It’s time to do another post recognizing the awesome thinking that Ontario Educators are known for and some put it to posts.
From Laura Elliott, a title and a half. There were two big takeaways for me from this post.
First, she’s writing a book. How awesome is that?
Secondly, she takes on the issue of Joy during the return to school. I think that many educators were really looking forward to getting back to school and a return to normal. As we know now, it’s been anything but that. At the time of the writing of this post, 600 Ontario schools have reported cases of COVID. The Catholic school down the road is currently closed due to high numbers.
In the post, Laura introduces or reintroduces the concept of the PERMA-V model.
- Positive Emotion – what makes you feel good?
- Engagement – What are the things that help you lose track of time?
- Relationships – Who brings you peace and joy? Who supports you?
- Meaning – What things are most meaningful to you?
- Achievement – what is important for you to achieve?
- Vitality – what physical habits make your body feel best?
It’s an interesting exercise to work your way through the model and answer the questions. Sure, it doesn’t fix everything that’s wrong in life but I found that it could give you a renewed appreciation for what you have.
Maybe the biggest takeaway for me was truly rethinking what “joy” and “happiness” means for me at this moment and, of course, we all hope that it’s going to get better with time.
How can you not be intrigued to read a blog post that features a toilet in the title? Did you just look back at Laura Wheeler’s title?
This post brought back memories for me about going to a Structured Conversation workshop. I went to it with a really bad mindset. How dare some idealogue teach me how to talk? I left with a skill that I think has stuck to me to this date. There were two things – first how to listen and secondly, how to guide the conversation to make the time spent meaningful. It was one of those things that I thought that the Faculty should have taught during my time there, but as Stephen Hurley mentioned in the voicEd Radio show, the power and understanding probably weren’t hitting the radar back then.
The model that Laura describes most certainly is updated from the time that I took the workshop and really takes on the concept of what a structured conversation looks like in the classroom. It’s not a one shot and done type of post – Laura was recommended by Carol Salva to follow the hashtag #QSSSA on Twitter. It’s a steady stream of thought about this model.
For a succinct summary and ready to go resource, Laura has created a sketchnote and attached it to the blog post for your easy download.
A great piece of advice that was once given to me was
You can hear a lot just by listening
This was brought back as I read this post from Melanie White. There’s a better story though and I think this is awesome – she breaks up the 2.5 hour long classes by going for a walk with her students. The closest I ever got to that was at university and those 3-hour lectures where we broke mid-way for a coffee and bathroom break. I know the power of going for walks; it allows the mind to wander or focus depending upon my mood.
This is a wonderful story of Melanie walking and giving her students some distance and yet hearing part of a discussion about “maturity”. Secondary school teachers probably would disagree that that is a good word to describe some students at times but it’s all part of growing up!
I love the fact that, after hearing that, she’s now contemplating how to have that conversation in class. Perhaps a structured conversation?
Matthew Morris is back to normal. The acid test is that he’s giving the same number of mathematics quizzes that he’s done in the past. In other subject areas, the kids have adjusted to the new normal and are listening and participating.
I suspect that he could go on and on about what’s happening in class and how successful he and his students have been at it. After all, that’s what teachers and students do. We know that school started this past fall with plenty of unknowns and those in the classroom have made it work. That should never go unnoticed.
To all this success, Matthew adds the qualifier “Sort Of”. I can understand that; it’s truly not business as usual.
Then, he got me thinking. Should he, his students, his parents, be happy with all of this or should they be wary?
I almost feel worried that I am able to do what I’ve done and continue with doing those same things that I’ve done before the pandemic after the pandemic. Actually, it scares me.
Like last year on remote, this year could undoubtedly be labelled with an asterisk. The fact that he’s concerned should be a testament to that.
One of the rituals of education is the parent/teacher conference. In my day, they were called interviews but conference lends a softer, calmer voice to the process. Plus, the rise of student-led conferences has changed things considerably.
I can still remember the feeling after the interviews/conferences. It’s like the feeling that you get when you go to the dentist and don’t have any cavities. Your teeth get updated with a cleaning and you learn more about hygiene and your teeth and mouth as a result.
In Will’s case, he lets parents know that there will be more for their child.
- Students will have even more time to wrestle with Math
- Students will have even more opportunity for low floor high ceiling problem solving
- Students will have even more time to read
- Students will have even more mental health breaks
- Students will have even more time to share what’s on their minds
After a year of learning at home, the structure and planning comes through loudly and clearly in this post. I’ll bet that most teachers would feel the same way; Will just elected to blog about it and we appreciate that.
There’s a lot of more there and that called for a song.
Following Cal Armstrong’s blog can be like having a personal tutor at times. I’d heard about Flow in Windows but, quite frankly, have had no reason to investigate further. Fortunately, Cal has and shares his learning in this post.
His explanation is also geeky enough to excite me.
To create a OneNote Page in Flow, you write HTML where the <TITLE> tag is the Name of the OneNote Page and the <BODY> is the text that appears on the Page.
I followed Cal’s logic and explanation and it seems straightforward enough to solve the issue that he’s addressing. I don’t see a use for it myself right now but maybe someday.
In the meantime, it’s brought forward here so that I’ve got it tucked away in my blog and also it’s available for anyone else wishing to learn how to do the sort of thing that Cal describes.
Aviva Dunsiger, writing on the Co-Reg Community Blog, shares a wonderful story and a lesson to not just take things the way that they’re intended.
Time and Space were the themes that Aviva uses in this post. I’ll bet that this applies to every elementary school scenario. I know that our district uses zones that students are assigned to when they’re allowed out for recess.
What do you do when you’re in one zone and a potential playmate is in another?
The best part of all is that this same older student reconnected with our kindergartener the next day, when he again needed that quiet connection and the chance to move and socialize in a smaller group.
I love this story; I think we could all sympathise with that older student at times.
As Aviva notes, there’s a lot that can happen if you’re open-minded enough to make It happen. There’s a very worthy shout-out to Aviva’s partner Paula in the post. She sounds like a very special lady.
And there’s a walk around some of the reading that I’ve done recently. I hope that you can click through and support the writing from these great bloggers.
Then, follow them on Twitter.
- Laura Elliott – @lauraelliottPhD
- Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
- Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
- Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
- Will Gourley – @WillGourley
- Cal Armstrong – @sig225
- Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
The voicEd Radio show, which aired at 7:00 on Wednesday is here.