Welcome to my final blog post of 2016 and my annual tradition of my Top 3 Lists for the year.
As I see many on social media desperately wishing for 2016 to just end – here is a chance to look back at some non-Brexit, non-Trump, non-celebrity death moments from the past year.
Top 3 “Culture of Yes” Blog Posts which have generated the most traffic this year:
Top 3 Places I Learned Stuff:
- Books, Blogs and Magazines – I list of few of the most influential books I read later, and I continue to be a regular reader of various blogs – some like Will Richardson I have been learning from for more than a decade. I also continue to subscribe to a variety of magazines (in paper) with the AASA School Administrator being a must read every month.
- Ignite Events – I think I went to five Ignite events in 2016. I really like the format – a variety of 5 minute talks with time for conversation built-in between the sessions.
- C21 Superintendent’s Academy – I am part of a national Superintendent group that has regular conference calls and meets face-to-face a couple of times a year. The formal sessions are great but it is the relationships that I have been able to build with others in the same role as me which have been particularly useful.
Top 3 Education Books I Read That Influenced My Thinking:
- Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant (always like some non-education books)
- The Collapse of Parenting by Leonard Sax (good book from a former parent education speaker in West Vancouver)
- Embracing a Culture of Joy by Dean Shareski (non just on the list because I got a free copy!)
Top 3 Speakers We Had In West Vancouver That Pushed Us Along:
- George Couros– George has made these lists of mine numerous times – last year his book was one of the year’s top influencers. This past spring he did a session for teachers and administrators. George nicely pulls together many of the “new” ideas in education into a coherent package.
- Dean Shareski / Natalie Panek – Dean is another regular on these lists, and a regular in West Vancouver and on Opening Day he joined rocket-scientist Natalie Panek for messages of joy and possibility
- Ron Canuel – Ron was the jolt we needed in December. He spoke about the myths in education and reminded us that the path we are on, while often challenging is the right one for students.
Top 3 Speakers I Saw And Remembered Their Messages Days or Weeks Later:
- Angus Reid– My blog post on Angus’ talk is listed above and one of my most read of the year. I love a talk that deeply challenges your beliefs – Angus did that and in less than twenty minutes he changes how I see high school football.
- Pasi Sahlberg – I know many have seen Pasi before but when I saw him speak in December it was the first time for me. His message about international rankings and strategies for system improvement were ones that really resonated with me.
- Governor General David Johnston– His Excellency spoke in West Vancouver in March – with a simple message on the power of being a smart and caring nation.
Top 3 Concerts I saw this Past Year (by artists in their 70’s):
- Paul McCartney – I had never seen Paul McCartney live before and it was an amazing show. You feel like you are on an almost 50 year historical tour as he selects various hits from his different incarnations.
- Paul Simon – My favourite artist of all-time. It was not my favourite show of his at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre this past May, but knowing it might be his final tour did make it special.
- Dolly Parton – I was not really expecting to like this show – but I loved it! She is an amazing storyteller and performer.
- I know it is a “Top 3” List but I needed to also include James Taylor who was so engaging.
Top 3 TEDx WestVancouverED 2016 Videos That Feel Different Than “Regular” TEDx Videos:
- It Became Clear in 54 Words by Tracy Cramer
2. When Beauty Leads to Empathy by Dean and Martha Shareski
3. What is Your Why? by Jody MacDonald
Top 3 Student Events I Saw That Really Stuck With Me:
- Elementary School Track Meet – It is the Super Bowl of Elementary Schools (well along with the Christmas Concert). I love how excited our students and staff are and how many parents come out to support their children.
- Remembrance Day Assemblies – I know every school district does Remembrance Day Ceremonies but we do them in a really powerful and amazing way. I was really struck by the one at Gleneagles Elementary in particular this past November.
- Honour Choir Christmas Concert – I was blown away by the talent we have in our schools. Our Honour Choirs with students from across the District put on a professional show.
Top 3 Signs That Have Nothing To Do With Technology That Show Schools (and our world) are REALLY Changing:
- SOGI announcementt – In early September the BC Government made a major commitment around Sexual Identity and Gender Identity and there was a collective “of course, we are already way ahead of this” from almost all in the school system
- Truth and Reconciliation Recommendations (announced in 2015) are becoming embedded in our work in schools
- Waste Disposal and Recycling – It may seem trivial, but I have recently traveled in the United States where EVERYTHING still goes in the garbage and I walk into school here and we have almost no garbage at some sites – proof that despite some protest and much skepticism behaviours can change
Top 3 Overused Education Phrases That Got Used Too Much This Past Year:
- Growth Mindset
- Transformational Leadership
Top 3 Things I Stopped Doing This Year:
- Watching News – following the US election I have stopped watching news and focused on reading news – I am happier for it.
- Eating Meat – I haven’t eaten beef in about 20 years, but now turkey, chicken and other meats are on the list
- Following Politicians on Twitter – again this was partly brought on by the US Election, but I have either unfollowed or muted all provincial, national and international political figures – and my social media experience has improved.
Top 3 Little Things I Do That Bring Me Joy:
- Principal-for-a-day – Elementary schools bring by a “Principal for a Day” once during the year – it is 20 minutes of pure joy chatting with them about their school and their experiences
- Walking – I have a few people who love walking meetings and I am convinced these walks make me more productive
- Betting Booster Juices – I know some people I work with think I have a gambling problem. I will bet a Booster Juice on almost anything. As I see it – it is win-win. Either way I am getting a Booster Juice.
As always, I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and engage with me through the blog. I have tried to take myself a little less seriously in this space and really enjoy the relationships that are built and extended digitally. All the best for a wonderful 2017!