This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s time for my weekly wander around the province to see what Ontario Edubloggers are writing.  As always, it’s been a great week curating these things and then culling to share some interesting things in this post.


Stop. Please.

OK, this could be me.  Nothing I hate worse is going to any kind of meeting and have someone go off on a tangent about a conference they’d attended or a book that they’d read (or more likely skimmed) and I have no idea what they were talking about.  Somehow, it’s comforting to look around the table and see other glassed over eyes.  With some people, it’s OK to interrupt and ask for them to put it in context or give some background.

So, I could really sympathize with the gentleman that Colleen Rose describes in this post.

There’s huge takeaways for everyone here.  Unfortunately, there will be some that will just give you “the look” and then continue.  But, the person who is serious about getting the most for their efforts will take the time to get everyone on the same playing field.  I know that I really appreciate that.  There’s so much to learn that, for anyone to assume that everyone knows everything, not recognizing this is just ludicrous.

I also honed in on the word “training” in Colleen’s post.  That’s key.  I’ve mentioned many times that you train dogs to sit or go outside.  You don’t “train teachers”; there’s no singular phrase that gets my dander up than that one.  And, if it’s truly a professional learning experience, for that gentleman to not be recognized and coached is just malpractice.

See where Colleen takes her discussion in the post.


My Brother is Autistic: Part 1

My Brother is Autistic: Part 2

My Brother is Autistic: Part 3

Royan Lee is one of the most open and transparent individuals that I’ve known.  I’ve had the honour of interviewing him, meeting him and his family, and just have learned so much from his ongoing open learning on social media.  He’s in the middle of at least a four part story about his brother that bares all.

my brother was at the end of his run with public schooling, an ominous time for any family whose child has complex needs. 

I’ll confess to never having had to deal with this type of situation in my own family but a couple of instances in my school.  I’m riveted to his series of articles and look forward to the story continuing.


Character Education Videos

Not too long ago, making videos in the classroom was a fairly involved task.  I can remember the first efforts with the video camera and then finding some way to capture the tape contents to edit the content in a separate program.  When the RCA Small Wonder came along, the whole world changed.  You could take these things everywhere and capture so easily.  The concept of the public service announcements was within the reach of everyone.

Now, it’s even easier with your tablets and phones.  The result is a powerful medium for student publishing.

Peter Cameron shares a couple of videos in this post.  I had to wonder if the College of Teachers would be called in with this public video.

Poor Evan and Logan.

It’s only when you play the video that you realize that they didn’t need calming down – Evan and Logan were giving us tips!

I still would like to see these two doing Yoga in the middle of the classroom though…  <grin>


Broadcasting Tips from the Field

Today’s technology also lets you go far beyond the immediate location.  In this video, again shared to YouTube, Marie Swift shares a great video tutorial.  This time, it’s all about becoming a better broadcaster.  I had to smile during the first segment with the clasped hands.  That’s a technique that was taught to me to stop me from flailing my hands about while talking.

It’s a great collection of tips that are certainly shareworthy with students.


Promoting Student & Teacher Voice using Dotstorming tool

In this post, Jennifer Casa-Todd has shared her thoughts about Dotstorming which I think is certainly worthy of attention if you’re a fan of getting feedback from an audience in any of a variety of situations.  A long time ago, there were these clicking devices that were promoted as the next greatest way of promoting metacognition and student voice.  I hated the stupid things; not that it wasn’t an interesting technology but that the software was a bear to operate and getting all the things connected could be a challenge.  Then you had to explain the rules and how they needed to be operated.

On one student placement, one of my teacher candidates was encouraged to use them and he couldn’t get them to work so came up with the next best thing – he had students put their heads on their desks and put their hands up to vote anonymously.  Since the debriefing when the students came back to the Faculty, that’s been my Exhibit A for choosing, testing, and using technology wisely.

The lesson is well worth teaching but technology has got better.  Check out Jennifer’s post for a great collection of ideas.


OLA SuperConference 2016 & Treasure Mountain Canada 4

If you weren’t able to attend the OLA SuperConference, Diana Maliszewski has a really good summary of things you mised.  If you’ve never been to this conference, you really need to check it out at least once.  I had the pleasure of presenting once with a local teacher-librarian (who I had a chance to have lunch with this week) and then also was part of the great OSLA faceoff a couple of years ago.

I really enjoyed living the conference through this post so thanks so much for that, Diana.

The highlight for me was this picture of a group that were part of our computer contact network in addition to this work as teacher-librarians.

How Alanna go there is beyond me!  <grin>  But, she would fit in so nicely.

My congratulations go to Sharon in her retirement as well.


Catch the Spiral! 

Many teachers share their lessons on the web and announce it on social media.  For that, many are so thankful.  Instead of reinventing the wheel, why not share?  A good lesson gets better with many eyes.

Jon Orr takes things in a different direction.

In this post, he doesn’t share a resource or a particular lesson, but instead shares his pedagogy, a technique that he calls spiralling.

I thought it was a rather interesting concept.

Why not click over and see what it’s all about and see his inspiration and decide whether there’s a place there for you too.


The genius that comes from Ontario Edublogs never fails to amaze me.

Please take a moment to check out these wonderful offerings and appreciate their efforts.  Then, check out all the Ontario Edubloggers for even more.

OTR Links 02/05/2016


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

Beautiful weather


I was so taken by the news app from Yahoo! that I talked about yesterday that I poked around to see what else they had to offer.  And, in doing so, I found another that quickly made its way to my phone.

Until now, I had used the standard weather app that came installed and then I installed another one just to get a second opinion!  Both were pretty plain and just provided the weather and the forecast.

Sure enough, there’s a weather app.  But, I’ll tell you right now, it’s the most beautiful weather application that I’ve seen.  I think the promotion on the landing page says it best “Don’t just check the weather – see it. Only Yahoo Weather brings you Flickr photos of your location and current conditions, backed by the most accurate forecasts.

It delivers on that promise.

Last nights massive thunderstorm has passed but when I checked the app, there was realistic 3D water running down the screen.  Amazingly, it was a balmy 8 degrees when I checked it first thing this morning.  We’ll have to enjoy today because things are going to go back to normal soon.

Of course, like all weather apps, you can check to see how the other side lives.  If I’m going away, I always like to have the weather set for the destination.  How are my friends in San Diego making out in the plans for the CSTA Conference this summer?

Not too shabby.  But, the app goes beyond that.  How about a visual of the weather patterns?

It looks like all the bad weather has headed east.  I know the dog will be happy.

There’s another interesting feature had I scrolled down a little further but it made no sense doing so in the early morning hours but you can see sunset and sunrise times along with a little graph showing where the sun is. 

I’m really happy that I stumbled on this pair of apps from Yahoo!  They’ve been a fresh shot in the arm for my phone.  The hamburger menu on the weather application indicates that there are more available.  I may just go and play around and see.

OTR Links 02/04/2016


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

A news digest


One of the neat things about going to the dentist (at least our dentist) is that he has a computer screen at each station to divert your attention from his job.  On the screen every time I go there is the landing page for yahoo.ca.  It’s not necessarily everyone’s landing page but it’s a good one for this purpose because, as a portal to information, there’s always a great deal to read.

With the demise of Zite, I’m always on the lookout for a replacement news reader.  The Yahoo! page is OK on portable but I got to thinking that there might be something better.  So, I started poking around and there is.  It’s called Yahoo News Digest.  It’s perfect for portable where you don’t always have time to read and scroll through long involved stories.  It’s a perfect summary of things that you might want to know and a great dog walking companion!

Delivered in the morning and the evening, I’m finding that it’s an interesting place to start reading.  There’s no digging or deep scrolling through various levels or categories.  Typically, there are around 10 top stories treated in a nicely appealing visual fashion.  The related stories and researched background for each story makes it very interesting and a worthwhile application to get started.  A little story wheel at the bottom lets you know how many of the stories you’ve clicked through to read.

Want more than 10 stories and related articles? – just click on the read more button …

You never miss a chance to read a digest because it shows up on the phone screen as a notification when your latest issue is ready.

I think that the format is perfect for portable.  It truly isn’t just a regular website repurposed for a smaller screen.  It’s a completely different approach.

To date, it’s been a great addition to my readings collections.  From an education perspective, it gives a real reason to writing topic summaries.

OTR Links 02/03/2016


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

Healthy work culture


My morning smile came as I checked my overnight Twitter stream.  Then, it turned to a question.

At the Bring IT Together Conference last November, I attended a presentation by Sylvia Duckworth about how to create Sketchnotes.  I figured that, just by being in her presence, I’d somehow get the inspiration and skill to create my own.  I’ve got an idea that I would like to turn into one, just to say that I did.

As of this posting, it’s still a work in progress.  I’m trying; I really am.  It just isn’t coming together in any shape that wouldn’t embarrass me.  Fortunately, we have her expertise to keep us thinking and learning.

But, enough about my shortcomings.

Her latest offering appears below.

It’s part of my Sylvia collection.

After I enjoyed her work, I did my part and reshared her announcement of the Sketchnote.  It has been received well by others and I’m getting notices of it being liked and reshared.  That’s the good part of social media – good people recognizing and sharing good things.

Then, I sat down and took a good long look at the five links in her chain.  I think that the note is timely, coming a week after Bell’s Let’s Talk Day.

Why is there success about this day?  Because it’s not addressed openly and positively in the workplace and society.  Ask any employer and they’ll probably respond “Yes, we have a program.”  In fact, there may be a program or a mission statement within the organization for all of the links in the chain.  The program somehow checks off a box on a to-do list.

But, it must go further than that.  Take another look at the Sketchnote and Sylvia’s choice of words in the title.

She’s not identifying programs or statements; she’s identifying a culture within the workplace.

That’s an entirely different ball game. 

So the question and concern is this – take a look within your organization.  Are these links part of your culture?  Or are they just a program so that you can put a checkmark beside it and move on to something else.

Are you living it within your culture?