OTR Links 05/25/2015

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Etiquette and Protocol

I’ve got to give a big shoutout to Tom D’Amico for finding and sharing this resource.

How to Use Your Smartphone Like a Professional

I think copies of it, or even better, your own take on the concept should be printed and placed in all meeting room areas and classrooms that have elected to adopt a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program.

When you think back to Star Trek days which foreshadowed communication devices everywhere, you didn’t see Kirk or Picard constantly on their phone oblivious to what was going on around them.  You didn’t see Kirk and Spock texting to each other while other things were happening.  They had it right; the device was used for important communications and got them out of the current catastrophe.

A long time ago, when I became a program consultant, I purchased myself a Franklin Covey system and I lived by its rules as best I could.  My superintendent who was always trying to come to grips with all the communications that he had to deal with and he bought in as well.  Of course, he had the bigger budget and so went away for the physical training.  He came back and shared what he’d learned and we upped the ante.  One of the biggest time robbers was telephone time.  We all had voice mail but the moment that the phone rang, you’d drop everything and to answer it.  We changed all that by letting everything go to voice mail, read the messages and do a little research on the topic, and then would schedule time in our day to close the door and return all the calls.  It increased productivity immensely.

These days, we seem to have gone back to the days of constant interruptions and somehow just glorify ourselves in it.  Just about everyone has a device with them all the time and sounds and rings are constantly there.  You’ve got to blame the makers of the device too.  Your regular telephone has a mute button and with one push you stop the annoyances.  It takes more than one finger action to achieve the same thing on a current smartphone.  Conspiracy theory?

Then, there are the techno geek wannabees.  You know them; they come to talk to you with their earbuds in or a bluetooth headpiece.  They just exude the message that a random incoming phone call or message is more important than talking to you here and in the present. 

This is just wrong.  So many of the things in this graphic are just so true.

In addition to the business meeting, they are so appropriate in the classroom as well.  Most students are incredibly proficient with their technology compared to us old folks.  They don’t need two hands and a tongue bite to get the most from their machine.  It really is impressive what they’re capable of doing.  But, there’s one thing that’s missing with this warp speed adoption of technology and that’s the consideration for others.  Progressive schools and classrooms are adopting and enhancing the learning experience with what’s possible. 

Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and look at this poster in the big scheme of things.  Etiquette sends a strong message.  Are we demonstrating it?  Are we encouraging it?

In addition to the 8 rules in the original graphic, are there some that are missing for the classroom?

OTR Links 05/24/2015

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Finally Meeting Vicky (Sort of…)

I thought it was just a year ago, but it turns out that it was well over two years ago that I interviewed Vicky Loras for this blog.

Her recent adventures at the time had made me such a fan and so curious about the details.  Here was a young lady from Canada who moves half a world away to Switzerland to start her own educational business with her sister.  It was such an interesting career move.

I’d followed her for quite a while on Twitter and we’d become friends on Facebook.  In addition to the Loras Network, I always thought that she exemplified the best in being connected.  It seemed like every time I turned around, she was connecting with friends and educators, learning and sharing resources, and then heading off to another country for yet another English Language Learning conference.

Through my connection with Vicky, I’ve extended my learning with a network of European and Asian educators.  The sharing of resources and images has been such a rich learning experience for me.

On her blog, Vicky interviews people from her world and i was completely honoured when she asked me a couple of months ago to be her project for May.  How could I say no?

I did point out that I have really poor connectivity here but we decided to move ahead anyway.  Then, it was synchronizing ourselves for the time difference between Ontario and Switzerland.  The hour finally arrived and there she was, inviting me to the interview and my phone and iPad were ringing with the invitation.  Sadly, my computer wasn’t!

We negotiated back and forth and finally managed to establish a connection half an hour after the scheduled start time and, we were off.  The audio wasn’t the greatest and it dropped itself completely before we finished but, ever the professional, Vicky just started another session and so the interview was actually a two-parter! 

In the end, it all came together, and she posted both parts to her blog.

And, I echo her sentiments. 

While our interview was the closest that we’ve come to actually meeting, it does seem like we’ve known each other forever.

Thank you so much, Vicky mou.

OTR Links 05/23/2015

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s been another difficult week in Ontario Education but that didn’t stop the flow of great blog posts. Here’s what caught my eye…

Stop Pretending

The meme continues as even more Ontario Educators check in with their thoughts about making school different by stopping pretending things.  Here’s a couple more wonderful posts for your pondering.
Let’s Stop Pretending…
What I find so interesting about all this is the different perspective that different eyes bring to the discussion.  Here, Jen Aston shares some thoughts from the eyes of a coach.  Her #3 talks about something that is so important and, yet, I think that so many are just a little intimidated to say out loud.

 That teachers don’t have the biggest impact on their students.  I’m still floored when I am working with a teacher who does not realize that they can have the biggest impact on student learning.  That’s why what teachers choose to do matters and that’s why it’s so important to be intentional about it.  Let’s stop pretending that student ability depends on whether or not the child studies, does their homework, have home supports or pays attention. The teacher has a bigger impact on the student than any of that.

Personalizing the Make School Different Meme
As she is so fond of doing, Diana Maliszewski takes a very personal perspective on the topic which adds a nice spin to things.  Her first point hit me so personally.  I’m always in search of the magic bullet that’s going to change me into the most organized person on the planet.  I think at one time I was fairly organized with my Franklin Planner but it just went downhill from there.  I still remember doing an OTF Presents presentation and the organizer was looking at my Google Drive organization and told me that I needed a lot of work.  So, I’m with you on this one, Diana.

1) I have to stop pretending that I am organized and tidy.

Actually, I think I was cured of this a number of years ago with a stern comment from my husband:

Just because you buy organizational supplies, that does not make you an organized person.

As always, you’ll have to follow the links back to the original blog posts to read the rest of the wisdom from these ladies.

Make Learning Transparent with Badges
This is a blog post that I wish I’d written.  I’m a big fan of badges for learning.  I’ve always been since my days as a Wolf Cub.  It conveys so much more than a number between 0 and 100 and is totally suitable when assigning a number just doesn’t make sense.

I think that school districts, in addition to their required Ministry reporting, should also be badging authorities.  Think of all that students could collect to demonstrate the entire school experience – robotics, eco-schools, student activity leadership, …  We all know that there’s so much more than just completing a test on a topic.  Anthony Chuter really nails it with this post.  Forward it to your superintendent.

The other advantage to a district being a badging provider answers a question that I read posed just recently.  If an external badging provider goes out of business or loses interest, does the value of the badge go with them?  Not so if you’re providing the badges as part of the complete program.

For Next Year

Grade 6 Next Year!
It’s education’s “silly season” right now.  The numbers are in, classes or sections assigned to the school, and now individual schools are playing their own game of “Who’s on First?”

Well, Amy Bowker is headed to Grade 6 and is already planning to make it a spectacular year.

Down Just a Little Bit More
And Aviva Dunsiger is making a grade change too.

What’s so interesting about all of this discussion, and I’m sure that many of you will be doing the same thing, is that the content area is an important thing.  But, it’s not the only important thing.

The content may be prescribed; the age of the students prescribed; the maximum class prescribed; but there’s the one big variable.  No class is the same two years in a row.  The person inside the body changes.  They all have different prior baggage they’re going to unpack in the class.  Different teachers, different schools, different home lives, different communities, and more make teaching the challenging and rewarding profession that it is.  If all that had to be considered was subject topic and student age, sure, a computer could teach the course.  Those who have been in the classroom know that those are just necessary details.  It’s getting inside student heads, understanding their needs, their frustrations, their excitements, that make the profession so important.  As we’re seeing at present, it’s also so hard to recognize in a collective agreement.

I’m going to finish with a double recognition to Diana Maliszewski’s blog.

Dear Caroline, Dear Sigmund

Diana was inspired to write a letter to her favourite authors.  What a great concept!  The Forest of Reading recognizes the best titles on a big, organizational level, but a personal note takes it to a different level

Thank you so much for writing a book that, not only pre-teens and teens devoured, but the educators that work with those pre-teens and teens can enjoy too.

Notes to the author undoubtedly mean a great deal and adds another level of satisfaction to their creations.

How I Teach #Sketchnoting

I find the whole area of #Sketchnoting fascinating.  I can’t do it but have huge admiration for those who can and share their results.  Is this the greatest graphic organizer or summary tool for the 21st Century students?

Read this blog post to see how things are happening in Royan Lee’s classroom.  I really like his summary of look-fors to let you know when things are going well.


What another wonderful collection of posts from Ontario Educators.  Please click through the links to read their entire posts.  The complete collection of Ontario Educator Blog posts can be found here.  If you’re blogging and not listed, please add your details via the form and you soon will be.

OTR Links 05/22/2015

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.