This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I can’t help but think that we’ve been so lucky with the warm weather and that things are going to catch up with us. I had to be in Windsor this morning (yesterday morning as you read this on Friday) and had a long walk along the waterfront trail at the foot of Ouellette Avenue and took a couple of pictures.

http://www.greatcanadianflag.com/

But, this post isn’t about me. You’re here to great some great content from Ontario Edubloggers. Read on.


The deafening silence of university presidents

At times, those of us from K-12 kind of forget about universities and the leadership potential that they have. Yes, we know of the Faculties of Education but the reach is obviously so much greater. Thanks to Charles for writing this post and sharing his outrage that their voices were quiet during the recent episode with CUPE.

As luck would have it, they might have a chance to speak up next week. Hopefully, they’ve read Charles’ blog post and are rethinking their silence.

To emphasize the point, Charles reminds us of this poem.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

https://www.paih.org/first-they-came-the-poem-of-protest

TRAUMA IN THE CLASSROOM

From the TESL Ontario blog, this is a powerful couple of blog posts about trauma in the classroom as non-English speakers arrive ready to learn.

I think we’ve all had that student that comes in and has challenges with the language. However, in most cases, they knew that they were coming to Canada and had hopefully worked on language development.

With what’s happening these days, there are people that are just getting up and leaving and don’t have the preparation. That presents a whole new experience.

The first post talks about the children:

  • What we know 
  • What we learned
  • What we think

It’s not easy but, as educators, you do get to go home at night and recalibrate. The second post brought out the emotion in me as it talks about the effects on teachers – I’d never heard of the expression “vicarious trauma” but I sure have now:

  • How can vicarious trauma be addressed?
  • Where can I learn more?

If you find yourself in this position or you have a colleague who is, this pair of posts is worth the time to read. After all, you can still go home at night but it is difficult to recalibrate when you’re the one with the issues.


The Sound of Paper #SOL2022

This was so my life in the classroom. There was paper for every lousy stinking thing that was going on. As I mentioned in the voicEd Radio show, we had every colour of paper that you could have stuff duplicated on. Boring me opted for white because supposedly, it was a bit cheaper.

The colour blue though was reserved for the principal and every Friday at noon, we got the “Blue Memo” which outlined everything scheduled to happen in the next week. The rule around the school was “if it’s not on the Blue Memo, it doesn’t happen”.

There’s a mindset that goes with publishing to paper. Darn it, if I’ve taken the time to put my thoughts and inspiration to paper, you need to read it. As Melanie points out, if you try to stay on top of things, that pile can get pretty big.

But, paper isn’t just paper anymore!

We’ve embraced the notion of ePaper and email as a proxy for paper because it’s cheaper and, quite frankly, can be edited before distribution and, at times, makes the concept of proofreading a lost art.

It does stack up and Melanie gives us a real visual of her life with paper of all sorts. I had to smile when she talks about turning to a podcast – is that the next new paper? At this point, you can multitask by working and listening to a podcast but will that evolve too? Imagine your next staff meeting as a podcast …


Fluent in Math

It pained me to read this post. Diane does a good analysis and I appreciate that. But, I’ve always loved Mathematics and I suppose that I’d be one of the people that might talk about Mathematics as being a universal language. As a Mathematics graduate from Waterloo, I had a richness of classmates and professors from all over the world and so it flowed nicely for me. It’s not like I was a genius; I had to work my butt off but it was work that I enjoyed. While I’ve long cleaned out my bookshelves of textbooks from my university days, I still have some Mathematics books. I love this one and still pull it out every now and again just to read and work my way through a problem.

Diane challenges the notion that Mathematics is universal and makes a good discussion about each.

  • Vocabulary
  • Multiple Meaning Words (this one had me laughing because it is absolutely true)
  • Word problems (this one had be uncontrollably laughing on the voicEd show as I visualized this)
  • Different algorithms and notations
  • Different expectations of student role
  • Culturally-embedded word problems
  • Exhaustion

Old Fellas New Music Episode 34

Paul and Bob Kennedy do a nice job with this podcast. 9 songs, 1 hour and a great bit of conversation and insight between the songs.

They share their thoughts on the music (apparently this episode had Paul at the cottage – great internet access I might add) You can listen to the show at the second link above.

If that’s not enough, there’s a supporting blog post at the first link so all your modalities are addressed. I don’t always enjoy all the songs that they feature but if I wanted only my own likes, I’d do my own podcast. But, there’s always something to like and walk away with. I like that they do the heavy lifting and I just get to listen and enjoy.

This week, for me it was this collaboration from Allison Russell /Brandi Carlile – You Are Not Alone that stood out. Of course, we’ve all heard of Brandi Carlile and she’s with Elton John in his concert this weekend on his last tour. But, Allison Russell was new to me and what a beautiful voice and in both official languages.

Enjoy.


Bonding Over Basketball

Aviva shares a bit of her teaching history from Kindergarten to Grade 6 and has been at it long enough to know that there are some students that you bond with immediately and others that take a little work. She gives a shoutout to her friend Paula who she acknowledges has the gift.

I think that we all would confess that all (or at least mostly all) students can be reached out to and have a bit of a bond although education is definitely not a one size fits all.

I thoroughly enjoyed her story about her experience trying to reach them all and that there were some that were a real challenge for her. If they only would enjoy a good book with her!

Good teachers don’t give up and write them off; they continue to look for the road that leads to connection. We all do that.

One of the things that worked for me was the computer lab – when students were working, I always allowed them to play music which seemed to soothe the teenage mind well. To be inclusive, I needed to give everyone a chance to determine what we would listen to. It wasn’t always pleasant but we do what we need to do at times.

I think this is a great read for all educators but might also have a special place for those teacher candidates going on a practice teaching placement as a reminder that connections aren’t always easy and yet they’re so important.


#LearningInTheLoo: Cycles 1 & 2 of Implementing a #ThinkingClassroom

I’ve missed Laura’s Loo-worthy material. I had to check if I’d just missed them or she was busier on TikTok instead! As she notes, life gets in the road frequently of best intentions.

This is a two-parter about thoughts of the environment that leads to success for Thinking Classrooms. There’s great stuff there. I wonder if principals outside her school download and print these for staff (not in Blue and be mindful that Melanie might not get to it immediately).

These are one-page materials – it reminded me of creating what I called “One Page Wonders” and respects the audience by not delivering a book when a single page will do.


Do yourself a professional favour and read all of these terrific posts and then check out these awesome writers on Twitter.

  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • TESLOntario – @TESLOntario
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio

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This Week in Ontario Edublogs


This has just been an amazing week for the weather. Yes, it’s sweatshirt and toque in the morning but later on, it’s been t-shirt time. You can’t beat that.

Today is Remembrance Day. Please recognize.


Full-Serve Gas Stations And UDL: How Might The Two Connect?

I’ll be honest; I didn’t see the connection. I had a back and forth with Aviva about this and she updated her thinking in the post. During the voicEd Radio show, Stephen moved me a little closer to understanding the connection but I still don’t entirely see it.

But that’s not the big point of this post to me.

Regular readers know that Sunday mornings, this blog features a post called “Whatever happened to …“. For me, it’s a fun post that doesn’t require a whole lot of research and just my thoughts about a topic. I’ve written 337 posts with that title.

Aviva wrote her own “Whatever happened to …” post and it dealt with the shortage of Full-Serve Gas Stations in her world and did a great job. I think it’s much deeper than my fluffy ones are. I thought about around here and we have two self-serves in the town proper and one north of town and another south although it might technically be in Essex.

I can remember when self-serve was a real novelty and you got to save 3 or 4 cents per litre and, these days, that’s a good and welcome thing. Who wouldn’t want to with every fillup?

It turns out that one of those is Aviva – and with her new job, she’s doing more driving than ever. In the post, she reveals something about herself and the reason why she wants to and needs to use full-serve. It’s an interesting read and makes me wonder how many others are in the same boat as Aviva?


October Multiple Choice for English Teachers

For me, this amplified another skill that Amanda has – the ability to write humour and satire. I did laugh out loud at a couple of the questions (particularly option 4 for the questions…)

Here’s one….

  • How often do you eat lunch?
    • Daily. With my students. I supervise a club every day. Interactions with students are paramount.
    • Every day. With my colleagues.
    • I mean, I eat…
    • I keep forgetting to pack a lunch. Yesterday I gave a student some money when he took a “bathroom break” and he brought me a McDonald’s hamburger and some fries.

This was such a wonderful break from all the serious stuff that is happening these days.

Do yourself a favour and take her quiz. You might end up laughing real tears like I did!


New Approaches to Old Favourites

Have you ever wanted to see Diana in a French Maid outfit? Then, this is the post for you.

It started innocently and professionally…

In Grade 2 Social Studies, one of the expectations is “compare ways in which some traditions have been celebrated over multiple generations in their family and identify some of the main reasons for changes in these traditions”. Lately, this expectation has gotten easier to teach, as COVID has forced many changes.

Then, we turn to pumpkin carving. But, finally dressing for Hallowe’en.

Now, many teachers will dress for Hallowe’en – we were encouraged not to at my school because it was supposed to be just another academic day. Many teachers did anyway and I eventually did dig out my cowboy boots and farm gear. How sad is it that I still had it?

But, you wear the costume and you do it for the kids.

Operative word here is “the costume”.

Diana had a number of costume changes during her day. Who does that? Well, Diana, of course. She’s one in a million and one of the absolutely most wonderful connections that I’ve made on social media that has turned into a connection in real life.


Emperor penguins choose to be endangered

Doug was on fire at the keyboard this week. I counted three blog posts from him that made me smile. As Stephen noted on the show, it takes a very special talent to write satire. Maybe we should lock Doug and Amanda up in a room with a computer and not allow them out until they produce something.

According to Doug’s reporting, there was a failed attempt to write an all-penguin version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and the penguins did not take it well and agreed to be added to the world’s endangered list.

Who thinks of stuff like that? Certainly not me; just glad that Doug’s around to keep it fresh.

Also, check out these other posts from his creative mind and keyboard.

Extinction not all that bad who knew

Bug out

Late breaking related news: Tim Hortons brand soup base recalled for containing insects (Thanks, Doug, for this late breaking news…)


The Power of Parenting: Stepping back to connect with your strong-willed child

This week’s podcast featured an interview with Allison Livingston on Lynn’s podcast.

As a former principal, Lynn would be perfectly placed to have this particular conversation. As a parent of three, I wondered what parent wouldn’t think that they had dealt with strong-willed children.

I found it an interesting conversation that would be of interest to educators and parents everywhere. I felt a little sorry that it ended; I’m sure the two of them could have carried that conversation on much longer than the 30 minutes they did.

It’s packed with all kinds of tips and observations and Lynn is good enough to include a transcript of the conversation so that you can enjoy it at a different level. I enjoy conversations but also like to replay the message at time and I find a transcript is more helpful than trying to move the scrubber bar.


Can Art Make a Difference?

I think that most people would respond to this question with a resounding yes.

Colleen is generously devoting the product of her amazing painting skills as a fundraiser for Health Care in Nipigon and Thunder Bay.

This generous offering is in remembrance of a friend that Colleen lost this year. Complete details are in the post.


smashing pumpkin spiced thinking – school edition

Well, Will, I happen to like pumpkin pie. I don’t know if that follows from the title of the post. On the other hand, I’m not a fan of most other things that happen to be pumpkin spiced just because they can.

Will uses the pumpkin analogy to take us into a discussion of following the crowd. Like Will, in my first year, I wanted to follow what I thought was the tried and true way of teaching things.

The problem, for me anyway, was the excitement of being the teacher did not equate to the excitement that I had learning as a student. Of course, in the computer programming classroom, the state of technology and its power had changed. As a student, I learned one way. As a classroom teacher, I had to teach to students who learned roughly 6 x 25 different way.

I really enjoyed reading about how Will reminisced about how his teaching practice changed when he realized that he had to move on and grow in the profession. I like to think I did; I like to think that all teachers do, albeit at different rates and in different ways.

If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration to spur you along professionally, then you need to click through and read this wonderful post.


It’s another Friday where we can celebrate some wonderful writing from Ontario Educators. Do yourself a professional favour and click through to enjoy.

Then, as Will would say, add value to your PLN and follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Doug McDowall – @dougzone2_1
  • Lynn McLaughlin – @lynnmcla
  • Colleen Rose – @ColleenKR
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

A new Twitter in the works?


You can’t get by without reading or seeing reports from Twitter as Elon Musk takes over.

When I first saw the video, I thought that he was bringing his favourite monitor to his new office. Then, I watched the rest of the video and I didn’t get it. But that’s OK; I suspect that there will be a lot of things that I don’t get coming up in the next while.

These days, I’m finding Twitter less and less useful for my purposes. I’m not alone.

Exclusive: Twitter is losing its most active users, internal documents show

I was going to take a guess but Twitter has it on record so I just looked at my join date.

I know exactly where I was when I joined. I was in a workshop led by Will Richardson who was talking about the importance of connections and statements like “together we’re smarter” had me convinced. I bought into the concept and joined immediately. It required a lot of work to make it happen and be of real value but, in the end, it was the best professional learning that I’d ever done for myself.

I haven’t regretted doing so but, like the author above, I’ve noticed that it’s less helpful these days.

Back in the day, we would have

  • hashtags for everything
  • Tweetups at conferences
  • FollowFridays
  • Pictures of food (OK, it wasn’t always professional)
  • Twitter lists and sharing of those lists
  • and probably a lot more if I continue to reminisce

Things are certainly different these days. I still maintain the FollowFriday thing and people seem to appreciate the connections. I think anyway. I still get pumped when it generates a new follower and the first thing I check is whether or not they have a blog and are from Ontario because I love to follow them.

It’s always been worth it to me. I truly do love to read blog posts, particularly about education. I find them to be truer and more authentic that news releases or articles written because some reporter has a deadline to meet. But most of all, I’m impressed when someone’s writing teaches me something new or leads me to find out more about things.

These days, I’m seeing more dead or dying Twitter accounts and abandoned Blogs than ever.

I don’t think that it’s necessarily that people have abandoned platforms but I get the sense that people are more scrollers on social media than in the past. In the past, there was value and worth by creating something or being supportive by sharing the works of someone else. It was a Personal Learning Network at its best.

Now, my timelines seems to be full of Wordle results or memes retweeted from somewhere else.

Musk claims that he wants to take us back to the concept of the town square where people gather to chat. Earlier in the summer, we walked the “Square” in Goderich (it really isn’t a square) on a Saturday and Sunday morning when the markets were set up. People had their own tables and were so welcoming to talk about what they were selling and some even recommended a fellow vendor when we asked for something they didn’t have. It was exhilarating to take do it.

There really was a sense of wanting to help each other out. It reminds me of the good old days of Twitter.

Can Musk take us back to that?

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday! If you’re looking for some great blog posts, you’ve come to the right place. Ontario Edubloggers are the best!


Media Literacy: I’m Still Stuck on Selfies

A long, long time ago I had a superintendent who was a big Apple fanboy and he’d attended a conference where the speaker held up an iPod Classic and pronounced that the future was going to be like this device. You could store every song you’d ever want to listen to in it and do amazing things. I did get one of these devices as a result of that speaker and it was nice for music but not much else. I still have it. There were a lot of futuristic speakers who talked about this and subsequent devices being the future of education and that students would be able to access all the information in the world on it.

It was actually one of the times that these futurists were potentially right. Students do have these devices and can do amazing things like teaching their teacher

“They’ve tried to get me to dance with only my hands, showed me how to take pictures while still on a locked screen, save videos on platforms I thought were only for taking pictures in the moment, use prior content and layer it with music, then different music, and then different pictures.

But, do they really use it to the best advantage?

Matthew has some fun at his own expense sharing a story about his attempts to address media literacy with students who were more interested in knowing if he has a Facebook account.

How would you handle the scenario that he describes? Let’s face it; we’re all trailing somebody when it comes to technology. But, if you can learn from them, that’s got to be a good thing, right?

And, Matthew, I’ve been in situations like you described so many times. Enjoy the fact that you’re not arrogant enough to say that they’re wrong and that you are the only one with the correct answer. Keep on learning.


The Audacity

If you ever get the chance to hang out with Colleen, you need to do it. I had the good fortune to do so years ago when I was involved with the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario. You can have an engaging conversation with her about anything and secretly marvel when she doodles something marvellous like the time she caught me taking notes at a conference. I’ll always treasure this sketch of me. It’s my Twitter profile picture and I value her friendship so much that I doubt that I’ll ever change it.

She makes no apologies for being so artistic but takes to this post to talk about the audacity lesson she had while listening to a podcast. Nerdy me thought that she was going to talk about the software Audacity when I read the title.

In the post, she pretty much dissed me (I love it when I read the content of a post and make it personal) because I haven’t had the audacity to take on so many challenges and do something about them.

I think about something that I’ve done within the past six months. I sat on it for over a year before I decided to do it one day. The results? Well, they weren’t what I had expected and that was a little disappointing but I have comfort in knowing that I did it. It took a while before I pulled the trigger but pull I did.

Would I have done it sooner if she’d blogged and challenged me sooner? What other challenges will I take on? More importantly, what sorts of things do you have the audacity to do? Read Colleen’s post and get inspired to do it.


On Being a Bad Person

This is a long, perhaps difficult for you to read, post. I know that it was for me.

I like to think of things in black and white. That way, there are easy answers. Probably, in my mind, I would have thought that good and bad people would be easy to understand.

That is until I read Marie’s post where she addresses three things

The first was perhaps the easiest to see because very few people would ever be in the position of rescuing a drowning child. It’s one of those hypothetical things that are easy to embrace. So, it would be easy to see good and bad from reading the post. Marie messes with your mind though by giving a number of scenarios that might play out. Work your way through the scenarios and see if you have any easy answers.

The second is personal and I give her credit for sharing it but I would prefer not to comment.

The third deals with society’s treatment of Covid.

Covid is taking far more lives than drunk drivers and sober drivers,

We have no problems with cracking down on drunk drivers because it’s the absolutely right thing to do. Why is Covid different?

I’m still on the edge when it comes to Covid. We voted in the advance polls and stood in line between 45 minutes and an hour, with our masks on. We were absolutely in the minority. We could have taken those with masks on and easily got into a minivan.

If you’re like me, you won’t be able to read this blog post just once and then move on.


Creating Read-Aloud Calendars

I love this concept.

As the father of three kids, I can recall them bringing home monthly calendars that had been duplicated over and over again to the point where it became embarrassing to have them on the fridge when company came over.

As a workshop leader, I can remember showing people how to use KidPix or Microsoft Publisher to make cleaner, clearer, and importantly unique calendars

In this post, Jen, inspired by Elizabeth Lyons, uses Canva to create “read-aloud calendars”.

Now, these aren’t your normal classroom calendars – as Jen points out, it goes far further than that and addresses a literacy concern that she has and is using Elizabeth’s idea as inspiration for her own.

I’d suggest taking a look at this and seeing if it fits into your monthly routine.

Nicely done, ladies.


This Is Leadership – EP4: Gilles Séguin

On his Leadership podcast, Joel interviews Gilles Séguin, apparently a friend and they’re renewing that friendship while talking about leadership.

I found Gilles’ observation on leadership and the hit that it’s taken during Covid very interesting. Who can argue that we look out for others less now than before?

He does share his thoughts about paying it forward and what we all can do. There are some great thoughts here and the bicycle story was awesome.

They turned the discussion toward students leaving high school and the challenges that they face. From my notes …

  • Challenges for students leaving high school 
    • Not everyone starts in the same place
    • Most people are oriented to results and not process
    • Not prepared academically or in life – we’ve made it easy for this generation – not doing them any favours by not making them do chores etc.
    • Buffalo run toward a storm to get through it quickly
    • Pillars – control your day, mindset, and process

I did do some personal fact-checking about buffalo running to a storm and couldn’t find anything definitive but it certainly generated a lot of discussion and that’s a good thing.

I always enjoy listening to inspirational speakers and so thoroughly enjoyed this podcast from beginning to end. At times, it felt like being in a keynote address at a conference. You just might feel that too.


What’s Now?

I’ve known Aviva long enough to remember the last time she had a big career move. It was all over Twitter – should she change her Twitter handle (she did) – will her knees hold up getting down on the floor and the ground with the littles, etc.

Well, she’s made another move and outlines it in this post. I remember a gentleman who was thrust into our Department that called people that moved into different positions “climbers” and it sounds like she had to deal with the same sort of questions.

  • Was I looking to become a principal?
  • Did I want to become a consultant?
  • Would I ever go back to the classroom?
  • Did I want a change of grades?

Those really aren’t fair questions but it goes with the process, I guess.

I get the sense through reading this and my interactions with her that this wasn’t an easy decision to make. Let’s face it; it’s never easy in education and probably any other profession. We all wish her luck.

Do you remember what her former Twitter handle was?


New Job? No Problem

How about this for timely commentary from the TESLOntario blog.

Like Aviva, Heather has assumed a new position. She didn’t mention if she got the questions about the motive for moving in the post but I’ll bet there is some overlap.

Instead, she’s laying out a plan for herself that is wise for anyone who moves to a new position.

  • Occupy a learner position 
  • Connect with your colleagues 
  • Bridge knowledge gaps

I know that we all wish her the best in her new position.

The best advice I ever got that still sticks with me – find out the name of the head secretary at any school that you visit and introduce yourself including their name in the conversation. It opens so many doors when the person who really runs the school is on your side.


I hope that you’ll agree that there is a whole lot of great reading (listening) again this week. Please find some time to appreciate it.

Then, connect with these folks on Twitter.

  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Colleen Rose – @ColleenKR
  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Jen Aston – @mmejaston
  • Joel McLean – @jprofNB
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Heather Donnelly on the TESL Blog – @TESLOntario

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio

0:00 Stephen and Doug chat
0:10 Matthew Morris – Media Literacy: I’m Still Stuck on Selfies
0:20 Colleen Rose – The Audacity
0:30 Marie Snyder – On Being a Bad Person
0:40 Jen Aston – Creating Read-Aloud Calendars
0:50 Joel McLean – This Is Leadership – EP4: Gilles Séguin

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Good Friday morning and I’m hoping everyone is looking forward to a restful long weekend.

This week, we made a couple of changes to the radio show on voicEd Radio and hope that we’re able to change things up a bit.

As always, I’m always on the lookout for blogs from Ontario Educators. If you know of one that I don’t have, please shoot it my way. My current collection is at: https://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=52544

I consider my Friday morning posts my “signature posts” so if you wouldn’t mind sharing it with others, I’d appreciate it. There are buttons at the bottom just for this purpose.


Call them by their name – or whatever

There are a couple of lessons from Amanda’s post.

Social Media

It can be deadly.

a colleague in my school board posted a thread on Twitter about why we should use students’ preferred names, and spiteful commenters piled on, calling the teacher a “groomer” and worse

Don’t engage unless you’re ready for a battle. Social Media does have tools to block people/things like this that abuse and this could have been one of those moments.

Names

This was actually the point of the post. We’ve all been there; you get the class list from the office and run down the list to take attendance and get a chance to meet students. I was always Douglas, of course, and I’d let teachers know that I preferred to be called Doug. That is different from being called Kronos but what’s wrong is recognizing student preferences. I was also called “Pete”, “Andy”, and later as a teacher “Sir”, “Coach”, and “Mr. Peterson”. I don’t doubt that there were more colourful names used in private.

A wise manager told me once that the most important thing you can do in relationships is to remember someone’s name. It’s the most important thing that they have and you can screw up just about anything else but will be forgiven if you get the name right.

And, who knows, maybe that will play to be a stage or professional name. After all, Michael Lee Aday made it big.

There are far more important things to deal with in the search for success. If this buys you some cooperation and makes a student feel welcome, why wouldn’t you go with their preference?


Slice of (back and forth) Life

Every teacher goes through this process when assigned a new room. Lisa just took the time to share it in a blog post and it brought back many fond memories for me.

You visit the room in advance, usually to set it up or at least know where most of the things that you need are located. I always did this in August.

I didn’t do it once and regretted it. It was as an associate professor at the University of Windsor; I just showed up expecting to just open my laptop, plug in and go. After all, we worked for years at my old employer to have that plug-and-play functionality. Surely, it’s the same here.

Nope. Internet access was password protected and the data projector was plugged into a desktop computer and screwed down so that you couldn’t connect your own. Fortunately, I had a memory key and made the transfer.

We all have stories about our classrooms – we should all write books – and I had to laugh at the 23-year-old carpeting. She didn’t mention if it was shag or not. My classroom had shag and it made for good static electricity shocks in the dry winter.

As Lisa points out and it is an indication of the power and creativity of teachers, she was advised that “You’ll figure it out”. I’m betting that she did.


September 19 #SOL2022

I thought that this was a brave and yet inspiring post from Melanie.

Teachers across the province were advised that they would observe a moment of silence for the Queen’s funeral. Melanie had issues with that simple directive. She was driven by a quote from Trevor Noah

“How can we be expected to respect something that didn’t respect us back.” 

In addition to the National Day of Mourning, it was also Powley Day.

She turned the September 19 day into one of research and writing for her students.

Powerful.


Building Community

Of course, I was captured by the title “Community”. So, how do you build this community in your classroom? Sharon identifies two things:

  • Building A Safe Space
  • Connecting Together

With each, she nicely shares some ideas about how to do it and what it looks like. All of the ideas are easy to take and run with or you may have some of your own.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

We know that people work better and faster with collaborators. If you strategically build that community of learners, you’ll enjoy the results.


Omit Needless Words

This was a new idea for the radio show. We branched away from pure blog posts to include a podcast. Stephen and I were chatting about the concept when we met at Port Stanley and agreed to try it – he suggested that we look at Jessica’s work as a place to start.

This podcast was the last one for a season and she does it with a partner, Catherine Graham. As I listened to the podcast, I was so reminded that I’m a math, computery, geeky type of person and not a writer. There was a strong message about needless words, to be sure, but what really struck me was the pure love that they have for writing and in particular, poetry.

In school, I hated writing and my (and my friend’s) first reaction always was “How long does it have to be?” We’d use a lot of useless words to get there!

The big takeaway for me was their take on a writing process as something that parallels the four seasons and they do a nice job of it. If they could turn it into an infographic, I’d bet that it would find its way to Language classrooms everywhere. I wonder if Sylvia Duckworth is reading this.

I do at least Spring, Summer, and Autumn. I’m not good enough to do Winter but these ladies do.


Getting in tune

For the record, I’m listening to CoolRadio as I type this and The Tragically Hip are playing “38 Years Old”. Add that to your list, Mr. McDowall.

I had to smile as I read the story he relates here because it’s so me in real life. I’ve always been a morning person but there is that moment when I open my eyes and look at the alarm clock to see what time it is. Then, I remember that I wear glasses and squint to actually read the digits.

I also know who else are morning people on Friday mornings…

By that time, my mind will have clicked in and runs through the motions like Doug’s does or allegedly does in this story.

Maybe it’s the level of procrastination that makes us wake up early, to begin with? It’s awful when you have a conscience.


Middle School Halloween Activities

I’ll admit it here. I always hated Hallowe’en at school. Yes, mine was a secondary school setting but it brought out the inner child in so many students. And, all it takes is for one teacher to dress up to get this comment

Sir, you’re no fun

That was my first year of teaching and they don’t tell you these things in teacher’s college, do they? We’d had a staff meeting earlier in the week and were directed by the principal that the day was supposed to be business as usual and no class parties. Yet, there’s always that one teacher…

I met the reality halfway. I would buy real-sized chocolate bars for my homeroom and then those mini bars for my classes and would be refilling the bowl all day. It did buy me a little bit of peace.

In this post, Kristy shares with us some ideas for Hallowe’en for schools that are allowed to celebrate and for those that aren’t.

  • Halloween Non-Fiction Article
  • Halloween Creative Writing
  • Halloween Digital Escape Room
  • Looking for a week of middle school Halloween activities? 
  • Not allowed to celebrate Halloween at your school? 

Don’t tell anyone but these all look educational to me once you read them.


I hope that you are able to click through and enjoy all these articles. Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • SHARON ETHIER
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Doug McDowall – @dougzone2_12
  • Kristy – @2peasandadog

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio

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