What Matters Most in Education?

Relationships matter most in education.    And in life.


I’ve been back from unplug’d 2012 for just about a week.  I’ve had some time to reflect on the experience, new relationships, old relationships, work & life.   And, it always comes back to relationships matter most.


What I hope will stay with me after unplug’d 2012 is the willingness to be vulnerable.  Vulnerability is something I really struggle with, as do many other people.  Just read some of Brene Brown’s research on vulnerability.   Even at unplug’d I struggled to open up.  I was afraid I wouldn’t measure up to my colleagues there, so many fantastic educators who have accomplished so much in their schools.  My fears of being judged seem to be always lurking below the surface, waiting to be proven right.  But I did it, I opened up.  I shared a piece of myself and of my past with my writing group.  Soon it will be shared with the world.  And it was good.    The theme of our group:


You are not alone.

Photo by Ben Hazzard

None of us are.  We are all connected to one another in so many ways.   If we only take the time to listen.  If we open our hearts to what others are saying and feeling.   The photo above is of our writing group.  I am so fortunate to have met and bonded with these people.  From left to right:  Alan, Karen, Me, Rod & Kelly.


So my focus this year will be developing strong, trusting relationships with my students and colleagues.  Nourishing my relationship with family and friends.  Unplugging more often so that I can really connect.


Yes pedagogy and technology are important.  But relationships are what really matter.


Photo by A. Forgrave

Math Camppp 2012

Last week I spent five days at Math Camppp.   Camppp is an acronym for:


Activities for


Professional Learning




This was my first Cammp.  It is organized by MathGains which is part of EduGains,  an  organization funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education.  There were 150 people at Camppp  And there is another camppp in August.  How awesome is that?


There are so many themes discussed and collaborated on here.  Fractions were the content area which was woven through all the themes.   I learned more about fractions, reaching identified children through differentiation, balanced assessment, three-part lesson planning (who knew how many applications there are!), education research in Ontario and much more.


Of particular interest was listening to the researchers and making connections between research & Ministry directives.   Researchers like Dr. Marion Small, Dr. Cathy Bruce, and Dr. Christine Suurtaam.  I also really enjoyed learning from teachers who have moved into coach or Ministry roles.   I am revisiting the idea of a Masters again and my mind is churning with ideas:  mathematics, neurology & education, inquiry-based learning….there are so many options.


I was also reminded of how Professional Development is best when it is interest driven (teacher’s interest, not DSBs), collaborative and classroom imbedded.  I am fortunate to be leading a Teacher Leadership Learning Programme this year.  My topic is mathematics  PD within the school.  With teachers co-planning, co-teaching, reflecting and modifying and developing solid three part lesson plans together.

Math Camppp had the right mix of plenary and breakout sessions with hands-on activities to take back to the classroom, deep reflection, questioning time and relaxation time.


Here are some photos of our breakout session work.