This Week in Ontario Edublogs


There never seems to be any shortage of good blog pieces from Ontario Edubloggers. Friday is my opportunity to share what I’ve read recently.

Here goes…


Arguments for Teacher Performance Pay in Ontario

This wasn’t the first time that Kyleen Gray has blogged about the merits of Performance pay for teachers. See the older post here. In this post, she argues five areas where she feels how performance pay would improve the profession.

  • Will support retention of effective teachers
  • Improve teacher performance
  • Positively impact student learning
  • Public perception of teacher professionalism
  • Vet poor teachers from the teaching profession

Personally, I have a difficult time seeing how it would play out in the long run.

  • Who would make the judgement about who is effective and who isn’t?
  • What is the baseline against which performance would be judged?
  • Particularly in her fifth point, would there be an opportunity for a “poor teacher”, however that is defined, to improve?
  • Are some subject areas more valuable than others?
  • How do you compare performance across grades, across subject areas, across a school district, indeed across a province so that there is a consistent standard?
  • Do we place higher value on coaching than we do on a person upgrading their qualifications or the experience and wisdom that comes from longevity?

There are so many issues that I just can’t see a solution to with this premise. The value of teacher federations goes beyond pay – it also involves security, benefits, social activism, collegiality, pension … How does that survive?

Stephen Hurley also blogged about the issue here.


Slice is of Life: Who Needs Me?

I would argue that teachers work all year long to get to the point that Lisa Corbett describes in this post.

In a mathematics class, she found herself on the outside looking in. But in a good way!

No student needed her assistance and yet all of them were engaged with whatever activity they were assigned. (See the image with the smiley faces in her post)

My first note on Lisa’s post was “this doesn’t happen by accident”. It’s the result of a great deal of hard work creating the environment, developing the skill set, and finding engaging activities to have the students working in this manner.

I suppose that she could have left and got herself a coffee but she found other equally valuable things to do in the classroom. What’s not to like?


WHEN LAST PLACE FEELS LIKE FIRST PLACE

In the first sentence in this blog post from Mike Washburn, I had to open a tab and find out just what he was talking about when he claims to have finished a race on Zwift.

Then, I was able to read on and put things in context. I had already had my eyes drawn to the spreadsheet-like construct that appeared in the post. So, Zwift allows him to compete against others in a MOOC for cycling and running. He was competing against people from who knows where and who cares where with the goal of pushing himself to do better things.

It’s an interesting concept and he admits that he had some pretty strict competition but it was a fellow competitor by the name of Lisa that kept him going. A lesser person might have just given up.

So, he stuck with it. Then, he turns his eyes towards the classroom. Is there personal learning that he could take from his experience to get the same results from his own students?

It’s an interesting read. I think it is a good reminder that we all need others to support us in our endeavours. As adults, we hopefully can realize this. How can we set the table so that students get the same understanding?


Find A Vision

Joel McLean offers a video well worth the time watching.

We can’t all be visionaries. I think we all know that.

But, how do you work for/with/along with someone who is.

Joel offers three suggestions…

  • Ask questions
  • Put on a different pair of glasses
  • Have faith

And, there’s another piece of advice that a visionary that I worked with told me once which was one of his attributions of success.

Surround yourself with smart people

I think we should all learn that we just might be that smart person that they want with them. If we use Joel’s advice, you just might be able to make them better.


Perseverance, struggle and a little grit: How running a 53km race relates to Education

Seriously? 53km?

Even biking that distance is an edurance. Jonathan So did this race and it took him 06:16:49.

The numbers and the distance just blow me away.

So, what does it mean in education? I like his quote

if we want our students to _____ than we need to show it.

He shows endurance, grit, partnerships, and all those things that we value in education. What a great testimonial about how he undertakes these things in personally.

It would take a brave student to refuse to do a lap of the track or gym in Mr. So’s classroom after this.

And that smile!


Do We Need A Scaffolded Approach To Bullying?

Coming from an educator in Hamilton, Aviva Dunsiger, served to put a great deal of context to her thoughts about bullying, particularly at this time.

On the eve of a bullying prevention assembly, she’s musing about ways to get a suitable message across. It’s NOT an easy topic. If it was, we would have solutions in place already.

Maybe this message is a utopian ideal. Maybe it won’t work in every grade. I wonder though if there needs to be a scaffolded approach to bullying. Would a book like this one be a good start in kindergarten, and what might the impact be as the kids progress along the grades?

I’d love to see a Language teacher or a teacher-librarian take a read of Aviva’s post and provide a continuum of books for students to help the cause.

While we may not have the ultimate answer, I love the fact that teachers are thinking, talking, and through this blog post, advocating for the cause.


New Journeys

This blog post, from Lisa Munro, gives us an insight into education that we don’t always see. She’s a Superintendent of Education and blogging. As she notes:

I have hesitated to blog too much in this system role because, misguided or not, I sometimes feel people expect me to be the expert and that is not a great feeling.  If you have ever blogged you know there is a certain vulnerability in putting your ideas into a public space; a vulnerability and a commitment.

There absolutely is a vulnerability when you’re blogging. It’s something that I think that we all come to wrestle with the concept periodically. In Lisa’s case, she’s only two months into this new role so can be justified to be feeling that way a bit.

I can’t help though, but think that there’s real value in pairing this post with Joel’s post above. Nobody is in the position of being the all-knowing expert. But you can surround yourself with supportive and wise people and what better platform than a blog to make this happen?

Lisa does invite you to converse with her via blog and Twitter. Why not take her up on that?


So, absolutely, there is another wonderful collection of blog post for this week. Please do take the opportunity to read their thoughts in their entirety.

Then, make sure you follow them on Twitter.

  • @TCHevolution
  • @LisaCorbett0261
  • @misterwashburn
  • @jprofnb
  • @MrSoClassroom
  • @avivaloca
  • @LisaMunro11

This post originates from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

Coding for Young Mathematicians


I summarized my thoughts about Lisa Floyd’s presentation at the Bring IT, Together Conference like this.

Calculators are successful in Mathematics not because we learn how to write the code to create a calculator but because we use it to get a deeper understanding of non-trivial Mathematics

When I saw this in the program, I knew that I wanted to attend. Lisa has been doing a great deal of research into Mathematics and Computational Thinking and was a keynote a few years ago. I didn’t know what to expect but I was hoping for something other than a “Let’s do something cool in Scratch and then try to tie it into Mathematics or some other subject area”.

I wasn’t disappointed.

I’ve attended many a session like I described above. I always enjoy them (despite the sarcasm) but I always wonder about the claims of how students all understand coding and Mathematics as a result. Is that really true?

I was hoping that this wouldn’t be another like that. Plus the fact that she mentioned Scratch AND Python was intriguing.

As she notes, “Ontario does not have coding in K-8”. Of course this is true but we sure have all kinds of Mathematics! She gave us a number of different examples featuring Geometric Art, Gtowing Patterns, Plotting on a Grid, Probability, … In the presentation, she gave us lots of examples and talked us through the process that she uses.

None of the examples started with a blank screen! She stressed the concept of having students remix her content. By running what she distributes, the students see a Mathematical concept and then their understanding is pushed and enhanced by working with the code to make things something better.

Her approach is very visual by showing the results of the program and then takes on the Mathematics concepts. Tweak this, change that, what happens when you do this? How can you make the output look like this. The primary focus was purely on the Mathematics and the coding was secondary. It was a refreshing approach.

Lisa’s approach was cemented for me on the Friday. I attended a session where we were programming robots using a drag and drop language specifically written for those robots. We were to program them to do a task without knowing just what was happening. Often the tool that we needed was in another menu and we were encouraged to try some numbers to see how far in one direction we could make it go. Turning wasn’t a matter of turning 90 degrees, but applying force onto one wheel going in one direction while the other went in the other direction. We eventually figured it out but lost considerable time in the process. There were something like six groups in the room and nobody got the right answer; some were closer than others. Lisa’s concept of remixing would have fit right in.

I really do like her approach. I made myself another note…

Instead of debugging the program, she could spend time debugging the Mathematics involved…

You can check out some of the examples she used, in Scratch, on her website. Type the URL correctly; Lisa notes that a person with a similar spelling as chosen a different career path.

I had an opportunity to interview Lisa. You can read it here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Yesterday doing the voicEd Radio show was fun. Ramona Meharg joined Stephen and me live to do the show. She shared a number of things that I think Stephen and I would have overlooked. It was great.

Great, as well, was all the new equipment that Stephen had. Instead of my clip on headset with condenser mic, we had real radio quality stuff. So new and fresh, that he and Derek Rhodenizer were unpacking them for the first time. Everything worked out well. As always, it was a fun show and we chatted about these blog posts from great Ontario Edubloggers.


Cyber Dissonance: The Struggle for Access, Privacy & Control in our Networked World

From Tim King, a not-so-quick-and-easy post to read. He unloads his thoughts about everything dealing with this topic.

I have a theory about why it’s an increasing issue important to teachers and students and others in education.

Unless you’re teaching this stuff and staying up to date like Tim does (he takes courses), you don’t worry about it. Why? Because there’s nothing you can do about it.

Networks and computers in schools tend to be locked down and managed by others so you couldn’t make healthy decisions about setup even if you had the inclination. This leads to a mindset that carries on to home and personal setups. Think about it!

I wanted to attend Tim’s workshop but it was on at the same time as the voicEd broadcast. I found it telling that Tim had a packed house but when he asked how many were teachers, there were none. They were all IT professionals.


A Journey with Sketchnotes

I felt like Tina Zita wrote this post with me in mind. It’s all about the power of the Sketchnote and she goes kind of deep into the concept. The big message, as all Sketchnote posts seem to be, is that anyone can do it.

I’ve tried; I’ve failed.

Miserably.

Ramona chimed in with an interesting observation when I asked her if you should Sketchnote along with the topic being presented or should you wait until later and draw something from your notes.

She felt that people were in the former camp. I think that puts me even further behind because my attention is focused on the message and I don’t handle distractions real well.

I have great admiration for people that are indeed able to pull it off. If you’re interested, Tina summarises her plan that she had to indoctrinate others.


Walking in a New Way – the Ottawa Indigenous Walk

This is a very powerful and insightful post from Paul McGuire. He’s pulling all the stops out on opportunities for his teacher-candidate class.

In this case, he took them on a walking tour of Ottawa. What a rich setting for Canadiana and Canadian history. He’s done it many times.

But, this time, he had a indigenous community member lead the walk. What a concept.

We can all walk and look at and read the plaques but having someone who knows the story behind the story would be priceless.

Is such an opportunity available in your community?

Why not reach out and see if it is?


Autumn Math Walk

Autumn is such a beautiful season. Everything is in the process of change. Things that were great in the summer and preparing for winter. Things to come in winter are just around the corner.

What better way to inspire inquiring with students than going outside and checking things out.

That’s what Deanna McLennan did with her young students.

Young kids learning about the Fibonacci sequence?

Why not! It occurs in nature. Somehow, I feel cheated. I didn’t learn the concept until much later in my educational career. Wouldn’t it have been nice to understand that there was this thing in nature – as opposed to the here’s something else about mathematics that you need to know approach that I and so many others have traditionally done.

Of course, there’s more than that. Living in Essex County, we have this wonderful opportunity to see the Monarch butterfly migration. See everything that her students explored in this post.


How To Self Engineer A Learning Community?

For the population who think that kids just show up at school, sit in rows, absorb content and then graduate, they need to read the thoughts from Rola Ribshirani.

Written back in August, she shares with us feedback from last year’s students. Of course, everyone could do this. But you they? Do you?

It seems to me that this is a terrific opportunity if you truly believe that you’re growing as an educator and that you want to understand those faces in front of you. It’s also worth noting that what they see and feel may not be 100% accurate when held to the actual standard. More importantly, it’s IS true in their mind. When the two don’t meld, I would suggest the second concept is more important.

Rola also takes a bit of space to talk about bias. That’s an area that we can all appreciate and learn from.


30 Days of Gratitude: Day 26 – The Perfection in Imperfection

As a Clinton boy, I took a little pain from reading about Heidi Solway’s trip to Goderich with her husband. Goderich? Really?

You have to smile at the little things that were supposed to happen but didn’t on this getaway. It happens to all of us.

But what a nice description of a getaway to celebrate 25 years. I loved the list of the things that they did not do. And, of course, they did…

  • enjoying conversation over dinner at a quaint and quiet pub
  • hiking along a decommissioned railway under a canopy of trees
  • studying the activity at the salt mine as a barge made entry, then exit the next day
  • driving along the beach at night listening to the power of the waves, feeling immense presence in the moment
  • sleeping in perfect silence with no thought of waking to the wonderful racket of kiddos
  • browsing through books in the most perfect independent book store which seemed planted there awaiting my arrival
  • reminiscing, even just a little, over crazy and comical things from the past

I’ll be honest; when we return to Huron County, we do go to Goderich. It really is a delightful and beautiful place to visit.

And Heidi and Paul – congratulations on 25 years.


Hit By A Car

This post closes on a rather sad note from Diana Maliszewski.

Her husband and son were struck by a car in a crosswalk. She even reconstructs the accident scene for us.

Diana does go into great detail and I would encourage you to read this post to get the complete story.

For all of us, pedestrians or drivers, there’s a powerful message about paying attention and being alert at all times. It’s easy to get lulled into a sense that nothing will happen – until it does.

I’m sure that there will be more details from Diana in the future but if I could make one plea – put down that damn phone and pay attention.


Please take the time to click through and read these terrific blog posts. As always, there’s great learning to be had.

And, make sure that you’re following on Twitter…

  • @tk1ng
  • @tina_zita
  • @mcguirp
  • @McLennan1977
  • @rolat
  • @HSolway
  • @MzMollyTL

This post originated on

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


And just like that it’s November. With the first Friday, it’s time again to share some great writing from Ontario Edubloggers.

There’s a little more reading than normal with the post. There are a couple of bloggers who contributed their thoughts in two posts rather than one.

Why not use this as a chance for two coffees this morning?


Esports with Primary Students – Part 1: Jumping In
Esports in Primary – Part 2: Next Steps

From Rolland Chidiac, a couple of posts describing how he’s using sports software in his classroom. There’s a great deal of gaming and application of the concept throughout these posts.

In the first post, Rolland describes how he used a piece of software in his class with a bent towards going beyond the game and making a connection to Mathematics. All games have some way to keep score of your progress in the game. That’s what they’re all about. How else would you know if you won or not otherwise? In this case, Rolland’s students capture their scores and create their own collection of data to analyse. It reminds me of the time clocks kept during Formula 1 auto races. Then, based on this data, students predict how they could make their scores better.

In the second post, Rolland gets a little bit constructive with an unused Xbox from at home that arrives at school. The Xbox is an amazing device; I recall once at a Microsoft event where some students from Seattle had created a Fish Market simulation.

Rolland’s post, in this case, gets a bit technical about how he actually sets things up in his classroom. He provides an interesting list of the expectations that he has in mind.

I wonder if there might be a third post where the focus turns to students writing their own games.


Making Kindergarten Media Projects with Meaning

From Diana Maliszewski that actually could become a three parter by itself. It’s a collection of stories about kindergarten use of media due to Diana’s guidance.

One might expect that the whole focus could be on electronic technology but that’s not the point. Diana analyzes the interest of the three classes and shares activities involving…

  • making stuffed dinosaurs
  • skinny pigs and connection to literature
  • creating a Mystery Box video

Above and beyond the activities, it’s clear that Diana honours student voice in these activities.

And it sounds like a great deal of fun.


Indigenous Institute Blends Tradition & Tech to Preserve Anishinaabe Teachings

I think that you’ll really enjoy and be impressed with the project described in this post. Fair Chance Learning partnered with Seven Generations Education Institute to create virtual reality content to help preserve community traditions. Personally, I spent a great deal of time doing some background about the Seven Generations Education Institute so that I could truly appreciate what was happening.

The context is the Fall Festival which traditionally celebrates how the Anishinaabe prepare for the winter. The post talks about:

Like years before, local elders, volunteers and SGEI staff demonstrate wild rice preparations, tell traditional stories, sing at the Grandfather drum and cook bannock on a stick. Unlike in years passed, Fall Harvest 2019 incorporated virtual reality to help preserve these vital cultural teachings and enrich the education of our students.

I’m intrigued and will try to follow the results from this initiative. Hopefully, Fair Chance Learning will document it all on their website so that other communities can enjoy the benefits and do something on their own in other locations.

If you’re going to the Bring IT, Together Conference, there might be an opportunity to see this first hand?


Irene learns about teaching: Part 1a
Irene learns about teaching – Part 1b

So, here the other two-parter from Irene Stewart and her work at St. Clair College.

In the first post, she talks about those favourite teachers and how they become a model for you. It was quite an easy process for me and two teachers most certainly sprang to mind. I have no question about how they were models for me as I became a teacher. I felt badly though because what I remember most is their lecturing approach. I like to think that my classrooms were more of an activity based environment. I do struggle to think of activities from these teachers. I know that they were there but they’re not what first springs to life.

The second post describes a pilot and then ultimately an implementation of a course, THRIVES, that delivers on the awareness of the college environment and what it will take for students to be successful. The numbers she describes blew me away. 1 000 students in a pilot. Then nine sections with a total of 6 000 students.

There is an interesting reflection about activity in the course and the quizzes involved in the timeline throughout. It’s a nice reflection and I’m sure helped move her thinking as she went from pilot to implementation.


P is for Patience

I check in with Lynn Thomas periodically as she works her way through the alphabet and shares her insights on the work she chose. In this case, the word is “Patience”.

Is it a requirement to be a teacher?

I’d go further than that … it may, in fact, it may well be the best attribute that any person who aspires to be a teacher should have. After all, as teachers, we absolutely know the content. The students, not so much, or not at all. Success comes as a result of the transfer or attitude, knowledge, and skills.

Every students proceeds at his/her own speed. There is no one speed fits all. The best teachers recognize this and exercise patience to make everyone successful.

Education, as we know it, can be counter to this at times. We have defined times for courses and grades and an assessment has to be given whether you’re ready or not.

As I noted last week, I’m not necessarily a fan of PD at staff meetings because it isn’t always applicable to all. This concept, however, would definitely be worthwhile doing.

I’ll bet this post gives you some inspiration for thought – both as teacher and as student.


Math Links for Week Ending Oct. 25th, 2019

If you are in need of a weekly shot of inspiration for Mathematics, then David Petro’s blog is the place to head.

This week, look for ideas about:

  • Desmos, turtles, and graphing
  • Autograph graphing software
  • GPS
  • Polar co-ordinates and patterns
  • Tetraflexagons
  • MakeMathMoments podcast
  • Tessellations

Even if you don’t use the ideas right away, there’s just the beauty of Mathematics to enjoy.


Dreaming is Free

Terry Greene uses a Blondie song to set the stage for a professional learning session.

I would have gone with Supertramp.

Terry got the chance to run a keynote address to staff. My guess is that this doesn’t happen all the time so he decided to make the most of it. (His slides are available here)

In the course of his talk, he addresses:

  • Learning Technology Bank
  • Digital Learning Allies
  • Ontario Extend 2020
  • Ontario Extend but for Students
  • Alternative Assessment Bank
  • Open Badging
  • Collaborative Word Spaces
  • Lecture Capture
  • Open Educational Resources
  • Design Sprints
  • The Teaching Hub
  • The Open Patchbooks
  • Lecturcizing
  • Always Open Digital Meeting Room

I’m tired just assembling that list! Of course, I wasn’t there but I can’t help but believe that any one of those topics would be keynote material.

I’m still pondering Lecturcizing.


I hope that you can find the time to enjoy all this fabulous content by clicking through and enjoying the original post.

Your last to-do for this morning is to make sure you’re following these accounts on Twitter.

  • @rchids
  • @MzMollyTL
  • @FCLEdu
  • @IrenequStewart
  • @THOMLYNN101
  • @davidpetro314
  • @greeneterry

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I almost did it again.  Instead of “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”, I started to type the title as “The Week in Ontario Edublogs”.  I’ve done it before and that’s why this post’s numbering doesn’t reflect the actual number of times I’ve written this post.  Sigh.  Let’s just say I’ve written it a lot.

And here’s what I was excited to read this week.


An Alternative To A School Cellphone Ban

After a bit of a dry spell, Andrew Campbell is back blogging.  What caught my eye about this post was that he claimed that the Premier made reference to it on social media.

As Andrew notes, this isn’t a problem that schools have created, it’s one that parents and students have brought into schools with them.  So, Andrew offers the simplistic solution – have parents make students keep the devices at home.

I suppose that such a simplistic approach is doable.  After all, there are other things that are not allowed in schools and there are heavy handed consequences for doing so.  The same could apply to cellphones.

I think back to my schooling and we actually had to purchase a sliderule for use in school.  One of the wealthier kids in the class came with an electronic calculator and was absolutely forbidden to use this device which gave exact answers in favour of using a device that approximated the answer.

Calculators were introduced with some folks screaming about the demise of civilization (at least the Mathematics part of it) and yet these devices are just taken for granted these days.

I suspect that years from now, people will look back and laugh at how we anguished over the issue of BYOD and bringing powerful and enabling devices into the classroom.  The issue they might be debating could be about whether reading about Einstein or interacting with a holograph is more educationally sound.


Back To The Map Of Canada: What Do You Do With That 2%?

This post from Aviva Dunsiger brought me back nightmares about quicky PD sessions given in staff meetings.  Often they’re about 15 minutes long, totally out of context for me at least and ultimately we wrote them off as filler.

As you read Aviva’s post, you can visualize her heart rate climbing as a result of anxiety.  I’m surprised that she didn’t bring in something to do with self-regulation.

Personally, I can recall such PD sessions where I got my colours done in that 15 minutes to tell me that my learning style was something other than what I thought.  Then, there was the time we all had to sing and, believe me, you don’t want to hear me sing.  After the meeting I approached the superintendent and offered to lead a session to have everyone create a program and was turned down.  I guess there are priorities.

It seems to me that doing something in a staff meeting with teachers from various grades and subject areas is actually a very hard task.  It needs to be generic enough to be meaningful enough to everyone and yet valuable enough to justify the time devoted to it.

Not an easy task.


This week we did…something

It’s the time of year for Progress Reports – the things that go home in advance of Report Cards.  There was a time when these were a quick glimpse about socialization and a status report on work habits.  Now, they’re substantially more than that.

This post from Lisa Corbett paints an interesting picture of the challenge of making something worthwhile at this time of year, given her approach to the teaching and learning done in her class so far.

Because of the work I’m doing to spiral in math this year I am feeling like I don’t have a lot of things to use for comments on progress reports. I’ve decided to focus my commenting on some of the mathematical process skills.

I think that, when you read it, you’ll empathize with her plight.

Perhaps for the Mathematics subject area, she could just put a link to this post in the student progress report and have the parents read what’s going on here.


Focus on Trees – Part One

Absolutely every now and again, it’s really important to take a look at the learning environment and that’s what Ann-Marie Kee does here.  In particular, she identifying various trees and their significance on her school property.

Could you do that?

I think to some of the new builds where a bulldozer comes in and flattens everything and a boxy school building appears.  A little later, perhaps some grass and a few trees as part of a planting or community partnership.

You’d never be able to say this with that approach.

I think of our trees as keepers of our culture.

And, I just have to include this.


Preserving the Cup

Skip to the end and Beth Lyons says it well.

But our educators can not pour from an empty cup.

One of the things that Beth has observed is that this year is a bit different from others.  She claims to be an optimist but is struggling to have optimistic thoughts these days.

She sees teachers stretched thin already.  Herself included.  And, it’s only October.

Who better than a teacher-librarian who has interactions with every staff member in the school to make that observation?

Is there a magic potion that can be taken to turn this around?  I think we all know that the answer is no.  I can’t help but wonder if the recent election hasn’t contributed heavily to this – we live in a time when positive messages take a back seat to the negative.  It has to take a toll.

Caring for others is important but Beth notes many times that it’s also important to take care of yourself.  It’s not being selfish.

We need to get beyond that.


100DaysofCode

Peter Beens is participating in very active pieces of personal learning.  Earlier this week, I noted that he was part of the WordCamp in the Niagara Region?  This is different.

When you click through, you’ll see that this whole project is very comprehensive. Much like other challenges like the 30 days of photography challenges, Peter has to work on something every day. He’s doing so and documenting it.

You’ll also click through to see the activities and Peter sharing his notes on his work.

Wow!


‼️‼️ELECTION DAY‼️‼️

And, finally, a new Ontario Blogger. This is from Indigenous Awareness.

Essentially, this post is a summary of positions about Indigenous issues from the major political parties in Canada. When I first read it, I was feeling badly that I hadn’t read it in advance of the election.

And yet, now that we have a minority government in place, perhaps the messages and positions from the parties are even more important. Will they be held accountable?

By themselves, each of the parties have shared their positions. But, since no one party will be able to pass legislation without assistance from another, looking for common threads or close to common threads might be a good indication of what might happen.


As I say every week, please take the time to click through and read these posts in their original form. There is great thinking and sharing of ideas there.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter to stay on top of their future thinking.

  • @acampbell99
  • @avivaloca
  • @LisaCorbett0261
  • @AMKeeLCS
  • @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • @pbeens
  • @indigenousawrns

This post appeared originally on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s another week ending and a chance to share with you some of the great blogging that I’ve enjoyed reading from Ontario Edubloggers.

Enjoy!


Undercover Boss

On the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, Will Gourley tries to draw a parallel between the television show and education. The whole premise of the show is that the “boss” gets a lesson in the reality of the business by working with employees and, as a result, positive changes are made in the business.

It’s an interesting concept and makes for a great bit of television. Would it happen in real life? Well, maybe. Would it happen in education? Probably not.

After the required inspections, how often do administrators come into the classroom? Think about it and you’re probably thinking – never, or at least seldom. Sure, they might stick their head in the door once in a while but do they make a commitment to being immersed in a classroom routine and learning? Now, the reality is that they have other commitments and visiting every classroom for extended period of time in a school just isn’t workable.

But, move up the food chain a bit. Teachers know that they’re constantly being evaluated sight unseen by politicians in charge of the big provincial budget. Sure, there’s the odd photo opportunity that we all know is staged for perfection to make the school or initiative or politician look good. The reality of the day to day grind goes unnoticed. When was the last time that a politician was there to intervene in a fight, deal with angry parents, interact with the police and a student, or sit down to try to inspire learning in that student who just doesn’t get it no matter how much she tries?


Citation practices, using databases, and literature reviews #MyResearch

This post, from Anna Bartosik, wasn’t what I had expected from the title. I was kind of thinking that it might be “how to” type of post.

But, she confirmed what I’ve frustratingly known over the years of reading educational research. I’m sure that it happens in all disciplines. It came from a podcast she was listening to.

Heathers rhetorically asked how many people have read a journal article and googled something that was mentioned in a paper, found the citation, and appended it to their own paper, without reading it? Scholars are citing the top results, and Heathers wonders if these are lazy citation research methods and whether appropriate citations are being ignored.

I like her use of the term “lazy”. If you think about it, how many times have you seen Carol Dweck or Seymour Papert references in articles that you’ve read? Have the quoters actually read their works or are they just repeating a quote used by someone else in a similar article?

Or even worse, you read an article where an author mentions research from the same publishing company? Is this evidence of true objective research?

I think you’ll enjoy reading this blog post. I know that I did and also be true to Anna and read and listen to the references that she includes at the bottom of the post!


Swimming with my fish! Do it ALL!!

This is another post where I was mentally mislead from the title! I had another idea about what “swimming with the fishes” might mean but Joe Archer instead looks at the analogy “Do fish realize they’re wet?” which is a lovely question in itself.

There was a time when integration was the 10/10 for use of technology in the classroom. It implied finding a way for the technology to meld into the current practice to make it better.

Joe takes it to another level. Can you get 11/10?

The post was inspired by comments by students from one year to pass along to the next year’s incoming class.

This message popped out from the writing.

Archer does it ALL, you are in good hands

Now, I’d have that printed and framed and put on a wall. But that’s just humble me.

Joe uses the statement to give us a look at his thoughts about pedagogy, growth, and use of technology by himself and students in their learning space.

Read the post and you may get the feeling that aiming for integration isn’t aiming high enough any more.


UX/UI Design with Canada Learning Code

I still remember the first time that I saw “UX/UI” and thought that they’d spelled UNIX wrong. Such is the life of the nerdy.

Alanna King indicates, in this post, that she has followed Canada Learning Code with interest but hadn’t pulled the trigger to attend coding workshops with worry that “I would be completely out of my element”. I find that interesting since there are a couple of technology experts in her household that could be reached out to!

But, a recent offering wasn’t necessarily about coding, but about user interface and user design so she did pull the trigger. And, the post shows that she learned a great deal. It reminded me of the Women in Technology workshops that we used to offer Grade 7 and 8 girls.

I found her reporting pretty in depth and philosophical about design. The ketchup bottles definitely show the different between experience and design.

There was a big takeway for me; I had never heard of the Marvel app before. Alanna shares her group’s work via link in the post.


Designing the Learning Environment : Why students, pedagogy and critical reflection should come first

This post, from Rob Cannone is another one of those that I’ve read that I can’t help but feel could be used at a Faculty of Education. I really agreed with his descriptions and discussion of:

  • Pedagogy
  • Student Voice and Choice
  • Socio-Cultural Implications to Consider

I liked that he tied real experiences to each of the topics and provides links to more detail.

The last point did give me pause. I hadn’t thought about the “financial privilege” that some teachers might have and its effects on others. I’m still thinking about this and I can picture a walkthrough of many schools and can understand his opinion perfectly.


Implementing Survivor Mode into Student Learning in Minecraft EE

On the Fair Chance Learning blog, Ryan Magill shares a really, really interesting story about using Minecraft with his students and how it was tied to a book that he used with his Grade 6 students.

Survival Mode immerses his students into an environment in Northern Canada as a result of an airplane accident.

They built and survived in their environment as they read the book.

There was also a chance for a natural disaster, courtesy of Ryan, that really ups the ante in terms of survival.

The whole post tells an interesting story that, if you’re a Minecraft user or maybe just curious, might want to explore.


K Cups Math Resource Page

Normally, I visit Peter Cameron’s blog to see what kind of stories and learning that he’s sharing. Recently, I took a walk into his “website” and ran across this resource.

I can appreciate the ease and convenience of Keurig cups. But, I’m a little too frugal to buy them for home and opt for the refillable container instead. But, in your school, you just might have something like this in the staff room or you may opt to use them at home. Bottom line is that I sure hope that you recycle them rather than the alternative.

But, if you check out Peter’s resource here, you’ll be inspired with a number of activities to use in your mathematics classroom. There are more ways to use these things that you may have missed.


Please take the time to click through and read these terrific posts in their entirety. You’ll be glad that you did!

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

  • @WillGourley
  • @ambartosik
  • @ArcherJoe
  • @banana29
  • @mr_robcannone
  • @FCLEdu
  • @cherandpete

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Well, as noted yesterday, it’s been a tough couple of days. As it turns out, despite all of the troubleshooting undertaken, the voicEd Radio edition of This Week in Ontario Edublogs ended up not being saved. Such are the challenges of live radio.

Never fear though – today is another day and here’s the blog version with the five posts that Stephen and I had a nice chat about and a couple of more.


Class Size and Composition Matters

On the ETFO Heart and Art blog, Deb Weston shares her thoughts backed with plenty of research and a lesson in history about classrooms. The key message is right up front.

Much has changed in the last few years with the promotion of student integration and inclusion of special education students into mainstream classrooms. This integration policy further resulted in closures of contained classrooms thus limiting alternate options for students with significant learning and behaviour needs.

I’m not sure who her intended audience is with this. Those who go to a classroom later today know what realities and challenges they face. Old timers like me will remember self-contained classrooms and even schools where specialized teachers could intensively help every student. We knew that not every student had the same pathway.

That’s not the reality today. In a few years, there will be teachers that will just have to listen to the stories of the good ol’ days. I certainly hope that Teacher Education is staying abreast of this; I know that my Faculty days didn’t cover anything about how to deal with such classrooms.

I think that the most shameful part of this post is the recognition of some parents that they can’t wait for the school system to test students for appropriate modifications and are paying for it themselves.

Students, Education Assistants, Teachers, Parents, Principals, School Districts are all aware of the challenges. It seems that it’s the province which guides the funding isn’t. Or isn’t listening.


Exam

Well, you know what they say about paybacks!

Amanda Potts takes a little retro-educational trip to take a course for upgrading. Kudos to her for that.

But, there’s one thing. Assessment, er, final exam!

Three hours of it.

I haven’t written a three hour exam since university so I felt for her. My most striking memory was hating those that finished early and got up and left. Are they really that much smarter than me?

Writing the exam at home bring in modern comforts like a tea for company during the time period but that also brings up new challenges.

I’ll admit to smiling when she describes the exam and how she attacks it just like we tell students to. Nobody starts on question 1 and then moves on. You plan strategically as she describes.

There are a couple of takeaways.

I’m lucky because I know I did well, but I have renewed empathy for my exam-hating students.

So congratulations to her and let’s hope that her “exam-hating students” will be the recipient of a different form of final assessment.


Digital Breakouts Using Google Forms

The concept of the breakout room has been big over the past couple of years. And, if is good enough to gain the attention of the general public, why not the classroom?

Shelly Vohra shares how she implemented a breakout strategy with her students. I think there’s a great deal of value for those of you who are considering this because Shelly describes step by step how she implemented things when she did it.

Since it has a digital component, Shelly used Google Forms as a strategic tool to do the deed. If Google products are used regularly, technology wouldn’t get in the road and mess things up.

There, except for a combination, lies the prize.

She describes a successful venture with her class.

Would such an approach work for you? Check out this site for even more details.


O is for Outside the Box

I’m not sure when I first heard the expression about “thinking outside the box” but I’m pretty sure that if I had a dollar for every time I heard it, I’d be fairly wealthy.

Lynn Thomas goes way beyond the superficial treatment often given by keynote speakers. Quite frankly, it’s used with the intent to inspire but I don’t know that it ever worked for me. I was always looking for exciting things to do; without them teaching can be a pretty boring profession. When you inspire students with thoughts about different things from a progressive and creative teacher, good things happen.

Have you ever seen a child take a big box and turn it into the coolest fort ever? No one said your box had to or should remain as is, using the box in a new way is all it takes.

I love the fact that she encourages you to consider that box and might have some success just modifying the box!

Of course, my focus is typically about technology and I think an Exhibit A might be those Breakout lessons described above.


Feeling the Ground by Getting Some Air

Terry Greene apparently has a fan club and members of that club asked him to blog on the WCET Frontiers website.

In this blog post, he shares the what, who, and how of his passion for podcasting.

What – just what is a podcast and why would someone want to create something like this? In particular what is “Gettin’ Air”, Terry’s podcast.

Who – now he’s just name dropping! Terry gives some indication of people he’s talked to and why. I like his criteria – Every one of my guests does important, interesting, and fabulous work

How – for the uninitiated, Terry shares his tools of the trade. Podcasting really isn’t a new thing and I had to smile thinking about the Snowball microphone. I used one of those in the 2000s. The problem I always had for long stints talking was feeling that I was nailed to the chair in one position because you don’t want to fade in and out!

I was glad to read that Terry is continually planning for the future. It will be interesting to see what he has in mind.


If we want our students to (insert word) it starts with us

Before I even read Jonathan So’s blog post, I tried a few different words – succeed, pass, win – of course, I used positive words.

Then, I read the post and got his message. Dare I say he’s thinking “out of the box”?

So, as a premise as both a parent and teacher he wonders how he can get students to try new things and will he have better success if he’s trying new things himself?

It’s an interesting concept that had me asking a couple of questions…

  • do the kids or students actually have to see you experience those new things or is just knowing that you doing them are good enough?
  • does trying something new give you empathy for something else – like, oh, writing a three hour exam, for example

Every now and again you’ll hear about the “need to fail in order to succeed”. I think the message here goes much further than that – there’s a meeting of the minds taking place that raises the stake significantly.


Slice of Life: Published

Really short blog post here by Lisa Corbett and I’ll summarize it.

She wrote something and got paid for it.

The comments to her post are much longer than Lisa’s actual post. That’s always a good thing.

You can fact check me if you wish but I’d bet real money that Tolstoy’s first writing wasn’t “War and Peace”.

In Lisa’s case, I can see all kinds of things.

  • she’s now published – things like that are important for resumes
  • her ego just got stroked – someone likes her stuff enough to publish it
  • she’s going to be more likely to write something publishable again
  • a whole lot of people that Lisa doesn’t know just read her thoughts
  • she’s on her way to being an authorative voice in another medium beyond her blog(s)
  • she probably had a professional proofreader to make her content look masterful
  • that ice cream is going to taste extra special

So, congratulations, Lisa! Remember us little guys struggling to write blog posts on your way up the publishing ladder.


What a lovely collection of blog posts! There’s a great deal of terrific writing and a little something there for everything. Please take the time to click through and read the original posts.

Follow these people on Twitter:

  • @dr_weston_PhD
  • @Ahpotts
  • @raspberryberet3
  • @thomlynn101
  • @greeneterry
  • @MrSoclassroom
  • @LisaCorbett0261

I’m sorry that the radio version didn’t go live. You missed Stephen with a bad case of the hiccups.

The blog post originated on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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