The students in my school have inspired me and I truly mean it. I am in awe of them. I know I did not have the creativity, determination, passion, compassion and self -direction that they have to make a difference at such a young age.
I have been working alongside these students since September on an initiative called #whosfrankyyc and what transpired yesterday was absolutely amazing. Last week students brought me their outline and a full detailed moment-by-moment plan of what our day would look like. I added or deleted nothing to the plan. I knew it would be great, but I really had no idea just how it would move others and me. It was one of those experiences that you had to be there. The media coverage just does not tell you how much thought, effort and caring went into what these students are trying to do. I received several notes and calls to let me know just how fabulous the day was and how fabulous our students were. There were several reporters there to interview Barbara Coloroso and students .
One reporter noted that he “could honestly say that in more than 25 years of reporting , and having sat through many student presentations, I’ve never witnessed one that was as inspiring as the one created by your students. It was simply amazing.” Yes, indeed it was and we shared this note with them.
#WHOSFRANKYYC is more than a day … it is a way. Bishop Carroll and Mount Royal University students and staff are working together to raise awareness and empower students to stand up and be brave. They want to make a difference when it comes to people not hurting other people. Hurt people hurt people, but students can make a difference by having the courage to speak up and act to end the cycle of violence.
Our students have begun to do just that and we hope you join us in the movement. We want all people to post positively to #whosfrankyyc. Thinking about your digital tattoo is one way to make a difference and let others know that bullying is never ok.
Yes, students can make a difference. I see it in my school everyday.
students who raise money all the time for those less fortunate and don’t get any recognition
students working together to make the world a better place through water initiatives
students showing random acts of kindness like posting positive messages handwritten on stickies on every locker which happened a couple of weeks ago
holding faire trade fairs
volunteering with students with special needs in their school and community
volunteering with elderly in their communities
volunteering at feed the hungry
students raising 10,ooo to build a home in another country
No this is not a comprehensive list, but I do see acts of kindness almost daily in my school. Too often students do not get recognized for all the good they do. It does not make the news, but they do it anyway.
A gigantic thank you to Barbara Coloroso who was extremely compassionate and engaging with our students. She took the time to converse with them in a meaningful helpful way , letting them know that what they are doing can have an impact in their school communities and the world. Also a big thanks to Julie @dinnerwithjulie a Bishop Carroll alumna who prepared a beautiful lunch for our guests.
Look out for more to come on students making a difference at Bishop Carroll High School with our Mental Health Symposium and more…
To find out more about #whosfrankyyc click here . Elephants (WHO”S FRANK?) are intelligent, compassionate beings and #WHOSFRANK is is only the beginning of the process these students want to continue in assisting their fellow human beings to being the kind, caring, compassionate humans they are capable of being.
We are very grateful to our partner Mount Royal University. Working together on this initiative has been an absolute pleasure and together we are able to invite others to come along on this journey to make #whosfrankyyc make a difference in the world. Eighteen other schools have gathered up their frank banks to join us.
Here is another example of the great work our students do. This was a project for Religion:
There is so much to celebrate at Bishop Carroll High School. Too often we notice the things that others do wrong instead of all the great things they do . Let’s continue to celebrate all the great things others do especially our students.
Yes, students can and do make a difference and you can too. Join us #whosfrankyyc.
Many people think that education is all about preparing students for the world of work. While I believe we must provide them with the tools to be successful adults, education must include human values.
Schools provide a means to connect students with others so that they develop into caring adults. It is a place for students to be inspired in a culture of caring to think for themselves. A place where their curiousity is developed. A place where they can develop into confident, competent, creative, compassionate citizens, online and off who care about themselves and the world around them.
I love what the Dalai Lama had to say about Education,
”Education must go together with basic human values and teachers must set an example for their students through action and deeds, not merely by words. He further elaborated on this point by saying there is too much stress on developing the mind and too little on developing a ‘warm heart’.”
I want to develop that warm heart in every student who I encounter. I want to be an educator who helps students feel that they belong in a community where we respect them and they respect each other. I want students who bring skills into the world, to make a living and make a difference. My hope is that we inspire our youth to love learning throughout their lives. What is the purpose of education? I believe it is to assist students on a journey that will help them become better people, giving them the tools they will need to contribute to society and help our world become a better place for all.
Educating the mind, heart and soul.
“ To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground.”
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 …
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.
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 EveryoneTogether 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.”
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.
“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.
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 :
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.
Being a Connected Educator has changed the way I think about education and has helped me understand the lives of our students in a completely different way.
Nine months ago I was not a Connected Educator, but I wanted to grow professionally so I took the plunge and took a Massive Open Online Course called ETMOOC. That changed everything.
I felt if I wanted to understand the world that our students live in then I too must learn what it is like. So for the last nine months I have entered into the connected online world and opened up a whole new world of learning for myself and the students I serve. Every time I am connected with others online I come away with new ideas and resources to share.
For anyone who feels they are too old to do this, I hope I serve as an example. I started teaching in 1980 and I can still say that I LOVE what I do. Being a Connected Educator has helped me stay passionate about teaching and learning .
I believe it has helped me be a better school counsellor as now I can connect with other school counsellors #scchat #cscchat from around the world and we can learn together. As a result of being a Connected Educator I am more open and want to serve as one model for positive Digital Citizenship for our students.
Thanks to all of you who have shared your experiences, resources and optimistic attitude with me. This thanksgiving I am very grateful for you.
This week I was extremely fortunate to be Certified as a Trainer for the Mental Health Literacy Program facilitated by renowned psychiatrist Dr. Stan Kutcher
I was excited to be able to participate, as I have known about Dr. Kutcher’s work for a while. I am happy to say all four days were absolutely worth it. I left feeling I had learned many things that will assist me in my professional work and as a result impact the lives of the students we serve in our school community. I also loved his dry wit which absolutely kept me engaged during the process.
The training has fabulous resources for school counsellors, educators and mental health workers to utilize. This program is one of the best I have seen in a long time. It is rich in content, research, and resources.
When it comes to mental health we want students to:
With someone they trust like their teacher advisor , teacher, coach or other significant adult in the school who can then assist them in connecting …
With their school counsellor who can assist them in connecting with their doctor, health care provider and or parents to assist them with their mental health concerns
One of important things that Dr. Stan Kutcher discussed during the four days is the difference between:
Mental Health Distress (one example lose your keys)
Mental Health Problem (one example a parent dies)
Mental Health Disorder/Illness (one example clinical depression)
Too often we do not normalize what young people are feeling. It is normal to feel sad after a break up, but that does not mean the student is in a clinical depression. We need to teach our young people the difference between distress, problem and disorder and the Mental Health Curriculum Guide does just that. It teaches students and educators the Mental Health Literacy that they need in today’s world based on present day research on the brain.
If you want to learn more you can take a quiz here to get you started…
Below I will share a few of the fantastic resources available. You may want to book a training in your area if you do contact @TMentalHealth
You can use social media to Make the World A Better Place
THINK before you post how are you going to do this?
What we want students to know:
Being online can make a positive difference in your life. Students throughout the world are doing great things online.
Act on and off line as if the world is watching because they are.
Learn all you can about being a good digital citizen. Google digital citizenship
Act with integrity on and off line
Be aware of your digital identity google yourself
Research creative commons and be able to explain it to a younger student.
You can build a positive reputation on line
You can be a positive creator
Your reputation is created by YOU
Digital Citizenship has a place in every school and we need to focus on the positive aspects of the internet as well as the things that concern us.
We want students to ask themselves:
What are the creative opportunities on the web?
What are the ethical dilemmas?
What are the rewards and the risks of being on line?
It is important to find great examples on the internet of students doing things to not only improve their own opportunities, but to improve the lives of those in their school, communities, and around the world. We would like to encourage students to look for these great examples as well.
I’d like to see schools focus on those students who Make A Difference Online by providing them with a scholarship that recognizes all the good they do online. Anyone interested in providing one?
Here is a great example of students doing amazing things:
Every September I forget just how unbelievably busy a school can be and most school counsellors are not just counselling they have several other responsibilities. That is an important lesson for all school counsellors. Be aware of all that you may be asked to do.
Be patient with yourself. It takes time to learn all the things you have to know as a school counsellor and often times you have several roles to play. You may be in a classroom part time teaching and attempting to do a full time job at counselling even though you are half time counselling /half time teaching. You can’t do and be everything for everybody.
Lists help. Having lists will help you do and follow up on all the activities you are responsible for.
Technology helps. This year we have a master calendar for all our counselling activities on Outlook. Each calendar is synched with our counselling Admin. Assistant and she makes sure it is coordinated. We discuss our monthly activities in our weekly Counselling team meetings. This keeps us all on track and aware of what is happening. We utilize technology in numerous ways in which I will discuss over the course of the school year.
This year in September we held three different seminars . One on Digital Citizenship, four on Counselling and one on scholarship information for students in grade 12 . Throughout the year we will offer several more.
The first was held at our grade 10 retreat with four hundred new grade 10’s and I will post more on that later.
The second was held in our computer room where we discussed :
What school counsellors do
What services we offer
Confidentiality and the limits
Resources we have available like our school counselling website, our counselling course that we offer on D2L, our school twitter site and our school facebook page
The third will be held in the computer lab with access to a fantastic livebinder.
All school counsellors should be trained in suicide prevention and if they are not they should be trained in their Masters programs. School Counsellors often have to assess for the risk of suicide. Yes, even in the first few days of school when students are back in September. School Counsellors need to be prepared to ask for assistance if they are not trained. This is not something you should handle alone. It can be very scary when a student says they are thinking about suicide and you are not trained to know what to do. Even when you are trained well it can feel overwhelming and so it is important to debrief with another counsellor. In our district all school counselors have to train every two years as well as do a refresher course. This is so important for our students at risk. School counsellors can and do save lives.
As I reflect on the work we do, I think about what we do and how important our role as school counsellors are. Exhausting at times, but so worthwhile. To all new counsellors hang in there. It is and has been the most rewarding career for me. I still love what I do in year 33.
Marc’s reflection on his first weeks as a high school counsellor:
Starting a practicum placement is intimidating. I am fighting the presence of ‘imposter syndrome’, feeling somewhat ill-prepared and anxious, hoping that my lack of experience is not apparent to the students or staff in my words or behaviour. I am fortunate to be in a familiar environment with a supportive supervisor and colleagues, but it will take time to feel comfortable and confident.
It’s been a steep learning curve at my practicum placement. At first, I was frustrated because the established counsellors were busy with a full schedule of student clients, while I had a slow trickle.
While I recognized that some students may prefer a veteran counsellor, I soon realised this disparity in appointments was primarily due to the students’ unfamiliarity with me, rather than an indication of their perception of my competence or a sneak preview of my upcoming caseload. The number of students coming for appointments has picked up, but I have come to appreciate any opportunity I have to reflect, consult, complete documentation, or catch up on additional work. Further, after having an experience assessing an at-risk student, I’ve learned that a gradual immersion into client contact allows me to build competence and confidence at a comfortable pace. I was not ready to assess this particular client, and missed several key aspects of the necessary process. It was a good learning experience, helping me to remember the importance of policy and training, but also to pace myself and appreciate any lighter schedules.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. As School Counsellors we need to talk about this very important topic. We need to break down the stigma, one conversation or one assembly at a time. Our students could be at risk. Sadly, sometimes we can miss the warning signs.
In our opening school retreat we address this issue directly and let all students know we are there to assist them to provide HOPE and support.
We let students know that even if they are not at risk he/she may need to help a friend. Evidence suggests that youth are more likely to talk to their peers about their thoughts of suicide so we need to reinforce in students that they cannot keep suicidal thoughts a secret. We would much rather they had an angry friend than a dead friend.
Later this month we have every grade ten student take a manditory suicide prevention workshop through Canada Mental Health.
Our HOPE is that all students will reach out and get the help and supports they need. Our young people are precious and we want to keep them to understand they have a purpose and are meant to be here.