This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I had another terrific Wednesday morning discussing some recent blog posts with Stephen Hurley on our voicEd Radio show. Here they are, with a couple of bonus more.


Engaging Students Through The Arts

Throughout the province, we see cost cutting measures and The Arts are a typical target. They can be expensive and it can be difficult to find qualified teachers. Gary sees the value in making the effort to keep the program going.

He notes the value that he had on a personal level.

  • Creativity
  • Identity
  • Well-being

One might think that Computer Science is completely on the other end of the spectrum but I recall that some of the high achievers were also big into taking Arts subjects. In secondary school, both are options.

It’s an interesting read and might well be worth asking those who are running in the provincial election just where they stand on this. If cuts are thrust upon districts, are the Arts at risk?


Describing A Favourite Food!

I’ve long been a fan of the technique that Cameron uses to encourage writing with his students. He uses the class blog and writes a provocation post and students use the opportunity to respond with a comment.

Recently, he’s had them writing about Life Cycle of a Water Bottle and Growth Mindset Poems. But the one that I chose for the show was this one about describing a favourite food.

The replies are great; of course, there are rules.

It was interesting to see a former student check in with a reply as well. That’s the testament of a good classroom activity when they can’t let it go!


The Making of a Story

I’ve talked about David’s book “The Principal Chronicles” here before but I like how David continues to reveal a bit of the history behind the project.

The stories are both recent-ish and from way back in memory so his claim that they’re mostly true is probably very honest.

But, in the book, there’s one that he claims is made up – “Enid Wakely and the Great Tornado of 1948”. You’d think that something this contrived would have been easy to write but it required some interesting back and forth with family which I found interesting.

The other thing that I keyed in on was that he says he went to Herman, a reference to W.F. Herman Secondary School in Windsor. Stephen, being a history bug, and I did some chatting after the show about the school which is now labelled an Academy. It was a quick search to get details about the person the school is named after. Are you curious?

I actually found a reference site with some completely incorrect information about the school.


The Wonder of Trees

This is a wonderful post that describes what happens in kindergarten so nicely. I remember a K teacher once telling me that “I’m a kindergarten teacher; I integrate everything”. Kindergarten teachers should click through and love how Deanna describes a trip to the trees in her school yard turns into so, so much.

It starts with student comments about their experience but then she gets into the academic value for each of these including pictures…

  • Telling stories from marking on trees
  • Exploring textures
  • Research what grows on trees
  • What makes their home in trees
  • Age of trees by clues
  • Climbing trees
  • Decomposition
  • Who was there before you
  • Why do some trees stay green all year?
  • Gather material from the ground around the tree
  • Measure the circumference of a tree by bodies

The mathematician in me just marveled over the last one. I would never have thought of that but it makes so much sense for students of that age!


Ontario Curriculum Archive

File this under “Things that Retirees Do”.

Peter is collecting every Ontario curriculum document that he can and is making them all available here.

When I read this, I had to check out the Computer Science resources. At that time, there was only one. I remember the document that guided my course in high school, at the Faculty of Education, and then my first years of teaching. It was RP-33. So, I went to find it, succeeded and added to Peter’s collection.

During the show, Stephen talked about the Common Curriculum and that sent Peter on a search of his own and he found it.

All of his curating efforts are at the link above and, if you see something missing, let Peter know. My question is – how will he know when he’s done? From the dates on the directory, he’s been at this for a while.


You Didn’t Prepare Me for Post-Secondary

I had to smile as I read Tim’s recent post. He talks about those students who graduate from your secondary school and then don’t as well when they get to college or university. I always enjoy visits from students that I’ve taught. Some come back to the school, some through email, a bunch through Facebook, and even one at the racetrack in Dresden.

The discussions are varied and maybe because I was in a specialized subject area generally positive.

In Tim’s case, it’s about Mathematics and it did get me thinking. In Ontario Secondary Schools, we are governed by a curriculum that applies everywhere. Teachers are qualified to teach and in the subject area. University? I did a quick poke around and no two universities have the same descriptor of their introduction to Mathematics courses. The whole university experience is different – a professor may or may not hold teaching qualifications and much of the support, if you ask for it, comes from teaching assistants who are upper level students making a few bucks. It really is comparing apples to oranges, as they say.

Later in the post, Tim takes a poke at EQAO and destreaming. It reinforces how much the secondary school experience is different. I don’t know; maybe getting rid of EQAO and spending the prep and test time on learning how to be a more independent learner might help. Factor into this cuts into education and it’s obvious that this is a situation that won’t resolve itself.

In my old school, the Guidance Department did a follow-up with graduates to let us know how they were doing. That was always appreciated.

I’m sure that Tim would appreciate your thoughts or suggestions.


Hey, you just bought donuts!

How could anyone bypass any blog post with donuts in the title?

Cal periodically comes out with great tutorials about how to do things that will sap some time from my schedule as I follow him through it. He has a lot of screen captures and detailed descriptions which makes it so easy to follow.

In this case, Cal is having a fund raiser selling Krispy Kreme Donuts. As an aside, the store in Windsor closed and we have to find alternatives. (Which, in Canada, isn’t too difficult)

I had to nod in agreement with Cal when he indicated that he didn’t want to go through the route of doing the process on paper and so he took them online with it.

From a form to record the order to an email confirmation, Cal shows us how to use Power Automate to make it all happen electronically. It was interesting and my learning yesterday.


There’s some good reading here. Do yourself a favour and check them all out.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Cameron Steltman – @MrSteltman
  • David Garlick – @garlickd13
  • Deanna McLennon – @McLennan1977
  • Peter Beens – @pbeens
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Cal Armstrong – @sig225

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio

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OTR Links 05/06/2022


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