We had a flavour of Switzerland on the This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcast this past Wednesday when Vicky Loras joined the show as guest host. Vicky has been a connection for many Ontario educators so it was nice that she knew of some of the Ontario Edubloggers that we featured on the show. Vicky is gearing up to get a PhD in Linguistics. Her Masters program included a study of “Canadian English” and you can read her research as it’s linked to her PhD blog.
#tdsbbt2020 Board PD? Why not?
The first blog post we talked about originated from Diana Maliszewski and it was an inspirational way for her to finish her summer. She attended the TDSB New Teachers Conference. Hence the hashtag in the title for the post.
There’s a great deal of logic to attending something like this – for teachers new to the profession, they would never have covered how to teach and manage students safely in the time of a pandemic.
Heck even teachers with 30 years of experience may not have the skills. Even last spring, school buildings were closed and school continued from home at a distance. So, in some respect, everyone will be a new teacher entering classrooms whenever and wherever they do. It varies from district to district!
Diana wasn’t a passive participant either. With partner Sarah Baynes, they did a two hour session called “It’s All Political: Media Literacy and our Texts, Talk and Teaching”. I love the sharing of expertise and the notion of paying it forward.
Reflect. Review. Revise. A year in the Library Learning Commons
So, this was a discussion about an academic document created as an assignment for an Additional Qualification program in Librarianship. If we weren’t headed into a new year with teacher-librarians and Learning Commons in question, we might not even heard about this.
Beth Lyons does show her technology skills in the creation of the document (using Canva and publishing to Issuu) and it reads like a blueprint for what every Library could/should be.
Divided into two sections, pre- and during- COVID, it’s a beautiful summary and also inspirational to the extent that the library didn’t pack up and leave when students stopped coming into the building. Again, she uses Social Media like YouTube to keep doing the good things that she had always done.
The link to the document is in the post and worth the click.
I really didn’t know how to approach this post from Colleen Rose. There’s a link in there to a very specific internet site that left her ugly-crying. I supposed that she could have dwelled on this aspect and that would have made the post very depressing.
Instead, she used it as inspiration to share with us some of the things that were uplifting in her life over the summer. Her painting, her baking, her trips to the beach, the beauty that is Northern Ontario, sharing a beer and her two lovely children.
She led the post with the Wordsworth poem
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
A personal note to my dear friend Colleen and, indeed to all educators headed back to school buildings, keep your heads up and focus on the priorities. You’ve got this.
Building Community & Advanced Features within Brightspace by D2L – E017
This is a rather longish post from the Edugals and elaborates on one of their podcasts featuring Tanya Williamson.
Many educators will be forced to use an online Learning Management System as a result of their teaching assignment and choices. We saw last spring though that everyone ended up scrambling to learn the skills to teach online. It truly was building the airplane while flying it.
The post highlights some of the features of Brightspace and ranks some of the features in terms of importance so that people don’t feel like they need to use every feature right away.
If the worse happens again and schools are closed down or if you are teaching using Brightspace, you’ll find this a good reference.
I think my recommendation to all teachers regardless of where they are teaching is to use the features of the LMS that they have at their disposal. It opens a lot of opportunities and is a chance for students to learn how to function in this environment while the teacher is “in the house” and can be there to assist.
Of course, that requires access to the technology in a safe manner. BYOD anyone?
Brain Words Book Club: How the Science of Reading Informs Teaching
Yet another real thinker comes from the blog of Deborah McCallum. It’s an insight into a book study she was involved with Brain Words: How the Science of Reading Informs Teaching, by Richard Gentry and Gene P. Ouellette.
I was at a big of a loss when reading this; I’ve never had to teach children to read – by the time they get to secondary school, I just assumed that they had that skill.
I also marvel that I was ever able to learn to read personally; the techniques and insights that educators have today certainly weren’t around when I was learning. I go back to the days of the Primer so I’m the odd man out in these discussions. Deborah draws a comparison of memorizing mathematics concepts to memorizing language concepts and words. That may well describe at least part of my reading journey and whatever success I might have had.
Yet, reading in Computer Science is still a skill. I wonder if some of the techniques would help when the reading gets technical.
This was a new blog for me and came as a comment to yesterday’s post. Mrs. Crockett and Miss Dunsiger have created a blog that they’re calling their Daily Documentation. If you’ve followed these ladies in the past, you know that they have used a variety of social media and are now trying to rein it in a bit. This blog looks like it might be their answer.
It’s more than a little sad to think that this is what a kindergarten classroom looks like in the Fall of 2020.
This is so far from the status quo that had been used, developed, and refined over the years.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I hope that many educators take the time to show to the world what their classroom looks like and this elicits a bunch of suggestions to make it better.
Maybe even a set of before/after pictures?
Friday Two Cents: What Makes Me Happy
Paul Gauchi read an article that inspired him to share with us what makes him happy. It just takes three things.
- positive relationships
- financial security
- sense of purpose
Of course, he expands on each of them.
Is he really happy? He notes that some of these items are a bit strained but maintains a positive outlook.
That’s a good thing.
I’m happy for him. We could always look at things and allow them to get us down or we can choose to look at things positively. The key is that you’ll never be perfect so maybe you need to find some other way to define happiness.
Please take some time and click through and read all of these wonderful posts. There’s great inspiration there.
Then, follow them all on Twitter.
- Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
- Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
- Colleen Rose – @ColleenKR
- Edugals – @EduGals
- Deborah McCallum – @bigideasinedu
- Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
- Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
This post originates from:
If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.
Please share your thoughts here. I’d enjoy reading them.