three to five year learning plan

Been trying to figure out our school’s three to five year professional development plan so have been going over learning from ELC with the pro-d committee and getting their thoughts and input from the school areas they represent. At ELC, I was encouraged by the experience of other educators in their sharing of how their schools have charted their course, what worked well, what struggles were encountered, and what they’re still learning and working out. We have a ways to go but I’m glad we have started the journey. Things we’re thinking about in moving forward.

What does professional learning at your school look like?

learning without limits –ELC 2013

Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal. –K. Kruse

Am encouraged to see the shift in what is viewed as leadership especially in the international school setting.  The mentality has changed and not only are educators in all areas of the school viewed and more importantly, viewing themselves as leaders and learners,  but our students are too. EARCOS changing the name of their conference from administrators’ to leadership a few years back also facilitated the shift in mindset and helped to broaden who we see involved in impacting the change and growth of our schools.

It was a delight to find so many people embracing twitter this conference round. I noticed a marked difference in the EARCOS Leadership Conference community compared to last year–a connectedness and flow of conversations both virtually and in person. I got even more out of the conference as people shared their learning, thoughts and viewpoints from all corners of the conference space. Fellow educators became more accessible and recognizable. Passion in education is about learning new things, and new things we did learn.  The passion was definitely evident amongst the ELC crowd.

Day 0: Pre-Conference
Fostering an innovative culture with George Couros was the pre-conference I signed up for. I research workshop presenters but sometimes you can’t gauge what they are like in conveying their message from what you read about/from them online. From not so great past experiences, I looked up everything I possibly could and discovered the key is to find video of said presenter presenting in some form. George is engaging in the digital world and engaging in person too.

@gcouros and George Couros…rather surreal

His guiding question was How do we move from “pockets of innovation” to a “culture of innovation”? From my perspective and role as professional development coordinator, it has to do with helping people find connections with each other in their learning, approaching the ever changing landscape of education with positivity and enthusiasm, and viewing learning as something we all do but can do even better together. What resonated with me most was expanding our school’s view of the learning community to be inclusive of our parents, families and local community along with providing the access and opportunity for all to share and celebrate their learning. He stressed the importance of making great learning visible and in the process of doing so, we become more reflective and aware of where we are at and where we want to be going. What I appreciate most about what he said is that he lives out all aspects of it. His journey is visible, thoughtful and inspiring because he is open and real about his learning and values the voices of others.

So how will we do things differently and better at our schools?

We are going to look at…


  • having an explicit focus on sharing with a shift to making sharing the norm
  • providing a platform/space for sharing interests and learning
  • inviting people to engage and take part
  • developing consistency and continuity in our words and actions
  • involving the learning community in determining the direction of growth and change
  • sharing of and reflecting on professional growth plans


  • shifting the approach in engaging educators in that what is best practice for our students is best practice for our teachers
  • creating competitive collaboration
  • helping educators identify their passion
  • building upon school goals in determining areas of interest for professional growth both individually and in groups
  • communicating an ongoing vision and continuing to model learning
  • meeting faculty where they are at and acknowledging that their learning process is more important than the end point
  • creating meaningful learning opportunities together
  • identifying strengths and building leadership upon those


  • highlighting great learning and teaching
  • acknowledging the talents within our faculty and community
  • providing opportunities to showcase learning at all levels and areas

Days 1-3 to come but some other highlights would be reconnecting with friends from elementary school and past conferences, running into my high school teacher who is still at the same school, and meeting educators from the school where I attended kindergarten and learning the school building is exactly where I left it. It truly amazes me how paths and stories cross.  And let’s not forget about taking in some art. There were beautiful pieces around the Shangri-La and I also popped out to the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. Didn’t have time to go graffiti hunting so will have to do that in March at the teachers’ conference.  I leave you with some of my favourite findings.


bookmaking at ETC 13

Visual Arts was one of the strands this year at the EARCOS Teachers’ Conference in Shanghai so I had the opportunity to run a bookmaking workshop.

all set up in an art room at Concordia International School

We had a great turnout that morning. It was hard to gauge how many people would be there and the bulk of my luggage did end up being materials and tools for the session but it was well worth it. What I enjoyed seeing most was the wonderment in discovering the potential of a sheet of paper and participants teaching each other and sharing techniques along the way.

Post-it® thoughts and ideas from the bookmakers…

What is a book?
  • a visual representation of ideas
  • it’s a life mirror
  • my lover
  • an exciting TRIP
  • a means of sharing information
  • everything
  • educator
  • entertainment
  • a written form of communication that is purposeful and organized
  • companion
  • ideas, opinions, moments ready to be shown
  • a promise…a journey
  • a paper trail to/thru another world
  • inspiration
  • a learning experience
  • a friend
  • an access to learning
  • something to share
  • creative process
  • a new world and a great resource for all
  • a place for documenting art/thinking process
  • a reference source
  • a collection
  • early form of information
What is your relationship with books?
  • We are friends since I became literate
  • Books–are like finding a friend..check, look and discover ♥
  • the only long term relationship
  • I love my large collection of picture books
  • Love children literature. I started my children book library 25 years ago when I have my first child. Write and or illustrate children book is one of my dreams.
  • the physical interaction–tactile experience and smell of books
  • Good! Useful! Entertaining!
  • read, travel, and experience life with characters
  • the physical feel
  • I get students to love
  • Books take me away from the stress of life! They nourish me!
How can we use bookmaking in our classrooms?
  • Camp Taiwan Journal for kids to record their experiences
  • field sketchbook
  • to have my students write a book for their 1st grade reading buddies
  • In my classroom–PERFECT way for: expressing ideas, showing what was learned, keeping reminders
  • to showcase student ideas
  • student expression & accomplishment
  • Teaching kids about beginning, middle, & end. Also how some story patterns repeat ie. If you Give a Pig a Pancake!

Thanks to the participants who contributed to the workshop with their ideas, creativity and enthusiasm. I learnt a lot from you and appreciated our time together.

Workshop photos can be found here and book structures we worked on here.

stories, connections, community

So many great learning opportunities teaching and living in Asia.  Last weekend I was in Kuala Lumpur for the EARCOS Leadership Conference and this weekend I’m at the GIN Conference in Singapore. Both very new and different experiences. There is much to process from the ELC and now, even more ideas, conversations and learning taking place here with the HS students to add to the mix.

Not being in an administrative role, it was interesting to meet and interact with so many administrators and school leaders in KL. We often do not see or are unaware how administrators connect with the day to day of learning and school life. I was most encouraged by those I spoke with and learned from–to be reminded of their passion and vision and to see that they are truly invested in what they are doing in promoting and supporting growth and change in their school communities.

Here at GIN, the dedication and excitement of so many HS students is amazing.  Seeing them in action here–building relationships, engaging each other in dialogue over Rischard’s 20 global issues, collaborating, planning…is truly inspiring.

Too often  we compartmentalize people into roles and default to the If only they would mentality. Over these two weekends though, I have seen people take ownership and action. We need to continue to share our stories, connect, and build community for change.  



upcoming art workshops/conferences in asia

my sister sent this to me…taken at a park in ontario, canada

Back  in HK and ready for an amazing school year! This summer was particularly inspiring and filled with amazing people and places. Lots to catch up on there but school begins Monday for us so thought I’d kick off with some art happenings for the school year. Never too early to start planning your learning adventures.

Cross Currents–Asia Region Art Educators Workshop 2012
The British School, New Delhi, India
Friday September 28 – Sunday September 30
Registration deadline: Friday August 10, 2012
Workshop Cost: USD 125

Blank Canvases–Asia Region Art Educators Workshop (ARARTE 2012)
Taipei American School, Taipei, Taiwan
Friday October 12 – Sunday October 14
Workshop Cost: USD 125

EARCOS Teachers’ Conference 2013
Concordia International School, Shanghai, China
Thursday March 28 – Saturday March 30, 2013

The Visual Arts and Performing Arts will be strands at the East Asia Regional Council of Schools Teachers’ Conference. Check the EARCOS site in the fall for more info.

the language of learning

was the theme at this year’s EARCOS Teachers’ Conference.  It was encouraging to hear the arts in the dialogue of so much that is going on in education. I appreciated the time to connect, network and learn together with other educators in the Asia region. There are so many amazing things going on in the schools in this region and still so much more that we can all do.

Some thoughts collected from the keynoters last week:

Cathy Davidson

One learns better with dialogue.
Our learning system is very RIGID.
We are at the moment where we can change schools and education.

Steven Layne

We are here to offer hope of a better future.
Who are your balcony people?

  • contributed to your life and altered the direction of your life
  • helped you become who you are
  • encouraged and cheered you on

Sometimes it is the faith of others that is the game changer in our lives.

Jason Ohler

Committed Sardines:

Be a door OPENER! (for your students/others) Facilitating/encouraging these opportunities requires a special kind of listening.

There should be a merging of the digital life and non-digital life.

Literacy encompasse the digital, art, oral, written; and enables stories–highly efficient information containers to be shared.


Character education for digital kids is necessary and we should be starting this now.



Best giveaways at the conference this year…

  • Perma-Bound‘s author & illustrator calendar-my kids will be ecstatic over all the info and artwork inside
  • USF’s green Sharpie highlighter-ever so handy and who doesn’t love Sharpie?