This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I’ve been resisting turning on the furnace this week. I will confess to wearing my Bring IT, Together jacket, a toque, and gloves while walking the dog in the morning. The promise is that this weekend is going to be great weather. I hope so as we have an outdoor wedding to attend.

Happy End of September.


More Than an Educator

As I mentioned on the voicEd Radio show, this is a concept that isn’t taught in depth at the Faculty of Education but really should be.

Every teacher wants to be the best that they can be. That goes without saying when you enter the profession.

However, Amanda’s post reminds us that you are more than that as a person. Your job is only one part of you and there’s so much more that you have going on. Teaching is a profession that will entirely eat you alive if you let it.

Amanda tells us that mindfulness is something that helped her. You’ve got to believe that it makes her that better person she wants to be and I can’t help but believe that it makes her a better teacher as well.


it can wait

I really enjoyed this post from Will. It should serve us all as a reminder that, as we rush to return to normal, what’s the rush? Is there a rush for returning too quickly?

Thank you for resisting those urges to get down to business so quickly.
It can wait.

As the teacher in the room, you’re not the only one who has been off your game for the past few years. Those kids are too. I’m reading all over the place that concentrating on work and getting the job done is so hard for students, particularly from teachers who want “normal”.

Will includes a pretty interesting list of things that would be second nature four or five years ago and now seem strangely useless in the context of this whole post.

It’s time to stop and reflect on what’s really important. Giving up a little of the hard-core academics and focusing on relationships will undoubtedly pay off in the long run.


Food for Thought

There have been a lot of reviews (thinking Michelin here) about restaurants in Toronto. Oddly, none of them have a drive-through…

Diana gives us a lovely collection of thoughts and wonders about a number of things restauranty.

  • Famous Food
  • Surprise Food (including kitchen duties)
  • Connecting over Food
  • Photographic Food

It’s a great discussion about food but there’s a deeper message here.

  • this is a terrific example of writing and then pausing to wonder about each of the writings – could you use this technique in class?
  • something that isn’t talked much about anymore is copyright infringement of images – read the post and you’ll see how she deals with that personally

I can’t help but think that her experience mirrors many elementary school throughout the province.


Creating a Sensory Wall for Children

This secondary school computer science teacher was completely out of his element here when Deanna talks about the process that she uses to create a sensory wall as the focal point in her classroom.

I enjoyed reading about how she gathered, measured, and crafted this.

Thanks, Deanna McLennan

Why?

Because it’s the right thing to do. She has students that need it.

Read the post and celebrate the success that she enjoyed and then perhaps think about the things that you’ve personally done to make things better at your own expense and efforts. Deanna and I had the same employer and I don’t recall any of this being on the bulk order list.


Wordlers rejoice! This one’s for you!

Trust Doug to write something completely off the wall.

In this case, it’s an article for/about Wordle fanatics (of which, I guess I’m one) and there’s a little editorial content from Doug here.

At least I think so.

He’s taken what’s probably a good blog post and replaced all the five-letter words with Wordle-like puzzles to solve.

I spend far too much time reading and trying to “solve” this blog. He didn’t say that all my guesses were wrong; just the one that I used six letters for.


Coding in the Classroom

I’ll confess and admit that I started typing “Derek” and probably only a Floyd or an RCAC member would understand…

So many educators throughout the province are cutting their teeth with “Coding” in the Classroom this year. Some may have never thought it would ever happen but it has.

The Floyds have created this resource on the TVO Outreach site with resources for people looking for a nice, Ontario way to get started. They address our curriculum and talk about strategies that should be part of everyone’s teaching toolkit already.

All you need to do is pick a place to start.

Coding in K-12 Education

Primary (Grades 1-3)

Junior (Grades 4-6)

Intermediate (Grades 7-8, 9)


September Leaves

Diane’s post wonderfully describes the experience that many second or more language learners have once dropped in a classroom where other languages are spoken.

I loved the reference to how important our first language is and how it helps define an identity. Through the eyes of “Farah”, she describes some classroom experiences and responses that could have happened in any classroom. When the eyes “widen”, your teacher heart has to warm up.

There’s a wonderful description of the process of moving from an “English-only school environment to a framework of multilingualism”.

The blank leaves are a powerful point in this whole post.

Click through, read, and enjoy.


I hope that you can find some time this weekend to click through and enjoy all these terrific posts. Drop them a comment and then follow them on Twitter. Also, follow their blogs in your blog reader.

  • Amanda Hardy
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Deanna McLennan – @McLennan1977
  • Doug McDowall – @dougzone2_1
  • Lisa Anne Floyd – @lisaannefloyd
  • Steven Floyd – @stevenpfloyd
  • Diane Kim

This Week in Ontario Edublogs
Wednesday mornings on voicEd Radio

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday – Work Day, PD Day, Re-organization Day – wherever you fit!


CELEBRATING 100 EPISODES – E100

One hundred of anything is a pretty amazing milestone.

The EduGals (Rachel Johnson and Katie Attwell) were approaching their own milestone and want to do something different from their regular technology themed podcasts. They reached out to Stephen Hurley and me to interview them and we jumped at the chance to be on their 100th podcast.

What sort of things would someone ask? If you listened to their podcast, you’d know what we decided. If you missed the podcast, you can always listen to it now from their website. Or, if you want a readable summary of things, check out this post.

And, to send them off on a successful second one hundred, what better than Beverley Mahood and Radio 101.


What To Do If Our Classrooms Aren’t Safe

I thought that this post from Marie was particularly timely. Driving by schools these days, you see both students and teachers running maskless. As Marie campaigns, she’s asked what’s a parent to do?

It’s a good question – she takes it and runs with it.

Her background in education comes through loudly and clearly. Definitely, you should start any of this with a conversation with the classroom teachers and the leaders within the school.

There are times when this may not work and Marie provides a series of suggestions that escalate if you’re not getting support.

It really is sad that we’re not officially reporting numbers across the province and Marie has done some of her own research that will make you wonder why more isn’t being done.


Crooked Paths are the Ones that Lead to Enlightenment

So many of us were educated in a different time. So many that are recommending the path to enlightenment come from that different time.

Read Tim’s post and you’ll be thinking that we’re living in a time when it’s not necessarily business as usual.

Ours was a time when there was a clearly defined flow from elementary to secondary to college/university and you just had to follow it to enjoy success.

We’ve long since started talking about the world of work and the value that it has as a destination. We’ve talked about taking a year between secondary school and post-secondary education. In the post, Tim talks about an individual who gives an opinion about that “gap” year.

Tim shares his own path and some of his challenges to get where he is today. I suspect that many of us didn’t follow that fluid path.

Post-secondary education also didn’t require giving up your first borne to be able to afford things like rent, tuition, etc.

It’s a different world out there.


Sick

Talk to any teacher and they’ll tell you that they’ll drag themselves into work rather than go through the process of writing lesson plans for someone else to follow. More often than not, the good intentions don’t come through.

Aviva shares with us a most recent situation of her being sick and still making herself available for an interview. There was no more information about the interview and Stephen and I made an assumption about it.

It turns out that we were wrong and Aviva clued us in via private message afterwards.

It’s an exciting message and I won’t let the cat out of the bag – Aviva will undoubtedly blog about it when she sees fit to talk about it in public.

The bigger question still remains about what to do if you’re sick.


Who Am I?

This was a much different post than usual from Matthew.

He pulls back the curtain and shares some of his personal faith and superstitious activity as a youth who would have loved to have been accepted into a Division 1 school with a football program. I had no idea there were 363 schools!

Given our closeness to the Detroit Media, we get bombarded by University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Notre Dame, and Ohio University media all the time. Matthew had his eye on a couple other Big 10 schools.

Obviously, it’s very personal but also highlights the challenges that a Canadian athlete has being recognized south of the border. I know one of my best friends felt that his path was to shine at Laurier and let that open a path for him.

The big winner in all this is the Ontario Educational system which ended up with a great teacher in Matthew.


Old Fellas New Music Episode 31 Notes

They’re back!

The Old Fellas are back sharing some new music with us via podcast and this post. There’s a nice list of new music to listen to and I’m always appreciative of it. There were some familiar names here.

The list they’re sharing this time is:

  • The Beths – Knees Deep
  • Orville Peck, Shania Twain – Legends Never Die
  • Glorious Sons – Pink Motel
  • Blue Stones – Shakin’ Off the Dust
  • Blue Rodeo – When You Were Wild
  • Crystal Eyes – 2000 years
  • Rosie Tucker – Barbara Ann
  • Sudan Archives – Selfish Soul
  • Cheap Trick – So it Goes

My favourite from the list is this one from Blue Rodeo and it’s kind of cheating because I’ve always been a fan of Blue Rodeo.


We need to deal with data privacy in our classrooms

Writing for University Affairs, I found this so interesting.

When I was on the OSAPAC group, we had the Ministry’s lawyers available to analyse the legal terms and agreements that would come with the licensing of any software title. If we had their approval, it moved the licensing process along.

Today’s classrooms – elementary, secondary, post-secondary – mostly deal with anything but software that’s licensed and installed on their computers. Instead, many great resources are available in a browser and online. As Bonnie notes, and I’m as bad as anyone, not clicking on terms and conditions agreement. I just want to get to the site I’m accessing. I may have just agreed to anything.

These days, I do it on my own computer and I do use an advertising blocker and a cookie auto-delete utility to get a feeling of safety but I’m not naive enough to think that I’m 100% protected.

Data privacy is such an important issue these days and it’s not just in your classroom; it’s everyone’s classroom. Heck, even using your district’s computer system means agreeing to their terms and conditions.

Do we even read that? I hope that she follows this post with more research and recommendations about how this could be addressed province-wide. It’s no small task.


And there we go – another great collection of blog posts. Please take the time to read them all and drop off a comment if you’re so inclined.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • EduGals – @Edugals
  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Bonnie Stewart – @bonstewart

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Another Friday, another TWIOE blogpost. Can you ever get enough of this?

By the way, I am always looking for new bloggers to add to my collection. Are you one or do you know one? If so, please reach out.


Welcome to 5-1; I promise to …

I’m a big fan of Cameron’s approach. Simply, he has a class blog and he writes a provocation and the students respond in the comments. Genius. I don’t know why others don’t do this. It’s a great use of technology, does something easily accessed by mom and dad and can address so many curriculum expectations.

This is the first one of the year – it’s not too late for you to start your own class blog – and the first activity is to have students lay out three promises for the year.

To show what it looks like, Cameron shares his promises to the class.

  • Give 110%
  • Listen to you
  • Expect amazing things

You know you’ve made an impact when a former student chimes in.


First Impressions

If you’ve ever had kids go to high school, you’ve lived through this. Inspection by mom and dad before you’re allowed to leave the house is like a rite of passage. My mom did it to my brother and me and I felt compelled to do the same for my kids. Apparently, Amanda is the same way.

She shares a nice story which I’m sure that most parents will agree with. I totally agree with her observation of sweatpants. I’d also throw sleep pants and slippers into the same category.

And, there’s the wisdom of youth. While buying into the concept of “you only make a first impression once”, it applies only to the first day of school!


What improv has taught me about instructional coaching

I thought that this was a very vulnerable, lovely story that I suspect that so many of us could identify with. I know that I could.

As a teenager, Alexandra shares some of the challenges getting involved with a number of things in school and ended up, by luck, getting involved with improv. She beats herself up a bit by indicating that she had trouble with punchlines.

Kudos to her for sticking with it and it serves her well today is a world where she identifies

Fissures between teachers, coaches, departments, and schools

It’s always a tough time for coaches to go into classrooms because we all know the only person who truly appreciates a change. (got that punchline, Alexandra?)

But I’ve got to believe that it’s harder than ever these days given the unique situation that we all find ourselves living in. I’m glad to read that she’s not going it along and has a group of teammates to fall back on.


Long Range Planning as a Teacher Librarian

As I mentioned on the voicEd Radio show and I’ll repeat it here. Elizabeth didn’t have to write this post.

She’s shifted away from the teacher-librarian position to having a class of her own. She really could have just shut the library door and moved on. Most teacher-librarians can’t do that. They recognize that their position is unique in the school, needing to know all curricula to be supportive to all teachers and students.

In this post, she shares some of her thoughts for long-range planning for all who might assume this role. She’s also not so egotistic to let on that it’s all her original thinking; she gives a shoutout to a fellow teacher-librarian.

It’s a reminder that they can’t and don’t do it along; there’s a whole network of teacher-librarians who need to meet however they can – these days online – to help encourage each other on to bigger and better things.


Serendipity?

You have to feel for David going on an Alaska cruise – it’s a lovely cruise, by the way – and then end up contracting Covid and being locked in a cabin onboard and then even longer in a hotel in British Columbia before being released.

Photo by Peter Hansen on Unsplash

In the meantime, his wife who tested negative, gets to go home and remain in contact via networking. I think I would expect my wife to send me some food that wouldn’t be available in the hotel.

In this case, she sends him some goodies that turn into the serendipity that he alludes to in the title of the post. You’ll have to read his post to find out what it is but a bit of a spoiler here – we could all benefit.


Friday Two Cents: Two Ears to Listen Twice as Much 

It’s the sign of the times although podcasting has been around for years and years. More people are starting to listen to them and I think that’s awesome. I listen to Crime Junkie often when I’m out for a walk.

Paul offers three of his favourites:

  • The Bridge 
  • The Rest is History
  • We Didn’t Start The Fire: The History Podcast

I think I’ll tune in and listen to these. They sound interesting and Paul gives a nice review for each.

Oh, and I do listen to TWIOE on Thursdays to see how badly my mannerisms come through on live radio. I need to be more like Peter Mansbridge in that aspect.


Handling #SOL2022

I’m a sucker for one-word blog post titles. It goes against every bit of advice that I’ve ever had about blogging and yet when I see one, I quickly click and get to it.

I thought that perhaps the topic was going to be something to do with “hands” from the introductory sentence.

Again with the hook.

But no, it gets a little philosophical and appreciative of a neighbour who is handling life’s difficulties so well.

I feel for Melanie who wants to be in that situation. Here’s a person who needs a hug; you can’t do that but you can click through and read her post.


Please enjoy these wonderful blog posts and then follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Cameron Steltman – @MrSteltman
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Alexandra Woods – @XanWoods
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • David Garlick – @dgarlick13
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

A summer of co-hosts


When I wrote the first version of “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” oh so many years ago, I never realized that it would become such an obsession. When Friday’s version comes out this week, it will be post #526 with that title.

The original idea was to support some of the very best bloggers in the world and they all come from Ontario. By giving my thoughts on the content, the hope was that people would get interested and click through to see what the actual post was about. The format has changed over the years, but the intent is still there.

Sure, I could have visited the individual post and left a comment (which bloggers love) but eventually I lose control of the comment or the blog goes away or whatever. This way, I have all my thoughts gathered here.

When the fledgling voicEd Radio came online, Stephen Hurley reached out to me to do a radio show with the content that would normally appear in the blog post. Quite frankly, my first reaction was no, I didn’t want to do that but he dug in like a dog with a bone and we’ve done the show just about every week and less scripted. I’m definitely the weak link and you might hear Stephen redirect me during the show. I tend to move around and tinker; I’m like the worst student with attention problems in your classroom. We both wanted to do the show live as opposed to a podcast just to be different. Of course, you can get all the shows later on as a podcast from the voiced Radio website. We selected Wednesday mornings because I had pathetic internet speeds at the time and mornings had better throughput. That’s worked out quite nicely.

It’s also allowed us to be flexible in our approach and we’ve taken the show on the road to a number of conferences and into a classroom. When you make the rules, it’s OK to break them.

Here’s Stephen when we took the show to the ECOO Bring IT, Together Conference in Niagara Falls

A couple of years ago, we tried something else and that was to bring an Ontario Edublogger onto the show as a guest host. It was one of the best decisions that we’ve ever done and nobody has ever said a flat-out no. There have been a couple “not on that day but could we do it a week later”? We did it again this summer. It’s also extra special when the co-host has recently blogged and we make that one of the blogs that we chat about. People are so proud of their efforts.

While we try to share the love, there has been one person that has been a regular on the series over the years and that’s Vicky Loras. It’s kind of cool that someone in Switzerland takes the time out from their afternoon to join us in our morning.

This morning’s show will conclude our summer of co-hosts and we’re delighted that Matthew Morris has agreed to join us. Of all the dates for teachers, this has to be the most difficult to pull off since he could be in his classroom organizing things.

In our shared agenda, it looks like this:

God Spare

Others who were kind enough to join us this summer are:

Presenting

Life Long Learning with Stephen Hurley

track and field

Take Ownership: It’s Leadership!

Experience Sustainability

PhD Language Research

Even copying and pasting these from the planning document gives me shivers thinking of the wisdom and diversity of topics from Ontario Edubloggers. This is why I did it and now why we do it.

Those who are astute will notice that there are a couple of missing weeks in there. Stephen took a couple of breaks to do family things and wasn’t available. My wife and I take shorter family breaks, typically on weekends.

So, to all these people who were vulnerable enough to talk live on the radio…

And, if you’re available at 8:45 this morning, join in and hear Matthew, Stephen, and me talk about some great blogging. The link to listen is in the top left corner – https://voiced.ca/

All of the shows are archived as podcasts here –
https://voiced.ca/project/this-week-in-ontario-edublogs/

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It was good to be back Wednesday morning on voicEd Radio and talk about some blog posts. Amanda Potts guested this week and we talked about a number of things; one being the incredible flower pictures that she shares on Facebook. I figured she had a full set of camera gear; it turns out that she uses her smartphone. I feel so unworthy. I need to up my game.


Presenting

This was a reminder for me that there’s a first time for everything. In this case, Amanda partnered with Melanie White to do a presentation. She notes that, as teachers, we do it all the time but the big difference here was that people paid to go to this conference and hear her among others.

I thought that this was a wonderful discussion of anguishing over and tweaking a presentation before going live to make sure that it’s perfect. Amanda, I can tell you that now you’re on the speaking tour <grin>, you’ll do it all the time. There’s nothing so embarrassing as reusing an old presentation that has reference to a previous location. I always appreciate it when a presenter goes that extra mile and you can tell that there’s a reference to the presentation’s current location or audience.

Nerves are always good, I find. It keeps you at the top of your game.


Getting Ready for School: A Television Interview

Speaking of nerves…

When you’ve written a book, that opens a lot of doors for you. When you’ve written THE book on students and social media, you’ll get people like Global TV wanting you to appear on their television show to share your expertise.

That was the case for Jennifer. Good choice, Global.

Her post dovetails so nicely with Amanda’s because she shares her own nervous moments. There were five four points that she wanted to address. The whole interview was a 2-minute deal and Jennifer was a part of it, not all of it. So, in typical television fashion, things were edited to meet the time allotment. Her enthusiasm does come through loudly and clearly.

Anyone who has ever done something like this knows that you walk away saying “I wish I’d said that” and Jennifer was no exception. Her extra thoughts appear bolded in this post.

Her book SocialLEADia is something that every teacher needs in their arsenal when dealing with students and social media. It should be in every school library.


Those Last Three Years

I suspect that everyone is thinking about the return to school in a much deeper manner than normal this year. Will this be the year that things return to normal or whatever normal will be going forward?

The true professional gets better every year in the profession. They understand students, teachers, and learning, just that much better with experience. Matthew questions whether he and other educators are better now than before.

Maybe teaching during the pandemic didn’t make me a better teacher in the moment. But maybe it has the potential to make us better educators tomorrow.  

There’s no doubt that educators will have become better in their use of technology. Nerdy me hopes that that translates to better things in the classroom now that everyone is headed back there. Time will tell, I suppose.

Educators that read this blog know that they’ve been thinking about the return all summer. For those not in education, Matthew shares insights on what’s really going through an educator’s mind as September looms.


BACK TO  SCHOOL: POST-SECONDARY EDITION

I never had the opportunity to teach my own kids and I suspect they’re eternally grateful for that. It actually wasn’t possible since I never lived in the community where I taught.

For Vera, this will be the third time teaching students that are the same age as her own children. That’s an interesting observation and I wonder how many other educators have made that it. I know that it never occurred to me.

Vera points out that her twins were very helpful in giving her insights as a parent about their growth and development and how it helped her understand those students in her class.

The other takeaway for me what that I had no idea where Holland College is. I do now.


August Interlude

August is always an interesting month for me. My birthday was mid-month and from that day on, it was a family reunion, and then gearing up for the return to school – both as a kid and later as a teacher.

We spend a great deal of time these days just sitting on the patio and listening to music and lately the crickets have been singing along.

In the post, Sheila shares some quotes about August and one included the crickets.

“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.” – E.B. White

I thought it was an interesting tribute to a month that isn’t quite July or quite September.


Slice of (Summer) Life

Here’s a post that brought a big, big smile to my face.

As parents, I think we all try to make special moments for our kids. In Lisa’s case, it was to take them to swim in all five of the Great Lakes this summer.

This is a wonderful story about how the family met that goal.

I know that Lake St. Clair isn’t one of the five Great Lakes but it’s a pretty good lake. I could take her to some pretty cool beaches if she’s interested in doing that next year. We walked the dog at Belle River yesterday and the beach was packed. A little further north, Mitchell’s Bay is a favourite location as well.


Magic? Or Is It?

If you need a song to listen to while you read this. Maybe we can see why some students are hesitant to participate.

A wise person once told me that teaching is the nearest thing to performing real magic that you can get. It seemed a little hokey at the time but I came to appreciate it. Quite frankly, I’d forgotten about that until I read Aviva’s latest.

There’s an interesting story about a “camper” who was in the hallway and how things changed for her. It’s a great read; make sure you do it.

Once you get the whole context, you’ll appreciate Aviva’s closing thought.

While we might not have a wand or a magic spell to address all of these scenarios, Ms. Ung shows us that with love, time, support, and a combination of deliberate decisions, we can all work a little magic of our own.


I hope that you can find to click through and read all of these wonderful posts. Are you inspired to write your own? If so, reach out and let me know.

And, make sure that you’re following these bloggers.

  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Vera Teschow – @schlagzeug_usw
  • Sheila Stewart – @sheilaspeaking
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca

This week’s TWIOE show on voicEdRadio