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A Few of my Favorite Things

My Favorite Things

One of my favorite things about education is researching.

I love the thrill of the hunt when I am on the trail of a fabulous new activity or teaching method. Over the years I have discovered  many valuable resources. Below are a few of my favorite resources. Get a cup of coffee (in Australian, a cuppa, throwback to my friend Maxine Driscoll), click on a few links and learn a little! I hope you enjoy a few of my favorite things.

Continue reading “A Few of my Favorite Things”

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Why Student Voice and Choice Matter

I love to read.

Yep. I have a book problem. It’s my one vice in life. I think I might even need intervention. While I love my Kindle, there’s nothing like the smell of a new book, fresh from the printer.

When I was a ‘tween, my favorite thing to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon was to get a Snicker bar, a pack of Bubblicious Grape Bubble Gum and a Nancy Drew book and lose myself with Nancy, Bess and George for an entire afternoon. While my snacks and literature choices have changed since those early years, one thing remains the same— I LOVE to read—until recently.

Continue reading “Why Student Voice and Choice Matter”

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The Vacay

Car psot.jpg

I’ve been looking forward to it all school year.

My getaway #wayupnorth vacay. Time to relax, refocus and reinvent myself.

trading in the screams of my students for the cry of the loons.

the smell of the lunch room for the spicy aroma of the ancient cedar forests.

my desk for a deck and recess for rest.

googles of geese—I mean gaggles of geese. Peace. Tranquility.

emails flying, no wait, eagles flying over head.

Stop. It. No more work.

We went canoeing on an awesome lake, no houses, no cabins, no people. Just us and the loons. The name of the lake: School Lake. No joke.Canal post

Went went paddling up a remote creek. Chopping through the brush, we passed a beaver dam, several SCHOOLS of fish and ran into a man who is a PRINCIPAL (go figure) at Principia Boarding School, in Illinois.

I was shopping at the Great Lakes Tea and Spice Company (which has THE BEST aged cherry balsamic vinegar ever. Straight from the bottle.) and the man ringing me up said, “I bet you’re a teacher.”

Me, with mouth and eyes wide open, “How did you know?”

Clerk: “I can tell. You have so much energy.”

I was only buying tea and vinegar. Carpe Diem.

Up North- I love you! I also love my work. When you love what you do somehow it stops being work and becomes joy.

Leave me a comment about what you are doing on summer break this year. I’d love to chat with you!

The Principal’s Desk

By Mary Kay kane

copyright 2016. all rights reserved



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Apps, Snaps & Smash!

I love being a principal.

I get to spend time doing one of my favorite things—learning about learning. Today, I attended a Webinar from Simplek-12 called the Basics of Mobile Learning. Dig in to these cool ideas:


  1. Students share a journal (digital or old school) and comment or post back and forth to each other. I love it. So 21st century. So basic skills.

Emoji Writing Prompts:


  1. Display a string of emojis and have students write a back story for the icons. How cool is that?
  2. Have the students display emojis in Google classroom  communicating how they are feeling or  what they hope to do or learn that day.

Re-purposed Selfies:

I love my job and my office … which is so much better than Mr. Wever’s black and brown office. I hope I will have lots of visitors!
  1. Have your students create a post with a selfie and then write a paragraph about the selfie.
  2. Ask your students to make a selfie with their favorite book, color or board game and write a short piece about their selfie.
  3. Display 4 selfies and ask your students to write the back story for the images.


Well, that’s all for now. I need to smash some apps before I Pokemon Go!


by Mary Kane

all rights reserved. copyright 2016


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Off to School

Last week I attended a training conference for Project Lead the Way—an awesome science program our elementary is adopting for the coming school year.

As I was getting ready for class, I looked over my supply list. It has been a VERY LONG TIME since I needed to “get supplies” for school. My mind went back in time.

New Crayolas (96 colors with a built in sharpener if your parents were rich)

New pencils (Pristine with erasers intact and NO bite marks.)

Cartridge pens with extra ink (if you didn’t attend Catholic schools, Google it.)

Lunch bags.

Book bag.

Note: I walked to school with my sisters for the first 7 years of my school career.

We were good to go.


Fast forward to the 21st century. Scan my supply list shown below:

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 8.21.53 PM

Not a pencil on it.

Times have changed … but for the better. Never has education been more exciting, more relevant, more connected. Good ideas between teachers, schools and nations can be shared at the speed of a click! No more excuses for boring, worn-out projects and methods or teachers. We have the resources to be the best God has created us to be.

Same message—new methods.


old school
Old School Supplies












New school
New School Supplies


What do you remember about going to school? Leave me a comment below! I’d love to chat with you!

By Mary Kane. All rights reserved. Copyright 2016






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A Day in the Life of a Principle

This  morning I woke up at 6:00, ate breakfast, finished reading an excellent educational book, The Innovative Mindset,



did my Bible study, #lovestartingnewbiblestudybooks


then dashed out the door to make my PLTW stem training at Kennedy Primary Center. While at my training, I expanded my digital literacy by learning to use a new app,

new app

I problem-solved,


collaborated and communicated with new friends,


and I used my critical thinking skills.


I came home at 5:00, ran 3 miles while listening to Eric Metaxes, ate dinner, did the dishes (sort of), folded laundry, wrote a blog post and did my PTLW homework and my Colson Fellows homework.

9:51 pm. This principal is going to bed.




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Tools and Skills


Honey, hand me the tools and get out of my way.

Today, as a first year principal, I had to do something new – put new handles on a cabinet. This may sound like a fairly easy task … one you could do in your sleep, but remember, for the past 30 years I have lived in the Man House (previous post).

For 30 years, I have NEVER once mowed the lawn, weed-wacked, or operated a power tool of any sort. My handy hubby takes care of everything.

When my husband is not around my two handy sons take over.

Mom, MOM! Had me the tools and get out of my way.

Each year at school, God knowing my great need,  has supplied me with a very handy student. They see me fumbling with the tools … screwdriver ?? … hammer?? … strange socket/wrench thing??? Inevitably, I hear the same phrase:

Mrs. Kane-hand me the tools and get out of my way.

Today, I wanted to finish a detail in my cute, eclectic, shabby-chic girlie office. I wanted to replace the ugly door handles on my cabinet with the cute handles I found at Hobby Lobby (a place where dreams come true).

No handy husband. No handy sons. No handy students.

My friend Carrie popped in my cute office to say hi. I told her my plan and she assured me I could handle it.

I was a little worried.

The cross I tacked up earlier that day stayed on the wall for about 10 minutes.  Pep talk and prayer followed.

Life-long learner. Problem solver. Innovative thinker.

Hand me the tools and get out of my way!

You can see the results below! As a bonus, I included the cross on the floor picture.(Sofie, I will get someone else to hang the cross.)


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What do you think of my new handles? Have you tried something new lately? Leave me a comment below!


Mary Kane from the Principal’s Desk Blog