This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday!

Here’s some great reading from Ontario Edubloggers to kick off your weekend.


Guided Reading for Math?

I always get inspiration and ideas from Deborah McCallum’s posts and this one is no different.

Speaking of different, she sets the stage by talking about the way that we’ve traditionally made the study of language different from the study of Mathematics. She introduces us to the concept of reading for meaning nicely to Mathematics.

Who hasn’t struggled with an involved question that you’re positive the teacher stayed up all night trying to get the wording just right to mess up your day?

So, just like there are tools and techniques for understanding reading material, could the concepts not be applied here?

She builds a nice argument and provides 10 suggestions to make it work.

Why not try guided reading to help students build cognitive, metacognitive and affective skills for reading complex math problems? I encourage you to give it a try.


What Makes A Partnership Work?

You don’t have to follow Aviva Dunsiger for long on any social media before you see a reference to her “teaching partner Paula”.

This blog post is really a testament to the powerful relationship that the two of them have in their kindergarten classroom that I now know has about 30-ish students.

It’s a typical Aviva post – lots of colours and pictures. You’re going to love them.

There’s a powerful message in this post about partnerships in their case. It’s built beyond the professional requirement that they be in the same place at the same time.

As always, she’s looking for comments about similar relationships Stories like this are inspirational in education, particular at this time in Ontario.


Here’s to Paving New Ground

Sue Bruyns provides a bit of background with reading from Professionally Speaking but quickly gets to the heart of a very important issue.

It happens often in education.

I think we can all think of successful innovation stories. Little pockets of excellence at a school or within a department that swells and changes professional practice for others, sometimes changing the direction of things.

There are also other moments not as successful and we don’t always hear about them. Read Sue’s post and you’ll be exposed to one. A group of collaborators take to a piece of software, learn together, and make good things happen. Sue even notes that the company’s CEO flew in from British Columbia to help with some compatibility details. Staff persevered and the software started to show the results promised at Arthur Currie and other schools.

Then, it happened.

A directive from outside the school indicated that the software could no longer be used and that a board approved solution needed to be put in place.

You can’t help but feel sorry for those who spent two years learning and growing with the software. I hope that this gets past the software issue and that the skills and knowledge developed on the initial platform can be transferred to the board approved solution.

I really appreciated reading this post; we don’t often read thoughts from principals and even more infrequently their leadership challenges when influenced from outside the school.


Recess is as Real Life as it Gets

With a background in secondary school, I was out of my element here when the topic turned to recess. It just wasn’t a thing for me unless you counted “travel time” of five minutes between classes…

I really enjoyed the picture The Beast paints of recess and what happens there. I kept thinking that recess and some of the activities described were really application of the things that went on in class.

But, it’s not all fun and games.

And then, as The Beast does, they dig into just what recess actually is. More importantly are their thoughts about what recess could be in their perfect world.

I’m also still trying to figure this out…

Circle back around to the beginning of your post and what we know to be the difference between Dougie’s type of learning and actual learning.


When it comes to mental health in Canada, the gap is still too wide

Before we get to the message in Paul McGuire’s blog post, here’s an observation about format. For the most part, blogging platforms let you categorize and tag posts with words so that you can search later. Typically, this appears at the bottom of the post. In the format that Paul has chosen they appear at the top and one of the tags was “hope”. That helped me frame a reading mindset as I dug in.

He praises Supreme Court Justice Clement Gascon for publically acknowledging his challenges with mental health issues.

We live in a great country. Have we not resolved this?

The World Health Organization reports that in low- and middle-income countries, between 76% and 85% of people with mental disorders receive no treatment for their disorder. In high-income countries, between 35% and 50% of people with mental disorders are in the same situation.

Those statistics should shock you and I would hope would shock society into realizing that we need to do better.

This is a sobering post and I thank Paul for writing about it and bringing it to our attention. I encourage you to take the time to visit and read it. You may end up looking at some of those faces in your classroom differently going forward.


Self-Care for Writers

I kind of found myself out of water and then back in again with this post from Lisa Cranston.

I studied Mathematics and Computer Science at university so the concept of writing big research papers, much less a dissertation, is completely foreign to me. At the time, I hated writing – in high school it always seems that you were writing to be on the good side of the teacher instead of something that you were interested in. I probably have that all wrong but that’s how I remember it.

So, I’ve never had the stress and stressors that Lisa describes in trying to do a long-term writing project.

But, these days, I write every day, albeit not the long-term format Lisa describes. I enjoy writing now and doing whatever research goes into what I do. I was quite interested in Lisa’s suggestion for low cost, self care…

Some suggestions for low cost, short term self-care include: a hot cup of tea, a walk outdoors, playing with a pet, holding hands with a loved one, reading a chapter in a non-work related book. 

I’ve got all this nailed except coffee is a replacement for tea and reading blog posts substitute for non-work related book. (although there always is something on paper beside my chair)

I’m curious though about her definition of “mindless screen time”. I’d really like a definition of that.


bringing back the participatory: a story of the #ProSocialWeb

I’m in love with this very long post from Bonnie Stewart.

Play this album while you read it.

I feel very old when I read her definition of “old-skool Web 2.0”

The participatory web, originally – the old-skool Web 2.0 where readers were also writers and contributors and people were tied together by blog comments – but also social media. Twitter. Even Facebook. Together, these various platforms have networked me into some of the most important conversations and relationships of my life.

That was me in the early days.

I like to think that’s me today. Maybe I haven’t moved on. I value those connections; I worked hard to make those connections; I learned that success didn’t happen over night; I valued the connections; I never thought of myself as a piece of data.

Things indeed are different now. Bonnie describes what is and why.

I love this quote that she includes in the slidedeck embedded.

“If you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together”

I often wonder if those of us who were early adopters aren’t part of the problem. How many times have we shown the “power” of connections and the web and convinced others to join in? The missing part is that we don’t share how much hard work went into our initial learning to make it happen. We know it isn’t immediate gratification; do we share that?

Cringe the next time you’re asked to show the “power” of social networking by retweeting or liking a message.

You know that it’s much more than that and there’s great potential in the ProSocialWeb.


OK, inspired for a Friday – go forth and conquer now that you’re smarter than you were went you started. You did click through and read this amazing content, didn’t you?

Follow these amazing folks on Twitter.

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

OTR Links 05/31/2019


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

Because we can


Sometimes, that’s the answer you get from Computer Scientists. Many times, an idea comes to light and you just whip up some code that solves a problem that you didn’t know you had.

I’d done it a few times and when I show it off, the answer is inevitably…

Whatever made you think to do this?

“Because I could!”

In many cases, it’s just a throw away but it’s nice to be able to do it.

This was my first reaction to the examples described in this article. Did they start with the end in mind or was it an experiment that yielded success.

Mona Lisa frown: Machine learning brings old paintings and photos to life

The concept isn’t new. Many artists have learned from the masters by attempting to replicate their style. Or, they’ll take their own spin on things. What if the Mona Lisa was doing this?

When you bring the computer and machine learning and what they can bring into the process, it gets interesting.

If you watch the video, I think you’ll be amazed. The Mona Lisa part is near the end.

While actually replicating the actual process would be a challenge – designing the algorithm is certainly within the reach of many computer science students. Some might be inspired to do a stick person and seeing what they can do. After all, an animation can be simplified to the process of putting some frames together.

Of course, the big distinction here is that the process has already been done.

But, you never know – this might be a license to doing something new and unique “just because they can”.

OTR Links 05/30/2019


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

Openness about third party cookies


I think we all know about cookies. If you’re like me, you’re probably “cookie storied” to death. Essentially, cookies are little bits of information that are stored on your computer when you visit a website. The advantage is that the cookie is able to tell your browser if you revisit a website so that any login credentials, layouts, etc. are remembered.

It sounds like the greatest web invention since sliced bread. And, quite frankly, it is. I appreciate the fact that I don’t have to log into a site over and over again on my computer. I appreciate the fact that any preferences are preserved and the cookie lets the site know that I’m back.

I like the fact that those cookies are unique to the computer that I’m on. If I’m at a friend’s place and need to log in to get email or whatever on their computer, I have to log in. And, I’m always sure to log out to get rid of the cookie so that other people don’t log in as me.

If that was the end of the story, there’d be no worries and no need for me to do some wondering and write this post.

One of the things unique to our times are the change to European privacy and openness laws. As end users, we’re exposed to a barrage of requests when we visit a new site about whether or not we want to accept cookies. There really isn’t much that you can do except “accept” if you want to visit the site. If only the cookies just came from the website, it would be easy to accept. But, then there are “third party cookies”. This is where it gets weird. Third party cookies essentially pass through the site that you’re visiting as they come from somewhere/something else. The question then becomes one of “do I want all of these people knowing it’s me? and, do I want them following me around everywhere I go?”

It came to light this weekend. With apologies to Canadian sports reporting, the Europeans do a much better job. It was there that I found myself at a British news source. They were open that they used cookies but had an interesting option and that was to somehow manage the cookies they served up!

Look at that scroll bar on the right. You got it. It scrolls seemingly forever. The scariest part was that I only recognized one or two of them! Just who are all of these things?

It served as a reminder that most browsers have the ability to actually block third party cookies. Here’s an older article but it gives you a sense of how it’s done.

How to Block Third-Party Cookies in Every Web Browser

The whole experience had me wondering if we’re losing the battle in all this. Do many people care?

How about you? Do you worry?

OTR Links 05/29/2019


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

Ramona’s challenge


Yesterday, I got a challenge from Ramona Meharg that I couldn’t ignore.

I like things that are artificial intelligence-y and this seemed to have that type of approach so I gave it a shot.

The website is called Akinator.

The concept is pretty simple; sort of a digital spin to the 20 questions game that we played as kids.  When I had visited the site, there had been 700847537 games played.  That’s quite impressive.

So, ever up for the challenge, I gave it a shot.  I wanted badly to win so I chose something Canadian – hockey and just pulled a name out of my memory but then felt guilty and went with a name that might be more well known – Bobby Orr.  And, I lost.  Or rather the Akinator won.

bobbyorr

That was impressive.

How would it do with my original choice – Jean Beliveau?

How’s this for close?

JeanBeliveau

Ah, I’ve still got it!

What was interesting was the followup where I could provide details so that the next player might not be so lucky.  In other words, Akinator was learning.

Anyway, it’s 1 and 1 for me.

Are you up to the challenge?  If you’re interested in using it in the classroom, there is a child mode.  I didn’t test it extensively but none of the questions that I was asked were inappropriate.

So, thanks, Ramona.