This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I always conclude this Friday post with an encouragement to click through and read the posts highlighted here. You can’t miss them; I make them large, bold with a live link. I’ll do that first this week just to encourage you. There’s nothing like the wit and wisdom of Ontario Edubloggers.


Online Instruction of Students with Learning Disabilities

Deb Weston does a nice analysis of online instruction for students with learning disabilities. This is her particular area of expertise. Her conclusion appears at the bottom of the post.

Online learning does not support the needs of most students with learning disabilities

I suspect that we all saw that coming.

But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go through and read the entire post. She does a pretty fair and balanced approach to the topic. I think that you’ll find that you’ll agree that students with learning disabilities don’t have a monopoly over the points she discusses. They apply to all students.

The big takeaway since online is going to be around for a while is to look at the positives and work to reinforce them. Then, look at the negative issues she lists and see if there’s not a way to mitigate them.


Tips for Teaching Online

The duo of Lisa and Steven Floyd team up with a post that includes a dozen tips for teaching online. This is a nice followup read to Deb’s post above. So, what can you do and what can you avoid doing?

All of the points discussed are important and I’d encourage thinking about all of them. Three really leaped out at me.

Develop a “one-stop-shop”
I think that this is crucial. Even after a year of on again off again teaching and learning online the skills that are necessary aren’t fully developed everywhere. In particular, having to “go here”, then “go there”, then “go here”, … is a recipe for failure. A portal where everything is in one spot is so helpful. If you know how, have any link open in a new tab or a new window so that the student is back “home” to the portal when they close it.

Only use new tools if necessary
As educators, we know that there are so many really valuable tools out there to address various things. You really do need to think carefully before introducing new tools. In a face to face classroom, it’s easier for success because students can just look at the person next to them if challenged. Not so online. The key is to focus on what’s really important and necessary to address curriculum expectations. Knowing a gazillion different tools really isn’t in the curriculum.

Constant feedback to students – don’t need to submit everything
If there’s one thing that is really unique during times of teaching and learning online, it’s feedback. Face to face there are more ways to provide that feedback – through body language, a look, a word, … you do it constantly and probably not consciously. Feedback when online is an intentional act for the most part. I love the tip that not everything needs to be submitted for marking. Save everyone a little stress!


Belonging

There’s a world of advice is this post from Ann Marie Luce.

It’s sad to read the story of a friend with a “personal loss”. Reacting in times like that is what makes us human and hopping in a car to provide the support is something we do all the time. Obviously things are different these days.

Ann Marie then turns this into the concept of “belonging” which is always a big deal in education. There’s nothing worse than not belonging to a group when you really would benefit from being a part of it.

In a former job, I remember going from school to school and would appreciate the invitation to go to the staff room and join a group for a coffee or lunch and a chat. That isn’t happening now. Even staff members on the same staff can’t pull that off. There’s a challenge for principals to make up for this.

Ann Marie identifies a number of different topics surrounding the notion of belonging. They could be used as a challenge by leaders within a school or a rubric by educators about the leadership provided to them. And, if you’re the teacher/leader in the classroom, there’s lot to think about there.

Professional Learning opportunities are a shortage these days but reading Ann Marie’s questions and relating them to your situation may be the best thing that you can do for yourself today.


Numbers.

With a title like that for a blog post, there really was nothing given away so I had to click over to Mike Washburn’s blog to see what was up.

I enjoy reading people’s interpretations about numbers as they apply to communities or social media. It opens up all kinds of questions about just how big a community should be to make it worthwhile or worth your while to contribute back. Or, some people judge their own value by community size. Or, does it really matter? Mike offers his thoughts in the context of the size of a conference keynote session. Big crowd size can indicate an appreciate for just who the speaker is and the organizers will appreciate that the money they spent to hire a keynote was worth it.

He turns to the concept of those enduring understandings and asks whether you’ll remember a message from a keynote speaker or a message from a colleague that you worked through a problem with.

It’s an interesting concept and might just put the whole mindset of a conference with keynote speakers in the past. So, is the important number here not necessarily the size but the number one as in that person with whom you made the connection and the learning?


Cultivating. Cultivation. Cultivate.

In the beginning, Beth Lyons’ concept of a word for a month versus a word for the year seemed like a quaint oddity.

Over time though, it has taken on considerably more value to me as a reader and fan of her blog. She very clearly outlines her thinking about the word of the month. For the month of April which is quickly ending, it’s “cultivate” and a number of words derived from that.

By itself, it’s not a unique word for education. My agricultural background had me thinking of the word “tiller” instead. (it was easier to spell) It’s a tool used by farmers and gardeners to further break the soil after it has been ploughed. It’s only then that the ground is in a position for seeding and the actual growing of any crop.

Of course, Beth didn’t take the agricultural route in her explanation; after all, she’s a teacher-librarian but the parallels between the agriculture and the library are very apparent and so reasonable to me.

And it just wouldn’t be Beth if she didn’t recommend a couple of books along that way.


“How can I help?”

Michelle Fenn takes this question and addresses her personal educational world and that of “imposter” which quite frankly, I don’t buy into. If a person wasn’t constantly learning, growing, and researching maybe I would. But her description of her work life is anything but that.

It was in the last paragraph of this blog post that really brought back memories and appreciation for the topic.

The four small words, “How can I help?” can make a powerful impact.

For a number of years, I had a job similar to hers and reported to a number of different superintendents. Like anything else, they all had their strengths and management styles. Perhaps the one that had the largest impact on me professionally fit into Michelle’s description. I don’t think the relationship started that way but it certainly evolved. We were both early to work and late to leave types and would drop in on each other unexpectedly and we often would use these words on each other when we’d see the other one working through a dicey problem. We weren’t necessarily experts in each other’s portfolio but asking the question always seemed so full of empathy and just having another set of eyes or resources available made all the difference in the world.


My mom in dementia

Every now and again, a post will come along that does make me tear up a bit and this story of Paul McGuire’s mother is one of them.

One of the things that truly sucks is getting old. And, it’s not necessarily that you’re getting older but everyone else around you is and you’re there to see it. In this case, Paul reflects on the way that this horrible disease has impacted his mother.

I like the way that Paul honours his mother; after all she’s not in charge here. The real villain is the dementia and it really doesn’t care.

I think that I know enough about blogging to know that getting it written saves that moment in time and gives you the opportunity to really work your way through your thoughts. Paul does so nicely here.

My sympathies to you, my friend.


OK, just a final reminder – click the links and read these great blog posts.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Deb Weston – @DPAWestonPhD
  • Lisa Ann Floyd – @lisaannefloyd
  • Steven Floyd – @stevenpfloyd
  • Anne Marie Luce – @turnmeluce
  • Mike Washburn – @misterwashburn
  • Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Michelle Fenn – @Toadmummy
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp

This week’s podcast can be listed at:
https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/cultivating-learning-and-community-on-and-off-line/

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


After yesterday afternoon with a high of 13 degrees and walking around comfortably with just a jacket, it was back to winter coat and big mittens today. Spring in Ontario. As I look out the window, I see little flakes of snow. This is nuts.

What’s not nuts are the posts this week from Ontario Edubloggers.


Celebrating Kindergarten

And it seems just like yesterday when I first went to kindergarten. It was such a traumatic experience. But, it launched my educational career. You gotta start somewhere.

On the Heart and Art Blog, Melissa Turnbull writes to remind us that this is the tenth year anniversary of full-day kindergarten. Except for having kids of my own, I figured that Grade 1 would be the end of thinking about kindergarten! Then, later in my teaching career as a computer consultant, it was my privilege to visit students and teachers in their kindergarten environment. Everything is so small. Looking up from those in the roof, we must have looked so big.

Full days changed everything for the youngest in our schools and you’ll find Melissa’s observations and links interesting to check out.

We now think of it as just the way that education is done but it was a huge shift at the time.


Getting Older

We all do it annually.

Diana Maliszewski reached another birthday milestone recently. You’ll have to click through and read her blog post to figure out which one. She doesn’t hid anything.

I love the fact that she doesn’t mind having a birthday. May that never get old. She does have one thing about birthdays that I never had. A birthday during the school year. It’s a special time where you might have something going on at school – I can remember kids’ parents bringing in cake for the class and all of us singing.

There really are no bad days for birthdays. Well, maybe mid-August when all your friends are at cottages or doing something to capture the end of the summer. And then it falls on the family reunion where your celebration is ignored because everyone is greeting everyone else and waiting for the corn on the cob to arrive. But, other than that, there are no bad days.

But I’m not bitter. I’m envious that Diana is so positive about every thing that’s happening to her as she hits another milestone and is still the enthusiastic wonderful person that she always seems to be. May that never change.

Happy Birthday, Diana.


Bottle critique

Don’t judge a blog post by the images in it. If that was the case, you might skip past this post from Alanna King. Well, unless you like a good wine.

I do like a good wine so I was drawn in by this post that was not the typical post from Alanna. As it turns out, it wasn’t too much about wine at all. It was more about design layout for some advertising pieces.

The Business educator in my was intrigued by her analysis of some different layouts and how she interpreted them. It was interesting to see the design and the strategic placement of chocolates in a couple of them. We did this exercise in Marketing classes all the time!

I had to smile just a bit to see the wine bottles lying on their sides. In our financial reach, there don’t seem to be any bottles that come with real corks anymore so there is no need to lie them on their sides.

Actually, our “vin de jour” now comes conveniently in a box. For a couple of years at university, we got into making our own wine and I learned so much about the process. Now that I’m older, it’s far more convenient to just drive into town and buy it ready to go.

And with all the great wineries in Essex County, you can go right to the source.


Girls Who Game (GWG) 2020-2021

I have great admiration for educators who go above and beyond and it’s even more amplified with all of the challenges that we have in education and society right now.

But, that doesn’t stop Zelia Tavares and Katina Papulkas from offering gaming opportunities to the young ladies involved in the Girls Who Game club. Thanks to Zelia who names names in this post, I have a couple more Ontario educators to add to my list – Kamla Rambaran and Sebastian Basualto.

The post is an update to this effort – gaming in Minecraft which seems to be very popular and I’ve yet to hear of someone who has regretted getting involved. With Zelia and her tinkering abilities, it must be a hoot for the girls.

They’re talking about designing “an eatery of the future in Minecraft”. I couldn’t help but think that I had a glimpse, growing up with the Jetsons.

But what an environment to turn the imagination loose to see what might shake out! You might not be able to create it in real life but you often can in Minecraft.


Slice of Life: She likes me so much!

I started to write “It’s the little things that matter.” But this isn’t a little thing. It’s a huge thing! It might even be the most important thing

Lisa Corbett drops just a lovely post to read in these times.

Maybe it’s because she was out in the cold doing her morning assigned duty and was looking for things. Maybe it’s something that she suspected all along and it was just reinforced. Maybe it’s just that we’re all looking for good things these days.

Whatever the reason, this post is a reminder to all that there are special relationships in education and it could be easy to overlook. Lisa didn’t; she captured the moment in her mind and blog and you’ll feel good reading about it. You may wish to keep your eyes open in the future to see it happening around you.


Exploring The World of Google Arts And Culture – E040

The Edugals, Rachel Johnson and Katie Attwell, dropped another podcast – this time about Google’s Arts and Culture product.

I’ll admit that it’s a wonderful pastime for times when I might be a little bored or I’m just looking for something inspirational and different.

For all the time that I’ve poked around in this environment, I know that there’s so much left to be explored. It’s never time wasted.

I’m mentioned various parts hers in posts from the past. I use it as a personal reminder if I ever want to follow the cookie crumbs back and re-enjoy things. The applications are so rich for the classroom and I appreciate the fact that the ‘gals took the time to share their thoughts.

If you’ve never explored this resource, this post and podcast may be just the inspiration that you need to get started.


LearningInTheLoo: Photocopier Fitness

This isn’t too depressing at all.

After reading Laura Wheeler’s post, I thought about all the time I spent staring out the window or eavesdropping on conversations going on while I was waiting for something to happen while at work.

With Laura’s list, I’m reminded of how there can be dead time in the course of the teaching day. Her list…

waiting for:

  • your copies to print
  • the staff bathroom to be free
  • your lunch to heat up in the microwave
  • the bus to arrive 
  • the bell to ring
  • students to arrive

I wasted all that waiting time doing other things. Rats!

In the graphic, Laura offers some suggestions about what you could be doing instead and doing something good for yourself.


I hope that you can find some time to click through and read all these terrific blog posts. There’s some inspiration, fun, and insights to get you thinking.

Then, follow most of them on Twitter.

  • Melissa Turnbull
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Alanna King – @banana29
  • Zelia Tavares – @ZeliaMCT
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to another Friday and countdown to the early spring predicted by Wiarton Willie. Enjoy some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers as you count.


Gearing Up for MST with a Master Storyteller

In these COVID days, you would understand how someone might lose their enthusiasm for doing extraordinary things. That’s anything but the case for Noa Daniels and this post shows just what extraordinary might look like.

She and her grade 8 students have partnered with Lucky Budd about storytelling. This is kind of amazing to think that this would happen but why not.

In the post, Noa describes everything and it sounds pretty awesome. It’s also not the sort of one of that’s done over a weekend. You’ll have to read to get the complete details.

Her students are also appreciative about what’s going on. Here’s a sampling of the comments from students

  • I thought it was cool how the story connected with the 3 rivers in BC: the Skeena, the Nass, and the Stikine
  • I found it very interesting and I really liked how you paused during the story to add suspense. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and telling us about how you got into storytelling.
  • I think it’s very inspiring that although the first time you tried to publish a book it didn’t happen but that didn’t stop you from trying.
  • I also really liked the suspense and sound effects you added when you were telling the story. It was really fun listening and you have such a cool vibe!

The complete story is in her post which makes it well worth the read.


I Want to Break Free!

Here’s a sentiment from Richard Erdmann that we all want to experience. Even the notion of going mall walking which, quite honestly, I never particularly care for takes on new importance simply be the fact that we are prohibited from doing it. In my case, I actually miss shopping with my wife who actually touches everything that she might be interested in purchasing. It drives me crazy. When we get the chance to do it again, I think I’m going to have a different outlook.

Cabin fever and stir crazy are two things that I can definitely related to. These days, the highlight is going outside to walk the dog which fortunately is still ok within the rules.

Richard’s situation is a lot more serious and his notion that he is not only missing the experiences but that he’s being robbed of them will give you pause and a chance to empathise.

I don’t know what else to say, Richard, other than to agree with you that we will eventually get through this. Let’s hope that it’s soon. Numbers across the province continue to show promise.


Stress and The Evolving Teenaged Brain: A Study in Contrasts

From the self regulation blog comes an interesting post from John Hoffman. Regular readers here will recall a post I made last week about a group of teenagers who felt robbed that they were not able to get their driver’s licenses.

I remember thinking, at the time, that their logic wasn’t rational – everyone is paying the price during the lockdown. Maybe now I can cut a little slack when, according to John, their rational mind isn’t fully matured until age 25.

But he notes the research that indicates that the teenage mind is specially vulnerable to excess stress. If what we’re living through doesn’t meet that criteria, I don’t know what would.

All this leads to the announcement of an upcoming course specially for this age group through the Merit Centre – Feeling Stress: A Self-Reg Mini-Course for Teens.


What I’ve learned from being a Virtual Teacher so far

I’m hoping that Amy Bowker’s “so far” doesn’t extend too much further and that any more learning comes from reflection.

She does a really good job of identifying her thoughts and feelings about teaching during these times. It’s sad but predictable that students are just plain disappearing by turning off camera or microphones or just not showing up. I can’t imagine the stress on the teacher who needs to mediate those actions.

As I read through Amy’s post, the word “communication” kept popping up. It lies in the answer to so many things that she addresses. Social cues, working with parents, retention and engagement all can be addressed with effective and ongoing communication.

All of it seems so simple until you realize that a teacher doesn’t have all the tools available that she would have in a face to face classroom.

Regardless, there are powerful observations in her post with lots of ideas and a plan for the future.


Per / Con / In / Re – form

Another great post comes from Will Gourley on the Heart and Art Blog. I can’t help but think immediately – are there any other words that end in “form”?

In the post, Will shares his observations on each of these. Each of these words take on a paragraph and you feel the weight of each of these on him personally. In football terms, I would call it “piling on”.

There’s real wisdom is this quote. Pause and think about your own reality as you read this.

I worry that too much emphasis has been placed on performance and conformity without serious consideration to being fully informed of the true social, emotional, and physical costs of virtual learning. 

I can’t help but think that the emphasis part is easy because it can be summarized with a visual checklist. The other part is so difficult to understand and address. Yet, it’s so important.

Thanks, Will, for summarising these “forms” so nicely.


Why Code Illusions?

It’s a question asked of Peter Skillen as a lead in to this activity.

My response is “Why not code illusions?”

If we believe in the power of programming, then we should never question a good premise for a programmed solution.

In this case, Peter introduces us to a nice visualization of an optical illusion that I’m sure you’ve seen many times. You may actually have created the illusion yourself. You may have pulled out a ruler to prove that it is indeed an illusion.

Peter doesn’t provide a solution but it’s relatively easy to program, especially if you take a good look and analysis of the animation that he provides. Of course, I’m not going to include it here; you’ll have to visit Peter’s post to see it for yourself.


Sick Days for All

From Deborah Weston, a bit of a sobering post dealing with sick days. Much has been said about sick days for teachers, particularly how they don’t take them since it’s more work to prepare lessons for someone else than to drag yourself in to work.

We see the messages everywhere these days.

If you have a fever, shortage of breath, or a temperature, please do not enter.

Advice about this also applies to the workplace.

If your collective agreement has provision for sick days of some sort, it makes staying at home easier.

But that doesn’t apply to all. Deborah has done incredible research on this topic and pulls back the curtain to reveal the impact of no sick days.

  • Put Workers at Risk
  • Spread of Illness to Communities and Workplaces
  • Impacts Parents and Guardians
  • Women Face Labour Inequity
  • and more

She fleshes out each of these and ends the post with a true call to action to her readers.

Devote some time to this and you’ll find another counter to the simple statement “We’re all in this together”. Really?


These are terrific and thoughtful blog posts. Please take the time to click through and read them all. Then, follow these bloggers on Twitter. (and follow their blogs too!)

  • Noa Daniels – @noasbobs
  • Richard Erdmann – @rerdmann
  • John Hoffman – @UncommonJohn
  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker
  • W!ll Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Peter Skillen – @peterskillen
  • Deborah Weston – @DPAWestonPhD

The Year in Ontario Edublogs


As we wrap up and stick at fork in 2020, there are lots of places that are providing their highlights of the year. I’m going to be able to do that this year.

Because of COVID – how sad is that?

Earlier this year, I sat down and created a spreadsheet itemizing all of the blog posts that I had included in my Friday “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” post and also for the voicEd Radio show. I guess this is my signature post; I do it every Friday and feature some great content from Ontario Edubloggers. I’ve written a blog post with the title “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” or “The Week in Ontario Edublogs” 445 times. I do make mistakes.

I started blogging in 2007 and have been at it since then. I even have the book on it written by Will Richardson called “Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms.” So, don’t let anyone tell you that this is a new concept!

My worry, at the time, was there were lots of people all excited about the concepts and digital messages and were sharing stuff to their Personal Learning Network. That’s certainly a great concept and most definitely still worthwhile but everyone was all over American blog posts. There just had to be worthy Canadian content and even more specifically, Ontario content. I was now on a mission. As I would discover Ontario blogs, I started to accumulate them in one spot, this Livebinder.

I’ve actually collected lots of Ontario blogs. Like many things on the web, there comes a time when people move on but I decided to maintain the list just because the blog might return and the original content was just that good.

Certainly, I don’t have time to wade through all of these every week. At one point, I had put the posts into Google Reader which has since gone away. I now maintain a resource stored in The Old Reader so that I’m notified when the RSS spots a new post.

About four years ago, Stephen Hurley extended me an invitation to do a show on voicEd Radio. Unlike traditional podcasts, we would do this show live on Wednesday mornings with the show being recorded and available later as a podcast. We still do that! I write the show overview and share it with him in advance so that he can do some reading. When we have guest hosts like we do in the summer, they get added to the document as well so they know what we’re talking about!

A typical share looks like this one I did for a fun blog post from Terry Greene.

Just enough information to jog my memory but not enough that the talk becomes scripted.

The data from blog posts that are used either on the show or on my Friday blog posts gets entered into the spreadsheet. A typical weekly entry would look like this:

Just check out the titles of those blog posts. Ontario Edubloggers are absolutely the best. There’s always inspiration there and the content never fails to get me thinking. And, after all, that’s one of the reasons why you blog in the first place.

The first five entries would be used for the radio show and the last two which I call “Bonus” in my notes are exclusive to this blog. You’ll see that each author name is actually a link which opens a new sheet in the spreadsheet devoted to that person. Then, there’s the blog post title, the number of times I’d used that particular blog author last year and then a link to the actual TWIOE post. (I had a lot of time at the keyboard during being locked down…)

From my perspective, all this data collection is interesting and lets me make sure that I’m bringing in new voices all the time. It also let my create another new sheet where I could do some statistics and come up with my personal “Top 10 of 2020” list. It’s purely quantitative.

So, here’s my Top 10 List For 2020.

  1. With 15 hits, we have a tie,
    Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca – https://adunsiger.com
    Diana Maliszewski – @mzmollytl – https://mondaymollymusings.blogspot.ca
  2. Used 13 times,
    Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary – https://thelibrariansjourney.blogspot.com
  3. At 12 hits and two blogs,
    Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261 – https://mrscorbettsclass.wordpress.comhttps://alotalot.wordpress.com
  4. A three-way tie at 11 hits,
    Deborah Weston – @DPAWestonPhD – http://heartandart.ca
    Tim King – @tk1ng with two blogs – https://temkblog.blogspot.cahttp://mechanicalsympathy.ca/wp/
    Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris – http://www.matthewrmorris.com
  5. And, another three-way tie at 9 hits,
    Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd – http://jcasatodd.com
    Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio – https://reflectingonrecreation.wordpress.com/
    Will Gourley – @WillGourley – http://heartandart.ca

For the record and grand total, 349 blog posts made their way into a Friday TWIOE blog post.

As posts are used on the radio show, I add them to my public voicEd Radio Blog Roll. I feel so honoured that I’ve actually had the opportunity to meet some of these people in person – typically at a professional learning event. Will and I even held a wall up at the back of an auditorium!

I’m so appreciative to all the Ontario Edubloggers that give me raison d’être on Thursdays so that the post can be written and appear on Fridays.

I’m happy to indicate that the voicEd show and the TWIOE post will continue into 2021. I’ve created a new draft document and it’s ready to go (2020 had 114 pages to it and takes forever to load, even with high speed internet).

Now, I’m not naïve enough to think that I’ve got all the Ontario Educational Blog posts corraled. If you’re a blogger and I don’t know about you and your blog, please complete the form you’ll find here. I’m looking for a bit of information like your Twitter handle and link to your blog post. I’d really like to be able to add you to the collection.

In the meantime, I wish everyone a Happy New Year and a prosperous and safe 2021. Look for the radio show and Friday blog post to pick up again next week.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


The voicEd Radio show is always fun to do and it keeps me out of trouble for an hour on Wednesday morning. It’s even more special with guest hosts. This week Paul McGuire joined Stephen Hurley and me for the show. If you missed it, all the shows are archived here – https://voiced.ca/project/this-week-in-ontario-edublogs/


Looking Catholic Education in the Face in Ontario

I remember that one of the arguments against full funding was that it would promote one state sponsored religion and their values and teachings against all others.

In this post, Paul McGuire takes on the issues surrounding a comment from a school board trustee and the breaking of the district’s code of conduct. Paul takes a look at the issue and the influences in and out of education.

Most importantly, he applauds the efforts of teacher Paolo De Buono for speaking his mind and keeping the issue up front in the eyes of those who follow him on social media.

The ultimate decision about this one individual trustee will happen at the next set of elections and it will be interesting to follow.


Brutalist worksheets

Writing on the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, Will Gourley shares his thoughts about the use of worksheets in the classroom. Along the way, he uses the term “brutalist” to further his thoughts.

In this day and age with a mixture of modes of education, I can see where a worksheet solves a number of issues and could be seen as an attempt to level the play ground. I know that many schools have now implemented a quota system on the school photocopier, sadly for financial rather than pedagogical reasons!

It’s sad to see so many “21st Century Educators” turning to Google Docs as a replacement for the paper worksheet. Going digital should always add value to the process and is not just an opportunity to replicate bad practice in a digital form.

In the post, Will shares a number of resources that could be used instead and they are digital. Paul recommended Discovery Education resources during the show. While we were live, Will sent me a message indicating that he had omitted TVO in his collection and that he would add it in. A quick check indicates that he was true to his word.


SOCIAL PRESENCE IN ONLINE LEARNING

Writing on the TESL Ontario blog was a new blogger to me – Jennifer Allore and I hope that I’ve managed to track down her social media account for later on in the post.

We know that teaching online or hybrid is a real challenge and people are doing their best to use the tools that are available to them. Sadly, many districts are just saying “here’s a link – good luck” without any professional learning to go along with it.

There are many tools and Jennifer shares some great advice with the following:

  • Video
  • Personal 
  • Discussion Board
  • Feedback

The one area that it seems to me that would be a challenge in the ESL classroom is the conversations that are a part of the normal routine. Can a Zoom session lead to the same results?


What Is Our Responsibility?

For those who aren’t in an Early Years’ classroom, I suspect that it can be a challenge to read content into the sort of play that might be seen on a cursory glance. Fortunately, we have Aviva Dunsiger digging deeply about the concept.

A student wanted a repeat of a Box City project. I’m impressed that this second year kindergarten remembered the fun from a year ago!

Along the way, Aviva shares that they got into a number of pretty important topics.

  • Gender,
  • Racism,
  • Bullying,
  • #BlackLivesMatter

Those are important topics at every grade. Why not here.

I’m be remiss if I didn’t mention the number of pictures that Aviva shares and the way that she does. It’s well done – show the activity and not the faces…


Designing school when students have the Teacher’s Copy

Boy, did I enjoy this post from Dave Cormier. We know that we all live in different times.

When I read the title of Dave’s post, I thought immediately about university life. Some professors had put previous exams in the library so that we could check out what their exams look like. Others refused to do so indicating that they’d have to come up with a new exam if they did that!

Dave addresses the current reality and information scarcity versus information abundance. If you don’t understand information abundance, it’s time for a Google workshop.

So, what is the goal of university? Is it just to go and learn stuff well enough to be able to play it back? Or, is it a place to learn and apply stuff? If it’s the former, then everyone should be able to thrive by staying home. Of course, surveillance tools will be required to ensure that you’re not cheating on exams.

If it’s the latter, it’s a game changer for many – students, universities, professors – and that leads to a great deal of questions which Dave closes his post with.


Math Links for Week Ending Dec 4th, 2020

David Petro is always good for some interesting things to do with mathematics and this collection does disappoint.

I spent a great deal of time poking around with

Desmos colours

I’m intrigued by this upcoming webinar about snowflakes and symmetry.


Getting High

No, Peter Cameron is not talking about the opening of a cannabis story.

He’s after:

  • Moving.
  • Outside.
  • Breathing.
  • Being in the moment.

He and his family are finding it very close to his home. It’s their current “high” and it sounds like they’re really taking advantage of it.

In these COVID days, I’m reading more and more about classes taking advantage of getting outside for periods of time. This post reminds me that there is a huge advantage just being mindful while doing it.


There’s your collection of great posts from Ontario Edubloggers. Take a few moments and click through to enjoy each of these terrific posts.

Then, follow these bloggers (and their blogs) on Twitter:

  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Jennifer Allore – @jen_allore
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Dave Cormier – @davecormier
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314
  • Peter Cameron – @petectweets

This post originated at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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