This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It was another week of inspirational reading from my friends / colleagues in Ontario who are sharing their learning and thinking via their blogs.  I can’t recall what I was reading but the question was posed “Should teachers blog or has it become too passé.  (Accent is mine – it was from a blog that clearly was English only…)  Anyway, I would submit that anyone who doesn’t see the value of teachers blogging just doesn’t get it.  Learning today is much more than waiting for the edict to arrive via a staff meeting or a memo.  I would expect that any job in education whether it be for a new teacher or any teacher aspiring for a position of added responsibility should include reference to the applicant’s blog where they openly and publicly reflect upon their practice.

Here’s some of the good stuff I read this week.

Project Based Learning: Don’t Start with a Question

I’ve said it before – I wish that I had met Peter Skillen a long time ago.  His thinking always pushes mine.  He’s not aware of any box so he can’t “think outside the box” – he just thinks – and shares.

I remember a conversation that he and I had once where he has expressed frustration with the pedagogues who implemented policy at the board level by attending a single presentation, asked the presenter for his slides, and off they went.  No deep thinking about the impact of implementation without understanding what’s going on.

In this post, Peter takes on a fresh look at the concept of PBL with a different approach to the project and then extends it to a flip.  It’s a very good read.  I’d suggest that you read it at least twice so that you don’t miss or misunderstand his message.

I shared it on Twitter and got some interesting responses, including a response from Craig Kemp…

which led me to a reflection of his own.

PBL in Mathematics – Creating a Board Game

How’s that for keeping the conversation going?

A screenshot away from your own perfect worksheet!

I added a new blog entry to the list of Ontario Edubloggers this week.  Svetlana Lupasco is an ESL teacher – I’m somehow attracted to ESL teachers – maybe it’s the respect of being able to communicate in a variety of languages?  Maybe because it’s got to be one of the toughest jobs in education?  Maybe because they’re the ultimate users of differentiation?

The title of the post made me a little wary until I saw the context – it wasn’t about filling 15 minutes doing mindless repetition, but rather respecting the adult learner and putting the learning in context.

I found myself nodding in agreement with the message of the post.  I find that I do the same sort of thing in blogging or document creation.  Perhaps my goal is different but I think that the technique and rationale makes a great deal of sense.

And, the resources for images is noteworthy too.  “My two favourite free open-source websites are and

Tapping It Up A Notch: Pool Noodles

First of all, the concept of “noodle” has to be an Essex County thing.  Everyone knows they’re called woggles.

I know that this is an older post, judging by the date, but it’s a great application and certainly something for students to think about as they head home or to the local public pool.

It’s a great, practical application that students are sure to relate to.

I had to do a little mathematics like that myself this spring, only mine extended the concept further.  As I took the winter cover off the pool, I was sickened to see that a branch had torn a hole in the cover and the lovely stuff that accumulates on top managed to make the pool look more like a swamp.

Now, my pool is round, so fortunately, the woggle would bend.  Then, I had to shock the pool which required being able to calculate the volume of water in the pool to determine how much shock to add.

Don’t ever, ever question the fact that mathematics is everywhere!

Independent Study Projects – Semester 2 2013/2014

Emily Fitzpatrick shares some of the work that sprung from ISUs in computer science classes.

This computer science teacher found the post so interesting.

At its simplest, computer science can be a discipline where you watch the teacher demonstrate code and then modify it a bit for their own solutions. 

However, you raise the ante when you ask the question “Why” and expect well thought through responses.  This was a pleasure for me to read.

Why Write? Is Anyone Reading It?

I can’t believe that there’s a blogger alive that hasn’t asked that question and probably never totally satisfied with the answers.  I would suggest that, while you may not blog and change the world, you can always blog your thoughts, reflections, and either get confirmation or challenge yourself while writing.  If you’re looking for a world of reflective practice, this is absolutely the place to do it.

I think that Sue Bruyns absolutely nails the essence of blogging for that purpose in her opening sentence.

“Strolling down memory lane” is your absolutely perfect, bullet-proof, technique to let you know exactly how much you’ve grown professionally.  I would challenge anyone to come up with a better way to demonstrate personal growth other than blogging and reflecting regularly.

I hope that this is a reflection at one point in time and that she continues to blog.  As a leader within a school district, it demonstrates the type of leadership that is open, transparent, and so needed in an educational world that can be so quirky at times.

The downside to writing “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” is that I have to force myself to stop or I never would. 

I hope that you’re curious enough to follow the links above and, when you get your fill, check out the big list of Ontario Edubloggers.  There is always some incredibly good reading there.

1 thought on “This Week in Ontario Edublogs

  1. Thank you, Doug, for the very lovely words. I also wish we’d met many years ago. It’s unbelievable that we didn’t considering we were traveling in similar circles – ECOO and all!


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