This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s another Friday and a chance for me to share with you some of the spectacular reading I enjoyed recently from great Ontario Edubloggers.  I had some self-inflicted damage to my regular process.  Normally, as I read things, I just keep the blog open in a tab and minimize them with One Tab until Thursday morning when I actually write the post.  However, this was a week of maintenance and browser shuffling and I lost the posts that I had tucked away.  I think I remember everything that was saved but maybe not.  I had a better plan when I stuck the URLs into Keep or Evernote.  Perhaps that’s my biggest learning of all.  Shortcuts can come back to bite you.  If you wrote a great post and I neglected it, please send me a message “Hey dummy, you missed this…”


Taking Chances

I’m not sure that much more needs to be said than how Denise Buttenaar closes this blog after a pretty active reflection session on her personal practice and what it meant to her.  I don’t think that anyone should expect that a blog post is going to be the “next great novel”.  However, a year from now if she continues to share her thoughts to herself, it may be the “next great professional diary” and I don’t think an educator can ask for more than that.  Blogging shouldn’t be an all encompassing event.  It’s the accumulation of thoughts that leads to the impressive.


Oh boy, here it is!

Donna Fry gave me the heads up on the birth of this new blog and here’s the first post from Kelly Colter.

I think that the first “way” is something that we all need to ‘fess up about.  If we weren’t influenced by others, it would be a pretty lonely connected life.  It’s the connections and the shared learning that makes it so powerful.  Of real importance to me is the selection of the connections – regular readers know of my passion for those who blog about Ontario Education.  That’s not the only influence – another that easily comes to mind is the cadre of Computer Science teachers that serve as inspiration.  By joining, hopefully Kelly can keep it up and, with her words, influence whatever group she wishes.  She’s now in my little group of Ontario Edubloggers.


Moments of Empathy

If someone asked me who I would like to write like, I could name quite a few and certainly near the top would be Rusul Alrubail.  She doesn’t necessarily whip out the thesaurus or come across as pretentious, but it’s just the way that she strings her words together that touches the reader at a different level.  I can’t think of a post from her that doesn’t give me pause for serious reflection and I can’t think of a better compliment to pay to a blogger.

So, I thought – who would have been my favourite teacher?  A number of really good ones came to mind and I could create a short list.  When I thought just a little harder, the “favourite” had some un-favourite moments so I moved on to the next on my list.  I’d find issues here and there too.  Instead, I changed my thinking.  What if I took a bit of him and a bit of her and a bit of her and made my favourite a teacher an amalgam of the best parts.  Wow, that was a great teacher and, the common thread was the empathy that each showed.

For any teacher whose goal is to reach every child, (whether or not you want to be their favourite is a personal, competitive activity) take a read of Rusul’s post.  We all have our bad days and those stick out because of the lack of empathy.  Could that be a gutcheck for success?  Recognize it and deal with it before it unduly negatively affects students.


Thanks for your leadership and support!

When you think of people that are centrally assigned as resource teachers – what do you immediately think of?  Hot and cold running coffee and an endless supply of doughnuts?  After reading Jennifer Casa-Todd’s post, you may wish to change your opinion.

In the post, she nicely ties things together and may give you an insight to what they actually do.

The one thing that she isn’t explicit about and I’m sure that it’s true in her job and others, and certainly was key to mine was getting out of the central location and visiting schools.  When I took over that role, I never wanted to be accused of being “out of touch” with the classroom because it’s so easily done when you’re not in one on a daily basis.

My favourite quote from my former superintendent was “Where is he today?” as he came into the Program Department area looking for me.  I wish I’d heard it first hand because it could be interpreted so many different ways.

If you don’t see your centrally assigned person often enough, why not sign up for professional activities or just extend an invitation to her/him to come and visit your classroom?  You might be pleasantly surprised at how eagerly they’ll jump at the opportunity.


#TBT: Is Our Focus On Assessment Taking Away From Our Children’s Education

If nothing else, Stephen Hurley’s latest post is worth visiting just for the image.  What the heck, here it is, complete with his credit to the author.

It’s a throw back post that is just as relevant today as when he originally posted it.

This is an interesting look at assessment and evaluation.  I can’t remember a year where it wasn’t “the board’s focus” and it certainly is important.  It informs what is done for student achievement.  It’s just that it changes so frequently.  I remember a person new to my department whose theory was that by changing focus annually, it kept the pedagogues in business as the pendulum swings back and forth.

If you need some moments of reflection today, make sure that you get to the bottom of the post and reflect on Stephen’s questions.


The End of Average

A book, a TED talk, and an infographic fill this post from Erica Armstrong.

This is the perfect followup to Stephen’s post.  Play the TED talk as you go about things this morning.  You’ll be glad you did.

Do you agree with the affirmation that “the average hurts everyone”?

What are you going to do about it?


What’s the hardest thing a teacher does?

If you read Kristin Phillips blog, you’ll read this more than once.

“Try something new; no one will die”.

I recall a mathematics teacher of some infamy whose choice of worksheet for the day would rival the accuracy of any calendar!

Kristin gives us five bullet points (paragraphs) as to what she feels has worked with her schools.

Would they work in yours?


I say this every week and I never tire of it.

What an amazing collection of blogs.  Please click through and read them in their entirety and drop them a comment.  They deserve it.

Then, check out the rest of the Ontario collection here.  If you’re blogging and not listed, just complete the form and you will soon be.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to the end of the week/start of the weekend.  I hope that it’s been a good one for you.  In case you missed them, here’s a nice selection of offerings from the keyboards of Ontario Edubloggers.  Enjoy them.  I know that I did.


#MyWorkflow: Brian Harrison

The Wordflow series from Royan Lee continues with the latest interview with principal Brian Harrison.

I find it fascinating to see inside the minds and work habits of people I regularly follow on Twitter.   Brian is no different.  I had to smile at his answer to this question.

I’ve been in his backyard and can really understand why he likes working there!  Click through and read his answers to Royan’s questions.


This Year’s Model

So, let’s check out Brian’s latest post.

No self-respecting principal in the province should be going without thinking about the announcement from the Ministry of Education about the $60M to support mathematics education and how it might impact their school.  There’s been so much written about it recently illustrating that the public and education are all over the map philosophically.  I know that there’s an element that would like to spend the money to support old school teaching.  That would buy a great deal of thumbscrews.  Brian offers a more considered approach and, as you see below, offers up some examples of people doing the job right now.

Any takers?  I wonder…


How Will I Use My Wild and Precious Life?

I think everyone would be wise to stop what you’re doing and read this post from Sue Dunlop and then just reflect on yourself and your own life.

You may come out of the session with a slightly different focus on things about what truly is important.  In life, and in education in particular, there are so many distractions – including infringement on your time and efforts – that it might just be time to sit back and refocus.


Thinking About the Term Reflective Practitioner

Eva Thompson does a great job with that sort of thinking, not in her personal life, but in her professional life.

I like her thinking and I think that there’s a great deal of philosophy that is consistent with mine when it comes to going online with blogging.

Throughout my career, I was always posting my current thoughts.  The format has changed from the annotations at the bottom of lesson plans, to sharing with CIESCs in a FirstClass conference, to online forums, to Twitter, to this blog…

I didn’t use to be this way.  I used to keep things bottled up, confident in the knowledge that I could recall it at a moment’s notice.  It was all about me.  I think we all know how that approach works.  For me, once I realized that didn’t work, writing things has always been a release.  I can put my thoughts to words – in whatever format – and then stop worrying about remembering it.  Now, I know that I can always go back and find it.

I’ve been doing this for most of my career, but revisiting what it’s like to be a student, maybe I had that extra patience for the push back? Maybe I had more encouraging words for that reluctant student? When I’m too distracted making sure I get all MY “t’s crossed and i’s dotted” I may overlook the fact that I’m also a teacher, not just a technology consuming droid.

I think she’s got her priorities in order.


Now’s the time to be a heroin addict

On the heels of Eva’s thoughts, turn to Debbie Donsky’s latest.  What a great reminder through her story to get all of our priorities in order.

Celebrate what you have built. Celebrate your legacy of love and success and courage and resilience. Celebrate all that you are and all the people who you have affected.


3. A Kids’ Guide to Canada – DETAILS

I love it when people think out loud.  @beachcat11 (she keeps her real name out of media so I will respect that) lays out her thinking for an ideal project for students.  This is part 3 of a 3 part series – you can read a “part 4” too!  It also wouldn’t hurt if you go back and read parts 1 and 2.

To honour student voice, an initial pilot project in the fall of 2016 will see elementary students from every elementary grade and every part of Canada participating in each step of the project design and field-testing process.

Then, beginning in January 2017, school-aged children from JK-Gr 8 will create digital artifacts to celebrate and introduce their home communities to their peers right across the country, and then post these on a national interactive map.

The link above points to the third part which lays out a timeline, activities and contact information.


MDM4U Creating dice game simulations

Who says that Mathematics can’t be fun?  This link is to Brandon Grasley’s MDM class but I caught it and spent some time doing the activity myself.  It was a hoot.  I’ve never taught this class but did similar problems with my Computer Science classes.

It was fun just to muck about with a Google Spreadsheet and also in Small Basic.

But, kids today have it so easy.  Whatever happened to int(rnd(1)*6)+1?


Are Your Students Problem Solvers and Innovators?

This just in…

I’m assembling this post on Thursday morning and Aviva Dunsiger sends a link to her latest blog post.

In-house professional learning happened for her at her school.

As with many of Aviva’s posts, there are questions as well as answers.

She concludes with a great thought that I think all educational leaders need to be concerned with the next time the latest and greatest initiative comes along.

If developing these skills matter, then we likely need to “let something go.” What might you let go? What might you add? What benefits do you see this having for kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

So often, this is overlooked and more, “better” ideas are thrust upon teachers.  In football, it’s called “piling on” and there is a substantial penalty for doing it.


There are lots of calls to action in this post.  Do some thinking, some Mathematics, and be proud to be a Canadian.

Oh, and reply to all of these posts.  They are reply-worthy.

And, when you reply to Aviva, ask her a question!

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to another Friday.  Just a few short hours and it’s the weekend!  Check out some great reading to inspire from the keyboards of Ontario Edubloggers.


Is There a Best Way to Learn Mathematics?

I suppose that the best answer might be “we don’t know for sure”.  Otherwise, we would have mastered this years ago and wouldn’t be dealing with the issue yet again.  In this post, Kyle Pearce takes us through his thoughts about the topic.  It’s well thought through and reasoned.

The challenge is that most teachers need to teach Mathematics and yet many of them haven’t had to truly study it since they were in school themselves.  So, often, they use the techniques that worked for them.  Then, into the middle comes an expert, or a consultant who listened to an expert and in a workshop, they’re expected to change practice to something new.  The province is going to put more money towards the concept.  Hopefully, it’s with a unified direction and there’s enough time and support that everyone can get on board with and be effective.  The metric is the test; that’s consistent for all.  Teaching practice isn’t. If you’re caught in this, Kyle’s got some interesting thoughts from his perspective.


Using Poetry to Facilitate Discussions

I attribute my hatred for learning poetry to “The Lady of Shalott“.  For some educational reason, we had to memorize the poem (including the punctuation) and write three verses from memory every day, over a period of time.  I have no memory of its importance, and until I looked up the link above, I honestly couldn’t even tell you what it was about.  When Rusul Alrubail makes the connection to castor oil, I’m right there with her.  After this experience, I honestly don’t think I ever studied another poem.

When I read the rest of Rusul’s post, I’m so impressed with what more you can do with poetry.  I enjoyed reading about her three learnings and feel that I really missed something.  Most certainly, we never used poetry as a launchpad to important discussions.

I will confess to enjoying Andy Forgrave’s occasional Haiku although sometimes they go flying over my head.


School vs. Learning

To extend my thoughts above, it’s a natural that Colleen Rose’s post comes next.

Put me in a Mathematics or Computer Science class and I’m there.  Make me study poetry, and it’s not so much.  While Colleen talks about students not thriving, I think it’s also important to consider the student that is partially thriving.  Let’s make sure that we’re not overlooking them as well?


Thoughts prompted by Andreas Schleicher’s (OECD) Keynote

Heidi Siwak had the wonderful opportunity to attend the OECD conference and shared a thought or two about the keynote.

I had a couple of experiences with non-standard timetables and they were inspiring.  They also show how we’re limited by our structure.

One was just an “Education Day” when I was in high school.  Formal classes were cancelled and each teacher was in her/his classroom and had posted a list of their personal passions/interests/hobbies.  We were left to wander the school and drop in to the classrooms for a talk and to learn about their interests.  It had to be a real risk for the school administration to do this.  What if you threw a party and nobody came?  Well, everyone came!  It was like the original edCamp – we just followed our interests and had a terrific day.  Next day, it was back to normal.

The other timetable was followed during my first years of teaching.  We had a “tumbling timetable”.  On Day 1, Period 1 was first and the classes went 1-2-3-4-5-6.  On Day 2, Period 2 was first and we went 2-3-4-5-6-7  and it continued for the 8 days.  There were so many advantages.  No class was ever first thing in the morning every day and no class was ever last thing in the day and ended up being dropped or shortened because of assemblies or sports.  Every class tumbled off the timetable for two days before coming back on.  The concept was eventually lost when cooperative education came along and students needed to be on the job at the same time every day.  Then, came semestering.

In both cases, the model worked very nicely but had to suffer because of the structures that a system forces on them.  Is it time to rethink just what’s important – learning/success or a system that’s easily managed?


Practicum Reflection: Week 8

Who can ever forget their practice teaching sessions?  You step into the middle of someone else’s routine and take over.  You may go off with a completely different style or you might just be a continuation of the regular way that teaching/learning is done.  Some classes are well prepared to welcome the guest to the classroom; others want to push you just as far as they can!  I have the memories of both.

I’ve been following the reflections of Spencer Burton as he “learns about learning”.  It brings back some awesome memories for me.  The latest post will make you feel warm and fuzzy, I’m sure.

I won’t spoil the surprise…click through for pictures.  If you have some time, read his previous posts.  I’ll bet it stirs up personal memories.


Blog-gone it – that’s a Great Idea: Tagging Posts for the Reader

On the AMDSB Technology Learning Community blog, Leigh Cassell shares some advice for classrooms with multiple student posters.

I agree with her about the use of the Reader tool.  It can be a real time saver.  Her advice about using tags for filtering to easily manage things could be the time saver you’re looking for.


Keep rowing

Paul Cornies never fails to provide inspirational quotes (three at a time) and a question to personalize the quote.

What a fabulous reminder about the climb and its importance.

Don’t you wonder about the other quotes he’s provided?


If Everything is Social Media to teens…

There are a lot of important messages in this post from Jennifer Casa-Todd.  She provides a nice graphic as a reminder.

In the post, she takes us on a wander through various connected tools, including some that she notes as ones that we don’t normally throw into the fray as “social media”.  Her focus is on students; I can’t help but wonder if they don’t search out these alternative tools because the grups have invaded their traditional platforms.

I think there’s an important message in this post for everyone who would use connected tools and encourage students.  Nothing is quite as simple as you might think when there is the opportunity for abuse.  Her concluding sentence makes me wonder if we’ve been doing it all wrong.  Maybe we’re wrong when we focus on Digital Citizenship.  Maybe the focus should be on Digital Leadership instead.  Is it OK for students to just “get along” as a citizen and not do anything stupid or should they all be considering themselves “leaders” to demonstrate their skills and fitness to lead.  Is being successfully “Googled” and not finding anything bad enough?


Thanks, yet again, Ontario Edubloggers.  It’s another wonderful week of great reading and reflection.

Please take a few moments to click through and read these posts in their entirety.  Then head over to the big list for some more great reading.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Can there be nothing better than reading a good blog post that makes you think?  I don’t think so.  Here’s some of what I caught this past while.


Analyzing Art: How Do We Redefine “Beauty?”

Goodness knows that you don’t want me teaching or evaluating art.  Aviva Dunsiger takes us on a ride with her thoughts about artwork as it applies in school.  Just like we don’t expect every student to be that record breaking athlete, do we need every student to be the next great artist?  Isn’t it the effort and the ability to stick to it most important?  Or art appreciation when you get the opportunity to view other’s works?  I like that she and her teaching partner take the opportunity to share what every student generates.  Not award winning material by Aviva’s description but I’ll bet it’s a classic in the eyes of the student and their parents.

To extend this, I read a couple of articles recently that should give all who might wish to create something hope.  And, perhaps in the process, we challenge the notion that you might think you know what art is.


Part 3: Creativity and Innovation

These are two terms that you see together so often, but if you want to dive deeper, check out this post from Debbie Donsky.  I’ve been spinning about her thoughts about creativity and innovation.  Debbie shares her thoughts on the connections between the two.  What happens when you have one without the other?  If you’re a leader, what combination will generate success?  What combination will ensure that you have followers with the dedicated follow through?

It seems that creativity without innovation is like an idea without action. It reminds me of the Joel Barker quote: “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”


We’re Different – And Why?

Donna Fry’s latest post will give you plenty to think about if you believe that change is a part of every day life.  I like the concept of the ladder and how she applies it into her concept of “hierarchy”.  In its simplest, and perhaps an over-generalization, does the amount of progressive and new learning decrease as one climbs the ladder?  A couple of quick things come to mind as I type – I love typing and thinking and ideas flowing from my fingertips –

  • is it more important, the higher in the hierarchy to establish stability and continuity?
  • if you’re at the bottom rung, or lower, is it easier to just try stuff and accept that failure only extends to a smaller audience?
  • I liked how David Truss extended things to include students who are the perfect example of always trying the latest and newest “tool” and are great examples of being connected and learning the positives and negatives of that.

Entire companies have failed because they had “no clue” as Donna puts it.  Are educational institutions vulnerable to that as well or are they such an institution that they’ll be around no matter what.  A term that has always had mixed emotions with me is “best practices”. Depending upon who is speaking, that can have such a limited scope.  (a bizarre comparison but think about it)  The connected educator has the ability to peek into classrooms all over the world and read/see first hand what works and what doesn’t.  Does that get any credibility or does it have to appear in an official document / manuscript / research report and updated every now and again?


Autism POV

I think most educators are only too happy to support a good cause.  Diana Maliszewski, in this post, provides an extremely well written and researched article about the difference between Autism Awareness and Autism Acceptance.

I’m so happy that I have people that I follow, like Diana, that do their research and provide alternative things to consider.  The post contains links to articles supporting the argument including a chart following the money.  As Diana notes, it’s too bad that the chart doesn’t include a citation for its source.


Presentations that feel like home

I’ve got presentations on the mind.  The presentations committee for the upcoming BIT Conference has been watching the submissions coming in for the November conference.  The variety of topics is amazing.  Soon, there will come a time when presentations are accepted for the conference and then the presenters get to work.

In this post, written for the TESL Blog by Gwen Zeldenrust, the focus is on the ESL student and making presentations.  I can’t help but think that the “Home Model” described in the post is good advice for everyone who has to plan a presentation.


April 2016 Newsletter Insert

Sue Bruynslatest blog post is a one liner.

“link go the math newsletter”

So I did because she said to.

I got this blast from the past!  I used this activity when introducing spreadsheets to a group of teachers.  It’s fun to

  • determine the math rule
  • create the spreadsheet formula
  • create your own function and challenge your neighbour

And the neat thing is that it scales for student age.


#sgdsbtc #TwitterChallenge

Just as I was ready to post this and get away from the computer, I’m tagged in a Twitter message by Colleen Rose. It’s with respect to a month long Twitter Challenge from the Superior-Greenstone District School Board. The Twitter message took me to a message by Stacey Wallwin that includes this image showing the events for the month of April. Give them a read.

Apparently, Colleen thought following this noisy Twitter user is a good idea.

It’s an interesting progression of activities to be done on Twitter from the introductory to something that requires some research and development of skills. Very interesting and a nice model for other boards to follow. Well done.  I couldn’t track down a blog post describing what’s happening and what’s next but hopefully, Colleen or Stacey or someone from SGDSB can fill in the details for us.


And it’s another wonderful week of reading.  Thanks to the authors for the content and the sharing of resources/thinking.  I hope you can click through and enjoy the originals and drop them a comment or a like.  Then, check out the big list of Ontario Edubloggers.  There’s always great stuff happening there.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy April Fools’ Day.  It’s time to keep an extra eye looking over your shoulder…but the good thing is that it leads into a weekend and that’s always good.  There was no fooling around with Ontario Edubloggers this week.  Check these blog posts out.


Anatomy of an internet scam

As more and more commerce is done online using freely available services, Sylvia Duckworth points out that there are those out there just waiting to take advantage of you.  It’s an interesting read and who hasn’t had an attempt made on their money through fake messages from the likes of people impersonating Paypal.  It’s a reminder for all of us and may be a starting point for students.

Sylvia uses the post as an opportunity to repurpose her sketchnote.  In this case, #9 is of importance.


For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education – A Review

There’s an interesting trend of sharing book titles among Ontario Educators and doing book talks online.  It’s an interesting concept.  Perhaps this title, reviewed by Brandon Zoras would be a title to consider for the future.

Brandon indicates that there’s a book signing opportunity in the near future if you’re interested.


Success?

My first reaction, upon reading this post from Peter Cameron, was to realize that I wasn’t in the same game.  I know that there’s a whole science behind the concept of cross-country skiing and the wax that you choose.

To be honest, I have the other type of ski.  It has a tread on it rather than requiring waxing and I get along quite nicely, thank you.  I suppose that my experience pales in comparison but does that really matter?  Is it a mindset that we have learned from education that there are winners and losers and how we compare performance?

In the competitive world, skiers have standards to meet and races to run.  What’s wrong with the rest of us getting outside for some fresh air, enjoying the trip, and not spilling the wineskin?  There’s my definition of success.


Are Algorithms the New Media Literacy?

I went over to Royan Lee’s blog this week to see his #workflow series and found this post instead.  He’s sharing his thoughts about Instagram’s proposed notifications change.  As he notes, we’re all the recipient of changes that networks make despite our wishes/complaints.

I’m a big fan of choice but recognize that that’s not always an option.  The goal of services is to make money and if a change to their algorithm results in success for the provider, that’s the end goal.  We have two choices – be assimilated or drop it.  I like his concept of taking control of things according to his rules with Evernote and IFTTT but we all need to realize that there are other forces at work.  Therein lies the connection to Media Literacy and he’s dead on with that.  Time to read Program or Be Programmed again.


Innovation vs Consistency

Jared Bennett’s post here will have you thinking.  I wish that he’d used a different term than “innovation” though since that one has been used/abused in so many contexts but you’ll get his message with the post and his questions.

I love the expression and his self-definition of being the rogue.  I think we need to honour the rogue.  Without the rogue, life would be pretty darn stale.  Without the rogue, we’d not be seeing excitement about anything.  It would be the same ol’ stuff, year after year.  Think back to your first year of teaching.  Could you imagine teaching the same way, with the same tools?  It could be considered malpractice.  (well, maybe that’s too harsh a word)  Personally, I don’t know where I could even buy punched cards these days.

I think that a progressive school district needs rogues to help set the direction.  The rogue needs to try things and succeed.  The rogue needs to try things and fail.  The rogue needs to identify other rogues and feed off each other.  This now network of rogues needs to prove that what they’re experiencing will engage and prove to be valuable to others.  These rogues needs to lead the best by example.  There are so many non-rogues that aren’t willing to put their time and effort into learning and failing but, will gladly learn and succeed if they’ve been shown the advantages.  To do otherwise would be accepting complacency.


The Case Against School Internet Filters

Andrew Campbell’s post starts, interestingly enough, by his description of being the school spy.  Those who follow Andrew are probably having a bit of a smile right now given his proven stance against spying and protection of rights while connected.

I can’t fault his logic.  We want students to be careful and wise users of any/all technology, including what they do online.  It does raise the question though, is the school system ready for this?  There’s a certain feeling that by blocking certain sites that you can put a checkmark on the wall and indicate that the school district has done its job – they’ve protected the free world against everything that’s bad.  So, if a student manages to get around the filter either purposely or accidentally, who is at fault?  I think that we all know.  We’re not about to suspend the network manager for three days because of it.

In his post, Andrew makes reference to another interesting read from Jane Mitchinson.  “Big Brother in our Schools“.  She offers the use of School Connect to monitor student screens.  That keeps them on task and lets the teacher monitor what’s happening.  In this case, it puts the teacher on task as the moderator of all things flying about the room.  It still makes the teacher as the guard to information though rather than circulating the room helping students.  I suppose the teacher screen could be displayed on the data projector or television so that she/he could keep an eye on things.  The downside is that everyone in the room would be able to enjoy a misstep.  In the bigger picture, what happens in BYOD situations or with devices like tablets that aren’t connected to the same network the teacher is monitoring?  You know it’s political when trustees get involved as Jane notes.

All this addresses the content and situations that we know and can identify and do something about.  What about the rest of it?  I would encourage you to re-read Deborah McCallum’s “Critical Literacy and the Internet” post.  I was delighted that she accepted my BIT Challenge and will be talking about this at the BIT 16 Conference.

Until we reach that level of sophistication, if you’re an entrepreneur and can come up with a solution that’s perfect, you’ll be rich overnight.


There’s no end to the good thinking and sharing from Ontario Edubloggers.  Please check out these posts and then head over to the big list for even more great reading.

I missed a bit of a milestone…


… for this blog anyway.

I hadn’t noticed it until I did some maintenance today.  The URL to my Friday post “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” was:

Check out the “200” at the end of the address.

This is WordPress’ way of saying that I’ve used the title 200 times.  It automatically differentiates posts by sticking a number on to the end of duplicates.  So, I’ve used the title “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” quite a few times.

What a testament to the amazing thinking and sharing coming from the keyboards of Ontario Educational Bloggers!

I guess that it started a long time ago – I thought that it would be an interesting way for me to amplify the thoughts of folks throughout the province – and it’s been a mainstay for Friday mornings around here.  I think it nicely honours the efforts of others and helps promote their great ideas.  The fact that I’m able to do this on a weekly basis speaks volumes for folks who are using this type of forum.

Now for a little truth in numbers.  The number of TWIOE posts is actually more than that.  Stick with me.

Unlike most blog posts which I sketch out in a mind map or in Evernote and do in one sitting, this particular post can take up to a week to complete.  As I see a new post from an Ontario blogger that I’d like to include, I’ll add it to a new blog post, schedule it for the upcoming Friday, and save it.  It truly is a post that can take a week to compose.  But, I’ve been known to mess up more than once around here!  The duplicate numbering convention only works when the title is an exact duplicate of one that’s already saved.  If I don’t give it the title, WordPress will generate one for me – as a title with a number.  I do know that I’ve messed up a few times so while there are exactly 200 posts with the duplicate convention, there are a few more that aren’t.  The complete number of posts is actually more than 200.  How many flubs I’ve made, I have no idea and no inclination to count them.

I can tell you that you can check out the posts in the hamburger menu above or by clicking here.

I’ll stick to the celebration of 200 posts.  However you count it, that’s a lot of Ontario blogging and I’m proud to be a part of it.

I know that my little collection is just a part of the big picture.  I do my best to keep track in both a Livebinder and a Scoopit page.  I’m always looking for new blogs to add to the collection.  There’s a Google form sitting on the Livebinder page just waiting for new blogs to be added.  If you’re from Ontario and would like your blog added, please go ahead and do so.

The more the merrier.  On to the next 200.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


What would Friday on this blog be without a review of some of the great reading I’ve done from Ontario Edublogs this past while.

Here goes….


Are you an educator? Do you use Twitter?

Colleen Rose is leading a webinar in the near future and is crowd sourcing some ideas and thoughts.  In this post, she’s asking for input to these questions.

The results remind me of the good old days of blogging where people were actually replying to blog posts!  As of the time of writing, there are 54 responses.  That’s great and not something that’s seen often these days.  Granted, about half of them are from Colleen sharing her thoughts on the comments but it still is impressive.  You’ll recognize many of the names there from any list of Ontario Twitter users.

Some of the replies include links to blog posts where people have had their own take on this topic.

It’s not too late; if you’d like to throw in your thoughts, I’m sure that Colleen would appreciate reading them.


The Professional

Even if you don’t enjoy auto racing (who doesn’t?), Tim King’s comments about a documentary of the Dakar Rally is a good read.  It pits an amateur against professional racers.  From the story, Tim draws a number of parallels.  This one is interesting.

I’m sure Tim has a particular student in mind when he comes to this conclusions.  I got one in my mind.

If you’ve ever taught at a Faculty of Education or had a student teacher, you know the light in the eye and the idealism that goes with the potential educators.  They’ve already excelled in education for most of their lives.  They’ve got a three or four year degree and now work towards a second degree in Education.  We’ve all been there.  We know how the game is played.

Then, we’re plunked in front of kids who don’t know, are learning, or just refuse to learn!  That’s where teaching demands “resiliency, creativity, and agility”.

This is a cleverly written post.  Each time I read it, it takes me on a different journey.  Well done, Tim.


Critical Literacy and the Internet

If you are, or think you are, teaching students to be careful users of the internet, then you really need to read this post from Deborah McCallum.

It’s a very academic treatment of the class of web resources known as “Cloaked Websites”.

Does your treatment of this form of literacy go this deeply?  This is a very good read and share amongst colleagues.  Deborah’s looking for additional resources for teaching about this.  Do you have some to share?


Interview with “experienced” presenter Kim Gill

Peter McAsh is embarking on a new direction as we approach the Bring IT, Together Conference.  He’s identified a few “experienced” Ontario Educators / Presenters and interviewing them about their presenting experience at the BIT / ECOO Conference.

The current interview is with Kim Gill who I’ve personally done the BIT Challenge thing with.  I’ve known Kim for a long time and I can’t think of a person more bubbly and who genuinely enjoys her profession and makes no attempt to hide it!

Plus, she always has food!

Read the interview with Kim here and get inspired.

She’s not the only one of the BIT Blog.  Make sure you check out:

There’s more to come!  This would be a good time to remind everyone to get their proposals in.  The deadline is March 31.


Inchworm, inchworm…

I still remember this advice from a veteran teacher as I was in my second year of teaching and had curriculum documents open all over the place and was planning a unit on something.  I can’t remember the unit now but I remember the advice.  “Don’t get too excited.  This too will pass.”  Then, I got a history of education that he’d experienced over his years in the profession.  Lots of changes, lots of advice, lots of expert panels, lots of difference curriculum, …  He’s long since retired but I’d love to hear his thoughts about data driven, data informed, change, innovation,

Lisa Noble makes a nice connection between innovation, today’s youth, and the inch worm.

It does make you stop and think.  Will change happen because the Ministry eventually provides a curriculum that’s relevant?  Or will it happen because educators are stopping to observe students and what they need?  What’s more responsive?


What I’ve Learned From the Danes (Part 1)

Forget Finland.  What is some advice from another Scandinavian country?

Danika Tipping spent some time in Denmark and made an interesting observation.

Are we ready for a school system without so many rules? 

Can we indeed legislate everything?  If not, could we just legislate common sense? 

How often are rules proactive?  How often are they reactive?

How many are truly necessary?


It’s definitely been another great week of reading.  Check out these blog posts at their original source.  You’ll be inspired; I know.  Then, head over to the big list of Ontario Edubloggers to see what else is happening.  Add yourself to the list if you’re blogging and not on the list already.