This Week in Ontario Edublogs

First off …

Today marks a day of rotating strike action by ETFO members in the following districts:

  • Bluewater District School Board
  • District School Board Ontario North East

Details here.

Despite the situation in the province with respect to collective bargaining, Ontario Educators continue their professional reflection on their own blogs.


And the journey expands…

Congratulations to Beth Lyons

As I have received news that I was successful in my bid to become the Vice President/ President Elect of the OSLA Council for 2020-2021 years, I think this is a great time to reflect on my journey thus far…

To celebrate, Beth takes the opportunity to reflect on her own professional growth as a teacher-librarian. What impresses me about this look back is just how diverse a background is required for a teacher-librarian in order to carry out the role in the year 2020.

I think that many of us read quite a bit but we’re guided by our own interests and pressures. Beth reinforces the notion that a teacher-librarian must read and understand for everyone in their charge. Follow any teacher-librarian and you’ll notice the same thing.

But learning doesn’t stop there for a contemporary leader. This post touches many bases – podcasting, presenting, action research, and more.


Students’ Research Going Beyond Their Own Classroom With Minecraft EE

On the Fair Chance Learning blog, Ryan Magill shares some work dealing with Minecraft and his students. For those who are concerned that it could be a big free for all, you need to read and understand all of the content of this post.

The focus here was driven by a unit of study dealing with animals and habitats and brought in the notion of zoos and aquariums. What an opportunity – design your own zoo!

I had to smile. This country boy knew all kinds of things about cows at an early age! But, it’s not safe to assume that everyone had that chance. Maybe they do have to do some research and build an exhibit for their zoo!

I think that the big takeaway for all is that you need to avoid boxing yourself into a corner with technology. With a playground like Minecraft, the sky really is the limit.


frozen solid; warmth in the lines

This post, from Heather Swail, could best be described as “prelude to a strike”. It was written just before a work action and is very philosophical about education and the role of the teacher.

In education, the essence of pedagogy, teachers are taught and encouraged to be flexible, to change plans mid-stream when the lesson is just not working, to moderate voice, stance, position when dealing with a nervous or reluctant child, to try to understand behaviour, resistance, background and underlying issues. A good teacher is fluid all of the time. 

Heather launches into a story that reflects the reality for many teachers. I have no doubt that just about any teacher could write and reflect on the same topics; what makes this so powerful comes from the eloquence and passion from Heather.

She closes by indicating that this will likely be the last year of a career for her. It truly is sad that she’s going through this; I think everyone would like to think they’re going to finish a career with the best year ever.


Are we willing to lose a bit of control?

I love this post from Paul McGuire. He was inspired to write as a result of a Dean Shareski blog post “I Don’t Think I’m an EdTech Guy Anymore.” I had read Dean’s post and grew angrier as I read it. I just hope that he had his tongue in cheek as he wrote it.

Substitute any subject area for “EdTech” and you’ll see the folly.

This, coming from someone whose title was, “Computers in the Classroom Teacher Consultant”. The role was framed for me by my first superintendent. I still remember his thoughts.

“I don’t want you to just learn more technical stuff. I can hire someone for half your salary with a better technical background. I need you to help people learn how to teach with technology.”

He was right, of course.

Learning new technical things was, and remains, my little side gig. And, I’ll be honest; I love it. But we’re in the teaching profession and teaching should be at the heart of everything we do.

I probably became more of a nuisance to my Teacher Consultant colleagues as I was expected to learn about good teaching and good learning throughout all curriculum areas and all grades.

Paul’s post illustrates what happens when technology is still viewed as something extra, something special, something so that you can say “I used technology today” …

Earlier this week I observed a student teacher going through a lesson with some grade 9 students. The lesson did have technology – there were Youtube videos and digital media involved in the presentation. What was missing was any level of engagement with the students. The information was conveyed using a very traditional lecture style, the students were the passive receptors of the information.

I still remember the advice from my superintendent which made so much sense to me and still drives my thinking unlike unproven schemes like SAMR.

With technology, you can…

  1. do things differently
  2. do different things

The first step, I would suggest, is where this student teacher is. And, you can’t blame that student since he/she has been in the education system for 16 or 17 years. The challenge for her/him and indeed for the teachers at the Faculty is to move to the second step. It’s not an easy step for some.


All These Certified Teachers

Everyone has a story about how they got into education and became teachers. In this post, Matthew Morris talks about his story. His was a route that I would not have been able to do.

He was good enough as a football player to get a university scholarship and he was thinking NFL. When that didn’t work out…

When I realized the professional athlete route was a wrap, I started to think about “careers”. Teaching was my back up plan. I settled on that path during my senior year of university

My personal first plan was to be independently wealthy and, when that didn’t work out, I went to university. Unlike Matthew, I didn’t have the luxury of staying with my parents but was able to rent a room with a friend for the 8 months at the Faculty. I don’t recall the cost of tuition at the time but I’m positive it wasn’t anywhere close to the six thousand that Matthew quotes.

He offers an interesting proposal for improving the profession and that is “lowering” teacher credentialing. I read it as the cost to become a teacher.

It’s not just the process of becoming a teacher that is expensive after Grade 12. The whole cost of university can be limiting to some. Are people limited in career paths like the story that Matthew shares?


A problem of zero

I love a good mathematics story and there’s a great one in this post from Melissa Dean.

Visit her post to see the graphic there. As she notes, it leads to some interesting discussions about

  • what’s a rational number?
  • what’s an irrational number?
  • Are there ‘fake’ numbers?
  • what are those weird symbols about?
  • Why isn’t zero a natural number?

I had to smile at the observation made as a result of the discussion.

Zero is not a number

How would you handle such an assertion?


4:45

I think Aviva Dunsiger and I are kindred souls. At least in terms of being active in the morning! As you know, my daily blog post appears at 5:00. It’s not that I’m writing at that time but I am connected and reading and it’s nice to get a notification that the post scheduled for that time has indeed gone live. If I ever mess up, Aviva is there to let me know. (and it’s happened more than once)

I can imagine that this would be a difficult post for her to write, first at an emotional level and secondly when you’re putting yourself out there via her popular blog.

As we know, ETFO members are currently involved with a work action and Aviva has had her schedule interrupted as a result. When you’re up at 4:45, it should come as no surprise that she’s into school working at setting things up for the upcoming day.

In the post, she describes a typical day and

I am always at school between 6:45 and 6:50

It’s interesting to picture her setting up for the day. As an Early Years’ teacher, I can only imagine how much preparation goes into making sure that all the areas are ready to go.

There are a couple of lessons here…

  • first of all, to the federations, there is a lesson about how their members are affected when rules are applied to everyone
  • secondly, to parents and the general public, quality learning doesn’t happen by accident. All teachers have their own planning and implementation of lessons each and every day. It doesn’t happen by magic

Aviva has lots of friends and supporters – when you visit the blog post, also make sure that you check out the replies to her post.


Please keep you colleagues who are on strike today in your mind.

And, also think of the professionalism of these bloggers. Follow them on Twitter.

  • @mrslyonslibrary
  • @mrmagill1
  • @hbswail
  • @mcguirp
  • @callmemrmorris
  • @Dean_of_math
  • @avivaloca

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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

3 thoughts on “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”

  1. Thanks, as always, for connecting Ontario Edubloggers through your blog, and for including my recent post as one of yours to reflect on this week. I always enjoy reading your thoughts. My biggest challenge may be the impact that the environment has on student learning, and knowing sometimes, that we are leaving when a problem exists (maybe in terms of how kids use the space or what a child needs in the classroom) because the 15 minutes are up. I never really thought about how much of our room works because of what we do in the room, but now I realize what’s missing when we’re not. It’s all a process of adjusting to our new normal, I guess.

    Now to go and read some other posts I missed this week. Thank you for the Friday morning reading. 🙂

    Aviva

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