This Week in Ontario Edublogs

The first Friday of 2022 shows that there’s no lightening up of the quality content from Ontario Edubloggers. Check out the latest.


NO RESOLUTIONS FOR 2022 – JUST CONTINUING MY PILGRIMAGE

I immediately set aside this post for reading later. First of all, the word “pilgrimage” is not one that I run across regularly. Secondly, it was from Pav who doesn’t blog all that frequently but when she does, you know that it won’t be a quick and easy read.

Photo by 愚木混株 cdd20 on Unsplash

I do like the concept of “continuing” because the notion that you start something on January 1 and finish it on December 31 seems somewhat artificial. It’s the season for Weight Watchers and we know that most that start with good intentions never make it to the end of the year. Heck, the television commercials don’t make it that long either.

It comes as no surprise that Pav is a bit of all over the map on her vision. She does have her fingers on a number of things. I’ve never met her but her writing and podcasting leave me an impression of a person who is deep thinking and comfortable for reaching out into new areas. I think this complexity comes through in the post when she talks about the three realms that she sees in her life “my personal life, my side-hustle life, and my educational life“. Interestingly, the discussion always circles back to her teaching life and that’s a good thing. She isn’t all that open with her personal life and family and that’s good and understandable as well.

I’ve always felt that New Year’s was even more artificial for educators because we know that the real year starts in September and ends in June. New Year’s Break always felt kind of artificial. But then, I always brought home marking and lesson planning so maybe I was my own worst enemy.


Last Post of 2021. Looking ahead. One Word for 2022

On the Wednesday voicEd Radio show, I indicated that Elizabeth had forgone the one word for a year and had focused on a word for the month instead. On Twitter, I got fact checked and it was actually longer…

My bad.

Anyway, she’s not about to do it again. Her rationale was pretty interesting

“My #OneWordx12 project started to feel connected to the pandemic”

I can’t help but think that whether it’s one word for a year, one word for a month, taking your family to the beach, or something as everyday as going to the grocery story, or anything else, we’re all seeing this pandemic everywhere. Like it or not, we are connected to this damned pandemic.

To me, whether it’s twelve words or one word or no words, it has to be a decision that you can live with and not have it beat you up at every turn. So, if she felt that way, her rationale makes sense to her and, if it makes things easily, then there’s no question that she should change. As you get through the post, she does close with some great ideas for self- improvement and, if that’s what keeps her motivated, then I say go for it.

I was in and out of a Twitter discussion this morning (I wish I’d been more in) and, beyond the friendly banter, there’s a wonderful sense that there’s a group of people there to chat with which is so nice to know as we continue to stay away from the familiar face to face groupings that we all love.


2 weeks

You’ve got to turn back the clocks a bit to get the context for Will’s post. He takes the two weeks away from school a little bit slow. The first bit is a continuation of daily routine (without going to school) and sort of eases into things.

That was so different from my reality. My reality is that I’d get home to my wife and a fully packed car, grab the kids and dog and head to our parents’ places. It was important for them that we get there for as long as possible and my wife was a nurse so we’d do our best maximize the visit. Nurses don’t get Christmas off unless they’re lucky. Ditto for New Year’s Eve. I still remember the routine pitstops – Tilbury, Grand Bend, unless there’s an emergency and then it was Petrolia.

Of course, that was a different time and different circumstances. We knew that we were returning to school on January whatever and the biggest challenge might come from over eating. Except for the one year that I ended up flat on my back from pnuemonia, of course.

I thought that he nailed it when he talks about the distribution of testing kits just for students in the waning days of December. That most definitely stuck an exclamation point on any thought about how this government feels about teachers.

As I type this, school is back in session albeit online. We’ve taken in three kids who are using up the wifi. They didn’t know until recently what was going to happen in their academic life. I stick my head in the doors periodically to hear what’s going on and I can’t help but reflect that there are three teachers on the other end. They haven’t gone into hiding to come out periodically for news cameras. They are truly working the front lines and Will’s post reveals his side of the “two weeks” that was anything but predictable this time around.

To all the teachers out there who do not feel refreshed and rejuvenated like you might in a regular year, your feelings are certainly understood.

Will promises that this discussion and his analysis will continue.


Done.

Elementary and secondary schools aren’t the only ones trying to make a go of it during these bizarre times. There are post-secondary schools as well and James just finished teaching a seminar on online teaching and learning.

There’s his typical teacher stuff like dragging one’s heels to getting marks submitted; I don’t care who you are, that is never a quick and easy process if you do any thinking about assessment and evaluation at all.

But, wait! I couldn’t help but think that this seminar would have been wonderful for every teacher to attend pre-COVID! In these unpredictable times, every bit would help. There are huge insights and values to what James shares when he asks the seminar participants what there takeaways and stayaways were. (love the term stayaway)

  • full-fledged, 100% synchronous courses do not do anyone any favours
  • instructor presence is a necessity – students want it and need it
  • we need clarity and simplicity in our online courses
  • give students more authentic learning opportunities
  • collaborate with students
  • build flexibility into courses

Of course, you need to click through and read his post where these are all fleshed out. Does anyone remember the promise/threat of online courses needed for graduation at secondary school?


Imperial cheese memories

I’ll admit that this post had a very emotional response on this end. On the surface, this could be about the wonderful looking Imperial Cheese crescents that her mom was famous for. My big learning there was that the Imperial Cheese that she talks about comes from Stratford – do you know how many times I’ve been to and through Stratford and didn’t know this?

Here’s a link to Maclaren’s Imperial Cheese Spread.

For those of us who are of a certain age, our mothers were famous for something that they made that nobody else could/would. In my Mom’s case, it was butter tarts. At family reunions, every Tupperware container in the house was full of these things that would get devoured when we got there. I’ll confess to not being a fan and so she’d always make a couple filled with raspberry jam just for me instead.

It’s these memories that are so important and Heather describes a wonderful mother who is going through some challenges and so she’s picking up the baking ball and it includes hunting down Imperial Cheese. What a wonderful gesture. I’ve got to stop here; I have something in my eye but this really is a delightful post that needs to be read.


2021 GAMES IN REVIEW

I enjoyed reading Mike’s post about his year in gaming. He describes being a gamer at a number of different levels. I’ll confese; I’m not a big computer gaming person these days but I loved a good game of Doom back in the day. How sad is it and how old am I that I can’t find a Doom image on unsplash to insert here?

Gaming was a big motivator in the computer science classroom. I’d buy a couple of games and they were available for student playing before and after school and during lunch periods. The motivator came when students would tire of the game and write their own. You just don’t tell them that it is good for them.

Mike’s list includes some of the real classics – Minecraft, Flight Simulator, etc. and I’ll confess to not knowing the majority of these other games which he classifies as:

  1. What I played
  2. What is on my wishlist
  3. What I enjoyed the most
  4. My biggest disappointment

Mike does confess to being a big gamer and it’s quite evident with this collection. To help with this post, I brought in my 12 year old gaming expert who did recognize a few of the games but not nearly as I thought that he might.

So, Mike, you’ve stumped this household but I did enjoy reading your thoughts.


thanks, i’m failing much better now #tifmbn

I’m glad to cross paths with Chris again and dove into this post. It had a catchy, lower-cased title so what’s not to like?

Failure is a common term in education which helps us embrace success all that much more. But, I’ve got to ask. Are we the only profession where anything less than 100% is failure? I remember I could bring home a test to my dad with 99% on it and being asked why I didn’t get 100!

Chris offers a number of thoughts and insights worthy of stopping to ponder.

“I also wondered why it was that when we speak of learning and leading from failure, we expect administrators and system leaders to do it first.”

Don’t we all recall days when we “failed’? I sure do.

My insights, probably formed after a frustrating first two or three years of teaching, was that the cards are and will always be stacked against me as a teacher. When it’s just you, there is a clear vision of what success or failure might be. But, as teachers, we aren’t 1:1. We’re 1:many and that results in insights that often you never see coming.

Chris promises to be very open and share his thinking about the topic over the next few blog posts and provides a list of areas that he’s prepared to dig in to. I’m looking forward to reading them.


As with every Friday, this a great collection of content from Ontario Edubloggers. I hope that you can find the time to click through and read all these terrific posts.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Pav Wander – @PavWander
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • James Skidmore – @JamesMSkidmore
  • Heather Swail – @hbswail
  • Mike Washburn – @misterwashburn
  • Chris Cluff – @chrisjcluff

The voicEd Radio show from last Wednesday can be found here.

https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/new-years-reflections-online-teaching-and-memories-of-moms-cooking/

2 thoughts on “This Week in Ontario Edublogs

  1. Pingback: Joyful Moment #1: Yoga Storytelling | Living Avivaloca

  2. Pingback: My Week Ending 2022-01-09 | doug — off the record

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