This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s been a challenging week to stay on top of things for me. Much is self-inflicted because I seldom blog and then hit publish. I blog and then schedule the post to appear. It’s part of a personal commitment to myself to be regular.

But, last week, the #TWIOE show didn’t run on voicEd Radio because my partner was attending a conference. So, our show went live on Saturday as part of his anniversary marathon. That show would normally have been broadcast today, in fact, as I type this on Wednesday morning but I see that I’ve been bumped for some other show. I thought that the Saturday show might have been re-run. Anyway, this is the blog post that would have normally followed the Wednesday radio broadcast that was done last Saturday. I hope that I schedule it properly for Friday…

Snow Day Chaos – the Lament is over!

To celebrate the voicED anniversary, we had Ramona Meharg join us as a special guest for the show. It worked out well because this blog post was going to be on the show.

When I first saw the title, I thought “oh no, another blog about snow”. And, I suppose on the surface, it could be interpreted that way. Ramona showed the feeling of students in her class about not having their school year calendar shortened by snow and then finally getting their wish.

But it was right during exam week which dominoed into a number of other things…

  • rescheduled exams
  • cancellation of a bowling outing
  • issues surrounding a teacher retiring at the end of Semester 1 which is now extended
  • issues surrounding teachers changing schools at the end of the Semester
  • insights about how the students in her class have come to rely on their classroom routine and what happens when it’s disrupted

So, the post goes far beyond a decision to cancel buses. Perhaps that’s a reason why they so seldom are?

Online Pre-School

Anne Shillolo reflected on a story that she had read about how Utah was considering an online pre-school alternative for some of its remote students.

How remote can it be?

We once got lost in a huge expanse of desert for about an hour-and-a-half, while attempting to follow an incorrect map leading from a National Monument to the Interstate. It was so hot we couldn’t take the dog out of the truck to pee in the middle of the day because he would burn his feet. The only person we saw while lost was in a grader moving drifts of sand off the gravel road. 

It’s an interesting concept. If you do some research and some reading, you’ll see that there are recommendations about what a child should be able to do before starting school. If the child went to a traditional pre-school, they are typically addressed there. What if the child doesn’t go though?

Online learning doesn’t necessarily mean being stuck in front of a computer screen for hours. It’s also not correspondence education. My first reaction was that it was silly but if you take a look at how online courses have addressed that in Ontario, maybe there’s something in this proposal to help parents ensure success when the child does get to go to school.

Text to Speech and Translation Blocks in Scratch 3.0

I love it when others do the heavy lifting and we can learn from their leadership. This is the case in this post from Lisa Floyd. She shows us some of the new features in Scratch 3.0 and how to get your computer to speak to you, conversationally.

There are standard screen grabs and she’s also created a set of YouTube videos to demonstrate.

But it goes further. In her example, she does English to French translation in addition to just speaking. Don’t stop at French though – I took a look and the following languages are supported – Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish.

Doesn’t that open a lot of doors for possibilities? Thanks for learning and sharing, Lisa.

Working with Children in Makerspaces

If you’re anywhere near connected in Ontario Education, you know of Derek Tangredi. He’s been featured on this set of posts more than once. Most recently, he presented at the Bring IT, Together Conference – he was setting up in my room as I was doing my thing and he didn’t kick me too hard when I went over time…

Derek also delivered a fabulous keynote address at last year’s #ECOOcamp Owen Sound.

So, lots of people know about Derek. But, how about Immaculate Namukasa? She a professor at Western University and has quite an impressive teaching load and background experience. (I went down a rabbit hole and chased her back in her educational travels)

The two of them are offering an open house for teachers, parents, students, and anyone else who wants to drop into the London Public Library for an evening of hands on in a real-life Makerspace. What a wonderful community opportunity and check out all the partners in this venture.

Math Links for Week Ending Jan 25th, 2019

If you follow David Petro’s blog, you’ll know that he shares some of the more interesting off-the-wall mathematics links. This week was no different.

But, talk about timely.

The post went out just before the Superbowl and one of the stories that he features was about how National Football League kickers have got better over the years.

Now, I go back a long way and can remember the “straight on” kickers doing their thing at shorter distances. With the advent of the “soccer style” kicker, distances have changed and this is a fabulous read, complete with graphics showing improvement and distances over time.

Make your Feedback more Productive

I love how Deborah McCallum digs deeply into important educational issues. This time, she takes on feedback.

And, I’ll date myself. I go back to the days when I got a test back with the comment

you done good

By today’s standards, it was so wrong.

  • it actually told me nothing
  • I never got a second chance to learn from my error(s) and improve
  • the only ongoing feedback was checking homework every night

You’d never get by doing that in today’s classroom.

There are key understandings that need to be in place first to ensure that our feedback is meaningful and productive. I cannot promise that you will never make mistakes, but I can state with confidence that if you think about the following key ideas, you will become better at providing feedback.

Deborah provides some excellent insights and ideas in this post. It’s definitely worth reading, bookmarking, and sharing with colleagues. I’d also suggest review at a Faculty of Education and during a NTIP program.

The Heart and Art of Teaching and Learning Resource

After ten years of teaching, Arianna Lambert takes a look at some of the things that she has embraced as an educator. Of course, the word “some” is important – we know that we can’t take them all on with a single post.

She hits a lot of good things…

  • blogging
  • connecting with parents
  • blogging provincially to try and reach other teachers
  • the actual Heart and Art Teaching resource
  • mentorship
  • classroom setup

There’s a lot of good information there to make it worth your time to read. You may find parts confirming and you may find parts inspirational. But, you’ll find it all good!

Now, if I can only schedule this to come out Friday morning at 5am!

Please click through and read these excellent blog posts. You’ll be glad you did.

And, follow these bloggers on Twitter.

This part of a regular Friday morning series of posts. Check them all out at the link above.

This originally appeared at:

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not my original work, just a copy.


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