This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Good Friday morning and I’m hoping everyone is looking forward to a restful long weekend.

This week, we made a couple of changes to the radio show on voicEd Radio and hope that we’re able to change things up a bit.

As always, I’m always on the lookout for blogs from Ontario Educators. If you know of one that I don’t have, please shoot it my way. My current collection is at: https://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=52544

I consider my Friday morning posts my “signature posts” so if you wouldn’t mind sharing it with others, I’d appreciate it. There are buttons at the bottom just for this purpose.


Call them by their name – or whatever

There are a couple of lessons from Amanda’s post.

Social Media

It can be deadly.

a colleague in my school board posted a thread on Twitter about why we should use students’ preferred names, and spiteful commenters piled on, calling the teacher a “groomer” and worse

Don’t engage unless you’re ready for a battle. Social Media does have tools to block people/things like this that abuse and this could have been one of those moments.

Names

This was actually the point of the post. We’ve all been there; you get the class list from the office and run down the list to take attendance and get a chance to meet students. I was always Douglas, of course, and I’d let teachers know that I preferred to be called Doug. That is different from being called Kronos but what’s wrong is recognizing student preferences. I was also called “Pete”, “Andy”, and later as a teacher “Sir”, “Coach”, and “Mr. Peterson”. I don’t doubt that there were more colourful names used in private.

A wise manager told me once that the most important thing you can do in relationships is to remember someone’s name. It’s the most important thing that they have and you can screw up just about anything else but will be forgiven if you get the name right.

And, who knows, maybe that will play to be a stage or professional name. After all, Michael Lee Aday made it big.

There are far more important things to deal with in the search for success. If this buys you some cooperation and makes a student feel welcome, why wouldn’t you go with their preference?


Slice of (back and forth) Life

Every teacher goes through this process when assigned a new room. Lisa just took the time to share it in a blog post and it brought back many fond memories for me.

You visit the room in advance, usually to set it up or at least know where most of the things that you need are located. I always did this in August.

I didn’t do it once and regretted it. It was as an associate professor at the University of Windsor; I just showed up expecting to just open my laptop, plug in and go. After all, we worked for years at my old employer to have that plug-and-play functionality. Surely, it’s the same here.

Nope. Internet access was password protected and the data projector was plugged into a desktop computer and screwed down so that you couldn’t connect your own. Fortunately, I had a memory key and made the transfer.

We all have stories about our classrooms – we should all write books – and I had to laugh at the 23-year-old carpeting. She didn’t mention if it was shag or not. My classroom had shag and it made for good static electricity shocks in the dry winter.

As Lisa points out and it is an indication of the power and creativity of teachers, she was advised that “You’ll figure it out”. I’m betting that she did.


September 19 #SOL2022

I thought that this was a brave and yet inspiring post from Melanie.

Teachers across the province were advised that they would observe a moment of silence for the Queen’s funeral. Melanie had issues with that simple directive. She was driven by a quote from Trevor Noah

“How can we be expected to respect something that didn’t respect us back.” 

In addition to the National Day of Mourning, it was also Powley Day.

She turned the September 19 day into one of research and writing for her students.

Powerful.


Building Community

Of course, I was captured by the title “Community”. So, how do you build this community in your classroom? Sharon identifies two things:

  • Building A Safe Space
  • Connecting Together

With each, she nicely shares some ideas about how to do it and what it looks like. All of the ideas are easy to take and run with or you may have some of your own.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

We know that people work better and faster with collaborators. If you strategically build that community of learners, you’ll enjoy the results.


Omit Needless Words

This was a new idea for the radio show. We branched away from pure blog posts to include a podcast. Stephen and I were chatting about the concept when we met at Port Stanley and agreed to try it – he suggested that we look at Jessica’s work as a place to start.

This podcast was the last one for a season and she does it with a partner, Catherine Graham. As I listened to the podcast, I was so reminded that I’m a math, computery, geeky type of person and not a writer. There was a strong message about needless words, to be sure, but what really struck me was the pure love that they have for writing and in particular, poetry.

In school, I hated writing and my (and my friend’s) first reaction always was “How long does it have to be?” We’d use a lot of useless words to get there!

The big takeaway for me was their take on a writing process as something that parallels the four seasons and they do a nice job of it. If they could turn it into an infographic, I’d bet that it would find its way to Language classrooms everywhere. I wonder if Sylvia Duckworth is reading this.

I do at least Spring, Summer, and Autumn. I’m not good enough to do Winter but these ladies do.


Getting in tune

For the record, I’m listening to CoolRadio as I type this and The Tragically Hip are playing “38 Years Old”. Add that to your list, Mr. McDowall.

I had to smile as I read the story he relates here because it’s so me in real life. I’ve always been a morning person but there is that moment when I open my eyes and look at the alarm clock to see what time it is. Then, I remember that I wear glasses and squint to actually read the digits.

I also know who else are morning people on Friday mornings…

By that time, my mind will have clicked in and runs through the motions like Doug’s does or allegedly does in this story.

Maybe it’s the level of procrastination that makes us wake up early, to begin with? It’s awful when you have a conscience.


Middle School Halloween Activities

I’ll admit it here. I always hated Hallowe’en at school. Yes, mine was a secondary school setting but it brought out the inner child in so many students. And, all it takes is for one teacher to dress up to get this comment

Sir, you’re no fun

That was my first year of teaching and they don’t tell you these things in teacher’s college, do they? We’d had a staff meeting earlier in the week and were directed by the principal that the day was supposed to be business as usual and no class parties. Yet, there’s always that one teacher…

I met the reality halfway. I would buy real-sized chocolate bars for my homeroom and then those mini bars for my classes and would be refilling the bowl all day. It did buy me a little bit of peace.

In this post, Kristy shares with us some ideas for Hallowe’en for schools that are allowed to celebrate and for those that aren’t.

  • Halloween Non-Fiction Article
  • Halloween Creative Writing
  • Halloween Digital Escape Room
  • Looking for a week of middle school Halloween activities? 
  • Not allowed to celebrate Halloween at your school? 

Don’t tell anyone but these all look educational to me once you read them.


I hope that you are able to click through and enjoy all these articles. Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • SHARON ETHIER
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Doug McDowall – @dougzone2_12
  • Kristy – @2peasandadog

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio

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This Week in Ontario Edublogs


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

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


Welcome to 5-1; I promise to …

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

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

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

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

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


First Impressions

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

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

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


What improv has taught me about instructional coaching

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

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

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

Fissures between teachers, coaches, departments, and schools

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

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


Long Range Planning as a Teacher Librarian

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

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

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

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


Serendipity?

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

Photo by Peter Hansen on Unsplash

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

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


Friday Two Cents: Two Ears to Listen Twice as Much 

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

Paul offers three of his favourites:

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

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

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


Handling #SOL2022

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

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

Again with the hook.

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

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


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

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I always hated this particular week since it’s the middle of August. Educators know that it’s the beginning of the end. It’s time to whip out that summer to-do list that’s been on hold while relaxing in July.


Recently, Ontario lost an outstanding teacher-librarian. While I never was a teacher-librarian, we had one of the best when I started teaching. He would listen to my needs as I struggled to fill those gaps that you never know about at Teachers’ College. He always seemed to have a book or other resource to fill that. I was constantly amazed that he had it, not being a computer guy. I’ve come to appreciate over the year that teacher-librarians network and learn with people all over the province and they are smarter together than they are apart. They have no qualms about reaching out to a colleague when needed.

This past week, two regulars here wrote blog posts as tributes to Caroline Freibauer. Both are powerful posts but I had a sense that they could provide something more personal and reached out to each to provide an audio clip to extend the message from their blogs. There was no question and it was done almost immediately after my request. I used them on my voicEd Radio show and I know enough of my own emotional limitations to not lead but rather close the show with them. I’m honoured to featured them both here at the top of this post.

For Caroline… Thank you.

Elizabeth’s was the first post that I had read. As the current President of the Ontario Schools Teacher-Librarian Association, she used her post to inform us all of the passing.

The post contains so much information in the teacher-librarian context but, to tell the truth, it’s great advice for anywhere in the profession.

I lost it at the end of Elizabeth’s audio clip when you could hear that she was struggling to finish.

Elizabeth’s Audio Clip

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zlxVUk_CQSFNKzOP_EkT49Y6qjG0NHhe/view?usp=sharing

Remembering Caroline

Then, I read Diana’s message. She talks about a panel discussion for something called “TLLP @ your LLC”. No buzzwords here; but buzz abbreviations but when your audience understands, …

Diana reflects on a number of achievements that involved Caroline. It was always good for the province. The impact from across the province is captured and shared in Twitter messages at the bottom of the post.

I lost it at:

One of the final gifts Caroline gave to us, posthumously, was the reason for us to reconnect in-person. COVID and circumstances had separated us, but Caroline got many of us back together again.

Thanks, Diana

Diana’s Audio Clip

Diana’s reflections –

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pGuNrcv3V5ZCpEmKfN88R5aL0FiAHftT/view


Life Long Learning with Stephen Hurley

David’s latest effort was the penning of The Principal Chronicles. I’ve mentioned this effort before and I bought the digital version when it became available because I couldn’t wait for the print one. If you go to the bottom of the link above, you’ll find reference to where you can obtain your own copy.

During the voicEd Radio show, I just sat back and listened to David and Stephen talk about the learning that went into the latest spin from the book. With Stephen’s guidance (and editing), David is recording the stories and making them available as podcasts. All of the podcasts are available here.

David admits that he’s catching up on the technology creation side of things but appears to be doing nicely. He’s purchased some new gear and is doing a great job of recording those podcasts. I like the way that they’ve broken them down into easily listened to morsels.


On Anti-Racist Educating Provoking Bullying of White Kids

Bullying is an ugly thing. I can speak from this with experience. In elementary school, there was a guy who would wait for me at lunch just off the school property and we would physically go at it. It did have a happy ending though and we became close friends at secondary school for some reason. But I went for a while just dreading the bell.

After a bit of bullying history from Marie, she describes an activity that I can absolutely see happening. Someone goes to a workshop and they do the activity on a Friday with the intent to replicate it on Monday. The privilege walk is intended to separate students rather than bring them together. You’ve just got to believe that it would amplify any differences outside the classroom and that’s not a good thing.

What I found particularly depressing was Marie’s reporting of how marks for the exact same assignment differed because of the white-ness sounding of a child’s name. Think about that for a second. This is not new. It did take me back to a course I was taking at the Faculty of Education. We don’t seem to be getting better at it as a profession.

This is a powerful read and will hopefully help you adjust your practice a bit before school resumes next month.


Endurance Project: Democratizing Space

This is another of those “Damn, they never had that when I was in school”. I’m old enough to remember gathering around a small television to watch space travel events. That’s so antiquated to what’s going on here!

Marc, his school, and Fair Chance Learning along with IBM Space, SpaceX provide a simulation experience for students that is second to none. I found this to be a fascinating read. And, this is Grade 11 and 12 students.

Anyone who might be getting set to provide a conference message whether it be a session, day long workshop, or keynote address needs to take a look at this. Hearing about this real experience makes you think that it could be replicable for more classrooms and that’s always a good thing.


Twitter Through The Ages — Is It Time To Go Back To The Days Of Old?

I loved reading this post from Aviva. It brought back so many good memories.

She takes us back to a different time and a different type of Twitter. There was far fewer people involved and there seemed to be a great deal less noise at those times. My involvement predates Aviva and I bought the definitive book, Will Richardson’s Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasts book and we had Will speak at the Western RCAC Symposium plus do a full day workshop for us the following day. You can stop laughing now at the concept of buying a book for social media. Hey, it was in early times.

Once, I got the IT Department to unblock Twitter, it became my go-to for advice and daily learnings about education and technology. It remains that way today. I’ll joke to anyone that I’m very noisy between 5 and 6am. But, I’m all alone doing some self-directed reading and learning.

My inspiration from those days was Rodd Lucier who reminded us to be creators and not just consumers of information to make it the best of learning experiences. He was so wise. Thanks to his encouragement, I started this blog and keep hacking away at it.

Aviva takes us back a bit and celebrates the learning and the way that we used social media then and gives a present day example. It definitely has changed by today’s use and I’m not convinced that it’s for the better. I think that we need to remember that it’s an educational platform for us but a business platform for the Twitter company.


Sports Books for Middle School

Man, Kristy’s post takes me back.

In what we would call Middle School today, our library had a difficult time keeping sports books on the shelves. There were so many of us that wanted to read them and maybe a dozen that were actually available. (Doug’s memory may not be completely accurate.)

I do remember desperately wanting to read The Jim Thorpe Story. It was never on the shelves to borrow. It wasn’t at the town library either. I was fortunate enough to complain loudly enough that my parents bought me a copy for a Christmas present one year. I think I might have it around here somewhere still. Maybe finding this is a weekend project.

In Kristy’s post, she shares a list of books that you might helpful. There are affiliate links involved.


It was another great week of good reading for me. I hope that you can find the time to click through and read these blogs in their entirety.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • David Garlick – @garlickd23 
  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Fair Chance Learning@FCLEdu
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Kristy – @2peasandadog

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


My partner Stephen took a well deserved break from me and the rest of voicEd Radio this week which left me all alone on Wednesday morning and no show. Of course, the blog must go on and here we are. Look for us back on the radio next Wednesday with another guest host.


Street Stories #SOL2022

This is such a sad post from Melanie.

It’s about a crossing of two lives – one in Toronto and the other in Ottawa.

I found it a reminder that not everyone is as fortunate or as privileged as we are with out lives. There’s always a story behind things like these and I’m appreciative of her sharing her side of the story. Of course, there would be more if you were to stop and talk to the buskers and panhandlers.

I couldn’t help but think that not just anyone could write this post. As teachers, one of our superpowers is to look at human beings and try to figure out what their story is, with a bent toward making it better is whatever way we can.

Everyone has a story if we care to take the time to listen. They’re not all happy stories.

I love the fact that she’s open and willing to share stories like this. Not everyone would be able to do that.


To Website or Not to Website?

Jennifer is thinking out loud in this post. As a teacher-librarian, should she have a website. To me, it’s a no-brainer. YES!

I know that a lot of people have turned to Instagram or Facebook or some other social media resource. I don’t think it’s a bad idea but there are better ones. The “problem” that I see is that these have to conform to the rules for creation and sharing and you may or may not feel the need to control who has access to read it. Particularly for students who are accessing from at home, mom and dad may have house rules that come in to play.

For a website, I see the advantages being:

  • you have complete control over content
  • you can conscript librarian helpers to work with the content
  • if there’s a problem with a link, you can easily change it
  • school pictures and video are at your control and the sharing features that other services provide aren’t there or easily available depending upon how you control things
  • if you’re trying to cultivate a maker mentality, demonstrating it is a great way to go
  • it looks good for your profile and the school’s profile that you’re creating something original and unique to the school
  • and I could go on and on but Jennifer will make the ultimate decision – we’ll wait and see

Wrapping Up The Year

My original thought was that this is kind of late, although it still was July when I read and bookmarked Arianna’s post on the ETFO Heart and Art Blog.

There are three topics that she addresses:

  • Students, Students, Students
  • Take Time to Recharge 
  • Hear or See Something? Disrupt Publically!

I think that the first two things are pretty easy to see if you are a teacher or you know one. (or as my wife would say, if you’re married to one…)

 Many of us know the lingo to add to our bios or to say in interviews – diversity, inclusion, equity, disrupting, dismantling, etc. – and yet, I wonder how many of us know what they actually mean within the school setting.

This was a fascinating section of the post. I suppose that it’s pretty easy to arrive to work, park your car, go to your classroom, do your thing and then head home.

A school is much more than that and could be the first place that many students have the opportunity see and become activists and do good. They do it when teachers model it.

There are a lot of things to think about in that last section from Arianna.


Food Literacy Project – Review Project Advisor

On the STAO blog, Michael shares an announcement about the resource that’s coming to support the new food literacy expectations in the Grade 1-9 Science and Technology curriculum. The link will take you to a listing of the expectations.

The second part of this post is a call for an advisor to the project. There’s a listing of what skills the successful applicant will have and a call to see if anyone is interested in helping.

Could that be you?


CLASSROOM STRATEGIES TO SUPPORT MULTILINGUAL LEARNERS – E096

This post is the show notes to go along with a recent blog post from the gals. (I hate using that term but it’s one that they use.)

The podcast itself is about 30 minutes and worth the listen to hear their passion about the topic but I can’t help but think of the poor person who listens while they’re walking the dog and don’t have a pen and paper with them!

That’s where the show notes come into play. I appreciate the fact that they know that their podcast is so rich and needs this type of support.

They address:

  • Use of Images
  • Academic Language vs Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills
  • Read&Write Extension
  • Evaluation Terminology Dual Language Placemat
  • Asking Questions
  • How Students Demonstrate Their Learning

It’s a great discussion and collection of resources. In an integrated classroom, it’s also nice to use the same tools with all students so that nobody feels like they’re treated differently. I love this collection of technology suggestions.

  • Sentence starters
  • Word banks
  • Fill-in-the-blanks
  • Exemplars
  • Modelling expected tasks and formats (I do, we do, you do)
  • Graphic organizers
  • Note-taking (cornell notes, mind maps, dot jots, etc.)

Personally, I use graphic organizers all the time – it’s one of the very best things that I ever did for myself. Depending upon the task at hand, I’ll use a different organizer.

If you’re looking for a little personal PD, I highly recommend this.


Building TLs Together

While many people use the summer vacation to walk away from the profession for a bit, Diana steps to the plate supporting her passion for school libraries by teaching the AQ course.

I really like the fact that she’s humble enough to recognize that she doesn’t feel the need to go it alone. When you think about it, how may library spaces are exactly the same? If one size doesn’t fit all in practice, it follows that a single voice teaching the course isn’t enough. She acknowledges the power of having other voices in her class.

To that end, Diana has brought in voices from around the province.

Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall?


PERSONAL LEARNING STYLES AND READING SKILLS

Confession time here – I learned something about my own learning today and also reinforced a skill that I use all the time but never formally thought about it.

In the post, Setareh talks about the technique of skimming and scanning.

In high school, I had trouble reading and retaining information and wondered about myself. I ended up buying a book at Coles about how to Speed Read. I know it maybe doesn’t make sense but the skills that I learned from that book have lasted a lifetime.

But like most things, it’s one thing that doesn’t fit all. In the post, Setareh shares thoughts about learning styles and how you need to try and try again until you get it right. For the most part, speedreading which follow the scanning part well, does indeed serve me well. But, it’s not 100% so I do have to do some reflection and find another strategy at times.

If nothing else, this is a wonderful post that should remind everyone that there isn’t just one solution.


Please take the time to read all of these wonderful blog posts. There’s so much there. You can check out all of them from the past at this link.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Melanie White – @whiteroomradio
  • Jen Aston – @mmejaston
  • Arianna Lambert – @MsALambert
  • Michael Frankfort @mfrank_76
  • The EduGals – @EduGals
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


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

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

Take Ownership: It’s Leadership!

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

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

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

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

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


A Plague of Willful Incompetence

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

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

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

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


Friday Two Cents: The Pen is Mightier

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

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

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

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

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


Flashing Back Over a Frightening and Fantastic Five Years

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

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

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

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

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


Covid Finally Caught Me.

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

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

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

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


Flip Phones, iPhones, And Avoiding Assumptions

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

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

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

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

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


Education as Identity

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

This really leaped out at me.

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

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

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

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


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

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

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