A pleasant rabbit hole


OK, so the post from yesterday really took me down a rabbit hole – and in a good way. I was reminded of how many wonderful, inspirational Ontario Educators that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, of working with, and of learning with.

I started by searching for “Freshly Minted Software” which took me to a conference program which had me turning pages. It was eleven years ago but it seems so much like just yesterday.

I’m going to do some shout outs here and I’m going to miss some people and that’s the joy/problem of doing something like this.

This all was inspired by looking at the ECOO 2011 Conference Booklet which remains online today. It helped with the memories of conference presentations of the past but also of some of the awesome people I’ve been so fortunate to learn alongside over the years. The author of the booklet is Cam Armstrong @sig225 which is a great place to start. If there ever was a voice of reason, it’s Cal’s. And Computer Science. And Mathematics. What’s not to like? Oh, and motorcycles.

I remember the theme of the conference – “Learn to Play, Play to Learn”.

Flipping though the program with my mouse brought up this collection of names and memories. I’m so honoured to have learned with them:

  • Mark Carbone @marcwcarbone – who was one of the great visionaries in education and helped me develop these skills in myself. He introduced me to an incredible team at the Waterloo DSB
  • Bill McKenzie – who led ECOO around that time and the big issue was about the use of social media and education. Bill eventually talked me into chair the conference for a couple of years
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL – who has a passion for all that she does and taught me so much about the potential of gaming. I’m still positive it was her in costume at an OLA conference
  • Aviva Dunsiger @avivaloca – who always looks like she’s having too much fun and presented numerous times at that conference to prove it
  • Colin Jagoe – @colinjagoe – who was podcasting long before podcasting was cool
  • Peter McAsh – @pmcash – who goes back further with me than both of us would care to admit and he was encouraging the use of a free LMS at the time
  • Angie Harrison – @TechieAng – who showed that you could integrate anything given the inspiration and the technology to make it happen
  • Jane Mitchinson – @jane_mitchinson – in a world dominated by elementary school integration, she embodied the same principles at the secondary school level and worked hard for perfection
  • Jamie Reaburn – @msjrea – another secondary school leader of technology who brings so much enthusiasm to the use of technology in a truly meaningful way
  • Tim King – @tk1ng – when I think I’ve mastered everything, I turn to see what Tim’s doing only to realize that I’m falling further behind
  • Alanna King – @banana29 – who was a teacher-librarian at the time but went way beyond the stacks and had a vision for the connected library and those citizens who visit it
  • Bill Schreiter – always had a book on leadership open and on the read and worth buying a beer for just to hear his current thinking
  • Cathy Beach – @beachcat11 – if you’re looking for someone who is constantly researching good things for kids, turn to Cathy
  • Danuta Woloszynowicz – @dwtech – who always seemed to have some sort of passion project on the go and willing to talk about it. A great person to co-present with
  • Alison Baron – @AlisonWGI – had the vision for online teaching, made it happen well provincially and was an invaluable resource for our district when issues arose
  • Diane Bedard – @WindsorDi – a creative always impressed me with her technology skills and with all the times I went to where she worked, I don’t think I ever saw her doing what I thought her job was
  • John Taylor – he was the glue that kept OSAPAC focused and grounded – if there ever was a person who could herd a collection of wild cats, it’s him
  • Doug Sadler – @sadone – who may well have been the first person that I knew personally who saw that the future could indeed be portable
  • Danika Tipping – @DanikaTipping – another creative individual doing amazing things and was somehow weaving Twitter and Shakespeare together at the time
  • Susan Watt – @susan_watt – at the time was integrating Google products and services into everything with remarkable success
  • Zoe Branigan-Pipe – @zbpipe – has this amazing ability to push gifted kids hard in their learning lest they become too complacent and just a wonderful person to present with
  • Harry Niezen – @harryniezen – who managed to put together both the value of thinking about the future and grounding it in the reality of the present and work towards it
  • Carlo Fusco – @mrfusco – may well have been one of the people who saw the future and it didn’t lie in whatever software you might have installed on your computer
  • Peter Beens – @pbeens – what can I say, if I need to know anything about Google and its power, Peter is my go to guy

And that was from a quick skim through the program. There was way more available to attendees and I remember leaving that conference disappointed that I couldn’t have attended more. These silly rules around scheduling sessions against each other!

As with most of the recent ECOO Conferences, there was a Minds on Media session to learn more with hands-on activities. It actually was a full day event!

Not surprisingly (at least to me), I blogged about things:

As I looked through the program, I’m just in awe of what was offered to those educators who attended.

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/

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


And, it’s another Friday. Actually, it’s Thursday morning as I write this post but that’s the way things roll around here.


Writing a SPOOKY Story!

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!


Negative TikTok Challenges and Student Digital Leadership

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.


Leadership and the matter of judgement:An open letter to Prime Minster Trudeau

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

Prime Minister, it is not too late to close the gap between your many worthy and important publicly stated aspirations and meaningful actions. 

Will he follow Charles’ advice?


It’s That Time of Year…

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.


Talking Like a Teacher

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.


NETWORKING AT THE TESL ONTARIO ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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.


Math Links for Week Ending Oct 15th, 2021

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.

  • Cameron Steltman – @MrSteltman
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @JCasaTodd
  • Charles Pascal – @cepascal
  • Anthony Perrotta – @aperrottatweets
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Dave Frazer – @teslontario
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314

This week’s show on voicEd Radio.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s always a pleasure and an honour to recognize some of the great writing that appears on the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers. I hope that you can find the time to click through and read all of these wonderful posts.


A moment of reckoning in Canada

From Paul McGuire, what I would call a pretty significant and important blog post. Paul addresses the First Nations issue that has been so prominent in the news this past while. He pours his soul and thoughts into the document and then digs into some historical records to give us even more information. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up not knowing any of this and am playing catch up now. I so appreciate when people are sharing their own research.

In closing, he reflects on the recent incidents at Ryerson University. I’m sure that we haven’t heard the last of this and we may well be seeing history being made before our eyes. Even the Toronto District School Board is reportedly looking into the history of the names of all of its schools.

Beyond the historical references though, the images that Paul shares of the children’s shoes all laid out on Parliament Hill will slap you right in the face. It’s a somber and enduring image for me.


Lucky Shot

From Sheila Stewart, some of her very personal and open thoughts about getting her first shot of a vaccine. I think that everyone who is now getting vaccinated is feeling like they’re a little late to the party. You can’t help but notice the long lines waiting for shots on the evening news – at least from Ontario stations. We also received news from Detroit where it doesn’t appear to be big news anymore. The really big news there is the Governor opening up the state next week.

Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

Beyond the first steps of finding a place to get a shot, the second issue to be resolved is which shot. We live in an area that was perceived to be a hot spot a few months ago and so AstraZeneca was the first one available. This were different for her.

I find it interesting how we’re probably more than medically literate these days – I couldn’t begin to tell you who the manufacturer was of the vaccines that our kids had before they got to go to school. But I know way more about AstraZenica, Moderna, and Pfizer than I would ever have thought I would. Sheila has gone deeper thinking that there was a component in Moderna that would adversely affect her.

Click through to read the post, find out about the component, and her personal trek to getting that important first shot.


Something stinks

You can’t sugar coat this post from Amanda Potts. If I’ve ever seen a bait and switch blog post, this is it. And, I mean it in a good way. I love her writing.

She starts out talking about how fuzzy the end of this school year appeared to her at the time which evoked one emotion and then switched to her going out to her garden with her cat to witness a skunk at her hosta plants which brought out another emotion!

I will admit that I’m not much of a gardener but I’ve learned so much about hostas from living around here. In our Navy Yard park downtown, we have apparently 202 different varieties – https://visitamherstburg.ca/mary-mary-quite-contrary-how-do-your-hostas-grow/

Each of them are labelled – the labels actually go out before many of them break surface so I imagine there’s a master map somewhere. As a fan of the little guy, my favourite is Holy Mouse Ears. They didn’t appear one year and are back now and they are so much smaller than the others.

Even the word “hosta” intrigues me. Most often, I see it written as “hostas” and I get it because I don’t ever think I’ve seen just one. Or, I’m missing the whole point completely which is entirely possible.


Summer Tech with Amber Mac: 6 Hot Picks

Amber MacArthur was a keynote speaker at a Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee’ Symposium and an ECOO Bring IT, Together Conference. I follow her blog and her presence on Facebook as she’s always digging around and researching so much dealing with technology.

Recently, she shared some of her “hot picks” for this summer and I was intrigued with the gaming router. We have an issue with one part of our house that doesn’t get very strong wifi and so I’m looking for a solution. This may be it; there are a number of extenders available and I’ve tried and returned them because they seem to be laggy.

Anyway, she picks these:

  • CREATE YOUR OWN VIDEO GAMES: NINTENDO GAME BUILDER GARAGE
  • MAKE YOUR OWN MUSIC VIDEOS: LEGO VIDIYO MUSIC VIDEO MAKER
  • GET PAIN-FREE STREAMING AT HOME: TP-LINK ARCHER GX90 WI-FI 6 GAMING ROUTER
  • MAKE COOL DRINKS WITH KITCHEN TECH: BREVILLE BLUICER 3X PRO
  • EXERCISE OUTSIDE WITH ALL-DAY MUSIC: HUAWEI FREEBUDS 4I
  • COOK OUTSIDE WITH CLEAN ENERGY: BIOLITE CAMPSTOVE 2+

As luck would have it, she went live on Facebook yesterday and talked her way through each one of them – and there’s a giveaway involved if you drop off a comment to her before June 20.


Trouble with Hybrid Learning

From the Heart and Art Blog, Deborah Weston shares a well thought out and reasoned opinion about hybrid learning which we’re now interpreting as some students face to face in classroom and some students online at home.

It actually seems like a simple solution to anyone except teachers, I’m guessing. It’s only as a teacher that you realize that there are so many logistics to making it happen. One of the things that the proponents never mention is the lack of immediate 1:1 moments that you get face to face.

Deborah does a nice job of gathering all of the elements together in one spot in this post.

  • Cost Savings
  • Less Community Supports
  • Hybrid Hurts Relationships
  • Competing Agendas (Online vs In Class)
  • Long-term consequences

I have no doubt that educators who read this will totally agree with her thoughts. Unfortunately, I suspect that many decision makers will never see it.


Anti-Racism and Archival Description Work

On the ActiveHistory blog, Krista McCracken shared her learning from a recent workshop – Anti-Oppressive Description and Re-Description Workshop.

I was really interested in the description and the activity involved. I’ve been in many workshops but this one was so different and beyond anything I’ve ever had the opportunity to attend.

In this case, it was an opportunity to look at historical records and the language used to describe the events. Some of the suggestions from the workshop include:

  • Use objective voice in description and avoid using passive voice 
  • Use accurate and strong language such as lynching, rape, murder, and hate mail when they are appropriate. 
  • Describe relationships of power when they are important for understanding the context of records.
  • Describe records in a way that supports communities, not just academics

I can’t help but think that this wouldn’t be controversial. Will it make history more accurate or will it make history more responsive to what is happening right now?

Fascinating.


HOW TO CREATE CUSTOM GOOGLE KEEP HEADERS FOR BETTER ORGANIZATION

I love it when someone shows off some technique that I hadn’t thought of or haven’t used in a while and it inspires me to so some additional learning. Such was this post from the Edugals.

Every time I use Google Keep, I have this sense that I’m only scratching the surface of what I could do with it.

If you’re a Google Keep user, this blog post and the video that goes with it are worth your time to work through. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

And, if you like templates, this is a nice post to visit! They’re sharing.


Please take some time to enjoy these wonderful blog posts.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Sheila Stewart – @sheilaspeaking
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Amber MacArthur – @ambermac
  • Deborah Weston – @DPAWestonPhD
  • Krista McCracken – @kristamccracken
  • Edugals – @edugals

This Week in Ontario Edublogs is broadcast live most Wednesday mornings on voicEd Radio. This week’s show:

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Around here, someone flipped the switch and now it’s fall. The warm days went away, replaced by cooler ones. Crickets are everywhere; there actually have been a couple of nights where we closed the windows to keep the noise down!

Not noise, but great commentary from Ontario Edubloggers it the focus of this regular Friday morning post. Please enjoy.


Calendar

As a secondary school person, it was culture shock when I visited primary classrooms, often at “Calendar Time”. It was always a big deal and I remember students highly interested in having their voice heard.

Now considerably older, calendars are important – in my digital life although This Week in Ontario Edublogs and Walk the Dog are the only two recurring events. That, and birthdays. I don’t really need that; we have a calendar on the fridge and the rules is that if it isn’t in the calendar, it won’t happen.

I remember that the calendar templates in Microsoft Publisher were crowd pleasers in the schools!

In this post, written before her teaching assignment was confirmed, Lisa Corbett shares her thoughts about the important of calendar with Grade 2 expectations. And, perhaps a different approach for doing calendars this year…


Back to School Thoughts

It was great to see Jennifer Aston back at her blog. This is another post talking about the nervousness before the return to school. She seems to have a great summer that included some camping. More on this later.

She speaks for so many educators when she lets loose about her frustrations with the Ministry of Education and the approach taken to re-opening schools that, by most accounts, excluding talking with teachers.

What a missed opportunity to work together for our deserving children!  

Besides being a teacher, Jennifer is also a mother and is very aware that emotion and words can be heard at times from an unexpected audience.

Dwelling on the negatives can really bring one down and so she does talk about some of the very positive things that she’s expecting for September. Way to go.

Back to camping; there are a number of ways to take a holiday this year – staycations (for the most of us), going to a cottage (which can be like a home away from home including internet access), or going camping. Now, camping is all over the map in terms of experience but part of it is maintaining a safe site, cooking outside, etc. I wonder if students who camped to survive the summer will be tougher when back in the classroom?


Don’tMessWithTheShield: A Little Unexpected, Humorous Teacher Inquiry

Aviva Dunsiger takes us on a little adventure with her experiences with a mask and a shield. Like all of us who wear glasses, fog becomes a very distinct enemy. Of course, I had to think about the Andy Reid shield wearing at the Kansas City football game.

Imagine teaching a class of kindergartners through that fog!

Now, I hope that my friendship with Aviva withstands this comment but she seems to be in the shield modification skill department like how she describes her ability to park. Love you, Aviva.

You might smile as you read this but I’ll bet you can see yourself doing exactly what she tried to do.

Thankfully, she had a VP with a replacement shield to save the day.


Rollercoaster

Diana Maliszewski takes us on an emotional rollercoaster that so many Ontario educators can empathize with. She found out on Thursday, September 10 what her teaching assignment would be. Think about the date and the fact that normally, school would have started September 8. Over the prior summer, teachers are likely to be engaged in planning and collecting resources for the fall.

If you’re a user of a school library, this will break your heart.

The big picture here, and Diana spells it out, is that she’s had at least a part timetable as a Teacher-Librarian for her entire career. She didn’t use the role as a selfish way to avoid teaching kids; she’s been an advocate and poster child for the transition from libraries as a repository of books to the Learning Commons that we take for granted these days.

More than that though, Diana has been a leader, coach, critical friend, presenter, advocate, champion for technology and libraries. She’s been a mainstay presenter with subject associations like the OSLA and ECOO. She refuses to accept the status quo.

The TDSB has elected to not fund Learning Commons this year.

That places Diana in a full time teaching situation; a 6/7 split. She has three concerns that she outlines in the post. All three are legitimate concerns and I wish her all the best as she undertakes this new reality.

Once she settles in, I know that she will recognize that her years of being a connected educator has made her so many connections and her above average ability to curate resources (check out her wikis) will serve her well.

I also hope that subject associations which have thrived because of the contributions of educators like Diana are there with real resources to assist this year.


Are We Prepared To Be Doing The Same Learning In The Future?

This essay from Rola Tibshirani should be required reading for everyone who emerged from the spring of emergency learning depressed.

Rola uses this post to share her insights into how things went well in her classroom and I suspect many other classrooms. It’s easy to focus on the challenges and certainly there were so many. Rola observes:

Our ecosystem during the emergency remote learning grew stronger due to the established partnership with parents and the students.

It was a slide/transition from regular classroom to teaching online. Rola observes that her success emerged from those idea connections that were already in place. I would suggest stepping back from your current reality and think objectively about what actually happened last spring.

Could your classroom be as successful as hers?

She provides a large list of events about learning, well being, and resilience.

It is so inspirational.


Talk Me Through Your Process

Any time you can take a significant educational think online, be open and collaborative, only good things can happen.

And, good things should emerge from this new intiative that Roland Chidiac describes in this post. In collaboration with Chris Cluff and Ramona Meharg, he introduces us to a new podcast devoted to getting Principal qualifications.

The podcast is a great tool to assist us in sharing our perspectives, learning from each other, and learning from others outside of our immediate circle. We are modeling our process in a public way with the hope that it will start up great discussions and encourage others to do the same. As my friend Joe Marquez likes to say, education is a collaborative sport! 

The concept sounds very interesting and the timing may well be perfect for those who are interested in this leadership role in education.


ADAPTING LESSON PLANS FOR ONLINE TEACHING

There are a lot of students whose family has elected to have them start this fall learning online. So many, in fact, that many newly created online schools have a delay in starting that put them behind the starting date for those going face to face.

As we learned last spring, there is a significant different between teaching face to face and teaching face to Zoom/Meet/Skype/Teams.

Like all things educational, engagement is a huge factor for success. Writing for the ESLOntario blog, Azi Pordel shares thoughts about the use of Microsoft Powerpoint or slides in general in the classroom for engagement. Tips on design and the rational behind slide design and process are discussed.


I hope that you can find some time to click through and enjoy all of these blog posts.

Then, make sure that you’re following these educators on Twitter.

  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Jennifer Aston – @mme_aston
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Diana Maliszewski  – @MzMollyTL
  • Rola Tibshirani – @rolat
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • TESL Ontario – @teslontario

This is an original blog post from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com