Best BITs: Admiring administrators

What are the 3 qualities you admire most in your favourite school administrator ever?  Here’s what our group inside TeachOntario said:

  • “…openness, approachability, and excellent communication skills, an understanding of academic subjects, a belief in trauma-informed classrooms, and a positive, trusting attitude towards their teachers.  I have had Principals whom I knew “had my back,” and trusted me;  they helped me grow professionally.”~Anne Rocchio
  • “…Allowing staff to explore and pursue their passions/interests as well as leadership opportunities; Approachability; Respect and support I have been also lucky to have had administrators who have allowed me to attend workshops and conferences every year. It is also important when administrators are approachable and take the time to listen.~Jess Longthorne
  • “…mutual respect; openness to new ideas brought in by staff; challenging the “norms” of the school to create a culture of learning”~Daniel Pinizzotto
  • “I admire principals that are passionate about school improvement. Ones that constantly seek ways that we can do better. I appreciate leaders that allow people to take risks when trying something new. I also like to feel supported.”~Michael McClenaghan
  • “Administrators who make a point of sharing an interest in their colleagues’ areas of focus while supporting growth, demonstrate the importance of learning.”~Sean Kelly
  • “They believe in me! – I actually think that this sums it all up! When I have had educators who have believed in me then it as resulted in autonomy, trust, opportunities, professional dialogues etc. . . Additionally, it also means that they pay attention and actually listen to what I am saying and are willing to take risks with me.”~Kristy Luker
  • “Someone who has a vision and is transparent about what they expect; Someone who gives teachers freedom to try new things (especially technology!); Someone who communicates clearly”~Larissa Aradj

I like administrators with vision.  I like them to think globally and to act locally.  I like to have a focus.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to add to the conversation.

Best BITs: Unleashing talent in your school

George Couros’s book is immensely read-able…his writer’s voice is intensely genuine and although there are big ideas that he presents, the reader never feels overwhelmed with jargon.  So in a nutshell, George does quick recap of the first two parts of the book:

Innovation is creating something better…the key to doing that is developing relationships. 

That’s tweet-able!  Do you and I have the power to unleash the talent in our building? Do we have the power to leverage that talent to bring our vision into being?  Part III promises to kick start these ideas.


Truthfully, Part III starts to feel a bit out of my realm as I think my leadership is best described as a quiet coaching.  I explore and I model. and I’m not sure that I possess the scope of influence needed unless I have my community with me. That’s not to say that I haven’t enabled innovation.  What I’d really like to get good at though is to enable people to be leaders!

a) What opportunities do you have for informal learning, exploration and play in your work?  Do you provide any of these opportunities?

b) Are there ways that you or your leadership team could “lessen the plate” of your staff and organization to allow for more innovation?

c)  On pg. 185 we are presented with the 8 Things to look for in Today’s classroom…and then to see if you have these same 8 things as a professional in your own learning.  Do you see some of these in your own professional learning?  What elements are lacking?


Derrick Schellenberg and I had a great conversations about structuring time with students (and colleagues) for unstructured exploration. We both had concerns that we need to find new strategies for measuring rigour, accountability, and sharing with peers (and even beyond the classroom.  How have you managed to rejig your strategies to make room for unstructured time?

The Best bits of #BIT16Reads

Today marks just 16 days away until the big event…the most stellar education technology conference in Ontario: Bring IT Together #BIT16

As such, I’m going to revisit 16 of the best conversations we’ve had inside TVO’s TeachOntario.  I enter into this idea with the same ideas that support #BIT16Reads:

  • to grow through my professional reading
  • to grow and strengthen a community of educators

…so please feel free to grow the conversation again.  I look forward to your thoughts.

#BIT16Reads: Multiple entry points

I attended TEDxKitchener last weekend and the first speaker of the day, Dina Pestonji, reminded me that learning has multiple entry points.  Likewise, our online book club #BIT16Reads has multiple entry points.  Here are some of the planned places where you can jump in:

June 1, 2016: Begin discussing Participatory Culture in a Networked Era

July 1, 2016: Begin discussing The Innovator’s Mindset 

August 1, 2016: Begin discussing Creating Thinking Classrooms

September 1, 2016: Begin discussing How We Learn

October 1, 2016: Begin discussing Building School 2.0

November 9 – 11, 2016: #BIT16Reads meet up at the Bring IT Together conference, Niagara Falls, Ontario

After #BIT15Reads last year, one of the most common comments I heard was “I’m so sorry! I joined the book club but I didn’t keep up and then I felt embarrassed that that I couldn’t keep up and so I just stopped participating…”

is completely contrary to The Point of BIT16Reads

The point of #BIT16Reads is

  • to develop a community of learning educators
  • to support each other beyond our annual face-to-face meet ups
  • and above all to enjoy it (there will be no public floggings).

The book club is an idea experiment in itself wherein we have a common text to move our discussion forward.  So if you read our first book Participatory Culture in a Networked Era and throw it across the room after 35 pages, that is your democratic right!  All I ask is that you tell us about it somehow, somewhere and tag it #BIT16Reads so we can see it.

If you want to find us, we’ll be on multiple social media platforms but I encourage you to REGISTER so we can find you!

TVO’s TeachOntario: 

and outside Ontario in Goodreads:

#BIT16Reads: Branching out