This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s time for another wander around the province and to take a look at the writing from Ontario Edubloggers. I’m always looking for more blogs. Reach out if you know of one or you write one yourself. Thanks.

It’s that time of year… placement sheets!

School population and demographics change from year to year and so the perfectly timetabled school one year may not fit into the next. There are other factors for the changing of a school makeup like retirements, people moving to a different school, incoming staff, or just people who want to try something different.

In this post, Beth describes her reality of a school with a declining enrolment and the teacher-librarian always seems to be one of the first targeted. In a perfect world, Beth would want to do the job full-time but also is aware that that might not be possible and so has a plan that you can read about in this post.

I know that, in our neighbourhood, the Catholic board removed the role of Teacher-Librarian years ago and made an alternate direction. I guess that I was so fortunate in having started my career with an excellent Teacher-Librarian who was always sharing resources and newspaper clipping with me. I can’t speak highly enough about how that helped me as a new teacher. It always is sad when you hear the argument for going without; it’s never based on academics but rather the concept of book exchange. One only needs to read the previous post from Beth as she describes everything that she accomplished in a week.

Lessons learned from the ‘Greatest Generation’

Right off the topic, I need to express my sympathies to Laura on the loss of her 97 year old grandmother. This post is a granddaughter’s tribute to everything that her grandmother did for her and for the complete family.

I’ll admit that I got kind of emotional reading the post as it took me back to memories of my own grandmother. Years ago, things were so different. Most women didn’t work outside the home and the men did and certainly weren’t capped by a 40 hour work week. The woman in the house kept the wheels moving.

Laura certainly describes a live well lived. She chunked a number of things.

  • The importance of creating 
  • Suffer no fools
  • Keep it simple 
  • Spend time immersed in the natural world
  • The importance of small traditions

I guess the one that really hit me was the concept of small traditions. For those of us who have had grandmothers who have passed, I’ll bet it’s those little things that you remember and miss most.

Got to move on; something in my eye.

Mentoring Moments: Spring Break around the corner 

It’s so easy to dwell on what’s wrong with this world. There are so many distractions and I found that Nilmini’s post was timely and inspirational for me.

She reminds us that spring is always a time for renewal of everything. In her case, it’s a renewal of her backyard. What a lovely project to usher in the new season. Hopefully, she will share some photos when the project is done.

I hope that you read and start to think about what spring means to you. After all, the Break is next week. I remember as a child going to Goderich with my mom and brother for Young Canada week. Later, as a computing educator, it was always a chance to go to the MACUL conference in Michigan. These days, it’s the first opportunity of returning to my home town just to drive around and reminsce without the danger of a snow storm. Ok, I’ll be realistic, there still is a chance. After all, this is Ontario….

What does Spring Break and Spring mean to you?

Supporting Student Mental Health

From the ETFO Heart and Art of Education Blog, a very serious post from Gary that will have you thinking. I think we all have paid lip service to mental health in the past couple of years; it really has taken a back page to physical health issues.

For those years, students have been yo-yoed around like everything else in a society being told what to do by our government(s). As adults, we probably get it or get enough of it to get by. But our younger citizens have been along for a ride that doesn’t seem to have a great deal of meaning even at the best of times and they certainly have no voice in the decision making process.

Gary very nicely describes the situation and provides a number of links to resources to help. If you’re in a classroom, I’m sure that you’ll find these valuable.

What’s missing, by design since this is about students, is support for the big people in the classroom. Let’s never ever overlook them.

Leadership Portfolio: Reflect, Connect, Learn

Rolland started teaching in 2000. Interesting year, if you remember.

As per tradition, Rolland had a portfolio where he did what we all did as it was the best recommendation at the time. Accumulate artifacts from your professional life, reflect on them and binderize them for interviews or other opportunities for professional growth.

I suspect that that is where it ends for many people. I know that was the way of doing things for me – in fact, I still have that binder on the bookshelf behind me.

Now that Rolland has passed his Leadership Course, he’s been asked to come back and share his current thinking about portfolios. He uses his blog now which I find really intriguing. Particularly in the days of interviews, traditionally you’d take out your portfolio, do some weeding, make sure it’s up to date, and have your reflections in place.

Blogging as a portfolio is a different game. It’s ongoing and continuous so it needs to be current all the time. Instead of a paper portfolio being shared at an interview, it’s online and I’m assuming that Rolland would expect the interview team to read things in advance of the interview. It’s more than that though and that’s what intrigues me. The audience is anyone who happens to click through and see what he’s up to. It changes everything, when you think about it.

Attention and Focus in the Classroom

Every time that I read a post like this, I wonder if my teachers or professors think as deeply about the situation as Jennifer does in this post. We do live in a time and place where every child is expected to succeed and, when they don’t, the teacher is asked why.

Jennifer has done a great deal of research and personal reflection about her practice and those students who don’t pay attention or lose focus. As I think about it personally, there were lots of times for me. Sometimes it was boredom; sometimes it was because I had worked the night before; sometimes I just didn’t care; sometimes I got it and didn’t need the teacher to continue to talk about it; there’s a big list of reasons why I might lose focus.

Of course, all of this is attended to in her post and I think any teacher would be able to put a face to them all. Jennifer is responsible enough to think that maybe she is the problem and she talks about it as well.

I hope that Spring turns things around for everyone. Of course, it won’t, we’ll all be daydreaming about what we’re going to be doing outside later on. Teachers can’t win!

And a big, big welcome back to the blogging world to Jennifer. She’s been missed and she addresses it in the post.

Math Links for Week Ending Feb 25th, 2022

The good thing is that Spring Break is next week. The bad thing is that Spring Break is next week. Mathematics educators lose out on the opportunity to do Pi things on Pi Day.

David Petro (you should see the reference in his Twitter handle) posted this at the end of February so that it’s ready for everyone to use on the 14th. Or today, or after the break.

There’s a fun activity right off the top in this post.

And if you click through a really nice discussion and video from Kyle Pearce as support.

Good stuff as usual.

I hope that you’ll accept my sincere wishes for a relaxing Spring Break next week. But, before you go, make sure that you’re following these great educators.

  • Beth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Laura Elliott – @lauraelliottPhD
  • Nilmini Ratwatte Henstridge – @NRatwatte 
  • Gary Stewart
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314

The voicEd Radio show.


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