This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday, everyone!  It’s time to take a wander around the education web as seen though the keyboards of Ontario Edubloggers.  And, once again this week, I had a discussion about what I had collected at that point with Stephen Hurley on Voiced radio on Wednesday.  He pushed me to do some thinking about the topics and you’ll note his influence, I’m sure.


Quebec City Vigil

The first post is on a serious topic.

Jennifer Aston happened to be vacationing in Quebec City when the attack on the mosque happened and it was so close to where she was staying.  The post should have you rethinking just what we are and who we are.

I can’t imagine what this parent with her family was thinking about at that moment.  Thankfully, she wasn’t at the wrong place at the wrong time.

There’s wonderful advice here.

But we have to do the opposite of that.  We need empathy not indifference to fight the fear mongering that is relentless in the news these days.  We need to build bridges, not walls…


Listen with Compassion and Act with Love

This post, from Debbie Donsky, will challenge your beliefs as an educator.  She sets the stage with this statement of her personal belief…

Every child who is in our care, every caregiver who steps through our doors, every staff member who supports the important work we do, has potential to change the trajectory of another person.

Into the discussion, she brings a different perspective dealing with helicoptering parenting.  She challenges an article and its take on parenting.

I found myself agreeing with her.

Hopefully, when you’re done, you’ll be checking your own sense of empathy.


Always Prepare for Teaching; Always Prepare for Surprises

This post from Enzo Ciardelli brought a smile to this Computer Science teacher’s face.  But first, his experience.

I do not want to downplay the importance of precise planning. I can recall a huge sign in teacher’s college that read: “Those who fail to plan also plan to fail.”

Trite advice from a Faculty of Education!

But we all paid attention to it.

How does it look in reality?  You’ll smile as you read his discussion of “reconciliation” with his students.  His amazement is a reminder that, no matter how hard he planned, he didn’t see the discussion coming.

In Computer Science, you plan thorough lessons.  There will be times when you work through a problem with a class, modelling what you think will be the best way and algorithm to solve the problem.  Then, you give them a problem to solve on their own and in a class of 25, you might end up with 26 different approaches.  Were they not paying attention?

The bottom line is to remember that you’re teaching students – not machines.  Everyone has their own baggage, er, perspective and good teachers will not be blindsided by those surprises.


What do you choose to learn about when you’re not at school?

Brandon Grasley starts this very short post with this interesting question that led to a discussion with one of his students.  It culminates with an appreciation for curiosity.

Every teacher is in a position to customize any lesson for students.  It’s what separates real people teaching from computer teaching.  Why wouldn’t you take the time to understand their interests and modify your lesson to embrace that?

But, let’s go further.  Why wouldn’t a teacher share with students just what it is that they’re learning when they’re not at school.  The easy answer would be to talk about lesson preparation for the next day.  But what about personal interests?  Why wouldn’t you want students to know that you’re studying for a Masters degree, learning how to curl, understanding how to knit, trying to understand how a new programming language works, …

Imagine a classroom where everyone is recognized as a real human being constantly learning – and not just at school.


Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You Had

I remember my Grade 13 Calculus teacher.  I’ll admit – hey, I’m proud of this; I did well in mathematics.  On one exam, I got 99%.  I missed one little thing that stopped a perfect score.  She took the time to comment.

“You Idot”!!!!!

Spelling mistake hers!  I guess that you can take a spin on what the intent of her comment was.  I kept that exam in a filing cabinet for years until a spring cleaning saw it head to the recycling bin.  Regardless, I always thought that if I got a chance to teach mathematics, I’d want to be like her.  But I’d check my spelling.  <grin>

Kyle Pearce takes the time to review this book written by Tracy Zager.  Actually, his review isn’t about the content; it’s about the author describing a number of different ways to read the book.  My first thought was that it might be a good book study for mathematics teachers.

In my discussion with Stephen Hurley about this, he made reference to a report that he co-authored for the Canadian Education Association. Teaching the Way We Aspire to
Teach: Now and in the Future.  It’s a very good read.

Of course, Kyle will want to teach the way that a certain university professor modelled for him.


Positive or Negative: There is always a choice

I now have confirmation that Jennifer Casa-Todd is a better person than I am with her recent post.  As the father of two girls, I took huge offence to the comment and hashtag #dresslikeawoman.

She notes, “The easiest response is to take offence”.  I guess I took the easy route.

We did share this thought in common “What does that even mean?”

Jennifer takes the time to put things into her own context and shares her own thoughts.  In the meantime, I was still stuck on the words.

The post has some interesting supporting likes and Jennifer created a Storify document to accumulate some of the comments from the hashtag.


The message from the top educational systems in the world

This was a new blog for me to read.

Bill Ferguson does a nice summary of the educational messages from his reading.

The countries I looked at are almost always near the top of the educational standards lists. Finland, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, China, Shanghai, Taiwan, and Poland among others. All have amazing similarities.

I found it a very interesting read and found myself agreeing with most of what is contained in the post.  It doesn’t come as a surprise since Canada was on the list.  It’s an interesting inclusion since education in Canada is a provincial responsibility.

The post concludes with some recommendations.  I’m not sure that I agree with all of them; they add great financial expenses onto teachers but if systems agree that they’re important enough to do, they should find a way to make them affordable.  Or, even better yet, as a part of the professional learning program.


The Teaching Hub: Week Six, Winter 2017

If you read my post yesterday, you know that I’m a big fan of being open with professional learning.

This post from Fleming College shows that they’re out in the open with plans for their upcoming Teaching and Learning Day.

Take a moment to check out their agenda for the day.  It’s got to be comforting to read that they’re dealing with the same issues that you are.


I always say this but it really is an interesting collection of reading from Ontario Edubloggers.  Please take a moment to drop by these posts, do a read, and then add your thoughts via comment.

 

OTR Links 02/17/2017


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