This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday, the 13th. Do yourself a favour and take a pass on Port Dover today. Be safe.

Check out some great blogging from Ontario Edubloggers instead.


Treaty Recognition Week – Guest Post by Tamara Bolotenko

Larissa Aradj lent blogging space to Tamara Bolotenko to share some of her thoughts about Treaty Recognition Week. In the post, she shared some sobering realities for many of us.

In our education, we had no sense of the realities that current students are understanding. Like Tamara, I learned in school that Canada was discovered by Jacques Cartier. I guess this land was just sitting around waiting to be discovered? Nothing else was happening? As she notes, so much of what we learned was so Eurocentric and it’s only later in life that that was just part of the story.

Her post is interesting and quite humbling to read and I would encourage you to do so. As part of an AQ course, she had to create a resource – she used YouTube- and she has them embedded in both English and French.

Kudos to her for being so open with her learning.


Walking On Sun Branches

Jessica Outram has done it again!

In this post, complete with pictures, she reminds me of the difference between me and creative people. I’ve always maintained that creative types see things that I would normally just walk by, sometimes paying a bit of attention, most of the times not.

Interestingly, she ties some wonderful photographs with her thoughts and endeavours surrounding creativity.

The images are surrounded by some clever wordsmithing and makes for an interesting read, look, and ponder.

Inspired by this post which I had bookmarked for this blog post and Wednesday morning’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs, my wife and I took a trip to Point Pelee. It’s a luxury that we normally enjoy a few times over the summer but we stayed away this year. We had a bit of incredible November weather and so did spend an afternoon there. I took my phone out and made a conscious effort during our outing and took some pictures of my own.

They’re not in the same class as Jessica’s art but I am kind of proud that I did take the time to find some interesting shots and will assemble them into a blog post for Saturday.

Thanks, Jessica. I love it when people push me.


About those special days at school pt 1.
About those special days at school Pt 2.

From the Heart and Art of Education blog, Will Gourley shares a couple of blog posts describing his fall.

Part 1 deals with some thoughts about inclusion and equity. These are important concepts and Will’s Grade 4 and 5 class were up to the challenge.

Some quotes from the students in the post…

These are wonderful comments from these students.

You have to ask yourself — if they feel this way now but change their opinions later as they get older, what happened? How can education be the enduring answer?

In Part 2, Will gives us a week by week summary of how things when for him in October. In education, it was a month like no other. It’s supposed to be the time for sugar and pumpkin distractions. That’s all different this year.

Will speaks, I know, for so many educators when he notes that October is also the time for “Meet the teacher”, “Curriculum nights”, and of course Progress Reports.

Thrown into this month like no other, there were also a number of teachers thrown adrift by reorganization of schools in addition to online, hybrid, face to face, and whatever buzzword describes your reality.

These are a great pair of blog posts and it wouldn’t be fair to include only one of them here.


Finding Balance With Hybrid Learning – E026

During our radio show, Stephen Hurley asked me if I felt awkward using the term EduGals to describe the authors of this blog post. I had to confess; yes, I did but it’s the name that they elected to use so we use.

They do acknowledge that it’s tough times for all educators.

It’s difficult to pinpoint just one audience for this post, based upon their podcast on the topic. From beginning to end, it’s rich with naming various technologies and how they can be used in the classrooms of today.

As I mentioned in the show, this is truly the time for technology to step up and deliver for all teachers. I think that many will acknowledge that serious and deep use of technology only occurred when school classrooms were closed in the spring. So many people were unprepared for the wide variety of tools that are available to tackle the job.

In this post, Rachel and Katie identify some of their favourite tools and deliver an engaging analysis and how they might be used by the connected educator. It’s not a short blog post but identifies so many tools that are worth the time to explore and see if they fit into your teaching flow.

This post is well worth the read.


Catching Up

It was great to see a new post to Peter Cameron’s blog. It had been a while. The post isn’t unique to his blog, it’s actually a copy of a letter that he sent to a friend and shared with us. He let us know that he was busy … but I hope that it feels good for him to be back at it.

There are lots of links to presentations and collections of resources that he’s working on. He spoke at Lakehead University in addition to his day job and provides us with a list of things that he has done in the past and wants to do in the future.

But that future will be different … he applied for a new gig. I know that those who read his blog and experience his successes wish him the best going forward. He shares what’s up in a Twitter message.

If you read the blog post, you’ll note that he’s promising us big things in November. I’m looking forward to it.


Golf in Gym

I don’t know, Diana, but this past Monday and Tuesday were pretty good golfing days around here. As I drove by many of the courses in Essex County, they’re doing a good late fall business.

Of course, it’s different in schools.

In Health and Physical Education, many traditional activities are off the table for now. I think we all understand and appreciate that. Diana has acknowledged that it’s been a while since she taught Physical Education but she decided to give it a shot … indoors.

Well, maybe not a chip shot but a putt for sure.

What do you do when you don’t have golf equipment at your school? You cobble together some things and make it happen.

This post is inspirational … read and learn from it!

  • never say never
  • if nothing else, steal borrow Diana’s idea for those inside winter classes

Better late than never. After all, The Master’s starts today.


Please take some time to click through and read/enjoy all of these terrific blog posts.

Then follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Tamara Bolotenko – @TamaraBolotenko
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Peter Cameron – @cherandpete
  • Diana Maliszewski  – @MzMollyTL

This post comes from

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I can’t get over how we seem to be speeding into winter. Cooler nights, the furnace got turned on, and it’s easy to detect the shorter days. On the other hand, it makes for a cooler dog walk…

Please enjoy these blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. As always, there are some great thinking in there.

The voicEd Radio archive of This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcasts is located here.


We’re back and it feels…

So, school is a month in and people are experiencing the new reality. Some teachers had a choice of teaching face to face and some online. Will Gourley decided to take the face to face route.

He describes his experience as CAGE.

  • Confusion
  • Anger
  • Grief
  • Elation

and expands on each of them. It’s an interesting read and I suspect that Will speaks for thousands of teachers this year.

This year is definitely different and yet the descriptions that Will uses might well be the reality of any different year. But, the reality this time around is that everything is amplified and teachers are much more cognizant about everything that’s happening in their world. Normally, a routine is established in classrooms in that first week. It’s definitely taking longer this year. They don’t cover this at the Faculty.

Prepping to teach this September has matched the level of confusion and effort of my very first years. 

Give Will a read and see if he’s not describing your reality.


Mask Productions

Around here, we turn on the Windsor and Detroit news stations to find out what’s happening around us. Because these stations are part of a big network, often they will bring in stories from the rest of the province or the country so that we get a sense of what’s happening elsewhere.

Of that, I’m sure that you can imagine the out of district news settles in on what’s happening in Toronto and/or Ottawa.

I think the last time that news from the northwest of the province came in a celebration for Terry Fox.

Certainly, nothing COVID from Thunder Bay or westward makes the news because their numbers are miniscule. That’s great news. So, I appreciated this post from Sheila Stewart letting us know how things are going from her perspective.

We are a big province indeed and bloggers from different locations help bring the entire picture into focus. In the post, we get a look at Sheila’s crystal ball for how long masking will be around.


Get Jamming with Google Jamboard – E022

I’m a big fan of digital visual aids in the classroom. Those lucky enough to have SMARTBoards or some other interactive product hopefully feel the same.

When Jamboard was announced, I actually thought it was for music but I was wrong. It’s Google’s idea of what an interactive whiteboard should be.

The EduGals share their insights to the product via both a podcast and this blog post. The podcast is nice but I’m more of a fan of the post. They include a number of screen captures and walk throughs of the functionality of the product. Man, we’ve come so far from the days of being excited about Microsoft Paint!

So, what makes this product different? To me, it’s the Google element. It’s enhanced for the web and that makes a huge difference. It takes away dependency on installing and maintaining software and it just works. As the EduGals point out, it’s very friendly and functional regardless of your platform. That makes it worthwhile.

If you’re just getting started with Jamboard, this is a pretty definitive walkthrough. Make sure that you check out the resources that they’ve included and their usage advice. You’ll leap from functionality to pedagogy almost immediately!


Finding my joy

I thought that this was a masterful piece of writing from Amanda Potts. The first time I read the post, I read it picturing it with the scenario that she describes. On the phone and working with a special needs student and helping the student decide between what they could control and what they couldn’t.

It was an emotional read and I put myself in her shoes and could feel the reality of dealing with that student. Any teacher could empathize. You could even feel the pain of having the phone pinned to her ear that way.

Then, I read the post again.

This time, I felt that she was telling us a story about herself and the reality of teaching these days – those things you control and those you can’t.

The first read was powerful; the second read was even more so.

I do hope that she continues to find her joy.


Apple Strudel: Family Recipes and Rituals to Heal an Aching Heart

Debbie Donsky bases this post around Apple Strudel. Normally, I would read and move on but there’s much more here than the strudel.

It came as a result from her father’s request when asked the question

Is there anything you want to eat?

The balance of the post describes how she goes about fulfilling this request.

These days, if I wanted apple strudel, I’d go to Sobeys in town and buy it in a package all ready to go.

That wasn’t Debbie’s solution and what she described was more or less the routine that my mother would have followed. (Except we wouldn’t have travelled to Niagara). The jar of canned peaches reminded me of the rows we would have in the basement once the fall canning blitz was over.

There really is something special about homemade. The results aren’t always perfect; they aren’t always even symmetrical. But they were awesome and a real treat.

So, please read Debbie’s post where she reveals the “secret ingredient”.


Covid Education Is What The Unicycle Is To The Bicycle

This is such an interesting title for a blog post and generated by Matthew Morris. I’m happy to know that I’m not the only one who was unable to master riding a unicycle although to my defense, I only tried twice.

I can vouch for his premise – riding a unicycle is nothing like riding a bicycle.

The first days of school were nothing like dusting off that old 4-speed and taking it for an easy ride down a familiar path. The first days back to school, under Covid education, felt like someone told me and all teachers, “You know how to ride a bicycle, right? Good, here’s a fucking unicycle…it’s basically the same thing.”

It’s a good comparison and would be funny if it wasn’t so serious. Even online learning in the time of COVID is different from online learning during regular times.

The difference? It goes back to the message from Amanda above. There are some things that you can control and some you can’t.

Is anyone in control these days?


A year later…

So, this is my official check in with Ramona Meharg.

As she reminds us, it’s been a year since she lost her mother and is taking time to think about the past year.

I’m told the first year is the most difficult as I pass these days and events without her for the first time.

I hope that the advice works out for her. I can share that, in my experience, the first year may be a collection of milestones but it’s certainly not the end to the memories. In fact, I would suggest that something is wrong if those memories ever do end.

Ramona is correct in her thoughts – going through this in the time of COVID is awful. In our family, some final meetings were through an external window. Nobody should have to do that.

Ramona’s post should serve as a reminder to all – make sure that you’re checking in on friends and loved ones. It’s always important but never more than right now.


I hope that you can find some time today or over the weekend to do a read of all of these wonderful blog posts and then share them within your network.

And, follow these awesome bloggers on Twitter.

  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Ramona Meharg – @RamonaMeharg

This post originated from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Congratulations on making it to the first end of the week in September. This year, everyone is in different positions for the return to school. Some in buildings; some online. Some may have started with students already; some may still be waiting. Good thing we have a plan. Sit back and check out some greater blogging from Ontario Edubloggers.


Intentional Teacher Printable

Amy Bowker shares some advice for new teachers and wisdom for all teachers in this post. I had to smile at her chart and the year-long attitude for new teachers – Anticipation, Survival, Disillusionment, Rejuventation, Reflection, Anticipation. Thinking back to my first year of teaching and I totally concur with her observations.

The Reflection piece is great for all educators and she offers some printable for you to use.

Great advice all way around here.


Online/ Distance Learning

Jonathan So has been back to school for a bit now and shares some of his thoughts as he starts to pick up momentum. I like his setup that he shares in pictures. I can’t speak highly enough for the concept of having two monitors if you’re interested in productivity and ease of information flow.

Sound is crucial for success when communicating with others. I’ve used the microphone in my laptop and the microphone in a headset. They are both functional but you cannot beat a professional grade microphone. Jonathan uses a Blue Snowball Microphone. A good microphone helps provide a higher grade of audio which serves to engage.

I agree with the four elements that he describes in the post as key to successful teaching online. He shares some of the challenges of teaching and assessing at a distance and describes the tools that he uses. It’s a great selection.

If you’re looking for more, check out this article This Teacher’s Hack For Sharing Documents With Students Is Easy and Affordable.

The more that experienced teachers like Jonathan share, the better all that are teaching at distance will be.


My Podcast Playlist

As I would say to my friend Alfred, here’s another list I didn’t make! Laura Wheeler has caught on to using podcasts as a way to learn and to keep up to date.

In this post, she shares some very high quality podcasts that she follows and a quick review of some of the impressive shows that she’s listened to.

Laura points out that there are numerous players for podcasts; she recommends Podcast Addict. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bambuna.podcastaddict

If you’re getting into the concept of listening to podcasts or you want to enhance your current list of shows, you really can’t go wrong with her choices.


Y is for YOU and other Y’s

As Lynn Thomas weaves her way through the alphabet, she ends up on the letter Y. And, not just one word starting with Y but a bunch.

You is one of her words and her advice at this time stresses the importance of you paying attention to yourself. Your attention to personal wellbeing is so important during these times but also for those students in your charge. As any teacher will tell you, students are alway watching and listening and take their lead from you.

Yearn for yesterday was another pair of Ys that she expands on in her post. I think that so many of us feel this; even if the “yesterday” was just six months ago. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just toss the last six away. Of course, we can always dream.

Lynn takes on more words using the letter Y and shares her thoughts so click through and enjoy.


Myers Briggs personality

I’ll confess here that, when I saw this title for Amanda Potts’ post, I thought it might head in a different direction. I suspect that all of us have takes the Myers Briggs test at some point. I’m sure that I must have but I can’t remember the results.

Amanda can’t remember the results other than the letter E and takes us on a little memory of a boyfriend.

Then, there’s a switch to an article that talks about The Definition Of Hell For Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type although the link in her post takes you to The Definition Of Heaven For Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type.

But she pulls this definition –

ENTJ – Somebody is wrong, and they’re directing a large group of people! You can’t do anything about it and will have to obey whatever inefficient policies they decide to implement.

Gulp! As she notes, it’s a sign of the times.


Anti-Racist Educator Reads

Sketchnoting is a technique that I admire in others. It says as much about their learning style as it does the actual content. My inability to be able to do that myself speaks volumes about my learning style. I prefer a bulleted list that chronologically takes me through whatever I’m listening to.

In this case, Debbie Donsky sketchnotes her way through a series of podcasts from Colinda Clyne.


Self-Care for Teachers

From the TDSB Professional Library comes this very timely blog post.

Now, more than ever, teachers need self-care strategies to stay strong physically, mentally and socially. Here are some strategies and tips, drawn from the links below, for teachers to enhance their self-care during this unusual school year.

There are quick suggestions dealing with

  • Physical Self-Care
  • Mental Self-Care
  • Social Self-Care

Of course, we know all this but take a moment for yourself and review the recommendations.

Sources for the recommendations are provided for further reading.


Please do yourself some professional good and read these blog posts.

Then, make sure your’re following these educators.

  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker
  • Jonathan So – @MrSoClassroom
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • Lynn Thomas – @THOMLYNN101
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts 
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • TDSB Professional Library -@ProfLibraryTDSB

This post originates from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


We had a flavour of Switzerland on the This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcast this past Wednesday when Vicky Loras joined the show as guest host. Vicky has been a connection for many Ontario educators so it was nice that she knew of some of the Ontario Edubloggers that we featured on the show. Vicky is gearing up to get a PhD in Linguistics. Her Masters program included a study of “Canadian English” and you can read her research as it’s linked to her PhD blog.


#tdsbbt2020 Board PD? Why not?

The first blog post we talked about originated from Diana Maliszewski and it was an inspirational way for her to finish her summer. She attended the TDSB New Teachers Conference. Hence the hashtag in the title for the post.

There’s a great deal of logic to attending something like this – for teachers new to the profession, they would never have covered how to teach and manage students safely in the time of a pandemic.

Heck even teachers with 30 years of experience may not have the skills. Even last spring, school buildings were closed and school continued from home at a distance. So, in some respect, everyone will be a new teacher entering classrooms whenever and wherever they do. It varies from district to district!

Diana wasn’t a passive participant either. With partner Sarah Baynes, they did a two hour session called “It’s All Political: Media Literacy and our Texts, Talk and Teaching”. I love the sharing of expertise and the notion of paying it forward.


Reflect. Review. Revise. A year in the Library Learning Commons

So, this was a discussion about an academic document created as an assignment for an Additional Qualification program in Librarianship. If we weren’t headed into a new year with teacher-librarians and Learning Commons in question, we might not even heard about this.

Beth Lyons does show her technology skills in the creation of the document (using Canva and publishing to Issuu) and it reads like a blueprint for what every Library could/should be.

Divided into two sections, pre- and during- COVID, it’s a beautiful summary and also inspirational to the extent that the library didn’t pack up and leave when students stopped coming into the building. Again, she uses Social Media like YouTube to keep doing the good things that she had always done.

The link to the document is in the post and worth the click.


Splendour in the Grass

I really didn’t know how to approach this post from Colleen Rose. There’s a link in there to a very specific internet site that left her ugly-crying. I supposed that she could have dwelled on this aspect and that would have made the post very depressing.

Instead, she used it as inspiration to share with us some of the things that were uplifting in her life over the summer. Her painting, her baking, her trips to the beach, the beauty that is Northern Ontario, sharing a beer and her two lovely children.

She led the post with the Wordsworth poem

In the faith that looks through death,

In years that bring the philosophic mind.

A personal note to my dear friend Colleen and, indeed to all educators headed back to school buildings, keep your heads up and focus on the priorities. You’ve got this.


Building Community & Advanced Features within Brightspace by D2L – E017

This is a rather longish post from the Edugals and elaborates on one of their podcasts featuring Tanya Williamson.

Many educators will be forced to use an online Learning Management System as a result of their teaching assignment and choices. We saw last spring though that everyone ended up scrambling to learn the skills to teach online. It truly was building the airplane while flying it.

The post highlights some of the features of Brightspace and ranks some of the features in terms of importance so that people don’t feel like they need to use every feature right away.

If the worse happens again and schools are closed down or if you are teaching using Brightspace, you’ll find this a good reference.

I think my recommendation to all teachers regardless of where they are teaching is to use the features of the LMS that they have at their disposal. It opens a lot of opportunities and is a chance for students to learn how to function in this environment while the teacher is “in the house” and can be there to assist.

Of course, that requires access to the technology in a safe manner. BYOD anyone?


Brain Words Book Club: How the Science of Reading Informs Teaching

Yet another real thinker comes from the blog of Deborah McCallum. It’s an insight into a book study she was involved with Brain Words: How the Science of Reading Informs Teaching, by Richard Gentry and Gene P. Ouellette.

I was at a big of a loss when reading this; I’ve never had to teach children to read – by the time they get to secondary school, I just assumed that they had that skill.

I also marvel that I was ever able to learn to read personally; the techniques and insights that educators have today certainly weren’t around when I was learning. I go back to the days of the Primer so I’m the odd man out in these discussions. Deborah draws a comparison of memorizing mathematics concepts to memorizing language concepts and words. That may well describe at least part of my reading journey and whatever success I might have had.

Yet, reading in Computer Science is still a skill. I wonder if some of the techniques would help when the reading gets technical.


Set-Up Day 1

This was a new blog for me and came as a comment to yesterday’s post. Mrs. Crockett and Miss Dunsiger have created a blog that they’re calling their Daily Documentation. If you’ve followed these ladies in the past, you know that they have used a variety of social media and are now trying to rein it in a bit. This blog looks like it might be their answer.

It’s more than a little sad to think that this is what a kindergarten classroom looks like in the Fall of 2020.

This is so far from the status quo that had been used, developed, and refined over the years.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I hope that many educators take the time to show to the world what their classroom looks like and this elicits a bunch of suggestions to make it better.

Maybe even a set of before/after pictures?


Friday Two Cents: What Makes Me Happy

Paul Gauchi read an article that inspired him to share with us what makes him happy. It just takes three things.

  • positive relationships
  • financial security
  • sense of purpose

Of course, he expands on each of them.

Is he really happy? He notes that some of these items are a bit strained but maintains a positive outlook.

That’s a good thing.

I’m happy for him. We could always look at things and allow them to get us down or we can choose to look at things positively. The key is that you’ll never be perfect so maybe you need to find some other way to define happiness.


Please take some time and click through and read all of these wonderful posts. There’s great inspiration there.

Then, follow them all on Twitter.

  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Colleen Rose – @ColleenKR
  • Edugals – @EduGals
  • Deborah McCallum – @bigideasinedu
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon

This post originates from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


As I indicated earlier this week, this Wednesday didn’t have the regular radio show / podcast on voicEd Radio. I got bumped by some principal thing. So, this is the only opportunity to find out what I’ve been reading from Ontario Edubloggers.


6 FREE Resources for Anywhere Learning

Jennifer Casa-Todd leads off this week with some resources for people to use that hopefully will help out no matter what your return to school looks like. Her list includes:

  • Google Resources
  • Microsoft
  • Eduprotocols
  • Hybrid Teacher Survival Guide
  • A Digital Librarian’s Survival Guide
  • OISE Learning Webinars

Some may be obvious and some might provide some insights that you may have not seen before.

I suppose the Google thing might be in the “obvious” category, but the big takeaway should be following the @GEGOntario folks. Jennifer indicates that there’s a panel in the planning to help teachers.


Do You Want to Go Back?

What a bizarre concept!

A leader in a school district in Ontario asking a student if they want to go back and on what terms. That was the case for Sue Dunlop and she was surprised at the answer her niece gave her.

Then, Sue turns to the reality that not all students are the same and not all come from the same background and not all have the same wishes. It brings her to ask some interesting questions.

  • Who benefits from the way we’ve been doing things?
  • How can the voices of all students be amplified?
  • What does it mean to use an anti-racist lens when working on early reading and progress towards graduation?

Much talk has been made about the return to school building as a return to a live pre-COVID. Those that wish for this are going to be disappointed, at least in the short term

As Sue notes, the status quo isn’t good enough.

I hope that this philosophy is ringing in the ears of all educators and educational leaders.


ADVENTURES IN SUMMER SCHOOL

From the TESL Blog, an interesting look at summer school this summer written by Svjetlana Vrbanic. It wasn’t a year off. It wasn’t life as we know it. But, apparently, it was quite an adventure.

Of course, it’s different. I think back to my own summer school experience – it was for additional qualifications. It was like regular school, only hotter and I was increasingly aware that there was a lot else going on while I was in class. Then, there was the commute to London and back.

I found this quite interesting. Obviously, the students wouldn’t be in a single place so it was learning online. And they didn’t have to commute. Zoom was the answer. But still, the adventure continues and I suspect that many can sympathize with the challenges.

  • Test-time Technical Difficulties
  • Student as Host (whoops)
  • Mystery Students

Where do I start?!

So, here’s the thing about people that like and enjoy mathematics. They want to share their passion and interests with others. Such is the message that comes through in the post from Melissa D, the Dean of Math!

So, she talks about getting the question “where do I start?”

In the post, she describes an activity that promotes a whole bunch of Cs

 classroom culture of connection, collaboration, conjecture and community

I like the activity and I like how she describes how it could work to create that desired culture.

If you’re in search of inspiration, this is worth checking out.


How Are You Finding Control?

I was drawn to Aviva Dunsiger’s post by the word “control”. In education, it could mean so many different things. I wondered what her take would be.

The post is a really big picture look at her and her teaching partner’s professional life. She takes on the word “play” in the post because it may well one of the most misunderstood words in education. Especially, if you have embraced it in your classroom.

She gives a bit of reflection about what control in her classroom means. My wonder is it truly a loss of control or a more strategic way of handling things? I’ve had this discussion with many early years teachers as they address it in both French and English. It’s a humbling conversation for someone coming from secondary school.

Right now, every educator has lost all kinds of control. Some that come to mind:

  • something as simple as being able to go to the school and set up a classroom
  • what type of schedule will be run in the province, in your school
  • what is mathematics going to look like?
  • will the students play nicely by the new COVID rules?
  • how many students will actually show up face to face?

I totally understand her message. A wise person, one of my superintendents, advised me to let go of those things that I can’t control and take charge of what I can. It’s been good advice that has stuck with me.

I feel for Aviva who is so concerned about a policy directive from the board office about social media that may well change so many things that she’s been a leader in.


Legacy Pedagogy Baggage

OK, so Matthew Morris is making me feel badly with this one. While I wasn’t an A+ student in all subject areas, I did do reasonably well in school. In elementary school, I was always in a split-grade classroom because supposedly we were motivated self-starters.

In fact, when I think about it, being in that split-grade classroom may well have helped me understand the educational system better. I think I learned the “game” of education and that the road to success was easier if you just played by the rules.

It only takes a couple of hours in a classroom practice teaching situation to realize that the game book is different for different students. We no longer ask if a student is smart but we ask how they are smart.

As teachers return to another school year, and this will be one like no other, I would suspect that student abilities in various areas will be amplified. I suspect that they’re going to want to hang on to school, teachers, and friends like never before except the concept of hanging on will be different from necessity.

Maybe from necessity, teachers will be willing to throw away some of that old baggage too.


Anticipation and Imagination

Melanie White’s post follows so nicely on the heels of Matthew’s. She closes so powerfully.

The anticipation of teaching that has roots grounded in the individual student experience and identity which is essential to realizing one’s genius. There is a vision that I can anticipate and radically imagine for teaching this year.

Every time I read something from Melanie, I end up walking around and replaying her thoughts in my mind. (usually while walking the dog)

It would be so easy for teachers to curl up in a ball and rock back and forth. The level of uncertainty has never been so high. Melanie did something so good for herself and attended a seminar that “converted my anxiety to anticipation”. You can see her outlook changing in her words as you go through the post.


Even without the voicEd Radio show, this was a powerful collection of reading for me. I hope that you can find time to click through and read them all … and be inspired.

Then, follow them on Twitter

  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Sue Dunlop – @DunlopSue
  • TESLOntario – @TESLOntario
  • Svjetlana Vrbanic – @lanavrb
  • Melissa D – @Dean_of_math
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio

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