Category: Blogging

An Interview with Sarah Lalonde


Screenshot 2018-01-13 at 17.30.01Sarah Lalonde is a teacher-candidate at the University of Ottawa and is also the Community Manager for voicEd Radio.  I imposed on her studies to have her take part in this interview and am so glad that she did.

Here’s a chance to look at the future of education in the province.

Doug:  I always start by asking people when we first met.  But, we haven’t met face to face (unless I’m wrong) yet!  Most certainly, we’ve met online.  Do you first recall when you first  “met” me?

Sarah: I think the key word here is YET! One of my favourite things about connecting with people online is the in real life (IRL) meet ups. Although we have only been connected virtually, I believe to have “met” you through Stephen Hurley, when we were coming up with Graphics for the shows on VoicEd Radio. He was telling me about your live show “This Week in Ontario EduBlogs” and I thought it was one of the most ingenious ideas, and so I’ve been following you ever since.

Doug:  So, you’re in Year Two of your studies to become a teacher.  How are they going?

Sarah: They are flying by. Hands down, the quickest two years of my life. Getting a B.Ed is a rollercoaster of emotions. You have to juggle many different elements at once and it’s funny you ask this because I recently posted, for National Sketchnote Day, a representation of The “Balanced” Life of a Teacher Candidate. So, when people ask: How is Teachers College going? I could simply show them this sketch in order to help them understand all of the things that are on a preservice teacher’s mind and plate on a day to day basis. Don’t get me wrong, I love every moment of it and I am so eager to be at the final leg of the race to becoming a certified teacher and member of the OCT, finding a job and ultimately guiding, mentoring and changing student’s lives.  

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Doug:  Most of us graduated from a one year program at a Faculty of Education.  What more do you think you’ve learned than we would have?

Sarah: I am genuinely grateful that I have an “extra” year of training to becoming a teacher. I still believe that the Faculties are adjusting to this two year program transition, but ultimately, in the long run, many preservice teachers benefit from the in class and practicum experience. Especially because you simply can’t go wrong with more placement time – which is invaluable experience that we will be able to bring with us into our teaching career. And, on average, I’ve probably accomplished 10-12 more classes than those who would have graduated from the one year program. However, it’s not really about the class time at the University. That extra year of the B.Ed allows you more time to find yourself as a future teacher. You have the chance to ask more questions, connect with more educators, experience more classroom time with your Associate Teacher… You build your classroom management, your teaching style. It allows you to figure things out within yourself before walking into a classroom on your own. Don’t get me wrong, you still figure things out as you go, but I am thankful for this second year as it is building my confidence for walking into interviews and being a supply teacher.

Doug:  I recall the many practice teaching and volunteer experiences that I had at the Faculty of Education and the wide variety of classrooms that I visited.  What placement (and why) would you consider your highlight so far?

Sarah: My first placement in a grade 5 classroom in a French elementary school in Ottawa was most definitely the highlight of my B.Ed so far. I say that because I spent +7 weeks with those students and was able to build incredible connections with them. As a student teacher, sometimes it is difficult to connect with your students because of your title “Student” Teacher – doesn’t give you much authority. But I learnt that it wasn’t about authority. It was about relationships and respect. Once the students learnt who I was and I learnt who each and every one of them were we became like a family; we supported each other; we laughed and cried with each other and we create a safe space in our classroom to learn. We had our ups and downs but this class allowed me to take risks as a student teacher, they made me question some of my strategies and challenged me to grow. They threw me a surprise graduation at the end of my placement. They made me a bouquet of flowers with a special thank you note from each student on the stem and a graduation cap. It was really special.

Screenshot 2018-01-13 at 17.30.42

 

Doug:  You’ll soon be a graduate in search of a job, I’m assuming.  What are the job prospects?  Are your prepared to move to take a position?

Sarah: Yes, you’re so right! I will be completing my degree in April and will officially be on the job hunt. Nonetheless, this is a tough question and one that comes up often. I know what my end goal is: teaching in a French language catholic school, preferably grades 4 through 6 or 9 through 10. I am not fussy when it comes to grades, but at the same time, as a new teacher I would just like a stable position.

I am a homebody. I’ve contemplated moving but have realized that I will most likely end up coming back home eventually, so why not stick out the supply list in my area (although there might not be as many job opening as the GTA for example) and in the long run I truly believe I will benefit from this decision.

Doug:  As a bilingual candidate, you have to be pretty attractive to a school district in search of teachers.  In a perfect world, would you prefer teaching in a French language school or an English language one?

Sarah: As I mentioned, my ultimate goal is to teach in a French language school. This is very important to me. Especially having grown up in the French system, I have only know French language schools my entire life. Being a Franco-Ontarienne is in my blood; it is my culture. That being said, preserving the French language in Ontario is entrenched in me and I believe it is important to continue educating future generations in that language or else it will perish.

Doug:  You’ve embraced new technologies via Twitter, Podcasting, Blogging, etc.  Were you inspired to do so because of teaching aspirations or would you have gone this route anyway?

Sarah: I ultimately started embracing the new technologies after attending my first ever EdTechTeam Summit Featuring Google for Education and Future Ready Schools at the Montreal Summit in April 2016, only a few months before starting my B.Ed at the University of Ottawa. After having attended that conference, listening to the speakers, connecting with the educators, participating in the workshops – my entire perception and philosophy on Education shifted. I was hooked. I immediately understood the power and importance of EdTech and knew that it was going to be something that I was going to learn more about. Now I present at Google Summits and am a Google Certified Educator!

 

Screenshot 2018-01-13 at 17.30.57

Doug:  Your abilities and enthusiasm led to your position of Community Manager with voicEd Radio.  What does that mean?  Do you get paid at the same rate as we on-air personalities?

Sarah: First of all, a big shoutout and thank you goes to Stephen Hurley for trusting me in this position as of July 2017. Words cannot describe how many amazing opportunities and doors this position has opened for me… It has truly allowed me to become a member of this passionate community of educators who share one sole purpose; the betterment of themselves for their students.

So, this summer, Stephen and I made a big push to contribute more content and graphics to our Social Media accounts by letting people know what shows were coming up and keeping everyone up to date on our newest content and blogs. I helped Stephen with the scheduling, he taught me all the ins and outs of what truly goes on behind the curtains at VoicEdRadio. My role has shifted a bit since I’ve gone back to school – I do more of the creating than the publishing. I love designing the graphics for shows and Twitter promotes you see floating around social media on the @voicEdCanada account!

Doug:  You have your own show – Que Sera Sarah?  What’s the focus of this show?

Sarah: I still haven’t gotten used to the fact that I have a show. Its surreal.  

The premise is that – I am currently a Teacher Candidate studying at the University of Ottawa, wanting to share my journey into education with the world. Yes, that’s very broad and allows me to do whatever I please with my show. But overall, my podcast consists of a variety of episode styles:

  • 1:1 interviews with educators from Canada and around the world who inspire me
  • panel discussions on topics that I want to know more about
  • discussions with other Teacher Candidates from all over Canada about what their experience is during their B.Ed program

I can admit that I never know what I am going to get when I invite someone on the podcast, but ultimately it is all about learning, sharing and connecting.

Doug:  Suppose you have your own classroom next fall – does Social Media of any sort have a place in it?

Sarah: Social media must have a place in my classroom next year – without a doubt. Depending on the age group, this will take different forms but I realize the importance of teaching beyond the 4 walls of your classroom. Thus, allowing students to connect with experts, allowing students to share their work with authentic audiences, allowing students to learn about what is going on outside of their village, town or community is critical these days. We want our students to be global learners. That being said, there are a lot of preparation to be done with the students before incorporating social media into the classroom, for example, teaching them digital literacies and the importance of being a digital citizen and their digital footprint.

Doug:  Is Social Media and its use part of your Education program?  Is so, how?

Sarah: No, social media is not used as part of my Education program and I think it is very unfortunate. I had one, and only one teacher, speak about and incorporate Twitter in one of her courses and there was tons of pushback. This says a lot about the lack of awareness about Social Media in my program and I think that Teacher Candidates need to be taught how to properly utilize these digital communities that can be ever so helpful. Brad Shreffler, from the Planning Period Podcast, always says that I should be the poster child for Social Media for educators because of all of the really cool things I’ve been able to do because it.

This interview is also the perfect example of the power of social media! We would certainly not be connecting if it wasn’t for Twitter and our PLNs.

Doug:  Recently, you retweeted this:

Screenshot 2018-01-13 at 17.31.12
How would you answer that question on a personal level?

Sarah: This sparked so much self-reflection when I saw and retweeted this. A) because I feel as though at the Faculty, my professors are teaching us, not for our futures, but for their pasts which really upsets me and is a conversation for a whole other day & B) because I wholeheartedly believe that we should be preparing students for their futures, however that future is so uncertain. These students will be working jobs that we don’t even know exist yet! And, that is why I believe we should be teaching and working on competencies with them, such as critical thinking, problem solving, entrepreneurship, creativity, collaboration and so much more.  

Doug:  Could you do it for 30/35 years?

Sarah: I could do it, but I know it won’t be easy. Preparing students for their future for 30-35 years means that I would continuously be changing my practice and my teaching. It means that I would have to keep up to date and stay in tune with the world, adjusting to the new technologies, new jobs, etc. It means that I couldn’t go back and use old lesson plans from years back – I would constantly be modifying them to adapt to my students and their needs. I think that is why educators are not preparing students for their future because they teach what they know, what they are comfortable with.  

Doug:  You blog both on your site and on the voicEd Radio site.  How do you decide which goes where?  How do you decide what language to use?

Sarah: To be honest, most of my blogs are on both my site and the VoicEd Radio site with the exception of my most recent 2018 – Practicing Lagom post which was a little more personal than professional, so I decided to strictly keep it on my personal website.  

Being bilingual, I’ve grown up with a linguistic duality. This has allowed me to live my life basically 50% English and 50% French. This may seem strange to some, but it is my reality. That being said, when I blog or podcast, the experiences I live in English – I write about in English. The contexts of my life that I want to write about in French, end up in that respective language. It also depends on the audience I am trying to reach…

Doug:  Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us, Sarah.  For those of us who have gone the route you’re taking, this has been an interesting look and has brought back memories for me.  I know that we all wish you every success in the completion of your studies and look forward to seeing you blogging/vlogging/podcasting/broadcasting from your own classroom soon.

You can follow Sarah on Social Media:

This is part of a periodic posting series.  You can read all the interviews I’m done here.

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This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday!

Get inspired by reading some blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.  They’re guaranteed to get you thinking.  That’s always a good thing.


Turbulence

I originally thought that this was going to be another #OneWordONT post.  And, it probably could be.  However, Anne Marie Luce lets us know that it’s a 13 hour flight from Beijing to Toronto – that’s plenty of time to experience turbulence.

She likens it to the turbulence that she’s hearing about in Ontario Schools.

  • Not enough supply teachers
  • Staff on stress leave
  • Mental health needs and lack of resources
  • Pressure to improve learning

It makes you wonder what the pilot is doing behind that locked door.


Feedback

Another one word title, this time from Deborah McCallum.

I like how she discusses “feedback” and “assessment” in the same paragraph.  She correctly identifies that if feedback only appears on assessment, it’s missed the point.  Feedback should be given early in the learning process so that it can have a positive impact on the assessment.

There’s a great section devoted to misconceptions and suggestions for implementation.

She also makes available “Feedback Dice for Problem Solving” freely available to download and use.

Do you see a purpose for these in your classroom?


It’s “check-in” time

From Lisa Noble, this was a timely piece of advice during the recent cold snap.  It’s tough to remember, given the warm weather that we’ve experienced this week but you know it won’t last.

Do you check in on neighbours who might be affected by the weather?

Then, Lisa reminds us that they may not be the only ones who are affected by things over the holidays.  How about those students that are returning to your classroom?  We all know that everyone’s holidays are different.  Some may have enjoyed Santa in Florida and had a great time.

They’re not representative of 100% of the students in your class.

Everyone should feel welcome, valued, and know that their presence is appreciated.  Check in with everyone – meaningfully.


Interrupt Yourself

OK, here’s finally a post about a “one word” for 2018 – from Terry Greene.

It might well be advice for everyone to consider.  Most of the words that have been chosen have been high energy, high action – in this case Terry uses advice from cows.

Pause.

In a fast moving world, this may well be the best advice for everyone.  We can’t all “stop the train, I want to get off”, but we can pause to think and reflect.  Is your train on the right track, headed in the direction it should?  Are you even on the right train?

Just like the cows in the photo.

A good idea worth doing?

I guess I don’t have an answer to Benjamin’s question “what should give educator’s pause?” other than to say, “Good idea! Let’s pause.”


Advice for coaches

Best advice that I ever got when I moved to work from the board office.

Don’t ever say – “I’m from the board office and I’m here to help you.”

Being a coach is a tough gig.  If you think a teaching load of students is challenging, try a coaching load of all the teachers in your charge.

In this post, Jen Giffen put out a feeler on Twitter for advice about coaching and got some great results, which she summaries in this post.

coach


Content Curation: A necessary skill for today’s learners

Check out the image below, courtesy of Jennifer Casa-Todd.

We’re all curators.

Some of us are hoarders.

There are so many competencies that can be addressed by learners – students and teachers alike.  The notion is changing – I can remember when research was summarily rejected when you quote from Wikipedia, for example.

Now, we recognize that there is so much “stuff” available and previous looked down upon sources are now credible.

The real skill becomes how to digest and use it.  And, to cull the information that has been updated by better content.

In fact, good curation skills are the ultimate skill to protect against the “fake news” that is everywhere.  You don’t even have to look hard to find that stuff anymore.


Sitting Down, Side by Side

This post from Helen DeWaard could be a lesson for parent, teaching, coaching, living with a partner, working, …

The deepest conversations I have with my children happen in the enclosed space of the car, while driving from place to place. I will quickly offer to drive them anywhere just so we can have ‘car-talk-time’.

In the classroom, consider the most productive and effective moments.

  • Is it standing at the front of the room flipping through a Powerpoint presentation?
  • Is it wandering around watching groups interact?
  • Is it sitting next to a student talking about the learning?

Helen’s discussion about travel and positioning may just have you thinking about things differently.  Time is so precious; what can you do to make it the most productive it can be?


Please take a moment to click through and read these original posts.  As always, there are some absolutely great pieces of thinking done by the authors.  Why not benefit from it?

And, when you’re done, make sure that you’re following these people.  Expand your network of great learners.

The entire collection of posts from “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” which appears every Friday can be found here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Settle in your nice warm place and enjoy some of the blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers that I enjoyed lately.


Looking Forward

Peter McAsh shares his love for CBC Radio and listening to podcasts in this recent post on the ECOO blog.  There’s been a lot over the past year dealing with Artificial Intelligence but surprisingly little dealing with education.  So, Peter asks …

“How will AI impact education?
How will education adapt to teach students who will be part of a world with AI?”

Open ended questions, to be sure, but certainly worthy of consideration.  The thing about technology is that it can be insidious.  As such, you can’t ignore it.  Are our systems ignoring it or are they preparing for a world where it’s so available?


Upcoming Releases for Winter and Spring 2018

Because teachers and teacher-librarians want to stay on top of things and be in the know, check out this literature preview from Helen Kubiw on the CanLit for Little Canadians blog.

Month by month, see upcoming book releases in the categories of:

  • Picture Books
  • Fiction
  • Young Adult
  • Non-Fiction

Is it time to start a shopping list with your school teacher-librarian?


Crowd Sourcing Math Problems through the 12 Days of Tweetmas

Ramona Meharg describes an interesting challenge the Thames Valley District School Board held before the holidays – a puzzle or mathematics challenge each day for 12 days – with the students sending out messages about the challenges via Twitter.

Now, a Special Educational Secondary School classroom might not be on the top of your list of candidates to participate but they were in Ramona’s case.  Who doesn’t like a good challenge?  (Just don’t mention that it’s educational)

Although she had some reservations, they participated and it sounded like they had a great time – including hands on with candy canes.

For those students, social media seemed to have provided a nice opportunity to level the playing field by participating with other classes throughout the district.  It’s hard to image another setting where they would be equal players.

Ramona gives a very nice description of how they handled things and is already planning on how to incorporate Google Hangouts into things in the future.

Is there a lesson here for other school districts to copy and implement themselves?


How we #Kahoot!

Whether you prefer to learn via images or text, Laura Wheeler has you covered in this post describing how she uses Kahoot!, the social gaming system, in her mathematics classes.

For Laura, it’s not just a “pick an app and do something” experience.  She describes just how many and how she has crafted the activities for her students.  It’s not a computer-y thing either; the pictures share a story of all the tools and collaboration that happens.

And, if you want a quick overview, check out her Sketchnote of the process.  It boils everything down into one neat overview.

If you’re looking to start with Kahoot! or are looking for a more sophisticated approach, this post will be of special interest.


Duty to Report School Violence

Deborah Weston tagged me in the announcement of this post so I had to check it out.  It’s a sobering look at school violence.

In the post, Deborah gives statistics and survey results from ETFO and OECTA.  I know that many will agree with her observations and others will be inspired to find out more.

violence

The impact on teachers should be of immediate concern to all.

Hopefully, knowing that you’re not alone, will be just the incentive for all to report issues of violence when they occur.

p.s. This post was written and scheduled Thursday morning.  During a Thursday dog walk, I got tagged in another Twitter message alerting me to this post.


2018: Hall-Dennis–Looking Back to Look Ahead

For so many in education these days, the Hall-Dennis report or Living Learning may not even be something that they’ve heard of.  And yet, it laid the groundwork for education in Ontario as it stands today.

Canada had just celebrated its Centennial when Premier Bill Davis commissioned the report.  Who could forget Expo 67 or Bobby Gimby (if you were around at the time)?

It was an opportunity for Canadians to see the future and why shouldn’t we be visioning the future of education?

Arguably, one of the most important documents to influence education in the province, the basic messages are still as applicable today as they ever were.  To quote Billy Joel, “We didn’t start the fire.”

This post from the Alpha Alternative School shows how it is influenced today by the report.

You can read the report here.  (Set aside some time, it’s not a quickie blog post)  When you hear people longing for the “good ol’ days”, they may have to go back a great deal further than Hall-Dennis.


The Half Way Mark

I had to reflect back on my own career at year 16 of teaching when I read this post from Tina Zita.

I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t counting the days/years until the end of my teaching career.  I think I was more focused on the present.  But, Tina is taking a pause to reflect on what she’s done so far and what she’s planning to do for the future.  Is this a result of us being so well connected these days?

It’s interesting to note that she’s not focused on major milestones but rather a series of “nudges”.  It’s a challenging way to look at things.

The biggest satisfaction that any teacher can have is to have students that reach out after they’ve graduated to note the things or nudges that you gave them.

Give her post a read and see if you can’t see yourself at Year 16 looking forward.


Another week and another great collection of blog posts.  Please take a few moments to click through to the original posts and give them a read and drop off a comment or two.

These authors will appreciate it.

And, follow them on Twitter.

Last week, Julie Balen’s post about OneWordOnt was featured here on the blog and has sparked a great deal of conversation and blogging from Ontario Educators.  Julie has started a Google+ community for people to share their blog posts.  You can enjoy it here.  A nice fall out form this is a number of New York state educators jumping in on the conversation and the resulting social media connections.  Wouldn’t it be nice if they crossed the Peace Bridge or the Rainbow Bridge and joined us in Niagara Falls for next November’s Bring IT, Together Conference, November 6 – 8th, 2018?  I’m cautiously optimistic that the Falls will have thawed out by then.

Who said that? – Answers


I hope that you enjoyed poking around looking for yourself in the comments from yesterday’s post.  It was a nice opportunity for me to revisit some of my old posts and some of the great comments that came to them.

As I promised, here are the answers.


Very fun! TY for the share!
– Ramona Meharg – Your own coat of arms


Didn’t know Storify was going to stop. Storify 2 doesn’t make all that much sense and I won’t be paying for it. I don’t have a good idea how I will capture conversations in the future. Recently, Storify has been a really great way to capture conversations on #ontedassessment. I don’t see how Participate will work as well and Participate still seems to have a 140 character limit, so 2016!
– Paul McGuire – Going, Going


I also used my own money to by bread and peanut butter for snack sandwiches. My idea of when the peanut jar was empty changes a lot once the cost was on me. Imagine that.
– Alfred Thompson – Whatever happpened to … $0.99 Ponderosa steaks?


I’ve written a few times about the alumni community we’ve built and how it’s such an important part of a teacher’s career (at least mine).
– Mike Zemansky – Whatever happened to … those lifelong friends?


What goalie was attributed with being the first one to use a mask in an NHL game? – Jacques Plante. Everyone knows that one.
– Stephen Downes – Whatever happened to … straight bladed hockey sticks?


So if this was a kid in elementary school it would be ‘yes you can still go on the big year end field trip but we’ll suspend you for five days in September.’
– Lisa Cranston – Two Standards


Thank you for sharing Dylan’s story ~ and thank you to Lisa for suggesting it as well! It was such a cool experience for Dylan, and the entire class benefitted from learning together. I’m starting to wonder if there is such a thing as a potter’s swagger (lol), since he’s starting to make a name for himself — how amazing is that!
– Colleen Rose – This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Agh. I’m asleep on the job. Now scrambling to figure out what I can quickly make today to celebrate pi day. Last year, we had mini quiches for breakfast, tarts for dessert, and a meat pie for supper.
– Lisa Noble – March 14


For years in edtech we have been nibbling at the edges, with a number of different tools, for what explain everything puts in each students’ hands. It’s not necessarily revolutionary as much as it is the culmination of the revolution in which students are able to differentiate how they respond, and teachers are able to capture much more easily, the responses (in differentiated ways) of all of their students. It doesn’t look knew because you’ve been able to do things like this for a while. You’ve just never been able to do them this easily.
– Jarred Bennett – 100 year old inspiration


Thanks for this, Doug. I’ve been trying to brush on my math skills so I’ll check it out.
– Peter Beens – Having fun with mathematics


That student coming back to see me paralleled my own experiences so closely that it rocked me. Nothing has changed in the thirty years since I was in high school. Kids are still being punished by teachers in subjects they love because they don’t do it like they should (ie: how the teacher does it). You have to wonder how non-neuro-typical students do in this enforced compliance thinking culture. Many in education don’t value passion and uniqueness of approach, they value conformity of thinking.
– Tim King – This Week in Ontario Edublogs


We are quite fortunate that significant latitude is allowed in the selection of learning materials in our schools. I have always appreciated seeing the red-and-white Maple Leaf sticker on books that is added by libraries (public and school) to highlight Canadian-authored materials. Just yesterday I borrowed a book from our school library for use in a Social Studies lesson and noted with satisfaction that it had the sticker. While the machinations of bodies like the CRTC don’t generate a lot of headlines in the larger scope of things, it is comforting to know that the importance of Canadian culture is valued, and that our options and choices remain informed.
– Andy Forgrave – Perspective(s)


We held a contest to come up with a new name and asked the community and alumni what they thought of the whole idea. We ended up leaning towards ‘Wolverines,’ but three problems emerged: alumni were upset at the idea of change; the student’s artwork for the wolverine, which teachers and many kids loved, was clearly plagiarized from other institutions; and the students who had mispronounced the school and mascot’s name initially were sad to realize that the same could happen with any new mascot.
– David Garlick – Whatever happened to … that school mascot?


I would say I am a big offender with Kleenex and bandaid. Interestingly, the spellchecker capitalized Kleenex for me but not Band-Aid 🙂 . I used to work as a reporter for a newspaper in our area and once received a lawyer’s letter due to using the word rollerblade with a lowercase as a generic term for in-line skates!
– Anne Shillolo – Genericide


Hi Doug. Enjoyed this post as many of us are weighing in on what it means to be a “connected” educator and the benefits of Twitter use both and the impacts it has on our teaching practices. I tend to agree with your last sentence. Social media has become a very easy platform for anyone and everyone to have a voice. I still believe that in fairness to all parties involved, any conflicts/ disagreements are best had face to face.
– Peter Cameron – Yeah, it can happen


Thanks for including mine. I was thinking of a response – it boiled down to my students racing to solve the clues without pausing and evaluating the meaning of the clues and how they fit together. It will help me re-adjust my planning and presentation. Thanks!
– Eva Thompson – This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Certainly we ‘own’ our learning when we are connecting with other educators far and wide.
Donna Fry – The “P” in PLN


What a wonderful tribute to a great person who I’ve come to know this past year through RCAC, twitter and Ignite Parents.
– Heather Durnin – @pmcash’s Bucket List – Taking the Bait


This is soooo timely! We were in a team meeting the other day and discussing having students create a product for design challenge. I suggested they do a toy for Xmas and referenced how excited I used to get when we got the Christmas Wish Book. We would mark all the pages and circle what we wanted before writing our letter to Santa. It is a huge part of my childhood!
– Anne Marie Luce – Whatever happened to … Christmas catalogues


Interesting stuff there in Moore’s Law!
– Sheila Stewart – This Week in Ontario Edublogs


and the irony that I had just recently left just north of Goderich

Makes me sad that Di zapped her flickr photos. I don’t hear from her much, the word is she’s active in Facebook. Say hi to her.
– Alan Levine – Copyright thinking


This takes me to a summer in the late 90s when I had the privilege of teaching an OAC English summer course in Oxford. A couple of us tried, whenever possible, to attend the college garden performances of Shakespeare plays.
– Noeline Laccetti – Free reading


We don’t start classes until Monday … but in the background we have a new Director of Teaching Innovation who comes from our Music Department, bringing a new perspective and really different voice to our academic leadership.
And, in my role, we get “new” every month, week & day as updates continually roll out and we have to change a little bit. OneNote has new special-ed capabilities, Excel now co-authors, Desmos is now programmable, etc
– Cal Armstrong – So, what’s new?


I wish I had the time to see the kids after school but with my own it’s hard. I also don’t live in the same city so that makes it harder. I also loved how you snuck in a 6th one about your kid.
– Jonathan So – Defining Teaching Moments #5bestEd


I like receiving cards. (So much so that I don’t throw them away afterwards!) My favourites are the ones with photos of the people. I like seeing how children grow and families change.
– Diana Maliszewski – Whatever happened to … Christmas Cards?


How did you do?  Hopefully, you at least found yourself in the list.

Perhaps you’re inspired to link back to the original post to see what it was all about?

And the spam one?


Grade A stuff. I’m untnusqioeably in your debt.
– Darence – on one of the OTR links


 

Who said that?


Again, Happy New Year to readers of doug — off the record.  Your presence here is really appreciated.

With the new year, I know that many bloggers are going through their efforts from the past year and pulling out top five or top ten lists of posts.  We try to be different around here.

I’ll bet that when you thought about reading my post this morning, you’d didn’t realize there would be a test.  But, ever the teacher, …

Like any good standardized test, this is close to the curriculum of this blog which is just about anything I choose to write about.  The lifeblood of interaction of any blog is the comments that any post generated.  So, I went back through the year and pulled out some quotes made to posts.

Can you tell who wrote them?  Bonus points if you can identify the post.


Very fun! TY for the share!


Didn’t know Storify was going to stop. Storify 2 doesn’t make all that much sense and I won’t be paying for it. I don’t have a good idea how I will capture conversations in the future. Recently, Storify has been a really great way to capture conversations on #ontedassessment. I don’t see how Participate will work as well and Participate still seems to have a 140 character limit, so 2016!


I also used my own money to by bread and peanut butter for snack sandwiches. My idea of when the peanut jar was empty changes a lot once the cost was on me. Imagine that.


I’ve written a few times about the alumni community we’ve built and how it’s such an important part of a teacher’s career (at least mine).


What goalie was attributed with being the first one to use a mask in an NHL game? – Jacques Plante. Everyone knows that one.


So if this was a kid in elementary school it would be ‘yes you can still go on the big year end field trip but we’ll suspend you for five days in September.’


Thank you for sharing Dylan’s story ~ and thank you to Lisa for suggesting it as well! It was such a cool experience for Dylan, and the entire class benefitted from learning together. I’m starting to wonder if there is such a thing as a potter’s swagger (lol), since he’s starting to make a name for himself — how amazing is that!


Agh. I’m asleep on the job. Now scrambling to figure out what I can quickly make today to celebrate pi day. Last year, we had mini quiches for breakfast, tarts for dessert, and a meat pie for supper.


For years in edtech we have been nibbling at the edges, with a number of different tools, for what explain everything puts in each students’ hands. It’s not necessarily revolutionary as much as it is the culmination of the revolution in which students are able to differentiate how they respond, and teachers are able to capture much more easily, the responses (in differentiated ways) of all of their students. It doesn’t look knew because you’ve been able to do things like this for a while. You’ve just never been able to do them this easily.


Thanks for this, Doug. I’ve been trying to brush on my math skills so I’ll check it out.


That student coming back to see me paralleled my own experiences so closely that it rocked me. Nothing has changed in the thirty years since I was in high school. Kids are still being punished by teachers in subjects they love because they don’t do it like they should (ie: how the teacher does it). You have to wonder how non-neuro-typical students do in this enforced compliance thinking culture. Many in education don’t value passion and uniqueness of approach, they value conformity of thinking.


We are quite fortunate that significant latitude is allowed in the selection of learning materials in our schools. I have always appreciated seeing the red-and-white Maple Leaf sticker on books that is added by libraries (public and school) to highlight Canadian-authored materials. Just yesterday I borrowed a book from our school library for use in a Social Studies lesson and noted with satisfaction that it had the sticker. While the machinations of bodies like the CRTC don’t generate a lot of headlines in the larger scope of things, it is comforting to know that the importance of Canadian culture is valued, and that our options and choices remain informed.


We held a contest to come up with a new name and asked the community and alumni what they thought of the whole idea. We ended up leaning towards ‘Wolverines,’ but three problems emerged: alumni were upset at the idea of change; the student’s artwork for the wolverine, which teachers and many kids loved, was clearly plagiarized from other institutions; and the students who had mispronounced the school and mascot’s name initially were sad to realize that the same could happen with any new mascot.


I would say I am a big offender with Kleenex and bandaid. Interestingly, the spellchecker capitalized Kleenex for me but not Band-Aid 🙂 . I used to work as a reporter for a newspaper in our area and once received a lawyer’s letter due to using the word rollerblade with a lowercase as a generic term for in-line skates!


Hi Doug. Enjoyed this post as many of us are weighing in on what it means to be a “connected” educator and the benefits of Twitter use both and the impacts it has on our teaching practices. I tend to agree with your last sentence. Social media has become a very easy platform for anyone and everyone to have a voice. I still believe that in fairness to all parties involved, any conflicts/ disagreements are best had face to face.


Thanks for including mine. I was thinking of a response – it boiled down to my students racing to solve the clues without pausing and evaluating the meaning of the clues and how they fit together. It will help me re-adjust my planning and presentation. Thanks!


Certainly we ‘own’ our learning when we are connecting with other educators far and wide.


What a wonderful tribute to a great person who I’ve come to know this past year through RCAC, twitter and Ignite Parents.


This is soooo timely! We were in a team meeting the other day and discussing having students create a product for design challenge. I suggested they do a toy for Xmas and referenced how excited I used to get when we got the Christmas Wish Book. We would mark all the pages and circle what we wanted before writing our letter to Santa. It is a huge part of my childhood!


Interesting stuff there in Moore’s Law!


and the irony that I had just recently left just north of Goderich

Makes me sad that Di zapped her flickr photos. I don’t hear from her much, the word is she’s active in Facebook. Say hi to her.


This takes me to a summer in the late 90s when I had the privilege of teaching an OAC English summer course in Oxford. A couple of us tried, whenever possible, to attend the college garden performances of Shakespeare plays.


We don’t start classes until Monday … but in the background we have a new Director of Teaching Innovation who comes from our Music Department, bringing a new perspective and really different voice to our academic leadership.
And, in my role, we get “new” every month, week & day as updates continually roll out and we have to change a little bit. OneNote has new special-ed capabilities, Excel now co-authors, Desmos is now programmable, etc


 I wish I had the time to see the kids after school but with my own it’s hard. I also don’t live in the same city so that makes it harder. I also loved how you snuck in a 6th one about your kid.


I like receiving cards. (So much so that I don’t throw them away afterwards!) My favourites are the ones with photos of the people. I like seeing how children grow and families change.


I could go on and on but 25 seemed enough.  This was fun – certainly not scientific so don’t be upset if you’re not in there – I just chose random pages and random comments and did a copy/paste/quote job.  Oh, one hint, I tried to make sure that there were no duplicates.

The variety of comments is a reminder of how smart, funny, insightful, serious, playful, dedicated doug — off the record readers are.  Answers tomorrow if we don’t get them all in the comments below.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t throw in at least one spam comment to bring the total to 26.

Grade A stuff. I’m untnusqioeably in your debt.

Do you think that came from … nah, couldn’t be.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


You know, in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, nobody would be blamed for not blogging.  Fortunately, there have been a number of bloggers who keep fighting the good fight and we’re to benefit.  Check out some of what I’ve read recently.


The Education Corporation
Paul McGuire makes an interesting connection from the book “The Corporation” to real corporations to the governance by school districts in the province.  As a result, I’m on the lookout to get a copy of that book for a read.

The big message here is about control and he gets you thinking

Will any educator make the connection that apart from the pursuit of profit, there is little that separates the modern corporation from the traditional school board?

Read on to see his thoughts about this.

Given that corporations are certainly in the news all the time, it’s an interesting ponder.  Start your pondering with Loblaw admits to bread price-fixing scheme spanning more than 14 years.


Mathematicians We Should Know More About: Ada Lovelace

This post, from Matthew Oldridge brought a smile to this old Computer Science teacher’s face.  She’s a compulsory mention in class because of her importance.  There’s much more than Computer Science to consider though….

  • Mathematics
  • Collaboration
  • Visionary
  • Solving a Problem of the Time
  • Patterns and Designs and modernization of the textile industry
  • Women in History/Mathematics/Computer Science

Studies like this are important for students to know.  It’s important to know how we got to where we are in any discipline to honour the work that went before and to inspire for the future.

I know that it can raise the ire of those who have studied the past when an “innovation” gets touted as something new when it’s actually built on years of vision.


#onewordOnt Introduction

So, what was your one word for 2016?  If you check out Julie Balen’s post, you’ll see that she has a collection of blog posts from around the province of bloggers who wrote a post about theirs.

Blogging, in this case, is the perfect tool to:

  • set your goals for the year ahead and
  • to reflect at the end of the year as to how well you did

Julie’s looking to collect posts for 2018; there’s a link where you can add yourself if she doesn’t catch you.  She promises to visualize all the information that she receives.

The post is an interesting amalgam of 2016, 2017, and 2018.  What stands out though is that her list of bloggers are all women.

C’mon, guys, let’s level the playing field.  Paul McGuire has already written his.


Knowing Your Readers and Literature Circles

If I was teaching potential educators at a Faculty of Education or an Additional Qualifications course, I would make this post from Jennifer Aston required reading.

She talks about the concepts of Literature Circles but adds an interesting and important twist – knowing the readers in your class.  There’s lots of good stuff here.

The absolutely biggest thing though is the large list of suggestions about how to make it all work.  I’d bet if you had any other suggestions, she’d appreciate reading them in a comment or two.

There’s also a great deal to see as she models good technology practice in here with a collection of surveys that she uses to collect the data that she needs.  (I’d “borrow” her questions and customize if I was doing it).

In honouring student voice, she uses a Padlet to collect their reflections.

It’s a wonderful process modelled and makes a good read for anyone.


Relationships Matter…I cannot stress this enough

I don’t know that I can add much to Jonathan So’s post than what he states in the title to the post.

An observation inspired by reading Stuart Shanker’s book …

There is no thing/ concept as a Bad Child

I’m reminded of a statement from Wayne Hulley.  “Parents send you the best kids they have; they don’t keep the good ones at home”.

Schools and teachers have a unique relationship with young people.  Parents still have the bulk of the time to be spent with them but the time in your classroom is unique and very special.  There’s a great deal written about the way “we” were taught – in classrooms, facing forward, memorizing, testing, etc.  We know the concepts are dated but …

… parents grew up thinking about education in the same way.  That’s what they remember when they think about their school years.  So much has been learned about learning over the years and often.  It can seem like a treadmill with school districts taking on the latest and greatest approach while ignoring the past.

The one thing that truly endures is the relationship with students.  “You can’t stress this enough.”


2017 IN REVIEW

From the TESL Ontario blog, here’s an opportunity to catch up on what you may have missed.

Screenshot 2017-12-28 at 11.23.43

For me, I’ve got some new bloggers to add to my Ontario Edublogger list!


Math is Visual

Especially if you use purple triangles as part of your logo.

This latest project, from Kyle Pearce is a collection of videos demonstrating mathematics concepts.

It’s starting with a clean and usable interface.  Nicely done, Kyle.

This website was created to assist in building a better conceptual understanding of mathematics through the use of visuals. The images, videos and resources shared here are intended to help all teachers, parents and students understand that Math Is Visual and we should take every opportunity to teach it that way.


This is the last post for #TWIOE in 2017.  I’d like to take the time to thank all of the great Ontario Edubloggers who continue to write and to share their thoughts, learnings, experiences, and inquiries.  Recently, I created an alphabetical listing of all the bloggers who I’ve made reference to in this weekly post.  Check them out here.  https://dougpete.wordpress.com/blog-roll/

Please take the time to support all of these terrific bloggers, by leaving a comment on their blog, sharing their post, or sharing this post.

For this week, make sure that you’re following:

Here’s wishing you a great blogging 2018.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


One more day.  What do you have planned?  I know that the official word is that it’s just another school day with classes that are just as important as any other day.  It’s difficult to keep focused on that mindset with the half-class that does show up focusing on the clock.  And, any time you try to encourage a focus on work, you get compare to the Grinch.

It will end and then it’s time to recharge.

How about recharging professionally with a look at some blog posts from Ontario Educators?


The Power of Words

Like Lisa Cranston, I thought that there was some sort of joke happening when this news came out

As I was scrolling through Twitter this morning, I read the news that Trump has banned the CDC from using seven words in any upcoming briefs for the budget.

The seven words are now available anywhere, including in Lisa’s post, if you are interested in knowing what they are.

Lisa wears her heart on her sleeve in this post and also makes very interesting connections to a novel that we all read in school – 1984.

If you’re old enough, there was another seven words list – this time George Carlin and his list of seven words that you can’t say on television.  It’s a far less serious list.


So Many Silver Linings

If you ever want to read a post that will confirm that you’re doing the right things with social media and all the things that that entails, this one from Lynn Thomas is perfect for you.

She describes a trip into social media – as a late comer to the party – and now she’s throwing parties.  Well, at least a TeachMeet.

It’s great to hear of the connections that she’s made and she takes the time to show how sharing happens in her world.  What’s interesting to me is that, while there are so many posts about how to do these things in the Google world, it’s more difficult to find quality posts in the Microsoft world that don’t come directly from a Microsoft site.

If you’re an Office 365 user, there just might be a tip or two in her post for you.


Thoughts on the Future of Education

Joel McLean offers a lengthy post about his thoughts about where education is headed.  The post is actually broken down by four concepts.

  • Competency-Based Learning, Not Content-Based Learning
  • Developing Transferable Skills
  • Globalization, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Critical Thinking
  • Deep Learning

There’s lots to think about here.  For example, years ago, I used to teach swimming lessons.  There’s an incredible amount of content that goes into making those skills happen.  But, that wasn’t tested until later.  In the first years, it was important to demonstrate that you could swim.  I’m sure that you can think of your own examples.  Why don’t they translate into the classroom?

Joel has written a lengthy post but concludes nicely …

So what will the future of education look like? I’m not entirely sure, but I do hope it will look like real life.


1 + 1 = 3

Sometimes, I’m just drawn in by a good title and that was the case with this post from Sylvain Lacasse.

A probing question or two – why?  And who told you?

The post builds on the notion of mindset and just accepting facts as facts without questioning or probing further.  Then, he takes us to 1 + 1 = 4 and a solution that explains why it is.

Comme leaders en éducation, nous devons réfléchir à nos erreurs et transformer l’expérience d’apprentissage pour nous et pour nos élèves. C’est notre responsabilité, notre “shared leadership”. Nous devons ajuster quotidiennement nos stratégies et prendre le temps d’écouter les conseils des autres.

There is a good message here for leadership.  You may find yourself asking some interesting new questions.


Dot Paper Generator

dotpapersample

See those dots above?  If you teach mathematics, science, or anything that requires dot paper, where do you get your originals?

Brandon Grasley is giving away for the simple task of a download of a Java program in this blog post.  Imagine having a perfect copy that could be duplicated rather than some black line master that’s been duplicated a million times.  Or, since the resulting image is a PNG file, you could doctor it up to your own taste.  Or, even better, could you remix his program?

What would happen if more people shared and gave away their intellectual property like this?


#HourOfCode and Coding Buddies

Posted to the ECOO blog and cross-posted to her own Makerspace Blog, Adele Stanfield shares a wonderful story that all schools need to hear.

Despite all the hubbub about coding, there are so many classrooms that don’t get a chance to participate for a variety of reasons.  If one of those reasons is the lack of experts in your school, then Adele has you covered.

Grow your own.

Her class had already teamed up with another for Reading Buddies so Coding Buddies was a natural for them.

In the post, she describes how everyone, including her students, learned from the experience.  And, it sounds like there is now increased buy-in from other teachers in the school.

It took the stress off the teachers. Because I promised the teachers they did not need to know how to use the app, the intimidation aspect diminished. And once they saw how engaged their students were, they started asking questions. “How can I use this regularly in my classroom?” “Can I assess this?” “Will they be able to use it independently?” It opened the door in an informal, low-anxiety way.

The post is rich with suggestions and observations.  Check it out.


How Much Can You Care?

This is a blog post that every educator should sit down and write.  Sue Dunlop did it first though and really opens up about her thoughts of education and teachers and I think she could extend her list well into all those in the profession.  How much can you care?

I’ve seen educators go above and beyond hundreds of times. I know educators who cry for their students after the day is over and who wonder what else they can do to reach that child whose life is difficult and whose behaviour is so challenging. I’ve had conversations where educators fight against their own biases to understand the perspectives of students who may not be like them. I truly believe that this is the work of education. We have to care or our jobs become meaningless.

Everyone has their limits.  How do you know when you’re approaching or are at it.  How do we handle it?

More than any profession, teachers are exposed to so many different challenges constantly.  That’s just during the working hours; what about the personal that happens once you get home?

There isn’t anyone in the profession that shouldn’t sit down, ask the question, and write that post.  Sue did and modelled it nicely.


How’s that for an inspirational collection of thinking from Ontario Edubloggers?  Please check them all out and read the complete original posts.  There’s a lot of great thinking happening.

Don’t forget to also check out the complete list of Ontario Edubloggers here.  And speaking of complete lists, did you know that you can access all of the Friday “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” posts here?

Expand your PLN!  Follow these folks on Twitter.

You’ll be glad you did!