Category: Blogging

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Stephen Hurley and I had a great deal of fun on Wednesday during our voicEd Radio version of this blog.  One of the things that we did for this show was to have a theme.  I went through the list of speakers of the upcoming EdTechTeam Ontario Summit and tried to pull out some of the speakers who had recent blog posts to showcase on the show.  It was actually a little more difficult than I thought it was going to be but it made for an interesting conversation.  Six of them appear here as well as a lovely post from Lisa Cranston.

Two women

Lisa wrote this post after reading and commenting on mine of the same name.  I was inspired by a challenge from @NoelineL.  The idea was to write about two women 1) who have influenced your life and 2) an inspirational historic figure.

The March edition of Canadian Living, p. 13, issues a challenge, to guys too: to share a story about two women, one personal and one historical, who have motivated you.  Would you consider sharing?

Lisa cheated a little bit but I understand where she’s coming from!

The Wipebook

During our radio show, I was surprised when Stephen said that he probably wouldn’t use the Wipebook as reviewed in this post from Jen Giffen.  He admits to taking a great of notes but seems to prefer the pen and paper approach.

The product reminded me of the whiteboard page that I had purchased for my Franklin planner at one time.  Dry erase and perfect for collaboration – and to-do lists.

I really like crossing things off my to do list – but I also like a clean list and the notebook is PERFECT for this.  As soon as a task is done, it disappears!

These days, for me, I use a mixture of OneNote, Keep, and Evernote depending upon the task for my notetaking.


At the upcoming Google Summit, Sarah Lalonde will be doing an ignite talk and this post gives us insight into her “why did I agree to this?” moment.  Although, I’ll have to admit, she really doesn’t give us too many details.

Lastly, you might be wondering what my talk is going to be about? Well, it will go something like this: Learning to jump and build your wings on the way down is a lifestyle

Embedded in the post is a podcast that Sarah did with Kim Pollishuke and Stephen Hurley talking about both of the ladies’ planning as the date approaches.


I went through this post quite a few times trying to get my bearings.  My notes questioned whether it was a poem or a philosophy.

It wasn’t an easy read but I wanted to dig deeper.  I really like how it closes.

the teacher
in me
stares out into
the night
what can I learn from you?

And, Chris happened to be listening to the radio show and recorded himself reading it for me (us).


I think I first heard the use of the phrase “Pockets of Innovation” from colleagues in the Thames Valley District School Board 20 years ago.  It gave me a smile when David Carruthers brought it back in this post.

Did the concept ever go away?  Will it ever go away?

What is it and what can be done about it?  David addresses this in the post.

I suggest that the teachers being asked to “tone it down” have the support of administrators; they DO!

One of the solutions offered is to get those high flyers to help others.  That is a great way to share excellence and increase the level of use of things rather than being happy with the status quo.

Concerns include:

  • resentment that I’m being told to “up my game”
  • burn out on the part of the high flyer
  • slowing down the innovators

As with all things, there’s got to be a balance in there somewhere.

But, David identifies a situation that exists everywhere.  It’s very good read and I’d highly recommend it.  Do you see yourself, your colleagues, or your principal in there?

Flu id

With apologies if necessary to Will Gourley, I could see the inspiration for this post while making a mad rush to the washroom!

He starts with “fluid” and I went for the ride thinking that he might talk about fluidity in the curriculum but was I ever wrong.

He breaks “Fluid” apart to

Flu – “the flu wants what it wants. Once inside, it becomes the house guest from hell, turns the heat up on its new hosts, and rejects anything that gets eaten.”

Id – “the id is always seeking ways to get what it wants and needs to survive.”

This post struck additional importance to me as I’ve been visiting a very dear friend who is in the hospital as I write this and I visit with my nurse-wife.  “Sanitizing your hands is a thing – do it”.  Then, I started to count – have you ever thought of just how many things you touch when you’re in the hospital?  Particularly this winter, the flu has hospitalized so many people.  Sterilizing is indeed a good thing.

Question of the day – do veteran teachers have the best resistance to flu in society?

Reflecting on “Gradeless” Math – Modelling Life-Long Learning

This post from Heather Lye was particularly timely given a story that I had read earlier this week about Finland looking to go gradeless in its school system.

Whenever Finland does things, the rest of the world sits up and notices.

Heather shares her thoughts about going gradeless and breaks them down nicely into categories.

  • What worked well that I will continue
  • What I will strive to do better
  • What I will do differently
  • Future goals and desires (that are just not realistic right now)

There are lots of observations there to help you if you’re wondering about this particular journey.

How’s that for a nice collection of thinking from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers?  Please click through and read each of the original posts in their entirety.  You’ll be glad that you did.

If you’re an Ontario Edublogger and your blog isn’t in that collection, please visit it, fill out the form and it soon will be.


This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Friday morning is cleanup time in my browser.  I typically have the blog posts that I want highlighted in this post open since my This Week in Ontario Edublogs show on voicEd Radio on Wednesday.  It’s always a clean start when I’m done!

What would we do in a world without browser tabs?  Oh, yeah, have a multitude of bookmark files…

Creators of Content through Gaming via the micro:bit

There really is nothing like playing around with a micro:bit connected to your computer.  You can do all kinds of things with it, and it’s priced so affordably.  In this post, Derek Tangredi takes us a little further.

The greater benefit I see in making games is that it provides ample opportunity for subject integration.  Attempting to create fully immersive experiences while adhering to intended outcomes can be daunting for some and these “maker” based projects can provide that landscape.

This post is a true “maker” post.  I can say that because the project starts with a cardboard box.  When you’re done, you’ve created your own arcade.

Derek includes a couple of videos to help you thought the process.

Google Input

I had previously talked about the Preserve our Language Project and the amazing job that these students had done with creating an Ojibway keyboard for the Macintosh computer.

This project is a team effort by Rayne, Gene, Tarcisius, Joan, and principal Mike Filipetti.

The latest check in to their site reveals that the project continues and their efforts are now available in the Google Input Tools.


You can try it out online or get the extension or Android application.

This project continues to amaze and impress me.  When was the last time you did something that will change a part of the world?

Leading to Win or Leading to Grow

Those who would post quotes to social media and then hope that others share them would be well advised to read this post from Anne Marie Luce.

After reading her post, I think that the best advice for anyone who plays in the “leading” area needs to think about the long run.  The short little blast that gets you some sort of fame quickly fades.  The leader that works hard to create more leaders by bringing out the best in people are in there for the right reasons and for the duration.

Building leaders and capacity is hard work.  Anne Marie links to a blog post that inspired this one and it’s certainly equally as inspirational.

I like her notion of a healthy organization.

How do we create a healthy organization that ignites passion in others and allows them to take risks to explore it?

As the March Break comes to an end, perhaps a few moments to reflect on your own organization is in order.  Would you consider it to be healthy?  If not, what can you do about it?

Analogy for ‘Learning’

So, Helen DeWaard shares her homework for Ontario Extend in this post.  It was in response to a provocation


You’re probably thinking about your own discipline right now and I’m sure that the answer to that question could lead to a number of discussions.

One of the areas that Helen brings into play is that of prior knowledge.  I think that most of us assume that this is a good thing.  But, is it always?

In our radio show, Stephen Hurley and I talked a bit about mathematics and the challenges that can exist.

  • going from one teacher to another or one school to another with different approaches to mathematics
  • mom and dad helping with homework
  • the after school paid homework services
  • …  add your own

How many variations on a topic is possible?  Any chance that there’s a misunderstanding anywhere?


Last week, we looked at “Filled to the Brim”.  The concept was to get together and talk professionally outside of the school.  This is a nice continuation of the concept by Tina Zita where she describes a Saturday afternoon with a nice bunch of Ontario Educators.  I’d call is a “school of Ontario Educators” but that sounds a little fishy.

The topics, as outlined in the post seemed to settle around.

  • Relationships
  • Balance
  • Ideas

As I looked around the boardroom table picture from the post, I see some familiar faces, lots of food and no technology.

I thought this was a bit peculiar since the meeting was hosted by startup Soapbox which has an interesting application that looks like it could be used to start or continue these conversations.

Student Digital Leadership in action

One of the faces around the table was Jennifer Casa-Todd who blogged to make the connection between student social activism and some of the points in her book SocialLEADia.

I particularly like her advance warning because I feel the same way.

I have been watching the #NeverAgain movement over the past week. I am always reluctant to share anything overly political; especially when it comes to American politics, because I know that as an outsider things look simplistic when indeed they may be very complicated.

The actions that happened this week prove, without question, that students have a voice and can be passionate about their cause.  I happened to be at a television set and flipped through a number of news channels during the walkouts on Wednesday.  It was interesting to note which news channels had coverage and actually reporters on the ground reporting live and honouring student voice.  There was one news channel that didn’t even mention it.

No wonder students are so frustrated looking for a solution that, as an outsider, seems so easy to resolve.

Politicians need to be keenly aware of the message of students signing up to vote for the first time and to vote for those who have a viable platform based upon their safety.

Temporal Prejudices

Tim King was inspired by a sharing of a story about Winston Churchill to write this post.

He sets the context.

I’ve seen people time and again criticize those who lived before them as being immoral and somehow answerable to the laughable ethics of our own time. That article on Churchill, a man who lived at the end of the British Empire and spent much of his career trying to hold the tattered pieces of it together, often using the same kind of bombastic rhetoric you still see today, is no doubt accurate, but the re-defining of statements made over a century ago based on modern values is neither fair nor particularly useful, unless you’re a politician trying to win a point.

The whole blog post got me thinking, in particular how education handles topics like this.  I’m thinking, in particular, of a Grade 11 History class.  For our studies, we had “The Book”.  It was given to us at the first of the year and it was “the truth” and we just learned what was enclosed in the book.

I like where Tim takes this.  I suspect, that under scrutiny, we didn’t view topics from the enlightened view of an objective historian.  We did try to picture the past and relate it to the life that we were currently living.

Even when we would research the biography of a historic figure, it was through the eyes of the biographer and they wouldn’t have been chosen for their objectivity but for their ability to write something that’s pleasing.

In today’s world, not only do we have a Biography Channel on television, but we have more news and resources that would just be unfathomable to those in Churchill’s time.  We have so many versions of the truth available for any topic.  If we don’t like the coverage on a particular channel, we just change the channel until we get something that we want.

What will those who follow us think of us?

Why It’s Time to End Publicly Funded of Catholic Schools in 2018

When I talk to my US friends, they really find it unbelievable that we have so many publically funded schools in Ontario.  We’ve just been accustomed to it.  As an aside, they’re really impressed that we have a Computer Studies curriculum available for every school.

In this post, and consider that it’s posted on an ETFO website, Deborah Weston takes on this question and provides opinion and statistics to argue for a change.

We’re coming up on a Spring Ontario election.  Will this be a position that one or more of the political parties adopt?

And, with one final click, I’ve closed off the last remaining tab and I think my computer is breathing a sigh of relief.  Between the original blog posts and the supporting resources, I had almost 30 tabs open.

But, please do take the time to read through and check out all of these wonderful posts and drop off a comment if you’re inspired.  The, check out the rest of the Ontario Edubloggers in this Livebinder.

And, follow these great bloggers.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Welcome to a very special Friday.  In addition to getting ready to take on whatever lies for you for your March Break, it’s a chance to check out some interesting blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.

So, read on!

Radio Reality

If I had to pick one field trip that I wanted to go on, it would be something from Diana Maliszewski.  She plans one big media project annually and this year, her students got to visit CHUMFM and Ryerson University.  Along the way, the students got a sense of what it takes to make a radio show happen.  What an awesome experience!

I like big, engrossing, complex topics to explore.

In 2013, it was media-tie in products related to movies.
In 2015, it was food and restaurants.
In 2017, it was clothing and fashion.
For 2018, it’s all about radio.

Doesn’t that sound like fun?  (and educational)

The post features a nice collection of pictures to document the trip.  Nice technology!

Filled to the Rim

When I first started teaching, we didn’t call it “Pub PD”.  It was more like “want to come to the Michigan after work for a drink?”.  But, time moves on.

There are a number of variations of this concept including “Coffee PD” but the message is the same.  It’s about meeting with colleagues outside of the four brick walls and without students.  If your spouse isn’t a teacher, it can be difficult to have the sorts of discussions that teachers have when they get together.  Either the topic is deemed to be so trivial or so deeply academic, often they just don’t get it.

The post is a Q&A format between Kelly MacKay and Andrea Kerr.

A: I love our people.  So lucky to work in a place where collaboration, idea bouncing, and I’ll-do-that-for-you is a given.  Pub PD is icing.

K: The feeling we get when we are planning with the white board – the place where people come to learn and are open – this feels different but just as open.  The purpose is quieter.  No clock, no need to get this finished.  No end game.

When was the last time you did something like this for yourself?

New Job

New jobs are a reality in education.  It might be teaching a new grade level, subject area, assuming a position of added responsibility, or something else.  One thing that is typical though is that the change to a new position is typically done over the summer to keep disruptions to a minimum for all involved, especially for students.

In education, it’s more than just picking up your briefcase and moving to a new desk.  There’s all those resource in filing cabinets and closets.  There’s moving digital resources around and deciding amongst all the “stuff” that you have which were purchased by you personally and which belong to the school.  It’s a task.  To do so in the middle of a year and bringing your replacement up to speed sounds like a daunting task.

Given all that, this post from Stepan Pruchnicky kind of broke many of these norms.  He started a new position as Experiential Learning Resource Teacher last Monday.  In the post, he shares some of what went into his application for the position.  No wonder he was successful.

It will be interesting if he chooses to share his experience in the new position via his blog.

Using the Microsoft Bot Framework to Create Educational Bots

This project, as related by Camille Rutherford, is very intriguing.  I remember my university days and they most certainly weren’t 9-5.  If I had an inquiry when I was working on something in the middle of the night, I would make a note and hopefully remember to follow through the next day when the professor or teaching assistant was in their office and on the clock.

Brock University is working on having a bot on call 24/7 to answer questions.  So, we can add concepts like this to the growing trend of digital assistants.

The use of Microsoft Office 365 facilitated a collaborative and dynamic process by allowing all staff members to provide insight into the content and context of the types of questions that were to be included in the knowledge base.

It makes so much sense; I can’t imagine the task of building that knowledge base and then make it interactive.  Will it ever be complete?  If it’s successful, what’s next?

In Ten Years….?

This post, from Peter Cameron, flows so nicely from Camille’s.

It’s easy to look back ten years and see how things were then.  Really easy and you might well have pictures and artifacts that will help you remember.

But, what happens when you gaze into your crystal ball and look forward 10 years?

What do you think?  Bots everywhere?  It’s not a totally strange concept.  Can you remember the first entry into the field of language processing, Eliza?  I don’t know who frustrated me more – Eliza or Clippy.  You had to start somewhere.

This is us living in the speed of innovation.  Peter then turns to the pre-school student and the perceived effects of technology on these students.  There’s been lots written about this and solutions proposed like banning them or limiting screen time.  If you’ve ever had kids or taught students, you know that by design these approaches will fail.  We need to find some way to co-exist.

It’s a great post and I’m sure that Peter would appreciate reading your thoughts.

Together we climb

Laurie Azzi continues her series dealing with mental health stories.  This time, the focus is on anxiety disorders.


Those numbers always scare me.

Laurie includes the inspirational writing of Chris Nihmey in her post.  It’s a story of anxiety from a teacher perspective.

Do you relate?

Even at some level?

Creativity: Every Classroom a Maker Space

Well, yeah…

Makerspace has kind of dropped from my reading recently so I appreciate this post from Zélia Capitão-Tavares bringing it back.

I think we learned a great deal about pedagogy from computer labs.  We speak ill of the concept now but the reality was that in the beginning computers were expensive, networking was expensive, and there might really have only been one teacher in the school that was conversant enough with computers to put them to good use.  I’d like to think that’s well behind us.

As we turn to the notion of Makerspaces, there have been the early adopters of the concept.  This time, though, we’re not limited by cost; we’re limited by a desire to do this.  So, why not indeed in every classroom?

Zélia describes a PD session as part of the TDSB #MentoringMondays program on Makerspaces.  The takeaway – not something physical but a pedagogy tuneup.

  • What curriculum connections can you make with your grade?
  • What does it mean to be a maker in this space?
  • How will you embed this within your classroom culture?

Please take a few moments and click through and enjoy the postings from their great bloggers.  Drop off a comment or two as well.

This is part of a regular Friday series “This Week in Ontario Edublogs“.  Find them all at that link.

Finally, your call to action – make sure that you’re following these great bloggers.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

This week was a bit different.  Quite often, I’m tagged by a person to let me know that they’ve created a blog post.  In this edition, I was tagged twice just to make sure that I knew about their efforts.  I think that it’s kind of neat that people would do it.  It lets me know that they’re proud of their writing.

If you look at the URL to this post, you’ll see a 297 at the end of it.  When you have a post with the same title, WordPress appends a number to make sure that the URL is unique.  So, according to the numbering system, we’re approaching 300 posts with the the same title “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”!  Now, there is truth in numbers.  There have been times where I’ve messed up with the title so the number is actually a bit higher.  Who knows?  This might actually have been the 300th post.  Or 301st.  Or…

It doesn’t really matter; it’s just a celebration of the great thinking that gets posted to the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.

Measuring or mattering?

The first such tag came from Lisa Noble who relates a story about her son and the Honour Roll at school.  With a show of empathy, his concern was about the reaction that came from others.

I have a fairly resilient kid, so he wasn’t particularly shamed by what was posted, but I also have an empathetic kid, who was looking at friends who were crying (or trying not to), and obviously struggling. One very talented child, who had achieved an average above 90, was repeating “it’s not good enough” to herself.

I know that around our supper table, it was a standing joke with my father who always asked when I got an 89, “why didn’t you get a 90?”  I remember joking back once letting him know that I wanted to leave some room for improvement.

I’m sure that the school felt the posting was a celebration of excellence but when the comment from a child says that her high mark wasn’t “good enough”, you have to wonder if there might be a better way of doing things.  A list with names could end up being a platform for shaming for more than just those who didn’t make the list.

Leadership is Oft-time Sensitive

The second tagging with a blog post came from Sylvain Lacasse.  This tagging stood out because he noted that this was going to be his first post in English.  I tried to find the original Twitter tagging and, as I mentioned on the This Week in Ontario Edublogs radio show, I couldn’t find it.  Sylvain was good enough to listen to the show and share it with me again.


Now, Sylvain and I don’t know each other but I suspect that we’re pretty close to years of experience with technology because as he notes

When I first became a teacher, YouTube did not exist. Google stocks were not newsworthy. Apple was just a fruit… well, the tech savvy company existed, but everyone instinctively thought of apple as a fruit, nothing else. USB keys were the new technology. WordPerfect 5.1 was phenomenal and computers were, thankfully, operated by Windows 95.

Let me just stand on a soapbox here and note that WordPerfect 5.1 was the best word processor ever.  Still is.  Bar none.

I wonder, back in those good old days, if folks were as fascinated with the study of leadership as we are today.  That’s the real message in Sylvain’s post where he compares Fixed and Growth Mindset through a lens of time management.  I’d never made, or even tried to make the connection before.  Read to see if you buy into his premise and you might have a whole different approach to things.

Personal Reflection – Stage – Week 1

Another thing that didn’t exist back in the WordPerfect 5.1 days is the concept of blogging.  Sarah Lalonde (interviewed here) uses her blog to write about reflections of her new job.  Congratulations, Sarah!

The titles that she chooses to reflect on include

  • Building relationships
  • Confidence
  • Cell Phone usage
  • Looking forward

They’re all good topics and noteworthy.  I think it’s important that she’s not focussed on a subject in particular or testing.  Instead, she’s stepped back and taken a meta look at the past week.  I think this approach, done regularly, will serve her well in her career.

I guess it’s our current reality that “Cell Phone usage” makes the list for a new teacher.  Sigh.

Documenting and reflecting is good.  I wonder how many others in her class are doing the same thing?

We’ll have to follow her growth in the profession by following along in her blog.

I’m a Podcaster!

Congratulations to Ramona Meharg for taking the leap, after having been prodded by Stephen Hurley at the Bring IT, Together Conference last fall.

I hated podcasting.  It wasn’t the media form or the tools or the software or the results.  It was generating the results.  I found myself searching for perfection and editing/re-editing content to get it right.  I recognize that I have certain mannerisms and the recurring desire to cough.  With the right tool, in my case it was Audacity, I could spend all kinds of time editing these things out.

For me, doing the radio show on Wednesday mornings with Stephen Hurley is so much easier.  There are no retakes, if I make an audio uuuuuhhh, it stays in.  If I need to cough, I mute myself while he’s speaking and then unmute.

But, enough about me.  In Ramona’s first podcast, she interviews Heather Jacobi (audio link here).  I thought that the execution of the recording was quite impressive.  Both came across as being very professional in their discussion with each other.  So, nicely done, ladies.

Ramona has an interesting niche for the talk which I hope turns into an ongoing series – “I Wish I Knew – EDU“.  Interviewing experienced teachers and learning what they wish they knew back when.  It could be very interesting.

Opportunities Abound Outside Your Comfort Zone

Of course they do.  But, how many people take advantage of them?  It’s so much easier to stay in that comfort zone.  After all, that’s how it got its name.

Lynn Thomas talks about how she embraced this.  There is a sad story of some family history and then she turns to her personal opportunities as a member of a Digital Learning Team.

I think that we can all agree that mastering technology for yourself can be a challenge.  I’ve always found that the way that I approach technology use personally has a “Doug” slant to it and isn’t necessarily applicable to others.  On a personal level, “whatever gets the job done” is often good enough.

Things change when you work with others.  They have different skill sets, attitudes, approaches, desires, and varying levels as to how far they want to go in their learning.  Lynn talks about taking on the challenges of  D2L, OneNote, Class Notebook, and Flipgrid as a start and then much more.

It is indeed challenging to reach out to people at so many different levels, so many different technologies, and so many different directions.  Kudos to her.


Lisa Corbett describes an interesting activity she used for a no-bus day but it would work for any mathematics class on any day.

#WODB stands for What One Doesn’t Belong.  I remember activities like this being a pretty regular thing in my primary class.  It requires observation, logic, pattern/shape recognition, and then the ability to explain your choice well enough to convince others that you have the correct solution.

Because, you see, the best of these puzzles don’t have one absolutely correct answer.  How dare it call itself mathematics?  (tongue in cheek)

Can YOU determine which one doesn’t belong and come up with a convincing reason?

My 31 Flavours Dilemna

Of course, with a title like that, you know that ice cream is going to factor somewhere into this post from Eva Thompson.

Now, while we don’t have the store that made the number 31 famous, we do have the Waterfront Ice Cream Parlour in town and they have a layout that resembles what Eva describes.  The “problem” is in having so many choices.  You see, the lineup to get served snakes around the front of the cases and, on a hot summer night, it’s really long.  So, you have to choose wisely when you see it or you may have passed your choice and there’s no going back without bothering those following you.

Now, Eva’s blog is about education and the ice cream story is nice.  But, the relevancy lies in the educational planning that she’s doing.  A whole semester of it and it appears that it’s a little overwhelming for the students.

I have the whole semester planned out, but the students aren’t really ready to have it presented to them in this fashion.  In the past, I tried to just mention 2 things at a time and get immediate sign ups. Students will not sign up for an event at the end of May when it’s on the beginning of February. Who knows what can happen between now and then? And frankly, I don’t blame them.

It’s an interesting scenario but, as I read how Eva’s presenting it, I can see that there may be just too much for students to process at a single sitting.  I’d be willing to bet that she’d be interested in your suggestions via comment.

As I noted in the introduction, this week was a bit different.  I’m impressed that I’m concluding by noting that it’s been another great collection of blogs again.  As always.

Check out the original posts and drop off a comment.  They’ll appreciate it.  And, tagging me works – look at Lisa and Sylvain.

Finally, your call to action – make sure that you add these Twitter accounts to your learning network.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s time for another wander around the province, checking out the great thinking from Ontario Edubloggers.  As always, there’s some great, relevant professional learning just a click away.

Reframing Resistance

This post, from Lisa Cranston, provides an interesting insight about how to handle push back when delivering a professional learning session – through a self-registration lens.

Stephen Porgues talks about the need to feel safe in order to learn – how do we create an environment that fosters a sense of safety?

In a typical professional learning session, there’s often a real mixture of participants.  When the participant is there through their own choice, there’s bound to be a greater sense of safety.  It’s easy to see the opposite when the session is laid on and your attendance is required.

We talk about the rule of two feet and often attribute it to selecting based upon interest; perhaps an eye towards safety should be considered a factor as well?  What can be done to make a safe place to learn?

What Brings you Joy?

I kind of think that Paul McGuire’s thoughts about joy tags on nicely to Lisa’s thoughts about safety.

Paul sees a sense of joy in

Working with accepting people who appreciate your work and the time devoted to creative projects.

In terms of projects, I think he describes a perfect condition for joy and safety.  What’s even more interesting is to imagine the opposite.  In Paul’s case, he sees the opposite of joy as “mired in negativity” and goes on to make the reference to organizations.

Anything come to mind?

I also thought of opportunities to experience pure joy on a personal level – winning a football championship, finally reaching a student, birth of a child, meeting a childhood friend, and more.

I find myself not necessarily wanting to analyze it but I really appreciate the prompt from Paul to think about what brings me joy.  It’s been wonderful; I hope that you take a moment to reach Paul’s post and experience the same.

Les 4Ps d’un état d’équilibre

For the record, when you have Google Chrome set to automatically translate text, the 4Ps that Joel McLean identifies in French don’t all become Ps in English.

  • Pourquoi – Why
  • Perspective – Perspective
  • Priorités – Priorities
  • Progrès – Progress

I found the four points in the post interesting to think about.  It’s also intriguing to consider their order.

If you think, cause and effect, the last three make for a good starting point for reflection.  Then, I turned to the “Pourquoi” which helped with the context.

Since my word for 2018 is “Balance”, I found Joel’s post of particular interest.  If I can understand that there never will be perfect balance, understanding everything else and then challenging myself to understand the “Why” makes so much sense.

This is a great leadership post put in very practical terms.

Technology is a Church

So, Royan Lee freely admits that:

We’re an Apple family.

Watch the family that unboxes a non-Apple device!


It’s a great family event, I wish I had fast internet access like them (I was in awe of the download speed) and being photobombed by the family dog puts it over the top.

Now, their goal is to let Siri win them back.

Flipgrid for the camera shy

Jen Giffen runs into a challenge that seems so unintuitive to me.

People wanting to use Flipgrid but they don’t want their camera pointed at them.  C’mon, Flipgrid users, isn’t that the point?

I remember the first time that I saw Flipgrid in action.  It reminded me of the screens from the Brady Bunch show!

To solve this situation, Jen goes with the flow and offers some alternatives to your beautiful countenance.  Each comes with instructions.

  1. Voki
  2. My Simple Show
  3. Stop Motion with Google Slides
  4. Chatterpix 
  5. Sock Puppets 

Sock Puppets?  Can you take anyone seriously if they’re talking using this app?  <grin>

Counting With Your Eyes: Subitizing

We all do it, don’t we?  I guess I’ve just never thought about it as deeply as I did while reading Kyle Pearce’s post.

I also don’t ever recall being explicitly taught the concept either.  But, after reading Kyle’s post, I absolutely know that I do it.  If you’re interested, he has a free download of resources from this post.

All the time.

I especially found his talking about clumping interesting when thinking about my use of the concept.  Depending upon the objects, I either clump by 3s, 5s, or 7s.  Why all odd numbers?

It also brought me some fond memories of playing cards – they’re not all what we think of today – check these out.

If we had these in common use today, the concept of subitizing would take on a new level of importance.

Why do we have numbers on modern playing cards but not on dice or dominoes?  Personally, I blame Omar Sharif.

Learning factories

This post, by Jim Cash, was totally different from the sort of writing that I’ve come to expect and enjoy from him.

He draws a very visual description of a factory assembly line.

Imagine you have a new job in a busy factory, on an assembly line where parts continuously come down the line that you need put together. They come really fast but you are new and can’t keep up. Just to reduce your anxiety and embarrassment, you quickly pile a large number of the parts into a big box beside you.

I couldn’t help but think of the classic Lucille Bond segment.

In Jim’s post, he describes the desire to search for a new job, in search of a different criteria for success.

He paints a very interesting parallel to education.

His scenarios may just give you pause for how you’re going to teach something today.

Don’t you just love Fridays around here?

It’s a day of inspiration from these fine folks.  Please click through and read/share their original posts.  Your learning network will appreciate it.

And, make sure that you’re following these great bloggers.

Join Stephen Hurley and me on Wednesday mornings on voicEd Radio and repeated throughout the week for the radio version of This Week in Ontario Edublogs.  All the shows are archived here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

As I was looking through the blog posts that I had tucked away for inclusion in this post, it strikes me that this will be a very Hamilton-Wentworth-ish type of post.  I generally don’t go looking for specific areas or themes; I just let my reading take me where it may.  Our friend Aviva gets tagged twice.

Please read along and enjoy some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.

From Experimental to Theoretical Probability: Sample Lesson

Probability can be a scary topic for some.  In reality, it can be a great deal of fun.  So much of what we take for granted around us in the world has an element of probability to it.  Otherwise, everything would be cut and dried and, well boring.  And, of course, what would a game be without an element of chance.

Mark Chubb shows us a way that you might want to talk about probability and he uses a game approach to it.  Two wins.


There’s so much good, solid mathematics in it, including some charting of results.  Three wins.  Is there a correct answer?  That would be pretty boring but there certainly is a player who is in a better position to win.  What would change if you wanted to use three coins?

Could this be done with a coding solution?  Absolutely.

A Two Sided Blog Post

A pair of bloggers, Kristi Keery-Bishop and Aviva Dunsiger join up to write a blog post where we get the opportunity “to see both sides now”.

The topic?

Have you ever wondered what really goes on in a school to support a student who struggles with self-regulation? 

It’s an interesting post to devour.  It’s not short but does give a pretty descriptive perspective from both an administrator and a teacher.

They approach the topic with what happens “right now” and then take a look at the longer term approach.

When LESS Really Is A Whole Lot MORE!

I had to include this standalone post from Aviva Dunsiger, if for no other reason than I was tagged in it.

I had blogged about the meme that was passed around digitally asking people to share a photo of a “great book” and then tag others in it.

I was involved, having been tagged by Hazel Mason and pulled one of my favourite coffee table books from the bookshelf behind me.  Like my post, Aviva extracted and shares a number of messages from the stream.  I thought the choices in the whole thing turned out to be pretty interesting.

  • it’s great that educators had that quality of book at home
  • it became almost a one-up challenge to get a better book than the previous person
  • some people chose to share books that use in the classroom

Aviva then takes an interesting turn when she asks what students would do.  I think that the rules would have to be specific so that they would nominate a “great book” instead of a “favourite book”.  But, it would be an interesting activity to see what comes up.  It looks like there might be a taker in Peter Cameron.

Just, please, please, please, use a hashtag so we can follow it.


And, I was tagged in this post from David Carruthers which was his response to Stephen Hurley’s and my comments about a previous post of David’s.  This time, he took on our use of the word catalyst.

He nailed the concept of catalyst perfectly.


I like the conclusion where he indicates that he’s looking for this sort of person when he makes school visits.

I would hazard a guess that these people aren’t always recognized for their efforts.  Not always do they percolate to the top.  A cheerleader like David will make sure that they get supported, if they want.

Who knows?  The next great educator with fabulous insights might be waiting to be found.

Dear 100 Year Old Me!

I had a chance to talk with Cameron Steltman recently and he was sharing what an exciting assignment that he has this year.  The discussion came around to how he’s having students blogging after being provoked.

The provocation in this post was to send a message to their 100 year old self.  The number 100 itself takes on such importance in many classes this time of year as they reach the 100th day of school.  More than that, though, 100 is such a great number.  It’s not a perfect number but it does have so much importance.

  • 100 pennies in a dollar (what’s a penny sir?)
  • 100 km/h speed limit on freeways
  • who doesn’t like holding a 100 dollar bill?
  • and certainly you don’t want to leave home with your phone less than 100% charged

But most importantly, don’t we all want to live to be 100?

If Mr. Steltman’s blog is still running 90 some years from now, I hope the true banana queen still has fond memories of Frog Math.

Four Ways to Extend My Digital Leadership

Here’s a link and the email to your principal, superintendent, or principal might start like this…

How are you planning to leverage and extend your digital leadership?  Here’s what Sue Dunlop is doing…

  • Using the digital spaces in our organization.
  • Interacting on Twitter.
  • Sharing links and articles.
  • Share the thinking in my blog.

Conclude with

If you need help, Sue is willing to help.

Put Some Respeck On My Name

This post from Matthew Morris should be required reading for every Faculty of Education student.

In a way, practice teaching gives a false sense of what classrooms can be like.  When you’re parachuted into one, you pick up on the routines and regimen of the classroom teacher.  It’s a whole new world when you get a classroom of your own.

As Matthew noted, we grew up in an educational system where the teacher had respect by virtue of standing at the front of the classroom.  He provoked me to think of just how many of my teachers had first names.  Or at least first names that I knew.  I always figured it was a scheme devised to stop us from looking up their address in the phone book.  (what’s a phone book sir?)

Certainly, back in the day, I didn’t have the ability to follow my teacher on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.  I didn’t give paybacks with RateMyTeacher.  Heck, I didn’t even have Canada411.

Matthew reminds us that it’s a different world today.  By its nature, so much is open, available, and friendly.  Casual and easily made relationships are the norm.

Consequently, respect doesn’t come as part of the job.

You want respect – you’ve got to earn it. You want respect? You have to establish it.

How’s that for a collection of inspirational blog posts to start your Friday?  Make sure that you click through and read them in their entirety.  Then, head over to the big collection for even more.  If you’re blogging and from Ontario, there’s a form there to add your blog to the list for me.  Some folks are even using the form just to let me know their Twitter handle.  That’s OK too.

Before you leave, make sure that you add these people to your learning network.

Show a little social media love and retweet the link to any of these posts that resonate with you.  Or, just share this post and do them all at once.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

After a bizarre week of snowy and then warm and melting weather, it’s time to sit back and take a good read of some of the things that have appeared recently on the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.  There’s always good stuff to read.

And think about.


Are these trite words?

Maybe, but then David Carruthers saw this image in a social media feed.

This is a short post (two paragraphs and a sentence) but it speaks volumes.  David takes a quick look at people and the positions they hold in education.

You’ll have to read his post, but as you do, ask “Who has the people”?, “Who is really leading in education?”, “Are there people leading and don’t know it?”

Thanks, David, for a post that really had me thinking.

Modeling an Analogue Clock in Scratch

Think of the clocks that today’s students see.  How many would you think would be analogue?  How many digital?

Think of your own youth.  How many of each did you see?

In honour of the analogue clock, Jim Cash explains a Scratch project where a pair of students create an analogue clock.  As Jim points, out, it’s not a trivial activity and like so many of the projects that he shares, there’s just a whack of mathematics involved.

I can recall a similar project that my students took on much like this.  (Theirs included an alarm feature).  It’s not a quick and easy project.

Hope and a Groundhog

Beyond waiting for Wiarton Willie to let us know whether or not he sees his shadow (as an aside, with all the lights and television cameras, how could he not see it?), there is a message of hope that spring is on its way.

But then, Ramona Meharg takes a look around her classroom and shares the hope and good wishes that she has for her students for the future.

I hope for so many things.  I hope my students will be safe when they are not at school.  I hope they will believe in themselves.  I hope they will overcome the obstacles life puts in their way.  I hope I will find that spark in them that makes them want to come to school.  I hope they will always choose to be kind.  I hope I will continue to be a model of life long learning throughout my career and life.  I hope I and those I care about will stay healthy.  I hope for happiness, well being and a well lived life.

Her students are so fortunate that they have a loving and caring teacher who thinks about this.  Do you?

Hope is an interesting word.  It implies that you want something to happen.  By itself, to me, it gives a sense of chance.

Where does hard work and effort fit?

Is it a good deal?

I love this post by Lisa Corbett.  She had me at the opening sentence.

Perhaps the only thing worse than being a teacher’s kid, is being a teacher’s spouse.

I think of comments from my own kids when they’d ask a question and expect an answer but got a probing question instead.

“Dad, you’re such a teacher.”

Or, when I have a conversation with my wife.

“I want an answer and don’t go all teacher on me.”

I had to smile at the two images of solving a mathematics problem in Lisa’s post.  It’s a comparison of two worlds – old school and new school mathematics.

If you’re a kid, who do you go to for homework help?

Why not go? (and some ways to get there)

I like how Lisa Noble is exploring things in her self-funded leave.

This time around, she shared a presentation that she gave to the recent OLA Conference.  About knitting!

This is a conference that everyone in the province really should attend at least once.  True to the notion of the teacher-librarian having a finger in all subject areas, there’s a little something for everyone.

I attended the conference three times.  The first time as a participant; the second doing a session with a teacher-librarian colleague and the third time doing the Great OSLA Faceoff with my competitor Zoe Branigan-Pipe.  There were pictures and I still have the t-shirt.

How do you get to go to conferences like these?  In Lisa’s post, she shares a number of different strategies to make conference going affordable.

I’ll bet that Lisa never pays sticker price for anything!

Thinking about Inclusion

Jennifer Casa-Todd went to the same conference as Lisa (I hope they met up) and shares her thoughts and takeaways.  It’s a different take since Jennifer didn’t present.

Her big question that helps frame the post is…

How are we genuinely building community in our schools and helping our most vulnerable students feel welcome and included?

She shares with us three sessions and the impact that they had on her.  It’s an interesting read and she makes the connection to what she sees as a teacher-librarian day in and day out.

And, of course, she sees how social media can play a part.


From the TESL Ontario blog, comes an entry by Laura Brass.

She talks about research – even the word brings back not-so-fond university memories in the non-mathematics or computer science courses.

While the research we conduct as language teachers is not a life-and-death matter, we all strive for accuracy and need useful points of reference. In my case, research journaling kept me from getting lost in the sea of references, articles, methods, and conventions, while at the same time, it helped me connect the dots between theory and practice.

I like the process that she describes and wish that I knew about it when I last had to do research.  Gone are the little stickers and scribbled notes I used as my advanced organization tools!

Her conclusion?

Conducting research is FUN.

Please take the time to click through and read the original posts.  There’s lots of good material in these blogs.  Share them (or this post) with colleagues and just bask in the wisdom of these great Ontario educators.

And make sure to follow them on Twitter.  (You’ve already bookmarked their blogs, right?)