This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Ah, summer vacation. I hope that this relaxing period of time gives you the chance to check out these great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


Create Safe Spaces

There’s a pretty important message in this post from Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge, writing on the Teach Better blog. It would be important if you were returning to class on Monday and it’s going to be important on the first day of school after the break. It’s going to be important going on after that.

It’s tough enough being a kid at the best of times. Imagine their pain having learned online for the past year plus and then all of the other things that are going on in society. In a normal world, the classroom may be one of the better places to address this but they’ve had to deal with it themselves and with whatever success online learning has provided.

In the post, Nilmini talks about creating these Safe Spaces using story telling and reflection. It doesn’t absolve the teacher from being a part of the conversation but, when used well, can make even more of the experience.

Nilmini also talks about using a number of organizers to help students thinking critically about issues which can be so powerful.

  • Four Squares Template
  • Venn Diagrams
  • T-Charts

If you’ve had success with these or others, I’m sure that she would appreciate hearing from you.


Before you click “End the call”

As Will Gourley notes, there will be a collective sigh across the province when the last online session is closed. We get that and you’ve already had the experience.

I guarantee that not a single soul wishes to do it over again either.

The last few days of the school year are always a challenge. Students know that marks have already been submitted so that bit of leverage has gone. In Will’s class, he lists a number of activities that he has provided for his students. This includes a little dancing. Will claims that he was up dancing with the kids, including their play list; that would make a great video.

How did you end the final days of the school year?

The post closes with a reminder of ETFO’s position about in-person learning.


Noticing and Wondering #SOL2021

This is Melanie White’s implementation of Safe Spaces where

the students were able to respond openly, realizing there was no “wrong answer”

I think this is so important. Nobody likes to be shut down and a stern “Wrong” is a real conversation closer.

Too many questions can be so school-like and academic and so she just sticks with two – “What do you notice? What do you wonder?”

The approach drove me to think – it’s only school where you have all these questions and all you have to do is answer them. In the real world, you basically start with those two open-ended questions and then proceed to find answers and more questions of your own.

Doesn’t that make so much more sense?


Drivetest: Everything That’s Wrong with Ontario

When I read the title of this post from Tim King, I started to get worried. What would an accomplished driver of vehicles such as him have against this? Did he fail a test or something?

His thoughts aren’t about licensing but more about the process.

He notes that there was a time when the Ministry of Transportation ran the show but it has since been outsourced. Same with the 407. I had a family member take a trip partially using the 407 recently and received a bill in the neighbourhood of $45.00. That’s a tank of gas.

Around here, the offices have long lineups to get in just like Tim’s. With the shutdown, things are just starting to get back online. Maybe this will encourage everyone to do their renewals online?

At the bottom of the post, there is a nice collection of links to resources to further your learning.


Top Ten Tips for Attending Virtual Professional Learning for Educators

I’m always leery when I see a title claiming these are the “top” of anything. But, Michelle Fenn has a pretty good list of things to consider if you’re up for professional learning. I like the number of organizations that respect their members and the challenges that they’ve been through and offer learning sessions for free.

Learning online is difficult – you know that. If you’ve been on the teaching end for the past while, you lived that. Imagine professional learning.

From her list, I found three that stood out to me.

  • Organize your time   
  • When possible attend LIVE sessions
  • TWEET! TWEET! (also a great way to take notes)

To her list, I would add a technique that worked so well for me. Find a professional colleague or two in advance of the event and go through the program together. Instead of having to pick between conflicting sessions of interest, have it covered by sharing the load and created a shared Google document for taking notes. You walk away with your learning and observations of your colleagues.


Google Earth Projects & Learning More About Each Other

I love the concept behind this project that Jennifer Casa-Todd writes about. Not for a specific class, but an initiative spearheaded by the Student Council.

They surveyed students looking for ideas for food and song that said something about their heritage. What a way to share your heritage with others in a unique way!

Now, I’ve only thought about doing it once. Apparently, the Danish side of my background enjoys sea food and eel. I draw the line at that – thankfully, my Dad never insisted on these as regular meals. I more identify with a culture that has hamburgers as a staple. I do remember visiting a fabulous Danish restaurant once in Toronto. They really aren’t plentiful. I’m not sure if it’s there any more. I did dig and found a non-seafood option!

But, poking around on the web, I do recognize some of the pastries that my grandparents seemed to have on hand at times.

Traditional Danish Food: 14 Recipes You Must Try


Slice of Life:
Slice of Life: done

From Lisa Corbett, a pair of blog posts. The first is untitled and the second is “Done”. Both paint a story of the stark reality that is her June.

As teachers, we all have memories of students and how they affected us during their tenure in our class. It will bring an emotional response when she thinks

These are the children who will always be in my memories. “She was in my class. That was the year we were online.” I’ll be saying when they finish high school or if I see them in the newspaper. “I taught him the year of Covid-19. Remember that?”

Closing down and marking the school year as “done” is even described differently and tugs at your humanity.

You need to read both as I suspect she’s sharing stories that many teachers are thinking and experiencing and don’t have the benefit of a blog to put it out there.


Please take the time to follow this yet again wonderful collection of Ontario bloggers.

  • Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge – @NRatwatte
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Michelle Fenn – @Toadmummy
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261

The voicEd Radio show is available here.

Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

3 thoughts on “This Week in Ontario Edublogs

  1. Thanks for curating these posts, Doug. I’m truly able to catch up on reading the Internet & listening to podcasts now that school is actually DONE for the year. 🙂 I’m looking forward to it.

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