This Week in Ontario Edublogs

After a couple of weeks of Stephen Hurley and me taking some time away from home to explore some of Ontario, it was great to be back behind our keyboards and have the opportunity to chat about some of the great things that appear on the pages of Ontario Edubloggers recently.

As a result of the storm that went through last night, internet is kaputskies but fortunately, I had tabs to these blogs left open from our conversation.  So, at least I could write this post offline.

I’d hate to miss a Friday post.  Hopefully, service will return and I can get this posted.

Here’s some of what I caught.

What Teachers TRULY do During The Summer – As Told by Students & Teachers

Sarah Lalonde posted this to the VoiceEd Blog.  The post starts with a fun look at our profession from the youngest of students.  I agree with her that the best quote was:

My favourite testimonial is from S in Grade 1 who believes that teachers “do the calendar when we’re not here” and keep it up to date.

Beyond the insights that come from students, Sarah checks in with a number of educators from around the province and how they spend their summers.  It’s an interesting read and might give you a bit of inspiration to add to your August agenda.

On the Way to the White Lily

Sue Bruyns’ post was very timely for me.  On the day of her post, we had just returned from a trip around Sadler’s Pond in Essex.  It was very popular for us in the spring because the water levels were high and there were some new families of Canadian Geese to view.  The summer and lack of rain presented a very different environment for us this visit.

Like Sue’s kayak tour, we enjoyed looking at all the lily pads, however she saw one little thing that others might not have noticed.  She ties it nicely into education where we’re often focused on the big picture and might miss a little detail here and there.

What did she find?

You’ll have to read her post to find out.

I wonder what we missed in our trip around the pond.

i c u

Another post from the VoiceEd blog came from Chris Cluff.  It was dedicated to those who are leaving a Faculty of Education and starting a new position in the fall.

That brought back memories of the last summer before starting my first teaching job.  We had moved to Essex County and could barely afford a little war time rental house with no air conditioning and within listening distance of the Chrysler plant where the work never stopped.  It was so hot and noisy.  Then, there was the incident with the rat.

I don’t recall sleeping much that summer as nerves and anticipation kept me going.

So, to those in that boat, Chris asks …

“Degree, done. Faculty of Ed, done. 60 days from now you will have officially arrived – an occasional, part time, or full time teacher.

What are you feeling?”

A School Essential for the New Year? Create a Vision

So, maybe this isn’t advice for the beginning teacher but Paul McGuire addresses it to administrators.

The school year shouldn’t be focused on just keeping the lid on.  That’s stagnation.  What about having a vision?  What about sharing that vision?  What about getting everyone to buy into that vision?  What about having everyone speaking and sharing that vision?

Perhaps that’s one of the tests of a true innovator in the administration ranks.

It seems to me that that vision needs to be clearly defined so that it’s understood and repeatable by everyone.  It should include a definite standard that will let everyone know when that vision is met and how you’re on the path to reaching it.

The vision itself?  Nicely described:

Whatever it is, make it big. Make it something that staff members can get behind. Make it something everyone can be proud of. Make it something that looks to the bigger picture and does not get caught up in the minutiae of the education machine.

Administrators – take heed and consider those who would hear your message.

Shopping for an Electric Car – Part 2

Part I of Jennifer Aston’s quest to do right by the planet appeared earlier in this blog.

Since that time, we’ve kidded around on Twitter a bit and found out that we were/are both Cobalt owners.  I loved my Cobalt; it was so small that I could park it anywhere and it was so good on gasoline.  I no longer own it but hope that it’s serving its new owners with the love that I had for it.  Jennifer still has hers and uses it to make the 5km trip to work.

A short commute like this seems to be perfect for an electric vehicle but she seems to have second thoughts about a purchase.  If the Cobalt could last forever, perhaps…

I like how she’s planning to tie her dilemma into a classroom activity for students…

Telling our Stories in School Improvement Planning

Consider this quote from Debbie Donsky’s Medium post …

Take away the soul and you have the simplistic approach that we so often see about school and district reporting of test results.  That’s why they lack the substance to persevere beyond a quick read or news report.

But when you dig enough to get that story with soul, you find that real people, real aspirations, real life, are what truly generate the story.

That’s where it gets interesting.

I really like her interpretation.

In the process of school improvement planning we get so hung up on the template that we forget that this document is about people. We collect all kinds of data but without a narrative, what is the story we are actually telling? If we “complete” the template in isolation of the people, the students, the staff, and the community it represents, what is the value of it?

So, can the story be told with a critical lens?  She offers questions that will help guide the process.

Another great readers for principals and other administrators.  It’s why they should be facing the media to tell the story and not a public relations person.  They’re the ones that are living that story.

The Google Infused Classroom

There’s a decided bent towards teachers thinking about what’s just a month away.  I’ve already seen many folks talking about the nightmares of the day before school starts or showing up without clothes at staff meetings or just getting ready professionally.

Let’s take the high road here and think about the professional route.

This post, from Jen Giffin is actually a review of the book with the same name as the title of this post.  If your class is Google-infused or you want it to be, she’s recommending that you take a read.

She shares her “biggest loves” from the book; you’ll have to check them out.

But, the ultimate reason why you’re doing this is summed up in a quote she shares.

You got it … another week with great postings from Ontario Edubloggers.  Please make sure that you click through and check them out.  You’ll be glad you did.

I’m off to walk the dog.  Hopefully, there will be internet access when I return so that I can get this online for you to read.

OTR Links 08/04/2017

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