doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Welcome to Friday morning.  I’m pleased to share some of the great writing from Ontario Edubloggers that I’ve run across recently.  As always, there are terrific words of inspiration, insight, and advice.  Enjoy.

Le Code du leader

This post from Joël McLean took a little longer than usual to read.  First, it’s a long and thoughtful post.  Secondly, it is in French.  My high school skills had to kick in.  (and then I used Google Translate to be sure.)

In the post, he identifies some leadership traits – shown below as translated by Google.

  • Character and integrity
  • Growth Mentality and Resilience
  • Being at the service
  • Learning for Life
  • Discipline and Vision
  • Network

There’s no questioning that all of these are excellent traits for a leader to have.  As I thought of them, I tried to pick the most important one in the great leaders that I’ve worked with over time.

There was no question – in my mind it is integrity.  Having that strength just encourages you to want to follow where they lead.  You know that they’ll be there for you and you don’t have to question them.

I also think of the person who didn’t exude it.  His decisions were made upon the last person to leave his office.  That cemented that particular trait for me.

How about you?

Use of Diigo for Sharing Student Website Reviews

I’ve learned so much over the years from Peter Beens.  One thing that he does better than most people is to use new technologies to organize things.  I’ve mentioned on this blog more than once his fantastic Google A-Z document.  (Long before Alphabet)

So, it came as no surprise that he encourages students to go beyond the lesson (perhaps even to fact check him) and collect/share resources with the class.  This was done until recently with a shared Google document. He had a request from a teacher for access to it but because the document included students’ names he had to deny that request..  Instead, he moved to Diigo to collect the resources and that’s the way that business is done now.  The move makes student anonymity possible.

Check out his entire post, in particular:

I’ve been using Diigo, a social-bookmarking site, for many years. It now has somewhere around 10,000 shared bookmarks in it, with bookmarks for many of my classes, including Communications Technology, Computer Studies, and Computer Technology, as well for general interest topics such as Cool Tech.

It’s always a challenge to get started with these things but they start to get really impressive after you’ve worked at it.  Peter introduced me to which streamlined how I do my own personal bookmarking.  I’ve mentioned many time, I changed my search engine default in my browser to my Diigo library so that I can search “Doug-reviewed” topics first before going into the big, bad internet looking for something.

Convincing Lies – Final

Last week, I noted that Stepan Pruchnicky was taking an interesting approach to the concept of “fake news”.  There are all kinds of resources and ideas about how to teach how to recognize the fake stuff.

But, will students dig deeper if they have to write it for themselves?

I think it’s a really interesting approach.

In this post, Stepan shares the writing from his Grade 6 students.  It’s enjoyable reading to see fake news generated by his class.  How’s that for persuasive writing?


I noted, on Twitter, that Stepan was willing to share his marking scheme with anyone who asked.  Hopefully, it includes attributing images properly.

In a way, I hope that it doesn’t take off too well.  I’d hate to think he’s educating the next generation of fakers!

Banning…removing…or is there something else better

From Jonathan So comes a post that I was thinking I might write about.  But, he did so I don’t have to.

A couple of weeks ago, it was smartphones.  This week it’s been fidget spinners.

Has banning anything ever worked? or has it just created more conflict to deal with down the road? So the question shouldn’t be one side or the other but is there a better answer?

Now that the weather is getting warm, you have to ask what’s next?  Skateboards?  Roller Blades?  Short shorts?  Fishing Rods?

The post is an interesting reflection about classroom management amid all of these distractions.

Do I date myself when I remember the distraction that collecting Monkees trading cards caused in my elementary school days?

Oops I Did It Again

Diana Maliszewski went to a workshop with the Quebec Library Association and ended up in the hospital.  That’s the long and short of things.

There’s a great picture of her showing how to use DoInk to do green screening, a very popular activity.

The next picture is of her in a hospital gown.

You’ll have to read her entire post to connect the dots.

But, the big idea here is to not to ignore the words of your health care giver when you are diagnosed with allergies.

Diana shares here learning in three main thoughts.

  • I didn’t inform my dining companions that I was having an anaphylaxic attack.
  • I went by myself to the hospital and only told one person I was going.
  • I did not give myself the epinephrine shot.

Each of these are fleshed out in the post.  It’s good reading to help deal with those students who might have allergies or a good personal reminder if you’re one of them.

Thanks, Diana, for being so open and caring about this.  There’s a lesson here for everyone.

Crime & Punishment: Does it always fit?

This is a well-crafted look at discipline in education from Matthew Morris.  Whether or not student behaviour rises to the level of “crime” is left to the reader.  Regardless, it’s a great click bait title.

Matthew confesses that he wasn’t a perfect child and gives us a couple of his missteps as a student.  If you’re like me, that will probably inspire you to think of a few moments of your own.  As I reflect on it, I never was actually suspended from school.  Why?  Was it because I was good academically?  Would it have made a difference if I wasn’t?

There is an important discussion about the differences between classrooms, or schools, or districts.  As Matthew notes, there are all kinds of shades of grey.  Part of being a student is in learning the rules of the game.  Immediately, you think of the difference between how schools handle smartphones.  Or, water bottles.  Or, fidget spinners.

Today’s students must navigate our obvious and traditional school discipline measures.

It seems to me that his post is timely as well.  Schools are gearing up for changes in staff for the fall.  Will there be a change in school culture?  How will the new principal support staff?  How will the new principal deal with parents?  What are the priorities of the new head of Technology?  What will the Learning Commons look like with the new Teacher-Librarian?  Or, pick your own favourite.

There’s lots to think about here.

Here’s a story to read for homework.

Let’s Not Start from Scratch: Some Early Research on ‘Coding’

Let’s start with the end of Peter Skillen’s recent post.

I applaud and welcome the enthusiasm of educators who are implementing programming (coding) with students. My hope for is that we will all take the time to visit, or revisit, some of the significant findings of the past—so that we are better prepared to to move our students to deeper learning.

If you have your ear to the ground, you’ll hear all kinds of rumblings about coding, Scratch, robots, …

I shudder when I hear the rationale that “Canada needs programmers” and so they need to learn how to code.

In the post, Peter gives us some excellent background reading.  They should serve to help you answer that little voice in the back of your head that’s asking “Why am I doing this?”

Please take a moment to visit the blogs above and read the author thoughts at their source.  All of the posts go deep into their topic.  And, drop a reply, or even better, write a blog post of your own inspired by their thoughts.

Let’s keep the thinking and learning going.

Every week, Stephen Hurley and I talk a bit about the upcoming posts to be featured in this post.  We go way off track at times but that’s ok.  It’s broadcast live here and, technology willing, archived here.


2 responses to “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”

  1. Thanks Doug for adding my blog…I remember the monkey cards (Unfortunately, as a kid) but that was my thoughts exactly. It seems that our first instinct when we are annoyed is to just ban instead of discussing and teaching. Be interesting to see what others think.


  2. […] to Doug Peterson‘s This Week In Ontario Edublogs post, I read Jonathan So‘s recent post on fidget spinners. I think that Jonathan makes many […]


Please share your thoughts here. I’d enjoy reading them.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: