This Week in Ontario Edublogs


As I indicated earlier this week, this Wednesday didn’t have the regular radio show / podcast on voicEd Radio. I got bumped by some principal thing. So, this is the only opportunity to find out what I’ve been reading from Ontario Edubloggers.


6 FREE Resources for Anywhere Learning

Jennifer Casa-Todd leads off this week with some resources for people to use that hopefully will help out no matter what your return to school looks like. Her list includes:

  • Google Resources
  • Microsoft
  • Eduprotocols
  • Hybrid Teacher Survival Guide
  • A Digital Librarian’s Survival Guide
  • OISE Learning Webinars

Some may be obvious and some might provide some insights that you may have not seen before.

I suppose the Google thing might be in the “obvious” category, but the big takeaway should be following the @GEGOntario folks. Jennifer indicates that there’s a panel in the planning to help teachers.


Do You Want to Go Back?

What a bizarre concept!

A leader in a school district in Ontario asking a student if they want to go back and on what terms. That was the case for Sue Dunlop and she was surprised at the answer her niece gave her.

Then, Sue turns to the reality that not all students are the same and not all come from the same background and not all have the same wishes. It brings her to ask some interesting questions.

  • Who benefits from the way we’ve been doing things?
  • How can the voices of all students be amplified?
  • What does it mean to use an anti-racist lens when working on early reading and progress towards graduation?

Much talk has been made about the return to school building as a return to a live pre-COVID. Those that wish for this are going to be disappointed, at least in the short term

As Sue notes, the status quo isn’t good enough.

I hope that this philosophy is ringing in the ears of all educators and educational leaders.


ADVENTURES IN SUMMER SCHOOL

From the TESL Blog, an interesting look at summer school this summer written by Svjetlana Vrbanic. It wasn’t a year off. It wasn’t life as we know it. But, apparently, it was quite an adventure.

Of course, it’s different. I think back to my own summer school experience – it was for additional qualifications. It was like regular school, only hotter and I was increasingly aware that there was a lot else going on while I was in class. Then, there was the commute to London and back.

I found this quite interesting. Obviously, the students wouldn’t be in a single place so it was learning online. And they didn’t have to commute. Zoom was the answer. But still, the adventure continues and I suspect that many can sympathize with the challenges.

  • Test-time Technical Difficulties
  • Student as Host (whoops)
  • Mystery Students

Where do I start?!

So, here’s the thing about people that like and enjoy mathematics. They want to share their passion and interests with others. Such is the message that comes through in the post from Melissa D, the Dean of Math!

So, she talks about getting the question “where do I start?”

In the post, she describes an activity that promotes a whole bunch of Cs

 classroom culture of connection, collaboration, conjecture and community

I like the activity and I like how she describes how it could work to create that desired culture.

If you’re in search of inspiration, this is worth checking out.


How Are You Finding Control?

I was drawn to Aviva Dunsiger’s post by the word “control”. In education, it could mean so many different things. I wondered what her take would be.

The post is a really big picture look at her and her teaching partner’s professional life. She takes on the word “play” in the post because it may well one of the most misunderstood words in education. Especially, if you have embraced it in your classroom.

She gives a bit of reflection about what control in her classroom means. My wonder is it truly a loss of control or a more strategic way of handling things? I’ve had this discussion with many early years teachers as they address it in both French and English. It’s a humbling conversation for someone coming from secondary school.

Right now, every educator has lost all kinds of control. Some that come to mind:

  • something as simple as being able to go to the school and set up a classroom
  • what type of schedule will be run in the province, in your school
  • what is mathematics going to look like?
  • will the students play nicely by the new COVID rules?
  • how many students will actually show up face to face?

I totally understand her message. A wise person, one of my superintendents, advised me to let go of those things that I can’t control and take charge of what I can. It’s been good advice that has stuck with me.

I feel for Aviva who is so concerned about a policy directive from the board office about social media that may well change so many things that she’s been a leader in.


Legacy Pedagogy Baggage

OK, so Matthew Morris is making me feel badly with this one. While I wasn’t an A+ student in all subject areas, I did do reasonably well in school. In elementary school, I was always in a split-grade classroom because supposedly we were motivated self-starters.

In fact, when I think about it, being in that split-grade classroom may well have helped me understand the educational system better. I think I learned the “game” of education and that the road to success was easier if you just played by the rules.

It only takes a couple of hours in a classroom practice teaching situation to realize that the game book is different for different students. We no longer ask if a student is smart but we ask how they are smart.

As teachers return to another school year, and this will be one like no other, I would suspect that student abilities in various areas will be amplified. I suspect that they’re going to want to hang on to school, teachers, and friends like never before except the concept of hanging on will be different from necessity.

Maybe from necessity, teachers will be willing to throw away some of that old baggage too.


Anticipation and Imagination

Melanie White’s post follows so nicely on the heels of Matthew’s. She closes so powerfully.

The anticipation of teaching that has roots grounded in the individual student experience and identity which is essential to realizing one’s genius. There is a vision that I can anticipate and radically imagine for teaching this year.

Every time I read something from Melanie, I end up walking around and replaying her thoughts in my mind. (usually while walking the dog)

It would be so easy for teachers to curl up in a ball and rock back and forth. The level of uncertainty has never been so high. Melanie did something so good for herself and attended a seminar that “converted my anxiety to anticipation”. You can see her outlook changing in her words as you go through the post.


Even without the voicEd Radio show, this was a powerful collection of reading for me. I hope that you can find time to click through and read them all … and be inspired.

Then, follow them on Twitter

  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Sue Dunlop – @DunlopSue
  • TESLOntario – @TESLOntario
  • Svjetlana Vrbanic – @lanavrb
  • Melissa D – @Dean_of_math
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio

This post appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


What a special Friday!

In addition, it’s also a chance to read some of the great writing coming from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.


COVID-19 & Education: Part 14

Shelly Vohra continues her ongoing series of blog posts about COVID and education. In this edition of her post, she takes on some of the Ministry’s plan for resumption of learning in school buildings for the fall.

  • Full return to school (5 days a week/5 hours a day with breaks for lunch and recess) with classrooms at full capacity
  • Masks for students in Grades 4-12 (masks are optional for students in K-3)
  • 1m distancing with masks and hygiene procedures
  • Secondary students will be in cohorts of 15 if their high school is considered higher risk; all other high schools will be back to full capacity and learning in quadmesters. 
  • Staggered entry/hallway/exit times
  • Students will be given a choice between face to face and virtual learning
  • Teachers and students will be self-assessing every morning
  • Extra funding in a variety of areas (e.g., nurse, custodians, mental health, technology, etc)

She takes on each of these bullet points and fleshes out her own thoughts on each. I suspect that most educators and many parents will find themselves in agreement and hopefully will share their support in the comments.

Shelly was also a delightful cohost on This Week in Ontario Edublogs this past Wednesday. She joined Stephen Hurley and me and talked about these things and more.


Slice of Life: Looking Ahead

Writing as on the Slice of Life project, Lisa Corbett takes a look at shopping.

It’s one of the few things that never stopped during all this COVID stuff. Even this week, things are different in grocery shopping around here. Only a limited number of people are allowed in the store, arrows take you everywhere (except where I want to go…), you’re encourage to only touch if you’re buying, credit and debit rule the day, and I think that we all have a sense that there is a bit more of a danger shopping rather than not shopping.

But, you do have to shop.

So, Lisa has tried placing her orders online and is happy with that. I’ve always had this nagging feeling about someone else touching my food and picking my bananas for me but she’s had great success.

As teaching in a school building returns, her new found way of shopping takes at least one worry off her mind. Maybe she doesn’t eat bananas! But, I see her logic; with everyone back to work, attendance at the grocery store won’t be as widely spread throughout the day as it is in the summer.

It’s definitely something to think about.


Single Voices, Global Choices Project

I hadn’t heard about this link but many others have. Lynn Thomas’ post talk about 107 teachers, 95 schools, 46 countries

Projects like this seem to be perfect at this point in time. You can participate whether your classes are face to face, hybrid, or entirely online due to its global nature.

I also like projects like this that attempt to do good by doing good. If nothing else, you need to click through and see if it might fit into your planning.

The leads on the project are:

  • Lesley Fearn
  • Lynn Thomas
  • Barbara Anna Zielonka

Students from Viamonde, a public French school board obtain their Microsoft Certification

I really like this concept. Experiences teachers often get involved in training programs so that they can add to their profile and qualifications. Often, the visible element is a badge indicating the success. I’m a long time fan of badging.

From the Fair Chance Learning blog, principal Nya Njeuga shares this unique opportunity that was made available to students. Students got qualifications in Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and Publisher – all Microsoft products. These aren’t easy qualifications to get so kudos to the students who enjoyed success because of this initiative.

Next Steps? They’re looking at Office 365 and programming. You’ve got to believe that these certifications will help since they will have a step up on others in terms of summer jobs and skills to be successful in the world of work, college, or university.

I’m sure that reaching out to Fair Chance Learning could bring a similar program to your school.


MAKING EDITING FUN

Call me a skeptic here!

I enjoy writing but hate editing. I know that it’s a necessary evil, particularly for me with blogging since I know that there’s an audience that expects something at least readable.

From the TESL Ontario blog, this post by Sherry Hejazi gives some ideas, suggestions, and encouragement to make this important step fun for students and thereby make them better writers and proofreaders. Sherry appears to be a fan of Microsoft Office indicating that it’s available for free at post-secondary schools in the province. Of course, there are other options but good editing will make for a better final product.

She suggests the following:

  • Provide a Writing Piece
  • Share a Student’s Writing Piece
  • Zoom Sessions (yes, you can edit even from a distance)
  • Editing Competition

Of course, she fleshes out each of these ideas.

Now, to go back and proofread this summary. This is not the time to let my guard down.


It’s Too Much: Teacher Anxiety in the Time of School with Covid-19

Of all the Twitter messages I read this past week, this one had so much traction. Deb Weston had tagged me in an announcement of this blog post on the Heart and Art Blog. It resonated with so many and many of the comments indicated that she wrote the post that reached the heartstrings of so many.

She deals with issues that so many educators are wrestling with at this time not that we’re within weeks of school buildings reopening. The Minister of Education will make an announcement later this afternoon but her concerns at her time of writing deal with:

  • Infection Control
  • Adequate Ventilation
  • Social Distancing Seating
  • Social Distancing Hallways
  • Social Distancing Busing
  • Unknowing Before Schools Closed
  • Dealing with Uncertainty and Stress
  • Health & Employment
  • Knowing What to Expect
  • Evaluation and Reporting

It’s a short list; I’m hoping the Minister will address all the topics satisfactorily. In the meantime, this is what is keeping teachers up at night.


I Have This Idea

Personally, I think that Marc Hodgkinson has a great idea here. I’ve long been a proponent for student writing. To me, it’s the ultimate of writing for an audience.

Why not have students writing for a class blog. Like I described above, it’s an activity that will be successful no matter what back to school looks like.

In the post, Marc brainstorms some of the ideas that he has for inspiration for student writing. I’m sure that he’d appreciate additional ideas and maybe even the opportunity to connect with someone who has done this successfully already.

There’s not sense in reinventing the wheel here.

It’s a great idea, Marc. Run with it.


Please do yourself a favour and click through to read all these posts in their original format. There’s great content here.

Then, make sure that you follow these authors on Twitter…

  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Lynn Thomas – @THOMLYNN101
  • Fair Chance Learning – @FCLEdu
  • TESLOntario – @TESTOntario
  • Deborah Weston – @DrDWestonPhD
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher

This blog post originated at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s August already. Around here, it’s actually starting to feel like fall – cooler evenings and heavy dew in the mornings. And, it’s time to share some great writing from Ontario Edubloggers.


School re-opening smart policy design: How Ontario’s current school reopening policy is not so smart

The first blog post comes from Deb Weston as she posted to the Heart and Art Blog. Deb was the guest host on the podcast so I got to ask whether I should call her Deb or Deborah. Deb it is.

I never took a superintendent’s course so I couldn’t definitely tell you the difference between Policy and Practice. When you’re further down the food chain in education, it didn’t really matter much anyway.

But, Deb did a great deal of study on the topic and provides a pretty academic summary of this topic with all kinds of supporting reference. As a result, you’ll want to set aside more time than just what is required to read the post.

She takes on four areas

  • Smart policy design
  • Including stakeholders like educators
  • Policy designed for schools and their communities
  • Sensible policy strategies for schools

and gives her opinion about each.


10 ways to make your classroom more inclusive of black students

I stole one of Matthew Morris’ 10 points yesterday to use in a blog post of my own since he wrote it so eloquently.

Later this month, teachers will be going into classes and getting ready to welcome back students – face to face and online.

Many of things that would normally be present in classroom may well have gone missing in the name of COVID cleaning and you might be wondering what to replace them with. Or, hopefully with a hightened sense of awareness because of the Black Lives Matter movement, you’re looking and re-evaluating your practice and teaching/learning environment. There has been a lot of talk about systemic racism and a house cleaning may well be needed in many education spaces.

How about the materials that you have on display in your classroom. That’s point #1 in Matthew’s post. He takes it from there and I truly thought that he shared wisdom with #7 that you could run with.

Instead of diving into curriculum during the first week of the school year, use this time to engage with students in ways that create authentic relationships.

Of course, we all think that we do this and I’m sure that there will be laid on safety to address but look for those opportunities to “create authentic relationships.”


Covid Journal # 7 – Returning to school is risky

I did go on a bit of a tear yesterday borrowing content because it was just so good. This was also the case with Paul McGuire where he shares some statistical information about the virus. In an offline discussion, Paul mentions that he follows this religiously and daily.

On August 2, in Ottawa there is a 4.8% chance you’ll encounter an individual who can transmit COVID-19 in a group of 27.

Now, Paul was further up the food chain that I ever was and still he’s looking up when he observes

People in senior positions want to maintain the status quo

I can’t help but think that a great deal of this has gone into the elementary school provincial plan.

I subscribe to the Dangerously Irrelevant blog and this post was shared this week.

Letter from your local superintendent and school board

Creative, to be sure, but confirms Paul’s thesis.


Literacy Instruction: From ‘Best Practices’ to Centering Student Voices

As I said on the radio show, it’s great to see Deborah McCallum back at the blogging keyboard. She’s always a source for inspirational thinking for me.

But, as I also said, if you’re going to read this post looking for answers, you’re going to be disappointed. However, if you’re looking for a lot of questions, you’re in luck.

Over the summer, Deborah is rethinking so much about her classroom and, in particular, literacy. I liked her taking issue with “best practices” as I always found it to be a conversation stopper. Instead of a chance for discussion, I’ve had “but this is best practice” thrown at me. It’s a shutdown phrase and I always though that it was indicative of a closed mind. Who are YOU to tell me that what I want to discuss isn’t “best practice”.

She identifies a number of accepted practices and comes to the conclusion

This seemingly ideal organization of lessons can be a big part of a problem that promotes racist practices.

Like most of her posts, this isn’t a quick one to read. It’s guaranteed to get you thinking and perhaps answering some of those questions in your own practice.


Indigenous Mathematicians and Scientists

A long time ago, I took a course on how to blog.

Yes, it dealt with the mechanics of how to create one, we did the mandatory “Hello World” post and then talked about what you might want to use a blog for. One of the pieces of advice I took away was that if you’re going to be a hobbyiest, do good things for yourself. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself into one type of thing because you’ll run dry eventually. Years later, I’m still running.

One of the suggestions was to use your blog as a way to store important things so that you don’t lose them. I’d always been a horder of links and resources and the revolation was true. By themselves, they’re just a bunch of things that you’ll eventually forget. Put them into a blog post and you’re more likely to think about them as you post and, if it’s good learning for you, it might be good learning for others.

That’s how I felt about this post from Heather Theijsmeijer. In her online wanderings, she had come across a list of indigenous mathematics and scientists. So, she shared them and it’s a nice collection with links to support the name. By itself, it’s a great resource that needs to be shared. Hold on, there’s more.

The magic happened. Because she had gone public, others had read her post and a commenter suggested a name to add to the list. Heather did that.

Without this post, that magic wouldn’t have happened. I wonder why more people don’t do this.


What might the LLC look like if/when we go back to school?

This post, from Beth Lyons, came in advance of the back to school plans for the province so her thoughts were from a different reality that we are/might be dealing with today.

Beth has shared stories from her LLC with her blog readers for a long time. In this post, she muses what it might become

  • BOOKS.
  • INQUIRY. 
  • MAKER. 

Her analysis of these shows that she has done a great deal of thinking about this.

We now know that the elementary school is going to try to be close to what it was in terms of class sizes and classrooms. It seems to me that trips to LLCs aren’t going to happen soon so her thinking about being on the move and bringing the LLC to classrooms is realistic. After all, they have so many resources collected with the philosophy that they should be available to and used by all.

What’s also going to be a reality is teacher-librarians becoming the school expert on sanitization. Pedagogy will take a back seat for a while.


Escape to the Country Ontario Edition

One of the biggest reasons to follow Patti Henderson is for a regular shot of reality that there is a great deal of beauty in the world. Even in these days.

From her Toronto location, she has shared a number of inspiring photographs but is now looking to “escape” to other places in Ontario. Those Stage 3 people!

One of the things about artists that has always impressed me is that they see things that I would otherwise miss. This blog post shows so much beautiful – pro tip, she doesn’t use a smartphone…

From Vagabond Photography

This picture blew me away. That could have been my very first vehicle only mine was black and I do know that the guy who bought it from me was later in an accident so it’s not around and, if it is, it isn’t in this good a shape!

If you need a shot of beauty this morning, head over to Patti’s blog and enjoy.


Please take some time this morning or whenever you read this to click through and enjoy all this original content.

Then, of course, follow these people on Twitter for regular inspiration.

  • Deborah Weston – @DrDWestonPhD
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Deborah McCallum – @bigideasineadu
  • Heather Theijsmeijer – @HTheijsmeijer
  • Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Patti Henderson – @GingerPatti

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to this blog and a regular post around here. Friday mornings are an opportunity to take a look at a number of blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. They’re always inspirational so let’s go…


Educational Bourgeoisie

Tim King was the guest host this week on the This Week in Ontario Edublogs radio show on voicEd radio. We talked about this post, inspired by a podcast that he did with his wife Alanna and his reading of Starship Troopers.

Tim sees a lot of parallels between the book and his life and shares them with us. In particular, “Everybody works, everybody fights”. Does that apply to education?

Tim uses this as an opportunity to think about teachers in Ontario that aren’t in classrooms. He estimates this to be 20%. He feels that when cuts come along, they apply to the classroom and the 20% bourgeoisie are unaffected.

As a person who spent part of my career in that 20% group, I know that we all have challenges in education. When you’re not providing a viable service to those who are in the classroom, it’s only fair that stones are thrown.

I wonder though … given that there is a desire for student population in classrooms to be at 15 … are there enough teachers available to hire or will the districts use those bodies at the board office to help with numbers. It will be a real statement on how a system values those in those positions.


Stunt Riding is Easier Than You Think in Ontario (and everywhere else evidently)

Tim actually has a couple of blogs. In addition to Dusty World where I pulled in that first post, he also blogs at Mechanical Sympathy. A recent post there has me thinking and wondering even more – on a different topic.

Tim tells a story about a motorcycle outing (complete with pictures) which lead to a discussion with another biker.

There was someone that ended up getting a Stunt Driving ticket for standing on the pegs of his motorcycle. If found guilty, the penalties are pretty severe and expensive.

Until this point, my understanding of stunt driving had been about those who get caught on the 401 particularly around Chatham for doing excessive speeds.

It never occurred to me that standing up on the pegs was problematic. I’ve seen it all the time and just figured that it was a chance to “unstick” yourself or, er, um, air things out. I would have thought some consideration would have been given to what the person was actually doing while in this position. I could see if you were swerving or driving dangerously otherwise. A ticket for that makes sense.

Tim takes on the situation and the Ontario laws in this post.


Scared, But Certain

Aviva Dunsiger is a person who I would suggest is one of the most positive and upbeat educators I know. Read her blog and you’ll see that she generally loves her job and enjoys her interactions with children.

In fact, at times, I wonder to myself if she’d feel the same way in a Grade 11 mathematics classroom. She makes reference to a blog post from here where I had noted that hugs are often currency in the younger years. I can honestly say it isn’t in Grade 11.

Teaching is an acquired taste!

School re-opening in whatever shape it occurs in Ontario and Hamilton-Wentworth will undoubtedly be different.

So, back to her title – in the post she lets us know that she’s scared and for sure questioning things but she’s certain that she’s going to make it work.


Black Hands Doing Mathematics

This post from Idil Abdulkadir left me with my mouth open just a bit when she described an observation made by her students.

Using a document camera to demonstrate things in her classroom is a way of getting the job done. I get that. I used to use an overhead projector all the time. It’s a great way to do things; you never turn your back on a class and you’re able to recognize hands that go up or puzzled faces immediately. Personally, I also found it easier to write neatly than on a chalkboard. My older technology didn’t try to do anything fancy; it just took what was there and projected it.

But her students noticed that something that was happening in Ms. Abdulkadir’s class that wasn’t in others. The camera was adjusting the colour balance because of the colour of her hands. Let that sink in for a minute.

There’s a lot of ways that this could be interpreted but she felt that it means something.

I want my students to see Black hands doing delicate work.
I want my students to see Black hands solving equations.
Black fingers counting.
Black hands doing mathematics.
Black hands making beautiful things.
Black hands and Black people thriving.

To that, I would add “I want students to see Black hands writing computer programs”.


Tents

Lisa Corbett missed the opportunity to talk about her son being a “child of the corn” when making an emergency pit stop. There were trees though.

The tree in question was near the community arena’s parking lot and that led to some observations and some social understanding during this time of COVID. Like every arena in the province, there was no ice, and the facility was used to give the homeless a place to isolate.

Now that the municipal plan of using the arena from April to June is over, those who would normally use the service have to look for other places. Lisa uses the opportunity to talk about the invisible homeless.

They’re there in every community. COVID has eased but has not gone away. Perhaps this will force communities to come to grips with this issue in a more permanent way.


AVOID THE SUMMER SLUMP: FOR SECONDARY STUDENTS

Although I had talked about this post from Alanna King in a previous post, it never was done on the TWIOE podcast. Tim wanted to give his lovely wife a shout out, so we did.

In the post, she offers three recommendations for secondary school students for the summer.

  • Read widely
  • Read Canadian
  • Buy yourself a new notebook

You can’t argue with that logic so it doesn’t hurt to repeat it. As I rethink this post, it may be even more relevant. As Tim noted during the show, he noted a drop off in student engagement with the Minister of Education indicated that marks wouldn’t count.

So, perhaps the Summer Slump started for some students even earlier than usual.

C’mon students – take her advice.


Math Links for Week Ending Jul. 24th, 2020

I’m guessing that I’m part of the choir that David Petro preaches to. I enjoy his Friday look around at the world of mathematics. I do wonder about his abbreviation for July though.

This time, he’s encouraging engagement in a couple of Twitter discussions in addition to his regular collection of:

  • Resource Links
  • Video Links
  • Image Links

The discussion and images in the Image Link is a reminder that skillful people can make statistics say just about anything – including incorrect things.


Please take the time to click through and read each of these wonderful posts. Then, make sure that you’re following them on Twitter for further engagement.

  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Tim King – @mechsymp
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Idil Abdulkadir – @Idil_A_
  • Lisa Corbett – @lisacorbett0261
  • Alanna King – @banana29
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314

This post was originally posted at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Well, it’s been a bit of a cooler week but it sure was warm out. I hope that you were able to take advantage of it. I hope that you were also able to enjoy blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. I know I did and here’s some of what I read.


Questioning Experts More Than Expertise

Noa Daniel was guest host on This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio and we had a chance to talk about her latest post. It reminded me of a quote from a former superintendent to those of us in the Program Department.

An expert is someone from out of town…

I don’t know if that was an original quote or he was sharing it from someone else. His context was about paying big speaker fees to bring in someone to talk on Professional Development Days when we had the capacity already within the board. Those of us in the Program Department were to find those with the expertise and encourage them to share it with others. Why pay to bring in an “expert”?

In the post, Noa takes on her view of this and I enjoyed her thinking. I also thing that it’s more important than ever with the lack of travel bringing in “experts” to address educators. Why not work with the expertise within a district where they can address local issues directly rather than some hypothetical situation somewhere else?

Does COVID push us away from outside of town experts and towards celebrating the expertise that we are developing locally? Something to think about.


Two Approaches to Building Online Communities

Diana Maliszewski’s post follows Noa’s very nicely. I think that most of us understand the power that can come from online communities. So, how do you build that community?

Diana identifies a couple of different ways.

One is modelled by the work from Matthew Morris and Jay Williams with their #QuarantineEd initiative. It’s an online community of learners, building on the efforts of the group of contributors with a direction by Matthew and Jay. Matthew talked a bit about it when he guested on This Week in Ontario Edublogs and shared the numbers. It’s grown from an experimental conversation with TDSB educators. And, it’s caught the attention of the Toronto Star.

The second scenario is something that many of us have seen many times. An existing user will tag you or plead to the masses to follow this new account. The prudent social media user will, of course, check that person out before inviting them into your community. Many times, that person has contributed nothing to date. Why would you want to embrace them? My rule has always been “You’ve got to be interesting”.

Diana includes here thoughts; she’s a skillful navigator of social media and I think you’ll find her advice incredibly helpful.


What ARE Kids Learning?

It was great to see Stephan Pruchnicky back at the keyboard sharing thoughts again. It was kind of sad to read about why he wasn’t and I hope those days are behind him.

He’s got one message in this post and it appears in big letters.

I think it’s a great reflection point for teachers, students, and parents.

Are we so focused on teaching being covering materials specified in the Ontario Curriculum that we’ve turned a blind eye to other important things that might have been learned?

Something to think about going forward.


Forward.

I had to smile at Beth Lyon’s comment that it was only towards the end of June that she finally decided on her word of the month. You’ll recall that she didn’t choose a year long “one word” and instead opted to do one per month. Given all that’s happened, it has turned out to be a genius move.

It’s easy to lose track of time. I bought a Lotto Max ticket last Saturday and kept checking it with my OLG app, getting messages about it that seemed bizarre. Then, after a bit of thinking, I realized that it was for a draw on Tuesday and not Sunday or Monday when I was testing it. Keeping track of time is a challenge these days.

Beth makes reference to a couple of excellent blog posts from other Ontario Educators, Lisa Corbett and Amanda Potts, and uses that to force her thinking and come with a new direction for the month of July.

The post is dated July 3 so I hope she’s nicely back on track.


How To Make Math Moments From A Distance

From Kyle Pearce and Jon Orr, a really, really long blog post under their MakeMathMoments umbrella.

I’m not sure that I can truly sum it up in a paragraph or two but I really found the content interesting. It should serve as a reminder that mathematics is everywhere; it’s beautiful; and it’s really relevant.

Many of us grew up with mathematics being the stuff that is covered in mathematics textbooks. There was content, questions, and answers. For me, it was third year with Ross Honsberger in a course called “History of Mathematics” where he showed us the fun, beauty, enjoyment, and the relevance of mathematics being everywhere.

It’s such an important concept and one that lives with me and it’s easy to see mathematics everywhere. In the post, these gentlemen give us some great examples that go far beyond the typical questions you might find in a textbook. Bookmark this for future inspiration and resource.


Distance Hugs: My Self-Reg Stumbling Block

I kind of knew that Aviva Dunsiger wrote this post on the Merit Centre blog even before I read through the article.

I know Aviva to be a loving and caring teacher and I would suspect that displays of affection have a home in her kindergarten classroom. Things there are so much different from the students that I taught. My students might have had gestures of emotion but I would never expect a hug to be part of the mix.

In the offing for her and her teaching partner at the close of the school year was a thank-you gift from a student and a parent. Aviva wondered if there would be enough control for her not to hug the child or the child not to hug here. It’s an interesting and certainly relevant wonder these days.

She describes how hugs are like currency in her classroom.

  • Kids use hugs to connect with others.
  • They greet us in the morning with a hug.
  • They look for a hug when they’re sad, scared, angry, tired, or hurt.
  • Hugs comfort many of our students, especially in that first month of school, when leaving home is one of the hardest things that they have to do.

You’ll have to read the post to see what happened and Aviva’s musing about what things might look like in the future.


WRITING: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

It takes a brave person to write a summary about a blog post talking about writing but here goes…

On the TESL Ontario blog, Milica Radisic takes on the topic of writing and I found this observation interesting.

Second, since almost 90% of my students are highly educated, have done a number of university courses and presumably read a number of books, I wonder why they make mistakes that, at least to me, seem basic.

Gulp!

In the post, she shares her thoughts about

  • Run-on Sentences
  • Commas
  • Transition Words

I wonder about my own writing. Quite frankly, the last time I took an English course would have been in Grade 13. There were the odd essays that I was required to do in some subjects but I missed most of that because my course choices were largely Mathematics and Computer Science. By their nature, there is writing but it’s more technical than anything else.

Since I started writing for this blog, it’s been a return back to those secondary school skills. I find that I’m using a semi-colon more than ever and I did do some research to make sure that I was using it correctly. There’s always the nagging feeling that I just might make an error and, because it’s so public, everyone would see it.

I found reading this a really reflective activity and, as a regular blogger, I do want to do my best. I hope that I can live up to this standard.


Please take some time and click through to read these posts in their original form. They’ll get you thinking.

Then, follow these writers on Twitter.

  • Noa Daniel – @noasbobs
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Stepan Pruchnicky – @stepanpruch
  • Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Kyle Pearce – @mathletepearce
  • Jon Orr – @MrOrr_geek
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Milica Radisic – @milicaruoft

This blog post originated from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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