This Week in Ontario Edublogs


There was no show this past week but I’m looking forward to rejoining Stephen next week on Wednesday at 8:45 live. In the meantime, that didn’t stop me from reading some pretty decent blog posts. I’m sharing them below.

Even cooler is this Friday #TWIOE post. It’s the 500th post that I’ve written with this title. If you believe in milestones, then this is one for me. You can read the previous 499 from here.


Disrespectful

I can’t begin to be authentically empathic with the people who live in Ottawa and had to live through the protests and all that went into the events that the rest of us witnessed through the evening news. Try as I might, my only exposure were the short news clips that we’d get on the news and the “continuing coverage”.

This is clearly an angry post from Amanda. As I worked my way through it, I got angrier and angrier myself.

After reading Amanda’s post, I’m closer to understanding. This isn’t a short or easy post to read if you have any kind of conscience. Her thoughts start with forgetting to wear a mask and returning to get one lest she be confused with a protester.

This is an incredibly powerful post and did more to share the thoughts of people who had to live through this than the 15 second sound bites that came through on the news. You had to feel for Amanda and I just can’t imagine being in the same position. With her post, I think I can certainly understand better.

And I love the quote on her face mask.


Unleashed and Trapped

Staying on the theme of first person reflections about the events in Ottawa is this post from Heather. It was great to see her back at the keyboard; it’s been far too long. I’m sorry that the topic had to be this.

In a conversation with another teacher, the event was put into terms that all teachers could understand.

A fellow teacher said that it is like having a school full of every angry, acting-out grade 8 student you have ever met. Can you imagine a teacher letting a group of bullies take over a class, intimidate and insult fellow students, re-arrange and barricade the class, block the windows and do whatever the hell they want? 

Of course, not. I’ve never taught Grade 8 but I do remember Grade 9 students in the first weeks of secondary school. As a teacher, you set your rules and your expectations for students. You know that if there are major issues, you have a department head, vice-principal, and principal standing behind you.

But what are your thoughts if you’re not supported? What happens when the rules and laws are not supported? Classroom reality seems a little petty compared to what Heather describes.


On the Importance of Civics Classes

When I saw the title to Marie’s post, I thought that it might be a continuation on the Ottawa theme. I suppose it could and you’ve got to believe what the topics of discussion would have been in Civics classes lately.

The post will stand the test of time as she focuses instead on the importance of the course and how it’s taught by those who do so. I thought that she did a really nice job of addressing that.

The comment to her post was interesting from a teacher who taught the course but was surprised to realize how little students know about Current Events. There’s a call to action for every Civic teacher. I remember my son who loved the course because it was a chance to talk with others or event debate the events of the day. His classroom had their own subscription to the local newspaper. I’ve never regretted having the kids watch the evening news ever since.

BUT the difference is that what happens in political arena affects your life no matter who you are. There’s a much bigger payoff for everyone if we all have this information solidified.

Marie’s quote brought a smile as there was a time when he thought he might get into politics! Certainly, the Ottawa event had to be motivation for every Civics class in the province.

Consequently, doing Civics right has never been so important. Thanks, Marie, for this insightful post.


There’s Math in Our Woods

Of course there is!

Rob’s post took my back to high school and snowmobiling out to a friend’s house in the county to visit and then go out for lunch. When I met his mom at the door, she told me that he was out at the sugar shack. (This isn’t the same but I couldn’t resist.)

Anyway, I’d never been to a real sugar shack before so it was an eye opening experience for me. I got a complete lesson in handling sap, boiling, stirring (and stirring and stirring and stirring) and didn’t realize it at the time but a whack of mathematics!

Rob shares his anticipation for getting out to the woods and the same experience. It kicked off with a Twitter chat moderated by Jonathan So.


Researcher’s Journal – Looking for a question

What are current history teaching methodologies used by history teachers and taught to teacher candidatesHow are historical thinking concepts beginning to enter the school system?

Paul’s back to doing some of his thinking out loud and in a blog post.

Big questions are something that we always encourage in students. I think we think that it just comes naturally to those who are or should be inquisitive. Paul’s post kind of scuttles that train of thought or at least lets us know that it’s not coming easily to him.

His quote above and the thoughts from a couple of the posts above have got me thinking that the discussion of teaching methodologies for History and Civics classes couldn’t be more relevant. Between Ottawa and what we’re seeing now in Ukraine amplifies the importance of getting it right – relevant, fact-checking, seeing alternative viewpoints, …

I can’t get over how great and timely his question is. There should be all kinds of extremely worthwhile research falling from it.


Learning about Self Love

Amy notes that it feels weird talking about “self love”. Imagine trying to write my thoughts about her thoughts on the topic just by reading the title. Of course, I had to dig through it.

She doesn’t address the topic superficially. She goes deep, provides resources, and shares her thoughts about her own personal routines. There’s a bit of a crossover between “Self Love” and “Self Care” although she is clear that they’re not necessarily the same thing in her mind.

She doesn’t think that she practices “Self Love” but I suspect that she does more than what she would admit. But, she does ask a couple of good probing questions.

What advice would you give me to learn about loving myself? How do you love yourself?

I think these are two excellent questions. I can’t help but think that those who are in the teaching profession just don’t have enough time at the end of the day to take care of themselves. For me, it was always a case of being totally exhausted to the point that I’d often get sick as the bugs got the better of me. To make things worse, I was always taking summer courses to upgrade my qualifications and there just wasn’t time left for myself.

My best advice to her was given to me by my superintendent who, I didn’t realize at the time, was watching me manage my job and spent a morning with me talking about the taking care thing. His advice has always stuck with me – when you’re scheduling things, schedule personal time first and then let everything else fall around it. It made a huge difference to me.


“A good teacher is like …” … do you agree?

Laura’s taking an AQ course and had to finish that sentence and an internet search revealed this image that I think every teacher has seen.

Thanks, Starecat.com

We all feel that way at some point.

I thought that it was so appropriate that I read Laura’s post right after I’d read Amy’s. That image says so much.

I firmly believe that the education system will eat you alive if you let it. And, maybe some people are OK with that. I thought I was until that conversation with my superintendent that I talked about in response to Amy’s post.

Taking care of one’s self doesn’t make you weak or less efficient. I firmly believe that it makes you better and stronger.

There’s my answer, Laura. Thanks for asking the question.


I’m glad that I’ve committed myself to writing about Ontario Education blogs. I find them inspirational and I’m always pumped and recharged when I schedule the post for Friday mornings at 5:00am. I hope that you can take the time to click through and read all these fabulous posts.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter for more.

  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts 
  • Heather Swail – @hbswail
  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Rob Ridley – @RangerRidley
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker 
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura 

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Title double-checked. Everyone was too kind or didn’t notice but I mis-typed the title of this weekly post last week to “The Week in Ontario Edublogs”. I didn’t realize it until I did my Sunday summary post and, by that time, it was too late to correct. Because of WordPress’ naming convention, I’ve now done that four times. So, add 4 to the URL of this post if you’re interested in the number of times I’ve written this regular Friday feature.

However you look at it, it’s a chance to showcase some incredible writing from Ontario Edubloggers. As always, if you know of a blog from Ontario or you’re writing one and it needs to be added to the list, just let me know. Please.


What’s in a Name?

This isn’t a new blog post but rather a transcript of an interlude from Pav Wander from a year ago. It’s still as relevant as ever.

Every teacher deals with this. You get your class lists in advance of school and are ready to welcome these bodies to your classroom. I would go over those in advance and there always seemed to be some that look like they might be a challenge. I would practice reading them out loud to my wife for feedback. Here in Essex County, it seems like you can’t win at times. My Grade 10 French class didn’t prepare for the pronunciations that some French names had adopted.

I think I had a relatively easy name to pronounce and can recall only one time with a mis-pronunciation from a University prof who called me “Petterson”. It was a bit funny but I let it slide since, due the nature of university, it might be the only time he ever uttered my name. I still remember, though, how my head snapped to attention because it was pronounced incorrectly? A little thing? No, it isn’t. It’s my name.

In this post, Pav gives us a much different and very personal story that actually reveals why she goes by Pav as opposed to her formally given name.

Reading it, also brought back a couple more memories for me.

The first was a friend of mine who is in sales and his advice was wise – a person’s name is so personal and may be the most valuable thing that a person owns. He recommended always knowing names even if you forget other things since a person’s name is the most important thing they’ll ever own. You’ll be excused for forgetting other things as long as you get the name right.

The second is another friend of mine who reinforces that notion for me. He never, ever has said “Happy Birthday” that I know of. It’s always “Happy Naming Day”. His take goes beyond the notion of “Name Day” and makes assumptions about when you actually acquire your name. Still…

In high school, one of my friends called me a different name. I wasn’t “Doug” but became “Andy” (my dad’s name) and so many of my other friends followed. So, I guess it was a nickname that kind of stuck. A few years ago, we had a high school reunion some 30-40 years later. They still remembered me as “Andy”.

So, imagine this little girl growing up with a name that seemingly everyone mispronounces. From her past, Pav gives us a personal history, a lesson in language, and the rationale for why she changed her name to what it is today. It’s actually a little emotional – I’ve always thought of the issue from the perspective of a teacher looking over class lists but reading a reflection of a little girl who constantly had her name “butchered” was eye opening and quick frankly, more than just a little sad. Obviously, she’s a very strong woman and did something about it but it’s still not right that it had to come to that.


Bananas for Baton

Man, I love this post from Diana Maliszewski. You can always count on her to come up with an idea, a concept, a thought, an inspiration that is unique and pays back so much educationally.

Everyone in education is challenged by the new set of rules dropped on them. Yes, they’re there for the safety of everyone.

I think most people feel a connection to The Boy in the Bubble these days.

Diana was inspired by a real life passion and qualification that I had no inkling that she possessed – she’s a certified Baton Coach and through her community connections ends up with a class set of batons for her students and physical education. She was quite surprised that it was adopted so well by her class.

And, it’s not one or two batons as I ranted about earlier this week. She’s got a class set and these things don’t come cheaply.

Of course, there are more rules and that’s to be expected but I just have this delightful vision of a class in the gymnasium doing some twirling and enjoying it.

Only in Mrs. Maliszewski’s class!


Given the Gift of Choice, the Voice Soars

Given all the things that are ongoing with school administrators including the rolling of a die to see if schools are closed or open after the Easter Weekend, you’d think that class visits to see student work and presentations might not be anywhere near the top of the list for principals.

But then, you probably haven’t met Sue Bruyns!

Her description of her activity in the classroom is typically COVID. She deliberately avoided a group as she circulated a class because of the “very crowded” group around them but the teacher made sure that her promise that she “skipped, until later” was kept.

The result? You need to read Sue’s post to get the full experience. I can understand her reaction. The projects were about the journey of American slaves and how they ended up in London.

I thoroughly enjoyed this inspirational story from Sue. We need more of these to remind us that there are good things happening in our world.

Sue’s post reminded me of this article from TVO. The date reminds us of so many things…

The story of Ontario’s last segregated Black school


Developing a Sense of Exploration, Wonder, Curiosity and Adventure in your Classrooms

Peter Cameron shares with us a post with no real answers. It’s a copy of a post that he sent to the National Geographic Education Certification Community particularly focusing on the words…

“exploration”, “wonder”, “curiosity” and “adventure”

All of those are good words and, if you’re a follower of Peter, you know that he exhibits this in his class, shares to his social media, and I’ve helped amplify his voice by posting here or talking about the ideas on my voicEd Radio show.

Now, as a computer science teacher, my curriculum applicability doesn’t run the range of an elementary school classroom but I like to think I did a great deal addressing “curiosity”. At the time, I had a subscription to Games magazine and when I was finished with my monthly issue, I’d put the copy in the cupboard in my classroom. They were available for students to pull and work their way through and the type of student that ends up taking computer science likes a good puzzle to solve.

Even better, if they sit down and write a computer program as a solution, you have to be impressed. Or, they’ll look at someone else’s code and just wonder “how did they do that”.


A conversation with Melanie

Thunder Bay’s biggest Melanie fan has to be Sheila Stewart and she writes about the interview conducted by Stephen Hurley on voicEd Radio with the artist. He uses the entire hour for a discussion with Melanie.

You can listen to the show here:

Look What They’ve Done To My Song ft. Melanie Safka

It’s a nice recognition to the effort that Stephen went to host the interview. Of course, this calls for a song or two.


Growing as an Artist

It was a real treat to see Colleen Rose back in action on her blog. I think we’ve all felt the strain of winter amplified by the fact that we have to stay home almost all the time.

With spring on the horizon, I think we’re looking forward to getting a number of things back into gear again. Colleen is constantly keeping her eyes open to the world around here and also beyond.

It’s the beyond that she features in this post and is the reality for so many artists these days – online exhibitions which only makes sense from a logistical point of view. The voice in the back of my head sees this as a way for traditional exhibitions to maybe grow and feature the work of even more artists than in the past.

The other part of her post brings in some technology as she goes online to connect and learn with others. Again, I can’t help but be impressed that good folks are doing that to connect and help each other.

Sure, it was always possible but did it really happen? Has our current reality opened opportunities that might now have happened otherwise? It’s always a feel good story when wonderful people I know get a chance to connect with other wonderful people.

Congratulations, Colleen.


Wrong again

Will Gourley probably never will be hired as a textbook salesperson based upon this quote in his most recent post…

I am choosing to avoid the prescribed resources from text book companies that have grown largely culturally irrelevant and unresponsive

All of this emerges from a discussion he has in this post about anti-racism and ways that he’s addressing it personally in addition to everything else that educators have to address in these times.

our roles have now expanded to include daily counselling on issues of mental health, experts at PPE, and classroom sanitizers extraordinaire. We have also become distance learning specialists, multi-modal lesson trailblazers, fearless conversationalists about issues of race and racism, and criticial thinkers on how to overcome and dismantle systemic racism and bias.

I can’t help but think that the anti-racism stance is even more important than ever and textbooks can be excused for not seeing what’s happening in our world – just turn on the 6:00 news at night and there’s yet another sad story to report. Is it time that the traditional paper textbook is just discarded and publishers move to online so they can keep pace and stay relevant?

In the meantime, Will’s description I suspect describes life for so many well meaning educators right now trying to do the very best in a world that just seems to be out to get you at every turn.


Of course, I’m writing this on the Thursday before the Friday that it’s published. I’ve double-checked the title and am humbled after reading all of these blogs posts yet again. I hope that you can find time to click through and read them all.

Then, follow these educators on Twitter.

  • Pav Wander – @PavWander
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Peter Cameron – @petectweets
  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • Colleen Rose – @ColleenKR
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley

Computer Science Education Week


An annual event, this year’s Computer Science Education Week is December 7-13. It’s an opportunity to work with students to either introduce or push them further in studies dealing with Computer Science Education.

As we know, it’s been a strange year and so it may not be possible to order those kits of micro:bits or robots or even get down on the floor to do the traditional programming activities that might be done at this time of the year.

That’s OK. We all get that. However there may be other opportunities. First of all, the big question is “Why Computer Science?” and the answer has never been so seemingly obvious. My go to resource is Douglas Rushkoff’s Program or Be Programmed. I first heard Mr. Rushkoff at a CSTA Conference in New York City. I’d like to say that he changed my life but I’d always been of that philosophy and could never understand why the Grade 10 Computer Studies course, at a minimum, wasn’t required for graduation.

What student today doesn’t pack a powerful computer in the form of a smartphone in their pocket? At the very least, they should be able to program that device and make it to their bidding.

At his website, Rushkoff even includes a study guide to accompany his book.

Here are a few more resources to supplement and help the cause.

Curriculum

Just recently, Peter McAsh alerted me to a resource created by Amanda Deneau showing the connections to the Ontario Curriculum.

ECOO Resource

A couple of years ago when I was president of the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario, Peter Skillen was good enough to create a resource we called #ECOOcodes. It’s not currently linked to any of the menus but you can access it directly here. From Peter’s blog, there was an insightful post about why the topic should be addressed “now“.

#CSEdWeek

The CSTA (Computer Science Teachers Association) along with a group of other associations have developed a website to support teachers for the week. The focus is on Social Justice and opens with a panel discussion on Monday night. In addition to all the resources shared, there is a collection of downloadable posters.

Canada Learning Code

This is full of ideas and resources to support Learning Code and more. They recognize the varieties of ways that students, teachers, and family are connected and learning in these times and have you covered. Their highlight is Digital Citizenship but poke around for more. Registration is required to access some of the resources.

Hour of Code

It may well be that the Hour of Code may be one of the resources that leap to mind when you think of Computer Science Education Week. The content here continues to grow and has so much covered.

CODE to LEARN at home

A Canadian resource, they have been very active with online webinars and philosophy about programming with a wide scope with a little something for everyone. There are some really unique ideas here.

Scratch

Maybe the granddaddy of them all for programming at all ages is the Scratch resource from MIT. It just continues to grow and is rich with all that is available to and created by the Scratch coding community.

BBC micro:bit

If you’re fortunate enough to have access to the micro:bit for your class and students, there are some really amazing interactive opportunities and inspiration for programming.

I think it’s quite obvious that the collection above is certainly not all-inclusive. If you can think of a resource that should/could be shared with a wider audience, please do so in the comments.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I’m still saddened by the lack of Hallowe’en things in parts of the province as laid out by the Premier last week. Hallowe’en is the last fun event before Christmas and was always a day that I looked forward to as a child. Even in areas like around here where we aren’t the recipient of the mandate from him, everyone is encouraged to find alternatives.

Since it’s a Friday, I’d like to share with you some great blog posts that I read recently and would encourage you to check them out yourselves. As always, if you’re an Ontario Edublogger, let me know; I’d love to add you to the collection.


Why “Time” Matters …

If you follow Aviva Dunsiger on social media, you know that this time of year, she follows the “Snails Across the Curriculum” resource. Amidst all this, she shares a story about the importance of time and how she and her partner are reminding each other to slow down so that students have more time on task.

It’s an interesting piece of advice but I’d like to see it further extended that their classroom.

Personally, in these COVID days, I find myself rushed all the time. And for no particular reason. In normal times, I linger while grocery shopping and I impulse buy; I like to browse the aisles at the LCBO; and, as I’ll talk about later, I’ll spend all kinds of time wandering bookstores when we’re at the mall.

These days, though, there’s none of that. I’ve got the floor plans of any place I’m going in to memorized and I’m basically in and out with what I had planned to do. Nothing more or nothing less. I haven’t even experimented with a new wine.

Aviva’s post and her stories about snails have got me doing a personal reality check. Maybe it’s time to slow down a bit and think about what I’m missing while I’m in such a rush. The things we learn from snails.


Month 1: Done

For Lisa Corbett, the month of September flew past. I’m hearing the same thing from all kinds of people. With all the angst that abounds, schools are now in the second month of the educational year.

Time flies when you’re having fun!

She shares some of the ways that she plans for curriculum – on her own and with personal experiences – and some of the things that have been covered in the mathematics classroom. I was a bit surprised when she talked about the use of manipulatives; many others are finding more pen and paper ways of doing things. But, we know from past experience that there’s so much more insight that can be had with hands-on activities. Yet, it’s not life as usual with them as she describes the nightly routine that she goes through to make sure they’re disinfected for the next day.

Next up – robots from the Education Centre. I wonder how you sterilize a robot?


How are you doing? Making time to check in

As I read this post from Jennifer Casa-Todd, I was reminded of an incident in my first or second year of teaching. I was walking outside the English hallway and met one of the teachers.

Me: “How are you doing?”

Him: “Why? Do you really care?”

I don’t recall what my response was but I hope that I was nice. I shared the experience with a colleague who left me know “Oh, that’s so and so”. He’s like that.

For me, it was never like that before or since. The moment still sticks with me as a result.

I still will asked people how they’re doing when I run into them. I do kind of care.

Jennifer’s post reminds us that it’s important to do these check-ins and they’re obviously much more serious these days. She shares her thoughts about the importance of doing this and also a Google document template that you can borrow and modify to make it unique to you. It’s certain to take on more importance as more classes go online. She’ll even take you to the level of mindfulness and its importance.

I hope that it’s reciprocated and that friends and colleagues are also checking in on Jennifer.


Cataloging and Comprehending

I felt compelled to include this post from Melanie White since she mentioned me! and also came down on the side of Elizabeth Lyons and centred writing!

But, I’ll be honest; I’ve read the post probably a dozen times and I’m sure that the message that she intends still eludes me.

Despite that, there still were some takeaways for me – I now know the word “chiasmus” although I’m not sure how I’d use it – and I really like the paradox that she talks about with her Grade 12 students and

the ability to intellectually hold two contradictory ideas which can both be simultaneously true;

That pretty much sums up two party politics in a nutshell.

Maybe if I’d become a librarian, I would have had some better insights to the rest of her post!


Impact/Moments

Speaking of Elizabeth Lyons, this post outlines another cheat of hers in the “one word” for the year activity that many educators take on. She’s already diverged by insisting on “one word” per month for 2020 except for October where she’s taking on the two words in the title to the post.

And she rationalizes it nicely.

Imagine being a teacher-librarian in a school. In a normal year, you’re fully booked with classes coming in for research, book exchange, readings, technology, and teachers coming in for curriculum planning assistance.

The traditional isn’t happening this year but Elizabeth is still trying to make a similar or better impact this year. The opportunities may not be as scheduled or as planned but moments that they become available are her opportunity to make her presence known.

So, the combination makes absolute sense here.


How to be an Anti-Racist in a Bookstore

This post from Matthew Morris might have been about me. It was his observation of an older white man in a bookstore. Matthew shared his thoughts about just what this man might be.

I checked so many of the boxes.

  • blue jeans. Absolutely. I don’t know that I actually have any others anymore except for some really dressy ones for fancy occasions. Except, my wife would never iron my blue jeans
  • plaid shirt. Maybe, although since the weather is cooler these days, it’s more likely a sweatshirt but definitely something comfortable
  • grey hair and glasses – check
  • cottage – no
  • mid-size sedan – does a Ford Fusion count? Check? I bought mine used
  • football – yes; golf – not for years – a real divergent here
  • green lawn – yes, but by dumb luck; I don’t water
  • retired – check

Matthew was surprised to see this man in the “community and culture” section. That could be me. For me, book stores are a place where I can go without an agenda. It’s just a nice place to spend time and just wander aimlessly throughout just looking at book titles and covers.

The part that I think that went missing was that Matthew didn’t stop and talk with the man as it sounds like he wanted to. I can’t help but think that that was an opportunity lost for both of them.

But that would be too judgmental. I put myself in Matthew’s shoes and I could understand standing back and doing nothing.


Unpacking the Invisible White Backpack in a Time of Black Lives Matter

Matthew’s post brought back a memory of this one from Deborah Weston. I’m wondering that if my comments about Matthew’s post don’t come from within my own personal Invisible White Backpack.

My knowledge of my family tree doesn’t go back very far, nowhere near what she describes in the post. I know where three of my grandparents came from – Denmark, Germany, and Great Britain and that’s about it. It never occurred to me in my younger days to dig deeper and maybe that’s because it didn’t matter. I was born in Ontario and I like to think I fit in nicely into my community.

As Deborah’s husband notes:

 He knows that White people have more privilege and “it has always been that way.”

I found it interesting to read Deborah sharing her heritage and her understanding about appearances and fitting into society. A great takeaway from her post though are the activities and resources about the topic that she shares.


Please do take some time and read the blog posts from these great Ontario Edubloggers. There’s so much there.

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

  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Deborah Weston – @DPAWestonPhD

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


July kicked off the summer months and This Week in Ontario Edublogs was there to enjoy the day. On the voicEd Radio show, guest Amanda Potts joined Stephen Hurley and me for the hour. You can listen to the show via Podcast here.


Who’s anti-racist?

Our guest Amanda Potts took us through this very personal post. Because of the issues happening in the US and indeed, Canada, at the moment, people are taking the time to write about their feelings and sharing their own view of their personal privilege.

There was an interesting reflection on her view of the difference between n0n-racist and anti-racist and we had a chance to discuss that on the show.

In the post, Amanda shares two wonderful stories and paints a vivid picture in each. One was about a student whose mother kept her at home when she got angry to keep her from getting into trouble. The other story was about accidentally assisting a person who she had cut out of her social media life. Of course, both were learning experiences.

Throw in reference to a couple of podcasts on the topic and it’s quite easy to see that she has done considerable thinking about this.

It’s a long-ish post and very rich in content. I’ve read it a few times now and fine something new each time through.


Slice of Life: Routine

One of the truly remarkable things about being a teacher is that, in a thirty year career, you have 30 different starts and stops to your workflow. I can’t think of any other job that can make that claim.

School is full of routine. We know that students succeed better because of this. And, because teachers are there every minute, they run through the same routine, at least while at work.

I can recall the end of school years gone by. You run for an entire school year living and breathing the routine of daily life. Then, on that last day, it all changes. The school year routine goes away FULL STOP and summer begins. Some people take the first week or so to kick back and relax. I always liked the concept of continuing with the energy and going on a holiday or attend a conference at the first of July.

As we know, this year is different. Lisa Corbett claims that she has a lot to do and shares some of it with us. She admits that, upon proofreading, she found her post “aimless”. As a result of teaching at home, the home part continues, sans students. I hope that her family helps reset her priorities.

 That was what I needed to reset my school brain so I was ready for summer brain. Somehow I need to convince my family to do this on Friday night.

She does call the post “aimless” and I can understand. I also suspect that there are thousands of teachers that are feeling the same way and will need to kick start the summer months differently somehow this year.


Storage War$ Learn at Home Editon

As I was doing the show yesterday, I looked at the title and noticed the spelling mistake. I thought that was odd and that I had typed it incorrectly. But, Larissa Aradj, it was a copy/paste job from your post.

The post is about a terrific classroom activity that uses a Google Slide presentation to provide choices for students to select, based upon what they might find should they beat Brandi and Jarrod to win a locker.

What was unique about this was Larissa didn’t share her original template. Instead, another teacher, Leslie Mott, had taken Larissa’s concept and ran with it and Larissa chose to share Leslie’s idea in her post.

That stuck me as really unique. So many of us create and share concepts on social media. But, do we ever get a chance to share what someone else did with our idea? (Think about it for a second) It seems to me that this is how good ideas become great as a result of community improvement.

There actually was a bit of discussion on Social Media where Leslie identified Larissa as a mentor and a sharer of great ideas. I’ve been in a PD session led by Larissa and completely agree.


The 500 – #419 – “Dummy” – Portishead

I hadn’t heard any Portishead for years until I read this post from Marc Hodgkinson. He’s working his way through a top 500 list and sharing his thinking with us.

It was a great re-listen to me. It seems so long ago.

What’s interesting is how Marc goes through and shares his thinking about the music and ties it to what was happening in his personal life at the time.

And, just like last time I featured one of his posts, I did follow the link to the list of the top 500 to re-discover #1.


COVOID-19 and the Return of the Memory Thief

Well, this has to be one of the more emotional blog posts that I’ve read in a long time. Many of us have dealt with family members struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s incredibly tough.

As much as I had to deal with it, it pales to the way that Judy Richards is. I had the advantage of being face to face, hand to hand, hug to hug. I can’t imagine the pain of being locked outside looking in at someone who is locked inside dealing with it.

Staff do try to make an effort by doing the communications via iPad thing but assuredly, it’s not the same. That’s even true if both ends of the communications are effective users of the technology.

Fortunately,

There is a brigade of fire fighters caring compassionately for my mom, doing their best to comfort her, and keep her safe. 


PowerAutomate, Forms->Excel
PowerAutomate, Forms->Excel Part 2

The above is actually two posts from Cal Armstrong. I know that it looks a bit messy with the formatting but I don’t want to point to one without pointing to the other.

As I read both posts, I’m impressed with the support that Cal is providing for staff members in this. Lots of details, lots of screen captures. When I worked with a group of CAITs, we did this a lot and called them “One Sheet Wonders”. The rules were to make it clear, make it efficient, but keep it to one sheet of paper so that people are able to easily follow through the concepts.

In this case, Cal is showing readers how to connect resources using Microsoft’s Flow. I like his analogy to IFTTT which has been around and so functional for so many people. The comparison is immediately obvious.

Both examples were really easy to go through. The first one shows how to easily manage Microsoft Social-Emotional Check-In via Forms through to Excel and the second one features how to be smarter than Excel. (Cal’s words)

I know that many people are really handy with Forms. They’re probably equally as handy with Excel. The value from this post comes from showing how to connect the two, making you that much more efficient.


Crazy Hair Day

As a result of the COVID virus and the Learn at Home initiative, a lot of people are thinking about a lot of things that are happening and things that are hard to make happen. In this post, Arianna Lambert thinks about things that maybe shouldn’t be happening at all.

She got me thinking of my own high school. At Grade 12 graduation, I got a School Letter. In Grade 13, I got a Major School Letter. The “Letter” wasn’t actually a letter; it was actually a crest of the school mascot. At the time, the school mascot was a profile view of a character that we wouldn’t even consider these days. The school has since changed its mascot retiring this one. If only professional sports teams would follow the same lead. Getting a letter was important at the time. It was one of those institutional things that the school had always had. I can’t remember the numbers now but if you joined X number of clubs, Y number of sports, or Z number of honours, you got a badge. Get enough badges and you were eligible for a letter.

In her post, Arianna Lambert identifies things that are common to many schools in a way to encourage spirit. She shares a story of a little girl who felt the activity made it hard to participate in. Of course, nobody asks students how they feel about the activity. It is just assumed that what was done in the past is good going forward.

Now on the other side of the desk, she’s asking good questions that the institution and those that support it need to consider and possibly act on. If there is no good and equitable way to make it work for all, why perpetuate it?


I really enjoy sharing my thoughts about the great posting from Ontario Edubloggers. I hope that you can take some time to click through and enjoy the original posts.

Then, follow these great bloggers on Twitter.

  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Larissa Aradj – @MrsGeekChic
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher
  • Judy Richards – @redknine
  • Cal Armstrong – @sig225
  • Arianna Lambert – @MsALambert

This post originated on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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