This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Happy February and Groundhog Day (updated)…

For this Huron County boy, there only is one weather predictor – Wiarton Willie.  But I understand there are others.

While you wait for the sun to rise, check out these posts from Ontario Edubloggers.  I usually refer to this link but I also keep a Scoopit collection here.  I refer to that because


It’s now at a gold level.  That’s a lot of blogging.  Way to go, folks.

I’m sorry, but the world needs more real apologizing

Heather Swail has an interesting take and insight on a Canadian trait – being nice.  I mean, who among us hasn’t apologized without any real need?  I smile when I think of a lady who wasn’t paying attention at the store the other day and ran her grocery cart into me.   I apologized to her.

What can I say?  I was raised to be polite.

Heather’s take is that an apology should be …

A real heartfelt – not intellectually or strategically manufactured – apology involves reflection and thought on the part of the apologizer.

My action, I guess, could best be described as a reflex action.

We know that learned behaviours can be modified.  Is the reflex on my part worth the time and training that would be needed or is there a problem with being overly apologetic?

A $50 Million Gift Horse

This post, by Anne Shillolo is actually a copy of an email that she wrote to the Minister of Innovation with respect to the $50 million that has been allocated to the CanCode project.

The CanCode program will invest $50 million over two years, starting in 2017-18, to support initiatives providing educational opportunities for coding and digital skills development to Canadian youth from kindergarten to grade 12 (K-12). It also supports initiatives that provide K-12 teachers with the training and professional development they need to introduce digital skills, coding and related concepts into the classroom.

Anne correctly identifies the lay of the land, at least here in Ontario.

  • Not enough young women in technology,
  • Not enough computer science (CS) teachers in Ontario,
  • Most teachers’ colleges are no longer training CS teachers,
  • Teacher candidates are not choosing CS as a teachable.
  • High school CS and engineering courses are not offered province wide.

Then, she proceeds to share her thoughts about outsourcing professional development for teachers.  It’s a letter that will get you thinking.

The CanCode details can be found here and the list of winning companies here.

Precarious Absences – The impact of teacher intervention truancy systems

Deborah Weston tagged me in the announcement of the release of this post.

It’s a standing joke in the educational profession that it’s easier to come to work sick than to plan lessons for someone else to teach while you are under the weather.  Creating lessons is difficult enough when you’re healthy.  Being sick makes it even more difficult.

I see you nodding your head.  We’ve all said that.

Yet, there are times when you have to take time off.  It’s very seldom to get a doctor’s appointment in other than school hours.  Society generally likes people working from 8-5.

Now, I like a computer to do all kinds of administrative things for me as much as the next person.  Deborah talks about teacher truancy systems that track days off and then performs some sort of action for excessive time off.

As Deborah notes, it does cast a wide net.  Wouldn’t the principal of a school be in a better position of knowing if someone is potentially taking advantage of days off?

In the bigger scheme of things, the days are laid out as a matter in a collective agreement.  At what point does this become a violation of that agreement?

ok go

For the record, I don’t own a Google Home device.  But, I do have an Android phone with the Google Assistance installed and I’ll admit that it’s darn handy at times to just ask a question and get Google to try and respond with a a useful suggestion.

I’ve even trained Google to know that my dog’s name is Jaimie.  It was just a case of fooling around, asking Google…

“What’s my dog’s name?”

And the first time, Google didn’t know.  So, I taught it.

Now, when I ask “What’s my dog’s name?”, Google will respond correctly.

Chris Cluff shares a combo blog post, podcast with Chad Reay about Google Home.  Both the blog post and the podcast are entertaining and insightful.  I recommend both.

As for Google Home, my son got one for Christmas and we did have some fun with it.  But, when you put your tinfoil beanie on, you do realize that it’s listening all the time waiting for you to say “Hey, Google”.

The podcast did get me thinking about whether or not it is a welcome member of the household or classroom.  What do you think?

The Essential Catchall

When I read the title for this post by Tim King, I didn’t know what to expect.

It turns out, he’s reflecting on his teaching of an Essentials class.  This post is a powerful look inside the classroom and shares with us just how students end up in this course.  With Tim’s description, it’s quite obvious that a course geared for a particular type of student certainly takes a turn for the worse when it becomes a catchall.


I found Tim’s description quite disturbing.

I would have thought if anyone could reach out and design a course to engage students, it would be him.  He embraces technology and learning at an inspiring level.  And yet, he reports that equipment in his shop gets broken.

You can’t help but speculate that success would only be achieved if the catchall philosophy is abandoned and student needs become paramount rather than the current reality.

Taking the step: Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces in my mathematics classroom

When you close a blog post with

The richness of the mathematics and the thinking that resulted from it was well-worth the challenges though. Moving forward we will use this strategy for some logic puzzles and number challenges, and then transition into specific curriculum content.

you know that you’re onto something good.

Melissa Dean’s post is interesting and got me thinking just about “how” we do mathematics.  Typically, it’s done by yourself flat on a desktop.  After all, the school board paid a lot for those desks.

Occasionally, you get called to write your solution to a problem on the black/white/green board in the classroom.  It’s different; you’re writing in a different direction but you now have a potential audience looking at your work.  She describes a problem solving situation that involves a triad and the role of the scribe.  (You have to read her post to see why I used that word!)

What I think is particularly noteworthy is for her to step back and view the students as mathematicians.  This whole activity is certainly worth trying out in your classroom.

Knowledgehook Math PLC Planning Tool

Kyle Pearce takes us through a very thorough walkthrough of the Knowledgehook PLC tool.

The product is made by a Kitchener based company and claims a few Ontario school boards already as clients.


It’s an interesting walkthrough with Kyle’s comments as your guide to what’s happening on the screen captures that he shares.

Clicking through Kyle’s post takes you to the Knowledgehook website where there are a number of mathematics tools running the gamut from free with a few features to a subscription model with much more utility.

In case you missed it, I had a chance earlier this week to interview Helen DeWaard.

Thanks for sticking with this post to get to the bottom!  I hope that you’ll click through and read the original posts in all their glory.  There’s lots there for learning and reflection.

And, don’t forget to add these bloggers to your learning network.

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