And it’s another Friday!
It’s time on this blog to look at some great posts from Ontario Edubloggers. It’s always special to welcome new people to this list and there are a couple of new ones this time around.
Class “Caps” are a Low Resolution Solution to a High Resolution Problem
Tim King warns us before getting started that he’s going to be a big offender and that he will hold no punches as he shares his thoughts about how to save money and potentially save Ontario education.
Some of his suggestions we’ve heard before; some look like they might be unique to his school district; and some are new observations.
Those who are the brunt of his post tend to be those who are funded in education but are out of the classroom. Some of his comments hit close to home as I did spend some of my career working centrally. I wasn’t a “lifer” as he describes and while my time was renewed, I had to go through the anxiety of applying for the position. Personally, I don’t see how it does anything but save money by not having a teacher in those position. They are the link to the classroom, builders of networks, understanders of curriculum…
There is a unique suggestion in Tim’s post and that’s one of factoring IEP students as more than 1.0 in any proposed calculation for staffing to recognize the extra challenges of having those students integrated in a classroom. It’s an interesting concept but I can’t help but think of arguments over whether such and such a student is weighted 1.5 as opposed to 1.6. It’s fuzzy in my crystal ball; I still like the current use of educators with special qualifications to work with these students.
I would think that, no matter who you are, you’ll find Tim talking about you or someone you know in this post so go in with a thick skin.
Unless you’re a teacher-librarian. Tim’s no dummy.
What the Librarian Read- Part 1
I was intrigued by the title in Beth Lyons’ post.
So often, when you go into a library, or you talk to a librarian or teacher-librarian, they’ll have advice about what you should read.
In schools, they’re the go to person for that perfect match for student, teacher, or topic.
Seldom do they get personal. But she did.
Into 2019, Beth has read 11 books.
Number one wasn’t a surprise for me …
Becoming- Michelle Obama
There were some new titles in the rest of her listing. Some I’d heard of and some I hadn’t. As it would happen, we had dinner last night with a librarian who had read Trevor Noah’s book as well and highly recommended it. She whipped out her phone to find that it wasn’t at our local library branch but she put in an order for me. I look forward to going in and getting it and digging in.
For Water: Learn. Adopt. Protect. Walk.
I’ve followed a number of the MAD initiatives from Peter Cameron and the latest biggy is the Junior Water Walkers.
In this post, Peter takes quite a while to go through the fabulous learning and activities that have taken place.
What I find impressive is the collection of traditional classroom, use of technology, and a summary of the visitors that have the whole package so powerful for students.
Given that there are so many schools in Ontario that are so close to the Great Lakes and certainly other water sources, this approach could be used by so many other classrooms.
At last count, Peter tells me that there are 170 schools involved.
Should schools ban cell-phones?
People are all over the map in response to this question.
On one side, we see how distracting technology can be. It’s not just schools, go take a walk in the park or go the shopping mall and you’ll see that side of the story.
On the other side, we see technology savvy teachers who use the fact that students have these powerful internet connected devices so effectively to enhance lessons.
And, of course, there are varying levels in between.
Most of my context and understanding about this in education has been in the traditional classroom. Then, came this post from Anne-Marie Kee. Anne-Marie is the Head of Lakefield College School. The school offers day students but also boarding students.
Unlike a traditional school where students go home, at Lakefield, some of the students go to their “house” on campus. Anne-Marie shares a story about meeting students in her living room and talking about “overly strict cell-phone and wifi policies”.
A couple of things stuck out for me:
- how wifi is turned off for student use at night
- how cell phones are taken away from Grade nine and ten students overnight
- how a school leader actually sits down and discusses these issues with students
There’s a great deal in this post that will get you thinking when you read about others getting engaged helping students manage their technology, particularly in this environment.
Goal Setting in the Classroom
Of course, this is something that happens in every classroom. Right?
The question, I would suggest, would be how effectively?
Beyond a simple approach, how about something that goes a great deal deeper? That’s the point in this post from Amy Bowker.
She describes a whole process that she uses that is obviously very personal and traditional but also uses the connected tools at the disposal of her students.
- How-to videos
- Finding a mentor
- After snapshot including documentation
What really intrigues me about the approach is how she embraces technology and how, while not explicitly stated, that reflection is a significant part of it all.
Full STEAM ahead with Blue Spruce Books
From Diana Maliszewski, a sobering reality check.
From the title, I expected to read a post of all kinds of good things books and technology related. In fact, the post starts out that way and Diana shares some titles and activities that she enjoyed with the kindergarten class at her school.
Then, all this happiness takes a turn as she brings in some speculation about what might happen in turns of staffing those kindergarten classes into the future.
Diana wonders out loud how she would be able to manage to do the same sort of things in the future under a different staffing model. I think we all know that changes to a staffing model are seldom good news.
If you’re concerned that cuts might hurt kids and are looking at counting the ways, add this post to your collection.
Keys to a Rocket Ship
The Beast offers an interesting premise.
If someone were to hand you keys to a rocketship where would you go? How far would you go? Would you go?
- only far enough that I could safely get back (I’m a David Bowie fan)
- probably, as long as the second point was answered to my satisfaction
And this commentary would be done if we were talking about the traditional rocketship.
Being an educational post, of course, it’s a metaphor for something else. That something else could be leadership, opportunity, growth, appreciation for those who give you freedom from a leash or all of the above …
It leads into a typical interesting discussion between Andrea and Kelly.
My reading gave me a renewed appreciation for a gentleman that gave me so many opportunities and let go of the leash.
I’m already planning to take him out for a coffee when he gets back from Florida.
I hope that you enjoy these posts as much as I did. Please take the time to click through and read the entire posts.
Then, add these people to your learning network. You’ll be glad you did.
This is a regular Friday feature here. You can check out all posts at: https://dougpete.wordpress.com/this-week-in-ontario-edublogs/
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