This Week in Ontario Edublogs


After our live radio show on Wednesday, Stephen Hurley and I debriefed as we normally do after a show. I had to remark that this was the first time in all the shows that we’ve done together that we hit all our marks. Usually one or both of us ramble on and we go over on a time allotment. (OK, it’s usually me)

To celebrate, instead of just the title of the blog post, I’m going to include the time too! Those who have been guest hosts should recognize the format. Here’s what’s new this week.


9:00 Wanna Play Catch?

I remember being told once that teaching is one of the most social jobs you can have. Teachers carpool, they meet up in the parking lot and walk into the school together. Once in, they’ll chat in the hallway between classes or plan together in work areas before going into the classroom to meet students. At lunch time, they’ll sit down and “dine” with colleagues and carpool their way home. In fact, in regular times, it’s pretty much impossible to be alone if you’re a teacher at work.

Rob deals with today’s reality that teachers are forced away from colleagues and even the concept of wearing a mask with students is isolating. He wants to meet up because, as he notes, it takes two or more to play catch. His description brought back memories of waiting for friends to show up and play baseball at the school on weekends or after school. I’d stand there throwing a rubber ball against the brick wall and try to field it on the first or second bounce. It’s just not the same as playing catch with a real person.

Rob promises to get on a tear with more posts coming in December.


9:09 parents and guardians

Writing on the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, Will gives us a personal story about education. Teaching wasn’t Will’s first profession so he notes that he brought a bunch of experience from the business world to his slice of the profession. It was nice to see that his professionalism translated into respect by his colleagues who turned to him as a mentor.

Will has some interesting thoughts about student agendas and the home to school communication connections. It’s different these days and he’s quite to recognize it and explains how he deals with it.

I can’t help but think that email communication would be more effective with some people than others. With social media, we often cut a few corners that would make our old English teachers cringe. I thought that Will addressed the topic nicely and I know that we all can use a mentor and a guide at times. Those in his school are fortunate to have him on call.


9:18 #LearningInTheLoo: Bullet Journalling

When I read Laura’s latest post, it was a real sense of deja vu for me.

As a rookie teacher-consultant, time management was something that I really struggled with. As a result, I attended a training session offered by Franklin which eventually became Franklin Covey. I did walk away with a cool binder to help organize my professional and personal life.

The real value was tracking what was important and prioritizing accordingly. It was the technique that rang a bell for me when reading Laura’s post. She describes a technique that she uses for herself and feels it important enough to share with colleagues in the “loo”.

I can testify that methods like this are very powerful and can help you come to grips with organizing what’s important necessary. Quite frankly, there can be a dip at the beginning because you have to force yourself to use and adhere to the technique but I found it worth the effort.


9:27 10 Tools For Curating Instructional Videos – E068

The EduGals are back with another podcast and supporting blog posts. In this case, they’re dealing with the concept of curating instructional videos. I think we all know the value of keeping track of the best of the best resources. After all, we looked hard to find them in the first place and, with any luck, you’ll be able to use them again in the future. Curating makes the process easier.

Newbies to the process rely on the fact that Google knows stuff. Experienced educators know that there are all kinds of tools that let you raise the bar and make things easier in the long run. That’s a good think.

I enjoyed looking through the list of tools and reading their evaluations. I was pleased to see that Wakelet made their list as I find it great for curating. That’s but just one that they recommend. There’s a lot of Google stuff in there which I’m sure addresses their educational reality. For those who work in the Microsoft environment and might even have Google blocked at work, there are equivalent tools.

It’s really a nicely curated collection of curation tools with pros, cons, and ideas.


9:36 When you feel like you are Failing

To be honest, I kind of expected a downer post from Amy when I read the title.

As I read her post, I recognized that she was describing my life at times and I’m sure that you’ll feel the same way. Stephen Hurley and I got lost in a whack of baseball connections as we discussed her post. The thing that has always stuck out to me is that a batter with a .333 batting average is exceptional. The counter though is that .667 of the time, they didn’t get a hit for whatever reason. We need to appreciate this and apply it to our own experiences.

She talks about:

  • Talk to your Class about it – to me, this is the ultimate show of vulnerability and students can appreciate your honesty
  • Talk to your Colleagues – despite what you may think and feel at times, you’re not the first person who has ever dealt with issues – why not learn from someone who could mentor you – see Will Gourley above
  • Meditate – she recommends Headspace and Calm which are free for educators. Isn’t it awesome when educators share?
  • Ask for help – again, this is another show of vulnerability but that teacher next door or down the hall might have the answer. Don’t limit yourself to that; there are educators all over the world that can help. I’m a subscriber to the ACSE mailing list and requests for help and answers come through daily

Bonus:

Climate Change and Education Survey

Calling all educators, parents, students and members of the general public: LSF needs to hear your voice on the importance of climate change education in Canada!

On the STAO blog is a call for all educators to share their thoughts about climate change. Make your voice heard!


A Look Back and a Farewell.

Mary came onto the ECOO scene as I was leaving so we never actually had the chance to work together. As we know now, things haven’t been the same in recent years but Mary took this as a challenge to move some of the traditional ECOO things online and then up the ante with even more ideas to help Ontario educators.

It’s a nice summary of her work and efforts on behalf of the organization. She took it to new things and I admire her efforts for doing so.

I wish her all the best in her future endeavours.


It’s been another wonderful week of great blog reading from Ontario Educators. You can follow all these folks on Twitter.

  • Rob Ridley – @RangerRidley
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker
  • STAO – @staoapso
  • Mary Walker Hope – @mwalkerhope

This week’s perfectly timed show is available here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio

https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/communicating-better-organizing-better-and-failing-better/

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


As noted in yesterday’s post, the voicEd Radio show didn’t go perfectly this past week but Stephen Hurley claims that you can’t spot his splicing job. That’s a good thing.

Here’s some great writing from Ontario Edubloggers that I ran across recently.


Student-Centred Blogging

It was during the discussion on Amy Bowker’s post that the connection between us dropped but we reconnected and finished our discussion. It was a great discussion and I love anything that supports the concept of student blogging. It’s such a powerful and, sadly, under used technique.

Maybe reading Amy’s post will inspired others to get involved. As she notes, she had concerns that she was doing the majority of the work in class and wanted to shift the responsibility to her kids. So, a class blog with random grouping was formed after polling students for ideas about how to better engage their parents. The kids got it! Blogging won out.

And so, the Grade 5/6 blog was started. You can click through via Amy’s post to see the student writing and get a sense of where she wants to head next with the blog.


Strand A, Coding, and the new Ontario Mathematics Curriculum

I honestly don’t know what I enjoyed better – reading this blog post from Jim Cash or the open and frank private discussion that we had yesterday evening after Jim listened to our discussion. We definitely are of a like mind on this.

We both agree about the concept of coding with students. But, it’s just not the sense of writing a program. It’s the joy that comes from creating something from scratch and then just tweaking it to make it do exactly what you want it to do. In our perfect world, no two student projects would be the same.

The notion of coding was dropped into the Mathematics Curriculum and there’s an ongoing adoption often by teachers who are doing it for the first time, without professional learning. There’s a great deal of sharing of formal lessons or presentations that encourage every student’s project to be exactly the same.

Jim’s thinking is driven by Mitch Resnick and the MIT Lifelong Kindergarten Group and I like the way he uses joy and passion to describe what kids can do.

My take is that the joy comes first by creating something from scratch and making it your own, customizing where appropriate. Passion follows when you develop the desire to do more of it. The key though is that teaching from templates makes it very difficult to achieve these things. Big, wonderful problems need to be developed.

Personally, I see why game development fits nicely into this. No two games should be the same as each student throws in her/his take on how to play


Mentoring Moments: Celebrate Teachers in Education!

I was delighted to find a couple of blog posts about mentoring this week. It’s such a powerful concept – heck – it may be the most powerful concept for professional growth in an educator.

Writing on the ETFO Heart and Art of Education Blog, this post comes from Nilmini Ratwatte Henstridge. After reading it, I felt so validated because she shares thoughts that would be so similar to mine if I wrote a post about mentoring. If you’re in education, you’ve got to love the Lee Iacocca quote:

“In a completely rational society, the best of us would aspire to be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generations to the next ought to be the highest honour and the highest responsibility anyone could have” 

I’ve seen it work so well when the learning mindset is there. I’ve seen it fail when the mentee figures that he knows more than the mentor and doesn’t contribute. When it succeeds and goes over the top, the mentor actually shifts gears and becomes the mentee.

I also love her insights about how to network

  • Social events in professional development
  • Growing your social media PLN to build opportunies to connect
  • Building capacity digitally with Blogs, Pod casts and engaging conversations

When Cyndie Jacobs and I co-chaired the Bring IT, Together conference, these were some of the concepts that we worked on providing for attendees.


WHY DO WE NEED A MENTOR?

The second blog post about mentoring comes from Bei Zhang and I couldn’t find a Twitter handle for her.

To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect when I read the title. Would it be just another directive to do something based upon some sort of research. I was delighted when I clicked through and found that this blog post was actually a very open and honest discussion about how mentoring worked for her.

This is the best advice for success from the post.

Don’t bombard your mentors with millions of tedious questions. Mentors can guide you, but they can’t do your work.

For success, mentoring needs to be humble and cooperative. A good mentor knows this going into the process and a wise and embracing mentee comes to learn this if they’re going to succeed.

The context for the post is ESL which is an area that I have no experience but I can only imagine the challenges and the potential for a myriad of backgrounds and prior learning that would make it a challenge for the educator.

I don’t think that it is unreasonable that there may be people in this position and being the sole person in a school teaching ESL. In the post, there is a reference to TESL Ontario and a program that they have for mentoring.


“Maybe The Tooth Fairy Uses The Pronoun, ‘They’”: A Kindergarten Look At Gender

There’s always a little blogger joy in me when I announce that one of Aviva Dunsiger’s posts is going to be mentioned on a particular week. Since she’s a frequent blogger, she tries to guess out loud (on social media) which one I chose. So, here we go…

For me, fairies have always been female and I blame Walt Disney.

As long as I can remember, Tinkerbell was there and she was clearly female. In fact, as I reflect, Disney’s productions were always binary.

We’re living in a different time and the discussion from Aviva’s class indicates that her students are open to all possibilities. She captures the discussions nicely.

There is a delightful and yet sad moment in the post for me. Aviva shares a video of learning in her classroom and you can clearly see the social distancing and barren environment. It’s unlike your traditional kindergarten classroom and perhaps explains why her students are more comfortable outside playing in the mud.


Forestry resources from Canadian Institute of Forestry/Institut forestier du Canada (CIF-IFC)

From the STAO/APSO blog,

Calling all teachers and educators in Southern Ontario! If you are looking for a unique opportunity to bring forestry into the classroom, the Canadian Institute of Forestry/Institut forestier du Canada (CIF-IFC), in collaboration with the CIF-IFC 7Southern Ontario Section, is organizing a Forestry Teachers’ Tour on November 19, 2021 in Waterloo, Ontario, and you are invited to sign up!

I think this is an interesting and unique opportunity for Canadian educators wanting to bring forestry into their classrooms. It’s an actual, honest-to-goodness, face-to-face professional learning opportunity.

It’s subsidized at $20 and will be held in Waterloo.


Learning to Code – An Invitation to Computer Science through the Art and Patterns of Nature (Lynx and Snap! Editions)

I’m humbled to include this post from Peter Skillen this week. He takes to his blog space to share two new books written by David Thornburg. Both of these gentlemen have been so instrumental in helping me get my head wrapped around the potential and the benefits of having younger and younger kids coding on computers.

I’ve had the good fortune to being in the audience listening to both of these gentlemen and of dining/drinking with both to expand on their messages. Both have had a huge impact on me.

Lest I get too sappy …

I’m really impressed with the modern and inclusive approach for Canadians with the various languages the book was written in. This has Skillen written all over it. He wouldn’t have done the translation himself but he’s so well connected, he’ll know who could.

Lynx is available in Canadian English, French, and several Indigenous languages including Ojibwe, Oji-Cree, Mi’kmaq, and Mohawk—with others to be developed when CanCode funding is renewed. With CanCode funding, it is also available at no cost to Canadians. (For others, after the Trial version, it is quite affordable.)


I hope that you can take the time to click through and enjoy all these wonderful posts. Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker
  • Jim Cash – @cashjim
  • Nilmini Ratwatte Henstridge – @NRatwatte
  • Bei Zhang – writing on @TESLOntario
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • STAO – @staoapso
  • Peter Skillen – @peterskillen

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


This is the last post and Wednesdays voicEd Radio show was the last one before Hallowe’en. I had fun picking “scary” songs for use on the show and I love this one. How old does it make you feel when you realize that it came out in 1958?


The Next COVID Crisis – Mental Health

My treatment of this post from Paul McGuire was unique. I had actually read it last week and knew that I had to think it over many times before writing something about it here and bringing it forward to the This Week in Ontario Edublogs show on voicEd Radio.

When I first saw the title, I thought that it might be a simple gloss over of something that would serve as a reminder for us to check in on our neighbours. I’m glad that I didn’t stop there and read the entire post. And then, read it a few more times.

It wasn’t a flyover post at 50 000 feet. It was a deeply personal post from Paul where he opens up about himself, how he’s doing, and is incredibly vulnerable with his words.

There’s another very strong message from this post that doesn’t come through in the words but rather in the sense of the post. After all, who would have thought that a system leader, a principal, a person that I personally selected to give Ontario principals a voice in the Bring IT, Together conference planning process, and a man who literally climbs mountains would find himself in this position?

From my notes for the show, there were a number of questions that I wanted to discuss and we never got around to it. I still think they’re important questions that need answers.

  • What about those who are not strong enough to seek help?
  • What are others doing to get through this?
  • What about those who are forced to go into work in less than perfect conditions? (i.e. everybody)

Mental Health – a postscript

I almost never have two posts from the same person on this Friday review. When I went back to re-read Paul’s original post, I see that he had written this as a response.

To anyone worried about what I wrote, I want you to know that I am really resilient and I will get through this. I have before, I know how this works.

There were a couple of reflections from Paul that stood out to me.

  • He has a large community of support that was there in response to the first post
  • This COVID stuff is new and unique and he has addressed it personally and can see a light at the end of the tunnel

He hasn’t reached that end, apparently, but delivers an uplifting message that enables him to look clearly for that.

And that’s really important.


Fake Math vs. Real Life

After reading this post from Kelly McLaughlin, I’m convinced that I grew up, learned, and quite frankly enjoyed “Real Math”. “Real Math” is done with pencil and paper and brain power. To date this, I go back to a time where having a calculator was seen as diminishing the study of Mathematics and therefore it was considered cheating to use one on the test.

I remember third year Statistics at the university and going for a meeting with Dr. Gentleman to get advice about whether I should buy a good algebraic calculator or an RPN calculator. Only a math nerd of those years would even entertain the conversation or have a university professor who would offer advice on something that we take as mundane these days. For the record, not only did she know calculators inside and out, she was a fabulous Statistics professor.

I wonder where a person would actually have to go to find a “real math” class these days. So much research has gone into the teaching and learning of the subject and so many resources created that challenge the educators today as to which one to use.

In Kelly’s case, she relates a conversation with a student that must make her feel good on one hand that she’s found a technique that has reached the student. I truly believe that mathematics should be enjoyed and applaud her for that. On the other hand, that trip isn’t complete until the student realizes that this “Fake Math” is indeed mathematics.

Great story; I loved it.


What My Teachers Were Saying About Me

Matthew Morris has the job that I always wished that I could have had. He got to go back to the school where he was a student. Only this time, he’s on the other side of the desk. I’d love to go back to my old school just to look around. I wonder if the Grade 13 lounge is still a lounge for students?

Even teachers have lounges and that’s the setting for this post.

Matthew notes that there is the teacher message of “empathy, kindness, service, love” in the classroom that isn’t necessarily the topic of choice when they gather in that lounge. Some of the messages that he repeats are anything but.

Based on a couple of quotes that he shares, I suspect that he may have though that when the topic of Matthew came around, it may not have always been positive. Of course, it’s just a wonder but now he’s got me wondering about me.

I mean; we all had our moments, didn’t we?


Post-pandemic classroom chaos

I know that it’s still “early” in our recovery of schools to some sort of regularity but Amanda Potts takes the time to let us know that her kids are not alright.

They curse, they use tacks and Sharpies in interesting ways, they put pencils in girls’ hair, they throw spitballs, and that’s just the stuff that she’s caught in her Grade 9 classroom.

This brought me a smile since I read it just following Matthew’s post about middle school kids and staff rooms. Amanda is wondering about the discussion among Grade 8 teachers.

If there is any way to rescue this, adolescents are always unique human beings. We’ve all been there; Amanda shares a painful story about Michelle which might serve as the positive spin on all this. We eventually grow out of being adolescents and turn into adults that, at times, act adolescently …

The question that her post leaves in my mind is are these kids acting as they would have normally or has their behaviour been amplified because of the lockdown? Let’s hope that they turn out alright.

Just before I move on, there’s one strong remembrance that I have of emerging adolescents and that’s one of body odor. Maybe Amanda’s kids have at least got that right!


The Things That Carry Us

There were two reasons why I included Joel McLean’s post this week.

  1. He wrote it in English as a result of confessions from the voicEd show about my understanding of French being as good as my Grade 10 teacher made it
  2. It’s an inspirational message about what gets us through the day and, once you realize that, you can actively plan to make it happen. And, he shows us how.

The premise is built around “Anticipation”.

In Joel’s mind, Anticipation isn’t a single thing but shows up in some many places.

  • Family Anticipation
  • Health Anticipation
  • Passion Anticipation

He encourages us to create our own anticipation. It seems to me that this is an activity worth doing.


Slice of Life: New books

Lisa Corbett shares a story that took me back to a very strongly worded message from the Media class while at the Faculty of Education.

ALWAYS preview movies from beginning to end before showing them in class. Going live is no time for surprises.

In this post, Lisa absolutely breaks this rule but not with a movie.

It’s with respect to a book that she bought for her class and they break the cover together. If that isn’t a cause for anticipation on her part and on the part of her students, I don’t know what is!

Read about her experience – here’s a spoiler – she closes with a comment about another book that she ordered.

Tonight the other pre-ordered book I’ve been waiting for was waiting for me when I got home. It came wrapped in clear, protective plastic. How special is that?! I can’t wait to unwrap it with the class tomorrow.

I love it when good things happen; I really love it when people blog about it to share their experience.


These great bloggers can be followed on Twitter.

  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Joel McLean – @jprofNB
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261

The voicEd Radio show is available here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


And, it’s another Friday. Actually, it’s Thursday morning as I write this post but that’s the way things roll around here.


Writing a SPOOKY Story!

I’ve written about Cameron Steltman’s writing activity for his students many times before. I think it’s truly unique, inspirational for both students and parents, and easily borrowed by others who want students to write for a purpose and write for an audience.

It’s straight forward.

He starts a new blog post with a theme and instructions for his students. Their job is to read and understand his post and then do some writing of their own in the replies. There’s so much right with this activity.

This time, he uses this image to inspire.

The student job? They look at the image and write a spooky story telling Mr. Steltman, their classmates, their parents, me, you, and anyone else who drops by how they interpret the image and turn it into their own spooky story!


Negative TikTok Challenges and Student Digital Leadership

The typical approach to dealing with bad things in education comes from a long time ago from the Baretta theme song .

“Don’t do the time if you can’t do the crime.”

Or maybe something more contemporary.

We know how well that works out. Jennifer Casa-Todd has a different take on things. In a school where there is one principal and one vice-principal for 1000 or more students, those enforcing the rules are really outnumbered.

Consistent with Jennifer’s message in SocialLEADia, she sees another way. Put the power of students to work to address this. I feel that it honours their leadership and an innate desire to do the right thing.

The prompt for this was the Negative TikTok Challenge and Jennifer includes them in her post.

  • September: Vandalize school bathrooms
  • October: Smack a staff member
  • November: Kiss your friend’s girlfriend at school
  • December: Deck the halls and show your balls
  • January: Jab a breast
  • February: Mess up school signs
  • March: Make a mess in the courtyard or cafeteria
  • April: “Grab some eggz” (another stealing challenge or inappropriate touching)
  • May: Ditch day
  • June: Flip off in the front office
  • July: Spray a neighbor’s fence

Her approach is an interesting turn on things and I think she may be on to something. Your school needs to have this book in their library. There’s so much wisdom here and it’s all based on the premise that people want to do good things and things for good.

Disclaimer: I did help Jennifer with advice and proofreading of this book.


Leadership and the matter of judgement:An open letter to Prime Minster Trudeau

I enjoy reading Charles Pascal’s writing and insights. Given his past career choices, he’s gone places and seen things that the rest of us in education only get to hear about third or fourth or more hand.

Many of us “could” write to our leaders and get a form letter back (or nothing in the case of around here) but taking your message public could be powerful in that we’re seeing his insights if we care to read them. And I did.

In this case, it’s an letter to our Prime Minister about his choice to go on vacation during the first Truth and Reconciliation holiday. Charles uses the analogy to baseball as commitng an unforced error. There were a lot of things that could have been done on that day. I would think that he would have been welcomed to many communities across the country to address them and the nation.

As we know, we’re just off an election that was controversial in itself. There’s some great advice in Charles’ post

Prime Minister, it is not too late to close the gap between your many worthy and important publicly stated aspirations and meaningful actions. 

Will he follow Charles’ advice?


It’s That Time of Year…

One of the powerful voices helping people understand how media works, its power and influence, and how we should interpret that media is Media Smarts. This year, Media Literacy Week is October 25 to October 30.

Anthony Perrottta is a regular speaker during this event and this year is no exception. He’s doing to give a talk about Digital Portfolios and The Power of Story.

His presentation is on Wednesday at 4:30 and you can sign up from the link in the post.

One of the advantages of COVID for professional learning is that we don’t have to go anywhere except to our computers to take in quality professional learning so do it.

The post also includes links to Anthony’s past presentations.


Talking Like a Teacher

I don’t often disagree with Diana Maliszewski and I’m not sure whether or not I do this time around.

She was asked to co-present a lecture on “Finding Trusted Sources and Evaluating Information” but was advised to not “talk like a teacher”.

In the post, she takes the time to address both the pros and cons of “talking like a teacher”. Maybe I’m narrow minded but I don’t see both sides. I replied to the post on her blog with:

Thank you for my morning smile, Diana. It’s a phrase around here when I correct my wife and kids over language errors “Daaaaad, you’re such a teacher”. I wear it like a badge of honour.

I don’t think you should ever apologize for being a teacher. You’ve devoted your life to your craft and I’m guessing you were asked to speak based upon your skills and reputation. It’s a great compliment. Consider the thousands of people that could have been asked, it ended up being the two of you. I can’t believe that it was a random choice.

My wife is a nurse and when I have a boo-boo, I go to her for her skills; I don’t rely on what I’ve seen on television.

Nobody can have it all but you can certainly relish in the parts that you do have and you will always be a teacher. That’s to be celebrated.

It’s a few days later since I first read Diana’s post, I talked about it on the voicEd Radio show and now I’m writing and I remain every bit convinced of my position.

Either way, knowing Diana, the presentation would have been fun and full of great information, I’m sure.


NETWORKING AT THE TESL ONTARIO ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Probably something like this has never been so important as it is during these days. Networking has always been an important part of conference going and was an important concept for Cyndie Jacobs and I when we co-chaired the Bring IT, Together conference in 2013 and 2014.

Dave Fraser starts off this post with the familiar approach.

When we think of “networking” at a conference, we tend to think of coffee breaks and catching up with colleagues in hotel lobbies and banquet centre hallways.

Been there, done that, and it’s a great chance to catch up with old friends from all over the place. But, that’s only part of the potential. Cyndie and I realized that there was a lot of “other” times with potential for participating in other things. In this post, Dave outlines a bunch of other opportunities that they’ve planned for other than the sessions. I think that’s incredibly important as well as the sessions and it sends the message that the conference is more than a money grab from registrations – that the organization places value in making connections to take away from the event.

It’s tough to pull off when everyone’s online but they seem to have thought through this to give attendees the chance to meet up with others with similar interests. Round table discussions would be interesting.

The platform that they’re using is a new one for me to look at and explore.


Math Links for Week Ending Oct 15th, 2021

The mathematics person is me always looks forward to posts from David Petro. I find it just plain interesting to work my way through them, smiling at his interpretation before I right click and open in a new tab so that I can return and continue my trek through his post.

This past week, regular readers of this blog will know that I was so excited with one of his curated items that I used it as inspiration for a complete blog post here.

He runs the gamut of classes and grades so not all of the links will be immediately useful for everyone except those that like to play with mathematics just for the sake of playing with mathematics and who doesn’t? There’s nothing wrong with a little side learning and this blog covers that nicely.


Please take the time to follow these great Ontario educational bloggers.

  • Cameron Steltman – @MrSteltman
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @JCasaTodd
  • Charles Pascal – @cepascal
  • Anthony Perrotta – @aperrottatweets
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Dave Frazer – @teslontario
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314

This week’s show on voicEd Radio.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s always a pleasure and an honour to recognize some of the great writing that appears on the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers. I hope that you can find the time to click through and read all of these wonderful posts.


A moment of reckoning in Canada

From Paul McGuire, what I would call a pretty significant and important blog post. Paul addresses the First Nations issue that has been so prominent in the news this past while. He pours his soul and thoughts into the document and then digs into some historical records to give us even more information. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up not knowing any of this and am playing catch up now. I so appreciate when people are sharing their own research.

In closing, he reflects on the recent incidents at Ryerson University. I’m sure that we haven’t heard the last of this and we may well be seeing history being made before our eyes. Even the Toronto District School Board is reportedly looking into the history of the names of all of its schools.

Beyond the historical references though, the images that Paul shares of the children’s shoes all laid out on Parliament Hill will slap you right in the face. It’s a somber and enduring image for me.


Lucky Shot

From Sheila Stewart, some of her very personal and open thoughts about getting her first shot of a vaccine. I think that everyone who is now getting vaccinated is feeling like they’re a little late to the party. You can’t help but notice the long lines waiting for shots on the evening news – at least from Ontario stations. We also received news from Detroit where it doesn’t appear to be big news anymore. The really big news there is the Governor opening up the state next week.

Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

Beyond the first steps of finding a place to get a shot, the second issue to be resolved is which shot. We live in an area that was perceived to be a hot spot a few months ago and so AstraZeneca was the first one available. This were different for her.

I find it interesting how we’re probably more than medically literate these days – I couldn’t begin to tell you who the manufacturer was of the vaccines that our kids had before they got to go to school. But I know way more about AstraZenica, Moderna, and Pfizer than I would ever have thought I would. Sheila has gone deeper thinking that there was a component in Moderna that would adversely affect her.

Click through to read the post, find out about the component, and her personal trek to getting that important first shot.


Something stinks

You can’t sugar coat this post from Amanda Potts. If I’ve ever seen a bait and switch blog post, this is it. And, I mean it in a good way. I love her writing.

She starts out talking about how fuzzy the end of this school year appeared to her at the time which evoked one emotion and then switched to her going out to her garden with her cat to witness a skunk at her hosta plants which brought out another emotion!

I will admit that I’m not much of a gardener but I’ve learned so much about hostas from living around here. In our Navy Yard park downtown, we have apparently 202 different varieties – https://visitamherstburg.ca/mary-mary-quite-contrary-how-do-your-hostas-grow/

Each of them are labelled – the labels actually go out before many of them break surface so I imagine there’s a master map somewhere. As a fan of the little guy, my favourite is Holy Mouse Ears. They didn’t appear one year and are back now and they are so much smaller than the others.

Even the word “hosta” intrigues me. Most often, I see it written as “hostas” and I get it because I don’t ever think I’ve seen just one. Or, I’m missing the whole point completely which is entirely possible.


Summer Tech with Amber Mac: 6 Hot Picks

Amber MacArthur was a keynote speaker at a Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee’ Symposium and an ECOO Bring IT, Together Conference. I follow her blog and her presence on Facebook as she’s always digging around and researching so much dealing with technology.

Recently, she shared some of her “hot picks” for this summer and I was intrigued with the gaming router. We have an issue with one part of our house that doesn’t get very strong wifi and so I’m looking for a solution. This may be it; there are a number of extenders available and I’ve tried and returned them because they seem to be laggy.

Anyway, she picks these:

  • CREATE YOUR OWN VIDEO GAMES: NINTENDO GAME BUILDER GARAGE
  • MAKE YOUR OWN MUSIC VIDEOS: LEGO VIDIYO MUSIC VIDEO MAKER
  • GET PAIN-FREE STREAMING AT HOME: TP-LINK ARCHER GX90 WI-FI 6 GAMING ROUTER
  • MAKE COOL DRINKS WITH KITCHEN TECH: BREVILLE BLUICER 3X PRO
  • EXERCISE OUTSIDE WITH ALL-DAY MUSIC: HUAWEI FREEBUDS 4I
  • COOK OUTSIDE WITH CLEAN ENERGY: BIOLITE CAMPSTOVE 2+

As luck would have it, she went live on Facebook yesterday and talked her way through each one of them – and there’s a giveaway involved if you drop off a comment to her before June 20.


Trouble with Hybrid Learning

From the Heart and Art Blog, Deborah Weston shares a well thought out and reasoned opinion about hybrid learning which we’re now interpreting as some students face to face in classroom and some students online at home.

It actually seems like a simple solution to anyone except teachers, I’m guessing. It’s only as a teacher that you realize that there are so many logistics to making it happen. One of the things that the proponents never mention is the lack of immediate 1:1 moments that you get face to face.

Deborah does a nice job of gathering all of the elements together in one spot in this post.

  • Cost Savings
  • Less Community Supports
  • Hybrid Hurts Relationships
  • Competing Agendas (Online vs In Class)
  • Long-term consequences

I have no doubt that educators who read this will totally agree with her thoughts. Unfortunately, I suspect that many decision makers will never see it.


Anti-Racism and Archival Description Work

On the ActiveHistory blog, Krista McCracken shared her learning from a recent workshop – Anti-Oppressive Description and Re-Description Workshop.

I was really interested in the description and the activity involved. I’ve been in many workshops but this one was so different and beyond anything I’ve ever had the opportunity to attend.

In this case, it was an opportunity to look at historical records and the language used to describe the events. Some of the suggestions from the workshop include:

  • Use objective voice in description and avoid using passive voice 
  • Use accurate and strong language such as lynching, rape, murder, and hate mail when they are appropriate. 
  • Describe relationships of power when they are important for understanding the context of records.
  • Describe records in a way that supports communities, not just academics

I can’t help but think that this wouldn’t be controversial. Will it make history more accurate or will it make history more responsive to what is happening right now?

Fascinating.


HOW TO CREATE CUSTOM GOOGLE KEEP HEADERS FOR BETTER ORGANIZATION

I love it when someone shows off some technique that I hadn’t thought of or haven’t used in a while and it inspires me to so some additional learning. Such was this post from the Edugals.

Every time I use Google Keep, I have this sense that I’m only scratching the surface of what I could do with it.

If you’re a Google Keep user, this blog post and the video that goes with it are worth your time to work through. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

And, if you like templates, this is a nice post to visit! They’re sharing.


Please take some time to enjoy these wonderful blog posts.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Sheila Stewart – @sheilaspeaking
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Amber MacArthur – @ambermac
  • Deborah Weston – @DPAWestonPhD
  • Krista McCracken – @kristamccracken
  • Edugals – @edugals

This Week in Ontario Edublogs is broadcast live most Wednesday mornings on voicEd Radio. This week’s show: