This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s always a good week when Ontario Educators are blogging.

This past week was no different; here’s some of what I caught.

Here’s the toolbar in my browser so I’m ready to go….

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Response to: Five Ways to Damage a Good School

Only five?

Paul McGuire focuses in on a post from another blogger and manages to use furniture and limited resources in the same thought.  Oh, and technology in another thought.

Here’s the thing. Too often, educators get caught up in the latest fad – flexible seating and the expense that comes with this is one of the newest things. In schools with limited resources (I would say most schools in Canada), the purchase of new furniture means that something else will not be bought.

He makes a good point which leads to a good discussion about priorities within a school.  I find the interesting point about all this about flexible seating and changing learning spaces to be interesting.  If it’s just about some new chair or table, then it’s just an advertisement.  If it’s about changing a philosophy with a stated purpose about why you’re doing it and the results that you’re expecting, then I can get excited.  I can’t help but throw in a golf quote here…

You drive for show; you putt for dough.

Maybe the question in these times is “Are you driving or are you putting?”

I’d like to see Paul do something like posting an online form asking everyone to add their thoughts about how to “damage a school”.  I’ll bet there would be lots of things to learn from and it would give Paul an endless resource for blogging.


Math & Identity

This post, by Deborah McCallum is guaranteed to get you thinking.

She leads us to this marriage by focusing on identity.  Perhaps this is another way for all to reflect on the message that is present in the mathematics classroom.

What is identity? It is connected to the groups that we affiliate with, the language we use, and who we learned the language from. I believe that we all have different identities depending upon the different groups that we belong to, and that this has implications in terms of the languages and discourses we use.

I’ve seen a number of suggestions about improving mathematics instruction (including some from Deborah).  This is a new and interesting take.


Training Wheels

This is a post that put me in someone else’s shoes.  Ann Marie Luce is taking on the role as a Principal of the Canadian International School of Beijing.  This is part of a series of posts talking about her nervousness in the decision and then landing in a different land with different language and different customs and GO!

I absolutely can put myself in her place as she goes about what we would consider a regular routine — shopping, going to a restaurant, going shopping, …

But she’s doing it in a land where she doesn’t speak the language!

So, many of the things that we would expect to do with our regular language have to be done with gestures just to get the message across.

Then, she turns to that new ELL student in our present classrooms.  It’s an interesting transition that will give you renewed sympathy for that new student, trying to get along in a new world, and learning how to speak the language in order to get the job done.

I hope that she continues to blog about her experience.  This could be very interesting.


Being a Temporary Teacher

We move from a discussion about the reality of China to the reality of Japan.  Deborah Weston was inspired by an article in an English language Japanese newspaper about the reality of being a temporary teacher.

I’m so fortunate that I didn’t ever have to go through the hoops of the current reality for Occasional Teachers.  I graduated from a Faculty of Education and there was a school here in Essex County that needed a Computer Science teacher.  Other than waiting annually for the seniority list and the horror of being declared redundant (which I fortunately never was), my teaching life unfolded as I wanted it to.

That’s not true for all.

It’s an interesting comparison and a similarity of realities of how long it takes before getting that permanent position.  She quotes:

  • Ontario –  6 or 7 years
  • Japan – 5.9 years

It’s an interesting look at another’s reality.


CLASSROOM DESIGN

Like everyone, Sharon Drummond is getting ready for September.  Her activity is looking and pondering classroom setup.  The floors are clean and polished and the room is empty.  It’s time to think about setup.

She shares a picture and a diagram of the room with some preliminary thoughts.  I was so impressed that green screen is built in before the furniture.  That sends a powerful message and she shouldn’t need to rearrange things later in order to take advantage of this tool for video making.

And, she’s not starting with thinking about how to control the flow or maintain classroom discipline.  She’s talking about things that she wants her students to do.

  • I WANT MY STUDENTS TO TALK MORE THAN I DO
  • I WANT MY STUDENTS TO COLLABORATE WITH EACH OTHER
  • I WANT MY STUDENTS TO BE COMFORTABLE
  • and more – you’ll have to click through to read her post to see them all

She’s asking for input and ideas.  If that’s your game, go over to her blog and share.

I hope that there’s a subsequent post to show us all how this activity ends.


Back in the Saddle Again

If you’re a regular reader here, you know that Kristi Bishop’s blog is high on my list of favourites but had gone missing recently.  But, she’s “Back in the Saddle” and ready to blog.

I really like her rationale for blogging and sharing her thinking online.

I don’t think any blogger should apologize for being a bit selfish and using the blog primarily to get their own thinking down in one spot.  In fact, I can’t think of a better way of reflecting and geting other people to chip in with their own thoughts.

So, Kristi, it’s great to see you back and I look forward to reading many inspiring posts in the future.

How about you, reader?  Do you have a blog that’s playing possum?  How about kick starting it?


Begets

If you’re looking for a good description about what being connected and how it works, then you’ve got to look at this post from Terry Greene.

In fact, I had looked and commented here on a post that he wrote last week.  It was also one of the posts that Stephen Hurley and I talked about on our Wednesday radio show.

But, that was only a small part of the connected educator story.

In this post, Terry gives us the complete story of all the connections that surrounded his one blog post, complete with links, and it’s a testament to why we do this and how you can share the learning love around.

Great summary!

And it all started with one simple request.


Please take the time to click through and read the complete, original blog posts from these wonderful Ontario Edubloggers.  There should be a little there for everyone.  And, if you’re blogging yourself and not already in the collection, just fill out the form and you will be.

The complete collection of these Friday posts illustrating the thinking of Ontario Edubloggers can be found here.  I’d love to have you become part of it.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


And, it’s Friday.  Summer appeared to go away but it looks like it’s back.  But you know that Autumn is on the way with the dew in the morning and those crickets that are up all night.  None of this appears to have hampered Ontario Edubloggers though.  Here’s some of what I caught this week.


A Message Worth Sharing

I think that Aviva Dunsiger’s “message” is something more than just for sharing.  It’s a way of being, if you’re a teacher.  Witness this comment from a parent.

“I wish everyone felt that way. This is the first time somebody’s said this about my son.”

How often do we think that communication with parents should be to report misbehaviour or a problem or some other issue.  Every time I read something like this, I think of a message from Wayne Hulley that we need to heed.

“Parents send the best kid that they can to school.  They don’t keep the really good ones at home.”

We all like to hear and live success stories or anecdotes.

Why shouldn’t the parents of the students you teach?


Things Open

When I read the title of this post from Terry Greene, I bit my tongue and thought “Sure, they also close”.  I had no idea about the topic of the post so it was a natural response.  Then, I read the post.

Like most people I suspect, I got involved with social media via Twitter or Blogging and then took off from there.  In this post, Terry talks about his own journey into social media and it didn’t take the same route.  His journey started with ds106.  It’s been an interesting trip for him and it’s a reminder that we can make things whatever we want to be and where our interests take us.  I keep thinking that everyone should document their trip into social media.  That might make for an interesting blogging challenge.

How would I have even know about Terry?  Well, it was through the traditional route following Alana Callan into the Fleming Learning blog.  I’m really glad I did.

There are lots of takeaways from this post but this one really intrigues.

Volunteer with Virtually Connecting, where I get to be involved with and help others get access to educational conferences all over the world that we would not otherwise have access to. Another chance to connect with and have access to open thinkers around the world.

I’d never heard of the Virtually Connecting website before but I’m glad that I know now.  Thanks, Terry.


Computer Science in Ontario

This really isn’t a blog post but rather a couple of graphs posted to Grant Hutchison’s website.  This graph, in particular, has me thinking and questioning.

yearly_by_course

As we know, there are five courses of Computer Studies in Ontario and he’s graphed the enrolments of them from 2011 to 2013.

Looking at the graphs is a real teaser.  I think I’m going to blog and share my thoughts about this soon.


voicEd Radio Spotlight: Paul McGuire and the Importance of Getting Out of School

This was an interesting meld of media by Stephen Hurley.  He had interviewed Paul McGuire as part of his “In Conversation” series.  The radio program is a good listen by itself.

But, one of the topics inspired Stephen to supplement the radio show with a blog post.

There’s been lots written recently about teachers having little to no control over their professional learning.  So, here’s a twist.

But as Paul was telling his stories, I could literally sense a change in my breathing as he inspired a possibility in my mind. What might happen if, as a staff, we were to designate one PD day a year to do just what Paul did—get out of school and head out, two-by-two, out into the community. What if we were to head to the local shopping mall, the coffee shop, the library, the places of worship, the rec centre, the seniors residence, the local businesses and municipal offices to talk to people. Not all of them would have children in our school, but I would venture to guess that all of them would have something to say about their hopes and aspirations for their community.


Conall’s Assessment Story

We all learned mathematics (and everything else) in the method that Jon Orr describes “Lessons….homework …. repeat…then tests”.  However, he focuses in on one phrase about expectations in Ontario.

It doesn’t say “By next Friday, students will …”; it’s “By the end of the course, the student will …”.

That sort of blew up the traditional method.

Jon includes a video explaining his thoughts.  Don’t have time for the video?  Read the post where you also get the transcript.

It involves an application he and his class used to get the job done.

It’s a wonderful story about the power of the portfolio – not just for collecting artifacts anymore!


“Stay in Your Lane” is Bad Advice

On the Holiday Monday, I went to the harness races in Dresden.  I was kind of dreading the construction zone through Tilbury and Chatham and so decided to take another route and bypass that, much to the chagrin of my GPS.

Instead, I enjoyed a delightful trip that took me through Jeannette’s Creek and the twisty road along the Thames River, the bridge at Prairie Siding (is it ever opened?) and Paincourt.  It was a really refreshing trip.  The folks in Chatham-Kent suggest that you do this and become a “Detourist”.

In this post, Matthew Oldridge asks us if we ever consider moving to the other lane.  My immediate thought was travelling through Toronto where you have more than one other lane option!  The view is different; the trip is different …  How about you?  Do you move out of your comfortable lane every now and again to see what else is available?

You’ll be inspired by Matthew’s list of people who took to a different lane and succeeded.


I won’t post that

I think we all realize that there’s a line on social media that we don’t want to cross.  There are things that people don’t really want to know about us.  For example, I just finished walking the dog and I’m eating a banana.  Is your life any better knowing that?  Then, there are things that you shouldn’t know about me.  For example, well you shouldn’t know.

Diana Maliszewski addresses the topic as it applies to her.  In addition to the words of common sense that we includes, she bring in the College of Teachers.  So, with a bow on top, she nicely addresses the topic of sharing, over-sharing, and approaching or going over that line.

She also identifies areas that are deliberately missing from the persona that she projects online.

  • Specific details about my children
  • Complaints about specific people
  • Partying
  • Specific Politics

That’s a wise selection and she expands on each nicely.

This is a wonderful post and I would recommend that all read and consider her words.

Does the line that she draws for herself represent your line?


Once again, a wonderful collection of posts from Ontario Educators.  Please take the time to click through and read them in their entirety.  You’ll be glad you did.

Also, listen in on Wednesday mornings at 9:15 on VoiceEd Radio where Stephen Hurley and I take a run at some of the posts that will show up here.  Can’t make it?  All of the shows all archived here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


After a couple of weeks of Stephen Hurley and me taking some time away from home to explore some of Ontario, it was great to be back behind our keyboards and have the opportunity to chat about some of the great things that appear on the pages of Ontario Edubloggers recently.

As a result of the storm that went through last night, internet is kaputskies but fortunately, I had tabs to these blogs left open from our conversation.  So, at least I could write this post offline.

I’d hate to miss a Friday post.  Hopefully, service will return and I can get this posted.

Here’s some of what I caught.


What Teachers TRULY do During The Summer – As Told by Students & Teachers

Sarah Lalonde posted this to the VoiceEd Blog.  The post starts with a fun look at our profession from the youngest of students.  I agree with her that the best quote was:

My favourite testimonial is from S in Grade 1 who believes that teachers “do the calendar when we’re not here” and keep it up to date.

Beyond the insights that come from students, Sarah checks in with a number of educators from around the province and how they spend their summers.  It’s an interesting read and might give you a bit of inspiration to add to your August agenda.


On the Way to the White Lily

Sue Bruyns’ post was very timely for me.  On the day of her post, we had just returned from a trip around Sadler’s Pond in Essex.  It was very popular for us in the spring because the water levels were high and there were some new families of Canadian Geese to view.  The summer and lack of rain presented a very different environment for us this visit.

Like Sue’s kayak tour, we enjoyed looking at all the lily pads, however she saw one little thing that others might not have noticed.  She ties it nicely into education where we’re often focused on the big picture and might miss a little detail here and there.

What did she find?

You’ll have to read her post to find out.

I wonder what we missed in our trip around the pond.


i c u

Another post from the VoiceEd blog came from Chris Cluff.  It was dedicated to those who are leaving a Faculty of Education and starting a new position in the fall.

That brought back memories of the last summer before starting my first teaching job.  We had moved to Essex County and could barely afford a little war time rental house with no air conditioning and within listening distance of the Chrysler plant where the work never stopped.  It was so hot and noisy.  Then, there was the incident with the rat.

I don’t recall sleeping much that summer as nerves and anticipation kept me going.

So, to those in that boat, Chris asks …

“Degree, done. Faculty of Ed, done. 60 days from now you will have officially arrived – an occasional, part time, or full time teacher.

What are you feeling?”


A School Essential for the New Year? Create a Vision

So, maybe this isn’t advice for the beginning teacher but Paul McGuire addresses it to administrators.

The school year shouldn’t be focused on just keeping the lid on.  That’s stagnation.  What about having a vision?  What about sharing that vision?  What about getting everyone to buy into that vision?  What about having everyone speaking and sharing that vision?

Perhaps that’s one of the tests of a true innovator in the administration ranks.

It seems to me that that vision needs to be clearly defined so that it’s understood and repeatable by everyone.  It should include a definite standard that will let everyone know when that vision is met and how you’re on the path to reaching it.

The vision itself?  Nicely described:

Whatever it is, make it big. Make it something that staff members can get behind. Make it something everyone can be proud of. Make it something that looks to the bigger picture and does not get caught up in the minutiae of the education machine.

Administrators – take heed and consider those who would hear your message.


Shopping for an Electric Car – Part 2

Part I of Jennifer Aston’s quest to do right by the planet appeared earlier in this blog.

Since that time, we’ve kidded around on Twitter a bit and found out that we were/are both Cobalt owners.  I loved my Cobalt; it was so small that I could park it anywhere and it was so good on gasoline.  I no longer own it but hope that it’s serving its new owners with the love that I had for it.  Jennifer still has hers and uses it to make the 5km trip to work.

A short commute like this seems to be perfect for an electric vehicle but she seems to have second thoughts about a purchase.  If the Cobalt could last forever, perhaps…

I like how she’s planning to tie her dilemma into a classroom activity for students…


Telling our Stories in School Improvement Planning

Consider this quote from Debbie Donsky’s Medium post …

Take away the soul and you have the simplistic approach that we so often see about school and district reporting of test results.  That’s why they lack the substance to persevere beyond a quick read or news report.

But when you dig enough to get that story with soul, you find that real people, real aspirations, real life, are what truly generate the story.

That’s where it gets interesting.

I really like her interpretation.

In the process of school improvement planning we get so hung up on the template that we forget that this document is about people. We collect all kinds of data but without a narrative, what is the story we are actually telling? If we “complete” the template in isolation of the people, the students, the staff, and the community it represents, what is the value of it?

So, can the story be told with a critical lens?  She offers questions that will help guide the process.

Another great readers for principals and other administrators.  It’s why they should be facing the media to tell the story and not a public relations person.  They’re the ones that are living that story.


The Google Infused Classroom

There’s a decided bent towards teachers thinking about what’s just a month away.  I’ve already seen many folks talking about the nightmares of the day before school starts or showing up without clothes at staff meetings or just getting ready professionally.

Let’s take the high road here and think about the professional route.

This post, from Jen Giffin is actually a review of the book with the same name as the title of this post.  If your class is Google-infused or you want it to be, she’s recommending that you take a read.

She shares her “biggest loves” from the book; you’ll have to check them out.

But, the ultimate reason why you’re doing this is summed up in a quote she shares.


You got it … another week with great postings from Ontario Edubloggers.  Please make sure that you click through and check them out.  You’ll be glad you did.

I’m off to walk the dog.  Hopefully, there will be internet access when I return so that I can get this online for you to read.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Can you believe that we’re approaching the end of July already?  Where did the month go?  It’s going to be a nice weekend around here: Explore the Shore, and the Car Crazy Show.

It’s always a great week when there is lots of thinking from Ontario Educators.  Here’s some of what I caught.


#WeLeadBy Student Digital Leadership at its best

I had the honour of helping review Jennifer Casa-Todd’s book as she was writing it.  I do remember one disagreement that we had, albeit friendly, when I challenged her on some concept she wanted to include.  I remember my comment “Haven’t we got past that?”.  Her comment was that we hadn’t in some districts.  So sad.

On the other hand, there are some incredible things that are happening and Jennifer uses social media to showcase the best of it.  In this post, she illustrates how she practices what she preaches and tweets.  It’s all about the process for a province wide student Twitter chat.  There are interesting reflections on her process, background work, and the people that she’s met.

This is well worth the time to read and affirm to yourself that the kids are alright.

I’ve always been a social media and leadership fanatic. I’m honored to be able to combine the two and show my student digital leadership! What an amazing experience I know’ll known I’ll never forget.


IBL and learning

When was the last time that you seriously thought about what learning truly means.  All of us who have ever been in a classroom will think that we know.  As I read this post from Julie Balen, I can’t help but wonder if what we think might be too narrow.

Watt and Coyler tell us that IBL is influenced by constructivism (page 4), and they also acknowledge that IBL is only one pedagogy amongst many that we decide to use based on our knowledge of how our students learn. This point is important, and it is why I have begun the book study by thinking about what learning means.

As noted in the title, she’s focusing on Inquiry Based Learning and her observations will have you thinking.

The concluding paragraph of questions is set in the context of students in Grade 9 and 10.  I can’t help but think that it’s too late by that time but that can be reality for many.  It’s one of the few places where you pull together students from so many disparate backgrounds.


Hubbub! Coding a First Nations’ Game of Chance

Have you read any good code lately?  If the answer is no or you’re just curious, check out this project from Brian Aspinall.

The game is based upon a dice game and there’s a link to the background of the game in Brian’s post.

But then, follow the link in the post, and you’ll be playing.  After a moment, you’ll want to look behind the scenes to see how things are actually coded.

2017-07-27_1020

But don’t stop there.  The power of Scratch lies in the ability for you to remix his work.


Part1: Summers are for resting, recharging and retooling

Read this first.

This process really does take a week-and-a-half, or two. My body doesn’t recognize vacation mode until 7 days have passed…otherwise my body things it might just be a long weekend, or Spring Break. Once I’m grounded, present, and connected…I can move forward to reading and other intentional activities that make me feel alive, and help me to RECHARGE ! That’s for next time!
Thanks for joining me.

That’s at the bottom of Heidi Solway’s post of July 20.

It does take a while for summer holiday mode to kick in!  I loved reading about her summer routine.

Any bets on when Part 2 will be posted?


MUSLIM GIRLS MAKING CHANGE

One of the joys about reading blogs is going places where you’d never go other wise.  This post, from Rusul Alrubail, is one of them.

Thanks to her wonderful blog, I now know about MGMC.

Muslim Girls Making Change, or MGMC, is a youth based slam poetry group that started over a little more than a year ago. As a group (us being four teens in high school), we often felt that our voices weren’t being heard or that they weren’t important.

And now so do you!

The post is an interview that will give you some insights about the why and how of this group.

Could the concept be replicated in your school?


Minecraft and Stop Motion Animation

I enjoy reading what teachers are doing with Minecraft in the classroom.  Scott Renaud shares what’s going on in his classroom and where he intends to take it.

It’s an interesting read and also a call for collaborators.

That is where we are going and what our plan is, we would love to connect and work with like minded educators from around the world, if this sounds like something you may be interested in please reach out to me and join our team.


A SUMMERTIME TEACHING ADVENTURE

From the TESL Ontario blog, here’s an interesting insight to teaching overseas.

I found teaching overseas enabled me to be far more vulnerable since nobody knew me. There was simply less reason to worry. After all, in two weeks, I would likely never see these students again. It was a very different perspective to approach the class with. To be honest, it was kind of fun and sometimes scary at the same time.

This was another concept that I never thought I’d have the opportunity to even think about and so enjoyed reading about the whole process.

The post concludes with four tips about things to consider if this appeals to you.


Thanks to all of the above for continuing to blog, post, and share their thoughts over the summer.  It’s appreciated.  How about YOU?  Have you blogged recently?

Please take a moment to show your appreciation to them by clicking through and sharing a comment on their posts.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to my weekly wander around the blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.  As always, there’s some terrific reading.  For those of you who expected also to hear the Wednesday show on VoiceED Canada, Stephen is currently off the grid.  We’ll return when he gets back on the grid in August.


A Mathematics Blueprint: Designing a Comprehensive Mathematics Program

Rochelle Tkach offers a nice post that nicely summarizes so many things about the curriculum designing process.

Screenshot 2017-07-20 at 11.54.57.png

She ties it so well to Mathematics but certainly the principles apply in all areas.


Do we need to learn how to play?

There’s a great deal to think about in this post from Aviva Dunsiger.  She reflects on the experience of people leaving her workshop that was first a post of hers that I talked about last week.

I Packed. I Came. I Shared. And Now I’m Left Wondering.

Both generated some nice discussions.

The big message in all of this is about participants indicating that they were through by leaving a session.  I think that we need to respect people’s choices and decisions, even though they may not follow our expectations as to how things should end up.

I have to give Aviva credit for taking her thoughts online; it could have all kinds of different responses from people.

Even more important, in addition to her thoughts, there are a large collection of responses varying with all kinds of messages and support.  These thoughts are truly gold and should help Aviva and others design the very best professional experiences.


Map Out Your Online Course

Continuing on the theme of planning and learning, I offer this post from Tracy Sherriff.

Her context is about an online course …

So where do you start? Well, I always tell my clients to start with creating a mind map. A mind map is really just a visual brain dump of all the things that you could teach about. You can create your mind map on paper or use the digital tool of your choice. Use colour and imagery to enhance your map. It’s actually quite fun!

… and that’s certainly her intent and it makes reading the post worthwhile.

But, what if you opened the door to other things?

Wouldn’t the same principles apply to designing professional learning experiences?


Differentiated Instruction: comparing 2 subjects

There’s differentiation, and then there’s differentiation.  Are they different?

You may not have thought of it in those terms but Mark Chubb has and does in this post.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to meet the various needs of students in our classrooms lately. If we think about it, we are REALLY good at differentiated instruction in subjects like writing, yet, we struggle to do differentiated instruction well in subjects like math. Why is this???

The rest of the post will hopefully have you thinking differently about differentiation.  Does one size truly fit all disciplines?

This is a very interesting post and there’s even more rich content in the replies.


Good Leaders Read…A Lot

Perhaps this is the litmus test to apply to those who would be leaders in your life and especially for yourself …

Sue Dunlop asserts that

Great leaders also always seek to improve. They want to learn and to get better. They’re never satisfied with good enough. Reading is part of that continuous improvement. How else can you explore new ideas and create new schema?

Here’s an idea.

For the first staff meeting at the end of August/first of September, instead of going around the room asking “How did you spend your summer holidays?” you ask the question “What did you read over the summer?”.

Don’t let your principal off the hook either.


What Does an Innovating Leader Look Like?

OK, so we’ve established that leaders read.

I challenged Paul McGuire to expand on his thoughts about leadership in education.  And, he delivers in this post.

His perspective is as principal and one of his suggestions surrounds professional learning.

Teachers should be in control of their own learning, just as students need to be in control. Educators need to know that their voice matters and that the running of the school is a collective endeavour.

We’re all familiar with the Annual Learning Plan and hopefully, it’s not become a piece of lip service.  Does the ALP allow for the type of growth that Paul describes?

It’s not an easy scenario to manage.  On the one hand, you have to respect the wishes for teachers and their personal learning.  On the other hand, you have the directives from the Board Office and the Ministry of Education.

How, indeed, does the Innovating Leader make it?

I’m going to continue to challenge Paul on this and have plans to write about my own thoughts.  I think that this is a discussion that can only improve things among leaders.


Nudging the OneNote Staff Notebook Permissions

Long time Evernote user here.  But, I’m giving OneNote another chance this summer.  For me to learn how a new program works, I have to use it exclusively for as many tasks as possible and sometimes struggle when I hit a bump in the road.  In addition, I try to read as much about it as possible.

Part of my morning reads include having a section on Flipboard devoted to OneNote and another very important part of my learning is reading Cal Armstrong’s blog when he shares his tips and trick about the software.

I see so many who use OneNote at such a cursory level.  That would include me, I guess.

In this post, Cal takes us on a tutorial with Staff OneNotes and sharing workspaces.

The post is a good tutorial for how to set this up.  If your school uses OneNote, you might want to take Cal’s post to heart and give it a shot.  If it makes everyone more productive, winners all around!


Please take the time to click through and read all of these posts in their entirety.  There’s great learning to be had.

Did you start or restart a blog this summer?  Please add it to the Livebinder of Ontario Edublogs.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It was a little strange this week not doing the weekly radio show with Stephen Hurley to give an advance look at what would be in This Week in Ontario Edublogs.  Unfortunately, we were not able to connect on a time on Wednesday so you get to see them all here first! Great stuff from Ontario Edubloggers.

Don’t forget – if you’re an Ontario Educational blogger or you know of one, go to the landing back at the link above and add the link to the blog.  If you’re just looking to find new people to follow, I have the link to my Ontario Educator Twitter lists there as well.


Language, Culture & Math

Deborah McCallum is always good for providing a thought provoking post and this one doesn’t disappoint.  It’s a really powerful reminder that teachers are there for the entire package and not to cherry pick topics.

With so much emphasis on improving mathematics test scores, it’s easy to overlook this.

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‘Limited Pedagogy’ in the Past? I Don’t Think So!

I was thinking that maybe Peter Skillen had finally lost it.  Hadn’t he already blogged about this before?

Well, maybe, probably, yeah, definitely, …

But it’s a topic well worth repeating.

We didn’t have ‘limited pedagogy’. We had a robust and vibrant movement and approach based on the work of Jean PiagetJerome BrunerSeymour PapertFrank SmithLev VygotskyIvan IllichPaulo FreireA.S. Neill and countless others who promoted discovery learning, constructivism, student-centred approaches, open classrooms, active learning, multi-age learning groups, etc.

Check out Ontario’s Hall-Dennis Report (Living and Learning) of 1968.

The bizarre thing is that we didn’t have limited pedagogy in the past, in the past we had limited technology!  I can remember when the Ministry of Education provided three Icon computers per school.  Various sources were used to increase access to technology for students but the environment wasn’t perfect for a harmonious and easy use of technology in the classroom.  When you have to “take the kids to the lab”, it could easily be assumed that it was a special event that had nothing to do with regular teaching and the excellent pedagogy that was understood.

But those excuses lie in a past limited by funding and access.  We now have access and a marriage with good pedagogical practice should deliver on the promise.

Holy cow, it has generated a lot of discussion though.


I Packed. I Came. I Shared. And Now I’m Left Wondering.

If you’re a reader of Aviva Dunsiger’s work, you won’t be surprised about the wondering work.  I think that her “wondering” makes for an improved environment for her students.  We talk about inquiry and wonder being essential for students; why not for teachers?

This time, she’s wondering about people leaving her session early.

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These are good questions to search for answers.  There may well have been other circumstances.  Perhaps it was just the fact that it’s summer and it was nice outside.  Perhaps people could connect the dots and didn’t feel they needed the hands-on time.

There could be a million other reasons but I’m sure that Aviva’s wondering will result in a different approach in the future.

Perhaps do the “play” first and then tie the big concepts together afterwards?  We live in a PD environment where people are encouraged to “learn with their feet” and to move on if their needs aren’t being met.  That’s great in theory but how do you know where the session is ultimately headed?


#Iceland: Getting our bearings

Alanna King’s on holidays in Iceland with family.  This is one in a series of posts about a summer exploration there.

There’s a great description of what’s happening to the family as they take a look here and there.

I’m just surprised that Tim didn’t rent a motorcycle and leave it to Alanna and Max to catch up later.

The best part is the beautiful pictures that she’s sharing.

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Making a Positive Impact

I’m not going to say much except to highlight this last line from Jennifer Casa-Todd’s post.

How might you make someone’s world brighter today?

It’s not always easy.

On my recent trip to Baltimore, I spent a lot of time in airports (I live in fear of missing my flight) and so I’ll try to strike up a conversation with people.  In one case, I offered my iPad to play a game on to a child who was a little wild.

Airport people like being left alone, I guess.

Attempting isn’t always appreciated but I hope that I never stop trying.


What Does an Innovating Leader Look Like?

I taunted Paul McGuire to write a post so I guess that I should include it here.

So, what does an innovating leader look like?

I would hope that you say “like me”.  I would also hope that you say “I lead by example” instead of “I lead by telling people what to do”.

I always see red flags when people use the term(s) “leader”, “innovator”, or “innovating leader” in their own bio or other places where they describe themselves.  That is indeed the lowest of the low hanging fruit.  Wind fall, perhaps.  It’s more impressive when others use that term to describe them.  Then, I sit up and notice.

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The best piece of advice I ever received came from my father.

Be humble.  You look good when you make others look better.


A long-overdue tribute

I’m always a sucker for a well-crafted blog post title and that’s what this was from Diana Maliszewski.

I started to read and got interested when she made reference to the Maker Festival in Toronto.  Then, somehow the topic turned to a special trip to Toronto.

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Pictures and stories about an anniversary are really few and far between so I did read to the end.

Congratulations, you two.


There’s always something to love from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.  Please take the time to click through and read the entire posts and drop off a comment or two.  They’ll really appreciate it.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Well, summer is here although I read on social media of so many dedicated Ontario educators who are leading or taking AQ courses or who are on writing teams.  There are also dedicated bloggers who continue to share their thoughts.  Interestingly, not all are directly related to education.  And that’s OK too.  You should have license to write about whatever you’re thinking about.  Read on to see some of what I caught recently.


The Utterly Baffling Biker

Do you hear voices?  Tim King did.

It’s not uncommon to hear a radio from a motorcycle as it buzzes by on the road.  After all, a certain level of volume is required to make it listen-able.  But, if you’re standing on the front lawn watching them go by, it’s only there for a moment.

You’ll have to check out Tim’s thoughts when he was following someone with the radio cranked up.

Am I losing my mind? It took me several moments to realize that the three hundred pounder in beanie helmet, t-shirt and shorts on his baaiiiike in front of me had the radio so loud it was like I was in the front row of a concert, if it was a concert about carpet advertising.


Shopping For an Electric Car

I think that we all know that this will be our future.  It’s just a matter of when it happens.  Jennifer Aston shares her thoughts about shopping for an electric car.  To be honest, I wouldn’t have guessed that it would be hard to do.  I was wrong.

It was another wakeup call about values from her.  Thanks to her (and the Cheerios commercials), we didn’t put in our costly front garden plants this year but went instead for a collection of wild flowers.  Bring it on, bees.

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Perhaps in order to really make a change, we all need to invest in those things that reflect our values.

It really is nice to have a blogging friend who can serve as a social conscience at times.  I’m not ready to buy an electric car just yet but I know it’s coming.  This, from a guy who has difficulty in keeping his phone and watch charged for an entire day.


Willingness To Persevere With Learning Experiences

Rola Tibshirani did an “end of year” reflections with her Grade 6 students and took to her blog to share.

These were the leading questions…

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After sharing this, she draws some conclusions from student responses and then looks forward to next year.

What a great way to honour and respect student voice.


COURSE EVALUATION

Peter Beens also gave his students a chance for one last kick at the teacher.  He didn’t share the responses but did share the tool that he used with the students.

Knowing Peter, it’s not surprising that he used a Google Form to help collect the data.

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Just like Rola, it’s a wonderful opportunity to give students the opportunity to pay their experiences forward to the next class.

It’s also an opportunity to formally have students reflect on the course.

Presumably, in both cases, the survey was done during class to get 100% participation.  Having tried to collect evaluations from conferences and other PD events, I know how hard it is to get people to respond.


Is leadership an innovative endeavour? – Response to George Couros

I was really curious to read Paul McGuire’s thoughts on this.  In his retirement, he’s known for making some brutally frank observations via his blog.

I would suspect that, if you ask any leader in education, that they would self-identify themselves as innovative.

It’s got to be a challenge; all of the administrative details could conceivably keep you nailed to a desk doing paperwork all day long.  I’m thinking principals here, based on Paul’s background.

It begs the question – and maybe Paul will write about it some day – what does an innovating leader look like?

In the meantime …

My concern is that the urge to innovate seems to dissipate the higher people reach up the leadership ladder. There is certainly more pressure to follow the company line and as this pressure increases, the ability to innovate declines.


Three Principles for Math Teachers

Only three?

Matthew Oldridge identifies three in this post.

  • Know the Big Ideas of Mathematics that are in your Curriculum
  • Be More Interesting
  • Listen To and Talk to Kids

Each of these points are nicely fleshed out with his thoughts and some great pictures.

The ideas don’t have to be unique and earth shattering.  I think that the middle point is good advice for anyone; not just teachers of mathematics.

Like this … who hasn’t seen this problem?

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I remember this being the basis for a computer science problem – it went something like – position a chess knight in the top left square.  From there, it will make three moves.  Where could it possibly end up?

Sometimes, great things can emerge from the traditional.


Lessons from a Try A Tri

I’ll confess – this was a great title for a blog post.  Not that I wouldn’t want to read Jen Giffen’s stuff anyway, but I just had to know what she was talking about.

In this case, it was a mini-triathlon that she and a number of colleagues did before work.  With all the concern about student inactivity, why wouldn’t it work for teachers as well?  The effort that they had was pretty intensive.

We ran 2.5KM, biked 8.75KM and swam 400m

Now, that’s a morning wakeup call.

You’ll have to read the entire post as she ties in thoughts about teamwork but there’s one sentence that affirms that Royan Lee is the gentleman that we know him to be.

How’s that for “outside the box”.  While Stephen Hurley and I were discussing this on VoiceED Radio, Derek Rhodenizer talked about a PD event where he took his staff fishing.


I was concerned that the first week of summer holidays might bring a shortage of great posts from Ontario Edubloggers.  I’m glad that those above proved me wrong.

If you’re a blogger yourself, keep at it.  I hope to catch your thoughts online.

Each week, I share some of these posts with Stephen Hurley on VoiceED radio.  They’re all archived here.  You can check out our weekly program live Wednesday mornings at 9:15.