Building Outside the Blocks

Canada - Ontario - Thornhill
Building Outside the Blocks
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Keep your eyes on the horizon and all else will follow.
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This Building Outside the Blocks project is a great way to get to know your students while building community. Students explore their names: why they were selected for them, what they mean, the etymology, the cultural heritage and origin, whether or
EFL - ESL - ELD, Writing, Oral Communication
4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Projects, Handouts, Assessment
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I have had the privilege of being a classroom teacher for 22 years. While I mainly taught English and Social Studies in Grade 6-8, I have also taught Drama, Science, Core (Math, Science, English, Social Studies) for Grade 2-4 and been the teacher-librarian. I have been developing personalizing projects that help students build skill, agency and community in minimal class time for much of my career. I have learned to refer to these a Building Outside the Blocks projects- a twist on Project Based Learning and have been sharing them with teachers who find them and the approach as high yielding as I have.


I am an excited, engaged and positive educator who believe in the power of Project Based Learning, co-creates success criteria with my students and iterates assignments in response to student need and feedback. As a reflective practitioner, I not only wonder about meeting the daily needs of all the learners in the room, but I ask if I would want to be in my class. I believe in the power of "yet" and I know that relationships are the building block of all lasting learning. My WHY is about creating opportunities for students to see and be themselves in school and to create projects that invite the learner into the learning process through their lives and interests.


My honours are to be a parent to three amazing daughters who made me a better teacher and human being. While I have received a Teacher of Excellence award, I keep and value the hundreds of cards that I have received from students, parents, colleagues and student teachers with whom I have worked and from whom I have learned so much along with the certificate of recognition as a host teacher and mentor who has helped to train and inspire many educators.


I received my teaching degree through York University in Toronto and my Masters of Education from OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) through the University of Toronto. While I have taken the first of two course to attain my principal's qualifications, I have decided not to pursue a role in administration because I want to spend my life working with learners in a different way. Teaching is my profession and passion, and I wake up each day infused by the power of lighting people up and helping to fan the flames of learning and perpetual growth in others and myself.


I have been building outside the blocks all my life, so I put my approach and all my offerings under the umbrella titled Building Outside the Blocks- BOB for short. I have just launched a consulting and coaching practice for which I am excited to call myself The Chief Building Officer. I am part of the #ONedchat team who run a chat every other Wednesday during the school year from 8:30-9:30 EST, open to all educators, where we discuss issues relevant to education in our province and around the world. I am also part of an amazing panel of educators who support preservice and new teachers through #ONedmentors. The show is live every Thursday from 9-10 EST on VoicEd Radio. The conversation is archived and available on demand. Also available through is my new podcast: The Personal Playlist Podcast where I unpack the nostalgic, identity and motivational song with a bevy of guests who are educators doing incredible things. I am a writer, a blogger, a podcaster, a meacher (mom-teacher coined by my eldest), a mentor and a risk taker who is ready for pretty much anything educational-related.

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