This Week in Ontario Edublogs

This only good thing about August is that the sun gets up a little later so I can sleep in more.  Oh, and it’s another day closer to my birthday.

The best thing about Fridays is great content from Ontario Edubloggers.  From the URL, this is the 320th post that carries this title.

“Hey! You taught us that!”

From Lisa Corbett, an EQAO post appearing in July!

It’s a wonderful tale of planning by a Grade 3 teacher to make things right so that students are best prepared for their writing of the test.  I’ll bet that many teachers will agree with her approach.

But, the response from this student…


just has to make the ol’ teacher heart feel good.

Will Self-Reg Fix My Relationship With…?

From the “Self-Reg” blog, we welcome new blogger Nancy Niessen who address the question posed to her as to whether self-regulation would help with a relationship with a sister.

I’d hate to think that one solution is the answer to everything but it seems to be for those who have embraced the self-regulation theory.

The post digs into how Nancy sees self-regulation as a way to address stress like this and takes us through a number of thoughts.

With every post that I read about self-regulation, I feel that I learn just a bit more.  Is it everything to everything?

Learning about Self-Reg doesn’t mean that everything will suddenly be perfect in our relationships. That’s not realistic. We can’t eliminate stress and not all stress is negative. 

Kids Can Smell Fear

Weeeeel, maybe “sense” is a more accurate word than “smell”.

Matthew Morris deals with the notion of occasional teachers and I think that we all know and recognize that there aren’t too many more easy targets in education.  Yet, it’s a hurdle that new teachers these day must jump over as they wait for that permanent job.

The description in Matthew’s post though vividly brought back memories for me of my first few days in the profession.  I did get hired directly from the Faculty of Education in June to start a career the day after Labour Day.

And, I do remember being 23 or 24 going into a home room with students who were 18 or 19.  From an outside viewer, I would be the one wearing a tie.  I smile looking back now – a tie in September in hot/humid Essex County?  The best part was that Matthew included references to geese.  It’s so true.

Maybe that was the smell.  Nah, it probably was the fear.  Yeah, definitely the fear.  And, as I recall, it was totally unfounded.  They were a great contact for my first contact with my own students.

De-emphasizing Grades in Secondary Science: A Shift in Perspective

This post, from Amy Szerminska was one that I was waiting to read.  I had read an earlier post about her thoughts of going gradeless in secondary school science.

Until I read her post and understood how she made it work, I would have been totally in agreement with this…

A gradeless classroom seemed like a great idea for Art or English, but certainly not Science. 

Of course, I wasn’t an Art or English teacher so maybe there is a justifiable difference between an 89 and a 90.   I know that in Computer Science there really isn’t an I did enjoy the negotiated grade with a student.

It seems to me that if a student can bring a rational explanation to the negotiation table with a teacher and prove her case, then you’ll end up with the best assessment possible.  Not to be confused with “whining for marks”.

The First Follower

Lisa Cranston and I worked together for a number of years.  In fact, in this post, she describes a project that we both worked on as a team.  I do have some stories about that project to be shared offline…

This is a post about leadership and getting that “first follower”.  Lisa makes reference to a workshop that she attended and a context set with this video.

Mostly, leadership videos like this are geared towards those aspire to be formal leaders.

But, in education, aren’t we all leaders?  It’s easier for formal leaders because they might inspire in formal settings.  Outside that formal setting though, might you not garner followers who are just watching your actions?  If you believe that, you might never know when that first follower might appear.


Kyle Pearce knows his mathematics and has been featured on this blog so many times.  I like reading his thinking and, honestly, I actually do some of the examples that he illustrates his point with.  For me, mathematics is mostly fun.

Once we get over the Health and Physical Education debate in Ontario, can another election promise be on the horizon?

“Let’s ditch discovery mathematics and get back to the basics”

One of the pillars of the discussion about sex education is the curriculum was introduced in 1998 and the internet was accessed via dialup.

So, I wonder, when we “get back to the basics” what year do we set our time machine to?  Whose basics?  I certainly want today’s youth to understand mathematics better and key concepts earlier and better than I did when I was first introduced to them.

This is a nice post and Kyle provides a link to download a cheat sheet at the bottom of the post.

You know, maybe if we dropped the term “mathematics” and replaced it with “computational thinking”, the naysayers would go away.  Change by intimidation.  That’s the ticket.

What’s So Hard About the Digital Classroom?

Sue Dunlop asks the million dollar question.

If we had the definitive answer, we could solve so many ills.  As Sue correctly notes, we buy travel online, do banking, and so many things digitally without a second thought.  Students communicate seemingly so easy.  So why doesn’t it transfer to the classroom?

My theory?  I think there are equally a million different answers.

There really is a disconnect between real world applications and the environment that happens in the classroom.  The desktop typically is locked down so that only certain elements of functionality are available.  In theory, it keeps the technology more reliable.  But does it really?

But I think that’s only part of the situation.  Does the classroom teacher really know what successful use looks like?  Does the classroom teacher really have the time to understand all the ins and outs to truly understand what’s possible?  Answer – some of them.  There will always be the first adopters and those visionaries that are experts in their field and know what is possible.  Knowing what it looks like when it works is so important.  So often, professional learning opportunities are about the functionality of a piece of technology with only a passing reference to what it looks like in the hands of a student learner.

But that’s the beginning – does the technology truly deliver?  Teaching and all that it entails remains in the professional judgement of the teacher.  Trying and testing out new alternatives and evaluating them is time consuming.

I could go on but I feel like I’m being an apologist instead of a realist.  Or maybe both.  Or maybe neither.  It’s a difficult topic.

To be honest, I don’t have the ultimate answer.  I’m not sure that there is a single answer that fits here.  I can see most sides to any discussion on this.  Perhaps you have the answer.  I’m sure that Sue would appreciate a comment on her post if you do.

I do like the reference to the blog post “Digital is default” listed in the comments.

Another Friday and another list of great blog posts to check out.  Hopefully, there’s something in there that catches your interest.

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