This Week in Ontario Edublogs

I just got back from my morning dog walk and am reflecting on how I’ve written this post in my mind. I still have the tabs open from the Wednesday morning voicEd Radio show and I refreshed my memory about them as we took off. My only regret is that I’ve probably forgotten most of what I had thought about. I smiled when I thought I should turn the voice recorder on on my phone but then I’d have to listen to Jaimie complain as he enjoys a quiet walk.

Digital Footprint 2.0

This is a fairly long post by Tim and I’ll admit that I was drawn to it because of a pingback to one of my blog posts. From 2012! Uh oh. What did I say? I was pleasantly surprised to be in the same post as mentions to Diana Maliszewski and Melanie McBride.

The post is an interesting reflection on Tim’s part about online presences. I thought that Diana nailed it when she talks about teachers and being relevant to students with their connections. Tim kind of agrees but then notes that good people have been overlooked in their applications for principalship because of being vocal online. I’ll bet that those that did get promoted did a lot of singular research in a library sans a social learning network.

I think that Tim’s post is a great year-end or year-beginning read for educators and particularly those that are in these hiring positions. Do you want your system to become increasingly distanced from students and their families?

Personally, I have bought into the notion of a learning network and I value it every day. In fact, I’d doubt that I would have met Tim or his wonderful family Alanna and Max or got the incredible Christmas card from them in the mail. It’s one of those really nice ones that you don’t want to recycle, because well, it’s a great card! More than that, when I’m at a conference I will attend one of Tim’s sessions because he goes places in his thinking that I would never go. I so appreciate people that push my thinking.

On the other hand, I think we all know people, including educators, who don’t contribute to the learning of others but exist solely for those “look at me” moments. Somehow, some of them have parlayed that into speaking careers. That, I don’t get.


If you follow Aviva on social media, she does truly use it to meet her purposes. The parts that I particularly like is how she documents student learning in her classroom. She does it correctly; she takes pictures of the activities and not of the kids. There’s a big difference and I know that it’s hard for those of us who grew up being told to “smile for Grandma”.

For December, Avia has decided to take a break from this, although it wasn’t a complete stoppage. She still is sharing pictures and her reading as she finds her quiet time in books and uses that to gear down for the end of the year. If that’s what works for her, then I think that’s a good approach. We all need to find what works for ourselves.

Sadly, she notes that there are things that are on the horizon that are going to interrupt her routine so I hope that she enjoys it while she can.

The Trickery of Insufficient Data

As I said on the show, Peter missed the opportunity to title this “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics”! I don’t know about you but I’m sick and tired of the first five minutes of any newscast talking about the latest updates in COVID.

For the Wednesday show, I found these to be the top stories from a few news sites that I frequent…

  • Toronto Star – Today’s coronavirus news: Several provinces considering allowing COVID positive health workers to stay on job; Global cases up 11% last week, Omicron risk high
  • Toronto Sun – Doctors urge Ontario to scale back isolation, quarantine rules
  • Toronto Globe and Mail – Nova Scotia delays students’ return, Ontario school announcement coming on COVID-19 measures
  • Windsor Star – COVID-19 in 2021: a look back at the pandemic’s second year in Windsor-Essex

I think the answer to Peter’s absolutely correct analysis of a couple of graphs is that reporters are under a great deal of pressure to get the next great COVID story out. They’re not statisticians by trade and so do the best that they can. Typically statistical reports have a summary at the beginning and then get into the details later in case you’re interested or having difficulty sleeping. I remember a third year Statistics prof telling us that you can make statistics say darned near anything you want. Is this the case? We seldom get the information about sample sizes and confidence levels which are really important to know and understand.

Numbers are numbers are numbers; I get that. I think that the shock value of huge numbers and yet another story about cases has worn off. Of more importance now, I think, comes from the contact tracing and a warning for us to avoid these particular places.

Moving Day

If you think your December was rough, put yourself in Ann Marie’s shoes – having to find a place and then move a school to those places to continue the learning for the students. She gives a big shoutout to her staff

Things are looking up in her school’s world. They’re packing and the movers are coming in to move them “home”. I wish them all the best and just can’t imagine having to go through that or to lead an entire school through that situation and recovery.

I love this quote from her post.

“Social support is not merely being in the presence of others. The critical issue is reciprocity: being truly heard and seen by the people around us., feeling that we are held in someone else’s mind and heart. For our physiology to calm, done, heal, and grow we need a visceral feeling of safety.” Bessel Van Der Kolk, The Body Keep the Score

How my class is spending their last day together before potential school closures.

Amy Bowker writes a very short blog post about the last day of school with her and her students. I always hated the last day before a break as the kids were very clear that I was the only teacher that they had that wanted them to do something academic. Compared to these days, I had it easy. We knew that we were coming back after the Break and we’d continue on.

The only thing I can remember in common with Amy was the cleaning out of desks. (althought I did bribe with a big bag of candy canes ….)

Today we are cleaning out our desks, making gingerbread houses, and watching Space Jam. We are also going to participate in a community circle where we reflect on our class and all the things we love about being at school. We are going to enjoy today. Celebrate each other. Tell each other how important they are to our class.

That fact that they celebrated each other and appreciated each other brings a bit of emotion here. Of course, we all like to think that we do that regularly but any context that I can think of pales to Amy’s world. And to all the classroom teachers, your world too.

As I write this post on Thursday morning, we still don’t know what direction Ontario will be taking.

Waiting No More: Lessons from the Lake

This post from Debbie really resonated with me. Except for going away to university, I’ve always lived within easy driving or walking distance of a lake. There is absolutely something remarkable and powerful about walking the beach or even just sitting in a car watching the waves move.

I could watch the waves for hours. To me, it parallels living that one year in Toronto and going down to Yonge and Dundas. So much action, and every part of that action has something important to do and somewhere important to be. There’s something remarkable about picking up a wave from as far away as you can see and then watching it roll into the beach. You can seldom predict its actual path or the disturbance that it makes when it hits the shallows and then the sand. No two waves are exactly the same.

So, Debbie now has a new house and shares a nice collection of photographs from “her” beach. It’s calming to just look at the pictures but it’s even better in real life. She likes sunrises (who doesn’t) but don’t overlook sunsets!

Beyond this moment in time, this is another reason to blog. Memories might fade but she’ll always have this collection of images and her reflections at this point in time.

Avoir un impact sur ma culture d’apprentissage

For this week, I bookended this post with a couple of powerful messages about learning networks. Left alone, they can do things without a strategic direction or meaning and so it does take some effort to make that happen. You do need to work it. But how?

That’s the big takeaway for me from this post from Joel.

He identifies three areas of importance to him

  • Influencer (élément leadership)
  • Être intentionnel (élément stratégie)
  • Activer (élément action)

I can’t help but think that these are the attributes that Tim would see in a leader and I know that he exhibits in himself as a leader. Make sure to click through and read his complete discussion on each of these. There’s so much there.

The post is a powerful message that all leaders would be wise to read and ponder.

Do yourself a favour and add these people to your own learning network to see what they’re doing daily and become just a bit smarter!

  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Peter Skillen – @peterskillen
  • Ann Marie Luce – @turnmeluce
  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • Joel McLean – @jprofNB

You can find the voicEd Radio show here.


OTR Links 12/31/2021

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

What about schools?

As I write this post, I just finished the This Week in Ontario Edublogs show on voicEd Radio. One of the topics of discussion with Stephen Hurley was about school for next week.

As we know, students were encouraged to clean out desks and take things home before the Christmas Break lest a Plan B, schools no reopening in January, be needed. We’ve seen the huge rise in COVID testing numbers recently.

Less than half an hour ago, this was posted to the Windsor Star website.

Ontario reports new daily record of COVID-19 cases

The following was just posted to Windsor Regional Hospital’s Instagram account.

As they say, stuff’s getting real.

It’s Wednesday and schools across the province are scheduled to reopen for teachers and students next Monday.

Stephen Hurley and I chatted about this on the show and we used the term “Trickle down effect” with all of the stakeholders who are/might be affected come next week.

principals, vice-principals, teachers, teaching assistants, students, parents, child care providers, bus drivers, restaurants near secondary schools,

The million dollar question is “Will schools be open next week.” We still don’t know; we’re waiting for the official message from Toronto.

According to CityNews, there is a meeting to discuss this on Thursday morning.

Ontario opposition leaders call for clarity on back-to-school plan amid Omicron spread

The return to school after the Christmas Break is always an exciting time. Students get to reconnect after two weeks away and there’s the excitement that comes with how they shared their holiday time, no matter what holiday they’re celebrating.

For teachers, it’s a time to reload and re-evaluate what needs to be covered before the end of semester. I always found that I needed to kick up things a bit.

Higher education around here have made their announcements in plenty of time.

University of Windsor to resume classes on January 17
St. Clair Collge will resume classes on January 17

That may not be the message people want to hear but at least it’s a message that’s out in the public so that people can make plans.

For publically funded K-12 schools, everyone is sitting and waiting for the message. It’s more than just a no or no-go. No-go pushes back everything. Go means another look at classrooms, controls, numbers, etc. It’s not a winning situation for anyone.

There seems to be a third option though. Don’t do anything. It seems to me that this is the worst of all options.

Like everyone else, I’m in anticipation of the announcement and the impact that it will have.

OTR Links 12/30/2021

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


I’ve been thinking deeply about battery-powered cars lately. You see, there’s this one white Tesla in town that seems to be everywhere that I go. Is this a sign? Well, the reality is that we’re a relatively small town (20 000) and so the odds are pretty good if we’re out and about at the same time.

I’ve seen battery charging stations at the ONRoute in Tilbury and I would imagine they’re in all of them right now. To be honest, I think there’s one charging station in town near one of the parks. If not, there’s a strange-looking something or other there. We keep hearing that the government wants us all to head in this direction.

We’ve seen batteries used in Formula 1 now that we’re in the hybrid era and, of course, there’s Formula E. It has seemed to be a fad with companies fooling around with batteries and hybrid themselves. For me, it got real when Ford released an all-electric Mustang.

So, I’ve been paying a little more attention lately. I’m still iffy and not ready to pull the trigger until I’m sure that I could go places that I want to go and not get stranded. Of course, I’d have to have this site bookmarked.

To add to the confusion, there was one link that a couple of people in my social learning network shared yesterday. First, it was Mark Dunk with this video on his timeline.

Also yesterday, Stephen Downes shared a link to an article about the incident and his thoughts about not buying Tesla and not a fan of Apple’s approach to repairs either. As a side note, I agree on the Apple front having to pay a technician $50 to unscrew a single screw mounting my hard drive so that I could install an SSD.

As I read the article and thought about it, there’s a strong message in there about batteries that didn’t really sink in. I think that we all know that batteries do indeed have a shelf life. I have a couple of old computers that now last for about an hour on a charge. I’m hesitant to pay the money so just leave them plugged in for the most part. That’s not an option for an electric car.

Now, a replacement battery for a laptop computer would be relatively affordable if I decided to do it. But, the replacement battery for the Tesla in the article is $26,800 dollars. I’m assuming that’s American dollars. The article mentions that there isn’t a huge difference between the battery replacement and a new Tesla. (well, on my budget it would be huge…) Back here, in my reality, if I had $26,800, I could get a brand new vehicle or an incredible used vehicle that would work well with my lifestyle.

Now, for a reality check, I’m not in the market at all to replace my 2014 Ford Fusion. I love it and it is the nicest vehicle I’ve ever owned. I am also wise enough to know that it won’t last forever so it will be interesting to see the market when I approach it again. Ford has dropped all cars from its product line except for the Mustang. I suspect that many other manufacturers are going or planning to go that route as well.

It’s going to be different.