This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Just like that, we’re into December. I’ve often wondered if the holiday seasons might get people away from their keyboards. That may be yet to come but, for now, there’s some great content from Ontario Edubloggers. Here’s a bit of what I read this week.


Our Kids’ Spelling is Atrocious.

As long as there have been schools and teachers, there have been red pens and circles surrounding spelling mistakes. Look it up. (well, you don’t have to really)

I found this post from Peter Cameron so interesting. It’s a transcript of a conversation between he and a parent who has a concern and was looking for an app or other solution to help the cause.

Peter does give some educational suggestions and guidance.

Upon further reflection, I looked at myself. I’ve always considered myself a fairly good speller. And yes, I suffered through those Friday morning dictation tests in elementary school. I hated them at the time but can now appreciate them for what they are worth. I’ve memorized the words, the rules, the exceptions to the rules, … I was not hooked on phonics.

And then I go onto Social Media and see misspellings and misuse so often, I start to question myself. Is this the beginning of the end of literacy for me?

In the meantime, thank goodness for the squiggly red line under the word misspellings above (actually at the time I typed it, it was mispellings) to keep me on the literacy straight and narrow.


Baby It’s Cold Outside: The Saga of a Song

There was no date on this post on the Association for Media Literacy website. I thought it might be recent and timely for the season but I reached out to one of the authors, Diana Maliszewski to be sure.

In fact, it was about a year old and part of a commitment to post 40 blog posts along with Neil Andersen. After a bit of a back and forth and encouragement with Diana, I decided to include it on the Wednesday podcast and on this post.

In reading, I learned so much more about the song besides the fact that it appeared in an old movie. Lots of media literacy implications (which explains why it’s on this blog) and a real comparison between society and media, then and now. There was a reminder that the song was banned on the CBC for a time and so much more. It’s a really good read and the authors encourage it to be used in the classroom.

I also found that Lady Gaga had covered the song.

And so many others. If the original was controversial, then how would the more modern covers be received?


From Compliance to Commitment Takes Personal Accountability: The Aspirational Nature of Equity Work

With a title like that, you just know that there’s going to be a long post to follow…

And Debbie Donsky doesn’t disappoint!

If you’re looking for something to challenge the way that we do things in education, this is a great motivator.

I mean, we’ve all done it. You get the memo that there will be an assembly on a topic or that homerooms will be held so that you can lead a special session with your students on a timely topic. I’m thinking bullying here.

As a dutiful educator, you do it. You’re accountable to do it. At what level of buy-in do you actually have though?

That’s where Debbie left me in the dust when she addresses rules and policies and applies the concept of aspiration to the situation. After a read, and you’ll read it way more than once, I think you’ll find yourself questioning a number of things. That’s a good thing and something that good writing should do.

The richness doesn’t stop with Debbie’s content. There are lots of connections made and links to external resources. She’s really done her homework in preparation for this post.


Thinking about Feedback

I almost didn’t read this post from Helen DeWaard because I made the assumption that it was going to be all about red pens, circle, and comments to students. Goodness knows that we’ve addressed that so many times.

But, no, that wasn’t the point here and why I felt so good about indeed reading the post.

Helen’s focus is on the other side of the coin.

What do YOU do when you receive feedback?

She embeds this graphic that will take a bit of time to really work through. But it’s worth it.

Think about how you receive feedback. We get it all the time. Sure, there’s the inspection piece from administrators but we get it from students with every lesson. It’s just a matter of really understanding it.

I remember a story attributed to B.F. Skinner from a Psychology of Teaching course where students ended up making a teacher work from a corner because of their actions. Every time the teacher moved towards the corner, the students all smiled and nodded like they were learning. Move away and the students dropped interest. The truth value of the story is in dispute but it is a good story nonetheless.

Feedback is indeed powerful. One of the best things I ever did for myself was to take a course on Peer Coaching and then found a partner who really understood and we worked together so well coaching each other. We still do today.


One-Hole Punch Puzzle Templates

I’m almost positive that I’ve done this mathematical activity described in this post from Mark Chubb. It involves paper and a paper punch. It might even have been as an ice breaker at a workshop. It might have been an online application that didn’t require physical paper or punch at all. It’s a really worthwhile challenge though.

If all you want is the activity, go to Mark’s post and skip to about halfway through it where he describes the activity.

But, if you do that, you’ll miss the important part at the beginning of the post and the why to the reason why you’d want to do this with your class. And, I would do it with everyone, either singly or in groups for the discussion value.

It’s a great activity to use those papers that are in your recycle box. There really is no need for brand new paper to do this activity.


History in the Making – Creating Digital History Techbooks

Paul McGuire had reached out to share with me this culminating project that he called “History in the Making”.

The last assignment we worked on was called History in the Making. I had this idea that it would be really cool for students to develop a digital textbook along the lines of what Discovery Education has created for math, science and social studies.

He was particularly proud of one project dealing with The Oka Crisis. He wanted me to take a look at it for my thoughts. In the post, he shares a couple of others that he thought were exemplary.

Everything seems to be created in a Google Site under the University of Ottawa’s umbrella. I hope that the students also make a copy in their own personal space for use when they graduate.

Some of the things that sprung to my mind while wandering around the resources here.

  • are other Faculty of Education professors encouraging publishing like this?
  • hopefully, they don’t land a job where Google Sites are blocked! (There are alternatives in that case…)
  • particularly in social studies with our new learnings, digital techbooks have the chance of being more relevant and up to date than other resources that might be available
  • certainly resources like this added to a digital professional portfolio would be impressive for a job interview
  • the concept of open sharing of resources is so powerful. It makes school districts that hide behind login/passwords seem so dated

I’m impressed with Paul’s forward thinking and I hope that his students appreciate both the explicit and the not-so-explicit lessons that can be had from this activity.


Thirty one days – my social media detox

If you’ve been missing Sarah Lalonde online, this post explains it all. She has done a personal social media detox.

All the details of her process are found in this post. It wasn’t all just an easy exercise. There were challenges.

Under the category of TMI, she also shares how and where she cheated…

And to address boredom…

One thing I found the most difficult was the “dead time”. For example: waiting in car, in line at the grocery store, waiting for an appointment…). My brain felt like it needed to be entertained. Was I scared to face my thoughts? Why did I need to feel busy? Why couldn’t I just sit there waiting and doing nothing? This is something I had to work on. 

She even extends the concept to students.

I think the big learning here is in perspective. Social Media is something that can be as big or as minimalist as you want it to be. I can’t see one answer that fits everything.

Regardless, it was interesting reliving the experience with her.


I hope that you enjoy these posts as much as I did. Please take a moment to click through and send some social media cred to these bloggers. If you’re a blogger and not in my Livebinder, please consider adding yourself so that I know about you.

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

  • @cherandpete
  • @MzMollyTL
  • @mediasee
  • @A_M_L_
  • @DebbieDonsky
  • @hj_dewaard
  • @MarkChubb3
  • @mcguirp
  • @sarahlalondee

This post originally appeared on…

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

When blogs die


Last Saturday was the latest installment on a series of blog posts called @voicEd #twioe Playlist. In it, I try to recapture the radio shows from voicEd Radio. I wish that I had kept a tally of which blog I featured most. I have my suspicions but that’s all that it is. It really isn’t a competition; just a chance for me to share some of the great writing that I had experienced in the previous week. It’s a sort of maintenance and finality to the content.

It’s also the last day of the month. Now, for you with your high speed and unlimited internet access, have some empathy for those of us who live in rural Ontario with a cap on both speed and the amount of internet use that we can have in any given month. On the last day, I typically check the usage and, if there’s a lot left, I’ll do some maintenance and force all the devices to look for and apply updates.

Since I’m in a maintenance mindset, I also will take a poke around my Ontario Edubloggers collection. In this case, I’m looking for blogs that have disappeared from the online landscape so that I can remove them from my collection. I’ll also go through and mark some that haven’t been updated for a long time. I’ve mentioned before; I’m hesitant to pull the plug on them just in case the author decides to bring it back to active status. The content was relevant when I first bookmarked it and so, while the date may not be current, the content often still is.

As I’m doing this, I reflect on why people blog in the first place and, if there are 1 000 blogs, there are probably 1 000 reasons. It’s not up to me to make value judgements – some are created for a course, some are created because it seemed like a good idea at the time, some supported an initiative that is done, some … You get the concept.

Around here, there was a time before I blogged. And yet, I still made a record of things. It might have been in a binder, in a file on my computer, in a FirstClass conference on the board’s conferencing system, but there was always something. One of the trite things that I think we have all heard is that we should “be learning everyday”. That stuck with me but I had this nagging feeling that I could indeed learn but I could just as easily forget. I made a personal commitment to myself to try to learn something every day and then keep a record of it. When the memory failed, I could always look for it in the blog history somewhere. Over time, blogging became the thing to do and so I use it personally to keep track – this blog for everything – my reading and writing, and https://dougpete.blogspot.com/ for my reading. Redundant, I know, but hey…

I know that there are some blogs that have just gone away. I have no doubt that there will come a time when my blogs will disappear too. But, how will people know? Will people even care?

I always figured that there should be some sort of blogging protocol that says you should make one final post a sort of Hitchhiker’s post. It would be a tribute and a thanks to all those who supported the blog while it was active and an opportunity for people to have a reason to stop visiting.

So, what did I learn today. Quite a bit, actually.

This …

and when I go away to a conference for a week like I did earlier in the month, there’s lots of data left over at the end of the month. Good thing too because there was a big Windows 10 update to apply.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to another Friday of great reading from some of the group of Ontario Edubloggers. I hope that you find some inspiration and ideas from these posts I’ve read recently.


The value of the Exit Interview

You know, I’ve “exited” a number of jobs of various sorts but have never had an exit interview that I can remember. I think we all take a job and like to think we’re going to leave things better off than they were before we started. And, probably things were never finished and we had plans on how to improve and make things better for whoever follows us.

I guess maybe it doesn’t happen because it takes a courageous person to conduct the interview knowing that all of the comments might not be positive.

Ann Marie Luce is having a turnover of 20 teachers at her school and she is conducting exit interviews. Each is given 40 minutes for the interview so if you do the math, it’s a pretty big commitment.

In the post, she does describe her philosophy and reasons for doing this, as well as the questions used to frame the discussion.

I hope that the experience gives her much rich feedback to enable her to create an even better learning experience for her students.


The Open Learner Patchbook Went To The PressEd Conference

Sort of related to this is this post from Terry Greene at the PressEd Conference. Terry describes the open patchwork project and how it’s used to collect thoughts from post-secondary students as they handle their time at school.

I couldn’t help but reflect on my own post-secondary experience. It was anything but the environment of today’s student. We weren’t connected; we didn’t have open courses; we didn’t have instructors that were putting their learning online as they were teaching.

We were, I guess, what you would call pretty traditional. Our resources involved textbooks, professors, and teaching assistants. They certainly weren’t available 24/7 and just a click away. You had to make appointments for consults and it was for a specific time.

All of this was running through my mind as I enjoyed the curation of student content that Terry did for this. We’re anywhere but in Kansas anymore!

A highlight from this post was this great graphic by Samantha Pitcher.


A Day (or three) in the Life of this Grosvenor Teacher Fellow

With apologies to Peter Cameron, I expected a summary of life online for whatever the topic happened to be.

NOT!

Peter, along with a number of other educators were rewarded for their work by National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions with a nature learning trip to Sitka, Alaska.

A lesser classroom would have had plans for an occasional teacher while their regular teacher was out on a Professional Learning activity. Not in Mr. Cameron’s.

Peter had the students doing research and plotted the entire adventure on a Google Tour Builder. He remained connected to the classroom via social media.

Peter’s adventure

Everyone sure seemed to get a great deal of bang for their educational buck.

It’s just too bad that, to get to Seattle from Thunder Bay, you have to go through Toronto.


H is for Happy

I keep checking in to Lynn Thomas’ blog as she’s working her way through the alphabet. Recently, she’s celebrating H.

Her take was that “H was for Happy”.

The whole premise was that happy students and happy environments make for the best learning environment. I think it’s difficulty to disagree, especially when you look at the opposite – what does unhappiness in the classroom or your life bring? Certainly not the desire to learn.

Turns out, it has far more to offer than a sunny disposition and feeling contented. Parents are right to want happiness in their children albeit it is unlikely they know the science of why.

Her approach goes way beyond scratching the surface and brings into play research into happiness. There are lots of links to lots of resources to make it worth your while – including lesson plans and resources for teaching happiness.


Sharing the LLC Space- An Advocate’s Infographic

There’s nothing quite like a look into someone’s library. Beth Lyons takes us inside hers. Take a peek.

By itself, a picture or two may not tell the whole story and advocating for her learning space is the major focus here. Beth shares a couple of custom infographics that she created to share with everyone the great learning and the great opportunities that are there inside Mrs. Lyon’s library.

I can’t help but think that those infographics should be posted in every classroom in the school to help students as they turn to assignments and projects and they’re wondering where they might begin.

There’s much to enjoy about this advocacy post. Obviously, the infographic, but the social media connection is right there. This library won’t get lost!

Shouldn’t everyone be doing this?


The Caterpillar Math Problem: Is it possible to be unbiased in our assessment?

I suspect that the quick and easy answer is “Of course, we are unbiased.” Read on with this long discussion from Debbie Donsky. Her school did more than skim the surface on this question.

It starts with caterpillar problems offered to different classes.

The series of questions shared with staff were:

K-1: A kindergarten class needs 2 leaves each day to feed 1 caterpillar. How many leaves would they need each day for 3 caterpillars?

Grades 2- 3: A third grade class needs four leaves each day to feed its two caterpillars. How many leaves would they need each day for 12 caterpillars?

Grades 4–6: A fifth grade class needs five leaves each day to feed its two caterpillars. How many leaves would they need each day for a) 12 caterpillars? b)15 caterpillars?

The questions were given and observations with discussions during a debriefing are shared in this post.

Debbie shares a deep analysis of the process and the discussion. It wouldn’t be fair for me to try and capture that here; you’ll have to click through and read it in all its original context on the post.


Web Intentions

Sheila Stewart starts with

I have been thinking about my experiences online and on social media in the past few years and what has impacted my experiences and participation.  There is a lot of pondering: “Is it just me, or is it the web?”; “Is it the world, or the web?”; “Have ‘things’ changed, or have I?” 

I guess I can take a bit of the credit for starting this thinking on a recent blog post but I was originally inspired by the writing of Bonnie Stewart. To answer Sheila’s questions, working and interacting on line have definitely changed.

And, I mean working and interacting in the most literal of meanings. When the sample who were online and connected was smaller, I think that people were more devoted and focussed about what they were doing – and were serious about it.

Today, there are more people than ever connected and they bring abilities and mindsets from all over the place. It’s easy to see a few (I was going to use the word “bad actors” but that’s maybe not fair) different actors use the technology and its abilities to do things far differently from what we did. As I said in my post, people seem to need to shock and scream loudly to get attention focused on them. Whatever happened to collaboration? Maybe that’s a topic for a Sunday.

I’ll bet that a read of Sheila’s post will have you scratching your head and coming up with your own theories.


I hope that you have time this Friday or through the weekend to take a few clicks and enjoy these posts in their original locations.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs is a recurring Friday morning post highlighting some of the great blogging happening in Ontario. Are you an Ontario blogger that I don’t know about? Let me know! I’d love to add you to this collection. There’s a form at the link above to add your details.

This post appeared originally at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

Blog abuse


Yesterday was EdCampLdn.

It was yet another great day of learning for me. Plus, it’s a chance to meet people face to face that I’d “known” for a while online.

One of the things that impressed me was that, with all these educators together in one spot, I didn’t hear a phone ring or send off a notification all day.

Including my own. That wasn’t surprising because I have my phone set to vibrate for notifications and they’re sent to my watch as well. It was going off all day, constantly. There were the usual Twitter notifications but most of them were coming from my blog.

Now, normally bloggers get a kick from people commenting but my blog was literally getting hammered with comments. In an environment like this, opening up your blog and messing around isn’t right so I sneaked a screen capture and investigated it once I got home.

This one blog post was being hit over and over with spam. How do I know spam as opposed to legitimate comments from “Juan Shurtleff”? I copied a substantial part of entire comment and did a search for the text. The same comment appears on blogs all over the place.

I guess it’s small consolation but Akismet did identify 94 of these comments as Spam but 30 still got through as approved comments. A bunch of mouse clicks later and I’d clean it but more kept coming. I finally threw in the towel and disabled comments on that particular post.

Lots of questions abound.

  • Why me?
  • Why this post? If you look, it’s four years old.
  • How long would it continue if I didn’t turn off commenting?
  • Since I’ve turned off commenting on that post, will it move to others?

It was a downer for an otherwise great day of learning.

Do any of you experienced bloggers have advice or insights?

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s been another week of great posts from Ontario Edubloggers.

Look what crossed my desktop this week.


Trolls Creep Into the Education Debate in Ontario

From Paul McGuire, a message that I don’t think should come as a surprise to anyone.  Teachers and education are always a target by those not in education.  I’ve mentioned this many times before; we’ve all had less than perfect experiences in education.  It only takes issues like we see these days to fuel the fire.  People feel the desire to fire back.

And, of course, there are those that will fire back in their own trollish fashion.

A great collection of definitions of “troll” appear here.  Pick one.

Paul offers an insightful post that I really enjoyed.  But then, I’m a teacher for life and so I’m bound to agree with him.  I do tend to block those that are overly trollish to me.  I don’t need that negativity in my life.

There are two things that I think are really bad behaviour.

  • The anonymous troll – they don’t have the guts to sign their real name to their thoughts.  Look for them adding comments on public newspaper articles.
  • The troll within – those within the teaching profession who have an axe to grind and take shots at colleagues.

Morale Compass

Yes, Ann Marie Luce said morale.

I saw this post as a two-parter from her.  At a recent workshop she attended, a common theme of morale and climate within the school kept being discussed.  I think it probably was an insightful observation by those who were in attendance.  Things are certainly different than when we were in school.  I suspect that, if we’d been a fly on the wall at our teachers’ staff meetings, that the comments might have been the same.  Kids today.

Later in the post, recent announcements in Ontario became the topic of her focus as she identifies some of the issues facing our schools and our teachers.  Kudos to her for keeping tabs on things even though she’s thousands of miles away.

She poses a key question…

How can we work together to value and support each member of our community?

In the midst of everything that’s happening, it’s a question that everyone should be asking because, as Ann Marie notes…

we CANNOT do it alone!


The problem(s) with mandatory e-learning…

I was around at the beginning of online learning within our district.  We had many questions at the time.  The big question that helped frame things was essentially to make sure that online learning was significantly better than correspondence courses.  Students should get the same learning experience and should graduate with the same knowledge, skills, and attitudes as those in traditional face to face classrooms.

We found that it wasn’t easy.  We also determined that online learning wasn’t for everyone and there was even a FAQ posted to the website that indicated that online learning might not be for everyone.  That has since been removed.

At the time, we addressed many of the same points that Kyleen Gray identifies in this post.

 

  • Plagiarism and Cheating
  • Teacher Selection and Training
  • Literacy, Technology and Independent Learning Skills
  • Lack of Classroom Relationships
  • Stagnant, Impersonal Course Material

Things are different today.  Witness the large number of services that now offer courses online.  At the same time, read the stories behind the low success rates despite the claims from the services.  Personally, I’ve had mixed experiences trying to learn new skills online.  (typically trying to learn a new programming language)

While I think that our consortium did a decent job offering opportunities for the students that enrolled, we didn’t have the mandate that every student in the problem take four courses to graduate.  Revisiting the above observations is going to be more important and mission critical than ever.


 

 

Strategies vs Models

This post, from Mark Chubb, had me thinking in a tangent that I hadn’t had before.  The difference between strategies and models.

Including a graphic that will make you investigate and think.

Mark’s done his homework on this – including references and links to the work of Cathy Fosnot and Pam Harris.  Clicking through and reading his research is highly recommended.

This table provides a nice summary.

An important part of his argument is attention needed for developmental trajectories.

This isn’t a quick and easy read with all the supporting links included but they form a crucial part of the message.


D is for Debate

Lynn Thomas is working her way through the alphabet and is now on D.

“Is there any point in public debate in a society where hardly anyone has been taught how to think, while millions have been taught what to think?”

In an educated society, debate whether personal or with others is really a skill.  It also requires the maturity to recognize that your initial position may be partially or completely incorrect.  Our media doesn’t always acknowledge a change in opinion and, often when it does, uses the term “flip flop” instead.  The topic of the debate, in these situations, goes away and the focus shifts to the person.

When I first read Lynn’s post, I scribbled myself a note:

We live in a society that often vilifies the other person and not necessarily the opinion they have – i.e. they’re bad so that means their ideas are bad too

Lynn offers a strategy straight from John Dewey about how it look like in the classroom.  I wonder, though, can it look that way in real life?


Choose your own… PD.

Yes!

I really appreciate it when Cal Armstrong opens his mind and shares some of the thinking that he’s doing.  He’s always got great ideas.

In this case, he was one third of a Professional Development Day.  He says that he would have 30-40 teachers at a time.  Now, we’ve all been in laid on professional learning events and we know how they go over at times.  Particularly with a technological bent, people are all over the map with their expertise and their interests.

So, Cal did a “Create Your Own Adventure” activity in OneNote.

Depending upon your path, you might end up, well, I guess at an Office, whatever that means.  You will get a chance to discover that if you stick with his post.

Cal shares a link to the Notebook so that you can relive the experience.  I spent a bit of time poking around myself.  Cal’s sense of humour comes through!

There was a chance to see new tools that are available to staff.  There were some challenges with the IT implementation and controls at the school.  But, it sounds like a great approach.  Could you use it?

And, we need to know more about this, Cal.

Since this would be my swan song as the tech guy 


#BIT19 Call for Proposals is OPEN!

On the ECOO blog, Ramona Meharg lets us know that the Bring IT, Together Conference is now open and looking for session submissions.

I don’t know about you but I’d go into any session presented from the folks who are included in this edition of This Week in Ontario Edublogs.


Please take some time to click through and read these original posts.  Drop off a comment if you’re so inclined.  Tell them Doug sent you!  <grin>

Then, follow them on Twitter.

Please check in every Friday and see what great things are happening on the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.

This post appeared originally on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Well, that was a quick week.  Best day had to be yesterday, at least in the morning.

For your next week inspiration, check out some of these great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


Back in the day was better (because now is often unbearable)

Will Gourley’s post on the Heart and Art Blog made me smile as he wrote about the challenges that faced teenagers 40 years ago.  It was like a checklist of my teenage years except that I didn’t own headphones at the time.  But, I could crank up the radio…

Of course, we didn’t have social media back then.  Heck, we didn’t even have FM radio but who needed it when there was the Big 8 CKLW?

Will relates that part of his teaching load this year includes working with students in his role of Guidance Counsellor and shares that the same problems exist today.  Perhaps they’re even amplified.  We do have programs and supports in place but are they enough?

I like the disjoint that he describes between the education system and the medical system.  He’s right.  There’s enough disconnect between your own personal kids 1-2-3-4?  but consider all the students in your charge.  How can you provide the support that they so often need?

Will pleads

Our students need help.

Is anyone listening?


Counting

Given that it was March Break, Lisa Corbett was good enough to join This Week in Ontario Edublogs on Wednesday morning and I got a chance on the air to ask a question that has been bugging me and that was – who was the audience for her posts?

  • other teachers?
  • herself?
  • her parents?

Given that she has a 2/3 split, the audience could hardly be her students.  Listen to the show for her answer.

On the show, she shares what a gold mine she found at a yard sale!  It looks like castoffs from a Mardi Gras somewhere.

I found it interesting to read her take on a traditional French game in the classroom as she incorporates this jewelry into skip counting and other things.  Such good mathematics instruction and I had to smile at how she and her class was aware of modulo although not necessarily explicitly stated.

Only teachers can repurpose things found at yard sales for a class of students!


“You aren’t what I was expecting…”

If people were exactly what we thought they were when we first meet them, it’s hardly worth the effort.  There’s something special about meeting someone for the first time, particularly when you may have known their digital self for a long time.  In real life, they may be something different.

That was the situation Debbie Donsky found herself in and she makes the claim that the above was said to her by a host of a professional learning session that Debbie was to keynote.  I would hope that the person who said it intended it as a compliment.  On the other hand, it could lead Debbie to want to know the answer to “What were you actually expecting?”  The “looked at me — up and down –” was particularly disturbing.

In her mind, Debbie interpreted the situation to mean “you don’t look like a principal”.  So, she did what any 21st Century learner would do – she Googled the concept.  What does Google think a principal should look like?  Her screen capture is included in the post.  This was equally as disturbing because it looks like she should shave and wear a coat and tie.

I tested her hypotheses on a couple of other search engine and got a little more diverse results.  A little anyway.

Fortunately, Debbie has a good support team around here and it was great to see Ron St. Louis’ name pop up.  I hadn’t heard about him for a long time.  There is a positive message about taking on a new role to be learned from this post and it has nothing to do with clothing.


How Do We Use Our Powerful Words For Good?

TL;DR – use them to enhance the conversation and not close it off.

So, self-proclaimed “Educational Troublemaker” Aviva Dunsiger tells of a story where she was challenged by a colleague over a blog post.  It seems that this person saw herself, and not in a flattering way, in one of Aviva’s blog post.

Guess what?

All bloggers need a frame of reference when they create a post.  It may be themselves; it might be their environment; or often, an amalgam of various people and practices.

My suggestion is that anyone who finds offence may have very thin skin or may be reading more into things than are necessary or just personalizing it too much.  I think I know Aviva enough to know that she wouldn’t name names and then attack the person.  She would be challenging what she sees in action and then questioning it … in purple.

She correctly identifies the best approach to take if you can’t ignore it.  Engage in a conversation; perhaps there’s a misunderstanding or there’s an opportunity to learn and self correct.


Too Random, Or Not Random Enough: Student Misunderstandings About Probability In Coin Flipping

I love a good post that gets me thinking mathematically and that’s what this one from Matthew Oldridge did for me.  I get excited when others get excited about mathematics.

In the post, he talks about dice rolling, coins flipping, and spinners spinning.

All of them are excellent ways to create data collections, small and large, at no cost in the classroom.  Matthew encourages a deeper looking and includes a lesson about coin flipping.

Lots of concepts are there in living colour.  It could also lead to a discussion of dependent and independent events as well as sample size.  It also took me back to some really fun events in computer science talking about pseudo-random numbers generated by computer and how to use them to encode messages.  Of course, a real life example is a look towards encryption that we rely on every day.

All this was generated from a simple flip of a coin.  There’s some fascinating reading about how to understand the 50/50 assertion.  I love this stuff.


Writer’s Self-Regulation Project

One of the wins from having Lisa Corbett as co-host for the voicEd Radio show was that I found out about her “other blog”.

It’s a team effort created as part of a TLLP Project.  If there is any doubt about the value of the TLLP, it should dispelled after working your way through this very public sharing of learning.

and it goes back much, much further.  I have lots of reading to do to catch up.


Twitter – To Reply or Reply All?

A quick lesson to Twitter users appears in this post from Jen Giffen.

Getting a reply to a Twitter message which was obviously intended for one person but going to a group of people can be annoying – particularly when you don’t care or you have a thin skin.  (That’s twice I’ve mentioned thin skin in this post)

Twitter is different from email programs in that there is no specific REPLY or REPLY ALL options…

With a couple of screen captures, Jen shares how you can either be:

  • less annoying
  • the person that stops community building by including everyone in messages 😀

Your take?

At a bare minimum, it’s something that every Twitter user should know.  And, you should know how to do it in Tweetdeck and Hootsuite if that’s your tool of choice.


Please take a few moments to click through and read the original posts.

Then, for more, follow these great bloggers.

This post is part of a regular Friday feature.  Click here for all past issues.

This post was originally posted to:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


And it’s a very special Friday in Ontario….

Enjoy these offerings from Ontario Edubloggers.


Stretched Thin

Tim King’s recent post is one that’s all too familiar to educators.  It’s about professional development that he received for a student hard of hearing in his classroom.  It’s only about a month into the second semester though.

And, in the technology classroom with its potentially dangerous tools, it’s really important to be able to ensure that all students know about the safety issues.

we are working hands on with 400° soldering irons, sharp edges and live electricity

It seems to me that this professional development should have been made available in this case before the class started to ensure that all students understand and are aware of how to be safe in that environment.

Speaking of environment, one piece of the advice for was

In the PD it was also suggested that we have acoustically effective rooms by covering walls and floors with soft surfaces that don’t create hard, echoey soundscapes

How do you do that in just about any classroom, never mind a shop area?

With cuts bleeding the system, what else will be affected?


Proofreader or Instructional Leader?

If creating report cards for a class is a tough job, imagine reading an entire school’s worth in the principal’s chair.  We know that, for any job, a second set of eyes is always helpful.

Sue Bruyns argues that it’s more than just looking for spelling mistakes.

In this post, she indicates all of the other things that she looks for as she checks out the messages that will be going home to parents.  As important as spelling is, for her the message about the school and its place in social circles is equally as important.

I think this is a good post for all administrators to read; I’m sure that many will find themselves nodding affirmation as they go through it.  Others might add a few new things to their check lists.

For those creating report cards, it’s a reminder of how important that message can be and might give you some ideas of your own for the future.

I did crack a smile when Sue shared her strategy for dealing with those who were unfortunate enough to be named toward the end of the alphabet…  how about those of us mid-way, Sue?


When Students Shine!

We all know the answer to that – great things happen.

It’s always interesting to see what motivates these great things.  In this post from Rola Tibshirani, it was curiosity about a dead bird.

Which led them to Facebook and Twitter which led them to the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care which led them to Patty McLaughlin which led them to that expert visiting their classroom which led to a inquiry/passion based research project guided by design thinking.

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It’s a wonderful post describing how educational dominoes tipped over to make it happen.

Have a read; it might inspire you to think differently about creativity and to keep your eyes open for the next bit of classroom inspiration.


New books: take an eReading March break!

Just in time for March Break, the Professional Library from the Toronto District School Board offers some professional titles for “over the break” reading.

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This is great for the educators in the TDSB.

Going into any library can be an intimidating experience and we’re so fortunate to have teacher-librarians to stay on top of the latest and greatest titles for us.

Even if you’re not with the TDSB, and you’re looking for some reading over the break, stay away from the newspapers (they’re just so depressing), read this blog, and check out what your own district offers.  And, if they don’t have the titles listed here, perhaps a friendly suggestion would be in order.


Canada’s New Food Guide

The release of the new food guide raised a few eyebrows around here.  Disclosure – I married the farmer’s daughter and that farmer was a dairy farmer.  We were both surprised at the recommendation that water should be your first choice; it always had been milk.

Anyway, Stepan Pruchnicky uses the new guide as inspiration for better eating among students.  He addresses a couple of concerns

  • eating healthy is a more expensive option
  • many of the new guide’s recommendations require some kitchen skills

and offers some suggestions.  They’re nicely thought through.

With respect to the above, I could see

  • more interest in creating school community gardens
  • connections with associated secondary schools which often offer hospitality and food services programs and have rooms devoted to this – field trip!

What would you suggest?


Spending time with professional teachers

While looking for thoughts from people that attended the ACSE Conference, I ran into this post from Emmanuelle Deaton from Hatch Coding, a vendor in that field.

I enjoyed her quick overview of the conference and her name dropping indicated that she did make some good connections there.  It would have been a great opportunity for her to participate by giving a lightning round presentation.

I thought this comment from Emmanuelle interesting.

I also noted with interest that, like us at Hatch Coding, most teachers at ACSE are all “coded” out. That is to say, that the co-opting of the term “coding” by anyone with a toy robot and the co-opting of the term “curriculum” by anyone with anything to sell in STEAM is having a deleterious impact on pedagogy.

People are indeed doing some great things with their robots but it’s still found in pockets of excellence or pockets of experimentation.  Where it fits into the big scheme of things hasn’t been totally fleshed out and the inconsistency can be frustrating.

Still, there are people making big bucks with fly by keynote speeches talking of the value of coding in various forms.

The Hatch Coding blog doesn’t allow for comments on posts but there is an email link if you have strong feelings and want to share them.


Design Thinking and 3D printing challenges

Jen Apgar told me once that she didn’t blog.  It’s too bad because I thought that she did a nice job with this post in the Elementary Special Interest Group for ECOO on TeachOntario.

She attended a Skills Challenge for students in the Junior years.

With the support of InkSmith the students had learned how to go through a design thinking process, were given the choice of 4 different users to solve for (3 humans and 1 dog) and then designed their first prototype on a web based version of Tinkercad.  Then on the day of the challenge then received their printed prototype, and tested and made modifications and they were then given an additional problem that would require them to iterate again.

It sounded like an interesting event.  I wonder – are these types of skills developed everywhere?

I’ll apologize here; it’s been my goal to share blog posts that are in the free and open.  This one is behind a login/password on the TeachOntario site which is available for free to all Ontario educators.  If you do go through the efforts to log in, you might as well join the Special Internet Group and look for other content there.


It’s been another week of great writing and reading from inspirational Ontario educators.  I hope that you can find time to check out the original posts before you go south, skiing, or just sink into the couch and relax next week.

Before you do, make sure you’re inspired enough to follow these educators on Twitter.

This post was originally posted to:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you found it anywhere else, it’s not original.