This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to another Friday and a chance to take a look at some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. As always, you won’t be disappointed with this great content.


#girlswhogame – Part 2

From Roland Chidiac, this is a followup to his Part 1 blog post from a few weeks ago. Read the blog post and you’ll see where Roland and the #girlswhogame are heading now in their learning.

Spoiler – Minecraft

Unlike games of old that are often first person shooter types, the gaming in this classroom includes work with:

  • solve problems using an inquiry process
  • think of and express questions in order to generate novel ideas
  • think about their thinking and have a growth mindset
  • participate in team work
  • communicate effectively in a variety of ways
  • understand how they are globally interconnected

Of course, all of these concepts are fleshed out in the post and it comes complete with pictures so that you can get a sense of what it looks like in Mr. Chidiac’s classroom.


Friday Two Cents: Society Cannot Function Without Women

Paul Gauchi shares with us some observations from his recent tour of occasional teaching. He’s noting that many of the teachers he’s working with are female.

In a discussion, as I’m sure happens in all schools, the reclosing of the school buildings is a topic.

Paul offers two reasons why he thinks it won’t happen.

First, he shares his thoughts that the politicians view schools as daycare. Secondly, he wonders about teaching positions being undervalued and expands the list to include a number of positions that are traditionally held by women.

He then takes a turn and offers a solution that might help the cause. As a father of two daughters, I didn’t find it a particularly easy post to read.


No Longer School Online

Regular readers will know that I really appreciate a good reflective post and Terry Whitmell looks at the first part of the school year and the successes that her school had with online instruction.

  • Teacher Networking
  • Student Agency
  • Consistency
  • Tools
  • Efficiency
  • Organization
  • Professional Learning
  • Student-Student Connection
  • Success

In the voicEd Radio show, I took a bit of liberty with Terry’s post and used the work Efficacy instead of Efficiency. I really liked her observations about how students took control of their educational lives. In a normal school setting, the structure is imposed on students but she observed their taking control of things. That seems to me to be one of the most important things from this post.

The post is written from the perspective of an administrator. I’d love to know if the teachers at the school observed the same things.


Step Down #SOL2020

Melanie White had me a bit emotional as I read this post. It was difficult to read because she uses “step down” as a delimiter throughout the post. It really was effective as it made me slow down and really mull over her thoughts.

Her thoughts took me through a sense of loneliness as she walks through her school describing what she sees. It reminded me of my own secondary school where we had an old part and a new part. The new part probably could have been a school anywhere in the province but the old part was really unique and yet, at the same time, similar to the building that Melanie describes.

I know that I’ve mentioned it before but her writing can be so moving and she’s done it again.

Then, the bottom fell out when she describes an airless room with Grade 9 students and her efforts to change that. While only a few people could have written something this emotional, I would bet that the emotions and the imagery she uses could be the words of so many others.


Social Distance Games & Activities

The day before I read this post from Larissa Aradj, I’d driven by French Catholic elementary school and students were outside.

Normally, that’s nothing to take note of but the ground was wet and it was the activity that the students were doing that caught my attention. They were lined up, physically distanced of course, and they were doing pushups as the teacher walked along in front of them. I was witnessing a Physical Education activity.

That took me back to my football coaching days!

This year, Larissa has picked up classes of Physical Education herself. It seems to me that that really is a challenging assignment these days. In the good old days, you’d have soccer balls and other tools of the game trade. These are not allowed these days so innovative ways to keep students engaged must be found. In this post, Larissa shares some ideas and links to professionally created activities. It’s a good collection to pass along to colleagues. Thanks, Larissa.

Hey, how about burpees?


Changing the narrative

I found this an interesting discussion from Alanna King. And she’s right; every curriculum document and course of study is presented chronologically.

My “yah, but” came from Computer Science where you build capacity in that matter; it you jump ahead, you overlook key concepts. I mean, what Computer Science teacher hasn’t had to stop in the middle of a lesson to explain something that was not apparent to be missing when you started.

Alanna’s talking more about the big picture in the humanities and that got her thinking about educational structure.

Good questions.

(Alanna, I felt badly that I started at the top of your list and read down)


Creating Engaging Lessons with EdPuzzle – E029

From the Edugals blog, a link to their podcast and the notes to go along with it. The topic this time around was EdPuzzle.

Reading this made me feel old!

EdPuzzle is a tool and a technique for helping students understand the content of a video and you’re probably thinking YouTube. I read an article recently that children put more credibility behind something from YouTube rather than something teacher created. When you think about it, it makes sense.

I actually was “formally” taught about how to use video in the classroom and the lesson went far beyond the play button. It involved noting the timer, having a sheet of questions, and most importantly a remote control. So teacher centred!

In the post, the ladies take you through the process as a teacher and a students and offer some sample codes so that you can experience what they’ve been working with.


There’s lots of great content yet again this week that will inspire you and help you take your game to the next level. Please take the time to click through and read all of these wonderful posts.

Then, make sure you’re following these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Terry Whitmell – @TerryWhitmell
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Larissa Aradj – @MrsGeekChic
  • Alanna King – @banana29
  • EduGals – @EduGals

This post comes from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Let me tell you about dedication. After a stretch of cold weather, it’s been incredible around here. Today, I took a drive to Belle River and the marina on Lake St. Clair. I just sat there enjoying the warm and the lake and watching the people fishing. If it wasn’t for the need to get home and write this blog post, I could have stayed there overnight! But, back to work. Here’s some great content from Ontario Edubloggers.


L’aigle et le corbeau

I learned a great deal from this post from Joel McLean. Originally written in French, I let Google Chrome translate it for me. In the process, the word “corbeau“was translated both to raven and crow. Not to point fingers at Google Translate solely, Bing Translate did the same thing. Joel jumped in for clarification later in the day.

Back to the post, the other thing that I learned was that a raven is the only bird that will attack an eagle. How does the eagle handle it? You’ll have to read Joel’s post.

Above the walk through nature, Joel challenges you to think about the ravens that are on your back and attacking. How do you handle them? What are your ravens? Why are you wasting your time with the ravens?


A Cure for Double Doubling

Tim King thinks that maybe the implementation of the Quadmester might be unique to his district. I can tell you that it isn’t; I know of a number of districts that have also taken this route.

At this point, I have yet to see any educators that affirm that this is a good idea. Instead, a whole course is compressed to fit into a longer period during the day and a shorter course length. The net result is huge pressure on both students and teachers and real concerns that the content won’t be adequately learned.

In secondary schools, there are a number of courses that require specialized instructors. If you follow Tim, you know that he’s one of them. In a perfect world, there is contractual language that talks about class sizes. Have the rules changed in the time of COVID?

Tim offers his analysis of both of these topics and offers ways for it to be resolved. That may well make things even more difficult for a district to implement so I hope that Tim isn’t holding his breath.


Learner Variability

Lynn Thomas uses this blog post to describe her walkthrough of the Learner Variability Navigator. Based on solid pedagogy, this appears to be a complete resource for educators dealing with today’s students.

As Lynn notes, these students show up for school with a lot of baggage.

  • Poverty​
  • Learning to speak English ​
  • Lacking background knowledge​
  • Boredom and disengagement​
  • Trauma​
  • Color, ethnicity, or gender making you susceptible to stereotype threat​
  • Working memory, decoding, or attention challenges ​
  • Devastated socially and emotionally in school​

Dealing with language and mathematics, this is a one stop place to embrace and understand so much. Set aside a bunch of time to work your way through this.

Again, language and mathematics are the target for this research but I could see how the elements could play out in other disciplines.


#girlswhogame – Part 1

Rolland Chidiac is back and describes a wonderful opportunities for the girls in his 5 / 6 class.

With the onset of COVID, it kind of looked like it might not happen and yet, it did. Kudos for all who pull that together.

The “game” is Minecraft and the girls have the change to work with Brenda Sherry and Rolland’s Vice-Principal Sherry as mentors. With the connection through Katina Papulkas at Dell, they’re involved with Dell’s “Girls who game” initiative. Gaming?

Exciting times are ahead as the girls discover more about gaming using Minecraft as well as the Global Competencies, STEM, and future career paths that may be of interest to them.


A good Canadian Maple

If you think that sounds much like “a robust, full-bodied red wine”, you’re pretty close to the content of this post from Sheila Stewart!

She’s been on fire writing blog posts as of late but I ended up intrigued with this one. I’ve definitely heard of Bailey’s Irish Cream but Sheila had the opportunity to experience Cabot Trail Maple Cream, another liqueur. Just reading her post and the experiments that she’s had with it make me want to brush my teeth!

Our favourite warmup for the winter months is a mulled wine – easily made with a non-descript red wine, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. That’s our comfort drink, Sheila.

I will have to keep my eye out for her recommendation the next time I drop into the LCBO.


In Remembrance: Service, Sacrifice and a Soldier Bear Named Winnie

On the Mathematics Knowledge Network blog, Arielle Figov introduces us to this film featuring “Winnipeg Winnie”.

It comes in time for Remembrance Day and, more than just the movie, includes curriculum resources tied to the Ontario Curriculum.


The 500 – #398 – Eliminator – ZZ Top

Following Marc Hodgkinson’s walk through Rolling Stone’s Top 500 albums has been an awesome experience for me. It also is a reminder of how long ago some of these albums actually are.

This time, it’s ZZ Top’s Eliminator.

If you are in the mood for a trip back to the fusion of blues-rock and synth-pop in 1983, give this record a listen. Better still, click on some of those video links and enjoy the cheesy decadence of a classic ZZ Top video.   

For me, this brought back a smile. I moved to Essex County from an area of Canada with a much more decided Canadian taste. I was always all over them about Canadian versus American spelling. I remember a home room moment with a chat with a student who sat right in front of my teacher’s desk.

Hey, sir! Have you heard the new song from Zed Zed Top?

To his defence, they were bombarded by the Detroit media.

I always wanted a spinning guitar.


Phew! I got the post done in time to watch Thursday night football.

Please take a moment to click through and read these terrific posts. Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Joel McLean – @jprofnb
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Lynn Thomas – @THOMLYNN101
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • Arielle Figov
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I can’t get over how we seem to be speeding into winter. Cooler nights, the furnace got turned on, and it’s easy to detect the shorter days. On the other hand, it makes for a cooler dog walk…

Please enjoy these blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. As always, there are some great thinking in there.

The voicEd Radio archive of This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcasts is located here.


We’re back and it feels…

So, school is a month in and people are experiencing the new reality. Some teachers had a choice of teaching face to face and some online. Will Gourley decided to take the face to face route.

He describes his experience as CAGE.

  • Confusion
  • Anger
  • Grief
  • Elation

and expands on each of them. It’s an interesting read and I suspect that Will speaks for thousands of teachers this year.

This year is definitely different and yet the descriptions that Will uses might well be the reality of any different year. But, the reality this time around is that everything is amplified and teachers are much more cognizant about everything that’s happening in their world. Normally, a routine is established in classrooms in that first week. It’s definitely taking longer this year. They don’t cover this at the Faculty.

Prepping to teach this September has matched the level of confusion and effort of my very first years. 

Give Will a read and see if he’s not describing your reality.


Mask Productions

Around here, we turn on the Windsor and Detroit news stations to find out what’s happening around us. Because these stations are part of a big network, often they will bring in stories from the rest of the province or the country so that we get a sense of what’s happening elsewhere.

Of that, I’m sure that you can imagine the out of district news settles in on what’s happening in Toronto and/or Ottawa.

I think the last time that news from the northwest of the province came in a celebration for Terry Fox.

Certainly, nothing COVID from Thunder Bay or westward makes the news because their numbers are miniscule. That’s great news. So, I appreciated this post from Sheila Stewart letting us know how things are going from her perspective.

We are a big province indeed and bloggers from different locations help bring the entire picture into focus. In the post, we get a look at Sheila’s crystal ball for how long masking will be around.


Get Jamming with Google Jamboard – E022

I’m a big fan of digital visual aids in the classroom. Those lucky enough to have SMARTBoards or some other interactive product hopefully feel the same.

When Jamboard was announced, I actually thought it was for music but I was wrong. It’s Google’s idea of what an interactive whiteboard should be.

The EduGals share their insights to the product via both a podcast and this blog post. The podcast is nice but I’m more of a fan of the post. They include a number of screen captures and walk throughs of the functionality of the product. Man, we’ve come so far from the days of being excited about Microsoft Paint!

So, what makes this product different? To me, it’s the Google element. It’s enhanced for the web and that makes a huge difference. It takes away dependency on installing and maintaining software and it just works. As the EduGals point out, it’s very friendly and functional regardless of your platform. That makes it worthwhile.

If you’re just getting started with Jamboard, this is a pretty definitive walkthrough. Make sure that you check out the resources that they’ve included and their usage advice. You’ll leap from functionality to pedagogy almost immediately!


Finding my joy

I thought that this was a masterful piece of writing from Amanda Potts. The first time I read the post, I read it picturing it with the scenario that she describes. On the phone and working with a special needs student and helping the student decide between what they could control and what they couldn’t.

It was an emotional read and I put myself in her shoes and could feel the reality of dealing with that student. Any teacher could empathize. You could even feel the pain of having the phone pinned to her ear that way.

Then, I read the post again.

This time, I felt that she was telling us a story about herself and the reality of teaching these days – those things you control and those you can’t.

The first read was powerful; the second read was even more so.

I do hope that she continues to find her joy.


Apple Strudel: Family Recipes and Rituals to Heal an Aching Heart

Debbie Donsky bases this post around Apple Strudel. Normally, I would read and move on but there’s much more here than the strudel.

It came as a result from her father’s request when asked the question

Is there anything you want to eat?

The balance of the post describes how she goes about fulfilling this request.

These days, if I wanted apple strudel, I’d go to Sobeys in town and buy it in a package all ready to go.

That wasn’t Debbie’s solution and what she described was more or less the routine that my mother would have followed. (Except we wouldn’t have travelled to Niagara). The jar of canned peaches reminded me of the rows we would have in the basement once the fall canning blitz was over.

There really is something special about homemade. The results aren’t always perfect; they aren’t always even symmetrical. But they were awesome and a real treat.

So, please read Debbie’s post where she reveals the “secret ingredient”.


Covid Education Is What The Unicycle Is To The Bicycle

This is such an interesting title for a blog post and generated by Matthew Morris. I’m happy to know that I’m not the only one who was unable to master riding a unicycle although to my defense, I only tried twice.

I can vouch for his premise – riding a unicycle is nothing like riding a bicycle.

The first days of school were nothing like dusting off that old 4-speed and taking it for an easy ride down a familiar path. The first days back to school, under Covid education, felt like someone told me and all teachers, “You know how to ride a bicycle, right? Good, here’s a fucking unicycle…it’s basically the same thing.”

It’s a good comparison and would be funny if it wasn’t so serious. Even online learning in the time of COVID is different from online learning during regular times.

The difference? It goes back to the message from Amanda above. There are some things that you can control and some you can’t.

Is anyone in control these days?


A year later…

So, this is my official check in with Ramona Meharg.

As she reminds us, it’s been a year since she lost her mother and is taking time to think about the past year.

I’m told the first year is the most difficult as I pass these days and events without her for the first time.

I hope that the advice works out for her. I can share that, in my experience, the first year may be a collection of milestones but it’s certainly not the end to the memories. In fact, I would suggest that something is wrong if those memories ever do end.

Ramona is correct in her thoughts – going through this in the time of COVID is awful. In our family, some final meetings were through an external window. Nobody should have to do that.

Ramona’s post should serve as a reminder to all – make sure that you’re checking in on friends and loved ones. It’s always important but never more than right now.


I hope that you can find some time today or over the weekend to do a read of all of these wonderful blog posts and then share them within your network.

And, follow these awesome bloggers on Twitter.

  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Ramona Meharg – @RamonaMeharg

This post originated from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Greetings from my remote location – in my house. If you’ve listened to the voicEd Radio show on Wednesday mornings, you’ll know that I’ve been bumped from Studio A to Studio B because of a bathroom renovation. I’m on a different computer, different network, but I did bring my chair to sit at this relatively small desk. So, I’m good to go but am staring at a wall instead of looking outside on this beautiful Fall day. Here’s my weekly wander around the province looking at Ontario Education blogs.

The voicEd Radio archive of This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcasts is located here.


Teachers Are Still Rocking It-

It’s easy to read about the challenges that Ontario (and everywhere) teachers are having as school buildings re-open in the time of COVID. It’s less easy to find something motivational but Michelle Fenn does in this post on the ETFO Heart and Art Blog.

It’s great to read that educators from her district are interested in refining their technology and pedagogy abilities on their own time during the summer and now continuing into the evenings.

She draws a parallel in education to a series that she watched on Netflix about an exploration to Mars and the unexpected things they found. I’ll bet that describes your classroom.

It’s a good read and she mentions something that needs to be repeated and repeated. It doesn’t lessen our opinions of doctors, nurses, firefighters, grocery and other store and service workers but

Every educator is a front line worker, doing their best, making a difference, being brave beyond imagination and truly an inspiration.

I challenge all readers to repeat that on social and other media often.


A Dichotomy of Words

Elizabeth Lyons gives us a lesson in language in this post all tied to education’s current realities. As she notes, “dichotomy” is a word that we don’t use all that often. But, it was the inspiration for this post as she shares what she sees as dichotomies in our current reality.

  • Masks or no masks?
  • Physically distanced students or collapsed classes?
  • 1m vs 2m?
  • Online learning or face-to-face?
  • Hand sanitizer or soap and water?
  • Google Classroom or Brightspace?

Then, she takes off and gives her interpretation of each.

It’s an interesting read and important that it’s from the keyboard of an educator. We see these terms used casually by those in politics and on the evening news. Their true meaning goes much deeper.


“Somewhere the Hurting Must Stop” – Terry Fox

Patti Henderson is an incredible photographer and a valued person that I’ve met through my social connections and I’ve had the chance to meet her in person a couple of times.

I will apologize up front though; I went to her blog and looked at the pictures and was captivated and blown away with what I saw. I’ve mentioned it many times that artists like Patti see things that I miss. Certainly, this sticks out for me in this photo essay.

It wasn’t until I got to the bottom and saw the map that I realize that this wasn’t some sort of random collection of images. She had participated in a Terry Fox run/hike and took pictures along the way. I even thought that she had taken a picture of the set for Kim’s Convenience until I realized that there are thousands of corner stores in this world.

The pictures and her corresponding commentary puts the whole experience into perspective. Thank you, Patti, for doing this.


Body Breaks at Your Desk – for students too!

In a perfect world, there is so much movement in the classroom. Even when students are writing a test or a quiz, you’re up and walking around. This is certainly not a perfect world and people are supposed to sit at desks for the most part of the school day.

Laura Wheeler takes on this notion and lets us know that there are things that can be done to get the blood moving even in the current reality.

In the post, she explains why it’s important to have some movement in the classroom and shares a playlist of activities she’s curated to be done during breaks.

This is yet another example of how educators are seeing puzzle pieces strewn on the classroom floor and are taking the time to put them all back together. Using this metaphor, I think that it’s important to realize that you may have to smack some of those pieces to make them fit at times.


The 500 – #404 – Dr. John’s Gumbo – Dr. John

I really enjoy this series of blog posts from John Hodgkinson as he takes us through a list of great 500 albums. I hadn’t through of Dr. John for a while and when I do, I think naturally about

The song would be so important in our current time and place. If nothing else, turn up the volume and play it loud.

It’s not on this album (Iko Iko is) but there are great tunes nonetheless.

John gives us a description of the influences in Dr. John’s music including the connection to voodoo. It’s an interesting read and, he’s inspired to think about how to greet students in his classroom.

  • Everything is an influence for good or bad. I’ll remind my young charges to be mindful of the world around them and tap into its inspiration.
  • The teen-years are a fertile time for passionate pursuits…pursue your passions.
  • I will continue to foster the academic and artistic pursuits of my students. Unlike Mac’s Jesuit teachers, I’ll never give them an ultimatum.
  • Persevere and Adapt. Challenges are opportunities for greatness in disguise.
  • Quirky, flamboyant, wild and weird are positive descriptions. Be what you are meant to be … Let your freak flags fly!

Some inspirational thoughts here. Could you use them?


Networking in a Pandemic (key to survival)

OK, I love anything that Zoe Branigan-Pipe writes and when I’m in the first sentence of her post, I’m over the top!

My favourite Beauty and the Beast photo from a OSLA Superconference where led the Great OSLA Faceoff

I’m glad that I wrote that reflection post about my experience. In her response, Zoe takes us through her network and the value that it brings to her. I’m impressed with how our networks overlap.

If you’re new to networking or if you’d like to tweak your own network, take an opportunity to “meet” those in her post. You can only get better connected when you include them in yours.

In closing, hi Zoe, you’re not the only one to read your post and we’ll hold you to your promise of blogging at least once a week!


Commiserating With Others Over Their Technology Woes

Finally, back to the Heart and Art blog and a post from Tammy Axt.

This is another photo essay – about teaching this time. Technology works well except when it doesn’t.

Tammy is teaching in a hybrid environment and so is being observed with a couple different set of student lenses and everything just needs to work.

What happens when it doesn’t? It happens for all of us. I can just image the Help Desk at her district when she sends in these images to report problems.


I hope that you will take the time to click through and read these terrific blog posts. There’s great stuff there for all.

Then, make sure you’re following all these people on Twitter.

  • Michelle Fenn – @toadmummy
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Patti Henderson – @GingerPatti
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • John Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher
  • Zoe Branigan-Pipe – @zbpipe
  • Tammy Axt – @MsAxt

This post appears first on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


As I indicated earlier this week, this Wednesday didn’t have the regular radio show / podcast on voicEd Radio. I got bumped by some principal thing. So, this is the only opportunity to find out what I’ve been reading from Ontario Edubloggers.


6 FREE Resources for Anywhere Learning

Jennifer Casa-Todd leads off this week with some resources for people to use that hopefully will help out no matter what your return to school looks like. Her list includes:

  • Google Resources
  • Microsoft
  • Eduprotocols
  • Hybrid Teacher Survival Guide
  • A Digital Librarian’s Survival Guide
  • OISE Learning Webinars

Some may be obvious and some might provide some insights that you may have not seen before.

I suppose the Google thing might be in the “obvious” category, but the big takeaway should be following the @GEGOntario folks. Jennifer indicates that there’s a panel in the planning to help teachers.


Do You Want to Go Back?

What a bizarre concept!

A leader in a school district in Ontario asking a student if they want to go back and on what terms. That was the case for Sue Dunlop and she was surprised at the answer her niece gave her.

Then, Sue turns to the reality that not all students are the same and not all come from the same background and not all have the same wishes. It brings her to ask some interesting questions.

  • Who benefits from the way we’ve been doing things?
  • How can the voices of all students be amplified?
  • What does it mean to use an anti-racist lens when working on early reading and progress towards graduation?

Much talk has been made about the return to school building as a return to a live pre-COVID. Those that wish for this are going to be disappointed, at least in the short term

As Sue notes, the status quo isn’t good enough.

I hope that this philosophy is ringing in the ears of all educators and educational leaders.


ADVENTURES IN SUMMER SCHOOL

From the TESL Blog, an interesting look at summer school this summer written by Svjetlana Vrbanic. It wasn’t a year off. It wasn’t life as we know it. But, apparently, it was quite an adventure.

Of course, it’s different. I think back to my own summer school experience – it was for additional qualifications. It was like regular school, only hotter and I was increasingly aware that there was a lot else going on while I was in class. Then, there was the commute to London and back.

I found this quite interesting. Obviously, the students wouldn’t be in a single place so it was learning online. And they didn’t have to commute. Zoom was the answer. But still, the adventure continues and I suspect that many can sympathize with the challenges.

  • Test-time Technical Difficulties
  • Student as Host (whoops)
  • Mystery Students

Where do I start?!

So, here’s the thing about people that like and enjoy mathematics. They want to share their passion and interests with others. Such is the message that comes through in the post from Melissa D, the Dean of Math!

So, she talks about getting the question “where do I start?”

In the post, she describes an activity that promotes a whole bunch of Cs

 classroom culture of connection, collaboration, conjecture and community

I like the activity and I like how she describes how it could work to create that desired culture.

If you’re in search of inspiration, this is worth checking out.


How Are You Finding Control?

I was drawn to Aviva Dunsiger’s post by the word “control”. In education, it could mean so many different things. I wondered what her take would be.

The post is a really big picture look at her and her teaching partner’s professional life. She takes on the word “play” in the post because it may well one of the most misunderstood words in education. Especially, if you have embraced it in your classroom.

She gives a bit of reflection about what control in her classroom means. My wonder is it truly a loss of control or a more strategic way of handling things? I’ve had this discussion with many early years teachers as they address it in both French and English. It’s a humbling conversation for someone coming from secondary school.

Right now, every educator has lost all kinds of control. Some that come to mind:

  • something as simple as being able to go to the school and set up a classroom
  • what type of schedule will be run in the province, in your school
  • what is mathematics going to look like?
  • will the students play nicely by the new COVID rules?
  • how many students will actually show up face to face?

I totally understand her message. A wise person, one of my superintendents, advised me to let go of those things that I can’t control and take charge of what I can. It’s been good advice that has stuck with me.

I feel for Aviva who is so concerned about a policy directive from the board office about social media that may well change so many things that she’s been a leader in.


Legacy Pedagogy Baggage

OK, so Matthew Morris is making me feel badly with this one. While I wasn’t an A+ student in all subject areas, I did do reasonably well in school. In elementary school, I was always in a split-grade classroom because supposedly we were motivated self-starters.

In fact, when I think about it, being in that split-grade classroom may well have helped me understand the educational system better. I think I learned the “game” of education and that the road to success was easier if you just played by the rules.

It only takes a couple of hours in a classroom practice teaching situation to realize that the game book is different for different students. We no longer ask if a student is smart but we ask how they are smart.

As teachers return to another school year, and this will be one like no other, I would suspect that student abilities in various areas will be amplified. I suspect that they’re going to want to hang on to school, teachers, and friends like never before except the concept of hanging on will be different from necessity.

Maybe from necessity, teachers will be willing to throw away some of that old baggage too.


Anticipation and Imagination

Melanie White’s post follows so nicely on the heels of Matthew’s. She closes so powerfully.

The anticipation of teaching that has roots grounded in the individual student experience and identity which is essential to realizing one’s genius. There is a vision that I can anticipate and radically imagine for teaching this year.

Every time I read something from Melanie, I end up walking around and replaying her thoughts in my mind. (usually while walking the dog)

It would be so easy for teachers to curl up in a ball and rock back and forth. The level of uncertainty has never been so high. Melanie did something so good for herself and attended a seminar that “converted my anxiety to anticipation”. You can see her outlook changing in her words as you go through the post.


Even without the voicEd Radio show, this was a powerful collection of reading for me. I hope that you can find time to click through and read them all … and be inspired.

Then, follow them on Twitter

  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Sue Dunlop – @DunlopSue
  • TESLOntario – @TESLOntario
  • Svjetlana Vrbanic – @lanavrb
  • Melissa D – @Dean_of_math
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio

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https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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