This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to another Friday edition of This Week in Ontario Edublogs. #twioe It’s cool here but I’ve heard reports of you know what in other places. Stay warm and read some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


Living in the age of incivility Part 3 – The Iron Cage that is the school system

This is a rather longish post from Paul McGuire and even longer if you click through and read about “The Cage” and I would encourage that and thank Paul for including it.

As teachers, I think we’re all aware that a school district sets a direction and all teachers are expected to follow those directions. There are consequences for not playing along. I couldn’t help but think about this skit from Monty Python.

On one hand, people are encouraged to be creative but one the other hand, only when it’s within the rules.

As teachers, we always had the ability to contact our federation if we felt that we were treated improperly. Paul’s experience reminds us that principals are not part of any federation and are basically on their own.

In my mind, “The Cage” has become more of a thing with the amalgamation of school districts into super boards. More than ever, it’s easier to manage from the top if everyone follows the dictated rules.

The question should be asked – what type of school system results?


Back to Life, Back to Reality…

When a blog post starts with bad news and then good news and there’s still a great deal to read, it’s hard to predict!

Jen Aston lived with the message that she would be in a portable classroom for the school year. That really isn’t good news. There was a glimpse of sunshine when she was directed not to do too much setup. Because things change. In 2020? Really? <grin>

It sounds like she ended up in a better than expected classroom – a large room in the primary area of the school. That’s good news.

What’s in the rest of the post? It’s an interesting discussion about what’s happening in Mme Aston’s classroom in the various subject areas. If you know Jen, you just know that beekeeping would end up being part of the discussion.

Click through to see how!


Student Virtual Room Tutorial à la Bitmoji Classroom

Larissa Aradj shares with us an idea that she used from earlier this year. She had students design room; not with a drafting tool but in Google Slides.

She includes some pictures of what has been done by her students. They don’t need to maybe draw their own personal room but the room they’d like to have? It’s interesting to explore these images. As you might imagine, if you take a quick look, you might miss a great deal. Take some time, blow up the pictures, and see all the messages that are there.

Since it’s done in Google Slides, it seems to me that there are some interesting additional things that could be done. Make some areas hot spots so that you could open the books on bookshelves or any of the other objects in the room.

I’m also thinking that if this just one big collaborative slidedeck, the teacher could be hiding that Elf on the Shelf within student’s rooms and have them looking for it regularly.


Deciding whether or not to make the switch…

This really is a sign of the times in the fall of 2020. Some students have elected to start the year face to face and others have decided to do it online.

Depending upon the first decision and how it’s going, it should come as no surprise that students may wish to change their mode of learning. No surprises there and the rise in number of COVID people in the province might be forcing a new reality.

To manage this, school districts have set a date by which families must declare how it is that their children will go to school. That date determines the last date that they can switch, at least for now.

Kelly McLaughlin lays out the reality in her district where the date is November 3. To help parents, she’s created a pro and con information resource for them.

Of course, I know just what everyone is thinking – another reorganization of the schools and classrooms.


7 Reasons Why I’ll Miss My 7s

I fell for Diana Maliszewski’s teaser for this post

So I cried at school on Monday and I cried again at school on Friday. Different reasons; apologies to my in-person colleagues who were worried/alarmed at 1st. (Consider this a “teaser trailer” for this Monday’s blog post.)

— Diana Maliszewski (@MzMollyTL) October 10, 2020

and I held a spot for it.

You can feel her emotions come through in the post and I wish that I could be there to give her a hug. Split grades are a reality more than ever but imagine a school that looks like this…

JK-SK, 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6-7 and 7-8

The staff got together and reorganized as

JK-SK, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8

In this reorganization, Diana ended up having to pass off what sounds like a great group of Grade 7 students.

Now, keep in mind that in the TDSB, things have been in a flux so she hasn’t had a stable classroom since the first day of school. And yet, she is able to identify a bunch of attributes for these students and how they wished her goodbye. Hence the tears.

You just have to read the post.


Slice of Life: ***

I gained even more respect for Lisa Corbett after reading this blog post. Truly.

It brought back advice from my father – you can do the wrong thing and you can do the right thing. The wrong thing might make you friends or help you through a situation but doing the right thing will let you sleep at night.

The bottom line is that you have to live with yourself when things are done and you should never have to apologize for doing the right thing.

Do the wrong thing and you might be doing some explaining for a long time to come.


Bicycles for the Mind

It was great to see Helen DeWaard back blogging again.

This time around, she reflects as a result of watching the Social Dilemma.

This film, ironically warehoused within the Netflix collection, is touted as a “must watch” docudrama bringing a critical view to the impact of social media on the cultural fabric of society

She makes the connection for analyzing the moving using resources from the Association for Media Literacy and shares her questions with us.

A discussion of this also appeared on #OnEdMentors. Read the post for her analysis of things and check out the podcast on voicEd Radio for the group discussion.


Please take the time to read these posts in their entirety.

Then, follow these educators on Twitter.

  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Jen Aston – @mme_aston
  • Larissa Aradj – @MrsGeekChic
  • Diana Maliszewski  – @MzMollyTL
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Helen DeWaard – @hj_dewaard

This post originates from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I can’t get over how we seem to be speeding into winter. Cooler nights, the furnace got turned on, and it’s easy to detect the shorter days. On the other hand, it makes for a cooler dog walk…

Please enjoy these blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. As always, there are some great thinking in there.

The voicEd Radio archive of This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcasts is located here.


We’re back and it feels…

So, school is a month in and people are experiencing the new reality. Some teachers had a choice of teaching face to face and some online. Will Gourley decided to take the face to face route.

He describes his experience as CAGE.

  • Confusion
  • Anger
  • Grief
  • Elation

and expands on each of them. It’s an interesting read and I suspect that Will speaks for thousands of teachers this year.

This year is definitely different and yet the descriptions that Will uses might well be the reality of any different year. But, the reality this time around is that everything is amplified and teachers are much more cognizant about everything that’s happening in their world. Normally, a routine is established in classrooms in that first week. It’s definitely taking longer this year. They don’t cover this at the Faculty.

Prepping to teach this September has matched the level of confusion and effort of my very first years. 

Give Will a read and see if he’s not describing your reality.


Mask Productions

Around here, we turn on the Windsor and Detroit news stations to find out what’s happening around us. Because these stations are part of a big network, often they will bring in stories from the rest of the province or the country so that we get a sense of what’s happening elsewhere.

Of that, I’m sure that you can imagine the out of district news settles in on what’s happening in Toronto and/or Ottawa.

I think the last time that news from the northwest of the province came in a celebration for Terry Fox.

Certainly, nothing COVID from Thunder Bay or westward makes the news because their numbers are miniscule. That’s great news. So, I appreciated this post from Sheila Stewart letting us know how things are going from her perspective.

We are a big province indeed and bloggers from different locations help bring the entire picture into focus. In the post, we get a look at Sheila’s crystal ball for how long masking will be around.


Get Jamming with Google Jamboard – E022

I’m a big fan of digital visual aids in the classroom. Those lucky enough to have SMARTBoards or some other interactive product hopefully feel the same.

When Jamboard was announced, I actually thought it was for music but I was wrong. It’s Google’s idea of what an interactive whiteboard should be.

The EduGals share their insights to the product via both a podcast and this blog post. The podcast is nice but I’m more of a fan of the post. They include a number of screen captures and walk throughs of the functionality of the product. Man, we’ve come so far from the days of being excited about Microsoft Paint!

So, what makes this product different? To me, it’s the Google element. It’s enhanced for the web and that makes a huge difference. It takes away dependency on installing and maintaining software and it just works. As the EduGals point out, it’s very friendly and functional regardless of your platform. That makes it worthwhile.

If you’re just getting started with Jamboard, this is a pretty definitive walkthrough. Make sure that you check out the resources that they’ve included and their usage advice. You’ll leap from functionality to pedagogy almost immediately!


Finding my joy

I thought that this was a masterful piece of writing from Amanda Potts. The first time I read the post, I read it picturing it with the scenario that she describes. On the phone and working with a special needs student and helping the student decide between what they could control and what they couldn’t.

It was an emotional read and I put myself in her shoes and could feel the reality of dealing with that student. Any teacher could empathize. You could even feel the pain of having the phone pinned to her ear that way.

Then, I read the post again.

This time, I felt that she was telling us a story about herself and the reality of teaching these days – those things you control and those you can’t.

The first read was powerful; the second read was even more so.

I do hope that she continues to find her joy.


Apple Strudel: Family Recipes and Rituals to Heal an Aching Heart

Debbie Donsky bases this post around Apple Strudel. Normally, I would read and move on but there’s much more here than the strudel.

It came as a result from her father’s request when asked the question

Is there anything you want to eat?

The balance of the post describes how she goes about fulfilling this request.

These days, if I wanted apple strudel, I’d go to Sobeys in town and buy it in a package all ready to go.

That wasn’t Debbie’s solution and what she described was more or less the routine that my mother would have followed. (Except we wouldn’t have travelled to Niagara). The jar of canned peaches reminded me of the rows we would have in the basement once the fall canning blitz was over.

There really is something special about homemade. The results aren’t always perfect; they aren’t always even symmetrical. But they were awesome and a real treat.

So, please read Debbie’s post where she reveals the “secret ingredient”.


Covid Education Is What The Unicycle Is To The Bicycle

This is such an interesting title for a blog post and generated by Matthew Morris. I’m happy to know that I’m not the only one who was unable to master riding a unicycle although to my defense, I only tried twice.

I can vouch for his premise – riding a unicycle is nothing like riding a bicycle.

The first days of school were nothing like dusting off that old 4-speed and taking it for an easy ride down a familiar path. The first days back to school, under Covid education, felt like someone told me and all teachers, “You know how to ride a bicycle, right? Good, here’s a fucking unicycle…it’s basically the same thing.”

It’s a good comparison and would be funny if it wasn’t so serious. Even online learning in the time of COVID is different from online learning during regular times.

The difference? It goes back to the message from Amanda above. There are some things that you can control and some you can’t.

Is anyone in control these days?


A year later…

So, this is my official check in with Ramona Meharg.

As she reminds us, it’s been a year since she lost her mother and is taking time to think about the past year.

I’m told the first year is the most difficult as I pass these days and events without her for the first time.

I hope that the advice works out for her. I can share that, in my experience, the first year may be a collection of milestones but it’s certainly not the end to the memories. In fact, I would suggest that something is wrong if those memories ever do end.

Ramona is correct in her thoughts – going through this in the time of COVID is awful. In our family, some final meetings were through an external window. Nobody should have to do that.

Ramona’s post should serve as a reminder to all – make sure that you’re checking in on friends and loved ones. It’s always important but never more than right now.


I hope that you can find some time today or over the weekend to do a read of all of these wonderful blog posts and then share them within your network.

And, follow these awesome bloggers on Twitter.

  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Ramona Meharg – @RamonaMeharg

This post originated from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Greetings from my remote location – in my house. If you’ve listened to the voicEd Radio show on Wednesday mornings, you’ll know that I’ve been bumped from Studio A to Studio B because of a bathroom renovation. I’m on a different computer, different network, but I did bring my chair to sit at this relatively small desk. So, I’m good to go but am staring at a wall instead of looking outside on this beautiful Fall day. Here’s my weekly wander around the province looking at Ontario Education blogs.

The voicEd Radio archive of This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcasts is located here.


Teachers Are Still Rocking It-

It’s easy to read about the challenges that Ontario (and everywhere) teachers are having as school buildings re-open in the time of COVID. It’s less easy to find something motivational but Michelle Fenn does in this post on the ETFO Heart and Art Blog.

It’s great to read that educators from her district are interested in refining their technology and pedagogy abilities on their own time during the summer and now continuing into the evenings.

She draws a parallel in education to a series that she watched on Netflix about an exploration to Mars and the unexpected things they found. I’ll bet that describes your classroom.

It’s a good read and she mentions something that needs to be repeated and repeated. It doesn’t lessen our opinions of doctors, nurses, firefighters, grocery and other store and service workers but

Every educator is a front line worker, doing their best, making a difference, being brave beyond imagination and truly an inspiration.

I challenge all readers to repeat that on social and other media often.


A Dichotomy of Words

Elizabeth Lyons gives us a lesson in language in this post all tied to education’s current realities. As she notes, “dichotomy” is a word that we don’t use all that often. But, it was the inspiration for this post as she shares what she sees as dichotomies in our current reality.

  • Masks or no masks?
  • Physically distanced students or collapsed classes?
  • 1m vs 2m?
  • Online learning or face-to-face?
  • Hand sanitizer or soap and water?
  • Google Classroom or Brightspace?

Then, she takes off and gives her interpretation of each.

It’s an interesting read and important that it’s from the keyboard of an educator. We see these terms used casually by those in politics and on the evening news. Their true meaning goes much deeper.


“Somewhere the Hurting Must Stop” – Terry Fox

Patti Henderson is an incredible photographer and a valued person that I’ve met through my social connections and I’ve had the chance to meet her in person a couple of times.

I will apologize up front though; I went to her blog and looked at the pictures and was captivated and blown away with what I saw. I’ve mentioned it many times that artists like Patti see things that I miss. Certainly, this sticks out for me in this photo essay.

It wasn’t until I got to the bottom and saw the map that I realize that this wasn’t some sort of random collection of images. She had participated in a Terry Fox run/hike and took pictures along the way. I even thought that she had taken a picture of the set for Kim’s Convenience until I realized that there are thousands of corner stores in this world.

The pictures and her corresponding commentary puts the whole experience into perspective. Thank you, Patti, for doing this.


Body Breaks at Your Desk – for students too!

In a perfect world, there is so much movement in the classroom. Even when students are writing a test or a quiz, you’re up and walking around. This is certainly not a perfect world and people are supposed to sit at desks for the most part of the school day.

Laura Wheeler takes on this notion and lets us know that there are things that can be done to get the blood moving even in the current reality.

In the post, she explains why it’s important to have some movement in the classroom and shares a playlist of activities she’s curated to be done during breaks.

This is yet another example of how educators are seeing puzzle pieces strewn on the classroom floor and are taking the time to put them all back together. Using this metaphor, I think that it’s important to realize that you may have to smack some of those pieces to make them fit at times.


The 500 – #404 – Dr. John’s Gumbo – Dr. John

I really enjoy this series of blog posts from John Hodgkinson as he takes us through a list of great 500 albums. I hadn’t through of Dr. John for a while and when I do, I think naturally about

The song would be so important in our current time and place. If nothing else, turn up the volume and play it loud.

It’s not on this album (Iko Iko is) but there are great tunes nonetheless.

John gives us a description of the influences in Dr. John’s music including the connection to voodoo. It’s an interesting read and, he’s inspired to think about how to greet students in his classroom.

  • Everything is an influence for good or bad. I’ll remind my young charges to be mindful of the world around them and tap into its inspiration.
  • The teen-years are a fertile time for passionate pursuits…pursue your passions.
  • I will continue to foster the academic and artistic pursuits of my students. Unlike Mac’s Jesuit teachers, I’ll never give them an ultimatum.
  • Persevere and Adapt. Challenges are opportunities for greatness in disguise.
  • Quirky, flamboyant, wild and weird are positive descriptions. Be what you are meant to be … Let your freak flags fly!

Some inspirational thoughts here. Could you use them?


Networking in a Pandemic (key to survival)

OK, I love anything that Zoe Branigan-Pipe writes and when I’m in the first sentence of her post, I’m over the top!

My favourite Beauty and the Beast photo from a OSLA Superconference where led the Great OSLA Faceoff

I’m glad that I wrote that reflection post about my experience. In her response, Zoe takes us through her network and the value that it brings to her. I’m impressed with how our networks overlap.

If you’re new to networking or if you’d like to tweak your own network, take an opportunity to “meet” those in her post. You can only get better connected when you include them in yours.

In closing, hi Zoe, you’re not the only one to read your post and we’ll hold you to your promise of blogging at least once a week!


Commiserating With Others Over Their Technology Woes

Finally, back to the Heart and Art blog and a post from Tammy Axt.

This is another photo essay – about teaching this time. Technology works well except when it doesn’t.

Tammy is teaching in a hybrid environment and so is being observed with a couple different set of student lenses and everything just needs to work.

What happens when it doesn’t? It happens for all of us. I can just image the Help Desk at her district when she sends in these images to report problems.


I hope that you will take the time to click through and read these terrific blog posts. There’s great stuff there for all.

Then, make sure you’re following all these people on Twitter.

  • Michelle Fenn – @toadmummy
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Patti Henderson – @GingerPatti
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • John Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher
  • Zoe Branigan-Pipe – @zbpipe
  • Tammy Axt – @MsAxt

This post appears first on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Not surprisingly, there is a focus on teaching in these troubled times on the posts from Ontario Edubloggers. I’ve tried to bring a bunch of them together for your Friday and weekend reading.


One Size Fits All, Even When It Doesn’t

Tim King leads off with a confession that he has a big head. I hadn’t noticed. The point of Tim’s post was that he requires a medical mask and couples that with sinus issues to make things ugly. The mask isn’t sized to accommodate him and that makes for an uncomfortable day.

Couple that with the life of a technology teacher in a warm shop area setting up and dealing with the tech and you get the picture that he’s trying to paint.

The plot thickens as the topic turns to computer technology and his need to fix things so that his students have a place to work. Renewed Computer Technology of Ontario may be part of the answer to his dilemma of getting parts these days.

Then, there’s the whole concept of the long, extended class periods and the need for a break …

I suspect that Tim speaks for hundreds of educators across the province.


I’m on the phone

Amanda Potts tells of a story that I can only interpret as loneliness in the days of school building re-opening.

So, we know that social distancing is the rule these days but this is how it plays out for an LST.

“Hello, this is Amanda Potts, calling from Canterbury High School. I’m your child’s Learning Support Teacher this year. Is this a good time to talk about their IEP?”

It’s just her and parents on these calls when she gets a request from a colleague. Of course, it’s from a distance but can’t be entertained as she’s setting the stage for her parents and the students she’ll be supporting.

Although I’m sure that it adds another level of concern, I like the fact that she’s concerned about family life as she calls to talk to parents.

I just have this vision of going into B41 and working on things in the summer all by myself. A school or a classroom without students is really a lonely place.


School Online – Journal – Day 12

Terry Whitmell has a collection of blog posts that’s documenting her experiences and observations for re-opening in her part of the world. She is one of a team of principals for online learning in Peel.

I think we’ve all read and heard about stories of teachers who didn’t have classes or timetables ready to go. Here’s a look from the other side.

However, with student timetables a priority, the entry of teachers next to courses didn’t begin until near the end of the day, and is ongoing as I write.

I used to help our principal and vice-principal with timetabling and conflicts can be maddening. Sometimes, it takes a second set of eyes to see something that was staring right at you! She also takes into consideration teacher preferences. It’s an interesting read – particularly if you think that it’s all computerized and all that’s necessary is to click on GO to make the magic happen.

Of course, there are all the technical nerdy things that students will have to learn like the choice of LMS and video conferencing software – I can’t believe that the system offers a choice. Despite that, her wish is for community building first.


Friday Two Cents: Be Grateful

Lest we think that it’s just teachers and principals that are affected with everything that’s going on, Paul Gauchi reminds us that there are others in the system too.

He’s a long term occasional teacher and has been watching the comments coming from teachers in the classroom.

However, the more I read posts on social media and hear stories from them, the more I cannot be silent.

He’s taking on those who have complained about:

  • having to wear PPE
  • having collapsed classrooms
  • teaching a new grade level

and reminds us that there are many out there still looking to get hired.


Managing virtual and in-person synchronous instruction

I’m not the only one who uses dog-walking time to do some thinking. Jennifer Casa-Todd recently did the same sort of thing. She’s collaborating with a group of teacher-librarians to provide a resource for their teachers, doing their teaching online. I’m hoping that she looks at the resource that Elizabeth Lyons created (and I shared on this blog earlier this week). It would be a nice product to replicate and provide additional local resources.

She brings into the conversation a number of technical solutions, all the while in typical Jennifer style, keeping students at the centre of the conversation.

  • Peardeck
  • Padlet
  • Jamboard

Those are leading products in their genre but certainly aren’t the only ones.


Why Do We Share As We Do?

I enjoyed reading this post from Aviva Dunsiger. It’s a question that people asked “back in the day” when social media was new as a way to justify diving in.

In her post, Aviva shares her reasons for sharing

  • We share this way because it allows kids and families to benefit from each other’s thinking and learning
  • We share this way because it encourages the social
  • We share in this way because it helps us remember and celebrate the positives!
  • We share in this way because of the implied message that it also sends
  • If all thinking and learning is just kept private, what do our actions say about our beliefs?

I actually read her post when it first came out – because she had tagged me in the announcement (I do appreciate it when that happens) – and I had written a reply that I continue to stand by.

We share because it makes us more observant to what is going on and we share so that we don’t forget.

To me, the proof lies in the actual implementation. Right now, I just picked up my MacBook Pro and I’m in search of a Twitter message that I shared this morning about the new Safari so that I can poke around. I was using a Chromebook when I read the original message.

My original share may not mean anything to others but it’s a chance to share my learning with anyone who cares to join me and now I get the benefit myself by going back and finding it.

There was a time when I would just bookmark it and go back but I’ve learned that that approach teeters on selfishness. If it’s good for me, it has the potential to be good for others.

That may have been the first time ever I’ve used the word “teeter”.


Push & Pull

Finally, from Alexandra Woods, a post that will break your heart. It’s not unique to her; I just happened to read hers first. It’s from the perspective of a mother and teacher.

She had a moment with her son that caused her to pause and focus on what’s really important.

Teaching is all-encompassing and professionals are doing their very best to make sure that it’s going to be positive for students. Kudos for that; that’s what good teachers do.

And yet, there’s another factor in all this and that’s the family at home. Those of us who are parents know that we turn over these little ones to someone else for the time spent at work teaching. In a normal world, the time spent not teaching is easier to manage but many teachers are observing that teaching and planning to teach is creeping into that time not officially devoted to working.

There’s always this sense that you should be doing more and sometimes a wakeup call to reality is needed.


Please take the time to click through and read these posts in their entirety. There’s great inspirational stories there from a number of different members involved in education.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Terry Whitmell – @TerryWhitmell
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Alexandra Woods – @XanWoods

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Around here, someone flipped the switch and now it’s fall. The warm days went away, replaced by cooler ones. Crickets are everywhere; there actually have been a couple of nights where we closed the windows to keep the noise down!

Not noise, but great commentary from Ontario Edubloggers it the focus of this regular Friday morning post. Please enjoy.


Calendar

As a secondary school person, it was culture shock when I visited primary classrooms, often at “Calendar Time”. It was always a big deal and I remember students highly interested in having their voice heard.

Now considerably older, calendars are important – in my digital life although This Week in Ontario Edublogs and Walk the Dog are the only two recurring events. That, and birthdays. I don’t really need that; we have a calendar on the fridge and the rules is that if it isn’t in the calendar, it won’t happen.

I remember that the calendar templates in Microsoft Publisher were crowd pleasers in the schools!

In this post, written before her teaching assignment was confirmed, Lisa Corbett shares her thoughts about the important of calendar with Grade 2 expectations. And, perhaps a different approach for doing calendars this year…


Back to School Thoughts

It was great to see Jennifer Aston back at her blog. This is another post talking about the nervousness before the return to school. She seems to have a great summer that included some camping. More on this later.

She speaks for so many educators when she lets loose about her frustrations with the Ministry of Education and the approach taken to re-opening schools that, by most accounts, excluding talking with teachers.

What a missed opportunity to work together for our deserving children!  

Besides being a teacher, Jennifer is also a mother and is very aware that emotion and words can be heard at times from an unexpected audience.

Dwelling on the negatives can really bring one down and so she does talk about some of the very positive things that she’s expecting for September. Way to go.

Back to camping; there are a number of ways to take a holiday this year – staycations (for the most of us), going to a cottage (which can be like a home away from home including internet access), or going camping. Now, camping is all over the map in terms of experience but part of it is maintaining a safe site, cooking outside, etc. I wonder if students who camped to survive the summer will be tougher when back in the classroom?


Don’tMessWithTheShield: A Little Unexpected, Humorous Teacher Inquiry

Aviva Dunsiger takes us on a little adventure with her experiences with a mask and a shield. Like all of us who wear glasses, fog becomes a very distinct enemy. Of course, I had to think about the Andy Reid shield wearing at the Kansas City football game.

Imagine teaching a class of kindergartners through that fog!

Now, I hope that my friendship with Aviva withstands this comment but she seems to be in the shield modification skill department like how she describes her ability to park. Love you, Aviva.

You might smile as you read this but I’ll bet you can see yourself doing exactly what she tried to do.

Thankfully, she had a VP with a replacement shield to save the day.


Rollercoaster

Diana Maliszewski takes us on an emotional rollercoaster that so many Ontario educators can empathize with. She found out on Thursday, September 10 what her teaching assignment would be. Think about the date and the fact that normally, school would have started September 8. Over the prior summer, teachers are likely to be engaged in planning and collecting resources for the fall.

If you’re a user of a school library, this will break your heart.

The big picture here, and Diana spells it out, is that she’s had at least a part timetable as a Teacher-Librarian for her entire career. She didn’t use the role as a selfish way to avoid teaching kids; she’s been an advocate and poster child for the transition from libraries as a repository of books to the Learning Commons that we take for granted these days.

More than that though, Diana has been a leader, coach, critical friend, presenter, advocate, champion for technology and libraries. She’s been a mainstay presenter with subject associations like the OSLA and ECOO. She refuses to accept the status quo.

The TDSB has elected to not fund Learning Commons this year.

That places Diana in a full time teaching situation; a 6/7 split. She has three concerns that she outlines in the post. All three are legitimate concerns and I wish her all the best as she undertakes this new reality.

Once she settles in, I know that she will recognize that her years of being a connected educator has made her so many connections and her above average ability to curate resources (check out her wikis) will serve her well.

I also hope that subject associations which have thrived because of the contributions of educators like Diana are there with real resources to assist this year.


Are We Prepared To Be Doing The Same Learning In The Future?

This essay from Rola Tibshirani should be required reading for everyone who emerged from the spring of emergency learning depressed.

Rola uses this post to share her insights into how things went well in her classroom and I suspect many other classrooms. It’s easy to focus on the challenges and certainly there were so many. Rola observes:

Our ecosystem during the emergency remote learning grew stronger due to the established partnership with parents and the students.

It was a slide/transition from regular classroom to teaching online. Rola observes that her success emerged from those idea connections that were already in place. I would suggest stepping back from your current reality and think objectively about what actually happened last spring.

Could your classroom be as successful as hers?

She provides a large list of events about learning, well being, and resilience.

It is so inspirational.


Talk Me Through Your Process

Any time you can take a significant educational think online, be open and collaborative, only good things can happen.

And, good things should emerge from this new intiative that Roland Chidiac describes in this post. In collaboration with Chris Cluff and Ramona Meharg, he introduces us to a new podcast devoted to getting Principal qualifications.

The podcast is a great tool to assist us in sharing our perspectives, learning from each other, and learning from others outside of our immediate circle. We are modeling our process in a public way with the hope that it will start up great discussions and encourage others to do the same. As my friend Joe Marquez likes to say, education is a collaborative sport! 

The concept sounds very interesting and the timing may well be perfect for those who are interested in this leadership role in education.


ADAPTING LESSON PLANS FOR ONLINE TEACHING

There are a lot of students whose family has elected to have them start this fall learning online. So many, in fact, that many newly created online schools have a delay in starting that put them behind the starting date for those going face to face.

As we learned last spring, there is a significant different between teaching face to face and teaching face to Zoom/Meet/Skype/Teams.

Like all things educational, engagement is a huge factor for success. Writing for the ESLOntario blog, Azi Pordel shares thoughts about the use of Microsoft Powerpoint or slides in general in the classroom for engagement. Tips on design and the rational behind slide design and process are discussed.


I hope that you can find some time to click through and enjoy all of these blog posts.

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

  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Jennifer Aston – @mme_aston
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Diana Maliszewski  – @MzMollyTL
  • Rola Tibshirani – @rolat
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • TESL Ontario – @teslontario

This is an original blog post from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com