This Week in Ontario Edublogs


This has been another strange week but I guess it’s just another day in the life in 2020. The highlight, as always, is being able to share some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.



MAINTAINING BALANCE & THRIVING DURING COVID-19

Welcome a new voice to our blogging group – Gonul Turkdogan. She shares this post with us on the TESLOntario Blog.

I know that we hear a lot of advice about balance in these extraordinary and unique times. Actually, in education, we’ve always heard about it. Usually, it comes from someone who has things in check and therefore thinks everyone else should as well. That part is interesting and we certainly do need to hear it now, maybe more than ever.

It was the “thriving” part that really got me interested in this 11 point blog post. While all are good points, there were three that really stood out for me.

6. Currently, I am a volunteer with TESL Ontario as an Exchange Video Moderator.

For one thing, I didn’t realize that there was a moderator for things like this although it makes sense when you think about it. It’s a volunteer position and Gonul is thriving by giving back to her community in this manner.

8. I have also found it extremely satisfying to do presentations, webinars, and posters

I get this completely. There was a time when I would be a passive audience member and I got some things from sitting in a presentation. But, my world changed and my understanding grew exponentially when I started doing presentations myself. You never understand anything as deeply as you do when you teach someone else.

10. But don’t forget getting some physical exercise!

These days, exercise usually comes in the form of dog walks. There’s just something special and rewarding about turning off everything else and devoting my mind to paying attention to other things. Even something as simple as parking at the furthest distance to the school or shopping centre and hoofing it can be so rewarding.

That’s but three pieces from this post. It’s rich in advice and I would suggest reading it from top to bottom at least a few times.



Slice of Life: Walking

And, finishing Gonul’s post with exercise leads nicely into Lisa Corbett’s Slide of Life post.

She has taken upon herself to do some walking, setting new days in a row records for her. She’s currently at 166. That’s impressive and I enjoyed reading how she had one goal and then just kept stretching it. For her health and mindset, I hope that she keeps stretching.

She’s set a limit of -25 for the temperature that puts a halt to her walking. That’s legitimate and also reveals the challenge that walking is for teachers who are typically working during the warm part of the day.

My adversary for the winter time is snow ploughs. It’s always a good idea to walk facing the traffic when there are no sidewalks like around here. Except when a plough is coming.

I’ll bet that ploughs are more frequent in her world than they are in mine.



Mountain of Marking

The best insight I ever had was

“Teaching is the greatest job in the world – except for the marking”.

I think that, like most people, when I first started teaching marking involved mounds and mounds of paper all needing a number or letter assigned to it.

We’ve become more sophisticated over the years. The biggest revelation is that not everything needs to be marked! And, we’ve taken a new turn on the concept and put more emphasis on the notion of assessment and the options/benefits that it offers over traditional marking.

Click through to read Diana’s thoughts about:

  • Plickers and Clickers
  • Self- and Peer-Assessment
  • Google Forms
  • Rich Assignments with Long Completion Times
  • “In-The-Moment” Marking

I’ve done them all – the big game changer for a variety of reasons for me was the last point in Diana’s list.


Self-preservation, in the time of Covid-19

Deborah Weston never leaves anything on the table in her posts. This time, it’s a personal story of her walk through COVID and teaching at times.

Many people attempt to put a bow on many things when they talk about how teaching these days has impacted them. This post is anything but.

I’m sure that she’s sharing the sort of insights that many people have had for these past months. Her experiences in the Spring and the Fall. I think that most people feel like they’re on the end of an “easy pivot”. As we know, it’s been anything but.

That sad part in this whole post is that Deborah does share some of the health challenges that she’s had to deal with as a result. It’s a brave person that is able to that so publically.



Running a Marathon to Support the Peel Learning Foundation

Teaching and Learning has continued, as we know and Rob Ridley is sharing part of what he’s doing to keep something special in his area of the world alive.

He’s running his 41st Marathon!

This is no small feat, to be sure. I’ve seen people running these days with the goal of being able to compete in a virtual half-marathon. This takes the running concept to a whole new level.

The Foundation provides support so that students can get clothing, food, soap, deodorant, bus tickets, school supplies, backpacks and many other things. They help students in some of the hardest times of their life – and give them a hand getting through the challenges they face.



Wellness- Time to Set Priorities

Elizabeth Lyons shares her thoughts about Wellness. As regular readers know, instead of one word for 2020, she’s elected to go with one word a month.

And Wellness is her word for November.

Again, being brave and out in the open, she shares her thoughts about her own personal COVID scare.

Click through to read her post about the steps and life changes that she’s making to address it personally. If you’re feeling the pressure, you may be inclined to do some of what she’s doing.


The Burnout Blog

Any blog post that involves dogs and dog walking get my immediate attention!

For Anne-Marie Kee, she finds enjoyment and a break from walking her dogs. What’s not to like?

The balance of the post talks about the challenges she faces in her school, including the creation of a task force to deal with wellness. I like the concept described for a Wellness Wednesday approach.

Her life includes a couple of things that I’ve never experienced.

  • being a headmaster
  • working in a residential school

There really is another world out there and I appreciated reading her thoughts and action items. There was an important notion about wellness there – it’s one thing to talk to others about it and quite another to look inwardly to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself.



Part of my motivation is writing this weekly post. I’m inspired by the thinking of others. I hope that you can find time to click through and read these wonderful posts.

Make sure you’re following these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Gonul Turkdogan – @turkdogan_gonul
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Diana Maliszewski  – @MzMollyTL
  • Deb Weston – @DPAWestonPhD
  • Rob Ridley – @RangerRidley
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • @AMKeeLCS – Anne-Marie Kee

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to another Friday and a look around at some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. At least I think/hope it’s Friday. All the days seem the same anymore. My biggest fear it to post this on a Thursday or do a #FollowFriday on a day that isn’t Friday.


Simple Remote Learning Fixes

This is kind of a public service for those new to using a computer for serious things other than game playing or a refresher for those of us who know everything (or at least did at one time) and have forgotten but still think you can leap tall buildings. See the link in Tim King’s post about the Dunning-Kruger Effect if you think that’s you.

Tim’s post has seven things to check out. I hope that you never get to having to do #7 since both Microsoft and Apple have had some buggy updates as of late. Chances are, you’ll never have to get past #1 on his list.

Of course, one of Tim’s suggestions assumes that you have two devices, one of which isn’t working properly, to solve some problems.

Barring that, there are those that you can reach out to via your network if all else fails. I can’t think of anyone that wouldn’t empathize when a colleague has an issue and offer support. Personally, I’ve helped out a few people and don’t mind if I have what I think might be a solution to their problem.

If the device in question is on loan from a school district for home use, there may be some restraints on what you can do by yourself.


Here I Am Again

Thanks to Sheila Stewart, I now have this earworm.

Sheila uses this post to share her present feelings and to pose a couple of hypothetical questions that will ultimately be answered as we go forward.

She notes that she finds comfort in music. I suspect that she’s not alone. I tend to have music on all the time anyway and I can understand that.

I especially like finding new music which is what this post did for me. It’s not the sort of song that you’re going to put on while you’re doing a workout though. The best part though, is that it sparked a bit of a private communication between myself and Sheila. That was great

We used the song as the intro to the This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcast this past week.


Authors, Mathematicians, Researchers, And Scientists: Are We Calling Them By Name?

So this post, from Aviva Dunsiger, started with a little popularity poll that she posted to Twitter to find out what people were eating for Easter. Thank goodness for blogs; I didn’t see the post when it originally went out but did catch it later on Aviva’s blg. FWIW, we had ham steak, brocolli, and potatoes with peach crumble for dessert. Normally, our house is filled with people and there’s a much more diverse menu but this year there was just the two of us.

I’m glad that Aviva didn’t call this a statistics exercise because there certainly was a limited sample size and audience. She did get the attention of @jennzia who offered some suggestions for a much richer approach.

Aviva did mention the use of professional terms like “scientists”, “mathematicians”, “authors and illustrators” and “researchers”.

I couldn’t resist – “I’m not a scientist but I play one at school”.

And that’s not a bad thing.


Slice of (home teaching) Life

This was a short and to the point post from Lisa Corbett.

I found it rich in successes with things done on time (teachers love noting the time …) and kids remembering passwords after being away from school for three weeks. These are major successes.

Lisa also indicated that she had created a video to help families log in. From her description, there was a bit of a learning curve with the video taking 45 minutes and she’s confident that the next ones will go quicker.

There is another element that I can help but notice – Lisa’s class won’t be unique in having this experience. Now is absolutely the time for teachers to share resources. It lightens the load and the stress of doing everything yourself.

Apparently Lisa listened to the Wednesday voicEd Radio show because she did respond acknowledging how she appreciates it when people share and she’s made a connection with Melanie White for future ideas.

Folks, this is heart-warming – this is why we make connections to other educators. There is so much love and support at times.


Reflections: Week #1 Of Remote Learning

Rola Tibshirani shares how her Week #1 went.

In the classroom, we practice being passionate about each other and be forgiving to oneself when struggling. We support our feelings that no one is left alone to struggle nor to be overwhelmed.

This is an inspirational post where she outlines what the reality is in her regular face-to-face classes. It reads like a what’s what in terms of planning and implementation.

At least under normal conditions.

But, as we know, these are not normal conditions so it will be interesting to follow Rola and see how successful she can be moving forward.

I really like the fact that she closes the post with a message of mindfulness and self-caring. She includes a Twitter message from Kevin O’Shea about fatigue setting in.

It’s wise advice for all.


Coding? Now!? Who Cares?

Well, Peter Skillen does for one.

Me for another.

I’ve been using all this time at home trying to find things to stay engaged. I did clean up my workspace to the point where I can’t find anything anymore. In addition to my regular habit of blogging, I have done a bit of programming. It’s nothing serious; I just get a kick out of putting together some instructions and pressing run to have the computer do something. It remains a mental rush and piece of satisfaction after all these years.

So, Peter does restate his personal philosophy of learning and coding in particular as a way to introduce the learner to his current passion – working with Code to Learn with details about how to get involved with the coding, examples, and links to upcoming learning webinars. Past sessions are online so you’re never without.


Online Learning in a Hurry – a Course in a Hurry

Online learning has become a priority for everyone in education and the University of Windsor’s Dave Cormier wasn’t left out.

Now, however, we at UWindsor Office of Open Learning (OOL) find ourselves facing the idea of ‘teaching teachers to teach online,’ not for few final weeks of emergency remote teaching, but for a term. At least.

Dave has taken to his blog to explain the process of putting this all together, well, in a hurry. Isn’t everyone in that boat?

The result is a combination of synchronous and asynchronous times. The structure for the synchronous is

  1. Introduction to Online learning
  2. Thinking through course goals online
  3. Finding content (includes learner/web as content)
  4. Creating content (includes lecture/text etc…)
  5. Assignments and assessments
  6. The student experience (reflection on their experience in the course and what that tells them about how students will experience it.

This isn’t a quick process and you can tell from a read that there is a great deal of thought that has gone into this.

Beyond this, the University of Windsor is also offering advice for K-12 educators through three online webinars. Details here. Registration required.


I hope that you can set aside some time to click through and read these posts in their entirety. As always, there’s great advice there from educators here in the province.

Then, make sure that you follow them online via Twitter.

  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Sheila Stewart – @sheilaspeaking
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Rola Tibshirani – @rolat
  • Peter Skillen – @peterskillen
  • Dave Cormier – @davecormier

This post appears at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

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.

Watch life going on


It’s difficult to go online or watch news on the television these days without being bombarded by news and information about, well, you know what.

It’s important to remember to take care of yourself. Life is indeed going on if you stop to look and see it.

For me, Jaimie and I have upped our walking to four a day now. There is noticably less traffic on our concession road. And no school buses! But, there is a small price that he has to pay – with spring coming on, he gets to meet the Furminator as we head out. So much comes off in the spring and the birds seem to like it, picking pieces up I guess for a nest.

Sometimes, it’s just the little things.

This morning, I’d like to offer a little diversion to remind you that there are all kinds of things that are still happening.

  • The Confederation Bridge
  • Niagara Falls
  • Osoyoos Lake
  • Collingwood’s Hurontario Street
  • Polar Bears

These can all be experienced by Live Camera here.

You can’t have too many polar bear views.

Enjoy.

If you’re looking for some out of Canada webcams, here’s a nice collection.