This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I’m not quite sure what to say here. Normally, I’d wish everyone a good return to school on Monday after the March Break. But, it’s April and nobody’s going back to a school building on Monday although classes resume in some places and teachers are getting ready for the day to resume online classes on Tuesday. I think we should just relish the fact that it’s Friday and just pretend that it’s a good day. Agreed?

Oh, and read some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


How To Easily Create Bitmoji Stickers in Google Drawings

Wednesday was a special edition of This Week in Ontario Edublogs. Since educators are on holiday which involves not going anywhere, I reached out to the EduGals who joined Stephen Hurley and me on our voicEd Radio show. They were absolutely delightful to have a conversation with and I gained an extra level of appreciation from where they’re coming from and their positive approach to education and technology in education.

This post from them I think is timely now that we’re returning, in Ontario, to a bout of learning from home which means a whole lot of digital. While everyone appreciates a numeric mark or a letter, how about something a little more exciting and digital? Stickers!

It’s a long post, full of screen captures that will take you through the process along with descriptive text. Alternatively, they’ve prepared a YouTube video if that works better for you.

This might be just what you need to change your game.


The good, bad and ugly of online learning

Charles Pascal pretty much has it covered in the title of this post. The comments to this post add even more fuel to his premise.

To be clear, there really isn’t anything wrong with online learning. As Charles notes, it’s been done for over 100 years in Ontario. For students, the ability to take a course online is a real solution for scenarios like a course not being offered at their school for whatever reason, the need for an additional credit, the ability to keep up with studies if forced to be home for sickness reasons, etc.

For those who are not educators, the shift to requiring four courses for graduation or to just pull the plug on a return to school and doing everything online is seen as an easy educationally valid “pivot”. (Gawd, I hate that word)

If we’re learned anything from what’s happened over the past year, it’s that a seemingly simple change to online learning for everyone just isn’t a quick and easy solution. There is so much to be factored in. We’re now seeing some school districts taking next Monday as an adjustment day. As my old employer has on their website:

On Monday, the 19th, both elementary and secondary teachers will connect with their students to make sure they’re ready for the following day and determine any technical needs and access to resources. They will also provide students with some work for the day they can complete, independently.

from https://www.publicboard.ca/News/ourstories/RemoteLearningUpdate/Pages/default.aspx#/= April 15, 2021

Clear and supportive efforts from a government are needed at this time and Charles shares his thoughts about what he see and what he doesn’t see right now.

A very good read.


The Lab That Isn’t A Lab

Normally, a post like this would get a read from me and then I’d move on because I like to have current blog posts on this Friday post of mine. From Tim King, this goes back to 2012 but I think it’s worth another look.

I can’t speak for Tim’s reality but, in my old school, when scheduling came along all the department heads were brought together to try to allocate classes to appropriate rooms and resources. Personally, even as computer science teacher, I wouldn’t want to be in a computer lab. There is a need for planning, collaboration, problem solving even before a finger is laid on a keyboard. If you think of the typical hard technology classroom, it has two distinct areas – desks and then the saws, lathes, welding, equipment, etc. in another. In my old high school, we had a program where students could learn to sew or cook and they sure weren’t plunked into a room full of sewing machines or in the kitchen!

Tim ended up being assigned to a computer lab and he didn’t want it. You see; his subject to be taught is computer engineering, which if you care to look at the expectations, is all about the nets and bolts of tearing apart computer components and putting them back together. It’s hardly the setting that the district IT Support Team would want done on a computer lab that would have been installed and customized over the summer. You can read “customized” as meaning that all the fun as been taken out of the computer so that they are reliably working day by day.

I know that we used to invite computer engineering teachers to a warehouse where the computers to be retired were housed so that they could select an appropriate number and type for their program.

There are all kinds of permutations for how this could happen.

But, beyond the discussion of Tim’s classroom and I’ll bet he’s not alone, there’s a bigger message about top down efficiency decisions made arbitrarily and expecting good intentioned teachers to make it work. You wouldn’t put a French class, for example, into a room outfitted for English classes just because there are a lot of new books there without seeing if they’re appropriate.

It really is a matter of understanding all the courses and all the resources and listening to those involved to come up with the best solution.


It’s Getting Ridiculous

I love the reference to basketball that Matthew Morris starts out with. After all, I’m not a Kings fan but there’d be screaming if he ever said something about the Pistons.

In the post, he shares his feelings about going into a school of 200 people every day during our current situation. High in his mind is the case of the Toronto teacher who is intubated in a hospital.

I’m glad that he brought up the news stories – everywhere it’s the same. Local doom and gloom and COVID numbers for the first 10 minutes or so and then a shift to something else. I can’t help but note that the stories are the same and that I could match his CP24 with CTVWindsor and there wouldn’t be much of a change.

Ridiculous is his summary word for what he’s seeing. I agree but would add a couple of colourful adjectives before ridiculous if I was writing this post.


The 500 – #375 – Late For The Sky – Jackson Browne

First up, an apology. Apparently during the voicEd Radio show, we got Marc Hodgkinson’s name wrong. That should never happen.

I check in with his blog when my RSS reader flags that he has a new post. I’m really enjoying his working through “The 500” Greatest Albums of All Time.

This time, it’s the “Late For The Sky” album by Jackson Browne. I was pleasantly pleased with this post. I thought that I knew much of Browne’s work. As it turns out, I was completely wrong.

From the album, I only knew Before the Deluge

But the rest was new music for me. This album was released in 1974. Man, I missed so much!


Nothing is Better Than My Classroom

It was wonderful to see Sarah Leroux back and contributing to her blog.

This post is a reflection of her teaching from at home. It sounds like she has a great workspace with all the amenities and that’s a good thing. But, apparently it pales when compared to her classroom.

Can you agree with this sentiment?

I understand that it may not be the safest place for us to gather, at the moment, but as a passionate in person teacher, I live and thrive off the energy of my students. Their Aha moments, their jokes, their collaboration. Not only do I TEACH better, in class, but I truly believe, for most of my students, they LEARN better in class. 

Click through to her post and read her thoughts.

I’ll be willing to bet that you can’t disagree with her.


The P3 Ends- But the Memories Live On

You’ve got to feel for Noa Daniel.

She had a real niche in the blogging, podcasting space with her P3 collections. Three songs are submitted and Noa crafts them into a discussion for the podcast. Between the interview and the post-production, you can tell that she’s put so much into each episode.

I had the honour to be on her show and I was number 61. Her complete collection at Spotify is 158 episodes. That’s quite impressive. Sadly, it has come to an end and Noa explains why in the post.

My songs were:

  • Blue Hawaii – Elvis Presley
  • Growin’ Up – Bruce Springsteen
  • Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

It was a great experience to be asked to join Noa for the show.


On this Friday, I hope that you can click through and enjoy these posts as much as I did.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher
  • Sarah Anne Leroux – @sarahanneleroux
  • Noa Daniel – @noasbobs

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


After yesterday afternoon with a high of 13 degrees and walking around comfortably with just a jacket, it was back to winter coat and big mittens today. Spring in Ontario. As I look out the window, I see little flakes of snow. This is nuts.

What’s not nuts are the posts this week from Ontario Edubloggers.


Celebrating Kindergarten

And it seems just like yesterday when I first went to kindergarten. It was such a traumatic experience. But, it launched my educational career. You gotta start somewhere.

On the Heart and Art Blog, Melissa Turnbull writes to remind us that this is the tenth year anniversary of full-day kindergarten. Except for having kids of my own, I figured that Grade 1 would be the end of thinking about kindergarten! Then, later in my teaching career as a computer consultant, it was my privilege to visit students and teachers in their kindergarten environment. Everything is so small. Looking up from those in the roof, we must have looked so big.

Full days changed everything for the youngest in our schools and you’ll find Melissa’s observations and links interesting to check out.

We now think of it as just the way that education is done but it was a huge shift at the time.


Getting Older

We all do it annually.

Diana Maliszewski reached another birthday milestone recently. You’ll have to click through and read her blog post to figure out which one. She doesn’t hid anything.

I love the fact that she doesn’t mind having a birthday. May that never get old. She does have one thing about birthdays that I never had. A birthday during the school year. It’s a special time where you might have something going on at school – I can remember kids’ parents bringing in cake for the class and all of us singing.

There really are no bad days for birthdays. Well, maybe mid-August when all your friends are at cottages or doing something to capture the end of the summer. And then it falls on the family reunion where your celebration is ignored because everyone is greeting everyone else and waiting for the corn on the cob to arrive. But, other than that, there are no bad days.

But I’m not bitter. I’m envious that Diana is so positive about every thing that’s happening to her as she hits another milestone and is still the enthusiastic wonderful person that she always seems to be. May that never change.

Happy Birthday, Diana.


Bottle critique

Don’t judge a blog post by the images in it. If that was the case, you might skip past this post from Alanna King. Well, unless you like a good wine.

I do like a good wine so I was drawn in by this post that was not the typical post from Alanna. As it turns out, it wasn’t too much about wine at all. It was more about design layout for some advertising pieces.

The Business educator in my was intrigued by her analysis of some different layouts and how she interpreted them. It was interesting to see the design and the strategic placement of chocolates in a couple of them. We did this exercise in Marketing classes all the time!

I had to smile just a bit to see the wine bottles lying on their sides. In our financial reach, there don’t seem to be any bottles that come with real corks anymore so there is no need to lie them on their sides.

Actually, our “vin de jour” now comes conveniently in a box. For a couple of years at university, we got into making our own wine and I learned so much about the process. Now that I’m older, it’s far more convenient to just drive into town and buy it ready to go.

And with all the great wineries in Essex County, you can go right to the source.


Girls Who Game (GWG) 2020-2021

I have great admiration for educators who go above and beyond and it’s even more amplified with all of the challenges that we have in education and society right now.

But, that doesn’t stop Zelia Tavares and Katina Papulkas from offering gaming opportunities to the young ladies involved in the Girls Who Game club. Thanks to Zelia who names names in this post, I have a couple more Ontario educators to add to my list – Kamla Rambaran and Sebastian Basualto.

The post is an update to this effort – gaming in Minecraft which seems to be very popular and I’ve yet to hear of someone who has regretted getting involved. With Zelia and her tinkering abilities, it must be a hoot for the girls.

They’re talking about designing “an eatery of the future in Minecraft”. I couldn’t help but think that I had a glimpse, growing up with the Jetsons.

But what an environment to turn the imagination loose to see what might shake out! You might not be able to create it in real life but you often can in Minecraft.


Slice of Life: She likes me so much!

I started to write “It’s the little things that matter.” But this isn’t a little thing. It’s a huge thing! It might even be the most important thing

Lisa Corbett drops just a lovely post to read in these times.

Maybe it’s because she was out in the cold doing her morning assigned duty and was looking for things. Maybe it’s something that she suspected all along and it was just reinforced. Maybe it’s just that we’re all looking for good things these days.

Whatever the reason, this post is a reminder to all that there are special relationships in education and it could be easy to overlook. Lisa didn’t; she captured the moment in her mind and blog and you’ll feel good reading about it. You may wish to keep your eyes open in the future to see it happening around you.


Exploring The World of Google Arts And Culture – E040

The Edugals, Rachel Johnson and Katie Attwell, dropped another podcast – this time about Google’s Arts and Culture product.

I’ll admit that it’s a wonderful pastime for times when I might be a little bored or I’m just looking for something inspirational and different.

For all the time that I’ve poked around in this environment, I know that there’s so much left to be explored. It’s never time wasted.

I’m mentioned various parts hers in posts from the past. I use it as a personal reminder if I ever want to follow the cookie crumbs back and re-enjoy things. The applications are so rich for the classroom and I appreciate the fact that the ‘gals took the time to share their thoughts.

If you’ve never explored this resource, this post and podcast may be just the inspiration that you need to get started.


LearningInTheLoo: Photocopier Fitness

This isn’t too depressing at all.

After reading Laura Wheeler’s post, I thought about all the time I spent staring out the window or eavesdropping on conversations going on while I was waiting for something to happen while at work.

With Laura’s list, I’m reminded of how there can be dead time in the course of the teaching day. Her list…

waiting for:

  • your copies to print
  • the staff bathroom to be free
  • your lunch to heat up in the microwave
  • the bus to arrive 
  • the bell to ring
  • students to arrive

I wasted all that waiting time doing other things. Rats!

In the graphic, Laura offers some suggestions about what you could be doing instead and doing something good for yourself.


I hope that you can find some time to click through and read all these terrific blog posts. There’s some inspiration, fun, and insights to get you thinking.

Then, follow most of them on Twitter.

  • Melissa Turnbull
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Alanna King – @banana29
  • Zelia Tavares – @ZeliaMCT
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy New Year!

I’m happy to note that we’re off to a great start for 2021 and blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. I hope that you can take some time to enjoy these.


The Value Of

Maybe the best part of 2021 will be an opportunity to reflect on 2020. In education and society in general, it was awful.

Beth Lyons takes a look back at the value of various things that are important to her.

  • hug
  • partner
  • network
  • passion

Hugs to you Beth. This certainly was an emotional post to start 2021 off for me and not only is that OK, I think it’s appropriate.


Presents and P3s

A real tribute comes when someone borrows a great idea and turns it into something special for themselves. This was the case for Diana Maliszewski. She had participated in a P3 for Noa’s podcast and used the concept with her own students. I had done that as well. It was fun and makes you think very carefully about your choices because Noa plays them and then probes you to explain your choices.

I had to do a scroll through Noa’s Wixsite in order to look for it since there’s no search function. Normally, I would back out to DuckDuckGo and let it find things for me. But, this little side venture showed me the who’s who that Noa had participated. It turns out that I couldn’t find it there but did find it on the voicEd site and the link is above.

I couldn’t help but think that there would be incredible value of doing this with students as I scrolled through Noa’s list. I know some of these people and some other’s just by reputation, and some not at all. Despite the level of knowing, they all had interesting stories to tell. So, why not do it with students.

It made Diana’s effort seem extra worthwhile.


Preparing our New Teachers

The title from Terry Whitmell’s post indicated that I had to read this. After all, how the heck do you “prepare” teachers in this day and age.

I was “prepared” in better times and was cocky as heck going into my first placement while at the Faculty. After all, I had a Bachelor degree and some of the best lecturers and computer environments in the world. I could dumb it down a bit and still be terrific.

Of course, I was completely wrong and humbled by the experience. Later, teaching at a Faculty of Education myself, I knew that you could never explain that to students until they had their first placement. They got it then.

In this post, Terry reminds us that the stakes are far different these days. Teacher candidates face:

  • teach fully online
  • traditional classrooms
  • hybrid settings
  • and the most challenging – physical and health education

It’s an interesting discussion. Learning to be a teacher is a challenge in normal times; I can only envision the challenges of today.


Friday Two Cents: Comic Strips: No Smoking

I remember doing a lot of research (and it was a great deal of fun) working with Comic Life when we were considering it for licensing during my term on the OSAPAC Committee.

We eventually ended up recommending that the Ministry purchase a license for Ontario Schools and it was received incredibly well by teachers and students. In many cases, it became the go to story retelling tool and it also made for terrific graphics for presentations.

Paul Gauchi shares with us his enjoyment of creating using comics and shares a December comic about smoking.

If you’re not using comics in the classroom, maybe it’s time to reconsider during these crazy times.


5 Ideas for Making Spirits Bright

This post, from Jennifer Casa-Todd, was released before Christmas and I’m sure that the ideas that she shares were inspired just for that.

  • Personalized Holiday Wishes
  • What I Like About You
  • Help Others in Need
  • Soup
  • The Masked Educator

As I read her post, I am truly understanding of the topic in context of the holiday season. It comes during a time of the year when people typically need a pick-me-up.

I can’t help thinking though that there’s no harm in extending this into 2021. Particularly around here, it’s been dark and lousy days; the type I remember going into work not seeing sun and leaving not seeing sun. In my mind, the inspiration that Jennifer uses in these ideas could easily be used right now.

She also uses the post to launch her new podcast.


Capital “H”, Hybrid #SOL2020

I absolutely love this post from Melanie White. You should read it and really think deeply about what she’s saying.

It actually dovetails nicely with Terry’s post above.

I will admit that I actually have a pretty good collection of computer skills, amassed over the years. It helped me in my job and I was able to focus on other things – not computer or technical things – but just how to teach better, recognizing students differences, etc. I can remember working them into presentations and one hurtful comment when dealing with a non-technical issue “that’s easy for you to say because you know computers” from a participant that had taken exception to me working on something other than a computer thing.

As with all of Melanie’s excellent post, you’ll read it a few times and pick up something new each time that will give you some insights.

But, the big thing in Melanie’s message about Hybrid teaching is just what you should consider the “H” in Hybrid to mean.


ODE TO OZYMANDIAS – KITCHEN RENO 2020

Confession – I had to look up “OZYMANDIAS”.

Alanna King is always worth a good read. She often takes you into places that you had no idea that you might enjoy.

This time, it’s a about a kitchen renovation.

It’s a lovely read and comes complete with pictures.

I just hope that she gave the contractor a little more specific details because this could end badly if not!


So, we’re off and running with great content from Ontario Edubloggers for 2021.

I hope that you can find time to click through and enjoy these posts. As always, there’s so much inspiration there.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Diana Maliszewski – @mzmollytl
  • Terry Whitmell – @TerryWhitmell
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Melanie White – @whiteroomradio
  • Alanna King – @banana29

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.