This Week in Ontario Edublogs

When I went to university, my wife and I coined an expression on our trips in and around Waterloo.  “Super Snow”  It’s the stuff that remains when most of the other has melted.  Of course, you’d expect to see a lot of it at Chicopee but, this time of year, it’s in the ditches where the warmth of the weather is doing its work but the sun hasn’t found it yet.  As I look out the window, I see just a bit of Super Snow in the backyard.  Could this winter be coming to a conclusion?  Today is spring (and a bunch of other things…)

One thing remains consistent.  Even though it’s March Break, there’s still lots of thoughts and ideas from Ontario Edubloggers.


Our First Magazine Article!

Yet another great use for a blog.  Neil Finney and family are on an exchange in Australia and making a record of things by blogging about them here, on this blog specially crafted for the occasion.

Apparently, they’re celebrities and were interviewed for an Australian magazine.


Are Students Communicating?

That’s always a good question.  In this post devoted to the topic, Rola Tibshirani takes a look at some of the activities in her grade 5/6 classroom and reflects on that.

There’s a great deal to get your head around in this post.  Very Google intensive, Rola describes how the students are using mind mapping in Google Drive as well as using Google Forms as a platform for their reflections.  The activities were video recorded and included in the post.

Of particular interest were the sampling of student reflections that were shared at the bottom of the post.

I really enjoyed the post as it really demonstrated how you can pull various components together for a very rich learning experience.


Ontario Needs Teacher-Librarians

I once worked for a superintendent who told me once that a school would be well served if the principal took the best teacher in the school (however defined) and put her/him in the library as a resource for the entire school.  His logic was that this would be the best way to spread best practices and innovation across an entire school.

As we know, the talk and direction in many school districts is anything but this.  Get rid of teacher-librarians; move the books into the classrooms; put a lesser paid technician in the library to shelf and check books in and out…

I think these plans are made by administrators who were shushed too many times in elementary school so that those in the library could quietly sit and do their research on 20 year old encyclopedias.

I’ve seen so many resource centres / learning commons that blow that mindset out of the water.  Once again, though, a school district in financial problems is looking to solve them on the back of students.  You know the logic – “the kids can go to the public library instead”.  We never hear of a desire to get rid of physical education teachers with the logic “they can play baseball for a community team”.  Libraries always seem to be such easy targets.  The blame always gets passed along to funding formulas and policies.

Anita Brooks Kirkland takes on these and many other issues in this post that’s not a quick or easy read.  It’s well worth the time to read two or three times and then sit back and truly think – what would a school be like without a library and a passional teacher-librarian there to run it, collaborate with teachers, assist students, push classroom learning in non-traditional ways, teach and encourage digital literacy, provide learning space outside of regular classroom hours, support Canadian authors, evaluate and recommend new software and classroom computer approaches, …


Which Digital Overlord Do you Bow To?

Tim King’s recent post had me smiling.  When I read the title, and before reading the content, I looked around the place and I figured – a lot but equally.  Sony, Apple, Bose, Microsoft, Ubuntu, Bell, LaCie, and Wacom are immediately visible.  I know there’s Logitech in the drawer if I opened it.  I thought that might be the content of the post.

I was pleasantly surprised that this trip went beyond that to cell phones, digital rights, reading sources, unbricking, …

We’re pretty much screwed, I guess.  The refreshing part of the post was reading about some hacks.  Maybe there is hope somewhere.


My Digital Assessment Workflow With Google Drive & Sheets

You can always count on Kyle Pearce for a post with lots of screen captures and out of the box thinking.

In this post, he shows how he pulls together various online and digital resources to streamline his workflow.  The embedded YouTube video fleshes the content out even further.

As with most things, there is work for the teacher in the background to lay the groundwork and try to design an intuitive experience for the student.

He’s looking for thoughts and comments and suggestions.  Got some?  Share some!


Top 5 reasons to use #OneNote in your classroom

Cal Armstrong shares more of his learning with Microsoft products.  This time, it’s OneNote.

Check out his list of ideas.  You’ll see from the examples in the captures that Cal uses it pretty heavily in mathematics.  He’s got some interesting thoughts about Digital Ink, in particular.

As I indicated last time I shared some of Cal’s work, it would be nice if there were more folks talking about how they’re using the Office 365 product in their classroom.


As always, this week provided a wonderful collection of sharing and thoughts from Ontario Edubloggers.  Dig in and read the great content shared.

To my Ontario friends, I hope that you had a wonderful March Break and wish you all the best back in the classroom Monday.

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