This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Check out these recent posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


Watch Birds and Savour Books

From Jessica Outram, two terrific suggestions for what to do when you’re at home and not going anywhere.

The entry point for both is low but the payback can be very high. Around here, we have two bird feeders hanging just off the patio and, as the temperatures get colder, it gets very popular. Neither of the neighbours have a feeder so we’re the only place around here to eat. So, it’s not uncommon to see the whole gang as the weather gets colder.

It makes Christmas gifts easy to give. A book on identifying birds, bags of sunflower seeds to attract Blue Jays, …

If it ever gets boring (and it doesn’t), there are always quick trips to Point Pelee or Jack Miner.

I enjoyed Jessica’s story telling of how things play out for her with birds. At times, it seems like you’re looking down at a vibrant community. Are people watching us in this way? Do any of the birds that dine here make it to her place? Like most of her posts, she tells an interesting story and you’ll want to read it all.

Then, there are the books….


OneWordx12: Are you in?

A New Year. A New Word.

There are actually a couple of interesting and relevant blog posts from Beth Lyons to check out this week.

The first one proves that she saw something coming in 2020 by doing the whole #oneword thing a month at a time instead of choosing one word for the entire year. I found it really interesting to go through her list of 12 words and try to map out (or guess) what was happening in her personal and professional life.

Then, she starts off 2021 with her word for January. I thought that this was an interesting choice. Yes, it’s one word but she uses it in a number of different contexts just to illustrate how complicated things are these days. I’m not going to mention it here because I think you owe it to yourself to visit her blog to see her writing.

I am going to use one of her thoughts as inspiration for a future blog post. Maybe tomorrow.


Ask

Wow! That’s all that I could say when I was done reading this post from Amanda Potts. What an opportunity for her and for her students!

So, she’s bought into Beth Lyons’ concept of a word for a month and “Ask” is January’s word. After reading the post, I’m guessing that it wasn’t in place on December 31 but it’s certainly advice with a real example of success for all.

I know that people are looking for mega-inspiration activities for students to keep them engaged in online learning. So, out of boredom? or inspiration? Amanda wrote to a number of authors of the books her students are reading in class.

In 20 minutes, she had an confirmation from one of the authors that they would drop in virtually to her class and interact with them. What an opportunity.

Amanda summed it nicely when she said that all she had to do was Ask. Awesome.

During the This Week in Ontario Edublogs show on Wednesday, I asked Stephen Hurley is he was willing to share his expertise in Podcasting to a class that was interesting in taking the leap. He was very enthusiastic about the prospects so if you’re considering it, why not ask? He’s on Twitter as @Stephen_Hurley.

No pressure, Amanda, but I’m looking forward to a blog post from you sharing with us how your online guest worked out.


SIMPLIFYING ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION WITH GOOGLE ASSIGNMENTS – E033

The EduGals are back!

They have an interesting approach to sharing this message. It comes as both a podcast and a blog post.

I had to do a screen capture here just to show you that apparently they’re everywhere you get your podcasts.

I was doing some other work and listening to them in the background and was actually quite interested in their marriage of Brightspace and Google Assignments.

I’ll be honest here; I can pick up quite a bit by listening but this is so rich in content that I needed the blog post to completely understand their message. I thought that they had done a nice job in their explanation complete with their own documented captures.

If you’re using this combination of services, there’s probably some wisdom here that will make your job easier.


Saltwater

I’d only recently followed Hema Khodai’s blog and was pleased when my RSS program indicated that there was something to check out.

Interestingly, the content didn’t come from her but from another educator, Tharmila Apputhurai. The post is only a couple of paragraphs long but I’ll admit that it was one that brought out so much emotion in me.

During 2020, I think I’ve heard so many different personal reflections about what COVID means. But, nothing like this.

I felt as if I had been ordered by my acca to stay in the bunker until the sound and sight of the violence was gone.

I did have to look up “acca” since it was a new term to me and that even further personalized the message for me.

I hope that the message of healing in 2021 rings true.


What’s Your Superpower? Mine Is Teaching!

If there’s a testament to why I follow people on Twitter, this is it. I’ve followed Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge for a while now and, quite frankly, she’s been a person that pops up on my FollowFriday list regularly.

Recently, she shared that she had a blog post for us to check out. And I did.

I can’t imagine that, after 2020, there isn’t a teacher who hasn’t felt being pushed further in their profession than at any other time. Nilmini is that boat and shares a list of 10 things and reflections about her feelings.

  • Strike a Balance
  • Discover Your Network
  • Ah, this thing called Technology
  • Be Yourself

You’ll have to click through to discover all 10! I’m betting that you’ll find out all kinds of things about her and probably yourself in these days.

I don’t know if I could agree with “Discover Your Network” more than I do as I write this. I’ve had my network for years now and daily I’m inspired and uplifted by the connections that I’ve made.

Since Ontario Educators are connected anyway these days, why not created your own Personal Learning Network for ideas, inspiration, and people to plan with?


A #VisibleLearning Look At My Playing Reality: Finding Joy In Remote Kindergarten

I’ve always said that they don’t pay kindergarten teachers enough. I’ve often felt exhausted just walking by their classrooms.

In this post, Aviva Dunsiger pulls back the curtain and gives us an inside look at her classroom, activities, and all that it takes to pull it off. It’s a long post but worth putting time aside to read.

There are interesting personal thoughts about what she thinks she’s doing. I always found it interesting to compare what I thought I did with my principal or superintendent in the debriefing after being supervised. My thought always was that I was overly hard on myself. How about Aviva?

So, she lays it all out there in this long post full of thoughts and documentation and she’s looking for advice. Do you have any?


It’s been another great experience to read these posts and then share my thoughts with you. There’s such a wide range of topics. I hope that you can find the time to click through and read the originals.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Beth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Amanda Potts – @ahpotts
  • EduGals – @edugals
  • Hema Khodai – @HKhodai
  • Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge – @NRatwatte
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Well, my first week back at the keyboard is in the bag and the voicEd Radio This Week in Ontario Edublogs was back on air. All is good and this Friday post is inspired by these great Ontario Edubloggers.


Weekly Plan for Online Learning: Special Education Classroom

From the ETFO Heart and Art blog, this is an interesting and very brave post.

I think most of us who are presenters are accustomed to putting our content and slide decks online for all to take a look at.

Tammy Axt goes one step further. She puts her entire teaching plan for her class online. It’s very precise in terms of the time for each activity and shows a nice balance between technology and non-technology activities. Of course, there would be the ever present meeting software running throughout. So, parents, students, colleagues, and now you can see what’s happening in her class this week.

It’s a jam packed schedule. No wonder teachers are exhausted.


That which doesn’t kill you…

Cal Armstrong shares with us a brutally honest look at his teaching life.

He’s a strong man and a real leader and so I know that, when he confesses he fell asleep at his desk, that there’s incredible amounts of stress going on in his teaching life.

He describes very nicely his working conditions, complete with plexiglass, and also some of the challenges. You can’t turn a school around 180 degrees in such a short period of time. There are challenging areas like the department office and I get that. I’ve never been to his but our office was over capacity.

Despite all the personal issues, it’s a testament to Cal that he also worries about his family and colleagues.

This is a hard, long post to read but I know that Cal speaks for many.


GO Explore! Developing an Explorer Mindset in Yourself and Your Students

When I first read this post from Peter Cameron, my first thought was Holy Overload, Batman.

It’s darn near everything that you might expect to have at your disposal if you decide to unlock your inner explorer and the explorers in your students. You can’t just throw this to the students; you need to experience it yourself and determine where it fits into your plans.

Great advice – start local and then go global.

Topics you could explore

  • Start an “Adventure Log” with your Students
  • Take the Learning Outside!
  • Don’t Forget Your Camera!
  • Novels Are Gateways to Adventure!
  • Virtual Field Trips to Anywhere in the World
  • Snow Kidding!
  • Google Earth: Bring the World to Your Classroom

Each of these topics is fleshed out in detail with links to all kinds of resources.


#oneword 2021

Many educators are exploring #oneword as a way to inspire themselves in 2021. It’s like a New Year’s Resolution but with a combination of personal and professional elements.

Sue Bruyns’ work hit me a little personally since it was my grandmother’s first name and my mother’s middle name – “Grace”.

When you research the word and the name, it quickly takes on a religious meaning.

In a world where you can be excused for being frustrated, lashing out, blaming others, blaming a virus, blaming a government, Sue suggests taking a step back and handling things with grace.

I don’t typically do a #oneword but I suspect I will have the meaning of this post running in the back of my mind at times as we move into the new year.


Follow Recommendations from a Twitter-Obsessed Nerd

I don’t typically use the word “nerd” myself but Shawna Rothgeb-Bird does use it to describe herself.

She’s found the advantages of making connections with quality educators and the power that comes from sharing and learning together. I love that.

She’s so enthralled with the concept, she shares a list of educators that she recommends following. I’ve already followed some on the list through one of my Ontario Educator Lists.

There was one person missing from her list of people to follow and that is Shawna herself. You can follow her here.


Expect the Unexpected and #OneWord2021

Diana Maliszewski jumped in with her #oneword for the upcoming year. Last year, she had chosen “push” and does a quick reflection. I think anyone could be excused for things not falling into place like they might.

So, her word for 2021?

“Well”

What follows next is her analysis of the word but her plan is to

  • Do well.
  • Be well.
  • Stay well.

Alone Together.

Trust Zoe Branigan-Pipe to cheat with her #oneword for 2021.

But, you know what, we all were cheated from many things in 2020 so this may well be a payback.

Her word?

“Alone Together”

Her explanation falls nicely from understanding each of those words individually.

I can’t remember a time in my connected life where Zoe wasn’t part of it. I so value the opportunities to sit and chat with her. I truly enjoyed the opportunities that I had to co-present with her.

I look forward to the opportunity to connect again. May it be sooner rather than later.


As always, I hope that you’re inspired by the thinking from these incredible bloggers. They’re all worth a click through to read in their entirety.

Then, please make sure that you’re following them on Twitter. Shawna, if you’re reading this, you can’t go wrong further building your network with these names.

  • Tammy Axt – @MsAxt
  • Cal Armstrong – @sig225
  • Peter Cameron – @petectweets
  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Shawna Rothgeb-Bird – @mmeshawna
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Zoe Branigan-Pipe – @zbpipe

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

Down but not out


It was a big radio day for Colin Jagoe. He was touring the province on CBC Radio talking about the challenges of teaching and parenting given the current reality for teachers and parents. He shared his public performance agenda with us on Facebook.

  • 6:10 Windsor
  • 6:50 Ontario Morning (serves Peterborough, Kingston, Muskoka)
  • 7:00 Kitchener
  • 7:40 Thunder Bay
  • 7:50 Sudbury

That’s a busy morning. I had thought that maybe he’d been interviewed once and it was just repeated but I was wrong. It was a fresh interview at each stop.

Yup. 5 different shows and call from different local hosts. 

I tuned in to the Windsor interview with Tony Doucette. I thought Colin did a good job and let him know it. As his provincial tour continued, others checked in with similar opinions. It sounds like he was a hit everywhere.

I missed all of the other shows because the dog and I were out pounding the pavement. But we were there in spirit.

Later in the morning, I went back to the CBC Windsor radio page looking to listen to Colin’s 10-15 minutes of fame again. Unfortunately, his interview wasn’t online.

But, I found something else!

The other big news yesterday other than Colin preparing for his speaking tour was a major outage of Cogeco internet service. Obviously when this happens it doesn’t discriminate who loses service.

In one case, a kindergarten teacher at St. Anthony’s school in Harrow lost her connection with her students. I couldn’t help but think that secondary school students would shout “Snow Day” and head out to meet friends. But, it was the second day of school for the kindergartners and they’re amongst the most engaged and excited students.

What to do?

Spoiler alert! It’s in the title of this segment and fleshed out in the descriptor.

At the time of this writing, the story is still up and alive on Tony’s page on the CBC Windsor site. Check it out at https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-106-windsor-morning. It might be the most inspirational 8 minutes and three seconds you could do for yourself today.

Did any reader fall into the same boat and lose internet access yesterday? How did you handle it?

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I know that there’s a big sigh of relief across the land for today. Congratulations for all the effort that it has taken to get this far and I wish all readers the best for the holiday. As usual, here’s a great collection of recent writing from Ontario Edubloggers.


The Journey Continues

I’ve followed Beth Lyons all year with her one word that she’s taken month by month as opposed to the year long choice others have made.

She wrestled with a word for December

  • teacher
  • decenter

And gives really good reasons for not selecting them.

Sadly, she questions her effectiveness as a teacher-librarian in these days as things are completely different. Things have changed a bit and she’s being called into action a little more so feels good about that. But, my dear Beth, everyone is feeling challenged and frustrated at every turn. I think we all know that you’re giving the same 125% that all educators are and that should never minimize your feelings about your impact. It’s different for everyone.

Anyway, click through to read the word that she finally chose for the last month of the year.


Writing in front of them

Man, I loved this post from Amanda Potts. I’d like to meet this Torin who missed out!

Beyond that, though, we’ve all had embarrassing moments that have us turning red in front of students. Amanda’s story is done in the best of educational pedagogy and yet had an interesting turn.

She could have turtled but decided that she’d gone too far to turn back and became very frank in front of her students.

The result? She claims that her students turned in some of their most honest writing work. You’ve got to like that.

And, you can’t help but think that the same results would never have happened if her lesson had been the sort of contrived activity that didn’t result in embarrassment!


LearningInTheLoo: Scan to Email

This will bring a smile to your face.

Given a loophole in the use of washrooms at her school, Laura Wheeler was back at providing professional learning activities while taking care of things when nature calls. I’m making a leap here assuming that people don’t go to the washroom just for the PD.

The activity is something that every educator should know.

A networked photocopier can do more than print copies to paper.

In this case, Laura shows staff how they can scan to email and then take care of content electronically. Not only is it an efficient way of handling things, think of the paper that can be saved.

And, managing files can be easier than binderizing sheets of paper.


Earth Day: Call for Submissions 2021

As a result of this post from Jessica Outram, I’ve added a new word to my vocabulary.

eChapbook

It’s an initiative that she started last year and it marries the concept of poetry and Earth Day. This year’s theme is “Learning from the Earth”.

Click through to read about the initiative, how to participate, and the rules with timelines.

I can’t help but think that there might be huge interest in this so help a colleague out, read the post, and share it with others.


Overjoyed – A Christmas Tale with an Ed-Tech Twist

Like Amanda’s post above, there are things that prove that teachers and students are human after all.

Terry’s post brought back some memories of my own as a student and as a teacher when it comes to Christmas assemblies.

The memory in this case – overhead projectors and Christmas song lyrics. Somehow, the classic “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night enters the picture!


Treadmills Near Me

It’s a gazillion dollar industry so you might find it bizarre that there is a person that doesn’t like a treadmill. Other than me, there’s Matthew Morris.

I’ll be honest; we had one in our bedroom and it became a place to hang clothes. It was purchased with the best of intentions for getting fit. Or, at least getting moving.

Quite frankly, it’s boring and my bad knee just became worse from using it. We ended up giving it to my daughter along with our best wishes. I should ask her how it’s going.

If you ever wondered if someone could paint a story about a treadmill, you’ll be interested to read this post from Matthew.

I wonder what he feels about dog walking. It’s an exercise that you can’t put off. At least three times a day.


In the Midst of Life . . .

Slow death and muffled grief

Joan Vinall-Cox shares some writing and an image that really hit me emotionally.

It hit at close to the same time as the news of the issues at Schlegel Villages.

Joan, this is a powerful piece and I know that you didn’t write it with me in mind but you hit me right between the eyes.


Please take some time to click through and read these wonderful blog posts.

Then, make sure that you follow these folks (and their blogs) on Twitter.

  • Beth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Terry Greene – @greeneterry
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Joan Vinall-Cox – @JoanVinallCox

This post is from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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