This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Settle back and get ready for some great thoughts from Ontario Edubloggers.  There’s always some great insights and inspiration to push your thinking.

What makes a difference in learning (from students)

There are lots of posts that are like this.  At times, you have to take the author’s word that the data is legitimate but you can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a bias from the author.

In this case, we have Jennifer Casa-Todd talking to and getting feedback from some Grade 12 students.  I like her sample; these would be students who have run the entire educational gamut from kindergarten to Grade 12.  As graduating students, it’s unlikely that they have an axe to grind – that’s what ratemyteachers is for.  And, who could be anything but truthful to Jennifer?

She highlights four points as a result of her conversations.

I thought the order was interesting and telling.  The two points in the middle I associate with the interpersonal relationship between student and teacher.  The outside bookends speak to the professional approach by the teacher.

Is there something in there that could inspire your approach to teaching?

Bonus value – in the body of the post, Jennifer links to a post with some interesting interactive activities that just might help you close out June.

Moving Innovation Over the Chasm

By design, perhaps, but there’s a graphic in this post from David Carruthers that is backward to my usual thinking about the Adoption Curve.

Maybe it’s this design or perhaps it’s because there’s even more detail in the graphic than normal but I found myself lingering on it and trying to understand the message.  It also helps by actually plotting where “The Tipping Point” might actually be.  We’ve heard so much about it but I thought it was interesting to see it in context with a bigger message.

Mental note – I need to make graphics to summarize things more like Jennifer and David do.

In addition to the Adoption Curve, I really, really appreciate the discussion about the difference of the terms “learning” and “training”.  People who know me have heard me say many times that you train dogs, not teachers.  There’s nothing that grinds my gears more than the expression “teacher training”.

  • SIT, kindergarten teachers
  • ROLL OVER, English teachers
  • SHAKE A PAW, Art teachers

See?  It just doesn’t work.

As a central office person, it comes through in David’s philosophy.  If you’re not out in schools working along side teachers in their classes supporting their learning, you may be at your desk planning the next great teacher training session.

Janes’s Walks

As Stepan Pruchnicky notes, Janes’s Walks in education are typically done in May although when you think about things as he notes in the post, you may be asking why.


This was so timely because last weekend was the Garden Tour here in town and they did this.  (They also had big signs to mark the path and the stops)  The route was also crafted to get you to see most of the place even if it wasn’t a stop on the tour.

What makes Stepan’s post different though is that he takes us through the Ontario Curriculum and identifies expectations that could be addressed with the activity.

And, the more you think about it, the more you’re going to ask “Why just May?”

Reflection: Assessing Student Portfolios

Amy Szerminska promises that there will be a post to follow up with this video where she shares her thoughts about assessment and the comments to the video get into a philosophical piece about marking.

In our digital world, why wouldn’t people use video feedback to help assess student work more?  It’s certainly easier and I suspect quicker than typing a formal response.  As noted, it makes the feedback more human and nicely reinforces the notion that this teacher is progressive and moving along, embracing all that technology has to offer.

Put on the spot, Amy promises to do a followup explaining just how she does all this for others who want to follow her lead.


Class lists – Reframing ‘that’ child

I don’t ever recall going through the scenario that Lisa Cranston describes in this post.  But, I assume that’s because of what I taught.  Read on.

It’s all about the creation of class lists which, in my case, was all done by computer.  If you wanted Computer Science or Data Processing, you were just plunked in Mr. Peterson’s class.  There was no Plan B.  So the concept of negotiation and the discussion about students and perhaps “that child” never happened for me.

As I read Lisa’s post though, I wondered about a couple of things.

  1. Was *I* “that child”?  What did my teachers say about me?  My mom was an excellent baker and would often send things in so maybe I had that going for me.
  2. I do know, from experience, that it works in the opposite direction.  In elementary schools, we used to get report cards at the end of year with a note that we were promoted and who our teacher would be in the fall.  I do remember being promoted to Mrs. XXX’s class and she had the reputation of using the strap to keep things under control.  Worst.  Summer.  Ever.

Despite my ramblings, Lisa’s post is worthy for everyone to read.  While there are undoubtedly discussions that need to happen to prepare class lists, the discussion should always be professional.

Feeling Stressed, Feeling Loved

If you want to feel tired in a hurry, read this post from Diana Maliszewski.  I was ready for a nap by the time I got to the end of the second paragraph as she outlined all of the things that she was involved with.

It was nice to see that she was recognized by her colleagues through the OSLA.  I’ve never had a cake with my face on it so I’m jealous.  Congratulations, Diana.  I’m also feeling pretty good in recognizing at least some of the faces in the group picture.

This phrase from Diana’s post caught my attention…

Your caring fuels me

Is there someone in your circles that needs to be shown some caring?  It’s a busy time of year but let’s not lose sight of the fact that there are awesome people doing awesome things that most certainly go above and beyond.

Like Diana.

User Experience – Communication

If you’re feeling pretty comfortable about yourself and your communication, this post from Joan Vinall-Cox might just shake you up.  I think it’s particularly important as people who had proposals selected for the #BIT18 conference begin their preparations.

The next step  seems obvious, but it’s ignored by so many people. Is the font comfortable and attractive for them to read? Is your voice easy for them to hear? People trying to read fonts that are too big or too small, too fancy or not a good match for the message, lose the message. They stop reading. They tell themselves (and others) that it’s boring. Before you even get started, you’ve lost your audience.

Beyond the formal presentation, what about other things that you create and publish for public consumption?  Joan’s got me thinking about my own blogging efforts.  One of the advantages of blogging regularly is the ability to try out different things.  I do it for readers to garner interest but I also do it myself to see if I can push myself further.  Do I do enough though?  I’ve got to work my way through that.

Take a good long read and wonder with Joan’s post.  It may be exactly what you need to shift things a bit.

I hope that you have time today to go through and read each of these posts in their entirety.  As always, there are great stories and reflections to be had.

Some blog posts end up being discussed with Stephen Hurley and myself on voicEdRadio.  (  Join us there Wednesday mornings at 9:15, on the show rebroadcast throughout the week, or in the archives. (

Finally, make these Twitter accounts part of your regular learning network.

OTR Links 06/15/2018

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