This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It was a fun show on Wednesday with This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio. In addition to my regular discussion with Stephen Hurley, we were joined by The BeastEDU – Andrea Kerr and Kelly Mackay. By the end of the hour, I think I was almost able to tell the difference between the two of them. Recognizing Stephen was easy…

Keys to a Rocket Ship

TheBeastEDU (Andrea and Kelly) penned this post in typical Beast fashion. A sketchnote, a provocation, and a conversation.

So, if someone gave you the keys to a rocket ship, would you take it for a ride? It was a premise for “going for it” in education as well as a tribute to a supportive superintendent. I found myself nodding in agreement. They were telling my story.

Over the course of my career away from the classroom, I was fortunate enough to witness the leadership of four superintendents I reported to. Unlike Cathy in this post, they all had different leadership styles. There were some leadership styles that I appreciated and some that I had challenges with (but in a good way, I think). Beyond that, all of them were very supportive in their own ways and I hold all of them to a very high standard.

This post tags some very real attributes in education and leadership – Team, respect empathy, listening, pressure, urgency, and purpose.

Above all, though, I like to read about other’s reflections about growth and being supported in this growth. The best leaders do more than just hand over the keys.

Dear Other Mom

This post from Andrea Haefele will break your heart if you have any sense of empathy. Please take the time to read it slowly and put yourself in her place.

Imagine taking your child to a playground and hearing this discussion.

I wanted to let you know I heard you whisper to your son at that very moment. I pretended to not notice you, but I heard every word you said to him,

“Don’t play with that girl, go somewhere else to play.”

And before I swallowed what just happened, you and your son were at the other side of the playground.

Andrea wrote the post, I’m sure, just to get it out of her system. The chances that the other mom would actually happen upon it and read it are slim to none.

When you go to a park, like in this story, the biggest challenges don’t come from the kids. They’re there to have fun. They get along and accept each other.

The elephants in the room are the adults. Why can’t they be more like kids?

Leaping with no net: autism for teens in Ontario

This is a story that I couldn’t begin to tell as I’ve had no experience raising a child with autism. I’ve followed the news; I’ve read the many reports but it’s not nearly the same as dealing with it first hand.

Alanna King has and shares a story about being a parent dealing with the realities of raising such a child. I know the child and he has had the opportunity to be an assistant at Minds on Media at the Bring IT, Together conference. For the past couple of years, he’s helped his father with a virtual reality station and does so admirably.

It’s sad to read Alanna’s description of coverage being like an umbrella that is shrinking. It comes as no surprise that there are the best supports in bigger communities. If you don’t live there, you just don’t get the same level of support. This support wanes as children become older.

Alanna is a strong woman and for her to use the term “intimidating” helps paint the picture she’s describing. Cutbacks in support can’t help but appear to be shortsighted and you wonder about the long term future for these children.

In best teacher-librarian fashion, Alanna leaves us with a reference to a book that she describes as one of the best resources she can recommend.

And, some wise words…

after all if you’ve met one person with autism….you’ve met one person with autism.


It’s not the first time either. After 10 years in education, it is now a given that I will go to sleep on the last day of school reflective, happy, and excited about the past, present, and future of this calling.

One of the powerful things about blogging is that it gives people a platform and a readership with potential reach that is unlike any other medium.

Will Gourley shares a message that I suspect that most teachers feel and might share with their family in the past. Now, with a few keystrokes, Will’s shared with the world.

And yet, things are different this year, as we know. September may well re-ignite the excitement for some, that some will be smaller in number and many of the rules and gains made through years of collective bargaining and improvements to the profession will be rolled back.

Will’s excitement takes a turn because of this reality and he slaps you with a wakeup call and offers some suggestions about what you can do for the profession over the summer.

I have shared my thoughts with my MPP and yet he sits in opposition. He is vocal, to be sure, but the Twitter message Will shares in the post is a sad reminder that it’s not business as usual.

So Long and Thanks For All of This

My apologies to Terry Greene. I read the title to this post way too quickly and thought that he was going to do some sort of Hitch Hiker’s Guide thing.

Instead, it was a summary of Terry’s time spend with eCampus Ontario. It was a busy time for him which he summarizes in paragraphs devoted to:

  • Visits
  • Speaking
  • Mobile Work
  • Podcasting
  • Ontario Extend
  • Teammates
  • Patchbooks

I know that the reason for his secondment was to help others in his learning community grow and improve their profession. I suspect that he’s the person who has learned the most.

Readers of this blog know that I’ve followed Terry’s work and I’m so thankful that he’s turned me on to many other post-secondary bloggers who have become open in their sharing of their thoughts. Due to his efforts, my reading list has become longer and richer.

Thanks so much, Terry and I wish you all the best as your return to Fleming.

Podcasts for Students

I love the resurgence of interests in podcasts and podcasting. Years ago, it was a big thing; imagine speaking into a computer and then having someone else download and listen to it.

Then, it kind of went off the rails when the notion of vlogging came along and everyone headed to places like Youtube where you could take the concept further and add video to your message. Then, somehow, video became all things, including silly things, and people started to realize that audio is often all that you need to get your message across. Plus, it fits nicely onto an MP3 player and is very portable.

In this post, Arianna Lambert lets us know that she’s headed back to the classroom and plans to make podcasting a significant resource for her students.

She’s done her research; as you wade your way through the post, you’ll see all kinds of podcasts that she plans to use. And, that’s great.

I would suggest that it shouldn’t stop there though. Being a consumer of podcasts is one thing and certainly a powerful thing. But, the next step is to become a podcaster yourself. Do the research, plan the script, record the message, share the message, and reflect on the message.

That’s the ultimate.

HP Maker Challenge

This sounds like a wonderful opportunity that Fair Chance Learning provided for some students.

Students were presented with an essential question on the theme of Sustainability, asked to define problems to solve and then design solutions as a response to the challenge. 

Over the years, we’ve had Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Technology, Family Studies, and more competitions. I always had a Computer Science team that would compete with other schools solving problems. It’s a way to scaffold regular learning and let students really shine.

In this post, the challenge now becomes Making.

If you enjoy reading student reflections on a theme, you’ll really enjoy this post. After a quick description of the event, student reflections are captured and shared.

I wonder what more Maker Challenges are in the future.

You’ll have to admit; this is a wonderful collection of blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. Please take the time to click through and enjoy the original posts.

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

  • @TheBeastEDU
  • @andreahaefele
  • @banana29
  • @WillGourley
  • @greeneterry
  • @MsALambert
  • @FCLEdu

This post appeared originally on:

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

OTR Links 07/19/2019

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