This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Paul McGuire guest hosted the voicEd Radio show this week. To the conversation, he added a blog post, insights as an educator, Principal, and Faculty Advisor, and a couple of songs in his new role as an Old Fellas, New Music blogger.


Feeling our Pain

We started the show with this post from Paul’s blog. Reading it may well be the best thing that you can do for yourself today.

Paul was very open and insightful with some of the challenges that people have in education at times, amplified during COVID times with anxiety and depression. There was a great deal of inspiration for how to cope at these times. As schools reopen in September, you just know that there will be more.

Paul’s done his research and shares some external excerpts to support his post. The biggest takeaway might well be being fully aware – of that colleague in the corner, that little girl in the second row, or that face you see in the mirror.

He asks “Could this be a dialogue?” Absolutely – it always should have been and if we need to lean on COVID as the motivator, do it.


Slice of Life: Not ready

When I read the title to this post from Lisa Corbett, I expected a fun article outlining the nerves that teachers have as they prepare for September. Goodness knows that I had them every year.

The inspiration here though was from a child’s birthday and a thunderstorm. Lisa had friends over, presumably to have the party in the backyard but that was only a plan. The lightning scuttled it.

Instead, the kids came inside and kids are kids. Loud and very active and this was an experience that Lisa hadn’t had for a long time. Paul pulled this quote from her post.

It’s the whole “dealing with other humans who don’t live with me” thing that has me feeling like hiding in the basement instead.

Premonition? Throw in a “close talker” or two and we can understand why she’s not ready.


It’s August Already

It was great to see Matthew Morris back at the keyboard and blogging again.

This time, he’s noting how July flew by. I’ve called this the month that the Minister stole from the system by promising “the plan” only to have it arrive in August.

Again, Paul pulled an interesting quote from this post.

I’m ready for August but not ready for much beyond that. That makes me queasy. The more I try to decompress the more I tighten up. I’m not used to this. I’m used to thinking; about school, and plans, and predictions. But this shit right here is brand new to me.

August isn’t really a good time for the conscientious educator at the best of times but this year is a totally new experience. Anxiety is higher than ever and Matthew throws in something I hadn’t thought about – being out of school for so long, he’s afraid that he might not recognize the students.

The big saviour will be that first day of school. Once those bodies arrive, teaching kicks in despite all of the other things that are happening. Teachers will be dealing with a new environment to be sure, but that’s been expected all along.


In Search of Creativity in Education

I won’t quote all that Paul pulled from Dave Cormier’s post. You’ll have to click through and read it all. It is worth the click.

Dave’s been asked by the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation – CERI to develop a curriculum piece that he’s calling Creating Creativity in the Online Classroom. Think about that for a second – it seems so counter-intuitive to be but Ontario Educators have been doing action research on this since the first lockdown.

We know that the talking head at the podium doesn’t work in the face to face classroom or at conferences and the windowed version of teaching online sure doesn’t work either. Teachers have been imagining all kinds of ways to engage students despite the conditions.

Dave equates creativity with fun and it’s easy to see how that connection can be made face to face. Online is a whole different ball game.

I think that this is huge job but Dave is an excellent choice as he seems to like to think about things like this. I’ve been a fan of his work for a long time now.

He’s identified these issues going into this.

  • The nature of creativity and the balance between a teacher’s sense of creativity and different sense of it in different students
  • The relationship between ill-defined problems and the kind of engagement that leads to the fostering of creativity
  • The challenges and opportunities of doing creativity with access to such an abundance of influences.

This is one to follow. It’s something that the Ministry and/or subject organizations should be following and seriously buying into.


The Truths About Self-Regulation & Maths

Tina Bergman inspired me to write an entire “fun” post about mathematics yesterday. (Click back if you’re interested)

In the post, Tina analyses a piece of work (Chapter 7 from Reframed). In particular, these five steps:

  • Step 1 Asking Why (History) Recognizing Stressors
  • Step 2 Reframing the Anxiety
  • Step 3: Aware of the Why and THAT
  • Step 4:Reducing the Stress
  • Step 5: Developing Pre and Post Strategies to Restore Blue/Red Brain Balance

I thought it was a good discussion and she’s really thought this through.

Personally, I’ve always enjoyed mathematics and saw it more like a series of puzzles instead of a curriculum. In the way of good puzzles, I understood that I couldn’t solve them all and learned to be good with not getting 100%. I found myself actively nodding when she talked about “play”.

We live in a different world with all the pressure put on teachers and students by the curriculum and schools and a community that isn’t hesitant to speak about their own challenges with mathematics.


A Journey: Student to Teacher & What Lies Beneath

This was an interesting post from Heather Lye about her personal philosophy and trek from, as she says, “Student to Teacher”.

Reading the post was a wonderful reminder of how teaching is truly a higher calling for those who enter and wish to be the best educator they can. In Heather’s case, she respects her own teachers

I’ve had many great teachers in my past that have impacted my decisions – I cannot wait to make them proud.

The post covers her personal thoughts about:

  • Care
  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Integrity

Use the post to see her thoughts and maybe inspire a refresher of your own reasons why you went into the profession.


THE YEAR TEACHING AND LEARNING CHANGED

I think that this post from Bei Zhang writing on the TESLOntario blog closes off this week’s collections of posts so nicely.

  • Fears Are Okay
  • Challenges Push Us to Move Forward

These two major points and subsequent thoughts are a reminder than it’s normal to feel the way that you do and secondly, this is why educators didn’t pack up everything and check out. Instead, they dug in and made the best happen.

All teachers (and students) have had to endure challenges and huge learning just to get connected and make it work at times. Bei throws kudos to the ESL teachers and students for their efforts.


Please take the time to click through and read all these terrific blog posts. Then, follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Dave Cormier – @davecormier
  • Tina Bergman – @blyschuk
  • Heather Lye – @MsHLye

This week’s voicEd Radio show:

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