This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It was a little strange this week not doing the weekly radio show with Stephen Hurley to give an advance look at what would be in This Week in Ontario Edublogs.  Unfortunately, we were not able to connect on a time on Wednesday so you get to see them all here first! Great stuff from Ontario Edubloggers.

Don’t forget – if you’re an Ontario Educational blogger or you know of one, go to the landing back at the link above and add the link to the blog.  If you’re just looking to find new people to follow, I have the link to my Ontario Educator Twitter lists there as well.

Language, Culture & Math

Deborah McCallum is always good for providing a thought provoking post and this one doesn’t disappoint.  It’s a really powerful reminder that teachers are there for the entire package and not to cherry pick topics.

With so much emphasis on improving mathematics test scores, it’s easy to overlook this.

Screenshot 2017-07-13 at 07.01.43

‘Limited Pedagogy’ in the Past? I Don’t Think So!

I was thinking that maybe Peter Skillen had finally lost it.  Hadn’t he already blogged about this before?

Well, maybe, probably, yeah, definitely, …

But it’s a topic well worth repeating.

We didn’t have ‘limited pedagogy’. We had a robust and vibrant movement and approach based on the work of Jean PiagetJerome BrunerSeymour PapertFrank SmithLev VygotskyIvan IllichPaulo FreireA.S. Neill and countless others who promoted discovery learning, constructivism, student-centred approaches, open classrooms, active learning, multi-age learning groups, etc.

Check out Ontario’s Hall-Dennis Report (Living and Learning) of 1968.

The bizarre thing is that we didn’t have limited pedagogy in the past, in the past we had limited technology!  I can remember when the Ministry of Education provided three Icon computers per school.  Various sources were used to increase access to technology for students but the environment wasn’t perfect for a harmonious and easy use of technology in the classroom.  When you have to “take the kids to the lab”, it could easily be assumed that it was a special event that had nothing to do with regular teaching and the excellent pedagogy that was understood.

But those excuses lie in a past limited by funding and access.  We now have access and a marriage with good pedagogical practice should deliver on the promise.

Holy cow, it has generated a lot of discussion though.

I Packed. I Came. I Shared. And Now I’m Left Wondering.

If you’re a reader of Aviva Dunsiger’s work, you won’t be surprised about the wondering work.  I think that her “wondering” makes for an improved environment for her students.  We talk about inquiry and wonder being essential for students; why not for teachers?

This time, she’s wondering about people leaving her session early.

Screenshot 2017-07-13 at 07.15.55

These are good questions to search for answers.  There may well have been other circumstances.  Perhaps it was just the fact that it’s summer and it was nice outside.  Perhaps people could connect the dots and didn’t feel they needed the hands-on time.

There could be a million other reasons but I’m sure that Aviva’s wondering will result in a different approach in the future.

Perhaps do the “play” first and then tie the big concepts together afterwards?  We live in a PD environment where people are encouraged to “learn with their feet” and to move on if their needs aren’t being met.  That’s great in theory but how do you know where the session is ultimately headed?

#Iceland: Getting our bearings

Alanna King’s on holidays in Iceland with family.  This is one in a series of posts about a summer exploration there.

There’s a great description of what’s happening to the family as they take a look here and there.

I’m just surprised that Tim didn’t rent a motorcycle and leave it to Alanna and Max to catch up later.

The best part is the beautiful pictures that she’s sharing.


Making a Positive Impact

I’m not going to say much except to highlight this last line from Jennifer Casa-Todd’s post.

How might you make someone’s world brighter today?

It’s not always easy.

On my recent trip to Baltimore, I spent a lot of time in airports (I live in fear of missing my flight) and so I’ll try to strike up a conversation with people.  In one case, I offered my iPad to play a game on to a child who was a little wild.

Airport people like being left alone, I guess.

Attempting isn’t always appreciated but I hope that I never stop trying.

What Does an Innovating Leader Look Like?

I taunted Paul McGuire to write a post so I guess that I should include it here.

So, what does an innovating leader look like?

I would hope that you say “like me”.  I would also hope that you say “I lead by example” instead of “I lead by telling people what to do”.

I always see red flags when people use the term(s) “leader”, “innovator”, or “innovating leader” in their own bio or other places where they describe themselves.  That is indeed the lowest of the low hanging fruit.  Wind fall, perhaps.  It’s more impressive when others use that term to describe them.  Then, I sit up and notice.

Screenshot 2017-07-13 at 07.33.00

The best piece of advice I ever received came from my father.

Be humble.  You look good when you make others look better.

A long-overdue tribute

I’m always a sucker for a well-crafted blog post title and that’s what this was from Diana Maliszewski.

I started to read and got interested when she made reference to the Maker Festival in Toronto.  Then, somehow the topic turned to a special trip to Toronto.


Pictures and stories about an anniversary are really few and far between so I did read to the end.

Congratulations, you two.

There’s always something to love from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.  Please take the time to click through and read the entire posts and drop off a comment or two.  They’ll really appreciate it.

5 thoughts on “This Week in Ontario Edublogs

  1. Doug, once again, thank you for connecting Ontario Edubloggers each week! I always look forward to your Friday posts, and you always direct me to some new reading. Thanks also for including my post here this week. I’m a big believer in the fact that adults benefit from “wondering” as much as children, and when we think and speak in this wondering way, we also inspire students to do the same. It’s almost like creating an “environment of inquiry,” and I think we all benefit from this.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my “problem” as well. I liked your idea of starting with the play. I wonder though, if I began in this way, would people have left before the session even started? While some session goers were very excited to play, and spent a lot of time manipulating materials and brainstorming ways to use them, others seemed almost scared to touch them. They stayed at the tables and just talked. And when they did get up to walk around, they asked me, “What do students have to do here? How would they use these?” When I explained that there wasn’t a prescribed activity, and I asked them, “How might you use these?,” many were reluctant to share. As adults, have we lost the ability/willingness/interest in “play,” and if so, how do we change this? Just as I believe in the value of adults and children “wondering,” I also believe in the value of adults and children “playing.” If we always want to know “how” to use materials, will we also create environments where children need the “activity” before the “play?” I wonder about the impact that this will have on the meaningful math, language, thinking, and problem solving that happens through play.

    Thanks for inspiring me to think even more about this blog post of mine (and maybe write you another one in the comments 🙂 )!



  2. Of course, I wasn’t there and could only imagine what happened from your blog post. It seems to me that you had identified the mass leaving as a problem, as well it should be. So, why not turn the deck upside down in the future and make the play an introduction to things.

    You’ve also identified something new in the reply and that was the not understanding the purpose of the play. That may well tell you about your audience and their preparation for the workshop. Maybe they need to be kick started and have a little more guidance than what you had originally planned. There’s no apologies for that; they’re there to learn and maybe needed some extra attention and prompting. There’s nothing wrong with that – a little personalized learning goes a long way.

    I think, that reading your original post, and now this reply that there was indeed a gap between instructor and student that needs to somehow be closed.


  3. Thanks for the reply, Doug! I think that you may have just kickstarted me in writing another blog post. I need to think …

    Thanks for the inspiration!


  4. Pingback: Do we need to learn how to play? | Living Avivaloca

  5. Pingback: Do We Need To Learn How To Play? – Educational Computing Organization of Ontario

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