We Will Not Let Exam Results Decide Our Fate

by Carla Johnson, Apr 28 13

Carla JohnsonIn  my first year of teaching, I attended a workshop given by professors who had just finished a huge education research project. They had been looking for a connection between school grades and success in the larger world. What they found, many of us already know. There is no connection between achievement in school and achievement outside school. Yes, for some people there is a strong connection – professors, teachers, lawyers, and a few others – but for the majority of us, there is no connection.

We all know people who barely made it through school, struggled to get good grades, were told repeatedly they were lazy or unmotivated, and yet found themselves truly excelling outside of school. They found a really great job or made a fortune with own business. We also know people who were the top of their class in school, were adored by their teachers, told they could do anything they wanted to do, but struggled to make smart decisions outside school.

So the next time the press publishes the data for the schools in your community and the next time a group like the Fraser Institute put all those results on a grading scale, please think critically about it and remember this. Students are so much more than their grades. They are more than their report cards. They have possibility beyond all of it. All students love education, but only a fraction of them love school. All those numbers and rating scales and the buzz that surrounds it doesn’t mean all that much.

This young poet-artist says it so well.


“I.S.S.” Music Monday May 6, 2013

by Carla Johnson, Apr 11 13

Carla Johnson Chris Hadfield Barenaked Ladies Ed Robertson ISS I.S.S. International Space Station

As many know, my day job is teaching Music to middle schoolers, Grades 7 & 8. It’s an awesome age. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This morning there was a surprise change of events. I woke up to hear that the schools were all closed because of an impending ice storm. Yes, that’s right. An ice storm in April. Wonders never cease to amaze.

So, with my newly acquired day I decided to work on our taxes. It’s a mundane job we all have to do and ours is just a bit more complicated than most as my husband and I have a few investment properties along with my book adventures that require extra paperwork this time of year.

As I worked my way through the files, it struck me that today would be a good day to get more familiar with the song for Music Monday this year. If you are Canadian, you may know about the organization Music Makes Us. Each year they feature a brand new song that people across the country are invited to learn and sing all at the same time. It is a special and powerful event that connects us across this vast and diverse land.

This year’s theme is “Fill the Skies with Music” and the tune was co-written by two great Canadians: Commander Chris Hadfield, our beloved – and multi-talented – Canadian astronaut working on the International Space Station and Ed Robertson, lead singer of the Bare Naked Ladies. How cool is that! The song is called “Is Somebody Singing” and it shares the initials I.S.S., with the International Space Station.

Back in February a video was released of the two of them performing the song together with a youth choir. Today I spent the afternoon today listening to and watching it over and over… and over again in preparation for Music Monday coming up on May 6th. This year’s Music Monday is going to be especially exciting as Chris Hadfield will be singing with us by a live feed from the International Space Station at 1 pm Eastern Standard Time, the time we are all scheduled to be performing across the country.

Yes, “Let’s fill the skies with music!”

So sing your song I’m listening
Out where stars are glistening
I can hear your voices bouncing off the moon.
If you could see our Nation
From the International Space Station
You’d know why I want to get back soon.

Why I Teach Music – Part II

by Carla Johnson, Mar 13 13

If you have ever asked a school teacher why you or your child needed to study Music, I have some thoughts for you. For many years, I have been teaching Music to Grades 7 & 8 and am asked that question every year. It’s not, actually, a tough one for me to answer.

My goal as a teacher is to use each opportunity to build up my students, so I have learned to answer carefully.  My favourite response is, “I don’t know why you need to study Music. I don’t know because I don’t know what your future holds. I only know I want you to have every opportunity in the future.” Sometimes I answer, “You need to study Music because you are a musician. I know you are a musician, but if you don’t know it, I’m going to help you see it.”

I think my answers are awesome… and true. They are so much better than the weak, defensive, “Because the government said so.” Plus, my answers give me a great chance to help the student think about their life in a bigger way as we discuss it.

If you understand what  I am saying, I think you will like this poster. My daughter’s Music teacher gave it to each of her students. It celebrates Music from a rich & intelligent angle. There are many, many important reasons to study Music in school and in fact, we need to study it more than we do.

Did you see my previous image “Why I Teach Music.”?

“Cooking With Sin” and Friends

by Carla Johnson, Mar 2 13

If you follow my Cooking With Sin page on Facebook or follow my Twitter feed, you know that I was invited to share several Cooking With Sin recipes on Natalie MacLean’s website. Plus, she invited me to be a wine reviewer on her site too. Of course I jumped at the opportunity! Now I have “professional” reasons to keep my wine fridge stocked. :)

Take a look at Natalie’s newsletter this week. It features CWS’s delicious “Roman Holiday Italian Spaghetti Carbonara” recipe.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Also, let me know if there are any wines you think I should review. Check out my profile & my reviews on her site.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin


Why I Teach Music – Part I

by Carla Johnson, Feb 16 13

I just made this to share with my Music students next week. Be Inspired.

Carla Johnson

Check out “Why I Teach Music – Part II


by Carla Johnson, Feb 6 13

I just got a little slap… and I needed it!

Thanks for the reality check Gift of Water.

Welcome 2013!

by Carla Johnson, Dec 30 12


As an educator and a entrepreneur I have seen, over and over again, how the best and most meaningful ventures come from within, from one’s creativity and one’s passions. In 2013, commit not to a superficial resolution, but simply cling to what you love.

Nurture yourself from within. Nurture your spirit. Nurture your joy.

As we toast a new year let this, one of my all-time favourite quotes, ring in your ears, resound in your soul and echo in your actions.

Don’t ask what the world needs,

Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.

Because what the world needs is

People who have come alive!

~ Howard Thurman


Bring it!

Raise a glass with my New Year 2013 drink on Cooking With Sin. “Toast 2013 with a Canadian Martini

Infinity Magazine

by Carla Johnson, Nov 18 12

There is a common saying “time will tell” and it is so true. Seven years ago I met Darcelle Runciman through REIN, a network for real estate investors. At the time I was simply a dreamer hoping to buy a couple of properties and find my way into the entrepreneurial world. Darcelle was a business woman working on acquiring more skills for her properties & her projects.

Today, both Darcelle and I are well entrenched in the rental property business, plus we have both published books that have acquired some renown and more ventures are on the horizon. Her recipe “Sisterhood” Maple Rum Crêpes is featured in my blog and the print edition of Cooking With Sin.

I have a deep appreciation for Darcelle and her spirit, so when she announced she was launching Infinity Magazine, a publication focused on wellness, travel and all things good for the soul, I happily jumped on board.

Tomorrow all the Infinity Magazine contributors are walking the red carpet at Cindy Ashton’s Speaker Stardom Launch Party to feature the magazine and meet for the first time. It’s going to be great fun! I just know it!

Be sure to check bac

k here along with my Twitter account and Facebook page for updates & pics!

Let the adventure begin! Where it leads… time will tell!

What Kind of “Smart” Are You?

by Carla Johnson, Nov 17 12

In my last post “How Do You Learn?” I shared an infographic related to my experiences as a teacher and how at the start of each year I try to find out the Learning Style of each of my students.

To build on that, here are 2 great infographics about multiple intelligences. We all come into this world with particular strengths and it really helps to know what they are as you move forward. Hopefully you find these helpful for you or any one else in your life.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin Magnetic Real Estate Photography

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin Magnetic Real Estate Photography

How Do You Learn?

by Carla Johnson, Nov 10 12

Many of you know that while I work hard on promoting my books and projects at night, I am a passionate teacher by day. I have been teaching Grade 7 & 8 students for … a long time, but they still intrigue and challenge me every day. They may exhaust me, but I just adore them.

While my university training was in Music and I love teaching Music, and everything Arts-based, I am often asked to teach English and other core subjects too. At the start of each year I give my students a questionnaire to find out what kind of learner they are, plus I like to find out what area they are especially strong in – multiple intelligences. With every class, I work to see each student as unique in how they learn. Each of us comes into this world with our own distinctive strengths and abilities and this infographic might help you better understand yourself or the young ones in your life.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin Magnetic Real Estate Photography

My next post “What Kind of Smart Are You?” builds nicely on this one with two infographics about multiple intelligences.