This Week in Ontario Edublogs


One of the nice things about the new theme for this blog is that the title actually now displays nicely rather than being chopped. Sometimes, it’s the little things.

Welcome to Friday and another look at some great posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


Finding Joy in a Food Truck

First off, from Diana Maliszewski, a delightful story about staying inside the lines of the provincial orders and yet getting immense satisfaction.

It was inspired by an initiative in Scarborough where a collection of food trucks constitute what might be a night out for supper at a restaurant in another life. The neat thing here is that one of the trucks was owned by the parents of a student. Diana and a number of colleagues went to the food trucks, reunited with each other and the student, and had a meal. All of this was possible by the rule that says that despite the lockdown, Ontarians can still eat. And, the parents got supported as well. I love the story and wish we had the same thing here. We do have one food truck downtown but it pales in comparison to what Diana describes.

On the other hand, it’s a great place to get perch and pickerel in town.

She also gives us a pictorial walk through some of the offerings and I had a double-take at the Beaver Tail. I haven’t enjoyed one for over a year.


What’s Your Tab Story

When we initially moved to an Electronic Report Card, it was a buggy piece of kludge that was made possible by diskettes and Filemaker Pro. This was in the days of the disconnected home computer and required intense concentration on the single task at hand.

Aviva Dunsiger brings us to the realities of the year 2021. Computers are connected which open all kinds of possibilities like software online and the ability to have more than one tab open on your computer browser while you do your work. Each tab competes for your attention with its notifications and the human trait of FOMO. (Fear Of Missing Out)

It’s pretty difficult to imagine just sitting down at a computer and doing one thing. Even something like writing this post has a number of notifications in my face and the need to dismiss commercials on YouTube on my external monitor.

So, how do you get report cards done in this scenario? Read Aviva’s post and you’ll find out how – including what would be considered best practices all the while keeping half an eye or more on her Twitter and Instagram networks!

You might be surprised by how she sets goals and rewards herself for achieving them.


The teacher as life’s difference maker

Charles Pascal shares a moment of inspiration that he had when a journalist writes a tribute to a teacher. I think we’ve all had fond memories of that one teacher who made a difference in our lives.

In Charles’ case, it was Miss Pond at Clinton Public School in Chicago. (not the one in Clinton, Ontario where I went…)

Charles talks about being in Grade 3 with the interaction with Miss Pond who perhaps saved his life and got him directed to studies which engaged him with his personal interests – baseball.

It’s a terrific story and fleshed out even more in his book. It gave me additional appreciation for the works of Don Fraser and Alice Aspinall who penned works exploring mathematics that go beyond the traditional drill and kill and grab attention at a different level.

I was taken by Charles noting that she saw leadership qualities in him at that age – what a tribute to a Grade 3 student who really would go on to greater things.


Just Brushing My Teeth #SOL2021

I love the fact that this post from Melanie White got me thinking about routines that happen in my life and, of course, my own teeth brushing.

Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

Her process was interrupted by a call to an online discussion from Chris Cluff and a number of other who’s who in Ontario Education. Melanie, ever polite, couldn’t talk at the beginning because she was still brushing and I’m guessing her mouth was full of toothpaste. It brings up a funny picture in my mind.

There were two things that I ended thinking about with just something like Melanie brushing her teeth. First, the way that she slows down now while brushing as a result of a tooth issue that she once had. I’ve never had that experience but I do recall a dentist visit where I did have a cavity and I had to brush before going. Very tentative brushing for me at best.

The second thing was how such an act as brushing your teeth really doesn’t require your full attention. I know that I do other things while brushing. I wonder how many other daily important things we do that are indeed important and yet don’t require our entire attention.


The Power of the Picture

This calls for a Rod Stewart song.

Imagine going for a job interview at Sue Bruyns’ school. While you’re waiting, she has a collection of pictures that will be used as part of the interview process. You pick one and you’re going to talk about what you see. Because, every picture tells a story.

It sounds like a great technique and I’m not sure how I would handle it. Of course, these days, a face-to-face interview is out of the question. But, Sue is devoted to the picture concept and shares how she makes it live on while interviewing at a distance.


Courageous Conversations about Filters and Body Image

Body image has always been an issue, I suppose. How we addressed it was a personal thing and nobody liked being bullied for not being perfect. That was reality years ago.

Jennifer Casa-Todd was inspired to write this post from an article that she had read and about a future book that she’s writing.

We live definitely with a different set of rules, being fully connected. You can’t look through the news without finding a digital take on bullying. With filters, you can do almost anything to pictures and images. If you follow Jennifer on social media, you may be aware of a personal picture that she had taken and then applied a filter to.

If people would only stop at googly eyes, it wouldn’t be an issue but that doesn’t happen. There are some great suggestions and links to resources as well in this post for both at home and at school.


Ditch Tests – Do Projects Instead!

From Shawna Rothgeb-Bird, some great advice. To be honest, I’m surprised that it isn’t done by more people because I’ve always found that it’s a truer test of someone’s understanding of material.

Now, my background is from the Computer Science classroom where most of what we do is write programs. In a traditional test, it’s difficult for all students to be able to create something in a limited period of time. The notion of a project honours the fact that different periods of time are required.

The naysayers will point to the fact that the student might collaborate or outright cheat from others. I always found that easy to check by wandering around while they’re working, talking to them and asking what they were doing and why, asking them to modify the program to do something slightly different while I watch, and to use different sets of test data when checking their work.

In this post, Shawna takes you across her curriculum with all kinds of examples and techniques. It probably takes a little longer to set up initially but the results are worth it and students get a better chance to show off their stuff.

BTW, I totally agree with spelling tests. These days, I rely on my computer and the software that I use to help me out there. It doesn’t address all issues around writing but I have nothing but nightmares of trying to memorize the spelling of words. The English language can be very brutal at times.


Please take some time this Friday to check out these terrific posts and then follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Shawna Rothgeb-Bird – @mmeshawna

The Wednesday live This Week in Ontario Edublogs show on voicEd Radio can be found here.

OTR Links 06/04/2021


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.