doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

There was some heavy-duty blog posts from Ontario Educators this week.  They were really thought-provoking and just reaffirmed why it’s so difficult to go it along these days.  Thankfully, we have the abilities to network and troubleshoot among ourselves.  Here’s a sampling of the great reads that I enjoyed.

Important Considerations for Gifted Learners
So, how do you treat the gifted learner in your classroom?  Are they even identified?  Do you have a hunch about what you’d like to do with them?  Do you just give them more of the same or do you use their abilities to push them to even higher levels of thinking.  That was the message in Deborah McCallum’s recent post.

She starts by helping to identify the gifted learner

Once identified, Deborah talks about the sort of activities likely most successful to engage the students.  Everyone has this sort of student – this post may give you some thoughts about moving them to higher order thinking.

Feedback – Helping a Classmate
I think we all like to think that we set environments for this sort of activity.  I know that my wife would jump at any opportunity that uses sticky notes.

It seems like a natural in the art classroom to not only create your own best work but to look at the work of others in a critical fashion.

Colleen Rose described what I’m envisioning as a gallery walk in her classroom.  The description of collages, Powerpoints, and a Prezi shows a nice mix of media with students presumably choosing the best tool for the task.

The blog post quite nicely describes the process.  I really like how she describes that the whole activity was designed to have students look critically at both their own and others’ work.  She really describes how her students own the learning.

Student-Led Conferences
In my mind, there’s no better way to demonstrate that the students own their learning than via a student-lead conference.

Those of us who are parents have done this thousands of times.

“What did you do in school today?”


I often joked with my kids that I was going to apply for a rebate and get my education tax dollars back if “nuthin’” happened.

But, being a parent at a conference led by your child is an experience.  You work it.  From the moment you enter the school, the student leads the way, points out artifacts, directs you to her/his classroom, points out his/her desk, and then proceeds to lead you through a demonstration of what they did, talk about what they can do and then what they’re going to do.

Rick McCleary describes the process perfectly.  What a great experience for students and their parents.  “Nuthin’” should never be an answer ever again!

The Quest for Self-Selection
So, what’s wrong with a library with 44 computers and 7 netbook computers?

Alanna King describes her reality so well.  I can just picture the room.  At one time when the desire was to have a “cross-curricular computer lab”, this may well have been utopia.  Thankfully, forward thinkers like Alanna and her husband Tim are questioning continuing the status quo.

If a library caters to an entire school population, it’s just silly to think that one solution fits everyone.  To drive home the point, she shares this video.

Beyond the humour, replace Sheldon with a good teacher-librarian.  We’ve traditionally looked to them to provide the best books, customizing the reading experience by student interest, abilities, levels, etc.  Why shouldn’t they also customize the approach to technology in today’s Learning Commons?

Stop the Excuses, Your Students Could Be Blogging
It seems bizarre that, with all the demonstrated success, that a title like this even needs to be used.  Shouldn’t it be “Your Students Could Be Blogging More” or “Students Who Blog Write More and Think Deeper” or …

Kristen Wideen shares a wonderful story about success in her classroom.  I think this pretty much sums it up.

I just can’t imagine the Christmas feeling coming from a brand new pencil writing a piece to be read by a single person, the teacher, marked and returned.

If there are any principals reading this post and looking to inspire those wondering if blogging is worth it, send them a link to this blog post.

I really hope that you take the time to read the full posts above.  Great thoughts, folks.  Then, head over to the Ontario Edubloggers Livebinder and read all the rest of the great materials from Ontario Edubloggers.  If you are in Ontario and blogging, please fill out the form there and I’ll add you to the Livebinder.  If you want, I’ll create your own spiffy Ontario Edublogger badge.


3 responses to “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”

  1. This batch really spoke to me – my older son is in a gifted class, and I am struggling to enrich my French programming for the gifted kids I teach, and I am dragging my heels about my own blogging, as well as blogging with my students. We do student-led conferences with the older kids at my school, but get a certain amount of parent pushback, so this one will be forwarded. Thanks again.


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