doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

First off …


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

  • Algoma
  • Algoma Literacy
  • Bloorview
  • Greater Essex County
  • Hamilton-Wentworth
  • John McGivney Children’s Centre
  • KidsAbility
  • Limestone
  • Moose Factory
  • Moosonee
  • Niagara
  • Niagara Children’s Centre
  • Toronto
  • Toronto Catholic
  • Waterloo Region
  • York Region

As another week of challenging interactions between Ontario Teacher Federations comes to a close, let’s celebrate some of the professional learning and sharing that comes from Ontario Edubloggers.

Daring Greatly

Rolland Chidiac really opens himself up with some very personal reflections resulting from some professional learning from the “Dare to Lead” book from Brene Brown.

He shares a reflection about how things are turning out in his classroom and then about how he assisted in a NTIP session. Good for him – I found the concept far removed from my first years as a teacher. We were taught to lay low, get the lay of the land, and then do our best to fit into a school culture. It worked well for me, I think, so the notion of daring was a bit foreign. The concept came later.

In the post, Rolland talks about situations where he “armours up” and how he keeps to himself in certain situations and doesn’t offer up insights to his vulnerabilities to some others.

He makes an interesting observation that we talked about on the voicEd version of This Week in Ontario Edublogs.

talking about shame with the people who have earned the right to hear it,

I mused about “who” these people might be and Rolland responded on Twitter…

I think you’ll get a great deal from a slow read and understanding of his post.

Wake up and smell the pickets

Heather Swail’s latest post is an interesting look at the strike situation with Ontario’s Elementary Educators. It could easily have been about the trials and experiences on the picket lines but she already did that in an earlier post.

This post was more intended for the general public…

People have to ask: why are teachers striking? Why are educational assistants, early childhood educators and other workers striking? How has it come to this?

Tune in to the media and you absolutely will get two different interpretations about what’s going on. The news media, for the most part, tries to report the facts. Then, there’s the barrage of opinion pieces that you’ll find in the Toronto Sun.

Heather suggests reading and trying to understand both sides with an open mind. Then, make your own decision.

There has to be more to the evening news that to tune in to see if you have to find alternatives for your children the next day.

Care in Community

When my wife and I first started dating, I have memories of my mother-in-law and her love for quilting. It’s no subtle feat. In her case, the rec room was just about the right size to setup for a quilting bee (or at least a subset of a real bee). The television was on one side of the room and the couch on the other. The quilters would sit on chairs and do their work and talk. This meant that the quilt was about eye height if you were sitting on the couch trying to watch television.

The remarkable thing about the quilt, when it was done, was that it was a work of art. But, it didn’t start that way.

It started as a bunch of pieces of materials that eventually got quilted into the final piece. It truly was a whole being greater than the sum of its parts. I said on the radio show that we still have 4 quilts and I was wrong. My wife informs me that we have 6 usable and 1 with a coffee stain on it. They are a treasure and so we won’t be getting rid of any of them anytime soon.

So, I wasn’t going into Helen DeWaard’s post cold. I knew all about quilts. What she did introduce me to was the concept of #FemEdTech and their own #FemEdTech quilt project. This project will culminate at the OER20 conference in London, England where members of this project will be brought together by the conference and their contributions to the quilt.

Helen shares an interpretation of her personal square and the story that it tells. I think this would be an incredible Birds of a Feather session to have all together in one spot to share the story behind their contribution.

What a wonderful concept!

A tale of two hypothetical teens on social media

Jennifer Casa-Todd challenges you to consider two young people (I’m making the assumption that they’re teenagers since Jennifer is in that world) and their approach to Social Media.

Olivia and Emma are at opposite ends of the social media spectrum.

My immediate reaction was that I’m a lot like Olivia and I’d never want to be like Emma. It would be interesting to have an objective third party make an assessment.

But, for those who face young people like this every day, it is a nice start to a reflection and maybe even a discussion in the classroom. Once you can identify more with one of these characters than the other, you may be in a better position to do a bit of inward looking.

I suspect that, in the final analysis, we all have a bit of both of these young people in us.

Dear Ontario Parents, don’t stress about withheld report cards…

I’m glad that someone wrote about this topic. In this case, it was Kyleen Gray.

Students and parents in some areas of the elementary school panel missed out on report cards for Term I. The reason?

  • teachers in a work to rule are viewing the physical creation of the report cards as being an element not to be done as part of their work to rule. They claim to have submitted the marks to their principal as per their job requirements
  • Ministry of Education announces that report cards are not being completed because of the job action
  • School Districts indicate that the schools are not able to enter all the information into whatever system they use to create report cards and so announce that they’re will be none

I suspect that what parents believe depends upon who they trust most for accurate information. See Heather Swail’s post above.

Kyleen offers advice about how parents can stay up to date on student progress

  • Follow and interact with teachers via your child’s online classroom, or communication app (such as Seesaw)
  • Open regular lines of communication with teachers via email, phone or in person
  • Pay attention to standardized testing results (both formal and informal) 
  • Work and learn beside your child at home

Her final word on the topic…

I also knew that my goal in writing should be to inform parents that report cards really aren’t all their cracked up to be, and that they can learn about their children’s school progress in many more effective way

I can’t help but think that maybe report cards, in their current incarnation, have outlived their usefulness. Maybe this sense of staying in contact with teachers and children is a better way to go.

Oh wait

I’m sure that Will Gourley recognized that “Oh, and one more thing” was already in use by a computer company and didn’t want to tread on any trademark infringement…

I’m sorry to read that he had a “terrible January“.

If you’re a teacher, and I suspect that everyone reading this blog is, you know that this terrible January will turn into February and then who knows… As I write this, it’s February 6 and Will and colleagues are not in classrooms today. Many will not be there tomorrow either.

The reality for him recently was 17000 steps in three hours and a loss of a day’s salary.

He does make an important observation. In good times, the Ministry of Education, School Districts, and educators are all in it for the best of reasons. They’re partners, each holding up their end to make the education system work.

In bad times, though, things really change. We see it every day and certainly Will and colleagues live it every day.

There will be a time when the photo-op will be everyone smiling and shaking hands. Since we on the outside don’t have all the details, we have no idea when that photo-op will take place.

OLA SC 2020 Day 3 Reflections

From Diana Maliszewski, three consecutive days of blogging! She should go to conferences more often. See also

If you weren’t able to attend the OLA Superconference, you can see Diana’s segment of it in these posts. There is lots of detail and lots of pictures.

I wonder how many people were unable to attend because of a job action at their school. Blog posts like this can be of assistance to live vicariously through her eyes.

It also bring a question to mind – not a criticism of Diana but just an observation about how social media use has changed.

There used to be a time when you’d look forward to someone “live blogging” from a conference. i.e. short messages tweeted out during a keynote or a session, for example. Does anyone do that anymore or have we turned to big blog posts or live streaming as an alternative?

Please take the time to click through and enjoy all of these wonderful posts.

Then, make sure that you’re following these people on Twitter.

  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Heather Swail – @hbswail
  • Helen DeWaard – @hj_dewaard
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Kyleen Gray – @TCHevolution
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL

This post originates from:

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

6 responses to “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”

  1. […] This Week in Ontario Edublogs – doug — off the record […]


  2. Just going back through this post from yesterday and some of what I missed before I left for picket duty. I’m looking at your comment on Diana’s post. I still do live tweeting from a conference, even though I tend to reflect later — in more detail — through a blog post. Amanda Dykes tweeted years ago that she wished people would share learning at conferences through their tweets, and her words stuck with me. Now I can’t help myself. I wonder if others find the same.



    1. My sense is that there really was more of it a few years ago. Now, there might be one or two comments and that’s it. I can remember a time when reading live tweeting was like being there in the room. I’m glad that you still do it.


  3. (Doug – this was my reply on Twitter but I’ll repost it here)
    – thanks for your great Qs in your TWIOE post. (Hope it’s ok to answer in tweets). 1st, at least for presenters who were with boards striking during the conference, b/c it was a subject association offering the PD, they could get exemptions. (1/3)

    I hope that reg attendees weren’t negatively impacted & had a chance to go. As for the live blogging vs big blog posts & live streaming – I myself needed the time to process what happened (& share my learning in a way accessible to colleagues) but there WAS a live blogger (2/3)

    Our live blogger for
    Treasure Mountain Canada 6 was the talented
    and she live blogged as it happened on (so minutes after a talk occurred, it was already posted!) So, not taken as a criticism at all, but all kinds of SM PD (3/3)



  4. […] Friday – This Week in Ontario Edublogs […]


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