This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I hope that everyone has recovered from the snow storm and done so safely. My right shoulder is killing me; this was the heaviest snow I think I’ve ever shoveled. But, you’re here to read great stuff from Ontario Edubloggers so here goes…


Wouldn’t you be …?

Yes, I certainly would be and I suspect that we all would.

Sheila is following the work of Dr. Naomi Fisher and contemplated an image that was posted about a mother’s anxiety about sending kids to school.

Sheila no longer has children in the Ontario school system but that doesn’t excuse her for having some concerns about kids and what they’re dealing with at school. Looking forward, there may well be grandchildren, Sheila!

I found the post pretty serious and timely as it lead nicely into Bell Let’s Talk Day. Stephen and I had a nice chat about it on the show Wednesday morning.

Will we ever get it right? Probably not because the world and society continues to change but we all need to keep our eyes open and speak out when appropriate. Sometimes, it goes unseen by those who could actually do something about it.

It always seems that we’re playing catch up.


Teachers, YOU ROCK!

I often wonder if Kelly knows that I write about the great content she shares since she doesn’t appear to have a Twitter handle.

Teaching is an interesting profession. Not everyone could do it; not everyone wants to do it. If you think you just check in at 8:30 and check out at 2:30, you better keep on moving. The job is much more than that and requires some serious commitment, both in time, dedication, empathy, and emotion.

I was sorry to read about the challenges she had in her placements – I was the exact opposite and was paired with incredibly supportive and inspirational teachers and environments. My only challenge was commuting in the GTA. There’s another layer to add onto the level of stress.

I’m glad that she’s happy with her decision to land in this profession.

More people should blog or let the world know of their great decision.

Kelly’s post would be a great inspiration.


Daily Math Talks with Young Children

I’m old enough to know the term arithmetic.

The mathematician in me just loves this post.

I still remember a university professor who talked to us about how some baseball players become good at their job. “Practice, Practice, Practice”. How do students get good at mathematics? “They do the odd numbered questions on page 37 and then go outside and play baseball.” What if they could experience the joy of mathematics?

That’s not how it works in Deanna’s class. Absolutely, they “do” mathematics, whatever that means but they actively talk about it. In the post, she describes how the students sit and talk inspired by her. Here’s an example

From mrsmclennan.blogspot.com

I’m just inspired by her super neat printing! Numeracy is important but it shows up in many different ways in this example. I can just picture myself sitting on the floor eating this up.

This is an insightful post and composed of a lot of pictures of chart paper and activities.

I’ll bet that she has a computer and access to a data projector but there’s something extra special about hand written content like this.


Growing Age Gap

As I said in the promotion for the voicEd Radio show, the older you get, the older you get.

It’s a fact of life.

Matthew is starting to realize this.

Every September he welcomes kids of a certain age into his class. They’re always the same age. However, he’s just another year older.

And that is the realization that teaching suspends time. Halfway. I mean, only one side.
– Matthew Morris

I wish I could offer you a rap version of this, Matthew. But, I grew old. Rod Stewart offers some advice.


Leading by Example or What’s Good for the Goose…

Last week, I attended my wife’s aunt’s funeral.

If there ever was a setting where you have collection of people who might be at risk of getting Covid, this has to be it. Lots of elderly friends paying last respects in a small location and who knows what kind of ventilation there was. I’ll give credit to the funeral home; they had masks beside the hand sanitizer. We brought our own. I can tell you that we were definitely in the minority wearing it though.

But, wait! There’s another setting – schools.

Marie is the voice of safety and yet the closest to ensuring that everyone is safe is this sign.

From apuffofabsurdity.blogspot.com

If you follow the Kitchener news (I do and it drives my daughter nuts), there isn’t agreement there any more than there is anywhere else. Folks, Covid is not over. We’re just not reporting about it.

Marie takes a look at the set of rules at the Davos World Economic Forum where there is a three page document outlining Covid rules and regulations. That doesn’t play out the same way in her schools.

We seem to be all over the map on this. How will we ever kick it?


#LearningInTheLoo: Feedback w/ Voice Notes feat. @DeannaToxopeus

This was a little different from the regular things from Laura’s blog.

It’s a “Learning in the Loo” created by Deanna. A guest blogger!

Here’s a snippet.

Of course, you’ll have to click through to get the whole document!


But…I Just Want Checkmarks

I’ll just leave this here. I did read her post and tagged it for this post.

Sadly, the site seems to be down. Maybe it will come back with time. Daphne is at FETC so undoubtedly busy doing something else.


Please find some time today or on the weekend to click through and enjoy these blog posts.

Drop off a comment if you’re inspired.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Sheila Stewart – @sheilaspeaking
  • Deanna McLennan – @McLennan1977
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • Daphne McMenemy – @McMenemyTweets

This is a regular Friday morning post around here, celebrating the best in Ontario blogging. You can find all of the past posts here.

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This Week in Ontario Edublogs


There was no voicEd Radio show this week. Those that know, know why.

That didn’t stop the curation of great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers though. Read on!


How to help older students learn how to read:

I found this interesting as it combines the work of a great thinker (Deborah) and ChatGPT to address this topic. My first thoughts when I read the title was:

  • how could this possibly happen that someone slips through the system and
  • how big is this problem

I found the discussion really interesting and the two of them discussed

  • Explicit instruction
  • Guided reading
  • Reading aloud
  • Independent reading
  • Collaborative reading
  • Vocabulary instruction
  • Assisting with text decoding
  • Promoting a love of reading

The descriptions above really didn’t provide new information for me; your mileage may vary.

The discussion gets deeper with the research from The National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. There are some ideas to dig into there.

The post is presented so you don’t really know who is writing it – Deborah or ChatGPT but I liked her approach. Sure, you could sit back and let ChatGPT write the post but I liked her use of the topic and the tool to help her with the writing.

This is one of the best, practical leading by example posts that I’ve seen to date. If she hadn’t been open and honest about it, you’d never know that it was a partnership.


#OneWord2023

A post NOT from Mark as he counts down the top 500 songs. It was a nice and interesting diversion.

In the past, he’s used the one words Revitalize, Mindfulness, Cultivate, Persist, Discomfort, Ameliorate & Appreciate.

This year, he has chosen Vitality and has been very open about how he plans to address it. I got tired and hungry just reading them!

Not only is he open about his plans but he shares a lesson that he uses with students to encourage each of them to find their own one word. We’ve all seen the concept of SMART goals – this is his spin on how to get students to set meaningful goals.


Slice of (21st Century) Life

Lisa’s post hit a little too close to home for me.

I’ve had a number of dear friends and colleagues pass or fall incredibly ill recently. I’ll admit that I got a call from a dear friend notifying me of another dear friend last night while in the park walking the dog. I did not take the news well.

In this post, Lisa shares her story that had her “transported 40 years into the past”. Lisa does give us a personal insight into her thoughts and the process of a virtual funeral. Likewise, I had to attend a virtual funeral of a best friend from high school and room mate from university. Funerals are hard at the best of times but when you do it virtually, I find it even worse. At a regular funeral, there is an opportunity to gather with family and friends. At the end of a virtual funeral, there’s just nothing. It just stops.

She closes philosophically about virtual funerals but it’s just not the same and surely there’s got to be a better way to handle them.

In the meantime, I’m sending you a big hug, Lisa.


The Best way to start the New Year with your class!

I suspect that everyone was expecting the return to face to face teaching as being an opportunity for teachers and students to shed the awfulness of Covid and get back to being their best in a classroom situation.

I’m hearing stories all over the place about how that hasn’t happened.

A couple of years ago, Amy had created this product for sale through her personal store and has updated it for 2022 and the new reality.

If you’re interested in a little support about hoe to “Be Your Best Self Now”, this might just be what you’re looking for.


Top Gun: Maverick and Authentic School Leadership

I had to smile a bit as I write this.

I almost didn’t read to the end of this post because it read like a movie review. But, I’m glad that I did stick because the concept of school leadership does come up!

As I think about it, I can think of some who became school leaders and it was all about them. It seemed that getting that leadership role was the ultimate goal.

Then I think of so many who became school leaders and did it well. People would apply to change schools to have this person for a leader. Or, if they were leading a workshop, their sessions were always full and a waiting list. The others, not so much.

A common theme among educators is that 2023 is a year like no other. Strong leadership is needed everywhere if everyone is going to succeed. If you see yourself as a leader or you aspire to be a leader, this is a beautiful read that will make you feel good and will inspire you to do better.


What an interesting collection this week. I loved reading them all and they all inspired various emotions in me. Please click through and see how you feel.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Deborah McCallum @Bigideasinedu
  • Mark Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker
  • Anthony Perrotta – @aperrottatweets

This is a regular Friday post on doug — off the record. You can check them all out here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


If you need to read one article for blogging inspiration, let it be this one.

Bring back personal blogging

I couldn’t agree more. The internet is full of dead blogs from people who felt they had something to say at the time. You know what? They still do. Please revive that blog; the world needs positive, original thoughts at this time.

There’s a lot of great music in this post – we tried something different with the radio show.


Giant Snowman in peril!

Who could turn an image of a giant snowman into a blog post?

Doug, of course. (not this one)

It was a fun read and I was impressed with his rewrite of a winter classic.

I ain’t Frosty the Snowman

I’m a miserable pile of snow

I have balls for eyes

And I am stuck with pucks

And this place I live just sucks!

It’s a far cry from this classic version by Jimmy Durante.

If you listened to the show, you heard Stephen sing Doug’s version.


One Word 2023

The concept of a “One Word” for the new year is a nice tradition that Sue maintains in this blog post.

There were a couple of messages in the post for me. One was her selection of the word “Time” and her explanation of how she plans to use it with:

  • staff
  • students
  • colleagues
  • school community

Admirable goals.

As I mentioned in my discussion with Stephen on our show on Wednesday, she’s addressed everything but herself.

Read the post carefully and you’ll see that she’s going to take care of herself in about six months.


#OneWord2023 = Lift

There was a wonderful surprise in this post from Diana that I didn’t know.

Of course, she shares her one word and it’s “Lift”. Fair enough.

After a review of previous one words she’s used, it starts to get real.

Lift has many meanings and that was a nice spin for the post. I had no idea that Diana was lifting weights and she shares her journey there – along with a picture – not photoshopped.

There’s another personal, professional spin to “Lift” that she brings out in this well-crafted post! Love it.


time off time

You know, checking your email could be a 24-hour-a-day job if you let it. Will reminds us of this as he shares parts of a pair of email messages (the irony is not lost on me) reminding him to unplug and step back from checking the latest directive or missive from someone else in the profession.

It’s great advice and, if you’re going to take it today, you’ve missed a couple of weeks that could have been different.

Never fear – there’s always that Spring Break upcoming and his advice along with suggestions for what to do with that extra time will still be valid.

The Christmas tree layout may be dated though.


Book Joy #SOL2022

My high school was so old school.

We studied the same novel at the same time. We had to. We had class sets.

When we wanted to read a book, we could go to the library for part of a period and find something. I remember being hurried because the period was ending and we need to get going – pick a book.

I’ve never actually had any teacher select a book for me that she/he thought might be of interest to me.

Melanie does this and more. There’s a wonderful twist to this and it’s at her personal expense! She reaches out to one student and a few others fall in love with the gesture.


Whatever Happened To Carol Sings?

Regular readers of this blog post or Sunday blog post readers know that “Whatever happened to …” is a weekly blog post from yours truly. It’s fun and quick to write.

In this post, Aviva takes a crack at the concept and does a wonderful job. Maybe I should hire her to write my Sunday posts and give me a day off. <grin>

In elementary schools, carol singing was a regular occurrence at Clinton Public School. Not so much in my secondary school or at university. It really is a community-building opportunity lost.

But, Aviva’s prompt brought back a wonderful memory for me and that’s the reason for the “Whatever happened to …” post.

Here’s my reply to her post.

Thank you for the kind shoutout, Aviva.
You brought back a wonderful elementary school experience. Those that were allowed were invited to an assembly every morning leading up to the Christmas break. We’d all sit on the floor and our music teacher had her piano rolled in. We all had Simpsons-Sears Christmas song sheets and she’d pick a number and we sang them as a school. I think the school was 4-500 students at the time.
When I had my own classroom, there were a few young ladies in my homeroom (whatever happened to homerooms) who were fabulous singers and they’d organize a sing along just for my homeroom! It was awesome.
It took a different turn – I happened to mention it to the vice-principal and he invited them to come to the office and sing a couple each morning over the PA for the whole school! Before that, I think we had just a public assembly that was just to celebrate the end of the term.
Thanks for bringing back that memory.
Merry Christmas!

Make Mistakes on Purpose

As a teacher, we’ve all done it. We slip up when we are teaching something and some kid points it out to us. The response

I just did that to see if you were paying attention.

Confess – you’ve done it. I’ve done it.

But, what about the “real world” where Colleen is right now with producing Christmas presents (at least for me) with her original work.

In the post, there’s a wonderful picture of her on the couch with her puppy warming before a fire. For mere mortals like me, that would be a winner. With someone of Colleen’s talents though, it was a chance to sketch it. Wow!

Mistakes? Hardly! And, I was paying attention to the original and the sketch with my eyes darting back and forth. I can honestly say that I’ve never done that in a blog post before. Thanks, Colleen.


Please click through and read all of these wonderful posts. Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Doug McDowall – @dougzone2_1
  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Colleen Rose – @ColleenKR 

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio

Opening Song

Closing Song

Peace Playlist

Since the incident in Ukraine, we’ve been opening and closing the radio show with songs of peace. They’re all here in this playlist.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I hope that everyone is enjoying the break from the regular routine. The voicEd Radio show enjoyed a break this week as well. But, Ontario Edubloggers kept on writing and here are a few posts that caught my eye. Those that have been featured on the Wednesday morning show are on this list. I know that there are some inactive links on both lists but I hang on to the hope that the blogging urge will hit again.


AI IN THE CLASSROOM: LOVE IT OR HATE IT – IT’S HERE

You can’t be reading anything on line these days without coming across stories about the use and the power behind the use of AI. OpenAI’s ChatGPT is the one that’s getting most attention in my world. This morning, I had it write a short computer program for me. I followed the logic and most definitely, it would have worked.

I’ve watched enough episodes of Star Trek to know that it’s inevitable. I can’t help but think that that premise so long ago developed by Gene Roddenberry foretalls of our current reality and more. By the way, the show was written in 1966.

I found the post very interesting to read.

The common joke in education among some circles is that so and so hasn’t updated anything since she first started teaching. If anyone is looking for a presentation idea, imagine digging out an old lesson and show it on one side of a screen and then use AI to generate a current lesson while the audience watches. That’s keynote material.

Well, unless you have AI do the presentation! People need to be paying attention. This “trend” isn’t going to be trendy and go away any time soon.


Slice of (Who Are You) Life

I love reading Lisa’s writing. She’s so honest and open and I can identify with her right away. It’s like she’s in my mind at times.

A friend once told me that you can screw up anything about a person but as long as you remember their name, they’ll forgive you. It’s a premise that I’ve tried to live by professionally and socially.

Sometimes it works; other times it doesn’t. I think I can safely say that it works for me most of the time.

Lisa’s got a new environment with a lot of new colleagues and, if you’ve ever changed schools, you will smile immediately after reading this.

When I became a Teacher Consultant, I visited so many schools and met so many new people. My strategy was to take my planner and sit in the parking lot after I left the school and write down the names of the people I had just met and a little something about them or their classroom that I could use later.

Upon revisit, I would go back into my planner and read what I had written and it helped. People do appreciate it when you know their names.

Lisa, I hope that you get to remember them all over time!

If you can’t identify yourself when you read this post …


Old Fellas New Music Episode 38

Ask any of my family and they’ll tell you that I always have something musical going on in the background when I’m working. (or football if there’s a game on)

Bob and Paul’s playlist is on the speakers as soon as it comes out.

I appreciate the fact that they talk about things and do a little research beyond the music. My favourite this time around was from Sister Ray.

Sister Ray is the stage name of Ella Coyes, a Métis singer-songwriter. They were born and raised in Sturgeon County, Alberta. Their debut full-length album Communion was released in May 2022


Educators’ To-Do List for Winter Break

If you’re in the Ottawa area, Amy has a great list of things to do and places to go.

And, even if you’re not in the Ottawa area, there is a collection of books for you to read. After all, this has been a tough fall and you need to treat yourself.

Amy inspired me to give you ideas if you’re in Essex County.

  • visit Point Pelee National Park – it’s always different
  • visit Amherstburg’s Navy Yard and see the lights (and Toddy Jones Park for the kid’s lights)
  • check out the newest store in your town – it’s nice to support them and you might just find something new and inspirational – you’ve got to drop in on our new popcorn store
  • walk along the Detroit River – it’s always humbling to see just how big the Ambassador Bridge is and the Renaissance Centre in downtown Detroit is impressive
  • take your dog for a walk on the Greenway – there are miles and miles of torn-up railroad tracks (Jaimie made me write that one)

She also provides this graphic for inspiration. The list sounds like fun and I’d suggest DON’T wait until a break to do it. This should be part of your life all the time.


Episode 51- Kindness Is Karen’s Kind

If you need a podcast that will absolutely put you into a wonderful place in mind, this is it.

Like many people, the pandemic inspired Monique Monelle and her husband to take up a new hobby during lockdown. But their new ‘hobby’ was wonderfully unusual. They were inspired to rescue ex-battery hens.

I never stop being amazed with the wide variety of what you find when great people turn to social media to try and get their message out. This is all about adopting chickens. I’ll bet you didn’t see that coming!


Be good to yourself.

I hope that you can find time to click through and enjoy all this wonderfulness.

And, then follow them on Twitter.

  • Cecilia Aponte-de-Hanna – @capontedehanna
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker
  • Anitha Rao-Robinson – @AnithaRobinson

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s Thursday morning as I start this post. It takes the longest of all my posts to write. We just got back from in town and bought what I hope is that last top up for Sunday. BTW, there will be a Sunday morning post; I wrote it yesterday and it’s Christmas themed. I had a wonderful time chatting with Stephen Hurley on voicEd Radio this week and the blog posts that we talked about plus a couple of bonus ones appear below.

Enjoy.


A Polite Request is NOT a Mandate.

Not only did I read the blog post but I had the opportunity to see Marie on the CTV Kitchener news talking about this. Of course, it was about Covid.

The Waterloo Board is wrestling with the concept of masking like so many boards are. Particularly with Christmas coming, two weeks off school and kids gathering for this and that, I have to wonder about the wisdom of not wearing masks after the break. It there ever was a recipe for a super spreader, this would seem to be it.

I’ve always found that Marie is down to earth in her concerns and approach to dealing with the resperatory issues. It just seems to me that, unfortunately, it’s a lose-lose scenario.

if they don’t require masks and there’s an outbreak, they’re wrong, if they do require masks and there isn’t an outbreak, they’re wrong – a lose-lose situation. 

Which side would you rather lose on?

She lays out her thoughts nicely and compares the language about masking from a few other districts. I found it to be a fascinating read and my heart goes out to her as she tries to do the very best for the schools in her charge.


Steps to Self-Publishing

If you are a skilled artist, how do you get your works out into the hands of others? Some people might not wish to get an original or a print for the wall so Colleen has another way of handling things.

She’s self-publishing some blank notebooks covered by replicas of her art work.

And, they’re gorgeous! How do I know? I ordered a couple of them and they’ll be under our tree for the notetaker that I married. I can tell you this because my wife doesn’t read my blog.

I’ll share her reaction probably and will let Colleen know but my impression is that I’m over the top happy with them.

So, how did she get the inspiration? Certainly not from any place that I would have guessed. You’ll have to enjoy the post to find out how.


kids these days – educator version

As educators, we owe so much to so many for our experiences at the Faculty of Education.

Yes, there were all the professors and sessional instructors but there are also those teachers who offered up their classrooms for us to go in and try out teaching. Some of us did great things, some of us screwed up royally, some of us learned from a practicing teacher, some practicing teachers learned from us.

Will shares her thoughts about the practice teaching experience and then focuses on the fact that so many teachers who would open their classrooms to others just aren’t these days. That’s really sad when you think of the opportunities lost.

Of course, the years of Covid were tough but when you read Will’s post, you get the sense that that mentality persists.

After reading, you just might be inspired to say yes the next time the Faculty comes calling.


What are you going to do? A Leadership Recipe for Success

If you aspire for a leadership position in education, you really need to be reading Rolland’s blog on a regular basis. There’s so much wisdom and direction there.

This time, he shared this image as inspiration.

There are six points to consider in the graphic.

  • Practice discipline
  • Take on more projects
  • Learn to follow
  • Inspire others
  • Keep learning
  • Resolve conflicts

The concepts are fleshed out nicely and I agree with most of it; I do wonder about “taking on more projects” as there has to be a limit somewhere. There has to be a point in time where there are diminishing returns for your efforts.

The other interesting point that Rolland addresses are those who would “fake” it. We’ve all seen so many of these people, I suspect, and I’m in total agreement with his assessment.


NATASHA FEGHALI | WHEN DOORS SLAM SHUT, NEW OPPORTUNITIES OPEN UP

I actually had the opportunity to catch up with Lynn at a book sale in Tecumseh last weekend. I got the story of her inspiration for the children’s books that she is co-authoring with her niece. As luck would have it, I met her again at David Garlick’s table and found that both of them considered themselves “closers” as the two of them had been the last principal at a number of schools which were subsequently closed.

But, that has nothing to do with this podcast!

I follow Natasha Feghali on a couple of social media platforms and I’m just amazed at her energy and the number of opportunities she’s had for professional growth and opportunities and philanthropy. And, oh, the number of connections. I’d love to have the discussion wth her but she’s currently in Kuwait teaching so Lynn’s interview was the next best thing.

Not only does she come across as a very professional young lady (one of the 40 under 40 around here) but she gives a terrific interview. It probably comes from all the presentations that she gives. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable conversion between two leaders.

Lynn also uses a transcribing piece of software so that you can read the interview if you would rather. It does a pretty good job.


the fact that someone notices

I’ve never been able to write poetry so I’m always pleased to be able to read someone else’s work. That was the case with Chris and this post.

Unlike a straight forward blog post, I do have to slow down to read the words and muse about the meaning.

we are chapters,
not categories or
title pages,

That’s a bit; click through to read it in its entirety.


The Thing With Feathers 

Jessica has published a book of poetry and it’s available now on Amazon.

She calls it

“a story of becoming whole by reassembling broken pieces of self, holding onto hope in the darkest moments, and seeing everything in a new light.”

I love the pictures from her book launch.


Give yourself an early Christmas gift and click through to read all these wonderful posts. Yet again, there’s great content from Ontario Educators.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Colleen Rose – @ColleenKR
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Lynn McLaughlin – @lynnmcla
  • Chris Cluff (he is on Facebook)
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Peace Playlist

Since the Ukraine situation, we’ve opened and closed the show with songs of peace. This week, it was these two.

The peace playlist