Welcome to another edition of This Week in Ontario Edublogs. It’s a chance for me to take a tour of the province and see what’s happening with Ontario Edubloggers.
Here’s some good reading for you.
All Moved In
There have been a number of people blogging about getting in to their classrooms and getting things set up for September. This can be a challenge over the summer as it’s the only time that the caretakers within the school have uninterrupted access for maintenance and cleaning.
Jennifer Aston’s move may be a little different than most. Most people are back in the same classroom; some move down the hall; and some move schools. In her case, she was an instructional coach for a few years so all of her “stuff” was stored in a basement and then moved to her classroom. For teachers who supplement what the board/school provides with purchases of their own (most teachers do this), this can be a big task.
Then, there’s the technology, including equipment purchased via a TLLP grant.
It sounds like she’s going to put into practice some of what she learned as a coach with flexible classroom design. Go ahead and read her thoughts and don’t overlook the wisdom of those who commented and lent their advice to her planning.
I’VE GOT THAT “BACK TO SCHOOL” FEELING
So, Ramona Meharg is on the same train, speeding towards September 5. While it doesn’t apply to me any more, her description of the difference between July and August in terms of teacher attitude and the climate is spot on. Nothing says the end of summer more than the continuous drone of crickets!
Her post reaches out to us at a sensory level. Only a teacher can recognize and find glory in the smell of a new book or the feel of a brand new pen. This hit a note with me. I always used a very nice Waterman pen for my work and had a tradition of replacing the lead and the ink cartridges before every new school year.
In all of this, is one of the real niceties of teaching. You get a chance to start over with a clean slate or nearly clean slate every year. With that, you get new resources, more professional with another year of learning and professional development, … And, if you’re on the lower end of the salary grid, a raise!
That’s all part of the back to school deal. Add to that the sleepless night before classes, the feeling that you’re not prepared, and the well-prepared classroom. There’s not an educator in the province that’s not going through all this. Ramona has written all about it. You’ll enjoy reading this post.
WILL AI DESTROY OUR RELATIONSHIPS?
I’m fascinated with the concepts of Artificial Intelligence and I know that Jane Mitchinson is generally on top of things. I always enjoy watching what she’s showing and sharing.
In this post, she was inspired by a TED talk and the connections and insights into health care.
I was intrigued by her discussion about memory. We all lose things that we promised ourselves that we’d never forget. If you’ve got a family member or other connection suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, you know how this can really run to an extreme.
So, at first blush, helping people with this horrible disease sounds like a terrific thing.
But, is it? Perhaps selective forgetting is a good thing. I never really thought about this before reading Jane’s post and read her thoughts.
What We Learned From So Far… BYOD Pilot
I really appreciate the openness and sharing that the folks at Fleming College are following as they learn. They’re also quick to see and report on all sides of an issue.
I’ve seen so many people talk about BYOD on such a cursory level that it’s almost like an infomercial.
“Oh, we’re a BYOD school. Kids bring their devices and magic happens.”
Actually, if it’s true and you’re experiencing the magic and it’s all that you planned, more power to you. I suspect thought that you might be overstating things just a bit.
Alana Callan shares her thoughts and insights about this happening at Fleming with staff.
I really think that, of the goals that she includes, this one is key.
Showcase what BYOD could look like in the classroom by getting them to be the students and participating in the activities
What, indeed, does it look like? I like the fact that she uses the term “could look like”. As we know, you’re mileage may vary. In the BYOD world, it definitely will.
Make sure that you read the entire post. There’s a spot where they brainstorm web resources that you’ll find very valuable.
I really enjoyed reading about this concept but was challenged to find out who the actual author is that claims to be the “Dean of Math”. Using every trick I know, I came to the conclusion that she’s a teacher in Markham named Melissa D.
Back to the post.
There’s been a lot mentioned over the years about gradeless classrooms. Personally, I think it makes so much sense. In Computer Science, for example, what’s the difference between a program worth 87% and one worth 88%. If I can’t tell you, then they’re both worth 88%, right?
The challenge becomes more of a technical one for Melissa. How do you record an assessment in a class without grades?
If you’ve been pondering this, you’ll enjoy her post. If you have any ideas or suggestions, then add them to the post as comments.
Learner, Know Yourself, Know Your Strengths, Know Your Weaknesses
Matthew Oldridge really nails the concept of reflection in this post. He brings in the work from Starr Stackstein.
The big takeaway here is to treat reflection as an integral part of the assessment and NOT just an add-on.
I like the collection of tips that Matthew closes the post with. In particular, he offers a short list of tools.
like Google forms, Exit Slips, conferencing
Just as we would provide a variety of teaching strategies, why wouldn’t you have an inventory of these tools and mix them up, depending upon the task and time, so that it’s not just “reflection time” with the same old tool.
Perhaps we could encourage Matthew to write a post or series of posts and create a visible inventory of these tools. Having a wide variety would increase the value of the concept and the interest buy-in by students.
It never rains but it pours! That’s the mantra here. I was fortunate enough to have two interviews come to fruition on this blog this week.
An Interview with Lisa Floyd
- Enjoy Lisa’s thoughts about Computational Thinking, parenting, and a trip to Baltimore
An Interview with Paul McGuire
- Get inside the head of this recently retired principal who definitely isn’t letting grass grow under his feet in his retirement
Please take the time to click through and enjoy these wonderful blog posts. You’ll be glad that you. Hopefully, they’ll get you thinking.
Until next week…