This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s yet another Friday and a chance for me to share some of the excellent thinking from Ontario Edubloggers.  Please read on and show some online affection by clicking through to read the entire posts.

Why we Protest…Class of 42 students (My Story)

In every round of collective bargaining, the members have a chance to speak and offer suggestions for improvements to a collective agreement.  Of course, what hits the main stream media is the demand for more money if it’s included in the list.  In my time working on the Collective Bargaining Committee, I had the opportunity to take a look at what members would suggest as things to bargain for.  I do remember one person who always submitted humorous suggestions and found out later it was done to see if anyone actually read the ideas.  Well, yeah, we did read each and every one.  What remains stuck in my mind is that very seldom did the requests focus only on compensation.  By and large, the suggestions were about improved working conditions.

The current two layer set of negotiations makes things different but that shouldn’t stop the desire to improve things in schools.

In this post, Zoe Branigan-Pipe tells a story of having a class of 42.  That sounds like a double class and I can empathise, having had a Grade 9 math class with 35 students in a room that comfortably sat 24.  It’s the educational version of sticker shock.

Please read and share Zoe’s story.

Data in the classroom

Jamie Weir’s post should be required reading for those who write the Fraser Report that generate those School Report Cards that allow parents, students, and sadly uninformed newspaper reporters to compare schools.  There’s no consideration in those cards for the fact that the carbon units within each are human with various needs.  Somehow, they can all represented by a number.

It’s a great read.  Find out how she views each of her students as more than a number.

Switching Gears

This is a nice post by Eva Thompson who I think has indeed made a concerted effort to shift gears and, I suspect, will be far better off afterwards.

I can actually put faces to the type of person that she describes here.  I will always remember my father’s advice “you do well when you make others look better”.  It’s unfortunate that there are some that fit Eva’s description and have succeeded in elevating themselves (at least in their own minds) within their own organization.  Behind them are trampled individuals, others with knives in their backs, and they truly are looked at with suspicion by sensible people when they visit schools.  As a new teacher, I got good advice – they’re just climbers – nod and smile and they’ll go away because there are others that they need to suck up to.

The true leaders are those who know their own abilities and shortcomings and work to address them and, along the way, work with others to share their learnings.  Those are the people to which you need to align yourself.  It sounds like Eva’s approach to her students will be terrific.

Just another quote and I wish I knew where this came from but it’s stuck too.  “An expert is someone who knows more and more about everything until they know nothing about anything”.

Syria Crisis

This is one of those posts that make me proud to say I know Colleen Rose.  How many teachers would use their own personal blogging platform to celebrate the words and thinking of their students?

There’s not more that I want to say about this – read Colleen’s words and visit the blog to celebrate the student thoughts.

3 Things my Blog Titles Need to be Better

I know that Ontario is a big province but I never fail to be humbled by the smallish community of bloggers and connectors that we have here.  Recently, I had gone on a tangent about blog titles wondering if I could do better.  Sue Dunlop did a far better job in analysing her own work and offers her own ideas.

In this post, the title which got an A+ by the way, Sue explains her thinking.

It’s hard to argue with any of those points.

I was mindful of this while doing my morning reading.  I love the randomness that Flipboard provides for sources all over the digital world.  I certainly skip over way more stories than I actually take the time to read.  The ones that I do read absolutely fall into the guidelines that Sue describes.  To that end, I think she’s nailed it and that is what drove my reading.  Stepping back, I just wondered – how many absolutely wonderful resources did I miss because of a lousy title?

There’s also another side.  There are awesome bloggers that I know are always good for a thoughtful post.  They could type the alphabet in the title box and I’d still read it because I know and appreciate their abilities.

As an aside, I see that this topic was great for a conversation among some Hamilton-Wentworth educators last night on Twitter.  Sadly, I had gone to bed but I did catch it this morning.

When the Pupil is Ready, The Master Will Appear

I wish I could recall when I first heard this but I can’t.  Tim King shares his own thoughts about 8:35-2:34 education and the allotment of students and teachers to time slots.

The option to be formally uneducated isn’t available in Ontario nowadays, we’ve institutionalized education into a mandatory process. This regimented system reduces student readiness to engagement and throws the concept of patiently waiting for student readiness out the window. That patience suggests a process where student learning is the main focus. Have we lost the freedom to patiently wait for student readiness to the systemic efficiencies of regimented grading?

Maybe we should take this as a challenge.  Can this philosophy fit into Ontario’s “institutionalized education”?  If so, how?

Responsibilities of the Primary Teacher in Ontario

Maybe Tim and Muriel Corbierre should get together and see if there’s a common ground.  In her ABQ course on Primary Education …

In the balance of the post, she elaborates on Planning, Teaching, Curriculum, Assessment, Classroom Environment, Management/Discipline, Professionalism, and Leadership in the Community.

Does the concept of readiness fit?

Where?  How?

Is it different in the primary grades versus secondary school?

Wow, what a wonderful collection of recent thoughts from Ontario Edubloggers.  I hope that you can find a few minutes to click through and read the complete thoughts on these blog posts.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Autumn has arrived.  The temperatures are nice but the hours with light are starting to fade.  It’s always a surprise to me how suddenly this happens.  All of a sudden, I’m reading blogs in the dark!  But read I do.  Here is some of what I caught this past week from Ontario Edubloggers.

Concerns with the Cloud for Canadians

I got caught in the middle of a discussion between Lisa Noble and Royan Lee on Twitter.

I actually had forgotten about Lisa’s message and the subsequent pledge by Royan to track it down until he posted to his blog.

There was a time that I thought that I could handle my data and privacy through cookie management, ad blockers, super cookie blockers, flash cookie blockers, and had deluded myself that I’d done the job.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  There’s lot of stories to be read this morning about commentary on the MIT Technology Review report.  I still remember a person, who should have known better, talk about the Canadian security for a particular product being stored on a server in Mississauga and how it was better than another which was stored in the US.  “The connection never leaves Canada”.  I did a trace route and showed her…

Yes, as Royan notes, this should be a concern to Canadians.  The solution seems to be elusive.  Even a smart guy like Royan doesn’t have the answer.  Maybe if the US Republicans build that wall along the 49th parallel, the problem will be resolved?

Not Just another Bad Blog

Earlier this week, I had shared a blog post that I’d written for Jisc.  I was tagged in a notification by Anna Bartosik so, of course, I had to check it out.  She was reflecting upon the post that I’d written.  What I hadn’t mentioned in the post was that I was also asked to create a podcast to go along with the post.  Recording that was hilarious on my part.  I started the first few takes in my chair but the stupid chair kept squeaking.  I ended up sitting on the bed and probably the 15th take was good enough to pass along.  If you ever want to challenge yourself, try using Audacity and record yourself reading your own blog post.  It’s not as easy as you’d think and is also a good way to find errors.

But enough about me.

Anna is a relatively new person to my collection of Ontario Educators.  But she brings a certain richness to the conversation.  I find that with a number of the ESL people that I interact with.  Perhaps they have a better understanding of communications than the average person?

I thought that this paragraph from her post speaks volumes to the power of blogging and just getting it out there.

Wouldn’t it be nice if more people felt the same way and just did it.

I did have an interesting moment as I write this…in Anna’s original post, there was a spelling mistake in the title.  When I revisited the post this morning, it had been corrected.  I think that’s important to note about the logistics of blogging.  Get your thoughts down.  If you believe that the message is important, get the message there first.   If you’re using your blog as a true reflection tool, you’ll probably catch any error when you revisit the post.

We did have a nice bit of a followup through a comment to the blog and it allowed her to further expand on how she sees the value of being connected.  It’s great advice.

The Day That I Hid The iPads

Aviva Dunsiger confessed in this blog post about stepping away from play based learning.

Well, OK, she stepped away from play for the sake of play.

There are challenges when you use a consumer technology like iPads in the classroom.  Students who have the same technology at home can have a struggle drawing the line between what they do there and what should be done at school.  Students who don’t have the technology at home can get caught in the big collection of options that are available and need to have the discipline to stay on task.

This all presents the classroom teacher management concerns.  But, it’s not just the iPad – any activity in the classroom can be done to excess.  I know that I’d be tempted to spend all day at a Lego centre.  Aviva’s post is a great reminder that a balanced approach is needed for best results.  If it means putting one of the distractors out of sight and out of mind for a day, focus will shift to the desired tasks.  I don’t see that there should be any concern with her approach.  Play based doesn’t mean free for all.

Writing: Practicing What I Teach

It’s always interesting to see the first thoughts and comments from a new blogger.  Usually, they’re either “I hope this works” or “This is my rationale for blogging”.  New blogger Patt Olivieri takes the latter in the first post to her blog.  She sums up her first post nicely.

She makes a nice comparison between personal journalling and blogging.  I hope that she keeps up with the regular blogging.  Like so many that are hesitant to start, she has a big list of reasons not to blog.  Hopefully, she gets the immediate feedback and satisfaction that lets her know that she made the right decision.

Of course, you can help the cause by dropping by her blog and giving her a comment.

NO, Not Everyone Needs to Code! #edchat

I was quite surprised by the title of this post from Brian Aspinall.  I figured I’d better hop on over and take him down a peg.  I thought I taught him better than that.  As it turns out, the title was click bait and he did eventually get it right.

Andrew Campbell was the voice of reason in the discussion.

I think that it goes so much deeper than that.  If you open your mind and replace the word coding with programming, thing of all that you do that falls into that category.  People need to be the master of their devices and not a servant to them or others.

At present, there are some jurisdictions that have incorporated formal programs to put students in charge.  When will it happen in Ontario?

Empowering English Language Learners with Digital Stories

From the common sense keyboard of Rusul Alrubail comes this blog post about digital storytelling that she had written and posted on another blog.  To get the whole story, click through and read the entire post.  You’ll be glad that she did.

So often, you read posts about digital storytelling and they’re all about the tools used to do that storytelling.

To be honest, times have never been so good for digital storytelling.  It makes you wonder just why anyone can ignore it.

However, as she so often does, Rusul digs deeper and shares her thoughts about critical thinking among other things as they apply to storytelling.  I like the connection to storytelling in advertising, in particular for the ELL student.

I’m an early riser on most days and when I turned on the television this morning, it had been left on a channel that had yet to break into regular programming.  Instead, I was treated to an infomercial about some stupid device that would cure just about anything it seemed.  Having just read Rusul’s post, I thought about someone just learning the language, taking the words at face value, and I got her message so clearly.

I think it’s a good message for anyone who is interested in digital storytelling – how deep does your message go?

When is it safe to share your passion projects?

I thought this post from Diana Maliszewski was going to be a fun little read.  After all, it started with her baking a file into a cake.  Instead, it turned pretty serious.

Through her own storytelling, we get a really good reminder that there are boundaries for everything and we need to be aware.  There are certain things you don’t say in an airport – what else?  Teachers need to know where that line is; students need to know as well.

It’s another week and another wonderful collection of blog posts were ready and waiting for reading.  Please take a moment and click through to read their entire posts.  You’ll be glad that you did.  And, don’t forget to check out the complete collection of Ontario Edubloggers here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

There’s something wrong with leaves changing colour and falling this early in September.  Wouldn’t it be better if it happened in October?

Please check out some of the great resources from Ontario Educators that I’ve read lately.

Word Swag It!

You can’t go wrong with a dog image in a post!

And, you certainly can’t go wrong with sharing your learning visibility via your blog.

And, you have to love it when one Ontario educator learns from another.

In this post, Vilma Manahan was inspired by a post from Tina Zita to learn how to put text over pictures for effect.  Read the post for the complete story and some examples.  Could your students do the same for their projects?  Time to get the cameras out?  Or a lesson on Creative Commons?

An Educator’s New Years Resolution!

One of the best part about teaching is that you get to start anew every school year.  How many professions can claim that?

And, with each new start, you get better.

Monica Taylor shares her New Year’s Resolution for the upcoming school year.

Check out her five resolutions in the post and she’s asking you to add your own in the comments.  Got a new class?  New approach?  New environment?  Certainly new students.  What will you do differently this year?

Part One: Introduction to Inquiry

What does inquiry and big questions look like?

Check out this post by Shelly Vohra.

She includes references to some of her approaches in various grades and provides a list of guiding questions as she frames these questions.

It’s labelled Part One – I went looking for a Part Two but it’s not posted yet.  However, I did find this interesting post.  Twitter in the Classroom.

Who’s Your Safe Person?

This post, by Rick Gavin is a good reminder for all.

I have a couple of safe people in my life.  Some of them I talk to them over periodic coffees and another I talk to daily.  He’s right; everyone needs someone to listen to your thoughts and concerns of the day.  One of the best things I ever did for myself was to learn about peer coaching.  I ultimately ended up with a coach who worked in a Grade 3 classroom and the value that he brought to my professional life was inspirational.

Rick reminds us to take a look around the school for the student in need of a safe person.

Keep your eyes open; you might just find someone in need of a safe person.

The Difference Between ‘Careful’ and ‘Responsible’

What a difference a word can make!

Anthony Carabache takes a home experience and request and turns it into a thinking moment for classroom instruction that has impact.

It’s not a huge leap to take an understanding of his message and apply it to filters that so many school districts are fond of using.

Small ways

After a summer off, Paul Cornies is back with his daily bit of quotation inspirations.

His quotes and questions are a wonderful way to start the day.

The neat thing is that Paul has put them together in a book.  Why not talk to your principal or teacher-librarian?  It would make a wonderful addition to any school, classroom, or library.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Escape Room Concept in EDU

The concept of an escape or breakout room is new to me.  Or, at least the label.  I always had choices but my implementation paled in comparison to what Jennifer Casa-Todd talks about in this post.

Does anyone remember Games Magazine?  I had a subscription and brought a month old copy into my classroom and it was placed in the open for what we’d now call computational thinking, I suppose.  The students used to complain that the easy puzzles were done.  Ever the teacher, I remember explaining that I didn’t want to spoil their thinking experience with the simple ones and left the others for them.

Enough about me – back to Jennifer’s post.  This will get you thinking about ways to break out of lock step activities and I’ll bet the results will be better engagement.  I’m humbled that she included a link back to my post about the Bebras Challenge.

What another wonderful collection of thinking and sharing by Ontario Educators.  Make sure that you enjoy these posts in their entirety by following the links back.  You can check out all of the Ontario Educator blogs I’ve found in this Livebinder.  As always, if you’re not listed, please do so with the form on the landing page.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

OK, second try at this post.  This morning, I was literally half way through it and decided to sit back and proofread.  I was booted in Windows 10 at the time and it decided that it was time to reboot to install some sort of upgrade.  I watched in horror as the message “Don’t turn off your computer” came on and my computer rebooted.  It did install some updates but after I allowed it to reboot and finish doing what it was doing, I booted into Ubuntu.  I know I’m good to go now.  Just a question – who decides that a reboot at 8:30 in the morning is necessary when there’s stuff open on the computer? 

Anyway….it’s back to school this week and I’m impressed that Ontario Edubloggers are still online and sharing their thoughts.  What a great tribute.  Fortunately, the weather is cooler today to help the cause.  It was 23 degrees cooler this morning than yesterday and the dog and I could see our breaths as we were walking.  The town grass cutter was wearing a winter coat.  Uh oh. 

Here’s some of what I read this week.


Electronic Access Available ~ Resilience Interventions for Youth in Diverse Populations

I get a kick from reading the titles added to the Education library at Western University.  If you’re a teacher-librarian, principal, board office consultant, superintendent or someone with a budget, this would be a good follow to get suggestions for what to add to your professional library.

For example, Denise Horoky just blogged about this resource.


I Think I Found My New Box of Hugs

What a great reality post from Kristi Keery Bishop.  She seems obsessed with bus duties but managed to step back and take care of what’s really important in schools.  A lesson for all principals, vice-principals, and those who aspire to this should read:


Gamify Your Classroom With Mettles

You may not be thinking it now but there comes a time when Learning Skills and Work Habits need commenting on.  It’s all part of the big picture for report cards.  How are you tracking them?

Brian Aspinall has written and blogs about his project, Edmettle.  In itself, it’s a unique program but he’s put a spin to it talking about using it for a bit of gamification. 

You know you’re going to have to do them; it’s the start of the year; why not take a look at Brian’s program.

Perhaps if enough people ask, he’ll even do a webinar about how to use it.



The Other Side Of Sharing

I didn’t know what Aviva Dunsiger was up to with the title of her post so I followed it for a read.  I’ve read it three or four times now and I don’t know if I’m getting her intention or not.  Certainly, we don’t live in a perfect world and we all live in our own different realities.  Sometimes good; sometimes not so good.

So, I take issue with even the thought that sharing could be discouraging.  If anyone sees something and interprets it that way, maybe they’re in the wrong business.  I would question someone who doesn’t believe that, no matter what they’re doing, they could do better. 

Without sharing, you’re locked in your own little world and I would suggest have to really scratch for ideas and inspiration to try something new.  Even in the trying though, you need to remind yourself that it’s not a competition.  You’re doing it for your professional growth and for communication, looking for feedback and further inspiration.  If it ever gets to be a spitting match, then it’s time to pack it in.

(I’m sure that Aviva will let me know, in her nice way, if I’m completely off mark here…)



‘Twas the night before school …

I enjoyed reading this post from Jessica Weber.  The questions she’s asking herself in the opening paragraph were dancing through the minds of teachers everywhere!  It’s part of what keeps you on edge and makes you the best teacher you can be.

I’d be really worried if those questions weren’t taking place!

And, although Jessica confesses to being in her ninth year of teaching, I’m sure that there are those in their 30th year who feel exactly the same.



It’s all been done before…but you did it better last time, Canada

Amid the excitement of back to school is the shadow of what’s happening overseas.

The enormity of the situation weighs heavily on anyone with a conscience.  Anna Bartosik opens her soul to her thoughts about recent events.  The discussion goes even further in the comments.  Reading this might be helpful to address the questions that are bound to arise in the classroom.

There is nothing like numbers to help tell the true story.

Syrian refugees: Which countries welcome them, which don’t


I hope that you’re inspired to take the time to click through and read all of these inspiring posts from Ontario Edubloggers if you haven’t already.  May this first Friday go quickly for you and I wish everyone a relaxing weekend.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Happy Labour Day Weekend.  Anyone else going to the Harrow Fair? We go every year so that my wife can get her fill of banty hens.

If not, settle back and read some of these interesting blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.

Why Twitter? Response

Have you ever made someone create a blog post?  I did and Jennifer Casa-Todd responded nicely.  She started with an innocent enough question….  I think it’s probably a question that everyone would like the answer to.


That opened the door for me and a blog post inspired by her inquiry.  Read her post and you’ll understand her motive for the original question.

She’s looking for some data for her research so if you have literally 15 seconds to help her out, answer her three question survey.

I’m hoping that she shares the results; I know I’m interested.

#BIT15Reads: Joining the club and choosing a book

Last year at the Bring IT, Together Conference, a self-directed learning/discussion book talk was introduced with great success. 

Alanna King is getting a head start on the concept this year.  Using her expertise with Goodreads, she’s started the process.

I think it’s a natural progression.  Not everyone can attend and join in the discussion face to face at the conference.  But, anyone with the book and an internet connection can read and participate.  This could go world-wide – please consider sharing her initiative far and wide.  The more that are involved, the better the results and proof that our connections are so powerful.

Neil Postman Had It Right—Back in the 80’s

The year is 1987 and the location is Tel Aviv.  Peter Skillen reminisces about a conference with the theme “caution versus enthusiasm”.  In this post, Peter shares some of the thoughts from Neil Postman on the topic.

Even though the years have passed, there’s still so much common sense in Postman’s observations.

What’s changed?

Innovation and big business.  Attend any computer conference or visit any technology store.  The amount of technology available to schools and teachers back then was minuscule compared to the offerings today.  Add to it the number of people who work on commission and you have a huge intrusion into schools and school districts trying to sell the latest, greatest, and shiniest.  That’s not going to go away soon but it wouldn’t hurt to step back and question why.  If the answer is “because so and so is doing it” or “it’s the standard in business and industry” or based on a theory of questionable origin, then I’d suggest that the wheels are wobbly and need to be tightened.

Curricularize Coding? Not a New Question!

Peter must be clearing out his personal library.  In the next post, he shares evidence that good Ontario educators understood the value of programming in 1986.  Of course I was, because as a secondary school computer science teacher, that was my job.  Peter reminds us that there were elementary school teachers who understood the power as well in this scanned article from ECOO Output, an eagerly awaited publication from ECOO when it had Special Interest Groups and was more than just a conference.

His inclusion of this picture of Ontario Educational Technology leaders brought back some memories of people I’ve worked with over the years.  I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen Ron Millar wear anything but black.

Oh, and Peter also includes a nice article from the SIG-LOGO group.  I’ll confess to being completely distracted and spending quite a bit of time going through the above picture before I read that though.  Sorry, Peter.

Back-To-School 2015: Your Creative Advice

Stephen Hurley’s latest post is both a smile and a plea for help.

I find myself wearing two hats on this one. The first is the hat of an educator who has had the opportunity to witness quite a few opening days. But I’m also the father of two children who, at 8 and 6 years of age, are just beginning to negotiate their way through the formal school system. Truth be told, I find myself favouring the father hat these days.

Being a teacher and a parent is an interesting combination, and really challenging at times.  Going back to school is just the beginning.

But, with young kids, it’s a challenge for everyone.  Indeed, how do you make it an exciting and non-threatening event?

Stephen offers some suggestions and is looking for more.

Do it quick; school starts on Monday.

The smile part – I’m sure that he’s yet to experience the situation where a student / teacher conflict happens and the teacher is a friend and the student is, well your kid, and you know what she/he is capable of.

Case Method — classroom catalysts, from story to discourse and back again

You might have missed this post from Richard Fouchaux because he neglected to include the word “free” in the title.  But, make sure you give it a read.

He’s putting it out there – if you’re interested, show a little online love and follow his blog for the results.

As the return of school is nigh, it’s great to see that Ontario Educators are still learning and sharing.  Please take a few moments to click through and support these wonderful bloggers and all of the Ontario Edubloggers.  If this is the year for you to start sharing your wisdom with others, please add your blog URL in the form provided.  There’s so many good things happening.  Be a part of it!

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Every week, I gather from my reading blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers to include here.  Folks, you never fail to amaze me with the depth of your thinking and abilities to pull it all together.  Here’s some of what caught my eye this week.

Standing for Principles or Shooting Myself in the Foot

Before shooting herself in the foot, Diana Maliszewski puts in down in a stance about the Microsoft acquisition of Minecraft.  Now, she’s been a big fan of Minecraft for as long as I can remember, a regular presenter about its benefits, and I remember her blocky outfit at an ECOO Conference a couple of years ago.  She takes her time to explain her thoughts about corporate presence in education.

I stepped back and looked around the labs here.  Sony laptop, Wacom tablet, Logitech mouse, HP keyboard, Bose speakers, an Apple looking at me from the top of my iPad.  The only thing non-corporate would be that I’m writing this post in Linux.  It’s too late to close the barn door here.  We buy by brand and each of the products has built upon the nature of the previous technology.  It’s not just a mouse, it’s sculpted to fit the hand. The tablet has wrist recognition.  The keyboard is noiseless.  Where would I be without corporate involvement and making things easier, more productive, more ergonomic, and ultimately better for me?

So, I wonder about her stance on Minecraft.  Will it being branded and supported by a corporate entity change the experience?  How much change would affect her abilities as a classroom teacher to get the best from it for her kids?  Is this a fight worth fighting or is it just a natural evolution?  I would never have predicted that her views would have changed.  It was an insightful read for me; she really nicely shares her opinion about this.

Big Hairy Plans… with a Slower Start

Talk about your outwork visibileness.  (I know – that’s not a word but it’s the first thing that came to mind.)

There were a couple of big takeaways for me from this post by Heather Theijsmeijer.

    1. Great planning and exploration can be stymied by a work action.  It would be great if negotiators could read this and understand the impact that labour disputes have on the most important elements of education – students and progressive educators;
    2. In the post, Heather has laid out her plans for her courses for next year.  By being this open, she’s made herself accountable to herself and the parents/students who follow her blog.  She’s set the table with the comment “I want to blow this course wide open.”  Who wouldn’t be excited to have a teacher that can make a statement like that!

    There is No Road Map to Teaching Success

    If you need to read another blog post about changing everything and taking chances in your profession, then this one from Enzo Ciardelli should be on your reading list.

    My Teachers’ College experience goes back a little further than 12 years but I suspect that I’d say the same thing.  It’s a rather conservative experience while you learn the theories and practice from days gone by.  Practice teaching has the potential of being less conservative when you’re out in the “real world” which is still a contrived environment with students on better than normal behaviour.  Your first couple of years teaching are pretty conservative too.  You don’t want to upset the apple cart until you get that permanent contract.  After that or, after 12 years?  It is time to improve on your practice and take those risks.


    Every teacher should have a chance to raise a child.  Sure, you learn about human growth and development in Teachers’ College and you smile as you see your students grow and mature under your classroom watch.  But, as Danika Barker points out in this post, there’s something completely different and special about your own mini-me.

    After a year for parental leave, she’s returning to her classroom and will soon learn another side of parenting.  It’s hard to see your own kids learn and grow while under the care of someone else!  And it continues – first day of kindergarten, first day of high school, first day of college/university, first day at a job…

    Editorial Comment – and they learn some really dumb rules that don’t apply anywhere else than at daycare. 

    It’s good to see her back online and blogging.

    Creating Interactive Math Tasks With Google Sites

    One of the powerful things about working in the Google world, after you get past the wide variety of options (See Peter Beens’ Alphabet/Google A-Z document), is the ease and consistency across the tools.

    Kyle Pearce is constantly writing and sharing ideas and was recently asked a question about implementation with something other than iPads.  Chromebooks makes for a natural question.

    The post is a tutorial about how to extend his original content and extend it to other platforms.

    Step by step, you’ll work your way through an example with lots of screen shots.  He demonstrates his way through the creation and then invites you to test the final product.

    As summer winds down, it’s evident that great thinking from Ontario Educators continues.  Check out all these posts and all of the Ontario Edubloggers here.  If you’re an Ontario educational blogger and not on the list, please do use the form and add yourself.  Lots of people would love to read your blog.

    This Week in Ontario Edublogs

    As I type this, news has been announced of a tentative agreement between OSSTF and the province.  The trolls are already out commenting on news reports and I’m sure that there will be more as speculation grows on the contents.  Of course, details won’t be made public until the membership gets a chance to look at it.  Hopefully, this is a sign that movement is possible and that all of the professional organizations are able to reach an agreement.  We’ll see.

    In the meantime, the professional learning and sharing continues throughout the province.  Here’s a bit of what I read this past week.

    “Guide” Vs. “Sage”: Is It As Easy As That?

    Aviva Dunsiger used this old horse as a starting point for her thoughts.  I remember grimacing the first time that I heard it.  I know that the intention was noble – stop standing and lecturing but it’s become the mantra of many who haven’t been in a classroom for years – like it’s an all or nothing concept.  It’s one of those cutesy sayings that you hear during presentations and, if you read Aviva’s post, you realize that it’s only surface deep.  Teaching is much more than nine words strung together.  She addresses it nicely and even includes a confession.

    Guide on the Stage

    Daniel La Gamba was motivated from this post to share his thoughts and create a Sketchnote on the topic.  I don’t know – will “Guide on the Stage” be the next “Sage on the Stage vs Guide on the Side”?  You can probably tell that I’m not a fan of short sound bites but I really think the wisdom comes from the last line in his post.

    With September fast approaching, I encourage teachers to not be in the periphery. It is not the act of guiding that should change, just the proximity to the learning.

    The key here, as I see it, is that teachers shouldn’t just “mail it in”.  Teaching is an incredibly active and personal activity.  One of the observations that I made as a DeLC was working with eLearning teachers who had their entire course and teaching online.  Their number one frustration – not having that face to face human contact.  I think that teaching in this mode made them better teachers in the long run.  It really reinforced the notion of what it means to be a teacher. 

    Sadly, we were unable to comment on the blog post itself – the folks who were using Twitter as a forum could really have fleshed it out there.

    There was considerable discussion about this online with Daniel taking a very active part.  Included in this discussion was George Couros who, while not an Ontario Edublogger will get special notice because he continued the discussion on his own blog “What about the title of “teacher?

    What does it mean to be Reggio-inspired?

    Not having been a kindergarten teacher, I always enjoy listening and reading early years’ professionals talk about their classrooms and their approaches.  I have two wonderful friends who take the time to explain things to me.  This post, by Joanne Babalis is a very nice summary of how she was inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach.

    Loris Malaguzzi often spoke of learning as a tangle of spaghetti, rather than a linear path.  Well my mind certainly feels this way, especially when I am inquiring, reading/researching, thinking, interpreting, and reflecting.

    This post isn’t a quick and easy read but definitely is worth the time to comprehend.

    And, I really liked the Jerome Bruner quote.

    Why We Need Intentional Innovation in Education

    So, on to a discussion about “intentional innovation”.

    It sure is.

    After all, who doesn’t want to be “innovative” – whatever that means.

    In this first of a series of posts, A.J. Juliani takes a look at what innovation means and then takes a spin when you put the word “intentional” in front of it.  There’s a challenge to the reader about being intentionally innovative this school year.  And why not?  The post is nicely summaried with the description “meaningful and relevant”.

    This is a good place to start your creative thinking.

    The Connected Student

    You know, as I check the sundial, it says 2015.  It’s a crime that we still have to talk about the benefits of students/teachers being connected.  Yet, there remains a need.  I was watching HLN last night and both the Nancy Grace and Dr. Drew shows were encouraging the world to get involved with the conversation via a hashtag.  Are there really still people that see that on the screen and wonder what it is?  Hopefully, not teachers – I could guarantee any student with a computer, tablet, or smartphone knows absolutely knows what it’s about.  Nobody uses the term “pound” anymore, do they?

    Now, I’m not suggesting that you flip your classroom with these two shows but spend a few minutes online and you’ll see awesome discussions and connections for educators, students, and classrooms.  If you’re not connected, you’re completely missing out.  Jennifer Casa-Todd shares a beautiful post outlining the possibilities that exist for the connected student.

    Then, she follows up with a huge list of suggestions for how to get started, along with a couple of Sylvia Duckworth Sketchnotes.  What can you do?  Share this post with your administrator and colleagues.  It’s time to get with it if they aren’t.

    Are Teachers Taught About Creative Commons?

    This is not a new concept and yet something that a lot of people don’t really understand.  Donna Fry takes on the topic and uses the framework of the student remix as the rationale for why students and teachers need to understand the principle.

    If you read the second sentence carefully, you’ll take your understanding to a new level.  Most people think that Creative Commons is just about finding free stuff that you can use without violating copyright.  Let’s up the ante.  Yes, there are times when someone has the perfect image to use in a project.  But, if you’ve been at this blog for a while, you know that I’m a big fan of students creating their own original works.  If they’re posting it online – any why not, read Jennifer’s post above – use this as an opportunity to discuss licensing in a very personal manner … their own.

    It only takes a moment to look at the licensing options under Creative Commons and decide what’s appropriate for them.  Here’s what I’ve put on this blog.

    Is it Initiative or Compliance?

    The nice thing about scheduling blog posts is that you’re never really done until it goes out!  This morning was a perfect example.  I thought I was done and so Jaimie and I were off for our morning walk.  We had stopped at a bridge and were just staring in awe as the water from a tributary was flowing into a bigger part of the river when my birthday present from my wife on my wrist buzzed.  I looked and Brian Aspinall had just posted something to his blog and had tagged me with it.  Oh well, something to read when we got home.

    I did read it and now was faced with a dilemma.  Do I save it for next week’s TWIOE or do I include it here.  After all, this post doesn’t go live until tomorrow morning.  I decided to do it now because I think it’s something that everyone should consider for their classroom and its management.  What do your students do when they’re done the current task?  Brian shares his list.

    In the post, he asks that, if the students choose from this list, are they demonstrating initiative or compliance?  It’s pretty clear from the tone of the post that he’s thinking compliance.  I would agree in the way that he wrote it.  Given those options, I think if I was a student, I would just tend to work slower on the original project.  Those all look like extra work to me.

    You do have to make the choices wisely.  If the list includes something that’s really cool or interesting, others will rush through the task in order to join in on the fun.

    Why not read Brian’s post and add your ideas to the list?  The time is right with school starting in a couple of weeks to set classroom expectations and certainly managing time should be one of the issues.

    Thanks to all of the above for contributing to share your expertise and pushing our thinking.  Please take a moment to click through to the original blog posts and share your thoughts.  Looking for more?  Check out the Ontario Edublogger collection.