This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I always conclude this Friday post with an encouragement to click through and read the posts highlighted here. You can’t miss them; I make them large, bold with a live link. I’ll do that first this week just to encourage you. There’s nothing like the wit and wisdom of Ontario Edubloggers.


Online Instruction of Students with Learning Disabilities

Deb Weston does a nice analysis of online instruction for students with learning disabilities. This is her particular area of expertise. Her conclusion appears at the bottom of the post.

Online learning does not support the needs of most students with learning disabilities

I suspect that we all saw that coming.

But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go through and read the entire post. She does a pretty fair and balanced approach to the topic. I think that you’ll find that you’ll agree that students with learning disabilities don’t have a monopoly over the points she discusses. They apply to all students.

The big takeaway since online is going to be around for a while is to look at the positives and work to reinforce them. Then, look at the negative issues she lists and see if there’s not a way to mitigate them.


Tips for Teaching Online

The duo of Lisa and Steven Floyd team up with a post that includes a dozen tips for teaching online. This is a nice followup read to Deb’s post above. So, what can you do and what can you avoid doing?

All of the points discussed are important and I’d encourage thinking about all of them. Three really leaped out at me.

Develop a “one-stop-shop”
I think that this is crucial. Even after a year of on again off again teaching and learning online the skills that are necessary aren’t fully developed everywhere. In particular, having to “go here”, then “go there”, then “go here”, … is a recipe for failure. A portal where everything is in one spot is so helpful. If you know how, have any link open in a new tab or a new window so that the student is back “home” to the portal when they close it.

Only use new tools if necessary
As educators, we know that there are so many really valuable tools out there to address various things. You really do need to think carefully before introducing new tools. In a face to face classroom, it’s easier for success because students can just look at the person next to them if challenged. Not so online. The key is to focus on what’s really important and necessary to address curriculum expectations. Knowing a gazillion different tools really isn’t in the curriculum.

Constant feedback to students – don’t need to submit everything
If there’s one thing that is really unique during times of teaching and learning online, it’s feedback. Face to face there are more ways to provide that feedback – through body language, a look, a word, … you do it constantly and probably not consciously. Feedback when online is an intentional act for the most part. I love the tip that not everything needs to be submitted for marking. Save everyone a little stress!


Belonging

There’s a world of advice is this post from Ann Marie Luce.

It’s sad to read the story of a friend with a “personal loss”. Reacting in times like that is what makes us human and hopping in a car to provide the support is something we do all the time. Obviously things are different these days.

Ann Marie then turns this into the concept of “belonging” which is always a big deal in education. There’s nothing worse than not belonging to a group when you really would benefit from being a part of it.

In a former job, I remember going from school to school and would appreciate the invitation to go to the staff room and join a group for a coffee or lunch and a chat. That isn’t happening now. Even staff members on the same staff can’t pull that off. There’s a challenge for principals to make up for this.

Ann Marie identifies a number of different topics surrounding the notion of belonging. They could be used as a challenge by leaders within a school or a rubric by educators about the leadership provided to them. And, if you’re the teacher/leader in the classroom, there’s lot to think about there.

Professional Learning opportunities are a shortage these days but reading Ann Marie’s questions and relating them to your situation may be the best thing that you can do for yourself today.


Numbers.

With a title like that for a blog post, there really was nothing given away so I had to click over to Mike Washburn’s blog to see what was up.

I enjoy reading people’s interpretations about numbers as they apply to communities or social media. It opens up all kinds of questions about just how big a community should be to make it worthwhile or worth your while to contribute back. Or, some people judge their own value by community size. Or, does it really matter? Mike offers his thoughts in the context of the size of a conference keynote session. Big crowd size can indicate an appreciate for just who the speaker is and the organizers will appreciate that the money they spent to hire a keynote was worth it.

He turns to the concept of those enduring understandings and asks whether you’ll remember a message from a keynote speaker or a message from a colleague that you worked through a problem with.

It’s an interesting concept and might just put the whole mindset of a conference with keynote speakers in the past. So, is the important number here not necessarily the size but the number one as in that person with whom you made the connection and the learning?


Cultivating. Cultivation. Cultivate.

In the beginning, Beth Lyons’ concept of a word for a month versus a word for the year seemed like a quaint oddity.

Over time though, it has taken on considerably more value to me as a reader and fan of her blog. She very clearly outlines her thinking about the word of the month. For the month of April which is quickly ending, it’s “cultivate” and a number of words derived from that.

By itself, it’s not a unique word for education. My agricultural background had me thinking of the word “tiller” instead. (it was easier to spell) It’s a tool used by farmers and gardeners to further break the soil after it has been ploughed. It’s only then that the ground is in a position for seeding and the actual growing of any crop.

Of course, Beth didn’t take the agricultural route in her explanation; after all, she’s a teacher-librarian but the parallels between the agriculture and the library are very apparent and so reasonable to me.

And it just wouldn’t be Beth if she didn’t recommend a couple of books along that way.


“How can I help?”

Michelle Fenn takes this question and addresses her personal educational world and that of “imposter” which quite frankly, I don’t buy into. If a person wasn’t constantly learning, growing, and researching maybe I would. But her description of her work life is anything but that.

It was in the last paragraph of this blog post that really brought back memories and appreciation for the topic.

The four small words, “How can I help?” can make a powerful impact.

For a number of years, I had a job similar to hers and reported to a number of different superintendents. Like anything else, they all had their strengths and management styles. Perhaps the one that had the largest impact on me professionally fit into Michelle’s description. I don’t think the relationship started that way but it certainly evolved. We were both early to work and late to leave types and would drop in on each other unexpectedly and we often would use these words on each other when we’d see the other one working through a dicey problem. We weren’t necessarily experts in each other’s portfolio but asking the question always seemed so full of empathy and just having another set of eyes or resources available made all the difference in the world.


My mom in dementia

Every now and again, a post will come along that does make me tear up a bit and this story of Paul McGuire’s mother is one of them.

One of the things that truly sucks is getting old. And, it’s not necessarily that you’re getting older but everyone else around you is and you’re there to see it. In this case, Paul reflects on the way that this horrible disease has impacted his mother.

I like the way that Paul honours his mother; after all she’s not in charge here. The real villain is the dementia and it really doesn’t care.

I think that I know enough about blogging to know that getting it written saves that moment in time and gives you the opportunity to really work your way through your thoughts. Paul does so nicely here.

My sympathies to you, my friend.


OK, just a final reminder – click the links and read these great blog posts.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Deb Weston – @DPAWestonPhD
  • Lisa Ann Floyd – @lisaannefloyd
  • Steven Floyd – @stevenpfloyd
  • Anne Marie Luce – @turnmeluce
  • Mike Washburn – @misterwashburn
  • Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Michelle Fenn – @Toadmummy
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp

This week’s podcast can be listed at:
https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/cultivating-learning-and-community-on-and-off-line/

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I thought that we were about ready for Spring but I guess it was a faux Spring. Nonetheless, don’t forget to adjust your clocks this weekend. Is this the last time we do it?


Time in the Pandemic: It was a week ago, or maybe three months ago…

On the This Week in Ontario Edublogs show, Stephen Hurley and I had a lot of fun with this post from Debbie Donsky. It took us to Yogi Berra and his classic “It’s deja vu all over again”.

Debbie takes a number of looks at the concept of time as it affects her and probably affects us all. How many times have we truly have to stop and think about just what day of the week it actually is? Her analysis gives a thoughtful comparison between circular and linear time. That really made me stop and do some reflection; after all education most certainly is linear from September to June but apply that to a circular reality. Maybe it goes a long way to describing the frustration that so many feel these days.

The star of this excellent post is an embedded sketchnote she composed while doing a book study with Colinda Clyne. Don’t skim it; enjoy what Debbie captures and think about it just a bit. You’ll be glad you did.

But, time … this post brought back a memory of this awesome Jim Croce song.


Living in an Information Rich World

In Tim King’s recent post, I can come down firmly on both sides of the fence of the issue he discusses. The connected me agrees totally with his assertion that we have information available to us any time, any where these days. Why should a student have to interrupt a lesson to ask a question that’s easily Googled or Ducked on her personal device?

On the other hand, Tim as teacher, is the authority in the classroom. Why should a student have to immediately delve through all the misinformation and advertising and distractions that going online looking for answers entails? After all, Tim knows the answer. The student’s reality may also be one where other teachers have followed the great “ban” of cell phones in the classroom and so searching personally isn’t an option.

For me, the message in this post goes beyond Tim’s frustration in this particular instance. It’s a reminder that we haven’t got our act together consistently throughout Ontario classrooms. If it was my classroom, I would side with Tim’s philosophy and use the opportunity to reinforce the notion that we want kids to be self-directed learners.


An Overview of the”new”OSSLT Online Testing Format (2021)

The first run of the online OSSLT went over so well, let’s double down again this year. What could go wrong?

If you need a flashback, Kyleen Gray takes you back.

If you’ve successfully wiped EQAO’s last disastrous attempt at an online administration of the OSSLT from your memory, let me jog it by taking a look at my blog from 2016: Online OSSLT: Titanic Disaster.

There are three areas in this thought provoking post:

  • What’s new? (with a dozen points…)
  • How to prepare students
  • What’s next?

I think that the Titanic comparison is unfair. The folks on the Titanic didn’t have prior knowledge of what could happen.


Thinking about the power in our classrooms or more importantly time to rethink the power in our classroom

I remember now why I try to have short titles for my blog posts! Jonathan So’s rather longish title kept me thinking about what he might talk about before I even got to the heart of his discussion.

It’s something as simple as “cameras on” in the online classroom to bring forth the notion of control and compliance in the classroom for Jonathan. I thought it was rather insightful; I’m not a fan of long term camera use since I tend to do other things beside looking at the green light. I’ll get up and stretch – my watch will let me know if I’m sitting for over an hour – I like to look around and stretch my eyes rather than stare forward – and undoubtedly more than what needs to be discussed here.

Jonathan brings in elements of Matthew Morris’ TEDx talk where he addresses his philosophy and 1-1 discussion with students in a kinder, gentler format.

I felt that he did a really comprehensive job analysing more than just cameras but an entire reliance on compliance for a school system to survive. There’s lots more to think about than the little green light!


Space for. Space from.

Beth Lyons follows up on her February monthly word “permission” with one for March “Space”.

In my mind, they flow so nicely together.

We’re all living in incredibly strange times and so the notion of giving oneself permission to have more space makes so much sense.

We know that things are different in 2021 so it just isn’t logical to try and fit life as usual into the real world that we’re all living in right now. Is it fair to try and squeeze all the current initiatives that teachers are involved with (and Beth names a few) into today’s real world. Or, is it time to refocus on what’s really important.

Here’s to you, Beth, a young Alan Jackson and the real world.


Chords 9/31 #SOL2021

If you’re a follower of Melania White’s blog, you’ll know that she’s on fire as of late. There’s all kinds of incredible inspiration there to get you thinking but Rush’s 2112 had me open a new tab to listen while I went back to the top and re-read her post

Music seems to have been always a big divisor between parents and children. I think I lucked out; my parents didn’t play music. That was the domain for me in my room.

But, for my own kids, only one of them appreciate good music to this day. At least by my standards. There are still things that confuse me – how can you like Tom Morello and hate Bruce Springsteen? My favourite line when they were younger was “I paid a dime and got a Nickleback”. We resolved this ongoing conflict one Christmas with headphones as gifts. I still prefer to listen to music this way with my own and also in a really dark room.

And Melanie’s description of partying in high school makes me wonder if I met her in a previous life…


Open a door, open up to the world

This was a real bonus for me. I opened my browser to find that Joel McLean had published this new post this morning.

The post is well sectioned with inspiration.

  • TU ES CAPABLE !
  • Prendre une CHANCE
  • Chercher l’AMÉLIORATION
  • Faire avec PASSION
  • Travailler avec ARDEUR
  • Voir le BIEN
  • LÉGUER
  • Avoir un impact EXPONENTIEL

All of the sections contains very inspirational pieces of advice. So, don’t skip any of them.

But, I really hung my hat on the advice he received from his parents. It deals with accomplishment and commitment. It’s tough in the best of times but how about these days? It would be easy to roll over and just give up. But, a stronger person would persevere. I know that this blog readers are in the latter.


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

  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Kyleen Gray – @TCHevolution
  • Jonathan So – @MrSoClassroom
  • Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Joel Mclean – @jprofnb

Podcast

The Wednesday morning podcast on voicEd Radio is available here:

https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/time-space-and-the-information-age/

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy New Year!

I’m happy to note that we’re off to a great start for 2021 and blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. I hope that you can take some time to enjoy these.


The Value Of

Maybe the best part of 2021 will be an opportunity to reflect on 2020. In education and society in general, it was awful.

Beth Lyons takes a look back at the value of various things that are important to her.

  • hug
  • partner
  • network
  • passion

Hugs to you Beth. This certainly was an emotional post to start 2021 off for me and not only is that OK, I think it’s appropriate.


Presents and P3s

A real tribute comes when someone borrows a great idea and turns it into something special for themselves. This was the case for Diana Maliszewski. She had participated in a P3 for Noa’s podcast and used the concept with her own students. I had done that as well. It was fun and makes you think very carefully about your choices because Noa plays them and then probes you to explain your choices.

I had to do a scroll through Noa’s Wixsite in order to look for it since there’s no search function. Normally, I would back out to DuckDuckGo and let it find things for me. But, this little side venture showed me the who’s who that Noa had participated. It turns out that I couldn’t find it there but did find it on the voicEd site and the link is above.

I couldn’t help but think that there would be incredible value of doing this with students as I scrolled through Noa’s list. I know some of these people and some other’s just by reputation, and some not at all. Despite the level of knowing, they all had interesting stories to tell. So, why not do it with students.

It made Diana’s effort seem extra worthwhile.


Preparing our New Teachers

The title from Terry Whitmell’s post indicated that I had to read this. After all, how the heck do you “prepare” teachers in this day and age.

I was “prepared” in better times and was cocky as heck going into my first placement while at the Faculty. After all, I had a Bachelor degree and some of the best lecturers and computer environments in the world. I could dumb it down a bit and still be terrific.

Of course, I was completely wrong and humbled by the experience. Later, teaching at a Faculty of Education myself, I knew that you could never explain that to students until they had their first placement. They got it then.

In this post, Terry reminds us that the stakes are far different these days. Teacher candidates face:

  • teach fully online
  • traditional classrooms
  • hybrid settings
  • and the most challenging – physical and health education

It’s an interesting discussion. Learning to be a teacher is a challenge in normal times; I can only envision the challenges of today.


Friday Two Cents: Comic Strips: No Smoking

I remember doing a lot of research (and it was a great deal of fun) working with Comic Life when we were considering it for licensing during my term on the OSAPAC Committee.

We eventually ended up recommending that the Ministry purchase a license for Ontario Schools and it was received incredibly well by teachers and students. In many cases, it became the go to story retelling tool and it also made for terrific graphics for presentations.

Paul Gauchi shares with us his enjoyment of creating using comics and shares a December comic about smoking.

If you’re not using comics in the classroom, maybe it’s time to reconsider during these crazy times.


5 Ideas for Making Spirits Bright

This post, from Jennifer Casa-Todd, was released before Christmas and I’m sure that the ideas that she shares were inspired just for that.

  • Personalized Holiday Wishes
  • What I Like About You
  • Help Others in Need
  • Soup
  • The Masked Educator

As I read her post, I am truly understanding of the topic in context of the holiday season. It comes during a time of the year when people typically need a pick-me-up.

I can’t help thinking though that there’s no harm in extending this into 2021. Particularly around here, it’s been dark and lousy days; the type I remember going into work not seeing sun and leaving not seeing sun. In my mind, the inspiration that Jennifer uses in these ideas could easily be used right now.

She also uses the post to launch her new podcast.


Capital “H”, Hybrid #SOL2020

I absolutely love this post from Melanie White. You should read it and really think deeply about what she’s saying.

It actually dovetails nicely with Terry’s post above.

I will admit that I actually have a pretty good collection of computer skills, amassed over the years. It helped me in my job and I was able to focus on other things – not computer or technical things – but just how to teach better, recognizing students differences, etc. I can remember working them into presentations and one hurtful comment when dealing with a non-technical issue “that’s easy for you to say because you know computers” from a participant that had taken exception to me working on something other than a computer thing.

As with all of Melanie’s excellent post, you’ll read it a few times and pick up something new each time that will give you some insights.

But, the big thing in Melanie’s message about Hybrid teaching is just what you should consider the “H” in Hybrid to mean.


ODE TO OZYMANDIAS – KITCHEN RENO 2020

Confession – I had to look up “OZYMANDIAS”.

Alanna King is always worth a good read. She often takes you into places that you had no idea that you might enjoy.

This time, it’s a about a kitchen renovation.

It’s a lovely read and comes complete with pictures.

I just hope that she gave the contractor a little more specific details because this could end badly if not!


So, we’re off and running with great content from Ontario Edubloggers for 2021.

I hope that you can find time to click through and enjoy these posts. As always, there’s so much inspiration there.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Diana Maliszewski – @mzmollytl
  • Terry Whitmell – @TerryWhitmell
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Melanie White – @whiteroomradio
  • Alanna King – @banana29

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I know that there’s a big sigh of relief across the land for today. Congratulations for all the effort that it has taken to get this far and I wish all readers the best for the holiday. As usual, here’s a great collection of recent writing from Ontario Edubloggers.


The Journey Continues

I’ve followed Beth Lyons all year with her one word that she’s taken month by month as opposed to the year long choice others have made.

She wrestled with a word for December

  • teacher
  • decenter

And gives really good reasons for not selecting them.

Sadly, she questions her effectiveness as a teacher-librarian in these days as things are completely different. Things have changed a bit and she’s being called into action a little more so feels good about that. But, my dear Beth, everyone is feeling challenged and frustrated at every turn. I think we all know that you’re giving the same 125% that all educators are and that should never minimize your feelings about your impact. It’s different for everyone.

Anyway, click through to read the word that she finally chose for the last month of the year.


Writing in front of them

Man, I loved this post from Amanda Potts. I’d like to meet this Torin who missed out!

Beyond that, though, we’ve all had embarrassing moments that have us turning red in front of students. Amanda’s story is done in the best of educational pedagogy and yet had an interesting turn.

She could have turtled but decided that she’d gone too far to turn back and became very frank in front of her students.

The result? She claims that her students turned in some of their most honest writing work. You’ve got to like that.

And, you can’t help but think that the same results would never have happened if her lesson had been the sort of contrived activity that didn’t result in embarrassment!


LearningInTheLoo: Scan to Email

This will bring a smile to your face.

Given a loophole in the use of washrooms at her school, Laura Wheeler was back at providing professional learning activities while taking care of things when nature calls. I’m making a leap here assuming that people don’t go to the washroom just for the PD.

The activity is something that every educator should know.

A networked photocopier can do more than print copies to paper.

In this case, Laura shows staff how they can scan to email and then take care of content electronically. Not only is it an efficient way of handling things, think of the paper that can be saved.

And, managing files can be easier than binderizing sheets of paper.


Earth Day: Call for Submissions 2021

As a result of this post from Jessica Outram, I’ve added a new word to my vocabulary.

eChapbook

It’s an initiative that she started last year and it marries the concept of poetry and Earth Day. This year’s theme is “Learning from the Earth”.

Click through to read about the initiative, how to participate, and the rules with timelines.

I can’t help but think that there might be huge interest in this so help a colleague out, read the post, and share it with others.


Overjoyed – A Christmas Tale with an Ed-Tech Twist

Like Amanda’s post above, there are things that prove that teachers and students are human after all.

Terry’s post brought back some memories of my own as a student and as a teacher when it comes to Christmas assemblies.

The memory in this case – overhead projectors and Christmas song lyrics. Somehow, the classic “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night enters the picture!


Treadmills Near Me

It’s a gazillion dollar industry so you might find it bizarre that there is a person that doesn’t like a treadmill. Other than me, there’s Matthew Morris.

I’ll be honest; we had one in our bedroom and it became a place to hang clothes. It was purchased with the best of intentions for getting fit. Or, at least getting moving.

Quite frankly, it’s boring and my bad knee just became worse from using it. We ended up giving it to my daughter along with our best wishes. I should ask her how it’s going.

If you ever wondered if someone could paint a story about a treadmill, you’ll be interested to read this post from Matthew.

I wonder what he feels about dog walking. It’s an exercise that you can’t put off. At least three times a day.


In the Midst of Life . . .

Slow death and muffled grief

Joan Vinall-Cox shares some writing and an image that really hit me emotionally.

It hit at close to the same time as the news of the issues at Schlegel Villages.

Joan, this is a powerful piece and I know that you didn’t write it with me in mind but you hit me right between the eyes.


Please take some time to click through and read these wonderful blog posts.

Then, make sure that you follow these folks (and their blogs) on Twitter.

  • Beth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Terry Greene – @greeneterry
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Joan Vinall-Cox – @JoanVinallCox

This post is from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I’m still saddened by the lack of Hallowe’en things in parts of the province as laid out by the Premier last week. Hallowe’en is the last fun event before Christmas and was always a day that I looked forward to as a child. Even in areas like around here where we aren’t the recipient of the mandate from him, everyone is encouraged to find alternatives.

Since it’s a Friday, I’d like to share with you some great blog posts that I read recently and would encourage you to check them out yourselves. As always, if you’re an Ontario Edublogger, let me know; I’d love to add you to the collection.


Why “Time” Matters …

If you follow Aviva Dunsiger on social media, you know that this time of year, she follows the “Snails Across the Curriculum” resource. Amidst all this, she shares a story about the importance of time and how she and her partner are reminding each other to slow down so that students have more time on task.

It’s an interesting piece of advice but I’d like to see it further extended that their classroom.

Personally, in these COVID days, I find myself rushed all the time. And for no particular reason. In normal times, I linger while grocery shopping and I impulse buy; I like to browse the aisles at the LCBO; and, as I’ll talk about later, I’ll spend all kinds of time wandering bookstores when we’re at the mall.

These days, though, there’s none of that. I’ve got the floor plans of any place I’m going in to memorized and I’m basically in and out with what I had planned to do. Nothing more or nothing less. I haven’t even experimented with a new wine.

Aviva’s post and her stories about snails have got me doing a personal reality check. Maybe it’s time to slow down a bit and think about what I’m missing while I’m in such a rush. The things we learn from snails.


Month 1: Done

For Lisa Corbett, the month of September flew past. I’m hearing the same thing from all kinds of people. With all the angst that abounds, schools are now in the second month of the educational year.

Time flies when you’re having fun!

She shares some of the ways that she plans for curriculum – on her own and with personal experiences – and some of the things that have been covered in the mathematics classroom. I was a bit surprised when she talked about the use of manipulatives; many others are finding more pen and paper ways of doing things. But, we know from past experience that there’s so much more insight that can be had with hands-on activities. Yet, it’s not life as usual with them as she describes the nightly routine that she goes through to make sure they’re disinfected for the next day.

Next up – robots from the Education Centre. I wonder how you sterilize a robot?


How are you doing? Making time to check in

As I read this post from Jennifer Casa-Todd, I was reminded of an incident in my first or second year of teaching. I was walking outside the English hallway and met one of the teachers.

Me: “How are you doing?”

Him: “Why? Do you really care?”

I don’t recall what my response was but I hope that I was nice. I shared the experience with a colleague who left me know “Oh, that’s so and so”. He’s like that.

For me, it was never like that before or since. The moment still sticks with me as a result.

I still will asked people how they’re doing when I run into them. I do kind of care.

Jennifer’s post reminds us that it’s important to do these check-ins and they’re obviously much more serious these days. She shares her thoughts about the importance of doing this and also a Google document template that you can borrow and modify to make it unique to you. It’s certain to take on more importance as more classes go online. She’ll even take you to the level of mindfulness and its importance.

I hope that it’s reciprocated and that friends and colleagues are also checking in on Jennifer.


Cataloging and Comprehending

I felt compelled to include this post from Melanie White since she mentioned me! and also came down on the side of Elizabeth Lyons and centred writing!

But, I’ll be honest; I’ve read the post probably a dozen times and I’m sure that the message that she intends still eludes me.

Despite that, there still were some takeaways for me – I now know the word “chiasmus” although I’m not sure how I’d use it – and I really like the paradox that she talks about with her Grade 12 students and

the ability to intellectually hold two contradictory ideas which can both be simultaneously true;

That pretty much sums up two party politics in a nutshell.

Maybe if I’d become a librarian, I would have had some better insights to the rest of her post!


Impact/Moments

Speaking of Elizabeth Lyons, this post outlines another cheat of hers in the “one word” for the year activity that many educators take on. She’s already diverged by insisting on “one word” per month for 2020 except for October where she’s taking on the two words in the title to the post.

And she rationalizes it nicely.

Imagine being a teacher-librarian in a school. In a normal year, you’re fully booked with classes coming in for research, book exchange, readings, technology, and teachers coming in for curriculum planning assistance.

The traditional isn’t happening this year but Elizabeth is still trying to make a similar or better impact this year. The opportunities may not be as scheduled or as planned but moments that they become available are her opportunity to make her presence known.

So, the combination makes absolute sense here.


How to be an Anti-Racist in a Bookstore

This post from Matthew Morris might have been about me. It was his observation of an older white man in a bookstore. Matthew shared his thoughts about just what this man might be.

I checked so many of the boxes.

  • blue jeans. Absolutely. I don’t know that I actually have any others anymore except for some really dressy ones for fancy occasions. Except, my wife would never iron my blue jeans
  • plaid shirt. Maybe, although since the weather is cooler these days, it’s more likely a sweatshirt but definitely something comfortable
  • grey hair and glasses – check
  • cottage – no
  • mid-size sedan – does a Ford Fusion count? Check? I bought mine used
  • football – yes; golf – not for years – a real divergent here
  • green lawn – yes, but by dumb luck; I don’t water
  • retired – check

Matthew was surprised to see this man in the “community and culture” section. That could be me. For me, book stores are a place where I can go without an agenda. It’s just a nice place to spend time and just wander aimlessly throughout just looking at book titles and covers.

The part that I think that went missing was that Matthew didn’t stop and talk with the man as it sounds like he wanted to. I can’t help but think that that was an opportunity lost for both of them.

But that would be too judgmental. I put myself in Matthew’s shoes and I could understand standing back and doing nothing.


Unpacking the Invisible White Backpack in a Time of Black Lives Matter

Matthew’s post brought back a memory of this one from Deborah Weston. I’m wondering that if my comments about Matthew’s post don’t come from within my own personal Invisible White Backpack.

My knowledge of my family tree doesn’t go back very far, nowhere near what she describes in the post. I know where three of my grandparents came from – Denmark, Germany, and Great Britain and that’s about it. It never occurred to me in my younger days to dig deeper and maybe that’s because it didn’t matter. I was born in Ontario and I like to think I fit in nicely into my community.

As Deborah’s husband notes:

 He knows that White people have more privilege and “it has always been that way.”

I found it interesting to read Deborah sharing her heritage and her understanding about appearances and fitting into society. A great takeaway from her post though are the activities and resources about the topic that she shares.


Please do take some time and read the blog posts from these great Ontario Edubloggers. There’s so much there.

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

  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Deborah Weston – @DPAWestonPhD

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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