Month: December 2017

Whatever happened to …


… board games?

A shout out this week to Peter Cameron for the idea.  He didn’t put it on the Padlet so I can’t quote him directly – it came as a quickie direct message while he was playing “Ticket to Ride”.

Growing up, board games were a common event around the Peterson gaming table.  There was Mom, Dad and my younger brother.  Four appears to be the sweet spot for gaming.  Most games seem to be designed for two or four players and divisibility by two allows for even teaming.  It became apparent when we had three kids and someone often had to “sit out”!

I think we had copies of all of the classics.  They were stored in the hallway closet on the way downstairs.  We had the classics…

  • Monopoly (which apparently we always played wrong)
  • Scrabble (we had our own Scrabble dictionary to resolve disputes)
  • Mouse Trap (my earliest recollection of a board game and the trap always seemed to get stuck on the way down)
  • Clue (as in “get a “)
  • 212B Baker Street (who doesn’t like a good mystery)
  • Sorry! (or as my daughter calls is “Soorrr- EEEE”)
  • Chinese Checkers (never understood the name)
  • Checkers (we had real wooden pieces, none of this plastic stuff)
  • Chess (I still own a board with jade pieces)
  • Crokinole (a Perth County invention)
  • and, the one that always gave this snake hater nightmares – Snakes and Ladders – I still have this memory of the gigantic snake that went from near the top of the board all the way to the bottom.  Sure, the snake had a smile on its face but that was only there to lure you into a false sense of security.  We also played a variation when we slid up the snakes and down the ladders … but, I can totally understand the marketing correctness of changing the name of game to Chutes and Ladders.

When it was board game time, everything stopped and we crowded around whatever game was being played.  Mom would always have some sort of treat for us to enjoy while we played.

When it came time to have our own kids, we tried the board games but the classics didn’t have the same appeal.  Yet, we still enjoy getting around the table playing Taboo on family game night.  And, we maintain the tradition by providing treats.

It’s interesting to see how so many of what we would call classic board games have become electronic.  Certainly a favourite of mine is Words with Friends, a modern version of Scrabble.  It has the advantage of being able to play with friends world-wide – Marisa C. kills me all the time.  It also has the disadvantage of changing the rules – you can’t make up your own words and hope to get them past your brother by using them in a sentence like you’re some kind of expert on the topic.  A built in dictionary prevents this.  Hopefully, Scrabble will never make this list.

From my perspective though, the biggest and fondest memory that I do have is sitting around the kitchen table playing with family.  No amount of technology could ever replace that.

Screenshot 2017-12-30 at 16.05.36

Our current games cupboard. (Never mind the table cloths)

How about you?  What are your thoughts of board games?

  • Did you play board games as a child?
  • Do you still play them now?
  • Are there any classic board games that I failed to include?
  • Do modern games have the same appeal as the classics for you?
  • Did you hate the board on Snakes and Ladders as much as me?
  • Can you believe that you can play Snakes and Ladders online?
  • What other games do you see in the picture above?
  • Who wrote the book on the rules of the game?  What’s the name of the book?

Please share your thoughts via comments?  I’d be interested in reading them as I’m sure that others would as well.

All of the posts from the Whatever happened to … series are available here.  And, if you have an idea for a future post, shoot me a DM like Peter did or add it to this padlet.

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OTR Links 12/31/2017


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

#onewordONT


I’ve resisted participating in this initiative in the past for a number of reasons.  I always thought that I couldn’t just boil things down to one word.  I’ve also seen people jump in just to make sure that they are on the latest fad or bandwagon and wasn’t sure that I wanted to be part of it.

However, this post from Julie Balen has got me thinking about things.  I brought it forward this week in the voicEd Radio show with Stephen Hurley and it was featured in this week’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs post.  On the show, Stephen pushed me to come up with one word and I responded with a concern that I’ve had personally for a long time – BALANCE.  So, I’m all-in on it for this moment in time.  But I do have questions.

I guess I’m not alone since it was the biggest word in the word cloud that Julie had created and posted to her blog.

screen-shot-2017-12-16-at-11-36-22-am

I’ve read so much about the importance of “balance” in a person’s life and I agree with every notion that it’s something that needs to be strived (striven?) for.

So often, comments about balance start with work life.  My approach has always been to start with family first.  It’s a lesson I learned by watching my parents prioritize things.  Family and together time was always first but balanced with work commitments.  Family was so easy until the reality of post secondary schooling and then having a job and the need to earn a paycheque kicked in.  It’s important to remember that there are only so many hours in the day.

Those that know me know that I’m an early riser and to-worker.  When I went to a bricks and mortar building, it was almost a race to see whether I or the caretaker was first in at the 6am hour.  If there was a workshop to be done, I wouldn’t be back home until 7 or 7:30 in the evening.  This is hardly evidence of balance, at least if you just do the mathematics, but it was consistent with my desire to learn and grow.

I still maintain early hours; those that follow me around know that I try to get up and do a daily bout of learning around 5am when I’m the only one awake around here and quiet is king.

When I think about it, I’m in a better position to “balance” things now, whatever that means  At the same time, I’ve taken on a number of new things and have my own personal goals.  In light of all this, I wonder if the actual word “balance” and its traditional meaning isn’t a red herring designed to lead one down the wrong path (or at least a different path).  After all, taken at face value, not having “balance” would imply that things currently done are in some way, selfish.  I’m not ready to concede on that point.  I place family, learning, duty, sharing, community, and purpose equally as high on my list of priorities.

I’m not willing either, at this point, to retract the word but I am willing to think about it and see if there isn’t a meaning that I can specifically use that would apply to me.

OTR Links 12/30/2017


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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


You know, in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, nobody would be blamed for not blogging.  Fortunately, there have been a number of bloggers who keep fighting the good fight and we’re to benefit.  Check out some of what I’ve read recently.


The Education Corporation
Paul McGuire makes an interesting connection from the book “The Corporation” to real corporations to the governance by school districts in the province.  As a result, I’m on the lookout to get a copy of that book for a read.

The big message here is about control and he gets you thinking

Will any educator make the connection that apart from the pursuit of profit, there is little that separates the modern corporation from the traditional school board?

Read on to see his thoughts about this.

Given that corporations are certainly in the news all the time, it’s an interesting ponder.  Start your pondering with Loblaw admits to bread price-fixing scheme spanning more than 14 years.


Mathematicians We Should Know More About: Ada Lovelace

This post, from Matthew Oldridge brought a smile to this old Computer Science teacher’s face.  She’s a compulsory mention in class because of her importance.  There’s much more than Computer Science to consider though….

  • Mathematics
  • Collaboration
  • Visionary
  • Solving a Problem of the Time
  • Patterns and Designs and modernization of the textile industry
  • Women in History/Mathematics/Computer Science

Studies like this are important for students to know.  It’s important to know how we got to where we are in any discipline to honour the work that went before and to inspire for the future.

I know that it can raise the ire of those who have studied the past when an “innovation” gets touted as something new when it’s actually built on years of vision.


#onewordOnt Introduction

So, what was your one word for 2016?  If you check out Julie Balen’s post, you’ll see that she has a collection of blog posts from around the province of bloggers who wrote a post about theirs.

Blogging, in this case, is the perfect tool to:

  • set your goals for the year ahead and
  • to reflect at the end of the year as to how well you did

Julie’s looking to collect posts for 2018; there’s a link where you can add yourself if she doesn’t catch you.  She promises to visualize all the information that she receives.

The post is an interesting amalgam of 2016, 2017, and 2018.  What stands out though is that her list of bloggers are all women.

C’mon, guys, let’s level the playing field.  Paul McGuire has already written his.


Knowing Your Readers and Literature Circles

If I was teaching potential educators at a Faculty of Education or an Additional Qualifications course, I would make this post from Jennifer Aston required reading.

She talks about the concepts of Literature Circles but adds an interesting and important twist – knowing the readers in your class.  There’s lots of good stuff here.

The absolutely biggest thing though is the large list of suggestions about how to make it all work.  I’d bet if you had any other suggestions, she’d appreciate reading them in a comment or two.

There’s also a great deal to see as she models good technology practice in here with a collection of surveys that she uses to collect the data that she needs.  (I’d “borrow” her questions and customize if I was doing it).

In honouring student voice, she uses a Padlet to collect their reflections.

It’s a wonderful process modelled and makes a good read for anyone.


Relationships Matter…I cannot stress this enough

I don’t know that I can add much to Jonathan So’s post than what he states in the title to the post.

An observation inspired by reading Stuart Shanker’s book …

There is no thing/ concept as a Bad Child

I’m reminded of a statement from Wayne Hulley.  “Parents send you the best kids they have; they don’t keep the good ones at home”.

Schools and teachers have a unique relationship with young people.  Parents still have the bulk of the time to be spent with them but the time in your classroom is unique and very special.  There’s a great deal written about the way “we” were taught – in classrooms, facing forward, memorizing, testing, etc.  We know the concepts are dated but …

… parents grew up thinking about education in the same way.  That’s what they remember when they think about their school years.  So much has been learned about learning over the years and often.  It can seem like a treadmill with school districts taking on the latest and greatest approach while ignoring the past.

The one thing that truly endures is the relationship with students.  “You can’t stress this enough.”


2017 IN REVIEW

From the TESL Ontario blog, here’s an opportunity to catch up on what you may have missed.

Screenshot 2017-12-28 at 11.23.43

For me, I’ve got some new bloggers to add to my Ontario Edublogger list!


Math is Visual

Especially if you use purple triangles as part of your logo.

This latest project, from Kyle Pearce is a collection of videos demonstrating mathematics concepts.

It’s starting with a clean and usable interface.  Nicely done, Kyle.

This website was created to assist in building a better conceptual understanding of mathematics through the use of visuals. The images, videos and resources shared here are intended to help all teachers, parents and students understand that Math Is Visual and we should take every opportunity to teach it that way.


This is the last post for #TWIOE in 2017.  I’d like to take the time to thank all of the great Ontario Edubloggers who continue to write and to share their thoughts, learnings, experiences, and inquiries.  Recently, I created an alphabetical listing of all the bloggers who I’ve made reference to in this weekly post.  Check them out here.  https://dougpete.wordpress.com/blog-roll/

Please take the time to support all of these terrific bloggers, by leaving a comment on their blog, sharing their post, or sharing this post.

For this week, make sure that you’re following:

Here’s wishing you a great blogging 2018.

OTR Links 12/29/2017


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

Your own coat of arms


2017 is rapidly coming to an end and Canada 150 with it.

If you’ve been paying attention, there has been so much to learn about our history and culture this past year.  There have been so many events that were positive and also a great deal of learning from our past that not everything has been perfect.  Hopefully, we’ve learned from the past and will be better going forward.

Now, if your family is big into history, you may well have a very complete understanding of your past and you might even have your own Coat of Arms.  I’m thinking that, if you do, you have it engraved on silverware, hung on the wall, and emblazoned on your housecoat.

If you’re like me, you have “none of the above”.  Well, my housecoat has something on it that came when it was purchased…

If you feel like you are missing something historically, then you’ll be excited to know that Global Television has a Coat of Arms generator just for you.  You answer a few questions and one is created.

Here’s mine.

coat-of-arms

Of course, if your mood changes, you can go back in and create a new one.

Want to make your own?

Click the “Get Started” button here.