CSEdWeek is an annual call to action to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science, advocate for equity in computer science education, and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners to the field.
This is an annual “week” to help promote the study of Computer Science in education. The original goal was to inspire educators and systems to incorporate more Computer Science or at least Computational Thinking into the curriculum. It has succeeded in some classrooms, been ignored in others, and yet others do at least some computer sciencey things.
For many education resource websites, it’s a chance to throw out a pile of links to different places around the web where there are activities for students. If you follow them, they typically end up back at one or more of these sites.
The rationale for why CS Education Week exists and shares ideas for advocacy. It’s an annual read for me to revisit the history of the initiative and the ultimate goal. You’re not going to make anyone a Computer Scientist in a week as it takes a lifetime of work to continue to realize how little you know and how much we appreciate the efforts of those who have stayed the course and provided us with this discipline.
You’ve got to start them somewhere. For educators, there are learning and advocacy events for every day in the week.
At the Code.org website, you’re going to probably want to end up on the “Introducing CS Connections” page. Here, you’ll find some great resources and activities specifically for the classroom and designed to fit into the notion of success after a little bit of work and effort.
It’s always humbling to see the activities and work my way through them. I would have written my first program in Fortran in Grade 11 and I’m sure that it’s some sort of ancient “Hello World” type of thing. After seeing where my career went, I do kind of wish that I’d held on to it!
In Ontario, the folks at fair chance learning have a learning opportunity that is really unique. You’ll be going virtual…
“Each experience includes a 1-hour virtual tour of an Amazon Fulfillment centre, and a 30 minute post-tour classroom visit with FCL to talk careers, technology and innovation! Students will discover how algorithms, machine learning, and more power our fulfillment process and gain workplace exposure.”
Make sure that you download the resource and student workbook.
Wherever you turn for resources, it’s a great opportunity to be onside with a good initiative and to do something new or different with your students and exposed them to new opportunities. And, hopefully, Computer Science activities end up having a permanent place in your classroom.
It’s time for a weekly wander around the Ontario Blogosphere. Normally, the voicEd Radio show would have been broadcast on Wednesday morning but an internet outage in Milton meant that we had to pull the plug. The first five posts below would have been discussed and then, as always, there are a couple of bonus posts.
I’d been sitting on this monthly post from Elizabeth Lyons because I saw so much in there and really wanted to do it justice. It’s tied to her concept of the monthly word and this time it’s “Recovery”.
In the post, I felt that she beat up on herself due to the back to the classroom/library reality that she’s facing. I don’t take any issue with the points that she raises; I’m sure that she and thousands of other educators feel exactly the same.
It’s the ownership and blame part that has me thinking. I remember going out for practice teaching at the Faculty and the question was raised in class as to why we went to different schools and the answer made sense “it was to see different teaching realities in action”. We were to work in them so that we were better prepared for classrooms of our own. At the end of the first period, I thought I was in big trouble. My associate didn’t “teach” in the traditional front-of-the-room sense – the students worked their way through assignment sheets and that allowed them to go at their own pace. I was so angry when the report said that “he didn’t teach in the traditional way” and I figured that I was going to have to do an extra assignment. In reality, I learned so much by working along with students and watching them work at their own pace.
I’ve had many “the kids are not alright” discussions and that made me think of successful classrooms. As a secondary school teacher with six different classes, it wasn’t ME that set the tone in the class – it was the students. Even teaching the same subject content to two different classes saw a disparity in how I taught and the pace that we went. When I thought it through, it made so much sense and later, as a teacher consultant, I recognized that every school had its unique staff, students, and way of doing things.
In a return to the classroom, we have teachers who have been working in an entirely different way and a variety of ways that students have worked, skipped, ignored, etc. Teachers really are driven by their students and any issues there (and Elizabeth was inspired by Pav Wander’s Learning Loss post) may make a teacher challenge their abilities. It seems to me that it’s normal and should be expected. Nobody was prepared for this.
There is no quick rush to the way that it was that will work in this case. It’s going to be a case of carefully working through things because of the step aside that everyone was forced to take.
When I saw the title of Tim King’s post, I thought “what the heck is he talking about?” He explains it nicely when he reminds us that he went from teaching English to teaching Technology. The English background will give him a license for befuddling this mathematics, computer science guy.
His inspiration comes from Soulcraft by Matt Crawford. The post does bring across a couple of really important and yet sad points. He notes that his lovely wife attended a Professional Development session and came back with the observation that the administration isn’t walking the walk at this time.
He features a couple of stories will tear your heart out – if you know Tim, you know that he’s passionate about education and I could absolutely see him with an infra-red light or tape measure distancing all the desks in his room to embrace social distancing and the kick in the teeth that he would feel when directed to add more desks to accommodate even more students.
I still struggle with envisioning what 2.5-hour classes look like and keep wondering if the final grade will have an asterisk attached to it. Responsibility is properly attributed to those who are making some of these decisions.
This is a very sobering post from Tim and I would encourage you to read through it; I suspect that Tim is speaking for so many educators in the province right now.
Tammy Axt is next up with a summary of how life is going after 20 years of experience and it’s no surprise that she defines it as “this was by far the worst model for learning”.
I think it tacks on so nicely to Tim and Alanna’s thoughts about administrators being removed from the classroom and yet making decisions about how they are to run. Clearly, sitting in front of a camera and delivering a 20-minute inspiration talk to a system has all kinds of benefits. Or maybe even doing it in front of a small audience.
But, it doesn’t translate in any sense to a classful of students working in the classroom and a group of students watching in from at home. Particularly, these days, sit ‘n git is fading away in the rearview mirror. Active learning experiences and immediate feedback have proven to be the best piece of technology in your arsenal.
It’s a sad post as Tammy goes through and explains in the first person exactly what it means and how it works or doesn’t work. It’s an emotionally difficult post to read, I found.
I love that Deanna McLennan is back at her keyboard and sharing her thoughts. Who doesn’t like a good inspirational post about mathematics?
It’s the notion of “play” that I think could apply to all classrooms. I know that, teaching computer science, that there were the academic requirements. But the students that rode to the top of that elevator and wanted more just “played” around with code wondering if they could do this or that without being specifically instructed to do so.
In this post, Deanna shares her thoughts about learning mathematics through play and puddles and gives some great discussions and pictures to support her premise.
Melissa Turnbull apparently makes great use of the images in the https://mathbeforebed.com website. And why not? I clicked the link to make sure that it was still active (it was) and immediately found my way down a sinkhole of great activities.
In Melissa’s kindergarten classroom, she uses the website and an activity to get her student’s minds on thinking and mathematics before the actual lesson. In the example given here, she’ll prompt with an image and the students determine which one doesn’t belong and she’s prepared to take any answer with a good explanation showing a great deal of thinking.
The activities are nicely fleshed out in the post
WODB shows students that there are multiple ways of solving problems
There are multiple entry points
WODB promotes mathematical thinking and the use of mathematical language
WODB can be used in any grade level
Reading this post made me loop back to Elizabeth’s post above as a way to engage students and get them thinking to start the learning in our new reality.
Aviva Dunsiger is afraid of heights so I guess a field trip to the CN Tower is not in the cards for her students. Apparently, she shares this fear openly with her students and they took advantage of the opportunity.
In the post, she shares her “mini-mountain” in the playground. It doesn’t look too difficult to me but apparently, it’s a challenge for her. The other challenge was for her kids to get her to suck it up and climb the hill with them. From the picture, it appears that the word “mountain” is used pretty liberally!
The mountain climb might seem like a small one for many, but for me, it was a big deal and our students know that.
When I think of the Hamilton area and mountains, I think of that waterfall on the 403. But, it was her mountain to climb and the kids got her to do it. Kudos to them.
As a result, Aviva is interested in your thoughts about mountains that you might need to climb and how to show vulnerability to students.
My mountain, and I never climbed it, was in my first year of teaching. It probably was more of a line in the sand but crossing it seemed to make it mountainous. My Grade 13 students were only a few years younger than me and some were of drinking age. I was invited to go out with them to one of their dad’s bars before a football game or prom or something. It was a mountain that I chose not to climb. All I could see was having to call it a career ending move. The sad thing was that it didn’t happen just once. There were a number of times that they would gather there and I always seemed to get invited and had to decline.
Please take a moment to click through and enjoy all these terrific posts.
I’ve written about Cameron Steltman’s writing activity for his students many times before. I think it’s truly unique, inspirational for both students and parents, and easily borrowed by others who want students to write for a purpose and write for an audience.
It’s straight forward.
He starts a new blog post with a theme and instructions for his students. Their job is to read and understand his post and then do some writing of their own in the replies. There’s so much right with this activity.
This time, he uses this image to inspire.
The student job? They look at the image and write a spooky story telling Mr. Steltman, their classmates, their parents, me, you, and anyone else who drops by how they interpret the image and turn it into their own spooky story!
The typical approach to dealing with bad things in education comes from a long time ago from the Baretta theme song .
“Don’t do the time if you can’t do the crime.”
Or maybe something more contemporary.
We know how well that works out. Jennifer Casa-Todd has a different take on things. In a school where there is one principal and one vice-principal for 1000 or more students, those enforcing the rules are really outnumbered.
Consistent with Jennifer’s message in SocialLEADia, she sees another way. Put the power of students to work to address this. I feel that it honours their leadership and an innate desire to do the right thing.
The prompt for this was the Negative TikTok Challenge and Jennifer includes them in her post.
September: Vandalize school bathrooms
October: Smack a staff member
November: Kiss your friend’s girlfriend at school
December: Deck the halls and show your balls
January: Jab a breast
February: Mess up school signs
March: Make a mess in the courtyard or cafeteria
April: “Grab some eggz” (another stealing challenge or inappropriate touching)
May: Ditch day
June: Flip off in the front office
July: Spray a neighbor’s fence
Her approach is an interesting turn on things and I think she may be on to something. Your school needs to have this book in their library. There’s so much wisdom here and it’s all based on the premise that people want to do good things and things for good.
Disclaimer: I did help Jennifer with advice and proofreading of this book.
I enjoy reading Charles Pascal’s writing and insights. Given his past career choices, he’s gone places and seen things that the rest of us in education only get to hear about third or fourth or more hand.
Many of us “could” write to our leaders and get a form letter back (or nothing in the case of around here) but taking your message public could be powerful in that we’re seeing his insights if we care to read them. And I did.
In this case, it’s an letter to our Prime Minister about his choice to go on vacation during the first Truth and Reconciliation holiday. Charles uses the analogy to baseball as commitng an unforced error. There were a lot of things that could have been done on that day. I would think that he would have been welcomed to many communities across the country to address them and the nation.
As we know, we’re just off an election that was controversial in itself. There’s some great advice in Charles’ post
One of the powerful voices helping people understand how media works, its power and influence, and how we should interpret that media is Media Smarts. This year, Media Literacy Week is October 25 to October 30.
Anthony Perrottta is a regular speaker during this event and this year is no exception. He’s doing to give a talk about Digital Portfolios and The Power of Story.
His presentation is on Wednesday at 4:30 and you can sign up from the link in the post.
One of the advantages of COVID for professional learning is that we don’t have to go anywhere except to our computers to take in quality professional learning so do it.
The post also includes links to Anthony’s past presentations.
I don’t often disagree with Diana Maliszewski and I’m not sure whether or not I do this time around.
She was asked to co-present a lecture on “Finding Trusted Sources and Evaluating Information” but was advised to not “talk like a teacher”.
In the post, she takes the time to address both the pros and cons of “talking like a teacher”. Maybe I’m narrow minded but I don’t see both sides. I replied to the post on her blog with:
Thank you for my morning smile, Diana. It’s a phrase around here when I correct my wife and kids over language errors “Daaaaad, you’re such a teacher”. I wear it like a badge of honour.
I don’t think you should ever apologize for being a teacher. You’ve devoted your life to your craft and I’m guessing you were asked to speak based upon your skills and reputation. It’s a great compliment. Consider the thousands of people that could have been asked, it ended up being the two of you. I can’t believe that it was a random choice.
My wife is a nurse and when I have a boo-boo, I go to her for her skills; I don’t rely on what I’ve seen on television.
Nobody can have it all but you can certainly relish in the parts that you do have and you will always be a teacher. That’s to be celebrated.
It’s a few days later since I first read Diana’s post, I talked about it on the voicEd Radio show and now I’m writing and I remain every bit convinced of my position.
Either way, knowing Diana, the presentation would have been fun and full of great information, I’m sure.
Probably something like this has never been so important as it is during these days. Networking has always been an important part of conference going and was an important concept for Cyndie Jacobs and I when we co-chaired the Bring IT, Together conference in 2013 and 2014.
Dave Fraser starts off this post with the familiar approach.
When we think of “networking” at a conference, we tend to think of coffee breaks and catching up with colleagues in hotel lobbies and banquet centre hallways.
Been there, done that, and it’s a great chance to catch up with old friends from all over the place. But, that’s only part of the potential. Cyndie and I realized that there was a lot of “other” times with potential for participating in other things. In this post, Dave outlines a bunch of other opportunities that they’ve planned for other than the sessions. I think that’s incredibly important as well as the sessions and it sends the message that the conference is more than a money grab from registrations – that the organization places value in making connections to take away from the event.
It’s tough to pull off when everyone’s online but they seem to have thought through this to give attendees the chance to meet up with others with similar interests. Round table discussions would be interesting.
The platform that they’re using is a new one for me to look at and explore.
The mathematics person is me always looks forward to posts from David Petro. I find it just plain interesting to work my way through them, smiling at his interpretation before I right click and open in a new tab so that I can return and continue my trek through his post.
This past week, regular readers of this blog will know that I was so excited with one of his curated items that I used it as inspiration for a complete blog post here.
He runs the gamut of classes and grades so not all of the links will be immediately useful for everyone except those that like to play with mathematics just for the sake of playing with mathematics and who doesn’t? There’s nothing wrong with a little side learning and this blog covers that nicely.
Please take the time to follow these great Ontario educational bloggers.
After a week away from the blogging keyboard, it was nice to get back and see what was new from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers. And, it was great to get back to voicEd Radio and discuss five of the posts with Stephen Hurley on Wednesday morning. Most people would be working with students at the time and so the show is stored as a podcast on the site.
Writing on the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, Will Gourley gives us a look at hybrid teaching from his perspective working in that environment. He shares with us three things about hybrid teaching.
Hybrid teaching sucks
Your students have something to tell you
Did I mention that hybrid still sucks?
I think you can get his perspective just by reading the first and third point. It would be easy, I suspect, for anyone to easily draw those conclusions. What lends to the credibility though is that he’s writing in the first person. He shares his setup and concerns about how to ensure that all students succeed. He also gets us into the gear that he has to wear and use in order to make it all happen. I think you’ll find yourself immersed in his world.
Just picture him…
“week with a mic on my head, a mask over my face, and webcam on”
It’s the middle point that I think speaks volumes for educators and shows us the type of educator that Will is. In a blog post that could easily just be Will ranting about how hybrid teaching sucks, he does take the time to ensure that we know that he’s not alone. The kids have a voice too and it’s important that it’s heard.
It’s easy to find stories about the challenges that teachers are facing. The voices of students and parents are always difficult to find and that’s a shame. Is it good for them or do they just not have a platform to make their thoughts heard?
While looking for thoughts, it would be good also to hear from administrators and members of the board of trustees who approved this mode of teaching.
I had originally selected the post “Reflection: Keep it! Tweak it! Ditch it!” from Jennifer Casa-Todd’s blog to feature this week. When I returned to revisit it, I found this one instead and went with it. I thought it tagged nicely onto Will’s post. Will writes from the elementary classroom and Jennifer from secondary.
Will uses the term “exhausted” and Jennifer uses “November-level exhausted”. They’re both throwing all they’ve got into their teaching.
Jennifer gives us a summary of the technology that she uses in her teaching – “Screencastify, Choice Boards, Hyperdocs, Flipgrid, Station Rotation”.
Last week, she was a panelist on The Mentoree and shared a couple of really important points that I think all could ponder about and perhaps redirect their energies.
Fewer is better in terms of tech tools – this is always good advice but even more important these days, especially when you factor in the hybrid model. It’s easy to confuse more tools with more learning but for most classes that’s not the case. Finding a good multi-purpose tool and getting the most from it will get the most from technology. On the voicEd show, Stephen and I professed our love for Hyperstudio but alas …
Find a Professional Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter – of course, I flipped over this concept. Connecting with other educators is always a way to push yourself and learn new approaches. It’s also a place to go to recognize that you’re not the only one in the world facing challenges
Speaking of Hyperstudio – what the heck, let’s throw in Clarisworks as well…
Diana Maliszewski shares a story of collaboration with a new, young teacher looking to up her game. What to do? What to do?
I think most educators are like this. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into developing the perfect or pretty good lesson and are hesitant to throw it away. So, we just keep collecting them.
Diana turns back the resources dial a few years and remembers some great lessons from the past – the unfortunate part was that they were done in Hyperstudio and Clarisworks. Stop for a second and thing about how you’d even open documents created in those formats these days. To support Diana’s desire to get at them, she and her husband went on a search to find tools. And they did apparently find a solution.
I did smile a bit when she complained about the block graphics from days gone by especially since Diana is a big Minecrafter … but she does give us a look at the past and the freshly updated future resource.
The lesson that she resurrects is about phishing – now there’s a topic that will probably always be timely and can be just as important. Way to go, Diana.
Haven’t we all been in settings where we’re talking about or listening to others and the topic is “schools of the future”. It’s a popular topic and a reminder that there are always new things on the horizon for us to embrace.
Typically, we smile and nod and call ourselves and our profession as “life long learning”.
Anne-Marie Kees turns the tables with this question instead.
I also love this question: What’s not going to change?
My first thought was bureaucracy since it’s such an easy topic to take shots at in education.
She had a more important focus though and that was relationships. I really enjoyed the way that she analysed this. There is a great deal to think about in her analysis.
It’s especially important since the whole notion of relationships has changed for all of us, including students, over the past while. How can we get back to being humans with our need to connect? How do we make sure that nobody gets left behind?
In Thames Valley, they recently had a professional development day. Sue Bruyns shares with us how the message to be delivered worked its way into each school for the event.
There was one thing that didn’t work its way though – WIFI!
Haven’t we all been there? You’re in the audience at a conference, or even worse, you’re getting ready to present and something goes wrong. Data projector blows up, electricity goes out, fire alarm goes off, or gasp, the internet gives up on you.
Such was the start fo the day for Sue Bruyns.
I’ve been in sessions where the presenter just gives up and tells us to do something else instead because their show can’t go on. They had no Plan B.
It sounds like the district didn’t have a Plan B either but Sue and her team looked around the building and created one on the fly! It’s a great story of recovery. Check out her complete post to find out what it was.
I just had to include this post from Aviva Dunsiger. After all, I guess I inspired her to write it.
Last Saturday, I went on an uncharacteristic rant about things that I hate in my world mostly attributed to the effects of COVID.
Aviva decided to take the concept and run with it.
These wishes might largely remain as wishes, and yet, somehow it feels cathartic to write them down and put them out in the world. What wishes might you add to this list? I wonder if framing them as wishes helps me believe in future possibilities. What about you?
It’s quite a long list and I suspect that many educators will empathise with Aviva and her perspective.
It might even ultimately turn into a “to-do” list when the conditions that she’s working on are lifted and things return to normal or to what the new normal will be.
The post is delightfully documented with pictures from her teaching world.
It did bring up another issue for me; I hate how Instagram resizes/crops images that you send it.
Ontarians are now promised to be able to see the same data that those in Toronto use to make decisions for the province. When you head over to the COVID page on the Ontario website, you have access to just an overload of information. There’s just so much that you can lose yourself in the information if you wish. (and I did)
The thing that caught my interest was the ability to compare the numbers from your health unit with up to five others throughout the province. I decided to check it out and see where we stand compared to others.
Now, those figures are complete totals. All things being equal, you would expect that Toronto Public Health would lead the pack. There is an option to get a look at numbers per 100 000 population.
The totals are also available for plotting over time
There is no legend here but when you mouse over the graph, the totals for that particular day pop up. The colours are consistent throughout. So, I could see the spike in little ol’ Windsor-Essex County that caused us to remain in Stage 2 over the summer for a bit.
This is just the tip of the data iceberg. Keep on scrolling down for more information and details. All of the data is available for download as images or as .CSV files. I couldn’t help but think of mathematics or computer science classes where you might be interested in real, relevant data for analysis. It doesn’t get much more relevant than this.
Back to Stage 2, apparently that’s all going to change to a new classification for levels of severity.