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


It’s still summer time and reading blogs is a nice break from the heat. Check out some of the things that I’ve been reading from Ontario Edubloggers lately


Why Summer is a Perfect Time for Reflection

Summer is an interesting beast. Even when you go into your favourite stores, there’s no guarantee that it’s business as usual. Your favourite workers may not be there and instead are away on holiday.

Of course, as Sue Dunlop notes, don’t drop into a school and look for the regular crew.

They’re away doing things that aren’t connected to specific time slots and specific places. They’re on their own time and in their own place. Sue points out some great reasons why this “break from the bell” makes it a perfect time to reflect.

It’s not advice for others – she’s doing a bit of reflection on her own.


Experiment of The Week – Homemade Projector by Steve Spangler

After you’re done reflecting and you want to create something, the STAO blog has this little gem.

How about creating your own projector?

Is this a project for your makerspace in the future?


ETFO Innovate 2019

I really enjoy reading conference reports and this one from Shelly Vohra is no difference.

Lots of activities and learning seemed to be the theme coming from her in the post. She provides a complete and detailed report on her various activities.

Of real interest was a quote that she attributes to Debbie Donsky (see my interview with Debbie here) about her keynote. It surrounds the word Ubuntu. It’s a philosophy on many levels – including an operating system! But, its roots go back to connecting people…

She also talked about the term “Ubuntu” –  “I am a person through other people. My humanity is tied to yours.” How are we sharing in a way that connects us all? How are we leading and connecting from the heart?

Doesn’t that describe the human teaching condition?


Tour de Mont Blanc – Day Eight for Climb for Kids

Paul McGuire may be on the other side of the Atlantic climbing for kids but if you’re connected to Paul, you’ve been seeing some spectacular pictures of his summer adventure.

So far, he’s provided one blog post of “how I spent my summer holidays” and check out the scenery.

On top of this, he’s raising money for kids. Talk about the best of both worlds.


Friday Two Cents: Honour Our Past To Understand Our Present

Like Paul Gauchi, one of my favourite places to visit while in Ottawa is the Canadian War Museum. Even visiting the local cenotaph can be a humbling experience.

I attribute it to a vet that I had as a teacher. He walked with a permanent limp and would often share personal stories when there were those 10-15 minutes of dead time at the the end of class.

Sadly, there are fewer and fewer people who have this sort of experience and memories. The Museum helps ensure that we continue to remember and to honour.

Yet I say, “To truly understand our present we must first understand our past”; the good, bad and ugly sides. I cannot tell you how many adults do not know or understand the current Canadian issues that we face today, started many years if not decades ago. But they keep on complaining and in my opinion whining about these issues without knowing the history of them.


Have you ever put a tooth in the microwave?

Well, Anne-Marie Kee, no I haven’t. Although now that I’ve read the title to this post, I am curious…

tldr; You won’t find the answer in this post.

However, you will find a summer reflection from a principal. In a private school, in addition to the sorts of things that you might expect anywhere, there are additional things to think about. Concerns about sustainability would be among them although that appears to be under control.

The final thought is something that I think so many are thinking and wondering about this summer. It’s important and the answer might make for a better school year.

How can we prioritize student voice in our programs?


Highlights of the National Association of Media Literacy Educators Conference

Finally, from the Association for Media Literacy blog, another conference summary and reflect by Neil Andersen.

Wow!

What a collection of sessions that he shares some notes and thinking about.

  • Teaching About Genocide Through A Media Literacy Frame • Jad Melki
  • Refugees creating documentaries in Greece using visual ethnography • Evanna Ratner
  • Eco Media Literacy • Antonio Lopez
  • Criminal minds and Looney Tunes: portrayals of mental illness and therapy on television
  • Pushing against online hate: MediaSmarts • Kara Brisson-Boivin
  • Media Literacy Pedagogical Practices With Children: Engagement, Learning And Home-School Community Knowledge Exchange • Vitor Tomé
  • Critiquing advertisements with teens and their families: video literacy intervention in Jamaica • Rachel Powell
  • The United States Institute of Peace Thinktank
  • Visualizing Media Literacy • Theresa Redmond
  • On The Air: Elementary Student Adventures In Podcasting And Radio Broadcasting • Diana Maliszewski
  • What Does The Internet Know About You? • Julie Nilsson Smith
  • Panel: Media Literacy And The Tech Industry: Exploring Collaborative Ways To Navigate Rapid Technological Growth
  • Panel: Trust, Journalism, And Media Literacy
  • The Future Of Media Literacy Requires Starting Early: “Ulla” The Little Owl In Kindergarten • Eveline Hipeli
  • Media Literacy Across The Pacific: What’s Happening In Australia • Amy Nelson

I hope that you can find some time to click through and read all of these posts at their original source. There’s great thinking there.

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

  • @Dunlop_Sue
  • @staoapso
  • @raspberryberet3
  • @mcguirp
  • @PCMalteseFalcon
  • @AMKeeLCS
  • @mediasee

This is part of a regular Friday feature here. It was originally posted to

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday!

Here’s some great reading from Ontario Edubloggers to kick off your weekend.


Guided Reading for Math?

I always get inspiration and ideas from Deborah McCallum’s posts and this one is no different.

Speaking of different, she sets the stage by talking about the way that we’ve traditionally made the study of language different from the study of Mathematics. She introduces us to the concept of reading for meaning nicely to Mathematics.

Who hasn’t struggled with an involved question that you’re positive the teacher stayed up all night trying to get the wording just right to mess up your day?

So, just like there are tools and techniques for understanding reading material, could the concepts not be applied here?

She builds a nice argument and provides 10 suggestions to make it work.

Why not try guided reading to help students build cognitive, metacognitive and affective skills for reading complex math problems? I encourage you to give it a try.


What Makes A Partnership Work?

You don’t have to follow Aviva Dunsiger for long on any social media before you see a reference to her “teaching partner Paula”.

This blog post is really a testament to the powerful relationship that the two of them have in their kindergarten classroom that I now know has about 30-ish students.

It’s a typical Aviva post – lots of colours and pictures. You’re going to love them.

There’s a powerful message in this post about partnerships in their case. It’s built beyond the professional requirement that they be in the same place at the same time.

As always, she’s looking for comments about similar relationships Stories like this are inspirational in education, particular at this time in Ontario.


Here’s to Paving New Ground

Sue Bruyns provides a bit of background with reading from Professionally Speaking but quickly gets to the heart of a very important issue.

It happens often in education.

I think we can all think of successful innovation stories. Little pockets of excellence at a school or within a department that swells and changes professional practice for others, sometimes changing the direction of things.

There are also other moments not as successful and we don’t always hear about them. Read Sue’s post and you’ll be exposed to one. A group of collaborators take to a piece of software, learn together, and make good things happen. Sue even notes that the company’s CEO flew in from British Columbia to help with some compatibility details. Staff persevered and the software started to show the results promised at Arthur Currie and other schools.

Then, it happened.

A directive from outside the school indicated that the software could no longer be used and that a board approved solution needed to be put in place.

You can’t help but feel sorry for those who spent two years learning and growing with the software. I hope that this gets past the software issue and that the skills and knowledge developed on the initial platform can be transferred to the board approved solution.

I really appreciated reading this post; we don’t often read thoughts from principals and even more infrequently their leadership challenges when influenced from outside the school.


Recess is as Real Life as it Gets

With a background in secondary school, I was out of my element here when the topic turned to recess. It just wasn’t a thing for me unless you counted “travel time” of five minutes between classes…

I really enjoyed the picture The Beast paints of recess and what happens there. I kept thinking that recess and some of the activities described were really application of the things that went on in class.

But, it’s not all fun and games.

And then, as The Beast does, they dig into just what recess actually is. More importantly are their thoughts about what recess could be in their perfect world.

I’m also still trying to figure this out…

Circle back around to the beginning of your post and what we know to be the difference between Dougie’s type of learning and actual learning.


When it comes to mental health in Canada, the gap is still too wide

Before we get to the message in Paul McGuire’s blog post, here’s an observation about format. For the most part, blogging platforms let you categorize and tag posts with words so that you can search later. Typically, this appears at the bottom of the post. In the format that Paul has chosen they appear at the top and one of the tags was “hope”. That helped me frame a reading mindset as I dug in.

He praises Supreme Court Justice Clement Gascon for publically acknowledging his challenges with mental health issues.

We live in a great country. Have we not resolved this?

The World Health Organization reports that in low- and middle-income countries, between 76% and 85% of people with mental disorders receive no treatment for their disorder. In high-income countries, between 35% and 50% of people with mental disorders are in the same situation.

Those statistics should shock you and I would hope would shock society into realizing that we need to do better.

This is a sobering post and I thank Paul for writing about it and bringing it to our attention. I encourage you to take the time to visit and read it. You may end up looking at some of those faces in your classroom differently going forward.


Self-Care for Writers

I kind of found myself out of water and then back in again with this post from Lisa Cranston.

I studied Mathematics and Computer Science at university so the concept of writing big research papers, much less a dissertation, is completely foreign to me. At the time, I hated writing – in high school it always seems that you were writing to be on the good side of the teacher instead of something that you were interested in. I probably have that all wrong but that’s how I remember it.

So, I’ve never had the stress and stressors that Lisa describes in trying to do a long-term writing project.

But, these days, I write every day, albeit not the long-term format Lisa describes. I enjoy writing now and doing whatever research goes into what I do. I was quite interested in Lisa’s suggestion for low cost, self care…

Some suggestions for low cost, short term self-care include: a hot cup of tea, a walk outdoors, playing with a pet, holding hands with a loved one, reading a chapter in a non-work related book. 

I’ve got all this nailed except coffee is a replacement for tea and reading blog posts substitute for non-work related book. (although there always is something on paper beside my chair)

I’m curious though about her definition of “mindless screen time”. I’d really like a definition of that.


bringing back the participatory: a story of the #ProSocialWeb

I’m in love with this very long post from Bonnie Stewart.

Play this album while you read it.

I feel very old when I read her definition of “old-skool Web 2.0”

The participatory web, originally – the old-skool Web 2.0 where readers were also writers and contributors and people were tied together by blog comments – but also social media. Twitter. Even Facebook. Together, these various platforms have networked me into some of the most important conversations and relationships of my life.

That was me in the early days.

I like to think that’s me today. Maybe I haven’t moved on. I value those connections; I worked hard to make those connections; I learned that success didn’t happen over night; I valued the connections; I never thought of myself as a piece of data.

Things indeed are different now. Bonnie describes what is and why.

I love this quote that she includes in the slidedeck embedded.

“If you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together”

I often wonder if those of us who were early adopters aren’t part of the problem. How many times have we shown the “power” of connections and the web and convinced others to join in? The missing part is that we don’t share how much hard work went into our initial learning to make it happen. We know it isn’t immediate gratification; do we share that?

Cringe the next time you’re asked to show the “power” of social networking by retweeting or liking a message.

You know that it’s much more than that and there’s great potential in the ProSocialWeb.


OK, inspired for a Friday – go forth and conquer now that you’re smarter than you were went you started. You did click through and read this amazing content, didn’t you?

Follow these amazing folks on Twitter.

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s another Friday and a chance to take a look at some of the recent blogging entries from Ontario Edubloggers.


Exploring By The Seat of Your Pants

There are some amazing things that can happen when you share the best of ideas and opportunities. Brenda Sherry does this in this post.

She’s been well versed in the Exploring by the Seat of your Pants project in a number of professional learning events that she’s been a part of. Recently, she actually got to bring the power of connections to a classroom in her own school.

Junior students got to participate in an interaction with a Canadian marine biologist. Along with students from many other diverse places.

When you think about the traditional guest speaker, they drop in and talk and leave. The power in this model is that it’s recorded and shared via YouTube. In this way, you can revisit the event and also use it in other years. Heck, since it’s publically available, you’re not just limited to the one that your class used.

It sounds like a wonderful learning experience happened. The big takeaway for you, reader, is how to get involved in your own classroom by bringing an expert into there. Details are included in Brenda’s post.


The Gender Gap in Technology

You can’t argue with statistics. In this post on the Heart and Art blog, Michelle Fenn sets the stage.

According to a recent report* by ICTC (the Information and Technology Information Council) Canadian women represent about 50% of the overall workforce but represent only 25% of the technology industry workforce. 

We’ve known this forever, it seems, and yet the inequities still exist. Michelle offers some good suggestions to help change things in your own school.

I think it needs to go further though. If we know that this is a problem then there should be an educational way to fix it. But, until it becomes a compulsory part of the curriculum, we’re left with good people trying their best. That pales in comparison to what can happen if it’s done systemically and supported well with a common set of tools and pedagogy.

In addition to the suggestions in the post, check out the NCWIT website for updates on their activities and for free resources.

Until the situation is formally recognized though, students will still be subjected to hit and miss approaches and cutesy little standalone professional learning activities.


Privilege Masquerading as Superiority

A secondary school teacher who is doing something about this is Tim King. This post details his efforts and observations as he takes an all-female team to the Cybertitan competition.

Tim weaves an interesting story involving both observation and action.

Some of these observations are disturbing.

– where are all the girls?

– A number of people (oddly all male)  grumbled about the all-female wildcard spot

– taking an all-female crew to this event had me constantly seeing micro-aggressions I might have otherwise missed

– we were only there because we’re a girl’s team

– as she reached for the pen a boy from another team stepped in front of her like she wasn’t there

And there’s more. You need to set aside a significant amount of time to read this post where even creating the learning environment was not supported by the school district and the students had to build their own computers.


Just Stop Using “You Guys”

My apologies, in advance, to Sue Dunlop. When I saw the title of this post, I thought it read “Youse guys” and that it was going to be a fun little post about literacy.

Instead, it’s about the expression that is used to refer to a group of people.

yes, “guys’ is a male term, not a neutral one

From the post, it’s clear that Sue has either been in a group that was addressed this way or she saw it being used in that way. Either way, it inspired her to write about it.

She offers some alternatives to use in the post.

Most importantly, it’s a reminder that our choice of words is important. It serves as a reminder to me of the importance of an objective peer coach.

This applies to writing as well. I hope that I don’t use expressions that would offend; I would hope that readers feel comfortable enough to let me know when I do; and I would hope that I would take that as an opportunity to avoid doing it again.


Dear Jordan…

One of the powerful things about blogging is that, at least for now, your thoughts will be there forever. (or until you delete it or the service goes away or … well, you get my meaning)

One of the things that Patt Olivieri will have a chance to do with her son is share this post when he’s old enough to fully appreciate it.

In education, we know all about assessment, evaluation, and data points. Our system and our jobs thrive on it. It’s one of the things that separate education workers from other workers. It’s scientific, artistic, and humanist all at the same time.

It’s not as powerful as a mother’s love for her child.

You see, my love, there is no test for all of this, no grade, no level that can ever capture the everyday, ordinary stuff that accumulates to the only stuff that can ever be measured in immeasurable ways.

Wow.

If you’re a parent, you’ll be moved by this post.


When Political Penny-Pinchers Pilfer Your PD

Alanna King didn’t post this to her personal blog (at least not yet) so I kind of stumbled onto it on the Canadian School Libraries site.

It was great to see a former colleague quoted in Alanna’s post. A bit of trivia – her office had a window, mine didn’t.

There are two major topics that Alanna addresses in this post.

  • Why should teacher-librarians self-direct their professional development?
  • How should teacher-librarians find sources of professional development?

It was good to see that the Bring IT, Together Conference and #ECOOcamp made her list. It goes much further than that and you’ll find yourself tired when you read about Alanna’s endeavours and recognized that they’re all tacked on top of her day job, including writing this post.

There was another area that I thought she could have addressed more completely and, perhaps it’s in a future post, but in addition to her involvement as a participant in things, she is also a highly sought after presenter.

If you’ve ever been a presenter yourself, and what teacher hasn’t in some form, you know that the research and preparation that goes into that can be some of the best professional learning that you’ll ever do. Unlike the professional that repeats the same session over and over again, changing your topics and focus regularly keeps you from going stale.


A MODEST SOTL PLAN: WORKING WITH LITERARY PASSAGES

Now, here’s something completely different from James Skidmore. It falls from a reflection on student abilities from a course that he just taught. He notes that they’re good readers but …

What they can’t do, however, or at least not do very well, is identify passages or quotations from the novel that can be used as the cornerstone for a commentary on the larger text, and then build a commentary based on that passage.

I’d never really thought about this. Now that I have, I would like to think that that is part of what I’m trying to do with these regular Friday posts. I guess it’s a bit of a confession that I try to apply this technique to blog posts which are, by design, short and typically focus on one thing. How would I make out in a larger text? I’ve never thought about it and I wonder.

James has done some research and finds that there isn’t much that has been done already. What to do? He’s going to make it a project for eCampusOntario Extend mOOC . You can read about it and there’s a link to a collaborative document in his post.

I wonder if there are any other teachers of Language that would be interested.


And that’s a wrap.

Like always, some great thinking from Ontario Educators. Please take the time to honour their efforts by clicking through and reading the original.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome back to Winter or Spring Light or whatever you want to call it! At the very least, it’s another Friday and a time to look at some recent posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


Ontario Students Hold Walkouts in Protest of Progressive Conservative Party’s Policy Proposals

After the student walkouts last week, I turned to see if I could find blog posts from the students who had walked out. In my search, I found this post from Indygo Arscott, a Toronto student and one of the organizers of the event.

She wrote a post for Teen Vogue that really was a two-parter.

In the first part, she outlines the various issues that are of concern to Ontario students. It’s very factual and links to original web sources.

The second part gets personal. Speaking personally, and I suspect for thousands of others, she lets us know the importance of the protest to students and their concerns of a future education. As she notes, students are the “biggest stakeholders in the future”. As such, so many of these students will be in a voting position for the next election.

I took to Twitter to see more of this new-to-me blogger. She appears to be very aware of issues surrounding social justice. She even challenged a Toronto Sun opinion writer over his comments about orchestration by the teacher federations. She laid out the facts in a calm, cool manner and unfortunately didn’t get a response.

I know people tire of the rhetoric these days in education but you owe it to yourself to read this post from student voice that we say is important. It’s time to give it more than simple lip service.


Why students walked out today – April 4th, 2019

I didn’t know what to expect when Deborah Weston tagged me in this post on the Heart and Art blog. After all, it’s hosted by ETFO.

Rather than a Deborah opinion piece, it’s a collection of student comments from Grades 3-5. She doesn’t quote the source but a spelling mistake would lead me to believe that it was a copy/paste from some source.

While we can get the secondary school insights from Indygo’s post, this will give us insights from younger students on their perspective. Their comments are telling; in particular the focus on special education is interesting.

I’m not sure that I would have been aware of that topic when I was that age.


50th Episode – I Wish I Knew EDU learning

Ramona Meharg hit a milestone in her podcasting efforts hitting the big 5-0.

In her podcast show heard on voicEd Radio.

Her 50th show was with Sarah Lalonde and takes an interesting spin on her regular format. I had the honour of being on her third show.

If you’ve ever been interested in Podcasting on your own or just wonder what goes through the mind of another podcaster, including the anxieties, I think you’ll find this post interesting.


Reset, Reboot, RemOOC

At first blush when visiting this post from Terry Greene, you might think that you’ve entered some sort of time warp and you’re back to gaming with the Commodore 64! That’s what his use of graphics did for me.

That’s the theme that Terry took as he shares the mOOC portion of the initiative from Extend Ontario.

He calls it:

a healthy lifestyle choice for your pedagogical endeavors

There are some interesting reflections and insights as to this type of learning. It hasn’t had the sticking power that I’m sure he wanted but such is the consistent feeling throughout any learning online experience. That includes mOOCs and other online courses.

There’s also the growing and learning from going through things the first time. The wise educator will learn from the experience and use this learning to make subsequent offerings more appealing.


WHY FRUSTRATED STUDENTS MADE MY DAY TODAY

So, what students have long suspected – that instructors stay up all night thinking of way to frustrate them – is true. Melanie Lefebvre lets the cat out of the bag, at least in a recent class of hers, where frustration indeed was her end game.

With the help of two amazing colleagues (thank you Jess and Jenny!), I facilitated a simulation I created. I designed it to simulate a mix of what it’s like to have OCD, coupled with what it’s like to navigate complex systems.

The simulation had it all and was close to real life, it seems.

Every time the students felt like they were getting close to something, she threw an obstacle at them! Wait lists, waiting rooms, change in a doctor, …

Yes, this is real life! Hopefully the message of empathy was received and a lesson learned.


Five reasons why banning cellphones is a bad idea.

I’m surprised that Jennifer Casa-Todd was able to whittle it down to five!

The recent announcement about the “banning” of smartphones in the classroom has spiked a great deal of discussion. As Jennifer notes in this post, the escape clauses in the announcement means that it may well be business as usual for many classes.

Teachers and students are coming to grips with technology and its use on a daily basis. Everyone has their moments of frustration – usually it’s “how do I get connected in the first place” – and that’s just the beginning.

Life would be so much easier without smartphones in the classroom. It would be so much easier with straight rows of desks. It would be so much easier with the student of the 1950s who didn’t challenge the status quo. It would be so much easier if we could just limit studies to what’s on the next page of the textbook.

Nobody wants that. We want future leaders who are aware of the world and all that is “out there”. We want to explore and inquire topics that weren’t in the curriculum of days gone by. We want to be on top of the latest.

As I write this post, there are big stories of the day – Julian Assange, the images of the black hole, rebellions in Sudan, Ontario budget, Brexit, a new subway in Toronto, and so much more.

How long would it take before those hit a paper textbook? We have the tools available – doesn’t it make sense to use them?

Yes, it will be a challenge. But, it’s a challenge that’s worth solving.


This is WHY I Speak Up. Why Do You?

From Aviva Dunsiger’s blog, it’s purple so you know it’s important.

Aviva’s blog is educational but she’s impacted with what’s going on. With all the recent events in Ontario, you can’t miss the political shots being fired on all parts.

These shots are challenging Aviva’s commitment to keeping her blog and her other social media platforms focussed on education.

Is this wrong?

Blogging and social media are very conscious actions. You do what you want and what you feel you need to do. Keep in mind that the reality is that there are many more voices that are not using social media to convey messages than there are that do.

Aviva’s post is a reminder that you can have a political opinion at times without having a political blog. Since it’s her blog, it’s her decision.

We respect that and we value her insights.


I hope that you can take the time to click through and read these wonderfully insightful posts. In education in Ontario, we’re so fortunate to have people that are willing to share their thoughts in this manner.

Some Twitter voices to add to your learning network.

This post originally appeared on

https://dougpete.wordpress.com/

If you read it anywhere else, it’s been scraped and reposted.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Good morning and welcome to this weekly summary of some of the blogs that I’ve read recently from Ontario Edubloggers.  As always, these blogs will kick your brain into gear for a Friday.


Does Black History Month still hold meaning in 2019

This was an interesting post from Matthew Morris.  Last week, you’ll recall that he shared with us five suggestions for the classroom for Black History month.

Now, he’s throwing out a wondering about whether Black History Month still holds meaning.

I can’t help but think of this…

“Those Who Do Not Learn History Are Doomed To Repeat It.”

In my mind, there’s no question – the answer is a resounding yes.

It seems to me that there are two important and yet somewhat different tacts on this.  There is that element of history that everyone should know.  As Matthew notes, “Our students know about Martin and Rosa and Muhammad and Slaves.”

But there’s another element and Matthew referred to it in last week’s post.  There’s the element of history that shapes your local community.  It serves two purposes; one to understand the history of events that happened but more importantly, helps to develop an understanding of why your community is what it is today.


Finding Middle Ground

I’m really enjoying the movement behind eCampusOntario and really appreciate those that are involved and how open they are in their attempts to be “open” and to be “honest” about it.

You’ll see all of that in this post from Jessica O’Reilly.

She takes us on a tour of what she’s working with in her classroom – the concept of “Ungrading”.

I’ve read a number of blog posts about going gradeless – but they’ve typically come from the K-12 classroom.  This time, it’s post-secondary.

It’s not universally embraced and Jessica is open enough to share that with us as well.  And, now she’s sharing her plan about what to do about it.

This is a long post and I’m sure that you’ll want to read it a couple of times because there’s so much in there.


Inquiry, Social Justice, & the SDGs

When I reflect back upon my studies of society and social justice, content was largely derived from textbook, newspaper, and opinions from the teacher.  That’s about it.

Today’s connected classroom offers so much more and Shelly Vohra shares a classroom activity that exploits that.

This activity has it all – the big question, guiding questions and an opportunity for students to have a voice to prioritize their concerns.  And they’re guided in their thinking by a chocolate bar!

chocolate

Shelly provides a list of driving questions that will take the students deep into thinking about United Nations Sustainable Developmental Goals.

Bookmark and share this one, folks.


Are You Caught in the Whirlwind?

If you’re in education, you undoubtedly will be in and out of whirlwinds for your entire career.  It’s the nature of the beast.  You’re always outnumbered and it requires some terrific planning on your part.

Sue Dunlop offers a suggestion for helping to deal with it.

It’s a tack that I used myself and I can vouch that it works.  It involves prioritizing things but the number one step is:

Maybe you can step away from the whirlwind for 30 minutes and create the time.

If you prioritize things (I used A-Z, 1-9), then create your time first before anything else.  I always made mine A1 and put it into my timetable as a first step in planning.  That time, to me, was sacred and couldn’t be touched.

In theory anyway – if you have a supervisor with their own schedule of things – well, I guess that’s why they put erasers on pencils!


Pitch Day 2019

Boy, this post from Noa Daniel took me back, way back, to Grade 5 and speeches.  I don’t recall any school event that caused me more stress and anxiety than speeches.

Years later, I’m comfortable presenting and talking to groups of all sizes but that speech on sweaty recipe cards in front of 30 classmates was the thing that nightmares were made of for me.  When I think about it, perhaps those recipe cards were good things.  They would have kept my arms in place rather than flinging then around while I’m talking!

Of course, we live in a completely different world these days and Noa describes an approach that she uses that is far more humane than the “you’re going to do a speech” approach!  It is also a different time.  We didn’t have the advantage of watching a video to even understand what this speech thing should be like as we were planning.  Looking back, it seemed like the goal was to talk monotone for five minutes

Not in Noa’s class.

Using the concept of the TED Talk, Noa shares how she provides opportunity for student to brainstorm significant issues of the day for her students in their graffiti board.  But it’s not then headed direct to the talk; students have a chance to make a pitch to their classmates.  It seems to me that it’s a lower stress entry point designed to make this far richer than a one shot activity.

And, if you worry about today’s kids, take a look at the topics that they’re contemplating addressing.  The kids are alright.

Plus, there’s mathematics involved.  Does it get any better or more authentic than that?


My Many Microaggressions

Diana Maliszewski click baited me into reading this post.  Generally, I get a sense of a blog post in the title shared but I had no idea what to expect this time around.  Quite frankly, the word “microaggression” was new to me.

Diana uses the post to celebrate some of her recent learning and sharing and then turns her eye back on herself.  In the busy world that she creates for herself, I don’t know that I would consider the events that she self-identifies as anything more than a slip.  Goodness knows that we have all made them.

I did find the challenge that she and Michelle Solomon had made on them interesting and made me think…

Someone called us out on our choice of visuals and examples and said that we focused too much on the negative, and not enough on positive representations.

I would suspect that it would be the sort of thing that many of us would be guilty? of.  Very often, the negative is easier to make a point if nothing other than for its shock value.  Positive representations over and over may not deliver the intended message.  I’ve got to think my way through this.  I know both Diana and Michelle and I have no doubt that, in their planning, they would both be working on an important theme and would have check and double-checked each other during their planning.

I need to think more about the term microaggression.


ORGANIZING PRINCIPLES

Pair this post from James Skidmore with the one above from Jessica O’Reilly and you can’t help but be confirmed that amazing things are happening in the open with those involved with eCampusOntario.

In this post, James talks about the structure for a new course at the University of Waterloo CI 250: TRUTH – RECONCILIATION – STORY.

The academic in me is intrigued with the openness that he shares about a new course offered this Winter.  I can’t ever remember taking a course the first time that it was offered.

I can see a 21st Century learning approach to the course … he got me thinking about tagging my learning

We think of learning as acquisition: “Look! A piece of information! Let me acquire it (ie, let me learn it) and make it my own!” I encourage students to move beyond this rather limited view and instead approach learning as an exercise in categorization.

We all know, I hope, that students learn better when they create something new as a result of their efforts.

Read James’ post in its entirety and follow the links to see how he wants this to play out.


Does your brain hurt as much as mine?  Make sure that you click through and read these interesting posts in their entirety.

Then, add these educational bloggers to your Twitter learning network.

This is part of a series of posts that happens on Friday mornings.  All of them are available here.

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


And … it’s Friday!

Time for another wander around the province to check out the great thoughts from Ontario Edubloggers.


55!

How cool is this?  

In Amanda Potts’ class, students are getting turned on to reading and keeping track of the number of books read.

Check out the post for some images of the class in action doing their reading (even behind curtains) and some of the titles that have been devoured.

Some people seem to turn to reading naturally and others have to have some inspiration.  It sounds like this challenge (and pizza) is just what is working here.

I formally challenge the class to hit 75 by the Break.  

Since the original post, here’s an update.

What an amazing surprise today! So pleased that you shared my blog. And guess what? Those 11 students have now read 61 books and are still reading – they’re on fire!— Amanda Potts (@Ahpotts) December 13, 2018


I feel so out of control, but it is so worth it.

When I am feeling out of control I check out their twitter feeds, vlogs, blogs and podcasts and I am usually blown away with what I never knew they were working on. 

With all of that going on in Rachel Chambers’ class, you can’t help but feel a little bit of empathy … but when the concept delivers, there has to be an immense sense of satisfaction that this is working.

When you embrace the concepts behind the problem based classroom, you have to realize that this sort of thing will happen but being prepared is quite another thing.  It’s a tribute to her professional thinking and planning that she’s making it happen.

Stay in tune with developments at The Twisted System Podcast.


Understanding vs. Memorizing

Lisa Corbett’s opening to this post brought back memories from a time when I was first a Program Consultant.  Mad Math was a really desirable thing.  Lisa starts by sharing her thoughts and her plan for gaming Mad Math.

Turn to today and the factions that want to return to the days of Mathematics memorization.  Lisa was listening to a Ministry town hall and was inspired to comment 

The thing is, nobody ever says, “In the Primary grades kids should just memorize words.  We’ll teach them to understand words, read sentences, and write sentences once they get to the junior grades.”

That makes so much sense.  Why would Mathematics be any different?

Building the capacity to actually understand what a subject area is about should be paramount.


Best of 2018

So, what did you do in the last year?  

You might feel unworthy when you read Lynn Thomas’ big list

  • hosted a #MSFTEduChat Tweetmeet
  • participated in Project Kakuma
  • presented “Going Global”
  • learned how to use Tweetdeck and Buffer
  • how to record a video on Flipgrid
  • ‘Best of 2018″ Tweetmeet coming up on December 18th at 1:00 pm EST
  • become a Microsoft Innovative Educator Fellow

and she probably did a fair amount of teaching, marking, report cards, etc. to fill in any empty moments!

It makes you wonder what’s in store for 2019.


No Words!

Stepan Pruchnicky takes the time to write a blog post about his use of wordless texts.

He uses it in conjunction with regular texts to give another avenue for looking a literacy and inference in story telling.

He notes that the power comes from the fact that each entry is open to individual interpretation.  Therein lies the power for him and he muses that this might be one of the most equitable things that he does.

It’s an interesting analysis with examples of exactly how it works out in his class.

This is definitely worth the time to read.


70 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

This year’s Human Rights Day, December 10th, marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
See these highlighted resources to spark classroom discussions of human rights for leadership and global citizenship.

From the Toronto District School Board, a list of resources for discussion about Human Rights in the classroom and beyond.

A couple of the resources come directly from TDSB but the majority of them should be freely available wherever you are.  

This is a nice curation and makes following them a really good idea.


Featured Blogger: Peter Skillen

After taking a break for a few months, the ECOO website returns with one of its featured blogger posts.  Peter Skillen is featured on this blog regularly just because I learn something new from each and every post the gentleman makes.

Peter’s style is a mashup of research, opinion, lecture, and passion.  They’re seldom short in length but always long in the ability to force you to think your pedagogy.

I had the opportunity to interview Peter and his colleague Brenda Sherry for this blog.  You can read it here.


Please enjoy these wonderful resources.  Click through and read them; there’s great learning and thinking to be had.

If you’re looking for more, follow these inspirational bloggers on Twitter.

This blog post was originally posted at:
https://dougpete.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/this-week-in-ontario-edublogs/

If you find it anywhere else, it’s not original.