As I indicated earlier this week, this Wednesday didn’t have the regular radio show / podcast on voicEd Radio. I got bumped by some principal thing. So, this is the only opportunity to find out what I’ve been reading from Ontario Edubloggers.
Jennifer Casa-Todd leads off this week with some resources for people to use that hopefully will help out no matter what your return to school looks like. Her list includes:
- Google Resources
- Hybrid Teacher Survival Guide
- A Digital Librarian’s Survival Guide
- OISE Learning Webinars
Some may be obvious and some might provide some insights that you may have not seen before.
I suppose the Google thing might be in the “obvious” category, but the big takeaway should be following the @GEGOntario folks. Jennifer indicates that there’s a panel in the planning to help teachers.
What a bizarre concept!
A leader in a school district in Ontario asking a student if they want to go back and on what terms. That was the case for Sue Dunlop and she was surprised at the answer her niece gave her.
Then, Sue turns to the reality that not all students are the same and not all come from the same background and not all have the same wishes. It brings her to ask some interesting questions.
- Who benefits from the way we’ve been doing things?
- How can the voices of all students be amplified?
- What does it mean to use an anti-racist lens when working on early reading and progress towards graduation?
Much talk has been made about the return to school building as a return to a live pre-COVID. Those that wish for this are going to be disappointed, at least in the short term
As Sue notes, the status quo isn’t good enough.
I hope that this philosophy is ringing in the ears of all educators and educational leaders.
From the TESL Blog, an interesting look at summer school this summer written by Svjetlana Vrbanic. It wasn’t a year off. It wasn’t life as we know it. But, apparently, it was quite an adventure.
Of course, it’s different. I think back to my own summer school experience – it was for additional qualifications. It was like regular school, only hotter and I was increasingly aware that there was a lot else going on while I was in class. Then, there was the commute to London and back.
I found this quite interesting. Obviously, the students wouldn’t be in a single place so it was learning online. And they didn’t have to commute. Zoom was the answer. But still, the adventure continues and I suspect that many can sympathize with the challenges.
- Test-time Technical Difficulties
- Student as Host (whoops)
- Mystery Students
So, here’s the thing about people that like and enjoy mathematics. They want to share their passion and interests with others. Such is the message that comes through in the post from Melissa D, the Dean of Math!
So, she talks about getting the question “where do I start?”
In the post, she describes an activity that promotes a whole bunch of Cs
classroom culture of connection, collaboration, conjecture and community
I like the activity and I like how she describes how it could work to create that desired culture.
If you’re in search of inspiration, this is worth checking out.
I was drawn to Aviva Dunsiger’s post by the word “control”. In education, it could mean so many different things. I wondered what her take would be.
The post is a really big picture look at her and her teaching partner’s professional life. She takes on the word “play” in the post because it may well one of the most misunderstood words in education. Especially, if you have embraced it in your classroom.
She gives a bit of reflection about what control in her classroom means. My wonder is it truly a loss of control or a more strategic way of handling things? I’ve had this discussion with many early years teachers as they address it in both French and English. It’s a humbling conversation for someone coming from secondary school.
Right now, every educator has lost all kinds of control. Some that come to mind:
- something as simple as being able to go to the school and set up a classroom
- what type of schedule will be run in the province, in your school
- what is mathematics going to look like?
- will the students play nicely by the new COVID rules?
- how many students will actually show up face to face?
I totally understand her message. A wise person, one of my superintendents, advised me to let go of those things that I can’t control and take charge of what I can. It’s been good advice that has stuck with me.
I feel for Aviva who is so concerned about a policy directive from the board office about social media that may well change so many things that she’s been a leader in.
OK, so Matthew Morris is making me feel badly with this one. While I wasn’t an A+ student in all subject areas, I did do reasonably well in school. In elementary school, I was always in a split-grade classroom because supposedly we were motivated self-starters.
In fact, when I think about it, being in that split-grade classroom may well have helped me understand the educational system better. I think I learned the “game” of education and that the road to success was easier if you just played by the rules.
It only takes a couple of hours in a classroom practice teaching situation to realize that the game book is different for different students. We no longer ask if a student is smart but we ask how they are smart.
As teachers return to another school year, and this will be one like no other, I would suspect that student abilities in various areas will be amplified. I suspect that they’re going to want to hang on to school, teachers, and friends like never before except the concept of hanging on will be different from necessity.
Maybe from necessity, teachers will be willing to throw away some of that old baggage too.
Melanie White’s post follows so nicely on the heels of Matthew’s. She closes so powerfully.
The anticipation of teaching that has roots grounded in the individual student experience and identity which is essential to realizing one’s genius. There is a vision that I can anticipate and radically imagine for teaching this year.
Every time I read something from Melanie, I end up walking around and replaying her thoughts in my mind. (usually while walking the dog)
It would be so easy for teachers to curl up in a ball and rock back and forth. The level of uncertainty has never been so high. Melanie did something so good for herself and attended a seminar that “converted my anxiety to anticipation”. You can see her outlook changing in her words as you go through the post.
Even without the voicEd Radio show, this was a powerful collection of reading for me. I hope that you can find time to click through and read them all … and be inspired.
Then, follow them on Twitter
- Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
- Sue Dunlop – @DunlopSue
- TESLOntario – @TESLOntario
- Svjetlana Vrbanic – @lanavrb
- Melissa D – @Dean_of_math
- Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
- Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
- Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
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