Posted by: Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. | December 7, 2020

Public Speaking – Let the Happy In

My first official introduction to public speaking came when I was in Grade 8. A local member of the Optimist Club, Tom Chapman, came to our junior high school and introduced us to the Optimist Oratorical contest. I didn’t win but it was a challenging and interesting experience. And what a life skill!

When I became a teacher, I “taught” public speaking (the Communication strand of our province’s curriculum) in a less straightforward way; l didn’t tell the students we were doing “Public Speaking.” Through brief poetry recitations, joke telling, a performance of “Court” (see a previous entry), the students got a variety of experiences speaking to the rest of the class. It really worked.

Here’s a 5 -7 minute speech I did recently for our local Sunrise Toastmasters club. I hope it exhibits some examples of gestures and movement along with telling a timely message. Note: Toastmasters International offers a Youth Leadership program that would be super in any school.)

Posted by: Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. | December 4, 2020

Dealing with Dymans – back cover

Since returning to work on my crime drama, Dealing with Dymans, I’ve been concentrating on a variety of the “extras” that are all part of getting the novel itself published. Below I’ve added what I’ve come with for the back cover. Any feedback?

Dealing with Dymans

Gunplay. Word play. And you don’t know Jack Schmidt.

Jack Schmidt, ex-cop, is retired . . . and tired. He’s at loose ends. Dealing With Dymans presents the opportunity for Jack to get back into action as he unravels the mystery surrounding Dougie Dymans, the ne’er-do-well who’s been switching gemstones that come into his store. But Dougie’s gambling habit has become a losing proposition and once Jack Schmidt starts sniffing around, Dougie’s mob connection snaps like a fragile femur. Dougie has run short of money, his bookie needs a payment, and Ben “The Finger” Vincent has run out of patience.

How will one old cop deal with Dymans? Luckily, Jack has his good buddy, Cleveland (Clee) Shea, the cliché-spouting mechanic who has more connections than a Southern lobbyist. Jack, too, is connected. With the help of “Mr. Neon”, Jeet the gunslinger wannabe security guard, Big Jim Spady and a host of others, Jack is soon on the trail.

Is this case a slam dunk? Is life?

Posted by: Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. | November 29, 2020

Teachers as READERS

Now that I’m retired from teaching, I have more time to read. Nevertheless, I always found it to be a win-win situation to read as much as possible when I was still in the classroom – relaxing but a good source of figurative language, of character and scene description, of word usage, and so on.

I am currently involved in three book clubs but I’ll concentrate on one at a time. Here’s the newest one (and a post from my Facebook account):

I had the pleasure of reading “Taken by the Muse” by Anne Wheeler and then taking part in what I believe was the inaugural Alberta Reads Book Club Discussion. It was a Zoom meeting hosted by Book Publishers Association of Alberta Vice President Matt Bowes. Matt is also the General Manager of NeWest Press in Edmonton who published the book. My understanding is that these book club discussions will become an ongoing event. I’ll keep you posted.

Posted by: Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. | April 17, 2020

Bullseye – A Tribute to Middle School Teachers

Middle School teachers rock!

Posted by: Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. | April 11, 2020

The Great Hink Pink Challenge – Part 1

Okay all you rhymers and wordsmiths. If you’re stuck in place, here’s the deal:


Posted by: Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. | April 11, 2020

The Great Hink Pink Challenge – Part 2

Corona virus got you at home. Check this out:

Posted by: Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. | March 5, 2020

Essay Writing – a test

I am working on a presentation to be viewed by authors from around the world. It is scheduled as a Zoom call and I want to share some written information. With my limited computer skills, I am trying this approach: placing the slides here so the authors can view them during a period when we ‘go dark’ and they can read and write.

  1. The Thesis Statement Alone

The introductory paragraph may consist of nothing more than a thesis statement. The “Thesis Statement Alone” opening has the advantage of brevity. Like the short, punchy sentences that get a short story off to a quick start, it has immediacy. A second advantage is clarity; there isn’t anything in the way to cause confusion or ambiguity. Like a good topic sentence, it needs oomph or pizzazz to get the reader’s attention.

Against seemingly insurmountable odds, humans have shown an amazing will to survive. Three incredible people are evidence—one the victim of a head-on crash with a semi-trailer, the second the survivor of a brain tumor, and the third the prey of a form of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. (from the essay “The Human Will to Survive” by Jerry W.)

  1. Personal Comment or Anecdote

The personal comment can be an opinion or statement about something that actually happened. An anecdote or brief story about something that has happened to the writer or to someone she knows can provide an excellent hook to catch the reader’s attention. This type of opening adds authenticity and offers the opportunity for the essay writer to involve the reader.

Some people wouldn’t know an anecdote from an antidote, or perhaps an anteater, when the term is first introduced. The dictionary defines anecdote as “a short account of some interesting or amusing incident or event.”

Fast Eddie Riley did not just march to a different tune; he polkaed. I first met him in university residence. Bright but socially inept, friendly but friendless, and the unfortunate butt of jokes and pranks, I can remember clearly how much outside the norm he lived. (from the essay “Individuals Who are Outsiders” by Pieter L.)

Posted by: Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. | February 14, 2020

IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK – Calgary City Teachers’ Convention, Feb. 13, 2020

The Convention Association will provide their own feedback from an electronic survey but I did my own “old school” version with a 2-question survey on paper I left on a number of chairs.


Calgary City Teachers’ Convention Association

February 13, 2020

 Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. – You are a superhero!

Strengths: Very engaging, funny. Loved the message: “Know what you say and do means something & has an effect on those you touch.”

Suggestions for Improvement: Discussion of the resources mentioned and how they are applicable to now.


Strengths: Your passion and love for teaching is a reminder to me of why I got into education – Thank you!

Suggestions for Improvement:


Strengths: Funny, good story teller

Suggestions for Improvement: Maybe an activity to get moving or try out ideas/activities you did find work

Should have your own podcast – would tune in


Strengths: The “monotone” thing works for you. (***I told a story about being told as I entered the Faculty of Education that I had a “nasal, monotone” voice. If this respondent is saying that’s what I have, then OUCH. As I read the rest of the response, I thought (hoped) this might not have been what he/she meant.)

Suggestions for Improvement: Have you ever thought of doing your own podcast? If you ever do, post it in your blog, Easy to listen to, relatable and insightful.


Strengths: Humor! Incredibly easy and fun to listen to. Being a kindergarten teacher myself, this year has been extremely exhausting even after ten years . . . so I needed a lift and some inspiration of what teaching is all about . Thank you.

Suggestions for Improvement:


Strengths: Wonderful session! Very relatable and helped empower me to continue on this journey as a teacher. I teach kindergarten and was able to take ideas away. Thank you very much.

Suggestions for Improvement:




Posted by: Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. | February 9, 2020

Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. – Calgary City Teacher’s Convention – Feb. 13, 2020


If you are a teacher, you are a superhero to a student. Some of you will be Teacher Man or Ma’am or Ms. to many students. Simply by being “the teacher” means you have been elevated to superhero status.

On Thursday, February 13, 2020, I will be sharing what I did over 31 years in the classroom, ideas that worked for me . . . and that should work for you.

know some other superheroes will be there. We’ll be in the Glen Room 204 of the Telus Convention Centre at 9:00 a.m. See you there?

If not, have your people call my people and let’s set up a time to get together.

Posted by: Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. | January 18, 2020

My trophy shelf now has (wait for it) TWO trophies

Somehow, trophies have eluded me for most of my life. Maybe I’m a late bloomer. My Toastmaster of the Year trophy came as a surprise, as had its predecessor the Toastmaster of the Year certificate. Nevertheless, this latest addition is very welcome. Many thanks to those who did the paperwork which always accompanies awards. I am blessed. Toastmaster of the Year trophy IMG_9069.JPG

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