This Week in Ontario Edublogs

There was no voicEd Radio show this past week so this will be a first look at these posts for everyone. Enjoy.

Step Away From the Stickers

In this post on the Self-Reg blog, Lisa make an interesting case against the use of stickers summarizing their use as “they are founded on a self-control paradigm, not one of self-regulation”.

Later in the post, she takes a turn away from an out and out abolishment to accepting that there are times when they can be used. She used a personal example of getting a sticker after donating blood. That’s obviously not a classroom example but the concepts are interesting to think about.

It’s also interesting to note that the world has really turned to stickers or badging as a way of communicating success. While I don’t typically go looking for them, I do see them all over the place on social media. This of all those likes and animated badges that are prevalent on timelines. Even Words with Friends gives you the opportunity to send a sticker after you make a move.

It is worth considering the actual purpose and what is your motive behind them. It’s such a simple concept but really had me thinking. That’s always a good thing.

I Told My Students I Had Covid, Here’s What Happened Next

I was a bit worried for Matthew when he started the post outlining all the things that he felt were wrong with him and hoping that it was just the flu or something. We live in interesting times and every self-diagnosis starts with assuming that you have COVID. We’re even told that we should just assume that we have COVID and isolate.

I’m getting the message that he was a little bit disappointed with the lack of empathy in his class’ response to his announcement to them that he had missed school because of testing positive.

 It took up less than four minutes. “Yeah, I had it over winter break” one student responded. Others chimed in: “My aunty had it and had to stay in our basement for a week”

He has an interesting personal summary of what he thinks of their response. To me, it sounds like they’re tired of mountains and are now assuming the new reality of dealing with it and moving on.

Sorry to hear that you had it, man, and I hope that moving on gets you moving on.

Equity in Mathematics Teaching & Learning: Part One

Since the topic was mathematics, I was immediately drawn to Shelly’s post. She lists what I would call Motherhood and Apple Pie for education. I hope that that idiom is OK to use. After all, who could argue with Shelly’s list?

  • Building relationships 
  • Accessing a rigorous mathematics curriculum
  • Receiving high quality instruction 
  • Ensuring access to technology
  • Differentiating instruction (including enrichment opportunities)
  • and more

I would hope that these attributes and, indeed, all of them that are on her list are there for every subject. Mathematics is a little different because it’s traditionally been the “toughest” subject. The fact that it’s allowed to continue to have that notion is something that needs addressing.

So, as I read through Shelly’s well thought out list, I can’t help but think that that sets the table to steal another idiom. Will that turn into success for all?

I think of some of the really good mathematics teachers that I had and they had one thing in common – they truly enjoyed mathematics and it wasn’t just solving the problem. It was solving the problem with a flourish and an admiration for the process and that was inspirational. After all, you could just look at the answer at the back of the book if that was all that mattered. That sense of satisfaction speaks volumes to encouraging success. We actually looked forward to those extra problems that pushed us harder.

In terms of diversity, I didn’t have much going to my school. We had a couple of teachers that were physically different but for the most part, it was a faculty of white ladies and gentlemen. It was at university that I had larger access to a diverse group of professors. The ones that I still remember today are great in my mind because they just exuded a love for problem-solving. I think that goes so far and hope that Shelly addresses that in the follow-up posts to this one.

If you go back to Shelly’s original announcement on Twitter, there was an American educator who jumped in and talked about equity by zip code. That, by itself, is really an invitation to think deeply about this. I hope that Shelly talks about that in future posts as well.

Slice of (Snowy) Life

Lisa is on her eleventh snow day. Wow! I think there’s been one or maybe two around here.

I like how Lisa and her class rolled with the punches and used the opportunity to be selective about what activities they chose to do.

Going back to my high school days, I remember the event where we got clobbered with snow. It hit so hard and fast, they couldn’t call the buses quickly enough and the county kids got storm stayed. Now, what happens next will seem a bit strange but it’s true.

One of the units that we did at high school was square dancing. Really. The double gym was opened and we were all engaged. Well, during the storm days, we made some phone calls and either walked or snowmobiled over to the school and square danced for a while. The school was open because there were some teachers who were stranded there as well. I still remember it as being one of those days of choice – and we chose to go to school.

We made the best of it and it sounds like Lisa’s four students did as well. As far as her desire to teach in a one-room schoolhouse, it’s not all it cracks up to me. I married one who did that for her first years at school and she has no fond memories of being clumped together with other students and then trying to learn something. Maybe Lisa will have better success. Are there any one-room schoolhouses in operation today?

The 500 – #329 – In The Jungle Groove – James Brown

Frequent readers of this blog will know that I’m following Marc’s analysis of the list of 500 and I just need to comment on this one. I was reading an article about Bob Seger the other day and he was asked if he had any regrets.

  • Seger has met several of his musical idols over the years — including Bob Dylan, Tina Turner and Little Richard. There’s one icon, however, he never got to meet. Any guesses who?
  • Answer: “I’m sorry that I never met James Brown, because he was one of my hugest influences,” he says.

I enjoyed Marc’s analysis of the different songs and I was so pleased to see that there was actually a playlist on YouTube.

Marc added “Funky Drummer” to his playlist that he’s accumulating as a result of his work but who can ever forget this.

We Don’t Do The Weather Anymore, Or Do We?

One of my favourite jokes of all time.

“Is it raining?”
“I don’t know; call the dog in and see if he’s wet”

It comes as no surprise to me that Aviva talks about the weather. If you follow her blog and Instagram account, there are always pictures of her students in action and I especially like the action shots when they’re outside learning. The ones in the classroom could be seen in many primary classes. The actors are just different.

I like the fact that she talks about “doing weather” as if it’s some sort of distinct subject area and it is for so many classrooms. One of the comments to her post talks about “doing weather” in the French classroom. The word “doing” implies a beginning and an end of the event – like “doing decimals” or something.

With Aviva’s class spending so much time outside, “doing weather” wouldn’t cut it. Instead, the class will need to plan and make decisions depending on whether or not the dog is wet. They’ll have to dress themselves appropriately and make decisions about what areas of the yard will be suitable and which might be ill-advised. Her class is actually “doing weather” without “doing the weather”.

Forests Ontario – Teaching with Trees FREE Virtual Workshop

It just doesn’t seem quite right to have a workshop about trees but have to do it virtually but that’s our reality and it allows for people to join in from all over the province if they’re inclined to do so.

If you’re reading this for the first time on Friday morning or later, you missed the first workshop but there’s another one upcoming on March 1.

This is a free virtual workshop looking to help leverage our natural connection to forests in your teaching practice through a variety of resources, programs, and tools offered by Forests Ontario, Project Learning Tree Canada, and the Canadian Institute of Forestry. 

It promises ties to the Ontario Curriculum for a variety of grade levels. Registration is required.

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

  • Lisa Cranston – @lisacran
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario – @staoapso

5 thoughts on “This Week in Ontario Edublogs

  1. Thanks for including my post in here, Doug, along with so many other ones. You never fail to give us all some great Friday reading! I love hearing your perspective on different posts. When you write a blog post, you see it one way, and it’s interesting to hear what readers think.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hopefully, I don’t get it too wrong! I liked your concept of learning through living the weather rather than a sit ‘n git lesson and “doing the weather”.

    Liked by 1 person

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