This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Apparently, we’re going to get another serious storm. I haven’t cleaned up since the last one. Geesh.

Here’s a collection of great reading from Ontario Educators that crossed my desk last week.

some chat about ChatGPT

In a world of all kinds of stories of doom and gloom and how education is going to hit the dumpsters comes this refreshing and I think, important, post from Will. It’s well-written and he’s obviously been doing some serious thinking about this.

I just want to note that I can remember when this Google thing came along and the end of education was predicted because kids didn’t have to learn how to use encyclopedias anymore. How did that work out?

Education embraced the concept and adjusted accordingly.

Like so many of the other articles, Will does share his thoughts about what happens when students use it to create markable content. I think I’d be less worried at the elementary school panel as my experience shows that ChatGPT does write with a certain level of sophistication. I can’t help but wonder about those who predict that students doing this stuff will go unnoticed by good educators. There’s that whole writing process thing, you know.

What really stood out here was what Will thought ChatGPT could do to make his life easier. He tried a couple of queries with success.

  • “write a comedy for 4 performers that is based on electricity, physics, time travel, and renewable energy.”
  • “Write a 10 question math quiz with some word problems for grade 6 students who are beginning to learn patterning and algebra.”

Teachers also wouldn’t be prepared to use it directly but could modify it to recognize their own classroom and student realities.

A Few Hopes for Today’s Teens

Anne-Marie shares part of her message with the students at her school as inspiration. It is a school where the students live together and so the concept of community wouldn’t be different than others. They’re going to be closer to each other, by design.

There’s a really strong message of kindness to each other running through her address. I hope that it was received with the intent of the delivery. I would encourage you to read the whole blog post because there is so much packed into it.

A couple of big takeaways for me…

“You can’t make old friends”

Of course not but I’d never heard it put that way.

My hope is that we are a community who practices “calling-in” with kindness and curiosity, so we can maintain an emotionally safe community

Shouldn’t we all be doing this on a regular basis?

And, I had this running all through my mind after I read the post.

“we tend to judge others by their behaviour, and ourselves by our intentions.”

This was so well written. Thanks for sharing it with us, Anne-Marie.

To the heart

There is such a simple message in this blog post and Diane summarizes her thoughts with a quote from Nelson Mandela.

In that sense, it seems only fitting to close with Nelson Mandela, who observed that when you speak to someone in a language they understand, it goes to their head; but when you speak to someone in their language, that goes to their heart.

You have to read and appreciate the post to know the significance of that quote and why it is so dead on.

Diane tells us a personal story that includes humidity, chalk, trains, friends, and more that really puts everything into perspective.

This is a story that would be nicely shared with students and could quite easily make a life change for some of them. I’ll bet that it makes you think about how you’re going to handle the next time the opportunity to do something so simple, and yet so powerful comes along.

Slice of (Indoor) Life

I love these Slice of Life reflections from Lisa. I’m guessing that they might now necessarily have become a blog post in any other situations.

It’s been a bizarre winter in places in Ontario and, at Lisa’s new school, there have been ice challenges on the playground that have ended up with indoor recesses.

I’ll confess that, as a secondary school teacher, I’ve never had the joy of supervising an indoor recess.

But, if I ever did, I would hope that I would have the space that Lisa has – a combination of abandoned library and computer room – space allows for storage of ongoing major projects and one came as a result of the indoor recess.

Read the post and see what happened!

Course Artifacts

You’ve got to love it when someone comes along and just gives away wonderful resources. In this case, Jennifer shares some infographics that she’s created with Canva for her AQ course.

Infographics have come into our regular use as artifacts that demonstrate things. Usually, though, they’re created by someone else. Not so here. These are her original creations.

  1. Copyright Matters

And this is just the beginning. Click through to her blog to enjoy these other infographics.

2. Health and Media Literacy

3. How can I help you online?

4. Tips for Teacher-Librarians

Hey ChatGPT, When Should I Take CPP?

Trust Peter to take new technology in a new direction. In this case, if you’re old enough to think about retirement, there are options that you have for taking the Canada Pension Plan.

In the post, he asks for financial advice…

With $xx in an RRSP and a current pension of $yy per month, when is the best time to take CPP? I am zz years old.

It was an interesting read and, as Peter notes, it does give some pretty sound advice.

I actually remember an activity in an Accounting class where we worked out how long the difference would be in years for scenarios like this.

My father also did some estate planning and I remember a couple of other variables just as if he was sitting next to me

  • how healthy are you? How long do you plan to live?
  • what if you got hit by a train on the way home?

Getting hit by the train was generic enough to be used in many scenarios.

But, ChatGPT as a retirement planner? I didn’t see that one coming.

Thanks, Peter.

This Is Leadership – EP13: T. J. Hoogsteen

Those who aspire to leadership should be reading Joel’s blog and listening to his podcasts. They’ve been a favourite around here and I highly recommend them.

Joel makes his work available on so many different platforms so there’s no excuse for missing it.

I typically will fire up a podcast as I’m working on something else and listen while working. It works well for me.

When all else fails, there’s always good old YouTube.

I hope that you can find some time to enjoy all of these terrific resources.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Anne-Marie Kee – @AMKeeLCS
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Jen Aston – @mmejaston
  • Peter Beens – @pbeens
  • JOËL MCLEAN – @jprofnb

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Introductory Song

Closing Song

Peace Playlist


This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Happy Friday – it may well be a professional learning day for you as you head into the long weekend. Best wishes to all; why don’t you make reading these blog posts part of your professional learning? I know that I did.


It had been a while since Jonathan had shared his professional thoughts with us so I was all over this post. Recently, he has assumed the role of vice-principal so congratulations on that.

With the change in role, obviously comes a bump in salary. It also comes with an increase in the power which the individual can and needs to have within the school community.

In the classroom, there certainly is that concept of power – otherwise, there is just anarchy among students and that power is good and necessary. As he notes, the power has to used almost immediately in that environment to be effective. On the TWIOE show, Stephen and I noted that that isn’t always something that generates the best results.

We also looked at the concept of power in the administrative role. Typically, they are removed from the immediate situation and don’t necessarily have to act on things immediately. You’d think that would give a more thoughtful result.

He’s still relatively new in the position but I thought that it was kind of cool for him to sit down and reflect on how things are going so far.

It’s not unlike me to have an opinion but I’d encourage Jonathan to hang on to this post so that he can look back as he gets more experienced (and hopefully better) in the role. In fact, I’d suggest that he commit to writing this post every year at this time so that he can monitor his professional growth.

We all get better as we reflect on things like this.

The Role of Vulnerability in Effective Leadership

Just the title of Rolland’s post brought a big smile to this guy. I think “invulnerable” may well have been the first big word I ever learned. It was from the Superman comics that my Mom would buy regularly when she grocery-shopped. I knew the effects of green, red, and yellow kryptonite but didn’t realize that there were so many others.

I enjoyed reading Rolland’s thoughts about vulnerability in administration and I think he nailed it in terms of the approach and how humility can serve an administrator. Most certainly, I hope that people further up the food chain of command don’t beat it from them.

But, I kept thinking back to Superman. He was my hero at the time as were some of the great administrators that I worked with. Superman was careful and thoughtful in any situation where he ran across kryptonite and I could put faces and situations to the great administrators I knew. I also knew some who would burst into the room and take over without thinking it through. The good ones would get the lay of the land and know how to address or not address issues in that situation.

Of course, vulnerability is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It is important for leaders to find the right balance and to be mindful of the context in which they are sharing their vulnerabilities.

As a teacher, I would walk through walls for those administrators who knew their limitations and would share them openly. I had so much respect for them.

Anyone who aspires to take on a leadership role in education, or anywhere for that matter, would be well advised to read this post and think about the really strong message that is in there.

The 500 – #278 – Anthology of American Folk Music – Various Artists

In the mornings, while I’m working – usually writing a blog post, I have CoolRadio on to listen to. Not just one but all three open in tabs – Wingham, Sarnia, and Windsor. I flip through the tabs depending upon whether the song that’s playing is on my love or not love list. The radio hosts have a presence on social media and this morning, the Windsor host threw out this question.

That struck a chord with him – April Wine had played at our high school. Wow, that’s old.

It turns out that’s nothing compared to this really interesting collection that Marc brought forward as part of this rundown. These go back, way back.

Now, I like to think that I have a pretty good knowledge of music but I looked up and down this complete anthology and I only recognized one, count it, one song.

I can’t be positive but I believe that it was back when I was playing the steel guitar. I’m sure that I played this song – without the fiddle.

Normally, I connect immediately with Marc’s comments, but I didn’t this time. Instead, it was like I was listening and reading things for the first time which I was. It definitely was a time shift listening to this with my noise-cancelling headphone!

Marc had some interesting wonders…

  • Could they conceptualize how much their work would influence American music in the future?
  • Did they imagine they would be listened to nearly a hundred years in the future?
  • Could they even anticipate the advances in recording technology? (Imagine trying to explain to someone from 1926 that their song would be streamed digitally from a Spotify account to a pair of Bluetooth headphones.)

The Benefits and Joys of Learning a New Language as a Teacher

As a Computer Science teacher, I learned new languages regularly.

  • Fortran
  • Pascal
  • C
  • C++
  • Python
  • Scratch

There definitely is a pump when you learn to converse in a completely different language.

All of this means nothing to the context of Colleen’s post. It’s my way of justifying, at least in my mind, that the last French class I ever took was in Grade 12.

She takes on the topic and gives a number of reasons, with well-thought-through rationales.

  • It’s Great to be Taught
  • Make Cultural Connections while Travelling
  • Reconnect with Your Cultural Heritage
  • Develop a New Teaching Skillset
  • Set Your Personal Learning Goals


I normally get the “Day” in a reply from Lynn Thomas to a FollowFriday prompt.

In this post, Claire Green shares a list of days for February. Of course, it’s the middle of the month and we’ve either celebrated or missed the first few days but there are still a couple up-coming.

  • February 21st – International Mother Language Day
  • February 22nd – Pink Shirt Day

Are you planning to celebrate?

Playing music in childhood linked to a sharper mind in old age, study suggests

My Mom would love this post.

As a child in maybe Grade 1 or 2, I wanted to learn to play the guitar and I got one for Christmas. Five minutes later, I realized that this was going to be harder than the Beatles made it look.

So, we went down to the local music place and talked with Mr. Pulcifer. Now, he had a vested interest in me taking lessons from him and the fact that my tiny hands wouldn’t go all the way around the neck didn’t stand in the road. So, he pulled out a bridge, adjusted the strings and placed the guitar on my lap. I was going to become a lap steel guitar player.

That was the beginning of my understanding of Hawaiian and Country music.

So, if I’m to believe the message here, I have a sharp mind. Memory, maybe not so much. I still do have a steel guitar around here somewhere.

And, this sharp mind still knows all the words to this classic.

I wonder if I could still play it.

40 Best Ontario Bloggers and Websites

And now for something completely different.

Let me indulge myself a bit here.

Guess who’s number 14 with a bullet on this list?

I thought 40 was an interesting choice in numbers. There are lots more here.

And there you have it. It’s a little weekly wander around the province looking at some terrific bloggers. Check out their posts and then follow them on Twitter.

  • Jonathan So – @mrsoclassroom
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher
  • Colleen Elep
  • TESLOntario – @TESLOntario
  • Michael Frankfort – @mfrank_76

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Opening Song

Closing Song

Peace Playlist

Since the situation in Ukraine, Stephen and I have been opening and closing This Week in Ontario Edublogs with songs about Peace and Love. The playlist continues to grow and is available here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to get ahead of Stephen Hurley and me. Due to his previous commitment, we did our show at 7:00am on voicEd Canada. Normally, I’d be well stretched, shaved, and showered by the time we start at our normal 8:45 time slot. I found out that grunge isn’t all that bad.

The Teacher Down the Hall

I got a delightful note from Sharon after the show, publically on Twitter.

I’ll admit that just talking about her blog post on the Heart and Art Blog brought back some pretty strong emotions on my end as well. I often wonder if incidental contact with colleagues doesn’t get enough attention for professional growth. Yes, districts have formal PD and there was a push at one time for Peer Coaching but all that stuff was “laid on”. Yes, it has its value but there’s something extra special about sitting next to a colleague and chatting or just an incidental happening that can be worth so much more. Nothing laid on.

I really appreciate the fact that Sharon took the time to recognize and celebrate her appreciation with a blog post. I would suspect that it happens all the time but every now and again, it’s worth sitting down and reflecting on it. It really has added value for all in the profession.

And yes, the hallways run in both directions. It’s like those little libraries you see in the parks – give a bit; take a bit.

When everyone does, the profession gets better.

Snow Day Memories

If you’re a regular reader of this Friday morning regular post, you know that I bring up Cameron’s work every now and again.

I think the concept is genius:

  • he writes a blog post as a prompt
  • the students reply

It’s actually a concept that used to be so popular in the blogging world but replying to blog posts seems to be a dying art.

Anyway, for the students:

  • it’s a chance to use computers for something really worthwhile
  • mom and dad and ME are able to read the replies since they’re public
  • since there’s an audience other than Mr. Steltman, it’s important to get the message right
  • they know that they’re writing for an audience other than their teacher

Stephen and I enjoyed reading and looking at the work and just had to give a shoutout to

Kenzie, Grady or tom brady, Dylan, Presley, and Bean

for going over the top with their thoughts about students’ favourite days perhaps – snow days!

Destreaming is Hard

I thought that was a really interesting post and supports teachers in Ontario who are going over the top professionally to make destreaming work. That’s Mr. Dixon’s job and he shares his thoughts on these topics.

  • Focus on Relationships 
  • Don’t do it alone
  • This is a process
  • Make a Plan
  • What do I focus on First?
  • Don’t compare journeys
  • You’re the expert now
  • Keep moving forward

I specially thought that “Don’t compare journeys” was so important. Why are you struggling when the teacher across the hall seems to be doing well? It’s a reminder that not everyone’s conditions are the same and your mileage may vary, as they say.

I found his discussion of the various topics to be thoughtful and would be a valuable resource for anyone who finds themselves with these teaching assignments. There are some nice tie-ins with Sharon’s blog post.

How To Get Students Thinking

The Edugals are taking to their podcast to do a book study between the two of them and start with Chapter 1 of “Why Don’t Students Like School?” by Daniel Willingham.

I enjoy listening to the podcast and see them feed off each other and share their thoughts as they work their way through things.

I’ll be honest though; I really appreciate the show notes so that I don’t have to make notes of my own. Sort of like this blog post to follow our live show on Wednesday mornings.

There’s lots to think about in this list.

  • Be sure there are problems to be solved
  • Respect students’ cognitive limits
  • Clarify problems to be solved
  • Reconsider when to puzzle students
  • Accept and act on variation in student preparation
  • Change the pace
  • Keep a diary

Follow the podcast for more.

Easiest Collaborative Valentine’s Day Project

I’ve done Valentine’s Day from both sides of the teacher desk. It definitely is a day to stay in bed if you have a phobia of red. (did you see what I did there?)

Amy shares the generosity of an Ottawa artist, Alison Fowler, who goes by Alicat.

Amy uses Alicat’s artwork as inspiration for her students for their own creative Valentine’s Day projects. There’s a nice collection of pictures of the results in the post.

I’m humbled with this originality; the best I could ever do was computer art….

Students Visit Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy Facility at McMaster University

I thought this was so cool and what a wonderful opportunity for these students.

I think back to a field trip that we had once that took us to the University of Waterloo and had a chance to do some hands-on programming on real computers. I was sold and went there as a student.

I have no idea of what Anjuli talks about with the description of the event and what the students had a chance to do. But, it sure sounded impressive. It would be interesting to follow this and see if post-secondary choices were influenced by this opportunity.


Those students were so fortunate to have a teacher taking them to such an inspirational place.

From Consumption to Creation – Media Literacy

I thought that this was an important reminder for us all. There’s so much more to media than endless, mindless scrolling or sitting in front of a television set.

It’s noticeable that so many people have elected to become passive consumers of media instead of sitting down to actually create their own. Others’ efforts can be used to inspire us to do better things.

Arianna shares both her philosophy of media literacy as well as how her lessons and approaches have evolved for the better.

In particular, she does share one of her current projects – creating a fast food menu. That really made me reflect when I think of something so common as say, a Tim Hortons’ menu. I can remember the simple old boards where the products were just listed with prices. These days, you walk into a full frontal media blitz of everything they have to offer. It’s media in action.

I enjoy sitting in the drive-through watching the menus scroll through and just wondering what I could buy with a million dollars until it’s my turn to order. I guess it’s sad but with all that media, I’ll still order a medium black coffee and a sour cream glazed.

It’s another Friday and time to celebrate another wonderful collection of posts. Please take the time to click through and enjoy them all.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

  • Sharon Ethier – @sharon_ethier
  • Cameron Steltman – @MrSteltman
  • Mr Dixon – @TeachingMrDixon
  • Edugals – @Edugals
  • Amy Bowker – @amybowker
  • Anjuli (Tandon) Ahooja – @anjuliahooja
  • Arianna Lambert – @MsALambert

This Week in Ontario Edublogs – the show

We opened the show with…

and closed with

Since the events in the Ukraine, we’ve been opening and closing the show with songs of love and peace. The entire playlist can be found here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

I can’t help but think that we’ve been so lucky with the warm weather and that things are going to catch up with us. I had to be in Windsor this morning (yesterday morning as you read this on Friday) and had a long walk along the waterfront trail at the foot of Ouellette Avenue and took a couple of pictures.

But, this post isn’t about me. You’re here to great some great content from Ontario Edubloggers. Read on.

The deafening silence of university presidents

At times, those of us from K-12 kind of forget about universities and the leadership potential that they have. Yes, we know of the Faculties of Education but the reach is obviously so much greater. Thanks to Charles for writing this post and sharing his outrage that their voices were quiet during the recent episode with CUPE.

As luck would have it, they might have a chance to speak up next week. Hopefully, they’ve read Charles’ blog post and are rethinking their silence.

To emphasize the point, Charles reminds us of this poem.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.


From the TESL Ontario blog, this is a powerful couple of blog posts about trauma in the classroom as non-English speakers arrive ready to learn.

I think we’ve all had that student that comes in and has challenges with the language. However, in most cases, they knew that they were coming to Canada and had hopefully worked on language development.

With what’s happening these days, there are people that are just getting up and leaving and don’t have the preparation. That presents a whole new experience.

The first post talks about the children:

  • What we know 
  • What we learned
  • What we think

It’s not easy but, as educators, you do get to go home at night and recalibrate. The second post brought out the emotion in me as it talks about the effects on teachers – I’d never heard of the expression “vicarious trauma” but I sure have now:

  • How can vicarious trauma be addressed?
  • Where can I learn more?

If you find yourself in this position or you have a colleague who is, this pair of posts is worth the time to read. After all, you can still go home at night but it is difficult to recalibrate when you’re the one with the issues.

The Sound of Paper #SOL2022

This was so my life in the classroom. There was paper for every lousy stinking thing that was going on. As I mentioned in the voicEd Radio show, we had every colour of paper that you could have stuff duplicated on. Boring me opted for white because supposedly, it was a bit cheaper.

The colour blue though was reserved for the principal and every Friday at noon, we got the “Blue Memo” which outlined everything scheduled to happen in the next week. The rule around the school was “if it’s not on the Blue Memo, it doesn’t happen”.

There’s a mindset that goes with publishing to paper. Darn it, if I’ve taken the time to put my thoughts and inspiration to paper, you need to read it. As Melanie points out, if you try to stay on top of things, that pile can get pretty big.

But, paper isn’t just paper anymore!

We’ve embraced the notion of ePaper and email as a proxy for paper because it’s cheaper and, quite frankly, can be edited before distribution and, at times, makes the concept of proofreading a lost art.

It does stack up and Melanie gives us a real visual of her life with paper of all sorts. I had to smile when she talks about turning to a podcast – is that the next new paper? At this point, you can multitask by working and listening to a podcast but will that evolve too? Imagine your next staff meeting as a podcast …

Fluent in Math

It pained me to read this post. Diane does a good analysis and I appreciate that. But, I’ve always loved Mathematics and I suppose that I’d be one of the people that might talk about Mathematics as being a universal language. As a Mathematics graduate from Waterloo, I had a richness of classmates and professors from all over the world and so it flowed nicely for me. It’s not like I was a genius; I had to work my butt off but it was work that I enjoyed. While I’ve long cleaned out my bookshelves of textbooks from my university days, I still have some Mathematics books. I love this one and still pull it out every now and again just to read and work my way through a problem.

Diane challenges the notion that Mathematics is universal and makes a good discussion about each.

  • Vocabulary
  • Multiple Meaning Words (this one had me laughing because it is absolutely true)
  • Word problems (this one had be uncontrollably laughing on the voicEd show as I visualized this)
  • Different algorithms and notations
  • Different expectations of student role
  • Culturally-embedded word problems
  • Exhaustion

Old Fellas New Music Episode 34

Paul and Bob Kennedy do a nice job with this podcast. 9 songs, 1 hour and a great bit of conversation and insight between the songs.

They share their thoughts on the music (apparently this episode had Paul at the cottage – great internet access I might add) You can listen to the show at the second link above.

If that’s not enough, there’s a supporting blog post at the first link so all your modalities are addressed. I don’t always enjoy all the songs that they feature but if I wanted only my own likes, I’d do my own podcast. But, there’s always something to like and walk away with. I like that they do the heavy lifting and I just get to listen and enjoy.

This week, for me it was this collaboration from Allison Russell /Brandi Carlile – You Are Not Alone that stood out. Of course, we’ve all heard of Brandi Carlile and she’s with Elton John in his concert this weekend on his last tour. But, Allison Russell was new to me and what a beautiful voice and in both official languages.


Bonding Over Basketball

Aviva shares a bit of her teaching history from Kindergarten to Grade 6 and has been at it long enough to know that there are some students that you bond with immediately and others that take a little work. She gives a shoutout to her friend Paula who she acknowledges has the gift.

I think that we all would confess that all (or at least mostly all) students can be reached out to and have a bit of a bond although education is definitely not a one size fits all.

I thoroughly enjoyed her story about her experience trying to reach them all and that there were some that were a real challenge for her. If they only would enjoy a good book with her!

Good teachers don’t give up and write them off; they continue to look for the road that leads to connection. We all do that.

One of the things that worked for me was the computer lab – when students were working, I always allowed them to play music which seemed to soothe the teenage mind well. To be inclusive, I needed to give everyone a chance to determine what we would listen to. It wasn’t always pleasant but we do what we need to do at times.

I think this is a great read for all educators but might also have a special place for those teacher candidates going on a practice teaching placement as a reminder that connections aren’t always easy and yet they’re so important.

#LearningInTheLoo: Cycles 1 & 2 of Implementing a #ThinkingClassroom

I’ve missed Laura’s Loo-worthy material. I had to check if I’d just missed them or she was busier on TikTok instead! As she notes, life gets in the road frequently of best intentions.

This is a two-parter about thoughts of the environment that leads to success for Thinking Classrooms. There’s great stuff there. I wonder if principals outside her school download and print these for staff (not in Blue and be mindful that Melanie might not get to it immediately).

These are one-page materials – it reminded me of creating what I called “One Page Wonders” and respects the audience by not delivering a book when a single page will do.

Do yourself a professional favour and read all of these terrific posts and then check out these awesome writers on Twitter.

  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • TESLOntario – @TESLOntario
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Happy Friday! If you’re looking for some great blog posts, you’ve come to the right place. Ontario Edubloggers are the best!

Media Literacy: I’m Still Stuck on Selfies

A long, long time ago I had a superintendent who was a big Apple fanboy and he’d attended a conference where the speaker held up an iPod Classic and pronounced that the future was going to be like this device. You could store every song you’d ever want to listen to in it and do amazing things. I did get one of these devices as a result of that speaker and it was nice for music but not much else. I still have it. There were a lot of futuristic speakers who talked about this and subsequent devices being the future of education and that students would be able to access all the information in the world on it.

It was actually one of the times that these futurists were potentially right. Students do have these devices and can do amazing things like teaching their teacher

“They’ve tried to get me to dance with only my hands, showed me how to take pictures while still on a locked screen, save videos on platforms I thought were only for taking pictures in the moment, use prior content and layer it with music, then different music, and then different pictures.

But, do they really use it to the best advantage?

Matthew has some fun at his own expense sharing a story about his attempts to address media literacy with students who were more interested in knowing if he has a Facebook account.

How would you handle the scenario that he describes? Let’s face it; we’re all trailing somebody when it comes to technology. But, if you can learn from them, that’s got to be a good thing, right?

And, Matthew, I’ve been in situations like you described so many times. Enjoy the fact that you’re not arrogant enough to say that they’re wrong and that you are the only one with the correct answer. Keep on learning.

The Audacity

If you ever get the chance to hang out with Colleen, you need to do it. I had the good fortune to do so years ago when I was involved with the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario. You can have an engaging conversation with her about anything and secretly marvel when she doodles something marvellous like the time she caught me taking notes at a conference. I’ll always treasure this sketch of me. It’s my Twitter profile picture and I value her friendship so much that I doubt that I’ll ever change it.

She makes no apologies for being so artistic but takes to this post to talk about the audacity lesson she had while listening to a podcast. Nerdy me thought that she was going to talk about the software Audacity when I read the title.

In the post, she pretty much dissed me (I love it when I read the content of a post and make it personal) because I haven’t had the audacity to take on so many challenges and do something about them.

I think about something that I’ve done within the past six months. I sat on it for over a year before I decided to do it one day. The results? Well, they weren’t what I had expected and that was a little disappointing but I have comfort in knowing that I did it. It took a while before I pulled the trigger but pull I did.

Would I have done it sooner if she’d blogged and challenged me sooner? What other challenges will I take on? More importantly, what sorts of things do you have the audacity to do? Read Colleen’s post and get inspired to do it.

On Being a Bad Person

This is a long, perhaps difficult for you to read, post. I know that it was for me.

I like to think of things in black and white. That way, there are easy answers. Probably, in my mind, I would have thought that good and bad people would be easy to understand.

That is until I read Marie’s post where she addresses three things

The first was perhaps the easiest to see because very few people would ever be in the position of rescuing a drowning child. It’s one of those hypothetical things that are easy to embrace. So, it would be easy to see good and bad from reading the post. Marie messes with your mind though by giving a number of scenarios that might play out. Work your way through the scenarios and see if you have any easy answers.

The second is personal and I give her credit for sharing it but I would prefer not to comment.

The third deals with society’s treatment of Covid.

Covid is taking far more lives than drunk drivers and sober drivers,

We have no problems with cracking down on drunk drivers because it’s the absolutely right thing to do. Why is Covid different?

I’m still on the edge when it comes to Covid. We voted in the advance polls and stood in line between 45 minutes and an hour, with our masks on. We were absolutely in the minority. We could have taken those with masks on and easily got into a minivan.

If you’re like me, you won’t be able to read this blog post just once and then move on.

Creating Read-Aloud Calendars

I love this concept.

As the father of three kids, I can recall them bringing home monthly calendars that had been duplicated over and over again to the point where it became embarrassing to have them on the fridge when company came over.

As a workshop leader, I can remember showing people how to use KidPix or Microsoft Publisher to make cleaner, clearer, and importantly unique calendars

In this post, Jen, inspired by Elizabeth Lyons, uses Canva to create “read-aloud calendars”.

Now, these aren’t your normal classroom calendars – as Jen points out, it goes far further than that and addresses a literacy concern that she has and is using Elizabeth’s idea as inspiration for her own.

I’d suggest taking a look at this and seeing if it fits into your monthly routine.

Nicely done, ladies.

This Is Leadership – EP4: Gilles Séguin

On his Leadership podcast, Joel interviews Gilles Séguin, apparently a friend and they’re renewing that friendship while talking about leadership.

I found Gilles’ observation on leadership and the hit that it’s taken during Covid very interesting. Who can argue that we look out for others less now than before?

He does share his thoughts about paying it forward and what we all can do. There are some great thoughts here and the bicycle story was awesome.

They turned the discussion toward students leaving high school and the challenges that they face. From my notes …

  • Challenges for students leaving high school 
    • Not everyone starts in the same place
    • Most people are oriented to results and not process
    • Not prepared academically or in life – we’ve made it easy for this generation – not doing them any favours by not making them do chores etc.
    • Buffalo run toward a storm to get through it quickly
    • Pillars – control your day, mindset, and process

I did do some personal fact-checking about buffalo running to a storm and couldn’t find anything definitive but it certainly generated a lot of discussion and that’s a good thing.

I always enjoy listening to inspirational speakers and so thoroughly enjoyed this podcast from beginning to end. At times, it felt like being in a keynote address at a conference. You just might feel that too.

What’s Now?

I’ve known Aviva long enough to remember the last time she had a big career move. It was all over Twitter – should she change her Twitter handle (she did) – will her knees hold up getting down on the floor and the ground with the littles, etc.

Well, she’s made another move and outlines it in this post. I remember a gentleman who was thrust into our Department that called people that moved into different positions “climbers” and it sounds like she had to deal with the same sort of questions.

  • Was I looking to become a principal?
  • Did I want to become a consultant?
  • Would I ever go back to the classroom?
  • Did I want a change of grades?

Those really aren’t fair questions but it goes with the process, I guess.

I get the sense through reading this and my interactions with her that this wasn’t an easy decision to make. Let’s face it; it’s never easy in education and probably any other profession. We all wish her luck.

Do you remember what her former Twitter handle was?

New Job? No Problem

How about this for timely commentary from the TESLOntario blog.

Like Aviva, Heather has assumed a new position. She didn’t mention if she got the questions about the motive for moving in the post but I’ll bet there is some overlap.

Instead, she’s laying out a plan for herself that is wise for anyone who moves to a new position.

  • Occupy a learner position 
  • Connect with your colleagues 
  • Bridge knowledge gaps

I know that we all wish her the best in her new position.

The best advice I ever got that still sticks with me – find out the name of the head secretary at any school that you visit and introduce yourself including their name in the conversation. It opens so many doors when the person who really runs the school is on your side.

I hope that you’ll agree that there is a whole lot of great reading (listening) again this week. Please find some time to appreciate it.

Then, connect with these folks on Twitter.

  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Colleen Rose – @ColleenKR
  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Jen Aston – @mmejaston
  • Joel McLean – @jprofNB
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Heather Donnelly on the TESL Blog – @TESLOntario

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio

0:00 Stephen and Doug chat
0:10 Matthew Morris – Media Literacy: I’m Still Stuck on Selfies
0:20 Colleen Rose – The Audacity
0:30 Marie Snyder – On Being a Bad Person
0:40 Jen Aston – Creating Read-Aloud Calendars
0:50 Joel McLean – This Is Leadership – EP4: Gilles Séguin