Student Vote 2019


Well, it happened yesterday. The Prime Minister visited the Governor General and asked to have the legislature dissolved. As I write this, the 2019 Election isn’t the lead story on the local newspaper. I hope that I’m not going to be reading an opinion piece about how disengaged the public is when the newspaper didn’t see fit to have it as the lead news story of the day.

Hopefully, soon!

Anyway, we’ll be going to the polls on October 21.

In education, it’s also a perfect opportunity to engage students in the election process and, in the larger sense, an understanding of how government works in Canada.

A wonderful opportunity exists for all Canadian schools in Student Vote Canada.

Opportunities and resources abound here. Two sections devoted to elementary and secondary schools feature comprehensive resources for the classroom. These resources include video, PDF, and editable documents in these categories

  • The Basics
  • Information Literacy
  • Federal Elections

There are no shortage of resources and ideas for the classroom.

You also have the opportunity to register your school and have your students engage in the Student Vote itself held the week before the Election. The process doesn’t stop with the Election as there are also activities post Election.

Here’s your call to action today.

Olympic Resources


The Sochi Olympics are on!

There have been some interesting Olympic activities over the weekend.  The Opening Ceremonies were so interesting and of course, hockey has been wonderful to watch.  The most painful to watch for me has been the moguls.

In a post “Look for it” in January, I had shared that the Canadian Olympic Committee would be posting and updating classroom resources for use throughout the games.

They have come through as promised.

Whether you’re looking for ways to dress up your classroom or looking for ideas for fitness and well-being, the site has you covered.  In particular, download and print the Teacher’s Guide for ideas.

I particularly enjoyed the section dealing with individual athlete profiles.  Given the Gold-Silver finish of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters on the weekend, it certainly was compulsory research to find out made them so successful.  Having students create their own Olympic profile modelled after this would be interesting.

If you’re looking for a way to track the efforts of Canadians at the Olympics, this is definitely the place to go.

Canadian Apps


I went looking for an application uniquely Canada in the Apple App Store.  It was about the War of 1812 so I started poking around and, what happens often more than I care to admit, I got sidetracked.  I’ve always searched by title or concept but was so pleased when I saw this menu in iTunes.

Made in Canada, you say?  Pitty.  (my apologies to a certain tea company)

I followed the link and found this wonderful brightly red web page.

It should come as no surprise.  There are great computer science schools in the country graduating smart programmers; there are lots of media companies and they thrive on reaching their audience in this way; there are great startups located throughout the country.

So, now firmly sidetracked, I started poking around and was very pleased to note that some of the applications that I already have installed are from the Canadian collection.  Ever the educator, I poked around in the education category.  With all the applications available, there are good reasons to make sure that you’re focusing on Canadian content – the spelling, the actual images of the currency, the museums that are uniquely Canadian…

I would encourage you to poke around yourself.  In a great connected world, it’s sometimes difficult, or maybe even necessary, to know where your apps come from.  As a Canadian though, you might just feel a little proud of what was developed right here.

And, of course, what teacher’s toolkit would be complete without this one?

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Summer vacation is here and teachers are kicking back for two months at the cottage, right?  Hardly!  One of the things that make education in Ontario so superb is the amount of professionalism that goes on – even on vacation days.  I am so proud to highlight some of the excellent reading from Ontario Edublogs this past week.

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Canada Day – Our Ed’s Okay

First of all, a confession.  I’m sorry Diana but I can never remember how to spell your last name so it’s always a copy/paste job.  Diana Maliszewski took some time while I was dodging thunderstorms on Canada Day to reflect on her own personal practice and also the positives of education in the province.  If you need some inspiration and sense of well-being, check out this post.

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Changing My Mind About PD

Tim King is off to summer school for himself.  Tim’s reflecting about his own approach to professional learning as he takes on an Additional Qualification course this summer.
It is so easy to get negative but Tim provides his own thoughts about making his work positive.  Additional Qualification courses are one of those mystery things for the general public.  How many know that it’s a month of travel to a course or working online.  The courses are not cheap and come from the teacher’s pocket.
When they’re done, you’re in a great position to control your own personal direction.  People take the courses for a variety of purposes.  While I graduated from the Faculty of Education with specialists in Mathematics and Computer Science, I went back four or five years to pick up Business qualifications in Data Processing and Accounting.  I never really had aspirations to teach Accounting but ended up with a couple of sections once qualified.  It was a great deal of fun.  Beyond the course content, you could branch into personal financing, purchasing cars, bringing in chartered accountants as guest speakers.  We even had a car salesperson come in to explain the whole process.  It was great for everyone.
Beyond the course content, the connections that you make with others around the province are priceless.  Like all professional development endeavours, it’s up to each individual to find ways to maximize the experience.  It sounds like Tim’s off to a great start!
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Of course, going to take an AQ course is only one way to grow professionally.  Julie Balen is participating in an online book talk around Alan November’s “Who Owns the Learning?”
As she participates in the study, Julie is blogging about her own thoughts as elements of the book ring true for her.  In addition to the book, she talks about being inspired by one of November’s TED talks.
She’s picked a great educator and book to work with.  We had the pleasure to have Alan November keynote a couple of Western RCAC Symposiums a few years ago.  He has a definite speaking style and really helped many in the audience shape a vision for the use of technology in Western Ontario classrooms.
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Heather Leatham has experimented with using the Google 20% concept with her classroom.  As the school year came to an end, she surveyed her students for their thoughts and provided the results for us.  The post also features her own reflections about the project and the impact in her classroom.
It’s a very good read and the concept seems to be catching and spreading.  She’s going to continue it in September.   I think it’s wonderful, not only to experiment with the concept, but to share it with other professionals via her blog.
I’ll look forward to seeing what happens in the fall.
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Such great reading this week.  Thanks to those who continue to write and share.  Please visit their blogs and drop off a comment or two if you’re inclined.  You can check out the complete list of Ontario Edubloggers here.  As I’ve mentioned many times, these are the ones that I know about.  If you’re blogging and not in the Livebinder, please add your details via the form and you will be.

July 1


Today is July 1.  In Canada, that means at least two big celebrations.  In Newfoundland and Labrador, it’s Memorial Day.  Throughout Canada, it’s Canada Day.  It’s a day to celebrate Canada as a country.  Hopefully, you’ll see red and white and flags everywhere.  Around here, there’s a full day of things planned, culminating in the mandatory fireworks display at Fort Malden.

Flags in Downtown Amherstburg

I know that many visitors to this website are not Canadian.  To help you understand and appreciate, I’m including the epic “Tom Brokaw Explains Canada to Americans”.

And, for fun and pride, a current video from Molson

Happy Canada Day.

 

Borders


Living in a border community is one thing.  Living in one rich with history of the War of 1812 is another.  Last year was packed with event celebrating the 200th anniversary of the event.  We have a bridge named because of this.  It also has given us insights into what makes a defines a country.  I learned so much about our heritage just staying in touch.

A country is defined by its culture, peoples, and its borders. Ah, the borders.  Supposedly, the guiding line for the border between Canada and the United States was to be the 49th parallel.  This certainly is important in Central and Western Canada where there’s no break in the land between the two countries.  In Ontario, we have the Great Lakes which would make a good divider.  Of course, there’s the little issue of islands to be divided – Boblo-Canada, Sugar Island-US, Fighting Island-Canada, Zug Island-US, Pelee Island-Canada, Middle Bass Island-US.  It’s like dividing things with your brother.

Then, there’s the weather.  If you watch the weather on US television, all the bad weather seems to come from Canada – “a mass of Canadian cold air” – like we have a monopoly on cold air!  How do we know it didn’t originate in Alaska?  Hmmm?

Recently, I found this very interesting video about the Canadian and US border and how it was put into place.

It’s one of those things you want to tuck away so that you don’t lose it.  I’m doing so in this blog.  It’s an entertaining five and a half minutes.

 

Old Stuff


This resource is incredible.  I use that term when I make reference to something that steals my attention away from other things I should be doing.  This absolutely happened to me today.

The resource starts at “Old Pictures” and the website lives up to name.

Admittedly, the concept is very American but that’s its focus.  (although there is a small collection of things called “Canada”)  Some of the terminology used isn’t the most political so you’ll want to be careful how you use parts of it.  But, if you’re looking for images from days gone by, this is a very interesting collection.

All of the content is copyright by the website so that needs to be factored into your use as well.

The reason why the post is called “Old Stuff” instead of “Old Pictures” lies in one of the links.  It leaves the original picture site and takes you to a collection of online maps.  I’ve always been fascinated by maps and the sophistication of mapping skills as man’s tools became better over the years.   Viewing this complete collection just increases the fascination.  Again, the content in the map section is subject to copyright as well.

Navigation is accomplished by a simple menu on the left of the screen.

image

There are arrows embedded in the pages for navigation from one page to the next.

Sit back and enjoy this very rich and complete collection.  If you like history, you’ll love this.