This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Posts ahead that will push you to think, laugh, and want to share with other educators.

But, what else would you expect from great content from Ontario Edubloggers.

Routes to Roots

At the BIT 18 conference, I sat across the table from this educator who was preoccupied with taking notes during Stephen Hurley’s half-day session.  They weren’t regular notes and since I was across the round table, they were also upside down.

Well, it turned out this educator was Kelly Mackay, one half of TheBeastEDU, and the notes she was taking was this sketchnote.

Do you see yourself or your values in there?

I find myself agreeing so much in the posts and the Q&A with her partner in TheBeast Andrea Kerr who I also got to meet at the end of the session.

There was a time when the big reason for attending this conference was to see “stuff”, the newest and shiniest.  These days, you can do that at your local computer store.  Most classroom teachers don’t have control over what is purchased for their room anyway.  Having said that, it doesn’t stop me from wandering the Exhibit Hall.

There has been a more substantive reason for attending these days and it’s the people, the connections, and those things that can’t be done as effectively online.  Click through to read Kelly and Andrea’s thoughts on that.

Media Literacy Week 2018

I know that, for some classrooms, “the Google” is the place to turn for resources.

As much as good searching is a skill to have, curation and sharing the best of the best can be so helpful and that’s what Helen DeWaard does in this post.

For Media Literacy’s sake, she’s curated a nice collection of resources for classroom teachers, potential teachers, and students.  And, they’re annotated.

I’d encourage you to bookmark this post or at least cherry pick the resources that Helen has identified for your own use.

How sad is it that I’m still comforted by the fact that the Pacific Tree Octopus never grows old.

Supporting Struggling Students in Math

Deborah McCallum doesn’t blog all the time but when she does, it’s worth sitting up and taking notes of her carefully crafted thoughts.

I suppose you could sit back and say to yourself, “yeah, another post beating up on teachers and students about mathematics”.

If you did that, you’d be doing yourself a disservice.  There’s a great deal to this post in her content but I suspect the real value will be the thinking in your mind that it generates.

In my mind, this comment stuck…

Provide Choice: Encourage students to use their own strategies, or strategies that work best for them.

Choice is one of those buzzwords that can be used and nobody challenges it because its use is so in vogue these days.

I think that Deborah breaks it out nicely and for me, there’s a message that comes through.  If we consider that students build this bank of strategies, we need to support the wisdom that comes from choosing the appropriate one at the appropriate time.

Strategies can be developed in many ways but I think that developing the wisdom to choose is a great deal more difficult.

Let’s Not Start from Scratch: Some Early Research on ‘Coding’

This post, from Peter Skillen, is a year old but worth bringing forth for consideration at this time during Computer Science Education Week and the popular Hour of Code.

For those that know about Computer Science as a discipline, they know that it takes much more than an hour to get it done.  I still remember a quote from Gary Stager “What next?  A Minute of Code?”

There were lots of things happening this week; social media was full of activities in the classroom.  It was a facilitator’s dream to be hired to do a couple of activities with teachers or students and then leave.  Throw in a Papert quote or two for credibility and you’re off.

Hopefully, students, teachers, administrators, parents, etc. are asking “Why are we doing this?”  Nowhere else in the curriculum do we do something for an hour and then move on.

If they’re looking for the “why”, it’s important to remember that advocacy and research in this area is not new.  It’s been thought of very deeply for years by those who are passionate about it.

Peter offers a very nice collection of resources to help answer that question when it’s asked.

Friday Two Cents: Don’t Stress: Laugh And Have Fun

It’s the time of the year.

Paul Gauchi notes that Christmas music in the Toronto area has been on CHFI since the Santa Claus parade.

That channel doesn’t reach here in the southwest but all you need to do is to walk into just about any local store if you need a fix.

Or, if you have SiriusXM radio, they have 16 channels devoted to Christmas Music.

Still looking for more?  Paul points us to YouTube and a reminder that you have the opportunity to laugh to relief the stress that often comes at this time of year.  He shares a video.

I still smile at this one.

Creating the ideal writing program

I don’t know why this is so hard, Alanna King…blogging.

<He said smiling and ducking>

It’s obviously too simplistic to have a one word answer to a topic that she’s thought a great deal about, including this…

It should allow for collaborative work manifesting a classroom culture of trust and reliance among students. Peer assessment and feedback that is timely and constructively critical should be the goal. Multiple modes of expression using various levels of technology should be promoted. Above all various community experts and authentic audiences should be employed to heighten the authenticity of the writing program.

I’m intrigued about the comment “classroom culture of trust” as part of this.

I think I might know what she means but I don’t understand her view of her big picture.  I hope that she drops by to read this comment and perhaps generate a new blog post from her about what it means and what it looks like in her classroom.

Why The Unit Of Measure Matters

From Kyle Pearce, a long and insightful post on the topic.  Warning – don’t read the first part on an empty subject.

OK, so we’ve skipped over the candy part although it does lay down an important part of the message that Kyle is sending.


I found it interesting because I grew up learning about inches and feet and miles and pounds and the like and then moved to the metric system which almost all of the rest of the world uses.  I remember the rationale but …

If mathematics wasn’t a challenge enough concept, we still (or at least some of us) …

  • give our height in feet and inches
  • use speed signs in km/h but have both systems on our cars speedometers
  • watch or listen to weather forecasts that give both Celsius and Fahrenheit temperatures
  • wonder what the difference is between Celsius and Centigrade
  • order meat by the pound at the grocery store over the counter but have it in grams when it’s prepackaged
  • know that mph is an exact figure and l/100km is an estimate
  • wonder just what a hectare is

Then, throw in Kelvin as a subversive plot to upend the educational system.

Anyway, this is just me getting way off track from Kyle’s post where he applies the concepts of mathematics and working with units in the context of the Ontario Curriculum.

It’s part of an ongoing series that he’s working on.

Please take a few moments to click through and enjoy all of these posts in their original form.  There’s great thinking involved.

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OTR Links 12/07/2018

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