How to Get an “A” in Free Time

What do you think about adding column on a report card assessing what students do during recess? Luigi Giussani, Italian priest, educator and intellectual, once told a group of parents that young people are not judged by how seriously, tenaciously and loyally they take to their school work, but by how they use their free […]

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SPAM Haiku

Back in 1996, I had an idea. I think this idea was somehow inspired by my high school friend, Robin and by the latest advance in communication—email.   The idea: SPAM® haiku. At the time, I had 34, what we now call, contacts. They included Robin, of course, several university friends, and my colleagues at Abbotsford […]

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ru ina mood 4 sushi?

On a coffee break from marking provincial exams, I was talking to some fellow English teachers about the use and abuse of technology in the lives of students. One of these fellows recounted a conversation he had with a younger colleague who said that there is nothing wrong with texting while doing homework in that […]

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When Teachers Run Out of Good Ideas

I couldn’t believe he belched in my class—and it was on purpose. This was my first year as a teacher, teaching grade 7. This guy was full of energy, and a bit of a stinker too, so I had my hands full. Being so new to the profession, I hadn’t developed the instincts for dealing […]

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Pigeons 101

I never learned as much as when I became a pigeon farmer.  I remember walking to the barns on the day of possession, wondering what I had gotten myself into. I was overwhelmed with the responsibility, and with my ignorance as to how to produce the young pigeons (squab) that were so coveted by the […]

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Santa Claus vs. Advent Candles

I never got to light an Advent candle when I was a child. The idea terrified me. I imagined myself in front of all those solemn people who were expectant, not only for the coming of our Lord, but for the timely lighting of the candles. I saw myself desperately trying to get the lighter […]

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Not Another Project!!

When one of my kids came home on a Friday and declared, “I have to finish my project,” I was filled with dread. Weekend plans were abandoned so I could try to achieve the impossible: learning the material the project was supposed to demonstrate, balancing my child’s expectations with reality, understanding the standards against which the project would be […]

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