Whatever happened to …


… skipping to school?

Part of the dog’s and my morning walk routine involves going by the elementary school that our kids went to. Typically, we buzz by around 7:30 and the only inhabitants appear to be the caretaker, a few eager teachers, and the people at the latchkey program.

When you walk the same path day after day, it’s not hard to pay attention to detail. It would be a long lonely walk if it wasn’t for looking at things and listening to music or podcasts on my headset.

The other day, we noticed a pickup truck stop in front of the school and two students emerged. It was a nice warm (for April) morning so we were a bit surprised when we saw the kids go along the sidewalk into the school. I would have had a seat in a bench somewhere and enjoy the sun! But, one of the students literally ran to the door and the other one followed skipping along. Once the mother dropping them off noticed that they were safely inside the school, she was off.

Now, my background is in the secondary panel and I don’t ever recall a student skipping to get to school. And, the only time I recall seeing any student running was when it was raining and, of course, appearances are everything!

Usually, they come to school like they’re walking the last mile.

So, there has to be a change in attitude somewhere.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic.

  • do you ever remember skipping your way to school?
  • have you ever seen a student skip to school? At what age?
  • what’s the oldest student you’ve ever seen do this?
  • do you have a theory as to why attitudes change?
  • if you’re reading this blog post, chances are you’re a teacher. Have you ever skipped to school?
  • what can schools do to keep the happiness (and the skipping) alive?

I’d be most interest in your thoughts on this topic. Please share them in the comments below.

This post is from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

OTR Links 04/28/2019


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

Simplify your email


I don’t normally do a lot of work with social media in the evenings. That’s family time and normally we’re out doing something. But, with the rain last night, we were home and I had my laptop open on the table next to me.

This message from Peter Beens flew by…

If you’re a Gmail user you need this extension. It took me all of 10 seconds to decide I’m keeping it. The only thing I miss is the Apps icon but it’s not a big deal. Thank you @leggett!
“The former lead designer of Gmail just fixed Gmail on his own”https://t.co/BZiCNpVkWB— Peter Beens (@pbeens) April 25, 2019

Now, Peter is one of my go-to people for sharing information about Google so I grabbed the laptop and read the article.

Interesting.

As I’ve lamented on this blog before, I miss the Inbox program from Google. Like many, I hoped that its impact would have changed Gmail. Sadly, some of the features have but the overall look is much the same. I’ve looked for replacements and haven’t had much luck but the story above looked interesting.

A quick download later and I was in business. My first reaction was the Gmail didn’t fully load! I’d been used to so much cruft. I clicked through and read the documentation from the developer. Click through and see the screen captures to get a sense of how he did Simplify Gmail.

He explained that the extension was mostly CSS and gave the obligatory promise about not stealing your information. So, I’m playing around with it and I really like it.

So, kudos to Peter for staying ahead of the curve and sharing his learning. After all, that’s why we create and maintain learning networks, isn’t it? I do agree with Peter that the Application Launcher would be nice. I also use the right sidebar quite a bit and was pleased to see that it was reduced to a popup button in the bottom right corner of the screen.

As it would happen, a story talking about this extension appeared in my morning reading. But, thanks to Peter, I had scooped the information 12 hours in advance.

You can download the extension and try it out for yourself here. If you’re a longtime Gmail user, it make a bit of getting used to it. Your screen is just so clean!

OTR Links 04/27/2019


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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


From the blogs of some of Ontario’s Edubloggers, check out some of the latest. And, by the way, if you are in Ontario an are an educational blogger, there’s a form there so that you join this amazing collection.


Another One Bites the Dust?

From Jennifer Aston, a story that occurs too often with educational software/web resources.

She put considerable time and energy into learning a particular software product, teaching her students how to use it effectively, shared the resource with a parent community that she wants to engage with, and then it’s gone.

When I saw the title, I thought it might be a lament about the passing of Google + but no. In this case, it was a piece of software that she and staff members had devoted time to learning to create and share student portfolios.

You can read her entire experience and see the software titles that are involved in the post.

Such a situation has happened to me more than I would like. It’s part of life for technology users, it seems. I wonder if it’s more pronounced in education. A first response is typically like one that Jennifer includes in this post. In education, moments are precious and those lost during a change in software can be painful. Knowing Jennifer, I suspect that she’ll fall back a bit and then pick up her game with the new software.

It’s still frustrating though. As it would happen, Anthony Carabache had shared a post he had written a while ago that applies … “Embrace the Beta“.


Roll Out The Red Carpet

This was an interesting approach from Heidi Solway. Normally, I visit a blog and start reading. Not so in this case. Before I got to the content, there was a disclaimer.


SPECIAL NOTE: This blog post is unique from all other posts.  I am writing it for my Teaching English Language Learners – Part 1 additional qualification course. The assignment is to, create a mock blog post entry that supports educators with creating a classroom environment that welcomes and supports newcomer ELLs. 

I guess the point was to let us know that it wasn’t part of her job or her regular blogging routine.

But, stepping away from that, it’s a fabulous post that is worthy of note, not only to ELL classrooms but to all classrooms. There are tips and suggestions for welcoming new students, starting from the beginning, setting the classroom environment, designing appropriate activities, and more.

Personally, I think that it’s a great post worth sharing despite the disclaimer. There’s nothing there that I don’t think any teacher wouldn’t want to embrace. Faculty of Education students might take particular note.

Doesn’t everyone expect a “Red Carpet” treatment when they go somewhere new? It lets you jump right in. I’ll challenge Heidi right now to roll out the red carpet at EdCampLondon this weekend.

The only thing that was missing from her thoughts was how to post political action posters…


For Mrs. Barkman

“Where were you when … happened?”

I think that we all have memories like that. Such was the case for Amanda Potts who shared a memory of her teacher during the Space Shuttle explosion. For her,

The space shuttle exploded sometime between the end of Algebra 1 and the beginning of English.

Two of my own memories came back as a result of Amanda’s post.

  • I was in the living room at our Minister’s house when news came across the television about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King
  • I was setting up for a workshop in a computer lab in Essex when my support person called and told me to turn on the television and the news because of the airplanes flying into the World Trade Centre

While I still remember these vividly, I don’t think about them daily. It’s only when prompted.

For Amanda, her prompt came from the Notre Dame Cathedral fire. Click through to read her thoughts. It’s a very powerful post.

It will get you thinking. That’s gold for bloggers like Amanda.


No Wifi: Pretend it’s 1993

Huh?

WiFi is ubiquitous, isn’t it? In fact, I know people that buy smartphones without a data plan because it’s everywhere they want to be and they can live without being connected in others. Like driving a car, for example.

Now, Jennifer Casa-Todd is one of the more connected educators that I know – except apparently at her dinner table. (Mental note in case I’m ever invited to dine with her)

Her story, in this case, was about springing herself from self-imposed isolation while doing some research and wanting to go somewhere where there were people and she could also get connected.

She ran into a sign that had a message she wasn’t comfortable with.

Apparently not the actual sign but close enough to make her point.

So, the question becomes:

  • is the sign condescending?
  • is the sign humour?
  • is the sign there to stop people from ordering and then complaining that there was no WiFi?

I don’t suppose it’s one of the world’s greatest questions but Jennifer answered with her feet and went somewhere where her needs could be addressed.

If I was the owner of the place, I’d put a piece of chalk out and let people express their opinions about the policy.

Wait – that’s so 1993 – today we rate service on Facebook or Yelp.


EdTechTeam Ontario Summit 2019

Zélia Capitão-Tavares describes herself as:

Artist | Proud Mom | M.Ed. | TDSB Hybrid Teacher – Digital Lead Learner | Passionate about Digital Literacy | Google Educator & Innovator #TOR16

So, what does she do to fill her weekends?

For one, she goes to the Ontario Summit and apparently enjoyed the learning. She offers a description of the messages from the keynote speakers, the CSFirst Sessions she was involved with and an acknowledgement of the EdTechTeam that lead the event.

All this, plus she was a Spotlight Speaker too! It’s always nice to be recognized for accomplishments and abilities as a leader so kudos to her for reaching that level.

She also mentions something in the post that often goes unaddressed by conference goers. Definitely, during the event, you’re hit over the head with the message of sharing your learning with others via Social Media. I suppose there’s the selfish purpose of the organizers to be “trending” but often that’s about it.

Zélia mentions that, when she had a chance to recharge, that she went back to take a look at the learning and sharing that happened. That’s something we all can do. The sharing on Twitter happened here.


The Courage to Teach

Thanks, Deborah Weston, for alerting me to your latest post on the ETFO Heart and Art Blog.

This is another post that brought back memories for me.

I had no problems accepting the job offer for my first teaching position. After all, it was the only one on the table and I had no other alternative if I wanted a job. I walked into my classes on that first day knowing I was going to be the best thing that ever happened to those students. I knew stuff, a lot of stuff, and my job was to teach them a bit of what I knew.

That was Day 1. Everything went downhill from there.

I think that the biggest thing I learned was that teaching was not about me. It was about everything else that circled around me. Students, colleagues, curriculum, Ministry directives, politics, Federation involvement, coaching, … I could go on but, if you’re a teacher, you know all this.

It also was sobering when one of the people I attended the Faculty of Education tried to organize a reunion five years after we graduated. Some of us were teachers, some had become teachers and left, and some never got into the profession.

It was the ones who had become teachers and left that was the most powerful to me personally. I think that Deborah sums it up nicely in her section “Why do teachers lost heart?

It’s an important message to reflect on as things are anything but idyllic in Ontario Education these days.


Keep It Simple. (thanks, Rachel)

There were two things about this post from Colleen Rose that challenged me.

  • there are a few pictures in the post that don’t come through and I’m guessing that it’s because I’m not friends with the original poster. I was able to visualize because of Colleen’s comments
  • Colleen is a dear friend and such a talent. I have half of one of her painting here in my office. Another friend has the other half.

She received advice advice about using her gifts

My friend Liz (a retired teacher who is adventuring and teaching in China) spoke to me about using our gifts, and that there is a reason why they’ve been given to us.  It’s true — when I create, and especially when I paint, I feel that I am living life to its fullest.

This is such a powerful message, not only to Colleen, but to us all. What is your gift? Are you using it? If not, why not?


Please take a few moments to read these inspirational blog posts in their entirety. You’ll be glad that you did.

Then, make sure that you’re following these people on Twitter.

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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