Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Value of Tools – Preparing for the Unknown

In the Grade 9 + 10 English class, we have discussed how to prepare for the unknown. At least, we have asked the question and started to explore that idea. This theme on “The Value of Tools” is part of the answer. It is about building capital before you need it. The capital being: education; seeking a wide variety of activities and experiences; developing a network of friends, mentors, and trusted advisors; building a library of books, audio and video recordings, blogs, podcasts that encourage, inspire, challenge, and help you to grow.

Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, explores this very idea, of preparing for the unknown, in a TED Talk (she also introduces the idea of identity capital). While this talk is aimed at the twentysomethings, it is a great talk for anyone who is a young adult or has one in their life. A sample of a great piece of wisdom from the talk is the following quote: “the best time to work on Alex’s marriage is before she has one.”

Check out the video below in which she gives 3 pieces of advice that are invaluable to any young adult and, really, to anyone:


The Value of Tools TED Talks

TED: Ideas worth spreading, has since 1990, done exactly that. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) brings together thought-leaders from various fields to give talks that are usually 20 minutes or less. In 2006, the talks were put online for free viewing. By 2009 the various talks had been viewed 50 million times; by 2011, 500 million times; on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, they had been viewed 1 billion times. They are currently about 1500 talks available.

TED’s mission statement is: We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

On Friday, May 17, our English class watched a TED Talk by Dan Ariely on “What makes us feel good about our work”. It is an amazing talk that highlights how easily we can be motivated, but also how easy it is to be de-motivated. Students answered a few questions before the 20-minute video, and then were asked to share what they learned after.

The video is below. Enjoy!

Tribal Leadership

“Tribal Leadership” by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright is a book which explores where people and organizations are in their thinking, or even in their worldview.   It is a very interesting book with many interesting stories. It also explains how to move up the chart so to speak (as well as how people and groups may move down).

Here are two explanatory graphs:

Student Blog – Mark’s Blog


In the novel ,”Of Mice and Men”, Lennie and George are homeless. They always have to move around and get new jobs to live. Homelessness is everywhere.

Let’s look at it more closely:

1: no money

If you don’t have any money how are you suppose to live and provide food for your family, if you have any.

2. no home

If you don’t have a home or something to live for life is kinda pointless because basically you just have to worry about every little thing and being homeless you live anywhere. I don’t think that anybody should have to live in the streets and nobody should have to dig out garbage just so they can have a bit of food to eat.

Here are some homeless facts about our city of Winnipeg:


Number of people estimated to be:

  • living on the streets: 350 (est.) (2012)
  • living in facilities (incl. emergency beds): 415 (2012)
  • living in “hidden homelessness’: 2 100 – 2 400 (est) (2012)
  • living in core housing need: 28 000 (est) (2012)


Taken from:

3. no hope

Would you like to be homeless and not have something to look forward to everyday? “Where there is no vision there is no hope.” If you can’t imagine yourself in the future what is there to look forward to in life? I will tell you what there is to look forward to: only cold weather, and being happy only if somebody gives you a bit of money or food that you would have to make last for a long time before you even thought about eating ever again!!!


The First of the Grade 7 & 8 Debates

The first of the Grade 7 & 8 Debates went today. All four students did a great job in our class’s first debate. All of us learned a great deal from these brave students.

Be it resolved: Access to the internet through mobile devices should be allowed and encouraged in classrooms at ERSJB

Affirmative: 120 points                            Negative: 115 points

The debates were video taped and will be posted in total or part with the permission of the parents for others to see. We will be using the video to improve our debating and speaking skills. I am looking for ideas as the best place and format to post the videos. Let me know.

Next debate will be Thursday, March 14: Be it resolved: Girls should be able to ask boys out.

Graphic – 21st Century Learner

There are so many ways to effectively communicate information. Graphic presentations are terrific!

Finding Your Voice – Stephen R. Covey

Stephen R. Covey, who passed away in July of 2012, wrote many books which caused the reader to think about and look at life differently. The 8th Habit from Effectiveness to Greatness was certainly such a book for me. In it he talks about the purpose of life as finding your voice and helping others find their voice. Often as he would speak to large groups of people, and he would start out by asking 2 key questions:

1) How many honestly believe that the vast majority of the people in your organizations possess more intelligence, more talent, more capability, more creativity, more resourcefulness than their present jobs require or even allow them to use?

Think about it. Replace “in your organization” with: in your family; in your school, in your work place; in your business; in your community. The answer is quite evident – YES, absolutely!

2) How many feel pressure to produce more for less (and with less)?

Again the answer seems quite obvious – EVERYONE! The demands of this age of information and constant connectedness seems to demand more from all of us in every aspect of our lives. Children are no exception! It is estimated that a quarter of school-age children have sleep problems. It is difficult for them to shut down the noise in their heads.

As Covey says, when you put the two questions together, “you get the dilemma in which we live.” 

So it is in education where we occasionally  touch a small part of the genius that exists within our children.  The talents most admired in the traditional school system are actually quite narrow in scope. So it is a double whammy! Students do not realize their gifts until much later (or never), and they feel like they are some way inferior because they are not strong in the academic area.

Many authors and educators agree with Covey when he writes: “We are operating  on an industrial age paradigm. The industrial age was an age of control. The age we are in now, the information age, the knowledge age is the age of release. The industrial age is one of machines and technology, the information age is one of people, empowerment, the whole person – body, mind, heart, and spirit.”

He describes the 4 as follows:

BODY – physical needs, economic engine, goods and services

MIND – Talents, gifts, what are you good at?

HEART – Passion, what do you love doing, what excites you, what do you not need to be motivated by someone else?

SPIRIT – Conscience, what you think you should do.

When there is unity and harmony between the four you have VOICE!    Imagine a world where your children are free to be the very best they can be – WHY NOT?