This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Can you believe that we’re almost at the end of January?  Around here, we had a high of 11.5 degrees after suffering through some of the coldest weather.  Today, we’re back well below zero again.

How’s that for a lead-in to the first post as I take a look at great things from Ontario Edubloggers over the past while?

Oh, those pesky bugs!

It’s not often that you see someone come out and admit to being Patient Zero.  But, that’s what Ramona Meharg does in this post!

I know that, around here, the news is reporting that the hospitals are well over 100% occupancy with the latest round of the flu putting things over the top.

But, it’s only a teacher that could stop coughing and spitting at their computer screen long enough to blog about it and try to turn viruses into something positive.

Driving home on Friday, after having to send two more students home midway through the day with flu symptoms, I got to thinking, it’s too bad I couldn’t viralize other things to infect them with. I mean, wouldn’t it be great if I could infect them with a love of reading or learning in general? I’d love to give them a bug that would get them to believe in themselves and their abilities, instead of listening to the negative comments of others, or their own negative self talk. What if I could infect them with resilience, so that they could take the lemons life hands them and make the most refreshing lemonade out of them every time? How about a virus that reminds them to be kind to each other, at every opportunity, in every exchange? Or a bug that gives them the courage to take risks, to try new things, to be open to new experiences? I really should have paid more attention in Chemistry and Biology class – I might have gained the ability to create these “super-bugs.”

I feel like a lesser person.  I don’t think I ever had thoughts like that when I was driving home sick.

Looking BACK to Look FORWARD.

Peter Cameron had me hooked in the introduction to this blog post – it’s really a letter to his students – when he addressed them like this:

Dear Difference Makers

Yes, in Mr. Cameron’s class, you are indeed a somebody.

Peter describes to us an exercise where the students reflect back on the fall and what they’ve accomplished in class with a look to planning for the future.  It’s all documented in their Writer’s Notebook.

He even includes a number of images to jog student memories.  In the post, he honours the pathes that the students have taken and acknowledges that it hasn’t been the same or easy for everyone.

If you steal only one educational idea today, make it this one.

Do Kids See With Their Hands?

It’s an interesting question that Aviva Dunsiger asks.

Literally, the answer would be no, they don’t see with their hands.

But, change the question just a bit.

Do Kids See the Big Picture When They Use their Hands?

Then, I’d say the answer would be yes, undoubtedly.  We have five senses (some argue of a sixth) and why wouldn’t students be able to use them all to fully understand a situation.

The only time I can recall not being able to use all my senses was in a science experiment in elementary school where we could reach into a paper bag and could only feel what we could touch inside and had to describe it.

We’d be less understanding of our world if we couldn’t use all our senses.


In a longish string of One Words for 2018, Will Gourley offers “Better”.  To support his choice of a word, he includes some very nice descriptions.

Whether written, spoken, or withheld on purpose my words will be better in 2018.
They will edify not nullify.
They will appreciate not devastate.
They will lead not supersede.

It’s nicely done but what makes this approach unique to me is that he offers a way to quantify “better”.

It’s just a matter of being 1% better every day.

I wonder if you would even realize it when someone is 1% kinder from one day to the next, but after a month 30% increase would be difficult to ignore.

The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health in the World of Education

Paul McGuire offers an insight that many of us have never seen.  It’s from his position as a former administrator and he says that he has often viewed mental health issues – teachers, students, parents.

I easily saw more people in distress as an administrator than I ever saw as a counsellor. At least I knew what these people were going through. Most administrators do not and that is not a good situation.

It’s a telling observation.  I can’t believe that Paul is alone.  What’s disturbing is that the system doesn’t prepare him for this.

As luck would have it, Lisa Noble had blogged about an initiative in her district on this very topic.  Is this enough?

Compromise, Crisis and Collaboration

From The Beast Blog, comes a discussion inspired by the actions of Sarah Silverman earlier this year.

There are some great questions and discussions in this back and forth between Andrea  and Kelly

  • What happens when we bump into someone who is absolute in their beliefs and they don’t buy what we are selling?
  • Is the purpose of learning to come to a consensus?
  • Can you purposely enter a crisis with someone you don’t trust?

How would you answer those questions? – then click through and see how their discussion went.

Encourage Parents to Read with their Children During Family Literacy Month

From the Toronto District School Board Professional Library comes this reminder.

Family Literacy Day is celebrated every year on January 27th to promote the important role parents can play in fostering their children’s literacy skills and encouraging a love of lifelong learning for the whole family.

The site provides a place for both parents and students to submit book reviews.

It seems to me that this would be an exciting option for all school districts to offer.

As always, I hope that you do take the time to click through and read each of these original blog posts.

There’s so much there to help you grow professionally.

Way to go, Ontario Edubloggers.

Inspired by the above?  Here are some great educators to add to your learning network:

OTR Links 01/26/2018

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