Blog Like a Pirate #BlogLAP

I Did It!

I did it!  And it is scary and exciting at the same time!  Today I made a decision to chart a course of sorts…to start blogging…for real!  Blogging has been on mind a lot lately. Everything I read and every other tweet on Twitter contains a link to a blog post.  Have you noticed that there have been dozens of blogs popping up all over the internet lately?  Have we have reached a tipping point?  It has been incredible to read blog posts from so many innovative and awesome educators.  Thank you for sharing your successes, struggles and wonderings with us.

Reading and following blogs is a daily habit and Ilearn-people, quite frequently, think that I should blog.  Truth is, I start to blog and never stick with it.  I have a trail of well intentioned one-post blogs gathering dust on defunct sites in various places.  I have pondered the question of why don’t I blog and carry a healthy dose of guilt for not taking the risk of sharing my reflections with others.

But today is the day!  What has changed for me?  To be honest, I am not sure!  Maybe it has been the free time I have had at home during my summer vacation?  Maybe I finally feel confident enough to take a risk?  Maybe I want to be a better leader by modelling good practice.  Maybe the time is just right to blog Like a Pirate!

Blogging…When the Time is Right

Blogging will happen when the time is right.  That is what I have said in the past; putting it off until the time is right. Well, I have decided that today is the time.  A few reasons why:

  • I read great blogs online that deal with innovation, leadership, reflection, student voice, mindset, etc…
  • I follow great educators on Twitter who inspire, encourage and model leadership and innovation in so many ways
  • I love being part of Twitter and I want to share and grow as an educational leader

My Past Reflections about Blogging

Excuses and Reasons

Below are some of the excuses and reasons why I thought I didn’t have time to blog.  They have included:

  • no time to blog, no time in my schedule
  • takes too much time to record my thoughts
  • nothing to blog about
  • who wants to read what I write about
  • my ideas around education are not new and exciting
  • I am not innovative like those other educators!
  • risk of sharing
  • what will others think
  • I have nothing worth sharing

#BlogLAP is Born

As I was reading my feed on Twitter, I got thinking about hashtags and what makes a hashtag popular.  I was exploring popular educational and leadership hashtags and wanted to see if I could create a hashtag that would resonate with me.  I have been so excited and drawn to the whole Like a Pirate philosophy that has been driven by Dave and Shelley Burgess and their amazing books, by amazing educators, that they have published through their company.  The hashtag was so obvious!  My goal of starting to blog, coupled with the PIRATE principles was exactly what I was looking for!  And when I searched for #BlogLAP on Twitter, the hashtag didn’t exist.  What a treasure!  I was so excited and wanted to put it out to my PLN, today.  That is how #BlogLAP was born.

Sticking With It

This is the part of blogging that I struggle with.  But this is the part of my practice that I would like to improve and develop into habit.  To begin charting my course I will:

  • read and support others who blog; those who are out there taking risks to share their thinking with us
  • blog each week to grow as an educational leader; to develop my professional growth and learning
  • blog because I am learning that I have valuable insights and wonderings to share and offer
  • be a model for others in my school, district and PLN

Forming the Blogging Habit

Ideas and thoughts hang on and scratch at me until I write them down.  Getting thoughts and ideas out of my head and onto a journal page has been my practice and, until now, it has worked for me.  What I have reflected upon and the habit I would like to form is blogging online and sharing my reflections with the wider educational community.  I want blogging to be a feel good practice that helps me to put into words what I think.

 Blogging is Our Job

George Couros wrote a post a while back entitled “Blogging is Your Job”.  In this post he states that blogging is your job and “When you look at it as an extra, it will not likely get done.  When you see it as ‘part of your job’, it will get done.” It is my hope to insert  blogging into my schedule because it is part of my job.  I want to share my reflections with others in the hopes that I grow as an educator and learner.  I want to use this blog to document my own journey into blogging Like A Pirate…

I hope this journey of blogging provides me with lots of feedback from educators.  Feedback is of great value.  Feedback can challenge our ways of thinking but can also support us to let us know that we are on the right track as educators and leaders in our schools and roles.  Feedback from others is valuable and helps to define and challenge our thinking and learning.  Now is time to chart the course for places unknown!  What treasures will we discover?  Join me and remember to chart your course to include the #BlogLAP.


Make MAGIC Happen…

A work bee gathered this past week to weed and reclaim our school garden with the idea that it will be a learning space for all to use this fall.  A little girl and her gramma came and offered their compliments to the work being done.  One of the mom’s asked if the little girl would be starting Kindergarten in the fall.  The conversation continued about how this child is so familiar with our school, the playground, the teachers and other children because she has been so involved in early childhood programs at our school for so long.

The conversation made me wonder about our student’s first school experiences.   I posed this question to our group:  “I wonder what goes through a child’s mind when they come to school for the first time in Kindergarten?  Will it be everything they hope it will be or will it be disappointing to them because school is not what they imagine it to be”.  I then went on to say to the group: “I want to make school magical for our students.”

What does it mean to make MAGIC in our schools?

When I began thinking about wanting to make our school MAGICAL, I tried to define MAGIC in simple terms but couldn’t capture the meaning of what I was trying to express.  Instead, what came to me were words.  Words that elicited more questions than answers.  I have attempted to take these words and to connect them in a way that explains what MAGIC can look like in our schools.

M Motivate… Meaning… Making a Difference…

What is our MOTIVATION?  Our mission and purpose needs to be clear in the hearts and minds of all who work and play in our buildings and on our playgrounds.  What type of experiences are we offering our students, teachers and our community members?  Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like a Pirate, says that if we…provide an uncommon experience for our students…they will reward [us] with an uncommon effort and attitude.  Think about that statement for a moment.  An uncommon experience to elicit uncommon effort and attitude?  I want to provide that uncommon experience to our school community.

To build on the point above, are we making MAGIC by providing memorable experiences that engage, challenge and build up our students?  Children and teachers, in fact all of us, seek MEANING in what we do.  Through meaning we find out what is important to us.  Once we discover what is important to us, what our passions are, then we can begin to set goals for ourselves.  As educators it is important to find out what students are passionate about so that we can fuel that passion to foster engagement…that is where, I believe, the MAGIC happens.

How do we MAKE A DIFFERENCE for students?  What simple things can we do each day to welcome, acknowledge and build up our students?  Simple things such as greeting students by name as they come in to our schools and classrooms.  High-fives in the hallway, asking how their weekend went…the little things, we know, can have the greatest impact.  How is your school community MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the education of your students?

A   Approach… Acknowledge… Amazing… Awesome…

What is our APPROACH to learning and teaching?  When I look at what teachers are doing in classrooms, there is great work happening.  Many teachers are fired up and are trying new things.  Teachers are stepping outside their comfort zone because they know this is where the MAGIC happens.

As leaders we are here to provide the support and the means for teachers to take risks.  If we value new ideas as being important to our school culture, then we need to allow everyone to have a voice and to explore new ways of doing things.  Our role is to support, lead and, most importantly, ACKNOWLEDGE the AMAZING and AWESOME work teachers are doing each and everyday with our students.  How do you approach learning in your school and what are you doing to make school amazing and awesome for all?

G   Guiding… Growing… Growth…

What are our GUIDING principles?  Guiding principles are those precepts that guide an organization through its life in all circumstances irrespective of changes in its goals,  strategies, type of work or top management.  (

Our schools must be guided by a district vision that is alive in all that we do for students and their families, teachers and support staff.  School goals may change, new ways of doing things come and go, but in the end we always need to have a place to come back to and guiding principles provide us with that important anchor.

How do we ensure that students are GROWING and learning and how do we measure GROWTH?  Students must develop core competencies such as critical thinking, creative thinking,  social responsibility, personal awareness and responsibility, positive personal and cultural identity, and communication skills.  These ‘core competencies’ are at the centre of the redesign of the curriculum here in British Columbia, Canada.  They are believed to be the key proficiencies that all students need to develop in order to engage in deep learning and life-long learning. (

I   Inspiration… Investment… Innovation

What is our INSPIRATION?  What inspires teachers to keep doing this job with passion?Watching students grow and approach their learning in such diverse ways is an amazing experience to witness as a teacher and now as a principal in an elementary school.  Every day I get to experience students and teachers who love learning and who come to work full of energy and enthusiasm…it is through this enthusiasm and love of learning that I believe the MAGIC happens.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention those students who come through our doors not eager to learn or not enthusiastic about school.  Where is the MAGIC for these students?  It takes time, trust and lots of relationship-building to reach some of our students, but it is worth it.  We know that developing trust doesn’t happen over night and we know that it can be hard work.  In the end, I hope that students are able to see the INVESTMENT adults  are making in them and maybe they will come to understand that the relationships being forged are strong.

INVESTING not only in the learner, but also in the learning can make the school experience MAGICAL.  What does learning look like in our schools?  Are students collaborating with one another?  Are adults collaborating with one another?  Who is doing the most talking?  Teachers or students?  What does the learning sound like in our schools?  Excitement, noise, conversation, positive interactions and positive words?  What does the learning feel like in our schools?  Do students wonder and explore?  Do they feel satisfied about and challenged in their learning?  Do parents feel good about coming into the school and does the school have a welcoming feel to it?

Are we being innovative?  I use the term INNOVATE as George Couros defines it in his book Innovator’s Mindseta way of thinking that creates something new and better.  Our way of thinking requires us to create something new and better; in other words, to create MAGIC in our schools.  George identifies 8 characteristics of an innovator’s mindset.  Innovative educators are:

  • empathetic
  • problem finders
  • risk takers
  • networked
  • observant
  • creators
  • resilient
  • reflective

Are we modeling these characteristics for the students in our schools?  George states, “If we do not model these characteristics and the willingness to innovate inside the box, why would our students do anything different?  They won’t.” (Innovator’s Mindset pg. 58)  How many of the characteristics above are you modeling in your schools?

C   Come Together… Community… Celebrate

Creating a school community that is MAGICAL is a goal that I would like to explore in the coming months and years as a school leader.  We COME TOGETHER each September with the excitement of what the school year will bring.  If we are deliberate in our planning for our staff, students, and their families, we can create MAGIC.  I really believe this to be true.

Building our COMMUNITY takes time but is hard, but joyous work.  I say joyous because we get to work with children each day.  We get to experience their joys, sorrows, amazement and sense of wonder.  What an honour it is to be part of this MAGIC.

When we step back from the daily  work that we do, we must remember to CELEBRATE our successes and learning, and to do this frequently.  We don’t celebrate enough.  Celebrating the small successes on the path to greater achievements is crucial.  We need to recognize the power of coming together and forming our educational communities and we need to have lots of FUN along the way.

And so…

When I made the comment to our group of moms about wanting to make school magical, one mom said “Well, here you are in the garden, and this is MAGICAL.”  She is correct.  The MAGIC has begin for the new school year and I am so excited to be part of the journey this year.  It will be fun, hard, scary but, mostly MAGICAL!