This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Welcome to Friday and another amazing collection of blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. Enjoy!


While many people live in their original hometown, Sheila may have you longing for a return if you moved away. I lived in mine for 18 years and then left never to return except for a couple of times to tour the place, visit the cemetery, and relive some memories.

If you moved away, there might be something special to remember – maybe it’s because we were kids and biked everywhere, played everywhere, and didn’t have to worry about work and family? I feel like I know my original hometown better than my current. I’ve got to get the bike out.

In the post, she brings up some music videos that got me thinking. The first one was Bruce Springsteen’s My Hometown

and then there’s one where he actually did as a tribute to his hometown but notes if you listen live that there are some bad words in it.

Hometown is an amazing thing to consider and I thank Sheila for the post. Long-time blog readers around here might remember this post from 2010.

I still think that it’s a great activity for the classroom. Lots of room for research and also a chance to apply some computer skills.

The Importance of Student Self-Reflection on Their Own Learning

Reflection is an important part of education and Gonul certainly drives that point home in this post. There’s no room for argument.

I would suggest that, while it’s important to be ongoing, this time of year it’s especially important to reflect on an entire year and the growth and learning that has happened.

She offers a great list of advantages of reflection:

  • Determine their strengths and weaknesses in skills they have developed
  • Analyze their learning process and style
  • Learn to be more independent
  • Understand how they learn
  • Monitor their learning progress
  • Set realistic learning goals
  • Respond positively to feedback to improve performance
  • Take ownership of their own learning

What do you have planned to reflect on a year’s worth of learning?

Becoming a Better Person for Others: Faith into Action

I’ve written a lot of blog posts in my time but, after reading Rolland’s at least four or five times, I leaned back in my chair and just said “Wow!” to myself.

It’s appropriate that it follows Gonul’s post about reflection because this is truly what happens there. Rolland takes four concepts from a resource that he’d read and does an amazing job of internalizing them.

  • Dignity of the Human Person
  • Call to Family, Community, and Participation
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

Given his work, he makes the connections to the Catholic Leadership Framework. In addition to analysing the concepts, he identifies next steps for himself.

What is right is more important than who is right:Speaking Truth to Power

Of course, leaders should get a copy of Charles’ book on leadership. He’s been using his blog to go through the messages and podcasting on voicEd Radio in conversation with Stephen Hurley at the same time.

“Being right” seems like such a simple concept. We all want to be right but, as Charles notes, he’s seen so many instances of “deleterious short-termism”. Haven’t we all?

The complete discussion with Stephen can be listened to here.

I’d be interested in listening to a follow discussion about what happens to staff and the community when the decision made goes wrong because it was important for the decision-maker to be right whether it was the right decision or not.

Expat or Local?

While she was a principal at a school in China, Ann Marie was great at blogging and sharing her own thoughts about life and leadership. Many of her posts ended up her for discussion.

Things change though.

Upon returning home for the Chinese New Year, she didn’t return to China but rather spent the rest of the school year doing the principal thing remotely. There’s been a lot of that done lately – the remote thing.

The bug to travel again is starting to bite and Ann Marie shares her thoughts there along with her vision of a “dream job”.

Certainly, things have changed thanks to COVID for all of us. Travel is more of a conscious decision than ever. Read about how it affects a principal that likes to move around!

Unfilled Jobs = Increased Guilt: Reflecting On Needing To Be Away

As teachers, we all know the hassles that being sick or away from the class can make being away more pain than actually going in. And yet, there are some times when that isn’t an option.

Such was the case with Aviva who had to take three days away. This is probably a better scenario than most since she does have a teaching partner so continuity should/could be good. I know from experience that the experience may be better or worse depending upon who got called in during my absence.

It’s not easily handled anywhere…

This means that educators are missing preps, volunteering to take on extra duties, and juggling schedules to make sure that there’s a teacher for every class.

When someone misses a preparation period due to you being away, there’s always this feeling of owing them something when you indeed do get back. I read Aviva’s post and I can totally understand where she’s coming from. It’s the story for all teachers who are away.

Math Links for Week Ending Apr. 15th, 2022

There’s nothing like a good mathematics challenge and David is good every Friday for some inspiration.

My big takeaway was kind of mathematics How many calories do people really eat at Chipotle? but it was more about a presentation technique called “Slow Reveal Graphs”.

How many times have you seen a presenter throw up a screen of information and then use a laser pointer to talk you through the information? This is a much better way of presenting the same information with better results and less information overload.

And, it’s not all that different! You already have the content; this is just a better way of handling it.

As you head into the weekend, I hope that you can click through and enjoy all of these posts and follow these great bloggers.

  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • Gonul Turkdogan – @turkdogan_gonul
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • Ann Marie Luce – @turnmeluce
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Please take some time to enjoy these wonderful posts from Ontario Edubloggers. You’ll be glad you did!

Getting Ready for Destreaming

These are the show notes for podcast 81 from the EduGals. Before I get to them, a big acknowledgement needs to go out to appreciate their podcasting efforts. They’re now two years into their efforts putting out interesting content regularly. That’s pretty impressive when you consider they both have full time jobs.

I was drawn in by the title. As all know, Mathematics was destreamed for Grade 9 this year and Science comes next this fall. That’s four months in the future.

I was disappointed that they didn’t have insights and specific things to deal with with the new curriculum. Truthfully, it’s not their fault; the curriculum hasn’t been released yet. At this point, it’s just speculation about what might be coming. In the podcast and the show notes, they do talk about some of the best of breed techniques that will go far to supporting people in these new classrooms. It’s not just science; it’s good stuff to apply everywhere.

I thought there was huge value in the list of people and resources to reach out to so that you’re not starting from square one in the fall.

With COVID, we haven’t had much discussion about these topics so I was really pleased to read and listen to the podcast. They are doing their best to stay on top of things. Join them.

Attention and Focus in the Classroom

It was awesome to see Jennifer back at the keyboard. As she notes in the post, there have been other things that have been keeping her off her game. I hope that melting snow and more sunlight can really help out.

What I think is so powerful is that Jennifer doesn’t lecture us about focus and attention but rather shares her personal observations about her own classroom. Your mileage may vary.

She identifies what’s happening when students aren’t paying attention and what’s happening when they are and shares strategies that she’s using to have more success with the latter.

I found that it’s a reminder that the most important person in the room is the teacher who does her best to set the stage for quality learning situations.

I like to think that we’re all thoughtful and reflective but I’ve always maintained that you take it to the next level when you share it publically. There’s just something so powerful about putting your reflections into words and sharing htem, hoping that you get feedback and make yourself better by doing so.

There’s your challenge to read her post and connect with Jennifer.

Food Or No Food? Re-Thinking Our Fairy Bakery.

If I had to relive my kindergarten years, I think I’d want to be in Paula and Aviva’s class. Not only do they set the stage for innovative play, but they do it thoughtfully considering all kinds of external things.

Into the discussion this time around, Aviva brings in the concept of fasting which has impacts on students and classrooms and can’t be ignored. Even though they have no students celebrating Ramadan, it is forefront in her mind as she embarks on this unit.

The centre for this discussion is the “Fairy Bakery” which includes a provocation dealing with doughnuts and she had pictures of Krispy Kremes. Is there such a thing in Ontario at this time? I know that there was one store in Windsor a while back but it’s now closed. And, after further checking, there are still a few in Ontario –

That side diversion took me away from Aviva’s post for a bit but I did come back. In typical Aviva fashion, there are lots of pictures of this activity and a great deal of her thinking that will inspire you as well.

…and in this corner

Writing on the ETFO Heart and Art blog, Will shares some of his thinking about how the lifting of the mask mandate has affected his school. It must be satisfying to see that most of his students continue to wear masks.

Sadly, we’re not getting official figures from the Provincial Government. I suppose the political thought is ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Yet, all that you have to do is turn on the evening news and you’ll find out that there are other ways of testing and reporting numbers in the province and these reports tell us that the numbers are not good.

The removal of required masking, limited cohorting, mandatory hand sanitizing protocols, and social distancing have not provided me with the peace of mind that the return of such “freedoms” pretends to promise.

I’ll admit that I truly was hoping that things would return more to normal two weeks after the March Break but it doesn’t seem to be happening with the speed that would make one feel comfortable.

I’m betting that Will speaks for so many teachers that go into that situation every day. At least in the Public School system.


Vera’s post took me back to my days at the Faculty of Education where we spent time drafting out own philosophies based upon years as a student and a couple of weeks out practice teaching. We were experts. Not.

We were told that it was a personal thing and would drive up professionally. So, I did some sort of naive gesture and tucked it away in a binder. I think we all develop our own philosophies and they will evolve over time. I will admit that I used to turn to it in preparation for a new school year or an interview. I found that it did indeed ground me.

I felt for Vera as she said that she was asked about her philosophy during an interview. I could just see myself stuttering ‘ba ba ba ba’.

The experience inspired her to revisit things and she shares it with this blog post. The nice thing about blogging is that you can also include comics!

Outdoor Education – Resource Guide, 2022

Just in time for some exciting outdoor education possbilities.

If the snow would ever just give up, there are amazing things to be seen and smelled outside as spring comes in. It’s my favourite time of year.

For TDSB educators, this post automatically takes them to resources that are collected and that’s a good thing for them. For others, maybe check to see if your district has licensed them or make a suggestion that they go ahead and do so.

The 500 – #323 – Ghost In The Machine – The Police

I’m a big fan of these top 500 albums blog posts that appear on Marc’s blog. He’s taking me to places that I hadn’t though about for a while and I truly appreciate that.

This post was a big different – Marc didn’t write it but one of his students, Austin, did.

What would a student know about Ghost in the Machine?

I made the connection to his observation immediately. I hadn’t thought of that computer game for a long time but Austin’s insight clicked.

This brought a smile …

My age at release: Mr. Hodgkinson was 16, I wasn’t born

Just because you were late to the game doesn’t mean that you can’t do a review and I thought that Austin did a great job. What a writing inspiration!

I wonder … would other teachers let students post to their blog?

Please take the time to click through and enjoy these posts and then follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Edugals – @EduGals
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @JCasaTodd
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Vera Teschow – @schlagzeug_usw
  • TDSB Professional Library -@ProfLibraryTDSB
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher

This week’s voicEd show…

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s time for another wander around the province and to take a look at the writing from Ontario Edubloggers. I’m always looking for more blogs. Reach out if you know of one or you write one yourself. Thanks.

It’s that time of year… placement sheets!

School population and demographics change from year to year and so the perfectly timetabled school one year may not fit into the next. There are other factors for the changing of a school makeup like retirements, people moving to a different school, incoming staff, or just people who want to try something different.

In this post, Beth describes her reality of a school with a declining enrolment and the teacher-librarian always seems to be one of the first targeted. In a perfect world, Beth would want to do the job full-time but also is aware that that might not be possible and so has a plan that you can read about in this post.

I know that, in our neighbourhood, the Catholic board removed the role of Teacher-Librarian years ago and made an alternate direction. I guess that I was so fortunate in having started my career with an excellent Teacher-Librarian who was always sharing resources and newspaper clipping with me. I can’t speak highly enough about how that helped me as a new teacher. It always is sad when you hear the argument for going without; it’s never based on academics but rather the concept of book exchange. One only needs to read the previous post from Beth as she describes everything that she accomplished in a week.

Lessons learned from the ‘Greatest Generation’

Right off the topic, I need to express my sympathies to Laura on the loss of her 97 year old grandmother. This post is a granddaughter’s tribute to everything that her grandmother did for her and for the complete family.

I’ll admit that I got kind of emotional reading the post as it took me back to memories of my own grandmother. Years ago, things were so different. Most women didn’t work outside the home and the men did and certainly weren’t capped by a 40 hour work week. The woman in the house kept the wheels moving.

Laura certainly describes a live well lived. She chunked a number of things.

  • The importance of creating 
  • Suffer no fools
  • Keep it simple 
  • Spend time immersed in the natural world
  • The importance of small traditions

I guess the one that really hit me was the concept of small traditions. For those of us who have had grandmothers who have passed, I’ll bet it’s those little things that you remember and miss most.

Got to move on; something in my eye.

Mentoring Moments: Spring Break around the corner 

It’s so easy to dwell on what’s wrong with this world. There are so many distractions and I found that Nilmini’s post was timely and inspirational for me.

She reminds us that spring is always a time for renewal of everything. In her case, it’s a renewal of her backyard. What a lovely project to usher in the new season. Hopefully, she will share some photos when the project is done.

I hope that you read and start to think about what spring means to you. After all, the Break is next week. I remember as a child going to Goderich with my mom and brother for Young Canada week. Later, as a computing educator, it was always a chance to go to the MACUL conference in Michigan. These days, it’s the first opportunity of returning to my home town just to drive around and reminsce without the danger of a snow storm. Ok, I’ll be realistic, there still is a chance. After all, this is Ontario….

What does Spring Break and Spring mean to you?

Supporting Student Mental Health

From the ETFO Heart and Art of Education Blog, a very serious post from Gary that will have you thinking. I think we all have paid lip service to mental health in the past couple of years; it really has taken a back page to physical health issues.

For those years, students have been yo-yoed around like everything else in a society being told what to do by our government(s). As adults, we probably get it or get enough of it to get by. But our younger citizens have been along for a ride that doesn’t seem to have a great deal of meaning even at the best of times and they certainly have no voice in the decision making process.

Gary very nicely describes the situation and provides a number of links to resources to help. If you’re in a classroom, I’m sure that you’ll find these valuable.

What’s missing, by design since this is about students, is support for the big people in the classroom. Let’s never ever overlook them.

Leadership Portfolio: Reflect, Connect, Learn

Rolland started teaching in 2000. Interesting year, if you remember.

As per tradition, Rolland had a portfolio where he did what we all did as it was the best recommendation at the time. Accumulate artifacts from your professional life, reflect on them and binderize them for interviews or other opportunities for professional growth.

I suspect that that is where it ends for many people. I know that was the way of doing things for me – in fact, I still have that binder on the bookshelf behind me.

Now that Rolland has passed his Leadership Course, he’s been asked to come back and share his current thinking about portfolios. He uses his blog now which I find really intriguing. Particularly in the days of interviews, traditionally you’d take out your portfolio, do some weeding, make sure it’s up to date, and have your reflections in place.

Blogging as a portfolio is a different game. It’s ongoing and continuous so it needs to be current all the time. Instead of a paper portfolio being shared at an interview, it’s online and I’m assuming that Rolland would expect the interview team to read things in advance of the interview. It’s more than that though and that’s what intrigues me. The audience is anyone who happens to click through and see what he’s up to. It changes everything, when you think about it.

Attention and Focus in the Classroom

Every time that I read a post like this, I wonder if my teachers or professors think as deeply about the situation as Jennifer does in this post. We do live in a time and place where every child is expected to succeed and, when they don’t, the teacher is asked why.

Jennifer has done a great deal of research and personal reflection about her practice and those students who don’t pay attention or lose focus. As I think about it personally, there were lots of times for me. Sometimes it was boredom; sometimes it was because I had worked the night before; sometimes I just didn’t care; sometimes I got it and didn’t need the teacher to continue to talk about it; there’s a big list of reasons why I might lose focus.

Of course, all of this is attended to in her post and I think any teacher would be able to put a face to them all. Jennifer is responsible enough to think that maybe she is the problem and she talks about it as well.

I hope that Spring turns things around for everyone. Of course, it won’t, we’ll all be daydreaming about what we’re going to be doing outside later on. Teachers can’t win!

And a big, big welcome back to the blogging world to Jennifer. She’s been missed and she addresses it in the post.

Math Links for Week Ending Feb 25th, 2022

The good thing is that Spring Break is next week. The bad thing is that Spring Break is next week. Mathematics educators lose out on the opportunity to do Pi things on Pi Day.

David Petro (you should see the reference in his Twitter handle) posted this at the end of February so that it’s ready for everyone to use on the 14th. Or today, or after the break.

There’s a fun activity right off the top in this post.

And if you click through a really nice discussion and video from Kyle Pearce as support.

Good stuff as usual.

I hope that you’ll accept my sincere wishes for a relaxing Spring Break next week. But, before you go, make sure that you’re following these great educators.

  • Beth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Laura Elliott – @lauraelliottPhD
  • Nilmini Ratwatte Henstridge – @NRatwatte 
  • Gary Stewart
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314

The voicEd Radio show.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Here’s a collection to kickstart your Friday morning reading, courtesy of Ontario Edubloggers.

Updating My Idioms

I felt that this was a brave and important post from Diana. Here, she takes a look at some of the idioms that she has found herself using. An idiom is a word or phrase that is used in language that represents something different other than the original meaning.

We talked about this post on Wednesday morning on voicEd Radio and I found it was awkward. I didn’t want to use the examples that Diana had given because it just wouldn’t be appropriate to say them out loud. This is one case where blogging is better than podcasting since she could put the idiom inside quotation marks to denote her use of it. Certainly when you talk, there wasn’t an equivalent that I was comfortable using.

During the show, Stephen introduced another one – “Cake Walk” – and I had no idea of the history of that one. After his explanation, I don’t think I’ll ever have the urge to use it again. I had no idea…

This is a good post and I’ll bet you’ll pay a bit more attention to your words after reading it. She treats each of the examples the same way:

  • Identify the idiom
  • What is it used for?
  • What could be used instead?

How to Identify a Spam Message

I can’t remember the first time I thought about this but it would have been a long, long time ago. Now, it’s just part of the business of being online with an email account.

Somehow your email address ends up being discovered by the bad guys through any one of a million different ways and you get an unsolictited email that appears in your inbox. In the early days, it appeared right up front and in your face. The content of the email typically has some sort of message for you requiring action on your part which usually involves clicking a link and going to some place that you didn’t intend. The goal is to get more information from you or important things like Credit Card information.

That’s what drove Peter to write this post – he had a friend who thought that they had had their information stolen. Peter responds with a good summary of what a spam message looks like for others to learn from and provides some great advice. Even if you think that you know it all, it’s still a good read and reminder.

These days, most email providers have artificial intelligence hard at work trying its best to keep those messages away from you by dumping them into a spam folder. Sadly, you still have to visit it because sometimes good messages get dumped there.


Cito Gaston: A Reluctant but True Leader

This is a blog post that goes hand and hand with a podcast discussion between Charles and Stephen Hurley. There’s lots of great information there about Cito and Charles and their relationship as well as a bit of history if you like that sort of thing. And, I do even though I’m a lifelong Tiger fan.

Like most sports, baseball is a source for fascinating statistics that can be used nicely in the classroom and answer the question “When will we ever use this?” Cito’s stats as a player appear here:

In the podcast, Stephen kept pushing Charles to talk about leadership in schools as compared to Gaston’s leadership in baseball. Of course, it got me thinking and two managers came to mind – Earl Weaver and Sparky Anderson. There is a definite different in styles compared to Gaston’s.

Who would you want managing your school?

You’ll want to read the post and listen to the podcast – it’s about 20 minutes long and really worth the listen.

And, hang in there Charles, there may be a phone call to use your abilities as a catcher yet.


Lynn, who I remember as a principal in my school district, has partnered with a niece and a recent graduate from Kennedy Collegiate to produce a series of books for students. It’s not just any type of book and I think that it’s unique enough to appeal to parents and libraries who are in search of the solution this series will help address.

The premise for the series surrounds inhabitants from the planet Tezra. They are interestingly drawn with sharp looking colours. What makes these characters special – well, you’ll have to read Lynn’s post to get all the details but part of it is that they have difficulty managing their emotions.

The books come will come with an accompanying guide for teachers and parents to help them use the resource successfully to help manage emotions. It sounds like they’re addressing a very unique situation.

As a promotion, one lucky entrant to a draw will get a personal caricature of themselves from the illustrator.

Prevent Teacher Burnout

You hear about issues that people are having going into school every day. They’re legitimate at the best of times; teaching is a tough profession.

Living and teaching through a pandemic and the type of leadership that we’re seeing, it only makes the stress that more oppressive. Burnout is a legitimate concern.

In this post, Kristy offers her thoughts with three areas:

  • Professional Support
  • Outside-of-Work Friends
  • Family

I had a flashback to advice from my first principal that has stuck with me since then – choose your friends wisely. There are so many that just poisonous or may end up turning on you.

In each of the areas, Kristy spells out some very important things to consider. Even if you don’t feel the burnout right now, you might at some point and that makes reading and bookmarking this important.

6 actions que font des leaders solides

This tags onto the post from Charles above dealing with leadership. I first of all tried to attach the descriptions here to a manager of a Major League Baseball team.

  • They take calculated risks
  • They unconditionally celebrate the successes of others
  • They are not afraid to communicate what they think
  • They welcome change and challenges
  • They embrace a growth mindset and don’t dwell on things beyond their control
  • They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves: they rush forward

Then, I spun it to think about leadership in education. I could see his points fitting nicely into both scenarios.

It’s an interesting post about leadership and, of couse, Joel expands on each of his points as you work your way through this read.

For those who are in leadership positions, I think it’s important to realize that other’s eyes are always on you and that makes this openness, caring, and empathy all that much more important.

Supporting Student Transition from Elementary to Secondary

This is such a timely post.

In my personal transition, my preparation for Grade 9 didn’t have anything about the change in network and friends, it was all about how if I didn’t do better in Grade 8, I was going to be toast in Grade 9 or as my Grade 8 teacher called it “Coll-EEEE-giate”. I was petrified and there was no formal Grade 8 night; my parents and I were welcome to walk the halls the week before school started to find my home room and locker. It had to have a big effect on me; I still remember that room and my locker combination. 57-36-12

It was a scary experience. I don’t have specific memories of Grades 10-13 but I still remember Grade 9.

Things are so much different now. Even the buildings and philosophies are different. Some students are in the big house starting earlier than before. Yes, the building is reorganized to make it friendly but still. Grade 8 nights are big events and Grade 8 teachers are much more aware of the big change in student life ahead.

Things are definitely different than back in my day never mind throwing in all the COVID stuff. Secondary school can be an intimidating place, of that there can be no doubt. Big, bad teachers, and all that!

I found Gary’s post to be an interesting read, chocked full of advice and he even includes an a self-advocacy toolkit full of ideas and student oriented that might find its way into your set of tools.

Please take the time to click through and enjoy all these posts. Then, follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Peter Beens – @pbeens
  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • Lynn McLaughlin – @lynnmcla
  • Kristy – @2peasandadog
  • Joel McLean – @jprofNB

The voicEd Radio show from Wednesday.

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.


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


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.