doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s Friday.

You know what that means. I am honoured to dig into my browser cache and share some of the great stuff from Ontario Edubloggers.

Pets are not Presents

This may well be one of the more important ones to read and share.

Those who have known me for a long time, may remember Beauregard.  He was part dachshund, part miniature dachshund, and part psycho.  Upon his passing, we weren’t sure that we had room in our lives for another pet.  My kids took me to the Humane Society where we met and fell in love with Jaimie.  After a big family meeting, I had a new walking partner who certainly needs more exercise than Beau did.

But the key to this was that we had complete family buy-in when we adopted (some use the term rescue) from the Humane Society.

In this post, Claudia Amendola masterly describes why you don’t give a pet as a present at this time of the year.

This is a wonderfully passionate post that describes in great detail why pets shouldn’t be presents.

Now, to extend the concept.  In the spring of the year, if a family decides that they wish to extend their membership, there are all kinds of willing friends.  If that’s a fit, then I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending a trip to be interviewed by perspective family members.

Please consider sharing Claudia’s post with anyone thinking about getting a pet for Christmas.

Deal with a Disappointing Day

Diana Maliszewski shares with us some of her thoughts after a day of disappointments.

I’ll share a few of my disappointments today and maybe get around to reflecting on how to handle it. I will practice phrasing my thoughts using the “I feel” statements I was taught in Tribes – where the feeling and situation are explained and no blame is given. (I’ll reveal all the self-blame and finger-pointing underneath.)

Her approach to taking it to her blog was unique.  I do write at times in anger or frustration 

Notice that I have 43 drafts that I haven’t published.  One of the benefits or deciding upon a time to post is that I do have time to read/revise/rethink before hitting the publish button.  But, I do like the login in Diana’s post.  I need to think on this a little more.

Descriptive Feedback Experiment

I like the thinking out loud that Jamie Weir has in this latest post about descriptive feedback. It think that it shows a growth and maturity in her career.  It’s the sort of thing that should be contemplated by all teachers.

Reading between the lines shows a great deal of confidence in herself to be able to do this.  It shows a supportive environment with her department and principal.  It shows a dedication to the profession.

I think it also shows a dedication to the process of ensuring that every student will be successful, if they want to be.

At the same time, that voice in the back of my head is noting, this is about success.  It’s everything that a one-shot standardized test isn’t.

Letting Go!

Aviva Dunsiger recent musing about letting go of control in her class had me smiling and made me realize how distant my Computer Science classes were from this reality!

Her observations are in blue; my reactions in green!

  • Students had assigned spots at tables and desks.
  • We had assigned seating for the first bit until I got to know names and for the sake of supply teachers.  Other than that, the Computer Science classroom is learning in motion;
  • Students had assigned spots on the carpet.
  • Secondary School students are too cool to sit on the floor;
  • There was a line-up schedule, with rotating positions as the “leader” and the “caboose.”
  • We never really left my room(s).  Classroom in front; programming area in the back;
  • There were assigned jobs: from those that swept the room to those that brought down the attendance for the day or even the week.
  • I had to do my own attendance at the end of the day;
  • Students were assigned places to eat at lunchtime. 
  • Thank goodness we had a cafeteria and formal lunch breaks!
  • There were strict bathroom break times.
  • In Mr. Peterson’s room, when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go.  The only difficult part was making sure they came back;
  • There was even a schedule for washing hands.
  • Maybe it’s because we didn’t have any paints, but I never thought of this.  I did personally buy sanitary wipes so that students could wipe down their keyboards if they needed.

I guess Grade 1 and Grade 11/12 are worlds apart!

But I do applaud her approach to easing up a bit.  If we truly want to get to a world of students taking charge of their learning, they need the flexibility.  The teacher will always be there to “set the table” and provide the environment for learning but it’s the student attitude and abilities that will make it happen.  I hope that she continues to share how it’s going with her new mindset.

Tweets of the Week

If you read my interview with David Fife from earlier this week, you’ll know that I asked him about his “Tweets of the Week”.  Check out these and more from his blog.

Are Learning Communities effective?

You know what my opinion will be on this topic!  Read Rola Tibshirani’s thoughts after the Bring IT, Together and Google Apps for Educators sessions she recently attended.

It was another great week of reading and sharing.  Please show some online love and read the posts above and drop a comment if something hits you as comment worthy.

You can enjoy all of the Ontario Edubloggers collection here.


One response to “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”

  1. […] This Week in Ontario Edublogs | doug — off the record […]


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