doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Here’s your weekly collection of great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers guaranteed to inspire, not scare.


Photo Credit: Legohaulic Flickr via Compfight cc

The Dying of the Day

Paul McGuire has taken to his blog to let us know of some family health challenges.  There was a time when this sort of news would be communicated by telephone or through the local newspaper.

However, when you have an expansive network like Paul’s, people are taking the news to social media as well.

Beyond the news that Paul shares, there was one interesting comment as it relates to education.

Sad to say, we are not a society that understands the passing of life very well.

He’s right, of course.  In school and in social studies, we often learn about these things as they apply to other cultures and religions but we don’t about our own.  I know that I learned first hand at my grandfather’s funeral.  I most certainly could have been better prepared.

Learning Design by Making Games (in Scratch)

I was really intrigued by this blog post just by reading the title of this post from Jim Cash.

Haven written many games myself (does anyone remember Bay Street Bulls?), I started to think about how I designed things.  I didn’t have someone working the parameters like Jim describes in this project.  I really like the concept of the junior years’ students consulting with the primary years’ students to see how they tick.

In my case, my design was done by how I thought it should be done.  I really didn’t see the product from the perspective of anyone else.  In the post, Jim describes the complete process they followed, step by step.

But, the best part were the comments from the students.  Even though Scratch was the tool that they used, the students were able to extrapolate their learning about design thinking to other things – city planning, football plays, building a chair …

Nicely done.  The kids get it.

“Digital Parenting”: Struggles and Solutions

Anyone who is considering having children should read this post from Sheila Stewart and the references that she cites.

I think everyone who has children want to raise them so that they will succeed in their lives.  Our parents learned how to parent from their parents and we learned how to parent from our parents.

It’s no long as simple as “turn off that television and go outside and play”.


But, it’s more than just a screen.  We had screens in our youth but they were black and white for many of us and there was no sense of interacting with it other than to get up and walk across the room to change the channel.

Considering the state of the screen now and the challenges that today’s parents have, what challenges will the next generation have?

More than ever, consider Moore’s Law.

The Hypocrisy of Student Well-being

Andrew Campbell takes us on a timeline and reflections about the Ministry of Education’s announcement that

So it was initially reassuring to see Education Minister Mitzie Hunter announce a $49 million program to “boost the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of Ontario students, and help make schools inclusive, safe, and welcoming learning environments”

Andrew reflects on the current state of concern with respect to mental health services and the impact that waiting times have on student well-being, school well-being, and teacher well-being.

He takes a position on the priorities for the funding and offers his own suggestions as to what the Ministry should have done instead.

I find it difficult to disagree with his suggestions.

Qualified to Teach Math?

Deborah Weston tagged me to this post and another one on the Heart and Art of Teaching blog.  (What 21st Century Learning Looks Like in 2017)  I chose to focus on this one given the current concerns about the teaching of mathematics.

There probably was a time when anyone could teach mathematics.  All you had to do was refresh yourself on how you were taught and repeat the process, right?  I even remember our budget item for manipulatives – we had a bundle of 100 toothpicks with a rubber band around them.

Perhaps there’s a message that my computer has underlined “manipulatives” as being a spelling mistake.  As my computer to “look up” manipulatives and I get an advertisement for an app to buy.  So, if a term doesn’t exist, …

Her post includes a survey of literature identifying the related research of mathematics and teaching in schools.

Her conclusion?

I am a better science teacher because I learned about science in my science degree. I am a better math teacher because I took many grade 12 math courses with a qualified math teacher. My understanding of math continued to grow with a math related business degree. But because I have an ancillary understanding of French does not mean I should be teaching French.

Does this build the argument for specialist mathematics teachers?  At a bare minimum, it builds a case for at least having an understanding of mathematics and the continuum of learning that’s required.  It’s going to take more than a workshop every now and again showing off some cool technique learned with no context.

As luck would have it, Matthew Oldridge shared his thoughts on the topic here.  On The Importance of Mathematical Content Knowledge for Teaching

How can you argue with Bob Dylan?

Google Drawings Templates

If you’re a Google user, you’ll find this resource from Larissa Aradj invaluable.

She shares her thoughts about using templates with Google Drawings to do some pretty neat things.  She gives away a template for creating infographics and then raises the stakes by describing how to create your own templates and then use for more sophisticated things.


The post models some great ideas.  More than teacher centred, perhaps having students design templates for future classes would be in order.

CC and ME

I mentioned this post, by Helen DeWaard last week.  It was powerful enough to generate a couple of my own in response.

Plus, Andy Forgrave brought Alan Levine into the picture about a visit to Windsor a few years ago.

So, it’s with that in mind, that I think you should read her post if you missed it the first time around.

An Interview with Stephen Hurley

I have the opportunity to spend Wednesday mornings with this gentleman on voicEd radio and he was good enough to be interviewed for this blog.  Want to know more about him?

Just click.

It’s been yet another great week on blogging across the province.  Please take a moment to click through and read these wonderful posts.

Also, be sure to drop off a comment or two.  The original authors will appreciate them.


One response to “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”

  1. Great topics and issues rounded up this week, as always, Doug! Thanks for extending the discussion on the topic of my post. I hope I get some more ideas from parents about what supports they need or what solutions have worked for them.

    Interesting stuff there in Moore’s Law!

    Liked by 1 person

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