doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

And … it’s Friday!

Time for another wander around the province to check out the great thoughts from Ontario Edubloggers.


How cool is this?  

In Amanda Potts’ class, students are getting turned on to reading and keeping track of the number of books read.

Check out the post for some images of the class in action doing their reading (even behind curtains) and some of the titles that have been devoured.

Some people seem to turn to reading naturally and others have to have some inspiration.  It sounds like this challenge (and pizza) is just what is working here.

I formally challenge the class to hit 75 by the Break.  

Since the original post, here’s an update.

What an amazing surprise today! So pleased that you shared my blog. And guess what? Those 11 students have now read 61 books and are still reading – they’re on fire!— Amanda Potts (@Ahpotts) December 13, 2018

I feel so out of control, but it is so worth it.

When I am feeling out of control I check out their twitter feeds, vlogs, blogs and podcasts and I am usually blown away with what I never knew they were working on. 

With all of that going on in Rachel Chambers’ class, you can’t help but feel a little bit of empathy … but when the concept delivers, there has to be an immense sense of satisfaction that this is working.

When you embrace the concepts behind the problem based classroom, you have to realize that this sort of thing will happen but being prepared is quite another thing.  It’s a tribute to her professional thinking and planning that she’s making it happen.

Stay in tune with developments at The Twisted System Podcast.

Understanding vs. Memorizing

Lisa Corbett’s opening to this post brought back memories from a time when I was first a Program Consultant.  Mad Math was a really desirable thing.  Lisa starts by sharing her thoughts and her plan for gaming Mad Math.

Turn to today and the factions that want to return to the days of Mathematics memorization.  Lisa was listening to a Ministry town hall and was inspired to comment 

The thing is, nobody ever says, “In the Primary grades kids should just memorize words.  We’ll teach them to understand words, read sentences, and write sentences once they get to the junior grades.”

That makes so much sense.  Why would Mathematics be any different?

Building the capacity to actually understand what a subject area is about should be paramount.

Best of 2018

So, what did you do in the last year?  

You might feel unworthy when you read Lynn Thomas’ big list

  • hosted a #MSFTEduChat Tweetmeet
  • participated in Project Kakuma
  • presented “Going Global”
  • learned how to use Tweetdeck and Buffer
  • how to record a video on Flipgrid
  • ‘Best of 2018″ Tweetmeet coming up on December 18th at 1:00 pm EST
  • become a Microsoft Innovative Educator Fellow

and she probably did a fair amount of teaching, marking, report cards, etc. to fill in any empty moments!

It makes you wonder what’s in store for 2019.

No Words!

Stepan Pruchnicky takes the time to write a blog post about his use of wordless texts.

He uses it in conjunction with regular texts to give another avenue for looking a literacy and inference in story telling.

He notes that the power comes from the fact that each entry is open to individual interpretation.  Therein lies the power for him and he muses that this might be one of the most equitable things that he does.

It’s an interesting analysis with examples of exactly how it works out in his class.

This is definitely worth the time to read.

70 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

This year’s Human Rights Day, December 10th, marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
See these highlighted resources to spark classroom discussions of human rights for leadership and global citizenship.

From the Toronto District School Board, a list of resources for discussion about Human Rights in the classroom and beyond.

A couple of the resources come directly from TDSB but the majority of them should be freely available wherever you are.  

This is a nice curation and makes following them a really good idea.

Featured Blogger: Peter Skillen

After taking a break for a few months, the ECOO website returns with one of its featured blogger posts.  Peter Skillen is featured on this blog regularly just because I learn something new from each and every post the gentleman makes.

Peter’s style is a mashup of research, opinion, lecture, and passion.  They’re seldom short in length but always long in the ability to force you to think your pedagogy.

I had the opportunity to interview Peter and his colleague Brenda Sherry for this blog.  You can read it here.

Please enjoy these wonderful resources.  Click through and read them; there’s great learning and thinking to be had.

If you’re looking for more, follow these inspirational bloggers on Twitter.

This blog post was originally posted at:

If you find it anywhere else, it’s not original.


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