My Week Ending 2019-12-08

Here’s a summary of some of the things I learned and published this week.


You can follow my daily readings as they happen here.  Below are a selected few, with commentary, from the past week.

  • This is an interesting look at Personalized Professional Learning. It’s a nice view of the personal rather than the “one size fits all”.
  • I actually enjoyed doing the annual performance review with my superintendents. With their heavy workload, it was a chance to advocate for things important to me that they may not know about.
  • All teachers should put this bit of Canadiana in their bookmarks. I guarantee that there will be times that you can really use them.
  • From me, an update to the Hour of Code with new resources and ones that are good for yet another year.
  • They might be illegal in Australia, but I think you might be hard presssed to use them anywhere.
  • This is great news for those who are visually impaired. I wonder if there will be enough uptake to make it reasonable in price.
  • This is how to do it but I would think that there’s something missing. You don’t do it because that side of the fence looks greener.
  • Fabulous news about Canadian high school students and their reading levels. I hope that governments are paying attention. It doesn’t happen by accident.
  • I’ve been a user of Windows for a long, long time. I’ve always been frustrated that it doesn’t do these sorts of things by itself.
  • I guessed correctly what the answer to this question was just by looking at the title. Sorry, Apple, Microsoft, Google…
  • This is a scary statistic and it a strong reason why media literacy needs to be taught. I wonder, though, how teachers would stand up to the same test.
  • Google Search has become so involved that I guess we do need refresher courses on how to search effectively.
  • And you know what, for the most part, it never will. I just hope that it doesn’t get put into place, watch the failure, and then fix it on the back of students.
  • Google Earth continues to evolve and get better. No more checking out your back yard; here are some great activities to try.
  • I do worry about accounts on services that I no longer use. What happens to my details? How do I close them?

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

My daily contributions to this blog.

#FollowFriday – December 6, 2019

voicEd Radio

My on demand radio page can be found here.  

This week’s show –

Intro song:

Blog posts this week came from:

  • @cherandpete
  • @MzMollyTL
  • @mediasee
  • @A_M_L_
  • @DebbieDonsky
  • @hj_dewaard

Technology Troubleshooting

One of the aggravating things about buying ham at the supermarket is the packaging. For the price, you get about 50% water, it seems!

Last week, we happened to be on Lauzon Road in Windsor and noticed the Honey Bee Ham store and went in. If you’ve never had a ham from them, you don’t know what you’re missing.

We weren’t in the market for a full ham but decided to pick up some slices for sandwiches. I’ll admit that the sticker shock was there when we got the final bill.

But, it was so nice to have water-free sandwiches.

Video of the Week

There’s nothing worse than an empty net goal. This collection of empty net saves will have you wanted to stand and applaud if you’re a hockey fan.

Photo of the Week

I know that I used this picture this morning but I like it enough to reshare. What do you get when you cross a goose and a guitar? Go to Kingsville to see it live.

Thanks for reading. Please join me daily for something new and, hopefully, interesting.


This blog post was originally posted at:

If you find it anywhere else, it’s not original.

Whatever happened to …

… that one street?

In my childhood, it was Raglan Street.

It was where all the rich people lived and it seemed like every house was lit up and decorated for the Christmas season. It was a family tradition to get into the car when it was very dark, scrape the ice off the inside of the back windows so that we could see out and then go for a drive to see everything.

It wasn’t like there weren’t lights in other places. We had lightbulbs around the front window of our house and my mother would always paint a winter scene on the window. My daughter tries to keep up the tradition.

But it didn’t seem like any other street in town had all of the houses decorated. On that one street, you could see it all!

We went for a drive to Kingsville last night to see the spectacular display at the park there. The winner for us was this one.

Of course, there had to be a wild goose theme. This is Jack Miner’s hood afterall.

Around here, you don’t have to drive to Kingsville though. We have our own River Lights where two of the downtown parks are done up magnificently. My favourite is the town fountain which, despite my picture, isn’t leaning in real life.

And, the Bright Lights Windsor display opened last night. Link and some pictures are available here.

It’s not just in the community. At my high school, you would end up being assigned to a Grade 9 home room and you’d grow with them from 10, 11, and 12. Annually, the student council would have a door decorating contest and we were all in on that. At least for Grade 9 and 10. It became less cool to do that once you got older! I don’t recall that we ever won but I remember kids (and me) bringing in old decorations and end of roll wrapping paper to do the door on B41. One year, we even had a string of lights.

Christmas displays aren’t necessarily about lights. I received an invitation to visit the Duff-Baby house from David Garlick.

I’m hoping that we can swing it.

Driving to Kingsville and back home, we were impressed with the lights that were on display everyone, even on farms. It was a far cry from the past. Lights were everywhere and it made for a quick drive.

Despite all this, there are still memories of that one street from a long time ago.

How about you? Any memories? Please share them in the comments below.

  • growing up, or even now, was there that one street that was a must see?
  • does your community have a light display that everyone wants to check out?
  • how about your place? Do you decorate? Laser lights can be rough on a dog
  • was it colder back then or have cars got better? I can’t remember the last time I had frost on the inside of my car
  • do you make memorable trips to see the lights? As a kid, a biggie for us was to Victoria Park in London. These days, it’s the Dufferin Islands in Niagara Falls

Get into the holiday spirit and share some thoughts! And, a picture or two would be nice as well.

This post comes from:

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

OTR Links 12/08/2019

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Santa Tracker

This is a feature that I look forward from Google every year – the Santa Tracker from Santa’s Village.

The big kid in me enjoys the activities and the obvious design and planning that goes into them.

You can read all the details here.

Despite the fun appearance of the village, there’s a great deal of learning to be had by digging into the activities. They’re all accessible via the hamburg menu in the top left.

My fascination, at least for now, is Code Boogie as we head into Computer Science Education Week. Do a little drag and drop coding to follow the teacher or create dance steps of your own. It starts easily enough but then …

And, the cool thing is that you can actually view the Javascript code once the activity is over.

But that’s just one of the activities available. I’m sure that you’ll have your favourites after a while. The Gumball Tilt is a challenge for my fingers.

Follow the link to the Google blog post above and then head into the village. Or, for the impatient, just click here.

OTR Links 12/07/2019

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Just like that, we’re into December. I’ve often wondered if the holiday seasons might get people away from their keyboards. That may be yet to come but, for now, there’s some great content from Ontario Edubloggers. Here’s a bit of what I read this week.

Our Kids’ Spelling is Atrocious.

As long as there have been schools and teachers, there have been red pens and circles surrounding spelling mistakes. Look it up. (well, you don’t have to really)

I found this post from Peter Cameron so interesting. It’s a transcript of a conversation between he and a parent who has a concern and was looking for an app or other solution to help the cause.

Peter does give some educational suggestions and guidance.

Upon further reflection, I looked at myself. I’ve always considered myself a fairly good speller. And yes, I suffered through those Friday morning dictation tests in elementary school. I hated them at the time but can now appreciate them for what they are worth. I’ve memorized the words, the rules, the exceptions to the rules, … I was not hooked on phonics.

And then I go onto Social Media and see misspellings and misuse so often, I start to question myself. Is this the beginning of the end of literacy for me?

In the meantime, thank goodness for the squiggly red line under the word misspellings above (actually at the time I typed it, it was mispellings) to keep me on the literacy straight and narrow.

Baby It’s Cold Outside: The Saga of a Song

There was no date on this post on the Association for Media Literacy website. I thought it might be recent and timely for the season but I reached out to one of the authors, Diana Maliszewski to be sure.

In fact, it was about a year old and part of a commitment to post 40 blog posts along with Neil Andersen. After a bit of a back and forth and encouragement with Diana, I decided to include it on the Wednesday podcast and on this post.

In reading, I learned so much more about the song besides the fact that it appeared in an old movie. Lots of media literacy implications (which explains why it’s on this blog) and a real comparison between society and media, then and now. There was a reminder that the song was banned on the CBC for a time and so much more. It’s a really good read and the authors encourage it to be used in the classroom.

I also found that Lady Gaga had covered the song.

And so many others. If the original was controversial, then how would the more modern covers be received?

From Compliance to Commitment Takes Personal Accountability: The Aspirational Nature of Equity Work

With a title like that, you just know that there’s going to be a long post to follow…

And Debbie Donsky doesn’t disappoint!

If you’re looking for something to challenge the way that we do things in education, this is a great motivator.

I mean, we’ve all done it. You get the memo that there will be an assembly on a topic or that homerooms will be held so that you can lead a special session with your students on a timely topic. I’m thinking bullying here.

As a dutiful educator, you do it. You’re accountable to do it. At what level of buy-in do you actually have though?

That’s where Debbie left me in the dust when she addresses rules and policies and applies the concept of aspiration to the situation. After a read, and you’ll read it way more than once, I think you’ll find yourself questioning a number of things. That’s a good thing and something that good writing should do.

The richness doesn’t stop with Debbie’s content. There are lots of connections made and links to external resources. She’s really done her homework in preparation for this post.

Thinking about Feedback

I almost didn’t read this post from Helen DeWaard because I made the assumption that it was going to be all about red pens, circle, and comments to students. Goodness knows that we’ve addressed that so many times.

But, no, that wasn’t the point here and why I felt so good about indeed reading the post.

Helen’s focus is on the other side of the coin.

What do YOU do when you receive feedback?

She embeds this graphic that will take a bit of time to really work through. But it’s worth it.

Think about how you receive feedback. We get it all the time. Sure, there’s the inspection piece from administrators but we get it from students with every lesson. It’s just a matter of really understanding it.

I remember a story attributed to B.F. Skinner from a Psychology of Teaching course where students ended up making a teacher work from a corner because of their actions. Every time the teacher moved towards the corner, the students all smiled and nodded like they were learning. Move away and the students dropped interest. The truth value of the story is in dispute but it is a good story nonetheless.

Feedback is indeed powerful. One of the best things I ever did for myself was to take a course on Peer Coaching and then found a partner who really understood and we worked together so well coaching each other. We still do today.

One-Hole Punch Puzzle Templates

I’m almost positive that I’ve done this mathematical activity described in this post from Mark Chubb. It involves paper and a paper punch. It might even have been as an ice breaker at a workshop. It might have been an online application that didn’t require physical paper or punch at all. It’s a really worthwhile challenge though.

If all you want is the activity, go to Mark’s post and skip to about halfway through it where he describes the activity.

But, if you do that, you’ll miss the important part at the beginning of the post and the why to the reason why you’d want to do this with your class. And, I would do it with everyone, either singly or in groups for the discussion value.

It’s a great activity to use those papers that are in your recycle box. There really is no need for brand new paper to do this activity.

History in the Making – Creating Digital History Techbooks

Paul McGuire had reached out to share with me this culminating project that he called “History in the Making”.

The last assignment we worked on was called History in the Making. I had this idea that it would be really cool for students to develop a digital textbook along the lines of what Discovery Education has created for math, science and social studies.

He was particularly proud of one project dealing with The Oka Crisis. He wanted me to take a look at it for my thoughts. In the post, he shares a couple of others that he thought were exemplary.

Everything seems to be created in a Google Site under the University of Ottawa’s umbrella. I hope that the students also make a copy in their own personal space for use when they graduate.

Some of the things that sprung to my mind while wandering around the resources here.

  • are other Faculty of Education professors encouraging publishing like this?
  • hopefully, they don’t land a job where Google Sites are blocked! (There are alternatives in that case…)
  • particularly in social studies with our new learnings, digital techbooks have the chance of being more relevant and up to date than other resources that might be available
  • certainly resources like this added to a digital professional portfolio would be impressive for a job interview
  • the concept of open sharing of resources is so powerful. It makes school districts that hide behind login/passwords seem so dated

I’m impressed with Paul’s forward thinking and I hope that his students appreciate both the explicit and the not-so-explicit lessons that can be had from this activity.

Thirty one days – my social media detox

If you’ve been missing Sarah Lalonde online, this post explains it all. She has done a personal social media detox.

All the details of her process are found in this post. It wasn’t all just an easy exercise. There were challenges.

Under the category of TMI, she also shares how and where she cheated…

And to address boredom…

One thing I found the most difficult was the “dead time”. For example: waiting in car, in line at the grocery store, waiting for an appointment…). My brain felt like it needed to be entertained. Was I scared to face my thoughts? Why did I need to feel busy? Why couldn’t I just sit there waiting and doing nothing? This is something I had to work on. 

She even extends the concept to students.

I think the big learning here is in perspective. Social Media is something that can be as big or as minimalist as you want it to be. I can’t see one answer that fits everything.

Regardless, it was interesting reliving the experience with her.

I hope that you enjoy these posts as much as I did. Please take a moment to click through and send some social media cred to these bloggers. If you’re a blogger and not in my Livebinder, please consider adding yourself so that I know about you.

Then, make sure you’re following these great bloggers on Twitter.

  • @cherandpete
  • @MzMollyTL
  • @mediasee
  • @A_M_L_
  • @DebbieDonsky
  • @hj_dewaard
  • @MarkChubb3
  • @mcguirp
  • @sarahlalondee

This post originally appeared on…

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

OTR Links 12/06/2019

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.