This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to this blog and a regular post around here. Friday mornings are an opportunity to take a look at a number of blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. They’re always inspirational so let’s go…


Educational Bourgeoisie

Tim King was the guest host this week on the This Week in Ontario Edublogs radio show on voicEd radio. We talked about this post, inspired by a podcast that he did with his wife Alanna and his reading of Starship Troopers.

Tim sees a lot of parallels between the book and his life and shares them with us. In particular, “Everybody works, everybody fights”. Does that apply to education?

Tim uses this as an opportunity to think about teachers in Ontario that aren’t in classrooms. He estimates this to be 20%. He feels that when cuts come along, they apply to the classroom and the 20% bourgeoisie are unaffected.

As a person who spent part of my career in that 20% group, I know that we all have challenges in education. When you’re not providing a viable service to those who are in the classroom, it’s only fair that stones are thrown.

I wonder though … given that there is a desire for student population in classrooms to be at 15 … are there enough teachers available to hire or will the districts use those bodies at the board office to help with numbers. It will be a real statement on how a system values those in those positions.


Stunt Riding is Easier Than You Think in Ontario (and everywhere else evidently)

Tim actually has a couple of blogs. In addition to Dusty World where I pulled in that first post, he also blogs at Mechanical Sympathy. A recent post there has me thinking and wondering even more – on a different topic.

Tim tells a story about a motorcycle outing (complete with pictures) which lead to a discussion with another biker.

There was someone that ended up getting a Stunt Driving ticket for standing on the pegs of his motorcycle. If found guilty, the penalties are pretty severe and expensive.

Until this point, my understanding of stunt driving had been about those who get caught on the 401 particularly around Chatham for doing excessive speeds.

It never occurred to me that standing up on the pegs was problematic. I’ve seen it all the time and just figured that it was a chance to “unstick” yourself or, er, um, air things out. I would have thought some consideration would have been given to what the person was actually doing while in this position. I could see if you were swerving or driving dangerously otherwise. A ticket for that makes sense.

Tim takes on the situation and the Ontario laws in this post.


Scared, But Certain

Aviva Dunsiger is a person who I would suggest is one of the most positive and upbeat educators I know. Read her blog and you’ll see that she generally loves her job and enjoys her interactions with children.

In fact, at times, I wonder to myself if she’d feel the same way in a Grade 11 mathematics classroom. She makes reference to a blog post from here where I had noted that hugs are often currency in the younger years. I can honestly say it isn’t in Grade 11.

Teaching is an acquired taste!

School re-opening in whatever shape it occurs in Ontario and Hamilton-Wentworth will undoubtedly be different.

So, back to her title – in the post she lets us know that she’s scared and for sure questioning things but she’s certain that she’s going to make it work.


Black Hands Doing Mathematics

This post from Idil Abdulkadir left me with my mouth open just a bit when she described an observation made by her students.

Using a document camera to demonstrate things in her classroom is a way of getting the job done. I get that. I used to use an overhead projector all the time. It’s a great way to do things; you never turn your back on a class and you’re able to recognize hands that go up or puzzled faces immediately. Personally, I also found it easier to write neatly than on a chalkboard. My older technology didn’t try to do anything fancy; it just took what was there and projected it.

But her students noticed that something that was happening in Ms. Abdulkadir’s class that wasn’t in others. The camera was adjusting the colour balance because of the colour of her hands. Let that sink in for a minute.

There’s a lot of ways that this could be interpreted but she felt that it means something.

I want my students to see Black hands doing delicate work.
I want my students to see Black hands solving equations.
Black fingers counting.
Black hands doing mathematics.
Black hands making beautiful things.
Black hands and Black people thriving.

To that, I would add “I want students to see Black hands writing computer programs”.


Tents

Lisa Corbett missed the opportunity to talk about her son being a “child of the corn” when making an emergency pit stop. There were trees though.

The tree in question was near the community arena’s parking lot and that led to some observations and some social understanding during this time of COVID. Like every arena in the province, there was no ice, and the facility was used to give the homeless a place to isolate.

Now that the municipal plan of using the arena from April to June is over, those who would normally use the service have to look for other places. Lisa uses the opportunity to talk about the invisible homeless.

They’re there in every community. COVID has eased but has not gone away. Perhaps this will force communities to come to grips with this issue in a more permanent way.


AVOID THE SUMMER SLUMP: FOR SECONDARY STUDENTS

Although I had talked about this post from Alanna King in a previous post, it never was done on the TWIOE podcast. Tim wanted to give his lovely wife a shout out, so we did.

In the post, she offers three recommendations for secondary school students for the summer.

  • Read widely
  • Read Canadian
  • Buy yourself a new notebook

You can’t argue with that logic so it doesn’t hurt to repeat it. As I rethink this post, it may be even more relevant. As Tim noted during the show, he noted a drop off in student engagement with the Minister of Education indicated that marks wouldn’t count.

So, perhaps the Summer Slump started for some students even earlier than usual.

C’mon students – take her advice.


Math Links for Week Ending Jul. 24th, 2020

I’m guessing that I’m part of the choir that David Petro preaches to. I enjoy his Friday look around at the world of mathematics. I do wonder about his abbreviation for July though.

This time, he’s encouraging engagement in a couple of Twitter discussions in addition to his regular collection of:

  • Resource Links
  • Video Links
  • Image Links

The discussion and images in the Image Link is a reminder that skillful people can make statistics say just about anything – including incorrect things.


Please take the time to click through and read each of these wonderful posts. Then, make sure that you’re following them on Twitter for further engagement.

  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Tim King – @mechsymp
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Idil Abdulkadir – @Idil_A_
  • Lisa Corbett – @lisacorbett0261
  • Alanna King – @banana29
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314

This post was originally posted at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

My, how you’ve grown


Regular readers know that I get really excited about maps and visualization.

Peter McAsh shared the resource Human Terrain recently. He was excited to share it because it was all about geography. Me, I like the visualization concept.

You start out in the San Francisco area but take the tour (bottom left corner of your screen). You’ll get a sense of what is shown and how it’s displayed. Of course, there’s a great deal of learning to be done along the way.

Then, play locally.

I zoomed in so that I could see both Detroit and Toronto.

There is quite a difference between the population of the two cities as you can see here. If you zoom in, you can see that the information is displayed in blocks. The higher the block and more intense the colour, the higher the population.

It’s quite interesting to pick out communities – Chatham, Sarnia, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, and so on. Zooming in on a location reveals quite the story.

We know that Detroit was indeed a bigger city as one time and there is a time shift that will take you back 30 years to 1990 and show the difference in two panels, side by side.

Of course, I didn’t stop there. I was off exploring the world with this tool.

Fascinating.

But don’t stop there. Back off to the home page for even more visualizations like this one showing US cities by their most Wikipedia’ed resident. Is that even a name?

Pounding the streets of St. Marys


It couldn’t have happened better if it was planned!

As regular readers know, yesterday I was inspired to look back on My Childhood Community as inspired by Zoe Branigan-Pipe’s Twitter messages on the weekend.  It was a fun look back at things.

Daily, I’m in contact with Former ECOO President Peter McAsh and a while back he shared with me a project that he was working on for the town of St. Marys.  My knowledge of the place actually does go back to my childhood and playing baseball there. We were positive that you could hit a home run over the fence into the quarry.  Our efforts really fell short! A frequent truck that we would see would carried the name St. Marys Cement. That’s pretty much all that I knew although I’ve dropped in to see Peter a couple of times and have taken mini-tours trying to figure out how to get to his place!

Anyway, to the project and why featuring it is a nice followup to yesterday’s post. As Peter had been developing it, I was his ongoing tester.

Along with the help of Amy Cubberley, Peter has constructed a Heritage Walking Tour of St. Marys.

Now, Amy is a Curator & Archivist and that gives her access to a lot of historical and modern images from about the town.  Peter used her assistance to create this walking tour.

All you have to do is visit the site at the link above.  Wander your way around the town and click on the bookmarks to see what they reveal.

Oh, look, a library!

Peter used the free ArcGIS Story Maps utility to create this tour.  Now, it’s online and visible to the world to help promote the town of St. Marys.  Can you find the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum?

Peter has long reminded me that he’s a Geography major as his first choice and he uses his skills here to develop this walking tour.

If you and your class are looking for a social studies / geography project, could this fit the bill?  And, if you’re interested in pounding the streets of St. Marys when all this stay at home stuff is over, bookmark the link.

In the meantime, you can take the tour virtually on this site.

Check even your reliable sources


If you like scenic drives, Highway 3 from Wheatley to Fort Erie is one of the very best in the province. Sadly, with the rise in level of Lake Erie there has been much damage along there. Highway 3 east of Wheatley has a long detour and the Erieau Community has had huge problems with dikes.

Recently, I read a story from BlackburnNews about work taken to address the flow of water from recent rainfall and raising levels.

In order to address the flooding concerns, conservation officials are planning to operate the McGregor Creek Diversion Channel either late Saturday afternoon or evening. However, water from the Thames River should still be expected to rise and flood the sidewalk along the river in downtown Chatham.

Now, I have relatives that live in Chatham-Kent so I was hoping that they wouldn’t be affected. I hadn’t heard of the McGregor Creek Diversion Channel so I asked my browser to find it for me using its mapping function.

I don’t maps in the browser all that often, but went with the default map for my browser which was Apple Maps. I was really taken back by the result that it gave me. Colborne? And not even Port Colborne which actually is on Highway 3, not this location on the other side of Toronto.

Now, I knew enough to know that this was an incorrect location so explicitly did a search using tools I more regularly use – Google and Bing maps.

I know that we all are aware of fake websites. The one that we frequently use as a media literacy example is the Pacific Tree Octopus.

It’s a reminder that nothing should be taken in absolutely faith without a second opinion or a reasonableness test.

I’m just glad that I wasn’t ready to hop in a car to go and visit the site. Other than the fact that we shouldn’t be leaving home these days, that’s almost a full day’s drive from here!

Where have you been?


How about this for a little geographical diversion?

maploco lets you quickly and easily graphically display interesting graphic diversions. It starts with a simple premise … what provinces have you visited?

For me?

Yes, I have this thing about Western Canada. But, I’ll admit that a conversation with a friend this November has convinced me that I absolutely need to visit Prince Edward Island. It is in our planning stages depending on how things work out.

South of us, in the United States, here’s what I’ve got.

I’m sure that your head is spinning with teaching ideas to spin from something this easy to create.

It gets even better … toss in maps of Europe or the entire world.

There are share buttons at the bottom if you wash to share your results. Or, a screen capture like I did above might be a helpful way to handle things as well.

What a great way to visually show off diversity!