This Week in Ontario Edublogs


What a week! It was so warm hot here. I guess that I can’t complain too loudly though. The Sun Parlor was not the hottest place in the province. It looks like it’s going to get cooler for the weekend. Isn’t that doing things backwards?

Read on to enjoy some of the recent posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


Simple Steps to Reopen Schools

This post comes from the mindfulness side of the Stillnesshub blog and written by Safina Hirji.

I’ve read a lot of blog posts recently about how to re-open schools. They’re typically full of ideas about the mechanical and logistical side of things. All of that is really important for safety and I’ll admit to reading many of them.

This post takes a different tact though.

It focuses on students. What a concept! But, it’s not the sort of thing dealing with assessment and evaluation, content, and other teacher things. True to the theme, Safina deals with student mindfulness. She touches on four areas.

  • Mental Health and Well-Being through Mindfulness
  • Individualized Learning Opportunities
  • Mindfulness with acquiring knowledge and building skills
  • Accessing the right Tech Tools for Collaborative, Synchronous Learning

It’s a good read and a powerful reminder that opening schools is more than unlocking doors.


How Not to Start Math Class in the Fall – 2020

Mark Chubb’s post is a nice followup to Safina’s. Like her post, he’s got a great deal of concern for the student and their re-introduction to school, specifically for mathematics.

I suspect that most teachers go through a process of pre-testing to assess strengths, weaknesses, and current levels of understanding in the first part of a mathematics class.

But this is not a regular year, whatever that is. We know that things have been less, far less, than idea over the past while. Then, add two months for summer holiday.

Mark takes these notions and expands with recommendations about just how to start and a list of things to reflect on.

We’re still an unknown period of time away from knowing when and how things will open but there’s some great inspiration here to get things going in the back of your mind at least.


The Way I Felt

Amanda Potts says she “hate the poem I wrote” and that’s a shame because it’s a very power piece of media.

Inspired by the recent announcement that schools would remain closed for the rest of spring, her first reaction was that the air had been sucked out of the room.

I’m not a big poetry critic but I really felt that she laid her teaching soul bare with her thoughts and I’ll bet that you’d feel the same way.

It starts…

No more waiting
for people who don’t know me
to make a decision about
my life
my family’s life
my students’ lives
my community’s lives.


TEACH LIKE A DAD

From the Our Dad’s Shoes blog devoted to issues about Fathers and Fatherhood comes this post, from Will Gourley. It is actually a post he’d written in the past and brought forward at this time. It fits nicely into the theme.

He discusses four attributes of fathers:

  • Consistent
  • Fair
  • Honest
  • Protective

and does a great job about it and offering a tribute to his father.

There is a natural connection to teaching because, as we all acknowledge, our first teachers were our parents.


My List Of 10 Self-Reg Things That I’ve Learned

From the Self-Regulation blog, Aviva shares a list of things that she’s learned about self-regulation and herself at these trying times.

  • Exercise
  • Breaks
  • Fidget toy 
  • Too much social media
  • OK to put yourself first
  • Social stressors are online
  • Why and why now?
  • Stress behaviours multiply online
  • Saying hello
  • Importance of routine

Aviva joined Stephen Hurley and me as a guest host on This Week in Ontario Edublogs, did a nice job and got a chance to elaborate. There were three of these topics that I singled out to hear her speak about, in addition to writing about it.

Fidget Toy – she sees a need for one of these in her future as she hesitates to jump into discussions with students. I had to smile, I play with my mouse when I’m listening to others

Social stressors are online – we all know about the stresses due to social media but what about the social interaction that goes on in the online classroom. When to jump in, when to lay back, …

Saying hello – Aviva notes that it’s OK for some students to jump into a class and not necessarily be active for the entire session. It’s OK just to say hello and sit back and watch. Just being there can be enough at times


Good Coffee Activity

From the STAO blog, this is a really interesting resource unit.

Who doesn’t get up and get a daily charge with coffee?

This is a free to download secondary school curriculum complete with the expectations that can be addressed with its use.


Pandemic Reflections: Surrender as a Survival Technique

I know that Tim King speaks for thousands of teachers in this particular post. He lashes out at many things, many people that are players in this “absolutely terrible school year.”

I like the success story that he shares (and had pictures on Facebook documenting it) when he and family were allowed into the school to put together some computers for colleagues.

I can understand his feeling of exhaustion but was taken aback when he indicated that he was feeling defeated. I’ve never heard that from him. Then I look at my own household. My wife is delighted when she needs to leave the place to address some essential service in town.

There are so many lessons to be learned from those on the front lines during this time. As Tim notes, our leaders had assumptions about the readiness for a shift in teaching and it’s been proven wrong over and over again.

For me, the low point of all this was the political statement about expecting teachers and students to be regularly engaged in synchronous communications. For that to work, so many assumptions had to be made. I know that many teachers have tried and some have been successful but I suspect they would have been successful without the directive anyway.


Please click through and enjoy these posts in their entirety. There’s so much great thinking.

Then, make sure that you’re following these folks on Twitter.

  • Safina Hirji – @SafinaHirji
  • Mark Chubb – @MarkChubb3
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • STAO – staoapso
  • Tim King – @tk1ng

This post originated on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Good Friday morning.

Why not get a little smarter by reading some of these blog posts from great Ontario Edubloggers?


If Ever There Was A Time….

It’s the spring of the year, and under normal conditions, things would be ramping up towards graduation celebrations in schools. In this post from Sue Bruyns, she reflects on what it might look like for Grade 8 students. It’s a big deal to move from Grade 8 to Grade 9.

That’s not the only graduations that happen in our schools though. There’s kindergarten graduations as they move to Grade 1. Grade 12 students moving to whatever is next for them. Colleges and universities graduate students from there as well. And, quite frankly, there’s a sense of celebration at the end of any grade level as students move on to the next.

Depending upon the school, Sue describes a range of ways that formal celebrations take place. Even in Sue’s district there are a number of different types of celebrations, often based on history and also economics. Another set of big events are the big school trip as well.

So, Sue wonders if this is the opportunity for school districts to sit back and consider just what is happening at this time of year. Is it time to change the “business as usual” format to something more consistent. It’s an interesting look and topic to consider. I’m sure that Sue would appreciate hearing from you and what’s happening in your school.


Still Making an Impact- Even from Home

In many classrooms, things are quite different and often teachers and students are learning from day to day. I’ve heard reports from some teachers that there are students who aren’t checking in as often as they might. I heard it first hand from a couple of kids that dropped by for a patio visit “We didn’t do anything … it’s boring!”

Noa Daniel has long used this very sophisticated approach for students doing their research and presenting results to classmates. This year, the focus is on the 17 Sustainable Goals. Since we live in different times, the regular face-to-face mode just won’t happen. Instead, elements of this might well be face-to-Zoom. They’re going to experience first hand what it looks like to present to the audience in this different mode!

The other thing that is apparent when you try to visualize this is that is not a short term event. There are many different things that are happening here and a student shouldn’t want to miss a step along the way. Noa’s approach has always intrigued me; it will be interesting to see how it plays out in today’s reality.

In addition to all of the planning that Noa shares, she includes a nice collection of student observations. They get it.


Tying The Room Together

Terry Greene’s post is an opportunity for his to tie together a couple of posts he’s addressed in the recent past.

What impresses me about this post and the two previous ones is Terry’s focus on providing opportunities for students to share their voice.

It’s not something that we normally associate with higher education. I know that my own experience was rewarding but in a different, more traditional way.

As you work your way through Terry’s post, you’ll note all kinds of links to supporting documents and observations/recordings.

If you follow one link, I’d suggest this one to a slidedeck.

Here are the slides again from the session. The simple goal was to talk a bit about the who, what, when, where, why, how of it all and then to do it for real in a mini-interview from start to finish with the same mini-interviews we used in the Ideate session so that attendees could see it happen live.


Love in the time of COVID-19

You know, my heart goes out to Heather Swail. She’s been very open about the things that have happened this year, her last year, in education. First there was all the work stoppages and now the whole teaching at home thing.

I follow Paul McGuire on Instagram and lately he’s been posting pictures of their walks showing off the empty streets. It looks lonely, sad, and yet very artistic.

Back to Heather, this is a heart-warming post describing how she celebrated a birthday, a very special birthday. Head over to read how she celebrated the event and some of the unique gifts that she received.

And while you’re there – wish her a Happy Birthday.


Animal Crossing New Horizons – Popularity and Possibilities

From Diana Maliszewski, a rather long blog post but it’s OK because she posted it to three of the blogs that she contributes to.

Never having played the game, I found her post and description both engaging and intriguing. She calls the use of the game as cross-generational in its appeal. I was quite impressed with the 3D representation and lifelike depiction of characters in the game. It’s a long way, at least in appearance, from Minecraft, her previous love.

Of real interest to me was her observation about the values that are conveyed via the environment.

What does it mean to be a good citizen? This message is shared in so many ways in ACNH. Good citizens pick up litter, like fallen branches. They chat with their neighbours and bring them medicine when they are sick. They are active and wander the island. They donate items to the museum. They contribute to the prosperity of the island by buying and selling items from regular vendors (Timmy and Tommy, the Able Sisters) as well as visiting salespeople (CJ, Flick, Leif, Kicks, and even “shifty” characters like Redd the Fox who sells authentic and fake pieces of art). 

I think any activities, even games that engage, and can work values into themselves should deserve a second look.


Overwhelming Resources

Right now, you can see organizations and people with websites publishing lists of resources for classroom use during learning at home initiatives.

Quite often, little thought goes into the curation of these. Here’s a link, here’s a link, here’s another link, … I addressed the concept of privacy of email addresses in a product (Private Relay) under development by Mozilla in my blog post yesterday.

Michelle Fenn’s post on the Heart and Art Blog took me back to the days when I evaluated and shared resources with my colleagues for a living. It’s not a copy/paste activity. There are so many things that you really should consider before your recommend others use it and have them used with children. Privacy, cost, longevity, and much more. Michelle has a list of 10 things that people need to consider while evaluating a resource.

I would add one point that I always argued strongly when I was on the OSAPAC Committee and that the language needs to be Canadian with Canadian spelling. I strongly objected to recommending a product that would have a student sit down and be faced with text written in another language.

I really like that Michelle considers Canadian software developers first (which should but doesn’t always result in Canadian spelling) and importantly that any information is stored on servers in Canada.


How to Edit Auto-Generated Captions in YouTube

Jen Giffen got a request from Noa Daniel about how to turn on captions in a YouTube video. I thought that it might be helpful to others to know how it’s done and so brought it forward here.

It’s a short video with a whoops to prove that Jen is indeed human but will step you through the process.


Don’t you feel smarter now?

I hope that you clicked through and enjoyed the posts and learned a little something in the process.

Now, make sure you follow these great folks on Twitter.

  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Noa Daniel – @noasbobs
  • Terry Greene – @greeneterry
  • Heather Swail – @hbswail
  • Diana Maliszewski – @mzmollytl
  • Michelle Fenn – @Toadmummy
  • Jen Giffen – @VirtualGiff

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


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

I might have to cut the grass again.

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

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


If you aren’t still in a school library…

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

And then she asks

Am I still a teacher-librarian?

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

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

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

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

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

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


Setting Up Communication with Students in Distance Learning

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where do you look for support at this time?


Leadership and Learning under Lockdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


It isn’t a pivot, it’s a giant leap

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

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

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

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


Math Links for Week Ending Apr. 24th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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


DigCitTO and the future of conferences

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

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

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

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

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

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


Classrooms After Covid-19

How’s this for coincidence?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

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

This post originated on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I had a bit of a surprise yesterday afternoon when I opened WordPress to write this post. Generally, I don’t look at the dashboard but this caught me eye.

Wow! I knew that I had a few posts but 9 000? Now, truth be told, every other post for some time now are links from my previous day’s reading so they’re not all original work by me.

Anyway, it’s another week of great posts from Ontario Edubloggers. Please sit back and enjoy.


Living in the Times of Covid – 19: A Journal

Paul McGuire shares an interesting observation in this post

There is no balance in the time of COVID -19. There are highs and lows and all are good. 

We probably all go through this on a regular basis but being permanently at home only serves to amplify them. Paul isn’t the only person to make this observation that I’ve noticed this week. I would think that the real problem would come when a person is unable to distinguish between them.

So, Paul is aware of what’s happening in his world and shares some observations of life going on outside it. I found it interesting and like that Paul’s coping mechanism can be so powerful – just write.

Whether it’s a blog, an article, a journal, a note … it’s a way of getting the weight out and that’s always a good thing.

Don’t freak out at the image on the landing page of this post. Sometimes, the silly just takes over.


Keep Calm and Teach ONLine

It was refreshing to read this admission from Deb Weston.

I’ll be honest with you, reader, I’ve had some lasting moments of being completely overwhelmed with the circumstances we are going through as teachers. Isolated in our homes, we deal with steep learning curves while worrying about our students in their lives and in their learning.

I’ve read so many things about how well learning is going; the kids are really excelling and all that. You just know that that may well be a bit of an exaggeration.

I suspect this article was written before the announcement by the Ministry of Education about the purchase of iPads and Internet access for students as she does identify a lack of these as part of the frustration that’s happening. But, even dropping off technology with “no touch” isn’t an immediate solution to a problem. It’s an attempt to level the playing field and will get better over time, I hope. I’ve got a blog post of my own about this in brainstorming mode.

(update: I’m reading now that this purchase may not be for new technology and I’m researching)

It’s also not just access to technology that is at hand here. Deb correctly has sympathies for those students who would normally handle things in Special Education settings but now are unable.


Content and Copyright Considerations in Distance Learning

I thought that this post from Michelle Fenn tagged nicely after Deborah’s post. So, you do have access to the internet. We all know that you can find absolutely anything and everything out there.

However, finding and using it can be two different things…

In the post, Michelle addresses:

  • Posting YouTube Videos
  • Reading Books Online to Students
  • FairDealing and Copyright
  • Privacy Policies and Statement

She touches the surface on these. It’s difficult to address them all here so make sure that you check out her post. Michelle does give an excellent piece of advice because not all resources are created equally.

Be proactive and check with someone in the Instructional Technology department at your school board to ensure that you are following recommendations before asking students and parents to sign up for a digital tool.


Distance Learning: Week One

And yet another post from the ETFO Heart and Art Blog. This one comes from Kelly McLaughlin. Here, she lays out her plan for Week One that she has for students that address Mathematics, Literacy, Geography, and Science.

The activities were to be done asynchronously and she let the students know what times she was available for assistance.

There was an element of concern and empathy that I thought was important to note. Using the tools, she polled her students to see how they were doing in the various subject areas, on a personal basis, and as learners.

I could see this feedback as being very crucial for future planning. The response would inform her as teacher as to how the students are coping and would allow her to adjust future learning activities accordingly.


5 Things That Will Change After Coronavirus 

Hmmm, Matthew Morris, only five?

It’s hard to argue with any of the things in his list.

  • Social Distancing – we’re starting to see districts outside Ontario planning to open schools. The good thing is that many of the schools are not planning for school as usual. Schools are build for the masses; they line up to go in, they mob the hallways, they get squashed into classrooms
  • Online Learning – if we learn one thing about using technology and learning, it’s that you can’t just flip a switch and move from face to face to online. Look for a move for more blended learning approaches
  • Self-isolation – I liked his observation here, particularly is it applies to the use of social media. We’ve always know that there was bullying online but when online is your only answer, it only follows that so does the bullying
  • Quarantine – he takes an interesting look at this concept in a different way. It was the concept of racism and speared by the leader to the south of us. There is a history of naming viruses from their place of origin and, even though it hasn’t been conclusively proven, COVID-19 has been referred to by location. And, it’s not the use of the location, it’s in the way that it’s pronounced
  • Super Skepticism – we live in a day and age where you can turn and find resources to find any opinion that you want. A good global citizen will definitely stand and question everything

I really, really liked the items that Matthew has identified and he takes them on in his particular style.


Inspiration to Join the TESL Ontario Board

Here’s an opportunity for those involved in TESL.

How about joining the Board of Directors?

On the TESLOntario blog, Paula Ogg talks about her inspiration to join the board.

I am passionate about creative problem solving, design thinking, and design-based research, so I hope in the future I will be able to share and use these tools and techniques to give others a voice in TESL leadership.

While I’ve never been a TESL teacher, I find that whole group of educators very interesting and inspirational. The TESLOntario website does a wonderful job of collecting and sharing resources.

If that’s where your interests lie, you may wish to get further involved.


Dixit: A Game for Everyone (Language, Thinking and Abstract Learning Skills)

Zoe Branigan-Pipe shares a card game that is played in the Pipe household and in her class. I think a lot of people are playing games to while the time and keep things under control these days.

At home, I play this with my family (ages 16, 17, 20 and adults). I also have an ELL student living with us who loves using this game to learn vocabulary. He uses a translater to help him express his ideas.

Then, she gives us a big long list of educational things that she sees from playing the game and using it in her classroom.

Zoe, I’ll leave you with a quote I get from my kids

“Daaaad, you’re such a teacher”

I always take it as a compliment.


Please take a moment to check out these posts and read the complete insights from these great bloggers.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Deb Weston – @DrDWestonPhD
  • Michelle Fenn – @Toadmummy
  • Kelly McLaughlin
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Paula Ogg – @TESLOntario
  • Zoe Branigan-Pipe – @zbpipe

This post originated at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

Check even your reliable sources


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I started writing these regular Friday morning posts a long time ago. The goal then is the same that it is today. It lets me celebrate the great thoughts of Ontario Edubloggers. All of the posts are available here.

In the big global scheme of things, Ontario may be a relatively smaller player. But, province-wide, there is always a need for a local perspective. Every week, I close by asking you to visit the original blog posts. I’m still going to ask you to do the same thing but I’d like to request something else since you’ve got nowhere to go outside. Please share the link to the actual post in your learning networks whether it be Twitter, Facebook, an internet discussion list with your district, Instagram, or whatever you turn to for your learning.

These bloggers, as all of the blog posts that I’ve included on this regular Friday feature do a magnificent job of sharing their thoughts and research. They need to be heard. Please help their cause.


What I Wish I Knew: Reluctant Readers

Tina Bergman blogs on the voicEd website and her latest post continues her sharing of thoughts and readings about, well, reading.

She’s borrowed the concept of the naming of things from Ramona Meharg with “What I Wish I Knew”.

This post includes a nice collection of research articles – embedded and included in the notes at the bottom along with her thoughts about the RIGHT TO READ inquiry.

She brings into the post the ongoing list of resources from the Ministry and other sources that could help inform instruction.

When I read works like this, I can’t help but think back to my own education. There was nowhere nearly the research breadth that this is available to educators today. Reading was just something that you learned to do. It was important around our household and it just sort of happened at school. I don’t recall the strategies explicitly in play that Tina talks about.

When I think back, I can remember a few in my class who struggled and were probably written off at the time as “they don’t get it”.

That isn’t a solution anymore. For those of us who do get it, it’s easy to leap at the assertion that teaching reading is easy. And it probably was for us. But when you take a look at the classroom composition today, you can only appreciate what hard work teaching reading actually is.


V is for Village

On this blog, and on this computer, I’ve been following and enjoying the walk through the alphabet with Lynn Thomas. I keep guessing what happens when she hits Z!

We often hear the much used phrase “it takes a village” and we generally understand it related to child-raising practices, but it is so much bigger than that. It takes a village to raise ALL of us. We all never quite stop being children because we all have more to learn no matter what age or stage of life we are in

It’s a short and to the point blog post.

When you think of “the village”, it’s time to move past the cutesy sayings or the little artifacts that you might buy in the mall for a gift.

Never before has the importance of this global village been so visible. Well, maybe not to those who claim it to be a hoax even though they’re going to a revisionist approach to say they recognized it all along. But, it is true for the rest of us.

One person isn’t going to pull a global community through all this. It’s going to take everyone.

Let’s respect and honour that.


Outdoor Education – let’s go camping!

Oh, but if we only could.

It’s hard to think back but Laura Wheeler takes us back to a time before the struggle that we’re having now. Sadly, it’s not a large leap back in time – it’s just a month. I’ll bet it seems so much longer for Laura and her students.

They got to go winter camping. It’s an experience that really needs to be enjoyed. It’s so different from summer camping.

  • no mosquitoes
  • clothing is so much different and needs better care taken of it
  • camping is nothing without a campfire but what is a “nice-to-have” in the summer becomes a reality in the winter!

And so much more you’ll find in this post along with some terrific pictures along with strong encouragement to give it a shot.

Are you up to it?


COVID-19 & Education: Part 2

Shelly Vohra is on a bit of a blogging streak.

Last week, I took at look at her thoughts about education these days during the outbreak of the virus.

This week, she took a second view in Part 2 of the series.

The realities of education from home have come up into everyone’s face since her first post. She addresses so many of the important issues – developmental levels, screen time, the role of the computer, choice of digital resources, security and privacy, and even the concept of re-connecting with students who have been away from the classroom now for three or more weeks.

A great deal of time is spent on addressing mindfulness and well-being. It’s easier to do face to face but that’s not an option.

Since I read this, she has actually written a series of posts for you to consider. As things are set to gear up in the province there’s so much wisdom, advice, and thoughts for consideration here.


4 Teachers + 80 minutes = Powerful Learning

Diana Maliszewski shares one of her “this is why I teach” moments in this post.

It involves cookies and a whole lot more.

Don’t just glance at this picture! Study it.

You’ll find the word “authentic” in there.

Huh?

There is so much richness in this post that a quick summary here really wouldn’t do it justice. But I would encourage you to click through and read it in its entirety. You’ll find novels, questioning, professional learning, teacher observation, puzzle pieces, chocolate chips, student-teacher work and follow-up, and more.


What’s the first thing you will do when your world opens up again?

Warning … you’re going to want to have a tissue nearby when you read this very personal and emotional post from Debbie Donsky.

We’ve all had challenges and parts of our regular life stolen from us during this time and she was no different. Imagine having to hospitalize a parent and then being prevented from visiting.

My heart goes out to Debbie. Her message is so personal and yet there is a realization that blogging can be so many things to so many people. It truly can be a way to at least lift part of a heavy load.

So what’s the first thing you will do? Read the post to see what Debbie wants to do.


Timing Is Critical – Seize The Moment!

Joel McLean is absolutely correct.

We’re in incredibly difficult times and leadership has never been so crucial. We’ve seen political leaders make media appearances and some are very strong (and I blogged about that) and some are just pathetic.

There’s no two ways about this. It’s not about YOU; it’s about all of US.

Being a leader today means that we must continuously transform ourselves. Not only because of the fast-changing environments that we work and live in, but because we cannot hope to lead and improve tomorrow if we keep relying on yesterday’s abilities. Once opportunity is knocking at our door, it is too late to prepare. You have to be ready to seize it!

Nobody could have predicted or planned for what we’re going through. That’s OK. We don’t expect that you already have the tools but the best leaders will make an effort to find or develop them. The best and strongest have stepped up and learned what leadership means at this time. This includes classroom leaders, school leaders, and district leaders. How they respond now will speak volumes going into the future.


And a shout-out

Earlier this week, I had written a blog post itemizing 10 things that I’ve learned from this whole experience. I challenged bloggers to share their learning and I got two takers that I know of.

Melanie White

10 Things I’ve Learned: a response to Doug Peterson’s Blog

Aviva Dunsiger

My List Of 10 Things That I’ve Learned

As I always say, please click through and read these great posts in their entirety. This week, I’m also asking that you honour their work by sharing it via your networking connections.

And, follow them on Twitter:

  • Tina Bergman – @blyschuk
  • Lynn Thomas – @THOMLYNN101
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • Joel McLean – @jprofNB
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca

This blog post appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


You know, you don’t really appreciate something until you lose it. I’m feeling that this week in my loss of freedom to just go and browse my way through a store. It’s not that I do it a lot but the important part is that, in another time, I actually could if I wanted to. I just can’t now.

I did have a fulfilling moment last night. A childhood friend of mine had a crashed iPad and I was able to give her some advice and she’s back online now. My price was very affordable compared to what Apple would have charged. I got:


On to some of the great things that crossed my keyboard this week from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.


COVID-19 & Education

Shelly Vohra offers some candid advice about attempts by the Ministry of Education to promote e-learning or online learning or what you may wish to call it. She echoes some of the observations that have been talked about here and in other places. It is in stark contrast to the comments coming from some of the right-wing news sources in the province. They just don’t have a clue. The sad thing is the number of anonymous comments. I don’t reshare because I don’t believe and yet I can’t resist the urge to read the garbage that they are spewing. Like I indicated previously on this blog, you can’t equate one person with a computer from their employer and an internet connection with a teacher trying to teach a class of students with varying needs and just as many varying computer configurations. That is, of course, if the student is fortunate enough to have a computer and an internet connection.

Shelly points out, with respect to the Minstry’s assumptions that this is a good thing:

  • The first is that educators were not consulted in the creation of this ‘resource’
  • Secondly, the ‘resource’ doesn’t take into consideration the diversity in our student population
  • my third issue with such a ‘resource’ – the issue of equity.

We can’t overlook that this will be a good resource for some and certainly school districts are, or have been directed to, share on their website.

Shelly promises a followup post with some of her ideas.


How The Coronavirus Should Impact Education

Matthew Morris takes on the topic of how all this should affect education. He thinks that we’ll all play out and make the best of things in the short term. He focuses instead on the future.

So, what does happen if and when the balance of the school year is cancelled.

I did have to smile just a bit when he took on society’s perspective of Physical and Health Education. Is it a nice break from the rigours of the classroom or does it have a more important role?

And, where do report cards fit in?

This post is a nice focus on reality.


Illness, Shame and the Educator Martyr Complex

From the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, Michelle Fenn makes some observations based on the current reality and some of the realizations that can come from it.

We all have experienced the various scenarios in Michelle’s post. We have indeed dragged ourselves into work when we should have stayed at home.

We all have those emergency lesson plans that are tucked away for such an occasion and hope that we never need them.

We all know the panic of going to bed well and waking up ill. What will the kids do?

At some point, we’ve all had the experience of going into work when we really shouldn’t. As Michelle notes, we’ve made gains through collective bargaining about how to take care of ourselves. Sadly, there are employers that want to cut into this. There’s a huge difference in workplace activity between dealing with a full timetable of students who might be sick and some other professions that are nowhere near this. I still can’t get over that moronic Twitter message that I read indicating that teachers will get through COVID-19 because the experience of dealing with coughing the spreading a of germs of the classroom will help them.

Ironically, we have an entire province that has shut itself down due to a virus and those that are really worried about the impact of the lack of doing their jobs and the students they’re charged to work with are the teachers.


Exceptional Times: Using a Pandemic to Close the Digital Divide

Tim King follows up on a previous blog post where he addressed the challenges of having insufficient internet access at school for his needs with this post.

Now, he takes the concept of connectivity globally. I found his reference to the Loon project interesting. Note that this video is at least three years old.

And, of course, you’ll need a computer to attach to the network. He cites two sources; one being the unused computers at schools right now and the second being the Computers for Schools project.

I would suggest that all this is a start but won’t get us where we ultimately need to be. My internet service provider uses LTE and Satellite; it’s part of Canada’s rural solution. I had to send a warning to Stephen Hurley earlier this week that our voicEd show might be in danger when I ran a Speedtest and got this.

Image

Stephen recommends at least 2MB for success. Fortunately, it was a bit better for Wednesday morning. Had I needed the speed when I ran the test, I would have been out of luck. Imagine being a student at home relying on synchronous connections with a teacher.

The second part of the equation involves getting computers in the hands of students. One solution is to provide repurposed computers with a Linux environment and have them connect to a network with those specifications. The problem with older computers is that repairs and getting parts can be a challenge when things go wrong. I have a Dell (not exactly a generic machine) with a flashing orange light indicating that it doesn’t recognize the battery that it came with. It’s not likely that I’m going to shell out money for a new battery for this older computer.

On top of all of this, we make reference to this as a solution to those students whose families cannot afford their own technology. So, the poorer get a bandaid solution?

Despite my negative points above, a solution like this needs to be found. Traditionally, we’ve looked to public libraries as an evening solution but when they’re closed, that option is out.

Looking for a solution while living the problem really isn’t the solution. A proactive solution like hospitals have in hand needs to be in place. Smart educators like Tim should be given credit for their thoughts, along with a budget, and come up with a permanent solution should a similar situation ever arise again. And, even if it doesn’t, who wouldn’t want a solution where every student in the province has reliable access to the internet.


Being a Skillful Teacher

From the TESL Blog comes a post from Martina Finnegan that includes one of the best thinking moments for me this past while.

“Skillful teaching is the teaching that is contextually informed” (Brookfield, 2015, p. 20). We teach what we assume students should be learning in their particular situations, and sometimes this requires veering away from a syllabus and taking hold of alternate methods to help students learn what is required for their field

In today’s reality, I think of teachers that are now thrust online to continue their teaching.

I’ve been in conversation with a friend in the States that is teaching his Computer Science courses online. The connection to the student is through video conferencing from his living room to goodness knows where. I do know that one of those locations is in China.

One of my superintendents was a big believer in Management by Walking Around. Great read here. He believed that the best teachers are always walking around, looking at student progress and then let the alternate methods that Martina alludes to kick in. Educators know what the end game is and will do whatever is needed to get there.

I would hope that the best of the best meet Martina’s standards of a “Skillful Teacher”. She’s got some great references for additional reading in the post.


Neighbourhood Mending – 19/31 #SOL20

Melanie White SCREAMS

“This is not my neighbourhood!”

Why is she screaming?

She’s looking at a glossy magazine that describes her neighbourhood. The pictures that she sees in the magazine are drastically different from what she sees when she looks out the front window or around her neighbourhood.

It’s difficult to believe that this is happening in Canada in 2020. Judging by the comments to Melanie’s post, she’s not the only one who sees this and want to take action.

Letter writing to the magazine is a good start. Letter writing to those businesses that advertise in the magazine, cc: the magazine and to social media would even be more effective.


Andrea’s 2 Degrees

The Beast is back!

When I read the title, I thought it might be about a Degree in the Arts and a Degree in Education like so many teachers in province have and how could that be a post.

But I was wrong.

It’s a wonderful story about a relationship and professionalism that brings in a running kindergarten student and how grade 5 students ended up being more effective than the vice-principal in her role of authority.

Now, I’ve heard (and watched) 6 degrees of separation. I had to do a bit of research to find out just what was meant by 2 degrees. I hope that this is the context that they use in the post because I used it to understand their message.

There are specific spaces around each of us: 1. private space is the immediate space or circle – you. The next circle or microsystem is: 2. close family, friends, and peers in school, workplace, religious affiliation and neighborhood. The next circle would be the mesosystem: 3. to a lesser degree of closeness, extended family, acquaintances, and peers in school, workplace, religious affiliation and neighborhood. Circles 2. and 3. are the combined social space. Next is the exosystem, public space: 4. community, county, state, nation. The final circle, macrosystem, would represent: 5. the world. In Karinthy’s concept of six degrees of separation, a person would be six steps away from any one person in the world. This is the interconnectedness of dependent-origination. We are all connected. One degree of separation would place you solely in the inner most social circle or microsystem. This would lead you to a very select few within that social space closest to you.

When her direct message was ineffective, she turned to the connections of the 2nd degree and they were indeed able to be effective in stopping the running behaviour.

Then, in true Beast fashion, we’re witness to a discussion between Andrea and Kelly about this and their relationship.

In particular, I’m interested in this concept of a “2 degrees pilot”.


And, again, a wonderful collection of thought from Ontario Edubloggers. Please take time to click through and read the original posts.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Michelle Fenn – @Toadmummy
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Martina Finnegan – @TESLOntario
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • The Beast – @thebeastedu

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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