This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Good Friday morning and I’m hoping everyone is looking forward to a restful long weekend.

This week, we made a couple of changes to the radio show on voicEd Radio and hope that we’re able to change things up a bit.

As always, I’m always on the lookout for blogs from Ontario Educators. If you know of one that I don’t have, please shoot it my way. My current collection is at:

I consider my Friday morning posts my “signature posts” so if you wouldn’t mind sharing it with others, I’d appreciate it. There are buttons at the bottom just for this purpose.

Call them by their name – or whatever

There are a couple of lessons from Amanda’s post.

Social Media

It can be deadly.

a colleague in my school board posted a thread on Twitter about why we should use students’ preferred names, and spiteful commenters piled on, calling the teacher a “groomer” and worse

Don’t engage unless you’re ready for a battle. Social Media does have tools to block people/things like this that abuse and this could have been one of those moments.


This was actually the point of the post. We’ve all been there; you get the class list from the office and run down the list to take attendance and get a chance to meet students. I was always Douglas, of course, and I’d let teachers know that I preferred to be called Doug. That is different from being called Kronos but what’s wrong is recognizing student preferences. I was also called “Pete”, “Andy”, and later as a teacher “Sir”, “Coach”, and “Mr. Peterson”. I don’t doubt that there were more colourful names used in private.

A wise manager told me once that the most important thing you can do in relationships is to remember someone’s name. It’s the most important thing that they have and you can screw up just about anything else but will be forgiven if you get the name right.

And, who knows, maybe that will play to be a stage or professional name. After all, Michael Lee Aday made it big.

There are far more important things to deal with in the search for success. If this buys you some cooperation and makes a student feel welcome, why wouldn’t you go with their preference?

Slice of (back and forth) Life

Every teacher goes through this process when assigned a new room. Lisa just took the time to share it in a blog post and it brought back many fond memories for me.

You visit the room in advance, usually to set it up or at least know where most of the things that you need are located. I always did this in August.

I didn’t do it once and regretted it. It was as an associate professor at the University of Windsor; I just showed up expecting to just open my laptop, plug in and go. After all, we worked for years at my old employer to have that plug-and-play functionality. Surely, it’s the same here.

Nope. Internet access was password protected and the data projector was plugged into a desktop computer and screwed down so that you couldn’t connect your own. Fortunately, I had a memory key and made the transfer.

We all have stories about our classrooms – we should all write books – and I had to laugh at the 23-year-old carpeting. She didn’t mention if it was shag or not. My classroom had shag and it made for good static electricity shocks in the dry winter.

As Lisa points out and it is an indication of the power and creativity of teachers, she was advised that “You’ll figure it out”. I’m betting that she did.

September 19 #SOL2022

I thought that this was a brave and yet inspiring post from Melanie.

Teachers across the province were advised that they would observe a moment of silence for the Queen’s funeral. Melanie had issues with that simple directive. She was driven by a quote from Trevor Noah

“How can we be expected to respect something that didn’t respect us back.” 

In addition to the National Day of Mourning, it was also Powley Day.

She turned the September 19 day into one of research and writing for her students.


Building Community

Of course, I was captured by the title “Community”. So, how do you build this community in your classroom? Sharon identifies two things:

  • Building A Safe Space
  • Connecting Together

With each, she nicely shares some ideas about how to do it and what it looks like. All of the ideas are easy to take and run with or you may have some of your own.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

We know that people work better and faster with collaborators. If you strategically build that community of learners, you’ll enjoy the results.

Omit Needless Words

This was a new idea for the radio show. We branched away from pure blog posts to include a podcast. Stephen and I were chatting about the concept when we met at Port Stanley and agreed to try it – he suggested that we look at Jessica’s work as a place to start.

This podcast was the last one for a season and she does it with a partner, Catherine Graham. As I listened to the podcast, I was so reminded that I’m a math, computery, geeky type of person and not a writer. There was a strong message about needless words, to be sure, but what really struck me was the pure love that they have for writing and in particular, poetry.

In school, I hated writing and my (and my friend’s) first reaction always was “How long does it have to be?” We’d use a lot of useless words to get there!

The big takeaway for me was their take on a writing process as something that parallels the four seasons and they do a nice job of it. If they could turn it into an infographic, I’d bet that it would find its way to Language classrooms everywhere. I wonder if Sylvia Duckworth is reading this.

I do at least Spring, Summer, and Autumn. I’m not good enough to do Winter but these ladies do.

Getting in tune

For the record, I’m listening to CoolRadio as I type this and The Tragically Hip are playing “38 Years Old”. Add that to your list, Mr. McDowall.

I had to smile as I read the story he relates here because it’s so me in real life. I’ve always been a morning person but there is that moment when I open my eyes and look at the alarm clock to see what time it is. Then, I remember that I wear glasses and squint to actually read the digits.

I also know who else are morning people on Friday mornings…

By that time, my mind will have clicked in and runs through the motions like Doug’s does or allegedly does in this story.

Maybe it’s the level of procrastination that makes us wake up early, to begin with? It’s awful when you have a conscience.

Middle School Halloween Activities

I’ll admit it here. I always hated Hallowe’en at school. Yes, mine was a secondary school setting but it brought out the inner child in so many students. And, all it takes is for one teacher to dress up to get this comment

Sir, you’re no fun

That was my first year of teaching and they don’t tell you these things in teacher’s college, do they? We’d had a staff meeting earlier in the week and were directed by the principal that the day was supposed to be business as usual and no class parties. Yet, there’s always that one teacher…

I met the reality halfway. I would buy real-sized chocolate bars for my homeroom and then those mini bars for my classes and would be refilling the bowl all day. It did buy me a little bit of peace.

In this post, Kristy shares with us some ideas for Hallowe’en for schools that are allowed to celebrate and for those that aren’t.

  • Halloween Non-Fiction Article
  • Halloween Creative Writing
  • Halloween Digital Escape Room
  • Looking for a week of middle school Halloween activities? 
  • Not allowed to celebrate Halloween at your school? 

Don’t tell anyone but these all look educational to me once you read them.

I hope that you are able to click through and enjoy all these articles. Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Doug McDowall – @dougzone2_12
  • Kristy – @2peasandadog

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio


OTR Links 10/07/2022

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.