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


July kicked off the summer months and This Week in Ontario Edublogs was there to enjoy the day. On the voicEd Radio show, guest Amanda Potts joined Stephen Hurley and me for the hour. You can listen to the show via Podcast here.


Who’s anti-racist?

Our guest Amanda Potts took us through this very personal post. Because of the issues happening in the US and indeed, Canada, at the moment, people are taking the time to write about their feelings and sharing their own view of their personal privilege.

There was an interesting reflection on her view of the difference between n0n-racist and anti-racist and we had a chance to discuss that on the show.

In the post, Amanda shares two wonderful stories and paints a vivid picture in each. One was about a student whose mother kept her at home when she got angry to keep her from getting into trouble. The other story was about accidentally assisting a person who she had cut out of her social media life. Of course, both were learning experiences.

Throw in reference to a couple of podcasts on the topic and it’s quite easy to see that she has done considerable thinking about this.

It’s a long-ish post and very rich in content. I’ve read it a few times now and fine something new each time through.


Slice of Life: Routine

One of the truly remarkable things about being a teacher is that, in a thirty year career, you have 30 different starts and stops to your workflow. I can’t think of any other job that can make that claim.

School is full of routine. We know that students succeed better because of this. And, because teachers are there every minute, they run through the same routine, at least while at work.

I can recall the end of school years gone by. You run for an entire school year living and breathing the routine of daily life. Then, on that last day, it all changes. The school year routine goes away FULL STOP and summer begins. Some people take the first week or so to kick back and relax. I always liked the concept of continuing with the energy and going on a holiday or attend a conference at the first of July.

As we know, this year is different. Lisa Corbett claims that she has a lot to do and shares some of it with us. She admits that, upon proofreading, she found her post “aimless”. As a result of teaching at home, the home part continues, sans students. I hope that her family helps reset her priorities.

 That was what I needed to reset my school brain so I was ready for summer brain. Somehow I need to convince my family to do this on Friday night.

She does call the post “aimless” and I can understand. I also suspect that there are thousands of teachers that are feeling the same way and will need to kick start the summer months differently somehow this year.


Storage War$ Learn at Home Editon

As I was doing the show yesterday, I looked at the title and noticed the spelling mistake. I thought that was odd and that I had typed it incorrectly. But, Larissa Aradj, it was a copy/paste job from your post.

The post is about a terrific classroom activity that uses a Google Slide presentation to provide choices for students to select, based upon what they might find should they beat Brandi and Jarrod to win a locker.

What was unique about this was Larissa didn’t share her original template. Instead, another teacher, Leslie Mott, had taken Larissa’s concept and ran with it and Larissa chose to share Leslie’s idea in her post.

That stuck me as really unique. So many of us create and share concepts on social media. But, do we ever get a chance to share what someone else did with our idea? (Think about it for a second) It seems to me that this is how good ideas become great as a result of community improvement.

There actually was a bit of discussion on Social Media where Leslie identified Larissa as a mentor and a sharer of great ideas. I’ve been in a PD session led by Larissa and completely agree.


The 500 – #419 – “Dummy” – Portishead

I hadn’t heard any Portishead for years until I read this post from Marc Hodgkinson. He’s working his way through a top 500 list and sharing his thinking with us.

It was a great re-listen to me. It seems so long ago.

What’s interesting is how Marc goes through and shares his thinking about the music and ties it to what was happening in his personal life at the time.

And, just like last time I featured one of his posts, I did follow the link to the list of the top 500 to re-discover #1.


COVOID-19 and the Return of the Memory Thief

Well, this has to be one of the more emotional blog posts that I’ve read in a long time. Many of us have dealt with family members struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s incredibly tough.

As much as I had to deal with it, it pales to the way that Judy Richards is. I had the advantage of being face to face, hand to hand, hug to hug. I can’t imagine the pain of being locked outside looking in at someone who is locked inside dealing with it.

Staff do try to make an effort by doing the communications via iPad thing but assuredly, it’s not the same. That’s even true if both ends of the communications are effective users of the technology.

Fortunately,

There is a brigade of fire fighters caring compassionately for my mom, doing their best to comfort her, and keep her safe. 


PowerAutomate, Forms->Excel
PowerAutomate, Forms->Excel Part 2

The above is actually two posts from Cal Armstrong. I know that it looks a bit messy with the formatting but I don’t want to point to one without pointing to the other.

As I read both posts, I’m impressed with the support that Cal is providing for staff members in this. Lots of details, lots of screen captures. When I worked with a group of CAITs, we did this a lot and called them “One Sheet Wonders”. The rules were to make it clear, make it efficient, but keep it to one sheet of paper so that people are able to easily follow through the concepts.

In this case, Cal is showing readers how to connect resources using Microsoft’s Flow. I like his analogy to IFTTT which has been around and so functional for so many people. The comparison is immediately obvious.

Both examples were really easy to go through. The first one shows how to easily manage Microsoft Social-Emotional Check-In via Forms through to Excel and the second one features how to be smarter than Excel. (Cal’s words)

I know that many people are really handy with Forms. They’re probably equally as handy with Excel. The value from this post comes from showing how to connect the two, making you that much more efficient.


Crazy Hair Day

As a result of the COVID virus and the Learn at Home initiative, a lot of people are thinking about a lot of things that are happening and things that are hard to make happen. In this post, Arianna Lambert thinks about things that maybe shouldn’t be happening at all.

She got me thinking of my own high school. At Grade 12 graduation, I got a School Letter. In Grade 13, I got a Major School Letter. The “Letter” wasn’t actually a letter; it was actually a crest of the school mascot. At the time, the school mascot was a profile view of a character that we wouldn’t even consider these days. The school has since changed its mascot retiring this one. If only professional sports teams would follow the same lead. Getting a letter was important at the time. It was one of those institutional things that the school had always had. I can’t remember the numbers now but if you joined X number of clubs, Y number of sports, or Z number of honours, you got a badge. Get enough badges and you were eligible for a letter.

In her post, Arianna Lambert identifies things that are common to many schools in a way to encourage spirit. She shares a story of a little girl who felt the activity made it hard to participate in. Of course, nobody asks students how they feel about the activity. It is just assumed that what was done in the past is good going forward.

Now on the other side of the desk, she’s asking good questions that the institution and those that support it need to consider and possibly act on. If there is no good and equitable way to make it work for all, why perpetuate it?


I really enjoy sharing my thoughts about the great posting from Ontario Edubloggers. I hope that you can take some time to click through and enjoy the original posts.

Then, follow these great bloggers on Twitter.

  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Larissa Aradj – @MrsGeekChic
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher
  • Judy Richards – @redknine
  • Cal Armstrong – @sig225
  • Arianna Lambert – @MsALambert

This post originated on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


After a quick check to make sure this is Thursday morning and if I schedule it properly, it will come out tomorrow, here’s a sampling of the great thinking from Ontario Edubloggers.


So you’re teaching from home. How’s your back?

You know how your feet hurt when you get a new pair of shoes?

It might be that you’re experiencing different pain now as a result of teaching online from at home. I suspect that many people will be jumping in worried about teaching, worried about kids, worried about isolation, worrying about a lot of things except their own well being.

Will Gourley gives us a sense of the pain that he’s feeling in his particular work situation, along with pictures of folded clothes indicating that his desk doubles as a laundry space or that after allocating all the good spaces in their three stories to others, he’s left with this.

He offers five good suggestions for taking care of yourself and they’re all worth considering if you find yourself dealing with discomfort or outright pain these days. Or, use it as a check so that you don’t end up in that case.

What he didn’t include was taking a break and folding laundry…


Remotely Speaking

As I said during the This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcast, Melanie White could be a poster child for effectively trying to engage all students.

She’s pedagogically savvy enough to try and ensure that all students are engaged in class activities and technically savvy enough to recognize that it may take more than one strategy to reach everyone.

I love this image from The Mentoree that she includes in the post.

I really appreciated the fact that she shared how all students don’t follow the formal conventions of writing when using email. I think it’s a nice reminder that the technologies that are often available and in use are our technologies and may not be the ideal solution for a new generation.

Of course, everyone just got thrown into the middle of this; it will be interesting to see if more relevant tools emerge that are more easily embraced.


Skyscraper Puzzles – printable package

When I think back at the Mathematics that I studied (and I studied a great deal of it), there really was a focus on Algebra and Geometry. For the longest time, Geometry was really about two space and it wasn’t until the later years that we got into three space.

Ironically, though, three space was represented in two space via the blackboard.

This post, from Mark Chubb, offers up free materials that he’s made to help students with the understanding of space. They’re called Skyscraper Puzzles and a link will let you download and work with them. The resource is in PDF format.

By itself, that would be worth the read of the post. But, Mark takes it to a new level. He indicates that he had some helpers with the work. Anyone who believes in the maker concept will immediately realize that they just wouldn’t be creating materials – they’d be learning the concepts as well. As we know, you never really know something completely until you teach or make it.


Ça va prendre un chapeau d’apprenant!

Anyone teaching from at home at this time will definitely identify with this observation from Marius Bourgeoys.

The comfort zone has left the building.

Marius includes a number of observations that are hard to disagree with. Towards the end of the post, he offers 12 suggestions for checkins with students.

I found number 7 particularly interesting.

Quelles nouvelles responsabilités as-tu à la maison?

We all know that it’s not life as usual. In some cases, though, it may be substantially different for some students other than just taking their schooling online.

Mom and Dad may be essential workers and that student is picking up additional responsibilities to make sure that the family continues to thrive. I think it’s a very powerful question to ask student and could easily be a great writing prompt.


Sandie’s Music Teaching Blog

Students in K-12 are not the only ones dealing with the current reality of teaching/learning. In this post, Sandie Heckel is looking for advice from the field to give to prospective music teachers.

It’s a good advice to be sought at any time, for any subject.

I would suggest that it’s particularly relevant in these times. Many of the school re-opening plans that I’ve seen specifically name music as a subject that won’t be there when school resumes.

Those providing the advice are looking beyond that. They recognize the value of music in a child’s life and offer ways to consider your own personal growth planning.


Math at Home: Week 1

There have been a lot of memes circulating about the learning at home situation and one of the funniest was a couple of kids complaining that not only were they being schooled at home but that their mother was a math teacher.

Lots of that ran through my mind when I read this post from Lisa Corbett. Her son’s doing the math and she’s giving us a blow by blow account of how it’s going. And, they have a blackboard to do math on. Who has a blackboard at home these days? Got to be a teacher!

It’s a good accounting of what’s happening. I think there will be a big payoff when all this is over by re-reading blog posts and learning about the learning that everyone experienced. Journaling this experience is good advice for everyone. They didn’t prepare you for this at the Faculty of Education. You’re living history as it happens so why not document it.

There’s another element to this that can’t be lost. Not only is she working with her own kids schooling at home, but there’s still those from her day job that are learning at a distance too. Double-dipping.


Teachers Reminisce

This post, from Albert Fong, goes back to the beginning of March. It seems so long ago now.

Speaking of a long time ago, Albert relates a story of a youngster coming to Canada and learning to grow up in his new reality in different schools. This new reality includes fighting amongst schoolmates. That part, I could relate to. I suspect we all can.

But, what happened when an older student got involved was not something that I had ever experienced.

Albert learned from that moment and that experience and had an opportunity to apply his learning when he was a bit older.


For a Friday morning, please click through and enjoy these blog posts. There is some great inspirational reading to be enjoyed here.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Mark Chubb – @markchubb3
  • Marius Bourgeoys – @Bourmu
  • Sandie Heckel – @SandieHeckel
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Albert Fong – @albertfong

This post appears at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

Ontario voices


If you listened to This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio yesterday morning, you would have heard Stephen and me make reference to a new series of podcasts that Stephen was involved with.

Stephen was commissioned (volunteerissioned?) by ECOO to have interviews with a number of Ontario educators who are on the front lines, teaching in these challenging times. The series is titled Ontario: Learning Together at Home.

I did know that Aviva Dunsiger had been on the podcast as I’d already listened to her thoughts and that was all that was posted.

Soon, a number of other podcasts appeared

  • Aviva Dunsiger
  • Tim King
  • Jason Trinh
  • Colin Jagoe
  • Alanna King
  • Danika Tipping

The list of names wasn’t terribly surprising. Many of the individuals have been presenters at provincial conferences for years. Jason was a new name for me so I listened to him with extra interest. To this point, he was a name on one of my Ontario Educator lists. Now, I know a great deal more about the gentleman.

I found their insights interesting. They come from different disciplines and panels (I was surprised there weren’t more elementary educators). Even geographically, they were nicely spread across at least Southern Ontario. Of course, the husband and wife team are a great deal closer!

Stephen let it slip that there’s another one in the pipeline.

Their stories are short and I think you will immediately empathize with them. They do reveal some important insights about how they’re getting through the current situation.

I would encourage you to visit the voicEd Radio site and listen to one or more of these. It’s a nice reminder that all teachers are on this ship together.

On a personal note, as a person who doesn’t get out much these days, it was absolutely terrific to hear all these recognizable voices again and visualize them in the rolls that they describe. I’ve been in sessions led by them all. Thank you to each of you so much for sharing your stories.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


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

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


Podcasting with students

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

More details about Fair Dealing can be found here.


100 Episodes: Looking Back and Learning Forward

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

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

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

Hundred Points on Google Android 10.0

Congratulations, Ramona. The first 100 are the hardest!

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


Getting On Board With Your Children’s Interests

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

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

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

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

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


Tweets of Engagement?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Deb Weston – Stay Home Activities for Kids

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

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

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


Please click through and enjoy all of these terrific posts.

Then, follow the authors on Twitter.

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

This post appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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