This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I had a free Wednesday morning this week as Stephen was off and away. However, we’re back next week and Amanda Potts will be joining us.


The Level of our Systems

I know that Donna is technically not in Ontario any longer but when she writes, I read. I worked for a superintendent who was big in setting and trying to achieve goals. I had always worked on setting and working towards goals but it’s not always easy in the staffroom where conversations wander in different directions. What was special with him was that he would meet with me periodically to see how I was progressing and he shared his goals with me and asked how I thought he was progressing. After a while, I did become more honest!

In the post, Donna lists four goals from James Clear’s book.

  • Make it obvious
  • Make it attractive
  • Make it easy
  • Make it satisfying

There are a couple of things that I’ve always tried to do as well…

  • Make it visible – your next learning friend might just find you
  • Make it measurable – if you can’t measure it, how do you know if you’ve reached it?

Happy New Year: Back to School Part One

Shelly has been promising to write a blog post for a while now and she delivered! Yes, the summer has gone by so quickly but we know that it always does. I can tell you that, when you have a birthday mid-August, it’s even worse. You wait all July for it and then it happens – usually on a family reunion day – and the gifts are often back-to-school clothes! But enough about me.

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

This post is clearly written from an elementary school perspective. I had to smile when I think of the difference as Shelly lays out three things for us to consider. If you want to read her thoughts, they’re well described and laid out in her post. Read it. Here’s how her points would translate to my classroom.

  • Desks/Chairs – I had the smallest classroom in the school. It sat 24 comfortably which is perfect for Computer Science. The year I had 36 in a Mathematics class was nuts. I had tables which sat two people, three rows deep and two tables on each side of a centre aisle. The first period of the first day of class was the only time the chairs were normal, facing the front. After that, the chair would be moved into different collaborative working spaces. (and often social gathering spaces…)
  • Bulletin Boards – I never did a bulletin board in my entire career. Computer Science is a communications program of study and so students would sign up to make a bulletin board over the course of our time together. The Marketing room with all its resources was just across the hall and so convenient. There were some amazing things put on display about some sort of computer topic. (they typically had to research it; shhh, don’t let them know it’s educational)
  • Student Materials – I never had the opportunity to teach students with their own laptops taking notes but I think I’d do it in a heartbeat and spend some time talking about folders and organization for saving things. In my time, students brought their own binders, etc. and a quick look around the classroom let you know who had money for fancy binders and who didn’t or just didn’t care.

Real-Life Math: 2 Simple Strategies for Joyful Math Talk

Alice has a teaser on her blog about this post but you’ll have to click here to enjoy it.

I love this from the concluding of the post.

The important thing to remember when doing math talks is that they should be natural and not too forced. What I mean by this is that memorizing a script of questions will not necessarily produce the results we want as educators. With practice (by you and your students), the conversation will begin to flow, and the questioning will become more organic. What matters is that we are trying to present these everyday scenarios to our students so that they know that math is all around them and part of their lives beyond the classroom.

I’m not completely unbiased with this since I went to university to study mathematics but I’ve had my share of mathematics teachers over the years. When I think of the ones that really inspired me, problems were always framed in the narrative of a story. The very best ones had a puzzle element to them as well. There’s a different feeling you get when you’re involved in a story or a puzzle. You end up enjoying things and there was no quote to get X number of questions done before moving on.

This article is rich in a philosophy that I can really appreciate. She gives concrete examples from photographs and nature and that just seems to be so natural. The talks can turn towards the abstract in the hands of a great mathematics communicator.


Uprooting

I’m a sucker for Amanda’s one-word titles and they always draw me in, unlike some titles that can be a paragraph long and I can just say pass. I know that the advice is to go the other way but what she does works for me.

So, uprooting what?

If you’ve been following Amanda, you’ll know that she’s been on holiday and that’s awesome. One of the big concerns about holidays is keeping your homestead under control while away. Apparently, dandelions were kind of a big deal here!

Amanda, you brought back a memory of a trip from my youth. We had a dog named Peter. Yeah, I know Peter Peterson. Anyway, we drove to see the Calgary Stampede, Banff, Jasper, and then the Pacific Ocean. We had intended to camp every night in this heavy canvas tent. Our luck was terrible; it would rain and so the next night we’d be in a hotel rather than camping. It wasn’t a great trip but we were away for two weeks. I’m not sure where Peter was boarded but, when we came home, our house was alive — with fleas. Without a dog and flea powder to keep them under control, they went nuts.

Having a house sitter or someone devoted to maintaining things makes so much sense for extended holidays.


Project Learning Tree – Seeking Teachers Grades 7-12

This is more of an opportunity (and you have a week to apply) for educators looking to do some curriculum writing to benefit the profession with a focus on forests. Topics to include.

  • Global perspective on climate change and the role of forests in mitigating climate change.
  • Carbon footprint and carbon offsetting, with a focus on how these relate to forests
  • Sustainable forestry practices and how they can help fight climate change and enhance forest resilience.
  • Indigenous perspectives on climate change and forests.
  • Implications of climate change to local forests and communities
  • Benefits of urban forests for tackling climate change and impact of climate change on urban forests
  • Environmental careers related to forests that contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Action being taken to protect trees, and forests in the light of global climate change projections and actions youth can take.

Getting Buy In For Ungrading

“Ungrading” is one of those buzzwords that you hear periodically. I’ve been in the audience of plenty of educational speakers who talk about upsetting the educational system by ungrading students.

The problem with doing this, it seems to me, is that you need a plan. You can’t go to a PD session on a Friday and come back to work on Monday and implement ungrading.

What I like about this podcast and show now is that Rachel and Katie provide a plan. It includes a how-to and importantly, who should know that you’re actually doing it. They have a fan on Twitter with their advice.

I really enjoyed reading their thinking on this but there’s still a question that nags at me and that is “at what point”? Could a teacher new to the profession pull it off? My initial reaction is no but that prompts a follow-up question – ok, then at what point in the teacher career is it appropriate? Are there other resources that could guide the process?

The timing of their post is useful; it seems to me that going into an ungraded class in September makes a great deal of sense.


Naming system for heat waves being considered

Before I start, a little warning that if you get offended by bad words, this might not be the post for you to read.

However, if you like a little satire to reflect back on the warm summer that we had in 2022, you might enjoy reading and his suggestions for naming heatwaves.

dougzone22’s Alphabetical/Chronological Heat-Wave Naming Algorithm

Thanks, Doug McDowall

How hot has it been this summer? Usually, my birthday starts the discussion about when we should start thinking about closing the pool. Not this year. Heck, we didn’t even put the cover on last night. 29 degrees is just too warm.


I hope that you can find some time to enjoy these posts. Click through and enjoy.

Then, you can follow all these writers on Twitter.

  • Donna Fry – @fryed
  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Alice Aspinall – @EveryoneCanMath
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Michael Frankfort – @mfrank_76
  • The Edugals – @EduGals
  • Doug McDowall – @dougzone2_1

This is a regular Friday feature around here. You can check out the past episodes here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Michael Frankfort joined Stephen Hurley and me as a guest host for the voicEd Radio show on Wednesday morning. It lent to a great conversation about the five blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers that we featured. Read on to see them and a couple more bonus posts.


Family Reunion

Don’t we all have family reunion stories tucked away in our memories? I remember the first time I took my wife to ours and her comment on the way home. “It’s hard to imagine that you’re all related.”

On my mother’s side, it was a big summer event, more often than not landing on my birthday but nobody brought presents. We did bring millions of butter tarts though and had to be there pre-6:00 so that Dad could go to the golfing tournament and the rest of us slept in the car until people started to arrive at 9 or so. Dad’s family reunion was a big gathering just before Christmas which changes the entire mindset. Instead of being outside and enjoying the weather, we’d rent a hall and go inside to avoid the weather.

Despite all that, we were within a couple of hours driving to get to the events. I can’t imagine doing what Amanda did (read the post) just to get there. Then, there’s the whole mixture of her family and I’ll bet that everyone has stories about their own personal mixtures. Her family has mine beat.

I loved the post and it made me think of faces and names from reunions so long ago and how so many of them are no longer around. Despite it being such a lovely story, it was a great reminder to remember the current moments because they are so special.

But, 18 people in one house for a week? You’re a strong woman, Amanda.


Fighting Disinformation

In the beginning, disinformation was easy to spot and actually kind of fun to explore. One of the more famous ones that I remember was the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.

Over the years though, the concept of the fake website has skyrocketed and taken off in a very sad direction.

We’re now in a time and era where everyone with an internet connection and the desire can put up a website for whatever the cause. We have so many of them, some consistent with our beliefs and others not so much. Some, after doing a bit of digging, can be debunked.

The ones that I personally have trouble with are those who have a dissenting opinion and do their best to create a plausible story from their perspective. Finding the truth used to be so simple; just go to the library and grab the encyclopedia. Not so anymore.

Then, throw into the mix the concept of a second or third language learner doing their best to research. If we as English First Language people have problems at time, imagine their situation.

Jennifer shares some great thoughts on the topic and the bottom is a wonderful collection of resources that can be used to help determine if something is truthful or not.


Reflections on “Sometimes it is enough to look back to see the Future clearly” presentation by Dr. Georg Marschnig

I’m really enjoying Paul’s doctoral work and how he’s openly sharing his work and his research. This is a very personal post about his own thinking. He organizes things and discusses each.

  • How do schools frame notions of citizenship;
  • What kind of relationships in schools and in educational decision-making processes foster real learning;
  • How do power structures affect learning? – Paul’s question
  • How were race, class, gender differences framed in the event?
  • What connections can you draw with readings, lectures, and discussions we have held in the class?
  • What creative ideas or astute analysis about education did you encounter in the event?

I enjoyed reading all the sections but the section about power structures affecting learning was a real thought generator for me. Like you, I grew up in a school environment where the teacher was always right. My parents came to their defense all the time when I’d challenge facts or other things. Later on, I came to realize that it was the game of school and you had to play by the rules. It sure made the day easier to handle.

Of course, like all things, we’ve got better at it all and we’ll continue to get better. On a personal level, I’ve made a note to learn more about “Youth Participatory Action Research.”


Slice of (Experential) Life

I’ve mentioned it many times; they don’t pay teachers of our youngest students enough. This blog post will have you laughing, smiling, and being thankful that you don’t teach the youngest. Or, if you do, you’ll be nodding your head in agreement throughout this post.

It was a 20-minute bus ride to the field trip location. For some of the students, it might have been a three-day road trip as they got out and looked around and remarked that they were in a different world!

Now, before I get too righteous, I enjoy community dog walks and there are always new things to see and explore even though I’ve lived here for 45 years.

I will be adamant though; we still have the same water tower.


Experience Sustainability

Our guest on Wednesday had written and shared this blog post to the STAO blog.

It was about a Webinar that Michael had co-delivered with Teresa Huang about organizing an eco-fair at your school. The post comes with appropriate resources to replicate the same activity at your school.

The concept is unlike the traditional science fair with its judging and ribbons that I remember. This was about doing good by doing good. (one of my dad’s favourite expressions that I’ve always tried to keep in mind) Today’s students can be more socially aware and responsible and this post honours that.

Look for links to replay the webinar and a slide deck packed full of ideas, resources, and connections to the Ontario Science & Technology and other subject areas Curriculum.


Our month in Bordeaux, France (June 2022 –FINAL month!)

There’s probably a fine line between being a stalker and an internet friend.

I’ve been following Sylvia’s adventure as she’s headed to Europe and shares so many pictures and stories on social media. Does living vicariously equal stalking? <grin>

I can’t imagine how long it took Sylvia to assemble this piece. There are so many pictures and she uses her technical skills to provide a mapping of routes for us.

Food, wine, and the biggest croissants I’ve ever seen are highlights. It really does look like it was a spectacular event for her.

Don’t read and look at the images on an empty stomach!


Math Links for Week Ending Jul. 8th, 2022

Finally, David always has lots of cool mathematics things in his weekly post. This week, he shared a couple of wonderful visuals.


Thanks to all of the above for sharing their learning and thinking. Regular readers know the routine – read these posts and follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Jennifer Hutchison – @TESLOntario
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Michael Frankfort – @mfrank_76
  • Sylvia Duckworth – @sylviaduckworth
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314

voiced Radio Show

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Sit back and enjoy some writing from great Ontario Edubloggers.


Becoming a Better Person for Others: Faith into Action

I really appreciate when bloggers are so open and transparent. In this case, Rolland shows the best of this. He takes a look at his role as re-engagement teacher and marries it to his understanding of social justice.

In particular, he identifies four things in his role.

  1. Dignity of the Human Person
  2. Call to Family, Community, and Participation
  3. Rights and Responsibilities
  4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

With each of these, he analyses making connections to his job and to education. Then, for each he provides a next step for himself. I couldn’t help but think that blogging about it and making it public really makes himself accountable for these changes to his approach.

The word “brave” kept running through my mind as I was reading.


Learning from Each Other — Destreaming Across Ontario: Waterloo District School Board

This is another very brave and open post about learning and planning for action. Alexandra thinks that there are three things that will make destreaming effective.

  1. Smaller class sizes to support students
  2. Equipping teachers and administrators with the correct tools and professional development
  3. task force to “inform the design, implementation and monitoring of de-streaming

Ultimately, any success will result from the practice and acceptance of classroom teachers. After the past two years, it’s going to take a great deal of effort to do the necessary learning and then implementation of new approaches.

Alexandra shares her notes and thoughts from a Google Meet conducted by Jill Hicknell and Jillian Waters and some reading to support their thoughts. A big takeaway is a Google Resource site and a Twitter handle to follow.

Check it out.


New Twitter Communities: Will this better our Twitter experience?

Do you ever have one of those moments where you’re thinking something but you keep it to yourself and it’s only when someone else notes it that you realize you’re not alone?

I had that moment as I read Jennifer’s post. There are times these days when I feel like I should be getting more from my Twitter community than I am. It was somehow comforting to note that she felt the same way.

Lately, I have been a little dissatisfied with my Twitter feed to be honest. Unless someone tags me, I feel like I have been missing out of many of the powerful voices I once had access to. And whereas I felt like my own voice reached many before, I feel like unless I tag people, they rarely see my tweets either.

At about the same time that I started to feel this way, Twitter rolled out the concept of Communities. I took a look and felt it was too much like the Twitter lists that I’ve been curating. But, again, Jennifer takes it a bit further and offers a way that we may fall back in love with Twitter again.

Nicely done, Jennifer.


Self-Reg Havens

The big takeaway for me from Susan’s post was that her concept of a haven isn’t necessarily

 just a location

For the longest time, a safe haven for me was a place to think and I guess I’d always put it in personal terms as a location. With a busy life, often the thinking was done in my car commuting to and from work.

The post is a look at what that haven just might be and Susan takes us to these attributes

  1. Safe
  2. Rooted
  3. Balanced
  4. Capable
  5. Trusted

If nothing else, it will give you lots to think about.


OBSERVATION IS A NEW REFLECTION!

From Wayne’s World…

I think that most of us did our quality observation as student teachers having placement with an experienced teacher. I don’t know about you but it was one of the first times that I thought that maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a teacher. Thankfully, I persevered.

It shouldn’t stop there and Setareh talks about observing a colleague in their teaching. I did that a couple of times and I think that you get a new lens when you are in the profession. Setareh talks about observing a very extroverted teacher, knowing that that would be a real challenge and maybe an impossibility.

Still, there are lots of things to learn and we should never stop.


Coding Fireworks!

From the Fair Chance Learning blog, Barb offers a project (along with a solution) for creating a program that will emulate fireworks on a Micro:Bit.

Now, if you’ve already done something like this for Victoria day, you might want to move along.

Or, how about setting off some fireworks to celebrate the end of the school year?


Importance of Context and Concrete Manipulatives From Kindergarten Through Grade 12

Kyle shares a wealth of information here that’s applicable to all grade levels.

I like his start and confession. We all had it. When we started teaching, we wanted to be copies of the very best teacher that we ever had. If you’re honest, you’ll realize that their classroom often doesn’t resemble the successful rooms we have today. We’ve learned so much about effective teaching and learning and it’s just not the same.

This is a long resource but well worth the read and thinking. We want the best for everyone after all.


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

  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Alexandra Woods – @XanWoods
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Susan Hopkins – @susanhopkins5
  • Barb Seaton – @barb_seaton
  • Fair Chance Learning – @FCLEdu
  • Kyle Pearce – @mathletepearce 

This Week in Ontario Edublogs Show

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to Friday and another amazing collection of blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. Enjoy!


Hometown

While many people live in their original hometown, Sheila may have you longing for a return if you moved away. I lived in mine for 18 years and then left never to return except for a couple of times to tour the place, visit the cemetery, and relive some memories.

If you moved away, there might be something special to remember – maybe it’s because we were kids and biked everywhere, played everywhere, and didn’t have to worry about work and family? I feel like I know my original hometown better than my current. I’ve got to get the bike out.

In the post, she brings up some music videos that got me thinking. The first one was Bruce Springsteen’s My Hometown

and then there’s one where he actually did as a tribute to his hometown but notes if you listen live that there are some bad words in it.

Hometown is an amazing thing to consider and I thank Sheila for the post. Long-time blog readers around here might remember this post from 2010. https://dougpete.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/a-multimedia-childhood-tour/

I still think that it’s a great activity for the classroom. Lots of room for research and also a chance to apply some computer skills.


The Importance of Student Self-Reflection on Their Own Learning

Reflection is an important part of education and Gonul certainly drives that point home in this post. There’s no room for argument.

I would suggest that, while it’s important to be ongoing, this time of year it’s especially important to reflect on an entire year and the growth and learning that has happened.

She offers a great list of advantages of reflection:

  • Determine their strengths and weaknesses in skills they have developed
  • Analyze their learning process and style
  • Learn to be more independent
  • Understand how they learn
  • Monitor their learning progress
  • Set realistic learning goals
  • Respond positively to feedback to improve performance
  • Take ownership of their own learning

What do you have planned to reflect on a year’s worth of learning?


Becoming a Better Person for Others: Faith into Action

I’ve written a lot of blog posts in my time but, after reading Rolland’s at least four or five times, I leaned back in my chair and just said “Wow!” to myself.

It’s appropriate that it follows Gonul’s post about reflection because this is truly what happens there. Rolland takes four concepts from a resource that he’d read and does an amazing job of internalizing them.

  • Dignity of the Human Person
  • Call to Family, Community, and Participation
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

Given his work, he makes the connections to the Catholic Leadership Framework. In addition to analysing the concepts, he identifies next steps for himself.


What is right is more important than who is right:Speaking Truth to Power

Of course, leaders should get a copy of Charles’ book on leadership. He’s been using his blog to go through the messages and podcasting on voicEd Radio in conversation with Stephen Hurley at the same time.

“Being right” seems like such a simple concept. We all want to be right but, as Charles notes, he’s seen so many instances of “deleterious short-termism”. Haven’t we all?

The complete discussion with Stephen can be listened to here.

I’d be interested in listening to a follow discussion about what happens to staff and the community when the decision made goes wrong because it was important for the decision-maker to be right whether it was the right decision or not.


Expat or Local?

While she was a principal at a school in China, Ann Marie was great at blogging and sharing her own thoughts about life and leadership. Many of her posts ended up her for discussion.

Things change though.

Upon returning home for the Chinese New Year, she didn’t return to China but rather spent the rest of the school year doing the principal thing remotely. There’s been a lot of that done lately – the remote thing.

The bug to travel again is starting to bite and Ann Marie shares her thoughts there along with her vision of a “dream job”.

Certainly, things have changed thanks to COVID for all of us. Travel is more of a conscious decision than ever. Read about how it affects a principal that likes to move around!


Unfilled Jobs = Increased Guilt: Reflecting On Needing To Be Away

As teachers, we all know the hassles that being sick or away from the class can make being away more pain than actually going in. And yet, there are some times when that isn’t an option.

Such was the case with Aviva who had to take three days away. This is probably a better scenario than most since she does have a teaching partner so continuity should/could be good. I know from experience that the experience may be better or worse depending upon who got called in during my absence.

It’s not easily handled anywhere…

This means that educators are missing preps, volunteering to take on extra duties, and juggling schedules to make sure that there’s a teacher for every class.

When someone misses a preparation period due to you being away, there’s always this feeling of owing them something when you indeed do get back. I read Aviva’s post and I can totally understand where she’s coming from. It’s the story for all teachers who are away.


Math Links for Week Ending Apr. 15th, 2022

There’s nothing like a good mathematics challenge and David is good every Friday for some inspiration.

My big takeaway was kind of mathematics How many calories do people really eat at Chipotle? but it was more about a presentation technique called “Slow Reveal Graphs”.

How many times have you seen a presenter throw up a screen of information and then use a laser pointer to talk you through the information? This is a much better way of presenting the same information with better results and less information overload.

And, it’s not all that different! You already have the content; this is just a better way of handling it.


As you head into the weekend, I hope that you can click through and enjoy all of these posts and follow these great bloggers.

  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • Gonul Turkdogan – @turkdogan_gonul
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • Ann Marie Luce – @turnmeluce
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s time for another wander around the province and to take a look at the writing from Ontario Edubloggers. I’m always looking for more blogs. Reach out if you know of one or you write one yourself. Thanks.


It’s that time of year… placement sheets!

School population and demographics change from year to year and so the perfectly timetabled school one year may not fit into the next. There are other factors for the changing of a school makeup like retirements, people moving to a different school, incoming staff, or just people who want to try something different.

In this post, Beth describes her reality of a school with a declining enrolment and the teacher-librarian always seems to be one of the first targeted. In a perfect world, Beth would want to do the job full-time but also is aware that that might not be possible and so has a plan that you can read about in this post.

I know that, in our neighbourhood, the Catholic board removed the role of Teacher-Librarian years ago and made an alternate direction. I guess that I was so fortunate in having started my career with an excellent Teacher-Librarian who was always sharing resources and newspaper clipping with me. I can’t speak highly enough about how that helped me as a new teacher. It always is sad when you hear the argument for going without; it’s never based on academics but rather the concept of book exchange. One only needs to read the previous post from Beth as she describes everything that she accomplished in a week.


Lessons learned from the ‘Greatest Generation’

Right off the topic, I need to express my sympathies to Laura on the loss of her 97 year old grandmother. This post is a granddaughter’s tribute to everything that her grandmother did for her and for the complete family.

I’ll admit that I got kind of emotional reading the post as it took me back to memories of my own grandmother. Years ago, things were so different. Most women didn’t work outside the home and the men did and certainly weren’t capped by a 40 hour work week. The woman in the house kept the wheels moving.

Laura certainly describes a live well lived. She chunked a number of things.

  • The importance of creating 
  • Suffer no fools
  • Keep it simple 
  • Spend time immersed in the natural world
  • The importance of small traditions

I guess the one that really hit me was the concept of small traditions. For those of us who have had grandmothers who have passed, I’ll bet it’s those little things that you remember and miss most.

Got to move on; something in my eye.


Mentoring Moments: Spring Break around the corner 

It’s so easy to dwell on what’s wrong with this world. There are so many distractions and I found that Nilmini’s post was timely and inspirational for me.

She reminds us that spring is always a time for renewal of everything. In her case, it’s a renewal of her backyard. What a lovely project to usher in the new season. Hopefully, she will share some photos when the project is done.

I hope that you read and start to think about what spring means to you. After all, the Break is next week. I remember as a child going to Goderich with my mom and brother for Young Canada week. Later, as a computing educator, it was always a chance to go to the MACUL conference in Michigan. These days, it’s the first opportunity of returning to my home town just to drive around and reminsce without the danger of a snow storm. Ok, I’ll be realistic, there still is a chance. After all, this is Ontario….

What does Spring Break and Spring mean to you?


Supporting Student Mental Health

From the ETFO Heart and Art of Education Blog, a very serious post from Gary that will have you thinking. I think we all have paid lip service to mental health in the past couple of years; it really has taken a back page to physical health issues.

For those years, students have been yo-yoed around like everything else in a society being told what to do by our government(s). As adults, we probably get it or get enough of it to get by. But our younger citizens have been along for a ride that doesn’t seem to have a great deal of meaning even at the best of times and they certainly have no voice in the decision making process.

Gary very nicely describes the situation and provides a number of links to resources to help. If you’re in a classroom, I’m sure that you’ll find these valuable.

What’s missing, by design since this is about students, is support for the big people in the classroom. Let’s never ever overlook them.


Leadership Portfolio: Reflect, Connect, Learn

Rolland started teaching in 2000. Interesting year, if you remember.

As per tradition, Rolland had a portfolio where he did what we all did as it was the best recommendation at the time. Accumulate artifacts from your professional life, reflect on them and binderize them for interviews or other opportunities for professional growth.

I suspect that that is where it ends for many people. I know that was the way of doing things for me – in fact, I still have that binder on the bookshelf behind me.

Now that Rolland has passed his Leadership Course, he’s been asked to come back and share his current thinking about portfolios. He uses his blog now which I find really intriguing. Particularly in the days of interviews, traditionally you’d take out your portfolio, do some weeding, make sure it’s up to date, and have your reflections in place.

Blogging as a portfolio is a different game. It’s ongoing and continuous so it needs to be current all the time. Instead of a paper portfolio being shared at an interview, it’s online and I’m assuming that Rolland would expect the interview team to read things in advance of the interview. It’s more than that though and that’s what intrigues me. The audience is anyone who happens to click through and see what he’s up to. It changes everything, when you think about it.


Attention and Focus in the Classroom

Every time that I read a post like this, I wonder if my teachers or professors think as deeply about the situation as Jennifer does in this post. We do live in a time and place where every child is expected to succeed and, when they don’t, the teacher is asked why.

Jennifer has done a great deal of research and personal reflection about her practice and those students who don’t pay attention or lose focus. As I think about it personally, there were lots of times for me. Sometimes it was boredom; sometimes it was because I had worked the night before; sometimes I just didn’t care; sometimes I got it and didn’t need the teacher to continue to talk about it; there’s a big list of reasons why I might lose focus.

Of course, all of this is attended to in her post and I think any teacher would be able to put a face to them all. Jennifer is responsible enough to think that maybe she is the problem and she talks about it as well.

I hope that Spring turns things around for everyone. Of course, it won’t, we’ll all be daydreaming about what we’re going to be doing outside later on. Teachers can’t win!

And a big, big welcome back to the blogging world to Jennifer. She’s been missed and she addresses it in the post.


Math Links for Week Ending Feb 25th, 2022

The good thing is that Spring Break is next week. The bad thing is that Spring Break is next week. Mathematics educators lose out on the opportunity to do Pi things on Pi Day.

David Petro (you should see the reference in his Twitter handle) posted this at the end of February so that it’s ready for everyone to use on the 14th. Or today, or after the break.

There’s a fun activity right off the top in this post.

And if you click through a really nice discussion and video from Kyle Pearce as support.

Good stuff as usual.


I hope that you’ll accept my sincere wishes for a relaxing Spring Break next week. But, before you go, make sure that you’re following these great educators.

  • Beth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Laura Elliott – @lauraelliottPhD
  • Nilmini Ratwatte Henstridge – @NRatwatte 
  • Gary Stewart
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314

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