This Week in Ontario Edublogs

First off …

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

  • Peel District School Board
  • Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board

Details here.


Good Friday morning and the end to January. Will you be groundhogging in class today or Monday or just take a pass this year? I do have a Flipboard collection of resources here.

Check out some of the great posts from Ontario Edubloggers that I’ve enjoyed recently.


Listening to Reflections

Earlier this week, my friend Colleen Rose tagged me in a Twitter message looking for assistance…

So, sure, I shared it. The responses were amazing. It showed how powerful a learning network can be. You may wish to follow that discussion chain if you’re interested in collecting or affirming ideas.

Wouldn’t you expect the same results when working with students online?

Melanie White tried this past semester and shared some of her results from watching students reflecting on their experiences with a social justice focus. It wasn’t positive in all cases and Melanie shares at least some of the details.

Her conclusion?

It is the outcome of my work that matters. I must listen and learn and do better and repeat.

It’s sad that she had to endure this but let’s hope that she refines her approach and doesn’t give up completely. There can be so much value when it does work.


Slice of Life: Old Habits

I had to smile a bit as I read Lisa Corbett’s post about writing a paper for a course that she’s taking. I’m guessing that it’s in education and I remember some of the requirements and resources for papers that I’ve researched and had to write in the past. At times, there aren’t enough Os in boring. Such begins her story.

To assist, she turned to a tool that so many people use with students. I’ve done many a workshop on graphic organisers so it’s like second nature to me. I use an organiser here all the time for blog posts, my TWIOE show, and shopping lists among other things. I have such an exciting life. For the most part, like Lisa did, I tend to use either a Google document or a Microsoft OneNote document to do the deed. They work so well.

You’ve got to love the openness that she has for the writing/organising process and her thoughts about the hamburger approach to writing. We all learned how to write using this approach. How we’ve moved on in a digital world. Hamburger takes on a new and different meaning!

Thanks, Lisa – I needed some excuse for a graphic for this post!


Qu’est-ce qui fait d’un leader un leader ?

So, what’s your superpower?

Think for a second. We all have one or more.

Recently, Joel McLean listened to a podcast “What makes a superhero a superhero?” He then drew a parallel to leadership. “What makes a leader a leader?”

I thought it to be an interesting and appropriate comparison for Joel’s work. So often in education, leaders are appointed based upon some superhuman leadership ability. The question becomes “when was the last time that they actually used it?”

Is it a matter of increased workload that shoves this backwards or is it complacently that they’ve risen to their desired level?

But, let’s not overlook the fact that there are people who assume leadership positions and maintain or enhance their superpowers. It’s easy to identify those that don’t, but let’s also celebrate those that do well and continue to grow. Especially those who recognize those that know they can’t do it alone.


YouTube versus Text Instructions

Bottom line – I hope that Joan Vinall-Cox got her invitations for the party out in time. I didn’t get mine but wasn’t really expecting one ….

I’ve been working with getting the some of my contacts into a label so I can connect Evite to it for a future party. This led to a couple of important learning experiences.

In order to get the job done, Joan had to learn how to perform a new task with the contacts in her address book. She had a couple of options:

  • read a set of instructions
  • watch a YouTube video about how to do it

Personally, I find myself in this situation all the time. I almost always opt for a text instruction.

Why? (don’t hate me) I don’t read the entire document. I skim until I get to the salient part and then move on. I don’t opt for the video option because they can be so time consuming – advertising, attempts at jokes, fast forwarding is a challenge since you don’t know how far ahead to fast forward!

In Joan’s case, she was frustrated with text and found a perfect video that showed her exactly what she needed. I’m now wondering, based on her experience, if I need to open my mind to a new approach.

A caveat to both approaches though – some of the available stuff is outdated. The internet isn’t really good about keeping things up to date at times.


What’s in my Reading Pile?

Teacher-librarians are an amazing group of people.

Diana Maliszewski is off to the OLA Superconference this week but still managed to find time for her weekly blog post. In this case, a list of things that she’s reading.

Look for a title, ISBN number, and her rationale for why she is planning to read each book. It’s a nice collection. You might find her openness helpful in your own professional life.

I couldn’t help but note the difference in our reading styles. I like to read, yes, but I like to go cover to cover and only then on to the next book. Diana has a number on the go simultaneously.

I can’t imagine doing that myself; she obviously has a far better reading mind than I do.


Checklists and Independent Fridays

This post is an interesting approach to try and turn the tables, on the dreaded Friday, from unproductive to productive by giving Grade 8 students control over their own timeline.

Kelly McLaughlin, on the ETFO Heart and Art blog, shares an approach that makes Monday through Thursday more or less traditional in her plans and then makes Friday a day of “I.W.” or Independent Work. The concept revolves around students creating their own schedule for the day and the use of sticky notes to keep track.

I shuddered when I saw sticky notes because that’s how messages are passed around this house. But, in Kelly’s case, it’s a technique for managing productivity and effort – I couldn’t help but think it was just another form of graphic organiser.

It’s an interesting read. Would this approach work in your classroom?


Fence me in!

From Cal Armstrong’s new blogging site comes Cal’s latest revelation and it’s actually not OneNote related! It deals with a feature of the Firefox browser.

Cal has discovered and now exploited a feature that currently sets Firefox apart from the rest of the browser field in the Facebook protection game. It’s called Fences and Firefox basically promises that whatever happens on Facebook when you’re using Firefox stays in that tab. Your identity isn’t shared across any of the other tabs that you might have open. And who only has one tab open these days?

Further, Cal has discovered that Firefox comes packaged but you can create your own fenced in areas for anywhere you want.

The post is a nice read showing how he discovered this and then how he applied his new found knowledge to take the concept even further, thus taking control of things. Who doesn’t want to do that?


And, yet another terrific week of great reading.

Please take the time to enjoy all of these posts by clicking through and visitng them directly.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Joan Vinall-Cox – @joanvinallcox
  • Joel Mclean – @jprofnb
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Kelly McLaughlin
  • Cal Armstrong – @sig225

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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

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