This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Congratulations on making it to the first end of the week in September. This year, everyone is in different positions for the return to school. Some in buildings; some online. Some may have started with students already; some may still be waiting. Good thing we have a plan. Sit back and check out some greater blogging from Ontario Edubloggers.


Intentional Teacher Printable

Amy Bowker shares some advice for new teachers and wisdom for all teachers in this post. I had to smile at her chart and the year-long attitude for new teachers – Anticipation, Survival, Disillusionment, Rejuventation, Reflection, Anticipation. Thinking back to my first year of teaching and I totally concur with her observations.

The Reflection piece is great for all educators and she offers some printable for you to use.

Great advice all way around here.


Online/ Distance Learning

Jonathan So has been back to school for a bit now and shares some of his thoughts as he starts to pick up momentum. I like his setup that he shares in pictures. I can’t speak highly enough for the concept of having two monitors if you’re interested in productivity and ease of information flow.

Sound is crucial for success when communicating with others. I’ve used the microphone in my laptop and the microphone in a headset. They are both functional but you cannot beat a professional grade microphone. Jonathan uses a Blue Snowball Microphone. A good microphone helps provide a higher grade of audio which serves to engage.

I agree with the four elements that he describes in the post as key to successful teaching online. He shares some of the challenges of teaching and assessing at a distance and describes the tools that he uses. It’s a great selection.

If you’re looking for more, check out this article This Teacher’s Hack For Sharing Documents With Students Is Easy and Affordable.

The more that experienced teachers like Jonathan share, the better all that are teaching at distance will be.


My Podcast Playlist

As I would say to my friend Alfred, here’s another list I didn’t make! Laura Wheeler has caught on to using podcasts as a way to learn and to keep up to date.

In this post, she shares some very high quality podcasts that she follows and a quick review of some of the impressive shows that she’s listened to.

Laura points out that there are numerous players for podcasts; she recommends Podcast Addict. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bambuna.podcastaddict

If you’re getting into the concept of listening to podcasts or you want to enhance your current list of shows, you really can’t go wrong with her choices.


Y is for YOU and other Y’s

As Lynn Thomas weaves her way through the alphabet, she ends up on the letter Y. And, not just one word starting with Y but a bunch.

You is one of her words and her advice at this time stresses the importance of you paying attention to yourself. Your attention to personal wellbeing is so important during these times but also for those students in your charge. As any teacher will tell you, students are alway watching and listening and take their lead from you.

Yearn for yesterday was another pair of Ys that she expands on in her post. I think that so many of us feel this; even if the “yesterday” was just six months ago. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just toss the last six away. Of course, we can always dream.

Lynn takes on more words using the letter Y and shares her thoughts so click through and enjoy.


Myers Briggs personality

I’ll confess here that, when I saw this title for Amanda Potts’ post, I thought it might head in a different direction. I suspect that all of us have takes the Myers Briggs test at some point. I’m sure that I must have but I can’t remember the results.

Amanda can’t remember the results other than the letter E and takes us on a little memory of a boyfriend.

Then, there’s a switch to an article that talks about The Definition Of Hell For Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type although the link in her post takes you to The Definition Of Heaven For Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type.

But she pulls this definition –

ENTJ – Somebody is wrong, and they’re directing a large group of people! You can’t do anything about it and will have to obey whatever inefficient policies they decide to implement.

Gulp! As she notes, it’s a sign of the times.


Anti-Racist Educator Reads

Sketchnoting is a technique that I admire in others. It says as much about their learning style as it does the actual content. My inability to be able to do that myself speaks volumes about my learning style. I prefer a bulleted list that chronologically takes me through whatever I’m listening to.

In this case, Debbie Donsky sketchnotes her way through a series of podcasts from Colinda Clyne.


Self-Care for Teachers

From the TDSB Professional Library comes this very timely blog post.

Now, more than ever, teachers need self-care strategies to stay strong physically, mentally and socially. Here are some strategies and tips, drawn from the links below, for teachers to enhance their self-care during this unusual school year.

There are quick suggestions dealing with

  • Physical Self-Care
  • Mental Self-Care
  • Social Self-Care

Of course, we know all this but take a moment for yourself and review the recommendations.

Sources for the recommendations are provided for further reading.


Please do yourself some professional good and read these blog posts.

Then, make sure your’re following these educators.

  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker
  • Jonathan So – @MrSoClassroom
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • Lynn Thomas – @THOMLYNN101
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts 
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • TDSB Professional Library -@ProfLibraryTDSB

This post originates from:

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.

My, how you’ve grown


Regular readers know that I get really excited about maps and visualization.

Peter McAsh shared the resource Human Terrain recently. He was excited to share it because it was all about geography. Me, I like the visualization concept.

You start out in the San Francisco area but take the tour (bottom left corner of your screen). You’ll get a sense of what is shown and how it’s displayed. Of course, there’s a great deal of learning to be done along the way.

Then, play locally.

I zoomed in so that I could see both Detroit and Toronto.

There is quite a difference between the population of the two cities as you can see here. If you zoom in, you can see that the information is displayed in blocks. The higher the block and more intense the colour, the higher the population.

It’s quite interesting to pick out communities – Chatham, Sarnia, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, and so on. Zooming in on a location reveals quite the story.

We know that Detroit was indeed a bigger city as one time and there is a time shift that will take you back 30 years to 1990 and show the difference in two panels, side by side.

Of course, I didn’t stop there. I was off exploring the world with this tool.

Fascinating.

But don’t stop there. Back off to the home page for even more visualizations like this one showing US cities by their most Wikipedia’ed resident. Is that even a name?

Plan Now for a Year of Social Success


Welcome back to school in Ontario.  Today’s the big day for most.  I decided to drag out this old “Post from the Past”.  It goes back to the start of the school year in 2012.  I thought that it was good advice then and I am equally as convinced that it’s just as good or better advice today.  I’m not sure that I would change it much if I was writing it today.  One of the things that comes to mind might be to include a class Instagram account in addition to the Twitter account.

It’s funny; having written this so long ago – I can actually put faces and names to the social media activities described in the post.  Can you?

Are you one of them?  If so, why not take a moment and share in the comments exactly what it means to you and how you do it.


Labour Day!

The last day before getting back at it. Flash forward 9 months and the school year will be just about over but you’ll be scrambling for content for the yearbook and/or end of the year assembly. A little planning now could make that so easy and social media is the answer.

All that is will take is a Twitter account and a blog. Done properly, all the pieces will just fall into place.

First Step – Grab that Hashtag
Hashtags are Twitter’s way to tag or follow a conversation. Before your students even cross the threshold into your classroom, decide on your class’ hashtag. #MySchoolG5R3 or whatever will uniquely identify your classroom. This is the basis for retrieving all the data that you’ll create. (Do a quick search for your proposed hashtag now, before using it, to make sure that it’s not in use by someone else.)

At any point in the future, a simple Twitter search http://search.twitter.com where you enter your hashtag will bring back all of your content. Share the search with your students, with their parents, with your school, with your principal, with anyone who might have a vested interest in your classroom.

Second Step – Use that Hashtag
But, where’s the content? This is typically the stumbling block for many well-intentioned plans. It takes time to come up with content. Suggestion – crowd source it with your students. They’ve been in class all day long – at the end of the day, do a little wrap up before they head home. It might be questions like:

  • What was the neatest thing we did today?
  • Who was our classroom guest today?
  • What are we excited about for tomorrow?
  • What books did we read today?
  • ….

Any of a myriad of questions that elicit any thoughts on the day will do! Just as long as they can be summarized in 140 characters or less. Then, post it to Twitter. It could be from you or the class scribe for the day or the tech helpers or …

But the key is to make it positive and upbeat. In YOUR classroom, of course, it will be the best of the positive and upbeat!

This daily positive message will make it home before your students.

Third Step – Blog it!
If you’re not a daily blogger, that’s OK. How about being a weekly blogger? Friday night, Saturday morning – create a blog post. Don’t worry about writer’s block. You’ve got at least five pieces of inspiration already. Just do the Twitter search for your classroom hashtag, copy the results, and paste them into a blog post. It’s a leisurely reflective 10-15 minutes to expand on your student crowd sourced raw material. Post it and the week is in the bag. Do you have any pictures or a video to support the Twitter messages? Stick them into the blog post and they won’t get lost or crumpled like they might in the file folder in the top draw of the filing cabinet.

Fourth Step – You’re a Genius
There are always times you need good news stories and you’ve got them all in one spot!

Parent conferencing? You can lead it; students can lead it; Twitter can lead it; your Blog can lead it.

End of the year celebrations? Piece of cake. You’ve been celebrating and reflecting on the great things that happened all year-long. There’s no need for deep memory searching or looking for that elusive piece of information. It’s all there in your blog! Pull the pieces together and you’re good to go.

A year’s worth of successes is a good thing. Crowd sourcing them from grass-roots 140 characters at a time leverages the technology and makes a big task easy.

And, next summer when you look back over everything – you’ll be fully justified in saying “That was quite a year”.

All the best to my teacher readers for a successful 2012-2013 school year.

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Playing catch up


Like many people, I suspect, who went to school when I did, my education included a certain approach to our First Nations people.  Looking back now, I completely see that it was biased and certainly did not even attempt to address all sides to us.  In fact, I’d be willing to bet that our teachers were affected by the romantic notion often conveyed in the movies.

We didn’t even use the name First Nations.

I also suspect that, like many, it was the issue with Dudley George at Ipperwash that raised whatever level of understanding that I now have.  Before this, honestly, Ipperwash was the “other” Provincial Park near Grand Bend that wasn’t as commercial as the Pinery.  The only First Nations communities that I knew of first hand were in Delaware, Walpole Island, and Sarnia.  Just within the past year, I’ve become aware of the Caldwell Nation along the north shore of Lake Erie.

We now understand the importance of recognizing First Nations communities, treaties, and conducting meaningful land acknowledgements.  It’s been a personal learning journey for me.  Like so many, I was impressed that the Ministry of Education was going to fund support for the Ontario Curriculum this summer.  Like so many, I was deeply disappointed when it didn’t happen.

Recently, I’ve become aware of the resource “Whose Land“, a joint project of Bold Realities, Canadian Roots, and Taking IT Global.  This is an interesting collection of text, maps, treaties, communities, links, and videos showing Land Acknowledgements.

Overlaid on Google Maps, this resource is a visual portal for research.  This has been a useful resource for my own learning.  I can’t believe how much I need to understand to catch up.  So much of this should have been part of my Canadian Studies classes.

I’m sharing it here for those who are looking for appropriate and respectful resources for the class this upcoming school year.

While the scope is North American, I’m starting local and then branching out.

Communities

Screenshot 2018-08-19 at 10.02.39

Territories

Screenshot 2018-08-19 at 10.01.31

I certainly am humbled when I view that “our borders” don’t have a place on this map.

I had nowhere near this availability of information and resources when I went to school.  Our students are so much better off and hopefully will grow up with the understanding and respect that is so necessary if we truly believe in compassion, understanding, and living in an interconnected world.

Whose Land has a working relationship with Native-Land which had previously appeared on this blog here.