This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I started writing these regular Friday morning posts a long time ago. The goal then is the same that it is today. It lets me celebrate the great thoughts of Ontario Edubloggers. All of the posts are available here.

In the big global scheme of things, Ontario may be a relatively smaller player. But, province-wide, there is always a need for a local perspective. Every week, I close by asking you to visit the original blog posts. I’m still going to ask you to do the same thing but I’d like to request something else since you’ve got nowhere to go outside. Please share the link to the actual post in your learning networks whether it be Twitter, Facebook, an internet discussion list with your district, Instagram, or whatever you turn to for your learning.

These bloggers, as all of the blog posts that I’ve included on this regular Friday feature do a magnificent job of sharing their thoughts and research. They need to be heard. Please help their cause.


What I Wish I Knew: Reluctant Readers

Tina Bergman blogs on the voicEd website and her latest post continues her sharing of thoughts and readings about, well, reading.

She’s borrowed the concept of the naming of things from Ramona Meharg with “What I Wish I Knew”.

This post includes a nice collection of research articles – embedded and included in the notes at the bottom along with her thoughts about the RIGHT TO READ inquiry.

She brings into the post the ongoing list of resources from the Ministry and other sources that could help inform instruction.

When I read works like this, I can’t help but think back to my own education. There was nowhere nearly the research breadth that this is available to educators today. Reading was just something that you learned to do. It was important around our household and it just sort of happened at school. I don’t recall the strategies explicitly in play that Tina talks about.

When I think back, I can remember a few in my class who struggled and were probably written off at the time as “they don’t get it”.

That isn’t a solution anymore. For those of us who do get it, it’s easy to leap at the assertion that teaching reading is easy. And it probably was for us. But when you take a look at the classroom composition today, you can only appreciate what hard work teaching reading actually is.


V is for Village

On this blog, and on this computer, I’ve been following and enjoying the walk through the alphabet with Lynn Thomas. I keep guessing what happens when she hits Z!

We often hear the much used phrase “it takes a village” and we generally understand it related to child-raising practices, but it is so much bigger than that. It takes a village to raise ALL of us. We all never quite stop being children because we all have more to learn no matter what age or stage of life we are in

It’s a short and to the point blog post.

When you think of “the village”, it’s time to move past the cutesy sayings or the little artifacts that you might buy in the mall for a gift.

Never before has the importance of this global village been so visible. Well, maybe not to those who claim it to be a hoax even though they’re going to a revisionist approach to say they recognized it all along. But, it is true for the rest of us.

One person isn’t going to pull a global community through all this. It’s going to take everyone.

Let’s respect and honour that.


Outdoor Education – let’s go camping!

Oh, but if we only could.

It’s hard to think back but Laura Wheeler takes us back to a time before the struggle that we’re having now. Sadly, it’s not a large leap back in time – it’s just a month. I’ll bet it seems so much longer for Laura and her students.

They got to go winter camping. It’s an experience that really needs to be enjoyed. It’s so different from summer camping.

  • no mosquitoes
  • clothing is so much different and needs better care taken of it
  • camping is nothing without a campfire but what is a “nice-to-have” in the summer becomes a reality in the winter!

And so much more you’ll find in this post along with some terrific pictures along with strong encouragement to give it a shot.

Are you up to it?


COVID-19 & Education: Part 2

Shelly Vohra is on a bit of a blogging streak.

Last week, I took at look at her thoughts about education these days during the outbreak of the virus.

This week, she took a second view in Part 2 of the series.

The realities of education from home have come up into everyone’s face since her first post. She addresses so many of the important issues – developmental levels, screen time, the role of the computer, choice of digital resources, security and privacy, and even the concept of re-connecting with students who have been away from the classroom now for three or more weeks.

A great deal of time is spent on addressing mindfulness and well-being. It’s easier to do face to face but that’s not an option.

Since I read this, she has actually written a series of posts for you to consider. As things are set to gear up in the province there’s so much wisdom, advice, and thoughts for consideration here.


4 Teachers + 80 minutes = Powerful Learning

Diana Maliszewski shares one of her “this is why I teach” moments in this post.

It involves cookies and a whole lot more.

Don’t just glance at this picture! Study it.

You’ll find the word “authentic” in there.

Huh?

There is so much richness in this post that a quick summary here really wouldn’t do it justice. But I would encourage you to click through and read it in its entirety. You’ll find novels, questioning, professional learning, teacher observation, puzzle pieces, chocolate chips, student-teacher work and follow-up, and more.


What’s the first thing you will do when your world opens up again?

Warning … you’re going to want to have a tissue nearby when you read this very personal and emotional post from Debbie Donsky.

We’ve all had challenges and parts of our regular life stolen from us during this time and she was no different. Imagine having to hospitalize a parent and then being prevented from visiting.

My heart goes out to Debbie. Her message is so personal and yet there is a realization that blogging can be so many things to so many people. It truly can be a way to at least lift part of a heavy load.

So what’s the first thing you will do? Read the post to see what Debbie wants to do.


Timing Is Critical – Seize The Moment!

Joel McLean is absolutely correct.

We’re in incredibly difficult times and leadership has never been so crucial. We’ve seen political leaders make media appearances and some are very strong (and I blogged about that) and some are just pathetic.

There’s no two ways about this. It’s not about YOU; it’s about all of US.

Being a leader today means that we must continuously transform ourselves. Not only because of the fast-changing environments that we work and live in, but because we cannot hope to lead and improve tomorrow if we keep relying on yesterday’s abilities. Once opportunity is knocking at our door, it is too late to prepare. You have to be ready to seize it!

Nobody could have predicted or planned for what we’re going through. That’s OK. We don’t expect that you already have the tools but the best leaders will make an effort to find or develop them. The best and strongest have stepped up and learned what leadership means at this time. This includes classroom leaders, school leaders, and district leaders. How they respond now will speak volumes going into the future.


And a shout-out

Earlier this week, I had written a blog post itemizing 10 things that I’ve learned from this whole experience. I challenged bloggers to share their learning and I got two takers that I know of.

Melanie White

10 Things I’ve Learned: a response to Doug Peterson’s Blog

Aviva Dunsiger

My List Of 10 Things That I’ve Learned

As I always say, please click through and read these great posts in their entirety. This week, I’m also asking that you honour their work by sharing it via your networking connections.

And, follow them on Twitter:

  • Tina Bergman – @blyschuk
  • Lynn Thomas – @THOMLYNN101
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • Joel McLean – @jprofNB
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca

This blog post appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


You know, you don’t really appreciate something until you lose it. I’m feeling that this week in my loss of freedom to just go and browse my way through a store. It’s not that I do it a lot but the important part is that, in another time, I actually could if I wanted to. I just can’t now.

I did have a fulfilling moment last night. A childhood friend of mine had a crashed iPad and I was able to give her some advice and she’s back online now. My price was very affordable compared to what Apple would have charged. I got:


On to some of the great things that crossed my keyboard this week from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.


COVID-19 & Education

Shelly Vohra offers some candid advice about attempts by the Ministry of Education to promote e-learning or online learning or what you may wish to call it. She echoes some of the observations that have been talked about here and in other places. It is in stark contrast to the comments coming from some of the right-wing news sources in the province. They just don’t have a clue. The sad thing is the number of anonymous comments. I don’t reshare because I don’t believe and yet I can’t resist the urge to read the garbage that they are spewing. Like I indicated previously on this blog, you can’t equate one person with a computer from their employer and an internet connection with a teacher trying to teach a class of students with varying needs and just as many varying computer configurations. That is, of course, if the student is fortunate enough to have a computer and an internet connection.

Shelly points out, with respect to the Minstry’s assumptions that this is a good thing:

  • The first is that educators were not consulted in the creation of this ‘resource’
  • Secondly, the ‘resource’ doesn’t take into consideration the diversity in our student population
  • my third issue with such a ‘resource’ – the issue of equity.

We can’t overlook that this will be a good resource for some and certainly school districts are, or have been directed to, share on their website.

Shelly promises a followup post with some of her ideas.


How The Coronavirus Should Impact Education

Matthew Morris takes on the topic of how all this should affect education. He thinks that we’ll all play out and make the best of things in the short term. He focuses instead on the future.

So, what does happen if and when the balance of the school year is cancelled.

I did have to smile just a bit when he took on society’s perspective of Physical and Health Education. Is it a nice break from the rigours of the classroom or does it have a more important role?

And, where do report cards fit in?

This post is a nice focus on reality.


Illness, Shame and the Educator Martyr Complex

From the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, Michelle Fenn makes some observations based on the current reality and some of the realizations that can come from it.

We all have experienced the various scenarios in Michelle’s post. We have indeed dragged ourselves into work when we should have stayed at home.

We all have those emergency lesson plans that are tucked away for such an occasion and hope that we never need them.

We all know the panic of going to bed well and waking up ill. What will the kids do?

At some point, we’ve all had the experience of going into work when we really shouldn’t. As Michelle notes, we’ve made gains through collective bargaining about how to take care of ourselves. Sadly, there are employers that want to cut into this. There’s a huge difference in workplace activity between dealing with a full timetable of students who might be sick and some other professions that are nowhere near this. I still can’t get over that moronic Twitter message that I read indicating that teachers will get through COVID-19 because the experience of dealing with coughing the spreading a of germs of the classroom will help them.

Ironically, we have an entire province that has shut itself down due to a virus and those that are really worried about the impact of the lack of doing their jobs and the students they’re charged to work with are the teachers.


Exceptional Times: Using a Pandemic to Close the Digital Divide

Tim King follows up on a previous blog post where he addressed the challenges of having insufficient internet access at school for his needs with this post.

Now, he takes the concept of connectivity globally. I found his reference to the Loon project interesting. Note that this video is at least three years old.

And, of course, you’ll need a computer to attach to the network. He cites two sources; one being the unused computers at schools right now and the second being the Computers for Schools project.

I would suggest that all this is a start but won’t get us where we ultimately need to be. My internet service provider uses LTE and Satellite; it’s part of Canada’s rural solution. I had to send a warning to Stephen Hurley earlier this week that our voicEd show might be in danger when I ran a Speedtest and got this.

Image

Stephen recommends at least 2MB for success. Fortunately, it was a bit better for Wednesday morning. Had I needed the speed when I ran the test, I would have been out of luck. Imagine being a student at home relying on synchronous connections with a teacher.

The second part of the equation involves getting computers in the hands of students. One solution is to provide repurposed computers with a Linux environment and have them connect to a network with those specifications. The problem with older computers is that repairs and getting parts can be a challenge when things go wrong. I have a Dell (not exactly a generic machine) with a flashing orange light indicating that it doesn’t recognize the battery that it came with. It’s not likely that I’m going to shell out money for a new battery for this older computer.

On top of all of this, we make reference to this as a solution to those students whose families cannot afford their own technology. So, the poorer get a bandaid solution?

Despite my negative points above, a solution like this needs to be found. Traditionally, we’ve looked to public libraries as an evening solution but when they’re closed, that option is out.

Looking for a solution while living the problem really isn’t the solution. A proactive solution like hospitals have in hand needs to be in place. Smart educators like Tim should be given credit for their thoughts, along with a budget, and come up with a permanent solution should a similar situation ever arise again. And, even if it doesn’t, who wouldn’t want a solution where every student in the province has reliable access to the internet.


Being a Skillful Teacher

From the TESL Blog comes a post from Martina Finnegan that includes one of the best thinking moments for me this past while.

“Skillful teaching is the teaching that is contextually informed” (Brookfield, 2015, p. 20). We teach what we assume students should be learning in their particular situations, and sometimes this requires veering away from a syllabus and taking hold of alternate methods to help students learn what is required for their field

In today’s reality, I think of teachers that are now thrust online to continue their teaching.

I’ve been in conversation with a friend in the States that is teaching his Computer Science courses online. The connection to the student is through video conferencing from his living room to goodness knows where. I do know that one of those locations is in China.

One of my superintendents was a big believer in Management by Walking Around. Great read here. He believed that the best teachers are always walking around, looking at student progress and then let the alternate methods that Martina alludes to kick in. Educators know what the end game is and will do whatever is needed to get there.

I would hope that the best of the best meet Martina’s standards of a “Skillful Teacher”. She’s got some great references for additional reading in the post.


Neighbourhood Mending – 19/31 #SOL20

Melanie White SCREAMS

“This is not my neighbourhood!”

Why is she screaming?

She’s looking at a glossy magazine that describes her neighbourhood. The pictures that she sees in the magazine are drastically different from what she sees when she looks out the front window or around her neighbourhood.

It’s difficult to believe that this is happening in Canada in 2020. Judging by the comments to Melanie’s post, she’s not the only one who sees this and want to take action.

Letter writing to the magazine is a good start. Letter writing to those businesses that advertise in the magazine, cc: the magazine and to social media would even be more effective.


Andrea’s 2 Degrees

The Beast is back!

When I read the title, I thought it might be about a Degree in the Arts and a Degree in Education like so many teachers in province have and how could that be a post.

But I was wrong.

It’s a wonderful story about a relationship and professionalism that brings in a running kindergarten student and how grade 5 students ended up being more effective than the vice-principal in her role of authority.

Now, I’ve heard (and watched) 6 degrees of separation. I had to do a bit of research to find out just what was meant by 2 degrees. I hope that this is the context that they use in the post because I used it to understand their message.

There are specific spaces around each of us: 1. private space is the immediate space or circle – you. The next circle or microsystem is: 2. close family, friends, and peers in school, workplace, religious affiliation and neighborhood. The next circle would be the mesosystem: 3. to a lesser degree of closeness, extended family, acquaintances, and peers in school, workplace, religious affiliation and neighborhood. Circles 2. and 3. are the combined social space. Next is the exosystem, public space: 4. community, county, state, nation. The final circle, macrosystem, would represent: 5. the world. In Karinthy’s concept of six degrees of separation, a person would be six steps away from any one person in the world. This is the interconnectedness of dependent-origination. We are all connected. One degree of separation would place you solely in the inner most social circle or microsystem. This would lead you to a very select few within that social space closest to you.

When her direct message was ineffective, she turned to the connections of the 2nd degree and they were indeed able to be effective in stopping the running behaviour.

Then, in true Beast fashion, we’re witness to a discussion between Andrea and Kelly about this and their relationship.

In particular, I’m interested in this concept of a “2 degrees pilot”.


And, again, a wonderful collection of thought from Ontario Edubloggers. Please take time to click through and read the original posts.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Michelle Fenn – @Toadmummy
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Martina Finnegan – @TESLOntario
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • The Beast – @thebeastedu

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

Is it time?


I’m seeing people asking for recommendations for books and movies to help kill the time while confined to home.

Let me jump in here and offer a construction alternative.

Maybe it’s time for you to start your own blog. There is no cost to get started at a couple of the popular sites – WordPress and Blogger.

There’s increased interest in creating and publishing learning resources online; why not experiment with your own blog? You could use it as a way to keep in touch with students and parents online in the future. You know, doing things like curating a section of online links, activities, due dates, etc. for your class.

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

That’s not the only reason to start a blog, of course.

You could:

  • blog about hobbies
  • blog about your photography
  • blog about innovative things in your classroom
  • blog about social issues
  • blog about family, community
  • blog just about anything you want
  • or, blog about all of the above. Nothing says you have to just have a single focus

and remember that, if you’re an Ontario Educators, let me know so that I can add you my collection of Ontario Edubloggers.

For many people, blogging is addictive. Once you start, you’ll continue to blog and before long, you’ve amassed a great curation of things that are important to you.

A wise man (at least in his own mind) once wrote:

Sadly, the answer doesn’t always generate a new resource for my learning. Often, I’ll get answers like:

  • What’s a blog?
  • I don’t have time to blog
  • It’s all been said. I have nothing to contribute
  • Blogging is just one big echo chamber
  • My principal or superintendent reads blogs and I don’t want to get into trouble for having an opinion
  • I don’t want to be wrong and have someone else criticise me
  • I don’t want to create a bad blog

And shared this and more in an article for Jisc –

There’s no such thing as a bad blog.

So, if you’re not blogging, what’s stopping you from getting started?

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s anything but business as usual, my friends. Please stay safe.

Here are some of the latest great reading I’ve done from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers. Please help me keep the Livebinder up to date. If your blog doesn’t appear there, please consider adding it. If you have a blog there and have abandoned it, let me know so that I can take it down.


Podcasting with students

From Jennifer Casa-Todd, an interesting post about Podcasting with students. Podcasting isn’t new; as long as there was Audacity and a microphone on a computer, people have been recording themselves talking about things.

There appears to be a renewed interest lately and I’d like to think that we’re celebrating everyone’s voice more than ever. In this case, and it comes as no surprise since it’s from Jennifer, the focus here is about amplifying student voice.

Jennifer shares her experiences here and has collected resources in a Wakelet document for all to enjoy.

You can’t possibly disagree with her reasons for why you’d want to podcast with students. It’s never been as easy to do as it is today.


Teachers, Copyright, and Fair Dealing: Know your rights and know your limits!

I feel kind of bad about this but I missed Fair Dealing Week.

Thanks to Peter Beens though for raising the importance of Fair Dealing when considering classroom resources. He reminds us of the Fair Dealing Decision Tool.

Through navigation, you’re only a click or two away from advice about whether or not you can use a particular resource in your classroom.

More details about Fair Dealing can be found here.


100 Episodes: Looking Back and Learning Forward

One of the truly nice people that I’ve had the pleasure to meet on social media is Ramona Meharg. Our paths have crossed a number of times, in a number of different ways.

Obviously, I’m a fan of her blog but I’m also a fan of her Podcast series “I Wish I Knew Edu“.

Through her podcast, she introduces us to a number of educators who discuss things that they wish they’d known when they got into education. I was honoured to be #3 in her list which now has hit

Hundred Points on Google Android 10.0

Congratulations, Ramona. The first 100 are the hardest!

Check out her post for a little history of how she got there.


Getting On Board With Your Children’s Interests

Given that may people will be enjoying their family for three weeks this March, this post from the Umbrella Project couldn’t come at a better time!

There’s a suggestion there that would have been great for last summer. But, hopefully, you can remember some of the activities that children raved about from back then!

We can best support our child’s sense of purpose by noticing their sparks of interest and presenting them with a range of possibilities that align with those intrinsic interests. It’s tempting to think we know what is best for our children, but imposing these ideas on them rarely builds the purpose we were hoping for. Here are some direct tips to help you out:

Unfortunately, the infographic that is alluded to in the post was not accessible by me. But, there is a link to a Facebook page where you’ll find all kinds of great ideas.

And, for students, information about a $500 Scholarship!


Tweets of Engagement?

In Sheila Stewart’s latest post, she takes on recent changes to the way that Twitter has changed what you see when you log in after having been away for a while.

At the risk of disagreeing with Sheila, I kind of like the approach – at least when I find value in the content that Twitter shares for me.

Part of what appeals to me about social media has always been the ability to break out of whatever bubble I have surrounded myself with. It challenges my assumptions and takes me off in different directions.

On the other hand, there’s the flip side of this. There will be people that I don’t know that end up reading my stuff out of the blue for them. I wonder what they think about it – and by extension, me.

Sheila explores the concept that Twitter’s actions move your content from semi-private to more public. Therein is a reminder that we’ve known for a long time “don’t do stupid things”.

If nothing else, it’s a wakeup call to think about how you use social media and for what. Did you agree to be this open when you signed up or would you consider making all your messages private or locked only for followers like Sheila is thinking?


I know that I addressed the efforts of these two ladies on Monday’s post but I’d like to bring it forward again this Friday in case you missed it. I think it’s a great call to action for all educators during these challenging times. Rather than just sharing the efforts of some company who is providing some activities for home use, consider publishing your own list of activities and resources that are Canadian content and based on expectations from the Ontario Curriculum.

Please note that all activities don’t involved learning how to use Zoom, Skype, Meet or some other online service from scratch. There are amazing things that can be done otherwise.

Deb Weston – Stay Home Activities for Kids

Upon hearing that my students could be at home for up to 3 weeks due to an “extended March Break”, I started putting a list together of “kid” things to do. Once my students discovered I was writing this list, they gave me many more activities to keep kids busy at home.

Aviva Dunsiger – Kindergarten From Home: Here Are My Suggestions. What Are Yours?

Never would I have thought that I would need to write a post like this one, and yet, sometimes the unexpected happens. Every Friday, I start my day by reading Doug Peterson‘s This Week In Ontario Edublogs post. Just like with all of Doug’s blog posts, I know that he writes and schedules this Friday post the day before (often earlier in the day, I think). When he chose to include John Allan’s post, he wouldn’t have known that by Thursday evening we would all find out that Ontario schools would be closed for an additional two weeks following the March Break.


Please click through and enjoy all of these terrific posts.

Then, follow the authors on Twitter.

  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @JCasaTodd
  • Peter Beens – @pbeens
  • Ramona Meharg – @RamonaMeharg
  • The Umbrella Project – @umbrellapjct
  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • Deb Weston – @DrDWestonPhD
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca

This post appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


And, it’s another Friday the 13th. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there’s a week-long light at the end of the tunnel.

Enjoy some great thinking from this group of Ontario Edubloggers.


MY ACCEPTANCE SPEECH: ANGELA THACKER MEMORIAL AWARD 2020

Congratulations to Alanna King. She’s one of three winners of the 2020 Angela Thacker Memorial Award.

This award honours teacher-librarians who have made contributions to the profession through publications, productions or professional development activities that deal with topics relevant to teacher-librarianship and/or school library learning commons

If you know Alanna King, you know that she excels in all of the areas of this award descriptor and so most definitely is worthy of recognition in front of her colleagues.

The post is essentially her speech given as she accepted the award. She touches on a number of recent experiences that she’s had – health issues, keynote in Buenos Aires, car accident, LTD not approved and yet she’s as strong and vibrant as ever.

After a career move, she’s not longer in the library but promises to remain a strong advocate.

She’s definitely raised the bar for potential future nominees.


Taking an Equity Stance in Math Class

The word “equity” is used quite frequently in education in many different contexts so I didn’t quite know what to expect when Mark Chubb used it with Mathematics.

This chart is really worth looking at and trying to understand the underlying message to describe classroom practice.

I don’t know why but, particularly with Mathematics, I always look back on my own experiences. I definitely am from the old school where we were all expected to work on the same problems the same way and to end up with the same answers.

If you were having problems with a topic, you got to stay after class and do some more of the same until you “got it”. “It” was the same question for everyone.

It, in no way, was equal to the way that Mark describes equity…

However, if we are aiming for equity then we need to allow more opportunities for our students to show us what ARE good at.


Keeping it fresh.

This post, from Will Gourley, is really a post that I think that all teachers should write.

It’s an inspirational look back at the things that have gone well in his class because of his willingness to embrace new things. Things, in this case, are many different web resources so it’s not like you can’t do them in your own classroom!

There’s a definite tip of the hat for Will using these Ontario resources – Waterloo POTW and CEMC.

If you know Will and his work, it will come as no surprise that TED talks play an important part as well.

Will’s students have access to Wipebooks as well and he talks about their use.

This is but a short summary of everything that’s happening in Mr. Gourley’s class. You should click and head on over to see everything. He also challenges you to share your success via reply. That would be a nice thing to do as well. Bloggers like comments.

I’ll bet that there’s all kinds of things happening across the province and teachers are just too humble to brag about it. Change that!


Record as much as you can

Diana Maliszewski has a student teacher.

I’m almost afraid to see what her recommendations would be – I’d be afraid to read something like “show more excitement in your teaching like I do”!

Just reading the post brought back memories of my own practice teaching. (that always seems like a bad descriptor) We’ve all been through this – you start with one class and then work your way through to a full teaching load – all the while being observed by your associate teacher.

Diana started with Sharpies and graduated to a daily five pages of a Google document for her feedback.

At the end of the post, she gets to the point that really recording your student teacher has so much value. It’s hard to argue with any of that. And, today with a smartphone, it’s so easy.


Applying a Critical Lens on I Read Canadian Day

If you thought that the life of a teacher-librarian just involved checking books in and out, you need to just have a chat with one to get the whole story.

This post, from Beth Lyons, lets you know that she’s not resting on her laurels.

To celebrate “I Read Canadian Day”, she took the opportunity to look through her collection and look at the number and types of Canadian authored books on her shelves and how to draw student attention to them. Even that process had her thinking about how she’s classifying them.

In the process, she has also identified an area where she needs to acquire books.

In Beth’s post, I saw this Maya Angelou post for the third time in the past week. It’s great inspirational advice.


A Thought for International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day, Sue Dunlop penned this post. Thanks Christine Nicolaides for highlighting it and have it appear in one of my paper.li dailies.

It’s a strong message. Kudos to Sue for penning it.

The first time that I read it, it was clear to me that the intended audience was women who might be interested in advancement to a new position.

The more I mulled over it, I felt that she could be writing that post to parents. As the father of two young ladies, why wouldn’t I be right beside them in support? The traditions that we grew up with are dated; how can they change if everyone isn’t there to challenge the status quo?

I want every woman to know that she can put herself forward at any time and boldly state what she wants and aspires to.


School closures, eLearning, and the Coronavirus

This is a topic at the forefront of so many people’s minds lately. I wrote a post about it last weekend and my news feed is filled with the topic and concept every morning.

Despite what politicians and newspaper opinion writers would have you believe, the solution isn’t simple. John Allan reinforces the message in this post.

He identifies six major issues that stand in the road of making this happen.

The issues, however, are not insurmountable. He offers suggestions and a path to make it happen.

But, like I said what I wrote about it, we need a plan.

Does your school district have a plan?

I didn’t think so.


Please take the time to click through and read all of these posts in their entirety. There’s a great deal of food for thought here.

Then, follow these people on Twitter

  • Alanna King – @banana29
  • Mark Chubb – @MarkChubb3
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Beth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Sue Dunlop – @Dunlop_Sue
  • John Allan – @mrpottz

This post originated from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday!

Check out some of the great writing from Ontario Edubloggers.


My “20 for 2020” List

This was an interesting read provided by Sue Dunlop. I think we’re all seen people post about “one word” or various spins on the concept with the goal of self-improvement or at least self-change.

Sue’s approach is a little different and inspired by Gretchen Rubin.

Sue has goals and shares 20 of them with us. There are some interesting choices in her list. Some look like fun; some are pretty serious; some are things that I can’t do …

You’ll have to hop over to her blog to see her list.

I was a bit disappointed that cycling down the Red Hill Valley Parkway didn’t make the list!


How Do You Write with Honesty and Courage?

Jessica Outram starts this post with an interesting collection of questions.

What does it mean to write with honesty and courage? What is the relationship between the writer and her work? Do you sometimes step back and look at what you are writing as an opportunity to gain self-awareness or as a practice of self-development?

Those are interesting questions that, quite frankly, I hadn’t even thought about – at least until now.

I immediately thought about the difference between writing fiction and non-fiction. It seems to me that fiction would be more difficult to write since you wouldn’t necessarily have exact facts at your fingertips. You’d have to remember the characters and facts (or otherwise keep track) so that you’re consistent. Non-fiction would be easier, I think since you’re writing from real life experiences.

In terms of her last question, personally I think I’d select self-development but just the fact that she includes self-awareness in the question makes me wonder just how much I’m missing.

In the post, she reveals how she writes. It’s a great provocation and I think I need to pay more attention to my routines.


The Art of Questioning on Math Assessments

You have to stop and read this post from Heather Theijsmeijer! It may well change your practice for good when it comes to asking questions in mathematics.

I don’t care who you are. You grew up learning mathematics old school. Or, as Heather identifies it “Traditionally”.

Basically, your teacher gave you questions and you generated answers. Mathematics as we know it.

But what if there’s a different approach and Heather describes this so nicely in the post. What if the student could choose the level of their question in advance?

There’s a great argument for a change in practice here, along with rationale. Good stuff.

I’m also wondering if there’s an opportunity for teacher to monitor student self-efficacy over time. An increase in this would speak volumes about a teacher’s effect and a student’s confidence in the material even before working through a problem.

I’m not aware of any textbook that is available using this approach. Writing opportunity?


Street View Photography and Land-Based Learning in Peawanuck, Ontario

I don’t know when I’ve been this excited reading about a project. We all know about Google Street View and mapping. We know that you can use real pictures to tell stories about a community.

Years ago, I had written a post about My Childhood Community. I was so proud of it at the time.

Now, I’m totally embarrassed after reading about this project.

The blog post is really a teaser to get you to click through to the project results. Since I’d never heard of Peawanuck before, I used their map (after zooming out) to determine just where it is.

Then you dig into what the students did and how they share their work.

What an opportunity to tap into local resources and share the story with the world!


Bottlenecks

My sympathies go out to Tim King as a result of running into many walls trying to do something in his school. The same type of thing has happened to me more times than I’d like to admit.

But that was then, this is now.

As Tim notes, there was a time when we would have to limp along because the computers that we were trying to use were underpowered.

We currently live in a world where we have dynamite kick-butt computers and we have lesser powered machines like iPads and Chromebooks and yet we can do amazing things because the common thread is being connected to the internet.

What happens when that doesn’t work?

Read Tim’s post of frustration and you’ll see from his perspective.

I find an important question from all of this is just who determines what applications are important enough to make sure they work and what other non-critical things are allowed to run at the same time.

Bandwidth is important. I remember when I was chair of the Bring IT, Together conference. We kept asking and were assured that they had enough. That was until the opening keynote and looking down at over 1000 educators all with computers, tablets, phones, on and at the ready. It’s our reality in this day and age.


Her Story

The huge message coming from Peter Cameron’s post to me is to acknowledge that there are resources far richer and more contemporary than what you’re going to find in any textbooks. Student in Mr. Cameron’s class are real beneficiaries of his vision and planning.

It has been a while since Peter had blogged but it certainly looks like he’s been busy. Really busy.

Peter’s connections have built such an interesting collection and he shares a wonderful story along the way. Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a big fan of his work.

Be prepared to follow a large number of links that will take you to the things that Peter has done over the last while.

Sharing one person’s story and connecting with them can create ripple effects that can turn into a wave of action and change.


Learning Environments

If you find any post that references David Thornburg, you know that it will be strong in research, very observational and with the best for students heading into the future at the forefront.

David was brought to the Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee as a keynote speaker a number of times. I always looked forward to subsequent meetings with my superintendent because I always did my best to ensure that he was at the sessions. He listened to David and was inspired by his thoughts.

One of his biggest complaints was school districts that would build new schools without regard for input from parents, students, and teachers. I still remember him saying “How can you leave the most important people out of that conversation?”

Shelly Vohra brought back so many of these powerful memories of those discussions in this blog post.

She addresses learning environments and making the idea learning space. Spoiler – it isn’t all about the “stuff”.

This is a longer post but is absolutely worth the read and to forward it to colleagues if you’re in the position of being able to design learning spaces.


Oh yes! Another wonderful collections of blog posts.

Please take the time to click through and read them all in their entirety. There’s great thinking happening here.

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

  • Sue Dunlop – @Dunlop_Sue
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Heather Theijsmeijer – @htheijsmeijer
  • Melissa Lavoie – @MelizzaLavoie
  • Tim King – @mechsymp
  • Peter Cameron – @cherandpete
  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3

This post originated from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


First

OSSTF

Some OSSTF members will be participating in a one day strike today.•

• Keewatin-Patricia District School Board
• District School Board Ontario North East
• Moose Factory Island District Area School Board
• James Bay Lowlands Secondary School Board
• Rainbow District School Board
• Bluewater District School Board
• Upper Grand District School Board
• Wellington Catholic District School Board
• Durham District School Board
• Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
• Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board
• Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
• Upper Canada District School Board
• Conseil scolaire de district catholique des Grandes Rivières
• Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien
• Provincial Schools Authority

As well as members from Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est, Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario, Conseil scolaire Viamonde, Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir, Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario, and Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l’Ontario.

Details here.


The predicted storm did manage to hit the province yesterday with many school districts cancelling bus transportation. It’s always a controversial move. I hope that everyone was safe.

Check out some of the great blogging efforts from Ontario Edubloggers.


The Best 75 Minutes of My Day.

Ramona Meharg starts with a simple statement.

Music is magic

Then, off she goes to describe how her guitar brings a unique environment to her Special Education Classroom.

The students get a choice from over 200 songs that she has on her playlist. That’s impressive. In the post, she describes their interactions with her, the music, and other classmates.

It doesn’t stop there. Like any good teacher, she can completely describes what she does and, most importantly, how it addresses curriculum expectations and elements of student IEPs.

Play this video! I bet you can’t sit still or, if you know the words and the tune, feel free to listen and enjoy while you read the rest of the post.


I Wish I Knew: How Does My Child Learn To Read?

Posted to the voicEd Radio blog, Tina Berman shares her first attempt at blogging (that I know of), inspired by a voicEd Radio podcast.

For the longest of times, I didn’t really put much thought into this. I was teaching Computer Science at the secondary school level which, by itself, appeals to a certain element of the school population which do know how to read.

Even as a child, I never thought about it. My parents read to us and weekly we would go to the town library to get a couple of books. We just read.

It was only later, as a member of the Program Department working with my superintendent and various elementary school literacy consultants that I dug deeply into the “how” rather than just the assumption that all children can read. So much research has been done, and Tina touches on some pretty important concepts in this post.

She also includes a nice collection of supporting references.


From Failing to #DisruptTexts

As I typically do, I make myself notes on the blog posts that I read for use on the radio show and in this post. The first thing that I wrote when I read this post from Melanie White was:

Might be the most important thing you read today

Maybe it’s what I consider my analytic mind, but her pie graphs really solidified her message for me.

I guess, growing up, the choice of reading and studying in the classroom really didn’t make me think. We just assumed that the teacher was instructed to use that one novel or it was one that he/she liked or had notes for. As long as we could buy the Coles Notes version of the book, we were good and didn’t have to actually do all the reading. One of the few books that I remember was The Great Gatsby. Maybe not for the story, but for the fact that we had a field trip to London to watch the movie.

It was a real yawner. And, it was far beyond us. We didn’t have an East Egg or a West Egg but we did have an East Street.

Back to Melanie’s post. She did an analysis of her book room and her results weren’t unexpected. Lots of stories written by white men. Does her collection go back in time to the days when I was in high school? Unless you haven’t been paying attention for the past twenty-thirty years, today we have a different society and a different sensibility.

Should our collection of literature change? Melanie sure thinks so. Read her post. Also, this story from the Ottawa Citizen.


T is for Teaching & Time

If nothing else, Lynn Thomas’ post about time should have you nodding your head. Embedded in it is an infographic from BusyTeacher.org that highlights so many of the things that teachers have been trying to impress on the current government about the profession.

I think that every teacher knows that, if they didn’t force themselves to sleep, there are times when the job could consume exactly 24 hours of your day.

Fortunately, we live in a time when we recognize the importance of personal well-being. How many times do we see the word “balance” promoted as a teacher one-word for the year? And, I think that we all know, that won’t be reached. For teachers, the job is just too darned important. Those that see the profession as a filler between university and retirement are usually out of the profession in their first couple of years.

There are way less stressful jobs to do. And, of fairness, more stressful ones as well.

The job is always evolving too. Every time someone who isn’t in the classroom comes up with a new research or theory and administration thinks it’s a good idea, you need to adjust. Flexibility – I think that needs to be added to that list as well.


Reflection from an E-Learning Teacher

I would have to think that common sense would dictate that those who would be successful in an eLearning course would be those that need a credit to get into university. Probably their course interest was one where an individual school didn’t have enough students to offer a face-to-face class as well.

The observations from Dave Lanovaz is interesting. He taught the Grade 12 Data Management university level course. That isn’t a course that appeals to everyone so having it available online seems like a nice alternative for those that don’t have it offered at their school.

His own data manages to make me think.

The course started with 32 students enrolled and ended up with 15 students who were successful in gaining the credit. Read his post for greater details about the enrolment throughout the course. We know there are always drops and adds.

It would be easy to blame the students and move on. But, Dave is looking inwardly as any good teacher does to see what he could do better and hopefully get better results. In particular, he touches on elements that need attention to in an online course.

  • Independence
  • Relationships
  • Community

I wish him good luck in this endeavour trying to make this course better for all.

But, go back to the original premise and think about the proposed eLearning courses for all requirement. With this success rate with university bound students, what does that predict for others?


OLA Super Conference – My First Time #TLchat #OLASC

Laura Wheeler recently received a certification as a teacher-librarian specialist so congratulations for that.

What do you do as you learn the profession? – go to the OLA SuperConference.

And she did! This is an interesting post where she shares her thoughts about the conference, Toronto, and downtown walkability, noise and smoke.

It sounded like a lonely experience – she only knew 2 people there. Come on Teacher-Librarian Personal Learning Network. Reach out and get her connected!

She managed to sketchnote many of the sessions that she attended and that makes this kind of a slow read if you’re like me and like to work your way through the notes. Here’s one…

It’s time well spent.


My “Gradeless” Bookshelf

The concept of going “gradeless” is a hot topic in some areas these days. Of course, it will require a systematic change in educational philosophy. Pick your system.

Terry Whitmell writes this post to:

I’ve been hearing many requests for my list of books that inspired my research.  Here are some of the books I’ve been sharing with my teaching colleagues, to support them in their shift in assessment

It’s an interesting collection. I’ve read the work of some of the authors and there were some new ones for me.

If you’re in a position of supporting professional reading in your system, you might find some of these books as interesting acquisitions for your professional libraries.


Another Friday, and it’s another interesting collection of writing from Ontario Edubloggers. Please take the time to read these posts and maybe drop off a comment or two.

You can hear the Wednesday voicEd Radio podcast here.

Then, follow these people on Twitter for even more.

  • Ramona Meharg – @RamonaMeharg
  • Tina Bergman – @blyschuk
  • Melanie White – @White Room Radio
  • Lynn Thomas – @THOMLYNN101
  • Dave Lanovaz – @DaveLanovaz
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • Terry Whitmell – @TerryWhitmell

This post originated on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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