Stephen and I had a guest host this Wednesday on the voicEd Radio live This Week in Ontario Edublogs in Vicky Loras. Vicky is teaching and working on her PhD in Switzerland and I took a chance that our 8:45 start time would be later in her afternoon and she’d be free. As it turns out, she was and was a great addition to the show. Here’s what we chatted about.
How Should Leaders Spend Time In a Pandemic?
Anne-Marie Kee comes at this topic from a school leader and does a terrific job. But, leaders are everywhere and how they react to events of the pandemic are noticed by others.
Who can forget Justin Trudeau who was isolating and yet managed to come to the front steps and address the nation as we all were trying to figure out what was going on? In the beginning, Doug Ford did the same thing but as of late, he just hasn’t been visible. Right now, #WheresDougFord is trending on Twitter.
I suppose the easiest thing would be to hunker down at home and drop out of sight. In education, that would be horrible. Teachers and students look for guidance and leadership from their principal. To that end, Anne-Marie has made the decision to be very visible. Now, her school is residential and so there are other opportunities than virtual classrooms to do so.
In the post, Anne-Marie took me back to my time playing air guitar as she talks about keeping the popular air band tradition alive at her school.
As she notes, a leader’s job is to be the biggest cheerleader of the organization.
And it appears that she is.
It’s something that every teacher dreads. That moment when the student has not proven to your satisfaction that they’ve complete the course work and requirements sufficiently to received a passing grade.
I suspect it’s a great deal easier in the college / university setting where the class environment is different. In K-12 though – and more likely 9-12, as Amanda Potts point out, you make a call home to the parents in advance of the report card to let them know. As one of my vice-principals once noted, report cards are no placed for surprises.
She notes the best of practice for assessment techniques – running records, encouragement, accepting lates, extra support, nagging, prodding, etc. What do you do if none of this works? Well, you know.
Things are different in this environment for kids as well. You have to wonder and worry about the workload that these unique class arrangements have on the stress level of students. And, heck, teachers too.
Amanda tells a story about how it weighed so heavily on her. I think every educator would relate and hope that it never happens to them.
“To Take the Road or Not to Take the Road… That is the question!” – Robert Frost Meets William Shakespeare
From the TESL Ontario blog, this was an interesting post from Setareh Dabbagh.
Since I’ve never taught in an ESL classroom, I was a bit out of my element but fortunately guest host Vicky Loras wasn’t. It turns out that she was totally onside with Setareh when it comes to using poetry in the ESL classroom.
One of my wonders going into this was whether you needed to provide poetry from the original language translated to English for the student. For interest, I took the poem snippet provided in the blog post, translated it to Greek using Google Translate and then back to English.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
«Δύο δρόμοι απέκλιναν σε ένα ξύλο, και εγώ—
Πήρα αυτό που ταξίδεψε λιγότερο,
Και αυτό έχει κάνει τη διαφορά. “
“Two roads deviated from one tree, and I—
I got the one that traveled the least,
And that has made a difference. “
There definitely is something lost in the translation and I expected that. I can see it though because poetry is a different beast than text. Yet, for the well rounded student, poetry would be equally as appropriate for the classroom. Choose wisely.
I really enjoyed the description of how to use poetry in the classroom including the observation of unity while reciting. Poetry is a different communication skill and perhaps that makes it even more important to include in a complete and rounded program for the ESL student.
Focusing On My April Word Made This Word Late
If you follow Aviva Dunsiger on Twitter, you might have been as amused as I was as she tried to guess which of her posts were going to use on the show. She didn’t think that it would be this one; I’m not sure which one that she thought would make it but I’m guessing it was her post about vaccinations.
But I like this one for a couple of reason.
First, she’s being true to herself in following Beth Lyons’ lead of a word for the month as opposed to a word for the year in these times.
Secondly, her choice of word is completely different from the sort of thing that I would associate her with. She’s always been so generous and giving. Now, a little self care.
Aviva’s work had impressed Vicky and she made sure that she said so on the show. It was only afterwards that Aviva tweeted the update that her plans had fallen through.
Curious? Head over to her blog and see what she had planned.
Enough About Me – #PaidSickDays
On a good week, a blog post from Diana Maliszewski might take you into gaming, libraries, media literacy, working with students, or educational issues but what happens when the post happens the day after
March Winter April Break?
In this post, she shares her thoughts about the latest issues surrounding the Ontario populace – COVID and the Premier’s announcement about stay at home, enhanced police powers, science, and paid sick days.
This post will give you another insight into what makes Diana tick with her concern about social issues, including a wish for Paid Sick Days for those that don’t have them. And, throw in better leadership and an end to the pandemic.
She wishes on a star for the type of change she wants.
As it turns out, things may be changing on the Paid Sick Days front although perhaps not to the extent that people were hoping.
The Promise of Early Learning and Child Care in Canada
Writing in the Linkedin space, Stephen Hurley shares his thoughts about these programs as announced in the recent Federal Budget.
What had me particularly reflecting on this is the comparison between my life and those of today’s 4-6 year old.
My mom didn’t work outside the house. That allowed her to stay at home and be the full-time caregiver. While I wasn’t the perfect child, I don’t think I was the worst of the worst. But, I’ll admit that there were times when being with me 24/7 would wear on a person. These days, many of those issues wouldn’t even come to the attention of the parent unless it was bad enough to be reported by the school or day care. My early learning space would have been devoted to those things that my parents could afford and they would have been chosen for their entertainment value and not necessarily any academic choice. The rest would have been available for play in the side yard. When I went to school, it was to Kindergarten. It was a one year induction to education and I have no recollection of the sorts of things that you’ll see in today’s rooms.
After 50 years of talking about it and fighting for it, we’re finally going to get it done.—Hon. Chrystia Freeland
It’s taken us 50 years and the kindergarten classes of today really bear little resemblance to what I remember. Vibrant in colours, stimulation, freely chosen activities and exploration, the learner is truly in charge. We understand better how students learn and thrive.
If only I’d had that – quoting from “On the Waterfront”
I could have been somebody
But we’re not done yet and Stephen looks forward to what the future might brings and refers you to a Podcast to support your thinking.
I went to school with a Sheila. She was a year older than I was and was the daughter of the principal of our school. So, you had to be careful about what you said when she was around….
Sheila Stewart reflects on her name and that got me thinking that she may actually be only the second Sheila that I have met. To be honest, I hadn’t really thought of it as being a unique name but maybe it is. And, this Sheila claims to be OK with that.
And she asks a bunch of questions…
Readers, were you named after a song or a famous person? Your children? Do you have a good story about how you were named, or any good story about a name to share? How about a favourite song that is based on a name?
Me? My name was my father’s middle name. It’s kind of a tradition that we stepped away from with my son since my middle name is something that nobody would wish on anyone. My daughters were just great names.
I can’t complain about my name. A favourite comic comes from the Far Side.
There are far more available similar cartoons as the result of a simple search. Later this morning “Thanks Doug” may be trending on Twitter. Believe me, it’s not for me because there are other Dougs getting that attention.
Thanks for dropping by this post. I hope that you can take a moment and click through and read these posts in their entirety and drop off a comment or two.
Then, follow these folks on Twitter.
- Anne-Marie Kee – @AMKeeLCS
- Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
- Setared Dabbagh – @TESLOntario
- Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
- Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
- Stephen Hurley – @Stephen_Hurley
- Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
The Wednesday morning This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcast is available here.