This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s been a bizarre week of weather.  You can’t count on anything that even resembles spring around here.  We’re the Sun Parlor too!  High of 12 yesterday and the threat of snow now in the forecast.  Geesh.  If you followed the #ECOOcamp hashtag last weekend, you know that I was in Owen Sound where, as Sue Kwiecien said, you could experience everything in Canadian weather just getting to the conference.

Fortunately, we have the consistency of great blogging from Ontario Edubloggers.  Please check out some of the things I read last week.

An Interview with Laura Collins – An Education Leader

I thought my book was a leaf short.  Rather than call the police, I decided to check out David Carruthers’ post.

Based roughly on my interview format (and I had recently interviewed David), he offers an interview with Laura Collins, a person that he met at the recent Ontario Google Summit.

It’s an interesting look inside the professional side of a daycare owner turned Google using educator.  I thank David for doing this.  Without his post, who knows when (or if ever) I would have known about Laura.  Now I know much more.  I wonder if she blogs?

Using the logic of “it’s better to join them than to fight them”, I threw out the suggestion on the The Week in Ontario Edublogs radio show that it would be neat if every Ontario Edublogger took the time to interview just one person and write a post about it.  Imagine how much more we’d know about folks.

Are you in?


As a result of the big ice/rain/snow storm that went through the province, school districts that I’d never heard of closing schools were, in fact, closing schools.

Matthew Oldridge was part of it and decided that it would be a good time to blog and asked others to do the same since they weren’t in the classroom.

Matthew did so himself and based his inspiration on a post of mine which was based on the comments from students in Burlington.  “Where do you get blogging ideas?”

I had to smile at Matthew’s confession about ideas and fish and how sometimes the good ones get away!


Ironically, I saw it as a vicious circle.  Matthew has another interpretation.  Why don’t you click through and see how Matthew gets ideas?  Maybe you’ll be inspired to up your blogging game!

Trials and Tribulations of Gradeless Biology

This is a blog post from a brave person experimenting with changing some of her practice.

The concept is the implementation of something we hear so many talking about but really not doing – going gradeless.

In the post, Amy Szerminska shares a story about a Grade 11 Biology class that she’s teaching and assessing in this manner.  I love this…

“look at their progress and discuss a grade ‘range’ that was reasonable based on what they had shown me so far.”

In the post, Amy uses the word “discomfort” four times.  I can understand the concept; this really is a brave move.  I can see how people would be uncomfortable with the approach.  I think I would be too as both student and teacher.  I hope that she follows up with more details.

Thanks for taking Matthew up on his challenge for blogging on a snow day.

Influence Really is That Important

Sue Dunlop also took to the snow day to do a little blogging.  Leadership is a topic that I have an extreme interest in so I read this post and it inspired a great deal of thinking on my part.

Nicely referenced are a couple of the genre leaders – Dale Carnegie and Steven Covey.  Sue offers a grocery list of attributes that should get you thinking.

Towards the end, she focuses on the concept of “active listening” and what it means and how people have challenges with it.

The best thing I ever did for myself in this area was to take a session on Peer Coaching and then adopt the principles everywhere.  It changed the way that I listen.  It’s also made for some interesting moments when the person speaking looks puzzled that I’m listening rather than interrupting.  Have we become accustomed to expecting it?

Sue speaks of the desire to always “be right” – I wonder – is that a teacher trait?

#ECOOCamp Reflections – Far From Home, Near to Learning

The folks in attendance at the #ECOOcamp in Owen Sound were in the presence of  library, teaching, Mindcrafting, technology innovation royalty when Diana Maliszewski was in the house and presenting.

And learning.

In the post, she takes us through her learning in a unique style – a three point summary and then “So What? Now What?” for each of the sessions that she attended, including the one that she led.  Great learning and ideas.

I attended her session on MovieMaking and she had everyone in the palm of her hand with her stories and the links to so many curriculum ideas.  Green screening never fails to excite either.

When I Disappoint

Every teacher needs to read this post from Eva Thompson.

Sure, everyone puts on a brave facade but we all have our moments.  Eva tells a story about a recent personal event.


You’ll have to read her blog post to see how she handled it.

And, Eva, I had the same ice slipping experience myself.  My hamstring took at least three weeks to get back to normal.  Thanks for being open enough to write this story.

I Don’t Teach Children How to Code, I Teach Children How to Think.

I think that the title from Scott McKenzie says it all.

I wish that we could hear that more.  I suspect that it’s because many teachers are learning to code themselves and haven’t found that position where they’re comfortable enough with the process to look deeper.  It’s understandable; if I was plunked in the middle of teaching French, I’d really have difficulties appreciating the underlying reasons for why students are taking the course.

The one thing we do know is that we have to teach them more about how to think, and less about what to think. I think Computational Thinking and coding should be an important part of that training.

There are a lot of truths in this post that Scott debunks.  I especially appreciate this understanding that Computational Thinking isn’t something new.  And, it isn’t about learning to program in Scratch either!

Nicely done, Scott.

How To Get The Most Out of the Conferences You Attend

Attending a professional learning conference can be an exhausting experience – if you do it right.  In this post, Jon Orr shares his advice.

In four easy steps.

  • Build Your Community

  • Be Picky
  • Check Out The Goods
  • One New Thing

That’s great advice.  The second one is a challenge for me – picking picky.  Sometimes, I can be too picky.  One thing that works for me is to study, not look at, but really study the program in advance of the event and make a schedule for myself in my calendar and have my phone remind me of each session.  Most of the time I even follow it!

You’ll have to click through and get the best of advice from Jon.

What a great collection of blog posts.  I really like them and yes, I read them in their entirety.  At least twice; first to add to my curation for the week and the second when I’m writing this post.  I always find something new and valuable so thanks to these wonderful bloggers.  Please click through and enjoy their original post.

Then, make sure that you’re getting the latest from them by following them on Twitter.

OTR Links 04/20/2018

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