This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Here they are – hot off the press – and those from Southwest Ontario understand hot.  Great blog posts that I’ve read recently from Ontario Edubloggers.


Pokemon Go and Moral Panic

Andrew Campbell gives us a quick run down of the news stories surrounding this summer’s obsession, Pokemon Go.

But, as he notes…

andrew

I suspect that we won’t have heard the end of it as school starts.  You’ll stumble into all kinds of “good” educational ideas for its use already.  Brace yourself for more.  Then there will be another rash of “power down in the classroom” discussions.

Hopefully, the discussion will end soon and get back focused just on good teaching – with or without the use of technology.

Quite frankly, I’m not holding my breath.


Teacher Identity: It’s Such A Personal Thing

My head was bobbing in agreement with Stephen Hurley’s post.

stephen

As a first year teacher, I wanted to be an amalgam of the best teachers that I had ever had and wanted to distance myself from those who I felt weren’t so good.

Truth be told, over time, I realized that it was really, really hard to be that best teacher.  On the other hand, I got insights into what made the others the way that they were.

So, I eventually ended up being who I was.  Good, bad, ugly, I guess the final evaluation is in the minds of the students that I had.  The nice thing about education is that you get the opportunity for a fresh start every 12 months.  Not many other professions offer that luxury.

As you plan to head back to school, and I know that many of you have already been in to do this and that, give Stephen a read and see if he doesn’t help you with your plans.


Google Forms and Siri Unite For Recording Anecdotals and Classroom Walkthoughs

Brenda Sherry shares a marriage of technology that many might find helpful – using Siri and Google Forms to record anecdotal notes.  It’s complete with instructions and pictures if you’re interested.

brenda

The combination is a natural and her description certainly worked for her.

Like the commenter to the blog though, I had to wonder – what if you have different technologies?  Office 365, Android phones, Windows Phones (yes I know one person who loves his).

So, it was off to experiment here and it worked well with Android and Google Forms, Android and Windows 365.  Windows Phone?  Not available for testing!

Of course, the key is the ability to click into a field expecting text and then the little microphone that’s part of the keyboard.

The other key is a quiet background.


Georgian Bay Sunset at McNab Rocks

This post, by Jessica Outram, brought back great memories from my youth.  Georgian Bay was a popular destination although I never understood the geography well enough to know where “McNab Rocks” is.  But, apparently Google Maps does (if this is indeed them)

If this is true, then we spent most of our time on the other side of the bay!  We were more Lion’s Head people.

Regardless, it’s beautiful and the post comes complete with some wonderful pictures.  It’s a reminder that you don’t have to have a long distance vacation if you’re in Ontario and you’re over the top if you get a chance to go out with the right people.


Crippling with Kindness

Diana Maliszewski has written a hugely powerful post that she’s delayed making public until now.  She’s shared, in the context of working with a blind student, a powerful message.  I never learned this in school.

However, I did learn about it in Scouts.  We were going to make a visit to a Senior’s home and, as Lord Baden-Powell would have us, we needed to “Be Prepared“.

I never needed the skills again until later at university where one of my classmates was blind.  He really resented when someone would just grab him, thinking that they were helping.

Not being there are continuously grabbing the keyboard is a powerful methodology when teaching computer science.  Not everyone “gets it” at the same moment and so are you really helping when you’re quick to inject yourself into the situation?

Diana concludes with her observations and some very good questions of herself, and I would suggest should be asked of everyone.


My Three Measures For Success

I was working on this post this morning when I got notification that Aviva Dunsiger had released a new post.  I wondered – what question is she asking now?

She lists and elaborates on three measures for success for herself.

  • Have students successfully self-regulate so that they are ready and able to learn
  • Meet and/or exceed the Board’s reading benchmarks by the end of Kindergarten
  • Help develop independent problem solvers

As I look at her list, three things come to my mind.

  • These are really ambitious goals – are they realistic?
  • Particularly with the first and last one, how does she plan to measure success?
  • Will she share these measures with the parents of her students?  If she does (although it could be argued that this blog post has done it), will she be accountable to them for results?

It’s good that she’s sharing her thinking and planning with us.  I wish her all the best and do hope that she’s successful.


How To Create a Culturally Responsive Classroom for Refugee & Migrant Students

This post, by Rusul Alrubail, is very appropriately timed as people are thinking about the new class(es) for the fall and what the future might bring.

That future might include some “refugee and migrant students”.

The post has two distinct parts

  • Strategies to try out in the classroom to help create a culturally responsive environment for all students:
  • How to Create A Welcoming Environment in the Classroom:

and there are some wonderful and helpful ideas in there.

I also thinking that the sharing of success stories from the local news media can be helpful.  And, if they aren’t doing enough, create your own success news and distribute your own news releases.

Sadly, there’s an elephant in the room as well as the US election steams ahead.  I shudder all the time as all formal news media, including Canadian ones, seem compelled to cover it.

I’ll look forward to the full release of the interview.


I know that these and other posts have given me a shot for thinking recently.  I hope that they do and that you drop by their blogs and leave a comment.  It will help to encourage the great blogging and thinking efforts.

One thought on “This Week in Ontario Edublogs

  1. First of all, thank you, Doug for connecting us each week through your blog. You always provide me with great new reading material for Friday mornings, and I’m so appreciative of that. You also asked me some great questions here, and these are my initial thoughts.

    1) While the wording of each goal (or measure) makes it sound as though I’m looking for 100% success rate, I realize that’s probably unrealistic. I can’t determine the success rate for each goal though, until I meet the students. I need some benchmark measures that I don’t have yet, as these will all be new children to me. I will definitely be refining these goals once I get to know the students and can determine what’s realistic.

    2) I think that the first and last goal, in particular, will rely on a lot of observations and conversations to measure success (once again, I come back to GROWING SUCCESS). Over the first couple of weeks, I’ll be able to observe and talk to students as problems arise, as they work on calming down, and as they work through different tasks. I’ll see: how much do they rely on adult intervention/support? How often do they persevere through difficult challenges? Are they aware of what they need to get to “calm?” Do they choose these options on their own or only with support? What is their success at home and at school? Is this success rate the same or different, and why? (This last question is where talking to parents will be so important.) Based on my tracking of these observations and conversations, I will get some baseline data, and then, the observations and conversations that I have during the year will help me determine a level of growth. It’s a different kind of measurement, but I think it could work. Thoughts?

    3) Putting these goals on my blog probably does make me accountable to parents. I share this professional blog with them. I’m okay with this though, as my goals also include a home/school connection. I’m looking at ways that children self-regulate at home. Can they get to calm, and how can this also happen in the classroom? I’m looking at reading (and/or pre-reading) skills that are reinforced at home, and how our daily blog posts can facilitate this home/school connection to give meaningful opportunities to read. I’m also looking at independence and problem solving skills that children demonstrate at home. How are these skills reinforced, and what can we do at school to further develop them? What works and what doesn’t? How can we help each other out? I want to do what’s best for kids, and I know that parents do too. Hopefully by putting these ideas out there, along with my developing plan on how to meet these goals, I show parents how important these areas are to me and we become accountable to each other as we work together to achieve them.

    Thanks Doug for gently pushing me to think even more about my plan!
    Aviva

    Liked by 1 person

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