I began my teaching career as a special education teacher in London, Ontario. After 11 years in special ed I taught grade 6 for 5 years followed by teaching grades 3 and 4. In my last year I returned to special ed.
In 1994 I began work on The Flat Stanley Project. The Internet was in its infancy and although social networks, collaborative undertakings and project-based learning are common now, back then these were new and innovative ideas. The Flat Stanley Project has become a success thanks to the creative teachers who applied it in their classrooms, the enthusiastic students who embraced the idea, and the hosts who so willingly took flat visitors into their homes. Thank you!
Throughout my career I tried to find innovative ways to reach my students and often asked myself what I would have liked when I was a student, then tried to deliver that. I was fortunate to have team-taught with educational leaders Charlie Smith and Zillah Moss. An approach that worked very well was my variation on Learning in Depth where, at the beginning of the school year, each student selects a topic that interests them, and throughout the year works on that topic. During reading time, the students read about their topic. During writing time the students incorporate their topic into the activity. We even found ways to make math more meaningful by applying it to their topics.
After 32 years in the classroom, I retired from teaching to pursue other interests. I wrote The Tale of the Third Bear and released it for the iPad and developed a couple of iPad apps.
In recent years I have begun building guitars, banjo lutes, ukuleles and dulcimers as a luthier at Talking Dog Guitars. In a way it's a return to an earlier life when I supported myself as a street singer throughout Europe and in the subways of Toronto.