This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Probably TMI, but I wore long pants and a sweat shirt for the dog walk this morning. It was so cool out there at the beginning (10 degrees) but it sure helped to work up a sweat.

For a Friday morning, here’s a look around the province at great content provided by Ontario Edubloggers.

Your Students Should Nap (and so should you)

Congratulations to Andrew Campbell for being recognized as one of the Top Canadian Educational Blogs. It says so on the link behind the badge on his landing page.

So, what does a high quality blog feature in its quest for cutting edge comments about education.


The scientific research is clear that napping is good for us. A study showed that 10-12 year olds that took a midday nap had greater happiness, self-control, and grit; fewer behavioral problems; and higher IQ than students who didn’t.

And maybe a better command of buzzwords?

It won’t be the first study that goes ignored but it does beg a few questions.

  • If schools are struggling to get 40 desks into a classroom, where will they find the same number of cots?
  • If the kids nap, I’d want to too. We had a couch in the Business Department work area that we could flip a coin for
  • Who’s going to supervise the kids lest you have a sleepwalker?
  • Can you imagine the bad breath after wakey wakey time? Rush to the washrooms to brush?
  • Are we getting paid for this?
  • Who is going to break the news to the Ministry and the Government that this is a good idea? Or, in terms of public policy, the right wing newspapers?
  • Who would be the experts in this field? Maybe a daycare worker from down the street?

There is no STEM

I wonder how Tim King feels about STEAM then?

That’s been a hot item in education for the past few years. Keynote speakers, government grants here and there have all promoted the importance of the concept. Yet, as Tim notes in the post, there is no co-ordinated effort to make it a “thing” across the province.

Because, he notes, if it was a “thing” there would be funding, a curriculum, and recognition by universities and colleges.

Sadly, it could be taken as a slam to people that are trying their best to make it something (and some are doing great things) but it’s yet to rise to the standard of a curricular thing. The concept most certainly has value but, unlike other curriculum areas, it remains like a pickup game of baseball in elementary schools and an option in secondary schools.

It’s a shame that this pointless acronym has thrown a blanket over the grossly neglected curriculums of technology and engineering, while giving even more attention to two of the Disney princesses of academia.  To be honest with you, I think technology and engineering would be just where it is now had this STEM focus never happened, which tells you something about how this ed-fad has gone down.

The Gift of Staying Connected – Thanks Andrew and Diana

This is a heart-warming story from Diana Maliszewski about connections with students who have since graduated.

There are so many takeaways to this story other than the wonderful remembrances that Diana shares. (We now know the secret to her yearbook)

It’s a reminder that connections are constantly being made and are remembered long after graduations. Can you go back to your hometown without taking a drive past your old school or university and have fond memories flow?

For non educators who view teaching as just an assembly line for students, they need to read and see the empathy and connections made here and how Diana chose to share them with us.

And for kids – it’s just not you having memories of your teacher – it works both ways.

Three lessons on Grit and Resilience

This is another very thoughtful post from Jennifer Casa-Todd although she actually provides us with four lessons. A couple of them are kind of close so we’ll cut her some slack.

The biggest head nod that I gave Jennifer’s post was actually in her first lesson:

 Success is more likely when you work in manageable chunks

As a programmer, I set out a plan to do this, then this, then this, then this, and then put it all together. I always visualize a project as the sum of its parts. I’m not sure that I could do a more big idea approach without considering the sub-components.

It was always the way that things went in my Computer Science classes. It was easier for students to solve a problem if they worked in chunks. It also allowed them to get partial marks even if they couldn’t solve the big problem. When you’re walking around the room and asked for assistance, it was also easier to see and understand than looking at pages and pages of spaghetti code.

If there’s one piece of advice that people would be wise to consider, it’s this one. The other three are pretty good too!


You know, if you could bottle that and sell it to teachers, you’d be a millionaire. Fortunately, there are all kinds of bits of wisdom about this.

This post is Kyle Pearce’s attempt at advice specifically for the mathematics classroom. I really like his ideas and concepts.

There are a couple of points that appear as statements that I think deserve to be fleshed out in greater detail.

Change their beliefs about math

Unfortunately, I see an underlying assumption here. While there are many students that don’t like mathematics, how about the kid like me that loved doing it? What would my belief change to? More importantly, just how would someone go about this – and doing so without dissing previous teachers in the process?

I’ve always wondered about the “beliefs about math” and wonder if it differs in grades 3, 6, 9 in Ontario over the other grades because of the impending year of preparing for the test. I think that would make for a great research study.

Establish expectations by painting a picture of what math class will look like

I’m curious about this one too – will all classes look the same? Will they all be functionally the same? Do you address homework while painting this picture?

“The More Strategies, the Better?”

There were three things that stood out to me in Mark Chubb’s post. He does use mathematics and a specific example for his purpose in the post.

  1. Is there value in knowing more than one way to solve a problem? I’d guess that the experienced mathematics teacher would argue yes until they’re blue in the face
  2. Mark does make reference to strategies that are “early understanding” versus those that are “sophisticated”. How does a student appreciate this? Does “sophisticated” equate to being more difficult? I had a university professor who just exuded a love for mathematics and the only word that I could think of for what he did when solving a problem was “elegance”. How do you get students so learned that their solutions become elegant?
  3. I really like the fact that Mark includes this in his post.
    “Have discussions with other math educators about the math you teach”
    Do you do that or do you just assume that you’re the teacher and there’s no room to grow and learn?

This is a wonderful post for anyone to read and understand. I can’t help but think of the teacher who is teaching mathematics for the first time. How do you bring them along and witness the wisdom and insights of experiences teachers?

Taking Old Town Road to School

Search YouTube for “Old Town Road” and sit back to see the many versions – live, karaoke, parode, etc. of the song.

Here’s another idea that’s also a great lesson for the classroom.

Then, check out the tags from this post from the Association for Media Literacy.

21st Century Literacies, association for media literacy, audience, codes and conventions, lil nas x, media literacy education, neil andersen, old town road

The post gives a wonderful lesson about how to take an original work and remix it so that it’s yours and address so many things along the way!

Need the lyrics – click here.

This whole activity just sounds like a whack of fun.

Your call to action this Friday morning —

  1. Read and enjoy the original posts
  2. Follow these bloggers on Twitter
    1. @acampbell99
    2. @mechsymp
    3. @MzMollyTL
    4. @jcasatodd
    5. @MathletePearce
    6. @MarkChubb3
    7. @A_M_L_

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


This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Can you believe that it’s August already? I could swear that I saw my breath while walking the dog this morning. That’s not right either.

I’m also trying out a new resolution that I used to expouse all the time but don’t do it enough myself until I fell into the trap last week – save early, save often.

What is right are the great thoughts coming from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.

Read on…

Final Thoughts

I just found out about this blog from Shyama Sunder. It’s a wrap up summary and reflection of her time in EDU 498, a course taken a while ago at a Faculty of Education. Unless I missed it, the actual name of the Faculty didn’t appear anywhere but that’s OK.

The content is a summary of four modules taken. There is a nice summary of each of the modules and the enthusiasm she has comes through loudly and clearly.

Readers of this blog know that I’m not a fan of the SAMR model but it was included as content. If it had any value, I would see if as helpful for experienced teachers trying to embrace technology. I don’t see the wisdom of talking about it to teachers learning how to teach. Why not just teach how to do it properly to begin with? What value is there in demonstrating less than exemplary lessons?

In the post, Shyama makes reference to a book that everyone needs to read “Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job” by Yong Zhao, Goaming Zhang, Jing Lei, and Wei Qiu. That’s a book that should be in every school library and would make for an awesome and progressive book talk.

This blog is referenced on her Twitter profile and there’s no forwarding address. It would be interesting to see her pick up blogging in her professional life.


Jamey Byers wrote this post so that others wouldn’t have to!

I remember being at a conference once – I think it was in Denver – and Robert Martellacci came up to me and asked if I knew that one of the prominent speakers had liked a link from an adult film star showing a picture of herself. I hadn’t noticed; I’m not in the habit of checking out what people have saved as liked. Maybe I should?

Actually, maybe I should check what I’ve got in my likes! Phew. Other than some egotistic stuff, I think I’m good. (I’m also snooty – go back to the very first one!)

Jamey points out that there’s a new, more private feature available to us on Twitter.

With the addition of the bookmarks function in Twitter you now have the ability to not only like a tweet, but to save it to your private list of bookmarks that are strictly just for your eyes only.

I wonder how many people are using the feature. I’m certainly not. Maybe I should.

The Playful Approach to Math

Matthew Oldridge is now playing in the big leagues with this post on Edutopia. I remember when he was a guy I interviewed for this blog.

He brings his obvious love and passion for Mathematics to this new forum and I hope that people are inspired by his wisdom. Comments are not allowed so there’s no traditional way of knowing.

Truer words were never spoken than these…

The amount of play in “serious” academic topics like mathematics is inversely proportional, it seems, to the age of students, but this does not have to be the case. A playful pedagogy of mathematics can be codified and made real, rigorous, and authentic.

I’ve studied a lot of mathematics over the years and certainly those teachers/professors that I remember best love mathematics; it came across that way, and their playful approach made learning fun and worthwhile.

Can you think of a better testament to give an educator?

My device. My terms. 3 strategies for finding balance.

Jennifer Casa-Todd is one of those people that I’ve seldom met in real life and yet I feel like I know so much about her. She was another person I had the opportunity to interview. I also had the opportunity to help with her book Social LEADia. This should be on bookshelves everywhere.

I enjoy her writing and most of her posts come across as a personal message to me. Such in the power of her writing.

I struggle with the notion of “balance”. The current context is that it involves being connected and not doing other things – like reading a book. I’m always leary of people who make such claims. Isn’t it just exchanging one form of engagement for another? And, hasn’t social media engagement earned its way into our lives?

I like Jennifer’s reasoned approach…

Social media is here to stay and is a part of the fabric of business, politics, and education. Instead of a fast, I suggest the following strategies:

You’ll have to read her post to see if the strategies make sense to you!

When friendship lasts

without warning or explanation, they started talking and, just like that, resumed their friendship from three years ago when they were six. Hours later, after the park, the corner store, the house; after basketball and jungle gyms and ice cream; after talking and laughing and wrestling, they parted reluctantly, already asking when they could see each other again.

Here’s a quote from Amanda Potts’ recent post.

I’ll bet that you could drop that sentence into any conversation or writing that you might have and provide your own characters.

It might be:

  • meeting up at an annual conference
  • a class reunion from your old high school
  • reuniting with a staff after a summer vacation

and the list goes on. Friendship is such an tangible and yet intangible concept. This post describes a pair of friendships that easily fall into the above.

Those on Facebook will know that a friend to many will be returning to Canada after a couple of years overseas. I’ll bet we all will reunite in this fashion at the Bring IT, Together Conference.

The #UWinToolParade: Open Pedagogy as #OER

In the beginning, there were shiny things. People flocked to shiny things and made a place in the classroom whether they were good or not. I’m looking at you – Clickers.

As shiny things kept on invading classrooms, the good thinkers got us thinking that maybe we should be looking beyond these things into exactly how they are used, are they effective, are they worth the cost, etc.

We never looked back. Well, at ISTE there are still 30 tools in 30 minutes sessions. For the most part, we never looked back.

So, now comes Bonnie Stewart and

I have a new project I’m really excited about. Even if it kinda goes against just about EVERYTHING I’ve said about tech in education over the past, uh, decade.

I’ve read this post at least a dozen times and there are so many out of post links that will take you to rabbit holes that didn’t know they were hosting rabbits!

The proposed results?

The fact that it’s 2019 is loud and clear with the inclusion of “data surveillance”.

This looks incredibly interesting and will use social media for good for the description and dissemination of content. Read the post and get ready to follow. And, Bonnie is looking for some pilot locations if you’re interested.

Reflections from the Tech Guy

This TWIOE post seems to have been focused on people I’ve interviewed! This time, it’s David Carruthers.

As we’ve noticed recently, David is going to be doing some magic as he returns to the classroom after having been the “Tech Guy” at the board office for a while.

He sets the standard with his bottom line.

Bottom line, if being labelled a “tech guy” takes these reflections into consideration, I’m extremely proud of this label. I don’t see the technology in front of students as just a bunch of devices. This doesn’t excite me. Instead, I see tremendous potential.

Some words of advice here – you’ll always be known as the “Tech Guy” so wear it. There are worse things to be known for. You’ve built relationships throughout your district so don’t be surprised when you get some panic emails for help. I still get them. The most enjoyable are about report cards which have had many incarnations since I last formally supported them. The really cool thing happens when these relationships develop your learning because someone wants to share something new with you.

On a political note, things are likely to be difficult for a while as cutbacks affect districts throughout the province. I hope that school districts are wise enough to continue to put insightful “Tech Guys” in areas of support centrally. We know that anyone can click a mouse or use a keyboard these days. True progress comes when you have people like David that see the connection and the potential because they bring a strong background in teaching to such a support position.

As always, there’s a powerful collection of thoughts from these wonderful Ontario Edubloggers. Make sure you’re following them on Twitter.

  • @ssunderaswara
  • @mrJameyByers
  • @matthewoldridge
  • @jcasatodd
  • @Ahpotts
  • @bonstewart
  • @dcarruthersedu

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It was a fun show on Wednesday with This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio. In addition to my regular discussion with Stephen Hurley, we were joined by The BeastEDU – Andrea Kerr and Kelly Mackay. By the end of the hour, I think I was almost able to tell the difference between the two of them. Recognizing Stephen was easy…

Keys to a Rocket Ship

TheBeastEDU (Andrea and Kelly) penned this post in typical Beast fashion. A sketchnote, a provocation, and a conversation.

So, if someone gave you the keys to a rocket ship, would you take it for a ride? It was a premise for “going for it” in education as well as a tribute to a supportive superintendent. I found myself nodding in agreement. They were telling my story.

Over the course of my career away from the classroom, I was fortunate enough to witness the leadership of four superintendents I reported to. Unlike Cathy in this post, they all had different leadership styles. There were some leadership styles that I appreciated and some that I had challenges with (but in a good way, I think). Beyond that, all of them were very supportive in their own ways and I hold all of them to a very high standard.

This post tags some very real attributes in education and leadership – Team, respect empathy, listening, pressure, urgency, and purpose.

Above all, though, I like to read about other’s reflections about growth and being supported in this growth. The best leaders do more than just hand over the keys.

Dear Other Mom

This post from Andrea Haefele will break your heart if you have any sense of empathy. Please take the time to read it slowly and put yourself in her place.

Imagine taking your child to a playground and hearing this discussion.

I wanted to let you know I heard you whisper to your son at that very moment. I pretended to not notice you, but I heard every word you said to him,

“Don’t play with that girl, go somewhere else to play.”

And before I swallowed what just happened, you and your son were at the other side of the playground.

Andrea wrote the post, I’m sure, just to get it out of her system. The chances that the other mom would actually happen upon it and read it are slim to none.

When you go to a park, like in this story, the biggest challenges don’t come from the kids. They’re there to have fun. They get along and accept each other.

The elephants in the room are the adults. Why can’t they be more like kids?

Leaping with no net: autism for teens in Ontario

This is a story that I couldn’t begin to tell as I’ve had no experience raising a child with autism. I’ve followed the news; I’ve read the many reports but it’s not nearly the same as dealing with it first hand.

Alanna King has and shares a story about being a parent dealing with the realities of raising such a child. I know the child and he has had the opportunity to be an assistant at Minds on Media at the Bring IT, Together conference. For the past couple of years, he’s helped his father with a virtual reality station and does so admirably.

It’s sad to read Alanna’s description of coverage being like an umbrella that is shrinking. It comes as no surprise that there are the best supports in bigger communities. If you don’t live there, you just don’t get the same level of support. This support wanes as children become older.

Alanna is a strong woman and for her to use the term “intimidating” helps paint the picture she’s describing. Cutbacks in support can’t help but appear to be shortsighted and you wonder about the long term future for these children.

In best teacher-librarian fashion, Alanna leaves us with a reference to a book that she describes as one of the best resources she can recommend.

And, some wise words…

after all if you’ve met one person with autism….you’ve met one person with autism.


It’s not the first time either. After 10 years in education, it is now a given that I will go to sleep on the last day of school reflective, happy, and excited about the past, present, and future of this calling.

One of the powerful things about blogging is that it gives people a platform and a readership with potential reach that is unlike any other medium.

Will Gourley shares a message that I suspect that most teachers feel and might share with their family in the past. Now, with a few keystrokes, Will’s shared with the world.

And yet, things are different this year, as we know. September may well re-ignite the excitement for some, that some will be smaller in number and many of the rules and gains made through years of collective bargaining and improvements to the profession will be rolled back.

Will’s excitement takes a turn because of this reality and he slaps you with a wakeup call and offers some suggestions about what you can do for the profession over the summer.

I have shared my thoughts with my MPP and yet he sits in opposition. He is vocal, to be sure, but the Twitter message Will shares in the post is a sad reminder that it’s not business as usual.

So Long and Thanks For All of This

My apologies to Terry Greene. I read the title to this post way too quickly and thought that he was going to do some sort of Hitch Hiker’s Guide thing.

Instead, it was a summary of Terry’s time spend with eCampus Ontario. It was a busy time for him which he summarizes in paragraphs devoted to:

  • Visits
  • Speaking
  • Mobile Work
  • Podcasting
  • Ontario Extend
  • Teammates
  • Patchbooks

I know that the reason for his secondment was to help others in his learning community grow and improve their profession. I suspect that he’s the person who has learned the most.

Readers of this blog know that I’ve followed Terry’s work and I’m so thankful that he’s turned me on to many other post-secondary bloggers who have become open in their sharing of their thoughts. Due to his efforts, my reading list has become longer and richer.

Thanks so much, Terry and I wish you all the best as your return to Fleming.

Podcasts for Students

I love the resurgence of interests in podcasts and podcasting. Years ago, it was a big thing; imagine speaking into a computer and then having someone else download and listen to it.

Then, it kind of went off the rails when the notion of vlogging came along and everyone headed to places like Youtube where you could take the concept further and add video to your message. Then, somehow, video became all things, including silly things, and people started to realize that audio is often all that you need to get your message across. Plus, it fits nicely onto an MP3 player and is very portable.

In this post, Arianna Lambert lets us know that she’s headed back to the classroom and plans to make podcasting a significant resource for her students.

She’s done her research; as you wade your way through the post, you’ll see all kinds of podcasts that she plans to use. And, that’s great.

I would suggest that it shouldn’t stop there though. Being a consumer of podcasts is one thing and certainly a powerful thing. But, the next step is to become a podcaster yourself. Do the research, plan the script, record the message, share the message, and reflect on the message.

That’s the ultimate.

HP Maker Challenge

This sounds like a wonderful opportunity that Fair Chance Learning provided for some students.

Students were presented with an essential question on the theme of Sustainability, asked to define problems to solve and then design solutions as a response to the challenge. 

Over the years, we’ve had Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Technology, Family Studies, and more competitions. I always had a Computer Science team that would compete with other schools solving problems. It’s a way to scaffold regular learning and let students really shine.

In this post, the challenge now becomes Making.

If you enjoy reading student reflections on a theme, you’ll really enjoy this post. After a quick description of the event, student reflections are captured and shared.

I wonder what more Maker Challenges are in the future.

You’ll have to admit; this is a wonderful collection of blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. Please take the time to click through and enjoy the original posts.

Then, make sure that you’re following these folks on Twitter.

  • @TheBeastEDU
  • @andreahaefele
  • @banana29
  • @WillGourley
  • @greeneterry
  • @MsALambert
  • @FCLEdu

This post appeared originally on:

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s time for some Friday morning reading. Check out these great posts from Ontario Edubloggers.

Mathland Actually

I was intrigued to find out just what Jim Cash was going to blog about after reading the title. I expected to find a review of some program that includes Mathland in its title. There are so many that have used this.

The inspiration for Mathland comes from Mindstorms and so it’s a natural that so many software developers might have wanted to make the connection.

This wasn’t the tact that Jim used though. He reminds us that Mathematics can be seen everywhere if you take the time to look. In fact, anytime you see reflection, patterns, provable answers, etc. you’re looking at something that has its base in Mathematics. That’s part of the joy and wonder of it.

In the post, Jim makes connections to Music, Toys, Poetry, Prose, Rap, and Nature. He’s encouraging readers to check in with their view of where Mathematics can be lived and enjoyed. Stephen Hurley and I had a crack at a few during our voicEd radio show. How about you?

I’m sure that Jim would love to hear from you.

Hatching a PLN

There’s so much to take away from this post from Terry Greene. You’ll need to read it a few times to catch it all.

It all started with an opportunity – Terry had 25 minutes at a staff meeting to explain Twitter.

If you’re a good user of Twitter, you know that that’s hardly enough.

Terry elected to create a presentation to get the job done based on the “Create an Adventure” model.

It’s well worth going through. He has five sections.

Pick your own Twitter adventure!

Adjust the Tuning

Those of us that were never principals have no idea about what goes into running a school.

But running a school is more than running things during this school year.

As Sue Bruyns points out, it involves planning for the future. On her radar presently are two big events –

  • Interviewing potential new staff members – I talked to her at EdCampLondon and her school population is exploding
  • Kindergarten open house – parents are dropping off their most precious thing and need to be assured that this is going to go well

The tact that Sue takes is that these aren’t simply “to-do”s for her but “to-experience”s. It’s an interesting spin and her writing puts you right in the middle of her thinking.

What Do You Do On A Perfect Day?

My first reaction to this title from Aviva Dunsiger was “Bottle it”!

In education, such beasts are few and far between – if you get to experience them at all!

In Aviva’s case, she picks up her camera and takes movies of the activities that are happening.

It’s great to see students who are motivated and self-directed. Of course, in teacher talk, this happened…

We spent a lot of time standing back and watching play. We commented to each other on what we saw, and recorded the students and the use of the space.

Let’s be truthful though. It’s April/May and the whole scenario didn’t happen overnight. It’s the result of 80% of the school year kicking in, students understanding what they do, resources being made freely available and kid-accessible and a desire to do what they’re doing.

I would suggest this is more about great teaching than dumb luck.

Happy 40th Anniversary AML!

I internally remarked that ECOO (Educational Computing Organization of Ontario) is in its 40th year as well. Is this a coincidence?

Diana Maliszewski is on the board of AML this year and so got a chance to celebrate with colleagues. 40 years is such a remarkable milestone. My congratulations.

So, why is this important? Haven’t we “done” media literacy?

Think back 40 years – if you can. Think of how the world has changed.

One of the big events in 1979 was the partial nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania.

We didn’t have 24 hour news channels then. I can’t even remember how I heard about it. Probably it was the 6pm news or in a newspaper the next day. How would that be reported today?

  • there would be all kinds of helicopters flying over the unit giving us up close, high-definition pictures
  • we’d have varying news sources giving
    • a scientific explanation
    • on the site interviews with a resident at a vegetable farm next door
    • thoughts and prayers from politicians
    • reports that some foreign entity had bombed the place
    • replays of coverage showing the actual moment of the problem from any of the hundreds of citizen journalists with web enabled cameras
    • a comparison of the damage with other similar events from the past
  • claims that the reports are all faked
  • and lots of other things

How do we understand and interpret this? History is unfolding in front of our eyes daily. Absolutely, we need to be understanding media literacy. We need the efforts of this group more than ever.

Where am I in the #ExtendmOOC Conversation?

One of the pleasant wins from Terry Greene’s post was the lead to this new Ontario blogger.

Sarah Wendorf is part of the #ExtendOntario group and takes a moment and a blog post to see where she fits into the project. Apparently, she’s the red dot.

This post is a collection of her learning and thinking about being connected. Given the source, my first thought was “Terry packs a lot into a 25 minute presentation…”

Sorry, Terry, but that would just be wrong. But that shouldn’t hold you back from understanding her post.

She really gets it. In the post, Sarah uses the following headings

  • Meet new folks
  • Connecting with existing folks
  • Get new ideas
  • Read other people’s blogs
  • Find inspiration
  • Follow and join hashtags
  • Bounce ideas and suggestions
  • Invite new ideas in
  • Share resources
  • Find new resources
  • Learn new things
  • Join communities
  • Save things I come across
  • Create
  • Give recognition
  • Messaging
  • Events and webinars
  • Sharing photos
  • This GIF

and gives concrete examples of how this applies to her directly.

What stands out to me is that, even if you’re just a little red dot (and aren’t we all), the fact that that little red dot connects to a whole lot more dots can lead to the most powerful learning you can have – if you let it.

Math Links for Week Ending May 3rd, 2019

I like taking a drive by David Petro’s blog for my moment of Mathematics enjoyment. He does another great job this week.

My takeaways …

  • Back pocket questions
  • How I wish I’d taught maths
  • What do you think is the biggest barrier to excelling in math?
  • Math before breakfast

And I just had to steal this.

Why not spend a few moments and drive by these blogs posts and drop off a comment. There’s great inspiration to be had.

My big list of Ontario Edubloggers is available here and those that we’ve chatted about on This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd radio are available here.

Then, follow these great bloggers on Twitter.

This post comes from:

If you read it anywhere else without attribution, it’s not the original.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s been another week of great posts from Ontario Edubloggers.

Look what crossed my desktop this week.

Trolls Creep Into the Education Debate in Ontario

From Paul McGuire, a message that I don’t think should come as a surprise to anyone.  Teachers and education are always a target by those not in education.  I’ve mentioned this many times before; we’ve all had less than perfect experiences in education.  It only takes issues like we see these days to fuel the fire.  People feel the desire to fire back.

And, of course, there are those that will fire back in their own trollish fashion.

A great collection of definitions of “troll” appear here.  Pick one.

Paul offers an insightful post that I really enjoyed.  But then, I’m a teacher for life and so I’m bound to agree with him.  I do tend to block those that are overly trollish to me.  I don’t need that negativity in my life.

There are two things that I think are really bad behaviour.

  • The anonymous troll – they don’t have the guts to sign their real name to their thoughts.  Look for them adding comments on public newspaper articles.
  • The troll within – those within the teaching profession who have an axe to grind and take shots at colleagues.

Morale Compass

Yes, Ann Marie Luce said morale.

I saw this post as a two-parter from her.  At a recent workshop she attended, a common theme of morale and climate within the school kept being discussed.  I think it probably was an insightful observation by those who were in attendance.  Things are certainly different than when we were in school.  I suspect that, if we’d been a fly on the wall at our teachers’ staff meetings, that the comments might have been the same.  Kids today.

Later in the post, recent announcements in Ontario became the topic of her focus as she identifies some of the issues facing our schools and our teachers.  Kudos to her for keeping tabs on things even though she’s thousands of miles away.

She poses a key question…

How can we work together to value and support each member of our community?

In the midst of everything that’s happening, it’s a question that everyone should be asking because, as Ann Marie notes…

we CANNOT do it alone!

The problem(s) with mandatory e-learning…

I was around at the beginning of online learning within our district.  We had many questions at the time.  The big question that helped frame things was essentially to make sure that online learning was significantly better than correspondence courses.  Students should get the same learning experience and should graduate with the same knowledge, skills, and attitudes as those in traditional face to face classrooms.

We found that it wasn’t easy.  We also determined that online learning wasn’t for everyone and there was even a FAQ posted to the website that indicated that online learning might not be for everyone.  That has since been removed.

At the time, we addressed many of the same points that Kyleen Gray identifies in this post.


  • Plagiarism and Cheating
  • Teacher Selection and Training
  • Literacy, Technology and Independent Learning Skills
  • Lack of Classroom Relationships
  • Stagnant, Impersonal Course Material

Things are different today.  Witness the large number of services that now offer courses online.  At the same time, read the stories behind the low success rates despite the claims from the services.  Personally, I’ve had mixed experiences trying to learn new skills online.  (typically trying to learn a new programming language)

While I think that our consortium did a decent job offering opportunities for the students that enrolled, we didn’t have the mandate that every student in the problem take four courses to graduate.  Revisiting the above observations is going to be more important and mission critical than ever.



Strategies vs Models

This post, from Mark Chubb, had me thinking in a tangent that I hadn’t had before.  The difference between strategies and models.

Including a graphic that will make you investigate and think.

Mark’s done his homework on this – including references and links to the work of Cathy Fosnot and Pam Harris.  Clicking through and reading his research is highly recommended.

This table provides a nice summary.

An important part of his argument is attention needed for developmental trajectories.

This isn’t a quick and easy read with all the supporting links included but they form a crucial part of the message.

D is for Debate

Lynn Thomas is working her way through the alphabet and is now on D.

“Is there any point in public debate in a society where hardly anyone has been taught how to think, while millions have been taught what to think?”

In an educated society, debate whether personal or with others is really a skill.  It also requires the maturity to recognize that your initial position may be partially or completely incorrect.  Our media doesn’t always acknowledge a change in opinion and, often when it does, uses the term “flip flop” instead.  The topic of the debate, in these situations, goes away and the focus shifts to the person.

When I first read Lynn’s post, I scribbled myself a note:

We live in a society that often vilifies the other person and not necessarily the opinion they have – i.e. they’re bad so that means their ideas are bad too

Lynn offers a strategy straight from John Dewey about how it look like in the classroom.  I wonder, though, can it look that way in real life?

Choose your own… PD.


I really appreciate it when Cal Armstrong opens his mind and shares some of the thinking that he’s doing.  He’s always got great ideas.

In this case, he was one third of a Professional Development Day.  He says that he would have 30-40 teachers at a time.  Now, we’ve all been in laid on professional learning events and we know how they go over at times.  Particularly with a technological bent, people are all over the map with their expertise and their interests.

So, Cal did a “Create Your Own Adventure” activity in OneNote.

Depending upon your path, you might end up, well, I guess at an Office, whatever that means.  You will get a chance to discover that if you stick with his post.

Cal shares a link to the Notebook so that you can relive the experience.  I spent a bit of time poking around myself.  Cal’s sense of humour comes through!

There was a chance to see new tools that are available to staff.  There were some challenges with the IT implementation and controls at the school.  But, it sounds like a great approach.  Could you use it?

And, we need to know more about this, Cal.

Since this would be my swan song as the tech guy 

#BIT19 Call for Proposals is OPEN!

On the ECOO blog, Ramona Meharg lets us know that the Bring IT, Together Conference is now open and looking for session submissions.

I don’t know about you but I’d go into any session presented from the folks who are included in this edition of This Week in Ontario Edublogs.

Please take some time to click through and read these original posts.  Drop off a comment if you’re so inclined.  Tell them Doug sent you!  <grin>

Then, follow them on Twitter.

Please check in every Friday and see what great things are happening on the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.

This post appeared originally on:

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

And it’s a very special Friday in Ontario….

Enjoy these offerings from Ontario Edubloggers.

Stretched Thin

Tim King’s recent post is one that’s all too familiar to educators.  It’s about professional development that he received for a student hard of hearing in his classroom.  It’s only about a month into the second semester though.

And, in the technology classroom with its potentially dangerous tools, it’s really important to be able to ensure that all students know about the safety issues.

we are working hands on with 400° soldering irons, sharp edges and live electricity

It seems to me that this professional development should have been made available in this case before the class started to ensure that all students understand and are aware of how to be safe in that environment.

Speaking of environment, one piece of the advice for was

In the PD it was also suggested that we have acoustically effective rooms by covering walls and floors with soft surfaces that don’t create hard, echoey soundscapes

How do you do that in just about any classroom, never mind a shop area?

With cuts bleeding the system, what else will be affected?

Proofreader or Instructional Leader?

If creating report cards for a class is a tough job, imagine reading an entire school’s worth in the principal’s chair.  We know that, for any job, a second set of eyes is always helpful.

Sue Bruyns argues that it’s more than just looking for spelling mistakes.

In this post, she indicates all of the other things that she looks for as she checks out the messages that will be going home to parents.  As important as spelling is, for her the message about the school and its place in social circles is equally as important.

I think this is a good post for all administrators to read; I’m sure that many will find themselves nodding affirmation as they go through it.  Others might add a few new things to their check lists.

For those creating report cards, it’s a reminder of how important that message can be and might give you some ideas of your own for the future.

I did crack a smile when Sue shared her strategy for dealing with those who were unfortunate enough to be named toward the end of the alphabet…  how about those of us mid-way, Sue?

When Students Shine!

We all know the answer to that – great things happen.

It’s always interesting to see what motivates these great things.  In this post from Rola Tibshirani, it was curiosity about a dead bird.

Which led them to Facebook and Twitter which led them to the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care which led them to Patty McLaughlin which led them to that expert visiting their classroom which led to a inquiry/passion based research project guided by design thinking.


It’s a wonderful post describing how educational dominoes tipped over to make it happen.

Have a read; it might inspire you to think differently about creativity and to keep your eyes open for the next bit of classroom inspiration.

New books: take an eReading March break!

Just in time for March Break, the Professional Library from the Toronto District School Board offers some professional titles for “over the break” reading.


This is great for the educators in the TDSB.

Going into any library can be an intimidating experience and we’re so fortunate to have teacher-librarians to stay on top of the latest and greatest titles for us.

Even if you’re not with the TDSB, and you’re looking for some reading over the break, stay away from the newspapers (they’re just so depressing), read this blog, and check out what your own district offers.  And, if they don’t have the titles listed here, perhaps a friendly suggestion would be in order.

Canada’s New Food Guide

The release of the new food guide raised a few eyebrows around here.  Disclosure – I married the farmer’s daughter and that farmer was a dairy farmer.  We were both surprised at the recommendation that water should be your first choice; it always had been milk.

Anyway, Stepan Pruchnicky uses the new guide as inspiration for better eating among students.  He addresses a couple of concerns

  • eating healthy is a more expensive option
  • many of the new guide’s recommendations require some kitchen skills

and offers some suggestions.  They’re nicely thought through.

With respect to the above, I could see

  • more interest in creating school community gardens
  • connections with associated secondary schools which often offer hospitality and food services programs and have rooms devoted to this – field trip!

What would you suggest?

Spending time with professional teachers

While looking for thoughts from people that attended the ACSE Conference, I ran into this post from Emmanuelle Deaton from Hatch Coding, a vendor in that field.

I enjoyed her quick overview of the conference and her name dropping indicated that she did make some good connections there.  It would have been a great opportunity for her to participate by giving a lightning round presentation.

I thought this comment from Emmanuelle interesting.

I also noted with interest that, like us at Hatch Coding, most teachers at ACSE are all “coded” out. That is to say, that the co-opting of the term “coding” by anyone with a toy robot and the co-opting of the term “curriculum” by anyone with anything to sell in STEAM is having a deleterious impact on pedagogy.

People are indeed doing some great things with their robots but it’s still found in pockets of excellence or pockets of experimentation.  Where it fits into the big scheme of things hasn’t been totally fleshed out and the inconsistency can be frustrating.

Still, there are people making big bucks with fly by keynote speeches talking of the value of coding in various forms.

The Hatch Coding blog doesn’t allow for comments on posts but there is an email link if you have strong feelings and want to share them.

Design Thinking and 3D printing challenges

Jen Apgar told me once that she didn’t blog.  It’s too bad because I thought that she did a nice job with this post in the Elementary Special Interest Group for ECOO on TeachOntario.

She attended a Skills Challenge for students in the Junior years.

With the support of InkSmith the students had learned how to go through a design thinking process, were given the choice of 4 different users to solve for (3 humans and 1 dog) and then designed their first prototype on a web based version of Tinkercad.  Then on the day of the challenge then received their printed prototype, and tested and made modifications and they were then given an additional problem that would require them to iterate again.

It sounded like an interesting event.  I wonder – are these types of skills developed everywhere?

I’ll apologize here; it’s been my goal to share blog posts that are in the free and open.  This one is behind a login/password on the TeachOntario site which is available for free to all Ontario educators.  If you do go through the efforts to log in, you might as well join the Special Internet Group and look for other content there.

It’s been another week of great writing and reading from inspirational Ontario educators.  I hope that you can find time to check out the original posts before you go south, skiing, or just sink into the couch and relax next week.

Before you do, make sure you’re inspired enough to follow these educators on Twitter.

This post was originally posted to:

If you found it anywhere else, it’s not original.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

You know, I tire of this winter weather. I can’t wait until I can complain about the summer heat. Here’s my attempt to change the weather.

And a great Ontario band to boot. Speaking of great Ontario things, it’s time to look at some great Ontario Edublogging.

Self-Regulation and Evangelism in Education

It’s not difficult to find blogs or resources talking about the benefits of self-regulation and how it changes things in education and, indeed, life.

This post, from Paul McGuire, takes a look at the other side. Tagged with “Fads in Education”, the tag reminds me of some things that have become so popular and then faded. Learning Styles and SAMR are two that come to mind. Does Self-Regulation fall in to the same category?

Paul has written a post before this expressing his feelings about Self-Regulation and, as a result of the conversation on voicEd Radio and a long back and forth discussion on Twitter, generated another post from him just this morning.

He brings real challenges for Ontario teachers into the discussion – violence in schools and support for children with autism.

I think that this needs to be kept in focus…

No one idea will save our education system.

As always, Paul speaks as the voice of a former elementary school principal.

Defining Terms

One of the voices that speaks in favour of Self-Regulation is Lisa Cranston and she was inspired by a previous post from Paul.

I found her research into the topic interesting; she cites a report that includes 600 definitions of the term “self-regulation. (I can’t imagine wading my way through that research)

She points to a problem that has been around I suspect since the first educational researcher and that is that education loves jargon. For colleagues and for parents, how can we come to a meeting of the minds if we don’t agree on the terminology and, more importantly, where we’re headed with all this?

Paul’s post talked about a situation where a consultant left him twisting in the wind. That’s hardly the way to implement any initiative.

Lisa does point to a middle ground.

I agree with Paul – self-regulation will not solve all the problems that exist in our school system. But it can provide educators and students with a powerful tool to not just cope with the stressors in their lives, but to thrive.

Certainly, there is no one solution that fixes everything. If there was, we’d have solved all the ills in education. The better your toolkit is, though, the better your chances of making that difference.

Why (as a teacher and parent) I Value Standardized Testing

When EQAO was first announced, there were noble objectives about taking a “snapshot” of progress in time with the concept of improving teaching and learning and bringing everyone together in addressing standards.

Those goals appeal to Kyleen Gray as both a teacher and a mother. In this post, she lays out the value to her in both those roles.

In particularly, she digs into:

  • Grading Objectivity
  • Teacher Accountability
  • Clarity of Standards and Exemplars
  • Published Transparency

I don’t know that there are too many people that would object to these things in our profession. If only these were the only way that the data from the testing was used.

Even more telling of how a concept can be used for other reasons are the comments to Kyleen’s post. I hate to see the term punitive used with respect to anything in education.

I’m sure that she would appreciate hearing your comments about this.

B is for Brainy, Bold & Beautiful

Lynn Thomas offers your feel good post for the week. She identifies some wonderful things that can happen when genius kicks in.

  • Timeless – Alzheimer’s App
  • Ladies using bacteria to grow food
  • Luminaid – solar lamp
  • Human powered flashlight

The comment thread through all four of these inventions are that they were created by young women. Imagine a world where she’s able to report on more success stories like these. Beautiful indeed.

Experience Required: Walking the Talk in Digital Teaching & Learning

I was intrigued with this post from Bonnie Stewart.

She dug in and used the term “experiential learning” which I had a preconceived notion about. Perhaps it’s our local economy, but most of the experiential learning I knew involved cooperative education when it kicked off at my secondary school and largely involved placements in local shops.

What happens when digital kicks in?

Actually, quite a bit and there’s so much to be learned from experiential principals.

Bonnie includes a slidedeck from a presentation and workshop that she gave and you just might be thinking differently when you think about changing the notion of “teacher as the sole audience.”

Students’ Favourite Affinity Designer Tutorials

Peter Beens offers a pretty long and impressive resource about Affinity Designer a replacement that he’s using for Adobe Illustrator. And, Peter’s part in the post is roughly two paragraphs.

The rest is generated by his students.

Each student was challenged to write a summary of the Affinity tutorials that they used in his course. So, who’s the audience and what’s the purpose?

I’m just guessing but the potential audience would be future students in Peter’s class who would be using the same thing. C’mon, you have to be at least mildly curious about a Creamsickle Vector.

When you think about this, you can’t help but be impressed. Here, Peter uses his blog as a platform giving his students a voice to share their own learning. The learning is all over the map so I’ve got to infer that he’s using the concept of student-driven personalized learning in his class to drive projects.

Why don’t we see more of this?

Full-Day Kindergarten at it’s best: awesome things are happening in Room 102

I always enjoy blog posts that give me a visual tour inside a classroom and this post from Jennifer Arp doesn’t disappoint.

So here’s a tour of a Kindergarten classroom

This is kindergarten. Team 102 at Joyce Public School in Toronto, which is everything that is awesome about full-day learning: a teacher and an early childhood educator (ECE) working in partnership to support their learners. With all of the talk over the past little while about the value of the FDK program in Ontario, I decided to spend some time with this team.

We all know that the topic of Kindergarten has indeed been very much in the news in Ontario as of late. The post really is a nice documentary of the room from a set of external eyes.

I hope that this post gets read and spread widely.

ECOOcamp Owen Sound 2019

The Educational Computing Organization of Ontario is partnering once again with the Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board and the Bluewater District School Board to offer a one day #ECOOcamp on May 4, 2019.

The Call for Proposals is live now at this link. Why don’t you head to beautiful Owen Sound for a day and share your expertise?

Well, maybe sharing that Lighthouse song is working. As I write this post on Thursday afternoon, the temperature is up to -3 and the sun is brightly shining. Keep it up!

While waiting for the snow to melt, follow these great bloggers on Twitter.

This is part of a regular series of posts that appear on Friday mornings. They all can be accessed here.

This post originally appeared at:

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