This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I’m happy to share the latest round of writing from Ontario Educators that has crossed my path. Please show them some digital love and visit their posts.


Searching for an idea – whose stories need to be told

I like how Paul uses his blog to reinvent himself periodically and shares what he’s thinking and doing. This post is kind of a rambling one where he touches upon a number of things. I had to smile when he mentions the mysteries of APA style. I’m with you, brother.

There was a spot towards the end of the post that really resonated with me. He says

Is there a way I could study a different education system outside of the Canadian context?

That took me on a trip back to my university days. In high school, we had a number of recruitment visits from universities trying to convince us to attend their institution. The consistent message wasn’t about academics but about the “get away from your hometown and be on your own” experience. Fast forward to first year university with the large classes that I recognize now fund so much.They drop off in size in subsequent years for a number of reasons, including marks!

I tried to do the experience – the campus pub, the Joker’s on Thursday night, visiting my girlfriend who ultimately became my wife, visiting Laurel Creek, doing the malls, etc. The part of Paul’s post that I think was interesting hearkens back to a conversation I had with a classmate. She was there from India and we were talking about education and she let me know how important it was for her and her family that she did well and so she did everything but the social aspect of university. Her father was an Engineering Professor back home and there was intense pressure on her. I remember being impressed with the difference; I suppose that we could call my take on things as “privilege” by today’s metrics.

So, if Paul does decide to investigate different education systems, I think it would be fascinating. Or a research project about the importance of Canadian schools to foreign students, or …


Towards an Emergent PD – Professional Development in the Time of COVID

Alexandra talks about something that I think many people know but aren’t all that vocal about.

COVID has exacerbated educational inequities while drawing attention to the urgency of systemic change. But constant shifts have caused many to erect protective walls which are impermeable to (more) waves of change.

In so many ways, we’re realizing that things are broken as we try to return to a normal but it isn’t possible. I commend her for being so open about it.

In terms of professional development or what I prefer to call professional learning, what will it look like if things ever start to open up? And, maybe that’s the term to use instead of “return to normal” because it just isn’t going to happen any time soon, if ever.

A system that prides itself on teaching is going to have to become a learner from the experience. Teachers have so many things mandated and a new one came onto the scene just this week. That will be another check box in the personnel file.

But, what does it look like for the educator who truly wants to grow and learn? I really like how she closes her post with a cheat sheet but can’t help but think that smart people like Alexandra’s time has come to step up and be vocal about the changes that are necessary to fix what’s broken.

I know that I’m always eager to learn but I’m not in a hurry to ever go back to the big conference format.


Bespoke Beats

You could easily get away from Terry’s latest project by saying that it’s cool that his students have used technology to create digital music. The idea is to have something playing in the background while you’re working or studying. I think that, for most of us, it keeps our minds from wandering.

I’m listening to a Meat Loaf concert on another monitor as I write this.

In the post, Terry describes the why and the how and shares with us a Soundcloud playlist of the creations so far. The ultimate goal is to add video to it and Terry shares an idea of what it might look like.

He’s not going it alone; he’s reached out to a colleague at Seneca for assistance and the final product will be released as an Open Educational Resource.


STUDENT-CREATED PODCASTS MADE EASY WITH SCREENCASTIFY

I really like the concept of student-created podcasts. Actually, student-created anything. Over the past while, we’ve seen the biggest misuse of technology, out of necessity, as a conference window to school and classmates. It’s nice to see people advocating student creation of things. Love it, love it, love it.

But, Screencastify?

For me, the go-to application always was Audacity although I know that much of the Macintosh world favours Garageband. Whatever turns your crank.

But, the ladies expanded my mindset with their recommendation of Screencastify. I had a preconceived notion of what I would and have used it for. But, for Podcasting? When you think of it, it does make sense. Podcasting isn’t terribly difficult when you have the tools.

The post is a great tutorial for working through things but culminates in what else you can do with Screencastify which makes the process of learning it so important.

Their summary:

Steps For Student-Created Podcasts With Screencastify

  • Recording Student-Created Podcasts
  • Editing Student-Created Podcasts
  • Downloading Student-Created Podcasts
  • Sharing Student-Created Podcasts

ONE WORD: “responsive”

Three years ago, if I ran into Chey and Pav on the street, I wouldn’t have had any idea of who they were. These days, I think I might – Chey is the one with the beard, right? They definitely know how to work social media; I see them everywhere being honest and open.

In this post, they took on the notion of a “One Word” for 2022. It’s “Responsive”. By itself, it might seem OK but there are a couple of other things that make it stand out in this post.

First of all, unlike everyone else, this isn’t one word for one person. It’s one word for the two of them. It seems to me that that approach requires a great deal of thinking and discussion along with agreement. That part is impressive.

What’s more impressive is that they take a look back at the two words from previous years. Even for this guy who has never met either of them, I can definitely see the growth in what they are and what I think they want to be. It started with kind of a generic approach to something very specific that they have in mind. Now, that’s impressive to me.

  • Responsive to each Other and Our Work
  • Responsive to other Teachers and Educators
  • Responsive to the Students and their Needs
  • Responsive to Quality Learning
  • Responsive to our Expanding Level of Influence and Impact

SEVEN MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES FOR LANGUAGE LEARNERS

Writing on the TESLOntario Blog, Gonul shares some very inspirational things to think about. I think I’d heard some of them before but not all. I really like this one:

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” By Confucius

I’ve always felt that as an inspiration to keep doing things. Some days, quite frankly, I don’t feel like doing much but I still find time to do things for myself and spend at least a little time reading and hopefully learning.

She asks for what you favourite quote might be and this one is one of my favourites.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” by Oscar Wilde


Slice of Life: Losing a Friend (Warning- loss of a pet)

I close on a sad note. Elizabeth and her family lost a member recently and she shares a reflection and some beautiful pictures on her blog. It was the first major loss for her daughters so it would be especially tough.

Her thoughts share wonderful memories of a family member who was always there and still had those little quirks that all of our pets do. It was a sad post to read.

My sympathies go out to the Lyons family.


Please click through and read all of these wonderful post.

And, follow them on Twitter

  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Alexandra Woods – @XanWoods
  • Terry Greene – @greeneterry
  • Edugals – @EduGals
  • Chey and Pav – @StaffPodcast
  • Gonul Turkdogan – @turkdogan_gonul 
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary

This week’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs can be found here.

https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/emergent-stories-professional-learning-and-practice/

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


And, …, it’s time for another wander around the province looking at some of the great writing from Ontario Edubloggers.


Juris My Diction Crap

If you’re a parent, this post will tear your heart apart. We want all the best for our kids and certainly, during COVID times that means that vaccinations and boosters are in order. While there are nay-sayers who don’t want part of it, this is a story about a mother who wants the best for her 17-year-old. Marie shares her research and analysis of guiding documents in the post.

In addition to the story of her running into walls, there’s a strong message there that Ontario is making up rules as time passes. We’re now hearing of the importance of vaccinations and boosters for kids from 5-11 and the need for those over 18. Doing the math, we have high school students. They tend to travel in flocks and, around here, are unmasked when they’re on the streets. She’s even willing to go state-side to do it but we have rules about travel there as well.

There was a bit of a smile in here for me as she uses the word “eviscerated” in the post. I think that’s the first time I’ve read that word in a blog post and it’s a reminder that we’re a big province. Click through and ready what the problem was.


Slice of (Pandemic) Life

Lisa shares a story of perhaps a kinder and gentler Ontario. A year ago, you wouldn’t dream of picking up and visiting Grandpa’s house but now with a few tests, there’s a confidence that you’re not taking anything other than goodies with you.

I’m glad that she was able to make that happen. I smiled when she mentioned the debate about whether or not to take her laptop although I suspect that a smartphone would have done in a pitch.

It was to keep her connected to the latest news about COVID, back to school, and all those things that change people’s lives in a heartbeat. Along the way, she reflects that it’s also made her a good online teacher and that’s a good thing in itself. It’s probably nothing that many had aspirations for but were forced into it.

We live in such a different world; I grew up in a town with a weekly newspaper and everything that you need to know came out every Thursday. That wouldn’t cut it today. I’d be so behind the times.


5 Things I Learned in 2021

I’m with Matthew’s analysis of time passing. Is it fast or slow? That’s really a good question. But, 2021 did pass and he uses this post to share five things he learned.

  • Don’t Try To Do Too Much
  • Stay Consistent
  • The Kids Are Resilient
  • Your Mental Health Over Everything 
  • Teachers and Students Are People Too

On This Week in Ontario Edublogs, Stephen and I each cherry-picked one of the points to discuss. Stephen went with the third one and I opted for number five. In particular, parents and guardians are seeing more of the inside of a classroom and the mechanics involved while their child is at the kitchen table. Schools aren’t really a black box.


OneWord 2022

Marc takes a bit of a break from his top 500 music countdown to celebrate the new year with his “One Word”. In the past, he’s gone with Revitalize, Mindfulness, Cultivate, Persist, Discomfort & Ameliorate. This year’s choice is a well-thought-through single word.

He could have stopped the post there and we’d all be happy but he didn’t.

He takes the notion of the “One Word” into the classroom and makes it an activity for his students. In a generous manner, he shares the lesson and suggests tools that would end up with the students making a banner for their word.

It’s not a quick and simple activity. There’s a lot of richness there that really would make it worthwhile to replicate.


Here we go again…

Writing on the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, Kelly is reliving teaching from a year ago. It would be easy to dwell on the challenges because there is so much of that.

There’s some good reading there in an external link to a McLean’s article that talks about the challenges that students have while online.

Kelly uses the bottom of the post to talk about some of the successes that she’s had. I think that it’s pretty important to recognize this. Even in these less than ideal times, the kids are thriving and some are doing some things that they might not have otherwise. Did someone mention resiliency?

All of these are good observations but the one that lept out at me was:

Two of my students who rarely complete tasks in the classroom completed many tasks this week

We now know that school is planned to resume on Monday. It’s got to be running through Kelly’s mind that there has to be a reason why those students changed things around and are doing well. I hope that she can identify it and encourage them to continue this success.


Books For Middle School Students

I have this middle school-aged student who hangs out around here periodically. He’s not a reader in the traditional sense. He can sure read the instructions on his tablet when playing games but that’s not the same thing.

I’m going to pass Kristy’s list along to him and see if there’s something there that will get him interested in book reading.


Day in life of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) – submitted by Leila Knetsch

Leila has her students researching careers and jobs in Biology. Before I clicked through the links at the bottom of the post, I was wondering what I would search for if I was a student in that class.

My ideas were pretty traditional! I was thinking of beakers, microscopes, test tubes, etc. One of the students in her class researched and submitted a couple that really are well done and made me feel kind of narrow-minded.


I hope that you can click through and enjoy all of these great blog posts.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher
  • Kristy – @2peasandadog
  • Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario / L’Association des professeurs de science de l’Ontario – @staoapso

The Wednesday voicEd Radio show can be found here.

https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/jurisdiction-online-learning-and-a-oneword-2022/

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


The first Friday of 2022 shows that there’s no lightening up of the quality content from Ontario Edubloggers. Check out the latest.


NO RESOLUTIONS FOR 2022 – JUST CONTINUING MY PILGRIMAGE

I immediately set aside this post for reading later. First of all, the word “pilgrimage” is not one that I run across regularly. Secondly, it was from Pav who doesn’t blog all that frequently but when she does, you know that it won’t be a quick and easy read.

Photo by 愚木混株 cdd20 on Unsplash

I do like the concept of “continuing” because the notion that you start something on January 1 and finish it on December 31 seems somewhat artificial. It’s the season for Weight Watchers and we know that most that start with good intentions never make it to the end of the year. Heck, the television commercials don’t make it that long either.

It comes as no surprise that Pav is a bit of all over the map on her vision. She does have her fingers on a number of things. I’ve never met her but her writing and podcasting leave me an impression of a person who is deep thinking and comfortable for reaching out into new areas. I think this complexity comes through in the post when she talks about the three realms that she sees in her life “my personal life, my side-hustle life, and my educational life“. Interestingly, the discussion always circles back to her teaching life and that’s a good thing. She isn’t all that open with her personal life and family and that’s good and understandable as well.

I’ve always felt that New Year’s was even more artificial for educators because we know that the real year starts in September and ends in June. New Year’s Break always felt kind of artificial. But then, I always brought home marking and lesson planning so maybe I was my own worst enemy.


Last Post of 2021. Looking ahead. One Word for 2022

On the Wednesday voicEd Radio show, I indicated that Elizabeth had forgone the one word for a year and had focused on a word for the month instead. On Twitter, I got fact checked and it was actually longer…

My bad.

Anyway, she’s not about to do it again. Her rationale was pretty interesting

“My #OneWordx12 project started to feel connected to the pandemic”

I can’t help but think that whether it’s one word for a year, one word for a month, taking your family to the beach, or something as everyday as going to the grocery story, or anything else, we’re all seeing this pandemic everywhere. Like it or not, we are connected to this damned pandemic.

To me, whether it’s twelve words or one word or no words, it has to be a decision that you can live with and not have it beat you up at every turn. So, if she felt that way, her rationale makes sense to her and, if it makes things easily, then there’s no question that she should change. As you get through the post, she does close with some great ideas for self- improvement and, if that’s what keeps her motivated, then I say go for it.

I was in and out of a Twitter discussion this morning (I wish I’d been more in) and, beyond the friendly banter, there’s a wonderful sense that there’s a group of people there to chat with which is so nice to know as we continue to stay away from the familiar face to face groupings that we all love.


2 weeks

You’ve got to turn back the clocks a bit to get the context for Will’s post. He takes the two weeks away from school a little bit slow. The first bit is a continuation of daily routine (without going to school) and sort of eases into things.

That was so different from my reality. My reality is that I’d get home to my wife and a fully packed car, grab the kids and dog and head to our parents’ places. It was important for them that we get there for as long as possible and my wife was a nurse so we’d do our best maximize the visit. Nurses don’t get Christmas off unless they’re lucky. Ditto for New Year’s Eve. I still remember the routine pitstops – Tilbury, Grand Bend, unless there’s an emergency and then it was Petrolia.

Of course, that was a different time and different circumstances. We knew that we were returning to school on January whatever and the biggest challenge might come from over eating. Except for the one year that I ended up flat on my back from pnuemonia, of course.

I thought that he nailed it when he talks about the distribution of testing kits just for students in the waning days of December. That most definitely stuck an exclamation point on any thought about how this government feels about teachers.

As I type this, school is back in session albeit online. We’ve taken in three kids who are using up the wifi. They didn’t know until recently what was going to happen in their academic life. I stick my head in the doors periodically to hear what’s going on and I can’t help but reflect that there are three teachers on the other end. They haven’t gone into hiding to come out periodically for news cameras. They are truly working the front lines and Will’s post reveals his side of the “two weeks” that was anything but predictable this time around.

To all the teachers out there who do not feel refreshed and rejuvenated like you might in a regular year, your feelings are certainly understood.

Will promises that this discussion and his analysis will continue.


Done.

Elementary and secondary schools aren’t the only ones trying to make a go of it during these bizarre times. There are post-secondary schools as well and James just finished teaching a seminar on online teaching and learning.

There’s his typical teacher stuff like dragging one’s heels to getting marks submitted; I don’t care who you are, that is never a quick and easy process if you do any thinking about assessment and evaluation at all.

But, wait! I couldn’t help but think that this seminar would have been wonderful for every teacher to attend pre-COVID! In these unpredictable times, every bit would help. There are huge insights and values to what James shares when he asks the seminar participants what there takeaways and stayaways were. (love the term stayaway)

  • full-fledged, 100% synchronous courses do not do anyone any favours
  • instructor presence is a necessity – students want it and need it
  • we need clarity and simplicity in our online courses
  • give students more authentic learning opportunities
  • collaborate with students
  • build flexibility into courses

Of course, you need to click through and read his post where these are all fleshed out. Does anyone remember the promise/threat of online courses needed for graduation at secondary school?


Imperial cheese memories

I’ll admit that this post had a very emotional response on this end. On the surface, this could be about the wonderful looking Imperial Cheese crescents that her mom was famous for. My big learning there was that the Imperial Cheese that she talks about comes from Stratford – do you know how many times I’ve been to and through Stratford and didn’t know this?

Here’s a link to Maclaren’s Imperial Cheese Spread.

For those of us who are of a certain age, our mothers were famous for something that they made that nobody else could/would. In my Mom’s case, it was butter tarts. At family reunions, every Tupperware container in the house was full of these things that would get devoured when we got there. I’ll confess to not being a fan and so she’d always make a couple filled with raspberry jam just for me instead.

It’s these memories that are so important and Heather describes a wonderful mother who is going through some challenges and so she’s picking up the baking ball and it includes hunting down Imperial Cheese. What a wonderful gesture. I’ve got to stop here; I have something in my eye but this really is a delightful post that needs to be read.


2021 GAMES IN REVIEW

I enjoyed reading Mike’s post about his year in gaming. He describes being a gamer at a number of different levels. I’ll confese; I’m not a big computer gaming person these days but I loved a good game of Doom back in the day. How sad is it and how old am I that I can’t find a Doom image on unsplash to insert here?

Gaming was a big motivator in the computer science classroom. I’d buy a couple of games and they were available for student playing before and after school and during lunch periods. The motivator came when students would tire of the game and write their own. You just don’t tell them that it is good for them.

Mike’s list includes some of the real classics – Minecraft, Flight Simulator, etc. and I’ll confess to not knowing the majority of these other games which he classifies as:

  1. What I played
  2. What is on my wishlist
  3. What I enjoyed the most
  4. My biggest disappointment

Mike does confess to being a big gamer and it’s quite evident with this collection. To help with this post, I brought in my 12 year old gaming expert who did recognize a few of the games but not nearly as I thought that he might.

So, Mike, you’ve stumped this household but I did enjoy reading your thoughts.


thanks, i’m failing much better now #tifmbn

I’m glad to cross paths with Chris again and dove into this post. It had a catchy, lower-cased title so what’s not to like?

Failure is a common term in education which helps us embrace success all that much more. But, I’ve got to ask. Are we the only profession where anything less than 100% is failure? I remember I could bring home a test to my dad with 99% on it and being asked why I didn’t get 100!

Chris offers a number of thoughts and insights worthy of stopping to ponder.

“I also wondered why it was that when we speak of learning and leading from failure, we expect administrators and system leaders to do it first.”

Don’t we all recall days when we “failed’? I sure do.

My insights, probably formed after a frustrating first two or three years of teaching, was that the cards are and will always be stacked against me as a teacher. When it’s just you, there is a clear vision of what success or failure might be. But, as teachers, we aren’t 1:1. We’re 1:many and that results in insights that often you never see coming.

Chris promises to be very open and share his thinking about the topic over the next few blog posts and provides a list of areas that he’s prepared to dig in to. I’m looking forward to reading them.


As with every Friday, this a great collection of content from Ontario Edubloggers. I hope that you can find the time to click through and read all these terrific posts.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Pav Wander – @PavWander
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • James Skidmore – @JamesMSkidmore
  • Heather Swail – @hbswail
  • Mike Washburn – @misterwashburn
  • Chris Cluff – @chrisjcluff

The voicEd Radio show from last Wednesday can be found here.

https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/new-years-reflections-online-teaching-and-memories-of-moms-cooking/

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I just got back from my morning dog walk and am reflecting on how I’ve written this post in my mind. I still have the tabs open from the Wednesday morning voicEd Radio show and I refreshed my memory about them as we took off. My only regret is that I’ve probably forgotten most of what I had thought about. I smiled when I thought I should turn the voice recorder on on my phone but then I’d have to listen to Jaimie complain as he enjoys a quiet walk.


Digital Footprint 2.0

This is a fairly long post by Tim and I’ll admit that I was drawn to it because of a pingback to one of my blog posts. From 2012! Uh oh. What did I say? I was pleasantly surprised to be in the same post as mentions to Diana Maliszewski and Melanie McBride.

The post is an interesting reflection on Tim’s part about online presences. I thought that Diana nailed it when she talks about teachers and being relevant to students with their connections. Tim kind of agrees but then notes that good people have been overlooked in their applications for principalship because of being vocal online. I’ll bet that those that did get promoted did a lot of singular research in a library sans a social learning network.

I think that Tim’s post is a great year-end or year-beginning read for educators and particularly those that are in these hiring positions. Do you want your system to become increasingly distanced from students and their families?

Personally, I have bought into the notion of a learning network and I value it every day. In fact, I’d doubt that I would have met Tim or his wonderful family Alanna and Max or got the incredible Christmas card from them in the mail. It’s one of those really nice ones that you don’t want to recycle, because well, it’s a great card! More than that, when I’m at a conference I will attend one of Tim’s sessions because he goes places in his thinking that I would never go. I so appreciate people that push my thinking.

On the other hand, I think we all know people, including educators, who don’t contribute to the learning of others but exist solely for those “look at me” moments. Somehow, some of them have parlayed that into speaking careers. That, I don’t get.


Quiet

If you follow Aviva on social media, she does truly use it to meet her purposes. The parts that I particularly like is how she documents student learning in her classroom. She does it correctly; she takes pictures of the activities and not of the kids. There’s a big difference and I know that it’s hard for those of us who grew up being told to “smile for Grandma”.

For December, Avia has decided to take a break from this, although it wasn’t a complete stoppage. She still is sharing pictures and her reading as she finds her quiet time in books and uses that to gear down for the end of the year. If that’s what works for her, then I think that’s a good approach. We all need to find what works for ourselves.

Sadly, she notes that there are things that are on the horizon that are going to interrupt her routine so I hope that she enjoys it while she can.


The Trickery of Insufficient Data

As I said on the show, Peter missed the opportunity to title this “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics”! I don’t know about you but I’m sick and tired of the first five minutes of any newscast talking about the latest updates in COVID.

For the Wednesday show, I found these to be the top stories from a few news sites that I frequent…

  • Toronto Star – Today’s coronavirus news: Several provinces considering allowing COVID positive health workers to stay on job; Global cases up 11% last week, Omicron risk high
  • Toronto Sun – Doctors urge Ontario to scale back isolation, quarantine rules
  • Toronto Globe and Mail – Nova Scotia delays students’ return, Ontario school announcement coming on COVID-19 measures
  • Windsor Star – COVID-19 in 2021: a look back at the pandemic’s second year in Windsor-Essex

I think the answer to Peter’s absolutely correct analysis of a couple of graphs is that reporters are under a great deal of pressure to get the next great COVID story out. They’re not statisticians by trade and so do the best that they can. Typically statistical reports have a summary at the beginning and then get into the details later in case you’re interested or having difficulty sleeping. I remember a third year Statistics prof telling us that you can make statistics say darned near anything you want. Is this the case? We seldom get the information about sample sizes and confidence levels which are really important to know and understand.

Numbers are numbers are numbers; I get that. I think that the shock value of huge numbers and yet another story about cases has worn off. Of more importance now, I think, comes from the contact tracing and a warning for us to avoid these particular places.


Moving Day

If you think your December was rough, put yourself in Ann Marie’s shoes – having to find a place and then move a school to those places to continue the learning for the students. She gives a big shoutout to her staff

Things are looking up in her school’s world. They’re packing and the movers are coming in to move them “home”. I wish them all the best and just can’t imagine having to go through that or to lead an entire school through that situation and recovery.

I love this quote from her post.

“Social support is not merely being in the presence of others. The critical issue is reciprocity: being truly heard and seen by the people around us., feeling that we are held in someone else’s mind and heart. For our physiology to calm, done, heal, and grow we need a visceral feeling of safety.” Bessel Van Der Kolk, The Body Keep the Score


How my class is spending their last day together before potential school closures.

Amy Bowker writes a very short blog post about the last day of school with her and her students. I always hated the last day before a break as the kids were very clear that I was the only teacher that they had that wanted them to do something academic. Compared to these days, I had it easy. We knew that we were coming back after the Break and we’d continue on.

The only thing I can remember in common with Amy was the cleaning out of desks. (althought I did bribe with a big bag of candy canes ….)

Today we are cleaning out our desks, making gingerbread houses, and watching Space Jam. We are also going to participate in a community circle where we reflect on our class and all the things we love about being at school. We are going to enjoy today. Celebrate each other. Tell each other how important they are to our class.

That fact that they celebrated each other and appreciated each other brings a bit of emotion here. Of course, we all like to think that we do that regularly but any context that I can think of pales to Amy’s world. And to all the classroom teachers, your world too.

As I write this post on Thursday morning, we still don’t know what direction Ontario will be taking.


Waiting No More: Lessons from the Lake

This post from Debbie really resonated with me. Except for going away to university, I’ve always lived within easy driving or walking distance of a lake. There is absolutely something remarkable and powerful about walking the beach or even just sitting in a car watching the waves move.

I could watch the waves for hours. To me, it parallels living that one year in Toronto and going down to Yonge and Dundas. So much action, and every part of that action has something important to do and somewhere important to be. There’s something remarkable about picking up a wave from as far away as you can see and then watching it roll into the beach. You can seldom predict its actual path or the disturbance that it makes when it hits the shallows and then the sand. No two waves are exactly the same.

So, Debbie now has a new house and shares a nice collection of photographs from “her” beach. It’s calming to just look at the pictures but it’s even better in real life. She likes sunrises (who doesn’t) but don’t overlook sunsets!

Beyond this moment in time, this is another reason to blog. Memories might fade but she’ll always have this collection of images and her reflections at this point in time.


Avoir un impact sur ma culture d’apprentissage

For this week, I bookended this post with a couple of powerful messages about learning networks. Left alone, they can do things without a strategic direction or meaning and so it does take some effort to make that happen. You do need to work it. But how?

That’s the big takeaway for me from this post from Joel.

He identifies three areas of importance to him

  • Influencer (élément leadership)
  • Être intentionnel (élément stratégie)
  • Activer (élément action)

I can’t help but think that these are the attributes that Tim would see in a leader and I know that he exhibits in himself as a leader. Make sure to click through and read his complete discussion on each of these. There’s so much there.

The post is a powerful message that all leaders would be wise to read and ponder.


Do yourself a favour and add these people to your own learning network to see what they’re doing daily and become just a bit smarter!

  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Peter Skillen – @peterskillen
  • Ann Marie Luce – @turnmeluce
  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • Joel McLean – @jprofNB

You can find the voicEd Radio show here.

https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/quiet-time-data-literacy-and-looking-ahead-to-2022/

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


After our live radio show on Wednesday, Stephen Hurley and I debriefed as we normally do after a show. I had to remark that this was the first time in all the shows that we’ve done together that we hit all our marks. Usually one or both of us ramble on and we go over on a time allotment. (OK, it’s usually me)

To celebrate, instead of just the title of the blog post, I’m going to include the time too! Those who have been guest hosts should recognize the format. Here’s what’s new this week.


9:00 Wanna Play Catch?

I remember being told once that teaching is one of the most social jobs you can have. Teachers carpool, they meet up in the parking lot and walk into the school together. Once in, they’ll chat in the hallway between classes or plan together in work areas before going into the classroom to meet students. At lunch time, they’ll sit down and “dine” with colleagues and carpool their way home. In fact, in regular times, it’s pretty much impossible to be alone if you’re a teacher at work.

Rob deals with today’s reality that teachers are forced away from colleagues and even the concept of wearing a mask with students is isolating. He wants to meet up because, as he notes, it takes two or more to play catch. His description brought back memories of waiting for friends to show up and play baseball at the school on weekends or after school. I’d stand there throwing a rubber ball against the brick wall and try to field it on the first or second bounce. It’s just not the same as playing catch with a real person.

Rob promises to get on a tear with more posts coming in December.


9:09 parents and guardians

Writing on the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, Will gives us a personal story about education. Teaching wasn’t Will’s first profession so he notes that he brought a bunch of experience from the business world to his slice of the profession. It was nice to see that his professionalism translated into respect by his colleagues who turned to him as a mentor.

Will has some interesting thoughts about student agendas and the home to school communication connections. It’s different these days and he’s quite to recognize it and explains how he deals with it.

I can’t help but think that email communication would be more effective with some people than others. With social media, we often cut a few corners that would make our old English teachers cringe. I thought that Will addressed the topic nicely and I know that we all can use a mentor and a guide at times. Those in his school are fortunate to have him on call.


9:18 #LearningInTheLoo: Bullet Journalling

When I read Laura’s latest post, it was a real sense of deja vu for me.

As a rookie teacher-consultant, time management was something that I really struggled with. As a result, I attended a training session offered by Franklin which eventually became Franklin Covey. I did walk away with a cool binder to help organize my professional and personal life.

The real value was tracking what was important and prioritizing accordingly. It was the technique that rang a bell for me when reading Laura’s post. She describes a technique that she uses for herself and feels it important enough to share with colleagues in the “loo”.

I can testify that methods like this are very powerful and can help you come to grips with organizing what’s important necessary. Quite frankly, there can be a dip at the beginning because you have to force yourself to use and adhere to the technique but I found it worth the effort.


9:27 10 Tools For Curating Instructional Videos – E068

The EduGals are back with another podcast and supporting blog posts. In this case, they’re dealing with the concept of curating instructional videos. I think we all know the value of keeping track of the best of the best resources. After all, we looked hard to find them in the first place and, with any luck, you’ll be able to use them again in the future. Curating makes the process easier.

Newbies to the process rely on the fact that Google knows stuff. Experienced educators know that there are all kinds of tools that let you raise the bar and make things easier in the long run. That’s a good think.

I enjoyed looking through the list of tools and reading their evaluations. I was pleased to see that Wakelet made their list as I find it great for curating. That’s but just one that they recommend. There’s a lot of Google stuff in there which I’m sure addresses their educational reality. For those who work in the Microsoft environment and might even have Google blocked at work, there are equivalent tools.

It’s really a nicely curated collection of curation tools with pros, cons, and ideas.


9:36 When you feel like you are Failing

To be honest, I kind of expected a downer post from Amy when I read the title.

As I read her post, I recognized that she was describing my life at times and I’m sure that you’ll feel the same way. Stephen Hurley and I got lost in a whack of baseball connections as we discussed her post. The thing that has always stuck out to me is that a batter with a .333 batting average is exceptional. The counter though is that .667 of the time, they didn’t get a hit for whatever reason. We need to appreciate this and apply it to our own experiences.

She talks about:

  • Talk to your Class about it – to me, this is the ultimate show of vulnerability and students can appreciate your honesty
  • Talk to your Colleagues – despite what you may think and feel at times, you’re not the first person who has ever dealt with issues – why not learn from someone who could mentor you – see Will Gourley above
  • Meditate – she recommends Headspace and Calm which are free for educators. Isn’t it awesome when educators share?
  • Ask for help – again, this is another show of vulnerability but that teacher next door or down the hall might have the answer. Don’t limit yourself to that; there are educators all over the world that can help. I’m a subscriber to the ACSE mailing list and requests for help and answers come through daily

Bonus:

Climate Change and Education Survey

Calling all educators, parents, students and members of the general public: LSF needs to hear your voice on the importance of climate change education in Canada!

On the STAO blog is a call for all educators to share their thoughts about climate change. Make your voice heard!


A Look Back and a Farewell.

Mary came onto the ECOO scene as I was leaving so we never actually had the chance to work together. As we know now, things haven’t been the same in recent years but Mary took this as a challenge to move some of the traditional ECOO things online and then up the ante with even more ideas to help Ontario educators.

It’s a nice summary of her work and efforts on behalf of the organization. She took it to new things and I admire her efforts for doing so.

I wish her all the best in her future endeavours.


It’s been another wonderful week of great blog reading from Ontario Educators. You can follow all these folks on Twitter.

  • Rob Ridley – @RangerRidley
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker
  • STAO – @staoapso
  • Mary Walker Hope – @mwalkerhope

This week’s perfectly timed show is available here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio

https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/communicating-better-organizing-better-and-failing-better/