My Week Ending September 2, 2018

Here’s a summary of some of the things I learned and published this week.

Readings (You can follow my daily readings as they happen here.  Here are a selected few from the past week.)

  • It’s horrible to read about the fires in British Columbia.  That wasn’t lost on cartoonists though.
  • I really like Miguel Guhlin’s thinking and insights.  In this case, it’s about taking notes on a Chromebook.  Notetaking is a very personal thing.  You should experiment with the tools and then choose the one that works best for you.
  • All libraries need to be innovative in their thinking to provide value for those who would see them go away.  How about moving classic novels to Instagram?
  • When you have students who have trouble with English, consider how messed up the language is.  Full of inconsistencies.  What if we removed them?
  • With going back to school, here’s advice for principals about how to stand by teachers and students when they mess up.
  • Again with going back to school, you can never have enough challenges for students solution.  This is a particularly challenging collection.  (at least I found them challenging)
  • We don’t have an IKEA in Essex County so I’ll have to rely on a blog reader to check out a store and see if these tricks are, in fact, real.
  • I really don’t get this.  How can an outside authority investigate Google’s secret sauce that determines search results.  Why pick solely on Google?  Shouldn’t they also look at every search engine?  I still don’t see how it will work though.  Even Colonel Sanders has kept his coating secret for how long?
  • This has to be the most retweeted message from this past week.  Who’s looking out for student rights?
  • The concept of a paper-free classroom has been talked about many times in the past but it’s resurrected in this article.  I don’t buy in 100%.  There are times to go paperless but we do know that there are times when it’s best done with paper.  At least with a photocopier, it’s not like dittos where you always had to run a few extras because of badly duplicated copies.
  • Your indigenous reading for this week.  Free for a limited time.
  • Here’s a maker project for the upcoming school year with Lego.
  • For Computer Science teachers (and Mathematics) (and anyone who works in a digital world), a nice discussion about checksums.

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

Blog Post on

BRING IT, TOGETHER 2018 – The complete schedule is now live.  Have you registered?  It’s also a reminder of the “Bring IT, Together” concept.  Why not bring a group from your school?

voicEd Radio

My on demand page can be found here.  The latest edition features blog posts from:

Technology Trouble Shooting 

So, I was a little too cocky last week thinking that I had solved the problem with my MacBook Pro and its trackpad and jumping cursor.

I’m back to hating that computer again.

I’m relegated to going to the settings and turning off the Trackpad when there’s an external mouse connected.  That pretty much makes it a desktop computer anymore.

Thankfully, I have my Chromebook for portable purposes.

Video of the Week

I hadn’t heard this song for years and years and years.  It’s a reminder that you can sing about anything!  And, I remember every word.  On the other hand, I just walked into this room half an hour ago and forgot why.


My Favourite Photo of the Week

It’s a new day for Jaimie and me.


Thanks for reading.


Whatever happened to …

… rows and aisles?

I had a coffee with a school computer technician this past week and part of our conversation revolved around the challenges of getting the summer imaging done on the myriad of devices that are so prevalent in schools.

The conversation brought me back a few years to another coffee conversation with a technician actually done over the summer break.  His strategy was to “hijack a classroom for a couple of weeks” and place all the computers and laptops on the desks.  He’d bring in a portable hub, connect all the computers and start them all downloading.  It worked out well to grab a teacher’s chair with wheels and just roll from machine to machine.  Just repeat the process until every machine in the school was done.  At the conclusion, they would all be the same and run equally as well as each other.

But things changed.  Jennifer Aston’s post, referenced in This Week in Ontario Edublogs, indicates how her classroom is changing.  It can affect the convenience of imaging described above.  I still smile at the technician’s comment “have you ever imaged a computer in a beanbag chair?”  Or, “teachers don’t even have those nice chairs with wheels anymore”.  Yep, there goes the convenience.

I think of my own classroom.  I was in the Business Department in a new-ish school.  My first Business Education Director was involved in the design of the area and was visionary for the time.  He made sure that we had four rooms with electricity in the floor, and every one of the rooms had tables instead of desks.  We were the envy of other schools and often meetings and PD events were held at our place.  No jiffy poles!  (Plus having air conditioning didn’t hurt either.)

For the longest time, we had formal homerooms.  It was our principal’s attempt at building community; we got a homeroom in Grade 9 and we had those students (and they had the same locker) for their entire school career.  Until he retired, our Guidance Head had all kinds of activities for us to do with the students.  Plus, I’m told, homerooms allowed a buffer for late bus arrivals.  For us, it was more than announcements and taking attendance.  Our homeroom lockers were right outside the door.  We were easily able to spot those moldy lunch bags!

Having tables allowed for flexible group work but also for those times when it was more convenient for students all facing the same way at the same time.  The biggy is learning all the names of the classes and homerooms with assigned seating, at least for the first part of the year/semester.  It was very convenient indeed.  Moving into groups while still having a writing surface was easily done by moving the chair instead of a whole desk.

Your thoughts for a Sunday leading into a new school year on Tuesday…

  • What’s new in your classroom for 2018 / 2019?
  • Is your room set up for the convenience of learning names?  Do you have any name learning tips?  Particularly with teenagers, they’ll cut you a bit of slack the first couple of times but they do expect you to learn them quickly.  For rotary elementary teachers and secondary school teachers, that’s a lot of names.
  • Do you still have a teacher chair on wheels?
  • Will all the technology in your class be freshly imaged and ready for use on Tuesday?
  • How many times a year do you have “locker checks”?
  • Other than chairs or desks, what would we find in your classroom?
    • beanbag chairs
    • couches
    • standing desks
    • interactive white board
    • television
    • tablets?  laptops?  desktops?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  It’s a great place to brag about the learning environment that you’ve crafted for your students.

If you have an idea for a future post, please consider adding it to this Padlet.  The entire series of posts is available here.


OTR Links 09/02/2018

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