This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Can you believe that it’s August already? I could swear that I saw my breath while walking the dog this morning. That’s not right either.

I’m also trying out a new resolution that I used to expouse all the time but don’t do it enough myself until I fell into the trap last week – save early, save often.

What is right are the great thoughts coming from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.

Read on…


Final Thoughts

I just found out about this blog from Shyama Sunder. It’s a wrap up summary and reflection of her time in EDU 498, a course taken a while ago at a Faculty of Education. Unless I missed it, the actual name of the Faculty didn’t appear anywhere but that’s OK.

The content is a summary of four modules taken. There is a nice summary of each of the modules and the enthusiasm she has comes through loudly and clearly.

Readers of this blog know that I’m not a fan of the SAMR model but it was included as content. If it had any value, I would see if as helpful for experienced teachers trying to embrace technology. I don’t see the wisdom of talking about it to teachers learning how to teach. Why not just teach how to do it properly to begin with? What value is there in demonstrating less than exemplary lessons?

In the post, Shyama makes reference to a book that everyone needs to read “Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job” by Yong Zhao, Goaming Zhang, Jing Lei, and Wei Qiu. That’s a book that should be in every school library and would make for an awesome and progressive book talk.

This blog is referenced on her Twitter profile and there’s no forwarding address. It would be interesting to see her pick up blogging in her professional life.


BOOKMARKS ON TWITTER

Jamey Byers wrote this post so that others wouldn’t have to!

I remember being at a conference once – I think it was in Denver – and Robert Martellacci came up to me and asked if I knew that one of the prominent speakers had liked a link from an adult film star showing a picture of herself. I hadn’t noticed; I’m not in the habit of checking out what people have saved as liked. Maybe I should?

Actually, maybe I should check what I’ve got in my likes! Phew. Other than some egotistic stuff, I think I’m good. (I’m also snooty – go back to the very first one!)

Jamey points out that there’s a new, more private feature available to us on Twitter.

With the addition of the bookmarks function in Twitter you now have the ability to not only like a tweet, but to save it to your private list of bookmarks that are strictly just for your eyes only.

I wonder how many people are using the feature. I’m certainly not. Maybe I should.


The Playful Approach to Math

Matthew Oldridge is now playing in the big leagues with this post on Edutopia. I remember when he was a guy I interviewed for this blog.

He brings his obvious love and passion for Mathematics to this new forum and I hope that people are inspired by his wisdom. Comments are not allowed so there’s no traditional way of knowing.

Truer words were never spoken than these…

The amount of play in “serious” academic topics like mathematics is inversely proportional, it seems, to the age of students, but this does not have to be the case. A playful pedagogy of mathematics can be codified and made real, rigorous, and authentic.

I’ve studied a lot of mathematics over the years and certainly those teachers/professors that I remember best love mathematics; it came across that way, and their playful approach made learning fun and worthwhile.

Can you think of a better testament to give an educator?


My device. My terms. 3 strategies for finding balance.

Jennifer Casa-Todd is one of those people that I’ve seldom met in real life and yet I feel like I know so much about her. She was another person I had the opportunity to interview. I also had the opportunity to help with her book Social LEADia. This should be on bookshelves everywhere.

I enjoy her writing and most of her posts come across as a personal message to me. Such in the power of her writing.

I struggle with the notion of “balance”. The current context is that it involves being connected and not doing other things – like reading a book. I’m always leary of people who make such claims. Isn’t it just exchanging one form of engagement for another? And, hasn’t social media engagement earned its way into our lives?

I like Jennifer’s reasoned approach…

Social media is here to stay and is a part of the fabric of business, politics, and education. Instead of a fast, I suggest the following strategies:

You’ll have to read her post to see if the strategies make sense to you!


When friendship lasts

without warning or explanation, they started talking and, just like that, resumed their friendship from three years ago when they were six. Hours later, after the park, the corner store, the house; after basketball and jungle gyms and ice cream; after talking and laughing and wrestling, they parted reluctantly, already asking when they could see each other again.

Here’s a quote from Amanda Potts’ recent post.

I’ll bet that you could drop that sentence into any conversation or writing that you might have and provide your own characters.

It might be:

  • meeting up at an annual conference
  • a class reunion from your old high school
  • reuniting with a staff after a summer vacation

and the list goes on. Friendship is such an tangible and yet intangible concept. This post describes a pair of friendships that easily fall into the above.

Those on Facebook will know that a friend to many will be returning to Canada after a couple of years overseas. I’ll bet we all will reunite in this fashion at the Bring IT, Together Conference.


The #UWinToolParade: Open Pedagogy as #OER

In the beginning, there were shiny things. People flocked to shiny things and made a place in the classroom whether they were good or not. I’m looking at you – Clickers.

As shiny things kept on invading classrooms, the good thinkers got us thinking that maybe we should be looking beyond these things into exactly how they are used, are they effective, are they worth the cost, etc.

We never looked back. Well, at ISTE there are still 30 tools in 30 minutes sessions. For the most part, we never looked back.

So, now comes Bonnie Stewart and

I have a new project I’m really excited about. Even if it kinda goes against just about EVERYTHING I’ve said about tech in education over the past, uh, decade.

I’ve read this post at least a dozen times and there are so many out of post links that will take you to rabbit holes that didn’t know they were hosting rabbits!

The proposed results?

The fact that it’s 2019 is loud and clear with the inclusion of “data surveillance”.

This looks incredibly interesting and will use social media for good for the description and dissemination of content. Read the post and get ready to follow. And, Bonnie is looking for some pilot locations if you’re interested.


Reflections from the Tech Guy

This TWIOE post seems to have been focused on people I’ve interviewed! This time, it’s David Carruthers.

As we’ve noticed recently, David is going to be doing some magic as he returns to the classroom after having been the “Tech Guy” at the board office for a while.

He sets the standard with his bottom line.

Bottom line, if being labelled a “tech guy” takes these reflections into consideration, I’m extremely proud of this label. I don’t see the technology in front of students as just a bunch of devices. This doesn’t excite me. Instead, I see tremendous potential.

Some words of advice here – you’ll always be known as the “Tech Guy” so wear it. There are worse things to be known for. You’ve built relationships throughout your district so don’t be surprised when you get some panic emails for help. I still get them. The most enjoyable are about report cards which have had many incarnations since I last formally supported them. The really cool thing happens when these relationships develop your learning because someone wants to share something new with you.

On a political note, things are likely to be difficult for a while as cutbacks affect districts throughout the province. I hope that school districts are wise enough to continue to put insightful “Tech Guys” in areas of support centrally. We know that anyone can click a mouse or use a keyboard these days. True progress comes when you have people like David that see the connection and the potential because they bring a strong background in teaching to such a support position.


As always, there’s a powerful collection of thoughts from these wonderful Ontario Edubloggers. Make sure you’re following them on Twitter.

  • @ssunderaswara
  • @mrJameyByers
  • @matthewoldridge
  • @jcasatodd
  • @Ahpotts
  • @bonstewart
  • @dcarruthersedu

This post originated on

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

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Creative Coding in Python


I ran into Sheena Vaidyanathan at the recently CSTA Conference. (See my interview with her here. It includes links to resources that she’s created.)

Now, running into Sheena isn’t strange; she’s a regular at this conference. It was the circumstance that was strange. Just five minutes before I saw her, I had cleaned up the check-in desk and saw that someone had left a book on the counter. It was called “Creative Coding in Python” and written by Sheena with a 2019 Copyright.

I had a quick flip through the book, noting all the colourful pages and then put it on the back shelf for the owner to claim it.

When I saw Sheena, I figured she had to be the owner and was showing it off. I had a quick discussion about it, thinking that she was selling them at the conference but no, she wasn’t. And, this copy wasn’t hers. She told me to take it if nobody came looking for it.

Fortunately for me, I guess, nobody came to ask about it so it came home with me and provided me with the chance to read it cover to cover on the flight home. Now, I did have a couple of other books on my iPad to read that would be considered more recreational but I’ve given up being worried about looking geeky long ago!

I was nicely surprised with the format. I’ll admit, your typical Computer Science book isn’t exactly a page turner! But this one was. I didn’t have Python on my computer to try the examples but I did them in my head and it wasn’t long before I was at the end of the book.

I found the content a nice combination of old and new school content. I wondered to myself if you actually had to be old school to recognize the old school content.

There are five chapters, each devoted to a specific content that introduced and expanded on the concepts.

  • Chapter 1 – Create your own chatbots
  • Chapter 2 – Create your own art masterpieces
  • Chapter 3 – Create your own adventure games
  • Chapter 4 – Create your own dice games
  • Chapter 5 – Create your own apps and games

As to be expected, new concepts are added as you go along and the programs become more sophisticated as you work your way through the book. In the side columns, Sheena introduces and fleshes our computer concepts along the way.

So, who is the audience? Sheena teaches middle school and the writing level and activities would fit very nicely there. Of course, there are all kinds of tools for development of code in Python; she goes conservative and talks about using IDLE. I could see this book being used as a reference for a teacher learning and using Python with students. I could also see it being in the Resource Centre for students to check out if their regular classes are using a block based application for those who want to go further.

Of course, keeping with tradition, the first program is a “Hello world”.

The book is available through Amazon here. Click the cover and explore things.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to another Friday of great reading from some of the group of Ontario Edubloggers. I hope that you find some inspiration and ideas from these posts I’ve read recently.


The value of the Exit Interview

You know, I’ve “exited” a number of jobs of various sorts but have never had an exit interview that I can remember. I think we all take a job and like to think we’re going to leave things better off than they were before we started. And, probably things were never finished and we had plans on how to improve and make things better for whoever follows us.

I guess maybe it doesn’t happen because it takes a courageous person to conduct the interview knowing that all of the comments might not be positive.

Ann Marie Luce is having a turnover of 20 teachers at her school and she is conducting exit interviews. Each is given 40 minutes for the interview so if you do the math, it’s a pretty big commitment.

In the post, she does describe her philosophy and reasons for doing this, as well as the questions used to frame the discussion.

I hope that the experience gives her much rich feedback to enable her to create an even better learning experience for her students.


The Open Learner Patchbook Went To The PressEd Conference

Sort of related to this is this post from Terry Greene at the PressEd Conference. Terry describes the open patchwork project and how it’s used to collect thoughts from post-secondary students as they handle their time at school.

I couldn’t help but reflect on my own post-secondary experience. It was anything but the environment of today’s student. We weren’t connected; we didn’t have open courses; we didn’t have instructors that were putting their learning online as they were teaching.

We were, I guess, what you would call pretty traditional. Our resources involved textbooks, professors, and teaching assistants. They certainly weren’t available 24/7 and just a click away. You had to make appointments for consults and it was for a specific time.

All of this was running through my mind as I enjoyed the curation of student content that Terry did for this. We’re anywhere but in Kansas anymore!

A highlight from this post was this great graphic by Samantha Pitcher.


A Day (or three) in the Life of this Grosvenor Teacher Fellow

With apologies to Peter Cameron, I expected a summary of life online for whatever the topic happened to be.

NOT!

Peter, along with a number of other educators were rewarded for their work by National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions with a nature learning trip to Sitka, Alaska.

A lesser classroom would have had plans for an occasional teacher while their regular teacher was out on a Professional Learning activity. Not in Mr. Cameron’s.

Peter had the students doing research and plotted the entire adventure on a Google Tour Builder. He remained connected to the classroom via social media.

Peter’s adventure

Everyone sure seemed to get a great deal of bang for their educational buck.

It’s just too bad that, to get to Seattle from Thunder Bay, you have to go through Toronto.


H is for Happy

I keep checking in to Lynn Thomas’ blog as she’s working her way through the alphabet. Recently, she’s celebrating H.

Her take was that “H was for Happy”.

The whole premise was that happy students and happy environments make for the best learning environment. I think it’s difficulty to disagree, especially when you look at the opposite – what does unhappiness in the classroom or your life bring? Certainly not the desire to learn.

Turns out, it has far more to offer than a sunny disposition and feeling contented. Parents are right to want happiness in their children albeit it is unlikely they know the science of why.

Her approach goes way beyond scratching the surface and brings into play research into happiness. There are lots of links to lots of resources to make it worth your while – including lesson plans and resources for teaching happiness.


Sharing the LLC Space- An Advocate’s Infographic

There’s nothing quite like a look into someone’s library. Beth Lyons takes us inside hers. Take a peek.

By itself, a picture or two may not tell the whole story and advocating for her learning space is the major focus here. Beth shares a couple of custom infographics that she created to share with everyone the great learning and the great opportunities that are there inside Mrs. Lyon’s library.

I can’t help but think that those infographics should be posted in every classroom in the school to help students as they turn to assignments and projects and they’re wondering where they might begin.

There’s much to enjoy about this advocacy post. Obviously, the infographic, but the social media connection is right there. This library won’t get lost!

Shouldn’t everyone be doing this?


The Caterpillar Math Problem: Is it possible to be unbiased in our assessment?

I suspect that the quick and easy answer is “Of course, we are unbiased.” Read on with this long discussion from Debbie Donsky. Her school did more than skim the surface on this question.

It starts with caterpillar problems offered to different classes.

The series of questions shared with staff were:

K-1: A kindergarten class needs 2 leaves each day to feed 1 caterpillar. How many leaves would they need each day for 3 caterpillars?

Grades 2- 3: A third grade class needs four leaves each day to feed its two caterpillars. How many leaves would they need each day for 12 caterpillars?

Grades 4–6: A fifth grade class needs five leaves each day to feed its two caterpillars. How many leaves would they need each day for a) 12 caterpillars? b)15 caterpillars?

The questions were given and observations with discussions during a debriefing are shared in this post.

Debbie shares a deep analysis of the process and the discussion. It wouldn’t be fair for me to try and capture that here; you’ll have to click through and read it in all its original context on the post.


Web Intentions

Sheila Stewart starts with

I have been thinking about my experiences online and on social media in the past few years and what has impacted my experiences and participation.  There is a lot of pondering: “Is it just me, or is it the web?”; “Is it the world, or the web?”; “Have ‘things’ changed, or have I?” 

I guess I can take a bit of the credit for starting this thinking on a recent blog post but I was originally inspired by the writing of Bonnie Stewart. To answer Sheila’s questions, working and interacting on line have definitely changed.

And, I mean working and interacting in the most literal of meanings. When the sample who were online and connected was smaller, I think that people were more devoted and focussed about what they were doing – and were serious about it.

Today, there are more people than ever connected and they bring abilities and mindsets from all over the place. It’s easy to see a few (I was going to use the word “bad actors” but that’s maybe not fair) different actors use the technology and its abilities to do things far differently from what we did. As I said in my post, people seem to need to shock and scream loudly to get attention focused on them. Whatever happened to collaboration? Maybe that’s a topic for a Sunday.

I’ll bet that a read of Sheila’s post will have you scratching your head and coming up with your own theories.


I hope that you have time this Friday or through the weekend to take a few clicks and enjoy these posts in their original locations.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs is a recurring Friday morning post highlighting some of the great blogging happening in Ontario. Are you an Ontario blogger that I don’t know about? Let me know! I’d love to add you to this collection. There’s a form at the link above to add your details.

This post appeared originally at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


If you’re looking for some good reading, you’ve found it – a weekly roundup of some of the blog posts from Ontario Educators.


Mindless cuts to education puts our future at risk

Charles Pascal tagged me in this op-ed piece he wrote for the Wellington Times. He had me hooked at the first paragraph…

A growing number of Ontarians are being hurt—and our shared future placed at risk—by the moment by moment uninformed decision-making by the current government at Queen’s Park. Led by an unthinking premier and enabled by a spineless cabinet, we are in the midst of a very damaging period in our political history.

Charles’ passion for society and education come through loudly and clearly as he challenges many of the assumptions that the current government has made as it has been making the cuts that we seem to hear more and more about each day.

There is an important message that shouldn’t go unnoticed in all of this. It’s easy to see the impact of cuts on students in the classroom but Charles points out that a child’s life is more than just going to school. Cuts can have the impact at many other points.

Set aside some time to read and understand the important message he’s crafted in this article – and then pass it along to colleagues and friends.


Student Infographics

Who doesn’t like a good infographic? Using pictures and numbers, you can enhance any message or concept you want. We see them all over the place.

John Allan argues that they fit nicely into the ESL classroom in this post on the TESL Ontario blog. He identifies…

  • Critical thinking
  • Planning
  • Designing
  • Optimizing
  • Researching

as being seen in any well crafted infographic.

Who can argue with the case for any activity that incorporates this?

Think of any infographic that you’ve ever seen and I’m sure that you can easily identify these components. It’s really not a very big leap to designing a student activity.

And, John has you covered in the balance of the post with details and links to external resources to help the cause.

Language, mathematics, communications, impact, … what’s not to like?


It’s “time”

A title like that doesn’t tell you much about the content so I had to read the balance of Sean Monteith’s post to find out.

In education, time is such a precious commodity. When you think about it, it’s the one common element that everyone deals with whether it’s time allotted to a quiz, time spent on a bus, time to be spent on various subjects, time to do homework, time for sports, time for major projects, or even time to build a new secondary school!

In Keewatin Patricia, Sioux North Secondary School opened

Sean notes that he’s packed 10 years of work into the six years that he’s been at the district. Opening a new school is a pretty deal.

Check out the guest list.

And yet, in one day we will welcome the Minister of Education, the Deputy Minister and Assistant Deputies; Grand Chiefs and First Nation Leaders, nationally renowned artists, students, former Directors of Education and retired staff. We will welcome the former Premier of Ontario, and the former Minister of Education as well, and numerous politicians. I am particularly pleased that Tanya Talaga will be joining us; and of course our kids, the entire reason we ask ourselves what is our human obligation, to young people…yes, they will be there too

What an amazing group to have join the celebration!


Why Caring Adults Matter: An Ode To My Alma Mater

Stephen Hurley and I discussed this post from Martina Fasano during our radio show earlier this week. Stephen asked me if a particular teacher had stood out in my mind. I immediately thought of Mr. Cook but the moment that his name came out of my mouth, I thought of so many others.

Growing up and living in a small town has its advantages and certain disadvantages. There’s nothing like your parents getting in a lineup at the IGA next to one of your teachers. Or, meeting up with them at Kinsmen or Kinettes. There was no waiting until parent teacher night; feedback was everywhere!

In retrospect, I was lucky to have had the opportunity to be in their classes. I think that’s why I enjoyed Martina’s post so much. The faces and names may have been different but the personalities were much the same. It impacted her.

I could not help but think to myself that if I could be the caring adult for even a handful of students throughout my career, that I would have done a great job of being an educator.

You can’t help but think that sentiment would be a good message delivered at any Faculty of Education.


A Tale That Endures

Martina’s post leads so nicely into this one by Jennifer Aston. There most definitely is a learning environment angle for students but this is mostly about teacher to teacher.

Jennifer had a colleague pass on a collection of books upon her retirement with one provision – Jennifer had to use the books ever year. And she did. I love the way that she worked “admire” into the conversation about the colleague. From that, the respect necessary to follow through on her promise only made it that much easier.

Jennifer has a true passion for the profession; I had a wonderful and colourful conversation with her at EdCampLdn. There’s no question that she honours the profession and is constantly looking for the best resources to use.

More than just using the books, Jennifer passes on a list of ideas for how to use it in her classroom and, consequently, this wisdom is yours just by reading her post. What a wonderful way to pass things along!

Then, there’s the whole soup thing.


Can Kids Understand Equity?

That’s a good question, Aviva.

The question arose from an interaction from a student who was creating a Raptors stadium. (What else these days…are the Blue Jays even playing, what is it … baseball?)

With video, she answers her own question and I agree with her.

I wonder though, is the operative word in her title “equity” or is it “understand”. My feeling is that it’s probably true that kids notice how different students or situations happen at any age.

While they may notice, do they truly understand? I suppose that there comes an age and experience where they do. But, Aviva’s post, sadly has me thinking of those children in cages at the US/Mexico border. I’m sure they recognize the inequity; do they understand it though?


Happy #DLweekTO

I’ve never known Diana Maliszewski to be late with a Monday post but she was with this one!

When you read the post, I guess I have to cut her some slack. What a busy week for me.

In the middle of the post, she shares this Digital Literacy link from the TDSB.

Quite impressive, I must say.

But, back to Diana – how did she celebrate Digital Literacy Week?

  • TDSB Professional Library held its second TDSB Teachers Read event
  • Denise Colby and I had a return engagement on the VoicEd radio show “Mediacy” with Stephen Hurley TDSB Professional Library held its second TDSB Teachers Read event
  • Today (Wednesday, May 29) was the “reunion” for the Media Literacy AQ participants from TDSB. TDSB Professional Library held its second TDSB Teachers Read event
  • Tomorrow (Thursday, May 30) will be the 3rd anniversary of the #tdsbEd chat. I haven’t missed an anniversary celebration yet. TDSB Professional Library held its second TDSB Teachers Read event
  • On Friday, May 31, the seventh annual Red Maple Marketing Campaign will take place at the Malvern branch of the Toronto Public Library TDSB Professional Library held its second TDSB Teachers Read event

Of course, she breaks each of these out in detail well worth your reading. I guess we can cut her some of that slack for missing her Monday deadline.


Please take the time to click through and read each of these wonderful posts. You’ll be glad you did.

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

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s another Friday and a chance to take a look at some of the recent blogging entries from Ontario Edubloggers.


Exploring By The Seat of Your Pants

There are some amazing things that can happen when you share the best of ideas and opportunities. Brenda Sherry does this in this post.

She’s been well versed in the Exploring by the Seat of your Pants project in a number of professional learning events that she’s been a part of. Recently, she actually got to bring the power of connections to a classroom in her own school.

Junior students got to participate in an interaction with a Canadian marine biologist. Along with students from many other diverse places.

When you think about the traditional guest speaker, they drop in and talk and leave. The power in this model is that it’s recorded and shared via YouTube. In this way, you can revisit the event and also use it in other years. Heck, since it’s publically available, you’re not just limited to the one that your class used.

It sounds like a wonderful learning experience happened. The big takeaway for you, reader, is how to get involved in your own classroom by bringing an expert into there. Details are included in Brenda’s post.


The Gender Gap in Technology

You can’t argue with statistics. In this post on the Heart and Art blog, Michelle Fenn sets the stage.

According to a recent report* by ICTC (the Information and Technology Information Council) Canadian women represent about 50% of the overall workforce but represent only 25% of the technology industry workforce. 

We’ve known this forever, it seems, and yet the inequities still exist. Michelle offers some good suggestions to help change things in your own school.

I think it needs to go further though. If we know that this is a problem then there should be an educational way to fix it. But, until it becomes a compulsory part of the curriculum, we’re left with good people trying their best. That pales in comparison to what can happen if it’s done systemically and supported well with a common set of tools and pedagogy.

In addition to the suggestions in the post, check out the NCWIT website for updates on their activities and for free resources.

Until the situation is formally recognized though, students will still be subjected to hit and miss approaches and cutesy little standalone professional learning activities.


Privilege Masquerading as Superiority

A secondary school teacher who is doing something about this is Tim King. This post details his efforts and observations as he takes an all-female team to the Cybertitan competition.

Tim weaves an interesting story involving both observation and action.

Some of these observations are disturbing.

– where are all the girls?

– A number of people (oddly all male)  grumbled about the all-female wildcard spot

– taking an all-female crew to this event had me constantly seeing micro-aggressions I might have otherwise missed

– we were only there because we’re a girl’s team

– as she reached for the pen a boy from another team stepped in front of her like she wasn’t there

And there’s more. You need to set aside a significant amount of time to read this post where even creating the learning environment was not supported by the school district and the students had to build their own computers.


Just Stop Using “You Guys”

My apologies, in advance, to Sue Dunlop. When I saw the title of this post, I thought it read “Youse guys” and that it was going to be a fun little post about literacy.

Instead, it’s about the expression that is used to refer to a group of people.

yes, “guys’ is a male term, not a neutral one

From the post, it’s clear that Sue has either been in a group that was addressed this way or she saw it being used in that way. Either way, it inspired her to write about it.

She offers some alternatives to use in the post.

Most importantly, it’s a reminder that our choice of words is important. It serves as a reminder to me of the importance of an objective peer coach.

This applies to writing as well. I hope that I don’t use expressions that would offend; I would hope that readers feel comfortable enough to let me know when I do; and I would hope that I would take that as an opportunity to avoid doing it again.


Dear Jordan…

One of the powerful things about blogging is that, at least for now, your thoughts will be there forever. (or until you delete it or the service goes away or … well, you get my meaning)

One of the things that Patt Olivieri will have a chance to do with her son is share this post when he’s old enough to fully appreciate it.

In education, we know all about assessment, evaluation, and data points. Our system and our jobs thrive on it. It’s one of the things that separate education workers from other workers. It’s scientific, artistic, and humanist all at the same time.

It’s not as powerful as a mother’s love for her child.

You see, my love, there is no test for all of this, no grade, no level that can ever capture the everyday, ordinary stuff that accumulates to the only stuff that can ever be measured in immeasurable ways.

Wow.

If you’re a parent, you’ll be moved by this post.


When Political Penny-Pinchers Pilfer Your PD

Alanna King didn’t post this to her personal blog (at least not yet) so I kind of stumbled onto it on the Canadian School Libraries site.

It was great to see a former colleague quoted in Alanna’s post. A bit of trivia – her office had a window, mine didn’t.

There are two major topics that Alanna addresses in this post.

  • Why should teacher-librarians self-direct their professional development?
  • How should teacher-librarians find sources of professional development?

It was good to see that the Bring IT, Together Conference and #ECOOcamp made her list. It goes much further than that and you’ll find yourself tired when you read about Alanna’s endeavours and recognized that they’re all tacked on top of her day job, including writing this post.

There was another area that I thought she could have addressed more completely and, perhaps it’s in a future post, but in addition to her involvement as a participant in things, she is also a highly sought after presenter.

If you’ve ever been a presenter yourself, and what teacher hasn’t in some form, you know that the research and preparation that goes into that can be some of the best professional learning that you’ll ever do. Unlike the professional that repeats the same session over and over again, changing your topics and focus regularly keeps you from going stale.


A MODEST SOTL PLAN: WORKING WITH LITERARY PASSAGES

Now, here’s something completely different from James Skidmore. It falls from a reflection on student abilities from a course that he just taught. He notes that they’re good readers but …

What they can’t do, however, or at least not do very well, is identify passages or quotations from the novel that can be used as the cornerstone for a commentary on the larger text, and then build a commentary based on that passage.

I’d never really thought about this. Now that I have, I would like to think that that is part of what I’m trying to do with these regular Friday posts. I guess it’s a bit of a confession that I try to apply this technique to blog posts which are, by design, short and typically focus on one thing. How would I make out in a larger text? I’ve never thought about it and I wonder.

James has done some research and finds that there isn’t much that has been done already. What to do? He’s going to make it a project for eCampusOntario Extend mOOC . You can read about it and there’s a link to a collaborative document in his post.

I wonder if there are any other teachers of Language that would be interested.


And that’s a wrap.

Like always, some great thinking from Ontario Educators. Please take the time to honour their efforts by clicking through and reading the original.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not original.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s time for my weekly roundup and sharing of some of the reading I did this past week from great Ontario Edubloggers.


F is for Frankenstein, Focus & Future Ready

Lynn Thomas is on a personal project working her way through the alphabet and is up to the Fs. An F word that could have been used here as well would be failure!

Lynn takes a look at the original intent of Victor Frankenstein and how the plan actually failed badly. She ties it to the current plan to require four courses of eLearning for graduation in Ontario. You can easily see that it’s a “Make in Toronto” solution where connectivity isn’t a problem should you choose to afford it.

Supporting her cause are a couple of maps of the province showing where connections lie. This one, shared by Lynn, is from Connected North.

The discussion never actually gets around the appropriateness of students to work in that environment – it’s just getting that horse to water in the first place that will be the first challenge.


Maker. Space. Inquiry. Place. What might be the connection?

There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle that teacher-librarian Beth Lyons ties together in this post. The concept of a Maker Space shouldn’t be new to anyone these days.

There’s a twist here worthy of note.

First of all, there’s the connection to the Forest of Reading. That was an important twist for me and I’m sure will appeal to other teacher-librarians.

Then, there’s the analysis of what making actually means. Like so many schools, making in Beth’s world could easily involve booking the library and having a making period. Early models of computer implementation were done this way and we knew that there had to be a better way.

Beth follows along with making making (yes, I just said that) come to the students as opposed to students coming to the making. This is accomplished with her concept of Genius Carts.

It’s well thought through, she includes a link to a presentation she made about the topic and she’s also indicating that she’s collecting data to provide proof of concept.

As a followup to the original concept, Beth is looking at a podcasting bent to the next iteration. I like this approach.

It makes so much sense.


Moccasin Flowers: A Work-in-Progress

If you want the spoiler, go to the bottom of this post from Jessica Outram.

She’s already an author, although currently unpublished. The plan is to write another novel and publish it this time.

What strikes me as so unique in this is a personal analysis of her family, history, traditions, immigration and DNA research. It’s sort of a marriage of old and traditional with new and cutting edge.

I won’t spoil the result for you – click through to read her post for more.

Other than outlining her plans and I hope she gets published before someone rips off her idea, she does a wonderful job of personal storytelling that leads to her thinking about this project. There’s a wonderful retelling of parts of her history in the post.

I could see this being a very powerful novel and noteworthy for reading and studying in the classroom.

I hope that this actually happens; I’d buy the book.


We teach students not just content

A couple of Twitter messages was the inspiration for Lisa Cranston to write this post about going to school now and measuring time until the end of the school year.

The reality hit a little close to my memory of me as a first year teacher.

Obviously, it was my first time through the curriculum but I can recall returning from March Break and started to panic thinking that I might not get the curriculum covered before the end of the school year.

Oh no! What to do!

I suspect that people who are teaching in the EQAO years have the same level of discomfort.

Lisa offers a reality check for all and will make you think – just what is it that you’re in the profession to do?


A Positive Climate For A Culture Of Growth

How could you not like a blog post that has a Superman reference?

Frustration is the kryptonite to healthy culture

So, just get rid of the frustration and things are good, right?

Joel McLean argues that you need to go further.

Much has been written and discussed about creating a culture of growth. If that was all that was done here, it wouldn’t be all that exciting.

Joel goes further, though, and asks how to maintain things. That’s a whole different animal.

And, if you work your way through the list, you can see that it’s pretty much a full time job. That’s a good thing. That’s why we have leaders who do good things.

I’ll bet that it’s a piece of cake to visualize people in leadership that don’t do these things. It’s also to see just how little they lead and have the respect of those who they’re paid to lead.


When a Drawing is Not Just a Drawing

There’s a lot to be pulled from this post from Heather Theijsmeijer.

Her context is as a mathematics leader within a school district and a focus on mental mathematics.

A good annotation can also help uncover student misconceptions, and help them realize where they might have gone wrong. Or, it might lead to a completely different way of thinking about a problem. In either case, that visualization can be quite powerful.

I think we can all agree about the concept and the need and importance for visualization when attempting to solve mathematics problem. In the post, she goes through a great deal of sharing about how she thinks her way through what goes into the creation of a drawing to help with that visualization. There’s a lot of thought that goes into this.

If you think about the “good old days” when we learned mathematics, I’m sure that there was nowhere this amount of thought that went into the drawings that helped us visualize and understand.


TTalks for Impact 2019

Noa Daniel is always good for a new, inspirational approach to things. In this case, she describes the process of a TTalk.

There’s an amalgamation of TED-like talks and Genius hour strategies as students reached out in solution for real-world problems.

In her approach, she sees a big list of 21st Century skills.

  • critical thinking
  • creativity
  • collaboration
  • communication
  • information literacy
  • media literacy
  • technology literacy
  • organization
  • self-regulation
  • responsibility 
  • initiative 

Her students did buy in and blogging was an integral way of getting their thoughts organized.

Student voice is highlighted with their reflections at the conclusion. Could you use such an approach?


Please take the time to click through and enjoy these posts in their entirety. I think you’ll enjoy them immensely.

And, make sure that you’re following these folks on Twitter.

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


And it’s another Friday!

It’s time on this blog to look at some great posts from Ontario Edubloggers.  It’s always special to welcome new people to this list and there are a couple of new ones this time around.


Class “Caps” are a Low Resolution Solution to a High Resolution Problem

Tim King warns us before getting started that he’s going to be a big offender and that he will hold no punches as he shares his thoughts about how to save money and potentially save Ontario education.

Some of his suggestions we’ve heard before; some look like they might be unique to his school district; and some are new observations.

Those who are the brunt of his post tend to be those who are funded in education but are out of the classroom.  Some of his comments hit close to home as I did spend some of my career working centrally.  I wasn’t a “lifer” as he describes and while my time was renewed, I had to go through the anxiety of applying for the position.  Personally, I don’t see how it does anything but save money by not having a teacher in those position.  They are the link to the classroom, builders of networks, understanders of curriculum…

There is a unique suggestion in Tim’s post and that’s one of factoring IEP students as more than 1.0 in any proposed calculation for staffing to recognize the extra challenges of having those students integrated in a classroom.  It’s an interesting concept but I can’t help but think of arguments over whether such and such a student is weighted 1.5 as opposed to 1.6.  It’s fuzzy in my crystal ball; I still like the current use of educators with special qualifications to work with these students.

I would think that, no matter who you are, you’ll find Tim talking about you or someone you know in this post so go in with a thick skin.

Unless you’re a teacher-librarian.  Tim’s no dummy.


What the Librarian Read- Part 1

I was intrigued by the title in Beth Lyons’ post.

So often, when you go into a library, or you talk to a librarian or teacher-librarian, they’ll have advice about what you should read.

In schools, they’re the go to person for that perfect match for student, teacher, or topic.

Seldom do they get personal.  But she did.

Into 2019, Beth has read 11 books.

Number one wasn’t a surprise for me …

Becoming- Michelle Obama

There were some new titles in the rest of her listing.  Some I’d heard of and some I hadn’t.  As it would happen, we had dinner last night with a librarian who had read Trevor Noah’s book as well and highly recommended it.  She whipped out her phone to find that it wasn’t at our local library branch but she put in an order for me.  I look forward to going in and getting it and digging in.

Thanks, Beth.


For Water: Learn. Adopt. Protect. Walk.

I’ve followed a number of the MAD initiatives from Peter Cameron and the latest biggy is the Junior Water Walkers.

In this post, Peter takes quite a while to go through the fabulous learning and activities that have taken place.

What I find impressive is the collection of traditional classroom, use of technology, and a summary of the visitors that have the whole package so powerful for students.

Given that there are so many schools in Ontario that are so close to the Great Lakes and certainly other water sources, this approach could be used by so many other classrooms.

At last count, Peter tells me that there are 170 schools involved.


Should schools ban cell-phones?

People are all over the map in response to this question.

On one side, we see how distracting technology can be.  It’s not just schools, go take a walk in the park or go the shopping mall and you’ll see that side of the story.

On the other side, we see technology savvy teachers who use the fact that students have these powerful internet connected devices so effectively to enhance lessons.

And, of course, there are varying levels in between.

Most of my context and understanding about this in education has been in the traditional classroom.  Then, came this post from Anne-Marie Kee.  Anne-Marie is the Head of Lakefield College School.  The school offers day students but also boarding students.

Unlike a traditional school where students go home, at Lakefield, some of the students go to their “house” on campus.  Anne-Marie shares a story about meeting students in her living room and talking about “overly strict cell-phone and wifi policies”.

A couple of things stuck out for me:

  • how wifi is turned off for student use at night
  • how cell phones are taken away from Grade nine and ten students overnight
  • how a school leader actually sits down and discusses these issues with students

There’s a great deal in this post that will get you thinking when you read about others getting engaged helping students manage their technology, particularly in this environment.


Goal Setting in the Classroom

Of course, this is something that happens in every classroom.  Right?

The question, I would suggest, would be how effectively?

Beyond a simple approach, how about something that goes a great deal deeper?  That’s the point in this post from Amy Bowker.

She describes a whole process that she uses that is obviously very personal and traditional but also uses the connected tools at the disposal of her students.

  • Goals
  • How-to videos
  • Finding a mentor
  • Practice
  • After snapshot including documentation

What really intrigues me about the approach is how she embraces technology and how, while not explicitly stated, that reflection is a significant part of it all.


Full STEAM ahead with Blue Spruce Books

From Diana Maliszewski, a sobering reality check.

From the title, I expected to read a post of all kinds of good things books and technology related.  In fact, the post starts out that way and Diana shares some titles and activities that she enjoyed with the kindergarten class at her school.

Then, all this happiness takes a turn as she brings in some speculation about what might happen in turns of staffing those kindergarten classes into the future.

Diana wonders out loud how she would be able to manage to do the same sort of things in the future under a different staffing model.  I think we all know that changes to a staffing model are seldom good news.

If you’re concerned that cuts might hurt kids and are looking at counting the ways, add this post to your collection.


Keys to a Rocket Ship

The Beast offers an interesting premise.

If someone were to hand you keys to a rocketship where would you go? How far would you go? Would you go?

My answers:

  • up
  • only far enough that I could safely get back (I’m a David Bowie fan)
  • probably, as long as the second point was answered to my satisfaction

And this commentary would be done if we were talking about the traditional rocketship.

Being an educational post, of course, it’s a metaphor for something else.  That something else could be leadership, opportunity, growth, appreciation for those who give you freedom from a leash or all of the above …

It leads into a typical interesting discussion between Andrea and Kelly.

My reading gave me a renewed appreciation for a gentleman that gave me so many opportunities and let go of the leash.

I’m already planning to take him out for a coffee when he gets back from Florida.


I hope that you enjoy these posts as much as I did.  Please take the time to click through and read the entire posts.

Then, add these people to your learning network.  You’ll be glad you did.

This is a regular Friday feature here.  You can check out all posts at:  https://dougpete.wordpress.com/this-week-in-ontario-edublogs/

This post appeared at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.