This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to the last Friday in August.  This summer, This Week in Ontario Edublogs had a guest for each show on voicEd Radio.  I’d like to thank the following and you can click any of these to enjoy their show.

It was a real hoot to have these people engage with some of the best from Ontario Edubloggers.  It only made sense to include a blog post from each of them. Of course, a special thanks to Stephen Hurley for allowing me to engage in this flight of fancy.

For your Friday, here are some wonderful posts from the past while.


MEMORIZATION VS. AUTOMATICITY: BACK TO BASICS OR BEYOND THE BASICS?

I had previously shared this blog post from Kyle Pearce.  First thing on Wednesday morning, Aviva Dunsiger reminded me of that fact!

But, having a teacher-librarian like Diana Maliszewski on the radio show, there were a couple of questions that I wanted to ask her.

  1. We’re all aware of the move and talk about going “back to the basics”.  I wanted to hear Diana’s thoughts about why the same logic doesn’t apply to school libraries.  After all, if today’s mathematics classroom is different, most assuredly today’s school libraries have changed.  The answer?  Because EQAO gives measurable results.
  2. Since a teacher-librarian sees students in all grades, I was curious to hear her thoughts about when students develop the “I hate math” mentality.  Of course, it’s a very subjective question and Diana pointed me to the survey results from the EQAO testing of Grade 3 and Grade 6.

About a week ago, Kyle let me know of a project that he was developing with Jon Orr to help teachers with the instruction of mathematics.  Follow either of them for details.


A Love of Reading: Then and Now

I would never have guessed this.

Jennifer Casa-Todd shares a story of a little girl who comes to Canada, doesn’t speak English going to school, and grows up in a household that doesn’t value reading as something that should be pursued.  So discouraged from reading in fact, that any reading this little girl does has to be done on the sly.

Who would know that that little girl would write a book of her own and become a teacher-librarian where part of the craft is to encourage others to read?

It’s a wonderful story and I have even more respect for Jennifer.

Just wow.

Just wiped back a tear.


Thinking More Flexibly About Flexible Seating

Jennifer Aston is getting ready for Year 2 back in her own classroom, affectionately known as “home”.  Teaching “home”, of course.

Having served as a coach for a school district and now having a Grade 6 class, there probably was a little bit extra pressure to do well on the testing.  Jennifer tells a story about working with a pretty traditional setup to make sure that things went well.

It’s a new year and things are changing.  In her words, she’s “warming up”

2018-08-30_1022

And she’s not done.  The post also includes her wish list for the future.

I know that we all wish her the best for Year 2.


CC Certification – use and create

Until I read Helen DeWaard’s blog post, I didn’t know that you could take a course in Creative Commons.  I thought that the concept was something that you learned from looking through the website, looking at the various licenses, respecting the message behind them all, and perhaps licensing your own works.  I know that I have.

There’s much more.

Helen takes us through her work and thinking on the fourth unit.  It’s nicely done and I found it very interesting.

Of particular value, Helen shares some additional places to look for copyright friendly resources.  This is a definite bookmarking opportunity for you.


Work Environments

There are all kinds of places where you might go for a vacation.  You might think a trip to a coal mine is a little off the beaten path but I do recall visiting the mine at the Big Nickel and a family outing to a gold mine tour.

Diana Maliszewski’s description of her tour of a coal mine in Pittsburgh was very descriptive and visual and brought back my own memories and one word  – claustrophobia!

She shares some pictures and a highlight of the discussion with their tour guide to help you visualize.

Then, in an interesting turn, she creates a T-Chart comparing and contrasting the job of a miner and teacher!  She has a renewed perspective on what happens when thinks her library isn’t running at 100%.


Change Your Mind

I wasn’t going to include this post from Matthew Oldridge but then …

2018-08-30_1038

… if I hadn’t changed my mind, I’d have to confess to not being a critical thinker!

As I often do, I look at the opposite side of things.  What if you didn’t give yourself permission to change your mind?  I worked with such a person once.  It was a nightmare.

That only served to convince me that Matthew was absolutely correct in this post.


Dear Colleagues……….. You are Amazing!

Here’s your back to school inspiration in these days of challenges.

Jonathan So writes a post for all educators who will be headed back to school and opening welcoming classrooms next week.

I think it should serve as a message to all that you need to step back from the moment-to-moment gritty details which can take over at times.  Look at the big picture.

You are amazing.


When The Perfect Packer Of The Freezer Space Still Says, “I’m Bad At Math” …

You never know where your next moment of inspiration to write a blog post will come from.

In Aviva Dunsiger’s case, it was a back and forth with me early Wednesday morning when she wanted to remind me that I’d already talked about Kyle Pearce’s post.

Very early this morning — at a time when most of the population was still sleeping 🙂 — I was having a private conversation on Twitter with Doug Peterson about math. I happened to read Doug’s blog today about the posts that he would be discussing with Stephen Hurley and Diana Maliszewski on VoicEd Radio, and I noticed that the first post was one that he had discussed before. Doug mentioned that he wanted to hear Diana’s thoughts about when students start to “hate” math, and when they start to think that they are not “good” at math. In our discussion, I said, “It’s not in Kindergarten,” and while my initial intention was just to blog about why not, listening to the VoicEd radio recording, has me thinking beyond this.

This is an interesting story and only serves to highlight for me that

  • Mathematics is everywhere
  • Mathematics is more than numeracy
  • We ruin Mathematics when we make it so academic – you know with tests and homework and stuff
  • Practical examples where people succeed despite the underlying Mathematics concepts are awesome – how do we get students to understand and celebrate these?

On this last August Friday, there are yet again some terrific posts to read.  I hope that you can find a few moments to enjoy them.

There are some terrific people to follow on Twitter mentioned in this post.

Past editions of this regular Friday series can be checked out here.

OTR Links 08/31/2018


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

Searching 101


Yesterday, the US President made reference to this “report” indicating that there was a problem with Google searching for him and the results returned.  Is it rigged?

I wonder.

Common social media wisdom is that you should “Google Yourself” periodically to make sure that your online presence is appropriate.  I’m sure that’s what he was doing.  Actually, I’d be willing to bet that he was made aware of the article and then did a search.

So, if the president of the United States has issues, how about this little guy blogging away on his Chromebook?  I decided to test it out.  We all know that Google has its “magic sauce”.  Is it friendly to me?

I put Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo to the test – just simply looking for myself.  To make things easier (or skewed), I made sure that I was logged into my Google and Microsoft accounts.

Here are the results.

Google:

Two of the top 10 results were of me.  The number one result was actually a football coach who spells his name differently.

Bing:

One of the top 10 results were of me.  That football coach appears again.

DuckDuckGo:

Wow, there are a lot of people with similar spellings.  In fact, DDG thought that I made a mistake and wanted to search for “Pederson”!  I didn’t appear in the top 10 results but eventually reference to my Twitter account appeared.

So, rigged?

Now, all of this was interesting (kind of) but is certainly not representative of how I do searches.  Even when I was responsible for the Student Reference Portal for my district, I’d never suggest going to the simplest of searches.  Every search engine has advanced search abilities that lets you find the most relevant resources.

Screenshot 2018-08-29 at 11.40.28

This is where anyone who is serious about the results of searching should begin.  It’s “Searching 101”.  In fact, by using the advanced search properly, I was able to generate 10 results that were all me.

Could I be so bold as to suggest this should be the first lesson on searching skills for the upcoming school year?

https://www.google.com/advanced_search

And, if you don’t want to bookmark a particular site, you’re well advised to learn how to use search operators.

https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/2466433?hl=en

https://ahrefs.com/blog/google-advanced-search-operators/

https://www.ampercent.com/bing-search-tips-commands/9282/

https://duck.co/help/results/syntax

If you’re going to use the tools, use the tools to their max.

OTR Links 08/30/2018


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

This Summer in Ontario Edublogs


It’s hard to believe but it’s the last Wednesday of August.  This means the last guest for This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio.

So far this summer, we have been honoured to have had the following guests on the show.

SmallLogo

This week, Stephen Hurley and I welcome Diana Maliszewski to the show.    If you can, please going us at 9:15 for the show.  If you can’t, it will be available for download from my little home on voicEdRadio – https://voiced.ca/this-week-in-ontario-edublogs-with-doug-peterson/

Our blog posts for discussion…

And, a bit of trivia.  As it would happen, I have interviewed ALL of these bloggers for this blog.  This really was a coincidence.  I just happened to notice this when I posted the above.

What a way to end this series!

OTR Links 08/29/2018


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

The end of the no-fly zone


After the sixth race at Leamington yesterday, there was an issue with the starting gate resulting in a lengthy delay.  Normally, I’m wandering around and doing my thing as a people watcher.  I elected to go up into the grandstand and have a seat.  As luck? would have it, I sat in front of two gentlemen who were equally as involved with killing time.

They were in a bit of an argument and the discussion was a tad loud so I couldn’t miss it.  It was the kind of conversation that every teacher has heard (or a variation of it) and feels a need to respond on behalf of the profession.

The one gentleman had said to the other.

Well, I guess your two month holiday will soon be over.

That got the lesson started.

  • teachers get additional qualifications over the summer
  • teachers attend professional development sessions over the summer
  • this teacher had taken a computer course to update his skills (be still my heart)
  • teachers are always looking for bargains at dollar stores, yard sales, and others for use in their classroom since the board only supplies the basics
  • teachers are in their classrooms redecorating
  • teachers are studying their classlists and preparing for the years ahead
  • teachers worry about those students who have home challenges during the school year and hope that things like regular meals are taken care of
  • then, there was the whole Health and Physical Education curriculum discussion
  • and I’m sure that the conversation included more

I couldn’t help but hear this because it was so loud.  I did pretend to be reading my program but anyone who looked at me had to have seen the smile.

Then, there was this one comment.

My principal and caretaking staff have limited access to classrooms and some areas a week at a time over the summer calling them “no-fly zones”.  Teachers weren’t allowed to go to those classrooms.  Why?  They were closed for cleaning, floor waxing, and refurbishing for the fall.

It made a great deal of sense.  Even our dog doesn’t have free wandering rights of the house when it’s cleaning day!

The good news is that starting Monday, August 27, all of the no-fly zones have been cancelled.  Teachers are welcome to come in and get prepared for the start of school.

The things you hear.

Welcome back if you’re one of those educators that will be in getting things ready for the new school year.