This Week in Ontario Edublogs


This week’s voicEd Radio show featured Pav Wander and Chey Cheney as guest hosts. They inspired some great conversations and we went well over the hour time limit. If it didn’t all get played live, it is available for playback as a podcast – link below.


Tightrope

Chey and Pav have a rather unique blog. Yes, we’ve looked at a couple of their blog posts in the past but generally, they don’t write the posts themselves.

Instead, they open the blog to anyone who was inspired by their podcasts to share their feelings via a post. As noted on the show and a few times, there is no gatekeeper and so they welcome friendly replies and those from others who challenge them.

In Episode 90 of The Staff Room Podcast, they talked about dealing with the topic of racism and oppression with students. The timing of the podcast was important as it was near the end of the school year and they were reflecting on incidents that had happened in Ontario at the time.

In response to the post, Manuel Garcés Jr. wrote a response. But it was no normal response; in this case he responded with a poem that forces you to slow down to read and interpret its meaning.


Strum Into Song

Earlier this week, Noa Daniel sent me a link to a YouTube video. Now, we all know and love Noa but my first reaction with any link sent to me – I check it out very carefully to make sure that it’s not a scam. It wasn’t.

Instead, it was a video that was crafted to support her recent book publication.

Around here, it was an instant ear worm.

In the post, Noa shares with us how the video came from an idea to the final product. I was impressed with the connections and how her community came together to make it happen. It’s a great read.

In addition to the story and the video, Noa shares with the community access to a mailing list where ideas for using the book and video will be distributed. If you’re a musician yourself, there’s also a link to the sheet music so that you play it yourself.

As Pav said on the radio show, this blog post reads like it is the liner notes to the song.


How I Approach the First Days and Weeks of School

Yeah, it’s closing in on that time of year. Many people are putting together their plans for the opening of school and Shawna Rothgeb-Bird shares her thoughts and idea for her French Immersion classroom.

I would suspect that everyone will be subjected to rules and criteria for what can happen so these plans may change as September draws closer. It’s an interesting read. As a secondary school teacher, I didn’t have the same type of schedule so I was really interested in the power of her approach to unstructured outdoor play.

I was reminded of this Yogi Berra quote.

“You can observe a lot by just watching.”

Shawna explains what’s she’s observing a watching outside.

  • Who already has a social group?
  • Who doesn’t seem to have many connections in the class?
  • What kinds of activities do they choose?
  • Who prefers to hang out with me and chat?
  • Who ignores all of the equipment and opts to sit down and read, walk and talk, etc. instead?

Timing, Tracking, and Tiring

In typical Diana Maliszewski fashion, this weekly post from her is complex and touches on a number of issues.

Her commitment to the teacher-librarian community is evident in the learning opportunities that she’s affording educators this summer. She’s involved in two learning events.

  • ETFO Academy “SA-04-22 SEEING AND SUPPORTING STUDENT GROWTH: NEW PERSPECTIVES ON ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION”
  • Queen’s University Teacher-Librarianship Part 1 AQ
  • and she’s agreed to run another late summer one as well

There’s also a section in her about her caring for herself with physical fitness. Like most people, she’s been challenged by the inability to get to her gym and so shares a long story about that. I suspect that she’s writing for many people with the same perspective.


Quilting and Math

When my wife and I were first going out, it was very common to go into her family’s rec room where her mother would have a quilt on the go. It took up most of the room but it was worth it. The efforts, as it was all done by hand, were terrific. There typically was a solid back and then patchwork on the front gathered from scraps of materials.

As a mathematics nerd, I’d look for patterns in the quilt and often would see them. All of us were gifted with one of these hand made treasures at one point.

If you drive in Kent County, there’s another chance to appreciate the artwork in quilts along the Barn Quilt Trail. It’s an interesting opportunity to drive along and be inspired by these pieces of art.

In this blog post, Terry Whitmell puts another interesting twist to the artistry that goes into quilting. She starts with the mathematics and products a quilt devoted to displaying the mathematics. The post is an interesting read of the process and also includes the use of an Excel worksheet.

The real beauty is that she shares some pictures of the final products. So, if you’re interested in seeing what the Golden Ratio or Fibonacci Sequence looks like as a quilt, click through and see.


SUMMER READING LIST FOR TEACHERS – E054

From the EduGals, Katie Attwell and Rachel Johnson, a podcast and a blog post of books that they’re reading and what they would recommend for other educators to read.

There are some familiar titles in the list and, for me, some new ones.

This is the sort of post to pass along to your school’s community or teacher-librarian to have included in the community’s professional resources.


The 500 – #359 – Honky Chateau – Elton John

I’ve never had the opportunity to see Elton John live in concert. But, my record collection certainly contains his content as well as my CD collection. It just sounds old typing that…

But, this album goes back to 1972. Wow.

It appears in the top 500 list of all time best albums that Marc Hodgkinson found and is now blogging his way through. This really was an awesome listening experience.

Thanks to YouTube, we can enjoy a couple of the songs from that album.

How many times have we seen Rocket Man used as a sound track in other media?


I hope that you can find the time to click through and read all these great blog posts. Then, follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Chey Cheney – @mrccheney
  • Pav Wander@PavWander
  • Noa Daniel – @iamnoadaniel
  • Shawna Rothgeb-Bird – @rollforlearning
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Terry Whitmell – @TerryWhitmell
  • EduGals – @edugals
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher

The voicEd Radio show

A great list but …


We did get away for a long full day of travel and friend meetup yesterday. Pro tip – every road that you want to go on in Huron County is under constructions. Particularly north of Bayfield, I was on concession roads that I didn’t know existed! It was a great day highlighted by lunch with some dear friends in Blyth at the Cowbell and getting a chance to see Artist’s Alley in Clinton. Of course, visiting the beaches in Grand Bend, Bayfield, and Goderich was on the itinerary.

Since the dog didn’t come with us, we took the car and listened to XMRadio the whole way. I had had this article in my mind and so the radio was stuck on Classic Rock the entire way. It was amazing to notice so many of the songs in the article being on played.

I also had Marc Hodgkinson on the mind too. Regular readers of this blog will note that I’m following his blog as he counts down the greatest 500 albums on all time, inspired by a podcast.

I couldn’t help but remark on the scope of the two posts – 50 versus 500. So, I focused on the 50 because it was easier. Whenever someone gives you their “top” list, things are always open to scrutiny. In this case, the #1 album in my opinion came in as #2. I couldn’t believe that anyone would put any band above Led Zepplin’s IV but Pink Floyd did. Not a bad choice but not the way that I would have ranked them. The standings are crowd voted so there’s still hope. I know that I checked in.

I came to album collecting late – at university. All the money that I made at high school doing jobs went to a college education. But once I got there, I was inspired by my roommate to get moving. So, we did – he had an awesome stereo in our room and we collected albums in milk crates for vertical storage and protected them with Angel Sleeves. We didn’t also want to collect pops and clicks. Who would have predicted the perfect digital world that we moved to. I still have that collection and pull albums from their to enjoy.

In addition to the album name and descriptor, the author selects a “Key Track”. That’s also up for debate in my mind.

His choices:

  1. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon – Us And Them
  2. Led Zeppelin – IV – Stairway to Heaven
  3. The Beatles – Abbey Road – Come Together
  4. Led Zeppelin – II – Whole Lotta Love
  5. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here – Shine On You Crazy Diamond

Good choices but how about?

  1. Pink Floyd – Money
  2. Led Zeppelin – Rock and Roll
  3. The Beatles – Octopus’s Garden
  4. Led Zeppelin – Ramble On
  5. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

With a list of 50, obviously there would be some cuts. Let me add a quick six to the list.

Strawbs – Hero and Heroine = “Hero and Heroine”

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising – “Lodi”

Guess Who – American Woman – “No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature”

Supertramp – Even in the Quietest Moments – “Give a Little Bit”

Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band – Beautiful Loser – “Katmandu”

Oh man, I could keep going.

I thought that it would have been a challenge coming up with the 500 list. But the 50 list just left out some great stuff.

How about you. What would you add to a great 50 list?

Quicker video digestion


I was exactly yesterday years old when I read an article that put two and two together for me, resulting in instant productivity.

One of my pet peeves is the trend in video these days. It seems like people are trying to create longer videos with the same or less actual content. Typically, they end up front end loading the video with introductions or graphics or background information and it takes far longer to walk away with just what I want from a video.

To date, I’ve had a couple of solutions:

  1. Play the video in the background while I’m doing something in the foreground. Multi-tasking, if you will. Sometimes it even works and I can shift tasks if I catch the video at just the right moment.
  2. Move the scrubber along the video timeline and try to make an educated guess as to where I really want to watch the video.

Quite frankly, I’ve only had limited success with it. This article offered a new way.

How to find specific parts in a YouTube video without having to watch the whole thing

I happened to have that Global TV video I used in my Sunday afternoon post open in a tab and so gave the suggestion a try. The video ends up on the left part of the screen and the transcript on the right.

The transcript is machine generated and so most likely won’t be 100% accurate but it sure was helpful to quickly identify where in the video I would go for a particular part of the discussion.

In my mind, there’s no wondering about this one. I’m definitely adding this to my list of productivity tools. No more fluff and filler for me.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


After a snowy week, it’s nice to be able to sit back and check out some blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


February Patience

Aviva Dunsiger has taken the suggestion from Beth Lyons about doing a #oneword each month rather than one for the year and February is going to be “Patience”.

I think every teacher will agree that February is a tough month at the best of times and the 2021 version is just so much worse. For teachers throughout the province, face to face teaching resumes this February. This following weeks of teaching online. Or as Aviva puts it

we’re about to begin a September in February

As a result, she’s questioning the concept of patience as she, dare I say pivots, back to face to face.

I can’t help but think that patience isn’t necessarily patience online versus face to face. The concept of dead air comes to mind. It’s OK in the classroom since there’s all kinds of other feedback cues but online?

There are some interesting questions that she asks that I think every teacher might ask themselves. Heck, they’re good questions for everyone.


The (A)politics of Education–In a World Where There is No Such Thing as Neutral

This post, from Debbie Donsky, is a nice followup to the recent post from Matthew Morris. In fact, Debbie does make reference to Matthew’s quote and Faculties of Education.

I had to look up the definition of “apolitical” just to make sure that I understood what I thought it meant.

Having no interest in or association with politics. 2. Having no political relevance or importance: claimed that the president’s upcoming trip was purely apolitical.

“apolitical.” Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary. 2010. 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. 18 Feb. 2021 https://www.thefreedictionary.com/apolitical

Throughout the post, Debbie mentions some of the issues of the day. From my perspective, I’m not sure that I could be considered apolitical about these things. I clearly have my leanings on things.

The notion of not bringing politics into the classroom was perhaps well minded about days near an election. It seems to me that most things of importance these days are political.

Debbie does a really deep dive about the topic and ties it nicely to education. It’s a good and powerful read.


STUDENT PROJECTS TO PROMOTE CREATIVITY

I’m not sure why you would ever assign a project to students that didn’t promote creativity but maybe that’s just me.

On the TESTOntario blog, John Allan uses this premise to introduce or re-introduce some pretty important tools.

  • CANVA
  • WinkSite
  • Google Tour Creator
  • QuestGarden

For each, John gives a nice discussion and there’s plenty of reference to good pedagogy there. There are all kinds of ideas. I think that I’ve mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating.

Online learning from home is better if students understand the tools involved. So, in these days where schools are back face to face, it’s a good time to use these effectively in case the unthinkable happens again. If not, they’ll still generate some great learning opportunities.

For each of the tools, John provides a “how to”, an “example”, and a ‘blog post.”

Consequently, it’s just not a list of tools but a launchpad to using these tools effectively.


Improvement is the Enemy of Change

This provocative title leads us to a discussion and observation of two of the high profile issues of the day. Charles says he’s non-partisan.

But, my thoughts as I read this — political? You betcha.

Far too often, huge and wasteful attention is paid to the superficial expressions of a problem rather than putting in the energy and time to go deeper to discover the real obstacles that get in the way of meaningful movement towards the desired outcomes. 

Charles Pascal uses this as a way to discuss

  • paid sick days
  • profit motive that drives 60% of Ontario’s long-term care facilities

These are topics for discussion in any year. In a year with COVID and the desire to keep virus spread, they take on increasing importance.

Briefly, doesn’t it only make sense for people who are sick to stay home? Wouldn’t paid sick days help address that?

And, isn’t it just obvious that cuts to expenditures to increase profits at long-term care facilities put residents and workers at greater risk?

We’ve seen the effects of both of these things. It’s on the news constantly. In this post, Charles goes into each topic at great discussion. This is a very sobering post to read. I’m glad that he took the time to share his thoughts with us.


Building practices for great equity: Careful engagement in Collaborative Learning

Beate Planche reached out to me to let me know of her blog and this was the most recent post. She gives us a nice discussion about Collaborative Learning and some links for additional reading.

Thinking back, I really didn’t get any direction about collaborative learning while at the Faculty of Education. We did talk about “group work” but it was never with the deep understanding that Beate drives home in this post.

Even as an educator, I’ve been in situations where we were “doing collaborative learning” at professional learning events. Often, it was contrived and seemed like a way for a presenter to fill time.

If you follow Beate’s post, she describes a practice that is a great deal of work and doesn’t elevate the teacher from the actual learning. If done effectively, the teacher is moving and working hard to encourage students.

In the study of Computer Science, a collaborative process described as Pair Programming can be found here. It’s a popular topic at Computer Science professional learning events.


Time is the…

As I read this post from Sheila Stewart, bells went off in my head. She says she stumbled into this song.

She was struck by the last of the song

Time is the mirror
Time is the healer
Time is the teacher

My song? And in response to Sheila’s call to action from the post… Certainly not as obscure as hers but very powerful as I really and truly paid attention to the lyrics.

And I enjoyed listening to Sheila’s suggestion as well.


Snow Day = No School Day

I knew that someone would be writing about Snow Days on the Heart and Art Blog. Heck I’d even written a post myself on Wednesday. Well, I wrote about it on Tuesday for it to appear on the Wednesday.

So, back to Heart and Art because this post isn’t about me – Deborah Weston took on the topic. I’ve got to believe that part of her inspiration came from social media as teachers throughout the province checked in on what was happening in their districts.

It seemed to be divided into two camps – Camp 1 let Snow Days be Snow Days and Camp 2 was The Show Must Go On. I can actually see how the logic would flow in the Camp 2 camp from those who are at the system level and make the decisions.

I’m getting tired of the terms “pivot” and “flip to” and Deborah uses them to share her observation about what might happen. It’s a good read for all teachers, to be sure, but I would suggest even better for decision makers.

If you can just easily pivot from a planned face to face lesson to online, the lesson can’t have been very good to begin with.


I hope that you can find some time to click through and read these original posts.

Then, follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Debbie Donsky – @debbiedonsky
  • John Allan – @mrpottz
  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • Beate Planche – @bmplanche
  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • Deborah Weston – @DPAWestonPhD

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday, the 13th. Do yourself a favour and take a pass on Port Dover today. Be safe.

Check out some great blogging from Ontario Edubloggers instead.


Treaty Recognition Week – Guest Post by Tamara Bolotenko

Larissa Aradj lent blogging space to Tamara Bolotenko to share some of her thoughts about Treaty Recognition Week. In the post, she shared some sobering realities for many of us.

In our education, we had no sense of the realities that current students are understanding. Like Tamara, I learned in school that Canada was discovered by Jacques Cartier. I guess this land was just sitting around waiting to be discovered? Nothing else was happening? As she notes, so much of what we learned was so Eurocentric and it’s only later in life that that was just part of the story.

Her post is interesting and quite humbling to read and I would encourage you to do so. As part of an AQ course, she had to create a resource – she used YouTube- and she has them embedded in both English and French.

Kudos to her for being so open with her learning.


Walking On Sun Branches

Jessica Outram has done it again!

In this post, complete with pictures, she reminds me of the difference between me and creative people. I’ve always maintained that creative types see things that I would normally just walk by, sometimes paying a bit of attention, most of the times not.

Interestingly, she ties some wonderful photographs with her thoughts and endeavours surrounding creativity.

The images are surrounded by some clever wordsmithing and makes for an interesting read, look, and ponder.

Inspired by this post which I had bookmarked for this blog post and Wednesday morning’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs, my wife and I took a trip to Point Pelee. It’s a luxury that we normally enjoy a few times over the summer but we stayed away this year. We had a bit of incredible November weather and so did spend an afternoon there. I took my phone out and made a conscious effort during our outing and took some pictures of my own.

They’re not in the same class as Jessica’s art but I am kind of proud that I did take the time to find some interesting shots and will assemble them into a blog post for Saturday.

Thanks, Jessica. I love it when people push me.


About those special days at school pt 1.
About those special days at school Pt 2.

From the Heart and Art of Education blog, Will Gourley shares a couple of blog posts describing his fall.

Part 1 deals with some thoughts about inclusion and equity. These are important concepts and Will’s Grade 4 and 5 class were up to the challenge.

Some quotes from the students in the post…

These are wonderful comments from these students.

You have to ask yourself — if they feel this way now but change their opinions later as they get older, what happened? How can education be the enduring answer?

In Part 2, Will gives us a week by week summary of how things when for him in October. In education, it was a month like no other. It’s supposed to be the time for sugar and pumpkin distractions. That’s all different this year.

Will speaks, I know, for so many educators when he notes that October is also the time for “Meet the teacher”, “Curriculum nights”, and of course Progress Reports.

Thrown into this month like no other, there were also a number of teachers thrown adrift by reorganization of schools in addition to online, hybrid, face to face, and whatever buzzword describes your reality.

These are a great pair of blog posts and it wouldn’t be fair to include only one of them here.


Finding Balance With Hybrid Learning – E026

During our radio show, Stephen Hurley asked me if I felt awkward using the term EduGals to describe the authors of this blog post. I had to confess; yes, I did but it’s the name that they elected to use so we use.

They do acknowledge that it’s tough times for all educators.

It’s difficult to pinpoint just one audience for this post, based upon their podcast on the topic. From beginning to end, it’s rich with naming various technologies and how they can be used in the classrooms of today.

As I mentioned in the show, this is truly the time for technology to step up and deliver for all teachers. I think that many will acknowledge that serious and deep use of technology only occurred when school classrooms were closed in the spring. So many people were unprepared for the wide variety of tools that are available to tackle the job.

In this post, Rachel and Katie identify some of their favourite tools and deliver an engaging analysis and how they might be used by the connected educator. It’s not a short blog post but identifies so many tools that are worth the time to explore and see if they fit into your teaching flow.

This post is well worth the read.


Catching Up

It was great to see a new post to Peter Cameron’s blog. It had been a while. The post isn’t unique to his blog, it’s actually a copy of a letter that he sent to a friend and shared with us. He let us know that he was busy … but I hope that it feels good for him to be back at it.

There are lots of links to presentations and collections of resources that he’s working on. He spoke at Lakehead University in addition to his day job and provides us with a list of things that he has done in the past and wants to do in the future.

But that future will be different … he applied for a new gig. I know that those who read his blog and experience his successes wish him the best going forward. He shares what’s up in a Twitter message.

If you read the blog post, you’ll note that he’s promising us big things in November. I’m looking forward to it.


Golf in Gym

I don’t know, Diana, but this past Monday and Tuesday were pretty good golfing days around here. As I drove by many of the courses in Essex County, they’re doing a good late fall business.

Of course, it’s different in schools.

In Health and Physical Education, many traditional activities are off the table for now. I think we all understand and appreciate that. Diana has acknowledged that it’s been a while since she taught Physical Education but she decided to give it a shot … indoors.

Well, maybe not a chip shot but a putt for sure.

What do you do when you don’t have golf equipment at your school? You cobble together some things and make it happen.

This post is inspirational … read and learn from it!

  • never say never
  • if nothing else, steal borrow Diana’s idea for those inside winter classes

Better late than never. After all, The Master’s starts today.


Please take some time to click through and read/enjoy all of these terrific blog posts.

Then follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Tamara Bolotenko – @TamaraBolotenko
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Peter Cameron – @cherandpete
  • Diana Maliszewski  – @MzMollyTL

This post comes from

http://dougpete.wordpress.com

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