This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Sit back and enjoy some writing from great Ontario Edubloggers.


Becoming a Better Person for Others: Faith into Action

I really appreciate when bloggers are so open and transparent. In this case, Rolland shows the best of this. He takes a look at his role as re-engagement teacher and marries it to his understanding of social justice.

In particular, he identifies four things in his role.

  1. Dignity of the Human Person
  2. Call to Family, Community, and Participation
  3. Rights and Responsibilities
  4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

With each of these, he analyses making connections to his job and to education. Then, for each he provides a next step for himself. I couldn’t help but think that blogging about it and making it public really makes himself accountable for these changes to his approach.

The word “brave” kept running through my mind as I was reading.


Learning from Each Other — Destreaming Across Ontario: Waterloo District School Board

This is another very brave and open post about learning and planning for action. Alexandra thinks that there are three things that will make destreaming effective.

  1. Smaller class sizes to support students
  2. Equipping teachers and administrators with the correct tools and professional development
  3. task force to “inform the design, implementation and monitoring of de-streaming

Ultimately, any success will result from the practice and acceptance of classroom teachers. After the past two years, it’s going to take a great deal of effort to do the necessary learning and then implementation of new approaches.

Alexandra shares her notes and thoughts from a Google Meet conducted by Jill Hicknell and Jillian Waters and some reading to support their thoughts. A big takeaway is a Google Resource site and a Twitter handle to follow.

Check it out.


New Twitter Communities: Will this better our Twitter experience?

Do you ever have one of those moments where you’re thinking something but you keep it to yourself and it’s only when someone else notes it that you realize you’re not alone?

I had that moment as I read Jennifer’s post. There are times these days when I feel like I should be getting more from my Twitter community than I am. It was somehow comforting to note that she felt the same way.

Lately, I have been a little dissatisfied with my Twitter feed to be honest. Unless someone tags me, I feel like I have been missing out of many of the powerful voices I once had access to. And whereas I felt like my own voice reached many before, I feel like unless I tag people, they rarely see my tweets either.

At about the same time that I started to feel this way, Twitter rolled out the concept of Communities. I took a look and felt it was too much like the Twitter lists that I’ve been curating. But, again, Jennifer takes it a bit further and offers a way that we may fall back in love with Twitter again.

Nicely done, Jennifer.


Self-Reg Havens

The big takeaway for me from Susan’s post was that her concept of a haven isn’t necessarily

 just a location

For the longest time, a safe haven for me was a place to think and I guess I’d always put it in personal terms as a location. With a busy life, often the thinking was done in my car commuting to and from work.

The post is a look at what that haven just might be and Susan takes us to these attributes

  1. Safe
  2. Rooted
  3. Balanced
  4. Capable
  5. Trusted

If nothing else, it will give you lots to think about.


OBSERVATION IS A NEW REFLECTION!

From Wayne’s World…

I think that most of us did our quality observation as student teachers having placement with an experienced teacher. I don’t know about you but it was one of the first times that I thought that maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a teacher. Thankfully, I persevered.

It shouldn’t stop there and Setareh talks about observing a colleague in their teaching. I did that a couple of times and I think that you get a new lens when you are in the profession. Setareh talks about observing a very extroverted teacher, knowing that that would be a real challenge and maybe an impossibility.

Still, there are lots of things to learn and we should never stop.


Coding Fireworks!

From the Fair Chance Learning blog, Barb offers a project (along with a solution) for creating a program that will emulate fireworks on a Micro:Bit.

Now, if you’ve already done something like this for Victoria day, you might want to move along.

Or, how about setting off some fireworks to celebrate the end of the school year?


Importance of Context and Concrete Manipulatives From Kindergarten Through Grade 12

Kyle shares a wealth of information here that’s applicable to all grade levels.

I like his start and confession. We all had it. When we started teaching, we wanted to be copies of the very best teacher that we ever had. If you’re honest, you’ll realize that their classroom often doesn’t resemble the successful rooms we have today. We’ve learned so much about effective teaching and learning and it’s just not the same.

This is a long resource but well worth the read and thinking. We want the best for everyone after all.


Please take some time to enjoy these posts and then follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Alexandra Woods – @XanWoods
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Susan Hopkins – @susanhopkins5
  • Barb Seaton – @barb_seaton
  • Fair Chance Learning – @FCLEdu
  • Kyle Pearce – @mathletepearce 

This Week in Ontario Edublogs Show

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Hello and welcome back to a stroll around the province to read some blog posts from Ontario Educators. If you have a blog of your own and it’s not on my list, please let me know.


sometimes nothing is all you have and all you need

If you’re like me, you got into university because of high marks from secondary school. Then, you got admitted to a Faculty of Education because of high marks from your university. It’s how the education game is played.

But, what happens if you have a “lack lustre transcript”? Will’s words, not mine.

He went shopping for a Faculty that would admit him and use other metrics than marks for entrance. Will doesn’t tell you the university but you can ask him …

“Experience is a terrible teacher, because it forces you to take the test before the lesson.”

That pretty much sums up the teaching profession and it’s most amplified during your first years of teaching.

Nothing could really prepare you for your place at the front of the classroom but, if you’re still teaching, you’re still there. If that’s true, then certainly absolutely nothing prepares you for what’s happened the past couple of years.

This is a nice feel-good post about you and the profession lived through the eyes, mind, and keyboard of Will. You’re going to feel great for Will with his perseverance and his desire to be part of the profession.

I wonder how many other Wills are out there who didn’t stick to it?


I’m a Hacker

I’ve got to apologize to Tim. This post goes back to December and somehow I missed it. I’m glad that I found it because there’s lots of good food for thought here. He concludes his post describing his work with students and https://www.cybertitan.ca/. When I was in the classroom, we had students involved locally with the Touche-Ross Programming contest which we were able to take to the Ontario Science Centre for provincial programming as part of the ECOO Conference.

But the interesting thing to me was a Grade 9 student who proclaimed to Tim that he was a “hacker” because he could download and run scripts designed to do damage to others. That isn’t hacking; that’s just possibly criminal activity. Tim mentioned that a keynote speaker had told his students about a career in penetration testing. That’s an incredible job and well worth pursuing if that’s your interest. That’s a case of using that knowledge for good instead of evil.

Tim uses the opportunity to diss on scripts. I agree with him if the goal is just to download something evil and run it to see what happens and/or maybe do damage. I go back far enough to have a subscription to 80Micro where there were programs in there that you could key in (carefully) and run on your computer to do various things. I attribute that activity to increasing my understanding of programming. I know that, in the classroom, we would often take a look at someone else’s code to see how they did things. An uncompiled program or script can be marvellous when used in that manner.

I absolutely agree with Tim that we need to be looking at making ethics, coding, and cyberliteracy a compulsory part of the curriculum. Before COVID, the limiting factor was access to technology but we’ve kind of got around that – if your district has made wise decisions in the technology that it acquired.


Annual Reading Challenge – 2022 #TLchat

Laura’s always coming up with unique ways of professional learning. Often, it’s in the Loo but this time, it’s a bookmark – and a reading program.

Each staff member got a bookmark and a challenge to read 11 books over the next 11 months but just not any old book. On the bookmark are topics consistent with the school learning plan.


Culturally Responsive Teaching in Science

I can’t believe that it’s been a year since Shelly last blogged but she confesses at the beginning of the post. It’s good to see her back; she does give us some thinking points and that’s always a good thing.

In this post, she hangs her hat on inquiry and there’s no question that that should appeal to all educators. She notes that we have a good Ontario Curriculum and when you apply good things like “Culturally Responsive Pedagogy” and “Universal Design for Learning”, you can make it do some amazing things that go far beyond the words in the curriculum.

The notion of Culturally Response is easier for me to see in some subject areas than it is in others. She could have taken the easy route with her approach but she didn’t. She digs into a strand in Grade 8 science and provides ideas and inspiration for marrying the two. She notes that it isn’t a huge leap to head into Mathematics.

I thought that it was an interesting and insightful post and could inspire you to do things differently and make the strands that much richer in content.


More/Less & Before/After Questions

On the surface, I pegged a certain grade level for some of the big list of ideas that Tammy includes in her post.

  • What comes after a funny joke?
  • What comes before you say, “I’m sorry”?
  • What comes after the telephone rings?
  • What comes before the victory parade?
  • What comes after the electricity goes off?

It was pondering how to make this a discussion for the voicEd Radio show that the curtains drew back and I could see uses for it everywhere.

Particularly in Computer Science, it’s what we do. If you do calculations or processes out of order, you get unexpected results. You see it most when you allow student to compose at the keyboard rather than sitting down and planning appropriately. The ability to sequence is crucial.

The bottom line here is that there’s inspiration here for everyone.


“I have been forced to celebrate Valentine’s Day all my life!”

When she asked her class about a research activity for her class and they turned to February, this was the list of things they came up with.

  • Black History Month
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Lunar New Year
  • Groundhog Day
  • Family Day

February is indeed an interesting month. There are all kinds of things available though. As a football fan, I’m disappointed that Superbowl Sunday didn’t make the list but perhaps the mindset was things that you celebrate in school.

I like how Kelly probes further with each of these topics. But, I couldn’t get past the title. There always was something Valentine-sy in my schooling. Even at secondary school, student parliament used sending roses and chocolates a fund raiser and class disrupter.

I really like the idea of doing the research and seeing what comes from it.


Friday Two Cents: A Wonderful Reminder

Reflection: You know when you have a feeling that you are loved and respected by someone? Well, I felt that from a lot of students in that school this week.

I think it’s probably easier not to have this reflection. After all, there are a lot of things that are wrong in this world at this time. Paul elects to reflect on the positive and this turns into an inspirational blog post.

And from an occasional teacher as well. Is there a more challenging position in education these days?


I’ve provide the links to each of these posts. Click through and enjoy.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Tammy Gaudun – @MsGaudun
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Canada

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I’m happy to share the latest round of writing from Ontario Educators that has crossed my path. Please show them some digital love and visit their posts.


Searching for an idea – whose stories need to be told

I like how Paul uses his blog to reinvent himself periodically and shares what he’s thinking and doing. This post is kind of a rambling one where he touches upon a number of things. I had to smile when he mentions the mysteries of APA style. I’m with you, brother.

There was a spot towards the end of the post that really resonated with me. He says

Is there a way I could study a different education system outside of the Canadian context?

That took me on a trip back to my university days. In high school, we had a number of recruitment visits from universities trying to convince us to attend their institution. The consistent message wasn’t about academics but about the “get away from your hometown and be on your own” experience. Fast forward to first year university with the large classes that I recognize now fund so much.They drop off in size in subsequent years for a number of reasons, including marks!

I tried to do the experience – the campus pub, the Joker’s on Thursday night, visiting my girlfriend who ultimately became my wife, visiting Laurel Creek, doing the malls, etc. The part of Paul’s post that I think was interesting hearkens back to a conversation I had with a classmate. She was there from India and we were talking about education and she let me know how important it was for her and her family that she did well and so she did everything but the social aspect of university. Her father was an Engineering Professor back home and there was intense pressure on her. I remember being impressed with the difference; I suppose that we could call my take on things as “privilege” by today’s metrics.

So, if Paul does decide to investigate different education systems, I think it would be fascinating. Or a research project about the importance of Canadian schools to foreign students, or …


Towards an Emergent PD – Professional Development in the Time of COVID

Alexandra talks about something that I think many people know but aren’t all that vocal about.

COVID has exacerbated educational inequities while drawing attention to the urgency of systemic change. But constant shifts have caused many to erect protective walls which are impermeable to (more) waves of change.

In so many ways, we’re realizing that things are broken as we try to return to a normal but it isn’t possible. I commend her for being so open about it.

In terms of professional development or what I prefer to call professional learning, what will it look like if things ever start to open up? And, maybe that’s the term to use instead of “return to normal” because it just isn’t going to happen any time soon, if ever.

A system that prides itself on teaching is going to have to become a learner from the experience. Teachers have so many things mandated and a new one came onto the scene just this week. That will be another check box in the personnel file.

But, what does it look like for the educator who truly wants to grow and learn? I really like how she closes her post with a cheat sheet but can’t help but think that smart people like Alexandra’s time has come to step up and be vocal about the changes that are necessary to fix what’s broken.

I know that I’m always eager to learn but I’m not in a hurry to ever go back to the big conference format.


Bespoke Beats

You could easily get away from Terry’s latest project by saying that it’s cool that his students have used technology to create digital music. The idea is to have something playing in the background while you’re working or studying. I think that, for most of us, it keeps our minds from wandering.

I’m listening to a Meat Loaf concert on another monitor as I write this.

In the post, Terry describes the why and the how and shares with us a Soundcloud playlist of the creations so far. The ultimate goal is to add video to it and Terry shares an idea of what it might look like.

He’s not going it alone; he’s reached out to a colleague at Seneca for assistance and the final product will be released as an Open Educational Resource.


STUDENT-CREATED PODCASTS MADE EASY WITH SCREENCASTIFY

I really like the concept of student-created podcasts. Actually, student-created anything. Over the past while, we’ve seen the biggest misuse of technology, out of necessity, as a conference window to school and classmates. It’s nice to see people advocating student creation of things. Love it, love it, love it.

But, Screencastify?

For me, the go-to application always was Audacity although I know that much of the Macintosh world favours Garageband. Whatever turns your crank.

But, the ladies expanded my mindset with their recommendation of Screencastify. I had a preconceived notion of what I would and have used it for. But, for Podcasting? When you think of it, it does make sense. Podcasting isn’t terribly difficult when you have the tools.

The post is a great tutorial for working through things but culminates in what else you can do with Screencastify which makes the process of learning it so important.

Their summary:

Steps For Student-Created Podcasts With Screencastify

  • Recording Student-Created Podcasts
  • Editing Student-Created Podcasts
  • Downloading Student-Created Podcasts
  • Sharing Student-Created Podcasts

ONE WORD: “responsive”

Three years ago, if I ran into Chey and Pav on the street, I wouldn’t have had any idea of who they were. These days, I think I might – Chey is the one with the beard, right? They definitely know how to work social media; I see them everywhere being honest and open.

In this post, they took on the notion of a “One Word” for 2022. It’s “Responsive”. By itself, it might seem OK but there are a couple of other things that make it stand out in this post.

First of all, unlike everyone else, this isn’t one word for one person. It’s one word for the two of them. It seems to me that that approach requires a great deal of thinking and discussion along with agreement. That part is impressive.

What’s more impressive is that they take a look back at the two words from previous years. Even for this guy who has never met either of them, I can definitely see the growth in what they are and what I think they want to be. It started with kind of a generic approach to something very specific that they have in mind. Now, that’s impressive to me.

  • Responsive to each Other and Our Work
  • Responsive to other Teachers and Educators
  • Responsive to the Students and their Needs
  • Responsive to Quality Learning
  • Responsive to our Expanding Level of Influence and Impact

SEVEN MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES FOR LANGUAGE LEARNERS

Writing on the TESLOntario Blog, Gonul shares some very inspirational things to think about. I think I’d heard some of them before but not all. I really like this one:

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” By Confucius

I’ve always felt that as an inspiration to keep doing things. Some days, quite frankly, I don’t feel like doing much but I still find time to do things for myself and spend at least a little time reading and hopefully learning.

She asks for what you favourite quote might be and this one is one of my favourites.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” by Oscar Wilde


Slice of Life: Losing a Friend (Warning- loss of a pet)

I close on a sad note. Elizabeth and her family lost a member recently and she shares a reflection and some beautiful pictures on her blog. It was the first major loss for her daughters so it would be especially tough.

Her thoughts share wonderful memories of a family member who was always there and still had those little quirks that all of our pets do. It was a sad post to read.

My sympathies go out to the Lyons family.


Please click through and read all of these wonderful post.

And, follow them on Twitter

  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Alexandra Woods – @XanWoods
  • Terry Greene – @greeneterry
  • Edugals – @EduGals
  • Chey and Pav – @StaffPodcast
  • Gonul Turkdogan – @turkdogan_gonul 
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary

This week’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs can be found here.

https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/emergent-stories-professional-learning-and-practice/

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Good Friday morning. It’s time to check in on some great writing from Ontario Edubloggers.


ONLINE FATIGUE

Writing on the TESLOntario Blog, Jennifer Hutchison writes a post that will resonate with so many educators over the past while. Many people have written about being tired, exhausted, burned out, …

Jennifer takes it a step further. Other than the physical exhaustion, are there other things about your body that are having difficulties? And, if you’re feeling any of these issues, how does it play out for you on a personal basis?

She digs nicely into a person’s Physical Health, their Motivation and Mental Health. So, what can you do about it? She offers a number of suggestions and they centre around getting away from that screen.

Beyond the physical relief, there’s also a teaching relief to be considered. Locked into a room with little faces in windows on your computer may have generated more than normal use for software applications, in some cases applications that wouldn’t have been chosen in the best of scenarios. So, why continue to use them?

Jennifer helps diagnose and then offers solutions. It’s a good read for all.


I bundled the next posts from Rabia Khokhar and Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge in my own reading. Both of them deal nicely with the concept of Community. I got on board with making digital connections years ago and Will Richardson was my inspiration. I bought his book; I bought into his concept of building community; I agreed that you should be found on the internet, doing good things.

The reality is that back then there were just a few of us doing this and we were really looking for other techie people to connect with. As I read the posts from these ladies, I’m struck by how they’re aware of and using the same concept of community connections but their use is so much more sophisticated. Yes, the tools have got a great deal better but it’s just not for sharing new insights about technology anymore.

A Reflection: ‘Community’ is the heart of Teaching and Learning

The title of Rabia’s post sells itself. I suspect that every educator considers their classroom a community at varying levels throughout the school year and that’s a good thing. Rabia notes:

I believe community is a broad term. We are part of many communities such as in the classroom, wider school as well the broader neighbourhood/world context.

Technology facilitates connections that go well beyond the classroom walls and opens all kinds of other opportunities. She shares a story of working with adult learner refugees from Burma. What a terrific opportunity for a young educator at a Faculty of Education! The insights that she gained from that experience is so impressive. That community inside a classroom is one thing but extending outward affords so many other opportunities.

The image that she includes in the post speaks so clearly. There was a time when we would sit in rows all facing the same direction, not daring to talk to others. Now, we see a sense of community with the gathering of students around a table or groups of tabs, sharing in the learning. Well executed, you’d be hard pressed to tell where the front of the classroom is.


Equity and Inclusion in Education

Writing on the Teach Better blog, Nilmini puts her concept of community out for all to see with a focus on equity and inclusion. We now know that it just doesn’t happen; it has to be worked at.

The post starts with a TL;DR which often is an invitation to skip the rest of the article but I found that it brought me in looking for more.

  • Classroom management and creating a positive school culture are part of equity and inclusion.
  • Build meaningful relationships with students, colleagues, and the community.
  • Be a role model.
  • Don’t forget you are human and so are your students.
  • Be true to yourself. Be the good for others.

The post, I found, is a call to action with three concerns.

  • The most important thing: relationships.
  • Practice what you preach.
  • Hold yourself accountable.

Of course, each of these is broken out and described nicely. I’ll bet that you will pull inspiration for self-improvement immediately.

The concept of being a role model is interesting. Do we want students to be impressed with the “sage on the stage” being the sole provider of content? Or do we want to model a constant learner for them instead?


Fidget Toys-Tools (For Me)

Confession time, here – this was all new learning for me thanks to Diana Maliszewski. If you’d asked me what a Fidget was, I’d smile and talk about Fidget spinners and we did get a couple of them to give as Christmas gifts a couple of years ago. If I recall, they were difficult to find and quite pricey as everyone had to have one. It was a great lesson of supply and demand.

Thanks to Diana, this post opened an entire world for me. Fidget spinners are passe; there’s a whole new world of fidgets out there. She talked about an “infinite bubble wrap” and comes with a picture.

Photo courtesy of Diana Maliszewski

I want one! I had to stop in my tracks when she talked about getting a box of random Fidget toys. So, I went shopping.

https://www.amazon.com/fidgets/s?k=fidgets
https://funandfunction.com/product-type/fidgets.html?product_list_limit=99

It looks like so much fun. I could really get into this as a form of self-regulation by trial and error.


Riding the Rollercoaster

Just imagine being the head of a school that got hit by a hurricane. That happened to Ann Marie Luce and that set the stage for this blog post. That calls for a song.

So, how do you start over in a school setting? Ann Marie shares with us the story of getting forms, permissions, police checks, etc.

The million dollar question though is “where”. That took her and her team on a tour of New Orleans looking for a place and she shares the journey in the post. She had me pondering what would happen in my community if the secondary school suddenly went away. Where would you house everyone?

A great read and Ann Marie drags you in and takes you for the ride.

Spoiler – it has a happy ending (I think) and you need to read the followup post.


Lessons from the Earth and Beyond – Learning from the Stars

If you’re reading this on the 3rd, you’ll have missed the launch on the 2nd of this resource.

Together Sandra Indian (Ojibways of Onigaming) and Jodie Williams (Co-Chair of FNMIEAO) will provide teachers with an over of the new resource Lessons From Beyond.

Hopefully, the launch will be recorded for later playback.

In the meantime, the complete resource can be accessed online.

LESSONS FROM THE EARTH & BEYOND

The resource is identified for students in Grades 6-8.


An interview with Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge

Finally, I’m going to conclude by calling my own number. (football reference)

If you missed it on Monday, I had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge. I always enjoy the chance when people say “yes” to an interview and doing some research to find out what makes them tick and then share it with anyone who cares to drop by.


Please take the time to click through and enjoy all these posts.

Then, for more, follow these educators on Twitter.

  • Jennifer Hutchison – @TESLOntario
  • Rabia Khokar – @Rabia_Khokhar1
  • Nilmini Ratwatte-Hensdridge – @NRatwatte
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Ann Marie Luce – @turnmeluce
  • Janice Williams – @staoapso

The voicEd Radio show where Stephen Hurley and I discussed these posts is available to listen here.

https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/fatigue-fidgeting-and-finding-a-new-school/

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


On Wednesday night, we celebrated four years of the TWIOE podcast with a live show in the evening. It felt like a big deal – doing it in prime time! It was a late decision but three of the Ontario Edubloggers were free and available to join us to talk about their work and that of the others. Thanks, Jen Aston, Sue Bruyns, and Cal Armstrong. I’ve learned to give everyone more notice if we ever decide to do something like this again. All of them had great blog posts and that made it all worthwhile.


IS “TEACHING LOSS” A MYTH, TOO?

For me, this post from Pav Wander was a real thought inspiration. I read it three or four times before I think I understood her message. Then, I was ready to talk about it and write this on passage number five. I’m still not totally convinced that I’ve fully understood her message and thoughts as she covers so much here. This really goes to the essence of being a teacher.

We all start out in this profession as newbies and get better year after year. Those who take parental leave have a break in that growth that requires some catching up. Like the topic of “learning loss”, Pav identifies it as “teaching loss”. I’m wondering if another way of defining it might be “teaching slide”.

In the post, she identifies six areas of personal concern to her.

  • Making Connections with Teachers and Students
  • Leadership opportunities 
  • Professional development 
  • Testing New pedagogies 
  • Teaching evolving content 
  • Extracurricular Activities

All of the topics are fleshed out in her perspective. I can’t do her thoughts justice here – you need to read her entire post. I found the discussion of Professional Development (PD) particularly interesting since it was part of what I did for so many years. I find it ironic that she felt a personal loss there since her podcast with Chey Cheney is all about professional learning. It seems to me that the two of them have morphed from the consumer of PD to the facilitator of PD and have done so nicely. And, if you’ve every provided PD opportunities, you know that you need to do 10 hours of prep or more for every hour of delivery.

She does raise an interesting thought – school and board budgets will have balances of unspent PD monies. I can’t help but think that the first organization that is out of the blocks with face to face events will be the big beneficiaries of access to this fund.

This topic isn’t just a blog post – it’s also a podcast available here.


Red Licorice for Breakfast

As I said in the show, Jen Aston had my attention at her reference to teaching puberty online last year. I honestly had never considered this but the show has to go on. Students mature whether they’re learning at school or at home. And, expectations have to be addressed.

That was just the tip of this fantastically funny blog post. It’s her story of teaching at home with her kids who are learning and growing and going to the bathroom “Wipe my bum” while she’s doing her teaching thing. I appreciate that she took into consideration the sensitivities of a five year old who didn’t need to sit in on the details of that lesson on puberty.

I had images running through my mind as I pictured Jen’s experience – leaving the teaching chair for a minute and having one of her own kids take over her class.

During the show, she was hilariously relating these stories between outbursts of her own laughter and I’ll admit it was infectious. I had to turn off my own mic at times as I laughed along with her.

She’s looking for other stories of things going wrong differently during teaching at home. Do you have any to offer?


Back to the Beginning

I was envious of Sue Bruyns who ended her first day of classes by going to Althouse College to teach teacher candidates. I went there for Additional Qualifications courses with Professor John Walsh years ago. I remember a delightful older facilities that I’m told is really modernizing itself these days. At the time, we were also explicitly told that it was the Faculty of Education and not Althouse College.

But, 25 minutes before that class started, it ended a hectic first day of school for her at Sir Arthur Currie Public School. It’s a fantastic, new facility that any visitor just knew would be outgrown. I’ve been there twice as part of EdCamp London and you can just see the new home construction going on in the neighbourhood.

As was everywhere else in the province, it was a big and strategic opening with classes organized outside the school rather than the traditional reporting to home rooms. In her blog post, she gave the student population at 900 and corrected it to 1000 during the show. Like so many schools, it’s time for a panic call to 1-800-CALL-A-PORTAPACK.

Of course, all those students need a teacher and teachers need to park cars and you can guess the mess that creates. One of the things about Sue though is that she always seems to have things under control – you can hear it in the show – but I had to smile when she indicated that this principal also directs traffic.


How do we see students?

Jonathan So uses the word problemizing in this post and so I had to do a lookup to make sure I had it right.

Problematization of a term, writing, opinion, ideology, identity, or person is to consider the concrete or existential elements of those involved as challenges that invite the people involved to transform those situations.

It was in reference to how you react when kids just don’t get it. I suspect that many of us put the blame on the students because, after all, we taught it. They have a responsibility to learn it, right?

Jonathan digs into this in a reflection of practice that’s a good idea for all educators. Maybe it isn’t the student after all; maybe it’s your practice. And, is it amplified during times of COVID when the number of tools available to you are a subset of what you would normally have?

I also think that part of it is the type of person that becomes a teacher. We were successful in school and, when we had challenges, we knew that we had to work harder and ask questions and do some extra to get it done. That is a unique mindset and we know that not everyone has it.

There’s a great deal to think about with respect to how you teach and look at those kids in front of you.


I shall find a way…

This was a great post from Cal Armstrong that reminded me of some of the best learning that I’ve experienced reading blogs. Someone has a problem, finds, and writes to describes a solution. It’s a generous mindset; it you’ve solve a problem, why not share your problem solving for those who might have the same problem or for some people who don’t quite know that they have this problem.

The problem then?

Cal’s school has required all teachers to use a new LMS. Many people, I suspect, would say OK, I’ve got to do some learning.

Not Cal.

In this case, he’s spent years becoming an expert in the OneNote world and isn’t prepared to abandon it. He know that he’s expected to have his work in the new LMS and so goes to work to create a world where he can continue to use his skills with OneNote and just pipe it over to the LMS.

I’ve never had to work in this environment but I found that Cal’s descriptor was crisp and clear and I could see it working.

The comment to his post is testament that if you provide a tutorial good enough to work, there just may be value to others. In this case, an educator from Houston read the post and found it appropriate and let Cal know so.


Picking Out The Highlights of The Scenery

When I saw the title to Terry Greene’s recent post, I wondered – what the heck is he talking about now? Autumn wise, his neck of the woods is a couple of weeks ahead of us here so maybe …

or maybe a reference to Gord Downie …

Terry’s latest work is titled: Ontario Extend: Liberated Learners Edition

I’m intrigued because his earlier work gave us a collection of post-secondary bloggers and reflectionists that got us into their minds.

At this point, he shares some stories that resulted from “Wicked Problems”.

  • Anti-Social Sociology Major
  • Crayola markers got me through the first year of University
  • Captain Depresso
  • Teaching Incon-(ass)istant
  • Extra-Curricular Extremist
  • Fake It Till You Make It
  • The Social Caterpillar
  • zzZZzzzzZoom University
  • Fishing for 60’s

How to access these and how to access a series of community webinars can be found in the post.


NEW GOOGLE SMART CHIPS TO LEVEL UP YOUR HYPERDOCS

The EduGals are back with an interesting post. They had me at HyperDocs because it’s a strategy that I firmly believe it. It’s also a strategy that has been abused and ended up being simply an electronic worksheet. I know the works of the EduGals, Rachel and Katie, wouldn’t be that shallow.

It’s a rather long post but I think worth taking the time to read and understand. They talk about the concept of the Smart Chip and its functionality before turning to HyperDocs. I got interested in the concept years ago through WebQuests.

A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web. The model was developed by Bernie Dodge at San Diego State University in February, 1995 with early input from SDSU/Pacific Bell Fellow Tom March, the Educational Technology staff at San Diego Unified School District, and waves of participants each summer at the Teach the Teachers Consortium at The Thacher School in Ojai, California.

I think that the notion is more important than ever. Anyone can create a worksheet that has answers easily found by Google but when you ask them to take those answers and create something new, it gets really powerful.

I’ve been working my way through the EduGals’ post and appreciate their push to make me do some new learning.


Oh, yes, it’s another collection of inspiration for you to do some professional learning as a result. To continue the discussion, follow these folks on Twitter.


  • Pav Wander – @PavWander
  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Jen Aston – @mmejaston
  • Jonathan So – @mrsoclassroom
  • Cal Armstrong – @sig225
  • Terry Green – @greeneterry
  • Edugals – @Edugals

This week’s show on voicEd Radio: