This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It was a return to school like no other this week in Ontario.  Normally, there’s a real enthusiasm to get back at it and see the excitement in students’ eyes after their break.  But, the cloud of a contract forced upon Ontario teachers robbed them from that.  Nonetheless, it didn’t stop some great blogging.

Evernote for Student Audio Feedback

When I find another Evernote fan, I’ve got to hand out the kudos!  Joan Vinall-Cox explains in this post how she met her students half way.  After all, the students had to create and share audio files with her so it only makes sense to Joan that she learned how to use audio for feedback to them.

It’s a noble approach and, on the surface, only seems to make sense.  It’s only when you realize that for each student, they create and submit one audio file.  In a class of 30, the instructor has to listen and evaluate their work and then create and send back 30 audio pieces of feedback.  It doesn’t seem fair!

What makes a great deal of sense though is to spend the time to determine how to do this efficiently.  In this post, Joan explains her process for doing it and is looking for suggestions for improvement.  I know that there are many teachers teaching online who could a) either benefit from Joan’s post or b) offer suggestions to improve efficiency.

As you can see, she’s done a nice job with screen grabs, arrows, and description about how to do each step.

Reflection: on entering the library

One of the joys about blogging is that it gives you a platform to say just about anything you want and you’re not censored by anyone else!  It’s your own personal soapbox and you have only yourself to please with the results.

You’ve got to love it when someone climbs on their soapbox to proclaim to anyone who cares to read “I love my job”.  I’ve gotten to know Alanna King, “that quirky girl with all those crazy ideas”.  What better attributes to have for a teacher-librarian.  You just know that walking into her resource centre is going to be different.  I know that it can be a challenge at times – “you don’t have students of your own” is thrown at teacher-librarians all the time.

The real answer is “you’re right; I have all the students in this school AND all the teaching staff”.  What better position to be the force for change and to teach the latest and greatest of technology and research techniques.

In her post, Alanna elaborates on just appeals to her about her job.  It’s a good read.

Reading is More Than Just Reading

David Fife took on the statement that “students can’t read” in a post where he shared some of his experiences with Literature Circles.  Many of his observations echo conversations that I’ve had with educators in the past.  He shares the roles for the process in the report.

I really like the concept of the tape recorders on the table and revisiting the discussions to see just how deeply the discussions go.

Activity: Adding, Subtracting, Multiplying and Dividing with Decimals

When I taught Grade 9 mathematics, I used an activity similar to this.  Rather than recycle all the flyers that showed up in the blue bags at the end of the driveway, they can form a resource for authentic calculations.  Things like working within a budget to feed yourself or your family.  It’s a fun activity and I was always amazed the appreciation for just how much it costs to feed a family.  Of course, you then extend it to include a vehicles, gas, entertainment, rent, … yep, it costs a lot of money to make ends meet.

So, reading A Fly on the Classroom Wall’s latest post had me smiling and remembering the activity.  The first two topics were pretty typical “My Favourite Meal” and “A Birthday Dinner”.  It was the third one that really had me going!

I thought this was a really interesting twist on the concept.  One could only imagine the conversation that this generated!

It might be a good idea to carefully check any end of the year cookie gifts!

Stellar work without a bonus?

Tim King’s latest post is worth reading at least twice.

One of my favourite quotes I’ll attribute to Wayne Hulley “Nobody wakes up wondering how they’re going to screw up today”.

Certainly that applies to teachers.  Teachers lie awake at night going through the next day in their minds, visualizing their lessons plans, trying to determine how to reach all students, hoping that there are enough supplies, praying that all the computers will work and that the internet will be good, …

It was different going to work this past Monday.  Tim shared his thoughts Sunday night.

If you’re a teacher, you need to read the post for confirmation about why you entered the profession and just what keeps you going back.

If you’re one of the idiots that are using social media and newspaper website as a way to spew your poison, you need to read and realize that those charged with the education of your children are passionate about what they’re doing.

All that they’re asking for in return is a little respect.  Enacting and then revoking a law is the ultimate show of lack of respect.

Read all of these posts at the links above and dig into all the Ontario Edublogs here.

This just in….

Hot off the Twitter wire, Angela Harrison pointed me to a new entry in her “We Can See” project.

In this case…

We Can See Snow!

Ms. Fynes AM and PM Kindergarten friends shared a look at their Mississauga schoolyard after the snow.  The results are in book form.  Click each of the images for a larger, readable one.



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