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.

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This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Can you believe that it’s August already? I could swear that I saw my breath while walking the dog this morning. That’s not right either.

I’m also trying out a new resolution that I used to expouse all the time but don’t do it enough myself until I fell into the trap last week – save early, save often.

What is right are the great thoughts coming from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.

Read on…


Final Thoughts

I just found out about this blog from Shyama Sunder. It’s a wrap up summary and reflection of her time in EDU 498, a course taken a while ago at a Faculty of Education. Unless I missed it, the actual name of the Faculty didn’t appear anywhere but that’s OK.

The content is a summary of four modules taken. There is a nice summary of each of the modules and the enthusiasm she has comes through loudly and clearly.

Readers of this blog know that I’m not a fan of the SAMR model but it was included as content. If it had any value, I would see if as helpful for experienced teachers trying to embrace technology. I don’t see the wisdom of talking about it to teachers learning how to teach. Why not just teach how to do it properly to begin with? What value is there in demonstrating less than exemplary lessons?

In the post, Shyama makes reference to a book that everyone needs to read “Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job” by Yong Zhao, Goaming Zhang, Jing Lei, and Wei Qiu. That’s a book that should be in every school library and would make for an awesome and progressive book talk.

This blog is referenced on her Twitter profile and there’s no forwarding address. It would be interesting to see her pick up blogging in her professional life.


BOOKMARKS ON TWITTER

Jamey Byers wrote this post so that others wouldn’t have to!

I remember being at a conference once – I think it was in Denver – and Robert Martellacci came up to me and asked if I knew that one of the prominent speakers had liked a link from an adult film star showing a picture of herself. I hadn’t noticed; I’m not in the habit of checking out what people have saved as liked. Maybe I should?

Actually, maybe I should check what I’ve got in my likes! Phew. Other than some egotistic stuff, I think I’m good. (I’m also snooty – go back to the very first one!)

Jamey points out that there’s a new, more private feature available to us on Twitter.

With the addition of the bookmarks function in Twitter you now have the ability to not only like a tweet, but to save it to your private list of bookmarks that are strictly just for your eyes only.

I wonder how many people are using the feature. I’m certainly not. Maybe I should.


The Playful Approach to Math

Matthew Oldridge is now playing in the big leagues with this post on Edutopia. I remember when he was a guy I interviewed for this blog.

He brings his obvious love and passion for Mathematics to this new forum and I hope that people are inspired by his wisdom. Comments are not allowed so there’s no traditional way of knowing.

Truer words were never spoken than these…

The amount of play in “serious” academic topics like mathematics is inversely proportional, it seems, to the age of students, but this does not have to be the case. A playful pedagogy of mathematics can be codified and made real, rigorous, and authentic.

I’ve studied a lot of mathematics over the years and certainly those teachers/professors that I remember best love mathematics; it came across that way, and their playful approach made learning fun and worthwhile.

Can you think of a better testament to give an educator?


My device. My terms. 3 strategies for finding balance.

Jennifer Casa-Todd is one of those people that I’ve seldom met in real life and yet I feel like I know so much about her. She was another person I had the opportunity to interview. I also had the opportunity to help with her book Social LEADia. This should be on bookshelves everywhere.

I enjoy her writing and most of her posts come across as a personal message to me. Such in the power of her writing.

I struggle with the notion of “balance”. The current context is that it involves being connected and not doing other things – like reading a book. I’m always leary of people who make such claims. Isn’t it just exchanging one form of engagement for another? And, hasn’t social media engagement earned its way into our lives?

I like Jennifer’s reasoned approach…

Social media is here to stay and is a part of the fabric of business, politics, and education. Instead of a fast, I suggest the following strategies:

You’ll have to read her post to see if the strategies make sense to you!


When friendship lasts

without warning or explanation, they started talking and, just like that, resumed their friendship from three years ago when they were six. Hours later, after the park, the corner store, the house; after basketball and jungle gyms and ice cream; after talking and laughing and wrestling, they parted reluctantly, already asking when they could see each other again.

Here’s a quote from Amanda Potts’ recent post.

I’ll bet that you could drop that sentence into any conversation or writing that you might have and provide your own characters.

It might be:

  • meeting up at an annual conference
  • a class reunion from your old high school
  • reuniting with a staff after a summer vacation

and the list goes on. Friendship is such an tangible and yet intangible concept. This post describes a pair of friendships that easily fall into the above.

Those on Facebook will know that a friend to many will be returning to Canada after a couple of years overseas. I’ll bet we all will reunite in this fashion at the Bring IT, Together Conference.


The #UWinToolParade: Open Pedagogy as #OER

In the beginning, there were shiny things. People flocked to shiny things and made a place in the classroom whether they were good or not. I’m looking at you – Clickers.

As shiny things kept on invading classrooms, the good thinkers got us thinking that maybe we should be looking beyond these things into exactly how they are used, are they effective, are they worth the cost, etc.

We never looked back. Well, at ISTE there are still 30 tools in 30 minutes sessions. For the most part, we never looked back.

So, now comes Bonnie Stewart and

I have a new project I’m really excited about. Even if it kinda goes against just about EVERYTHING I’ve said about tech in education over the past, uh, decade.

I’ve read this post at least a dozen times and there are so many out of post links that will take you to rabbit holes that didn’t know they were hosting rabbits!

The proposed results?

The fact that it’s 2019 is loud and clear with the inclusion of “data surveillance”.

This looks incredibly interesting and will use social media for good for the description and dissemination of content. Read the post and get ready to follow. And, Bonnie is looking for some pilot locations if you’re interested.


Reflections from the Tech Guy

This TWIOE post seems to have been focused on people I’ve interviewed! This time, it’s David Carruthers.

As we’ve noticed recently, David is going to be doing some magic as he returns to the classroom after having been the “Tech Guy” at the board office for a while.

He sets the standard with his bottom line.

Bottom line, if being labelled a “tech guy” takes these reflections into consideration, I’m extremely proud of this label. I don’t see the technology in front of students as just a bunch of devices. This doesn’t excite me. Instead, I see tremendous potential.

Some words of advice here – you’ll always be known as the “Tech Guy” so wear it. There are worse things to be known for. You’ve built relationships throughout your district so don’t be surprised when you get some panic emails for help. I still get them. The most enjoyable are about report cards which have had many incarnations since I last formally supported them. The really cool thing happens when these relationships develop your learning because someone wants to share something new with you.

On a political note, things are likely to be difficult for a while as cutbacks affect districts throughout the province. I hope that school districts are wise enough to continue to put insightful “Tech Guys” in areas of support centrally. We know that anyone can click a mouse or use a keyboard these days. True progress comes when you have people like David that see the connection and the potential because they bring a strong background in teaching to such a support position.


As always, there’s a powerful collection of thoughts from these wonderful Ontario Edubloggers. Make sure you’re following them on Twitter.

  • @ssunderaswara
  • @mrJameyByers
  • @matthewoldridge
  • @jcasatodd
  • @Ahpotts
  • @bonstewart
  • @dcarruthersedu

This post originated on

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to the last TWIOE in June and the school year.  As always, there is some inspirational content written by Ontario Educators.  Perhaps you’ll be inspired to start or re-start your own blog this summer if you’re not already a regular writer?


Rethinking End of Year Countdowns

File this post from Laura Bottrell on the Heart and Art Blog under “maybe I’ve been doing things wrong all this time”.

For many, it’s been a month (or more) of counting down until today.  I even remember a colleague who shared the countdown on his blackboard for all to see.

Laura reminds us that this countdown may not necessarily be exciting for everyone in the class.

I always thought that celebrating the end of the year was just adding to the fun and excitement of summer. I’ve always had a fun countdown for my class. Lately, I’ve been wondering if this is just adding stress on some of my students. It really hit me last week when I announced that we only had ten school days left and there were at least five children in my class that crumbled to tears.

Her suggestion turns the table and has you thinking about treating things differently.  A little late for this year perhaps but … it’s nice to have a reminder that things aren’t always what they seem.


Why do you want kids to code?

With apologies to Jim Cash, I read the title to this post a little too quickly.  Instead of “Why”, I read it as “What” and thought that it might be about some new things to code!

However, using the word “Why” changes everything.  Jim summarizes his thoughts in this graphic he created.

It generated some interesting comments when Jim announced the post on Facebook.

I understand his message but I also wonder if I’m on the same page with him because of having a background in programming.  As Jim correctly notes, there’s a certain bandwagon effect about coding that has people jumping on because it’s felt that it’s important or someone is keynoting about the cool things that kids are doing.

Coding goes well beyond the mechanics of getting the job done.  (Blue side) Until you’re looking at the big picture, you’re not doing it justice.  (Green side)

It would be interesting to find out how many people get pressured to “do coding” because it’s the latest thing and yet they may be doing it without a suitable background in coding.


Go Magic! Let’s do this! 🙂

And the winner in the “Who gets David Carruthers added to their staff” raffle is …

<drum roll>

Bonaventure Meadows.

It looks easy enough to get to.  (at least by driving)

Getting to the actual school placed David in a series of job interviews and he shares his reflections about that process in the post.  I can understand the need for standardized questions for all applicants for fairness.

But, the school really needs to be prepared to take advantage of the skills that David has refined over his time as a learning coordinator.

Maybe instead of “Go Magic!”, should read “Get ready, Magic”.

And, then there’s the whole Plugged-in Portable thing?  I guess we’ll find out in the future.


Reader’s Theatre = Experiential Learning

I read this post from Stepan Pruchnicky a few times and I absolutely understood his message.

In Language, it’s important to read and understand different texts.  The concept of reading a script was a new spin on it.  But, as Stepan digs into it, it has to potential to go very deep, rich in understanding and empathy for characters to be played in the script.

It was during the radio version of This Week in Ontario Edublogs and Stephen Hurley’s comments about the connections to David Booth and Stephen’s own experience that really put me over the top with the concept.

I’d suggest putting Stepan’s post on your list for summer reading.  This is an idea that could really generate mileage for you.  Perhaps a future post would recommend suitable scripts?


Context is Key

Of course it is, Ruthie Sloan.

But, I certainly haven’t thought about it as deeply as you explore in this post.

You take the notion of context and apply it to…

  • wardrobe
  • digital expression
  • body language
  • how we communicate

The post is a great discussion about each of these.

It’s also a reminder of so many things that may just pass us by as life goes on.  These are things that we do every day.  It goes beyond what and moves into how, when, and who.

I loved the collection of images that she includes at the bottom.


“I Don’t Have Time For That”

Joel McLean reminds us that this comes up too often when people are wondering about taking charge of their own professional learning.  I suggest that it’s an easy answer and often given to avoid things.

I also am reminded about my Covey training.  The first rule – schedule the important things first.  Then, let all of the other stuff fill your time for you.  Goodness know that, in education, there’s no danger of that not happening.

I remember also returning from my training and explaining the approach to my supervisor.  We still meet for coffee every now and again and he notes how this changed his professional life.  (Not my comment but after my experience, he went and took the course himself.)

There was only one caveat to my own implementation – I was never allowed to allow my priorities to supersede his priorities for me!  I shouldn’t have encouraged him to take the course.

Maybe Joel has some advice for how to handle that!


Observations & Conversations : Part 1 of many?

The structure of the Interstitial App, or, Observations & Conversations – Part 2

From Cal Armstrong, a pair or posts and maybe more to come.

After my session at the OAME Conference (link to Presentation), a few folks asked me how I had put this together, so I’m going to give a brief run-down here.

It sounds like the audience was really impressed with Cal’s use of Microsoft Powerapps.

I know that I was; I’d heard about it but really hadn’t done anything with it.  I guess that you need to have a reason and Cal used his mathematics audience as the target for his presentation.

If you’re curious, read both posts.  If you’re interested in creating your own, pay attention to the second post.  Here, Cal takes you through his process step by step.


And there’s your last day of school inspiration.

Make sure you’re following these great bloggers on Twitter.

  • @L_Bottrell
  • @cashjim
  • @dcarruthersedu
  • @stepanpruch
  • @Roosloan
  • @jprofNB
  • @sig225

This post was created and posted to:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, you’re not reading 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.

Ranking everyone


It was a great musical weekend here – the 2018 and 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame shows were broadcast on HBO – and we were fixated.

So many great names, so many great songs, so many great memories.

We enjoyed both shows and found the 2018 induction show particularly relevant with Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Moody Blues, Dire Straits, Nina Simone, and Bon Jovi among others standing out as they were inducted.

Don’t know these performers. Shame on you! <grin> They’ll live on in YouTube videos though.

Now, I’m an impatient person. While watching one induction, I wanted to know who else was being inducted! We can thank search engines for that ability.

As I’m constantly doing, I fell victim to a click bait story.

All 221 Artists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ranked From Best to Worst

The top five are tough to challenge…

  • Chuck Berry
  • The Beatles
  • Bob Dylan
  • Elvis Presley
  • James Brown

Although you might want to challenge the order. The lengthy list was so worth the time to scroll through to see where Springsteen was, wondering why Crosby, Stills, and Nash didn’t have a Young, seeing Ronnie Wood’s name appear more than once (Rod Stewart too) and noting the influence of various forms of music in the big picture.

Of course, the author of the article got the order wrong. 😊 But, then again, who could order 221 artists and get it right? The comments at the bottom are testament to that. It’s an opinion piece, folks. Don’t sweat it. Thankfully, some of the commenters provided some of the missing artists so that they might be considered for future years.

What was impressive to the show was that, because it was shown on HBO, there were no commercials. What a refreshing way to watch an award show as opposed to commercial television. It was a complete game changer and I don’t use that expression often.

And still, I went to bed wondering about the list. How could anyone rank numbers 220 and 221 that low?

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


From the blogs of some of Ontario’s Edubloggers, check out some of the latest. And, by the way, if you are in Ontario an are an educational blogger, there’s a form there so that you join this amazing collection.


Another One Bites the Dust?

From Jennifer Aston, a story that occurs too often with educational software/web resources.

She put considerable time and energy into learning a particular software product, teaching her students how to use it effectively, shared the resource with a parent community that she wants to engage with, and then it’s gone.

When I saw the title, I thought it might be a lament about the passing of Google + but no. In this case, it was a piece of software that she and staff members had devoted time to learning to create and share student portfolios.

You can read her entire experience and see the software titles that are involved in the post.

Such a situation has happened to me more than I would like. It’s part of life for technology users, it seems. I wonder if it’s more pronounced in education. A first response is typically like one that Jennifer includes in this post. In education, moments are precious and those lost during a change in software can be painful. Knowing Jennifer, I suspect that she’ll fall back a bit and then pick up her game with the new software.

It’s still frustrating though. As it would happen, Anthony Carabache had shared a post he had written a while ago that applies … “Embrace the Beta“.


Roll Out The Red Carpet

This was an interesting approach from Heidi Solway. Normally, I visit a blog and start reading. Not so in this case. Before I got to the content, there was a disclaimer.


SPECIAL NOTE: This blog post is unique from all other posts.  I am writing it for my Teaching English Language Learners – Part 1 additional qualification course. The assignment is to, create a mock blog post entry that supports educators with creating a classroom environment that welcomes and supports newcomer ELLs. 

I guess the point was to let us know that it wasn’t part of her job or her regular blogging routine.

But, stepping away from that, it’s a fabulous post that is worthy of note, not only to ELL classrooms but to all classrooms. There are tips and suggestions for welcoming new students, starting from the beginning, setting the classroom environment, designing appropriate activities, and more.

Personally, I think that it’s a great post worth sharing despite the disclaimer. There’s nothing there that I don’t think any teacher wouldn’t want to embrace. Faculty of Education students might take particular note.

Doesn’t everyone expect a “Red Carpet” treatment when they go somewhere new? It lets you jump right in. I’ll challenge Heidi right now to roll out the red carpet at EdCampLondon this weekend.

The only thing that was missing from her thoughts was how to post political action posters…


For Mrs. Barkman

“Where were you when … happened?”

I think that we all have memories like that. Such was the case for Amanda Potts who shared a memory of her teacher during the Space Shuttle explosion. For her,

The space shuttle exploded sometime between the end of Algebra 1 and the beginning of English.

Two of my own memories came back as a result of Amanda’s post.

  • I was in the living room at our Minister’s house when news came across the television about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King
  • I was setting up for a workshop in a computer lab in Essex when my support person called and told me to turn on the television and the news because of the airplanes flying into the World Trade Centre

While I still remember these vividly, I don’t think about them daily. It’s only when prompted.

For Amanda, her prompt came from the Notre Dame Cathedral fire. Click through to read her thoughts. It’s a very powerful post.

It will get you thinking. That’s gold for bloggers like Amanda.


No Wifi: Pretend it’s 1993

Huh?

WiFi is ubiquitous, isn’t it? In fact, I know people that buy smartphones without a data plan because it’s everywhere they want to be and they can live without being connected in others. Like driving a car, for example.

Now, Jennifer Casa-Todd is one of the more connected educators that I know – except apparently at her dinner table. (Mental note in case I’m ever invited to dine with her)

Her story, in this case, was about springing herself from self-imposed isolation while doing some research and wanting to go somewhere where there were people and she could also get connected.

She ran into a sign that had a message she wasn’t comfortable with.

Apparently not the actual sign but close enough to make her point.

So, the question becomes:

  • is the sign condescending?
  • is the sign humour?
  • is the sign there to stop people from ordering and then complaining that there was no WiFi?

I don’t suppose it’s one of the world’s greatest questions but Jennifer answered with her feet and went somewhere where her needs could be addressed.

If I was the owner of the place, I’d put a piece of chalk out and let people express their opinions about the policy.

Wait – that’s so 1993 – today we rate service on Facebook or Yelp.


EdTechTeam Ontario Summit 2019

Zélia Capitão-Tavares describes herself as:

Artist | Proud Mom | M.Ed. | TDSB Hybrid Teacher – Digital Lead Learner | Passionate about Digital Literacy | Google Educator & Innovator #TOR16

So, what does she do to fill her weekends?

For one, she goes to the Ontario Summit and apparently enjoyed the learning. She offers a description of the messages from the keynote speakers, the CSFirst Sessions she was involved with and an acknowledgement of the EdTechTeam that lead the event.

All this, plus she was a Spotlight Speaker too! It’s always nice to be recognized for accomplishments and abilities as a leader so kudos to her for reaching that level.

She also mentions something in the post that often goes unaddressed by conference goers. Definitely, during the event, you’re hit over the head with the message of sharing your learning with others via Social Media. I suppose there’s the selfish purpose of the organizers to be “trending” but often that’s about it.

Zélia mentions that, when she had a chance to recharge, that she went back to take a look at the learning and sharing that happened. That’s something we all can do. The sharing on Twitter happened here.


The Courage to Teach

Thanks, Deborah Weston, for alerting me to your latest post on the ETFO Heart and Art Blog.

This is another post that brought back memories for me.

I had no problems accepting the job offer for my first teaching position. After all, it was the only one on the table and I had no other alternative if I wanted a job. I walked into my classes on that first day knowing I was going to be the best thing that ever happened to those students. I knew stuff, a lot of stuff, and my job was to teach them a bit of what I knew.

That was Day 1. Everything went downhill from there.

I think that the biggest thing I learned was that teaching was not about me. It was about everything else that circled around me. Students, colleagues, curriculum, Ministry directives, politics, Federation involvement, coaching, … I could go on but, if you’re a teacher, you know all this.

It also was sobering when one of the people I attended the Faculty of Education tried to organize a reunion five years after we graduated. Some of us were teachers, some had become teachers and left, and some never got into the profession.

It was the ones who had become teachers and left that was the most powerful to me personally. I think that Deborah sums it up nicely in her section “Why do teachers lost heart?

It’s an important message to reflect on as things are anything but idyllic in Ontario Education these days.


Keep It Simple. (thanks, Rachel)

There were two things about this post from Colleen Rose that challenged me.

  • there are a few pictures in the post that don’t come through and I’m guessing that it’s because I’m not friends with the original poster. I was able to visualize because of Colleen’s comments
  • Colleen is a dear friend and such a talent. I have half of one of her painting here in my office. Another friend has the other half.

She received advice advice about using her gifts

My friend Liz (a retired teacher who is adventuring and teaching in China) spoke to me about using our gifts, and that there is a reason why they’ve been given to us.  It’s true — when I create, and especially when I paint, I feel that I am living life to its fullest.

This is such a powerful message, not only to Colleen, but to us all. What is your gift? Are you using it? If not, why not?


Please take a few moments to read these inspirational blog posts in their entirety. You’ll be glad that you did.

Then, make sure that you’re following these people 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


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.