Pounding the streets of St. Marys


It couldn’t have happened better if it was planned!

As regular readers know, yesterday I was inspired to look back on My Childhood Community as inspired by Zoe Branigan-Pipe’s Twitter messages on the weekend.  It was a fun look back at things.

Daily, I’m in contact with Former ECOO President Peter McAsh and a while back he shared with me a project that he was working on for the town of St. Marys.  My knowledge of the place actually does go back to my childhood and playing baseball there. We were positive that you could hit a home run over the fence into the quarry.  Our efforts really fell short! A frequent truck that we would see would carried the name St. Marys Cement. That’s pretty much all that I knew although I’ve dropped in to see Peter a couple of times and have taken mini-tours trying to figure out how to get to his place!

Anyway, to the project and why featuring it is a nice followup to yesterday’s post. As Peter had been developing it, I was his ongoing tester.

Along with the help of Amy Cubberley, Peter has constructed a Heritage Walking Tour of St. Marys.

Now, Amy is a Curator & Archivist and that gives her access to a lot of historical and modern images from about the town.  Peter used her assistance to create this walking tour.

All you have to do is visit the site at the link above.  Wander your way around the town and click on the bookmarks to see what they reveal.

Oh, look, a library!

Peter used the free ArcGIS Story Maps utility to create this tour.  Now, it’s online and visible to the world to help promote the town of St. Marys.  Can you find the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum?

Peter has long reminded me that he’s a Geography major as his first choice and he uses his skills here to develop this walking tour.

If you and your class are looking for a social studies / geography project, could this fit the bill?  And, if you’re interested in pounding the streets of St. Marys when all this stay at home stuff is over, bookmark the link.

In the meantime, you can take the tour virtually on this site.

10 years ago


Over the weekend, my friend Zoe Branigan-Pipe (@zbpipe on Twitter) kind of stirred the pot with these Twitter messages.

Zoe includes a link to her blog that features an inspiration from Megan Palevich and a blog post that she had written – https://middleschool101.edublogs.org/2010/03/21/a-walk-down-memory-lane-with-google-street-view/

It was interesting to see the people respond to Zoe’s provocation.

Heidi Siwak hasn’t jumped in yet but her content always is grounded in a sense of reality and research.

Colin Jagoe jumped in with memories about his blog and domains that he’s registered and continues to make payment on.

Rodd Lucier shared some of his enduring wisdom “We are smarter than me”. Rodd was so supportive of eLearning and getting connected to learn at the time.

Danika Barker reminded us of her TED talk.

The comments that ensued really rang true. We were inventing the future as we were experimenting with it. It wasn’t widely accepted; I remember bringing it up at a meeting and a person from IT poo-pooed it saying that she didn’t want to see a picture of what I had for lunch.

But we endured and here we are today. I suspect that all of us, regardless of where we are now, admit openly to continue to be learners. And, to that end, Rodd absolutely nailed it.

In the post, Zoe actually made a reference to a post on this blog that I visit periodically – My Childhood Community. It was essentially a wander around my home town, snapping images from Google Streetview and putting them together into a blog post. Again, as Rodd says, “we succeeded with storytelling”.

As I do so often in this blog, I’ll write a post about software or an idea and then demonstrate how I used it. CIESC friends will know that these ideas often turned into workshops.

I was inspired to do this thanks to another member of my learning network, ZeFrank.

I think Zoe’s inspiration has a place today as people look to meaningful activities that can be accomplished online. Why not have students create a report of their own community, either now or then? Speaking of now or then, Google Streetview has evolved so much since 2010. Multiple pictures of the same location are available just by rolling back the Streetview clock.

Just went did it become Kim’s Convenience anyway?

Or maybe take a tip from Megan’s activity and ask grandma and grandpa a question when you’re doing an online video conference with them?

Sure, you can just go online and ask for an image of the CN Tower or Kim’s Convenience but that’s a pretty straight forward idea. Why not head to Streetview and see what else is around any location and build that complete story?

Thanks, Zoe, for stirring things up.

10 Questions for Alfred Thompson


Ontario teachers are about to embark on a “Learn at Home” initiative with the extended closure of Ontario schools.  The situation will mean different things depending upon the school district that you work for and your subject area. 

At Bishop Guertin School, they moved their classes online three weeks ago and are trying their best to replicate what would normally happen in a regular classroom.  Alfred Thompson (@alfredtwo on Twitter) is a computer science teacher at Bishop Guertin and I asked him over the weekend to share his experiences and inspiration for Ontario teachers as they start this new adventure. 


The Decision – This had to be a big decision.  Who made the decision?  Is a school day scheduled the same way? 

Alfred: Our school administration made the decision. We draw from a wide range of cities and towns in two states. The area south of the city we are located in was starting to see a lot of COVID-19 cases and we decided that moving online was the best thing for our students, faculty, and staff. We moved online a week or two before most surrounding schools. 

We are having our morning homerooms (we call it advisory) meet online every morning. Being a Catholic school, we start the day with a prayer, morning announcements, and the Pledge of Allegiance.  We usually hang around for a few minutes of chit chat as well. 


The Students – At the heart of education are the students.  How are they handling being at home and handling the technology they’re using?   

Alfred: Our students all seem to have reasonable technology and connectivity at home. Our school is committed to helping students who don’t but for privacy reasons I would not necessarily know about that. Our usual tech support people are available via email and phone. Students have their contact information available to them. 

I think our students are really missing the personal contact with each other. In some of my classes I have just left the microphones open so they can chat among themselves for a while. 


Timetables – How important is having a regular timetable?  I know that you have a couple of students overseas.  How are they handling things? 

Alfred: I have two students who have returned to China. They are quarantined in hotel rooms. It’s lonely for them so I think they like “coming to class.” Being alone they are sort of still living on Eastern US time. They get up late and go to bed late. Their first class is 9PM local time and the last class is at their midnight. I don’t know how well that will work for them after quarantine. 

For my students who are still in the US I suspect that having a regular schedule helps. Though they do tell me that learning online is harder than learning face to face. 


The Tools – What are the tools that you and the students are using?  Are they working as they should? 

Alfred: Students need an internet connected device that can run Google Meet and Zoom which are the conferencing tools we are using. We have an integrated content management and student information system that we have been using for several years. It was developed by a company that Blackboard bought out some time ago. Students and teachers are used to using it for attendance, giving and returning assignments, and even creating and taking quizzes and tests. So that works out well. 

Discipline has been less of an issue if only because it is harder for students to distract each other. I did switch one class to Zoom because Google Meet didn’t do enough to let me keep in control of the microphones.  But other than that things have gone very well. Student seem to want to learn and make the most of the time. 


The Content – What courses are you teaching?  How have you had to modify things to accommodate the new reality? 

Alfred: I am teaching three courses. Our freshman Explorations in CS course, a Programming Honors course, and a section of Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles. We’ve dropped a few topics from the freshmen course but I feel good that we will cover enough to make it a solid course. I was running ahead of my schedule with Programming Honors and feel confident that we will cover all the material. Will we get as deep as I would like? I’m less sure about that. My AP CS course uses the curriculum from Code.ORG which is largely online anyway. We’ll cover that completely.  

One thing we have been able to do is give access for a virtual machine at school that students can connect to over the Internet. This gives them full access to all the software and tools they would have if they were physically in one of our computer labs. I cannot imagine teaching these courses without that. Not switching in the middle of the semester. 

So no asterisk next to anything. Full credit. 


Assessment – Since Bishop Guertin is a college preparatory school, you’ll need to provide a mark at the conclusion of the course.  How do you handle tests, quizzes, and later on exams?   

Alfred: Personally, I have been doing all my quizzes online for years so no change there. A decision about final exams has yet to be made. For most of my courses I evaluate a semester end project. That is still possible if we decide to have a final because of the virtual machine students can access. 


One-to-one – as any Computer Science teacher will attest, there are times when you need to sit down beside a student and work your way through an issue or two.  What does that look like online?  Do you use any group-work strategies that work effectively? 

Alfred: This is tough. What I do when I can is ask a student to share their screen by taking over as a presenter. This is not ideal but it works and it also lets me model problem solving for the whole class.  When that doesn’t work I can open the student’s project directly from the shared network drive and look at it that way.  

I really need to figure out some group work. On the other hand, I have had students ask me a question and another student will give the answer faster than I do. That’s pretty cool. 


On-going feedback – Every teacher knows of this question – particularly for those mark hungry students.  “Did you mark our tests/assignments/quizzes yet?”  Since you don’t have commute time carved out of your day, do you have more time for this and return things prompter than you might otherwise? 

Alfred: I have been getting to some things faster than I used to. Losing that close to an hour drive each day does give me some extra time. Students are being very patient with teachers and each other. There is a sense that we are all in this together. 


No screen Wednesdays – I remember you sharing that teachers (and students?) were to stay away from electronic things like this one day a week.  How’s that working out? 

Alfred: We did that as an experiment this past week. The feedback is that it went well.  We will have a four-day week this week because of Good Friday as well. There is some thought to keeping a Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday schedule after that. I managed to spend a lot less time on the screen Wednesday. It was a good break even for a computer addict like me. 


Personal Workspace – Can you describe your own personal workspace that gets you through this?  Is there anything other than a computer, microphone, and camera that is needed to be successful?  In a previous profession, you used to travel far and wide helping teachers so you may have seen it all.  What advice could you give everyone at this time? 

Alfred: I have two laptops set up on my dining room table. I find that two screens are very helpful. I might even say essential. Both of my laptops have cameras, but I only use one camera at a time. I have a headset with a microphone that I wear constantly while “at school.” It has noise canceling features which is helpful to avoid distractions. I highly recommend a good headset for teachers. Less echo, better hearing, and sends a message to everyone else in the house that you are working. 

My wife retired in January, so she is not teaching. She does have her own setup in the family room which she uses. You know me well enough to know that there is no shortage of computers in my house. 

A second screen and a headset are two hardware recommendations. Setting out outside the main traffic area in your house is a second recommendation. Ideally you should have a place where you can leave your computer set up and not have to constantly set it up and break it down.  Our dining room is mostly for when we have guests so that works for me. It might not for everyone. 

Mostly, I would tell teachers to do what they can and not expect to be able to do all that they would in a normal classroom. These are not normal times. All you can do is the best you can do. 


Thanks so much, Alfred.  I know that your insights are comforting and insightful for educators. 

During this time, Alfred has picked up his blogging pace.  You can read his ongoing thoughts and observations here – http://blog.acthompson.net 

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I started writing these regular Friday morning posts a long time ago. The goal then is the same that it is today. It lets me celebrate the great thoughts of Ontario Edubloggers. All of the posts are available here.

In the big global scheme of things, Ontario may be a relatively smaller player. But, province-wide, there is always a need for a local perspective. Every week, I close by asking you to visit the original blog posts. I’m still going to ask you to do the same thing but I’d like to request something else since you’ve got nowhere to go outside. Please share the link to the actual post in your learning networks whether it be Twitter, Facebook, an internet discussion list with your district, Instagram, or whatever you turn to for your learning.

These bloggers, as all of the blog posts that I’ve included on this regular Friday feature do a magnificent job of sharing their thoughts and research. They need to be heard. Please help their cause.


What I Wish I Knew: Reluctant Readers

Tina Bergman blogs on the voicEd website and her latest post continues her sharing of thoughts and readings about, well, reading.

She’s borrowed the concept of the naming of things from Ramona Meharg with “What I Wish I Knew”.

This post includes a nice collection of research articles – embedded and included in the notes at the bottom along with her thoughts about the RIGHT TO READ inquiry.

She brings into the post the ongoing list of resources from the Ministry and other sources that could help inform instruction.

When I read works like this, I can’t help but think back to my own education. There was nowhere nearly the research breadth that this is available to educators today. Reading was just something that you learned to do. It was important around our household and it just sort of happened at school. I don’t recall the strategies explicitly in play that Tina talks about.

When I think back, I can remember a few in my class who struggled and were probably written off at the time as “they don’t get it”.

That isn’t a solution anymore. For those of us who do get it, it’s easy to leap at the assertion that teaching reading is easy. And it probably was for us. But when you take a look at the classroom composition today, you can only appreciate what hard work teaching reading actually is.


V is for Village

On this blog, and on this computer, I’ve been following and enjoying the walk through the alphabet with Lynn Thomas. I keep guessing what happens when she hits Z!

We often hear the much used phrase “it takes a village” and we generally understand it related to child-raising practices, but it is so much bigger than that. It takes a village to raise ALL of us. We all never quite stop being children because we all have more to learn no matter what age or stage of life we are in

It’s a short and to the point blog post.

When you think of “the village”, it’s time to move past the cutesy sayings or the little artifacts that you might buy in the mall for a gift.

Never before has the importance of this global village been so visible. Well, maybe not to those who claim it to be a hoax even though they’re going to a revisionist approach to say they recognized it all along. But, it is true for the rest of us.

One person isn’t going to pull a global community through all this. It’s going to take everyone.

Let’s respect and honour that.


Outdoor Education – let’s go camping!

Oh, but if we only could.

It’s hard to think back but Laura Wheeler takes us back to a time before the struggle that we’re having now. Sadly, it’s not a large leap back in time – it’s just a month. I’ll bet it seems so much longer for Laura and her students.

They got to go winter camping. It’s an experience that really needs to be enjoyed. It’s so different from summer camping.

  • no mosquitoes
  • clothing is so much different and needs better care taken of it
  • camping is nothing without a campfire but what is a “nice-to-have” in the summer becomes a reality in the winter!

And so much more you’ll find in this post along with some terrific pictures along with strong encouragement to give it a shot.

Are you up to it?


COVID-19 & Education: Part 2

Shelly Vohra is on a bit of a blogging streak.

Last week, I took at look at her thoughts about education these days during the outbreak of the virus.

This week, she took a second view in Part 2 of the series.

The realities of education from home have come up into everyone’s face since her first post. She addresses so many of the important issues – developmental levels, screen time, the role of the computer, choice of digital resources, security and privacy, and even the concept of re-connecting with students who have been away from the classroom now for three or more weeks.

A great deal of time is spent on addressing mindfulness and well-being. It’s easier to do face to face but that’s not an option.

Since I read this, she has actually written a series of posts for you to consider. As things are set to gear up in the province there’s so much wisdom, advice, and thoughts for consideration here.


4 Teachers + 80 minutes = Powerful Learning

Diana Maliszewski shares one of her “this is why I teach” moments in this post.

It involves cookies and a whole lot more.

Don’t just glance at this picture! Study it.

You’ll find the word “authentic” in there.

Huh?

There is so much richness in this post that a quick summary here really wouldn’t do it justice. But I would encourage you to click through and read it in its entirety. You’ll find novels, questioning, professional learning, teacher observation, puzzle pieces, chocolate chips, student-teacher work and follow-up, and more.


What’s the first thing you will do when your world opens up again?

Warning … you’re going to want to have a tissue nearby when you read this very personal and emotional post from Debbie Donsky.

We’ve all had challenges and parts of our regular life stolen from us during this time and she was no different. Imagine having to hospitalize a parent and then being prevented from visiting.

My heart goes out to Debbie. Her message is so personal and yet there is a realization that blogging can be so many things to so many people. It truly can be a way to at least lift part of a heavy load.

So what’s the first thing you will do? Read the post to see what Debbie wants to do.


Timing Is Critical – Seize The Moment!

Joel McLean is absolutely correct.

We’re in incredibly difficult times and leadership has never been so crucial. We’ve seen political leaders make media appearances and some are very strong (and I blogged about that) and some are just pathetic.

There’s no two ways about this. It’s not about YOU; it’s about all of US.

Being a leader today means that we must continuously transform ourselves. Not only because of the fast-changing environments that we work and live in, but because we cannot hope to lead and improve tomorrow if we keep relying on yesterday’s abilities. Once opportunity is knocking at our door, it is too late to prepare. You have to be ready to seize it!

Nobody could have predicted or planned for what we’re going through. That’s OK. We don’t expect that you already have the tools but the best leaders will make an effort to find or develop them. The best and strongest have stepped up and learned what leadership means at this time. This includes classroom leaders, school leaders, and district leaders. How they respond now will speak volumes going into the future.


And a shout-out

Earlier this week, I had written a blog post itemizing 10 things that I’ve learned from this whole experience. I challenged bloggers to share their learning and I got two takers that I know of.

Melanie White

10 Things I’ve Learned: a response to Doug Peterson’s Blog

Aviva Dunsiger

My List Of 10 Things That I’ve Learned

As I always say, please click through and read these great posts in their entirety. This week, I’m also asking that you honour their work by sharing it via your networking connections.

And, follow them on Twitter:

  • Tina Bergman – @blyschuk
  • Lynn Thomas – @THOMLYNN101
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • Joel McLean – @jprofNB
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca

This blog post appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


You know, you don’t really appreciate something until you lose it. I’m feeling that this week in my loss of freedom to just go and browse my way through a store. It’s not that I do it a lot but the important part is that, in another time, I actually could if I wanted to. I just can’t now.

I did have a fulfilling moment last night. A childhood friend of mine had a crashed iPad and I was able to give her some advice and she’s back online now. My price was very affordable compared to what Apple would have charged. I got:


On to some of the great things that crossed my keyboard this week from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.


COVID-19 & Education

Shelly Vohra offers some candid advice about attempts by the Ministry of Education to promote e-learning or online learning or what you may wish to call it. She echoes some of the observations that have been talked about here and in other places. It is in stark contrast to the comments coming from some of the right-wing news sources in the province. They just don’t have a clue. The sad thing is the number of anonymous comments. I don’t reshare because I don’t believe and yet I can’t resist the urge to read the garbage that they are spewing. Like I indicated previously on this blog, you can’t equate one person with a computer from their employer and an internet connection with a teacher trying to teach a class of students with varying needs and just as many varying computer configurations. That is, of course, if the student is fortunate enough to have a computer and an internet connection.

Shelly points out, with respect to the Minstry’s assumptions that this is a good thing:

  • The first is that educators were not consulted in the creation of this ‘resource’
  • Secondly, the ‘resource’ doesn’t take into consideration the diversity in our student population
  • my third issue with such a ‘resource’ – the issue of equity.

We can’t overlook that this will be a good resource for some and certainly school districts are, or have been directed to, share on their website.

Shelly promises a followup post with some of her ideas.


How The Coronavirus Should Impact Education

Matthew Morris takes on the topic of how all this should affect education. He thinks that we’ll all play out and make the best of things in the short term. He focuses instead on the future.

So, what does happen if and when the balance of the school year is cancelled.

I did have to smile just a bit when he took on society’s perspective of Physical and Health Education. Is it a nice break from the rigours of the classroom or does it have a more important role?

And, where do report cards fit in?

This post is a nice focus on reality.


Illness, Shame and the Educator Martyr Complex

From the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, Michelle Fenn makes some observations based on the current reality and some of the realizations that can come from it.

We all have experienced the various scenarios in Michelle’s post. We have indeed dragged ourselves into work when we should have stayed at home.

We all have those emergency lesson plans that are tucked away for such an occasion and hope that we never need them.

We all know the panic of going to bed well and waking up ill. What will the kids do?

At some point, we’ve all had the experience of going into work when we really shouldn’t. As Michelle notes, we’ve made gains through collective bargaining about how to take care of ourselves. Sadly, there are employers that want to cut into this. There’s a huge difference in workplace activity between dealing with a full timetable of students who might be sick and some other professions that are nowhere near this. I still can’t get over that moronic Twitter message that I read indicating that teachers will get through COVID-19 because the experience of dealing with coughing the spreading a of germs of the classroom will help them.

Ironically, we have an entire province that has shut itself down due to a virus and those that are really worried about the impact of the lack of doing their jobs and the students they’re charged to work with are the teachers.


Exceptional Times: Using a Pandemic to Close the Digital Divide

Tim King follows up on a previous blog post where he addressed the challenges of having insufficient internet access at school for his needs with this post.

Now, he takes the concept of connectivity globally. I found his reference to the Loon project interesting. Note that this video is at least three years old.

And, of course, you’ll need a computer to attach to the network. He cites two sources; one being the unused computers at schools right now and the second being the Computers for Schools project.

I would suggest that all this is a start but won’t get us where we ultimately need to be. My internet service provider uses LTE and Satellite; it’s part of Canada’s rural solution. I had to send a warning to Stephen Hurley earlier this week that our voicEd show might be in danger when I ran a Speedtest and got this.

Image

Stephen recommends at least 2MB for success. Fortunately, it was a bit better for Wednesday morning. Had I needed the speed when I ran the test, I would have been out of luck. Imagine being a student at home relying on synchronous connections with a teacher.

The second part of the equation involves getting computers in the hands of students. One solution is to provide repurposed computers with a Linux environment and have them connect to a network with those specifications. The problem with older computers is that repairs and getting parts can be a challenge when things go wrong. I have a Dell (not exactly a generic machine) with a flashing orange light indicating that it doesn’t recognize the battery that it came with. It’s not likely that I’m going to shell out money for a new battery for this older computer.

On top of all of this, we make reference to this as a solution to those students whose families cannot afford their own technology. So, the poorer get a bandaid solution?

Despite my negative points above, a solution like this needs to be found. Traditionally, we’ve looked to public libraries as an evening solution but when they’re closed, that option is out.

Looking for a solution while living the problem really isn’t the solution. A proactive solution like hospitals have in hand needs to be in place. Smart educators like Tim should be given credit for their thoughts, along with a budget, and come up with a permanent solution should a similar situation ever arise again. And, even if it doesn’t, who wouldn’t want a solution where every student in the province has reliable access to the internet.


Being a Skillful Teacher

From the TESL Blog comes a post from Martina Finnegan that includes one of the best thinking moments for me this past while.

“Skillful teaching is the teaching that is contextually informed” (Brookfield, 2015, p. 20). We teach what we assume students should be learning in their particular situations, and sometimes this requires veering away from a syllabus and taking hold of alternate methods to help students learn what is required for their field

In today’s reality, I think of teachers that are now thrust online to continue their teaching.

I’ve been in conversation with a friend in the States that is teaching his Computer Science courses online. The connection to the student is through video conferencing from his living room to goodness knows where. I do know that one of those locations is in China.

One of my superintendents was a big believer in Management by Walking Around. Great read here. He believed that the best teachers are always walking around, looking at student progress and then let the alternate methods that Martina alludes to kick in. Educators know what the end game is and will do whatever is needed to get there.

I would hope that the best of the best meet Martina’s standards of a “Skillful Teacher”. She’s got some great references for additional reading in the post.


Neighbourhood Mending – 19/31 #SOL20

Melanie White SCREAMS

“This is not my neighbourhood!”

Why is she screaming?

She’s looking at a glossy magazine that describes her neighbourhood. The pictures that she sees in the magazine are drastically different from what she sees when she looks out the front window or around her neighbourhood.

It’s difficult to believe that this is happening in Canada in 2020. Judging by the comments to Melanie’s post, she’s not the only one who sees this and want to take action.

Letter writing to the magazine is a good start. Letter writing to those businesses that advertise in the magazine, cc: the magazine and to social media would even be more effective.


Andrea’s 2 Degrees

The Beast is back!

When I read the title, I thought it might be about a Degree in the Arts and a Degree in Education like so many teachers in province have and how could that be a post.

But I was wrong.

It’s a wonderful story about a relationship and professionalism that brings in a running kindergarten student and how grade 5 students ended up being more effective than the vice-principal in her role of authority.

Now, I’ve heard (and watched) 6 degrees of separation. I had to do a bit of research to find out just what was meant by 2 degrees. I hope that this is the context that they use in the post because I used it to understand their message.

There are specific spaces around each of us: 1. private space is the immediate space or circle – you. The next circle or microsystem is: 2. close family, friends, and peers in school, workplace, religious affiliation and neighborhood. The next circle would be the mesosystem: 3. to a lesser degree of closeness, extended family, acquaintances, and peers in school, workplace, religious affiliation and neighborhood. Circles 2. and 3. are the combined social space. Next is the exosystem, public space: 4. community, county, state, nation. The final circle, macrosystem, would represent: 5. the world. In Karinthy’s concept of six degrees of separation, a person would be six steps away from any one person in the world. This is the interconnectedness of dependent-origination. We are all connected. One degree of separation would place you solely in the inner most social circle or microsystem. This would lead you to a very select few within that social space closest to you.

When her direct message was ineffective, she turned to the connections of the 2nd degree and they were indeed able to be effective in stopping the running behaviour.

Then, in true Beast fashion, we’re witness to a discussion between Andrea and Kelly about this and their relationship.

In particular, I’m interested in this concept of a “2 degrees pilot”.


And, again, a wonderful collection of thought from Ontario Edubloggers. Please take time to click through and read the original posts.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Michelle Fenn – @Toadmummy
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Martina Finnegan – @TESLOntario
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • The Beast – @thebeastedu

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s anything but business as usual, my friends. Please stay safe.

Here are some of the latest great reading I’ve done from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers. Please help me keep the Livebinder up to date. If your blog doesn’t appear there, please consider adding it. If you have a blog there and have abandoned it, let me know so that I can take it down.


Podcasting with students

From Jennifer Casa-Todd, an interesting post about Podcasting with students. Podcasting isn’t new; as long as there was Audacity and a microphone on a computer, people have been recording themselves talking about things.

There appears to be a renewed interest lately and I’d like to think that we’re celebrating everyone’s voice more than ever. In this case, and it comes as no surprise since it’s from Jennifer, the focus here is about amplifying student voice.

Jennifer shares her experiences here and has collected resources in a Wakelet document for all to enjoy.

You can’t possibly disagree with her reasons for why you’d want to podcast with students. It’s never been as easy to do as it is today.


Teachers, Copyright, and Fair Dealing: Know your rights and know your limits!

I feel kind of bad about this but I missed Fair Dealing Week.

Thanks to Peter Beens though for raising the importance of Fair Dealing when considering classroom resources. He reminds us of the Fair Dealing Decision Tool.

Through navigation, you’re only a click or two away from advice about whether or not you can use a particular resource in your classroom.

More details about Fair Dealing can be found here.


100 Episodes: Looking Back and Learning Forward

One of the truly nice people that I’ve had the pleasure to meet on social media is Ramona Meharg. Our paths have crossed a number of times, in a number of different ways.

Obviously, I’m a fan of her blog but I’m also a fan of her Podcast series “I Wish I Knew Edu“.

Through her podcast, she introduces us to a number of educators who discuss things that they wish they’d known when they got into education. I was honoured to be #3 in her list which now has hit

Hundred Points on Google Android 10.0

Congratulations, Ramona. The first 100 are the hardest!

Check out her post for a little history of how she got there.


Getting On Board With Your Children’s Interests

Given that may people will be enjoying their family for three weeks this March, this post from the Umbrella Project couldn’t come at a better time!

There’s a suggestion there that would have been great for last summer. But, hopefully, you can remember some of the activities that children raved about from back then!

We can best support our child’s sense of purpose by noticing their sparks of interest and presenting them with a range of possibilities that align with those intrinsic interests. It’s tempting to think we know what is best for our children, but imposing these ideas on them rarely builds the purpose we were hoping for. Here are some direct tips to help you out:

Unfortunately, the infographic that is alluded to in the post was not accessible by me. But, there is a link to a Facebook page where you’ll find all kinds of great ideas.

And, for students, information about a $500 Scholarship!


Tweets of Engagement?

In Sheila Stewart’s latest post, she takes on recent changes to the way that Twitter has changed what you see when you log in after having been away for a while.

At the risk of disagreeing with Sheila, I kind of like the approach – at least when I find value in the content that Twitter shares for me.

Part of what appeals to me about social media has always been the ability to break out of whatever bubble I have surrounded myself with. It challenges my assumptions and takes me off in different directions.

On the other hand, there’s the flip side of this. There will be people that I don’t know that end up reading my stuff out of the blue for them. I wonder what they think about it – and by extension, me.

Sheila explores the concept that Twitter’s actions move your content from semi-private to more public. Therein is a reminder that we’ve known for a long time “don’t do stupid things”.

If nothing else, it’s a wakeup call to think about how you use social media and for what. Did you agree to be this open when you signed up or would you consider making all your messages private or locked only for followers like Sheila is thinking?


I know that I addressed the efforts of these two ladies on Monday’s post but I’d like to bring it forward again this Friday in case you missed it. I think it’s a great call to action for all educators during these challenging times. Rather than just sharing the efforts of some company who is providing some activities for home use, consider publishing your own list of activities and resources that are Canadian content and based on expectations from the Ontario Curriculum.

Please note that all activities don’t involved learning how to use Zoom, Skype, Meet or some other online service from scratch. There are amazing things that can be done otherwise.

Deb Weston – Stay Home Activities for Kids

Upon hearing that my students could be at home for up to 3 weeks due to an “extended March Break”, I started putting a list together of “kid” things to do. Once my students discovered I was writing this list, they gave me many more activities to keep kids busy at home.

Aviva Dunsiger – Kindergarten From Home: Here Are My Suggestions. What Are Yours?

Never would I have thought that I would need to write a post like this one, and yet, sometimes the unexpected happens. Every Friday, I start my day by reading Doug Peterson‘s This Week In Ontario Edublogs post. Just like with all of Doug’s blog posts, I know that he writes and schedules this Friday post the day before (often earlier in the day, I think). When he chose to include John Allan’s post, he wouldn’t have known that by Thursday evening we would all find out that Ontario schools would be closed for an additional two weeks following the March Break.


Please click through and enjoy all of these terrific posts.

Then, follow the authors on Twitter.

  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @JCasaTodd
  • Peter Beens – @pbeens
  • Ramona Meharg – @RamonaMeharg
  • The Umbrella Project – @umbrellapjct
  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • Deb Weston – @DrDWestonPhD
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca

This post appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


And, it’s another Friday the 13th. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there’s a week-long light at the end of the tunnel.

Enjoy some great thinking from this group of Ontario Edubloggers.


MY ACCEPTANCE SPEECH: ANGELA THACKER MEMORIAL AWARD 2020

Congratulations to Alanna King. She’s one of three winners of the 2020 Angela Thacker Memorial Award.

This award honours teacher-librarians who have made contributions to the profession through publications, productions or professional development activities that deal with topics relevant to teacher-librarianship and/or school library learning commons

If you know Alanna King, you know that she excels in all of the areas of this award descriptor and so most definitely is worthy of recognition in front of her colleagues.

The post is essentially her speech given as she accepted the award. She touches on a number of recent experiences that she’s had – health issues, keynote in Buenos Aires, car accident, LTD not approved and yet she’s as strong and vibrant as ever.

After a career move, she’s not longer in the library but promises to remain a strong advocate.

She’s definitely raised the bar for potential future nominees.


Taking an Equity Stance in Math Class

The word “equity” is used quite frequently in education in many different contexts so I didn’t quite know what to expect when Mark Chubb used it with Mathematics.

This chart is really worth looking at and trying to understand the underlying message to describe classroom practice.

I don’t know why but, particularly with Mathematics, I always look back on my own experiences. I definitely am from the old school where we were all expected to work on the same problems the same way and to end up with the same answers.

If you were having problems with a topic, you got to stay after class and do some more of the same until you “got it”. “It” was the same question for everyone.

It, in no way, was equal to the way that Mark describes equity…

However, if we are aiming for equity then we need to allow more opportunities for our students to show us what ARE good at.


Keeping it fresh.

This post, from Will Gourley, is really a post that I think that all teachers should write.

It’s an inspirational look back at the things that have gone well in his class because of his willingness to embrace new things. Things, in this case, are many different web resources so it’s not like you can’t do them in your own classroom!

There’s a definite tip of the hat for Will using these Ontario resources – Waterloo POTW and CEMC.

If you know Will and his work, it will come as no surprise that TED talks play an important part as well.

Will’s students have access to Wipebooks as well and he talks about their use.

This is but a short summary of everything that’s happening in Mr. Gourley’s class. You should click and head on over to see everything. He also challenges you to share your success via reply. That would be a nice thing to do as well. Bloggers like comments.

I’ll bet that there’s all kinds of things happening across the province and teachers are just too humble to brag about it. Change that!


Record as much as you can

Diana Maliszewski has a student teacher.

I’m almost afraid to see what her recommendations would be – I’d be afraid to read something like “show more excitement in your teaching like I do”!

Just reading the post brought back memories of my own practice teaching. (that always seems like a bad descriptor) We’ve all been through this – you start with one class and then work your way through to a full teaching load – all the while being observed by your associate teacher.

Diana started with Sharpies and graduated to a daily five pages of a Google document for her feedback.

At the end of the post, she gets to the point that really recording your student teacher has so much value. It’s hard to argue with any of that. And, today with a smartphone, it’s so easy.


Applying a Critical Lens on I Read Canadian Day

If you thought that the life of a teacher-librarian just involved checking books in and out, you need to just have a chat with one to get the whole story.

This post, from Beth Lyons, lets you know that she’s not resting on her laurels.

To celebrate “I Read Canadian Day”, she took the opportunity to look through her collection and look at the number and types of Canadian authored books on her shelves and how to draw student attention to them. Even that process had her thinking about how she’s classifying them.

In the process, she has also identified an area where she needs to acquire books.

In Beth’s post, I saw this Maya Angelou post for the third time in the past week. It’s great inspirational advice.


A Thought for International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day, Sue Dunlop penned this post. Thanks Christine Nicolaides for highlighting it and have it appear in one of my paper.li dailies.

It’s a strong message. Kudos to Sue for penning it.

The first time that I read it, it was clear to me that the intended audience was women who might be interested in advancement to a new position.

The more I mulled over it, I felt that she could be writing that post to parents. As the father of two young ladies, why wouldn’t I be right beside them in support? The traditions that we grew up with are dated; how can they change if everyone isn’t there to challenge the status quo?

I want every woman to know that she can put herself forward at any time and boldly state what she wants and aspires to.


School closures, eLearning, and the Coronavirus

This is a topic at the forefront of so many people’s minds lately. I wrote a post about it last weekend and my news feed is filled with the topic and concept every morning.

Despite what politicians and newspaper opinion writers would have you believe, the solution isn’t simple. John Allan reinforces the message in this post.

He identifies six major issues that stand in the road of making this happen.

The issues, however, are not insurmountable. He offers suggestions and a path to make it happen.

But, like I said what I wrote about it, we need a plan.

Does your school district have a plan?

I didn’t think so.


Please take the time to click through and read all of these posts in their entirety. There’s a great deal of food for thought here.

Then, follow these people on Twitter

  • Alanna King – @banana29
  • Mark Chubb – @MarkChubb3
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Beth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Sue Dunlop – @Dunlop_Sue
  • John Allan – @mrpottz

This post originated from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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