This week was a time for a special edition of voicEd’s This Week in Ontario EduBlogs. In addition to a whole bunch of fun and looking at some bloopers, it was a chance for Stephen and I to identify and look at some of the blog posts that really resonated with us this past year.
I hesitate to call them the “best of” as is done in so many places. I like the posts that appear here weekly and they truly are the best thoughts that the authors have to share at the time. In this case, for the show, we tried to find really personal reasons about the posts selected.
They appear below with my original commentary from this blog at the time.
The podcast is available at this link: https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/december-31-looking-back-twioe-in-2019/
I’d like to thank Paul McGuire, Aviva Dunsiger, and Lynn Thomas for being so kind as to share some of their thoughts during the show.
This post was selected by Stephen and, for him, it was a message about parenting, testing, and measuring what is really important.
This appeared on May 24.
One of the powerful things about blogging is that, at least for now, your thoughts will be there forever. (or until you delete it or the service goes away or … well, you get my meaning)
One of the things that Patt Olivieri will have a chance to do with her son is share this post when he’s old enough to fully appreciate it.
In education, we know all about assessment, evaluation, and data points. Our system and our jobs thrive on it. It’s one of the things that separate education workers from other workers. It’s scientific, artistic, and humanist all at the same time.
It’s not as powerful as a mother’s love for her child.
You see, my love, there is no test for all of this, no grade, no level that can ever capture the everyday, ordinary stuff that accumulates to the only stuff that can ever be measured in immeasurable ways.
If you’re a parent, you’ll be moved by this post.
Another chosen by Stephen who loves metaphores. This is the second post from Anne-Marie Kees and her thoughts about trees.
This appeared on December 13.
A while back, I read Part One of Anne-Marie Kee’s thoughts about trees, in particular as they apply to Lakefield College School.
This is an interesting followup as she reflects on trees and how they grow, survive, and thrive. In particular, she shares some interesting observations about community and deep or not-so-deep roots in the section dealing with myths.
Towards the end, she turns to how it is so similar to today’s teenagers. Trees help each other grow and so do teenagers. In fact, by giving them the opportunity to take on more responsibility in truly meaningful ways, you do help the process. Not surprisingly, she makes the important connection to mental health and well-being.
I know that we all think we do that. Maybe it’s time to take a second look and really focus on the “meaningful”.
My first selection is a reminder that, no matter what good we think we may have seen in society or schools, there is still work to be done. I find it sad that this post had to be written, but Matthew Morris did it.
This appeared on August 30.
This isn’t a post that I could write but Matthew Morris could – and did.
Recently, he moved and is now a part of a condo community but, according to the post, he hasn’t been accepted into that community as of yet.
In the elevator, I try to extend my courtesies with “good mornings” and “what floor?” with folks who happen to share the space with me. I’ve been met with cold responses and void eye contact.
Beyond the fact that he’s young, a person of colour, he’s a teacher. Consequently, he doesn’t go to work during the usual times in these summer months.
It’s a very personal post describing his life as he see it currently. I hope that it makes you think. Then, he does a shift and asks you to think of those students in your classroom where perhaps you have made or will make assumptions about.
He helps by having you walk in his shoes.
Much has been said about the cuts already done in Ontario and what’s on the way. If only there was a plan but I think the term “mindless” is used at its very best in the title.
This appeared on June 7.
Charles Pascal tagged me in this op-ed piece he wrote for the Wellington Times. He had me hooked at the first paragraph…
A growing number of Ontarians are being hurt—and our shared future placed at risk—by the moment by moment uninformed decision-making by the current government at Queen’s Park. Led by an unthinking premier and enabled by a spineless cabinet, we are in the midst of a very damaging period in our political history.
Charles’ passion for society and education come through loudly and clearly as he challenges many of the assumptions that the current government has made as it has been making the cuts that we seem to hear more and more about each day.
There is an important message that shouldn’t go unnoticed in all of this. It’s easy to see the impact of cuts on students in the classroom but Charles points out that a child’s life is more than just going to school. Cuts can have the impact at many other points.
Set aside some time to read and understand the important message he’s crafted in this article – and then pass it along to colleagues and friends.
Every time I read a post from Deborah, I feel like saying “I’m not worthy”. More than a post, they often read like research articles. This time she takes on virtual reality and thoughts from Kyle Pearce.
This appeared on May 17.
I’ve been playing around with Virtual Reality off and on ever since I heard of the concept. Most of the applications are pretty predictable – you know – explore a world that may or may not exist in real life because you can. You might experience something unique and different.
One thing that I’ve tried every now and again with limited success is to create my own virtual reality environment. I think that would be the ultimate use of technology and the concept. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is something that I need to grow in to and to have better equipment.
But, back to this post from Deborah McCallum. Her posts are always inspirational and have me thinking about things I might not have ordinarily thought of.
She was inspired by a post from Kyle Pearce about moving from the concrete to the abstract in mathematics. She talks about the opposite – going in the other direction – from abstract to concrete. I like her thinking and it enhances the original thoughts from Kyle’s post.
I think that this may be a new frontier for exploration. In Kyle’s original post, he uses a doughnut example. I think I’d really enjoy Deborah taking on the opposite direction and perhaps show how a concrete approach could turn into consolidation. And, what sort of gear would be required.
Is there room for both Kyle and Deborah’s thinking? I think so.
It was great to look back at the year. I’ve shared the complete lists of wonderful posts over the past couple of weeks. They’re a testament to the great thinking and inspiration from Ontario Educators.
I’m looking forward to more in 2020.
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