Going Off the Beaten Path…


Hi there. I’m an intermediate teacher and outdoor educator from Ontario, Canada who was lucky enough to travel to Vancouver in February and March 2010 with my side-kick “HenryHudsonBear”, and to share an Olympic and Paralympic dream with anyone who was interested, through the wonders of modern technology.

But while my journey attending and volunteering at the Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics is over, the results of it are DEFINITELY not.


These days, I’m back in my classroom, engaging my Gr. 7 students in a collaborative project with the Canadian Canoe Museum, helping to create interactive activities to engage kids in learning about Canada’s deep historic roots and identity in canoes and exploring our untamed wilderness.

Descending the Rapids, by Frances Anne Hopkins, circa 1863

But even more importantly,
a short time before I left on my Olympic Adventure,
our wonderful school secretary made an innocent remark about being so excited to know someone in the stands at the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics!  And it suddenly dawned on me that I could actually “take” her there, and all of my students as well, and I could provide them with a chance to experience and explore the Olympics from a front-row seat.  All I had to do was find the right tools and the know-how to do it.

And in seeking ways to do that, I unknowingly embarked on a journey into a world of exhilarating professional discovery — of a growing international educational communityonline using Twitter, Blogs, and endless new online tools  — to inspire, share, question, reflect, and support other educators all seeking the same goal…. to find the most effective and appropriate ways to help kids learn in the rapidly changing world of the early 21st Century. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?!?

And so, almost unknowingly, I have joined them. I am alternately exhilarated, challenged, frustrated, curious, emotionally moved, exhausted, and deeply inspired.

So on whatever day you may land here,
…..may the time you spend here be, in some way, worthwhile!

Cathy Beach

PS On the origins of “beachcat11”:
* beachcat11 came about as the kids at school loved my school board login: beach+cat.
* The 11 came about because both “beachcat” and “beachcat1” were already taken,
……and since my fingers were already there, “beachcat11” was born!


About Cathy Beach

Recently retired elementary teacher and outdoor educator in rural Ontario, Canada. My Olympic Journeys may be over, but they lead me into some very exciting adventures with teachers and kids and the world of connected learning...
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