This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Things certainly have heated up in Ontario this week.  Weather-wise and blogging-wise.  Here’s some of the reading I enjoyed this past week.

The Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum

The Diefenbunker was certainly something that we discussed in school.  It was part of Canada’s concern about the Cold War.  I did not know that it was a public museum where you could get a sense of the fear and paranoia that was a part of the day.  Andy Forgrave and son took a trip there and posted pictures and his reflections on the visit.  This is a very interesting read for me.

Why Children Misbehave —- Under Construction

You know, if you could bottle the answer to this question, you could sell millions to educators.  FlyOnTheClassroomWall (not her real name, of course, but she’s not public with it on the blog so I won’t mention it here) takes a look at a number of reasons from the book Theory and Practice with Adolescents and shares some of her insights.  Towards the end, she concludes with a list of accommodations…a good list.

Step 8 in Going Green: Remain Calm! Remember Al Gore: ‘Despair is not an option’!

Hill of Greens was a new blog discovery for me this week.  Written by Julie Johnson, this is a documentary of her work in “going green”.

At present, there are eight posts to the blog but they’re very personal and certainly has inspired this reader to reflect on my own habits.  I’ve followed Julie on Twitter for some time now, but didn’t know this blog existed.  I’m glad that I found it.

I Can’t Do This

This post is a wonderful poem written by Dr. Muriel Corbierre.

The content is a reminder that those faces in front of you all bring different skills to the classroom.  It’s also a reminder to students that not everything is as equally “easy” for everyone.

I’ll bet you can find a lot of uses for this poem.

Holistic approaches for Learning with Technology

This post, from Deborah McCallum was a refreshing break from some of the mindless posts about SAMR that you see so often these days.  She takes a reasoned approach about teaching in general.  It’s a reminder that analyzing the use of technology isolated from everything else really is a disservice.  Teaching and learning is a complicated eco system.  Big reminder here “Who owns the learning?”

Sunset Reflection

This is something that we all can do.  I can take sunset pictures from the end of the driveway any day that I want.  Sheila Stewart shares here thoughts, not only on the beauty of the sunsets that she enjoys in NorthWest Ontario but what they symbolize to her.

It’s a good reminder to us all that we need to take more pictures.

An Interview with Tom D’Amico

In case you missed it, I recently had the opportunity to interview Tom D’Amico, superintendent from the Ottawa Catholic School Board.  Tom actively models what I believe educational leaders should.  For me, it was a great chance to ask some questions that I had about what he does and why he does it.

Doug:  From my perspective, you’re “leading by leading” in this field and I really admire that.  Do you ever get questioned by colleagues for being so open about your learning and sharing?

In addition to the content that Tom generates and shares, he also shares many of the links to resources that he uses regularly.  There’s a great deal there for you and you might just want to pass the link along to your own leaders.  What more could they be doing to support the cause of learning?  Are they modelling the sort of thing that you need them to?

Thanks, everyone for continuing to blog and lead the charge for Ontario Educators.  Please check out their blog posts at the links provided and the complete list of Ontario Edubloggers here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s great to see that summer has finally arrived.  The rain has stopped and things are warm.  Does it get any better than that?

Yep, read some great thinking from Ontario Edubloggers.  Here’s some of what I caught this past while.


This is a classic post from Tim King from a year or so ago.  It came to mind from an online Facebook discussion among a few of us about the new HP laptop and ensuing discussion about teacher certification and the concerns about putting all of your eggs in one basket.  I was able to reshare Tim’s post which I think absolutely nails it.

In the rush to provide digital experiences for students, school districts often focus on just one set of tools or software package.  We all understand that education is about teaching concepts but complete immersion in one eco-system can put blinders on creativity.  Are we so sure that there is only one solution?

Magic: The Gathering and World of Warcraft TCG with Standard Playing Cards

So, what do creative people do in the summer time?

Become even more creative.

Brandon Grasley, gathering inspiration from his son takes a shot at a new card game using imagination and a standard pack of playing cards.

I’d never heard the expression “French Deck” before.

Can There Be Many Ways?

Teachers spend all their summer hours on glorious trips and sunny beaches, right?


Check out this post by Aviva Dunsiger where she and a bunch of friends got into a long discussion about self-regulation.  Fortunately, she captured it all in a Storify document for safe keeping so that we can relive the conversation.

In typical Aviva fashion, she quickly turns the blog post into one of reflection and then lots of questions.

I would suggest that these questions are good for all for a reality/possibility check.

Hard Questions and Second Chances

Diana Maliszewski had me hooked with her first question “How do you measure wetness?”

My first thought was “you don’t”.  However, any parent knows that you ask and answer that question a million times in a number of different scenarios.  (Let your imagination go here…)

The rest of the post deals with a very interesting inquiry set of questions/activities surrounding water.

While Diana may not be able to do the activity directly, she’s laid it out nicely so that any classroom looking for an inquiry along these lines certainly could.

Thank her!

Now I know how it feels

Wow, this is such a powerful post from Jennifer Casa-Todd.  It sends a strong message to me about juggling the theoretical with the practical.


Haven’t we all been there – banging our head trying to get wrapped around some theory or digging into quantitative research where the dots are just not connecting.  In the blog post, she shares some of the riveting page turning research she’s reading and positions it against some practical professional learning activities.  I feel for her since the weather has turned so nice and I’m sure it does require an immense amount of self-regulation to meet deadlines.

Tech tools I want to try.

Summer’s here and the time is right for …

… planning to use some new tools for the fall!

Olivia Skibinski has laid out some personal goals in terms of software to try for the fall.  Making her list are:  Edmettle, noredink, and OneNote.  Check out the post as she’s tried to explain the why she’s focused on these products.  The rationale is there and the implementation isn’t going to be small.  

What’s interesting, in additional to her descriptors, is the response from other educators who have used the software.  

The really nice thing about participating in a network of like minded learners is that she shouldn’t have to look too hard for any assistance should it be needed.

I can’t help but be amazed with the diversity and wonder of the blogging activity happening with great Ontario Educators. Take a moment and visit the entire posts to enjoy their genius.

Have you started a blog of your own?

Please consider adding it here so that we can all enjoy it.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

I’ve decided that happiness is a dust-free keyboard.  This insight happened this week when I took my PC to the CSTA Conference instead of my Mac.  The difference between the two?  My Mac is truly portable.  My PC is more of a desktop replacement.  I have it elevated on this desk with a separate keyboard and mouse for daily use (like blogging that I’m doing right now).  The mouse and keyboard didn’t make the trip; I just used the built-in keyboard that took a day’s worth of key travel before the keys all worked properly.  I guess my keyboard will be on the vacuuming list for the future.  My once a day Swiffer job doesn’t seem to do a good enough job.

Fortunately, you don’t need a complete keyboard so I was still able to enjoy some reading while on the road.  Here’s some of what I caught from excellent Ontario Edubloggers.

Which platform to teach with?

I like the comment that Alan Rickels uses to close the post as his final thought and call to action.

In the post, he shares some of the resources that he uses with his students and his own work.  Choosing the one perfect tool and using only it in this day and age is incredibly short-sighted.  It’s like going to the race track and putting your entire savings account on Horse #3.  You’d better be right or you’re in big trouble.  More and more, the correct answer appears to be “web” but there’s a big risk in focussing on just one web service.

Ontario Education: Room to Negotiate

Stephen Hurley offers a different look at what might make negotiations in Ontario work better.

I’ve been on a negotiating team and Stephen’s image rings pretty true to what I recall.  The only difference was that both teams had private rooms to go to when discussing the current proposals or modifications on the table.  Of course, lots of coffee, as Stephen notes is crucial.

Maybe the answer to an expedited solution is to increase the amount of coffee and NOBODY leaves the room for a washroom break until an agreement is reached.  I mean, they’ve tried everything else, haven’t they?

Learning while Presenting

I love the title of this post from Amy Bowker.  I would just add “but only if you’re doing it right”.

Read the entire post to catch the essence of her presentation at the ETFO summer institute and, at the very bottom, there’s a nice collection of online resources.  Learning on the fly, she was able to add them to her post as evidence of her learning.

ENG 3U Lesson: Creating An Instructional Media Product for the School Drone

If you are looking for inspiration to return to school and pick up the Grade 11 English course that you struggled with, this post by Helena Mesich might be it.

Talk about the need for purposeful reading and production of media…

Interaction Design student teams up to take home second hack-a-thon award

The world needs more hack-a-thons.  It’s here where you take your assigned learning and go way beyond the box to create something new, inspired, and innovative.

I found this very intriguing.  We’ve seen the traditional approach to this and it’s proven to not be 100% effective so this hackathon offering offers another approach.  Follow through to their website at Think Twice for Change.

After writing this post, I’m so impressed with the range of thinking and ideas happening with great educational bloggers.  Please take a moment to click through and share their resources with your colleagues.  And, of course, check out all of the Ontario Edubloggers collected here.  And, if you’re blogging but not on the list, add yourself with the Google Form and you will be as soon as I can get you added.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s another wonderful Friday reading day.  (Actually Thursday morning raining cats and dogs as I write this.  I’m optimistic for tomorrow morning) 

Here are a few of the blog posts that caught my eye this week from Ontario Edubloggers.

What was I thinking?

Of course, hindsight is always 100%.  In this post, Jennifer Casa-Todd takes a reflective look at how she would change her practice knowing what she knows now. It’s always easy to kick yourself in moments like this but you’ve got to believe that you were doing what you believed was best at the time.  That fact that she’s now reporting about doing things differently definitely shows that she’s grown in her profession.  The worst thing would have been to say that she was perfect at the time and wouldn’t change a thing.

This is definitely a great post and a read will spur you to consider your own situation.  Maybe even blog about it openly?

I can think of a lot of fellow bloggers who just might rise to that task.  What if a blog post was the basis for an annual learning plan?

Global Education Day at ISTE 2015 #GlobalEd15 #ISTE2015

In the category of longest post by someone I know, Michelle Cordy gives us a summary of the Global Education event at ISTE.  It really is an acknowledgement that, despite the “I” in ISTE, the conference is mostly attended by educators from the US.  Michelle gives us a summary of the events and it sounds wonderful.  Her thinglink does have some US content so that’s great too.

Change how soon is too soon?

I wonder how many principals think about this when getting a new assignment?  How many are willing to post their thoughts about change to a new school online?  Ann Marie Luce did.  It’s an interesting read and, never having been a principal, gives me insights about what it’s like looking at a school and change from the big chair.

I’m sure that she’s ready to embrace the questions that Sylvia Duckworth caught in one of her latest sketchnotes.

ArtEscapes & The Group of Seven

Thanks to Colleen Rose for sharing this and a nice collection of artwork.

I know that, if I was in Red Rock, I’d definitely be checking out Artscapes.  And it’s free.  I look forward to Colleen sharing some of her thoughts after the event.

Insights from a TLLP Journey

In the category of longest post by someone I don’t know comes this from Daniel La Gamba about his TLLP project.

I really like the concept of supporting the digital needs of the students.  You see it all over the place though and so many pretty simplistic approaches.  This goes further though with a humanistic approach stated right up front.

Perhaps this is the focus that all projects should take.  Read the post and see what you can add to your approach.

We can all continue to learn.

It’s NOT about the Tools? Really?

I’ve used the term “trite” so many times in the past week over the simplistic comment that “It’s about pedagogy and not technology”.  Peter Skillen takes that statement to task in a short post that adds a new spin to looking at things as he takes us through the “ages”.  Plus, only Peter could use the word “doodoo” in a post and make it work.

There is no question in my mind that pedagogy is important in any use of anything in the classroom.  But, as I said in a reply to Peter’s post, things are changing so quickly, does our understanding of pedagogy equip us for the future?  Or, is it ever changing?  And, if you believe that, then you’ve got to jump in with both feet on Peter’s thoughts.

What another wonderful collection of blog posts!  Please take a moment to click through and read them.  There’s some really excellent content there.

And, of course, don’t hesitant to jump in and read other Ontario Edubloggers and add your own blog to the list if it’s not there already.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s the first week of July.  That’s always nice.  If things would just warm up, it would be even better!  While waiting, check out these recent posts from some Ontario Educators.

Makerspace, Inquiry and Minecraft – Enrichment and Innovation Centre

Zoe Branigan-Pipe took her wisdom and expertise south to the ISTE Conference in Philadelphia.

Ever notice that this “international” conference is never held on July 4?  There’s no qualms about part of it being on July 1 though.

Anyway, Zoe teases us with what she plans to cover in her session.  Hopefully, there’s a followup post coming to let us know how it went.

The Microsoft OneNote Project – Ensuring Success For All Students

There are all kinds of people sharing information about the use of Google Apps for Education online.  I’ve mentioned before how there’s a real shortage of ideas and tips for those who use the Microsoft equivalent.  Diana Mancuso shares a list of ways that OneNote helps students.  Part of the list appears below – go to the original post to see the rest.

It should be noted that the blog post was sponsored by Microsoft Canada.

Near the bottom, she shares a link to the TDSB Assistive Technology Blog.  This looks like a great resource and worthy of bookmarking.

I’m Sorry!

Well, at least we now know that Aviva Dunsiger is not perfect.

Could there be a place with more “ears” than a school?

Comments get shared quickly among students and staff and, of course, often the original message gets lost.  I’m sorry to hear that this happened to anybody but Aviva’s post is a reminder that our reputation and self-worth can be hurt so quickly with just a short comment or action.

Regrets, We’ve All Had a Few

Of all the years that I’ve known, David Fife, I didn’t know that he was a musician.  In this post, David shares his thoughts about not keeping up with his music.

That really struck home with me.  I wanted to play the guitar in Grade 2.  The only problem was that my fingers weren’t long enough to go around the neck of the guitar.  So, my parents bought me lessons on a steel guitar.  For about the next 8 years, I learned every country and western and Hawaiian song ever made.  When I hit high school, I most certainly lost interest.  I haven’t lost the guitar though.  It’s made every move that I’ve ever made.  I might just pick it up and see if I still have that ol’ twang.

A Voice for My Students

Vilma Manahan was a new blogger that I discovered this past week.

The first post really struck a note with me.  It’s a collection of notes from the students written to her.  It’s an opportunity for the students to visit them over the summer and take part of a summer challenge that she’s posed to the students.  It will be interesting to follow up in the fall to see if it worked.  In the meantime, the notes are just awesome to read.  Student voice can be so powerful.

As always, this has been just a wonderful collection of posts from Ontario Edubloggers. Please take the time to read them in their entirety.  If you’re taking an AQ course this summer and creating your own blog, please take a moment to let me know at the form provided.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

For many, this is the first day of the summer vacation.  Congratulations.  I hope that you’re kicking back and reading this with a coffee about 10am.  Here are some interesting posts from around the province I read this past week.

What social media are you on and what does it say about you?

How times have changed.  I can’t even picture my mother or father sitting in on a job interview.  After all, in the good old days, you went to the interview.  The interview didn’t come to you.

Check out Jennifer Casa-Todd’s post as she reveals how modern technology brought the interview into her house.  I can completely empathize with her struggle balancing teacher and parent.

Throwing Out Grades Isn’t a New Concept #ttog

I had to smile at Brian Aspinall’s post and thoughts about grades.  It reminded me of the legend that I was made aware of my first year teaching.  The folklore was this teacher never marked anything and didn’t keep a mark book.  When it was time to enter marks, he called each student to stand in front of him – he looked them over and then wrote down a number.  Truth or no truth?  Yanking the strings of a first year teacher?  I’m not sure but I enjoy remembering it.

Once Brian gets rolling in the post, he draws an interesting parallel between Physical Education and Mathematics.

He asks – why should the assessment be different?

Summer – My Time to Learn

Despite what you might read in these times of teacher bashing, summer time for teachers isn’t eight weeks of sun bathing.  It’s a time for professional work and professional learning at a pace that is self-determined.

In this post, Nicole Beuckelare shares what her summer priorities will be.

I hope that she enjoys success with her goals and, when you read her post, you’ll know why we’ll all benefit from her learning.

Making it work

I really enjoy reading posts like this.  It’s humbling and motivating to realize that, despite whatever set of skills I may have, there are others that have more.  For the eternal learner, it’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

Helen DeWaard shows some of her learning in this post.

I’ve always thought that everyone should build on their skill set.  I remember computer contact meetings where there would always be a sharing of what folks or others in their schools had been doing.  Every little bit builds more confidence and abilities.  Before long, you look at the mass of learning and you have a pretty decent portfolio of skills.


I’ll confess, the title sucked me in.  I like a good puzzle and James Hewett’s opening link takes you to a puzzle that’s been tossed around quite a bit lately.  But, what caught my attention was the list of iPad applications that he’s asked the students not to delete.

You’ll have to visit his post to see the entire list.  It’s always interesting to see the collection that people use in the classroom.

It’s great to see Green Screen on the list – so much can be done with that application in so many differing areas.

Camera Case & Pads of Paper Weigh In

The teacher part of this 3 Act lesson from Kyle Pearce sounds absolutely deadly.

But, once you get past that and get to the actual activity, it sounds like a great deal of fun and you can certainly see how engaging it would be for students.  I really like the questions that he poses to extend the learning.

Liking life

This quote from Paul Cornies’ blog attributed to Maya Angelou is an absolute feel-good thought to help close off the school year.

You’ve got to feel good about yourself after reading that.

Such an inspiring collection of learning, thinking, and sharing again this week.  Please find the time to click through and support these bloggers.  You can check out the entire collection here and certainly add yourself using the form if you’re not already on the list.

Have a wonderful summer.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Always be reading….that’s me!  Here’s some of the great things from Ontario Educational Blogs I enjoyed this past week.

Educator spotlight: Erica Armstrong

There’s a great deal of value in being a Fly on the Wall of someone else’s classroom.

Follow Sylvia Duckworth as she goes on a road trip to Erica’s classroom to watch what’s happening there and to get ideas for her own class for the fall. Look for lots of pictures and focuses on doing them the right way – take the picture of the learning activity and not head and shoulders shots of the students.

Introducing Year of Code Waterloo Region #YoCWR

Susan Watt passed along this link.  Not tied to a specific classroom or school, the goal here is not an hour for a classroom, but a year for the community to learn coding.

It’s the perfect location.  I spent four years in Waterloo learning to code!

This is a really ambitious project.  How successful will it be?  You can subscribe to a mailing list to find out.  Not in Waterloo Region?  Look for the resources from the site.  The first is posted – Introduction to HTML Teen Toolkit.  (I got a 404 error when checking it out.  Hopefully, a momentary glitch or typo)

Report cards are not the problem here

This post by Ben Babcock kind of blew up Twitter and Facebook with shares and resharing.  I was part of it too – it showed up in my Flipboard reading stream.

The conclusion was similar to my conversation earlier this week while getting an oil change for my car.

I had hoped earlier that things would be resolved by now.  Now the discussions seem to be how schools will be affected in the fall.  Look for more posts on these topics in response to the masses sharing their thoughts on newspaper websites.  It could be a long summer.

Some Questions About Periscope in the Classroom

Periscope is one of the more recent applications available to all and, as Andrew Campbell notes, there are the early adopters who may well be seeing if it has a place in the classroom.  Broadcasting is something that is quite common and used to fit specific purposes.  I recall giving the keynote at EdCampSWO and having it simulcast at EdCampLondon.  It was rather easy on my part; I just did my thing and technology made it happen.  I know that a couple of friends of mind would be in London and made an attempt to include reference to them.  In that respect, it was an intentional action.  What happens when you broadcast without thinking through all of the issues?

Andrew takes on Student Privacy and asks about the Bigger Message in all of this.  I tried to explain what I see as the bigger message in our digitally consuming society.

It’s a good read if you’re considering going down that path.

As it would happen, there was a news report as I was working on this post this morning – the US Open has banned the use of Periscope.  I could see concerns from the broadcaster about their proprietory licensing but also the image that’s given to the public of the sport.  I recall walking the course once for a competition to see one of the golfers head into the trees to have a smoke.  That’s the sort of image that doesn’t make it to television.  There really are huge things to think through if you’re going to create your own reality television channel.

5 Significant Influences

Jennifer Aston has a post this week that could well take off as a meme with the right folks.  

My last post on 5 significant events had me further reflecting this week.  What 5 significant events or people have influenced me as an educator?  How neat would it be to do this in a room full of educators and see what commonalities come out?  What would that say about where we are in education?

My first reaction was this would be a no brainer.  Then, I tried to narrow it down to five for myself.  This isn’t an easy task.

Check out Jennifer’s five.

Does it inspire you to do five of your own?

What another great collection of thoughts and shares from Ontario Edubloggers.  I hope that you take the time to read these originals in their entirety and check out the entire collection at this link.