This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday everyone. And, it’s a 13th too. And a full moon to boot. Actually a “micro” Harvest Moon. In football, we call it “piling on”. Read about it here.

But you can tough it out.

Grab a coffee and sit back to enjoy some posts from these fabulous Ontario Edubloggers.


Minding the Children

OK, I’ll confess to be guilty of doing this.

Sharing memes in June about sending kids back to their parents or in late September about parents shipping kids back to school.

In this post, Sheila Stewart suggests that doing so is not the best of ideas.

I am also not sure if such humour does much to support working relationships and respect between teachers and parents.

I guess I never saw it much more than a bit of fun poking at our profession. I’ve never really thought of them as serious; more of a look at reality in the school year.


This Blog is not Dead it’s…

I guess I breathed a bit of a sigh of relief when Jennifer Aston indicated that she hadn’t abandoned things – she was just carrying through on promises to a family about not doing school work in July.

I don’t think it’s an unfair demand; after all, kids deserve family time which can be so difficult to find during the school year between working, after school professional learning, coaching, and so much more. Why not demand a little mom time during the summer.

I’m not surprised that many of her activities mirrored what my summers were like when my kids were younger – going to the beach, going to swimming lessons, potty training, but I drew the line at soccer. My kids were baseball/softball players! (Still are)

Read the post; many bloggers would have made this into a number of smaller posts but Jennifer throws her entire summer at us.

And, she’s promising to get back on the blogging scene again. Great!


L’ADN d’un leader

This is an interesting post from Joel McLean, again about leadership.

He talks about the DNA of a leader and ties in the 17 basic abilities identified by John Maxwell.

From the 17, Joel identifies three specifically and expands on them.

  • Ability to think
  • Creativity ability
  • Production capacity

The call to action is to question yourself, if you see yourself as a leader, about how you would increase these abilities.

I’m curious though about his use of the term DNA. To me, DNA is part of your make up and not something that you can change. (I watch a lot of Law & Order). To me, it begs the question. If these skills are truly DNA, can you actually change them? Maybe an idea for a future post, Joel?

With a little tongue in cheek, maybe blood tests replace interviews?


Exploring Classroom Expectations while using WipeBook Chart Paper

Congratulations to Joe Archer…he entered a contest and won a WipeBook Flipchart. It’s part of a series of products you can find here. http://www.wipebook.ca.

Joe talks about the product, but more importantly, talks about how he uses it with his class. For me, it’s the description of the pedagogy that is exciting.

At times, and for selfish purposes, that can be overlooked when people go product bashing.

I can’t help but think about the high profile keynote speakers a few years ago who went on a rant a few years about about Interactive Whiteboards. Like anything in the classroom, they can be used well or poorly. It’s not the product itself; it’s how it’s used. “Oh, and buy my book.”

I remember years ago in my planner having a write-on cleanable whiteboard page along with the traditional paper. In my mind, the paper was good for notes that I thought would be “permanent” whereas the erasable product was more transient in how I used it. My use mirrors somewhat the classroom activity that Joe describes.

I also like the fact that Joe uses the expression “Exploring”. It conveys a message that he’s doing his own research into the product and not just following the crowd.


A Career Marked by Change: Learning the Big Lessons in Some Small Places

Debbie Donsky takes on a new role this September and uses her blog to reflect on a career – so far anyway…

I’ll confess that I was expecting something different from her title when she made reference to “small places”. I had thought that she’d be referring to the small communities that school can be in the middle of big towns or cities. But, I was wrong.

Instead, she takes the opportunity to identify 15 Big Lessons and develops each along with a picture or two.

I could identify with most of the 15 but there were three that really resonated.

  • Be where you are – reminded me of my first trips to schools as a consultant – none of them are the same and you are most effective when you recognize that
  • Be authentic – especially with kids – they have a sixth sense when you’re faking it
  • Everyone you meet can help you – and reciprocate! Together we’re better

For more Debbie Donsky, read my interview with her here.


Goodnight, World

This is the latest review of a book from the CanLit for Little Canadians blog authored by Helen Kubiw.

I’m always astounded when I talk to Language teachers or Teacher-Librarians as to how connected and insightful they are with new books or ones that have been around for a while.

The latest reviews include:

  • Goodnight, World
  • The Starlight Claim
  • Harvey Comes Home
  • Spin

Violence in Ontario Schools

There have been a number of articles released in the traditional media about a report identifying the grown of violence in Ontario schools. Sadly, the articles are not very deep except to report their sources. Then, they move on.

On the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, Deborah Weston takes a really deep dive on this. Not only does she identify the research but she shares her insights about the issue.

She notes that there are no quick and easy solutions. In particular, she addresses a couple of the techniques often given as solutions to the problem.

Self-regulation and mindfulness strategies do help some students develop their social and emotional capacity but self-regulation and mindfulness strategies do not compensate for the myriad of causes and complex intersectionality of environmental, developmental, intellectual, social, emotional, economic, and mental health needs that may be at the root of students’ behavioural outcomes.

I would encourage all teachers to read this and look at the implications. I would also suggest that the worst thing that you could do is to ignore incidents. They need to be reported so that they can be addressed, not just in your classroom, but Ontario’s school system at large.


Like any Friday, there are always wonderful thoughts and ideas shared by Ontario Educators. Please take the time to read all seven of these terrific blog posts. You’ll be glad you did.

Then, make sure that you’re following these bloggers on Twitter.

  • @sheilaspeaking
  • @mme_aston
  • @jprofNB
  • @ArcherJoe
  • @DebbieDonsky
  • @HelenKubiw
  • @dr_weston_PhD

This post originally appeared on this blog:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

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This Week in Ontario Edublogs


As we head deeper into September, there’s no doubt that autumn is on its way. From Fall Fairs to cooler nights, you can’t question it. And, of course, crickets.

It’s a wonderful time to be outside though. It’s one of my favourite times of the year. When you’re inside however, check out some of these blog posts from Ontario Educators.


A Self-Reg Look At “Preparing Kids”: Is It Time To Change The Conversation?

On the Merit Centre blog, Aviva Dunsiger shares her thoughts about the concept of preparing kids for the next grade. She takes on the role of student, teacher, and parent and builds the case about the stressors that she sees with each of these groups.

It’s an interesting concept to tackle. I would suggest, though, that our school model isn’t set up to fully embrace the concept of looking ahead. After all, every grade and every subject has expectations that need to be addressed. We’re not a big continuum from K-12.

I had to smile when I looked back on an experience that I had teaching Grade 9 Mathematics. There was a small collection of students that were obvious in their lacking of skills from Grade 8. Upon further research, their elementary school had a history of being weak in Mathematics. I was advised by my department head that I needed to do some catch up work with them. So, for a few weeks, they got to dine with me in an empty classroom. It was actually kind of fun to help them fill in the gaps but I can’t imagine the increased stress that they had knowing that they were behind classmates and had to give up lunch with friends for lunch with their new friend.

I like how Aviva notes that the focus should be on the child and, while she doesn’t explicitly state it, she’s talking about differentiation or customization to help each student achieve. And that, after all, is why teachers get the big bucks.


2019-20: Persistence and Possibility

If there’s a class in the province that I’d love to audit, it’s Tim King’s. Why?

Well, just read this post. He took a couple of classes over the summer including one dealing with Cyber Operations. I’m fearful that, with the lack of direction in some districts, kids are just tap, tap, tapping on their iPads and calling it technology integration. You have but to just read the technology news to know that it’s an increasingly ugly world out there. How are you supposed to keep up? Are you preparing your students for heading out into that world?

Tim is.

I can’t help but remark what a terrific learning experience Tim’s students had with a guest from IBM coming in to work with them and the Watson AI.

Check out his entire post and ask if you’re school is providing this opportunity for your students. If not, why not?


First Week of Math: Resources to help make connections & build relationships

If I had to guess what resources that teachers of MBF3C wanted, I might have guessed:

  • new textbooks
  • better worksheets
  • higher end technology

Not so, according to Heather Theijsmeijer.

They wanted ways to connect with the students and build a good learning relationship. My suggestions above would be anything but, I think.

To assist, in this post, Heather provides links to a number of resources from a who’s who in modern mathematics instruction, including Ontario educator Jon Orr.

Follow the links for some truly inspirational ideas. I’ll step out on a limb and indicate that, with a little customization, they could apply in other areas other than Mathematics.


Teachers tell stories

Confession time here … I booked this post from Albert Fong a little too quickly. I saw the August 15 part and tucked it away for the voicEd show and this post.

What I hadn’t noticed was the year! The post was from a year ago. During our live show, Stephen Hurley made a comment that the post look familiar. I guess I thought that it was as well. But, I still like the concept as a Business educator and the Entrepreneurship shown along with the teacher Q&A of a student baking cookies.

So, yeah, it’s a year old and I’ll apologize for the timeliness (actually it’s previously made this blog here). But, I won’t apologize for the content and message. It’s still as good as ever!


Snippets #1

beens.org has long been a destination for me to see what Peter Beens is doing in his classroom. Now, he’s registered beens.ca and is taking a new direction.

Welcome to the first of hopefully a series of “snippets” blog posts. I have to admit I’m poaching the idea from @dougpete with his “My Week Ending” series [example]. My life seems to be too hectic to publish “real” posts so let’s see if this works as an alternative.

I like the concept and it dovetails on my philosophy of learning nicely. If I learn something of value, why not share it in case it’s of value to someone else? If it isn’t, they can just ignore it.

I’ve got to believe though, that when Peter’s Solo EV arrives, it will generate a “real” post (whatever that is!)


New Beginnings, New Adventures

Paul McGuire has been busy this summer with his participation in the Climb for Kids and a couple of recent posts share his thoughts and images about the climb.

However, the latest post reveals a complete change in his life. He’s going back to school.

Not as a student though. He’s going to work at the University of Ottawa and in the Faculty of Education. That’s going to be an immense change.

This blog is about to get much busier. When life takes a radical change learning happens that really should be accompanied by reflection. Things now are so new I really don’t know enough to reflect, but I think that will change pretty quickly.

That’s great news for those of us who follow him on his blog. We’ll look forward to the things that he’s about to share.


No First Day Jitters This Year!

Things are about to change with Brenda Sherry as well. It’s not a return to books and other things for her…

She’s not headed back to a traditional school which she notes she has done for so many years. Instead, it’s education in a different direction.

This isn’t to say that jitters might not be coming, but from a different direction. You’ve got this, Brenda.

I wish her all the success with this very ambitious future.


Please take the time to visit these blog posts and check out the sharing from these terrific Ontario Educators.

Then, make sure that you’re following them on Twitter.

  • @Self_Reg (@avivaloca)
  • @tk1ng
  • @HTheijsmeijer
  • @albertfong
  • @pbeens
  • @mcguirp
  • @brendasherry

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

An Interview with Skip Zalneraitis


Skip Zalneraitis is a Technology Integrator at Pioneer Valley Regional School in Northfield, Massachusetts. Although we’ve never met face to face, his educational and humour presence on social media makes him a daily favourite to read. Through this interview, I tried to find out more about this amazing and prolific gentleman.

Doug:  Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Skip.  My first question is always “When did our paths first cross?”  Can you remember?

Skip: Several years years ago I discovered your daily curatorial posts on Twitter. I was so impressed that I subscribed. 

Doug:  Just about every morning, I see your presence on social media.  It usually starts with a weather update from Brattleboro, VT. Then, there’s a stream of resources that you share.  It sounds like a regular morning routine. Is it?

Skip: It is a daily routine, seven days a week.

Doug:  Can I assume you live in one state but work in another?

Skip: My wife and I live in southern Vermont in downtown Brattleboro. I teach about fourteen miles due south in the little town of Northfield, MA.

Doug:  I know that very often, you’ll retweet links that I’ve shared via my morning reading.  Typically, I notice that they’re often Google Education related things. What’s the significance of that for you?

Skip: Our school is a Google School. I try in every way I can to share resources with our staff and faculty. 

Doug:  Some of Skip’s Google resources end up here.  https://sites.google.com/a/pvrsdk12.org/resources/  Who is your intended audience?

Skip: This where I aggregate everything Google I have gathered each week and each week I send out an email so the folks will come and see what I have to share.

Doug:  One of the things that I notice when you share resources, is that you’ll include a note of thanks as shown in the screen cap below.

The fact that you do this is conscious.  That must mean that it’s important to you.  Can you share why?

Skip:  There are two authors for whom I want to always share attribution. You are one of them. Your energy, creativity, and critical sense are, in my experience, second to none. The only other one is Melanie Link Taylor MzTeachuh http://melanielinktaylor.mzteachuh.org/ . I have a great deal of respect for her.

Doug:  You do a good job of curating on Google +.  https://plus.google.com/108523245664369458849

What appeals to you about that platform? (I really, Really miss Google+.)

Skip: It has a wonderful asynchronous flow to it. I use the refresh very often to get a different look.

Doug:  Sadly, Google+ is no more.

But, you do have a Facebook presence and you use it differently.  Can you explain how and why?

Skip: It is my oldest living social media presence. I have such a varied community so in addition to my daily posting, I included posts that that I share because I have a strong emotional resonance with those posts.  My two careers before I began this current one were as an Anglican clergyman and later in engineering, mostly in nuclear power, and I have friends and acquaintances from not only all three careers, but family as well.

Doug:  In your role as Technology Integrator, what does your day look like?

Skip: Because we are so short-staffed I have been doing a great deal of teaching. I do presentations to teachers and groups, AND I respond as often as I can to help tickets. It requires a great deal of flexibility.

Doug:  Your teaching profile also has you teaching Communications and Exploring Computer Science.  How does that fit into your day?

Skip:  Those are the face-to-face classes I teach. Communications is an important introducing our Grade 7s to our school and network, as we have students coming, on average each year, from nine different schools. I also teach a course online at VHS.

Doug:  With your activities on social media, you must have a collection of favourite people to follow and best destination for resources.  Can you share some of these with us?

Skip: You, Richard Byrne, Larry Ferlazzo, Melanie Taylor, and Alice Keeler are a few.

Doug:  Tell me three things I don’t know about Skip Zalneraitis.

Skip: 1. I’m a daily road bike rider. 2. I am a grandfather. 3. My favorite author is Neil Gaiman.

Doug:  What does the future hold for Skip Zalneraitis?  As in Ontario, school must start shortly for you.

Skip: At the age 73, I’m considering when I should retire. I promised one of the science teachers, who avails herself of my skills and support very frequently, that I would stay until she retired. She just told me her year is 2024, so I can leave or change positions in that year. My younger granddaughter is coming to Pioneer in 2023, so I may stay longer. The new principal wants me be more the Tech Integrator.

Doug:  Thank you for agreeing to share your thoughts with us, Skip.  It’s greatly appreciated.

You can follow Skip on Social Media at:

Periodically, I interview interesting people like Skip for this blog.  You can check out all the interviews at dougpete.wordpress.com/interviews.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


The last week in August is always a strange one. It seems to pass so quickly, you have one last blast at Labour Day and then …

At least, there are always some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers to enrich the time.

Enjoy.


Podcast PD?

Up first is a post from Beth Lyons. Here, she’s wondering whether podcasting is professional development. It’s an interesting question. There are many participants in the podcasting experience.

  • the listener
  • the podcaster
  • guests to interact with the podcaster

I don’t think that there’s anyway that you can say with a blanket statement that podcasts are professional development any more than saying that all books fit the same purpose. Today, there are podcasts for just about anything and certainly not all would fit into the PD category.

So what does?

I’d suggest that one of the best sources for determining value comes from ETFO in their guide to elementary educators.

Make your plan an extension of the professional development you are already doing.

If you can find a podcast that meets that guide, I can’t think of any reason why you would even ask the question.


Standardized bodies < Accepting & Celebrating Difference

It’s always been difficult to understand body differences. Especially for teenagers. It’s easy to argue that it’s much more difficult these days.

The difference?

All that you have to do is turn on the television or surf social media and before long, you’ll run into products designed to help you get that perfectly shaped body.

Laura Elliott takes on this notion and encourages readers of her post to consider the difference between being fit and being healthy.

Her discussion blows apart the notion that everyone can look the same and encourages you to look beyond that. It’s wise advice and may have you questioning the value of things like the Beep Test as a measurement for all. There are alternatives!


I Think My Neighbors Think I’m Selling Dope

This isn’t a post that I could write but Matthew Morris could – and did.

Recently, he moved and is now a part of a condo community but, according to the post, he hasn’t been accepted into that community as of yet.

In the elevator, I try to extend my courtesies with “good mornings” and “what floor?” with folks who happen to share the space with me. I’ve been met with cold responses and void eye contact.

Beyond the fact that he’s young, a person of colour, he’s a teacher. Consequently, he doesn’t go to work during the usual times in these summer months.

It’s a very personal post describing his life as he see it currently. I hope that it makes you think. Then, he does a shift and asks you to think of those students in your classroom where perhaps you have made or will make assumptions about.

He helps by having you walk in his shoes.


Nurturing Guilt

Twenty-five years is a long time to carry guilt. Fortunately, Melanie White is able to celebrate the benefits of being a mother of a child with difficulties. She describes that awful feeling of feeling of suspecting to have been responsible in some way by her actions during pregnancy.

I hadn’t really thought about this but Melanie points out that there are many types of guilt…

white guilt, colonial guilt, childhood guilt, sibling guilt, parental guilt, teacher guilt

The notion of colonial guilt is taking her focus with the Grade 11 Indigenous Studies course on her horizon. If her K-12 education was anything like mine, we didn’t know then what we know now. Now she’s teaching it as she comes to grip with it.

She’s not alone. Is she speaking for a much bigger audience across the province?


My River, My Mountain- A Day of Learning with Jennifer Abrams

I really enjoy reading educators’ reflections about their own professional learning. After all, I can’t be everywhere first hand but can live and learn vicariously. I did that with Noa Daniels’ post as the vehicle.

In this case, it was professional development with Jennifer Abrams.

Noa has identified equity as one of her personal goals for this academic year. To help her focus, she includes ten questions about her practice that deserve her focus.

I think that the list of ten questions casts the net very widely. It’s going to be a challenge to address all the questions effectively. But who doesn’t like a professional challenge.

I went through the same process once with a superintendent and he challenged me to create similar questions and then identify specific things that would let me know if I had been successful.


Podcasts on Youth Development

From Conrad Glogowski, a short blog announcement about updates to his research newsletter. Conrad encourages you to subscribe to the newsletter entitled Youth Development Today.

As a teaser, you can click through and read a couple of newsletters focused on:

  • Youth Mental Health
  • The Teenage Brain

Preserving and Listening to Soundscapes

In this post, Krista McCracken introduces us to a podcast series called Forest 404. The premise is interesting…

The podcast is set in a futuristic 24th Century, in a time after a massive data crash and in a era in which forests and much of the natural world no longer exist.

As a result, she started thinking about the concept of the Soundscape, including a bit of a history. I followed some of the links that she provides and very quickly found myself down an audio rabbit hole. Admittedly, by today’s standards, some of the resources are older but certainly the content is not dated. In fact, it may be more realistic today than when originally created.

I found the whole idea interesting. And, it made me make sure that my backups are working.


Please take some time to click through and read these original posts. They’ll definitely take you in interesting directions.

Then, follow these bloggers on Twitter to expand your learning network.

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

It’s not the original if you read it anywhere else.

Chromium Edge


As I was thinking about this, I wonder if Google takes offense to being paired with Edge or if Microsoft takes offense to being tied to the Chromium project and its Google connections.

Or maybe not.

It will come as no surprised to regular readers that I have this newish browser installed on my computer and I’m using it to write this blog post. I’ve had the Developer Edition installed since it was made available. In today’s world, we’re going to want the best browser we can have, n’est-ce pas? So, I’ve been kicking the tires with Microsoft’s proposed successor to its original Edge. I’m guessing that Edge didn’t have the uptake or the features that Microsoft wanted as a standalone offering and so wanted to join the Chromium world with all of the others – Chromium, Chrome, Opera, Brave, Vivaldi, …

As luck would have it, I have those installed on this computer as well. Each has its own unique features. With my slow internet connection, advertisement blocking is crucial and so Opera and Brave were welcomed with open arms with their built-in blockers. The others achieve the blocking via extension so that is good. So many extensions have been written to go along with Chromium and they slide nicely into place with all of the products. Interestingly, the others have their own store but will let you click through to the big repository at Google to add others.

As with all of the browsers that I use, I’m a big reader of their blog and updated features; Edge’s is here.

It’s also the place where you can download the application for your computer if you’re so inclined. And, you’re not just limited to Windows 10.

The Developer’s Channel has served me well so I don’t see myself changing at any time in the near future.

All of the browsers based on Chromium have their own unique customizations. For example, Edge lets you adjust your new tab page.

In true modern fashion, none of the browsers claim to be finished. Updates and features are to be expected and we will only be winners as a result.

There is a nebulous (at least to me) part of all of these and that deals with how they handle Privacy. Adding an extension is easy enough. Generally, you do it because you want a feature and you can tell whether or not a feature is working properly just by using it. Privacy always seems just like a claim to me. How do I know that those little switches and options actually do what you think they might? I’d love to know the answer to that and how to test for it.

In the meantime, my quest for the ultimate browser continues. I didn’t know what to expect from Chromium Edge but I’m pleasantly pleased. There really is no learning curve to getting started and customization isn’t a big deal anymore.

Will this be the ultimate winning browser? I don’t know but it’s fun running it through my regular routine and seeing that it holds up nicely.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Crickets!

That’s the big sign for me that summer is coming to an end. Around here, they’re doing their thing 24/7.

It’s Thursday morning as I write this and considerably cooler so all the windows and patio doors are open. And, the crickets are chirping in harmony.

Read on for some great posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


L is for Light

Lynn Thomas was a special guest host on This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio this week. We had a great discussion with her and then dug into this post from her.

As regular readers know, Lynn is working her way through the alphabet on her blog and is up to L. She saw that as light and took a shine to the various phases of an educator’s day.

As you read it, I’m sure that you’ll empathize with just how long an educator’s day can be.

The thing about daylight made me smile as a former football coach. When you start football season, daylight isn’t an issue. But, towards the end of the season, you’re playing under the lights.


A Guy Walks into a Bar

This post from The Beast was a very difficult one to include. It’s a hard post to read with a sharing about privilege that will make you stop and think. It’s even harder to read when you do recognize and admit to your own privilege.

I recognize my own and it’s all the clearer when you go through inspection before boarding a flight. I almost felt relief when I was pulled aside and patted down going through security in Phoenix. I looked over my shoulder and saw the “area of concern” which was in my hip pocket. It was my new wallet that has RFID protection and that messed with the scanning device.

Back to the post, I think that you can’t help but feel empathy as part of this discussion that indeed takes place in a bar. If you’re like me, reading the post once doesn’t do it justice.

I wonder if educators are more sensitive to things as we’re paid to observe and to try and level the playing field.

Nothing, and I mean nothing works people up into their defense mode like a big ol’ chat about their place in the world and how hard they had to work for it so therefore they do not have privilege but rather they have earned everything that has ever happened to them


Further Reflections after Faith in the System Podcast

For all the blogging that I’ve done, I don’t know that I could write something as eye opening and candidly honest as Diana Maliszewski does in this post.

It was a personal reflection after having appeared on the voicEd radio show “Faith in the System”. In the podcast, Diana opens up and shares her thoughts about her own faith and devotion to her religion. The post also includes photos of younger Diana which I’d never seen before.

I’ve known Diana for a number of years and I know many things about her professionally. I was astounded by the number of things that she said that she wish she’d said on the show.

  • Teacher Librarian integrating technology
  • her teaching schedule
  • maker culture vs maker movement
  • Minecraft
  • her children

I don’t know that I’ve ever had a conversation with her that didn’t include one or more of these topics. I can’t believe that she didn’t mention them on the show.

But, what she did focus on is included in this rather lengthy post and I now know far more about the life of Diana than I did before reading it.


TMB Withdrawal

I’ve been waiting to read about and see the pictures from the Climb for Kids. Heather Swail and Paul McGuire participated in and it was Heather that was first to the gate with the images.

This post is more than just a collection of pictures from the climb through the Alps which I kind of expected.

Instead, she shares the story of long days, steep climbs, comradery, and a bonding with not only the mountain and the climb but with those she was climbing with.

Her descriptions that go along with the pictures are rich.

Sharp, powerful joints of rock piercing the sky, massive white-gray glaciers glaring in the sun, velvet-green descents from sky to valley, stitched by rock. I miss the sound of cowbells from far-off and nearby meadows, ascending through trails in the forest with mountain larches caressing your face.

It’s a post that will make you tired just by reading it.


Using Technology to Drive Language Skills and Create Meaningful Learning Opportunities

From the Fair Chance Learning blog, a guest post from Kurtis Hartnell about an experience dealing with Minecraft in a Grade 3 setting. The setting was designed for students in a French Immersion classroom.

That was the wrinkle with this post.

There are many posts that talk of the virtues of collaboration and the amazing things that kids can do with Minecraft. They don’t really catch my attention any more because they are, well, about Minecraft.

That’s not the case here. The students were building Francoville and the post showed the typical engagement that comes from using Minecraft. Then, there’s the lesson for educators. As Kurtis observed, the students not only were immersed in the environments that they were creating, they were immersed in French as the language of conversation. The experience became more than just doing something cool with Minecraft. I was blown away by that notion.

And, there was a loaner 3D printer involved which is always interesting (I can watch them for hours) lent by HP and Fair Chance Learning.

There are also some interesting high resolution pictures of the classroom and kids using the technology. That’s always of interest to me.


How To Self Engineer A Learning Community?

I can still remember when social networking was young. Those that got there first described learning communities as something that was akin to magic. You just needed a Twitter account and miracles happened.

Well, maybe for them. I somehow missed out on the magic part.

I found that, for the long run and durability, for me it was a lot of work. It had promises of being something powerful on one day and turned out to be a massive waste of time the next. For me, I was truly building the ladder as I was climbing it.

I read Rola Tibshirani’s summary and thoughts about a year with students and their journey with great interest. It’s not a short post and the mixed media makes it a bit of a challenge to read. But, it’s worth the effort.

I like the collection of student observations; they add to the message that Rola is delivering. Not only can you see their thoughts working globally, but you get a sense of what it means to them locally.

I’d recommend this post to anyone who is considering working with kids and this social media thing. You’ll find out that it’s far more than just magic happening. It’s hard work, meaningful, and works best when it’s purposeful.


Reckless Abandon!

I had coffee recently with a friend who worked in the IT Department when I was in the Program Department. He had been going through his archives and found a sound file that he had created just for me. He knew that I was a big Law and Order fan, we were using FirstClass for an email system at that time and so he crafted this file as my notification sound.

Now, at the time, the neighbour in the office next to me was Nancy Drew. I always had music playing when I was working; that’s how I work best. My choice of country music wasn’t her favourite and so I did my best to keep it low but every email notification seemed so much louder. Anyway, he got me thinking about my friend Nancy. We’re friends on Facebook and I had read that she had started a blog. Cool! That’s right up my alley.

When I visited it, she has chosen to marry two things she’s quite passionate about – knitting and literacy.

So far, there are a couple of posts about her knitting and a promise of books to come. Let’s give her some blog lovin’ and drop by to read her thoughts and see what she’s making. She claims to be self-taught.


Please take the time to click through and read these posts in their entirety. I think you’ll enjoy what you see.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • @THOMLYNN101
  • @theBeastEDU
  • @MzMollyTL
  • @FCLEdu
  • @hbswail
  • @rolat

This posting originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

An interesting graphic utility


I love it when I learn something new and I did this past week. One of the blog posts that was featured on voicEd Radio’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs came from Lynn Thomas.

What I learned, in addition to her fabulous writing, was a new utility for creating engaging graphics. Usually, I’ll use Photoshop or The Gimp of Canva but I’m interested now in Genial.ly. You see, Lynn created and shared this graphic.

I’m one of those people who don’t always include graphics in my posts because, for me, it needs to be meaningful and convey a message to support the message that I’m sharing.

In this case, Lynn was talking about “light” and used this tool to create the graphic above. It really resonated with me and certainly supported the message in her blog post.

It’s on my play around with list and just might be used to create some content for the future. It certainly embeds nicely and easily into WordPress.

Thanks, Lynn.