This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Happy Friday!

Get inspired by reading some blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.  They’re guaranteed to get you thinking.  That’s always a good thing.


Turbulence

I originally thought that this was going to be another #OneWordONT post.  And, it probably could be.  However, Anne Marie Luce lets us know that it’s a 13 hour flight from Beijing to Toronto – that’s plenty of time to experience turbulence.

She likens it to the turbulence that she’s hearing about in Ontario Schools.

  • Not enough supply teachers
  • Staff on stress leave
  • Mental health needs and lack of resources
  • Pressure to improve learning

It makes you wonder what the pilot is doing behind that locked door.


Feedback

Another one word title, this time from Deborah McCallum.

I like how she discusses “feedback” and “assessment” in the same paragraph.  She correctly identifies that if feedback only appears on assessment, it’s missed the point.  Feedback should be given early in the learning process so that it can have a positive impact on the assessment.

There’s a great section devoted to misconceptions and suggestions for implementation.

She also makes available “Feedback Dice for Problem Solving” freely available to download and use.

Do you see a purpose for these in your classroom?


It’s “check-in” time

From Lisa Noble, this was a timely piece of advice during the recent cold snap.  It’s tough to remember, given the warm weather that we’ve experienced this week but you know it won’t last.

Do you check in on neighbours who might be affected by the weather?

Then, Lisa reminds us that they may not be the only ones who are affected by things over the holidays.  How about those students that are returning to your classroom?  We all know that everyone’s holidays are different.  Some may have enjoyed Santa in Florida and had a great time.

They’re not representative of 100% of the students in your class.

Everyone should feel welcome, valued, and know that their presence is appreciated.  Check in with everyone – meaningfully.


Interrupt Yourself

OK, here’s finally a post about a “one word” for 2018 – from Terry Greene.

It might well be advice for everyone to consider.  Most of the words that have been chosen have been high energy, high action – in this case Terry uses advice from cows.

Pause.

In a fast moving world, this may well be the best advice for everyone.  We can’t all “stop the train, I want to get off”, but we can pause to think and reflect.  Is your train on the right track, headed in the direction it should?  Are you even on the right train?

Just like the cows in the photo.

A good idea worth doing?

I guess I don’t have an answer to Benjamin’s question “what should give educator’s pause?” other than to say, “Good idea! Let’s pause.”


Advice for coaches

Best advice that I ever got when I moved to work from the board office.

Don’t ever say – “I’m from the board office and I’m here to help you.”

Being a coach is a tough gig.  If you think a teaching load of students is challenging, try a coaching load of all the teachers in your charge.

In this post, Jen Giffen put out a feeler on Twitter for advice about coaching and got some great results, which she summaries in this post.

coach


Content Curation: A necessary skill for today’s learners

Check out the image below, courtesy of Jennifer Casa-Todd.

We’re all curators.

Some of us are hoarders.

There are so many competencies that can be addressed by learners – students and teachers alike.  The notion is changing – I can remember when research was summarily rejected when you quote from Wikipedia, for example.

Now, we recognize that there is so much “stuff” available and previous looked down upon sources are now credible.

The real skill becomes how to digest and use it.  And, to cull the information that has been updated by better content.

In fact, good curation skills are the ultimate skill to protect against the “fake news” that is everywhere.  You don’t even have to look hard to find that stuff anymore.


Sitting Down, Side by Side

This post from Helen DeWaard could be a lesson for parent, teaching, coaching, living with a partner, working, …

The deepest conversations I have with my children happen in the enclosed space of the car, while driving from place to place. I will quickly offer to drive them anywhere just so we can have ‘car-talk-time’.

In the classroom, consider the most productive and effective moments.

  • Is it standing at the front of the room flipping through a Powerpoint presentation?
  • Is it wandering around watching groups interact?
  • Is it sitting next to a student talking about the learning?

Helen’s discussion about travel and positioning may just have you thinking about things differently.  Time is so precious; what can you do to make it the most productive it can be?


Please take a moment to click through and read these original posts.  As always, there are some absolutely great pieces of thinking done by the authors.  Why not benefit from it?

And, when you’re done, make sure that you’re following these people.  Expand your network of great learners.

The entire collection of posts from “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” which appears every Friday can be found here.

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