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

Posted by: Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. | May 29, 2019

The Middle Years Alphabet Rides Again!!!

   Ms Kenny's class -2 IMG_7886.jpegWow! What an amazing hour and a half . . . with Miss Kenny’s Grade 5 class at Annie L. Gaetz School. Now there’s a master teacher at work with a super talented group of young people.  I played the “Names, Faces and Places” game so I got to know everyone and then shared an overview of the booklet. From there, we buckled down and got to work – oops, I mean play. We did rubbings, masking, felt pen bleeding, doodling, hatching and cross-hatching and shading AND ALONG THE WAY this exceptional gang created ideas of their own.

The very last picture is a Morse code message from Amr. Too cool. I send a special message back to him and then emailed one for the whole class – a riddle. For the next week or so, I’ll send a Morse code riddle per day. Practice helps.

Rhys IMG_7875.jpeg

Sawyer IMG_7878.jpegSienna IMG_7872.jpegJock and kids with Ms. K IMG_5077.jpeg

Indy IMG_7874.jpeg

Amery IMG_7877.jpeg

Decklan IMG_7876.jpeg

Jock and Dakota IMG_5076.jpeg

xx Braille from Amr IMG_7890.jpeg

Posted by: Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. | May 16, 2019

District 99 Toastmasters Conference



Jock with hoops 20190503_213352.jpg

(Too busy presenting to have a picture from my session but I did learn a bit about hoop dancing at the Friday evening entertainment session)

I had the pleasure to present a session at the annual Toastmasters conference in early May. Here are the responses I  received:

District 99 Toastmasters Conference

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

May 4, 2019

Session titled “It was a dark and stormy night – an interactive session about story”

Audience evaluations

16 attendees, 13 handed in evaluation forms


Poor = 1, Fair = 2, Good = 3, Very Good = 4, Excellent = 5

The presenter delivered the material in a clear and structured manner.

3 5 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 2 5 5 5  Average 4.38

The presenter was knowledgeable about the topic and any related issues.

3 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 5 5 5 Average 4.69

The presenter maintained my interest during the entire presentation.

4 5 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 3 5 5 4 Average 4.54

The presenter answered questions effectively.

4 5 4 5 5 4 5 5 5 3 5 5 3 Average 4.46

The presenter was enthusiastic about the topic.

5 5 5 4 5 5 5 5 5 2 5 5 5 Average 4.69

The presenter was organized and well prepared.

4 5 4 5 4 5 5 5 5 3 5 5 5 Average 4.62

The presentation was concise and informative.

4 5 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 5 5 4 Average 4.62

The presentation contained practical examples and useful techniques.

4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 5 5 5 Average 4.77

The visual aids were effective.

4 5 5 5 5 5 5    5 3 5 4 3 Average 4.5

Overall, I would rate this presentation/instruction as:

4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 5 5 4 Average 4.69

Would I recommend this presentation to others?

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes = 13 Average 100%


  1. Very knowledgeable on the topic & great examples

Rearrange your Powerpoint so your videos are at the end – if you won’t have enough time for them

Using your concept of ‘Picture’ – I found your concept didn’t really connect to what I think of as a picture – perhaps rework/rearrange the material to connect these concepts.

  1. Good audience participation – reading scripts

Great body language awareness

Time conscious

  1. Very enthusiastic, thank you for sharing!!

I enjoyed the structure and visuals

  1. Excellent info. Great examples! Great acronyms.

Great visual – the Picture of a story + 3I-RACER

Opportunity – Jock, opening with a personal story would show us a good example of what you’re about to teach. I love the “Hickory Daiquiri” story.

I love the familiar story you broke down, so we could see how it was built up.

  1. The presentation was a good review of some concepts of storytelling from school that I had forgotten but with an adult twist. It shows you are an educator – you have a comfortable presence, are engaging, and present in a clear and concise manner.
  2. Check out “Hero’s Journey Free Run” on YouTube. 5 minute video, pretty great.
  3. Polished presentation. I hadn’t thought a lot about storytelling in a speech and am looking forward to exploring it further. Well done, Jock!
  4. Very useful information. Will use to help write my speeches.


Posted by: Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. | March 18, 2019

Learning to Remember – session at Teachers’ Convention

I have recently returned to the world of professional development days and teachers’ conventions. Hmmmm – didn’t realize how much I’ve missed them. If you’re looking for some tried and true ideas, please get in touch. 

I always ask for immediate feedback at my sessions. Here’s what I received after my hour and a quarter session at the Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention Association (CATCA) on March 15, 2019. 




MARCH, 2019


  1. STRENGTHS: lots of practical ideas for remembering general things, good involvement of participants

SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:  Maybe some specific context-specific (subject specific) applications/examples from best practices (yours and from others)

  1. STRENGTHS: engaging, great teacher participation
  • Great demo of strategies
  • Good examples of how to use strategies

SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:  Enjoyed presentation. Thank you!! I’m going to try to use your strategies. Hope they help.

3. STRENGTHS: Love that we got to do some of the things that were talked about

  • Enjoyed the humor!

SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:  Open the floor for people to share acronyms or a site to share

4, STRENGTHS: very knowledgeable

SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:  I was hoping for something different than what I thought I learned in school. I thought you were going to show how to reel them in to a lesson.

  1. STRENGTHS: enthusiasm

               SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:  Do more activities like “Ladies and


  1. STRENGTHS: stories, humor, presentation

SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:  Maybe more practical application – exemplars etc. of lessons and things

7. STRENGTHS: Smooth, calm delivery – no false starts, etc.


  1. STRENGTHS: Humor and personal stories. Singing is good too. Fun little tips


  1. STRENGTHS: You tried to make it applicable to real life and it was fun to listen


  1. STRENGTHS: There are many ways to be sure that the things that are really important are tended to (1) long term goals (2) short term goals (3) weekly goals (4) daily to do list, in order of importance *write it down in a planner – I have way too much on my plate without writing it down

SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:  strategies to list things that are really important






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