This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Sit back and enjoy some writing from great Ontario Edubloggers.


Becoming a Better Person for Others: Faith into Action

I really appreciate when bloggers are so open and transparent. In this case, Rolland shows the best of this. He takes a look at his role as re-engagement teacher and marries it to his understanding of social justice.

In particular, he identifies four things in his role.

  1. Dignity of the Human Person
  2. Call to Family, Community, and Participation
  3. Rights and Responsibilities
  4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

With each of these, he analyses making connections to his job and to education. Then, for each he provides a next step for himself. I couldn’t help but think that blogging about it and making it public really makes himself accountable for these changes to his approach.

The word “brave” kept running through my mind as I was reading.


Learning from Each Other — Destreaming Across Ontario: Waterloo District School Board

This is another very brave and open post about learning and planning for action. Alexandra thinks that there are three things that will make destreaming effective.

  1. Smaller class sizes to support students
  2. Equipping teachers and administrators with the correct tools and professional development
  3. task force to “inform the design, implementation and monitoring of de-streaming

Ultimately, any success will result from the practice and acceptance of classroom teachers. After the past two years, it’s going to take a great deal of effort to do the necessary learning and then implementation of new approaches.

Alexandra shares her notes and thoughts from a Google Meet conducted by Jill Hicknell and Jillian Waters and some reading to support their thoughts. A big takeaway is a Google Resource site and a Twitter handle to follow.

Check it out.


New Twitter Communities: Will this better our Twitter experience?

Do you ever have one of those moments where you’re thinking something but you keep it to yourself and it’s only when someone else notes it that you realize you’re not alone?

I had that moment as I read Jennifer’s post. There are times these days when I feel like I should be getting more from my Twitter community than I am. It was somehow comforting to note that she felt the same way.

Lately, I have been a little dissatisfied with my Twitter feed to be honest. Unless someone tags me, I feel like I have been missing out of many of the powerful voices I once had access to. And whereas I felt like my own voice reached many before, I feel like unless I tag people, they rarely see my tweets either.

At about the same time that I started to feel this way, Twitter rolled out the concept of Communities. I took a look and felt it was too much like the Twitter lists that I’ve been curating. But, again, Jennifer takes it a bit further and offers a way that we may fall back in love with Twitter again.

Nicely done, Jennifer.


Self-Reg Havens

The big takeaway for me from Susan’s post was that her concept of a haven isn’t necessarily

 just a location

For the longest time, a safe haven for me was a place to think and I guess I’d always put it in personal terms as a location. With a busy life, often the thinking was done in my car commuting to and from work.

The post is a look at what that haven just might be and Susan takes us to these attributes

  1. Safe
  2. Rooted
  3. Balanced
  4. Capable
  5. Trusted

If nothing else, it will give you lots to think about.


OBSERVATION IS A NEW REFLECTION!

From Wayne’s World…

I think that most of us did our quality observation as student teachers having placement with an experienced teacher. I don’t know about you but it was one of the first times that I thought that maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a teacher. Thankfully, I persevered.

It shouldn’t stop there and Setareh talks about observing a colleague in their teaching. I did that a couple of times and I think that you get a new lens when you are in the profession. Setareh talks about observing a very extroverted teacher, knowing that that would be a real challenge and maybe an impossibility.

Still, there are lots of things to learn and we should never stop.


Coding Fireworks!

From the Fair Chance Learning blog, Barb offers a project (along with a solution) for creating a program that will emulate fireworks on a Micro:Bit.

Now, if you’ve already done something like this for Victoria day, you might want to move along.

Or, how about setting off some fireworks to celebrate the end of the school year?


Importance of Context and Concrete Manipulatives From Kindergarten Through Grade 12

Kyle shares a wealth of information here that’s applicable to all grade levels.

I like his start and confession. We all had it. When we started teaching, we wanted to be copies of the very best teacher that we ever had. If you’re honest, you’ll realize that their classroom often doesn’t resemble the successful rooms we have today. We’ve learned so much about effective teaching and learning and it’s just not the same.

This is a long resource but well worth the read and thinking. We want the best for everyone after all.


Please take some time to enjoy these posts and then follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Alexandra Woods – @XanWoods
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Susan Hopkins – @susanhopkins5
  • Barb Seaton – @barb_seaton
  • Fair Chance Learning – @FCLEdu
  • Kyle Pearce – @mathletepearce 

This Week in Ontario Edublogs Show

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


By the time this post goes live, we will have the results from the 2022 Provincial Election. As I write this on Thursday afternoon, I just hope that we elect a government that will respect and support public education.


Bring Back Specialist Teachers

I think there may be a number of different opinions to Gary’s post. I found that my background as a secondary school computer science teacher influenced my way of thinking. After all, I was a specialist teacher. You wouldn’t have wanted me teaching music in your school.

Gary does remember a time when there were specialist teachers for things like music, arts, library, technology education, and more. In the elementary panel, there definitely is an approach to integrating everything and specialty teachers were the casualties.

I found his post interesting and reminded me of my own elementary school where we did have specialized teachers, including a principal who taught us Grade 8. At the time, we were impressed that he would take the time to teach us; having gone through the system, I realize now that perhaps he was just providing prep time.


Looking Forward to September: Excitements, Challenges, and Worries – E089

We used to call late May and early June our silly season. It was the time of the year when all the option sheets where collated and numbers generated. The principal would give each department head the number of sections and staff and we had to recommend how to divvy things up. We’d be fighting to see what we’d be teaching in the fall. We would meet individually with department heads to express our desires and then hope for the best. It was educational “fun”, I suppose but it was also sadness when certain courses wouldn’t run in the fall because of numbers.

This post goes along with the EduGals’ podcast about their plans for the fall. We all know that there are all kinds of challenges in the teaching profession but one of the huge, huge advantages is that you get the opportunity to reinvent yourself as an educator every fall. How many professionals can claim that?

So, Katie and Rachel are having that wonderful opportunity of doing things differently and doing different things. As a former professional learning provider, I smiled and was pleased to read of their excitement of renewed opportunities to learn new things. That past couple of years have been brutal with learning opportunities cancelled and / or moved to online.

The professional is doing well when educators have and share this level of enthusiasm. Are you excited? Why not drop the EduGals a note to show them that they’re not alone?


Bringing a Fruit Roll-Up to a Knife Fight

Nobody disparages fruit roll-ups more nicely than Lynn does!

Lynn’s post is a summary of a professional learning event that was put on by the Ontario Teachers’ Federation. The OTF does an incredible job of bringing together subject group learders to share motivating and futuristic approaches to education in the province. I can’t recall any OTF event that I attended that I felt less than over the top motivated.

I thought that the message delivered and that Lynn shared was very timely. It was about resilience and stress and so many of the challenges that educators are dealing with right now. We hope that better days are ahead but we do so with crossed fingers.

If there’s one immediate takeaway, you need to download Everyday Resiliency and maybe even more from this page.


Banned & Challenged Books

I’ll admit that I was challenged and invigorated by this rather long post from Jennifer.

It reminded me of the good old days of social media and the value to educators. It’s a personally crafted lesson/activity by Jennifer personally in her role as teacher-librarian and collaborator with a classroom teacher. So often, people share great resources but they’re done by someone else and maybe there’s some advertising or you get a sampler and then you have to pay for the whole deal.

Not in this case. Jennifer takes us through the entire experience and what she does with real students dealing with the notion of banning books. Quite frankly, some of the resources might surprise you.

There is a slideshow that she worked through with the students as well as pictures of what a banned book display might look like.

It was really well done and I thoroughly enjoyed reading and working my way through her thinking.


So, Where are We Headed?

Set aside some time to look at Marie’s latest offering. That needs to be said right from the start.

She sets the stage with a story that certainly reinforces the notion that we’re not all on the same page of this recovery deal. Hell, the comment made to her makes me realize that the past two years may have given some people the lattitude of going back to the 50s. She should have decked the guy.

Marie takes us on a long discussion of social safety nets just in time as we head into the election and I found that this was a very difficult post to read. I kept pausing, thinking, and then going back to re-read her thoughts again.

Next Thursday’s election isn’t just about government in Ontario; it’s a peek into whether or not good can triumph over evil. Be prepared.

At least there was George Carlin.


Teaching VALUES in Our Classrooms!

Nilmini sets the stage with a TL;DR

  • All languages have value!
  • We can collaborate with others across the world.
  • Value humanity and spread kindness.

The post isn’t terribly long so please do take the time to read it. From my perspective…

All languages have value

I grew up in a small community where everyone spoke English. A few of my friends spoke Dutch and we were all put to the test when we were forced to study French. We just didn’t see the need to learn another language. How wrong could we have been? Going to university and making connections with all kinds of people who had English as a second language made me feel so inadequate being fluent in only one.

We can collaborate with others across the world.

One of the real eye openers in education for me was being connected. My first steps were with the very appropriately named Electronic Village. That begin my efforts of learning with people anywhere in the world. A friend also helped put perspective as well – why connect across the world when you don’t talk to the teacher across the hall?

Value humanity and spread kindness.

If you’re not doing this, I don’t want you in my digital world. I think one of the reasons why I was so drawn to and intrigued by Nilmini was her very open kindness. To me, she exemplifies why I do this, and why all educators should do so. Being connected can be a very selfish experience and that’s just wrong. Flip that mindset.


World Oceans Day

You know, Arianna, I had no idea that June 8 was World Oceans Day either! Usually, Lynn Thomas lets us know about these special days on social media. So, probably she probably has it already geared up.

Anyway, Arianna uses this bit of trivia to lead us to Rochelle Strauss’ new book, The Global Ocean.

She gives us a quick overview to the book and reasons why it’s something that it should work its way into classrooms across the province. She addresses the concept of five oceans and plastics. Timely and important!

I’m glad that I fell into this post and was able to refer to it in this post just in time for next week. Who would want to win World Oceans Day.


Please take the time to enjoy all these posts. Then, follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Gary Stewart
  • EduGals – @Edugals
  • Lynn Thomas – @THOMLYNN101
  • Jennifer Aston – @mmejaston
  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge – @NRatwatte
  • Arianna Lambert – @MsALambert

This Week’s voicEd Radio Show

5G Telecommunications


We bit the bullet a couple of years ago and got rid of the landline for our phone and got ourselves smartphones. With them, of course, comes the ability to make phone calls (I just typed “telephone calls” but erased it…this seems more appropriate) and run applications. I have to smile because my mind hasn’t totally made the switch; I often look to where the answering machine used to sit on a shelf to see if we missed any calls.

My morning reads featured a couple of stories that got me thinking more about telecommunications. I think, like most people, I absolutely am connected at all times now and it’s just part of the life.

And that connection will get a great deal faster the next time I upgrade my phone. For the record, I hope that’s still a long way off; my phone works incredibly well. But it’s not capable of running on the fifth generation of the technology (5G) and that’s the future. Maybe it will be even more affordable when it comes time to buy.

Photo by Shiwa ID on Unsplash

Apparently, the powers that be are hard at work protecting us.

Canada to ban Huawei, ZTE 5G equipment, joining Five Eyes allies

I’m not terribly worried about someone listening to my conversations. They’re few and far between and undoubtedly the least use I have for my phone. It’s the data that connects me when I’m away from home through text messages and my social media accounts that get the lion’s share of my use. I’ll bet most people are like that. Whatever happened to telephones?

There was another serious story that I thought I had bookmarked for the purpose of this post and I can’t find it. It was about a family that was camping in Eastern Ontario and were essentially “off the grid” and so did not get the regular weather warning like so many others did. We rely on it here; just this past week, we were on the patio and saw incredibly dark skies to the south and received a warning of the storm. Also, the Detroit/Cleveland baseball game was cancelled. Looking north to where Comerica Park would be, it was clear skies. That’s usually sign of really bizarre weather. Fortunately, it passed us by. As we know now, others weren’t so fortunate. If we become used to emergency warnings, it seems to me that they should be available to everyone in the province and not just those that are close to cities.

Even that doesn’t work perfectly. We live very close to the US border and it’s not uncommon to drive along Riverside Drive or just sit in a friend’s living room and get the message “Welcome to the United States. Roaming charges apple.” A similar situation happened when the Bring IT, Together Conference was in Niagara Falls and I went looking at the Falls. It just seems to bizarre that, in a world where Google knows exactly where I am within three feet, that the telecommunications field can’t as well.

So, fifth-generation has all these promises and, if I wasn’t so cheap and didn’t run out to upgrade today, I might be enjoying the better service. Our government has promised to make it safer too.

Maybe some day it will reach here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to Friday and another amazing collection of blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. Enjoy!


Hometown

While many people live in their original hometown, Sheila may have you longing for a return if you moved away. I lived in mine for 18 years and then left never to return except for a couple of times to tour the place, visit the cemetery, and relive some memories.

If you moved away, there might be something special to remember – maybe it’s because we were kids and biked everywhere, played everywhere, and didn’t have to worry about work and family? I feel like I know my original hometown better than my current. I’ve got to get the bike out.

In the post, she brings up some music videos that got me thinking. The first one was Bruce Springsteen’s My Hometown

and then there’s one where he actually did as a tribute to his hometown but notes if you listen live that there are some bad words in it.

Hometown is an amazing thing to consider and I thank Sheila for the post. Long-time blog readers around here might remember this post from 2010. https://dougpete.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/a-multimedia-childhood-tour/

I still think that it’s a great activity for the classroom. Lots of room for research and also a chance to apply some computer skills.


The Importance of Student Self-Reflection on Their Own Learning

Reflection is an important part of education and Gonul certainly drives that point home in this post. There’s no room for argument.

I would suggest that, while it’s important to be ongoing, this time of year it’s especially important to reflect on an entire year and the growth and learning that has happened.

She offers a great list of advantages of reflection:

  • Determine their strengths and weaknesses in skills they have developed
  • Analyze their learning process and style
  • Learn to be more independent
  • Understand how they learn
  • Monitor their learning progress
  • Set realistic learning goals
  • Respond positively to feedback to improve performance
  • Take ownership of their own learning

What do you have planned to reflect on a year’s worth of learning?


Becoming a Better Person for Others: Faith into Action

I’ve written a lot of blog posts in my time but, after reading Rolland’s at least four or five times, I leaned back in my chair and just said “Wow!” to myself.

It’s appropriate that it follows Gonul’s post about reflection because this is truly what happens there. Rolland takes four concepts from a resource that he’d read and does an amazing job of internalizing them.

  • Dignity of the Human Person
  • Call to Family, Community, and Participation
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

Given his work, he makes the connections to the Catholic Leadership Framework. In addition to analysing the concepts, he identifies next steps for himself.


What is right is more important than who is right:Speaking Truth to Power

Of course, leaders should get a copy of Charles’ book on leadership. He’s been using his blog to go through the messages and podcasting on voicEd Radio in conversation with Stephen Hurley at the same time.

“Being right” seems like such a simple concept. We all want to be right but, as Charles notes, he’s seen so many instances of “deleterious short-termism”. Haven’t we all?

The complete discussion with Stephen can be listened to here.

I’d be interested in listening to a follow discussion about what happens to staff and the community when the decision made goes wrong because it was important for the decision-maker to be right whether it was the right decision or not.


Expat or Local?

While she was a principal at a school in China, Ann Marie was great at blogging and sharing her own thoughts about life and leadership. Many of her posts ended up her for discussion.

Things change though.

Upon returning home for the Chinese New Year, she didn’t return to China but rather spent the rest of the school year doing the principal thing remotely. There’s been a lot of that done lately – the remote thing.

The bug to travel again is starting to bite and Ann Marie shares her thoughts there along with her vision of a “dream job”.

Certainly, things have changed thanks to COVID for all of us. Travel is more of a conscious decision than ever. Read about how it affects a principal that likes to move around!


Unfilled Jobs = Increased Guilt: Reflecting On Needing To Be Away

As teachers, we all know the hassles that being sick or away from the class can make being away more pain than actually going in. And yet, there are some times when that isn’t an option.

Such was the case with Aviva who had to take three days away. This is probably a better scenario than most since she does have a teaching partner so continuity should/could be good. I know from experience that the experience may be better or worse depending upon who got called in during my absence.

It’s not easily handled anywhere…

This means that educators are missing preps, volunteering to take on extra duties, and juggling schedules to make sure that there’s a teacher for every class.

When someone misses a preparation period due to you being away, there’s always this feeling of owing them something when you indeed do get back. I read Aviva’s post and I can totally understand where she’s coming from. It’s the story for all teachers who are away.


Math Links for Week Ending Apr. 15th, 2022

There’s nothing like a good mathematics challenge and David is good every Friday for some inspiration.

My big takeaway was kind of mathematics How many calories do people really eat at Chipotle? but it was more about a presentation technique called “Slow Reveal Graphs”.

How many times have you seen a presenter throw up a screen of information and then use a laser pointer to talk you through the information? This is a much better way of presenting the same information with better results and less information overload.

And, it’s not all that different! You already have the content; this is just a better way of handling it.


As you head into the weekend, I hope that you can click through and enjoy all of these posts and follow these great bloggers.

  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • Gonul Turkdogan – @turkdogan_gonul
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • Ann Marie Luce – @turnmeluce
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Please take some time to enjoy these wonderful posts from Ontario Edubloggers. You’ll be glad you did!


Getting Ready for Destreaming

These are the show notes for podcast 81 from the EduGals. Before I get to them, a big acknowledgement needs to go out to appreciate their podcasting efforts. They’re now two years into their efforts putting out interesting content regularly. That’s pretty impressive when you consider they both have full time jobs.

I was drawn in by the title. As all know, Mathematics was destreamed for Grade 9 this year and Science comes next this fall. That’s four months in the future.

I was disappointed that they didn’t have insights and specific things to deal with with the new curriculum. Truthfully, it’s not their fault; the curriculum hasn’t been released yet. At this point, it’s just speculation about what might be coming. In the podcast and the show notes, they do talk about some of the best of breed techniques that will go far to supporting people in these new classrooms. It’s not just science; it’s good stuff to apply everywhere.

I thought there was huge value in the list of people and resources to reach out to so that you’re not starting from square one in the fall.

With COVID, we haven’t had much discussion about these topics so I was really pleased to read and listen to the podcast. They are doing their best to stay on top of things. Join them.


Attention and Focus in the Classroom

It was awesome to see Jennifer back at the keyboard. As she notes in the post, there have been other things that have been keeping her off her game. I hope that melting snow and more sunlight can really help out.

What I think is so powerful is that Jennifer doesn’t lecture us about focus and attention but rather shares her personal observations about her own classroom. Your mileage may vary.

She identifies what’s happening when students aren’t paying attention and what’s happening when they are and shares strategies that she’s using to have more success with the latter.

I found that it’s a reminder that the most important person in the room is the teacher who does her best to set the stage for quality learning situations.

I like to think that we’re all thoughtful and reflective but I’ve always maintained that you take it to the next level when you share it publically. There’s just something so powerful about putting your reflections into words and sharing htem, hoping that you get feedback and make yourself better by doing so.

There’s your challenge to read her post and connect with Jennifer.


Food Or No Food? Re-Thinking Our Fairy Bakery.

If I had to relive my kindergarten years, I think I’d want to be in Paula and Aviva’s class. Not only do they set the stage for innovative play, but they do it thoughtfully considering all kinds of external things.

Into the discussion this time around, Aviva brings in the concept of fasting which has impacts on students and classrooms and can’t be ignored. Even though they have no students celebrating Ramadan, it is forefront in her mind as she embarks on this unit.

The centre for this discussion is the “Fairy Bakery” which includes a provocation dealing with doughnuts and she had pictures of Krispy Kremes. Is there such a thing in Ontario at this time? I know that there was one store in Windsor a while back but it’s now closed. And, after further checking, there are still a few in Ontario – https://krispykreme.ca/find-a-store/

That side diversion took me away from Aviva’s post for a bit but I did come back. In typical Aviva fashion, there are lots of pictures of this activity and a great deal of her thinking that will inspire you as well.


…and in this corner

Writing on the ETFO Heart and Art blog, Will shares some of his thinking about how the lifting of the mask mandate has affected his school. It must be satisfying to see that most of his students continue to wear masks.

Sadly, we’re not getting official figures from the Provincial Government. I suppose the political thought is ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Yet, all that you have to do is turn on the evening news and you’ll find out that there are other ways of testing and reporting numbers in the province and these reports tell us that the numbers are not good.

The removal of required masking, limited cohorting, mandatory hand sanitizing protocols, and social distancing have not provided me with the peace of mind that the return of such “freedoms” pretends to promise.

I’ll admit that I truly was hoping that things would return more to normal two weeks after the March Break but it doesn’t seem to be happening with the speed that would make one feel comfortable.

I’m betting that Will speaks for so many teachers that go into that situation every day. At least in the Public School system.


PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION

Vera’s post took me back to my days at the Faculty of Education where we spent time drafting out own philosophies based upon years as a student and a couple of weeks out practice teaching. We were experts. Not.

We were told that it was a personal thing and would drive up professionally. So, I did some sort of naive gesture and tucked it away in a binder. I think we all develop our own philosophies and they will evolve over time. I will admit that I used to turn to it in preparation for a new school year or an interview. I found that it did indeed ground me.

I felt for Vera as she said that she was asked about her philosophy during an interview. I could just see myself stuttering ‘ba ba ba ba’.

The experience inspired her to revisit things and she shares it with this blog post. The nice thing about blogging is that you can also include comics!


Outdoor Education – Resource Guide, 2022

Just in time for some exciting outdoor education possbilities.

If the snow would ever just give up, there are amazing things to be seen and smelled outside as spring comes in. It’s my favourite time of year.

For TDSB educators, this post automatically takes them to resources that are collected and that’s a good thing for them. For others, maybe check to see if your district has licensed them or make a suggestion that they go ahead and do so.


The 500 – #323 – Ghost In The Machine – The Police

I’m a big fan of these top 500 albums blog posts that appear on Marc’s blog. He’s taking me to places that I hadn’t though about for a while and I truly appreciate that.

This post was a big different – Marc didn’t write it but one of his students, Austin, did.

What would a student know about Ghost in the Machine?

I made the connection to his observation immediately. I hadn’t thought of that computer game for a long time but Austin’s insight clicked.

This brought a smile …

My age at release: Mr. Hodgkinson was 16, I wasn’t born

Just because you were late to the game doesn’t mean that you can’t do a review and I thought that Austin did a great job. What a writing inspiration!

I wonder … would other teachers let students post to their blog?


Please take the time to click through and enjoy these posts and then follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Edugals – @EduGals
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @JCasaTodd
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Vera Teschow – @schlagzeug_usw
  • TDSB Professional Library -@ProfLibraryTDSB
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher

This week’s voicEd show…