Great Memories Great Connections


Image source: CC BY 2.0 Catherine Cronin

Connections on line … they really do matter. Thanks @rljessen for putting together this great memory that I will treasure. ETMOOC ANNIVERSARY storify

Want to stay connected . Look here for how you can connect with ETMOOC’ers.

EdcampHome … Exhilarating, Exciting and an Experience I won’t soon forget


Thanks Katie for this view of the day. It epitomizes how I felt. SLAM.. I was scared ,but I felt the fear and did it anyway and I am so grateful I did .

A year filled with gratitude . That is what I want my year to look like and I am so grateful to these organizers. Watching what they did was AMAZING … INSPIRING … and so HELPFUL .

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John Wooden

Here is more information for you to get the idea of what the day was about: EdcampHOME 2014

ETMOOC … The GIFT That Keeps On Giving

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I am so grateful for all the gifts that ETMOOC has given me.  As I reflect upon the year I think about all the wonderful people I have met and the things we have shared.

The invite :

My first ETMOOC POST a year ago

I am a life long learner and willing to take risks and here I am signing up for #etmooc. The tweet by @courosa from @fryed on,  “What is #ETMOOC and why should you join us? ” is what finally convinced me to … just do it!!!

In one of my @haikudecks I said I would DO MORE in 2013 and here I am. Stepping out of my box and doing more.

A little nervous yes, (to be honest I was a lot nervous), but at least I am NOT going to be graded, I can just learn!! Yahoo!!! I love learning without being graded. I have had enough of that.

So in the next few months, I look forward to learning just for the sake of learning.

It is Alec Couros who inspired me to become interested in technology as much as I have and I am grateful. So thanks Alec. Here Alec is motivating me again … So my journey begins…

It is hard to believe it has been a year since I started thinking about should I or shouldn’t I take ETMOOC?  Wow, am I glad I did. I think … no I know, I am more grateful now than I was then because I did not realize just how much I would learn as a result of being in ETMOOC. More importantly it would be about the connections I would make. No, even more important it would be about the friendships I would make and continue to develop.

An excerpt from my second post is very telling “ Today, January 20th a week into ETMOOC I needed to remind myself to find the positive as I was frustrated with learning how to use new information for importing media. Trust The Process. I will say that over and over to remain calm.”

I am a school counsellor and at that time I knew very little about tech tools and how to do a lot with the technology. At that time …

I had NEVER …

  • Blogged
  • Vlogged
  • Made YouTube videos. (I did not even have an account and now I can help students upload their videos.)
  • Given proper attribution, but now I do .
  • Curate information, but now I have over 100 livebinders and a zillion pinterest pins. Here is one live binder .
  • Attended an Edcamp and EdCamphome, but now I have .
  • Collaborated with a student on a post, but here it is .
  • Created a google doc, and now I can even add to one .
  • I hardly ever tweeted . I now have over 6,000 tweets (I knew very little about twitter then) Now; I can give workshops on how to understand twitter better. I even co-moderate twitter chats.  Makes me laugh even writing this .
  • I did not know how to Google Hangout, but now I do regularly with educators from across the world.

There are so many skills that I have now, that it is even hard for me to believe I know how to do certain things technologically. My biggest smile comes when someone actually thinks I am a techy.

In another early post I finally recognize what my true purpose for being in #ETMOOC  is…

“ In my attempt to assist students along their journey in life, I reach out attempting to make a difference. This jumping out of my box into the ED tech world is my way of touching the hearts of many students so that they can get the supports they need. Counselling is more than assisting a student in my office. It is reaching out to students on a more global scale. It is being able to use technology to reach and teach them.  I will promise to use this process to educate from the heart using technology and all the tools ETMOOC gives me.”

This is still one of my favorite videos of the year:

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us” Joseph Campbell

ETMOOC allowed me to be OPEN to new experiences, people and ideas. Well, I have certainly attempted to educate from the heart this year. I have:

  • Created several  haiku decks for students and school counsellors.
  • Given a workshop on Digital Citizenship for all grade 10’s with the help of my colleagues. A special thanks to Peter Damen and Marc Osenton.
  • Helped to moderate our school twitter and facebook accounts.
  • Connected with countless educators and school counsellors.
  • Became a co-moderator for #SCCrowd .
  • Become a @HaikuDeck lover. Even got to visit Haiku Deck headquarters .
  • Created many vlogs in Openspokes and collaborated with fantastic educators.

So, how do you really thank someone especially you @Alec Couros who has taken you to places you were afraid to go? It isn’t easy, but I will try.

I think my way will be by paying it forward . My goal is to help as many school counsellors and others that I can to not be afraid. I have made many mistakes along this journey and I know I will continue to make them. Thanks to all the #ETMOOC’ers who helped me, showed me the way and continue to do so.

I am so grateful for my PLN. It is hard to put into words just how grateful I really am, but know that my heart is so full of gratitude it is overflowing and if we by chance get to meet F2F one day you will know because I will thank you in person.

Although my goal last year was to Do More . This year it will be to Do less with more ( this is easier said than done) , but I plan on staying focused on the things and the people that matter to me most. It is not that I will not be open to new experiences, people and ideas , I will. It is just that I need to say NO to some things and put my focus on those things that I remain passionate about.

So to end this post I want to create a vlog to thank you. I need to be ready which I am not right now. As I write this I cry happy tears thinking about all that all of you have done for me. No, even in my authenticity I will not create a vlog of me crying, so when I am ready I will make one just for you … that will come later, not sure when , but later.

I’d like to share some of the great posts you share in the next while so I will curate them in this live binder .  Thanks for sharing and may 2014 fill you with great happiness and bring you all of life’s blessings and gifts that you are searching for. May ETMOOC keep giving to you, so please stay connected with the hashtag #etmooc.

My last thought to share with you is tthat I hope one day that we will create a conference F2F called  Everyone Together Massive Open Onsite Conference. Are you with me ETMOOC ‘ers? ? I’ll be retired in a few years and would be happy to help organize such a conference, but will need lots of help. Let’s start thinking and planning so that we can meet as many ETMOOC ‘ers face to face as possible.

It’s been quite a year and I have received so many gifts from you , so again thanks to all of you for so much fun and inspiration especially:

@AlecCouros (without whom the giving of his time, energy, kindness and support while on sabbatical #ETMOOC would not have happened)

@fryed ( if I hadn’t seen your post maybe I would never have signed up)

@AlisonSeaman (got to meet F2F and she is as positive as she is online)

@JeffMerrell (for always being so encouraging and engaging)

@ehordyskiluong (for being by my side through all the ups and downs of learning and being so excited with me when we caught onto something new oh … you know the rest …)

@dendari (for always commenting, helping, sharing and being an #ooe13 leader and #openspokes team mate)

@grammasheri (for being such an amazing woman. I always love what you share. I can’t wait to meet you some day)

@verenanz (for being so inspirational , you are such a go getter and helper)

@valerielopes (for all her encouragement )

@clhendricksbc (for posting her first video and giving me the courage to do the same. Look how far we have come. You amaze me)

@rljessen (so happy we got to meet F2F after so many google hangouts We are creating a great friendship online and off. Thanks to the Post ETMOOC Group for hanging out and reading and sharing blogs. We have learned so much together Christina Hendricks @clhendricksbc , Karen Young @karenatsharon, Kirsten @KirstenTP and Erin Luong @ehordyskiluong )

@SISQITMAN (for all your thoughtful and kind comments …  you kept me writing . Always love what you have to say . Thank you!)

@bhwikkoff  (for creating OPENSPOKES  and being such a great leader. We have helped each other learn and grow)

and all the openspokers  Jeremy Inscho, Brendan Murphy,  JoeDillon , Jas Kooner, Gallit Zvi, Sheri Edwards, Denise Krebs and Erin Luong

@tina_p  ( for always connecting , being so positive and always making me smile. Love the Australian Connections @ActivateLearn)

@JudyArzt ( for letting me try out one of my first GH with her even though she did not know me)

@amyburvall (for all your creativity and positive energy and letting me join you in a crowdsourced video )

@debbiefuco @jacbalen @folynick @whitneykilgore  (for sharing and commenting and always being so positive in your interactions with me)

and to @djsamson for always posting great things in #ETMOOC maybe we will connect in Halifax some day.

To end thanks to all the presenters . YOU WERE FANTASTIC!

Alan Levine @Cogdog thanks for gathering all our blog posts to share and read.

Quoting Dave Cormier: “If we make community the curriculum, membership becomes how we scale. It’s all about belonging.”

School Counselling Tools Help … Lesson # 13

Lesson #13 School Counselling Tools Help

Resources help and these new videos by Dr. Erin Mason will be invalueable to those new to technology. Take a look. It will undoubtedly get you started on a journey that will be extremely helpful for you and your students. School Counsellors, these are for you :




Take a look here to find more from Smore .

Lessons  1-12 can be found here .

School Counsellors please join us in sharing resources. If you have and tips or lessons to share please do. We look forward to hearning from you.

I’m Getting To Know You…

You want me to do what? Really?IMG_4429

Thanks to Jeremy Inscho  @jeremyinscho  for making me think about some random thoughts this Christmas . Feel free to join in PLN. HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

11 Random Facts About Myself

  1. I love jazz.
  2. I’ve played lacrosse since I was about 12 years old. I still play lacrosse at 55. Here is a video I made:
  3. I started painting in my 50’s using oils, acrylics and watercolour.
  4. I want to learn how to play guitar, but I can’t seem to get past my music teachers comment “you are my most dedicated student who learned so little” Yes, I know better and it is my retirement gift to myself in a few years I WILL LEARN TO PLAY.
  5. I have a progressive eye disease called keratoconus ,but I don’t let that stop me in any way.
  6. I met and fell in love with my husband at a Halloween Maritime reunion party . I was a rainbow, he was a hunter carrying around a duck.
  7. I used to play hockey, ringette, basketball, volleyball, and baseball among others .
  8. Was athlete of the year in junior high… I love sports. Wanted to be a PE teacher at one time.
  9. I love the ocean, but I live inland.
  10. I went to China with the first delegation of Canadian Counsellors from across Canada.
  11. I knocked out my first set of front teeth and then again at nine years old I was skating in the dark in my backyard ( which my mom told me not to do) and I knocked my second set out. I have hardly ever had two real front teeth. Used to sing  “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth”, a lot.

Questions for me

  1. What was your favourite class in university? I loved all my Psychology classes.
  2. If you could only read one blogger next year, who would it be? Seth Godin, I love how he says in so few words such meaningful things.
  3. If you could have your choice of career changes tomorrow, what would you choose? I’d stay doing what I am doing. I love what I do. If I could I’d also love to learn to be a photographer.
  4. What is your favourite way to relax? Read, play lacrosse and play with all things digital.
  5. How do you burn off energy when needed? Lacrosse or a long walk.
  6. Who is your favourite author and book/series? My favorite author is Leo Buscaglia. I read every one of his books. Wish he were still alive.
  7. Introvert or extrovert? Ambivert.
  8. Mac, PC, or other? Mac.
  9. Which is your favourite social media? Twitter and I love to GH.
  10. Who is the most influential member of your PLN? Alec Couros @courosa
  11. Do you have any quirky habits? I leave my wet towels on the bed for too long (usually my husbands side).

Here’s how it works:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

Now it’s your Turn:

  1. Alec Couros
  2. Erin Mason
  3. Catherine Carr
  4. Tina Photakis 
  5. Kadri Auvaart
  6. Rhonda Jessen
  7. Verena Roberts
  8. Fenella Olynick
  9. Sheri Edwards
  10. Christina Hendricks
  11. Adam Tratt  ( maybe you can make a @haikudeck related to this )

Here are my Questions for you…

  1. When did you know what you wanted to do for a Career? How did you discover that?
  2. What are your top three favourite books of all time?
  3. What advice do you have on love?
  4. What is on your bucket list?
  5. What is the best advice you can give to your children?
  6. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
  7. What are 3 things that matter to you?
  8. If you could sit with any 5 people dead or alive around your dinner table who would you choose and why?
  9. What is your favorite quote?
  10. How do you want to be remembered?

Ten is enough I am sure 5 is enough. Whichever ones you want to answer is really up to you ALL or NONE, but I look forward to reading any you wish to post. Here’s how it works again:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share  11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

Post back here with a link after you write this. Go on, you have thinking  and writing to do Now it’s your Turn yes, I really do appreciate you and your efforts : Merry Christmas and maybe this could be your first post for the New Year or before !?!

An International Chat for School Counsellors #SCCrowd


What is #SCCrowd?

SCCrowd is School Counsellors wanting to help each other and learn from those who are not school counsellors.  It is also for educators from around the world who want to collaborate with other school counsellors  to make a difference in the lives of students. That is what #SCCrowd is really all about. Ross Wolfson @rawolfson, a High School Counsellor  created the hashtag and idea for #SCCrowd. He wanted to find a way for school counsellors to learn from and with each other.

There were already several great chats on twitter for school counsellors , but Ross wanted one that was just a little different . Hence the idea for #SCCrowd

The inaugural chat was held for #SCCrowd on November the 19th.

We held the first Q&A Day on #SCCrowd and were very pleased with the great turnout! Check out the transcript  of the chat . After the first chat Ross and I were planning for the second chat so we collaborated to discuss ideas for a haiku deck and what we wanted people to know about #SCCrowd and this is the  SCCrowd Haiku Deck  that was created. Now on to Chat #2

Time for Q&A Day 2.0!

Here’s an explanation of how it works:      Are you a school counselor from around the world ? Then we want to share with you.

School counselors, school counseling interns, and aspiring school counselors…

Do you ever ask yourself, “What resources could help me with my initiative?” or, “How would someone else have handled that situation?” or even, “Is there anyone else dealing with the same challenge that I am?”

School counseling and other educational professionals…

Do you have knowledge that can help school counselors? Do you know of great resources or have inspirational experiences to share?

Then please Join us for Q&A Day on #SCCrowd on Tuesday, December 17th!

Using the hashtag #SCCrowd, ask a question that is inspired by something from your day (or anything else that might be on your mind). When you leave work for the day, check out #SCCrowd and see if you have an answer or follow-up to someone’s question.

Then from 6:30-7:30 MST and 8:30-9:30 PM EST Tuesday night, join for a live chat on #SCCrowd to help answer questions that haven’t been addressed yet.

Get answers to your questions and help others out there in the School Counselor Crowd! Ask a question, share and answer, join the chat. Anyway you participate can help you grow your PLN!

Q&A Day on #SCCrowd – All day on Tuesday, December 17th

Sponsored by School Counselor Crowdsourcing – @SCCrowd

Live Chat on #SCCrowd 8:30-9:30 PM EST, moderated by @rawolfson & @SSpellmanCann

Again we were pleased with the turnout for the second #SCCrowd  on December the 17th. Here is transcript 2 .

We really hope more school counsellors and educators from across the world will join us. This is a way we can collaborate with you and who knows what impact this will have on our professional development and most importantly the positive impact it will have on our students. Looking forward to seeing you in the CROWD #SCCrowd that is.

FYI:  If you notice we interchangeably use counsellor with 2 LL ’s and counselor with one L , here is why :

Canadian spelling 2 LL’s

American spelling 1L



Lessons for a New School Counsellor : Lesson 12 Take Time to Rejuvenate

Lesson 12 Take Time to Rejuvenate


Here is :  Lessons 1-11

School Counselling can be a very demanding career. Although I dearly love what I do, I know it can be extremely exhausting as well as invigorating. We often hear difficult stories and that can be energy draining. For many students Christmas can be a tough time. It is important for us to take time to heal as well. I am so grateful that I can assist students with their concerns at this time of year, but I also need to slow down and pay attention to how I think , feel and act.

My student counsellor has worked extremely hard from September until now assisting students and their families with concerns that are not always easy. He too needs a break so he can regroup and come back to school refreshed. The following article discusses  compassion fatigue and is such an important topic for any new school counsellor, but also seasoned counsellors to pay attention to as well.

Click to access Self_Care_and_the_School_CounsellorArticle.pdf

Compassion … Be good to yourself …

So this Christmas season enjoy time with your loved ones, rest and rejuvenate , do something fun so that you can continue to make a difference in what you do.

Lessons For A New School Counsellor … Lesson 11

Lesson 11:

Lessons 1-10 can be found  here.

Engaging the students and staff is critical when it comes to school counselling. There are many ways to engage the students whether it is one to one or in groups. At the end of every session I check in with the student to see how the session went. I will often ask something like how are you feeling about what we talked about and did in session today? What is the one thing you will use as a result of our time together? This allows me to gage if I have been helpful and if there is something I said that the student connected with.

It is also very important to develop relationships with your staff. If they feel you are helpful they will most likely refer a student to you. We are all working together to enhance the success of all students so if students see us collaborating in their best interest while always maintaining confidentiality we will best be able to help them.

Engaging Staff. Get to know your staff. Take time to have lunch with them. It is good for you to take a break and get out of your office. Assisting students can be very draining at times especially if you are addressing more serious issues, so get out of your office and make time to recharge. Self- Care is important.

What are your ideas for student and staff  engagement ? Please share below.

I Will Remember … Will you?


cc Image by Bill Barber

Remembrance Day is always a day of reflection. Our Remembrance Day Celebration at school this year was exceptionally well done. I had to choke back the tears several times during our ceremony. One of those remembered was Cpl Nathan Hornburg , a Bishop Carroll alumni who was struck by shrapnel during a mortar attack in Afghanistan while trying to repair his tank at the age of twenty- four ( the age of my own daughter) . I cannot imagine the grief and loss that his and other parents have had to endure. On this day Nathan’s dad joined us at Bishop Carroll in our Remembrance Day celebration. I could hear a pin drop. Our football team wore their jerseys in remembrance. As I looked across the gym floor I noticed one of our students with special needs was holding her hand over her heart as she sang O’ Canada. Another of the many touching moments. I must say I am so proud to be in a school where students , staff and many parents come together to pay tribute and remember.

Growing up on a military base I was surrounded by men and women who had a history of serving. My grandfather served in World War 2. This Haiku Deck is in tribute to him and the men and women like him who have served their country so that we may have the freedom that we do today. I am grateful.

Click here for : In Remembrance Haiku Deck

Below is one of my all time favorite Remembrance Day videos. It makes me stop and think every year. It is only a pittance of time.


I Will Remember This and Every Year Will You?
I Will Remember … Will You?

Canadian Coalition of Self-Directed Learning 2013

Click here for my @haikudeck   :   CCSDL Haiku Deck

Self- Directed Learning

“The basic assumption of SDL is that from birth to death, we live lives of learning: we first learn to function, then to live well, and finally to make a difference. Maurice Gibbons

What’s going on inside the building of Bishop Carroll is not only exciting, but innovative, educational and engaging. Not only are the halls of Bishop Carroll High School buzzing, but inside the offices of several educators learning is taking place.

Bishop Carroll High School , the oldest SDL school ( over forty years)  is a part of the Canadian Coalition of Self- Directed Learning.

Bishop Carroll works together with other members of the coalition to improve the self-directed experience of all the learners. These schools meet together on an ongoing basis as well as convene at a yearly conference to look at ways of improving the model for students.

As a staff member in a self-directed school I have never been in a school where so much focus and dialogue on instruction takes place on a regular basis. In fact, our staff has biweekly professional development meetings to ensure that we are able to collaborate on best practices and share new ideas. Teachers are continually focusing on how they can make things better for students in a self-directed learning environment.

This past week I attended the Canadian Coalition of Self- Directed Learning Conference in Edmonton. While I love learning about ways to improve what we do, I so love connecting with other educators face to face.

What are conferences about for me?

Celebrating: For me the best part of CCSDL conference is the students and what they gain from attending a SDL school. I loved the opening ceremony which celebrated students. It was very moving and reminded me of why I do what I do.

Here are some great videos from some SDL schools :

No Glory without effort:

Dancing Like A Model

Re Imagine High School

Check out the great video from Thomas Haney

Bishop Carroll Over 40 years of SDL


Connecting with our staff as well as others: Often times I am so busy with my day I get very little time to connect with other staff members. Conferences can be a time to do just that wind down and connect. I had so much fun with the thirteen people who attended the whole conference from my school. We laughed, had fun, shared and connected. I know this experience will assist us in being better at what we do in our school. We now have some great shared experiences that we would not have otherwise.

Twitter also allows me to connect with other great educators who work in SDL schools. A special thanks to @EricDemore for tracking me down . We had a great conversation and I look forward to staying connected. Also thanks to my new SDL twitter pals @CarmenGartner and @mrs_haddad

Collaborating: I was able to share ideas with staff from other schools as well as my own. I am sending this out on a google doc so that as many as want to can contribute at a later date.

Continually Learning: I have yet to attend a conference where I am not able to take back some ideas and use them. This conference was no exception. I loved some of the ideas that came from attending Garfield_Gini-Newman.


Collecting Resources: one of the absolute benefits of attending a conference is the resources you get and I love this resource from twitter:


A gigantic thanks to St. Joe’s for their books and treats and so much fun! I know how hard it is to organize a conference and you were all amazing. Kudos to you all for the hard work and allowing us to have such a great time.