This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Can you believe that it’s August already? I could swear that I saw my breath while walking the dog this morning. That’s not right either.

I’m also trying out a new resolution that I used to expouse all the time but don’t do it enough myself until I fell into the trap last week – save early, save often.

What is right are the great thoughts coming from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.

Read on…

Final Thoughts

I just found out about this blog from Shyama Sunder. It’s a wrap up summary and reflection of her time in EDU 498, a course taken a while ago at a Faculty of Education. Unless I missed it, the actual name of the Faculty didn’t appear anywhere but that’s OK.

The content is a summary of four modules taken. There is a nice summary of each of the modules and the enthusiasm she has comes through loudly and clearly.

Readers of this blog know that I’m not a fan of the SAMR model but it was included as content. If it had any value, I would see if as helpful for experienced teachers trying to embrace technology. I don’t see the wisdom of talking about it to teachers learning how to teach. Why not just teach how to do it properly to begin with? What value is there in demonstrating less than exemplary lessons?

In the post, Shyama makes reference to a book that everyone needs to read “Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job” by Yong Zhao, Goaming Zhang, Jing Lei, and Wei Qiu. That’s a book that should be in every school library and would make for an awesome and progressive book talk.

This blog is referenced on her Twitter profile and there’s no forwarding address. It would be interesting to see her pick up blogging in her professional life.


Jamey Byers wrote this post so that others wouldn’t have to!

I remember being at a conference once – I think it was in Denver – and Robert Martellacci came up to me and asked if I knew that one of the prominent speakers had liked a link from an adult film star showing a picture of herself. I hadn’t noticed; I’m not in the habit of checking out what people have saved as liked. Maybe I should?

Actually, maybe I should check what I’ve got in my likes! Phew. Other than some egotistic stuff, I think I’m good. (I’m also snooty – go back to the very first one!)

Jamey points out that there’s a new, more private feature available to us on Twitter.

With the addition of the bookmarks function in Twitter you now have the ability to not only like a tweet, but to save it to your private list of bookmarks that are strictly just for your eyes only.

I wonder how many people are using the feature. I’m certainly not. Maybe I should.

The Playful Approach to Math

Matthew Oldridge is now playing in the big leagues with this post on Edutopia. I remember when he was a guy I interviewed for this blog.

He brings his obvious love and passion for Mathematics to this new forum and I hope that people are inspired by his wisdom. Comments are not allowed so there’s no traditional way of knowing.

Truer words were never spoken than these…

The amount of play in “serious” academic topics like mathematics is inversely proportional, it seems, to the age of students, but this does not have to be the case. A playful pedagogy of mathematics can be codified and made real, rigorous, and authentic.

I’ve studied a lot of mathematics over the years and certainly those teachers/professors that I remember best love mathematics; it came across that way, and their playful approach made learning fun and worthwhile.

Can you think of a better testament to give an educator?

My device. My terms. 3 strategies for finding balance.

Jennifer Casa-Todd is one of those people that I’ve seldom met in real life and yet I feel like I know so much about her. She was another person I had the opportunity to interview. I also had the opportunity to help with her book Social LEADia. This should be on bookshelves everywhere.

I enjoy her writing and most of her posts come across as a personal message to me. Such in the power of her writing.

I struggle with the notion of “balance”. The current context is that it involves being connected and not doing other things – like reading a book. I’m always leary of people who make such claims. Isn’t it just exchanging one form of engagement for another? And, hasn’t social media engagement earned its way into our lives?

I like Jennifer’s reasoned approach…

Social media is here to stay and is a part of the fabric of business, politics, and education. Instead of a fast, I suggest the following strategies:

You’ll have to read her post to see if the strategies make sense to you!

When friendship lasts

without warning or explanation, they started talking and, just like that, resumed their friendship from three years ago when they were six. Hours later, after the park, the corner store, the house; after basketball and jungle gyms and ice cream; after talking and laughing and wrestling, they parted reluctantly, already asking when they could see each other again.

Here’s a quote from Amanda Potts’ recent post.

I’ll bet that you could drop that sentence into any conversation or writing that you might have and provide your own characters.

It might be:

  • meeting up at an annual conference
  • a class reunion from your old high school
  • reuniting with a staff after a summer vacation

and the list goes on. Friendship is such an tangible and yet intangible concept. This post describes a pair of friendships that easily fall into the above.

Those on Facebook will know that a friend to many will be returning to Canada after a couple of years overseas. I’ll bet we all will reunite in this fashion at the Bring IT, Together Conference.

The #UWinToolParade: Open Pedagogy as #OER

In the beginning, there were shiny things. People flocked to shiny things and made a place in the classroom whether they were good or not. I’m looking at you – Clickers.

As shiny things kept on invading classrooms, the good thinkers got us thinking that maybe we should be looking beyond these things into exactly how they are used, are they effective, are they worth the cost, etc.

We never looked back. Well, at ISTE there are still 30 tools in 30 minutes sessions. For the most part, we never looked back.

So, now comes Bonnie Stewart and

I have a new project I’m really excited about. Even if it kinda goes against just about EVERYTHING I’ve said about tech in education over the past, uh, decade.

I’ve read this post at least a dozen times and there are so many out of post links that will take you to rabbit holes that didn’t know they were hosting rabbits!

The proposed results?

The fact that it’s 2019 is loud and clear with the inclusion of “data surveillance”.

This looks incredibly interesting and will use social media for good for the description and dissemination of content. Read the post and get ready to follow. And, Bonnie is looking for some pilot locations if you’re interested.

Reflections from the Tech Guy

This TWIOE post seems to have been focused on people I’ve interviewed! This time, it’s David Carruthers.

As we’ve noticed recently, David is going to be doing some magic as he returns to the classroom after having been the “Tech Guy” at the board office for a while.

He sets the standard with his bottom line.

Bottom line, if being labelled a “tech guy” takes these reflections into consideration, I’m extremely proud of this label. I don’t see the technology in front of students as just a bunch of devices. This doesn’t excite me. Instead, I see tremendous potential.

Some words of advice here – you’ll always be known as the “Tech Guy” so wear it. There are worse things to be known for. You’ve built relationships throughout your district so don’t be surprised when you get some panic emails for help. I still get them. The most enjoyable are about report cards which have had many incarnations since I last formally supported them. The really cool thing happens when these relationships develop your learning because someone wants to share something new with you.

On a political note, things are likely to be difficult for a while as cutbacks affect districts throughout the province. I hope that school districts are wise enough to continue to put insightful “Tech Guys” in areas of support centrally. We know that anyone can click a mouse or use a keyboard these days. True progress comes when you have people like David that see the connection and the potential because they bring a strong background in teaching to such a support position.

As always, there’s a powerful collection of thoughts from these wonderful Ontario Edubloggers. Make sure you’re following them on Twitter.

  • @ssunderaswara
  • @mrJameyByers
  • @matthewoldridge
  • @jcasatodd
  • @Ahpotts
  • @bonstewart
  • @dcarruthersedu

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This Week in Ontario Edublogs

How about some cool reading as you head into a warm weekend? Well, at least it’s supposed to be warm around here. From the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers, here’s some of my recent reading.

The Fear of Writing: Finding Your Voice When Writing within an Organization

This past week, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Debbie Donsky and also read a terrific post from here. It’s your digital daily double.

Writing and publishing has never been easier with social media tools. This may put you in a spot at times. Debbie shares this bit of advice including the resource from her district.

At this point, every board will have Social Media Guidelines for Staff. Here are the guidelines for my board. These guidelines stress that there is no personal vs professional social media accounts. As educators, as cited from the Ontario College of Teachers guidelines, we are always held to the highest moral standard. We will always represent our school, board, and system when we post. We must be mindful of board polices as they relate to human rights, equity and inclusivity as well as character education. We must reflect the board’s mission, vision and values.

There are so many angles to all of this. As always, the high road should be the road sought but that doesn’t necessarily make it easy. By promoting some progressive thought, others might see that as a professional slam against them. Only in education would you write potentially for an audience who does professional judgement and assessment for a living.

Another area that has always had me wondering was the writing of textbooks and other resources to make a few extra bucks. I know the standard answer is to do 100% of it on your own time which only makes sense – you’re working while at work. And yet, there are the resources and learning that you’ve had from your day job. Should your employer get a piece of the action?

That strays away from the original premise of Debbie’s well reasoned and presented thoughts. They definitely are great advice.

K is for Knowledge

As we know, Lynn Thomas is blogging her way through the alphabet and this post finds her at the letter K – for knowledge.

I was really interested in here thoughts about this. In many circles, “Knowledge” is a four letter word with some.

Firstly, we have too often thought that knowledge is somehow inferior to critical skills or creativity. This notion is reinforced in the minds of so many teachers by the lazy, but ubiquitous, use of Bloom’s taxonomy pyramid in teacher training, where knowledge is at the bottom of the pyramid.

It’s sad to read this; obviously the comment comes from someone who hasn’t thought enough of Bloom’s work to understand it well.

Read Lynn’s post to understand her interpretation (which I agree with and I think was Bloom’s original intent) about foundations and not rankings and you’ll be off to a good start.

As for Google, it’s not the answer to everything. Just this morning, I went into the back of my memory for some reason and wanted to know the context for “Conquistador Boots”. Think I could find it? I was sure that it came from WKRP in Cincinnati. And, I was wrong. Even 10 pages into Google, I couldn’t find it.

p.s. dog walking helped bring it forward

p.p.s. of course, once I remember, I had forgotten why I wanted to know this in the first place


This is something that’s very near and dear to my heart. I’m almost positive that it wasn’t termed that when I was going to the Faculty of Education or in my first few years of teaching.

But, at some point in my career, I took a course on Peer Coaching and that may well have been the very first time that I heard the term and began practicing it.

This was the topic of a Twitter chat by some educators lead by TESL Ontario. The conversation is captured here in this Wakelet.

Elearning: How to make the inevitable more than a cash grab

Tim King provides a nice list of ways to make Elearning work and are at the bottom of the post which chronicles his experience with learning at a distance. Some of the examples that Tim includes like Correspondence Education, I don’t put in the same category as Elearning. My own experience in this field was being called in and out to organize and support things with my old district.

We had our own collaborative that used the Ministry’s LMS of the day but were able to offer our own professional learning opportunities differently because we were smaller. Reading Tim’s summary, I wonder if we happened to be in the same room at the same time with this.

Tim does give a reasoned approach to his logic but it fails when you try to think it through. Plain and simple, his plan is too expensive. The stated goal by the Ministry is increased class sizes rather than face to face and the method of delivery is still open to speculation.

He offers some great suggestions but I don’t see them happening in my crystal ball. I hope that I’m wrong.

Actually, we could start by all agreeing to use Elearning, eLearning, e-Learning, E-learning as the name for this beast. Then, make sure that it’s implemented correctly.

Maybe the powers that be will read Tim’s post for inspiration.

Cultivating the Culture Code

One of the things that I really enjoy when reading the musings from Sue Bruyns is that they’re often a reflection of the culture of her school and those who surround her.

She takes us on a trip through the book “Culture Code” and shares some examples from the book and some of the actions that she’s taken this summer as a result.

Page after page, I was drawn to the stories of leaders, who throughout history all found themselves at a turning point where they needed to create, cultivate or change culture.  I found myself filling the margins with notes, exclamation marks and/or question marks.  Phrases and sentences became underlined once and in some cases twice.  So much of what Coyle penned resonated with my current practice.

It’s nice to read a professional journal/book that agrees with your current practice but the value comes when the examples push you on to bigger and better things.

Sue’s school is experiencing a growth in population; at EdCampLDN, she shared that the portable classrooms were on the way.

I like the way that she views this as a challenge to “get into this together”. Hopefully, there will be inspirational moments from this book to help her and staff move along with this.

Friday Two Cents: The Language Of Art

Congratulations to Paul Gauchi for completing another Additional Qualifications course. This one was in Visual Arts.

I had to smile when he talked about the language of Visual Arts. We all have our own collection of buzzwords. As Paul notes, word walls are common in Mathematics and Language.

On behalf of Computer Science teachers, we don’t hold a back seat to any subject area when it comes to buzzwords.

But, back to Paul.

He shares a couple of Word Wall graphics for Visual Arts that he created (and watermarked). Could this set a trend for this and other subjects?

How Do You Define Beauty?

Isn’t Beauty in the eye of the beholder?

In the eyes of Aviva Dunsiger, it appears to be evidence of learning.

If you follow Aviva, you know that she’s forever taking and posting pictures. In this case, she went back into her Instagram account and leads us through a series of photos of read kids doing real things.

Before you skim and say “ya, ya, kids…”, check out her running commentary. Aviva asks probing questions to get you to see and appreciate what she, as the teacher, saw.

It was a very interesting and much fun activity. Indulge yourself.

I hope that you can take a few moments and work your way through the original posts. There is a nice collection of good thinking and reflecting.

Then, make sure that you’re following these people on Twitter.

  • @DebbieDonsky
  • @THOMLYNN101
  • @teslontario
  • @tk1ng
  • @sbruyns
  • @PCMalteseFalcon
  • @avivaloca

This is part of a regular Friday series of great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. You can read them all here.

This post came from:

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It was a fun show on Wednesday with This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio. In addition to my regular discussion with Stephen Hurley, we were joined by The BeastEDU – Andrea Kerr and Kelly Mackay. By the end of the hour, I think I was almost able to tell the difference between the two of them. Recognizing Stephen was easy…

Keys to a Rocket Ship

TheBeastEDU (Andrea and Kelly) penned this post in typical Beast fashion. A sketchnote, a provocation, and a conversation.

So, if someone gave you the keys to a rocket ship, would you take it for a ride? It was a premise for “going for it” in education as well as a tribute to a supportive superintendent. I found myself nodding in agreement. They were telling my story.

Over the course of my career away from the classroom, I was fortunate enough to witness the leadership of four superintendents I reported to. Unlike Cathy in this post, they all had different leadership styles. There were some leadership styles that I appreciated and some that I had challenges with (but in a good way, I think). Beyond that, all of them were very supportive in their own ways and I hold all of them to a very high standard.

This post tags some very real attributes in education and leadership – Team, respect empathy, listening, pressure, urgency, and purpose.

Above all, though, I like to read about other’s reflections about growth and being supported in this growth. The best leaders do more than just hand over the keys.

Dear Other Mom

This post from Andrea Haefele will break your heart if you have any sense of empathy. Please take the time to read it slowly and put yourself in her place.

Imagine taking your child to a playground and hearing this discussion.

I wanted to let you know I heard you whisper to your son at that very moment. I pretended to not notice you, but I heard every word you said to him,

“Don’t play with that girl, go somewhere else to play.”

And before I swallowed what just happened, you and your son were at the other side of the playground.

Andrea wrote the post, I’m sure, just to get it out of her system. The chances that the other mom would actually happen upon it and read it are slim to none.

When you go to a park, like in this story, the biggest challenges don’t come from the kids. They’re there to have fun. They get along and accept each other.

The elephants in the room are the adults. Why can’t they be more like kids?

Leaping with no net: autism for teens in Ontario

This is a story that I couldn’t begin to tell as I’ve had no experience raising a child with autism. I’ve followed the news; I’ve read the many reports but it’s not nearly the same as dealing with it first hand.

Alanna King has and shares a story about being a parent dealing with the realities of raising such a child. I know the child and he has had the opportunity to be an assistant at Minds on Media at the Bring IT, Together conference. For the past couple of years, he’s helped his father with a virtual reality station and does so admirably.

It’s sad to read Alanna’s description of coverage being like an umbrella that is shrinking. It comes as no surprise that there are the best supports in bigger communities. If you don’t live there, you just don’t get the same level of support. This support wanes as children become older.

Alanna is a strong woman and for her to use the term “intimidating” helps paint the picture she’s describing. Cutbacks in support can’t help but appear to be shortsighted and you wonder about the long term future for these children.

In best teacher-librarian fashion, Alanna leaves us with a reference to a book that she describes as one of the best resources she can recommend.

And, some wise words…

after all if you’ve met one person with autism….you’ve met one person with autism.


It’s not the first time either. After 10 years in education, it is now a given that I will go to sleep on the last day of school reflective, happy, and excited about the past, present, and future of this calling.

One of the powerful things about blogging is that it gives people a platform and a readership with potential reach that is unlike any other medium.

Will Gourley shares a message that I suspect that most teachers feel and might share with their family in the past. Now, with a few keystrokes, Will’s shared with the world.

And yet, things are different this year, as we know. September may well re-ignite the excitement for some, that some will be smaller in number and many of the rules and gains made through years of collective bargaining and improvements to the profession will be rolled back.

Will’s excitement takes a turn because of this reality and he slaps you with a wakeup call and offers some suggestions about what you can do for the profession over the summer.

I have shared my thoughts with my MPP and yet he sits in opposition. He is vocal, to be sure, but the Twitter message Will shares in the post is a sad reminder that it’s not business as usual.

So Long and Thanks For All of This

My apologies to Terry Greene. I read the title to this post way too quickly and thought that he was going to do some sort of Hitch Hiker’s Guide thing.

Instead, it was a summary of Terry’s time spend with eCampus Ontario. It was a busy time for him which he summarizes in paragraphs devoted to:

  • Visits
  • Speaking
  • Mobile Work
  • Podcasting
  • Ontario Extend
  • Teammates
  • Patchbooks

I know that the reason for his secondment was to help others in his learning community grow and improve their profession. I suspect that he’s the person who has learned the most.

Readers of this blog know that I’ve followed Terry’s work and I’m so thankful that he’s turned me on to many other post-secondary bloggers who have become open in their sharing of their thoughts. Due to his efforts, my reading list has become longer and richer.

Thanks so much, Terry and I wish you all the best as your return to Fleming.

Podcasts for Students

I love the resurgence of interests in podcasts and podcasting. Years ago, it was a big thing; imagine speaking into a computer and then having someone else download and listen to it.

Then, it kind of went off the rails when the notion of vlogging came along and everyone headed to places like Youtube where you could take the concept further and add video to your message. Then, somehow, video became all things, including silly things, and people started to realize that audio is often all that you need to get your message across. Plus, it fits nicely onto an MP3 player and is very portable.

In this post, Arianna Lambert lets us know that she’s headed back to the classroom and plans to make podcasting a significant resource for her students.

She’s done her research; as you wade your way through the post, you’ll see all kinds of podcasts that she plans to use. And, that’s great.

I would suggest that it shouldn’t stop there though. Being a consumer of podcasts is one thing and certainly a powerful thing. But, the next step is to become a podcaster yourself. Do the research, plan the script, record the message, share the message, and reflect on the message.

That’s the ultimate.

HP Maker Challenge

This sounds like a wonderful opportunity that Fair Chance Learning provided for some students.

Students were presented with an essential question on the theme of Sustainability, asked to define problems to solve and then design solutions as a response to the challenge. 

Over the years, we’ve had Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Technology, Family Studies, and more competitions. I always had a Computer Science team that would compete with other schools solving problems. It’s a way to scaffold regular learning and let students really shine.

In this post, the challenge now becomes Making.

If you enjoy reading student reflections on a theme, you’ll really enjoy this post. After a quick description of the event, student reflections are captured and shared.

I wonder what more Maker Challenges are in the future.

You’ll have to admit; this is a wonderful collection of blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. Please take the time to click through and enjoy the original posts.

Then, make sure that you’re following these folks on Twitter.

  • @TheBeastEDU
  • @andreahaefele
  • @banana29
  • @WillGourley
  • @greeneterry
  • @MsALambert
  • @FCLEdu

This post appeared originally on:

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

And this version appears on Saturday. Friday was a travel day for me and I figured that I’d get time when I returned home to write the post. But, we were on the tarmac at Sky Harbour Airport and that sure takes the energy out of you. Plus, I was in the second to last row on the airplane and everyone seemed to want to take use of the washroom. A laptop on a dinner tray doesn’t work well for me.

But, I managed to get this written on Friday to appear this morning. Enjoy the latest from Ontario Edubloggers.

Your Professional Life is Declining and It’s About Time

I think that many educators who have called it a career at the end of the June by their own decision or externally would benefit from this post from Paul McGuire.

There comes a time for all of us to close off the teaching gig and then move on.

Some people

  • just finally relax
  • take on another job
  • become supply teachers
  • climb mountains
  • or other things

There’s lots to think about. What do you plan to do with life after teaching?

This is wonderful advice…

This is OK if you realize you need to make a transition to another stage of life. You can’t be like the man on the plane or Charles Darwin lamenting that your best years are behind you. You have to remake yourself.

Comic Strips: School’s Out For Summer

How many of you can relate to Paul Gauchi with this? This is only part of the comic.

There’s a deeper meaning – it involves recharging engines…

Philosophically, I wonder about the recharge and the length of vacation time in various professions. Does this say more about teachers or students?

When “Dear Other Mom” Becomes “Dear Educators And Parents”

Aviva Dunsiger was inspired by another blog post to dig into this topic.

As a secondary school teacher, I’m unable to empathize with the actual details and the process that Aviva describes with her younger students. I can tell you though that there are moments with teenagers where you go through the same situation.

I think most educators could identify with a moment like that.

It’s how you respond and handle it that will mark the successful resolution to a situation.

I’m also mindful of the power that we have as educators. Recently, I flew back and forth from Detroit to Phoenix to the CSTA Conference. In both cases, I had the honour of sitting across the aisle with children that were having a tough time. I’ll be honest; sitting for 4 hours and then 6 hours made me squeamish as well. And, I knew what to expect in terms of the noise and ear popping, etc. Not so, my travel mates.

It was interesting to see how the parents handled it with their escalating techniques which, as escalating towards the end, would have landed a teacher in trouble.

But, ever the educator, I had a few fun/younger applications on my iPad that I could share and give the parent a break for maybe 15-20 minutes. I found the struggles described in Aviva and Andrea’s posts interesting. In all cases, we were constrained somehow. One of the young ladies on the plane had some developmental challenges as well. There was nowhere else to go so it had to be handled en route.

Bittersweet Year End

Heather Lye describes an end of year thought process that I think many can identify with.

In the classroom, there really isn’t any coasting. You’ve got your foot on the pedal the whole time and then it’s the end of the year and everything stops.

Heather notes that this year is different.

It is hard for me to admit that I am struggling with the idea of summer this year.

While the end of the school year goodbyes are typically, “Goodbye and see you in September”, for many this year it won’t be. Because of what’s happening provincially, the “deck” will be substantially shrunk and shuffled way more than in any other year.

You absolutely should visit her blog and respond to this comment.

Today we watched the first graduating class of our school cross the stage. But we also watched the system, as we currently know it, walk out the door at the end of the day.

Reflections on NAMLE Part 2
Reflections on NAMLE Part 3

I had to nip back to Diana Maliszewski’s blog because I had read and written about Part 1 before. I had to see how the story ended.

And, the story was much the same as her first post.

There are lots of reflections, pictures, and social media artifacts.

But, there was one section that stood out for me and I’m just jealous that she had this opportunity. I haven’t.

No, not that she got a chance to get a picture with John Oliver (which is impressive in itself) but she visited the Newseum. If you’ve been following the news, it’s been purchased and will be closing.

This has been a major part of non-fake news for so long. I really how that it continues to operate in some sort of new incarnation.

So, I apologize for being a day late with this post but please cut me some slack and check out these great posts.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • @mcguirp
  • @PCMalteseFalcon
  • @avivaloca
  • @MsHLye
  • @MzMollyTL

This post originally appears on:

If you read it anywhere else, you didn’t read the original.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

According to WordPress’ numbering scheme for marking duplicate titles, this is the 365th or so blog post with this title. There are a few more that ended up being typos and ended up being posted “The Week in Ontario Edublogs”!


The toughest part of this Friday routine is writing something original to open the post. Try doing that one day a year for a year!

Oh, and check out these blog posts from these great Ontario Edubloggers. (I try and do that every week).

Find Your Inner Explorer

Wednesday’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcast on voicEd Radio featured Peter Cameron as a special guest. It’s nice to have a third voice in the summer and being on a break from school makes educators available Wednesday mornings at 9:15.

We also used the opportunity to feature this great post from Peter. In a nutshell, Peter talked about his tendency to be an explorer having done it since a child. Now, growing up in beautiful Thunder Bay, you’d think exploration would be a natural. Peter has gone far beyond home and gives us a short tour and a more complete detail description about him being a Grosvenor Teacher.

Give it a read and you might just be inspired to explore something new this summer or for the upcoming school year.


I’ll admit to getting a little emotional when people’s thoughts inspire memories in myself. This post from Amanda Potts did it for me.

Today is the last day of classes. In 20 minutes the bell will ring,

We’ve all been there. You wait in anticipation all June for the last day of school and then, there it is.

I suspect, for most, it hits you right between the eyes. Everyone wants to be busy up until the last minute if for no reason other than classroom management.

Then, that moment arrives and you realize that you’ll be without students for a couple of months. All of a sudden, you see them as real human beings with a life to enjoy over the summer. It’s a little different than those charges that have appeared in your classroom every day for the last semester.

The bell rings, the music plays and out they stream into the hallway. A few pop into the room. One more hug. One more high five. One more head pokes through the doorway, “Goodbye, Miss! See you in September!”

Did you do enough for them?

Reflections on NAMLE Part 1

First of all, if you’re like me, you may be wondering NAMLE = National Association for Media Literacy Education.

Diana Maliszewski had the opportunity to attend this conference in Washington. Like so many, timing isn’t Ontario educator friendly but she did manage to get there and shares a lot of reflections of sessions and what she calls digital artifacts as well.

It appears that she had two goals:

  • exploring media literacy for the younger aged students
  • focusing on equity

In typical Diana style, there are lots of pictures (and costumes) and it sounds like she attended some inspiring sessions, including being a panellist for one session herself.

What does the Equal Sign Really Mean?

It had been a while since Deanna McLennan had posted so I was pleased to see another one of her offerings.

The “equal sign” brought back great memories from teaching Computer Science with some of the early languages. We used the “equal sign” but it was never about equality. It was “is assigned the value of” and was used to assign the value of the expression on the right to the variable to the left of the =.

But, Deanna is an Early Years’ teacher so chances are she’s not talking about that!

The post is a reminder that sometimes big people concepts that we take for granted need to be dealt with younger students in an age appropriate manner. You’ll read Deanna’s post and think “Wow!” She shares a real collection of classroom activities that she used to cement the concept.

It’s a wonderful collection of activities using all kinds of objects to manipulate and enforce the concept. Share it with any other Early Years’ educator that you know and heck, even to your favourite Faculty of Education.

Summer Math:Counting and Subitizing

Given the content of Lisa Corbett’s post, her own children aren’t old enough to throw the

You’re such a teacher

line at her just yet. It will come … <grin> Voice of experience here.

Lisa has summer plans for her son that includes doing a little mathematics and there’s nothing with that.

The post should also serve as a reminder that is online 24/7 and that includes the summer months.

So, if the activities are good for use during the school year, why not use them for the summer? It only makes sense.

You might also want to drop a comment and wish Lisa all the best for her teaching assignment of a 1/2/3 split for next year! Mathies may end up being a great solution for her at that time too!

Independent Reading and Research, Week 1: Data Tool Analysis #MyResearch

Anna Bartosik has done some research about tools on data mining and shares them with us.

There is a caveat going in …

Free and research-based is the direction I will take for my project. None of the commercial products interest my wallet; they are also not transparent about how data is collected, stored, and used.

I suspect that there may well be many educators who are looking into having an element of data mining in whatever projects lie in their present or future. Don’t start from scratch; read this post.

At least, on an overview basis, Anna has done some work with a number of tools and shares her initial thoughts about them in this post.

She makes reference to ethics which has to be in the foreground of anyone doing data mining and it will be interesting to read her follow though on this.

When The Dust Settles?

From a trustee perspective, this post closes with …

The dust hasn’t settled yet but I will say it will not be pretty when or if it does.

What else could be the topic except education in Ontario these days. Robert Hunking provides a post with lots of links to resources that he’s including in his summary of the way things are and the way they might be.

Drawing on the story of courses dropped from TDSB, he turns the lens towards Avon Maitland and the cut in funding that they’re going to receive.

There are still many districts that are not as transparent about the effects of the budget cuts as is the TDSB.

I hope that Robert continues to share information with us. I do have an interest in the way things will fall out in his district having grown up there.

All districts are working the numbers.

And that’s it for another week.

Please take the time to click through and enjoy all of these posts and drop off a comment or two.

Then, make sure you’re following these folks on Twitter to read their latest.

  • @cherandpete
  • @Ahpotts
  • @MzMollyTL
  • @McLennan1977
  • @LisaCorbett0261
  • @ambartosik ‏
  • @yesknowno

This post originally appeared on:

If you read it anywhere else, it isn’t original.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Welcome to the last TWIOE in June and the school year.  As always, there is some inspirational content written by Ontario Educators.  Perhaps you’ll be inspired to start or re-start your own blog this summer if you’re not already a regular writer?

Rethinking End of Year Countdowns

File this post from Laura Bottrell on the Heart and Art Blog under “maybe I’ve been doing things wrong all this time”.

For many, it’s been a month (or more) of counting down until today.  I even remember a colleague who shared the countdown on his blackboard for all to see.

Laura reminds us that this countdown may not necessarily be exciting for everyone in the class.

I always thought that celebrating the end of the year was just adding to the fun and excitement of summer. I’ve always had a fun countdown for my class. Lately, I’ve been wondering if this is just adding stress on some of my students. It really hit me last week when I announced that we only had ten school days left and there were at least five children in my class that crumbled to tears.

Her suggestion turns the table and has you thinking about treating things differently.  A little late for this year perhaps but … it’s nice to have a reminder that things aren’t always what they seem.

Why do you want kids to code?

With apologies to Jim Cash, I read the title to this post a little too quickly.  Instead of “Why”, I read it as “What” and thought that it might be about some new things to code!

However, using the word “Why” changes everything.  Jim summarizes his thoughts in this graphic he created.

It generated some interesting comments when Jim announced the post on Facebook.

I understand his message but I also wonder if I’m on the same page with him because of having a background in programming.  As Jim correctly notes, there’s a certain bandwagon effect about coding that has people jumping on because it’s felt that it’s important or someone is keynoting about the cool things that kids are doing.

Coding goes well beyond the mechanics of getting the job done.  (Blue side) Until you’re looking at the big picture, you’re not doing it justice.  (Green side)

It would be interesting to find out how many people get pressured to “do coding” because it’s the latest thing and yet they may be doing it without a suitable background in coding.

Go Magic! Let’s do this! 🙂

And the winner in the “Who gets David Carruthers added to their staff” raffle is …

<drum roll>

Bonaventure Meadows.

It looks easy enough to get to.  (at least by driving)

Getting to the actual school placed David in a series of job interviews and he shares his reflections about that process in the post.  I can understand the need for standardized questions for all applicants for fairness.

But, the school really needs to be prepared to take advantage of the skills that David has refined over his time as a learning coordinator.

Maybe instead of “Go Magic!”, should read “Get ready, Magic”.

And, then there’s the whole Plugged-in Portable thing?  I guess we’ll find out in the future.

Reader’s Theatre = Experiential Learning

I read this post from Stepan Pruchnicky a few times and I absolutely understood his message.

In Language, it’s important to read and understand different texts.  The concept of reading a script was a new spin on it.  But, as Stepan digs into it, it has to potential to go very deep, rich in understanding and empathy for characters to be played in the script.

It was during the radio version of This Week in Ontario Edublogs and Stephen Hurley’s comments about the connections to David Booth and Stephen’s own experience that really put me over the top with the concept.

I’d suggest putting Stepan’s post on your list for summer reading.  This is an idea that could really generate mileage for you.  Perhaps a future post would recommend suitable scripts?

Context is Key

Of course it is, Ruthie Sloan.

But, I certainly haven’t thought about it as deeply as you explore in this post.

You take the notion of context and apply it to…

  • wardrobe
  • digital expression
  • body language
  • how we communicate

The post is a great discussion about each of these.

It’s also a reminder of so many things that may just pass us by as life goes on.  These are things that we do every day.  It goes beyond what and moves into how, when, and who.

I loved the collection of images that she includes at the bottom.

“I Don’t Have Time For That”

Joel McLean reminds us that this comes up too often when people are wondering about taking charge of their own professional learning.  I suggest that it’s an easy answer and often given to avoid things.

I also am reminded about my Covey training.  The first rule – schedule the important things first.  Then, let all of the other stuff fill your time for you.  Goodness know that, in education, there’s no danger of that not happening.

I remember also returning from my training and explaining the approach to my supervisor.  We still meet for coffee every now and again and he notes how this changed his professional life.  (Not my comment but after my experience, he went and took the course himself.)

There was only one caveat to my own implementation – I was never allowed to allow my priorities to supersede his priorities for me!  I shouldn’t have encouraged him to take the course.

Maybe Joel has some advice for how to handle that!

Observations & Conversations : Part 1 of many?

The structure of the Interstitial App, or, Observations & Conversations – Part 2

From Cal Armstrong, a pair or posts and maybe more to come.

After my session at the OAME Conference (link to Presentation), a few folks asked me how I had put this together, so I’m going to give a brief run-down here.

It sounds like the audience was really impressed with Cal’s use of Microsoft Powerapps.

I know that I was; I’d heard about it but really hadn’t done anything with it.  I guess that you need to have a reason and Cal used his mathematics audience as the target for his presentation.

If you’re curious, read both posts.  If you’re interested in creating your own, pay attention to the second post.  Here, Cal takes you through his process step by step.

And there’s your last day of school inspiration.

Make sure you’re following these great bloggers on Twitter.

  • @L_Bottrell
  • @cashjim
  • @dcarruthersedu
  • @stepanpruch
  • @Roosloan
  • @jprofNB
  • @sig225

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If you read it anywhere else, you’re not reading the original.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s been a strange week.  Stephen Hurley was on assignment on Wednesday so we didn’t have a chance to do our radio show.  But, the blog goes on!

Check out these terrific posts from Ontario Edubloggers.

Evaluating e-learning

From Deborah Weston, a summary from her perspective about the proposed eLearning required for graduation from seconday schools.

She lists the following:

  • Use of technology
  • Access to devises (sic)
  • Access to internet
  • Lack of research to support e-learning efficacy
  • Inequity for at risk, low-income, and racialized students
  • Lower on-time high school graduation rates
  • Challenges with instructional quality and sustaining qualified teachers
  • Linking the research to the real world

and includes research to support all of the above.

eLearning was off and on part of my portfolio at one time and I would argue against each and everyone of these points.  We had good success rates and were able to provide courses to those students who wouldn’t have been able to get it otherwise at their home school.

There is a big difference.  In our situation, students were individually counselled by their guidance councillors and eLearning was a solution when nothing else worked.  Students were followed by the school to make sure they didn’t fall behind and the courses were taught by a qualified secondary school teacher.  It was designed with pedagogy and logistics in mind.  It also wasn’t seen as a solution for everyone.  In fact, there was a page “Is eLearning for you?” on the website with a checklist for students to use.

The currently proposed system in the province goes much further than this, requiring all students to take courses for graduation.  All of this planning is done without teacher input, at this time.  As Deborah notes, it’s based on a business model, not an education model.

5 Things That Make You a Mosquito Magnet – YouTube

From the STAO blog and just in time for maybe all the rain to stop?

I swear that I’m one of these magnets.

National Indigenous Peoples Day – June 21

Just in time for today is this quick post from the Toronto District School Board Professional Library blog.

Do you know where, in Canada, it’s a statuatory holiday?

Click through for the answer and some additional trivia for today.

Thanks for including this link to the Government of Canada web resource for the day.

Introduction to Unlearning June 23 – August 17.

This is not a new concept to me.  I’ve heard speakers and supervisors indicate for years that the key to moving ahead is to unlearn what I’ve learned and dump that baggage so that I can move ahead.  It’s not as easy as one might think.

Rebecca Chambers is offering a course to help you with the process.

Long-Range Plans

Arianna Lambert was inspired to write this post from an experience that she had by visiting a colleague’s classroom.

Over the years, it’s a concept that I’ve had offered to me and I took advantage of a few times.  I think that it’s pretty pretentious to think that you know everything and can’t benefit from the skills of someone else.  Once I embraced the concept of Peer Coaching, it made even more sense.  I never once regretted taking advantage of the opportunity.

What if in addition to of outlining the curriculum, which I still think is important to know where you’re going within the guidelines set forth for us; the plans also included the specific skills (or the hidden curriculum) we wanted to develop with students?

Arianna notes that we are approaching the end of the school year and that it might be a bit odd to be thinking of this.

Or not?  Read her thoughts and see if they make sense to you.


The voicEd Radio team lost one of its members recently.  Leanne Hanson was 45.  Cancer has no respect for age or distance.

Ramona Meharg writes this touching post about her connections with Leanne through Twitter and as a member of the voicEd Radio team.

The power of connections comes through strongly in this post…

We talked about meeting irl one day.  It would have been great to do that.  I would have loved to see her home and meet her family in Queensland.  I can imagine there would have been a big welcoming hug.  There would have been jokes and laughter and likely a fair bit of whiskey.  But an irl meeting wasn’t really necessary to us.  We were able to connect digitally as if we were in the same room

Leanne was a big contributor to the education community and Ramona puts together a collection of her work for you to visit.

A little of this, a little of that

I’m moving from room 10 to room 16 for next year.

Big deal.  It’s just down the hall.

 All my stuff needs to be packed up and moved before the Last Day of School.  The building will be under construction and I can’t go in after that until nearly the First Day of School.

OK, now it gets serious!

Anyone who has ever moved in education, whether it be just down the hall or to a new school can sympathize with Lisa Corbett.  We all have those great artifacts that we’ve accumulated over the years, even if it’s only for that one class.  Even if you’re not teaching that course again next year, you just might in a couple of years so you’d better hang on to it.

I have to smile when I think of an entire school suffering Lisa’s dilemma.  It’s a board office conspiracy.  But, think of the learning before you call that “Got Junk” company!

Lisa offers some suggestions to make it easier for the future.  The big question will be – will she remember them?  Blogging about it is one good way to start the process!

Please take some time to click through and enjoy these posts courtesy of Ontario Edubloggers.

And, follow these great educators on Twitter.

  • @dr_weston_PhD
  • @staoapso
  • @ProfLibraryTDSB
  • @MrsRChambers
  • @MsALambert
  • @RamonaMeharg
  • @LisaCorbett0261