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.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


After a quick check to make sure this is Thursday morning and if I schedule it properly, it will come out tomorrow, here’s a sampling of the great thinking from Ontario Edubloggers.


So you’re teaching from home. How’s your back?

You know how your feet hurt when you get a new pair of shoes?

It might be that you’re experiencing different pain now as a result of teaching online from at home. I suspect that many people will be jumping in worried about teaching, worried about kids, worried about isolation, worrying about a lot of things except their own well being.

Will Gourley gives us a sense of the pain that he’s feeling in his particular work situation, along with pictures of folded clothes indicating that his desk doubles as a laundry space or that after allocating all the good spaces in their three stories to others, he’s left with this.

He offers five good suggestions for taking care of yourself and they’re all worth considering if you find yourself dealing with discomfort or outright pain these days. Or, use it as a check so that you don’t end up in that case.

What he didn’t include was taking a break and folding laundry…


Remotely Speaking

As I said during the This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcast, Melanie White could be a poster child for effectively trying to engage all students.

She’s pedagogically savvy enough to try and ensure that all students are engaged in class activities and technically savvy enough to recognize that it may take more than one strategy to reach everyone.

I love this image from The Mentoree that she includes in the post.

I really appreciated the fact that she shared how all students don’t follow the formal conventions of writing when using email. I think it’s a nice reminder that the technologies that are often available and in use are our technologies and may not be the ideal solution for a new generation.

Of course, everyone just got thrown into the middle of this; it will be interesting to see if more relevant tools emerge that are more easily embraced.


Skyscraper Puzzles – printable package

When I think back at the Mathematics that I studied (and I studied a great deal of it), there really was a focus on Algebra and Geometry. For the longest time, Geometry was really about two space and it wasn’t until the later years that we got into three space.

Ironically, though, three space was represented in two space via the blackboard.

This post, from Mark Chubb, offers up free materials that he’s made to help students with the understanding of space. They’re called Skyscraper Puzzles and a link will let you download and work with them. The resource is in PDF format.

By itself, that would be worth the read of the post. But, Mark takes it to a new level. He indicates that he had some helpers with the work. Anyone who believes in the maker concept will immediately realize that they just wouldn’t be creating materials – they’d be learning the concepts as well. As we know, you never really know something completely until you teach or make it.


Ça va prendre un chapeau d’apprenant!

Anyone teaching from at home at this time will definitely identify with this observation from Marius Bourgeoys.

The comfort zone has left the building.

Marius includes a number of observations that are hard to disagree with. Towards the end of the post, he offers 12 suggestions for checkins with students.

I found number 7 particularly interesting.

Quelles nouvelles responsabilités as-tu à la maison?

We all know that it’s not life as usual. In some cases, though, it may be substantially different for some students other than just taking their schooling online.

Mom and Dad may be essential workers and that student is picking up additional responsibilities to make sure that the family continues to thrive. I think it’s a very powerful question to ask student and could easily be a great writing prompt.


Sandie’s Music Teaching Blog

Students in K-12 are not the only ones dealing with the current reality of teaching/learning. In this post, Sandie Heckel is looking for advice from the field to give to prospective music teachers.

It’s a good advice to be sought at any time, for any subject.

I would suggest that it’s particularly relevant in these times. Many of the school re-opening plans that I’ve seen specifically name music as a subject that won’t be there when school resumes.

Those providing the advice are looking beyond that. They recognize the value of music in a child’s life and offer ways to consider your own personal growth planning.


Math at Home: Week 1

There have been a lot of memes circulating about the learning at home situation and one of the funniest was a couple of kids complaining that not only were they being schooled at home but that their mother was a math teacher.

Lots of that ran through my mind when I read this post from Lisa Corbett. Her son’s doing the math and she’s giving us a blow by blow account of how it’s going. And, they have a blackboard to do math on. Who has a blackboard at home these days? Got to be a teacher!

It’s a good accounting of what’s happening. I think there will be a big payoff when all this is over by re-reading blog posts and learning about the learning that everyone experienced. Journaling this experience is good advice for everyone. They didn’t prepare you for this at the Faculty of Education. You’re living history as it happens so why not document it.

There’s another element to this that can’t be lost. Not only is she working with her own kids schooling at home, but there’s still those from her day job that are learning at a distance too. Double-dipping.


Teachers Reminisce

This post, from Albert Fong, goes back to the beginning of March. It seems so long ago now.

Speaking of a long time ago, Albert relates a story of a youngster coming to Canada and learning to grow up in his new reality in different schools. This new reality includes fighting amongst schoolmates. That part, I could relate to. I suspect we all can.

But, what happened when an older student got involved was not something that I had ever experienced.

Albert learned from that moment and that experience and had an opportunity to apply his learning when he was a bit older.


For a Friday morning, please click through and enjoy these blog posts. There is some great inspirational reading to be enjoyed here.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Mark Chubb – @markchubb3
  • Marius Bourgeoys – @Bourmu
  • Sandie Heckel – @SandieHeckel
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Albert Fong – @albertfong

This post appears at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I hope this is Friday. All the days seem to be the same anymore. If it is, it’s the weekend ahead. What are you doing to celebrate?

I might have to cut the grass again.

It was a major sense of accomplishment here to roll the calendar forward a day to schedule this post for a new month. It’s the little things.

Anyway, enjoy some of the recent works from Ontario Edubloggers.


If you aren’t still in a school library…

Beth Lyons shares a reflection about life as a school librarian who isn’t going into a physical library these days.

And then she asks

Am I still a teacher-librarian?

It’s an important question to ask. For many of our who were out of the classroom during major disruptions to the normal, it is something that we always pondered “You wouldn’t know; you’re not in the classroom”, “You don’t have to do report cards”, …

I think it’s natural to see yourself as having a bulls-eye on the forehead at times like this and to do some self-examination.

But step back a bit. There are thousands of teachers who aren’t in their traditional classroom. That doesn’t make them less of a teacher. More that ever, being in a school isn’t the defining factor of teacher. Similarly, being in a library doesn’t define who is a teacher-librarian.

The rules have changed, to be sure. But the things that make a school a school continue. The same applies to Teacher-Librarians. While a classroom teacher knows her/his curriculum backward and forward, a Teacher-Librarian typically knows everyone’s expectations. It seems to me that they can be the best resource a teacher working with a class online can have. While all the resources many be digital for a while, the Teacher-Librarian can be working harder than ever providing research and assistance for colleagues. Beth shares what she’s doing in the post.

Here’s an excellent read to support that notion – School Librarians Take the Lead During the Pandemic.

I think it’s normal for everyone to ponder their abilities with these new situations. Now is not the time to pull back; it’s more important than ever to be visible to others and supportive like never before.


Setting Up Communication with Students in Distance Learning

Alanna King shares an insight to the learning space that is carved out of the King household where she and Tim are now working with their classes.

This post is a wonderful story and truly answers the question “Can students get involved in community service during this time”?

And, it comes from Tim King’s Computer Engineering students. He shared a form with staff members indicating that his students could offer some technical support. In Alanna’s case

I would like a secure Google Doc/Form way to communicate mark updates with students. I’m wondering if we can use something like DocAppender on a spreadsheet to mail merge a column to users with a specific email address e.g. 72 goes to aking@ugcloud.ca and then to have the recipient create a read receipt/digital signature to confirm that they have read it.

One student stepped up with a solution and documented it via a YouTube video.

In these days with all kinds of stories swirling, this is just so inspirational. I hope that the rest of the staff is tapping into this resource. It just has to lighten their load and put their mind at ease knowing someone has their back if they run into problems.

Where do you look for support at this time?


Leadership and Learning under Lockdown

Sometimes, it definitely are the little things that we take for granted and Sue Dunlop reaches out with her experience during the lockdown in her section of the world.

When you think about it, Education is all about timed events. The morning bell is at #.##, National Anthem and announcements at #.##, Every class is ## minutes long. You have exactly # minutes to travel from one room to another otherwise you’re going to be marked late. Lunch is at ##.## and final dismissal is at ##.##. Everything is programmed and timed down to the last minute.

If you’ve ever tried to make an appointment with a superintendent at her/his office, you have to go through a support staff person and will be given a time slot during the course of the working day.

For the most part, the classroom or office door is closed (literally or figuratively) while work is happening. It’s what we do. It’s what we’ve done since kindergarten. Education is no place for a timetable non-conformist!

In light of all this, there are special moments and that’s the point of this post from Sue. You go to the mailroom or the staffroom or out into the hallway between classes or a whack of other quick moments when you’re not switched ON. Those happenstance moments are what Sue is missing at this time.

She’s trying to replicate it during lockdown. And yet, it’s still not the same. Even to have an informal chat on a video conference, you typically have to schedule a time when all participants are able to be there.

Sue concludes with a call to action for leaders to contemplate once they’re back together. I suspect it will be a part of a long list of reflections about this experience. If nothing else, I’ll bet that we all have a deeper sense of appreciation of those moments.


It isn’t a pivot, it’s a giant leap

When I coached football, we had three quarterbacks and one of them was left-handed. We had one play that required a “pivot” and what should have been simple (I thought) wasn’t for everyone. One took too it easily and the other two had challenges. It didn’t come across as a natural action for one and for the left-handed one, it was difficult to even describe because the play was a mirror reflection. I am right handed and there’s no way that I could gracefully demonstrate what was needed.

I learned there that things aren’t always easy and transferable. Peter Cameron has a very distinct edge in voice with his advice to the Minister of Education calling the transition from regular classroom teaching to “Emergency Distance Learning” a simple pivot. His words brought back that football memory immediately. It was almost surreal because I can’t remember the last time I actually ever used the word pivot.

If I had to select an educator that I would think could make the move to distance learning relatively easily, Peter would be high on my list of choices as I consider him well connected. But, like so many, he notes that his misses the daily interaction with students. So, he definitely hasn’t simply pivoted to the new reality.

In other news from Peter, he shares a reminder of the upcoming MAD (Make A Difference) PD event this weekend. Details are here.


Math Links for Week Ending Apr. 24th, 2020

David Petro is always good for some resources for Mathematics and, with his deep understanding of it and the Ontario Curriculum, shares resources and ties them directly for classroom teachers.

This week’s collection resources, video, and images featured a flash back to FEUT Professor Fraser who was part of my teacher education. He shared this puzzle…

It was a wonderful puzzle and I was thinking about coding a solution when I scrolled down and saw that someone had created a moving example illustrating why it works.

The other important takeaway from David’s post announces that, although the annual OAME Conference is cancelled, there will be a “virtual OAME” in its place. Everyone is invited and it’s free.

I look through the sessions and was proud to note some names from my former school district and most certainly many folks that are part of my #FollowFriday posts. It’s a nice replication of the traditional conference including door prizes.


DigCitTO and the future of conferences

DigCitTO had dropped off my radar. It’s a short duration event normally held face to face. Driving all the way to Toronto, finding parking, etc. really makes it prohibitive.

But, the organizers went ahead and held the event anyway, shifting to the online world. Editorial Note: microwaving something from M&M pales in comparison from the great downtown Toronto food.

As it turned out, I could only drop in a couple of times for a few minutes to see what was up.

In this post, Diana Maliszewski shares her conference attendance (or partial attendance) including a session that she co-presented. All in all, good reading.

She did close with some musing about the future of conferences. Some, perhaps, could live in an online presentation world. I think that those of us who have attended sessions know that online that they can easily turn into a “sit ‘n git” with the worse of them. It really takes a skilled presenter to bring interactive elements into such a session. I look to Speaking Bureaus to provide learning into engagement techniques because this will be our future for a while anyway. Diana has a question mark beside the OLA Superconference. Gulp.

Regardless, there are so many things that I would miss – exhibit halls, interactive sessions, hugs from friends, first meetings with new friends, walking a strange city, finding old friends and meet up for dinner, sitting in a pub or bar sharing war stories and so much more. Organizations use the opportunities to foster partnerships and use attendance fees to fund themselves. So much would change if this format was lost.


Classrooms After Covid-19

How’s this for coincidence?

Shortly after I scheduled my post for Re-opening questions, I got a message from Deb Weston that she had written this post.

Like my crystal ball, Deb took the opportunity to envision what classrooms might look like once teachers and students are able to return to them.

She has a nice discussion on the various elements as she sees them. There are just so many concerns and decisions that have to go into the planning. While my approach was largely from my thoughts in a secondary school background, she brought into focus what an elementary school might have to plan for.

What comes through in both of our posts is the concept that schools are a large mass of humanity compressed into small facilities. Bizarrely, the media seems to be spending more time reporting on how baseball might open or hockey might wind down than what schools re-opening might look like.

The biggest cost item (other than hand sanitizers) would be staffing and she takes some time doing the mathematics and predicts that a 42% increase in the number of teachers would be needed.

I’d like to suggest that both posts would be good reads and “look fors” when the bell rings. You can’t just flip a switch.


Please find some time to click through and read the original posts. We live in interesting times and there are some great thoughts generated.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Beth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Alanna King – @banana29
  • Sue Dunlop – @Dunlop_Sue
  • Peter Cameron – @cherandpete
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Deb Weston – @DrDWestonPhD

This post originated on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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