This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Welcome to another Friday.  It’s time for me to share some of the wonderful reading from the fingertips of Ontario Edubloggers.  Read on and click through to read some exceptional blog posts.


Sick

There may well be more information about sickness and being sick in this post from Debbie Donsky than you would ever want to read in one place.  I waffled between smiling and getting worried about myself.  I’m certainly glad that I took the time to get the flu shot.  Now, if I could only shake this persistent cold and cough.

My worries are grounded in my insecurities about my worthiness, ability, strength and body. I have heard that if we don’t listen to what our body needs, our body screams back at us. Hopefully this time I heard it.

She shares her thoughts about sickness and a support network that’s in place.  It’s wonderful that that network exists and I hope that things work out for her.  Do you have such a network?


Stop the Insanity – Redefining Success For Exceptional Learners

An embedded thought that runs through this post from Laurie Azzi is that of “YET”.  For everyone, there is that moment when “YET” is met.

Albert Einstein spoke to this reality when he said, “ Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

There is no YET for that fish and for some students, there will be no YET unless we redefine what success means in the education system.  We need to redefine what it means to be a reader and writer in this digital age.

Laurie speaks to the need to understand what “YET” means for every student.  As long as a standard is defined that applies equally to all students, there will be those that never reach it.  This post, including the story from Helen Keller and a powerful moment of insight, will get you thinking and hopefully gain an insight as to just what success might mean.


Developing Thoughts on Multilingualism

Jennifer Aston concludes this post with this thought.

We are not a “melting pot”.  We have the right to practice different religions, celebrate different cultures and speak different languages in Canada.  And if I can borrow the idea from a colleague from a few years back, we’re more like a salad.  We can retain our identities.  While French and English are important, we also need to recognize that we are more than this.  So how can we reflect this better in our school system?

Given what’s happening in the world at this time, it’s a very profound message that should make all pause and feel good about being a Canadian educator.  But, are we doing enough?  So many efforts have gone into promoting bilingualism.  Do we stop there?  Thoughts from the post dig into Danish, Oneida, and Arabic.  What is the cultural price to be paid when a school system chooses to overlook?

You’ll leave this post thinking.


The inauguration in my school library learning commons

Why indeed would an Ontario school choose to broadcast the inauguration of a United States president?

Alanna King addresses the “why” from a literacy perspective.

Living on the other side of the U.S. border has its challenges for a small town teacher-librarian.  While we dance around the idea of Canadian identity and what that means when our culture is represented, Canadian publishers in all media forms are still driven by American markets and American values.  So populating a library with well-loved material of  CanCon isn’t always what pleases the staff and students because we’ve been  gorging ourselves on the fire hose of American content.  But the direction of Trump’s politics is certainly affecting my library just 150 km from our border.  It is our mandate to give equal weight to the voices in my school respectfully, responsibly and compassionately.

Alanna concludes by confirming to us that she made the right choice.  The questions of inquiry from the students are very important.  If they follow through looking for answers, it may be the most important civics lesson that they learn this year.

There’s a big renewed interest in George Orwell’s 1984.  I wonder how many copies are in Alanna’s library.

Want to read it online?  Check it out here.


Doing It For The Likes

The opening question from Matthew Morris is something that all teachers who deal with technology in the classroom must come to grips with.  Whether it’s school computers or that little invasive device in their pockets, there will be times when you don’t have their undivided attention to the current classroom task.

What do you do when you teach a classroom of students who are more concerned with the number of likes they get on a selfie than the number of percentage points they earn on a math test?

If there ever was an insight into the rationale that we need to blow up what schools have traditionally done, it comes through loudly and clearly in his post.  Sure, we give lip service to embracing technology but how effective can it be if only done every now and again, a school district chooses a set of tools that were designed for a generation ago, contemporary tools are blocked from entering the building, …

I’m not sure that we’re looking for students to “like” a lesson delivered via an LMS (although the concept is intriguing), there’s a strong message here that all need to read and relate to their own reality.

Do we need to offer more of this?


Beyond Shapes

This was a new blog for me to read this week.  It deals with mathematics and coding and this article is written by a teacher candidate at Western University.  There’s a very comprehensive report on the experience of teacher candidates working with teachers in Thames Valley to investigate coding in their classroom. It sounds like an awesome experience for all.

The post concludes with this…

While creating shapes in Scratch works as a tremendous introduction to coding, the potential in Scratch extends much further than simply movements and drawings.  It’s easy to be tricked by its simple, colourful, block based user interface, but the fact of the matter is that Scratch is a powerful tool with endless possibilities.

I think this nails the experience for so many.  It’s easy to hop on the “Hour of Code” bandwagon or have an expert come in to work with teachers and/or students for an hour or two to check off the box that says “We did coding”.  How many times do you see a Twitter message or a superintendent let everyone know that “we support coding”?

If it’s going to make a substantial difference and have an impact in the classroom, more digging is required.  Is your system just doing it for the moment?  The real impact will only come when a committed effort is made to ensure that there is ongoing and persistent professional learning opportunities for all.  Every school district has a Computer Consultant and/or teacher coaches devoted to technology or mathematics or literacy.  What have they provided for you lately?


#1 Trick for Beating Procrastination

Have you noticed how your most insightful and creative ideas that have nothing to do with your work only come to you when you are on a deadline? For example, in the middle of you working on your project, suddenly it dawns on you that you need to wash all the dishes in the sink or else you can’t work on your project.  Or you glance at your home office and notice it’s too messy and it needs a vacuum right away.

I thought I was the only one that this happens to!  It happens to me all the time.  I thought it was just me being easily distracted.

Now, I can add Shadi Yazdan to the group.  How about you?

I like the trick that is described in the post.  It may well be worth a shot.

In the time that it took to write this, I think I have about four or five ideas that need addressing….


Wow!

Yet another wonderful week of reading and inspiration from Ontario Edubloggers.

Please take a few moments to click through and read the original posts.  There’s a lot of good thinking there.

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