This Week in Ontario Edublogs

American Thanksgiving, Good Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, … we’re on the countdown to Christmas.

While you’re counting, check out some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers to warm up your Friday.

Leadership and the Turtle

This post, from Jennifer Casa-Todd, had the potential to be cute.  It was in conversation with a retired teacher librarian who explained to her how turtles can model leadership traits in human.

Jennifer took the cute statements and added her own thoughts.  That turns what could have been cute into insightful and worth your time to read them all.


Teacher Clarity is a right of all students

I like this post from Jonathan So although my first thoughts were that the concept was obvious.  After all, if you’re not clear, how can you expect students to be successful?  On the surface, it seems intuitive.

He added an interesting take on the concept when he talked about “learning intentions” on four fronts.

For any educator who has gone through the process of being observed or evaluated, your familiar with the concept of teaching goals.  I would be very interested in Jonathan’s thoughts about the similarities between “learning intentions” and “teaching goals”.  In my mind, I see an overlap in places but not to the point where the terms are interchangeable.  Perhaps in a future post?

There’s a nice nod to the Ontario Growing Success document and how all of this generated an “aha” moment for Jonathan.  Of course, tying the gradeless classroom in completes the package.

Critical Thinking Defined

Brenda Sherry asks …

How do you and/or your students describe critical thinking? 

I think I know what I would say but it is certainly not anywhere near as inclusive or wide ranging as the quote that Brenda shares in the post.

She notes …

so many ways to bring disciplinary thinking, global competencies and media literacy into play

My tendency would be to look through and cherry pick the concept depending upon the task at hand?

Your thoughts?

Brenda’s asking for them.

Thoughts To The Future

It was great to see Robert Hunking back at the keyboard again.  I wonder if all trustees think as deeply about schools and the curriculum as he does in this post.

He asks a simple question.

Are schools and education stagnant?

The answer is “Of course”.  They’ve always been and probably will always be as long as we keep the same model.

And of curriculum.

What needs to be taught, what should be taught in schools? Maybe we can all agree on subject areas but what within those subjects. Curriculum documents are complicated. What is the purpose of that subject and the strands within it?

Curriculum documents are, by their nature, grade and discipline generic and all-encompassing.  They’re written to be used for years on end.  On the other hand, take a look at any manufacturing business.  These days, it’s hard not to think about Ford in Talbotville or General Motors in Oshawa and Windsor.  Even the remaining factories need to change up their product annually to meet guidelines and to sell product.  How often does education do this?

The insightful teacher will use the curriculum as a basis but then modernize it for today in their classroom.

If they don’t, they can expect to wear the stagnant seal.

Lessons Learned On The Way To Reaching 10,000 Twitter Followers

There are lots of metrics for a lot of things.  One of the metrics for Twitter is the number of followers.  So, congratulations to Matthew Oldridge for breaking the 10 000 number.

Matthew offers nine suggestions for his success.

I thought this very interesting.

Follow interesting people. Unfollow them when you get bored. You could complain but it ain’t called the “attention economy” for nothing.

I would suggest that, if you want to get the type of numbers that Matthew has, you need to “be interesting” yourself.

Matthew’s an interesting guy so it comes as no surprise that he has so many people stalking, er, following him around on Twitter.  May there be no bots in that big number!

Want to know more about Matthew?  Check out this interview that I had with him.

And, as per usual, I’ll provide a link to Matthew’s and everyone else in this post Twitter handle below.


I don’t know enough about Brexit so I skipped through that part in James Skidmore’s post.

He identifies four concepts in Brexit and then applies them to education.





and then expands on each very nicely.

I found it an interesting read, particularly coming from a higher education perspective rather than K-12.

I’m not sure I could have said the same things for all my courses when I was a student at James’ university.  In particular the first point; I don’t remember openness being even in the discussion.

We live in interesting, arguably better, times.

Updates! Nokomis and the Junior Water Walkers

I’d read about Peter Cameron’s Junior Water Walkers project earlier this year and so dug into this update with a great deal of interest to basically see how it was going.

Just yesterday, I saw a Twitter message from a teacher from my former board indicating that her class was now part of this.

“This” now totals 72 classrooms.

In the post, Peter shares some of the strategies and resources that he’s using and this great news.


His goal is 100 classrooms so there’s still room if you and your students are interested.

How about setting aside a few minutes and click through to check out these amazing blog posts.  If you’re a blogger yourself, make sure that you’ve added yourself to my Ontario Edubloggers  collection.

And, follow these great bloggers on Twitter to find out what they’re up to.


OTR Links 11/30/2018

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

Emojify the holidays

My computer is marking “Emojify” as a spelling error.

So much for 21st Century Learning.

Today, an Hour of Code for the younger (or older) crowd.  We know emoji are everywhere but can you ever find the perfect one when you want it?  I know I can’t.  They don’t make them handsome enough to show the real me!

The Made with Code group from Google has this terrific little exercise.  It’s called Emojify the holidays.  There’s no writing a game or other application as a result.  In this case, you’ll use a block based interface to build your own emoji.

The blogs make things easy.  Just drag the appropriate one out to the editor.

Screenshot 2018-11-28 at 13.56.38

In the process, you’ll have to work with variables, encapsulation, sequences, and objects.  Plus, there are layers there to let you place things on top of other things to get you desired effect.

There are a nice choice of characters; I went with Rebecca.

Screenshot 2018-11-28 at 14.00.26

Then, of course, I had to experiment with everything.  Well, lots of things.

My result?  Let me blow you a kiss.


Of course, sharing results is always important and that feature is here as well.

Viewing the code and have it clickable via context was a nice touch.

Screenshot 2018-11-28 at 14.03.24

Is that mathematics and coordinate work I see in there?

Have fun.

OTR Links 11/29/2018

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

An ode to coding

Continuing along with the prepared for the Hour of Code, I’ve been working my way through the “playlist” from the Europe Code Week.  This time, it was enjoying a little bit of Scratch coding.  I suspect that most classes will do their introduction to coding via Scratch.

This project called “Ode to Code” was prepared for the Europe Code Week 2015 but I don’t think that it will grow old.

The presentation is in the form of a tutorial…

  • Choose a Backdrop
  • Add Music
  • Play the Music
  • Add a Dancer
  • Code the Dance

Now, this being  European, it comes as no surprise that the backdrops feature a quick tour of Europe.

Ah, classic Copenhagen!

And the music … it’s worth visiting the site to play the music and enjoy.

Then, it’s time to do a little dancing…

Getting the moves right and synchronizing to the music is a good activity.

If you’re getting ready for the “Hour”, then check out this activity and see if it suits your needs.