Category: Education


This is a timely resource with the awareness and timeliness of discussions surrounding Indigenous land rights.

In particular, whose land are you or is your event currently on?

Territory acknowledgement is a way that people insert an awareness of Indigenous presence and land rights in everyday life. This is often done at the beginning of ceremonies, lectures, or any public event. It can be a subtle way to recognize the history of colonialism and a need for change in settler colonial societies.

Native-Land is a very graphical presentation of Indigenous territories.

There are two major representations.

North America




The mechanics – the map you see is overlaid on a base map of the world where you can turn on modern English names.  I found that very handy so that I could get my bearings for the political world that I know.  The list of resources used for this presentation is impressive.

Like any good mapping program, you can zoom in and out and about to get to desired location.  If you get lost, and it’s easy to do, a search on the top left corner of the screen can be helpful.

The site has a blog which provides extremely interesting background about the project.  I found myself flipping between the map and the blog as I poked around.  For the classroom, there is a section devoted to education.  It also includes some very helpful questions to start the discussion.  The territory acknowledgement area goes even further to explain the “why” and how to understand things respectfully.  The first place to start, it seems to me, is to look at and understand why the territory map in no way aligns with the current political boundary maps.  That opens the door for further deep discussions.

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The information about the land follows your cursor as you navigate the map.

I just know that there are many people who are looking for a resource like this.  They’ll appreciate you sharing Native-Land with them.


This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Friday morning is cleanup time in my browser.  I typically have the blog posts that I want highlighted in this post open since my This Week in Ontario Edublogs show on voicEd Radio on Wednesday.  It’s always a clean start when I’m done!

What would we do in a world without browser tabs?  Oh, yeah, have a multitude of bookmark files…

Creators of Content through Gaming via the micro:bit

There really is nothing like playing around with a micro:bit connected to your computer.  You can do all kinds of things with it, and it’s priced so affordably.  In this post, Derek Tangredi takes us a little further.

The greater benefit I see in making games is that it provides ample opportunity for subject integration.  Attempting to create fully immersive experiences while adhering to intended outcomes can be daunting for some and these “maker” based projects can provide that landscape.

This post is a true “maker” post.  I can say that because the project starts with a cardboard box.  When you’re done, you’ve created your own arcade.

Derek includes a couple of videos to help you thought the process.

Google Input

I had previously talked about the Preserve our Language Project and the amazing job that these students had done with creating an Ojibway keyboard for the Macintosh computer.

This project is a team effort by Rayne, Gene, Tarcisius, Joan, and principal Mike Filipetti.

The latest check in to their site reveals that the project continues and their efforts are now available in the Google Input Tools.


You can try it out online or get the extension or Android application.

This project continues to amaze and impress me.  When was the last time you did something that will change a part of the world?

Leading to Win or Leading to Grow

Those who would post quotes to social media and then hope that others share them would be well advised to read this post from Anne Marie Luce.

After reading her post, I think that the best advice for anyone who plays in the “leading” area needs to think about the long run.  The short little blast that gets you some sort of fame quickly fades.  The leader that works hard to create more leaders by bringing out the best in people are in there for the right reasons and for the duration.

Building leaders and capacity is hard work.  Anne Marie links to a blog post that inspired this one and it’s certainly equally as inspirational.

I like her notion of a healthy organization.

How do we create a healthy organization that ignites passion in others and allows them to take risks to explore it?

As the March Break comes to an end, perhaps a few moments to reflect on your own organization is in order.  Would you consider it to be healthy?  If not, what can you do about it?

Analogy for ‘Learning’

So, Helen DeWaard shares her homework for Ontario Extend in this post.  It was in response to a provocation


You’re probably thinking about your own discipline right now and I’m sure that the answer to that question could lead to a number of discussions.

One of the areas that Helen brings into play is that of prior knowledge.  I think that most of us assume that this is a good thing.  But, is it always?

In our radio show, Stephen Hurley and I talked a bit about mathematics and the challenges that can exist.

  • going from one teacher to another or one school to another with different approaches to mathematics
  • mom and dad helping with homework
  • the after school paid homework services
  • …  add your own

How many variations on a topic is possible?  Any chance that there’s a misunderstanding anywhere?


Last week, we looked at “Filled to the Brim”.  The concept was to get together and talk professionally outside of the school.  This is a nice continuation of the concept by Tina Zita where she describes a Saturday afternoon with a nice bunch of Ontario Educators.  I’d call is a “school of Ontario Educators” but that sounds a little fishy.

The topics, as outlined in the post seemed to settle around.

  • Relationships
  • Balance
  • Ideas

As I looked around the boardroom table picture from the post, I see some familiar faces, lots of food and no technology.

I thought this was a bit peculiar since the meeting was hosted by startup Soapbox which has an interesting application that looks like it could be used to start or continue these conversations.

Student Digital Leadership in action

One of the faces around the table was Jennifer Casa-Todd who blogged to make the connection between student social activism and some of the points in her book SocialLEADia.

I particularly like her advance warning because I feel the same way.

I have been watching the #NeverAgain movement over the past week. I am always reluctant to share anything overly political; especially when it comes to American politics, because I know that as an outsider things look simplistic when indeed they may be very complicated.

The actions that happened this week prove, without question, that students have a voice and can be passionate about their cause.  I happened to be at a television set and flipped through a number of news channels during the walkouts on Wednesday.  It was interesting to note which news channels had coverage and actually reporters on the ground reporting live and honouring student voice.  There was one news channel that didn’t even mention it.

No wonder students are so frustrated looking for a solution that, as an outsider, seems so easy to resolve.

Politicians need to be keenly aware of the message of students signing up to vote for the first time and to vote for those who have a viable platform based upon their safety.

Temporal Prejudices

Tim King was inspired by a sharing of a story about Winston Churchill to write this post.

He sets the context.

I’ve seen people time and again criticize those who lived before them as being immoral and somehow answerable to the laughable ethics of our own time. That article on Churchill, a man who lived at the end of the British Empire and spent much of his career trying to hold the tattered pieces of it together, often using the same kind of bombastic rhetoric you still see today, is no doubt accurate, but the re-defining of statements made over a century ago based on modern values is neither fair nor particularly useful, unless you’re a politician trying to win a point.

The whole blog post got me thinking, in particular how education handles topics like this.  I’m thinking, in particular, of a Grade 11 History class.  For our studies, we had “The Book”.  It was given to us at the first of the year and it was “the truth” and we just learned what was enclosed in the book.

I like where Tim takes this.  I suspect, that under scrutiny, we didn’t view topics from the enlightened view of an objective historian.  We did try to picture the past and relate it to the life that we were currently living.

Even when we would research the biography of a historic figure, it was through the eyes of the biographer and they wouldn’t have been chosen for their objectivity but for their ability to write something that’s pleasing.

In today’s world, not only do we have a Biography Channel on television, but we have more news and resources that would just be unfathomable to those in Churchill’s time.  We have so many versions of the truth available for any topic.  If we don’t like the coverage on a particular channel, we just change the channel until we get something that we want.

What will those who follow us think of us?

Why It’s Time to End Publicly Funded of Catholic Schools in 2018

When I talk to my US friends, they really find it unbelievable that we have so many publically funded schools in Ontario.  We’ve just been accustomed to it.  As an aside, they’re really impressed that we have a Computer Studies curriculum available for every school.

In this post, and consider that it’s posted on an ETFO website, Deborah Weston takes on this question and provides opinion and statistics to argue for a change.

We’re coming up on a Spring Ontario election.  Will this be a position that one or more of the political parties adopt?

And, with one final click, I’ve closed off the last remaining tab and I think my computer is breathing a sigh of relief.  Between the original blog posts and the supporting resources, I had almost 30 tabs open.

But, please do take the time to read through and check out all of these wonderful posts and drop off a comment if you’re inspired.  The, check out the rest of the Ontario Edubloggers in this Livebinder.

And, follow these great bloggers.

March 14

It comes every year on this day.  March 14.  It’s better known as Pi Day.

I can remember first learning about Pi.  3.14 or 22/7 was good enough to solve the problems presented in class.  And, beyond that, why would you want to learn more?

Then, I had a real mathematics geek who got us more excited and encouraged us to learn more about Pi and to memorize more than just two digits of decimal places.  So, I went as far as 3.1415926.

The game changed with the calculator and this magic button.


And, of course, your favourite programming language has a value of pi built into it.  Have you ever wondered to how many digits of accuracy?

The worlds best URL is located at “

The website is called Pi to 1,000,000 places.  Visiting and actually finding the million digits are two different things but hey…

Or, cheat and visit this site.

And get a poster here.

Or, write your own program.

I’ve been keeping track of interesting things about Pi for a long time.  The current collection is here.  I supposed collecting links for this is irrational but it keeps me occupied and I enjoy solving the challenges and read that there are so many mathematicians fascinated by documenting their experiences.


It’s a shame that Pi Day appears during the March Break.  But, you could always celebrate when the students come back or, get ahead of the game, like Alice Aspinall did.

Update 2018 

Kyle Pearce spent some time at Walkerville Collegiate before the March Break to celebrate.

And, of course, I’ve tucked away even more stories about Pi in the Flipboard references to above.  Knowing me, I’ll probably continue to do so all day today.  You can’t have enough of this stuff.  22/7 indeed.

Obscure and really interesting

If you’re not off on vacation this week, you might want to poke around here.  Chances are, you’ll have a lot more interesting virtual holiday than those who just went to Florida to lie in the sun.

Last week, we went off for a tour of Disney locations with Google Streetview which was great.  But you can do more interesting that than at Atlas Obscura.

Before you go world hopping, consider poking around the 336 entries from Canada.

Amherstburg even made this list with Boblo Island.

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If you’re more of a map picker, you’re in luck.  All of the places from the Atlas are plotted on a Google map.  That makes it interesting to plan your day trips.

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And, if you’re just a happy go lucky traveller, you might just be happy transporting to some random place.

No matter how you traverse the site, you’re bound to find something really interesting and will learn a great deal along the way.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Welcome to a very special Friday.  In addition to getting ready to take on whatever lies for you for your March Break, it’s a chance to check out some interesting blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.

So, read on!

Radio Reality

If I had to pick one field trip that I wanted to go on, it would be something from Diana Maliszewski.  She plans one big media project annually and this year, her students got to visit CHUMFM and Ryerson University.  Along the way, the students got a sense of what it takes to make a radio show happen.  What an awesome experience!

I like big, engrossing, complex topics to explore.

In 2013, it was media-tie in products related to movies.
In 2015, it was food and restaurants.
In 2017, it was clothing and fashion.
For 2018, it’s all about radio.

Doesn’t that sound like fun?  (and educational)

The post features a nice collection of pictures to document the trip.  Nice technology!

Filled to the Rim

When I first started teaching, we didn’t call it “Pub PD”.  It was more like “want to come to the Michigan after work for a drink?”.  But, time moves on.

There are a number of variations of this concept including “Coffee PD” but the message is the same.  It’s about meeting with colleagues outside of the four brick walls and without students.  If your spouse isn’t a teacher, it can be difficult to have the sorts of discussions that teachers have when they get together.  Either the topic is deemed to be so trivial or so deeply academic, often they just don’t get it.

The post is a Q&A format between Kelly MacKay and Andrea Kerr.

A: I love our people.  So lucky to work in a place where collaboration, idea bouncing, and I’ll-do-that-for-you is a given.  Pub PD is icing.

K: The feeling we get when we are planning with the white board – the place where people come to learn and are open – this feels different but just as open.  The purpose is quieter.  No clock, no need to get this finished.  No end game.

When was the last time you did something like this for yourself?

New Job

New jobs are a reality in education.  It might be teaching a new grade level, subject area, assuming a position of added responsibility, or something else.  One thing that is typical though is that the change to a new position is typically done over the summer to keep disruptions to a minimum for all involved, especially for students.

In education, it’s more than just picking up your briefcase and moving to a new desk.  There’s all those resource in filing cabinets and closets.  There’s moving digital resources around and deciding amongst all the “stuff” that you have which were purchased by you personally and which belong to the school.  It’s a task.  To do so in the middle of a year and bringing your replacement up to speed sounds like a daunting task.

Given all that, this post from Stepan Pruchnicky kind of broke many of these norms.  He started a new position as Experiential Learning Resource Teacher last Monday.  In the post, he shares some of what went into his application for the position.  No wonder he was successful.

It will be interesting if he chooses to share his experience in the new position via his blog.

Using the Microsoft Bot Framework to Create Educational Bots

This project, as related by Camille Rutherford, is very intriguing.  I remember my university days and they most certainly weren’t 9-5.  If I had an inquiry when I was working on something in the middle of the night, I would make a note and hopefully remember to follow through the next day when the professor or teaching assistant was in their office and on the clock.

Brock University is working on having a bot on call 24/7 to answer questions.  So, we can add concepts like this to the growing trend of digital assistants.

The use of Microsoft Office 365 facilitated a collaborative and dynamic process by allowing all staff members to provide insight into the content and context of the types of questions that were to be included in the knowledge base.

It makes so much sense; I can’t imagine the task of building that knowledge base and then make it interactive.  Will it ever be complete?  If it’s successful, what’s next?

In Ten Years….?

This post, from Peter Cameron, flows so nicely from Camille’s.

It’s easy to look back ten years and see how things were then.  Really easy and you might well have pictures and artifacts that will help you remember.

But, what happens when you gaze into your crystal ball and look forward 10 years?

What do you think?  Bots everywhere?  It’s not a totally strange concept.  Can you remember the first entry into the field of language processing, Eliza?  I don’t know who frustrated me more – Eliza or Clippy.  You had to start somewhere.

This is us living in the speed of innovation.  Peter then turns to the pre-school student and the perceived effects of technology on these students.  There’s been lots written about this and solutions proposed like banning them or limiting screen time.  If you’ve ever had kids or taught students, you know that by design these approaches will fail.  We need to find some way to co-exist.

It’s a great post and I’m sure that Peter would appreciate reading your thoughts.

Together we climb

Laurie Azzi continues her series dealing with mental health stories.  This time, the focus is on anxiety disorders.


Those numbers always scare me.

Laurie includes the inspirational writing of Chris Nihmey in her post.  It’s a story of anxiety from a teacher perspective.

Do you relate?

Even at some level?

Creativity: Every Classroom a Maker Space

Well, yeah…

Makerspace has kind of dropped from my reading recently so I appreciate this post from Zélia Capitão-Tavares bringing it back.

I think we learned a great deal about pedagogy from computer labs.  We speak ill of the concept now but the reality was that in the beginning computers were expensive, networking was expensive, and there might really have only been one teacher in the school that was conversant enough with computers to put them to good use.  I’d like to think that’s well behind us.

As we turn to the notion of Makerspaces, there have been the early adopters of the concept.  This time, though, we’re not limited by cost; we’re limited by a desire to do this.  So, why not indeed in every classroom?

Zélia describes a PD session as part of the TDSB #MentoringMondays program on Makerspaces.  The takeaway – not something physical but a pedagogy tuneup.

  • What curriculum connections can you make with your grade?
  • What does it mean to be a maker in this space?
  • How will you embed this within your classroom culture?

Please take a few moments and click through and enjoy the postings from their great bloggers.  Drop off a comment or two as well.

This is part of a regular Friday series “This Week in Ontario Edublogs“.  Find them all at that link.

Finally, your call to action – make sure that you’re following these great bloggers.


Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in downtown Toronto.  For many, that may not be such a big deal.  It’s their reality.  For me though, it was exciting to see how things have changed since the last time I was there.

Of course, when you think of downtown Toronto, you think of the CN Tower, Roger’s Centre, the Royal York, …  I always get a kick from looking at the architecture and design.  You can always spot a Scotiabank by its unique colour.

There’s glass and windows everywhere!

It’s so easy to find web resources that deal with nature, babbling brooks, trees, etc.  But how about something devoted to the big city structures and ongoing projects?  My searching took me to Skyrisecities.

Searching for indexed Canadian cities reveals the ones you’d expect – Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.  Toronto has its own site – UrbanToronto.

It was an enjoyable experience poking around and seeing what construction projects are ongoing.  You’re not limited to Canadian sites; think big picture.


The Formula 1 Grand Prix series is about to start so I wondered about skyscrapers in Monaco.  I normally think about the Casino or the harbour but was treated to some gorgeous pictures of the Tour Odeon.

And, as with most things like this, I was off exploring.  I was a little disappointed not to find the beautiful Penobscot Building but that quickly passed as I was off to something else.

Digging without leaving home

I remember, a long time ago, digging a hole in our back yard.  My dad came out to see what was going on and asked if I was digging a hole to China.

It was a funny question but I also recall going into school and looking at a globe and realized that that would be pretty much impossible from where we lived.  I put my finger on the globe and then looked to see what was on the other side.  It was actually in the middle of an ocean.

I don’t know if it happened at the same time or not (it doesn’t really matter) but I remember studying about the “Earth’s Crust”.  That always seemed a bizarre term.  My only context for “crust” was on bread.  I made no connection!

Anyway, all this leads up to an engaging web resource from the BBC called “Journey to the Centre of the Earth“.

Screenshot 2018-03-05 at 10.32.06

Like most things that are well out of my comfort zone, this was so engaging.

It’s a long way down there.  I started with scrolling my mouse and quickly gave up – I’m not going to wear out my mouse for this.  I moved to tapping the space bar that took me on the trip a screen at a time.

Each screen is full of great learning and enough trivia to make sure that you win the next contest.

Screenshot 2018-03-05 at 10.37.46

But definitely keep digging.

I’m here to tell you that you will indeed reach the centre of the earth.  And, if you had been paying attention all along, you’ll be a lot smarter than when you started.