This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Good morning and welcome to this weekly summary of some of the blogs that I’ve read recently from Ontario Edubloggers.  As always, these blogs will kick your brain into gear for a Friday.


Does Black History Month still hold meaning in 2019

This was an interesting post from Matthew Morris.  Last week, you’ll recall that he shared with us five suggestions for the classroom for Black History month.

Now, he’s throwing out a wondering about whether Black History Month still holds meaning.

I can’t help but think of this…

“Those Who Do Not Learn History Are Doomed To Repeat It.”

In my mind, there’s no question – the answer is a resounding yes.

It seems to me that there are two important and yet somewhat different tacts on this.  There is that element of history that everyone should know.  As Matthew notes, “Our students know about Martin and Rosa and Muhammad and Slaves.”

But there’s another element and Matthew referred to it in last week’s post.  There’s the element of history that shapes your local community.  It serves two purposes; one to understand the history of events that happened but more importantly, helps to develop an understanding of why your community is what it is today.


Finding Middle Ground

I’m really enjoying the movement behind eCampusOntario and really appreciate those that are involved and how open they are in their attempts to be “open” and to be “honest” about it.

You’ll see all of that in this post from Jessica O’Reilly.

She takes us on a tour of what she’s working with in her classroom – the concept of “Ungrading”.

I’ve read a number of blog posts about going gradeless – but they’ve typically come from the K-12 classroom.  This time, it’s post-secondary.

It’s not universally embraced and Jessica is open enough to share that with us as well.  And, now she’s sharing her plan about what to do about it.

This is a long post and I’m sure that you’ll want to read it a couple of times because there’s so much in there.


Inquiry, Social Justice, & the SDGs

When I reflect back upon my studies of society and social justice, content was largely derived from textbook, newspaper, and opinions from the teacher.  That’s about it.

Today’s connected classroom offers so much more and Shelly Vohra shares a classroom activity that exploits that.

This activity has it all – the big question, guiding questions and an opportunity for students to have a voice to prioritize their concerns.  And they’re guided in their thinking by a chocolate bar!

chocolate

Shelly provides a list of driving questions that will take the students deep into thinking about United Nations Sustainable Developmental Goals.

Bookmark and share this one, folks.


Are You Caught in the Whirlwind?

If you’re in education, you undoubtedly will be in and out of whirlwinds for your entire career.  It’s the nature of the beast.  You’re always outnumbered and it requires some terrific planning on your part.

Sue Dunlop offers a suggestion for helping to deal with it.

It’s a tack that I used myself and I can vouch that it works.  It involves prioritizing things but the number one step is:

Maybe you can step away from the whirlwind for 30 minutes and create the time.

If you prioritize things (I used A-Z, 1-9), then create your time first before anything else.  I always made mine A1 and put it into my timetable as a first step in planning.  That time, to me, was sacred and couldn’t be touched.

In theory anyway – if you have a supervisor with their own schedule of things – well, I guess that’s why they put erasers on pencils!


Pitch Day 2019

Boy, this post from Noa Daniel took me back, way back, to Grade 5 and speeches.  I don’t recall any school event that caused me more stress and anxiety than speeches.

Years later, I’m comfortable presenting and talking to groups of all sizes but that speech on sweaty recipe cards in front of 30 classmates was the thing that nightmares were made of for me.  When I think about it, perhaps those recipe cards were good things.  They would have kept my arms in place rather than flinging then around while I’m talking!

Of course, we live in a completely different world these days and Noa describes an approach that she uses that is far more humane than the “you’re going to do a speech” approach!  It is also a different time.  We didn’t have the advantage of watching a video to even understand what this speech thing should be like as we were planning.  Looking back, it seemed like the goal was to talk monotone for five minutes

Not in Noa’s class.

Using the concept of the TED Talk, Noa shares how she provides opportunity for student to brainstorm significant issues of the day for her students in their graffiti board.  But it’s not then headed direct to the talk; students have a chance to make a pitch to their classmates.  It seems to me that it’s a lower stress entry point designed to make this far richer than a one shot activity.

And, if you worry about today’s kids, take a look at the topics that they’re contemplating addressing.  The kids are alright.

Plus, there’s mathematics involved.  Does it get any better or more authentic than that?


My Many Microaggressions

Diana Maliszewski click baited me into reading this post.  Generally, I get a sense of a blog post in the title shared but I had no idea what to expect this time around.  Quite frankly, the word “microaggression” was new to me.

Diana uses the post to celebrate some of her recent learning and sharing and then turns her eye back on herself.  In the busy world that she creates for herself, I don’t know that I would consider the events that she self-identifies as anything more than a slip.  Goodness knows that we have all made them.

I did find the challenge that she and Michelle Solomon had made on them interesting and made me think…

Someone called us out on our choice of visuals and examples and said that we focused too much on the negative, and not enough on positive representations.

I would suspect that it would be the sort of thing that many of us would be guilty? of.  Very often, the negative is easier to make a point if nothing other than for its shock value.  Positive representations over and over may not deliver the intended message.  I’ve got to think my way through this.  I know both Diana and Michelle and I have no doubt that, in their planning, they would both be working on an important theme and would have check and double-checked each other during their planning.

I need to think more about the term microaggression.


ORGANIZING PRINCIPLES

Pair this post from James Skidmore with the one above from Jessica O’Reilly and you can’t help but be confirmed that amazing things are happening in the open with those involved with eCampusOntario.

In this post, James talks about the structure for a new course at the University of Waterloo CI 250: TRUTH – RECONCILIATION – STORY.

The academic in me is intrigued with the openness that he shares about a new course offered this Winter.  I can’t ever remember taking a course the first time that it was offered.

I can see a 21st Century learning approach to the course … he got me thinking about tagging my learning

We think of learning as acquisition: “Look! A piece of information! Let me acquire it (ie, let me learn it) and make it my own!” I encourage students to move beyond this rather limited view and instead approach learning as an exercise in categorization.

We all know, I hope, that students learn better when they create something new as a result of their efforts.

Read James’ post in its entirety and follow the links to see how he wants this to play out.


Does your brain hurt as much as mine?  Make sure that you click through and read these interesting posts in their entirety.

Then, add these educational bloggers to your Twitter learning network.

This is part of a series of posts that happens on Friday mornings.  All of them are available here.

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

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