doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Summer is officially here on voicEd Radio. Every show during the summer, we invite an educator to share a microphone and their thoughts on the show. We kicked off with Vicky Loras, long-time blogger, now podcaster, and working on her PhD. Here are the posts that we chatted about along with a couple bonus ones.

Borders #SOL2022

If there was an exhibit for “things they didn’t teach you at the Faculty”, this would be a candidate for it.

Melanie and a group of student leaders (Diverse Student Union) had planned an event this spring. The planning wasn’t easy and she shares some of the conversations and debates that happened in the process. It was deep and something that could only happen in a public school system embracing all students.

She saw the challenges before the event and shares her message to the planners and the caveats that they might now have seen or realized. I found it an emotional read and I’ve got even more respect for Melanie than I already had.

Doesn’t this speak to education planning though – you do everything, cross every T and dot every I to make sure that you’ve got everything covered – until a tornado warning hits…

Reflecting on Identity Boxes

Arianna collaborates with other educators in her school with the use of technology and this topic, suggested by a colleague, deals with a variation of Joseph Cornell’s Box. I’d done similar activities but didn’t realize that it was a formal thing and a walk through that website is worth it.

Equally worthwhile is working your way through this infographic about Social Identity Self-Assessment.

There’s another huge piece of advice that I think is timely. Even though students have been using technology with varying levels of success this past year, it doesn’t mean that skills shouldn’t be explicitly taught. Amen. Don’t make assumptions about their abilities.

She talks about something as simple as centring text on a computer screen. Now, I’m old enough to know that on a typewriter, you move the carriage to halfway and then backspace once for every two characters. It was like magic when I got a word processor and there was a button to click and do the deep. Some of the students she noted haven’t got that far and still centre by eyeballing it and pressing the space bar. Yeah, they need to be taught the skills as they get involved with a deep project like this.

tracked and filed

Speaking for every teacher everywhere, Will describes that special end-of-year feeling with the completion and filing of report cards into student OSRs. His use of the word “bittersweet” tells me so much about him; even in the most administrative of tasks in education, there is a recognition of the connection and the joy of teaching of individuals.

 a system incapable of seeing the brilliance of its youth each and every time we file another set of report cards

It’s a time to look at assessment and Will’s post is dated June 29. He’s already thinking about September. Heck, he hasn’t even had his first nap on the patio.

I totally agree with his discussion about the collection of evidence and how it turns into reporting material. I sat down with three little guys’ report cards intending to read them from beginning to end. I got lost in the edu-babble and to make things worse, I recognize some of the comments from comment banks from so long ago.

I steered instead to the actual grade. After all, that’s what counts.

If some educational research institution is looking for a good research project, talking to parents and care-givers about report cards and how they’re handled would generate interesting results, I suspect.

Doctors Explain How Hiking Actually Changes Our Brains

Walking the dog is a three times a day, recurring event in my calendar. I know that it drives my wife crazy but both Jaimie and I come home just a little bit happier. So, there’s no question in my mind of the value of these statements.

On the voicEd Radio show, Stephen talked about his proximity to some great trails and Vicky had both of us all beat by walking and looking at the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland.

There is a great discussion of four things here.

  • “Hiking in Nature Can Stop Negative, Obsessive Thoughts”
  • “Hiking While Disconnected From Technology Boosts Creative Problem Solving”
  • “Hiking Outdoors Can Improve ADHD in Children”
  • “Hiking In Nature Is Great Exercise and Therefore Boosts Brainpower”

I was sold before reading the post and am even more so after reading it.

My favourite from just down the road –

My Learning and Leadership this School Year

My superintendent was a big fan of this type of reflective activity. His instructions were to use it completely differently from what Rolland does. His advice was to indeed write it but keep it to myself.

At the year-end performance review, use it as the basis for a formal summary and a guiding document for a discussion with him.

The casual reader might have trouble reading it because it’s “I did this” and “I did that” but if you understand, you know that that is exactly how it should read. From reading it, it sounds like Rolland had a great year with a great deal of personal fulfillment.

And, who could not like this in the year 2022

I collaborated my guts out

My PhD Bookstack: Sociolinguistics / Sociophonetics

Our co-host for the show has created a new blog for herself. In this entry, Vicky shares with us some of the scholarly books that she’s been reading during her research.

As I am researching Indigenous Englishes and in particular, Inuit English for my PhD, Sociolinguistics and Sociophonetics are most probably two of my favourite aspects of Phonetics/Phonology.

She’s also using other elements of social media.

Instagram conversations –

The PhonPod Podcast –

Virtual Goodbyes

Melissa closed down the year as a virtual Kindergarten teacher. This may be the saddest post you read in a long time.

I think of last days at my school. We ran on a modified timetable so that we could meet with every class one last time. We were instructed to do something strongly educational so that phone calls from parents could be handled professionally. Generally, we talked about summer jobs and vacations. But it was human to human, there were some hugs at the end, there was supervision in the hallway, supervision at the buses, cleaning up my desk, going to the Michigan for one last official school debrief, going home and taking the family out to supper.

I can’t imagine being a virtual teacher ending the school year by closing a window on your computer. That truly is just so sad.

Melissa indicates that this will be her last post on the Heart and Art of Education Blog. I wish her all the best wherever she decides to go.

Of course, you know what to do now. Read their post and then follow these great bloggers on Twitter.

  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Arianna Lambert – @MsALambert
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Michael Frankfort @mfrank_76
  • STAO – @staoapso
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Vicky Loras – @vickyloras
  • Melissa Turnbull – @missmturnbull

voicEd Radio Show


One response to “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”

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


Please share your thoughts here. I’d enjoy reading them.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: