This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Author, Legendary Music Of All Times. (Aug 2, 2017). 
Magical Mystery Tour [Video file].

And, with that, we’re off on a magical tour of some of the great things written this past while by Ontario Edubloggers.


Technically, it’s not a blog yet.  The blogging area is ready to receive posts.  Instead, this sounds like a marvelous project from my two favourite internet-connected Jacs.


The project is outlined at the site, composed of five stages.  It’s going to be interesting to track the growth and I hope that lots gets posted to that blog page.

Top 5 Defining Moments; What has defined my career?!?

The top 5 defining moments meme continues with this post from Joe Archer.  He identifies five of his own along with very well described details.

A couple of moments he identifies:

  • Opening my classroom to partnerships
  • Getting into the Microsoft Educator Community

You’ll have to visit his post to read the rest.

Make sure that you follow the hashtag #5bestEd and read Jonathan’s original post here where he’s collecting links to the posts he finds.

Finding your Tribe

Ann Marie Luce continues her description of her new position in Beijing.  With this post, she describes a number of highs and lows.  One of the lows could be expected when plunked into a new society, new language, new school, new colleagues, and the remembrances of a community back home.  It must seem so far away now.

I realized just how much support I had from so many AMAZING colleagues. I miss the phone calls on the morning commutes or rides home where we discussed and working through thousands of problems. I miss the sharing of ideas and support. I miss our Community of Schools meetings where we worked on professional learning together and shared common challenges and successes. I miss the laughter, sarcasm and opportunity to just be myself 100% of the time. I miss celebrating personal and professional milestones of my staff. I miss my colleagues that pushed my thinking and forced me to grow and learn from the uncomfortable. I miss the leadership of a superintendent where I really and truly felt I could be 100% honest and transparent. In short I miss my tribe.

There’s so much to miss.

As I read the post, I realized that there are those who didn’t have to travel those big distances to miss the types of connections that they once had.  There are teachers who are in new schools, new administrators, and new coaches and they all have their own time curve for building that new tribe.

Setting the Tone for Learning

How many can remember the advice given to new teachers for the new school year?

Don’t smile until at least the second week of school

Peter Cameron takes a run at “old school” versus “new school” for approaches to the new year.

I can totally see his vision of “old school” and I’ll bet that you can too.  It’s how we were indoctrinated at the first of the school year, for so many years.

Peter offers a different technique that he uses for his classroom.  It’s a nice comparison between the old and the new.  The similarity?


Teacher Brand Ambassadors: Where Do We Go From Here?

The New York Times recently ran an article about how some well known names in the teaching business have become figureheads for commercial entities.

That was enough to get Andrew Campbell busy at the keyboard.  A great insight and advice appears near the top of his post.


It’s hard not to disagree with the points in Andrew’s post.  The Times article, of course, reflects on the US situation which is considerably different than Ontario’s.  In Ontario, typically big product decisions are made centrally but you do see edupreneurs (my nomination for worst edtech term, Andrew) who will take it and fly and become fan people for it.

By coincidence, I ran into this article – 50 Of The Best Education Accounts On Twitter.  I felt kind of good recognizing so many of the names on there.  I felt kind of badly when I didn’t associate them with any great educational initiative but with a particular product(s) instead.  Is this what “best” has become?

Checking out a few of the Twitter profiles indicate that many have aligned themselves with a particular product rather than something more important – like teaching.  Unfortunately, I don’t see a rush to change them happening anytime soon.

Andrew goes on to offer three suggestions that people would be wise to consider.

What do you think?  Doable?

Transform your Makerspace & Support Your Team Through QR Code Scanning

I remember a few years ago sitting at edCampQuinte and when it came time to sign up for sessions to lead, I chose to talk about QR Codes.  They were young and new at the time.

But we came to the conclusion that they would be the perfect tool to assist students in self-direction and to relieve teachers with the burden of answering the same question over and over again.

Derek Tangredi goes over the top with the concept.  Read how he uses QR Codes to enhance the experience for students while generating time for himself to act as the facilitator and troubleshooter.  He’s created this video to really explain things.

Author, Derek Tangredi. (Sep 9, 2017). 
How to Turn Slide Decks into QR Codes [Video file].

He’s super pumped.  What better recommendation?

A Simple Prompt with Big Impact

With the new school year, it’s time to consider new things.

Brenda Sherry takes us on a trip to think about shifting.  Who hasn’t talked about it?  Who hasn’t thought about it?  Who hasn’t hoped that their efforts have caused others to shift?

She boils it down to a simple protocol.


Don’t just stop at reading Brenda’s blog post – follow the links she provides to the research.  You’ll be glad you did.

How’s that for a magical mystery tour around the province?  and beyond.  Please take a moment and read the entire posts and enjoy their thoughts.  While you’re at it, make sure that you follow these folks on Twitter.  @jaccalder, @jacbalen, @archerjoe, @turnmeluce, @cherandpete, @acampbell99, @dtangred, @brendasherry

If you’re an Ontario blogger and aren’t in my collectionplease consider adding your URL.  There’s a form available at this site for just this purpose.

Every Wednesday morning at 9:15 on voicEd Radio, Stephen Hurley and I talk about some of the great posts that appear from Ontario Edubloggers.  The shows are also archived and you can revisit them here.


This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Week 1 winds down for most in Ontario schools.   I hope that it’s been a great one for you.  Speaking of great, here are some great posts from the blogs of Ontario Educators.

What Are Your “Why’s?”

If you need to read one post this week, it’s this one from Aviva Dunsiger.  She was inspired by another blog post and it’s worth a read too.

It may well be the missing piece in your classroom design and everything else that you do.  I can’t help but smile when I think of the number of times I asked students “Why did you do that?”  Aviva reminds us that it’s important to ask that question of ourselves.

I was doing some thinking on my car ride into school today. While I love seeing what rooms look like — and am often inspired by what I see — I also love hearing the thinking behind the decisions.

My Top 5 Defining Moments in teaching.

Kudos have to go out to Jonathan So for starting the meme #5bested.  Regular readers will know that I shared mine earlier in this week.  Jonathan is keeping track here.

I’ve read all that I can find and really enjoy the breadth of ideas.

I was pleased to find another one that he hadn’t discovered yet – from Ramona Meharg. Ramona’s post includes some interesting ones.

  • 4 Years of Supply Teaching
  • Twitterpated – Twitterpated?

You’ll have to click through to read all five including finding out what Twitterpated means.

Community Response to Five Ways to Damage a Good School

You may recall my challenge to Paul McGuire to extend his thinking about ways to damage a good school in a blog post from Greg Ashman.

And he did.

He put up a Google Form and asked people for input.

This post from Paul focuses on one of the responses.  This quote is from his blog which is from a quote from someone who had responded.

Build a community & relationships. If you don’t have positive relationships with your students, then nothing you do in class really matters. The same applies to admin. If you don’t take the time to build relationships with your staff, then it will be difficult to get staff buy in for positive changes.

That’s great advice for all.  Particularly in the first few weeks, it’s so easy to get sucked into the black hole that is administrivia.

Andrew Campbell shares one of the ways he does it in his class to Twitter.

Bingo isn’t just for staff meetings.

Test Scores Reflect What We Think About Math

Speaking of Andrew Campbell, check out the case that he builds here.

I really like his story about his sons going for their driving test.  Even back in the day, I followed the same route.  We had sit ‘n git classes but the important part was getting out in the “real world” and driving the streets of our town.

We learned from the experience just as today’s students learn elements of mathematics by exploration and inquiry.  Yet, they’re tested in a 1:1 situation with themselves and the paper test.

Most certainly, those of us who drive did it in the real world.  We didn’t revert to a pen and pencil test to prove we knew how to drive.

The good news is that, since Andrew’s post, there’s news that the Ministry of Education will be doing a rethink of things.  Hopefully, this is part of it.  There are so many groups that would like to see a change.


From the TESL Blog, Michelle Wardman offers eight suggestions for how to reflect on your teaching.

I felt pretty good going through the list.  I had done many of them.  One of the most powerful ones, particularly if you get to teach the same grade or same students again, is the START/STOP/CONTINUE approach.  In all my lessons plans, I always had a reflection area that starts as a big blank spot that encouraged me to fill it with something.

She also talks about forming a Teacher Development Group.  I know that there are often attempts to have a forced PLC event but this is different.  This is driven by you.  It reminds me of the tenants of Peer Coaching which I found to be so powerful for me.

Click through to read all eight.

Is It Possible to Create a Culture of Feedback?

The blogger in me wonders.  After all, there is room for comments and feedback below but very few of you will take the time to give me feedback.

But, Sue Dunlop isn’t talking about blogging here.

She’s talking about feedback in general and the observation that “they won’t do anything anyway”.  I think that there’s a fine line between productive feedback and bitching at times but, if you ask for it, you need to be able to accept both.

She makes an interesting observation that any changes based upon that feedback might not necessarily happen immediately.  I think that’s a real reality in education.  I have to smiled when I think about all the “21st Century School” stuff that I’ve read this week.  We’re going to milk that one as long as we can, I guess.

It seems to me that, in addition to creating the culture of feedback, you need to have a culture of recognition of that feedback.  So, when you adopt an idea, send a note of thanks or appreciation to the person, invite that person to help you make any changes, and announce it in front of an audience and give credit where it’s due.


For this entry, I’d like to return to the TESL Ontario blog and a post from Marcella Jager.

This summer, it was 150 this and 150 that, and we generally enjoyed ourselves.  Although, here in Amherstburg, we had issues in inflating the duck.

There were also a lot of revelations about our history that came to light that didn’t paint a picture of everything being all that rose at times.

The post offers hope for the next 150 years.

Canada’s best years are not behind us, they are before us. There are cracks in our social fabric that a shared double-double cannot seem to heal.

You can’t help but think of a better Canada after reading this post.  What will you do to contribute?

Once again, I hope that you find this collection of Ontario Edublogs inspirational.  I can’t do them justice in my comments; you need to click through and read the richness and wonderful thinking that happened on each and every one of these posts.

If you’re a blogger and aren’t in my collectionplease consider adding your URL.  There’s a form available at this site for just this purpose.

Every Wednesday morning at 9:15 on voicEd Radio, Stephen Hurley and I talk about some of the great posts that appear from Ontario Edubloggers.  The shows are also archived and you can revisit them here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s time to get excited as we take a weekly tour around the province and check out the great things from the blogs of Ontario Educators.

There’s a great deal of inspiration to help with getting prepared for a return to the classroom next week.

Superman (It’s Not Easy To Be Me)

This is a post not to be read quickly or even just once.  Take your time and really understand the message that Laurie Azzi shares.

She tells a story of two teachers, one being her, being hired in Ottawa and a year later the other had left the profession.  There’s a turn that involves “His euphoric feelings of the new job, verge-of-greatness, and world-his-for-the-taking had morphed to dread, anxiety and fear. ”

It’s not a happy story and may well have you opening your eyes to look behind the “mask” that all teachers wear.

Thanks, Laurie for this poignant reminder that we all need to take care of one another.

Top 5 Defining Teaching Moments

Jonathan So offers a very interesting post here.

Although on the younger end of the teaching spectrum, Jonathan has taken the time to reflect on what has made him the teacher that he is today.  He identifies five points, two of which are:

  • Constructivist teaching
  • My Daughter (Izzy) going to school

Click through to read the rest of his list.

5 realizations that defined me as a teacher

Truth time here.  I actually read Jim Cash’s post before Jonathan’s although chronologically Jonathan’s came first.

Jim takes on the topic and offers five realizations of his own.

  • Teaching grade one made me (professionally speaking)
  • My children changed my teaching for the better

Again, visit Jim’s blog to catch all five.

And, like Jonathan, he takes time to elaborate on each of the points to give us the big picture.

Thank you both, gentlemen, for starting the ball rolling.  I’m going to write a post of my own inspired by this concept.

I will right now, challenge any and all bloggers reading this, to write a post of your own and tag Jonathan and Jim to let them know what they’ve started.

Why bring a prototype technology to an #edtech conference?

That’s the question that Tim King asks.

My knee jerk reaction was “Why not?”

After all, what better people to evaluate the potential of a technology, even a prototype, than those at an edtech conference?  If not there, then where?

Tim doesn’t settle for the status quo and he appears to have the financial backing to explore the new and the unknown.  In this case, it’s Virtual Reality.

The geeky me really enjoyed this post and just wish that I had the budget to buy into the experiments that he’s able to do with his students.  In particular, he introduces us to TiltBrush and even just poking around the site will get you excited.

The conference in question was the Pedagogy before Technology conference.  His wife Alanna was there and created a Storify document so that we can enjoy the discussion after the fact.

Screenshot 2017-08-30 at 20.07.07

New Beginnings

One of the real joys of being a teacher is that you get a chance for a do-over every September.  It might be new students, a new classroom, a new school, new colleagues, a new subject area, a new ….

If the scenery changes, then it only seems natural that your skill set should as well.

Diana Maliszewski gives us a run down of what her current and future learning contains.

  • Beginning Teacher Summer Institute New and Experienced Teacher Librarian Open House
  • implementing self-regulation skills more deliberately
  • Kids Guide to Canada project
  • Media Studies Additional Qualification course

She’s gearing up for an exciting new year.  Or, as they say in her gaming world, she’s really levelling up.

How Are You Going to Solve Your Problem?

From Peter Cameron, comes this quick and timely reminder for the inevitable barrage of questions from students.

Do you answer them?

Well, I suppose you could.  It’s certainly the most economical use of time.  Just answer and move on.

Peter reminds us that more often than not, there’s more to be learned by not being so quick with the answers.

Screenshot 2017-08-30 at 20.15.46

What’s Your Story?

We all have a story.

Many stories.

Helen DeWaard shares her story of “Openness” in this post.


That’s a lot of openness and she takes the time to expand on each concept.

After reading the post, she may just gain a new desire to become open in these area yourself.

Don’t just read her story which is interesting by itself.  Follow the links.  They provide a rich companion to her story.

I hope that you take the time to click through and read all of these interesting blog posts.  There’s some great thinking there and you can’t help but be inspired to do more on your own.

On Wednesday mornings, join Stephen Hurley and me on VoicEd radio where we use some of these blogs for inspiration for a conversation.  All of our shows have been archived on the site.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Welcome to another edition of This Week in Ontario Edublogs.  It’s a chance for me to take a tour of the province and see what’s happening with Ontario Edubloggers.

Here’s some good reading for you.

All Moved In

There have been a number of people blogging about getting in to their classrooms and getting things set up for September.  This can be a challenge over the summer as it’s the only time that the caretakers within the school have uninterrupted access for maintenance and cleaning.

Jennifer Aston’s move may be a little different than most.  Most people are back in the same classroom; some move down the hall; and some move schools.  In her case, she was an instructional coach for a few years so all of her “stuff” was stored in a basement and then moved to her classroom.  For teachers who supplement what the board/school provides with purchases of their own (most teachers do this), this can be a big task.

Then, there’s the technology, including equipment purchased via a TLLP grant.

It sounds like she’s going to put into practice some of what she learned as a coach with flexible classroom design.  Go ahead and read her thoughts and don’t overlook the wisdom of those who commented and lent their advice to her planning.


So, Ramona Meharg is on the same train, speeding towards September 5.  While it doesn’t apply to me any more, her description of the difference between July and August in terms of teacher attitude and the climate is spot on.  Nothing says the end of summer more than the continuous drone of crickets!

Her post reaches out to us at a sensory level.  Only a teacher can recognize and find glory in the smell of a new book or the feel of a brand new pen.  This hit a note with me.  I always used a very nice Waterman pen for my work and had a tradition of replacing the lead and the ink cartridges before every new school year.

In all of this, is one of the real niceties of teaching.  You get a chance to start over with a clean slate or nearly clean slate every year.  With that, you get new resources, more professional with another year of learning and professional development, …  And, if you’re on the lower end of the salary grid, a raise!

That’s all part of the back to school deal.  Add to that the sleepless night before classes, the feeling that you’re not prepared, and the well-prepared classroom.  There’s not an educator in the province that’s not going through all this.  Ramona has written all about it.  You’ll enjoy reading this post.


I’m fascinated with the concepts of Artificial Intelligence and I know that Jane Mitchinson is generally on top of things.  I always enjoy watching what she’s showing and sharing.

In this post, she was inspired by a TED talk and the connections and insights into health care.

I was intrigued by her discussion about memory.  We all lose things that we promised ourselves that we’d never forget.  If you’ve got a family member or other connection suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, you know how this can really run to an extreme.

So, at first blush, helping people with this horrible disease sounds like a terrific thing.

But, is it?  Perhaps selective forgetting is a good thing.  I never really thought about this before reading Jane’s post and read her thoughts.

What We Learned From So Far… BYOD Pilot

I really appreciate the openness and sharing that the folks at Fleming College are following as they learn.  They’re also quick to see and report on all sides of an issue.

I’ve seen so many people talk about BYOD on such a cursory level that it’s almost like an infomercial.

“Oh, we’re a BYOD school.  Kids bring their devices and magic happens.”

Actually, if it’s true and you’re experiencing the magic and it’s all that you planned, more power to you.  I suspect thought that you might be overstating things just a bit.

Alana Callan shares her thoughts and insights about this happening at Fleming with staff.

I really think that, of the goals that she includes, this one is key.

Showcase what BYOD could look like in the classroom by getting them to be the students and participating in the activities

What, indeed, does it look like?  I like the fact that she uses the term “could look like”.  As we know, you’re mileage may vary.  In the BYOD world, it definitely will.

Make sure that you read the entire post.  There’s a spot where they brainstorm web resources that you’ll find very valuable.

Accountable Assessment

I really enjoyed reading about this concept but was challenged to find out who the actual author is that claims to be the “Dean of Math”.  Using every trick I know, I came to the conclusion that she’s a teacher in Markham named Melissa D.

Back to the post.

There’s been a lot mentioned over the years about gradeless classrooms.  Personally, I think it makes so much sense.  In Computer Science, for example, what’s the difference between a program worth 87% and one worth 88%.  If I can’t tell you, then they’re both worth 88%, right?

The challenge becomes more of a technical one for Melissa.  How do you record an assessment in a class without grades?

If you’ve been pondering this, you’ll enjoy her post.  If you have any ideas or suggestions, then add them to the post as comments.

Learner, Know Yourself, Know Your Strengths, Know Your Weaknesses

Matthew Oldridge really nails the concept of reflection in this post.  He brings in the work from Starr Stackstein.

The big takeaway here is to treat reflection as an integral part of the assessment and NOT just an add-on.

I like the collection of tips that Matthew closes the post with.  In particular, he offers a short list of tools.

like Google forms, Exit Slips, conferencing

Just as we would provide a variety of teaching strategies, why wouldn’t you have an inventory of these tools and mix them up, depending upon the task and time, so that it’s not just “reflection time” with the same old tool.

Perhaps we could encourage Matthew to write a post or series of posts and create a visible inventory of these tools.  Having a wide variety would increase the value of the concept and the interest buy-in by students.


It never rains but it pours!  That’s the mantra here.  I was fortunate enough to have two interviews come to fruition on this blog this week.

An Interview with Lisa Floyd

  • Enjoy Lisa’s thoughts about Computational Thinking, parenting, and a trip to Baltimore

An Interview with Paul McGuire

  • Get inside the head of this recently retired principal who definitely isn’t letting grass grow under his feet in his retirement

Please take the time to click through and enjoy these wonderful blog posts.  You’ll be glad that you.  Hopefully, they’ll get you thinking.

Until next week…

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s always a good week when Ontario Educators are blogging.

This past week was no different; here’s some of what I caught.

Here’s the toolbar in my browser so I’m ready to go….


Response to: Five Ways to Damage a Good School

Only five?

Paul McGuire focuses in on a post from another blogger and manages to use furniture and limited resources in the same thought.  Oh, and technology in another thought.

Here’s the thing. Too often, educators get caught up in the latest fad – flexible seating and the expense that comes with this is one of the newest things. In schools with limited resources (I would say most schools in Canada), the purchase of new furniture means that something else will not be bought.

He makes a good point which leads to a good discussion about priorities within a school.  I find the interesting point about all this about flexible seating and changing learning spaces to be interesting.  If it’s just about some new chair or table, then it’s just an advertisement.  If it’s about changing a philosophy with a stated purpose about why you’re doing it and the results that you’re expecting, then I can get excited.  I can’t help but throw in a golf quote here…

You drive for show; you putt for dough.

Maybe the question in these times is “Are you driving or are you putting?”

I’d like to see Paul do something like posting an online form asking everyone to add their thoughts about how to “damage a school”.  I’ll bet there would be lots of things to learn from and it would give Paul an endless resource for blogging.

Math & Identity

This post, by Deborah McCallum is guaranteed to get you thinking.

She leads us to this marriage by focusing on identity.  Perhaps this is another way for all to reflect on the message that is present in the mathematics classroom.

What is identity? It is connected to the groups that we affiliate with, the language we use, and who we learned the language from. I believe that we all have different identities depending upon the different groups that we belong to, and that this has implications in terms of the languages and discourses we use.

I’ve seen a number of suggestions about improving mathematics instruction (including some from Deborah).  This is a new and interesting take.

Training Wheels

This is a post that put me in someone else’s shoes.  Ann Marie Luce is taking on the role as a Principal of the Canadian International School of Beijing.  This is part of a series of posts talking about her nervousness in the decision and then landing in a different land with different language and different customs and GO!

I absolutely can put myself in her place as she goes about what we would consider a regular routine — shopping, going to a restaurant, going shopping, …

But she’s doing it in a land where she doesn’t speak the language!

So, many of the things that we would expect to do with our regular language have to be done with gestures just to get the message across.

Then, she turns to that new ELL student in our present classrooms.  It’s an interesting transition that will give you renewed sympathy for that new student, trying to get along in a new world, and learning how to speak the language in order to get the job done.

I hope that she continues to blog about her experience.  This could be very interesting.

Being a Temporary Teacher

We move from a discussion about the reality of China to the reality of Japan.  Deborah Weston was inspired by an article in an English language Japanese newspaper about the reality of being a temporary teacher.

I’m so fortunate that I didn’t ever have to go through the hoops of the current reality for Occasional Teachers.  I graduated from a Faculty of Education and there was a school here in Essex County that needed a Computer Science teacher.  Other than waiting annually for the seniority list and the horror of being declared redundant (which I fortunately never was), my teaching life unfolded as I wanted it to.

That’s not true for all.

It’s an interesting comparison and a similarity of realities of how long it takes before getting that permanent position.  She quotes:

  • Ontario –  6 or 7 years
  • Japan – 5.9 years

It’s an interesting look at another’s reality.


Like everyone, Sharon Drummond is getting ready for September.  Her activity is looking and pondering classroom setup.  The floors are clean and polished and the room is empty.  It’s time to think about setup.

She shares a picture and a diagram of the room with some preliminary thoughts.  I was so impressed that green screen is built in before the furniture.  That sends a powerful message and she shouldn’t need to rearrange things later in order to take advantage of this tool for video making.

And, she’s not starting with thinking about how to control the flow or maintain classroom discipline.  She’s talking about things that she wants her students to do.

  • and more – you’ll have to click through to read her post to see them all

She’s asking for input and ideas.  If that’s your game, go over to her blog and share.

I hope that there’s a subsequent post to show us all how this activity ends.

Back in the Saddle Again

If you’re a regular reader here, you know that Kristi Bishop’s blog is high on my list of favourites but had gone missing recently.  But, she’s “Back in the Saddle” and ready to blog.

I really like her rationale for blogging and sharing her thinking online.

I don’t think any blogger should apologize for being a bit selfish and using the blog primarily to get their own thinking down in one spot.  In fact, I can’t think of a better way of reflecting and geting other people to chip in with their own thoughts.

So, Kristi, it’s great to see you back and I look forward to reading many inspiring posts in the future.

How about you, reader?  Do you have a blog that’s playing possum?  How about kick starting it?


If you’re looking for a good description about what being connected and how it works, then you’ve got to look at this post from Terry Greene.

In fact, I had looked and commented here on a post that he wrote last week.  It was also one of the posts that Stephen Hurley and I talked about on our Wednesday radio show.

But, that was only a small part of the connected educator story.

In this post, Terry gives us the complete story of all the connections that surrounded his one blog post, complete with links, and it’s a testament to why we do this and how you can share the learning love around.

Great summary!

And it all started with one simple request.

Please take the time to click through and read the complete, original blog posts from these wonderful Ontario Edubloggers.  There should be a little there for everyone.  And, if you’re blogging yourself and not already in the collection, just fill out the form and you will be.

The complete collection of these Friday posts illustrating the thinking of Ontario Edubloggers can be found here.  I’d love to have you become part of it.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

And, it’s Friday.  Summer appeared to go away but it looks like it’s back.  But you know that Autumn is on the way with the dew in the morning and those crickets that are up all night.  None of this appears to have hampered Ontario Edubloggers though.  Here’s some of what I caught this week.

A Message Worth Sharing

I think that Aviva Dunsiger’s “message” is something more than just for sharing.  It’s a way of being, if you’re a teacher.  Witness this comment from a parent.

“I wish everyone felt that way. This is the first time somebody’s said this about my son.”

How often do we think that communication with parents should be to report misbehaviour or a problem or some other issue.  Every time I read something like this, I think of a message from Wayne Hulley that we need to heed.

“Parents send the best kid that they can to school.  They don’t keep the really good ones at home.”

We all like to hear and live success stories or anecdotes.

Why shouldn’t the parents of the students you teach?

Things Open

When I read the title of this post from Terry Greene, I bit my tongue and thought “Sure, they also close”.  I had no idea about the topic of the post so it was a natural response.  Then, I read the post.

Like most people I suspect, I got involved with social media via Twitter or Blogging and then took off from there.  In this post, Terry talks about his own journey into social media and it didn’t take the same route.  His journey started with ds106.  It’s been an interesting trip for him and it’s a reminder that we can make things whatever we want to be and where our interests take us.  I keep thinking that everyone should document their trip into social media.  That might make for an interesting blogging challenge.

How would I have even know about Terry?  Well, it was through the traditional route following Alana Callan into the Fleming Learning blog.  I’m really glad I did.

There are lots of takeaways from this post but this one really intrigues.

Volunteer with Virtually Connecting, where I get to be involved with and help others get access to educational conferences all over the world that we would not otherwise have access to. Another chance to connect with and have access to open thinkers around the world.

I’d never heard of the Virtually Connecting website before but I’m glad that I know now.  Thanks, Terry.

Computer Science in Ontario

This really isn’t a blog post but rather a couple of graphs posted to Grant Hutchison’s website.  This graph, in particular, has me thinking and questioning.


As we know, there are five courses of Computer Studies in Ontario and he’s graphed the enrolments of them from 2011 to 2013.

Looking at the graphs is a real teaser.  I think I’m going to blog and share my thoughts about this soon.

voicEd Radio Spotlight: Paul McGuire and the Importance of Getting Out of School

This was an interesting meld of media by Stephen Hurley.  He had interviewed Paul McGuire as part of his “In Conversation” series.  The radio program is a good listen by itself.

But, one of the topics inspired Stephen to supplement the radio show with a blog post.

There’s been lots written recently about teachers having little to no control over their professional learning.  So, here’s a twist.

But as Paul was telling his stories, I could literally sense a change in my breathing as he inspired a possibility in my mind. What might happen if, as a staff, we were to designate one PD day a year to do just what Paul did—get out of school and head out, two-by-two, out into the community. What if we were to head to the local shopping mall, the coffee shop, the library, the places of worship, the rec centre, the seniors residence, the local businesses and municipal offices to talk to people. Not all of them would have children in our school, but I would venture to guess that all of them would have something to say about their hopes and aspirations for their community.

Conall’s Assessment Story

We all learned mathematics (and everything else) in the method that Jon Orr describes “Lessons….homework …. repeat…then tests”.  However, he focuses in on one phrase about expectations in Ontario.

It doesn’t say “By next Friday, students will …”; it’s “By the end of the course, the student will …”.

That sort of blew up the traditional method.

Jon includes a video explaining his thoughts.  Don’t have time for the video?  Read the post where you also get the transcript.

It involves an application he and his class used to get the job done.

It’s a wonderful story about the power of the portfolio – not just for collecting artifacts anymore!

“Stay in Your Lane” is Bad Advice

On the Holiday Monday, I went to the harness races in Dresden.  I was kind of dreading the construction zone through Tilbury and Chatham and so decided to take another route and bypass that, much to the chagrin of my GPS.

Instead, I enjoyed a delightful trip that took me through Jeannette’s Creek and the twisty road along the Thames River, the bridge at Prairie Siding (is it ever opened?) and Paincourt.  It was a really refreshing trip.  The folks in Chatham-Kent suggest that you do this and become a “Detourist”.

In this post, Matthew Oldridge asks us if we ever consider moving to the other lane.  My immediate thought was travelling through Toronto where you have more than one other lane option!  The view is different; the trip is different …  How about you?  Do you move out of your comfortable lane every now and again to see what else is available?

You’ll be inspired by Matthew’s list of people who took to a different lane and succeeded.

I won’t post that

I think we all realize that there’s a line on social media that we don’t want to cross.  There are things that people don’t really want to know about us.  For example, I just finished walking the dog and I’m eating a banana.  Is your life any better knowing that?  Then, there are things that you shouldn’t know about me.  For example, well you shouldn’t know.

Diana Maliszewski addresses the topic as it applies to her.  In addition to the words of common sense that we includes, she bring in the College of Teachers.  So, with a bow on top, she nicely addresses the topic of sharing, over-sharing, and approaching or going over that line.

She also identifies areas that are deliberately missing from the persona that she projects online.

  • Specific details about my children
  • Complaints about specific people
  • Partying
  • Specific Politics

That’s a wise selection and she expands on each nicely.

This is a wonderful post and I would recommend that all read and consider her words.

Does the line that she draws for herself represent your line?

Once again, a wonderful collection of posts from Ontario Educators.  Please take the time to click through and read them in their entirety.  You’ll be glad you did.

Also, listen in on Wednesday mornings at 9:15 on VoiceEd Radio where Stephen Hurley and I take a run at some of the posts that will show up here.  Can’t make it?  All of the shows all archived here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

After a couple of weeks of Stephen Hurley and me taking some time away from home to explore some of Ontario, it was great to be back behind our keyboards and have the opportunity to chat about some of the great things that appear on the pages of Ontario Edubloggers recently.

As a result of the storm that went through last night, internet is kaputskies but fortunately, I had tabs to these blogs left open from our conversation.  So, at least I could write this post offline.

I’d hate to miss a Friday post.  Hopefully, service will return and I can get this posted.

Here’s some of what I caught.

What Teachers TRULY do During The Summer – As Told by Students & Teachers

Sarah Lalonde posted this to the VoiceEd Blog.  The post starts with a fun look at our profession from the youngest of students.  I agree with her that the best quote was:

My favourite testimonial is from S in Grade 1 who believes that teachers “do the calendar when we’re not here” and keep it up to date.

Beyond the insights that come from students, Sarah checks in with a number of educators from around the province and how they spend their summers.  It’s an interesting read and might give you a bit of inspiration to add to your August agenda.

On the Way to the White Lily

Sue Bruyns’ post was very timely for me.  On the day of her post, we had just returned from a trip around Sadler’s Pond in Essex.  It was very popular for us in the spring because the water levels were high and there were some new families of Canadian Geese to view.  The summer and lack of rain presented a very different environment for us this visit.

Like Sue’s kayak tour, we enjoyed looking at all the lily pads, however she saw one little thing that others might not have noticed.  She ties it nicely into education where we’re often focused on the big picture and might miss a little detail here and there.

What did she find?

You’ll have to read her post to find out.

I wonder what we missed in our trip around the pond.

i c u

Another post from the VoiceEd blog came from Chris Cluff.  It was dedicated to those who are leaving a Faculty of Education and starting a new position in the fall.

That brought back memories of the last summer before starting my first teaching job.  We had moved to Essex County and could barely afford a little war time rental house with no air conditioning and within listening distance of the Chrysler plant where the work never stopped.  It was so hot and noisy.  Then, there was the incident with the rat.

I don’t recall sleeping much that summer as nerves and anticipation kept me going.

So, to those in that boat, Chris asks …

“Degree, done. Faculty of Ed, done. 60 days from now you will have officially arrived – an occasional, part time, or full time teacher.

What are you feeling?”

A School Essential for the New Year? Create a Vision

So, maybe this isn’t advice for the beginning teacher but Paul McGuire addresses it to administrators.

The school year shouldn’t be focused on just keeping the lid on.  That’s stagnation.  What about having a vision?  What about sharing that vision?  What about getting everyone to buy into that vision?  What about having everyone speaking and sharing that vision?

Perhaps that’s one of the tests of a true innovator in the administration ranks.

It seems to me that that vision needs to be clearly defined so that it’s understood and repeatable by everyone.  It should include a definite standard that will let everyone know when that vision is met and how you’re on the path to reaching it.

The vision itself?  Nicely described:

Whatever it is, make it big. Make it something that staff members can get behind. Make it something everyone can be proud of. Make it something that looks to the bigger picture and does not get caught up in the minutiae of the education machine.

Administrators – take heed and consider those who would hear your message.

Shopping for an Electric Car – Part 2

Part I of Jennifer Aston’s quest to do right by the planet appeared earlier in this blog.

Since that time, we’ve kidded around on Twitter a bit and found out that we were/are both Cobalt owners.  I loved my Cobalt; it was so small that I could park it anywhere and it was so good on gasoline.  I no longer own it but hope that it’s serving its new owners with the love that I had for it.  Jennifer still has hers and uses it to make the 5km trip to work.

A short commute like this seems to be perfect for an electric vehicle but she seems to have second thoughts about a purchase.  If the Cobalt could last forever, perhaps…

I like how she’s planning to tie her dilemma into a classroom activity for students…

Telling our Stories in School Improvement Planning

Consider this quote from Debbie Donsky’s Medium post …

Take away the soul and you have the simplistic approach that we so often see about school and district reporting of test results.  That’s why they lack the substance to persevere beyond a quick read or news report.

But when you dig enough to get that story with soul, you find that real people, real aspirations, real life, are what truly generate the story.

That’s where it gets interesting.

I really like her interpretation.

In the process of school improvement planning we get so hung up on the template that we forget that this document is about people. We collect all kinds of data but without a narrative, what is the story we are actually telling? If we “complete” the template in isolation of the people, the students, the staff, and the community it represents, what is the value of it?

So, can the story be told with a critical lens?  She offers questions that will help guide the process.

Another great readers for principals and other administrators.  It’s why they should be facing the media to tell the story and not a public relations person.  They’re the ones that are living that story.

The Google Infused Classroom

There’s a decided bent towards teachers thinking about what’s just a month away.  I’ve already seen many folks talking about the nightmares of the day before school starts or showing up without clothes at staff meetings or just getting ready professionally.

Let’s take the high road here and think about the professional route.

This post, from Jen Giffin is actually a review of the book with the same name as the title of this post.  If your class is Google-infused or you want it to be, she’s recommending that you take a read.

She shares her “biggest loves” from the book; you’ll have to check them out.

But, the ultimate reason why you’re doing this is summed up in a quote she shares.

You got it … another week with great postings from Ontario Edubloggers.  Please make sure that you click through and check them out.  You’ll be glad you did.

I’m off to walk the dog.  Hopefully, there will be internet access when I return so that I can get this online for you to read.