This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s Friday and time for another look around the province for some offerings from Ontario Edubloggers.  I hope that you’ll agree that there are always lots of thought provoking things.
Raging: how empowered learners respond to being outside the Zone I’m not sure that I would have made the connections that Tim King makes in this post all by myself.  But, he got me thinking – why not? The first part of the post takes off on a description of the immersive and peer challenging nature of the online gaming world.  It’s certainly a good briefing of many of the terms that are so frequently used in that domain. Then he hits you with this:
Gaming’s all-in philosophy is completely counter to the risk-averse, failure-follows you approach of education. 
It’s an interesting observation.  In the gaming world, you get better by experimentation and failing.  I think of the many times I’ve run into “GAME OVER” because I did something silly or the game threw me for a loop.  Typically, I didn’t walk away from the game.  I came back more ferociously, determined not to make the same mistake again. There’s that determination that makes you a master at the game.  Could the same approach result in master learners?
Anchor of Five I was so impressed with this post from Deanna McLennan.  I can’t help but think about how rich everyone’s classrooms would be if every teacher took the time to document their practice and share activities like Deanna does in this post. How many ways can you attack the understanding of the digit 5 or as she refers to it “friendly number”? You know, it’s all about learning the concepts and you can’t help but think that students in her class will have a wonderful understanding after going through all of the activities that she describes. And, the pictures that she includes most certainly not only document the learning and the activity but will transport you into her classroom as an observer.
Happiness in teaching There’s a terrific call to action at the bottom of Helen Dewaard’s post.
What’s your ‘happiness is’ moment in your classroom teaching context? Where do you find those ‘eyes wide open’ moments in your teaching?
Leading up to this is an inspirational message about a return to school for yet another year.  (She doesn’t mention how many but that really isn’t important.) As a teacher at a Faculty of Education, she rightfully takes issue with a piece of logic that many of us were given…
“Don’t smile until December”
It is in reference to classroom management and discipline.  It’s grounded in the mindset that it’s the teacher’s classroom and the students are just visitors.  What if everyone had a say in how things are run? Helen looks forward to her graduates have a level of excitement when they have their own classrooms.  This isn’t something that is learned; it’s something that you experience by modelling. It sounds like Helen’s class is off to a good start.
Le Qui du Pourquoi After four years at CFORP, Joel McLean is back in a school and talks about his first of the year things. In this case, he’s focused on well-being. Embedded in his post, you’ll find a presentation that you might find interesting.
I tried, but I can’t think of any start of the school year where we focused on well-being.  Usually, it was mostly about getting the paperwork correct.
The Magic of Not Knowing For me, this post from the Mehrit Centre blog by Louise Lamont was a two-parter. The first part was about contrasts.  She makes reference to binary things like light/dark, good/evil, right/wrong … and how our brains get us to interpret things on a scale going from one to the other.  I guess I’d never thought of it this way.  I don’t have a problem with the concept of things being good but then also being not evil.  It makes sense the more I think about it.  Big people help little people, by their actions, make the understanding clear.  I like the description of the “nameless emotion” and can visualize the scenario described.. The second part becomes an explanation of how Louise describes a situation where she went beyond classifications and becomes curious about a new behaviour exhibited in a grandchild and how she got to the bottom of it.
Banish the Book Fair? Of all the fundraising activities that you think of when you think schools, is there one that is more common than the Book Fair? It’s the time of the year that…
this coming week is Book Fair time – upended/limited space, disrupted routines, and new items around but not for general play. Wish me luck!
In a rather long post, Diana Maliszewski takes us into the mind of a teacher-librarian – who else would do this? – during this time at her school. She relates a very powerful, personal message about how her educational world gets turned upside down at this event.  Further to add an emotional element, she brings memories of her mother as helper to her discussion. There are lots of angles to this discussion and Diana brings many to the discussion and asks “should she banish it”? Colleagues have chipped in with thoughts via comments.  Care to add yours?
Google Read and Write for the Win! Kids today have it so easy. Jen Giffen’s son is Exhibit A.  He has Jen as a mom! I’m sure of two things…
  • I would have had to do this assignment and probably more than once
  • I didn’t have Google Read and Write as a tool
Actually, I’m sure of a third thing.  I’m sure that my mother would have helped me with the best tools that we had available at the time.  I remember that we had a red pencil sharpener screwed to the wall in the back kitchen so that I could have sharpened my pencil for this task. I have envy for Jen’s son with this solution to the homework problem.  He is so fortunate to have the tools and a mom who knows how to use them. I can’t help but think that the quality of a Grade 3 student writing in a second language with this tool would be pretty darn good. Now that he’s been exposed to it …
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
There is a reality check, and it’s an important one, as she closes the post.
It’s been another great collection of blogs post for a Friday.  Please click through and enjoy them in their entirety. You can follow these great educators on Twitter:
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