This Week in Ontario Edublogs

What a special Friday!

In addition, it’s also a chance to read some of the great writing coming from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.


COVID-19 & Education: Part 14

Shelly Vohra continues her ongoing series of blog posts about COVID and education. In this edition of her post, she takes on some of the Ministry’s plan for resumption of learning in school buildings for the fall.

  • Full return to school (5 days a week/5 hours a day with breaks for lunch and recess) with classrooms at full capacity
  • Masks for students in Grades 4-12 (masks are optional for students in K-3)
  • 1m distancing with masks and hygiene procedures
  • Secondary students will be in cohorts of 15 if their high school is considered higher risk; all other high schools will be back to full capacity and learning in quadmesters. 
  • Staggered entry/hallway/exit times
  • Students will be given a choice between face to face and virtual learning
  • Teachers and students will be self-assessing every morning
  • Extra funding in a variety of areas (e.g., nurse, custodians, mental health, technology, etc)

She takes on each of these bullet points and fleshes out her own thoughts on each. I suspect that most educators and many parents will find themselves in agreement and hopefully will share their support in the comments.

Shelly was also a delightful cohost on This Week in Ontario Edublogs this past Wednesday. She joined Stephen Hurley and me and talked about these things and more.


Slice of Life: Looking Ahead

Writing as on the Slice of Life project, Lisa Corbett takes a look at shopping.

It’s one of the few things that never stopped during all this COVID stuff. Even this week, things are different in grocery shopping around here. Only a limited number of people are allowed in the store, arrows take you everywhere (except where I want to go…), you’re encourage to only touch if you’re buying, credit and debit rule the day, and I think that we all have a sense that there is a bit more of a danger shopping rather than not shopping.

But, you do have to shop.

So, Lisa has tried placing her orders online and is happy with that. I’ve always had this nagging feeling about someone else touching my food and picking my bananas for me but she’s had great success.

As teaching in a school building returns, her new found way of shopping takes at least one worry off her mind. Maybe she doesn’t eat bananas! But, I see her logic; with everyone back to work, attendance at the grocery store won’t be as widely spread throughout the day as it is in the summer.

It’s definitely something to think about.


Single Voices, Global Choices Project

I hadn’t heard about this link but many others have. Lynn Thomas’ post talk about 107 teachers, 95 schools, 46 countries

Projects like this seem to be perfect at this point in time. You can participate whether your classes are face to face, hybrid, or entirely online due to its global nature.

I also like projects like this that attempt to do good by doing good. If nothing else, you need to click through and see if it might fit into your planning.

The leads on the project are:

  • Lesley Fearn
  • Lynn Thomas
  • Barbara Anna Zielonka

Students from Viamonde, a public French school board obtain their Microsoft Certification

I really like this concept. Experiences teachers often get involved in training programs so that they can add to their profile and qualifications. Often, the visible element is a badge indicating the success. I’m a long time fan of badging.

From the Fair Chance Learning blog, principal Nya Njeuga shares this unique opportunity that was made available to students. Students got qualifications in Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and Publisher – all Microsoft products. These aren’t easy qualifications to get so kudos to the students who enjoyed success because of this initiative.

Next Steps? They’re looking at Office 365 and programming. You’ve got to believe that these certifications will help since they will have a step up on others in terms of summer jobs and skills to be successful in the world of work, college, or university.

I’m sure that reaching out to Fair Chance Learning could bring a similar program to your school.


MAKING EDITING FUN

Call me a skeptic here!

I enjoy writing but hate editing. I know that it’s a necessary evil, particularly for me with blogging since I know that there’s an audience that expects something at least readable.

From the TESL Ontario blog, this post by Sherry Hejazi gives some ideas, suggestions, and encouragement to make this important step fun for students and thereby make them better writers and proofreaders. Sherry appears to be a fan of Microsoft Office indicating that it’s available for free at post-secondary schools in the province. Of course, there are other options but good editing will make for a better final product.

She suggests the following:

  • Provide a Writing Piece
  • Share a Student’s Writing Piece
  • Zoom Sessions (yes, you can edit even from a distance)
  • Editing Competition

Of course, she fleshes out each of these ideas.

Now, to go back and proofread this summary. This is not the time to let my guard down.


It’s Too Much: Teacher Anxiety in the Time of School with Covid-19

Of all the Twitter messages I read this past week, this one had so much traction. Deb Weston had tagged me in an announcement of this blog post on the Heart and Art Blog. It resonated with so many and many of the comments indicated that she wrote the post that reached the heartstrings of so many.

She deals with issues that so many educators are wrestling with at this time not that we’re within weeks of school buildings reopening. The Minister of Education will make an announcement later this afternoon but her concerns at her time of writing deal with:

  • Infection Control
  • Adequate Ventilation
  • Social Distancing Seating
  • Social Distancing Hallways
  • Social Distancing Busing
  • Unknowing Before Schools Closed
  • Dealing with Uncertainty and Stress
  • Health & Employment
  • Knowing What to Expect
  • Evaluation and Reporting

It’s a short list; I’m hoping the Minister will address all the topics satisfactorily. In the meantime, this is what is keeping teachers up at night.


I Have This Idea

Personally, I think that Marc Hodgkinson has a great idea here. I’ve long been a proponent for student writing. To me, it’s the ultimate of writing for an audience.

Why not have students writing for a class blog. Like I described above, it’s an activity that will be successful no matter what back to school looks like.

In the post, Marc brainstorms some of the ideas that he has for inspiration for student writing. I’m sure that he’d appreciate additional ideas and maybe even the opportunity to connect with someone who has done this successfully already.

There’s not sense in reinventing the wheel here.

It’s a great idea, Marc. Run with it.


Please do yourself a favour and click through to read all these posts in their original format. There’s great content here.

Then, make sure that you follow these authors on Twitter…

  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Lynn Thomas – @THOMLYNN101
  • Fair Chance Learning – @FCLEdu
  • TESLOntario – @TESTOntario
  • Deborah Weston – @DrDWestonPhD
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher

This blog post originated at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

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