Happy Black Friday, if you observe. There’s nothing discounted about the great posts coming from Ontario Edubloggers. You get full value for your reading.
This week starts off with a post from Sheila Stewart. Maybe it’s a little less “education” than normal but it might make you look at your Christmas tree in a different way. She was inspired by a story about Halifax donating a tree to Boston which led her to thinking about trees in Kenora.
It got me thinking about Christmas trees in my life. As a kid growing up, it was always down to the trees sold by the Kinsmen and Kinettes. The tree had to be the perfect height with the perfect amount of symmetry. Lots of mathematics to consider when you’re freezing…
In our town, there’s always a big show as our natural tree is lit. The mayor, town crier, shooting of the town cannon, fireworks, hot chocolate, and of course the RiverLights.
These days, we’ve found the perfect solution for our rec room – an artificial tree which is absolutely symmetric. It makes the perfect backdrop for our Christmas picture.
From Rob Cannone, the best wisdom for professional learning.
With students, they learn something and immediately put it into practice. Can you imagine the disaster if you taught something and then didn’t get into projects, assessments, or any of that good stuff until a month or two later?
So, why as teachers, do you attend professional learning events and then not implement things right away?
Rob notes some steps that he feels should be done.
- One thing at a time
- Open the box
- Share learning with others
- Practice makes progress (accept it won’t be perfect)
His third point is even more important in this day and age. There was a time when you might learning something and then share it with a colleague in your school. With social media and its power, your best new learning partner just might be online.
From Lynn Thomas, another post that I thought moved nicely from kids to yourself in the argument that she builds.
We all remember our days at the Faculty of Education and the advice that we got about questioning – never ask a question that can be answered with a “Yes” or “No”. Aim for something deeper and richer so that the student can provide evidence of learning.
Then, for me, the post took a turn.
When we ask questions of ourselves, do we aim for the richer questions or are we happy being able to respond “Yes” or “No” or ticked off on a to-do list? Or, updated to 2019, anything that can be answered quickly by a search engine.
Other than the fact that Quagmire also starts with a “Q”, I like her logic of avoiding getting stuck.
From the STAO blog, something a little different from Laura Collins. It’s actually a unit of study about birds and safety.
- Activity 1 – Building Empathy
- Activity 2a – Understanding the Problem (Field Work)
- Activity 2b – Understanding the Problem (Research)
- Activity 3 – Ideate
- Activity 4 – Prototype (Test & Redesign)
- Activity 5 – Sharing & Consolidation
We have a couple of bird feeders in the back yard. We know that you have to reliably fill the feeder. We’ve learned about ways to avoid birds flying into windows. We’ve learned how to keep the squirrels off the pole. There’s so much more in this unit including the CN Tower.
And we get so excited to see Blue Jay, Cardinals, Woodpeckers. Squirrels, not so much.
There’s a real wealth of activities, literature, and learning opportunities here. Wow!
Most definitely shareworthy.
I thought that I was going to be like a fish out of water with the post from Deborah McCallum. After all, I didn’t teach reading. That’s for the younger years; by the time we got them in secondary school, they should know how to read, right?
But, are they all really accomplished readers?
Deborah points to a lack of extensive research in this area. In our voicEd Radio show, Stephen shared some of the challenges that he had as an adolescent reader. Do we make the assumption that because they’re older, they just are all natural readers or have at least mastered the skill successfully?
Deborah offers a few things to think about. Good for beginning readers but certainly worth keeping in mind for the older ones.
- Low knowledge of vocabulary
- Inadequate word recognition strategies
- Lack of schemata or background knowledge to interpret text
- Poor use of strategies to comprehend what they are reading
My neck snapped when I read the title to this post from Alanna King. Then, I thought, we’ll turn her into a programming geek yet.
In a previous post, she mentioned how he was excited about learning about design and interface but now she’s rolled up her sleeves and is digging into code.
Her description of the activity matches the activities that we used to set up in our “Women in Technology” workshops for Grade 7/8 girls. There is something magical about looking behind the scenes to see exactly what’s going one. You might remember the inspirational “a pixel here, a pixel there”.
These days, there isn’t a huge need to be able to code many things from scratch since we have such great, purposeful editors to work with. And yet, there is the odd time when you need to look behind the scenes because something isn’t working just right. I can’t imagine how long it would take to write a blog post without an editor.
But, I still maintain, that’s not the ultimate goal. To be sure, the power behind programming and coding is knowing that you can absolutely be in charge of that page, that site, that device, that electronic thingy. Once you know, realise, and understand that, you can’t be pushed around by a wannabe or a particular device.
Learn and take charge – Alanna’s on a wonderful trip.
There’s real frustration in this post from Matthew Morris.
the kids in my classroom were in the middle of completing their short stories and the laptops they had been writing short stories on were booked – for the entire week.
In his school, the supply doesn’t meet demand when it comes to technology and that’s the TLDR;
It’s the sort of thing that legitimately turns teachers off using technology in a meaningful, reliable way. Imagine any subject area where you can only do what you need to do every other Thursday if you remember to book things.
“We are teaching students born in the 21st century. We need to meet them on their plane.” Round of applause.
How many times have we heard this? Some self-important speaker on the speaking route commanding a fee that could otherwise have bought maybe 10 Chromebooks. Or, in Matthew’s case looking at a neighbouring board where a commitment to the concept has resulted in every student being given a device. I can understand the frustration.
Somewhere along the line, the people who allocate the dollars have to decide whether they’re prepared to fund a significant program or be happy with periodic low-level activities.
Thanks, once again, to these wonderful Ontario educators for blogging and sharing their thoughts. Please take the time to click through and read these posts in their entirety. And, make a blogger happy – leave them a comment.
Then, follow them on Twitter.
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