Some fun

Sheila Stewart’s post that I included in yesterday’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs post about 45 LPs got me smiling.  I enjoyed looking at her cataloguing system for songs.  But, it was her reference to Melanie’s song “Brand New Key” that got me reminiscing.  Maybe this should be a Sunday post.

Anyway, I started to think of music that I’d read about being banned in places, including “Brand New Key”.  What a great idea for a blog post, I thought.

Musicians have always had messages hidden in their song – or at least perceived by others as hidden messages (listen to John Lennon).  It’s certainly different with some of today’s music where things can be very explicit at times.  I decided to pull in a few of my favourite songs that had issues in some places!

Bring back any memories for you?

Do you remember why they were banned?

What would be the response if that was done today?

Thanks, Sheila!

OTR Links 03/31/2018

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Why yes.  Yes, you should read these blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.

Not only will you be smarter and more informed, they’ll get a bump in the number of hits on their post and, if you decide to follow them, they’ll be more inspired to continue blogging.

And I’ll have something to blog about for Fridays.

Everyone wins.

Can Public School Boards Discriminate?

There was a time when Catholic school boards were separate and named as such.  With the extension of government funding to the end of Grade 12, they are now able to offer a complete program of studies for students.

In this post, Paul McGuire talks about the difference between “Catholic dollars” and “Public Money” inspired by the recent decision made by the Halton Catholic District School Board with respect to fund raising.

How can a publically funded organization be allowed to discriminate against well-established charities and non-profits? This certainly calls into question why Ontario still funds Catholic schools.

It’s an interesting opinion analysis that will get your thinking about what public money really means.  And, if you have some to spare, you can buy this 24 page $250 book.

Will this be an issue in the upcoming Ontario election?

Reframing Vacations: Can Learning Only Happen At School?

One of the questions that teachers often get comes from parents wishing to pull their child from school for a holiday, religious, or a myriad of other reasons.

My child will be off school for ## days for ########.  Will they miss anything?

You open a can of worms if you answer in the negative.

There are a wide variety of official stances on this and every teacher should know them by heart.  Or, if you don’t have your board manual handy, then ask your principal.

Aviva Dunsiger takes a reflective and positive look at this situation.  It will happen to everyone so be prepared to answer.  But, really, are we so self-important to think that learning only happens in our classes?  What about trips to museums, art galleries, etc. while the student is away?

She offers a nice discussion about this including examples about how a student used Facetime from a remote location to stay connected to classmates.

Here’s an idea to start working on right now for those moments.

What if we provided parents with a list of possible experiences for their trips (e.g., going on a walk in the community, visiting buildings in the community, looking at houses in the neighbourhood, etc.)?


As a blogger, I often wonder if anyone even reads the things that I write.  It’s OK if people do; it’s OK if people don’t.  I just enjoy putting my thoughts to a post.

Sheila Stewart reads my blog!  In fact, she jumps in regularly on Sundays when I do my “Whatever happened to …” series.  She’s been good enough to even offer suggestions for topics.  I’d never have thought of carousels.

One of the topics that I haven’t addressed was the inspiration for this post – 45 rpm records.  Idea for mathematics or making – investigate what 33, 45, 78 actually means and how turntables work.

She shares her thoughts about her collection of 45s, including how she documented the contents.


Thanks, Sheila.  You had some great singles in there.

Two pieces of additional learning from me.  Who knew that there would be a website devoted to those thingies that went into the middle of a 45 so that you could play them on a regular turntable?  It brings about a question of design, doesn’t it?

Plus, a song I hadn’t heard for years and years.  Click to play.  Awesome!

Math Class Reboot

From Peter Cameron, this should find its way into any workshop on the teaching of mathematics, Faculty of Education classes, and reading for new or experienced teachers as inspiration for evolving in the profession of mathematics teacher.

In the beginning of our time teaching, we definitely are influenced by how we were taught and possibly from practicum placements.  Can you identify with:

Teach, memorize, drill. Teach, memorize, drill. Homework. REPEAT!

Peter includes a really nice graphic that summaries his evolution in the teaching of mathematics.

Thanks, Peter.

The graphic is nice but really doesn’t do justice to the meat in the body of this post.  You do need to set aside some time and visit to read his complete explanation.

Critical Literacy and the Internet

Who hasn’t turned on the news to find stories about fake news, read about resources that provide half-truths, or to get an appreciation about how web developers can infuence their reading audience?

This is a wonderful post from Deborah McCallum that lays the ground work for trying to understand just what is possible.  It’s easy to study the Pacific Tree Octopus and recognize that the truth value just isn’t there.  I have a curation of resources that I call “Sites that should make you go Hmmm“.

Critical Literacy is more important than ever.  The Pacific Tree Octopus was just an easy example to use to talk about the possibility that not everything on the Internet is true.  There are more sophisticated tricks in play these day and Deborah identifies them as “cloaked websites”.  It’s good reading.

With an election happening in Ontario later this spring, there will be legitimate news sources (and probably will be some not so legitimate).  How will students know what to read and how to understand things?

Curation – a call to action

Advice from Helen DeWaard…

Curation is NOT collecting.

Well, that was easy.  I’ll bet you feel bad about your collection (hoarding) habits.

Curation means getting the best of the best.  When you find something new or updated, it means getting rid of the old and outdated.

She even extends her thoughts into another blog post.

Like Helen, there was a time when I curated for others.  I’ll be honest; it was a great deal of hard work but so well worth it.  In my case, the entire courses I was teaching were online.  I wanted to have the best of the best resources for the lesson being taught.  Unlike traditional ways of using resources, these can go bad in a hurry.  It really is work.

But, so worthwhile.  I used this blog post as an opportunity to check my links about Critical Literacy and even added Deborah’s excellent post to it.

Party On (Outlook), Garth!

I like this post from Cal Armstrong.  I do use the web version of Outlook rather than a local client and so the suggestion here about scheduling is directly applicable to me.

I know that many people use Doodle as a tool to get multiple people on the same page for a meeting.

In this post, Cal shows how you can achieve the same results by using the polling feature built right into Outlook.

Once everyone has voted (you’ll be updated as they are) – or you’re ready to make the decision, click on any of the HOLD calendar entries in your Calendar (again — gotta be in online Outlook) and you will be able to choose the decided-upon time and email everyone.

Beyond Words: A 39,000 step journey navigating disappointment+failure

Thanks to Lisa Noble for nominating this post to appear in This Week in Ontario Edublogs.  She claims that she didn’t do it just because she is identified in the post ….

It’s a story of a 30km run around the bay in Hamilton.  I can’t even imagine it.

Ruthie Sloan describes how she took place.  I love how she breaks down her thoughts at various distances during the event.  Even more interesting is attaching people to those thoughts!

…. What I discovered at 16km (and till crossing the 30km mark) was my mental palace was full of my PLN- These are the stories/moments that got me to the finish line….

OK, aren’t you glad that you hung on to the end?

What a terrific collection of thinking and I just know that you’re a bit smarter for the reading.

Please take a moment to click through and enjoy all of these great posts.

Then, make sure that you’re following these great Ontario Edubloggers.

OTR Links 03/30/2018

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

Is Apple playing catch up?

My reading feed was just full of information about the big educational announcement from Apple’s event in Chicago yesterday.  These are the sorts of things that get me excited.  I like to see what the future will bring.

I’ll admit to being disappointed.

On a personal note, I have a four year old MacBook Pro that I’d like to consider replacing.  I did replace the hard drive with an SSD last summer and that has really breathed life into it.  I was frustrated that my old hard drive had nothing wrong with it; it turns out the ribbon cable had been the subject of a recall but I never got the notice.  Well, at least I now have a hard drive backup.  Once you’ve experienced SSD, you never go back.  But, there was no announcement about a new Pro.  I’m not terribly interested in the high price of a MacBook Air.

My crystal ball was foggy, I’ll admit.  I look at the trends towards Chromebooks and lesser priced versions of Window computers and I honestly thought that there would be some form of MacBook-ish device that would have fallen into that price point.  And, it needs ports for legacy devices that schools have purchased over the years.  Lots of ports.  If Samsung, Acer, Asus, Lenovo, etc. could do it, why couldn’t Apple?  But they didn’t so I moved on to what they actually did announce.

I was particularly interested in the new, “affordable” iPad.  My iPad2 has certainly served me well.  So, checking out the Apple Canada Store, the entry level unit comes in at $429.  To that, the big deal about the new iPad is the Pencil to go with.  It’s priced at $129.  You’ll need a case to keep it safe – I remember being excited about my iPad2 in the beginning but I need to have a keyboard to be most productive for everything I do.  I remember being with my friend Zoe bemoaning the same thing and the two of us went to BestBuy together and bought a Kensington bluetooth keyboard.  Fortunately, it encases the iPad so I didn’t have to buy an additional case to protect against drops.  By the time you add it up what this new offering would be, “affordable” takes on a new meaning.  Of course, if you’re an educational institution, you do get a bit of a discount.  In today’s market place, you can get a pretty respectable Chromebook or Windows computer for that amount of cash.  Some units even flip around so that you have both a laptop and a tablet.

Another thing that sounded exciting was Everyone Can Create.   That seems to me to be right up Apple’s alley.  The selling point for Apple products has always been about doing artistic things with their devices.  Now, a new and free curriculum becomes available.  For education, this really misses the mark – at least for the 2018-19 school year.  According to the website, it will be available this fall.  I would have thought that the best possible marketing option would be to have it available this spring, or at least in time for the ISTE conference, so that summer workshops and learning opportunities could gear up the base for September.  Time will tell whether or not this makes an impact.  The highlights – Video, Music, Drawing, and Photography were once right in Apple’s wheelhouse.  Other options have been developed for the web that address these things very nicely.  Will the new iPad and Pencil make such an impact that it will change things?  It looks like Apple is predicting that it will with 200GB of storage made available per user.

Schoolwork makes the promise of being Apple’s contribution to the Learning Management System community.  How will this be adopted?  Handin and Handout and application control have been a big part of fully implemented systems that have been in place for years.  The feature list could be describing G Suite for Education or OneNote.  What will make this so outstanding that a school district would change its technology implementation plans to incorporate this?  I do like the fact that Apple has explicitly talked about Privacy in its presentation about management of student accounts.

In the learning to code field, there’s Swift Playgrounds.  It comes with a great deal of hype and promise.  But, is it late to the party?  The educational world seems to have poured all their energies in other areas – Scratch being the big one that comes to mind.  Can a downloaded standalone application win over those who have become reliant on a web-based sharing and remixing environment?

In the education sphere, Apple has been criticized for being quiet and not stepping up and pushing things forward.   With these announcements, I don’t see the push that I would have expected.  In many ways, it looks like playing catch up.  I hope that I’m wrong and that we’re going to experience a big step forward.  At this point, I just don’t see it.