This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I started writing these regular Friday morning posts a long time ago. The goal then is the same that it is today. It lets me celebrate the great thoughts of Ontario Edubloggers. All of the posts are available here.

In the big global scheme of things, Ontario may be a relatively smaller player. But, province-wide, there is always a need for a local perspective. Every week, I close by asking you to visit the original blog posts. I’m still going to ask you to do the same thing but I’d like to request something else since you’ve got nowhere to go outside. Please share the link to the actual post in your learning networks whether it be Twitter, Facebook, an internet discussion list with your district, Instagram, or whatever you turn to for your learning.

These bloggers, as all of the blog posts that I’ve included on this regular Friday feature do a magnificent job of sharing their thoughts and research. They need to be heard. Please help their cause.


What I Wish I Knew: Reluctant Readers

Tina Bergman blogs on the voicEd website and her latest post continues her sharing of thoughts and readings about, well, reading.

She’s borrowed the concept of the naming of things from Ramona Meharg with “What I Wish I Knew”.

This post includes a nice collection of research articles – embedded and included in the notes at the bottom along with her thoughts about the RIGHT TO READ inquiry.

She brings into the post the ongoing list of resources from the Ministry and other sources that could help inform instruction.

When I read works like this, I can’t help but think back to my own education. There was nowhere nearly the research breadth that this is available to educators today. Reading was just something that you learned to do. It was important around our household and it just sort of happened at school. I don’t recall the strategies explicitly in play that Tina talks about.

When I think back, I can remember a few in my class who struggled and were probably written off at the time as “they don’t get it”.

That isn’t a solution anymore. For those of us who do get it, it’s easy to leap at the assertion that teaching reading is easy. And it probably was for us. But when you take a look at the classroom composition today, you can only appreciate what hard work teaching reading actually is.


V is for Village

On this blog, and on this computer, I’ve been following and enjoying the walk through the alphabet with Lynn Thomas. I keep guessing what happens when she hits Z!

We often hear the much used phrase “it takes a village” and we generally understand it related to child-raising practices, but it is so much bigger than that. It takes a village to raise ALL of us. We all never quite stop being children because we all have more to learn no matter what age or stage of life we are in

It’s a short and to the point blog post.

When you think of “the village”, it’s time to move past the cutesy sayings or the little artifacts that you might buy in the mall for a gift.

Never before has the importance of this global village been so visible. Well, maybe not to those who claim it to be a hoax even though they’re going to a revisionist approach to say they recognized it all along. But, it is true for the rest of us.

One person isn’t going to pull a global community through all this. It’s going to take everyone.

Let’s respect and honour that.


Outdoor Education – let’s go camping!

Oh, but if we only could.

It’s hard to think back but Laura Wheeler takes us back to a time before the struggle that we’re having now. Sadly, it’s not a large leap back in time – it’s just a month. I’ll bet it seems so much longer for Laura and her students.

They got to go winter camping. It’s an experience that really needs to be enjoyed. It’s so different from summer camping.

  • no mosquitoes
  • clothing is so much different and needs better care taken of it
  • camping is nothing without a campfire but what is a “nice-to-have” in the summer becomes a reality in the winter!

And so much more you’ll find in this post along with some terrific pictures along with strong encouragement to give it a shot.

Are you up to it?


COVID-19 & Education: Part 2

Shelly Vohra is on a bit of a blogging streak.

Last week, I took at look at her thoughts about education these days during the outbreak of the virus.

This week, she took a second view in Part 2 of the series.

The realities of education from home have come up into everyone’s face since her first post. She addresses so many of the important issues – developmental levels, screen time, the role of the computer, choice of digital resources, security and privacy, and even the concept of re-connecting with students who have been away from the classroom now for three or more weeks.

A great deal of time is spent on addressing mindfulness and well-being. It’s easier to do face to face but that’s not an option.

Since I read this, she has actually written a series of posts for you to consider. As things are set to gear up in the province there’s so much wisdom, advice, and thoughts for consideration here.


4 Teachers + 80 minutes = Powerful Learning

Diana Maliszewski shares one of her “this is why I teach” moments in this post.

It involves cookies and a whole lot more.

Don’t just glance at this picture! Study it.

You’ll find the word “authentic” in there.

Huh?

There is so much richness in this post that a quick summary here really wouldn’t do it justice. But I would encourage you to click through and read it in its entirety. You’ll find novels, questioning, professional learning, teacher observation, puzzle pieces, chocolate chips, student-teacher work and follow-up, and more.


What’s the first thing you will do when your world opens up again?

Warning … you’re going to want to have a tissue nearby when you read this very personal and emotional post from Debbie Donsky.

We’ve all had challenges and parts of our regular life stolen from us during this time and she was no different. Imagine having to hospitalize a parent and then being prevented from visiting.

My heart goes out to Debbie. Her message is so personal and yet there is a realization that blogging can be so many things to so many people. It truly can be a way to at least lift part of a heavy load.

So what’s the first thing you will do? Read the post to see what Debbie wants to do.


Timing Is Critical – Seize The Moment!

Joel McLean is absolutely correct.

We’re in incredibly difficult times and leadership has never been so crucial. We’ve seen political leaders make media appearances and some are very strong (and I blogged about that) and some are just pathetic.

There’s no two ways about this. It’s not about YOU; it’s about all of US.

Being a leader today means that we must continuously transform ourselves. Not only because of the fast-changing environments that we work and live in, but because we cannot hope to lead and improve tomorrow if we keep relying on yesterday’s abilities. Once opportunity is knocking at our door, it is too late to prepare. You have to be ready to seize it!

Nobody could have predicted or planned for what we’re going through. That’s OK. We don’t expect that you already have the tools but the best leaders will make an effort to find or develop them. The best and strongest have stepped up and learned what leadership means at this time. This includes classroom leaders, school leaders, and district leaders. How they respond now will speak volumes going into the future.


And a shout-out

Earlier this week, I had written a blog post itemizing 10 things that I’ve learned from this whole experience. I challenged bloggers to share their learning and I got two takers that I know of.

Melanie White

10 Things I’ve Learned: a response to Doug Peterson’s Blog

Aviva Dunsiger

My List Of 10 Things That I’ve Learned

As I always say, please click through and read these great posts in their entirety. This week, I’m also asking that you honour their work by sharing it via your networking connections.

And, follow them on Twitter:

  • Tina Bergman – @blyschuk
  • Lynn Thomas – @THOMLYNN101
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • Joel McLean – @jprofNB
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca

This blog post appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

OTR Links 04/03/2020


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

Where have you been?


How about this for a little geographical diversion?

maploco lets you quickly and easily graphically display interesting graphic diversions. It starts with a simple premise … what provinces have you visited?

For me?

Yes, I have this thing about Western Canada. But, I’ll admit that a conversation with a friend this November has convinced me that I absolutely need to visit Prince Edward Island. It is in our planning stages depending on how things work out.

South of us, in the United States, here’s what I’ve got.

I’m sure that your head is spinning with teaching ideas to spin from something this easy to create.

It gets even better … toss in maps of Europe or the entire world.

There are share buttons at the bottom if you wash to share your results. Or, a screen capture like I did above might be a helpful way to handle things as well.

What a great way to visually show off diversity!

OTR Links 04/02/2020


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

10 Things I’ve learned


Like everyone, I hope, I’ve been staying at home except for the odd trip for groceries and walking the dog. Now that the grass is starting to take on a brighter shade of green, …

Over the course of this time at home and watching the news, I was reflecting on the different things that I’ve learned. What a great excuse for a blog post.

PPE – if you had asked me what this was a couple of weeks ago, I might have guessed that it was a code for a secondary school Health and Physical Education course. I’m not a real fan of acronyms particularly when they’re made up to make someone sound intelligence. Would it hurt to call it Personal Protective Equipment?

Isolation – a line I remember from an episode of Law & Order is “I can do 10 years standing on my head”. That person must be a lot stronger than me. There’s a punishing feeling when you know you could go outside but you shouldn’t. With all the stories about virus issues in prisons and just living in isolation these past weeks, it makes me think twice about incarceration.

Homeschooling – I had a preconceived notion about what and who did homeschooling. As a worker in a public school system, I always challenged the rigour of that schooling against what we provided. Now, many more are finding out reality

Planking the curve – this is a combination of two terms. Planking was always an exercise in my mind. As a student of Mathematics, I understand the concept of the histogram. I understand an equation to get the best fit. I never thought that I’d see them both used in the same expression

Social distancing – from all of this, comes another new expression for me. I’d prefer just some background music

M*A*S*H – one of my favourite television shows of all time hits 2020 when I see reports of tent hospitals appearing in New York City’s Central Park. Hopefully, we don’t have to return to the old medical techniques of cloth masks and gowns, operating tables within arm’s reach and Radar rushing in with an urgent phone call. We do know that there are many modern day Hawkeyes doing amazing work

People scare easy and yet not enough – watching the news and society just makes me scratch my head. We’re supposed to be only making essential trips but some are using it to buy every roll of toilet paper in sight. Then, you turn around and people are gathering in large groups on beaches, etc. You can’t have it both ways

Toilet paper – speaking of toilet paper, file this under things I really should have known. Around here, toilet paper magically appears in the bathrooms. I felt a bit of panic when we ran out in one bathroom and I couldn’t find a replacement. My wonderful magical wife explained where we keep the supplies. In my defence, it was stored where I thought it was at one time

N95 masks – I had no idea of the importance of these to the medical community. Anytime I’ve had contact with a doctor or nurse, they’ve just used a paper mask. I thought that the N95 was reserved for spray painting or sanding. After all, they sell them at Home Depot

10 000 steps – when you live on a country road, it’s easy to get steps in while being in isolation. The dog walks with me and our only concern about social distancing is hitting the gravel at the side of the road when a car comes. 10 000 is easy to do in these times. Our typical count is up to 15 000 and neither of us is complaining

It is indeed strange times and there are things changing all over the place. I’m sure that I could keep going but I’m going to stop here and challenge you to add to this list via comment below or, better, write a blog post of your own and let me know about it.

Are you up for the challenge? What have you learned?

OTR Links 04/01/2020


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

Another A-Z


I’ve been a long time fan of the work that Peter Beens (@pbeens on Twitter) has done in keeping tabs of everything Google. It goes way back to a post from 2012.

Google A-Z

Sadly, Peter has had a bit of a challenge from Google itself keeping the document online. But he describes it as a labour of love and, as of the writing of this post, it’s online for all to use here.

I had to smile on behalf of Peter when I read that Google has created its own A-Z list! This list is devoted to Artificial Intelligence.

Like Peter’s list, it’s a great reference to bookmark and stay on top of.

Maybe Peter will even add it to his list of Google resources!

You can check it out at this link.