @lauriesmcintosh @MrsMacsKinders & @bmilla84 & their Ss to challenge YOU & your Ss to spread KINDNESS next week! Be sure to share w/ us @ #thekindclub & #bekindEDU! #tlap #engagechat

— Roman Nowak (@NowakRo) February 10, 2018

  • How about making kindness go viral? Check out this Kindness passion project created by Tamara Letter (She is all about kindness and depending on when you are reading this, will be moderating #tlap chat Monday night focusing on this topic)
  • A video which really emphasizes the simplicity of spreading kindness is, Color Your World with Kindness, which shows how small actions can have a powerful impact
  • Check out my ideas from a previous post, Creating a Culture of Kindness

Created using Visme. The Easy Visual Communication Tool.

What will you do?

Thinking about Inclusion

I recently attended the Ontario Library Association conference in Toronto. This year’s theme: Fearless. It felt different than the edtech conferences I have been to. Firstly, I was not presenting a single thing and so that gave me the flexibility to genuinely explore without thinking about my own session. I also know that as a new teacher-librarian, I have much to learn.  I loved meeting some of the Ontario teacher-librarians from whom I have been learning on Twitter for the past few years.I decided to attend sessions that I normally would not attend.  Three powerful sessions come to mind and this question bubbles up for me as a result of what I have heard:

How are we genuinely building community in our schools and helping our most vulnerable students feel welcome and included?

Here’s what

  1. Jesse Wente, a First Nations activist, gave me much to ponder in his opening keynote:

He said, “We have a storytelling issue when it comes to how we relate to each other.”

How do we think about the stories being told? Who gets to tell those stories? What are some of the preconceptions we have of indigenous people and how do they impact the stories we read and tell?

He spoke about FEAR that sometimes impacts our ability to do things differently vs the way we have always done things.  I know this and how it applies to technology-enabled learning, but how does it impact the way we view the world and the information that is shared with us through the lens of journalism? 

Wente called out cultural appropriation as” the theft of our stories “which I had never ever thought about before, but can’t stop thinking about now.

He challenges that a “Narrative gap skews the way future generations will see each other.”

As he spoke, I thought about our desperate need for Critical Literacy which is incredibly important to our ability to get students to question and think critically about what they are reading.

2. Jennifer Brown and Laura Badovinic’s session on Truth and Reconciliation carried over many of these themes into a classroom setting. Brown was careful to say, “Even when we are not a member or a group. Try to go on a learning journey.” She talked about the need to be fearless about asking questions vs not saying anything at all or saying something that may harm.

They reminded us that teachers, teacher-librarians, and leaders we have a foot in coaching & mentoring but also a direct impact on kids.  

She too emphasized critical literacy questions as she worked with a grade 4 class and I loved her idea to “debunk a book” with kids, reminding us that children and competent and capable if we give them the tools.

3. Desmond Cole, a Toronto activist spoke passionately about the difference between fearless vs people who confront their fears. He says, “There are no fearless people…but those who push forward through their fear.” 

He talks about the work of educators that requires lifting people up: to provide enrichment & love of learning.

He says, “Our work is emancipatory”. He talks about harm reduction and building community and the fact that as humans our struggle is  not a “blacklivesmatter one” or an “undocumented children” one, but a collective one.  He challenged that those who have the ability to speak collectively are not, but should. 

So what?

Many of these conversations are still swirling around in my head. When you know better, you do better. How can I do better?  My Library tech did a massive weeding of our fiction section and had Of Mice and Men on the list to renew. I remember teaching this book and being very uncomfortable about the language in it, but at the same time appreciating the conversations it started with my students about ageism, racism, and discrimination against people with special needs. I had to ask myself, Is having this book doing harm to the students in my school community?  I don’t believe in censorship, and yet….

At war with myself, I asked my friend Dwayne Samuel to chat with me about it. He is the only black teacher on staff. He wondered about cultural appropriation and whether or not someone with more power who wants to start a discussion is more of an “ally than a thief.” In the end, we decided that we would get the book, but that we would tag it so that if a student takes it out, we have a conversation with him/her about it.

More importantly, he thanked me for engaging him in a conversation about this and for asking the question, “Is this doing more harm than good?”

Now what?

Inviting these discussions into the classroom can be very tricky. I talk about this in Chapter 10 of Social LEADia.The resources for that chapter may be of some help to you. I think it is necessary to have kids question texts and it is just as important for students to connect with people from around the world who hold a different perspective than they do–because social media allows us to do this simply.

Make Critical Literacy a daily practice in your school:


I am thinking about my LGBQT students struggling with their identities and the FNMI, Asian Heritage, and the other cultures represented in my school community and wondering about how they might know that our space is one of inclusion.  I don’t have it figured out am committed to walking the journey alongside my staff and students.

This Flipgrid by Bronwyn Joyce (based on SDG 10) asks kids to consider the topic of inclusion and may be an good way to start:

The February OnEDSschat focuses on Human Rights of Children and may also be a good way for you to invite these conversations into the classroom.

Thanks to the organizers of the OLA Superconference for inspiring these conversations.Would love to hear your thoughts.

Student Leadership

Everywhere I look at my school, I see students taking on leadership roles: whether it be in the classroom or for clubs and committees. We are cheerleaders for our students; we give them guidance and then wait in the fold to support them if it’s needed.

So often, however, we forget to include leadership opportunities in online spaces. I don’t know if it’s because we just don’t think of it or if we don’t see a natural fit with leadership or perhaps it’s fear or discomfort?

This is why I am so proud to be a co-organizer for the Ontario Ed Student Chat (@ONEDSschat) with Leigh Cassell (she’s really the best project manager ever), Brock Baker, Allison Fuisz, and Nicole Kaufman along with students Rylin, Sam, Ella, Nigel, Austin, Emiliano, Lindsay, and special monthly guests.

Every month, I am inspired by our student panel. They create the questions and the graphics, they share the message, and they decide on the topics. Our role is advisory.

January’s topic was certainly close to my heart as it was student leadership. One of the comments, really resonated with me: Leadership isn’t always about the “Big” things, but the way we act on a daily basis! via (a student at my school). There was also a great conversation in the chat about how technology often lets our quieter students have a voice.

Classes are encouraged to use the Youtube chat feature (YES–imagine that!), as well as Twitter to join in on the conversations. Here are a couple of my favourite moments from this month’s chat. In many cases, students are composing their responses which get shared to a class account because they are under 13.

Check out information the January Tweet & Talk as well as info for our February chat where we talk about Human Rights of Children.

In Social LEADia, I showcase and celebrate students who are leveraging social media in strategic and positive ways and who are leading in their in-person communities as well as online. Every day I continue to see teachers not just taking pictures to showcase the learning in their classrooms, but inviting students to be a part of it. And I continue to learn about student leaders who are making the world a better place today! A twitter chat such as #ONEDSschat is but one way we can show students the power of connecting with others. 


How are you empowering your students to lead online and face to face?  Who are some inspirational students who inspire you and your students? Please share!

Content Curation: A necessary skill for today’s learners

Curation is the “ability to find, to filter, to evaluate, to annotate, to choose which sources are valuable” (Valenza, Boyer , Curtis, 2014). In our information-rich age, not only is it necessary to curate, but creating content from curated resources is an excellent way to consolidate understanding and provides students with the opportunity to think critically and creatively. I have written about Content Curation and Digital Leadership before. I also include curation tools in the chapter, “The Other Social Media Tools” in Social LEADia because I believe that Storify, and curation tools like it…

provide a great way for students to summarize and synthesize learning by allowing them to create something new out of any online content, including social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Google+. What I love most about curating tools is that several people can draw from very similar information and their final products can end up completely different–the results are based entirely on a person’s selection and interpretation of the resource, making the story unique to their learning.

With that in mind, you could ask students to draw from a specific hashtag connected to a movement, an organization, an author, or a politician and then have them summarize their interpretation of the main messages. Older students could generate a thesis and use the artifacts and examples they find to prove it. Or, better yet, you could turn the traditional essay on its head by having students use a curation tool to write a persuasive “essay” (page 147).

Here is an image I created that shows how a few curation tools can support literacy.


So with Storify gone, Wakelet looks like a great replacement tool for all learners to curate information. It has a simple interface. Unlike Storify, you need to grab external links, but a useful Chrome extension means you can use Wakelet to curate all your resources in one place with the option to create wakes from them at any time.

Randall Sampson, who loved Storify as much as I did, created a wake about how to create a wake. Check it out here.

Moving your Storify Stories to Wakelet

Check out this video on how to verify and import stories from storify to Wakelet. I very simply transferred my stories over.

What it DOES not tell you is that you can exit the app and Wakelet will email you when your stories have been fully imported.


What is a curation tool you use to curate social media links? Do you have a good alternative to Storify? Would love to hear about them in the comments!


Valenza, J. K., Boyer, B. L., & Curtis, D. (2014). Curation outside the library world. Library Technology Reports, 50(7), 51.

Gratitude & Kindness

This post is inspired by two posts I read recently: Jay Dubois’s post challenging me to write about my #attitudeofgratitude and Tamara Letter’s post, Serving Others Unseen (Tamara is the queen of kindness). I also love the #oneword challenge and enjoy various posts about the one word that will shape the new year. I could not pick one word: instead, my 2018 will be framed by Gratitude and Kindness.


I have had a tumultuous year. I reflect upon the fact that last year, my friends graciously volunteered to buy Christmas presents for me because I could not go to a mall, or a drugstore, or even a grocery store for that matter. My Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) had me down and out for quite some time in 2017. The year started as one of the most personally challenging of my life. I actually didn’t write a #oneword last year as a result. And yet, despite the really rough start, this has been one of the most amazing years as well.

I am grateful for the support of George Couros, Dave and Shellley Burgess, and Erin Casey who helped me to become the author of Social LEADia in June of 2017.  Being a part of the Dave Burgess Consulting (DBC) Family has allowed me to get to know other DBC authors who are so very brilliant and inspiring.

I am grateful to Doug Peterson, Paul Paterson, Justin Schleider, Katie Martin, and Stephanie Viveiros, my mother and father-in-law, and my teens for helping me to edit my book when I couldn’t actually look at a screen for more than 30 minutes.

I am amazed by the the accomplishments and the exemplary leadership of the students I feature in the book, as well as the student leaders I continue to meet both in person and online every day.

I have been fortunate enough to belong to several different PLNs again this year, and if at all possible, I feel even more connected to people with whom I mostly collaborate online. Meeting so many of them in person has been so very special, and I hope to meet many more of  the educators with whom I regularly interact on social media in 2018.

I owe so much to Sarah Thomas and Jennifer Bond as well as the entire Edumatch family who helped keep me sane when I was home and sadder than I’ve ever been in my life and for the continued support and encouragement of the Edumatch crew. I was able to meet so many of them at ISTE and further connected with Heidi and Toutoule in Vegas for Cue Vegas where I met so many more wonderful people.

The Ed Tech Team (Emily, Jeffrey, Sylvia, Kim, Sandra, Jen, Joanna) have been so amazing to work and learn with and as a result of the Summits, I have met and had the opportunity to get to know some incredible and passionate educators.

My #DigCit PLN (Nancy, Kristen, Marialice, Michael, Jaimie, William) and the many #DigCitSummit leaders and planners are changing what we think of when we talk about digital citizenship.

My GEG Ontario Leaders group (David, Amit, Laura, Larissa, Mike, Marie-Andree) inspire me, as do the planning team for Dig Cit Summit Toronto (Tina, Mark, Andrew, Carlo, Gwynth, and Bessie).

The ONEdSs chat has connected me with an incredible and inspiring group of students who are changing how students connect and converse on Twitter. I am grateful for the leadership and support of Leigh, Brock, Allison, Nicole, and Jay–the adults on the team.

I have never laughed so hard as I have when I share my worst off-tune singing with my Singoff Snapchat crew (Mandy, Tara, Tish, Rodney, Evan, Mandy, and Rachelle) and I am really learning Snapchat as a result of this group!

There are so many teachers in Ontario that are inspiring leaders and thinkers. The #onted PLN (way too many to list), supported to a great extent by Doug Peterson and Stephen Hurley (VoiceEDRadio), is a testament to the fact that we have way more to celebrate in education in our province than to complain about.

I am grateful to be in a job where I can impact as well as learn from so many young people who remind me why I became an educator in the first place, and I am grateful that I am able to be back working full time without feeling too many adverse effects from my MTBI.


I think it is this attitude of gratitude that has really inspired me to promote kindness and generosity towards others. I have always been an altruistic person, but especially this year, I feel like I need to pay my blessings forward.

Students at my school have been performing random acts of kindness for others for their Religion CPTs.

Our school held a school-wide drive for St. Vincent De Paul (a local organization that donates Christmas gifts to the less fortunate).

In our own home, we also sponsored a family with our extended family. My husband bought a pair of jeans for a student in need as well as other necessities.  I sought out a family I knew could use some help in our school community and the student’s joy and thanks brightened up my entire holiday. I was so excited to leave a gift card at a local coffee shop for seniors to enjoy, that I forgot to pick up my own coffee. And yesterday, my neighbours were setting out to deliver gifts to a family of 7 children who are refugees from Nigeria.

My youngest daughter took it upon herself to collect money for her class and this week, we went out together so she could buy the items requested by the family. I was so proud of the care she took to choose and wrap each gift.

I am always conflicted about sharing random acts of kindness on social media; good deeds must be done with good intentions, not for attention (author unknown). But sharing these might inspire others to perform a random act of kindness for another and another and another. I know that my own children look to my husband and I as role models.

There is so much good in the world and yet we are so ready and willing to share the negative. What if we took the spirit of giving that envelops us at this time of year and made Random Acts of Kindness and #Gratitude regular habits both online and in person?

Please join me in making #KINDNESS and #GRATITUDE words to live by in 2018.