Well, it’s been a bit of a cooler week but it sure was warm out. I hope that you were able to take advantage of it. I hope that you were also able to enjoy blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. I know I did and here’s some of what I read.
Questioning Experts More Than Expertise
Noa Daniel was guest host on This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio and we had a chance to talk about her latest post. It reminded me of a quote from a former superintendent to those of us in the Program Department.
An expert is someone from out of town…
I don’t know if that was an original quote or he was sharing it from someone else. His context was about paying big speaker fees to bring in someone to talk on Professional Development Days when we had the capacity already within the board. Those of us in the Program Department were to find those with the expertise and encourage them to share it with others. Why pay to bring in an “expert”?
In the post, Noa takes on her view of this and I enjoyed her thinking. I also thing that it’s more important than ever with the lack of travel bringing in “experts” to address educators. Why not work with the expertise within a district where they can address local issues directly rather than some hypothetical situation somewhere else?
Does COVID push us away from outside of town experts and towards celebrating the expertise that we are developing locally? Something to think about.
Two Approaches to Building Online Communities
Diana Maliszewski’s post follows Noa’s very nicely. I think that most of us understand the power that can come from online communities. So, how do you build that community?
Diana identifies a couple of different ways.
One is modelled by the work from Matthew Morris and Jay Williams with their #QuarantineEd initiative. It’s an online community of learners, building on the efforts of the group of contributors with a direction by Matthew and Jay. Matthew talked a bit about it when he guested on This Week in Ontario Edublogs and shared the numbers. It’s grown from an experimental conversation with TDSB educators. And, it’s caught the attention of the Toronto Star.
The second scenario is something that many of us have seen many times. An existing user will tag you or plead to the masses to follow this new account. The prudent social media user will, of course, check that person out before inviting them into your community. Many times, that person has contributed nothing to date. Why would you want to embrace them? My rule has always been “You’ve got to be interesting”.
Diana includes here thoughts; she’s a skillful navigator of social media and I think you’ll find her advice incredibly helpful.
It was great to see Stephan Pruchnicky back at the keyboard sharing thoughts again. It was kind of sad to read about why he wasn’t and I hope those days are behind him.
He’s got one message in this post and it appears in big letters.
I think it’s a great reflection point for teachers, students, and parents.
Are we so focused on teaching being covering materials specified in the Ontario Curriculum that we’ve turned a blind eye to other important things that might have been learned?
Something to think about going forward.
I had to smile at Beth Lyon’s comment that it was only towards the end of June that she finally decided on her word of the month. You’ll recall that she didn’t choose a year long “one word” and instead opted to do one per month. Given all that’s happened, it has turned out to be a genius move.
It’s easy to lose track of time. I bought a Lotto Max ticket last Saturday and kept checking it with my OLG app, getting messages about it that seemed bizarre. Then, after a bit of thinking, I realized that it was for a draw on Tuesday and not Sunday or Monday when I was testing it. Keeping track of time is a challenge these days.
Beth makes reference to a couple of excellent blog posts from other Ontario Educators, Lisa Corbett and Amanda Potts, and uses that to force her thinking and come with a new direction for the month of July.
The post is dated July 3 so I hope she’s nicely back on track.
How To Make Math Moments From A Distance
From Kyle Pearce and Jon Orr, a really, really long blog post under their MakeMathMoments umbrella.
I’m not sure that I can truly sum it up in a paragraph or two but I really found the content interesting. It should serve as a reminder that mathematics is everywhere; it’s beautiful; and it’s really relevant.
Many of us grew up with mathematics being the stuff that is covered in mathematics textbooks. There was content, questions, and answers. For me, it was third year with Ross Honsberger in a course called “History of Mathematics” where he showed us the fun, beauty, enjoyment, and the relevance of mathematics being everywhere.
It’s such an important concept and one that lives with me and it’s easy to see mathematics everywhere. In the post, these gentlemen give us some great examples that go far beyond the typical questions you might find in a textbook. Bookmark this for future inspiration and resource.
Distance Hugs: My Self-Reg Stumbling Block
I kind of knew that Aviva Dunsiger wrote this post on the Merit Centre blog even before I read through the article.
I know Aviva to be a loving and caring teacher and I would suspect that displays of affection have a home in her kindergarten classroom. Things there are so much different from the students that I taught. My students might have had gestures of emotion but I would never expect a hug to be part of the mix.
In the offing for her and her teaching partner at the close of the school year was a thank-you gift from a student and a parent. Aviva wondered if there would be enough control for her not to hug the child or the child not to hug here. It’s an interesting and certainly relevant wonder these days.
She describes how hugs are like currency in her classroom.
- Kids use hugs to connect with others.
- They greet us in the morning with a hug.
- They look for a hug when they’re sad, scared, angry, tired, or hurt.
- Hugs comfort many of our students, especially in that first month of school, when leaving home is one of the hardest things that they have to do.
You’ll have to read the post to see what happened and Aviva’s musing about what things might look like in the future.
WRITING: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
It takes a brave person to write a summary about a blog post talking about writing but here goes…
On the TESL Ontario blog, Milica Radisic takes on the topic of writing and I found this observation interesting.
Second, since almost 90% of my students are highly educated, have done a number of university courses and presumably read a number of books, I wonder why they make mistakes that, at least to me, seem basic.
In the post, she shares her thoughts about
- Run-on Sentences
- Transition Words
I wonder about my own writing. Quite frankly, the last time I took an English course would have been in Grade 13. There were the odd essays that I was required to do in some subjects but I missed most of that because my course choices were largely Mathematics and Computer Science. By their nature, there is writing but it’s more technical than anything else.
Since I started writing for this blog, it’s been a return back to those secondary school skills. I find that I’m using a semi-colon more than ever and I did do some research to make sure that I was using it correctly. There’s always the nagging feeling that I just might make an error and, because it’s so public, everyone would see it.
I found reading this a really reflective activity and, as a regular blogger, I do want to do my best. I hope that I can live up to this standard.
Please take some time and click through to read these posts in their original form. They’ll get you thinking.
Then, follow these writers on Twitter.
- Noa Daniel – @noasbobs
- Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
- Stepan Pruchnicky – @stepanpruch
- Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
- Kyle Pearce – @mathletepearce
- Jon Orr – @MrOrr_geek
- Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
- Milica Radisic – @milicaruoft
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If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.
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