This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Hello and welcome back to a stroll around the province to read some blog posts from Ontario Educators. If you have a blog of your own and it’s not on my list, please let me know.


sometimes nothing is all you have and all you need

If you’re like me, you got into university because of high marks from secondary school. Then, you got admitted to a Faculty of Education because of high marks from your university. It’s how the education game is played.

But, what happens if you have a “lack lustre transcript”? Will’s words, not mine.

He went shopping for a Faculty that would admit him and use other metrics than marks for entrance. Will doesn’t tell you the university but you can ask him …

“Experience is a terrible teacher, because it forces you to take the test before the lesson.”

That pretty much sums up the teaching profession and it’s most amplified during your first years of teaching.

Nothing could really prepare you for your place at the front of the classroom but, if you’re still teaching, you’re still there. If that’s true, then certainly absolutely nothing prepares you for what’s happened the past couple of years.

This is a nice feel-good post about you and the profession lived through the eyes, mind, and keyboard of Will. You’re going to feel great for Will with his perseverance and his desire to be part of the profession.

I wonder how many other Wills are out there who didn’t stick to it?


I’m a Hacker

I’ve got to apologize to Tim. This post goes back to December and somehow I missed it. I’m glad that I found it because there’s lots of good food for thought here. He concludes his post describing his work with students and https://www.cybertitan.ca/. When I was in the classroom, we had students involved locally with the Touche-Ross Programming contest which we were able to take to the Ontario Science Centre for provincial programming as part of the ECOO Conference.

But the interesting thing to me was a Grade 9 student who proclaimed to Tim that he was a “hacker” because he could download and run scripts designed to do damage to others. That isn’t hacking; that’s just possibly criminal activity. Tim mentioned that a keynote speaker had told his students about a career in penetration testing. That’s an incredible job and well worth pursuing if that’s your interest. That’s a case of using that knowledge for good instead of evil.

Tim uses the opportunity to diss on scripts. I agree with him if the goal is just to download something evil and run it to see what happens and/or maybe do damage. I go back far enough to have a subscription to 80Micro where there were programs in there that you could key in (carefully) and run on your computer to do various things. I attribute that activity to increasing my understanding of programming. I know that, in the classroom, we would often take a look at someone else’s code to see how they did things. An uncompiled program or script can be marvellous when used in that manner.

I absolutely agree with Tim that we need to be looking at making ethics, coding, and cyberliteracy a compulsory part of the curriculum. Before COVID, the limiting factor was access to technology but we’ve kind of got around that – if your district has made wise decisions in the technology that it acquired.


Annual Reading Challenge – 2022 #TLchat

Laura’s always coming up with unique ways of professional learning. Often, it’s in the Loo but this time, it’s a bookmark – and a reading program.

Each staff member got a bookmark and a challenge to read 11 books over the next 11 months but just not any old book. On the bookmark are topics consistent with the school learning plan.


Culturally Responsive Teaching in Science

I can’t believe that it’s been a year since Shelly last blogged but she confesses at the beginning of the post. It’s good to see her back; she does give us some thinking points and that’s always a good thing.

In this post, she hangs her hat on inquiry and there’s no question that that should appeal to all educators. She notes that we have a good Ontario Curriculum and when you apply good things like “Culturally Responsive Pedagogy” and “Universal Design for Learning”, you can make it do some amazing things that go far beyond the words in the curriculum.

The notion of Culturally Response is easier for me to see in some subject areas than it is in others. She could have taken the easy route with her approach but she didn’t. She digs into a strand in Grade 8 science and provides ideas and inspiration for marrying the two. She notes that it isn’t a huge leap to head into Mathematics.

I thought that it was an interesting and insightful post and could inspire you to do things differently and make the strands that much richer in content.


More/Less & Before/After Questions

On the surface, I pegged a certain grade level for some of the big list of ideas that Tammy includes in her post.

  • What comes after a funny joke?
  • What comes before you say, “I’m sorry”?
  • What comes after the telephone rings?
  • What comes before the victory parade?
  • What comes after the electricity goes off?

It was pondering how to make this a discussion for the voicEd Radio show that the curtains drew back and I could see uses for it everywhere.

Particularly in Computer Science, it’s what we do. If you do calculations or processes out of order, you get unexpected results. You see it most when you allow student to compose at the keyboard rather than sitting down and planning appropriately. The ability to sequence is crucial.

The bottom line here is that there’s inspiration here for everyone.


“I have been forced to celebrate Valentine’s Day all my life!”

When she asked her class about a research activity for her class and they turned to February, this was the list of things they came up with.

  • Black History Month
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Lunar New Year
  • Groundhog Day
  • Family Day

February is indeed an interesting month. There are all kinds of things available though. As a football fan, I’m disappointed that Superbowl Sunday didn’t make the list but perhaps the mindset was things that you celebrate in school.

I like how Kelly probes further with each of these topics. But, I couldn’t get past the title. There always was something Valentine-sy in my schooling. Even at secondary school, student parliament used sending roses and chocolates a fund raiser and class disrupter.

I really like the idea of doing the research and seeing what comes from it.


Friday Two Cents: A Wonderful Reminder

Reflection: You know when you have a feeling that you are loved and respected by someone? Well, I felt that from a lot of students in that school this week.

I think it’s probably easier not to have this reflection. After all, there are a lot of things that are wrong in this world at this time. Paul elects to reflect on the positive and this turns into an inspirational blog post.

And from an occasional teacher as well. Is there a more challenging position in education these days?


I’ve provide the links to each of these posts. Click through and enjoy.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Tammy Gaudun – @MsGaudun
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Canada

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


And, …, it’s time for another wander around the province looking at some of the great writing from Ontario Edubloggers.


Juris My Diction Crap

If you’re a parent, this post will tear your heart apart. We want all the best for our kids and certainly, during COVID times that means that vaccinations and boosters are in order. While there are nay-sayers who don’t want part of it, this is a story about a mother who wants the best for her 17-year-old. Marie shares her research and analysis of guiding documents in the post.

In addition to the story of her running into walls, there’s a strong message there that Ontario is making up rules as time passes. We’re now hearing of the importance of vaccinations and boosters for kids from 5-11 and the need for those over 18. Doing the math, we have high school students. They tend to travel in flocks and, around here, are unmasked when they’re on the streets. She’s even willing to go state-side to do it but we have rules about travel there as well.

There was a bit of a smile in here for me as she uses the word “eviscerated” in the post. I think that’s the first time I’ve read that word in a blog post and it’s a reminder that we’re a big province. Click through and ready what the problem was.


Slice of (Pandemic) Life

Lisa shares a story of perhaps a kinder and gentler Ontario. A year ago, you wouldn’t dream of picking up and visiting Grandpa’s house but now with a few tests, there’s a confidence that you’re not taking anything other than goodies with you.

I’m glad that she was able to make that happen. I smiled when she mentioned the debate about whether or not to take her laptop although I suspect that a smartphone would have done in a pitch.

It was to keep her connected to the latest news about COVID, back to school, and all those things that change people’s lives in a heartbeat. Along the way, she reflects that it’s also made her a good online teacher and that’s a good thing in itself. It’s probably nothing that many had aspirations for but were forced into it.

We live in such a different world; I grew up in a town with a weekly newspaper and everything that you need to know came out every Thursday. That wouldn’t cut it today. I’d be so behind the times.


5 Things I Learned in 2021

I’m with Matthew’s analysis of time passing. Is it fast or slow? That’s really a good question. But, 2021 did pass and he uses this post to share five things he learned.

  • Don’t Try To Do Too Much
  • Stay Consistent
  • The Kids Are Resilient
  • Your Mental Health Over Everything 
  • Teachers and Students Are People Too

On This Week in Ontario Edublogs, Stephen and I each cherry-picked one of the points to discuss. Stephen went with the third one and I opted for number five. In particular, parents and guardians are seeing more of the inside of a classroom and the mechanics involved while their child is at the kitchen table. Schools aren’t really a black box.


OneWord 2022

Marc takes a bit of a break from his top 500 music countdown to celebrate the new year with his “One Word”. In the past, he’s gone with Revitalize, Mindfulness, Cultivate, Persist, Discomfort & Ameliorate. This year’s choice is a well-thought-through single word.

He could have stopped the post there and we’d all be happy but he didn’t.

He takes the notion of the “One Word” into the classroom and makes it an activity for his students. In a generous manner, he shares the lesson and suggests tools that would end up with the students making a banner for their word.

It’s not a quick and simple activity. There’s a lot of richness there that really would make it worthwhile to replicate.


Here we go again…

Writing on the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, Kelly is reliving teaching from a year ago. It would be easy to dwell on the challenges because there is so much of that.

There’s some good reading there in an external link to a McLean’s article that talks about the challenges that students have while online.

Kelly uses the bottom of the post to talk about some of the successes that she’s had. I think that it’s pretty important to recognize this. Even in these less than ideal times, the kids are thriving and some are doing some things that they might not have otherwise. Did someone mention resiliency?

All of these are good observations but the one that lept out at me was:

Two of my students who rarely complete tasks in the classroom completed many tasks this week

We now know that school is planned to resume on Monday. It’s got to be running through Kelly’s mind that there has to be a reason why those students changed things around and are doing well. I hope that she can identify it and encourage them to continue this success.


Books For Middle School Students

I have this middle school-aged student who hangs out around here periodically. He’s not a reader in the traditional sense. He can sure read the instructions on his tablet when playing games but that’s not the same thing.

I’m going to pass Kristy’s list along to him and see if there’s something there that will get him interested in book reading.


Day in life of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) – submitted by Leila Knetsch

Leila has her students researching careers and jobs in Biology. Before I clicked through the links at the bottom of the post, I was wondering what I would search for if I was a student in that class.

My ideas were pretty traditional! I was thinking of beakers, microscopes, test tubes, etc. One of the students in her class researched and submitted a couple that really are well done and made me feel kind of narrow-minded.


I hope that you can click through and enjoy all of these great blog posts.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher
  • Kristy – @2peasandadog
  • Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario / L’Association des professeurs de science de l’Ontario – @staoapso

The Wednesday voicEd Radio show can be found here.

https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/jurisdiction-online-learning-and-a-oneword-2022/

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


After our live radio show on Wednesday, Stephen Hurley and I debriefed as we normally do after a show. I had to remark that this was the first time in all the shows that we’ve done together that we hit all our marks. Usually one or both of us ramble on and we go over on a time allotment. (OK, it’s usually me)

To celebrate, instead of just the title of the blog post, I’m going to include the time too! Those who have been guest hosts should recognize the format. Here’s what’s new this week.


9:00 Wanna Play Catch?

I remember being told once that teaching is one of the most social jobs you can have. Teachers carpool, they meet up in the parking lot and walk into the school together. Once in, they’ll chat in the hallway between classes or plan together in work areas before going into the classroom to meet students. At lunch time, they’ll sit down and “dine” with colleagues and carpool their way home. In fact, in regular times, it’s pretty much impossible to be alone if you’re a teacher at work.

Rob deals with today’s reality that teachers are forced away from colleagues and even the concept of wearing a mask with students is isolating. He wants to meet up because, as he notes, it takes two or more to play catch. His description brought back memories of waiting for friends to show up and play baseball at the school on weekends or after school. I’d stand there throwing a rubber ball against the brick wall and try to field it on the first or second bounce. It’s just not the same as playing catch with a real person.

Rob promises to get on a tear with more posts coming in December.


9:09 parents and guardians

Writing on the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, Will gives us a personal story about education. Teaching wasn’t Will’s first profession so he notes that he brought a bunch of experience from the business world to his slice of the profession. It was nice to see that his professionalism translated into respect by his colleagues who turned to him as a mentor.

Will has some interesting thoughts about student agendas and the home to school communication connections. It’s different these days and he’s quite to recognize it and explains how he deals with it.

I can’t help but think that email communication would be more effective with some people than others. With social media, we often cut a few corners that would make our old English teachers cringe. I thought that Will addressed the topic nicely and I know that we all can use a mentor and a guide at times. Those in his school are fortunate to have him on call.


9:18 #LearningInTheLoo: Bullet Journalling

When I read Laura’s latest post, it was a real sense of deja vu for me.

As a rookie teacher-consultant, time management was something that I really struggled with. As a result, I attended a training session offered by Franklin which eventually became Franklin Covey. I did walk away with a cool binder to help organize my professional and personal life.

The real value was tracking what was important and prioritizing accordingly. It was the technique that rang a bell for me when reading Laura’s post. She describes a technique that she uses for herself and feels it important enough to share with colleagues in the “loo”.

I can testify that methods like this are very powerful and can help you come to grips with organizing what’s important necessary. Quite frankly, there can be a dip at the beginning because you have to force yourself to use and adhere to the technique but I found it worth the effort.


9:27 10 Tools For Curating Instructional Videos – E068

The EduGals are back with another podcast and supporting blog posts. In this case, they’re dealing with the concept of curating instructional videos. I think we all know the value of keeping track of the best of the best resources. After all, we looked hard to find them in the first place and, with any luck, you’ll be able to use them again in the future. Curating makes the process easier.

Newbies to the process rely on the fact that Google knows stuff. Experienced educators know that there are all kinds of tools that let you raise the bar and make things easier in the long run. That’s a good think.

I enjoyed looking through the list of tools and reading their evaluations. I was pleased to see that Wakelet made their list as I find it great for curating. That’s but just one that they recommend. There’s a lot of Google stuff in there which I’m sure addresses their educational reality. For those who work in the Microsoft environment and might even have Google blocked at work, there are equivalent tools.

It’s really a nicely curated collection of curation tools with pros, cons, and ideas.


9:36 When you feel like you are Failing

To be honest, I kind of expected a downer post from Amy when I read the title.

As I read her post, I recognized that she was describing my life at times and I’m sure that you’ll feel the same way. Stephen Hurley and I got lost in a whack of baseball connections as we discussed her post. The thing that has always stuck out to me is that a batter with a .333 batting average is exceptional. The counter though is that .667 of the time, they didn’t get a hit for whatever reason. We need to appreciate this and apply it to our own experiences.

She talks about:

  • Talk to your Class about it – to me, this is the ultimate show of vulnerability and students can appreciate your honesty
  • Talk to your Colleagues – despite what you may think and feel at times, you’re not the first person who has ever dealt with issues – why not learn from someone who could mentor you – see Will Gourley above
  • Meditate – she recommends Headspace and Calm which are free for educators. Isn’t it awesome when educators share?
  • Ask for help – again, this is another show of vulnerability but that teacher next door or down the hall might have the answer. Don’t limit yourself to that; there are educators all over the world that can help. I’m a subscriber to the ACSE mailing list and requests for help and answers come through daily

Bonus:

Climate Change and Education Survey

Calling all educators, parents, students and members of the general public: LSF needs to hear your voice on the importance of climate change education in Canada!

On the STAO blog is a call for all educators to share their thoughts about climate change. Make your voice heard!


A Look Back and a Farewell.

Mary came onto the ECOO scene as I was leaving so we never actually had the chance to work together. As we know now, things haven’t been the same in recent years but Mary took this as a challenge to move some of the traditional ECOO things online and then up the ante with even more ideas to help Ontario educators.

It’s a nice summary of her work and efforts on behalf of the organization. She took it to new things and I admire her efforts for doing so.

I wish her all the best in her future endeavours.


It’s been another wonderful week of great blog reading from Ontario Educators. You can follow all these folks on Twitter.

  • Rob Ridley – @RangerRidley
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker
  • STAO – @staoapso
  • Mary Walker Hope – @mwalkerhope

This week’s perfectly timed show is available here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio

https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/communicating-better-organizing-better-and-failing-better/

Do you have a B side?


I didn’t know this but was watching a Rod Stewart video on YouTube and he commented that his most famous song “Maggie May” was actually on the B side of the record that it was released on. That kind of blew me away. The A Side was actually “Reason to Believe” which is a great song on its own.

Another one that surprised me was Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done”. There was a whole collection, for me, of wow here. Lots of new revelations there for me, so be sure.

Photo by Eric Krull on Unsplash

For those curious, those are 45rpm records. They were released with two songs – an A Side and a B Side. The common thought was that the best was on the A Side and the B Side was something else. If you’ve clicked through the link above and know your music, you know that that wisdom wasn’t always true.

It got me thinking of myself. Teaching truly was my B Side.

I had every intention of writing software or working in a programming shop for a living. The introvert in me would have loved that.

So, I enrolled at Waterloo to study Mathematics and Computer Science. I don’t regret that for a minute. It was in a conversation with a professor after I had taught a lesson in class and she wondered if I was interested in a career as a teacher. Now, I’ve always held my own teachers up with a great deal of respect. I never envisioned myself as having the qualities and expertise that would be required to actually be teach. They knew so much and they put up with so much from students and admin. Yes, teacher, students do see everything that you’re going through.

As a result of that conversation, I started to think of the possibilities and looked into what it would take to get into a Faculty of Education. Geeky me had so focused on the Mathematics and Computer Science part that I didn’t have all the requirements needed. So, I went back to university between third and fourth year to pick up on those courses. I’ve always referred to that as my “Artsy Term” where I did a bunch of courses that were offered in buildings that I would normally just pass by. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought that I’d put in an application to Toronto and Western to see if either would take me and surprise, surprise, both made an offer.

The rest, as they say, is history. I had teaching qualifications in both the subject areas that I loved and my one and only interview was with a gentleman who absolutely wanted someone with those qualifications and wouldn’t mind moving to Essex County. I did get to write software in class and had a bit of a side gig at times so was able to keep a foot in both worlds.

So, this is a question or a thought that I’d like to throw out. Most of the readers of this blog are teachers and I’m humbled and honoured by the fact that you drop by periodically. Look inwardly a bit – do you have a B Side? Is teaching your B Side? Chances are, you’re very successful however things turned out for you so this isn’t a place for judgements.

I’d love to hear it.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday, the 13th. Do yourself a favour and take a pass on Port Dover today. Be safe.

Check out some great blogging from Ontario Edubloggers instead.


Treaty Recognition Week – Guest Post by Tamara Bolotenko

Larissa Aradj lent blogging space to Tamara Bolotenko to share some of her thoughts about Treaty Recognition Week. In the post, she shared some sobering realities for many of us.

In our education, we had no sense of the realities that current students are understanding. Like Tamara, I learned in school that Canada was discovered by Jacques Cartier. I guess this land was just sitting around waiting to be discovered? Nothing else was happening? As she notes, so much of what we learned was so Eurocentric and it’s only later in life that that was just part of the story.

Her post is interesting and quite humbling to read and I would encourage you to do so. As part of an AQ course, she had to create a resource – she used YouTube- and she has them embedded in both English and French.

Kudos to her for being so open with her learning.


Walking On Sun Branches

Jessica Outram has done it again!

In this post, complete with pictures, she reminds me of the difference between me and creative people. I’ve always maintained that creative types see things that I would normally just walk by, sometimes paying a bit of attention, most of the times not.

Interestingly, she ties some wonderful photographs with her thoughts and endeavours surrounding creativity.

The images are surrounded by some clever wordsmithing and makes for an interesting read, look, and ponder.

Inspired by this post which I had bookmarked for this blog post and Wednesday morning’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs, my wife and I took a trip to Point Pelee. It’s a luxury that we normally enjoy a few times over the summer but we stayed away this year. We had a bit of incredible November weather and so did spend an afternoon there. I took my phone out and made a conscious effort during our outing and took some pictures of my own.

They’re not in the same class as Jessica’s art but I am kind of proud that I did take the time to find some interesting shots and will assemble them into a blog post for Saturday.

Thanks, Jessica. I love it when people push me.


About those special days at school pt 1.
About those special days at school Pt 2.

From the Heart and Art of Education blog, Will Gourley shares a couple of blog posts describing his fall.

Part 1 deals with some thoughts about inclusion and equity. These are important concepts and Will’s Grade 4 and 5 class were up to the challenge.

Some quotes from the students in the post…

These are wonderful comments from these students.

You have to ask yourself — if they feel this way now but change their opinions later as they get older, what happened? How can education be the enduring answer?

In Part 2, Will gives us a week by week summary of how things when for him in October. In education, it was a month like no other. It’s supposed to be the time for sugar and pumpkin distractions. That’s all different this year.

Will speaks, I know, for so many educators when he notes that October is also the time for “Meet the teacher”, “Curriculum nights”, and of course Progress Reports.

Thrown into this month like no other, there were also a number of teachers thrown adrift by reorganization of schools in addition to online, hybrid, face to face, and whatever buzzword describes your reality.

These are a great pair of blog posts and it wouldn’t be fair to include only one of them here.


Finding Balance With Hybrid Learning – E026

During our radio show, Stephen Hurley asked me if I felt awkward using the term EduGals to describe the authors of this blog post. I had to confess; yes, I did but it’s the name that they elected to use so we use.

They do acknowledge that it’s tough times for all educators.

It’s difficult to pinpoint just one audience for this post, based upon their podcast on the topic. From beginning to end, it’s rich with naming various technologies and how they can be used in the classrooms of today.

As I mentioned in the show, this is truly the time for technology to step up and deliver for all teachers. I think that many will acknowledge that serious and deep use of technology only occurred when school classrooms were closed in the spring. So many people were unprepared for the wide variety of tools that are available to tackle the job.

In this post, Rachel and Katie identify some of their favourite tools and deliver an engaging analysis and how they might be used by the connected educator. It’s not a short blog post but identifies so many tools that are worth the time to explore and see if they fit into your teaching flow.

This post is well worth the read.


Catching Up

It was great to see a new post to Peter Cameron’s blog. It had been a while. The post isn’t unique to his blog, it’s actually a copy of a letter that he sent to a friend and shared with us. He let us know that he was busy … but I hope that it feels good for him to be back at it.

There are lots of links to presentations and collections of resources that he’s working on. He spoke at Lakehead University in addition to his day job and provides us with a list of things that he has done in the past and wants to do in the future.

But that future will be different … he applied for a new gig. I know that those who read his blog and experience his successes wish him the best going forward. He shares what’s up in a Twitter message.

If you read the blog post, you’ll note that he’s promising us big things in November. I’m looking forward to it.


Golf in Gym

I don’t know, Diana, but this past Monday and Tuesday were pretty good golfing days around here. As I drove by many of the courses in Essex County, they’re doing a good late fall business.

Of course, it’s different in schools.

In Health and Physical Education, many traditional activities are off the table for now. I think we all understand and appreciate that. Diana has acknowledged that it’s been a while since she taught Physical Education but she decided to give it a shot … indoors.

Well, maybe not a chip shot but a putt for sure.

What do you do when you don’t have golf equipment at your school? You cobble together some things and make it happen.

This post is inspirational … read and learn from it!

  • never say never
  • if nothing else, steal borrow Diana’s idea for those inside winter classes

Better late than never. After all, The Master’s starts today.


Please take some time to click through and read/enjoy all of these terrific blog posts.

Then follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Tamara Bolotenko – @TamaraBolotenko
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Peter Cameron – @cherandpete
  • Diana Maliszewski  – @MzMollyTL

This post comes from

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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