This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s another Friday and a chance to celebrate some of the great writing from Ontario Edubloggers.

How Will They Remember You?

Teachers have all kinds of Wow! experiences, both in and out of the classroom.

In this story from Aviva, she had one outside story to share that I think that so many of us have experienced. She’s out for a walk and had a former student recognize her. That started a conversation and a reflection about what you might want to consider as you teach the human and not just a body in a seat.

We all remember things – so how do you want your students to remember you?

Her list:

  • How will kids remember you?
  • Be in five years, ten years, or many more years down the line, will they stop you to say, “hello?”
  • Will they share their lives and stories with you?
  • And will they believe that you care?

To that, I would add one more.

  • How did you make them feel?

In Aviva terms, it’s a relatively short post but will get you thinking.

Overseas Visitor and Defining Your Ed Philosophy

Of course, any post that has Diana dressed up for Cosplay deserves a look. I still remember her dressed up at a conference, remaining in character, and wouldn’t talk to me but I did get a wave.

The bigger topic this time around was interesting. She got the opportunity to take Professor Yoshimi Uesugi from Tokyo Gakugei University in Japan and give her a tour of the school thanks to her connection to Neil Andersen from the Associate for Media Literacy.

It was interesting that the request and subsequent tour didn’t include the principal. As I mentioned on the TWIOE show, that might have got a different view of the school as we all have an eye that’s trained on our personal perspective and experience.

It was amazing to walk with Diana as she did the tour. It was after school so there were no students. I’m sure that we all know that the place becomes something different without students. As a result, Diana noticed new things and saw her philosophy come through in other areas.

This was a lovely post and I can’t help but think that all teachers would benefit from. So, if you get a chance to give a tour, take it.

Planning #SOL23 19/31

Amanda is on fire with social media as of late.

She’s a regular poster of images on Facebook and she sees some really wonderful things as she’s out and about and we’re fortunate that she shares them with us.

She’s also participating in the Slice of Life Monthly challenge where she’s trying to write once a day. I can tell you that it’s a huge deal when you start. But, once you start to do it, it does get easier and becomes part of your routine.

As a result, I had a lot of blog posts to choose from and I chose this one.

She talks about two instances of planning; one where a colleague needed her expertise and thoughts on media literacy. The other was her own planning and how she does it. It felt good to read about how much technology plays a part in what she does.

All of this leads me to think about this blog and how I approach it and the planning. My best thinking happens while dog walking and you’ve read about that ad nauseam if you’re a regular reader.

As I thought, I realized that I don’t typically write for an audience.

  • For blog posts, they’re mostly “Memo to self” which are easy to write.  The hardest one to write are Friday’s TWIOE and my Sunday Summary post since they are written for others

Not everyone is as open and candid about their planning process. It was a delight to pull back the curtain and take a peek at her process.

3 Big Ideas to amplify student voice in your Library Learning Commons

I was struggling to think about how I would respond to Jennifer’s post. My initial thought was “Why should libraries be different from any other learning space?”

But then, my wife needed a train ticket so we drove into Windsor to the Via station. I always go in; the new building is interesting to look at but there’s one display on the wall that gets my attention EVERY TIME.

It’s an advertisement for the Hockey Hall of Fame. Growing up, I knew the stories behind each of the masks. As I stand there looking, I realize that I’m in the presence of greatness.

No matter how many times we go into that place, I’m hooked and always stop to look.

Then, I got the point of Jennifer’s post!

I had a teacher-librarian friend at Talbot Trail Public School and I would visit people at the school but would always drop into the library, just to see what was new. There always was something and it truly was the gathering place for students and staff.

Jennifer is approaching her own area and using student voice to craft it into THE PLACE where people want to go. Let’s be honest; you can succeed in education these days online and don’t need a physical library. Teacher-librarians get that and are morphing into different things. This is a great story as she shares her thoughts about it and her planning. Inclusive student voices are everywhere.

Redneck offended by physiotherapist

I typically find blog posts for Friday on the weekend and will have them read a couple of times before doing the show on Wednesday. You can see from the WordPress URL that Doug published this on the 19th.

As we normally do, on Tuesday evenings, my wife and I watch This Hour Has 22 Minutes. My neck snapped when they mentioned this incident of a person from British Columbia.

Beyond this happenstance, both This Hour and Doug’s blog are always filled with some humour and insights that make me smile and feel good about things.

I’m glad that I wasn’t drinking coffee when I read the reference to removing boots and wearing underwear for these formal sessions. Doug has such a unique sense of humour and that makes all of his writing a must read for me.

The post brought a great smile and, when coupled with This Hour really made a nice blogging experience.

International Long Covid Awareness Day

It wasn’t until I read Marie’s blog that I knew that there actually was such a thing as a Long Covid Day.

The disease is still with us and Marie reports some of the scary numbers.

I have a friend who has Long Covid and I read regularly of the challenges that she has. It’s sad to think that she’s not alone.

This day didn’t hit the news that I’m exposed to regularly so I’m guessing that the reporting on the state of Covid is still on the back burner.

I thank Marie for making me aware.

Showing, not telling 22/31 #SOL2023

Another Slice of Life blogger! Yay!

I had to smile at the process that this blog post took. Melanie’s time got hijacked a bit but she did end up remembering it.

With me, it would probably have been gone forever. I have an instance of Google Keep open on my computer at all times should I get an idea and don’t want to forget it. Because, forget it I will. However, if I get an idea when I can’t jot it down … it’s quickly forgotten.

It was a writing prompt and she dropped in on a group of girls wondering about identifying best friends. For me, it’s meeting up by accident or by choice and the conversation continues from the last meetup. If Melanie’s goal was to inspire conversation, it sounds like she was successful.

In the bigger picture, she shared the theme of sadness, anxiety, … All that you have to do is watch the news to see how important this is these days.

I’m glad that she didn’t lose her inspiration entirely. Well done, Melanie.

Please take a moment to click through and enjoy these wonderful posts. Then, follow them on Twitter. All of the previous copies of this regular Friday morning posts can be found in the link in the header.

  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Doug McDowall – @dougzone2_1
  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27 
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio

This Week in Ontario Edublogs voicEd Radio show

Opening Song

Closing Song

Peace Playlist

Since the incident in the Ukraine, we have opened and closed our Wednesday morning show with songs of long and peace. They appear in this playlist.


This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Forget the other thing about today.

To All The Things I Should Have Done…

We started the voicEd Radio discussion with this song from the great John Anderson.

I don’t ever recall talking about work/life balance at the faculty. It was something that I came to learn as I entered the profession. I’ll be honest; for the most part, it was just talk because of the nature of the job. It will eat you alive if you let it.

Elizabeth recognizes that there are other important things in life along with teaching and addresses it in this post. To be truthful, she doesn’t belittle the profession; she does a great job of sharing where she is with her class and her philosophy.

Like so many of us, she has a wonderful family that deserves part of her time and attention as well. It’s the condition of teaching that we’re forever balancing this.

A teacher’s life is like no other. She captures so much of it in this post. And, it’s just not home/work; there’s all the professional development that an educator needs and couple that with being an educational leader in the province, there are so many things competing for your time and attention …

Enough. Enough. Enough. 

Another AI Post, but about Math

I like it when Cal takes on a topic and takes it in an interesting direction. I came to the post ready to argue because ChatGPT is notorious for getting things wrong at times. I misjudged what this post was going to be about.

Cal notes that he’s worked with interactive bots for a long time as well as many of the popular Mathematics applications. One thread through all of this is that getting the answer right is important.

But, what about the process?

Cal introduces us to a new application (well, new to me anyway) called MathGrader and how it could be the solution to having Artificial Intelligence do some marking for you along with understanding the process that students go through to get their answer.

It’s an interesting read and it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that Cal sees it being integrated into OneNote some day.

I’ve marked this “stay tuned for more”.

Creating Dynamic Content

This is one of those “Wow” posts.

If you are using Brightspace/D2L or there’s a chance that you will be, this is definitely worth the time to read. Actually, I’d recommend bookmarking and reading more than once.

Lynn certainly takes a deep dive into using this resource in your classes.

By default, often LMS systems are boring text interfaces and the activities often aren’t similar at all to good classroom pedagogy.

Lynn tears this apart with all kinds of ideas to make the interface more appealing and the content more engaging with the hopes of better success and interaction with your content.

She addresses:

  • Environment
  • Active Learning & Engagement
  • Stress Management

It’s a huge affirmation that teaching and learning online doesn’t have to be completely different.

Coaching The Destreamers

I suppose that if you’re at Ministry, it’s easy to say “let’s destream Grade 9” and make the transition from Grade 8 to 9 a little more friendly.

Ultimately, it may well be. Right now, it’s an ongoing process.

In this post, Brad takes a look at what is required on the teacher side to make it happen.

  • Don’t do it alone
  • Your team matters
  • Experience is not always best
  • Not everyone is ready

And, as a department head, what he plans to do to assist his department in their implementation.

  • Make a plan
  • Take baby steps
  • Be the coach
  • Get the team together

It’s a nice reminder that any implementation isn’t as simple as just flipping a switch.

What was lost 8/31 #SOL2022

Melanie shares a writing prompt that she has used with us.

A writing prompt that I used recently asked students to consider a time when they lost something important. 

I had two reactions to this post.

The first one was the one that I shared on the This Week in Ontario Edublogs show. It was personal about something that I had lost – my wedding band (twice). Recovered once from a museum in Ottawa and secondly, I’m still looking for it. In that respect, the prompt let me have fun with my misfortune.

What I didn’t talk about on the show was that Melanie followed up her prompt with personal experiences of her own. I didn’t mention it but in passing because it’s the sort of thing that would make me tear up and choke.

She shared her story and her very emotional, personal take on the writing prompt.

I couldn’t help but wonder if her writing prompt might have generated similar stories from her students.

Oculum Echo: Guest review

Bronte L, a Grade 9 student, writes as a guest poster on Helen Kubiw’s blog.

She shares a review of Oculum Echo, a followup to the first book Oculum.

Bronte indicates that she didn’t read the first book but got connected to the characters, nonetheless.

“I would recommend Oculum Echo to any sci-fi loving kid that enjoys adventures.” 

I love the fact that a student wrote a review for the book and that Helen provided the platform for it. We should see more of this.

Cynthia Solomon: Computer Science Pioneer and Equity Champion

Peter is my best “way back” and “way forward” thinking guy. He knows and has made so many connectors with people who have made significant changes in the use of technology in education.

In celebration of International Woman’s Day, Peter takes us on a trip back and looks at the work of Cynthia along with Seymour Papert.

The programming, of course, was Logo. So often, these days, when you mention Logo, it’s poo-pooed. “We introduce kids to Python, a real programming language.”

I’ve always maintained, and I still do, that that philosophy completely misses the point. My first programming language certainly isn’t in vogue these days. But, the problem solving, thinking, and collaboration has lasted me a lifetime.

I miss meeting up with Peter; just chatting with him is so powerful. This post will have to serve as a proxy.

Thanks, my friend.

And here we are at the end of another week. Please take the time to click through and read these posts. You’ll be that much smarter for doing so. And, share them with colleagues.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Cal Armstrong – @sig225
  • Lynn Thomas – @THOMLYNN101
  • Brad Dixon – @TeachingMrDixon
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Helen Kubiw – @HelenKubiw
  • Peter Skillen – @peterskillen

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Opening Song

Closing Song

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Apparently, we’re going to get another serious storm. I haven’t cleaned up since the last one. Geesh.

Here’s a collection of great reading from Ontario Educators that crossed my desk last week.

some chat about ChatGPT

In a world of all kinds of stories of doom and gloom and how education is going to hit the dumpsters comes this refreshing and I think, important, post from Will. It’s well-written and he’s obviously been doing some serious thinking about this.

I just want to note that I can remember when this Google thing came along and the end of education was predicted because kids didn’t have to learn how to use encyclopedias anymore. How did that work out?

Education embraced the concept and adjusted accordingly.

Like so many of the other articles, Will does share his thoughts about what happens when students use it to create markable content. I think I’d be less worried at the elementary school panel as my experience shows that ChatGPT does write with a certain level of sophistication. I can’t help but wonder about those who predict that students doing this stuff will go unnoticed by good educators. There’s that whole writing process thing, you know.

What really stood out here was what Will thought ChatGPT could do to make his life easier. He tried a couple of queries with success.

  • “write a comedy for 4 performers that is based on electricity, physics, time travel, and renewable energy.”
  • “Write a 10 question math quiz with some word problems for grade 6 students who are beginning to learn patterning and algebra.”

Teachers also wouldn’t be prepared to use it directly but could modify it to recognize their own classroom and student realities.

A Few Hopes for Today’s Teens

Anne-Marie shares part of her message with the students at her school as inspiration. It is a school where the students live together and so the concept of community wouldn’t be different than others. They’re going to be closer to each other, by design.

There’s a really strong message of kindness to each other running through her address. I hope that it was received with the intent of the delivery. I would encourage you to read the whole blog post because there is so much packed into it.

A couple of big takeaways for me…

“You can’t make old friends”

Of course not but I’d never heard it put that way.

My hope is that we are a community who practices “calling-in” with kindness and curiosity, so we can maintain an emotionally safe community

Shouldn’t we all be doing this on a regular basis?

And, I had this running all through my mind after I read the post.

“we tend to judge others by their behaviour, and ourselves by our intentions.”

This was so well written. Thanks for sharing it with us, Anne-Marie.

To the heart

There is such a simple message in this blog post and Diane summarizes her thoughts with a quote from Nelson Mandela.

In that sense, it seems only fitting to close with Nelson Mandela, who observed that when you speak to someone in a language they understand, it goes to their head; but when you speak to someone in their language, that goes to their heart.

You have to read and appreciate the post to know the significance of that quote and why it is so dead on.

Diane tells us a personal story that includes humidity, chalk, trains, friends, and more that really puts everything into perspective.

This is a story that would be nicely shared with students and could quite easily make a life change for some of them. I’ll bet that it makes you think about how you’re going to handle the next time the opportunity to do something so simple, and yet so powerful comes along.

Slice of (Indoor) Life

I love these Slice of Life reflections from Lisa. I’m guessing that they might now necessarily have become a blog post in any other situations.

It’s been a bizarre winter in places in Ontario and, at Lisa’s new school, there have been ice challenges on the playground that have ended up with indoor recesses.

I’ll confess that, as a secondary school teacher, I’ve never had the joy of supervising an indoor recess.

But, if I ever did, I would hope that I would have the space that Lisa has – a combination of abandoned library and computer room – space allows for storage of ongoing major projects and one came as a result of the indoor recess.

Read the post and see what happened!

Course Artifacts

You’ve got to love it when someone comes along and just gives away wonderful resources. In this case, Jennifer shares some infographics that she’s created with Canva for her AQ course.

Infographics have come into our regular use as artifacts that demonstrate things. Usually, though, they’re created by someone else. Not so here. These are her original creations.

  1. Copyright Matters

And this is just the beginning. Click through to her blog to enjoy these other infographics.

2. Health and Media Literacy

3. How can I help you online?

4. Tips for Teacher-Librarians

Hey ChatGPT, When Should I Take CPP?

Trust Peter to take new technology in a new direction. In this case, if you’re old enough to think about retirement, there are options that you have for taking the Canada Pension Plan.

In the post, he asks for financial advice…

With $xx in an RRSP and a current pension of $yy per month, when is the best time to take CPP? I am zz years old.

It was an interesting read and, as Peter notes, it does give some pretty sound advice.

I actually remember an activity in an Accounting class where we worked out how long the difference would be in years for scenarios like this.

My father also did some estate planning and I remember a couple of other variables just as if he was sitting next to me

  • how healthy are you? How long do you plan to live?
  • what if you got hit by a train on the way home?

Getting hit by the train was generic enough to be used in many scenarios.

But, ChatGPT as a retirement planner? I didn’t see that one coming.

Thanks, Peter.

This Is Leadership – EP13: T. J. Hoogsteen

Those who aspire to leadership should be reading Joel’s blog and listening to his podcasts. They’ve been a favourite around here and I highly recommend them.

Joel makes his work available on so many different platforms so there’s no excuse for missing it.

I typically will fire up a podcast as I’m working on something else and listen while working. It works well for me.

When all else fails, there’s always good old YouTube.

I hope that you can find some time to enjoy all of these terrific resources.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Anne-Marie Kee – @AMKeeLCS
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Jen Aston – @mmejaston
  • Peter Beens – @pbeens
  • JOËL MCLEAN – @jprofnb

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Introductory Song

Closing Song

Peace Playlist

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Happy Friday – it may well be a professional learning day for you as you head into the long weekend. Best wishes to all; why don’t you make reading these blog posts part of your professional learning? I know that I did.


It had been a while since Jonathan had shared his professional thoughts with us so I was all over this post. Recently, he has assumed the role of vice-principal so congratulations on that.

With the change in role, obviously comes a bump in salary. It also comes with an increase in the power which the individual can and needs to have within the school community.

In the classroom, there certainly is that concept of power – otherwise, there is just anarchy among students and that power is good and necessary. As he notes, the power has to used almost immediately in that environment to be effective. On the TWIOE show, Stephen and I noted that that isn’t always something that generates the best results.

We also looked at the concept of power in the administrative role. Typically, they are removed from the immediate situation and don’t necessarily have to act on things immediately. You’d think that would give a more thoughtful result.

He’s still relatively new in the position but I thought that it was kind of cool for him to sit down and reflect on how things are going so far.

It’s not unlike me to have an opinion but I’d encourage Jonathan to hang on to this post so that he can look back as he gets more experienced (and hopefully better) in the role. In fact, I’d suggest that he commit to writing this post every year at this time so that he can monitor his professional growth.

We all get better as we reflect on things like this.

The Role of Vulnerability in Effective Leadership

Just the title of Rolland’s post brought a big smile to this guy. I think “invulnerable” may well have been the first big word I ever learned. It was from the Superman comics that my Mom would buy regularly when she grocery-shopped. I knew the effects of green, red, and yellow kryptonite but didn’t realize that there were so many others.

I enjoyed reading Rolland’s thoughts about vulnerability in administration and I think he nailed it in terms of the approach and how humility can serve an administrator. Most certainly, I hope that people further up the food chain of command don’t beat it from them.

But, I kept thinking back to Superman. He was my hero at the time as were some of the great administrators that I worked with. Superman was careful and thoughtful in any situation where he ran across kryptonite and I could put faces and situations to the great administrators I knew. I also knew some who would burst into the room and take over without thinking it through. The good ones would get the lay of the land and know how to address or not address issues in that situation.

Of course, vulnerability is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It is important for leaders to find the right balance and to be mindful of the context in which they are sharing their vulnerabilities.

As a teacher, I would walk through walls for those administrators who knew their limitations and would share them openly. I had so much respect for them.

Anyone who aspires to take on a leadership role in education, or anywhere for that matter, would be well advised to read this post and think about the really strong message that is in there.

The 500 – #278 – Anthology of American Folk Music – Various Artists

In the mornings, while I’m working – usually writing a blog post, I have CoolRadio on to listen to. Not just one but all three open in tabs – Wingham, Sarnia, and Windsor. I flip through the tabs depending upon whether the song that’s playing is on my love or not love list. The radio hosts have a presence on social media and this morning, the Windsor host threw out this question.

That struck a chord with him – April Wine had played at our high school. Wow, that’s old.

It turns out that’s nothing compared to this really interesting collection that Marc brought forward as part of this rundown. These go back, way back.

Now, I like to think that I have a pretty good knowledge of music but I looked up and down this complete anthology and I only recognized one, count it, one song.

I can’t be positive but I believe that it was back when I was playing the steel guitar. I’m sure that I played this song – without the fiddle.

Normally, I connect immediately with Marc’s comments, but I didn’t this time. Instead, it was like I was listening and reading things for the first time which I was. It definitely was a time shift listening to this with my noise-cancelling headphone!

Marc had some interesting wonders…

  • Could they conceptualize how much their work would influence American music in the future?
  • Did they imagine they would be listened to nearly a hundred years in the future?
  • Could they even anticipate the advances in recording technology? (Imagine trying to explain to someone from 1926 that their song would be streamed digitally from a Spotify account to a pair of Bluetooth headphones.)

The Benefits and Joys of Learning a New Language as a Teacher

As a Computer Science teacher, I learned new languages regularly.

  • Fortran
  • Pascal
  • C
  • C++
  • Python
  • Scratch

There definitely is a pump when you learn to converse in a completely different language.

All of this means nothing to the context of Colleen’s post. It’s my way of justifying, at least in my mind, that the last French class I ever took was in Grade 12.

She takes on the topic and gives a number of reasons, with well-thought-through rationales.

  • It’s Great to be Taught
  • Make Cultural Connections while Travelling
  • Reconnect with Your Cultural Heritage
  • Develop a New Teaching Skillset
  • Set Your Personal Learning Goals


I normally get the “Day” in a reply from Lynn Thomas to a FollowFriday prompt.

In this post, Claire Green shares a list of days for February. Of course, it’s the middle of the month and we’ve either celebrated or missed the first few days but there are still a couple up-coming.

  • February 21st – International Mother Language Day
  • February 22nd – Pink Shirt Day

Are you planning to celebrate?

Playing music in childhood linked to a sharper mind in old age, study suggests

My Mom would love this post.

As a child in maybe Grade 1 or 2, I wanted to learn to play the guitar and I got one for Christmas. Five minutes later, I realized that this was going to be harder than the Beatles made it look.

So, we went down to the local music place and talked with Mr. Pulcifer. Now, he had a vested interest in me taking lessons from him and the fact that my tiny hands wouldn’t go all the way around the neck didn’t stand in the road. So, he pulled out a bridge, adjusted the strings and placed the guitar on my lap. I was going to become a lap steel guitar player.

That was the beginning of my understanding of Hawaiian and Country music.

So, if I’m to believe the message here, I have a sharp mind. Memory, maybe not so much. I still do have a steel guitar around here somewhere.

And, this sharp mind still knows all the words to this classic.

I wonder if I could still play it.

40 Best Ontario Bloggers and Websites

And now for something completely different.

Let me indulge myself a bit here.

Guess who’s number 14 with a bullet on this list?

I thought 40 was an interesting choice in numbers. There are lots more here.

And there you have it. It’s a little weekly wander around the province looking at some terrific bloggers. Check out their posts and then follow them on Twitter.

  • Jonathan So – @mrsoclassroom
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher
  • Colleen Elep
  • TESLOntario – @TESLOntario
  • Michael Frankfort – @mfrank_76

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Opening Song

Closing Song

Peace Playlist

Since the situation in Ukraine, Stephen and I have been opening and closing This Week in Ontario Edublogs with songs about Peace and Love. The playlist continues to grow and is available here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to get ahead of Stephen Hurley and me. Due to his previous commitment, we did our show at 7:00am on voicEd Canada. Normally, I’d be well stretched, shaved, and showered by the time we start at our normal 8:45 time slot. I found out that grunge isn’t all that bad.

The Teacher Down the Hall

I got a delightful note from Sharon after the show, publically on Twitter.

I’ll admit that just talking about her blog post on the Heart and Art Blog brought back some pretty strong emotions on my end as well. I often wonder if incidental contact with colleagues doesn’t get enough attention for professional growth. Yes, districts have formal PD and there was a push at one time for Peer Coaching but all that stuff was “laid on”. Yes, it has its value but there’s something extra special about sitting next to a colleague and chatting or just an incidental happening that can be worth so much more. Nothing laid on.

I really appreciate the fact that Sharon took the time to recognize and celebrate her appreciation with a blog post. I would suspect that it happens all the time but every now and again, it’s worth sitting down and reflecting on it. It really has added value for all in the profession.

And yes, the hallways run in both directions. It’s like those little libraries you see in the parks – give a bit; take a bit.

When everyone does, the profession gets better.

Snow Day Memories

If you’re a regular reader of this Friday morning regular post, you know that I bring up Cameron’s work every now and again.

I think the concept is genius:

  • he writes a blog post as a prompt
  • the students reply

It’s actually a concept that used to be so popular in the blogging world but replying to blog posts seems to be a dying art.

Anyway, for the students:

  • it’s a chance to use computers for something really worthwhile
  • mom and dad and ME are able to read the replies since they’re public
  • since there’s an audience other than Mr. Steltman, it’s important to get the message right
  • they know that they’re writing for an audience other than their teacher

Stephen and I enjoyed reading and looking at the work and just had to give a shoutout to

Kenzie, Grady or tom brady, Dylan, Presley, and Bean

for going over the top with their thoughts about students’ favourite days perhaps – snow days!

Destreaming is Hard

I thought that was a really interesting post and supports teachers in Ontario who are going over the top professionally to make destreaming work. That’s Mr. Dixon’s job and he shares his thoughts on these topics.

  • Focus on Relationships 
  • Don’t do it alone
  • This is a process
  • Make a Plan
  • What do I focus on First?
  • Don’t compare journeys
  • You’re the expert now
  • Keep moving forward

I specially thought that “Don’t compare journeys” was so important. Why are you struggling when the teacher across the hall seems to be doing well? It’s a reminder that not everyone’s conditions are the same and your mileage may vary, as they say.

I found his discussion of the various topics to be thoughtful and would be a valuable resource for anyone who finds themselves with these teaching assignments. There are some nice tie-ins with Sharon’s blog post.

How To Get Students Thinking

The Edugals are taking to their podcast to do a book study between the two of them and start with Chapter 1 of “Why Don’t Students Like School?” by Daniel Willingham.

I enjoy listening to the podcast and see them feed off each other and share their thoughts as they work their way through things.

I’ll be honest though; I really appreciate the show notes so that I don’t have to make notes of my own. Sort of like this blog post to follow our live show on Wednesday mornings.

There’s lots to think about in this list.

  • Be sure there are problems to be solved
  • Respect students’ cognitive limits
  • Clarify problems to be solved
  • Reconsider when to puzzle students
  • Accept and act on variation in student preparation
  • Change the pace
  • Keep a diary

Follow the podcast for more.

Easiest Collaborative Valentine’s Day Project

I’ve done Valentine’s Day from both sides of the teacher desk. It definitely is a day to stay in bed if you have a phobia of red. (did you see what I did there?)

Amy shares the generosity of an Ottawa artist, Alison Fowler, who goes by Alicat.

Amy uses Alicat’s artwork as inspiration for her students for their own creative Valentine’s Day projects. There’s a nice collection of pictures of the results in the post.

I’m humbled with this originality; the best I could ever do was computer art….

Students Visit Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy Facility at McMaster University

I thought this was so cool and what a wonderful opportunity for these students.

I think back to a field trip that we had once that took us to the University of Waterloo and had a chance to do some hands-on programming on real computers. I was sold and went there as a student.

I have no idea of what Anjuli talks about with the description of the event and what the students had a chance to do. But, it sure sounded impressive. It would be interesting to follow this and see if post-secondary choices were influenced by this opportunity.


Those students were so fortunate to have a teacher taking them to such an inspirational place.

From Consumption to Creation – Media Literacy

I thought that this was an important reminder for us all. There’s so much more to media than endless, mindless scrolling or sitting in front of a television set.

It’s noticeable that so many people have elected to become passive consumers of media instead of sitting down to actually create their own. Others’ efforts can be used to inspire us to do better things.

Arianna shares both her philosophy of media literacy as well as how her lessons and approaches have evolved for the better.

In particular, she does share one of her current projects – creating a fast food menu. That really made me reflect when I think of something so common as say, a Tim Hortons’ menu. I can remember the simple old boards where the products were just listed with prices. These days, you walk into a full frontal media blitz of everything they have to offer. It’s media in action.

I enjoy sitting in the drive-through watching the menus scroll through and just wondering what I could buy with a million dollars until it’s my turn to order. I guess it’s sad but with all that media, I’ll still order a medium black coffee and a sour cream glazed.

It’s another Friday and time to celebrate another wonderful collection of posts. Please take the time to click through and enjoy them all.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

  • Sharon Ethier – @sharon_ethier
  • Cameron Steltman – @MrSteltman
  • Mr Dixon – @TeachingMrDixon
  • Edugals – @Edugals
  • Amy Bowker – @amybowker
  • Anjuli (Tandon) Ahooja – @anjuliahooja
  • Arianna Lambert – @MsALambert

This Week in Ontario Edublogs – the show

We opened the show with…

and closed with

Since the events in the Ukraine, we’ve been opening and closing the show with songs of love and peace. The entire playlist can be found here.