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?


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:

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.


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.


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:

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Today is supposed to be the turn around for warmer weather heading into Super Bowl weekend. Let’s hope that’s true. With all the stories about animals left out in the cold and Jaimie’s refusal to wear snow boots, we’re both looking to get out and put together a few thousand steps. According to my watch, we’re down 3 798 from last week.

In the meantime, I’m so happy to share seven amazing, thought provoking blog posts from Ontario Educators. Read on…

A Modern ‘Who Came First’ Debate

There’s no doubt in my mind for the classic debate. The chicken came first.

And, actually, I think that the modern debate has a definitive answer as well. Technology appeared before the Pedagogy to use it. In some cases, it appeared well before we learned how to use it effectively. New technology continues to emerge, on the market well before its use in the classroom has been explored or understood or even asked for.

Tina Zita understands

Modern learning is not about the tool. It is about a set of global competencies that is needed to be successful in an ever changing workforce. I struggle even writing workforce because I think it’s so much more. The global competencies are about us finding our place in our communities and contributing. 

I know that the savvy technology leaders who read this blog will agree wholeheartedly with her observations in the post.

It brings to light a bigger question though. Tina’s district is lucky that they have someone with her skills in place to provide support and leadership for educators trying to keep up. That’s not a slam against teachers; with all that’s happening, it’s the reality.

Is it malpractice for a district to buy more “stuff” – looking at you iPads and Chromebooks and the latest gadget and throwing it into the classroom without a program of professional learning to implement, understand, and sustain effective uses?


I thought this post from Jay DuBois was interesting. He’s noting a drop in his blog posting since leaving the classroom for a coaching role.

Blogging is an interesting beast. It can truly be a way to do any type of communication that you wish.

I would suggest and recommend that he actually increase his blogging in his new position.


  • a personal documentation/diary of activities performed during the job
  • documentation for a performance appraisal (what are you doing?)
  • stay in contact with your education clients when you’re not there
  • post his schedule online
  • take and share pictures/video of exemplary practice that you witness
  • share anecdotes from visits, comments from kids
  • share and comment on your professional reading
  • highlight upcoming professional learning events

The list could go on and on. Obviously, I’m a big fan of blogging; it will be interesting to monitor Jay’s progress and see what “Reset” means to him.

Scratch 3.0 is Here!

Jim Cash is one of those guys who really stays on top of things. A visit to his station at the Minds on Media station at Bring IT, Together is a must. I have fond memories of him having a number of micro:bits on hand and so we were able to program something that I’d always wanted to do but could only visualize since I own only a single micro:bit. We used the wireless connections between them to create a primitive slot machine with a micro:bit controller and a number of other micro:bits displaying the “fruit”. If we’d had enough time, we could have calculated the payouts too.

If you’re at all interested in coding, you know that Scratch has had a major reboot recently. In this post, Jim takes us through what he considers noteworthy changes

  • Nothing that was in 2.0 has been removed in 3.0
  • 12 blocks are new or tweaked
  • Talks about enhancements
    • Extension Library – micro:bit as example
    • HTML5 and Javascript – no more Flash
    • Drawing and Sound Editing

You’ll have to read his post to catch the rest. Jim’s not done though and provides a “wish list” of things that he wants to see in the future.

I Am Right Here

If you believe that learning should be messy, then this post from TheBeastEDU should be right up your alley.

It’s all part of a story about staying in a house at the Bring IT, Together conference but The Beast stopped me at the dining room table.

I have never known a world where the dining room table is not centre of the universe. 

Now, I’ll be honest. I have never, ever lived in a house that had a dining room. We always had a kitchen table and that’s about it. It was the place for meals and we were never allowed to put our stuff on it.

One of the things that my mom always insisted was a desk for me to work at. So, I’ve always had one. It started with my grandmother’s old desk and has replaced by a couple of others over the years. In fact, I’m writing this post at one right now. As you can see, it doesn’t make things any less messy.

Don’t hate me, Andrea. I know where everything is.

R.E.A.L. Leadership

“We should trust in people, I told them, not processes.”

If there’s any takeaway from any discussion about leadership, it’s always about the people. Always, always, always.

You can always change processes…

…and you can always lead people.

What does R.E.A.L. leadership mean to Joel McLean?

  • Resourceful
  • Engaging
  • Aspiring
  • Listens

Of course, he breaks out each of these points in the post.

I wonder if there’s anything missing. I’ve always operated on the premise that the real goal of leadership is to create more leaders

Class Sizes Really Matter

Lots has been said and discussed about the trial balloon from the current government about easing up on class sizes. This includes me.

When it comes from a classroom teacher, it is grounded in their reality and beliefs. I think we’ve all had big class sizes at times. I still can’t believe that I taught a Grade 9 Mathematics class of 37 (you never forget the big numbers) in a room that seats 24. Not everyone had a textbook which further increased the pressure on all.

What I like about reading Paul McGuire’s posts is that he is able to step away from the classroom and look more at the big picture. After all, a principal should be analyzing everything that’s happening in her/his school and making recommendations and decisions going forth to carve out the best school that can be.

This got way more attention than my tweets usually do. I think this is a good thing, there are many educators who are concerned about class size in kindergarten and primary. As a former elementary principal, hard caps in grades 1-3 made a huge difference in the learning environment for children and their teachers.

In today’s reality, it’s often difficult for principals to speak out this way. Fortunately, it doesn’t stop Paul and leads nicely into his voicEd Radio show.

What school and Curling have in common

My story as a curler is certainly different from Jennifer Casa-Todd’s. My experience was as a member of the high school curling team. I don’t even recall what position on the team I was; just that four of us were asked to be on the team because our parents curled. Is that skill even transferable?

I don’t even recall who our Skip was and I certainly don’t recall him being supportive of us growing as team members. For us, it was a couple of days away from classes to practice and then to compete in a bonspiel. If I remember correctly, we played one game before being knocked out – curling wasn’t big in my town because we had to go to a completely different town to even play. But, I got my school Curling badge to count towards my school total.

And, like in Jennifer’s post, I do recall a lot of yelling. When “sweep” was yelled, we really did sweep not like today’s brushing…

And, back to her post – after all, it’s about her and not me! Jennifer shares a story of growing in the sport going from Lead to Second. That is indeed a major change requiring more skills. Jennifer focuses on the takeout and how her Skip is helping her develop this and other new skills. Therein lies the comparison between school and curling.

Yelling for inspiration is required in one and optional in the other.

If curling is new to you, take the two minutes it takes to watch the video and you’ll be up to speed! Two minutes to understand and a lifetime to master.

I hope this little read warms up your Friday morning.

Follow these bloggers on Twitter for more great content.

This post is part of a regular Friday morning routine around here. You can check out all the past posts in the link above.

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and nowhere else.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Ah, the end of a busy week.

You’ve got one thing to do before the weekend. Catch up with the thoughts of some amazing Ontario Edubloggers.

This week’s posts come from:

On cultivating curiosity in the classroom

I don’t think that there can be enough posts on this topic. Just how do you inspire that sense of curiosity? In this post, Rob Cannone shares some of his ideas for use in a connected world.

Most of the ideas have a technology slant and I don’t think anyone should ever apologize for doing that. It sure beats a lot of the simple minded activities that we know can happen, particular in an uninspiring iPad classroom.

One stuck out at me and reminded me of how old school I am, I guess. I’ve always relied on RSS and an aggregator for pulling things for me to stay on top of things. Admittedly, I felt adrift when Google Reader went away but The Old Reader is my go-to now.

Rob suggests a newer concept – allow an appropriate website to do its updates for you via push notifications. I’d never thought of that but the concept is interesting. Very little is required of students to use the feature. The teacher would need to suggest some sites that would be helpful and would have to know how to turn them off when no longer relevant. It’s an interesting concept; I hope Rob writes more about how he uses the concept.

In the post, he also shares three other ways that he “cultivates curiosity” in his classroom. It’s good to see someone still using QR Codes.

Educating Grayson: How Do We Make Inclusion Work?

Last week, I’d taken a look at some of the thoughts from Paul McGuire about inclusion. He was inspired by the current educational direction and an article from the Globe and Mail.

In this post, Aviva Dunsiger shares her insights about how she makes including a child with autism into her classroom. Of course, being a kindergarten teacher, many of the suggestions may not apply everywhere but I’m sure could lead to inspiration of your own.

Of interest, is a long paragraph of bullet points that start with “I did” and enumerates many of the things she did.

And, what would an Aviva post be if it didn’t have a lot of purple and an explanation about how self-regulation fit into her plans.

If you’re in the position of dealing with inclusion, you might find a tip or two here from Aviva.


In a world of #onewords, this choice from Ann Marie Luce is very interesting.

She hasn’t identified things like “balance”, “leadership”, “health”, or any of the traditional words chosen by so many. That doesn’t mean that they’re bad; it’s just that she has taken a different tact.

Readers of this blog will know that I’ve been enjoying reading about her experiences as a principal in China. She’s taken advantage of her location to do some travelling in the Far East and apparently wants more.

So, here word is “Explore”.

Where, why, and what happens to her former job in Ontario? You’ll have to read her post to find out.

Update: Assessment

Lisa Corbett paints a wonderful picture of some interviews with her students for report cards.

In the process, she’s describing the process of interviewing that she uses. In this case, it’s about Mathematics and she asks each child to solve 7 + 9. Crackers, that is.

She describes the responses as falling into one of three methods for solution. But, it’s the description of each of the three methods that had me hooked, reading this post.

The only thing missing was whether of not anyone is biting on their tongue as they do their thinking!

Words Matter. But Sometimes the Interbrain Matters More.

From the Merit Centre blog, John Hoffman shared a thought and a personal reflection about comfort.

I think we all grew up with the sage advice…

Choose your words wisely

It was good advice then and still good advice today. Of that, there can be no doubt.

But what happens when that isn’t enough?

John shares some thoughts about the interbrain and applies to a particular home situation.

Reminders like this can be so powerful and even more powerful is recognizing just how it works.

Speaking on and about black male students

Matthew Morris shares an interesting personal situation of writer’s block. So, far, he claims that he has the first sentence of a message to staff written about an initiative that he wants to start. That’s about it.

You’d think that, in education, we’d have a solution for him. After all, we talk about education for all, don’t we. Can an author get a little help?

Apparently not.

The school system maintains a storage shed of words and phrases ready to deploy at any time for describing black male students. Our black boys are our most vulnerable, or our “at-risk” ones, or the underachievers, the disadvantaged, or underserved, or our minority students. The list of descriptors goes on and on. When speaking on their plight, we offer our pre-stamped condolences through nouns and verbs like concern, or challenge. It is no wonder we seem lost in white man’s land – spinning our wheels in the vehicle of progress only to end up in the same position over and over again.

Isn’t the fact that we have that “storage shed” in itself a condemnation of those goals that we speak so glowingly of?

If you own a traditional shed at your place, you will undoubtedly clean it out every now and again. If we truly believe in education for all, isn’t it time that this shed get the same treatment?

Ideal PD?

From Peter Cameron’s blog, he shares this graphic.

What’s the topic?

If you guessed, picking the best professional learning experience for yourself, then you’re a winner.

He got me thinking about my own learning, both when I was gainfully employed and now.

I think I can boil it down to this “Find someone you admire for a particular reason and analyse why you admire them. What makes them stand apart from the rest? Learn as much as you can about them and what they’re doing.”

When I look at it through this lens, it makes so much sense. It takes the location, venue, and time out of the equation. If I truly believe that I’m a lifelong learner, I should be constantly in search of the next great thing to learn. It takes me away from those that superficially skimmed a book or attended another presentation and now present themselves as “experts”.

It seems that, at least for me, the onus is on me to be the initiator and searcher of learning opportunities and not just taking back what someone else things is good for me. I guess that’s why I enjoy reading blog posts where people are sharing their current thoughts and experiences.

How about you?

I hope that you enjoyed this collection of posts. I know that I certainly did. Please take a few moments and click through to read them in their entirety.

And, of course, make sure that you follow them or their blogs for more.

For more in the Friday “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” series, click the link at the top of this page.

This post was made to:

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

From 2018

As we sit here waiting for 2019, I decided that I’d take a look back at the blog for the past year. I could do analytics to find the most popular posts but, in these days of spammers, do they really mean anything?

Instead, I decided to pull up blog posts for a month at a time and identify the blog post for that month that I have memories of. Good, bad, indifferent, analytics – whatever strikes my fancy.

You can check out any individual month by clicking on its name. And, hey, it was a chance to use the Drop Cap option of the new WordPress editor.

There are some posts that aren’t in the running because they’re just fun to write. These include:

These posts all are so special that they’re all indexed above if you’re interested in checking them out.

Enjoy my look back.


Who said that?

This was a little test to see if you could identify the commenter based upon their comment only.


Historical Pinned Pictures

You only have to be around this blog for a while to know that I have a weakness for maps. Pinning images to locations is just cool.



A mapping of indigenous communities. There was so much to learn from this.


London-ish’s Edu-Royalty

As I prepared to attend EdCampLDN, some thoughts about the contacts I have there.


Election education issues

As we headed into the Provincial Election, Paul McGuire had started a list of topics that educators need to be aware of.


Gnome Tossing

All work and no play ….


Some serious drop and dragging

Far and away the best session from the CSTA Conference for me.


Playing catch up

My thoughts about how my education had let me down with respect to knowing and understanding indigenous issues.


On Friday

My thoughts about #FollowFridays and how they should work.


A Hallowe’en Playlist

The best music for the scary night.


About Self-promotion

A bit of a rant about people who live on social media to promote themselves without engaging anywhere or making things better for anyone else.


A month of command line fun

Lest you think that I’ve lost my geeky soul.

So, how did I do?

Do you have a favourite post of mine that should have made the list?

Have a safe and Happy New Year.

This blog post was originally posted at:

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Happy last school Friday of the school year. I hope that it’s an enjoyable day for you and that you’re looking forward to recharging over the next couple of weeks.

And, of course, getting some inspiration from Ontario Edubloggers.

December Reflections

Inspired by a post from Lynn Thomas last week, Lisa Cranston wrote a short post to let us know some of the major things that happened in her life this past year.

  • got her PhD (she looks good in purple)
  • published a book
  • got introduced to podcasting via voicEd Radio
  • presented at the Bring IT, Together conference

It definitely was a busy year for her bringing all this to fruition. Congratulations and I hope you’ve left some room to learn even more in 2019.

Combatting Christmas Craziness: Are You With Me?

I’m not sure the general public fully realizes how teachers earn their dollar and a quarter during the month of December. So many things just appear to happen by magic, leaving kids so excited as a result.

Aviva Dunsiger shares a wonderful picture of what most people think of preparation for the holiday season.

But then …

A reminder that the time of season isn’t necessarily the same for all students.

Never Bored with Board Games

The Christmas season is a time around here to bring out the board games and have some killer competitions to prove your superiority. (It’s not that we’re competitive at all…)

The typical game fare around here would be things like Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Taboo, or Malarky.

In Diana Maliszewski’s Board Games club that meets regularly, they go even further. This post introduced me to a whole new slew of games…

  • Numbr9
  • Codenames
  • Looping Louie
  • Dixit
  • Tsuro
  • Ice Cool

None of which I’d ever heard of before. I’m going to have to take a trip into town and check them out.

It’s a neat concept, probably only available if your school is located close to this vendor but having a company come in and introduce a few new games is absolutely wonderful. (and good marketing)

Sit Back and Enjoy

Virtual Reality has always been “the promise” on the next horizon for educational environments. Eva Thompson lets us know how it works with her recent trips.

I really did laugh out loud when she described the students’ reactions and acceptance of what she was offering. I could have written the same descriptor from watching grown up teachers work in virtual reality at the Bring IT Together conference at the station run by Tim and Max King.

It seems to me that there are two environments in play here.

  • the virtual environment that the person wearing the headset is enjoying
  • everyone else looking at that person and their response to the stimulus they’re enjoying. That person ever stands or sits still

When you’re on the outside looking in, you just have to laugh. Eva weaved a great description of what it looked like to her from a teacher perspective.

The Podcast Broadcast – This week, it’s all about music!

When you look at the podcast collection on voicEd Radio, there really is a nice big and diverse collection.

The only real theme is that they’re all related to education somehow.

But, Paul McGuire saw a different theme that he took to his own latest podcast – music.

He saw that thread in podcasts from

  • Gavin Foster
  • Bedley Brothers
  • Shane Lawrence
  • Mark Carbone

and brought it all together in his own podcast. What’s interesting is you can read the post and then listen to the podcast or vice versa. I like that approach.

In my case, I read the post before the podcast was even posted.

In response to “Best of Both Worlds”

Recently, I had written a blog post about my feelings about blogging and podcasting. As you probably know, this blog post comes out Friday morning at 5:00am but on Wednesday at 9:15, Stephen Hurley and I do a radio show and chat about some of these posts at that time. Stephen records the show and puts it up for later download and listen is anyone is interested.

My reflection lead to one of his own by Peter Cameron. I think we’re kindred souls and I absolutely agree with…

My podcasts are anything but perfect

Is it the fact that we have backgrounds as educators that nothing less than perfection will do?

I still get that awkward feeling in my stomach as I move my cursor up and click…

OK, technically, it’s this button but you get the concept.

It’s the same feeling I get when Stephen has got his coffee and says “Stand by” at precisely 9:14:30.

But, Peter, if you didn’t put yourself out there, all the great ideas and thoughts that you have would go unheard in the educational world.

Forget the rules of education; you’re not being marked, you’re inspiring others. There’s no greater tribute that could be said about your work.

Keep it up.

A Model for Student Achievement

I really like this model put forth by Regan Morris about the 21st Century Competencies that we hear about so often.

That part that is often missing in the discussion is typically a way to bring it together, assembling various components. Regan does this in the diagram shared with this post.

There was another observation that I think is crucial for success.

 In order for this to be successful in the classroom, teachers themselves need to practice the Global Competencies.  This also can’t happen in isolation, but needs to be a part of the school culture.

So, let’s let Regan leave us with a thought to ponder over the next while.

Is this the culture in your school?

I hope that you enjoy these blog posts and that they get you moving and thinking on this Friday. Please take the time to click through and enjoy them at their original source.

While This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio won’t appear next Wednesday (we’ll all be out at Boxing Day sales…), there probably will be a blog post next Friday. I like what Lynn Thomas and Lisa Cranston have done to highlight their past year. If you’re looking for a writing inspiration, why not take their lead and answer the challenge. Tag me with your post; it would be nice to include it here.

Follow these inspiring bloggers on Twitter…

This blog post was originally posted at:

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

Response to spammers

I haven’t written this recurring post since the summer time.  Interestingly, I do go in and check the comments that are sitting in blogging jail cells in case something legitimate needs to be approved.

After laughing at a few, I thought bringing them public might be enjoyable for all to read.  You can’t make this stuff up!

I feel so badly that you had to walk away from your kittens.  I’ll bet your bestie in Montana hates you now.

A more interested person might have sent it to Google Translate.  Oh, OK.  I gave in and decided to have it translated.  I’d hate to this I’m missing something important.

“But no one is going to persuade you to do this. To read the newspapers where you will probably write. The editor of Gmyz must have two skills; thinking and logical drawing conclusions. From your entry it is clear that these advantages are alien to you, because it is probably best for you to absorb the pulp of the leading “Mendi”. And maybe it is worth to have a wider seeing (you do not have to agree with them) for the same problems, even on this sensitive page. I’m happy.

I should have gone with my first instinct!

Well, there’s always The Google.  It would have been far quicker than writing a spam reply and then waiting for me to answer your question.  (And, quite frankly, I have no idea what your question is)

Ever wonder what happens when a dictionary barfs into a reply?

It’s actually kind of neat that people “take a break” from things to read my blog.  I’m still not sure of what the purpose is though.  And yes, babies and small cute animals do love me.  A big cute dog does too.

Having a utility to catch spam really is a nice thing to have.  It’s no wonder that a lot of people turn off the ability to reply on their blog posts!

For the record, I took a break from wrapping Christmas gifts in order to write this post.  My big cute dog was helping.  It’s the one time of year that I regret going digital as my start in wrapping is to find a pen that actually works to address the tags!

Have a terrific Tuesday.

This blog post was originally posted at:

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