This Week in Ontario Edublogs

And, it’s Friday again.  Another day to share some of the writing from the excellent Ontario Edubloggers.  Read on to see some of the things that appeared this past week.

November Thanks

There are so many great ideas and calls to action online.  If you tried to do them all, you’d be so overly involved that you’d never get anything done.  Kristi Keeri Bishop has a simple concept.  Simple yes, but it can make all the difference to someone.

November is indeed a tough month to get motivated and excited.  So much is weather and climate related.  Let me add a secondary school element – football practices and games can get so unbearable.  I still feel it in my bones when I think of our championship game against Walkerville.  We won but it was still cold.

Can you use her suggestion make a difference?

Find a Remedy

I could swear that Paul Cornies had read Kristi’s blog post.  In this motivational post, he quotes Flora Whittemore, Mark Twain, and Henry Ford.

Paul taught me about serendipity.  I ran into a lot of it this week!

Sharing from #BIT15: Heidi Siwak’s Keynote Address

Donna Fry may not know this but she was in my line of sight during Heidi Siwak’s closing keynote.  Her head was bobbing in agreement throughout and I could see her taking all kinds of notes.

Fortunately, she turned it into a blog post so that we can all enjoy.

If you were unable to attend Heidi Siwak’s closing keynote at #BIT15 this year, you missed an amazing learning experience.

Let’s see if we can share the important points.

If you couldn’t attend, or you’d like a revisit, check out the post.  There’s a link to a post on Heidi’s blog to continue the discussion and to read Heidi’s own words about her talk.

It’s About the Shift, Not the Conclusion

Consider this quote:

Who said that?

If I told you it was a student in Heidi Siwak’s Grade 6 class, would you sit back and say “Whoa”.

Check out this post to see a collection of quotes from her class.  If you heard Heidi’s closing keynote at BIT15, you’d probably not be surprised.

These students appear to be wise beyond their years.

The essential @dougpete

Forget the dougpete part.

Instead, read the real message in Anne Shillolo’s post.  Like so, so many, the sessions sponsored by the Ontario Teachers’ Federation a few years ago changed things for so many of us in Ontario.  I remember talking to a new friend at a session and saying that they’ve managed to accomplish what the Ministry and School Districts have tried to do for years – teachers connecting to other teachers in other districts and having deep professional discussions on their terms – not something that was laid-on.  It makes going to conferences like the BIT Conference something to look forward to.  It’s a wonderful chance to talk with like minded educators from all over the province.  Without the OTF event, I certainly wouldn’t have had a chance of meeting Anne.  Now, we talk when we get to the same place and use social media to keep the conversation alive between times.

The other reason that I decided to include this post was through the serendipity that happened this week.  Even before I read Anne’s post, I included a link to a resource that Danika Tipping had provided for her workshop on Evernote.  It was a major bit of learning for me and it all stemmed from being in the right place at the right time.

As an aside, Anne’s site is another in a line of Blogger sites that I can’t comment on.  It’s comforting, doing my research, to find out I’m not the only one but I’d sure like to know why.

My Ever Growing and Changing Learning Curve

Case in point.  Eva Thompson.  Her blog is a regular stop on my reading and I finally got a chance to meet her face to face.


In an elevator in Niagara Falls.  Thank goodness that she’s one of those people that put a real picture on their Twitter profile.  I stepped in the elevator and I’m not one to stare at the floor.  I look around to see who is there.  On the other side was this young lady and I just knew that I knew her.  Or at least of her, her online persona, and her writing.  So, it was a quick introduction there and a promise to meet up later to chat.

In this blog post, she shares her feelings about presenting at the conference.  She concludes with …

I think she’s being overly harsh on herself.  It’s always good to be critical of your performance with an eye to improvement.

My thoughts about presenters at conferences are like this.

You go to hear a keynote speaker to be part of a crowd; you know that you’re going to hear generalities about big ideas and hopefully get that bit of inspiration.  But, I value the time that I spend in breakout sessions even more, and for different reasons.  These sessions are delivered by mortal teachers who just want to share real stories about real students about real learning.  Their passion about a topic is all that counts.  Style points, not so much.  So often, keynote speakers talk about great things in other classrooms or something they discovered on YouTube or some hypothetical scenario or some sort of research.  What makes the individual presenter session so special for me is that it’s based in solid reality and you could actually replicate it, with their support, if you wanted to.

So, I hope that Eva’s ready to offer her enthusiasm for teaching when there are calls for proposals again.  Maybe attend an EdCamp or lead a session with her school colleagues or lead an online seminar for a little more practice.  The learning world needs people who are this honest and open.

Math Links for Week Ending Nov. 6th, 2015

I can’t believe that it’s taken me this long to discover David Petro’s mathematics blog.

I can see that I’m going to spend way too much time on this blog.  I enjoy doing mathematics puzzles just for the enjoyment of doing the puzzle.  The 50 cent puzzle that was making the rounds recently made it into this blog.  (along with a lot of other really good stuff)

Of huge interest is tagging resources to the Ontario Curriculum.  How can you miss?

I Don’t Read

This is a great story about what teachers do best.

They analyse the situation, consider the alternatives, the sources, and make recommendations that will make the student successful.

In this post, Jennifer Aston describes how she handles a student who told her…

Like I said, it’s a great story, with great dialogue, a plan, a followup, a next steps and, importantly a request for advice from the community of people who read her blog.  Oh, and her community responded.

I hope that you enjoy checking out these blog posts as much as I did.  There’s some really great stuff here.

Thanks to all of these bloggers for sharing their thoughts.  Together we learn.

OTR Links 11/13/2015

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.