Sunday, 6 July 2014


Instead of focusing on how I had such good intentions for my blog and haven't even come close to posting regularly, I'm just going to get started on this post and make a goal to post more often. That shouldn't be hard, as I have written exactly four posts in a year and a half.

This is what relaxation looks like! I rewatched the entire first
season of Orange is the New Black with my mother-in-law.
She loved it.
In the middle of June, Todd Nesloney (@techninjatodd), the principal of Navasota Elementary in Texas, tweeted out an invitation to join his staff in a Summer Learning Series (#summerLS). Although I am totally wiped from a crazily busy year, I thought I should give it a try. As it turns out, I'm really glad I did. It explains my return to this blog!

For those of you who don't know me in person, I am a BLOG LOVER. It started out with a little Will Arnett research project (for those of you who know me, keep the details to yourself!). After several months of blogging on my own, I realized the awesome educational potential of blogging, and blogged with my grade 7/8 classes at Fielding Drive Public in Ottawa. Access to the school's one computer lab was always an issue, but the blog work students did was incredible and in 2009, I moved four History classes totally online. You can check out my History Blog and the amazing student blogs. The year after that, I changed the name of my blog to a Digital Classroom and have integrated a class blog that I host ever since. Despite, or perhaps because of, the success of using a blog to help direct my students and celebrate our learning, I have let a personal/professional blog go by the wayside. However, I get so many wonderful resources, ideas and inspiration from blogs I read, I figure that I really need to commit to writing one.

One of the challenges from Todd was to reflect on our teaching practices. I do this all the time, in Twitter chats, with amazing friends and colleagues and, most importantly, with my students. I have very little record of my reflections and am unable to share them with others except in quick 140 character bursts! Maintaining this blog will let me do that.

I could add some profound idea about how my life is like a puzzle - fitting all the pieces together. But, instead, I'll brag - we completed this puzzle, all 1000 pieces in mostly bad lighting - even the super tricky part that is open and blank in this shot.
The past week, I was at my in-laws' cottage on Lake Champlain in upstate New York. Being in a cabin in the woods gave me a lot of quiet, reflective time. Even though I had my laptop, phone and Kindle with me, they spent a lot of time tucked away, unlike at home, where my devices and I are joined at the hip (or lap). I slept well, swam, boated, read (for fun and PD), watched 4 fireworks shows over the lake (one of which had more than 10 people firing off fireworks at the same time - awesome!), participated in only a few Twitter chats, and, with the help of my husband (Captain Handsome) and mother-in-law, completed a 1000 piece puzzle. Going out on the boat gave me reflective time, as it's too loud to have a chat and difficult to multi-task. Like when I am in the shower or the car, I had time to just think.
Not a bad place for sitting and thinking.
There are a lot of things I am doing in my classroom that I am loving. In fact, there are very few things I don't love. That's the problem I'm having. A huge topic of discussion in my life right now is Work-Life Balance and because I am passionate about my work, it's often hard to do anything else. Almost everything I see, read, do or hear gives me an idea for the classroom. A goal for next year, which is reflected in my family and friends' feedback, as well as the feedback I received from my students and their parents, is to scale back. Pick a few things and really focus on those. That will be really hard for me, especially when I hear about the incredible things that are going on in classrooms around the world. I hope that regularly reflecting here will help me. By sharing more of what I'm doing and really taking the time to explain the reasons I'm doing it, I hope that I'll slow down my thinking a little bit.

This has very little to do with this post. It's
just my favourite pic from the week at the cottage.
I am very grateful to Todd for his innovative and inclusive #summerLS and look forward to sharing more about what I learn while completing them.


  1. Hi Shauna, I feel the same way so much to reflect on and I think I awe that to my Learning community. I have tried to reflect on a monthly basis. I just got a posting about the SWAT team and I have so much to update about my Ss and learning from them. Great job and keep on blogging this summer! I would also like to blog about how making/creating is important for students learning. I have so much to read and reflect on, 3 books to get through this summer. It would be great to challenge ourselves to reflect on certains learning skills and strategies over the summer. I know I am already thinking about challenging my learning for next year. Shauna I always admire what you do with your students.

  2. Hi Rola, thanks so much for the comment! It's great to hear from you. I keep trying to think of something else for us to do together now that Playdate is over! I really admire what you do as well and I'm so lucky to call you my friend.

    Maybe we could challenge each other to write about certain blog topics? I'll be writing posts about student and parent comments about our year, top three professional goals for next year, work life balance, and about a million other things!