Zoe Branigan-Pipe was the guest host on the voicEd Radio This Week in Ontario Edublogs show this week. Our paths have crossed so many times in the past. Probably our biggest togetherness was hosting the Great OSLA Faceoff, repeated again for an ECOO conference, and then for a local elementary school. She was interviewed for this blog here and you can check out a picture of the Beauty and the Beast.
So, it was nice to chat again; normally, we would meet up at the annual ECOO conference but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen this year. For me, the big value of spending money on professional learning comes from face to face connections.
Zoe has been a long time social media leader; she’s like the poster child for making authentic connections. And, of course, she’s among the amazing group of Ontario Edubloggers.
BlackLivesMatter. No Time for Silence.
We started the show by taking a look at Zoe’s post. I was quite surprised when she mentioned that she had to tone it down upon advice from colleagues that it might not go over well with others in her district. I found this disturbing in the summer of 2020.
What remains is a post full of links to resources across the web. Teachers who are looking at addressing Black Lives Matter in their classrooms this year would find this a treasurer trove of content.
Some of it will take some modification for a particular purpose in an Ontario classroom but the gold comes from the resources developed by ETFO linked to by Zoe.
Speaking of ETFO, the Heart and Art Blog features a new blogger this week, Velvet Lacasse.
The post was essentially an introduction to Velvet post but I had a Wayne’s World moment when I read her thoughts about becoming a Union Steward in her first year of teaching. There’s no way that I could have found the time to do that.
In my first year, OSSTF was just a deduction from my paycheque until the New Teachers’ Night where I learned a little bit more about what District 34 was all about. Eventually, I did become part of the Collective Bargaining Committee but I wouldn’t have dreamed it for my first year in the profession. Her observations about attending the Annual Meeting is bang on. You get the real provincial perspective there.
Velvet brings a wealth of social activism to the blog and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.
Education Will Never Become What It Should Be Until It Is Freed From Politics
This blog post, from Tim King, is about as long and involved in content as the title of the post. TLDR; is this statement.
To further complicate things, education is run by politicians.
That sets the stage as Tim pulls apart so much of what’s actually going on and what could be happening. Of course, this would only happen if decisions were based upon the advice of those educators that are actually in the classroom. As we’ve seen this summer, that’s so far removed from what we see about the decision making process.
As an almost daily follower of the 1:00pm Premier news conference, I keep waiting for something other than “best plan in Canada”, “we spent this much money”, “union bosses are the problem”, etc. Sadly, it doesn’t come.
Tim sees a world where education is best served by a removal from political connections. This is firmly embedded in the BNA Act and so it won’t be happening any time soon. Besides, what’s an election campaign without addressing education?
It’s still a good read and I’m sure that many educators will agree with Tim’s points so it’s comfortable that someone has taken the time to write them out. At the same time, it’s just difficult to ever see significant change being made.
Unless we create the “Teachers’ Party” and somehow get the majority of seats.
Math Games – building a foundation for mathematical reasoning
I have a fondness for mathematics and really enjoy posts like this from Mark Chubb and others in the mathematics education realm. I do check out the links to the resources that are shared.
Now, I’m old enough to remember multiplication charts and memorization. I remember doing word problems ad nauseum; I knew enough about mathematics to recognize when my teacher really knew her/his stuff and when they were struggling to get by.
When I think back, mathematics was always about gaming for me. Like any good game, there was a real sense of accomplishment when you got it right. It was almost strategic. I never did tests top down; I picked and chose those questions that I knew I’d be successful with.
While it was about gaming, I don’t recall actually playing something that might formally be defined as a game. That’s a relative new concept and today’s student has that advantage with the wise teacher picking and choosing the best of the best from so many choices.
In this post, Mark shares a number of games that are worth evaluating for your own classroom. I like the reference to using them as part of a distance learning program; may you elementary teachers not need to consider that this school year.
Yet, there’s something about a hip pocket.
In a million years, I don’t think I would have made the connection between Open Educational Practices and hip hop artists on my own.
But, Terry Greene does in this post and it’s a fun read. He addresses the five essential elements of hip hop.
- Lyricism (Rapping)
- Turntablism (DJing)
- Knowledge of history
I immediately zeroed in on the concept of “turntablism” but I shudder when I think of using my own personal record collection…
For those in this world with Terry, there’s an element of wisdom and reality in each of these elements. The biggest message is that the same ol’, same ol’ doesn’t have to continue.
Your first inclination might be to take a pass on this post but at least give it a read and see another side of teaching.
Warning, Terry uses bad words in this post.
What is Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)?
Education loves a good buzzword. Recently, I ran across this
15 Words Teachers Officially Never Want to Hear Again
If you check it out, you’ll find a collection of words that you’ve probably heard from a keynote speaker somewhere. They have this ability at times to use words and make it part of their presentations and you feel badly that you didn’t know that.
Then, there are some words where you need to sit up and pay attention to. Deborah Weston takes on new terminology that we’re going to see in Ontario Curriculum as it’s revised, starting with the new Mathematics Curriculum, addressing mental health.
Deborah digs into the roots of this and shares her thoughts. A note that should make you sit up and notice
SEL is now also a distinct section of the updated curriculum
She does a nice job of stepping through the curriculum pointing out where it occurs in the elementary school curriculum, by grade. The question whether or not it’s a learning skill or will have to be reported on separately is addressed from her perspective and offers come questions for the future.
Footage of the Falls: Back Then and Now
You know, if I lived in Northern Ontario, I’d visit visit Kakabeka Falls regularly. As a family, we’ve been there a few times – once going to the Calgary Stampede, a couple of times on the way to relatives in Minneapolis, and a couple of times just as a married couple looking for an interesting place to camp. I can agree that there are all kinds of things out and about at night!
As Sheila Stewart notes, it never gets old. Our context these days from Southern Ontario is visits to Point Pelee, Erieau, and the “Niagara of the South”.
What a find it must have been to have discovered some footage from the 1950s and, in the spirit of good sharing, doing some editing and putting it on YouTube.
Much more commonly are modern videos of Kakabeka Falls.
Thanks to these terrific bloggers for continuing to share their thoughts and ideas in their blogs so that we can all share in the learning.
Make sure that you’re following them all on Twitter.
- Zoe Branigan-Pipe – @zbpipe
- Velvet Lacasse – @velvet_lacasse
- Tim King – @tk1ng
- Mark Chubb – @MarkChubb3
- Terry Greene – @greeneterry
- Deborah Weston – @DrDWestonPhD
- Sheila Stewart – @sheilaspeaking
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Please share your thoughts here. I’d enjoy reading them.