This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Greetings from my remote location – in my house. If you’ve listened to the voicEd Radio show on Wednesday mornings, you’ll know that I’ve been bumped from Studio A to Studio B because of a bathroom renovation. I’m on a different computer, different network, but I did bring my chair to sit at this relatively small desk. So, I’m good to go but am staring at a wall instead of looking outside on this beautiful Fall day. Here’s my weekly wander around the province looking at Ontario Education blogs.

The voicEd Radio archive of This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcasts is located here.


Teachers Are Still Rocking It-

It’s easy to read about the challenges that Ontario (and everywhere) teachers are having as school buildings re-open in the time of COVID. It’s less easy to find something motivational but Michelle Fenn does in this post on the ETFO Heart and Art Blog.

It’s great to read that educators from her district are interested in refining their technology and pedagogy abilities on their own time during the summer and now continuing into the evenings.

She draws a parallel in education to a series that she watched on Netflix about an exploration to Mars and the unexpected things they found. I’ll bet that describes your classroom.

It’s a good read and she mentions something that needs to be repeated and repeated. It doesn’t lessen our opinions of doctors, nurses, firefighters, grocery and other store and service workers but

Every educator is a front line worker, doing their best, making a difference, being brave beyond imagination and truly an inspiration.

I challenge all readers to repeat that on social and other media often.


A Dichotomy of Words

Elizabeth Lyons gives us a lesson in language in this post all tied to education’s current realities. As she notes, “dichotomy” is a word that we don’t use all that often. But, it was the inspiration for this post as she shares what she sees as dichotomies in our current reality.

  • Masks or no masks?
  • Physically distanced students or collapsed classes?
  • 1m vs 2m?
  • Online learning or face-to-face?
  • Hand sanitizer or soap and water?
  • Google Classroom or Brightspace?

Then, she takes off and gives her interpretation of each.

It’s an interesting read and important that it’s from the keyboard of an educator. We see these terms used casually by those in politics and on the evening news. Their true meaning goes much deeper.


“Somewhere the Hurting Must Stop” – Terry Fox

Patti Henderson is an incredible photographer and a valued person that I’ve met through my social connections and I’ve had the chance to meet her in person a couple of times.

I will apologize up front though; I went to her blog and looked at the pictures and was captivated and blown away with what I saw. I’ve mentioned it many times that artists like Patti see things that I miss. Certainly, this sticks out for me in this photo essay.

It wasn’t until I got to the bottom and saw the map that I realize that this wasn’t some sort of random collection of images. She had participated in a Terry Fox run/hike and took pictures along the way. I even thought that she had taken a picture of the set for Kim’s Convenience until I realized that there are thousands of corner stores in this world.

The pictures and her corresponding commentary puts the whole experience into perspective. Thank you, Patti, for doing this.


Body Breaks at Your Desk – for students too!

In a perfect world, there is so much movement in the classroom. Even when students are writing a test or a quiz, you’re up and walking around. This is certainly not a perfect world and people are supposed to sit at desks for the most part of the school day.

Laura Wheeler takes on this notion and lets us know that there are things that can be done to get the blood moving even in the current reality.

In the post, she explains why it’s important to have some movement in the classroom and shares a playlist of activities she’s curated to be done during breaks.

This is yet another example of how educators are seeing puzzle pieces strewn on the classroom floor and are taking the time to put them all back together. Using this metaphor, I think that it’s important to realize that you may have to smack some of those pieces to make them fit at times.


The 500 – #404 – Dr. John’s Gumbo – Dr. John

I really enjoy this series of blog posts from John Hodgkinson as he takes us through a list of great 500 albums. I hadn’t through of Dr. John for a while and when I do, I think naturally about

The song would be so important in our current time and place. If nothing else, turn up the volume and play it loud.

It’s not on this album (Iko Iko is) but there are great tunes nonetheless.

John gives us a description of the influences in Dr. John’s music including the connection to voodoo. It’s an interesting read and, he’s inspired to think about how to greet students in his classroom.

  • Everything is an influence for good or bad. I’ll remind my young charges to be mindful of the world around them and tap into its inspiration.
  • The teen-years are a fertile time for passionate pursuits…pursue your passions.
  • I will continue to foster the academic and artistic pursuits of my students. Unlike Mac’s Jesuit teachers, I’ll never give them an ultimatum.
  • Persevere and Adapt. Challenges are opportunities for greatness in disguise.
  • Quirky, flamboyant, wild and weird are positive descriptions. Be what you are meant to be … Let your freak flags fly!

Some inspirational thoughts here. Could you use them?


Networking in a Pandemic (key to survival)

OK, I love anything that Zoe Branigan-Pipe writes and when I’m in the first sentence of her post, I’m over the top!

My favourite Beauty and the Beast photo from a OSLA Superconference where led the Great OSLA Faceoff

I’m glad that I wrote that reflection post about my experience. In her response, Zoe takes us through her network and the value that it brings to her. I’m impressed with how our networks overlap.

If you’re new to networking or if you’d like to tweak your own network, take an opportunity to “meet” those in her post. You can only get better connected when you include them in yours.

In closing, hi Zoe, you’re not the only one to read your post and we’ll hold you to your promise of blogging at least once a week!


Commiserating With Others Over Their Technology Woes

Finally, back to the Heart and Art blog and a post from Tammy Axt.

This is another photo essay – about teaching this time. Technology works well except when it doesn’t.

Tammy is teaching in a hybrid environment and so is being observed with a couple different set of student lenses and everything just needs to work.

What happens when it doesn’t? It happens for all of us. I can just image the Help Desk at her district when she sends in these images to report problems.


I hope that you will take the time to click through and read these terrific blog posts. There’s great stuff there for all.

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

  • Michelle Fenn – @toadmummy
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Patti Henderson – @GingerPatti
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • John Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher
  • Zoe Branigan-Pipe – @zbpipe
  • Tammy Axt – @MsAxt

This post appears first on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Not surprisingly, there is a focus on teaching in these troubled times on the posts from Ontario Edubloggers. I’ve tried to bring a bunch of them together for your Friday and weekend reading.


One Size Fits All, Even When It Doesn’t

Tim King leads off with a confession that he has a big head. I hadn’t noticed. The point of Tim’s post was that he requires a medical mask and couples that with sinus issues to make things ugly. The mask isn’t sized to accommodate him and that makes for an uncomfortable day.

Couple that with the life of a technology teacher in a warm shop area setting up and dealing with the tech and you get the picture that he’s trying to paint.

The plot thickens as the topic turns to computer technology and his need to fix things so that his students have a place to work. Renewed Computer Technology of Ontario may be part of the answer to his dilemma of getting parts these days.

Then, there’s the whole concept of the long, extended class periods and the need for a break …

I suspect that Tim speaks for hundreds of educators across the province.


I’m on the phone

Amanda Potts tells of a story that I can only interpret as loneliness in the days of school building re-opening.

So, we know that social distancing is the rule these days but this is how it plays out for an LST.

“Hello, this is Amanda Potts, calling from Canterbury High School. I’m your child’s Learning Support Teacher this year. Is this a good time to talk about their IEP?”

It’s just her and parents on these calls when she gets a request from a colleague. Of course, it’s from a distance but can’t be entertained as she’s setting the stage for her parents and the students she’ll be supporting.

Although I’m sure that it adds another level of concern, I like the fact that she’s concerned about family life as she calls to talk to parents.

I just have this vision of going into B41 and working on things in the summer all by myself. A school or a classroom without students is really a lonely place.


School Online – Journal – Day 12

Terry Whitmell has a collection of blog posts that’s documenting her experiences and observations for re-opening in her part of the world. She is one of a team of principals for online learning in Peel.

I think we’ve all read and heard about stories of teachers who didn’t have classes or timetables ready to go. Here’s a look from the other side.

However, with student timetables a priority, the entry of teachers next to courses didn’t begin until near the end of the day, and is ongoing as I write.

I used to help our principal and vice-principal with timetabling and conflicts can be maddening. Sometimes, it takes a second set of eyes to see something that was staring right at you! She also takes into consideration teacher preferences. It’s an interesting read – particularly if you think that it’s all computerized and all that’s necessary is to click on GO to make the magic happen.

Of course, there are all the technical nerdy things that students will have to learn like the choice of LMS and video conferencing software – I can’t believe that the system offers a choice. Despite that, her wish is for community building first.


Friday Two Cents: Be Grateful

Lest we think that it’s just teachers and principals that are affected with everything that’s going on, Paul Gauchi reminds us that there are others in the system too.

He’s a long term occasional teacher and has been watching the comments coming from teachers in the classroom.

However, the more I read posts on social media and hear stories from them, the more I cannot be silent.

He’s taking on those who have complained about:

  • having to wear PPE
  • having collapsed classrooms
  • teaching a new grade level

and reminds us that there are many out there still looking to get hired.


Managing virtual and in-person synchronous instruction

I’m not the only one who uses dog-walking time to do some thinking. Jennifer Casa-Todd recently did the same sort of thing. She’s collaborating with a group of teacher-librarians to provide a resource for their teachers, doing their teaching online. I’m hoping that she looks at the resource that Elizabeth Lyons created (and I shared on this blog earlier this week). It would be a nice product to replicate and provide additional local resources.

She brings into the conversation a number of technical solutions, all the while in typical Jennifer style, keeping students at the centre of the conversation.

  • Peardeck
  • Padlet
  • Jamboard

Those are leading products in their genre but certainly aren’t the only ones.


Why Do We Share As We Do?

I enjoyed reading this post from Aviva Dunsiger. It’s a question that people asked “back in the day” when social media was new as a way to justify diving in.

In her post, Aviva shares her reasons for sharing

  • We share this way because it allows kids and families to benefit from each other’s thinking and learning
  • We share this way because it encourages the social
  • We share in this way because it helps us remember and celebrate the positives!
  • We share in this way because of the implied message that it also sends
  • If all thinking and learning is just kept private, what do our actions say about our beliefs?

I actually read her post when it first came out – because she had tagged me in the announcement (I do appreciate it when that happens) – and I had written a reply that I continue to stand by.

We share because it makes us more observant to what is going on and we share so that we don’t forget.

To me, the proof lies in the actual implementation. Right now, I just picked up my MacBook Pro and I’m in search of a Twitter message that I shared this morning about the new Safari so that I can poke around. I was using a Chromebook when I read the original message.

My original share may not mean anything to others but it’s a chance to share my learning with anyone who cares to join me and now I get the benefit myself by going back and finding it.

There was a time when I would just bookmark it and go back but I’ve learned that that approach teeters on selfishness. If it’s good for me, it has the potential to be good for others.

That may have been the first time ever I’ve used the word “teeter”.


Push & Pull

Finally, from Alexandra Woods, a post that will break your heart. It’s not unique to her; I just happened to read hers first. It’s from the perspective of a mother and teacher.

She had a moment with her son that caused her to pause and focus on what’s really important.

Teaching is all-encompassing and professionals are doing their very best to make sure that it’s going to be positive for students. Kudos for that; that’s what good teachers do.

And yet, there’s another factor in all this and that’s the family at home. Those of us who are parents know that we turn over these little ones to someone else for the time spent at work teaching. In a normal world, the time spent not teaching is easier to manage but many teachers are observing that teaching and planning to teach is creeping into that time not officially devoted to working.

There’s always this sense that you should be doing more and sometimes a wakeup call to reality is needed.


Please take the time to click through and read these posts in their entirety. There’s great inspirational stories there from a number of different members involved in education.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Terry Whitmell – @TerryWhitmell
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Alexandra Woods – @XanWoods

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


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

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


Calendar

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

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

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

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


Back to School Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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


Don’tMessWithTheShield: A Little Unexpected, Humorous Teacher Inquiry

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

Imagine teaching a class of kindergartners through that fog!

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

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

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


Rollercoaster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Could your classroom be as successful as hers?

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

It is so inspirational.


Talk Me Through Your Process

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

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

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

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


ADAPTING LESSON PLANS FOR ONLINE TEACHING

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

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

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


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

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

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

This is an original blog post from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


We had a flavour of Switzerland on the This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcast this past Wednesday when Vicky Loras joined the show as guest host. Vicky has been a connection for many Ontario educators so it was nice that she knew of some of the Ontario Edubloggers that we featured on the show. Vicky is gearing up to get a PhD in Linguistics. Her Masters program included a study of “Canadian English” and you can read her research as it’s linked to her PhD blog.


#tdsbbt2020 Board PD? Why not?

The first blog post we talked about originated from Diana Maliszewski and it was an inspirational way for her to finish her summer. She attended the TDSB New Teachers Conference. Hence the hashtag in the title for the post.

There’s a great deal of logic to attending something like this – for teachers new to the profession, they would never have covered how to teach and manage students safely in the time of a pandemic.

Heck even teachers with 30 years of experience may not have the skills. Even last spring, school buildings were closed and school continued from home at a distance. So, in some respect, everyone will be a new teacher entering classrooms whenever and wherever they do. It varies from district to district!

Diana wasn’t a passive participant either. With partner Sarah Baynes, they did a two hour session called “It’s All Political: Media Literacy and our Texts, Talk and Teaching”. I love the sharing of expertise and the notion of paying it forward.


Reflect. Review. Revise. A year in the Library Learning Commons

So, this was a discussion about an academic document created as an assignment for an Additional Qualification program in Librarianship. If we weren’t headed into a new year with teacher-librarians and Learning Commons in question, we might not even heard about this.

Beth Lyons does show her technology skills in the creation of the document (using Canva and publishing to Issuu) and it reads like a blueprint for what every Library could/should be.

Divided into two sections, pre- and during- COVID, it’s a beautiful summary and also inspirational to the extent that the library didn’t pack up and leave when students stopped coming into the building. Again, she uses Social Media like YouTube to keep doing the good things that she had always done.

The link to the document is in the post and worth the click.


Splendour in the Grass

I really didn’t know how to approach this post from Colleen Rose. There’s a link in there to a very specific internet site that left her ugly-crying. I supposed that she could have dwelled on this aspect and that would have made the post very depressing.

Instead, she used it as inspiration to share with us some of the things that were uplifting in her life over the summer. Her painting, her baking, her trips to the beach, the beauty that is Northern Ontario, sharing a beer and her two lovely children.

She led the post with the Wordsworth poem

In the faith that looks through death,

In years that bring the philosophic mind.

A personal note to my dear friend Colleen and, indeed to all educators headed back to school buildings, keep your heads up and focus on the priorities. You’ve got this.


Building Community & Advanced Features within Brightspace by D2L – E017

This is a rather longish post from the Edugals and elaborates on one of their podcasts featuring Tanya Williamson.

Many educators will be forced to use an online Learning Management System as a result of their teaching assignment and choices. We saw last spring though that everyone ended up scrambling to learn the skills to teach online. It truly was building the airplane while flying it.

The post highlights some of the features of Brightspace and ranks some of the features in terms of importance so that people don’t feel like they need to use every feature right away.

If the worse happens again and schools are closed down or if you are teaching using Brightspace, you’ll find this a good reference.

I think my recommendation to all teachers regardless of where they are teaching is to use the features of the LMS that they have at their disposal. It opens a lot of opportunities and is a chance for students to learn how to function in this environment while the teacher is “in the house” and can be there to assist.

Of course, that requires access to the technology in a safe manner. BYOD anyone?


Brain Words Book Club: How the Science of Reading Informs Teaching

Yet another real thinker comes from the blog of Deborah McCallum. It’s an insight into a book study she was involved with Brain Words: How the Science of Reading Informs Teaching, by Richard Gentry and Gene P. Ouellette.

I was at a big of a loss when reading this; I’ve never had to teach children to read – by the time they get to secondary school, I just assumed that they had that skill.

I also marvel that I was ever able to learn to read personally; the techniques and insights that educators have today certainly weren’t around when I was learning. I go back to the days of the Primer so I’m the odd man out in these discussions. Deborah draws a comparison of memorizing mathematics concepts to memorizing language concepts and words. That may well describe at least part of my reading journey and whatever success I might have had.

Yet, reading in Computer Science is still a skill. I wonder if some of the techniques would help when the reading gets technical.


Set-Up Day 1

This was a new blog for me and came as a comment to yesterday’s post. Mrs. Crockett and Miss Dunsiger have created a blog that they’re calling their Daily Documentation. If you’ve followed these ladies in the past, you know that they have used a variety of social media and are now trying to rein it in a bit. This blog looks like it might be their answer.

It’s more than a little sad to think that this is what a kindergarten classroom looks like in the Fall of 2020.

This is so far from the status quo that had been used, developed, and refined over the years.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I hope that many educators take the time to show to the world what their classroom looks like and this elicits a bunch of suggestions to make it better.

Maybe even a set of before/after pictures?


Friday Two Cents: What Makes Me Happy

Paul Gauchi read an article that inspired him to share with us what makes him happy. It just takes three things.

  • positive relationships
  • financial security
  • sense of purpose

Of course, he expands on each of them.

Is he really happy? He notes that some of these items are a bit strained but maintains a positive outlook.

That’s a good thing.

I’m happy for him. We could always look at things and allow them to get us down or we can choose to look at things positively. The key is that you’ll never be perfect so maybe you need to find some other way to define happiness.


Please take some time and click through and read all of these wonderful posts. There’s great inspiration there.

Then, follow them all on Twitter.

  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Colleen Rose – @ColleenKR
  • Edugals – @EduGals
  • Deborah McCallum – @bigideasinedu
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon

This post originates from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s August already. Around here, it’s actually starting to feel like fall – cooler evenings and heavy dew in the mornings. And, it’s time to share some great writing from Ontario Edubloggers.


School re-opening smart policy design: How Ontario’s current school reopening policy is not so smart

The first blog post comes from Deb Weston as she posted to the Heart and Art Blog. Deb was the guest host on the podcast so I got to ask whether I should call her Deb or Deborah. Deb it is.

I never took a superintendent’s course so I couldn’t definitely tell you the difference between Policy and Practice. When you’re further down the food chain in education, it didn’t really matter much anyway.

But, Deb did a great deal of study on the topic and provides a pretty academic summary of this topic with all kinds of supporting reference. As a result, you’ll want to set aside more time than just what is required to read the post.

She takes on four areas

  • Smart policy design
  • Including stakeholders like educators
  • Policy designed for schools and their communities
  • Sensible policy strategies for schools

and gives her opinion about each.


10 ways to make your classroom more inclusive of black students

I stole one of Matthew Morris’ 10 points yesterday to use in a blog post of my own since he wrote it so eloquently.

Later this month, teachers will be going into classes and getting ready to welcome back students – face to face and online.

Many of things that would normally be present in classroom may well have gone missing in the name of COVID cleaning and you might be wondering what to replace them with. Or, hopefully with a hightened sense of awareness because of the Black Lives Matter movement, you’re looking and re-evaluating your practice and teaching/learning environment. There has been a lot of talk about systemic racism and a house cleaning may well be needed in many education spaces.

How about the materials that you have on display in your classroom. That’s point #1 in Matthew’s post. He takes it from there and I truly thought that he shared wisdom with #7 that you could run with.

Instead of diving into curriculum during the first week of the school year, use this time to engage with students in ways that create authentic relationships.

Of course, we all think that we do this and I’m sure that there will be laid on safety to address but look for those opportunities to “create authentic relationships.”


Covid Journal # 7 – Returning to school is risky

I did go on a bit of a tear yesterday borrowing content because it was just so good. This was also the case with Paul McGuire where he shares some statistical information about the virus. In an offline discussion, Paul mentions that he follows this religiously and daily.

On August 2, in Ottawa there is a 4.8% chance you’ll encounter an individual who can transmit COVID-19 in a group of 27.

Now, Paul was further up the food chain that I ever was and still he’s looking up when he observes

People in senior positions want to maintain the status quo

I can’t help but think that a great deal of this has gone into the elementary school provincial plan.

I subscribe to the Dangerously Irrelevant blog and this post was shared this week.

Letter from your local superintendent and school board

Creative, to be sure, but confirms Paul’s thesis.


Literacy Instruction: From ‘Best Practices’ to Centering Student Voices

As I said on the radio show, it’s great to see Deborah McCallum back at the blogging keyboard. She’s always a source for inspirational thinking for me.

But, as I also said, if you’re going to read this post looking for answers, you’re going to be disappointed. However, if you’re looking for a lot of questions, you’re in luck.

Over the summer, Deborah is rethinking so much about her classroom and, in particular, literacy. I liked her taking issue with “best practices” as I always found it to be a conversation stopper. Instead of a chance for discussion, I’ve had “but this is best practice” thrown at me. It’s a shutdown phrase and I always though that it was indicative of a closed mind. Who are YOU to tell me that what I want to discuss isn’t “best practice”.

She identifies a number of accepted practices and comes to the conclusion

This seemingly ideal organization of lessons can be a big part of a problem that promotes racist practices.

Like most of her posts, this isn’t a quick one to read. It’s guaranteed to get you thinking and perhaps answering some of those questions in your own practice.


Indigenous Mathematicians and Scientists

A long time ago, I took a course on how to blog.

Yes, it dealt with the mechanics of how to create one, we did the mandatory “Hello World” post and then talked about what you might want to use a blog for. One of the pieces of advice I took away was that if you’re going to be a hobbyiest, do good things for yourself. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself into one type of thing because you’ll run dry eventually. Years later, I’m still running.

One of the suggestions was to use your blog as a way to store important things so that you don’t lose them. I’d always been a horder of links and resources and the revolation was true. By themselves, they’re just a bunch of things that you’ll eventually forget. Put them into a blog post and you’re more likely to think about them as you post and, if it’s good learning for you, it might be good learning for others.

That’s how I felt about this post from Heather Theijsmeijer. In her online wanderings, she had come across a list of indigenous mathematics and scientists. So, she shared them and it’s a nice collection with links to support the name. By itself, it’s a great resource that needs to be shared. Hold on, there’s more.

The magic happened. Because she had gone public, others had read her post and a commenter suggested a name to add to the list. Heather did that.

Without this post, that magic wouldn’t have happened. I wonder why more people don’t do this.


What might the LLC look like if/when we go back to school?

This post, from Beth Lyons, came in advance of the back to school plans for the province so her thoughts were from a different reality that we are/might be dealing with today.

Beth has shared stories from her LLC with her blog readers for a long time. In this post, she muses what it might become

  • BOOKS.
  • INQUIRY. 
  • MAKER. 

Her analysis of these shows that she has done a great deal of thinking about this.

We now know that the elementary school is going to try to be close to what it was in terms of class sizes and classrooms. It seems to me that trips to LLCs aren’t going to happen soon so her thinking about being on the move and bringing the LLC to classrooms is realistic. After all, they have so many resources collected with the philosophy that they should be available to and used by all.

What’s also going to be a reality is teacher-librarians becoming the school expert on sanitization. Pedagogy will take a back seat for a while.


Escape to the Country Ontario Edition

One of the biggest reasons to follow Patti Henderson is for a regular shot of reality that there is a great deal of beauty in the world. Even in these days.

From her Toronto location, she has shared a number of inspiring photographs but is now looking to “escape” to other places in Ontario. Those Stage 3 people!

One of the things about artists that has always impressed me is that they see things that I would otherwise miss. This blog post shows so much beautiful – pro tip, she doesn’t use a smartphone…

From Vagabond Photography

This picture blew me away. That could have been my very first vehicle only mine was black and I do know that the guy who bought it from me was later in an accident so it’s not around and, if it is, it isn’t in this good a shape!

If you need a shot of beauty this morning, head over to Patti’s blog and enjoy.


Please take some time this morning or whenever you read this to click through and enjoy all this original content.

Then, of course, follow these people on Twitter for regular inspiration.

  • Deborah Weston – @DrDWestonPhD
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Deborah McCallum – @bigideasineadu
  • Heather Theijsmeijer – @HTheijsmeijer
  • Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Patti Henderson – @GingerPatti

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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