Proud


Unless I make a mistake and forget to schedule this post for tomorrow, I just gave away today’s Canuckle’s puzzle answer!

Playing the game has been a part of my morning gaming routine since I discovered the game (actually prompted by a Twitter message). For a while, I shared my success but then stopped because I figured I was noisy enough on social media in the mornings anyway. I don’t think I missed a day.

I really enjoy these types of word games but Canuckle was just a bit more special because the solutions had something to do with being Canadian and there was always a message explaining the answer! Dare I say you could learn something by playing the game.

Recently, I noticed that there was a countdown notice to the game and the message today revealed that this was the final round of the game. Kudos for the success.

In addition to the notice that things are now done, there’s something you won’t find in any other game. There’s a list of all the words used during its run here.

And the “fun fact” that went with each of the words is there as well. If you’d like to replay, there is an archive of all the games as well so you can go back to game 1.

It’s a great ending to a great game. Maybe. If you read the blog, we’re teased that there might be something else coming. After all, good code is too precious to let go to waste.

Stay tuned!

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Sit back and enjoy some writing from great Ontario Edubloggers.


Becoming a Better Person for Others: Faith into Action

I really appreciate when bloggers are so open and transparent. In this case, Rolland shows the best of this. He takes a look at his role as re-engagement teacher and marries it to his understanding of social justice.

In particular, he identifies four things in his role.

  1. Dignity of the Human Person
  2. Call to Family, Community, and Participation
  3. Rights and Responsibilities
  4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

With each of these, he analyses making connections to his job and to education. Then, for each he provides a next step for himself. I couldn’t help but think that blogging about it and making it public really makes himself accountable for these changes to his approach.

The word “brave” kept running through my mind as I was reading.


Learning from Each Other — Destreaming Across Ontario: Waterloo District School Board

This is another very brave and open post about learning and planning for action. Alexandra thinks that there are three things that will make destreaming effective.

  1. Smaller class sizes to support students
  2. Equipping teachers and administrators with the correct tools and professional development
  3. task force to “inform the design, implementation and monitoring of de-streaming

Ultimately, any success will result from the practice and acceptance of classroom teachers. After the past two years, it’s going to take a great deal of effort to do the necessary learning and then implementation of new approaches.

Alexandra shares her notes and thoughts from a Google Meet conducted by Jill Hicknell and Jillian Waters and some reading to support their thoughts. A big takeaway is a Google Resource site and a Twitter handle to follow.

Check it out.


New Twitter Communities: Will this better our Twitter experience?

Do you ever have one of those moments where you’re thinking something but you keep it to yourself and it’s only when someone else notes it that you realize you’re not alone?

I had that moment as I read Jennifer’s post. There are times these days when I feel like I should be getting more from my Twitter community than I am. It was somehow comforting to note that she felt the same way.

Lately, I have been a little dissatisfied with my Twitter feed to be honest. Unless someone tags me, I feel like I have been missing out of many of the powerful voices I once had access to. And whereas I felt like my own voice reached many before, I feel like unless I tag people, they rarely see my tweets either.

At about the same time that I started to feel this way, Twitter rolled out the concept of Communities. I took a look and felt it was too much like the Twitter lists that I’ve been curating. But, again, Jennifer takes it a bit further and offers a way that we may fall back in love with Twitter again.

Nicely done, Jennifer.


Self-Reg Havens

The big takeaway for me from Susan’s post was that her concept of a haven isn’t necessarily

 just a location

For the longest time, a safe haven for me was a place to think and I guess I’d always put it in personal terms as a location. With a busy life, often the thinking was done in my car commuting to and from work.

The post is a look at what that haven just might be and Susan takes us to these attributes

  1. Safe
  2. Rooted
  3. Balanced
  4. Capable
  5. Trusted

If nothing else, it will give you lots to think about.


OBSERVATION IS A NEW REFLECTION!

From Wayne’s World…

I think that most of us did our quality observation as student teachers having placement with an experienced teacher. I don’t know about you but it was one of the first times that I thought that maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a teacher. Thankfully, I persevered.

It shouldn’t stop there and Setareh talks about observing a colleague in their teaching. I did that a couple of times and I think that you get a new lens when you are in the profession. Setareh talks about observing a very extroverted teacher, knowing that that would be a real challenge and maybe an impossibility.

Still, there are lots of things to learn and we should never stop.


Coding Fireworks!

From the Fair Chance Learning blog, Barb offers a project (along with a solution) for creating a program that will emulate fireworks on a Micro:Bit.

Now, if you’ve already done something like this for Victoria day, you might want to move along.

Or, how about setting off some fireworks to celebrate the end of the school year?


Importance of Context and Concrete Manipulatives From Kindergarten Through Grade 12

Kyle shares a wealth of information here that’s applicable to all grade levels.

I like his start and confession. We all had it. When we started teaching, we wanted to be copies of the very best teacher that we ever had. If you’re honest, you’ll realize that their classroom often doesn’t resemble the successful rooms we have today. We’ve learned so much about effective teaching and learning and it’s just not the same.

This is a long resource but well worth the read and thinking. We want the best for everyone after all.


Please take some time to enjoy these posts and then follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Alexandra Woods – @XanWoods
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Susan Hopkins – @susanhopkins5
  • Barb Seaton – @barb_seaton
  • Fair Chance Learning – @FCLEdu
  • Kyle Pearce – @mathletepearce 

This Week in Ontario Edublogs Show

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy first Friday of April. Have you rolled the dice to see what kinds of weather we’ll get today? One thing is predictable – this post! Enjoy. No fooling.


Researcher’s Journal – Coming up with a question

I like to think that this is a big advantage of social media. It happens when people ‘get it’ and share openly expecting a reaction and input from their community. Paul gets it.

Normally, I wouldn’t get excited about History – sorry Paul – but his big question intrigued me.

Developing a National Identity through the teaching of history

I think that’s an admirable target one moment and then, the next moment, I wonder about that identity. In recent times, we’ve come to learn so much about parts of Canada that I certainly didn’t learn going to school.

Locally, we are trying to come to grips with the person who our town is named after.

We’ve dealt with issues like this in Canada before – the naming of Kitchener comes immediately to mind.

So, Paul had me intrigued and yet, his big question might change as he tweeted during the voicEd Radio show.


Digital Citizenship In 2022

I clicked through to Daphne’s post to see if there were some new insights about ‘Digital Citizenship’. After all, I think we all know what that means and we work at it or should work at it regularly. When she went looking to the internet and a couple of her favourite resources, she found lots of stuff. But that’s not what she’s looking for.

She’s looking for citizenship ideas for students in K-12 with iPads in all corners of the room, robots roaming, and the care and feeding of this technology up front. Forget about going online; what does it mean to be on top of things in this primary setting?

When she gave up, she used some old-school traditional messages to create the model for what digital citizenship should mean in her classroom.

She shares her paper and marker creation in the post and it’s worth a look to make sure that you have the same type of community in your classroom and, as Stephen noted during the show, it applies whether you’re using technology or not.

The big message from Daphne’s post is that sometimes it’s easy to skip over those first steps and make assumptions that may or may not be helpful. She’s really thought this through.


AML in Action (PS Retired Folx Are Eveready Rabbits!)

This is a two parter post although the first and second parts are nicely related. The first talks about the current activities that the Association for Media Literacy is involved with. It’s an ambitious list and I give kudos for a subject association doing something so useful anytime but particularly at this time.

  • Offering an AQ Course – AML is actively delivering – others aren’t
  • New Mini-series in Mediacy Podcast – shoutout to Stephen Hurley for providing assistance
  • International Council for Media Literacy IMLRS Conference – Diana and Neil Andersen
  • Advocacy for Media Literacy Updates to the Ontario Curriculum – curriculum dated 2006

Diana notes that it’s not just her doing these things but gives a shout out to some great educators who are ‘retired’.

  • Neil Andersen
  • Carol Arcus
  • Carol Koechlin
  • Anita Brooks-Kirkland
  • Stephen Hurley

I put the retired in quotes because, for so many educators, leaving the paycheque doesn’t necessarily mean leaving the profession. With years of experiences, it’s wonderful to see that they’re providing insights for upcoming teachers.

Oh, and in the post, you’ll see Stephen Hurley wearing a shirt and tie as he receives an award.

#FCGamingStories

I’d have to go way, way back in my mind to see an ECOO event in particular where Martha and Dustin aren’t there working with educators. They’re always there and certainly online pushing the envelop on ideas and concepts that might be old hat to some and brand new to others. We need people like this.

On their company blog, they’ve recently interviewed Dean Vendramin about esports and the club that he has in his school in Regina.

I was riveted to the post because it’s an important concept and not one that’s easily embraced in the curriculum. So, it’s a slide in through the back door! Participants go above and beyond to be part of it.

If you’re in the mood to start a club in your school, there are great ideas here. If you’re looking to make connections, FairChanceLearning and Dean would be good candidates.


Hello World

Computer programmers will understand the context of ‘Hello World’ as it’s traditionally the very first thing that you have a computer do when you are learning a new language. From Anne-Marie, it’s an acknowledgement that she’s been away from her blog for a while.

I can’t help but think that this is a model for all principals – get onto a blogspace and share with the community and whoever else happens by what you’re excited about. Every school is unique and, to parents and students, very special.

There’s a wonderful collection of bullet points in Anne-Marie’s post that give a sense of where her priorities lie.

The biggest excitement is actually buried in a paragraph after the bullet points. She’s excited to see student faces again. What a simple and yet powerful statement.

Now, your school will not be the same as Anne-Marie’s which has a farm but there’s so much happening to be excited and to share, so why not?

And, for those local newspapers and other media outlets that are always looking for great local stories, this could be the kickstart for something really good. Reference to it made this blog afterall!


WEB ACCESSIBILITY FOR LANGUAGE TEACHERS

Writing on the TESLOntario blog, John has an interesting insight on the concept of accessibility. I think most people have a certain audience in mind when they hear the term. John wants you to think bigger.

As I read, I was reminded of a CODE initiative from years ago, “Essential for Some, Good for All”.

Accessibility enhances the web experience for all. John’s going to be leading a couple of webinars on the concept in the future.

In the meantime, there are some things that he addresses here that may well have you thinking differently about how they might be used by all students.

There’s a huge list of suggestions in this post. It’s not an easy and quick read but certainly worth the time.


THE trick to get your students reading

The more books they can be exposed to the better in my opinion.

This is a timely reminder as things return to action in schools that ‘choice’ is such a powerful option for students in their choice of reading materials. It’s a simple concept, I suppose, but it doesn’t hurt to look to see if and how you’re doing it.

Amy covers a lot of that here and also shares an online resource (free) to assist in the process.

There’s a subtle or maybe not so subtle message that she describes and shares a picture of to push the process. It’s a simple concept – a request list for books by students and it’s posted on the wall for all to see. I saw a pretty strong message there that maybe I should be requesting a book if I was in Ms. Bowker’s class!


Another Friday and another great collection of blog posts. Check them out and then follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Daphne McMenemy – @McMenemyTweets
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Fair Chance Learning – @FCLEdu
  • Anne-Marie Kee – @AMKeeLCS
  • John Allan – @mrpottz
  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker 

This Week’s voicEd Radio Show

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to a Friday morning, the first one back from the Break, and I hope that everyone is well and looking for some great reads. If that’s the case, you’re in the right place.


How Bout Now

A title like that calls for a music intro…

I wonder just how many people feel the way that Matthew does in this post. He talks about kids with their technology competing for value with the paper and other types of projects and assessment that Matthew keeps and distributes to students at the end of the school year. He indicates that he fears that they don’t see the value and they go as far as the recycle bin. It’s a sad and interesting observation.

That brought back memories of my first end of year when we held home rooms on the last day with garbage cans placed in the hall and we were to encourage students to get rid of what they didn’t want. I thought it was a noble idea until the drive home and then I got it. With some students, opening the bus windows and throwing papers out to cover the road and the ditches as a celebration of the end of the year.

His observation extends to frustration in that the tools in his toolkit don’t get him to the end of the school year any more. I think we’ve all been there; when the students see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s tough to keep things going. It’s an interesting read and I would bet that Matthew would appreciate your insights and suggestions.

I totally see his assertion that it’s amplified with the lack of “normal” in the past couple of years.


Friday Two Cents: Multitasking Can Kill You 

Right off top, I’m glad to hear that the COVID challenge has been met and overcome.

Oh, and I hope that you sold your house.

If those two items aren’t enough to get you to click through, it’s worth reading to see Paul’s reflections about mental and physical health. Teaching is an interesting profession in that you can work 24 hours a day if you want to and you let yourself do so. I’m in the same boat as Paul; I can absolutely pinpoint the sickest that I ever got as a teacher and I can tell you that I did feel like everything was ganging up on me at the time.

He also shares an interesting viewpoint about why students recover quicker than teachers.


ETEC 544: INTELLECTUAL PRODUCTION #8: GAME DESIGN 101

I enjoyed reading this post from Mike and the questions that he posed about game design. My complete answers are too long to include so I’ll give you one from each.

  • Your Life as a Game: List five areas of your life that could be games.
    • Going from Point A to B. I don’t typically follow the instructions from my GPS but opt instead for a longer, more interesting, less 401 path
  • Your Childhood: List ten games you played as a child, for example, hide and seek, four square, and tag.
    • Baseball is my first response but I have many more
  • List five games, and in one sentence per game, describe the objective in each game
    • Doom. Gather resources, map the playing area and shoot anything that moves and growls
  • Name three games that you find particularly challenging and describe why
    • Chess! It’s always portrayed in the media as such a quick and easy game
  • List ten of your favorite games and name the objective for each
    • Current one is http://www.crazyphrase.com and the objective is to guess the phrase as you work your way selectively through the alphabet

Digital History Tools: Making Timelines

There’s so much for me to love about this post. The background was that Krista applied for and got a grant, succeeded, and then needed to find a way to meet the goals in the grant. In this case, Krista was looking for someway to create a digital timeline.

Now, we all have created Timelines in schools, typically in history class, although there was a topic in Computer Studies about the history of computers. It was illustrated nicely with a timeline.

The post goes through the problem solving and evaluation process for a software solution and the thinking was just like the type of thinking that I go through.

The solution is amazing and is free and you’re halfway there if you know how to use Google Sheets and who doesn’t these days? This is a solution ideal for the single teacher, a group of collaborators, or for students assigned a timeline project. When I clicked through to the Timeline maker page, it was featuring a Women in Computing timeline. Awesome.


Deported #SOL22 20/31

Amanda had me at “guns”, “beer”, and “tears”!

I’ve never been to Europe so to put myself in her shoes, I thought about the movie “Murder on the Orient Express“.

This post is a wonderful recant of a trip through Europe with friends, one who is a Canadian, and crossing into a new country and being “deported”. I won’t spoil the whole story but it’s an engaging read and I’m glad that Amanda felt the pressure to write it.

It’s another testament to blogging – get your thoughts and memories out there before you totally forget. I do know that I wouldn’t have been as calm and cool as she comes across in the post


Thoughts about Motivation

It was great to see Jonathan taking a break from marathon running to sit at the keyboard and blogging again.

In the post, he takes an analytic and medical approach about how to motivate that student and we’ve all had them at one point or another.

So, what do you do when your wit and personality isn’t getting the job done? Jonathan openly admits having ADHD and so can give a more first person approach to motivation for others.

Motivation is about creating experiences for students so that their brains create those dopamine patterns and in the end even create dopamine in anticipation. So how do we do this? 

He shares an interesting experience with a cartwheeling student and how that student was reached and that leads into four things to think about. It’s good consideration for planning learning experiences and reaching all students.


Dairy of a Disenfranchised Coder

I’ll confess up front that I’m a sucker for blog posts that deal with programming and computer science. In this post, Tim traces his route from starting with a VIC-20 to getting certified to teach “computers” this summer. I don’t know what that means, whether it’s Computer Science or Computers Across the Curriculum.

I can empathize with Tim; we didn’t have access to computers in high school at all. I pre-date him in that we had a keypunch and we’d send card decks to London to be run on an IBM 1130 at Althouse College overnight and we’re get the results next day.

I don’t know about Tim but we thought that we had the world by the tail simply because we didn’t know any other reality. These days, we’re all living in a different world, at least at home. Some school settings have ideal setups and others are still sharing these things as precious resources.

If you search my OCT profile, you’ll see that I have qualifications in both Data Processing and Computer Science. Nowhere does it say that computers should be programmed to solely solve mathematics problems and Tim describes his frustration when required to do so.

I wish him well in his endeavour and hope that he can engage students that might otherwise get turned off like he did. They can do amazing things when you help them with the skills and see them take off.


There’s a wonderful collection of writing from Ontario Edubloggers again this week. I hope that you can find some time to click through, read them all, and drop off some of your thoughts.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Mike Washburn – @misterwashburn
  • Krista McCracken – @kristamccracken
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Jonathan So – @MrSoClassroom
  • Tim King – @tk1ng

Getting the right tools


We were watching the 6 o’clock news last night when this story came on.

Small Windsor school – big Best Buy grant to support Lego robotics team

First off, kudos to the team and coach from M.S. Hetherington Public School for applying for the grant and for their success in reaching the provincial robotics championship this year. In the article, they talk about using a block programming language and in the video on the news, you could see that they were using Scratch.

It’s an appropriate language for this purpose and encourages learning and the ability to grow coding skills.

If you go to any computer conference, you’ll see a number of different types of sessions dealing with Scratch. The presenter will tell you that any device will work for the programming although typically they have some high end computer to demonstrate what they’re talking about.

There was one part of the article above that leaped out at me.

“You do block coding and the bigger screen that you can use, the more of the code you can see,” says Stoffle.

Consequently, part of their grant money will be to purchase three laptops for the actual coding. With smaller screens, you end up forever scrolling up and down as you write and debug things. If you’ve ever worked with Scratch, you’ll know what I mean. You end up being strategic about placement in the workspace – once you’ve located the right piece of code. It’s doable but can be time consuming.

The fact that this makes the story is telling. In a rush to buy technology for schools, often the less expensive solution can often be appealing as you can buy more units of technology for the amount spent.

Despite these challenges, the students were able to succeed. Imagine how much more productive they could be with the right tools. That needs to be part of any strategic planning process.

There are lots of things that work out fine with a smaller screen, but involved programming projects aren’t one of them.