This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday – Work Day, PD Day, Re-organization Day – wherever you fit!


CELEBRATING 100 EPISODES – E100

One hundred of anything is a pretty amazing milestone.

The EduGals (Rachel Johnson and Katie Attwell) were approaching their own milestone and want to do something different from their regular technology themed podcasts. They reached out to Stephen Hurley and me to interview them and we jumped at the chance to be on their 100th podcast.

What sort of things would someone ask? If you listened to their podcast, you’d know what we decided. If you missed the podcast, you can always listen to it now from their website. Or, if you want a readable summary of things, check out this post.

And, to send them off on a successful second one hundred, what better than Beverley Mahood and Radio 101.


What To Do If Our Classrooms Aren’t Safe

I thought that this post from Marie was particularly timely. Driving by schools these days, you see both students and teachers running maskless. As Marie campaigns, she’s asked what’s a parent to do?

It’s a good question – she takes it and runs with it.

Her background in education comes through loudly and clearly. Definitely, you should start any of this with a conversation with the classroom teachers and the leaders within the school.

There are times when this may not work and Marie provides a series of suggestions that escalate if you’re not getting support.

It really is sad that we’re not officially reporting numbers across the province and Marie has done some of her own research that will make you wonder why more isn’t being done.


Crooked Paths are the Ones that Lead to Enlightenment

So many of us were educated in a different time. So many that are recommending the path to enlightenment come from that different time.

Read Tim’s post and you’ll be thinking that we’re living in a time when it’s not necessarily business as usual.

Ours was a time when there was a clearly defined flow from elementary to secondary to college/university and you just had to follow it to enjoy success.

We’ve long since started talking about the world of work and the value that it has as a destination. We’ve talked about taking a year between secondary school and post-secondary education. In the post, Tim talks about an individual who gives an opinion about that “gap” year.

Tim shares his own path and some of his challenges to get where he is today. I suspect that many of us didn’t follow that fluid path.

Post-secondary education also didn’t require giving up your first borne to be able to afford things like rent, tuition, etc.

It’s a different world out there.


Sick

Talk to any teacher and they’ll tell you that they’ll drag themselves into work rather than go through the process of writing lesson plans for someone else to follow. More often than not, the good intentions don’t come through.

Aviva shares with us a most recent situation of her being sick and still making herself available for an interview. There was no more information about the interview and Stephen and I made an assumption about it.

It turns out that we were wrong and Aviva clued us in via private message afterwards.

It’s an exciting message and I won’t let the cat out of the bag – Aviva will undoubtedly blog about it when she sees fit to talk about it in public.

The bigger question still remains about what to do if you’re sick.


Who Am I?

This was a much different post than usual from Matthew.

He pulls back the curtain and shares some of his personal faith and superstitious activity as a youth who would have loved to have been accepted into a Division 1 school with a football program. I had no idea there were 363 schools!

Given our closeness to the Detroit Media, we get bombarded by University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Notre Dame, and Ohio University media all the time. Matthew had his eye on a couple other Big 10 schools.

Obviously, it’s very personal but also highlights the challenges that a Canadian athlete has being recognized south of the border. I know one of my best friends felt that his path was to shine at Laurier and let that open a path for him.

The big winner in all this is the Ontario Educational system which ended up with a great teacher in Matthew.


Old Fellas New Music Episode 31 Notes

They’re back!

The Old Fellas are back sharing some new music with us via podcast and this post. There’s a nice list of new music to listen to and I’m always appreciative of it. There were some familiar names here.

The list they’re sharing this time is:

  • The Beths – Knees Deep
  • Orville Peck, Shania Twain – Legends Never Die
  • Glorious Sons – Pink Motel
  • Blue Stones – Shakin’ Off the Dust
  • Blue Rodeo – When You Were Wild
  • Crystal Eyes – 2000 years
  • Rosie Tucker – Barbara Ann
  • Sudan Archives – Selfish Soul
  • Cheap Trick – So it Goes

My favourite from the list is this one from Blue Rodeo and it’s kind of cheating because I’ve always been a fan of Blue Rodeo.


We need to deal with data privacy in our classrooms

Writing for University Affairs, I found this so interesting.

When I was on the OSAPAC group, we had the Ministry’s lawyers available to analyse the legal terms and agreements that would come with the licensing of any software title. If we had their approval, it moved the licensing process along.

Today’s classrooms – elementary, secondary, post-secondary – mostly deal with anything but software that’s licensed and installed on their computers. Instead, many great resources are available in a browser and online. As Bonnie notes, and I’m as bad as anyone, not clicking on terms and conditions agreement. I just want to get to the site I’m accessing. I may have just agreed to anything.

These days, I do it on my own computer and I do use an advertising blocker and a cookie auto-delete utility to get a feeling of safety but I’m not naive enough to think that I’m 100% protected.

Data privacy is such an important issue these days and it’s not just in your classroom; it’s everyone’s classroom. Heck, even using your district’s computer system means agreeing to their terms and conditions.

Do we even read that? I hope that she follows this post with more research and recommendations about how this could be addressed province-wide. It’s no small task.


And there we go – another great collection of blog posts. Please take the time to read them all and drop off a comment if you’re so inclined.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • EduGals – @Edugals
  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Bonnie Stewart – @bonstewart

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Another Friday, another TWIOE blogpost. Can you ever get enough of this?

By the way, I am always looking for new bloggers to add to my collection. Are you one or do you know one? If so, please reach out.


Welcome to 5-1; I promise to …

I’m a big fan of Cameron’s approach. Simply, he has a class blog and he writes a provocation and the students respond in the comments. Genius. I don’t know why others don’t do this. It’s a great use of technology, does something easily accessed by mom and dad and can address so many curriculum expectations.

This is the first one of the year – it’s not too late for you to start your own class blog – and the first activity is to have students lay out three promises for the year.

To show what it looks like, Cameron shares his promises to the class.

  • Give 110%
  • Listen to you
  • Expect amazing things

You know you’ve made an impact when a former student chimes in.


First Impressions

If you’ve ever had kids go to high school, you’ve lived through this. Inspection by mom and dad before you’re allowed to leave the house is like a rite of passage. My mom did it to my brother and me and I felt compelled to do the same for my kids. Apparently, Amanda is the same way.

She shares a nice story which I’m sure that most parents will agree with. I totally agree with her observation of sweatpants. I’d also throw sleep pants and slippers into the same category.

And, there’s the wisdom of youth. While buying into the concept of “you only make a first impression once”, it applies only to the first day of school!


What improv has taught me about instructional coaching

I thought that this was a very vulnerable, lovely story that I suspect that so many of us could identify with. I know that I could.

As a teenager, Alexandra shares some of the challenges getting involved with a number of things in school and ended up, by luck, getting involved with improv. She beats herself up a bit by indicating that she had trouble with punchlines.

Kudos to her for sticking with it and it serves her well today is a world where she identifies

Fissures between teachers, coaches, departments, and schools

It’s always a tough time for coaches to go into classrooms because we all know the only person who truly appreciates a change. (got that punchline, Alexandra?)

But I’ve got to believe that it’s harder than ever these days given the unique situation that we all find ourselves living in. I’m glad to read that she’s not going it along and has a group of teammates to fall back on.


Long Range Planning as a Teacher Librarian

As I mentioned on the voicEd Radio show and I’ll repeat it here. Elizabeth didn’t have to write this post.

She’s shifted away from the teacher-librarian position to having a class of her own. She really could have just shut the library door and moved on. Most teacher-librarians can’t do that. They recognize that their position is unique in the school, needing to know all curricula to be supportive to all teachers and students.

In this post, she shares some of her thoughts for long-range planning for all who might assume this role. She’s also not so egotistic to let on that it’s all her original thinking; she gives a shoutout to a fellow teacher-librarian.

It’s a reminder that they can’t and don’t do it along; there’s a whole network of teacher-librarians who need to meet however they can – these days online – to help encourage each other on to bigger and better things.


Serendipity?

You have to feel for David going on an Alaska cruise – it’s a lovely cruise, by the way – and then end up contracting Covid and being locked in a cabin onboard and then even longer in a hotel in British Columbia before being released.

Photo by Peter Hansen on Unsplash

In the meantime, his wife who tested negative, gets to go home and remain in contact via networking. I think I would expect my wife to send me some food that wouldn’t be available in the hotel.

In this case, she sends him some goodies that turn into the serendipity that he alludes to in the title of the post. You’ll have to read his post to find out what it is but a bit of a spoiler here – we could all benefit.


Friday Two Cents: Two Ears to Listen Twice as Much 

It’s the sign of the times although podcasting has been around for years and years. More people are starting to listen to them and I think that’s awesome. I listen to Crime Junkie often when I’m out for a walk.

Paul offers three of his favourites:

  • The Bridge 
  • The Rest is History
  • We Didn’t Start The Fire: The History Podcast

I think I’ll tune in and listen to these. They sound interesting and Paul gives a nice review for each.

Oh, and I do listen to TWIOE on Thursdays to see how badly my mannerisms come through on live radio. I need to be more like Peter Mansbridge in that aspect.


Handling #SOL2022

I’m a sucker for one-word blog post titles. It goes against every bit of advice that I’ve ever had about blogging and yet when I see one, I quickly click and get to it.

I thought that perhaps the topic was going to be something to do with “hands” from the introductory sentence.

Again with the hook.

But no, it gets a little philosophical and appreciative of a neighbour who is handling life’s difficulties so well.

I feel for Melanie who wants to be in that situation. Here’s a person who needs a hug; you can’t do that but you can click through and read her post.


Please enjoy these wonderful blog posts and then follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Cameron Steltman – @MrSteltman
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Alexandra Woods – @XanWoods
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • David Garlick – @dgarlick13
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It was good to be back Wednesday morning on voicEd Radio and talk about some blog posts. Amanda Potts guested this week and we talked about a number of things; one being the incredible flower pictures that she shares on Facebook. I figured she had a full set of camera gear; it turns out that she uses her smartphone. I feel so unworthy. I need to up my game.


Presenting

This was a reminder for me that there’s a first time for everything. In this case, Amanda partnered with Melanie White to do a presentation. She notes that, as teachers, we do it all the time but the big difference here was that people paid to go to this conference and hear her among others.

I thought that this was a wonderful discussion of anguishing over and tweaking a presentation before going live to make sure that it’s perfect. Amanda, I can tell you that now you’re on the speaking tour <grin>, you’ll do it all the time. There’s nothing so embarrassing as reusing an old presentation that has reference to a previous location. I always appreciate it when a presenter goes that extra mile and you can tell that there’s a reference to the presentation’s current location or audience.

Nerves are always good, I find. It keeps you at the top of your game.


Getting Ready for School: A Television Interview

Speaking of nerves…

When you’ve written a book, that opens a lot of doors for you. When you’ve written THE book on students and social media, you’ll get people like Global TV wanting you to appear on their television show to share your expertise.

That was the case for Jennifer. Good choice, Global.

Her post dovetails so nicely with Amanda’s because she shares her own nervous moments. There were five four points that she wanted to address. The whole interview was a 2-minute deal and Jennifer was a part of it, not all of it. So, in typical television fashion, things were edited to meet the time allotment. Her enthusiasm does come through loudly and clearly.

Anyone who has ever done something like this knows that you walk away saying “I wish I’d said that” and Jennifer was no exception. Her extra thoughts appear bolded in this post.

Her book SocialLEADia is something that every teacher needs in their arsenal when dealing with students and social media. It should be in every school library.


Those Last Three Years

I suspect that everyone is thinking about the return to school in a much deeper manner than normal this year. Will this be the year that things return to normal or whatever normal will be going forward?

The true professional gets better every year in the profession. They understand students, teachers, and learning, just that much better with experience. Matthew questions whether he and other educators are better now than before.

Maybe teaching during the pandemic didn’t make me a better teacher in the moment. But maybe it has the potential to make us better educators tomorrow.  

There’s no doubt that educators will have become better in their use of technology. Nerdy me hopes that that translates to better things in the classroom now that everyone is headed back there. Time will tell, I suppose.

Educators that read this blog know that they’ve been thinking about the return all summer. For those not in education, Matthew shares insights on what’s really going through an educator’s mind as September looms.


BACK TO  SCHOOL: POST-SECONDARY EDITION

I never had the opportunity to teach my own kids and I suspect they’re eternally grateful for that. It actually wasn’t possible since I never lived in the community where I taught.

For Vera, this will be the third time teaching students that are the same age as her own children. That’s an interesting observation and I wonder how many other educators have made that it. I know that it never occurred to me.

Vera points out that her twins were very helpful in giving her insights as a parent about their growth and development and how it helped her understand those students in her class.

The other takeaway for me what that I had no idea where Holland College is. I do now.


August Interlude

August is always an interesting month for me. My birthday was mid-month and from that day on, it was a family reunion, and then gearing up for the return to school – both as a kid and later as a teacher.

We spend a great deal of time these days just sitting on the patio and listening to music and lately the crickets have been singing along.

In the post, Sheila shares some quotes about August and one included the crickets.

“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.” – E.B. White

I thought it was an interesting tribute to a month that isn’t quite July or quite September.


Slice of (Summer) Life

Here’s a post that brought a big, big smile to my face.

As parents, I think we all try to make special moments for our kids. In Lisa’s case, it was to take them to swim in all five of the Great Lakes this summer.

This is a wonderful story about how the family met that goal.

I know that Lake St. Clair isn’t one of the five Great Lakes but it’s a pretty good lake. I could take her to some pretty cool beaches if she’s interested in doing that next year. We walked the dog at Belle River yesterday and the beach was packed. A little further north, Mitchell’s Bay is a favourite location as well.


Magic? Or Is It?

If you need a song to listen to while you read this. Maybe we can see why some students are hesitant to participate.

A wise person once told me that teaching is the nearest thing to performing real magic that you can get. It seemed a little hokey at the time but I came to appreciate it. Quite frankly, I’d forgotten about that until I read Aviva’s latest.

There’s an interesting story about a “camper” who was in the hallway and how things changed for her. It’s a great read; make sure you do it.

Once you get the whole context, you’ll appreciate Aviva’s closing thought.

While we might not have a wand or a magic spell to address all of these scenarios, Ms. Ung shows us that with love, time, support, and a combination of deliberate decisions, we can all work a little magic of our own.


I hope that you can find to click through and read all of these wonderful posts. Are you inspired to write your own? If so, reach out and let me know.

And, make sure that you’re following these bloggers.

  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Vera Teschow – @schlagzeug_usw
  • Sheila Stewart – @sheilaspeaking
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca

This week’s TWIOE show on voicEdRadio

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge was the guest host on This Week in Ontario Edublogs this past week. She really understood the concept of the show and how it doesn’t necessarily need to stick to the script. It was fun and we managed to work WKRP’s Turkey Drop episode in there. In typical Doug fashion, I lost it but she and Stephen covered for me. The joys of live radio.

But you’re here for the blogging – here goes.

Take Ownership: It’s Leadership!

When possible, it’s nice to get the guest hosts to talk about a personal piece that they’d written. Nilmini chose this one from almost a year ago. That can be dangerous as perspective can change in that time. This time it hasn’t and she says that she’s hanging true to what’s in there.

In the post, she talks about a number of “isms” and we had time to talk a bit about racism.

  • Ableism
  • Classism
  • Ageism
  • Religion as an ism
  • Racism
  • Homophobia / Heterosexism
  • Sexism

I thought it was a great conversation and, personally, not a talk that I have often enough with a person of colour and so I appreciated her openness and kind thoughts.

Nilmini claims that it was her first podcast but I thought that she did an admirable job and it was she, at times, that steered Stephen and me back to the timeline!


A Plague of Willful Incompetence

Marie had indicated in a previous blog post that she had left the teaching profession. I was a little worried that maybe she’d left her blog as well in search of new things. Nobody should criticize someone for making that decision but, at least until now, she’s back at the keyboard. I appreciate her candor as she talks about things she’s passionate about.

This time, she took a kick at how we’re handling the continuing issues of Covid. (Spelling hers) She shared this video:

Her words and this video hit me right between the eyes. I had been at Dresden Raceway last weekend in the open-air grandstand. That’s good, right? There was a lady in the next column of seats a couple of rows down and she lit up a cigarette.

Within a couple of seconds, I was breathing it. I was much further away than the recommendation for social distancing that we get. All that kept running through my mind was Marie’s post and what would have happened if this lady was expelling the virus instead of cigarette smoke.


Friday Two Cents: The Pen is Mightier

Paul has an interesting take on note-taking. This post is devoted to his experience and thoughts about the importance of writing pen to paper instead of going to the keyboard. The irony that I’m sitting here in my work area typing is not lost on me.

I do go back to the time when we were taught cursive writing in elementary school. Somehow, we were assessed on those abilities as well. My mother had beautiful handwriting and it was something that I always aspired to emulate. At university, taking Mathematics and Computer Science courses, I shifted from cursive to printing because of the nature of what I was doing. It also was far more legible.

These days, if I can find a pen that hasn’t dried up and I need to write something, I still mostly print but honestly, since most of what I do is published to the web or shared with others, you’ll more often than not find me at the keyboard.

I did own a spectacular fountain pen once and a Staedtler mechanical pencil at one point. I hadn’t thought about those in years so thanks for that, Paul!

Kudos to him for working penmanship into his curriculum – read the post to see how he does it.


Flashing Back Over a Frightening and Fantastic Five Years

Noa takes us on her personal journey over the past five years after leaving a full-time teaching job to pursue other efforts. I mostly knew bits and pieces of it so I appreciated the fact that she pulled it all together in this post.

I guess I know her best for her work on OnEdMentors. Recently, I appeared on an episode.

If you only do one thing and I know that it’s difficult but listen to the Noa part. She exhibits the pedagogy and the skills that we try to impart to students – listen carefully and rephrase by using part of what the guest said as you move on. It’s Podcasting 101 folks! Her podcasts aren’t about Noa but if you look at why they’re so enjoyable, they’re all about Noa.

While podcasts come and go because it seems so easy just to pick up a microphone and talk, Noa’s work has stood the test of time and doesn’t look like it’s about to end any time soon.

I asked Stephen about her – he’s had many would-be broadcasters who have come and gone or broadcast intermittently. Noa’s the exact opposite and why you should stay up on Thursday nights to hear the show (or download it afterwards).


Covid Finally Caught Me.

My heart goes out to Jennifer and her family after reading the post. Had I not had a guest host on the show, I would have shuffled it so that Marie and Jennifer’s posts were back to back. I just didn’t want to upset any plans that Nilmini had made for the show.

Despite doing everything right – masks, social distancing, four of Jennifer’s five family members ended up sick.

In the post, Jennifer talks about how it affects her during the day and ongoing. I hope that it clears for her soon. I can’t imagine water tasting bitter.

In the post, she shares an infographic that visually describes those things that we can control and fades to things over which we have no control. It’s an important visual to think about and reflect on. If there’s an action item from this, it’s to identify things in the “Some Control” group to see if you can’t move them a little closer or even inside the “Most Control” group.


Flip Phones, iPhones, And Avoiding Assumptions

  • How the mighty have fallen!
  • Hell just froze over

Nope. It took an internet outage and the challenge of running around looking for free wifi that took Aviva into The Source to buy a SMART Phone.

Kudos to her. She’ll be able to do everything that she could do with her old flip phone with this device. And more, if she wants.

I enjoyed reading her thoughts about dreading becoming one of those people that are constantly looking at their phones. It’s the whole fear of missing out thing.

Actually, being late to the party may make it easier for her to decide if the phone will change her life. I’m sure she’s been in enough meetings or covered enough intermediate classes to see what can happen when you go unchecked.


Education as Identity

This is the post I made reference to on Wednesday. Elizabeth had written her thoughts about a career change and shared them with the world.

This really leaped out at me.

After I “announced” (or started to share) that I was leaving the teacher-librarian position and going back to the classroom in May I found myself in a really strange position of consoling other people about my decision.

It is indeed a strange position. If the decision had been a result of a provincial or district decision to shut down libraries, consoling might have been needed.

This wasn’t the case; it was a professional decision and should be one that is celebrated. In today’s educational system, not many people are afforded the luxury of making such a move on their terms.

It really is something that everyone should sit down and write a post about from their perspective. Perhaps only then you can draw the conclusion that Elizabeth did that “I am a teacher.” It’s why they remain on my Ontario Teachers lists even after they’ve moved on.


It looks like another great Friday is in the works but find some time to check out all these blog posts. Aviva, you can do it on your new phone.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge – @NRatwatte
  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Noa Daniel – @iamnoadaniel
  • Jennifer Aston – @mmejaston
  • Aviva Dunsiger @avivaloca
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary

Technology fits that big void


There’s a big void around here this July. For the almost past 20 years before COVID, I would be somewhere in the United States at a CSTA Conference.

In all that time, I’ve never gone as a formal learning attendee. Chris Stephenson invited me to my first which was the second or third conference ever as a committee member. I’ve been going back to serve on that committee up until the past two years. I was even conference chair a couple of times, the most memorable was in San Antonio, Texas. Or maybe Omaha, Nebraska. Or maybe Grapevine, Texas. Or maybe…

Not surprisingly, I took a number of photos and shared them to Facebook and they’ve been coming back daily over the past bit. Here’s a picture from 2016. The locations blur since most convention centres are similar but according to this, we were in San Diego.

Thanks, Alfred Thompson

I’d seriously have to go looking for my notes for what I actually learned at that conference. But, I can name everyone on that committee. That’s such a big thing for me.

Being on the committee, you don’t get a lot of time to attend sessions except during the breaks but that’s OK. There was always time in the evenings to have some social time with some great educators. I think that most people would agree that the real enduring value is the connections that you make. Even to this date, there’s a small group that meet for a “Zoom Beer” on Saturday afternoons.

I had another important role on the committee – as the only Canadian, I was responsible for bringing treats that my American friends coud have. The first time I did it, I made sure to bring the receipts to the Ambassador Bridge crossing to declare. I’ve watched enough episodes of Border Security to know that you need to be above and open when declaring things. At the very least it amused border agents who would always tell me that they were looking for something more important than $100 of ketchup potato chips, Crispy Crunch bars, Purdy’s Hedgehogs, or Oreo chocolate bars. They didn’t last long at the conference when word got out that I had goodies.

This year, I really wrestled with the concept of going. Unlike every other conference where I would fly and be packed into an airplane, this event was in Chicago, only about four hours from here on I94. It definitely would have been the first face to face conference since COVID. Precautions were taken on the registration side apparently and masks were expected to be worn everywhere. I had followed the discussion after the ISTE conference and the spreading that happened after that event. It was a family decision and there wasn’t a great deal of support of being without me.

I even contemplated going for one night just to hang out for supper and chatting but a number of other things popped up.

Years ago, that would have left me out in the cold. However, that’s not really the case in today’s world. The hashtag #CSTA2022 was active with both content and pictures. The real gold mine for me has been Alfred Thompson’s blog. He’s been very good to post content there with a number of links to slidedecks and resources. Cybersecurity is of real interest to me these days and you can never have enough of it.

Of course, it’s not the same but I think there was a sigh of relief around here that I didn’t go.