The Week in Ontario Edublogs

After a bit of Summer, it looks like Autumn has arrived again.  With the news coming from the north and the west, it’s almost a horror show to check the weather these days.   But, it’s always a good time to check out Ontario Edubloggers.

Their value doesn’t go unnoticed.  I got this in reply to Stephen Hurley and my voicEd Radio show where we featured a number of terrific blog posts.

If that doesn’t encourage you to pull out that keyboard …

Here’s a bit of what Leanne was talking about.


Podcasting on VoicEd Radio – What you need to be listening to this week

Paul McGuire and Stephen Hurley have started a new show on voicEd Radio where they feature and analyse some of the great podcasting shows that are broadcast.  Paul appears to be using his blog as a planner for what was going to appear on the show.

In this case, it’s an episode of Shukes and Giff, I wish I knew EDU, and the Social Leadia podcast.  I’m taken with how much goes into the planning and preparation for the show.  To make his point, Paul rips snippets from the original podcast and that forms part of the conversation.

the-podcast-broadcast_337

You can listen to their podcast here.

As I noted in yesterday’s post, one of the tags that Paul uses is “New Professional Development”.


Going EPIC with Orcas

If you’ve ever been in a session with Rodd Lucier, you know that he’s a master of working with and mastering media effectively to make his point.

So, I guess it runs in the family with his niece producing “To The Orcas, With Love“.  The movie’s release will be in conjunction with the Bring IT, Together conference in November.

orcamovie-poster

“Find inspiration in ‘To The Orcas, With Love’, a movie premiere exclusively for BIT18 educators.  Natalie Lucier’s film inspires us to restore a loving relationship between ourselves and this remarkable planet.  Through uplifting stories of connection, you’ll meet elders including environmentalist and CBC broadcaster, David Suzuki, whale researchers Alexandra Morton and Paul Spong, totem carver Wayne Alfred, and lifelong resident of the Broughton archipelago Billy Proctor.  This film is anchored by Rob Stewart’s invitation to rise up and create the world we dream for ourselves.”

You’ll see lots of curriculum connections in the description. Attendees will get free access to the movie, access to classroom resources, and a chance to book a virtual classroom visit from Natalie.

The details?

Event: To The Orcas, With Love
Location: Sociabank Convention Centre
Date: November 7, 2018
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.


Towards a Culture of Learning

From Amy Szerminska, another post about learning in her classroom.  I’ve been intrigued in the past by her approach to a gradeless classroom at the secondary school level.

In this post, she digs a little deeper and talks about the “Culture of Education”.  So many of us can identify with the way assessment has always been and continues.  What if that culture could actually change and move from assessment to actually learning?

Amy identifies norms for this new culture in her classroom.

  • Learning is never over
  • Learning is not a competition
  • Purpose of feedback
  • Learning is hard work
  • Responsibility for documenting learning

Each are nicely fleshed out in the past and it just have to make you think about the type of culture that you’re inheriting for your classroom.

Could you make the changes she describes?


Building Blocks

Will Gourley, writing on the Heart and Art Blog shares his own take on the Summer Math Loss.  In fact, his closing words show his original intent but that’s now what it ended up being.

I started this post with the intention of arguing about why we need a more balanced school year because our students are not retaining what they have learned.

As always, Mathematics seems to be the target of concern.

Will puts a personal reflection on the topic as he lets us know the learning gap that he had from Grade 12 to Grade 13 in Mathematics.

He did his homework and cites a number of academic sources with suggestions about how to avoid the “gap”.  It comes as no surprise that it incorporates the home into the game (should they ever have left?)

He offers a conversation about culture – without using the words – but the message is there.

If it can be done at home, then it can definitely be done in the classroom over the 10 months of learning each year. Teachers can now work at threading or interleaving concepts throughout the entire school year.


Online Learning Communities

At the Bring IT, Together conference, Lisa Cranston is going to facilitate a discussion in the Learning Space about the topic of Building Community in Online Classrooms.

I find this interesting and suggest that the first two questions to be answered are:

  • Is this a good idea?
  • Why?

The term “Learning Communities” has been tossed around for so long and in so many different ways that I’m wondering if there might be a better name for it.  In our voicEd Radio discussion, Stephen suggested that cohort might be better.

In my mind, the word Community implies that there is a meeting of the minds and a desire to do something for the common good.  Is that always the case?  I’ve been part of many such communities with varying results.

Lisa is taking it from a personal perspective of doing a doctorate online as well as additional courses.  She indicates success; I wonder if the defining thing is that those participating have actually paid good money to be part of that community.  Is it different when you participate for free?

She freely describes some strategies from her personal experience.

  • Small group size
  • Online video classes
  • Group Work
  • Social Media

She’s got a good start, addressing all of these in detail – do you have something to add via comment?


Unconscious Bias as an Expression White Fragility

Debbie Donsky is always a good read if you want to squirm in your chair and feel like she’s in your face with her thoughts.  That’s exactly how I felt while reading this post.

There are so many things these days that can completely be written off as lip service and an attempt at being politically correct.  Heaven help you, as Debbie notes with respect to school districts, that you get called out on media for your practices.

We can’t talk about supporting all students without recognizing the historical context of these students and their families.

As she notes, Canada has not been without its faults in addressing our past and maintaining structures today can be specifically designed to avoid change and yet the lip service continues.

If you’re like me, you’ll have to read it two or three times to understand.  The Racism in Canada infographic is more than just a little uncomfortable to read and understand.


International Day of the Girl – Resources to Empower and Educate

October 11 is the International Day of the Girl and the Toronto District School Board highlights a number of resources that are available for their staff.

  • The water princess
  • Every day is Malala Day
  • Ten cents a pound
  • Breaking through!: Helping girls succeed in science, technology, engineering, and math
  • Creating the coding generation in primary schools: A practical guide for cross-curricular teaching
  • VentureGirls: Raising girls to be tomorrow’s leaders

Does your school own these resources?  Are they available centrally?

These are good questions to ask and their use is most assuredly not restricted to October 11.


I hope that this collection helps kickstart your Friday morning.

You can always follow these bloggers on Twitter:

Please click through and read the original posts.  If you’re inspired, leave a comment and/or share the link with your network.  Everyone should be inspired by these posts.

And, check out all of the Ontario Edubloggers here.  If you’re a blogger yourself and not in the collection, there’s a form there to add yourself.

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