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On February 9, I presented my first Ignite at our district’s Engaging the Digital Learner series. I have to say that I personally advertised this fact to only 4 adults: the person who asked me, my husband, one friend, and my principal. I was secretly afraid that I wouldn’t be able to go through with it, as I had experienced extreme anxiety in a similar situation a couple of years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, those who know me well know that I don’t usually have an issue speaking up. While I have many introverted tendencies, I have learned to love giving workshops and talking about education – especially inquiry and assessment – because I am passionate about these things. But this time, I wasn’t speaking with a small group or close friends. This time felt different for a few reasons:

a) 250 people is a lot!

b) Ignite format is challenging. It requires practice and is much more formal than a workshop.

c) 250 people is a lot! (seriously, looking out towards the crowd made me feel ill…)

Somehow I made it through the days filled with anxiety beforehand. On some level, I may have even enjoyed sharing in this way. The constraints of an Ignite – 5 minutes, 20 slides on a timer – make it a great creative challenge. In hindsight, I’m even grateful that I presented first, followed by Zale Darnel, Gr. 8 Veronica Nguyen, and @jessgonsales (who were all awesome!) and the Keynote Speaker William Rankin.

I truly feel that the whole process was valuable and that it helped to solidify my thinking about Communicating Student Learning.

Even if public speaking is not your thing, I highly recommend occasionally taking yourself outside of your comfort zone. It’s a great way to grow as an individual, practice humility, and inspire others.

For those who are interested, here are my slides: Ignite – Beverley Bunker


cc Photo Credit: BK via Flickr

Facing Our Fears


For months, I have followed and been inspired by educators on Twitter and in the blogging world. Teachers such as @gallit_z @hughtheteacher and @mrsdkrebs have thankfully provided me with an avenue to explore teaching and learning through collaboration, inquiry, and innovation. I have spent countless hours devouring educational blogs and articles only to feel as though I have nothing significant or original to contribute to the conversation. However, since attending the Digital Learner series offered by #sd36learn at the end of September, I have found a new source of inspiration.  Through time, I have  found the courage to face my fears and to share my learning experiences with others.

Dean Shareski (@shareski) shared with us the importance of viewing and representing in today’s society, two areas of language learning that are often undervalued. He explained that there are two types of photos: those taken by archivists and those taken by photographers.  Both capture a moment in time, but only one truly tells a story, implies a before and after. The sheer genius of adding only six words to one of these photos allows for incredible stories and powerful messages.

As a Late French Immersion teacher, my first thought was “Yes, my kids can do this!” At this point in the year, my students often lack the vocabulary necessary to fully transform their thoughts into words.  Six word stories were the answer!  Using the Layout app, these stories have now become a weekly tradition, one that we have done in both French and English, individually, in groups, and with kindergarten buddies.  It has allowed my students to develop a sense of artistic freedom and to have fun playing with language.

I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to be inspired each and every day through what I do; through storytelling in all its creative forms, my students are beginning to feel the same way.  Sometimes it is the simplest ideas that turn out to be the most inspiring!

Fear holds us back all too often yet those things that frighten us are usually the ones most worth doing. Starting this blog is now one of many fears that I can check off my list!

What have you tried lately that frightens you?  How did it work out?