doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

One more day.  What do you have planned?  I know that the official word is that it’s just another school day with classes that are just as important as any other day.  It’s difficult to keep focused on that mindset with the half-class that does show up focusing on the clock.  And, any time you try to encourage a focus on work, you get compare to the Grinch.

It will end and then it’s time to recharge.

How about recharging professionally with a look at some blog posts from Ontario Educators?

The Power of Words

Like Lisa Cranston, I thought that there was some sort of joke happening when this news came out

As I was scrolling through Twitter this morning, I read the news that Trump has banned the CDC from using seven words in any upcoming briefs for the budget.

The seven words are now available anywhere, including in Lisa’s post, if you are interested in knowing what they are.

Lisa wears her heart on her sleeve in this post and also makes very interesting connections to a novel that we all read in school – 1984.

If you’re old enough, there was another seven words list – this time George Carlin and his list of seven words that you can’t say on television.  It’s a far less serious list.

So Many Silver Linings

If you ever want to read a post that will confirm that you’re doing the right things with social media and all the things that that entails, this one from Lynn Thomas is perfect for you.

She describes a trip into social media – as a late comer to the party – and now she’s throwing parties.  Well, at least a TeachMeet.

It’s great to hear of the connections that she’s made and she takes the time to show how sharing happens in her world.  What’s interesting to me is that, while there are so many posts about how to do these things in the Google world, it’s more difficult to find quality posts in the Microsoft world that don’t come directly from a Microsoft site.

If you’re an Office 365 user, there just might be a tip or two in her post for you.

Thoughts on the Future of Education

Joel McLean offers a lengthy post about his thoughts about where education is headed.  The post is actually broken down by four concepts.

  • Competency-Based Learning, Not Content-Based Learning
  • Developing Transferable Skills
  • Globalization, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Critical Thinking
  • Deep Learning

There’s lots to think about here.  For example, years ago, I used to teach swimming lessons.  There’s an incredible amount of content that goes into making those skills happen.  But, that wasn’t tested until later.  In the first years, it was important to demonstrate that you could swim.  I’m sure that you can think of your own examples.  Why don’t they translate into the classroom?

Joel has written a lengthy post but concludes nicely …

So what will the future of education look like? I’m not entirely sure, but I do hope it will look like real life.

1 + 1 = 3

Sometimes, I’m just drawn in by a good title and that was the case with this post from Sylvain Lacasse.

A probing question or two – why?  And who told you?

The post builds on the notion of mindset and just accepting facts as facts without questioning or probing further.  Then, he takes us to 1 + 1 = 4 and a solution that explains why it is.

Comme leaders en éducation, nous devons réfléchir à nos erreurs et transformer l’expérience d’apprentissage pour nous et pour nos élèves. C’est notre responsabilité, notre “shared leadership”. Nous devons ajuster quotidiennement nos stratégies et prendre le temps d’écouter les conseils des autres.

There is a good message here for leadership.  You may find yourself asking some interesting new questions.

Dot Paper Generator


See those dots above?  If you teach mathematics, science, or anything that requires dot paper, where do you get your originals?

Brandon Grasley is giving away for the simple task of a download of a Java program in this blog post.  Imagine having a perfect copy that could be duplicated rather than some black line master that’s been duplicated a million times.  Or, since the resulting image is a PNG file, you could doctor it up to your own taste.  Or, even better, could you remix his program?

What would happen if more people shared and gave away their intellectual property like this?

#HourOfCode and Coding Buddies

Posted to the ECOO blog and cross-posted to her own Makerspace Blog, Adele Stanfield shares a wonderful story that all schools need to hear.

Despite all the hubbub about coding, there are so many classrooms that don’t get a chance to participate for a variety of reasons.  If one of those reasons is the lack of experts in your school, then Adele has you covered.

Grow your own.

Her class had already teamed up with another for Reading Buddies so Coding Buddies was a natural for them.

In the post, she describes how everyone, including her students, learned from the experience.  And, it sounds like there is now increased buy-in from other teachers in the school.

It took the stress off the teachers. Because I promised the teachers they did not need to know how to use the app, the intimidation aspect diminished. And once they saw how engaged their students were, they started asking questions. “How can I use this regularly in my classroom?” “Can I assess this?” “Will they be able to use it independently?” It opened the door in an informal, low-anxiety way.

The post is rich with suggestions and observations.  Check it out.

How Much Can You Care?

This is a blog post that every educator should sit down and write.  Sue Dunlop did it first though and really opens up about her thoughts of education and teachers and I think she could extend her list well into all those in the profession.  How much can you care?

I’ve seen educators go above and beyond hundreds of times. I know educators who cry for their students after the day is over and who wonder what else they can do to reach that child whose life is difficult and whose behaviour is so challenging. I’ve had conversations where educators fight against their own biases to understand the perspectives of students who may not be like them. I truly believe that this is the work of education. We have to care or our jobs become meaningless.

Everyone has their limits.  How do you know when you’re approaching or are at it.  How do we handle it?

More than any profession, teachers are exposed to so many different challenges constantly.  That’s just during the working hours; what about the personal that happens once you get home?

There isn’t anyone in the profession that shouldn’t sit down, ask the question, and write that post.  Sue did and modelled it nicely.

How’s that for an inspirational collection of thinking from Ontario Edubloggers?  Please check them all out and read the complete original posts.  There’s a lot of great thinking happening.

Don’t forget to also check out the complete list of Ontario Edubloggers here.  And speaking of complete lists, did you know that you can access all of the Friday “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” posts here?

Expand your PLN!  Follow these folks on Twitter.

You’ll be glad you did!


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