This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s mid-July.  Forecasted temperature today is in the mid-30s.  Who in their right mind would be suffering from a cold?

Your humble blogger, of course.  This is nuts.

So, I’m not in my right mind is a good way to sum up how I feel as I type this.  The sun is rising; Friday is coming; dog needs to walk; there’s no time for self pity.

My first instinct is to run in and buy everything in the cold aisle at the pharmacy.  My personal advisers are telling me to “Suck it up and gargle with salt water”  or “Walk it off”.

Anyway, here’s some of the great reading from Ontario Edubloggers that I enjoyed recently.


THREE LESSON IDEAS FOR TEACHING YOUR CLASS ABOUT EID AL-FITR

Through a personal connection, I learned a great deal about Eid this year.

It’s after the fact now but this is a post from Rusul Alrubail that’s worth tucking away because it makes so much sense and can be adapted to any religious holiday.  She originally wrote and published the article elsewhere and was good enough to put it on her blog for us to enjoy.


My Favourite Things

How’s this for a lead in to a blog post from Kristi Bishop?

I’m just back from an extra long weekend at the cottage with my family.  I love that all of my kiddies still look forward to going (even though internet connection is sketchy at best!) despite their busy lives.  One of our favourite holiday games is “Top 5…”  Sometimes it is something as mundane as Top 5 Beaches we’ve been to.  Other times it is a little more bizarre, such as the memorable Top game of “Top 5 foods you have eaten off the ground”.  (I declined to participate in this one, just so you know).

I don’t know about you but I would have liked to have known about the food off the ground bit.

Instead, she takes a turn to education and gives us a top five list of being an educator.

It’s a good list; What would be your top five?


Follow Opportunities, Not Dreams

When I saw the title of Tim King’s post, I thought that it might have been about summer motorcycling.  Instead, he uses a concern about a lack of digital skills in the United Kingdom as a launchpad into thoughts about education.

He provides an interesting observation about why students take certain courses and avoid others.  (obvious with a secondary school focus)

It’s interesting, because in Ontario, we have a high quality curriculum that offers a bit of everything.  Reading Tim’s post reminds me that there are those that will game the system just to get through.  Fortunately, there are compulsory courses that provide at least a base to get started.  The comment about guidance is interesting.  I recall in high school the annual checkup with my own guidance person.  It really was more about making sure that my marks were OK rather than a serious planning for the future.  Later, as a home room teacher, we would have our home rooms held four or five times a year so that we could talk about futures.  Tim’s observation is true; I took the five year academic route in high school followed by four years at university, another year for an education degree, and then summer courses for additional qualifications.  I’d never been in a tool shop or a full time farm labourer (which are big in Essex County).  How could I give a legitimate set of advice for those who might want to head in those directions?  Driving around now, I sure wish I could have afforded to get into the greenhouse industry.  It’s HUGE.

On the other hand, the fact that I had all this schooling allowed me to follow a dream – I always wanted to be a teacher but certainly there were not many opportunities at the time.  My success was more like by being in the right place at the right time.


Follow the ETFOSA16 Path to Excellence

Diana Maliszewski makes it clear, in this post, that this session was in the big city.  Where else would directions be given by subway stops?!

Libraries, Resource Centres, Learning Commons, Makerspaces – whatever terminology you’re comfortable with are one of the most adaptable locations in any school.  Sadly, there are even some that don’t have them.  But imagine a collection of great minds getting together to scheme for the future.  In some cases, the target of these discussions isn’t necessarily literacy but to convince those in charge that the library should be the hub of everything at a school.  As I picture so many schools that I visited, the library is so often the first educational place that you see when you enter the building.  Designers had it right.  It would have been interesting to have been part of Diana’s conversation or at least be a fly on the wall.

Great pictures complement the post.


Cottage Thinking 1: Leadership in a Canoe

The fact that there’s a “1” in Stephen Hurley’s post is an indicator, I hope, that there will be more to come.

Often, we think of leaders as being the ones who are out front, encouraging folks to follow along. They are the visionaries, the ones that have a clear sense of direction and the are able to identify the targets for which the crew needs to aim if things are going to go as planned.

The canoe analogy is great.  I’d never thought about position within a canoe and its importance.

Stephen does make you wonder about leadership in other areas.

Is the leader always in front?


You Have to Start Somewhere

Of course you do.

Andrea Kerr’s recent post is a reminder of that

as educators, we really do have all of the strategies and tools we could ever need.

So, as a starting point, she offers an analysis (and questions) for thought.

  • Start with Action
  • Start with Value
  • Start with Listening

I used to work with a person whose advise was “Ready – Fire – Aim”.

The conservative me never really thought that made sense for me.  My inclination would be to “Start with Listening” or “Start with Reading” to understand the situation before acting.  Andrea’s post should make you think about the approach.


Get this Train Moving! ~The Journey of the MakerSpace

Joanne Borges offers a blog post with more questions than answers.  There is, in some camps, a real rush to be able to claim that your school has a “Makerspace”.  If you read and believe some of what is out there, you’re failing if you don’t have one.

To turn the idea or concept into reality, you need to get moving.  But, movement alone doesn’t get the job done.  Why and How are two important questions.  From her planning:

  • Some key questions we considered in planning:

    • What is the experience we are trying to create?
    • Who will lead the experiences?
    • How will learning be shared?
    • How will experts, partners, mentors be utilized in learning?
    • What funding is available to us? What other sources can we seek out?
    • How will we ensure this is a student owned space (student voice?)
    • How can this tie to curriculum expectations and deep learning experiences?
    • How can we promote STEAM principals?
    • How can we best create a culture of risk taking, respect, inclusivity, and pride?
    • How can we ensure this becomes a hub for deep learning?

I think this is a great set of questions that everyone who wants into this space need to be asking and answering.


Thanks again to so much great thinking and sharing from leaders in Ontario education.  Please support their efforts by reading their original posts and dropping off a comment if you’re so inclined.

I’m out of here to “walk it off”.

Doug gets cultured


One of the things that I really like to do anywhere I go is explore.  There’s so much to see if you just take the time to do so.  I don’t know, for sure, if my wife enjoys it but I certainly do.  With Google’s “new” Arts & Culture application, I can extend my exploration into places that I’d never think possible just be being connected.

It’s not that there’s a shortage around here.  Just across the border is the magnificent Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village complex.  So much to see and yet so little time.  And, as we know, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  In Windsor, we have museums and galleries of our own.  I’m certainly not an expert at any level, but I do enjoy looking and resist the urge to touch. 

Given what’s happening in the US political process right now, it’s a interesting to take a look at “Electing Lincoln” from The Henry Ford.

Of course, politics isn’t the only topic in this curation of culture. 

One of my all-time favourite visits was the Harry Houdini museum in Niagara Falls.  Sadly, it’s gone now but artifacts from Houdini live on as a result of a simple search within the application. 

And, it’s not just stuff.  Check out the categories.

Even just poking around, you get the sense that there could be more categories and the use in education just smacks you between the eyes.  You’re only limited by your imagination and desire to inquire.

Check out the details and launch of the app on the official Google Blog.

What really puts it over the top for me is the integration with Google Cardboard and Streetview.  Some of what you’ll have seen may be a one off situation just exploring on your own.  The application brings it all together.

Download the application here.

When you do get your copy, you’ll absolutely want it installed on your device and your classroom devices.  If the time isn’t right for your district’s IT Department, you can always plan to enjoy it on the web here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s so nice to be back and home and sitting at my own desk with my own setup for writing.  The past week or so meant using a computer while sitting on a hotel bed or with an arm chair on a table which was too high to keyboard comfortably.  Having taken and taught keyboarding, I know what works and what doesn’t.  Plus, I have my own music and setup here rather than a portable substitute.  It’s so much better.

It’s time to check out some of the great offerings from Ontario Educators.


A Blog Post About Blogging and All the Stuff in Between

From Jessica Outram’s blog, this post is a two-parter.

The first part lists

Here are five reasons why blogging is great:

For those who are regular or aspiring bloggers, there’s something old and something new here.

But, lest you end up letting it take over your life, move on to part two.

So, if I haven’t been blogging, what have I been up to?

It’s an interesting list showing life balance.  I think it’s nicely done – and as I’ve said before, if you’re blogging, you tend to look for and see more.


10 Leadership Lessons from the Tour de France

From the title on the Lead Learner blog, I didn’t know what to expect.  But David Sornberger does give you something to think about as he ties leadership to the Tour de France.

My favourite is this:

They’re all good points.  It could be a Sketchnote, Sylvia….


Two Essential Questions for Reflection

Sue Dunlop asks two questions of herself

Am I getting better?

How do I know?

I don’t think she owns a monopoly on those questions.  Shouldn’t we all be asking and attempting to answer them?

I think that my use of the word “attempting” is important to consider in itself.  Lock yourself in a room and I’m sure that you can come up with answers to these that you’re happy with.  It’s easy to see

a – yes

b – because I did this

Time to move on.  But ….

A few years ago, I got seriously into peer coaching.  It was one of those sessions that you go to with a partner and go through a bunch of contrived activities to get the sense of what it is.  I then went back to work and ran into a friend who had been to a similar session and was trying to “shake” his contrived partner.  Truth and honesty are two attributes that are important and it just doesn’t work when one or both are faked.  Anyway, we ended up coaching each other and it was one of the best things ever for me (and I like to think him too).  We still meet and reflect on exactly these things and neither of us will let the other get away with easy answers.


#Fail

It must be reflection time in Hamilton because Kristi Bishop offers a post of her own.

Failing is a popular topic because its use in education seems to imply that teachers who “allow it” are somehow progressive.  I’ve read much and ignored much of it because it’s just a bandwagon that some seem to want to jump on.  This post digs a great deal deeper though and I like the points that are fleshed out near the bottom.

And still…

Kids have been failing for a long time.  I failed; I “fail” ever day.  It’s been done long before me and will be done long after me.

The use of that word bugs me though.  It’s an education word.  We all know its context because we’ve all taken courses or tests that are pass/fail.  It’s now the name of a television show where failing often ends up in stupidity or pain.  Is there not a better word that we could use?


Teaching to the Extremes

How many times have we heard that “Differentiated Instruction” is the answer to most questions in education?  When you hear it from someone who hasn’t lived it, it’s one of those simplistic solutions that really don’t work but just serves to indicate that the situation has been solved and it’s time to move on.

Matthew Morris puts a reality spin to it.

What do you do when you teach a fifth grade class that consists of thirty students and amongst those thirty students, you have one who can pass an LSAT test and another who can’t count down from ten? Welcome to Mr. Morris’ 2015-16 classroom. Differentiated instruction? Pfff. I am talking about teaching extremes here.

So, the solution from government and his board – cutbacks.

That’ll do it.

How many times do we hear the missive that we “need to do more with less”.  Picture the extremes painted in this post and you’ll shudder.


End of an Era – Life Skills Reflections (Part 1 – The Kitchen Community)

End of an Era – Life Skills Reflections (Part 2 – A Terrific Team)

On the topic of cutbacks come a pair of heartfelt post from Kim Gill about another cutback – this time her Junior Life Skills program.

The first post deals with the program; the second deals with the people who were involved with the program.

The solution appears to be integration into the regular program.  The post is very appropriate to read after Matthew’s.


Take some time to read these posts in their entirety and leave a comment or two.  There’s lots of good stuff to ponder this week from the keyboards of Ontario Educators.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to another Friday of great reading from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.  Here’s some of what I read this week.


Setting up WordPress for Online Learning (Part 1)

Richard Fouchaux gives a very detailed story of how he set up his own instance of WordPress.  This is Part 1 and Part 2 is to come.  I thought it was quite the coincidence since I had two questions about installing one’s own WordPress site.

His description and commentary will walk you through the steps.

I remember setting things up in test mode a few years ago.  As he notes, it’s not a quick process.  When I went to shift to production mode, I then found out that my ISP didn’t support WordPress.  Of course, there are other alternatives including hosts that claim to offer one-click installation.  I do also remember having discussions with others who didn’t want the hassle of the setup and, equally as important, the maintenance and updates of a site.  These insights made me back away from that direction and move to just blogging on the WordPress.com and Blogspot.com sites.  It’s not as elegant but has a certain appeal.  I do have appreciation for those who host their own and do their own maintenance.  I think it’s a case of there not really being a bad solution but you need to make sure that you’re covering everything if you host your own.  The description in this post is nice.


New Job!

One of the very best things about teaching is that you get a fresh start every school year.  New students, perhaps a new subject/grade level, sometimes a new curriculum, usually a chance to teach something with a different perspective or different tools.  One thing, it’s never boring.

Eva Thompson has a new job and shares her excitement about it in this blog post.

I am thrilled to start a new job this Fall with my Board. In recent years, I have been looking for new challenges and opportunities that go beyond the regular classroom. I was fortunate to work with some people who recognized this desire and offered tips and suggestions on how to reach this goal.

The naysayers of education need to tap into the excitement that she and everyone exudes when you get a chance to do things over again in September.  And, it’s not a two month vacation; it’s two months to think about and prepare for the new beginning.


Teachers Saves Lives

I think it’s appropriate that Albert Fong’s post follows Eva’s.

About 5 years into my career, I was starting to feel comfortable with the job. I have some experience and developed confidence in myself that this is something I can do for a long time. I could have (and was heading towards) a teacher’s equivalent of Groundhog Day. My lessons were set, on PowerPoint, I had different versions of similar tests, and I could see myself plateauing and coast for the next 25 years to retirement.

Thirty and out.

Fortunately, for Albert on a professional and personal level, he had an intervention.

Check out his post to see how his perspective has changed.

About 5 years into my career, I was starting to feel comfortable with the job. I have some experience and developed confidence in myself that this is something I can do for a long time. I could have (and was heading towards) a teacher’s equivalent of Groundhog Day. My lessons were set, on PowerPoint, I had different versions of similar tests, and I could see myself plateauing and coast for the next 25 years to retirement.


Journey to Canada: PD for librarians and Canada & World Studies teachers

The Ontario Teachers’ Federation is a great organization to work with.  Alanna King gets a chance this summer to share her expertise in an Ottawa event.

It sounds like a fabulous experience and the field trips look awesome.  Good luck Kate and Alanna.

The complete list of OTF summer offerings can be found here.


Defying gravity

I think so many of us were just lost for words when it came to the incident in Orlando and the impact that it has had on all, including those of us who reside north of the border.  Cal Armstrong reflects on what won’t change and what will change, not necessarily in Orlando, but in society in general and to him on a personal level.

Andrew, you’re wrong.  

And you have to be wrong. 

No, we’re not going to get a rational approach to gun ownership in the US, no we’re not going to remember that personal choice in religion stops at the end of your pew or prayer mat, or that engaging in political hate is any better than any kind of hate. 

But I’ll give you one change, Andrew. 

I’m moving “gay” from the last in the list of descriptors to the first.

It’s always a challenge in critical literacy to interpret the news reports and what gets included and wonder about what gets excluded by the news editors.  Cal takes all of that out of the picture by telling us his story via blog.  No third party interpretation is in the way of understanding here.


What Can You Learn From “My Brother Is Autistic?”

I’ve kind of turned away from watching TED Talks.  They were once the opportunity for people with passion or insights to share that with the world.  Now, so many of them turn out to be self-promotional (and it appears to be working for them) and I’ve just lost interest.  I guess, in a noisy world, you have to shout to be heard.  We’re certainly seeing that in politics.

But, Royan Lee’s talk in Kitchener turned back the trend and he got personal.  It was a return to the type of TED Talk that I used to enjoy.

It didn’t go unnoticed by Aviva Dunsiger either.  She provides a wonderful list of things to be learned from his talk and I think she nails it.

Not only did this generate this post, but it inspired her to write another from her very personal point of view.  My Sister Is Gifted.


 Let’s Go M.A.D Together!

Peter Cameron shared a quotation that all teachers ask.

The balance of the post talks about the M.A.D. experience in his classroom and the causes that it supported.  The list is quite impressive.

As classes wrap up for this school year and teachers start to think of things in fall, Peter offers this invitation.

peter

So, as you ponder how things might be different for your class for the fall, does this have a place?


It’s been another wonderful week of reading and sharing some of the very best from Ontario Edubloggers.  Of course, there’s much more.  Click through and check out the complete list and add your blog via form if it’s not there already.

And, as always, please click through and read the original blog posts and drop off a comment.

Choices and decisions


Sylvia Duckworth’s Sketchnote about Teacher PLNs is a wonderful thought starter for me and I hope for others as well.

It reminded me of a conversation that we had in planning years ago.  The question was thrown on the table.

“Why would I want a teacher to connect with someone half way around the world when they won’t talk to their colleague down the hall?”

It wasn’t posed by a luddite; it was meant to get us thinking deeper about just what it was we were planning to do.  And, what we were planning to do was to replace an ancient email system that I had installed on a trial basis for a few of us to investigate just what we could do and to prove the value of it with others.  By today’s standards, it was pretty lame although functional.  You could send and receive email messages and that was about it.  Looking back now, I’m not sure it would even do CC or BC.  It really was primitive but it was free so hey.

We wanted so much more.

Not only did we want to be able to talk to the teacher down the hall but we wanted to be able to talk to teachers with the same passion throughout the board.  Some of us had worked with and I had actually run a Bulletin Board System for my students and for anyone else who wanted to join.  We knew that when you set aside discussion areas that people would jump at the chance to talk and collaborate.  I had also set up a BBS on the local network at school and turned the keys over to a group of students to manage it.  They did a wonderful job and learned the challenges of approving and denying messages and standards and so much more…

All of this was a drop in the bucket to what we have today.

When you get past the mindset that the only person that you want to work with is the other teacher down the hall, Sylvia’s Sketchnote takes on new and deeper meaning.  But, if you’re reading my blog, you know that.  You’re connected to the internet and either intentionally or accidentally stumbled onto this post.  It’s a choice and a decision that you’ve made if you’re doing this from at home.  It’s a choice and a decision that you’ve been allowed if you’re doing this from your place of work.

There are many educators that aren’t able to make that choice.  The choice and decision made by their employer have prohibited this.  It’s an intentional act to block access to blogs.  It falls into the same category of blocking Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, … as a choice and a decision.

There are times when decisions and choices are made that make it just inconvenient to the point of discouragement.  You might have to load this to get email, that to get discussions, this to get to Twitter, that to get to …  There are only so many minutes in an educator’s day.  In this case, priorities are set and getting to collaboration has to rank behind checking out job postings or finding out what to wear on crazy shirt day.  The savvy educator will work at developing solutions to get around this.  For example, subscribing and bringing all these things to your mailbox is a great way to do this.  According to my WordPress statistics there are far more subscribers than people that actually visit the blog directly.

And that’s just one drop in the big internet learning bucket.

Go back and take a look at the Sketchnote.  How much of the discovery, connections, collaboration could be accomplished if you only had email as a tool?

Is that sufficient when we’re talking about 2016?  Shouldn’t the whole buffet of tools be available to all teachers and classrooms?  Shouldn’t the choice and decision be made to promote as much ability to learn and communicate as possible?  Can we really expect to barricade the outside world and then wonder why we’re not doing anything innovative?  After all, if you’re blocked from doing so, so is that teacher down the hall.  So much for learning at the point of instruction.

What’s in your toolkit that makes all this possible? Mine lies in tabs that are pinned and logged in in my browser.

Selection_822

Can you do it all at school or do you have to wait until you get home?

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s been another wonderful week’s worth of reading from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.  Here’s a sampling of what I caught this past while.


Why We Should Care About Equity & Social Justice as Educators

Have you ever walked into a room full of people and you were the only one that looked visibly different? If you haven’t, chances are you’re lucky, maybe even privileged to not have ever been in this position, but I encourage you to read on and walk in my shoes for a bit. If you have, I know how you feel.

Rusul Alrubail paints an interesting scenario above.  My first reaction was no, I haven’t.  But, upon further reflection, I do remember that I did at university a number of times.  Studying Mathematics and Computer Science at a big university with smaller tutorial sessions does generate some interesting smaller work groups.  I think that the operative point was that we were there to work and social justice wasn’t the thread that brought us together so I can’t fully appreciate her point.

Her story should be a stop and ponder for educators.  I do find it interesting to people watch – at a shopping mall, on a city street, or a park.  It doesn’t seem to be an issue for today’s youth.  You’ll see an amalgam of faces and cultures as they walk about chatting and laughing.  Maybe there’s hope for humanity after all and we older people are just late to the party.

Regardless, it’s still no excuse and there are some excellent suggestions at the end of Rusul’s post for all to consider.


Stress Symptoms and Strategies

Unless you’ve lived the life of a teacher, you don’t really get it.  The critics point to the short at-work day and the holidays.  Of course, they’re not teachers so it’s easy to be on the outside looking in and judging.

Diana Maliszewski shares a post about a bit of her life outside of the classroom.

Since this is right smack in the middle of report card writing, I thought the topic of stress was rather relevant!

The stressors that she identifies are, admittedly self-inflicted, but reinforce that the educational world is so much better for the things that teachers do outside the classroom. 

Certainly, she didn’t have to do these things but Diana wouldn’t be the Diana that we all know and love if she didn’t.


Screen time guidelines and education

I love this graphic that Jennifer Casa-Todd included in her latest post.

So much discussion and criticism falls on technology being so evil for kids.  I recently had a discussion with a friend who complained that the kids in her neighbourhood all just stayed in doors and “played on their devices”.  Somehow that was all the fault of the kids.  Jennifer thinks that we could substitute parenting with teaching in the above. 

It’s a good reminder that we all make choices and we all have defaults.  If the default is not to be concerned and provide rich and engaging alternatives, is it fair to blame the kid who makes her/his own choices?


Battle Cry for Student Voice: Peer Assessment using @audioboom & QR Codes

If you know anyone who has difficulty seeing how technology can be used seamlessly and with great purpose, send them to read this post by Heather Durnin.

Peer and self-assessment helps develop a greater sense of responsibility, as students not only honestly reflect on their peers’ work, but also on their own. In terms of summative assessment, I found my students’ ratings of their peers to be honest and kind.

At the end of the exercise, one of the students asked if I was going to be marking the assignments as well. After confirming I would, he responded with, “I wish we could do this all the time.” The battle cry for “student voice”.

So often, technology is seen and used as a separate activity even though most schools have got beyond going to “the lab” to do things.  By itself, that’s not necessarily bad, but there can be so much more.  This post is a wonderful example of just what it might look like. 

What isn’t said here is that the students obviously have risen to a level of sophistication and responsibility to make it work. 

What a wonderful testament to a year’s worth of effort by Mrs. Durnin.


The #LearningLine Challenge

A number of people responded to Colleen Rose’s #LearningLine Challenge.

In the post, she shares the lines drawn by Lindy Amato, Rodd Lucier, Peter Cameron, and Joanne Borges.  They each provided a different picture of what learning meant to them and Colleen reflected on each.

Of course, everyone’s lines ended by going up.  How they got to “up” makes it worth the read.


How do you make it to the top of the slide?

Speaking of “up”, Aviva Dunsiger made it to the top and shared it in this post.

I can strike another off the ol’ bucket list.  Thanks to technology, I’ve now seen her go down a slide courtesy of Instagram.

Somehow, I think I’ve cheated my Computer Science students.  We never went on a field trip like that.


Getting social at #BIT16

One of the things that Cyndie Jacobs and I are proud of was bringing after-conference-hours social events to the Bring IT, Together conference.  We started with what we thought were neat things like the Niagara Falls after-dark PhotoWalk, the Mindcraft event, the BIT Jam session, and Run with Alana.  Sure, you always get a chance to meet up with old friends at conferences, but there are still those who don’t have the connections (yet) that are looking for something to do.

The tradition continues with some interesting twists this year – including an event that will be limited to 100 participants.  Leslie Boerkamp contributes a post to the BIT Blog outlining what she’s got planned this year for participants.

I won’t spoil her surprises – head over to see what she’s got planned for us.  Registration opens really soon so you’ll want to get in early.  You don’t want to be locked out of that group of 100, do you?


Yet again, it’s been another wonderful week of reading.  Thanks to everyone who takes the time to blog and share ideas.  Please click through and read their efforts and drop them a comment.  I’d appreciate it if you shared this post so that more people realize what amazing things are happening in Ontario.

Conversations for blogging


I think everyone is pretty much onside with the concept and value of student blogging. 

It’s a modern mode of writing; most platforms easy allow for linking, pictures and images, and feature the best editing features for doing the task.  Nobody will argue that they include all the features of a full-blown word processor but that’s not the point.  They include just enough to get the job done.  And, as an aside, probably all the word processing capacity that you need for most documents. 

Instead of the 1-1 tradition of student writing, teacher marking, assignment done, blogging allows students to publish so that many others can read/hopefully comment and follow their thoughts.  As the days of June wind down, the ability to go online and read blog posts from the past year and reflect on growth as a thinker and writer is the stuff that make teachers salivate.  By design, it’s a portfolio that shows growth and pulls everything together.

The only challenge is “What do we want to write about?”

There are many ideas, lists, and blogging challenges available.  To that list, I’d like to suggest another source that perhaps hadn’t been considered and that’s just inspirations for conversations.  And, when you think about it, isn’t that what most blogging is about?

Conversation Starters is a wonderful place to turn.

The landing page has a number of conversation starters for just about anything.  “How to be more social” is a good collection of advice that easily applies to a online blogging persona.

But scroll a bit further and you’ll find a couple of sections devoted just for kids.  I really like the “Would you rather?” questions.

You know that you want to click on the “funny” link…

For this year, as the end nears, you may be looking for that last bit of inspirational writing.  Or, perhaps you’re going to go whole hog into blogging for next year.  In either case, take a look through here for writing ideas and inspiration.

You can never have too much of either.