This Week in Ontario Edublogs

I almost did it again.  Instead of “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”, I started to type the title as “The Week in Ontario Edublogs”.  I’ve done it before and that’s why this post’s numbering doesn’t reflect the actual number of times I’ve written this post.  Sigh.  Let’s just say I’ve written it a lot.

And here’s what I was excited to read this week.


An Alternative To A School Cellphone Ban

After a bit of a dry spell, Andrew Campbell is back blogging.  What caught my eye about this post was that he claimed that the Premier made reference to it on social media.

As Andrew notes, this isn’t a problem that schools have created, it’s one that parents and students have brought into schools with them.  So, Andrew offers the simplistic solution – have parents make students keep the devices at home.

I suppose that such a simplistic approach is doable.  After all, there are other things that are not allowed in schools and there are heavy handed consequences for doing so.  The same could apply to cellphones.

I think back to my schooling and we actually had to purchase a sliderule for use in school.  One of the wealthier kids in the class came with an electronic calculator and was absolutely forbidden to use this device which gave exact answers in favour of using a device that approximated the answer.

Calculators were introduced with some folks screaming about the demise of civilization (at least the Mathematics part of it) and yet these devices are just taken for granted these days.

I suspect that years from now, people will look back and laugh at how we anguished over the issue of BYOD and bringing powerful and enabling devices into the classroom.  The issue they might be debating could be about whether reading about Einstein or interacting with a holograph is more educationally sound.


Back To The Map Of Canada: What Do You Do With That 2%?

This post from Aviva Dunsiger brought me back nightmares about quicky PD sessions given in staff meetings.  Often they’re about 15 minutes long, totally out of context for me at least and ultimately we wrote them off as filler.

As you read Aviva’s post, you can visualize her heart rate climbing as a result of anxiety.  I’m surprised that she didn’t bring in something to do with self-regulation.

Personally, I can recall such PD sessions where I got my colours done in that 15 minutes to tell me that my learning style was something other than what I thought.  Then, there was the time we all had to sing and, believe me, you don’t want to hear me sing.  After the meeting I approached the superintendent and offered to lead a session to have everyone create a program and was turned down.  I guess there are priorities.

It seems to me that doing something in a staff meeting with teachers from various grades and subject areas is actually a very hard task.  It needs to be generic enough to be meaningful enough to everyone and yet valuable enough to justify the time devoted to it.

Not an easy task.


This week we did…something

It’s the time of year for Progress Reports – the things that go home in advance of Report Cards.  There was a time when these were a quick glimpse about socialization and a status report on work habits.  Now, they’re substantially more than that.

This post from Lisa Corbett paints an interesting picture of the challenge of making something worthwhile at this time of year, given her approach to the teaching and learning done in her class so far.

Because of the work I’m doing to spiral in math this year I am feeling like I don’t have a lot of things to use for comments on progress reports. I’ve decided to focus my commenting on some of the mathematical process skills.

I think that, when you read it, you’ll empathize with her plight.

Perhaps for the Mathematics subject area, she could just put a link to this post in the student progress report and have the parents read what’s going on here.


Focus on Trees – Part One

Absolutely every now and again, it’s really important to take a look at the learning environment and that’s what Ann-Marie Kee does here.  In particular, she identifying various trees and their significance on her school property.

Could you do that?

I think to some of the new builds where a bulldozer comes in and flattens everything and a boxy school building appears.  A little later, perhaps some grass and a few trees as part of a planting or community partnership.

You’d never be able to say this with that approach.

I think of our trees as keepers of our culture.

And, I just have to include this.


Preserving the Cup

Skip to the end and Beth Lyons says it well.

But our educators can not pour from an empty cup.

One of the things that Beth has observed is that this year is a bit different from others.  She claims to be an optimist but is struggling to have optimistic thoughts these days.

She sees teachers stretched thin already.  Herself included.  And, it’s only October.

Who better than a teacher-librarian who has interactions with every staff member in the school to make that observation?

Is there a magic potion that can be taken to turn this around?  I think we all know that the answer is no.  I can’t help but wonder if the recent election hasn’t contributed heavily to this – we live in a time when positive messages take a back seat to the negative.  It has to take a toll.

Caring for others is important but Beth notes many times that it’s also important to take care of yourself.  It’s not being selfish.

We need to get beyond that.


100DaysofCode

Peter Beens is participating in very active pieces of personal learning.  Earlier this week, I noted that he was part of the WordCamp in the Niagara Region?  This is different.

When you click through, you’ll see that this whole project is very comprehensive. Much like other challenges like the 30 days of photography challenges, Peter has to work on something every day. He’s doing so and documenting it.

You’ll also click through to see the activities and Peter sharing his notes on his work.

Wow!


‼️‼️ELECTION DAY‼️‼️

And, finally, a new Ontario Blogger. This is from Indigenous Awareness.

Essentially, this post is a summary of positions about Indigenous issues from the major political parties in Canada. When I first read it, I was feeling badly that I hadn’t read it in advance of the election.

And yet, now that we have a minority government in place, perhaps the messages and positions from the parties are even more important. Will they be held accountable?

By themselves, each of the parties have shared their positions. But, since no one party will be able to pass legislation without assistance from another, looking for common threads or close to common threads might be a good indication of what might happen.


As I say every week, please take the time to click through and read these posts in their original form. There is great thinking and sharing of ideas there.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter to stay on top of their future thinking.

  • @acampbell99
  • @avivaloca
  • @LisaCorbett0261
  • @AMKeeLCS
  • @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • @pbeens
  • @indigenousawrns

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https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

Author: dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

5 thoughts on “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”

  1. Thanks for this blog post, Doug, and once again, connecting all of these Ontario Edubloggers. I always look forward to reading these posts and hearing your thoughts around different blog posts that you read.

    Thanks for including mine here! Reading your comment, I think that it’s only fair for me to expand on a couple of things that I didn’t in my post. First of all, the Math PD was for our whole staff meeting, and it was honestly, one of the best math professional development inservices that’s I’ve ever been involved in. At the beginning of the session, Moojean, our vice principal, promised that we would all have takeaways no matter what we taught, and I really do think that this was true. While she picked some questions to get us involved and talking, the math was actually less about the questions than about the thinking around how we get kids to solve problems. What’s the value in this kind of collaborative approach? People talking? Sharing ideas? The use of a vertical surface for writing things down? When to move from manipulatives to pictures perhaps? And the use of “notice” and “wonder” in all subject areas to get kids thinking and talking, while developing a common language. It was just during the process of this, that I realized my struggle with this kind of representation, and reflected on how I might view myself as a math learner many years ago if there was this same emphasis on understanding. Not that I think this is a bad thing. I’m just wondering how we get everyone to understand all concepts … maybe for those 2% of kids that might be like me. For you know, I think that the majority of people understood things better with this visual approach than just the formula itself. I will give Moojean even more credit, as she’s not giving up on me. She even did some modelling in the staffroom for me before school yesterday on 1 divided by 2/3. She’s determined to help me understand. I may not be there yet, but I appreciate her perseverance. I think we’re really lucky to have a VP whose background was in math. Not only is she devoted to having kids learn and understand, but staff too. As for the Self-Reg part of the post, I think that the deep breathing and the support of kind colleagues helped reduce my triggered alarms. Thank goodness for both! And with that, I might have just written a new post in reply. 🙂 Thanks for getting me thinking more about this.

    Aviva

  2. Thanks for profiling my #100DaysOfCode project, Doug.

    First, a comment on Andrew’s cellphone recommendation. Parents will never agree to keeping their children’s phones at home because they expect to be able to get ahold of their children (and vice-versa) 24/7. The idea that the parents could call the school office to get in touch with their child in an emergency is foreign to them.

    Onto Aviva’s post, and more specifically her comment about dividing by fractions. I feel good that the concept of “invert and multiply” came back to me immediately, after not having to think about it for many years.

    The #100DaysOfCode project I’m working is in preparation for a presentation I’m doing at #BIT19 next month which will of course be of interest to any teachers who want to learn to program, but also to any teachers who want to learn something else. As I work through this project I’m trying to envision how it could be adapted to learning Photoshop, or photography, or how to blog, or just about anything. What I really like about the project is the social interaction you have with others, as one of the rules is that you’re supposed to share your learning successes online but also to encourage others.

    I’m even wondering if the project can be expanded to students, and more specifically to the idea that they produce ePortfolios in a format similar to how I’m documenting this project in GitHub.

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