doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Here’s a collection to kickstart your Friday morning reading, courtesy of Ontario Edubloggers.

Updating My Idioms

I felt that this was a brave and important post from Diana. Here, she takes a look at some of the idioms that she has found herself using. An idiom is a word or phrase that is used in language that represents something different other than the original meaning.

We talked about this post on Wednesday morning on voicEd Radio and I found it was awkward. I didn’t want to use the examples that Diana had given because it just wouldn’t be appropriate to say them out loud. This is one case where blogging is better than podcasting since she could put the idiom inside quotation marks to denote her use of it. Certainly when you talk, there wasn’t an equivalent that I was comfortable using.

During the show, Stephen introduced another one – “Cake Walk” – and I had no idea of the history of that one. After his explanation, I don’t think I’ll ever have the urge to use it again. I had no idea…

This is a good post and I’ll bet you’ll pay a bit more attention to your words after reading it. She treats each of the examples the same way:

  • Identify the idiom
  • What is it used for?
  • What could be used instead?

How to Identify a Spam Message

I can’t remember the first time I thought about this but it would have been a long, long time ago. Now, it’s just part of the business of being online with an email account.

Somehow your email address ends up being discovered by the bad guys through any one of a million different ways and you get an unsolictited email that appears in your inbox. In the early days, it appeared right up front and in your face. The content of the email typically has some sort of message for you requiring action on your part which usually involves clicking a link and going to some place that you didn’t intend. The goal is to get more information from you or important things like Credit Card information.

That’s what drove Peter to write this post – he had a friend who thought that they had had their information stolen. Peter responds with a good summary of what a spam message looks like for others to learn from and provides some great advice. Even if you think that you know it all, it’s still a good read and reminder.

These days, most email providers have artificial intelligence hard at work trying its best to keep those messages away from you by dumping them into a spam folder. Sadly, you still have to visit it because sometimes good messages get dumped there.


Cito Gaston: A Reluctant but True Leader

This is a blog post that goes hand and hand with a podcast discussion between Charles and Stephen Hurley. There’s lots of great information there about Cito and Charles and their relationship as well as a bit of history if you like that sort of thing. And, I do even though I’m a lifelong Tiger fan.

Like most sports, baseball is a source for fascinating statistics that can be used nicely in the classroom and answer the question “When will we ever use this?” Cito’s stats as a player appear here:

In the podcast, Stephen kept pushing Charles to talk about leadership in schools as compared to Gaston’s leadership in baseball. Of course, it got me thinking and two managers came to mind – Earl Weaver and Sparky Anderson. There is a definite different in styles compared to Gaston’s.

Who would you want managing your school?

You’ll want to read the post and listen to the podcast – it’s about 20 minutes long and really worth the listen.

And, hang in there Charles, there may be a phone call to use your abilities as a catcher yet.


Lynn, who I remember as a principal in my school district, has partnered with a niece and a recent graduate from Kennedy Collegiate to produce a series of books for students. It’s not just any type of book and I think that it’s unique enough to appeal to parents and libraries who are in search of the solution this series will help address.

The premise for the series surrounds inhabitants from the planet Tezra. They are interestingly drawn with sharp looking colours. What makes these characters special – well, you’ll have to read Lynn’s post to get all the details but part of it is that they have difficulty managing their emotions.

The books come will come with an accompanying guide for teachers and parents to help them use the resource successfully to help manage emotions. It sounds like they’re addressing a very unique situation.

As a promotion, one lucky entrant to a draw will get a personal caricature of themselves from the illustrator.

Prevent Teacher Burnout

You hear about issues that people are having going into school every day. They’re legitimate at the best of times; teaching is a tough profession.

Living and teaching through a pandemic and the type of leadership that we’re seeing, it only makes the stress that more oppressive. Burnout is a legitimate concern.

In this post, Kristy offers her thoughts with three areas:

  • Professional Support
  • Outside-of-Work Friends
  • Family

I had a flashback to advice from my first principal that has stuck with me since then – choose your friends wisely. There are so many that just poisonous or may end up turning on you.

In each of the areas, Kristy spells out some very important things to consider. Even if you don’t feel the burnout right now, you might at some point and that makes reading and bookmarking this important.

6 actions que font des leaders solides

This tags onto the post from Charles above dealing with leadership. I first of all tried to attach the descriptions here to a manager of a Major League Baseball team.

  • They take calculated risks
  • They unconditionally celebrate the successes of others
  • They are not afraid to communicate what they think
  • They welcome change and challenges
  • They embrace a growth mindset and don’t dwell on things beyond their control
  • They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves: they rush forward

Then, I spun it to think about leadership in education. I could see his points fitting nicely into both scenarios.

It’s an interesting post about leadership and, of couse, Joel expands on each of his points as you work your way through this read.

For those who are in leadership positions, I think it’s important to realize that other’s eyes are always on you and that makes this openness, caring, and empathy all that much more important.

Supporting Student Transition from Elementary to Secondary

This is such a timely post.

In my personal transition, my preparation for Grade 9 didn’t have anything about the change in network and friends, it was all about how if I didn’t do better in Grade 8, I was going to be toast in Grade 9 or as my Grade 8 teacher called it “Coll-EEEE-giate”. I was petrified and there was no formal Grade 8 night; my parents and I were welcome to walk the halls the week before school started to find my home room and locker. It had to have a big effect on me; I still remember that room and my locker combination. 57-36-12

It was a scary experience. I don’t have specific memories of Grades 10-13 but I still remember Grade 9.

Things are so much different now. Even the buildings and philosophies are different. Some students are in the big house starting earlier than before. Yes, the building is reorganized to make it friendly but still. Grade 8 nights are big events and Grade 8 teachers are much more aware of the big change in student life ahead.

Things are definitely different than back in my day never mind throwing in all the COVID stuff. Secondary school can be an intimidating place, of that there can be no doubt. Big, bad teachers, and all that!

I found Gary’s post to be an interesting read, chocked full of advice and he even includes an a self-advocacy toolkit full of ideas and student oriented that might find its way into your set of tools.

Please take the time to click through and enjoy all these posts. Then, follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Peter Beens – @pbeens
  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • Lynn McLaughlin – @lynnmcla
  • Kristy – @2peasandadog
  • Joel McLean – @jprofNB

The voicEd Radio show from Wednesday.


2 responses to “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”

  1. […] Friday – This Week in Ontario Edublogs […]


  2. I’m so touched by your kind words and positive review of my blog. Truly humbled. Gary.


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