This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Elizabeth Lyons, president-elect of the Ontario School Librarians’ Association and co-host of the Read into This podcast was the guest host on the voicEd Radio This Week in Ontario Edublogs show. Besides a nice conversation, she was able to share a teacher-librarian perspective to the five blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers that we featured on the show.


One Word. My Word.

We started the show by looking at Elizabeth’s personal blog. You’ll recall that instead of a #oneword for a year, she’s elected to choose one word per month. It’s interesting that others have agreed with her rationale for doing so and have followed her lead.

Except for June. She picked a word but didn’t share it with us or blog about it.

Moving to July … her word is “Listen”. Now, we’ve all heard this word used ad nauseum in education and I was kind of expecting a familiar spin to the use of the word.

Boy, was I wrong.

She bravely turned the post into a personal story of her teaching life from the last year and the challenges she had as she listened to herself and took action.

I don’t use the word “brave” lightly. You’ll know why when you read the post. Quite frankly, I anguished over whether to include this post but she’s pinned it to the top of her Twitter timeline. She wants to share the story. Do it for her. It’s sad to think that there may be all kinds of other educators who are in the same boat but don’t have the same release or network for support.


Wiki Wondering

There has been this group of post-secondary educators who are really pushing themselves into a new world with technology and then seeing how it fits into their professional life.

This blog post is a collection of wondering about wikis from Helen DeWaard. In particular, her focus is on the greatest of wikis – Wikipedia.

I’m old enough and experienced enough to recall when Wikipedia was a four letter word. Use of it as a scholarly source was forbidden. And yet, here we are today and often this is the first result you get from any internet search. Such is the value. The amazing part is just how it got that way and Helen addresses that so nicely among other things.

Personal wikis were interesting to me at one point too. After doing about a million Dreamweaver workshops and creating a lot of static and ultimately stale webpages, there were wiki creation sites that came along and let you create a presence in a matter of minutes. I used dougpete.pbworks.com ultimately as a repository for many of the materials for my workshops. It’s still there and I poke around a bit but I’d have to do some real work to update it. Eight Weeks to Web 2.0 was a course that I put online for teachers to get up to speed with social things over the summer. The topics are still valid although my former employer dropped the use of FirstClass which was the tool I used for a few of the tools.

I spent a lot of time on Helen’s post. It’s rich with links and resources. She’s done a lot of work getting this up for us. You need to read and explore.

Her wonders?

  • about wiki education?
  • how to connect wiki education to your teaching?
  • what’s behind the Wikipedia curtain?
  • who’s behind the curtain?
  • what I did?
  • where this is going next?

Slice of Life: The farm

I know that Lisa Corbett thinks that this was a unique story about her family and it probably was. But it isn’t much of a leap for me to think of places around here where I could and have taken my family to do many of the same activities.

I’m sure that you could add to the list. It is an amazing family outing.

What makes Lisa’s post so particularly delightful is that she and her family can now actually visit these wonderful places, pick fruit, do family things at the playgrounds and more.

The thing that really intrigues me from Lisa’s post are Funnel Fries.

I’ve never heard of them before but if I ever see them on a menu …


Reading List for National Indigenous History Month

This is a timely post for educations and teacher-librarians who are working hard to get caught up on things that were never part of our education.

Jessica Outram has been collecting texts from Indigenous authors for over 25 years.

In this post, she shares what she would like others to read from her collection. In the post, she gives us 30 titles to consider.

If you’re looking for a starting point or just want more, check out this post.

While there, check out her Hummingbird podcast and Poetry sections.


ZARA HOSSEIN IS HERE BY SABINA KHAN

From Alanna King, a concept not specifically this particular post.

On her blog, Alanna shares with us the titles and her thoughts about the books that she’s reading and researching.

I could see a couple of uses for this.

  • it’s a way to record her personal reading and research to bring back later. We all know that we learn better when we create something
  • it’s a way to engage a community of educators who are looking for new titles and don’t necessarily want to start from scratch

I see a great deal of value in both uses.


Myth of Hybrid Multitasking

I was tagged in the announcement of the release of this blog post from Deborah Weston. I think we all know what inspired her to write about this at this particular point in time.

We’re still waiting for the current government to let us know what education will look like in the fall. I know that many are fearful for the notion of hybrid teaching – simultaneous online and face-to-face and the challenges that that provides. Personally, I think that the whole issue goes far beyond the concept that a teacher may have students in two places

Deborah has done some research into the notion of multitasking in general and I like the specific inclusion of the research about the smartphone that she includes.

I don’t buy into the concept 100%. For example, I’m writing the blog post while a John Fogerty concert is playing on YouTube and I’m humming along. I’ve always worked better with music in the background.

Even the whole notion of teaching – forget the hybrid component for a second -isn’t a singular task. Any teacher will tell you that you that there are always various tasks that you’re juggling just to get the job done. We’ve always joked with students about having eyes in the backs of our heads. If the goal is to talk about two modes of teaching happening simultaneously, that would be an interesting discussion. Managing all that is happening or should be happening in one mode can be overload at times. Doubling that is the real issue in my mind.


Drone Sunrise #0303: Three Different Styles

So, Peter Beens now has a drone to add to his collection of things to explore and play with! I wish I had his money. I’ve learned so much from him about photography over the years.

In this case, he sent his drone skyward to take a picture of a sunrise and then applies a number of filters to it and asks us to choose.

I’m impressed that he was able to find water this calm and reflective first thing in the morning.

Drone Sunrise #0303 - The Original

In terms of his question, I prefer the first of the three images. The other two look too altered to me. In the post, he doesn’t tell us what he did to the images. That would have been interesting to know.


Please take some time to click through and check out all these terrific posts.

Then, follow the authors on Twitter.

  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Helen DeWaard – @hj_dewaard
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Alanna King – @banana29
  • Deborah Weston – @DPAWestonPhD
  • Peter Beens – @pbeens

This Week in Ontario Edublogs is live most Wednesday mornings on voicEd Radio. This week’s show is located here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to a special Friday. If you’re a teacher, you know why. If you’re not, ask a teacher. It’s a time to share some of the awesome reading that I did this week from Ontario Edubloggers.


Thoughts about white supremacy

Those that are regular readers on this blog will already have read this post. David Garlick had written a collection of Twitter messages and I took the time to read them all. The process showed the shortcoming that Twitter does have with its limit on the length of messages. I offered to put them all together in a blog post and David agreed.

It’s a collection of his personal thoughts and are most definitely worth the read and ponder by all.

Please do so, if you haven’t already.


Finding the Fuel to Excel

Rolland Chidiac really expresses his thoughts here…

“Since March 2020, I have been in a hyper state of reflective practice.”

It has been a painful year with major events that impacted all of us. Rolland used this blog post as an opportunity to be open and honest with us all about his personal feelings.

His anchor, in terms of leadership, is the Catholic Leadership Framework which has provided the support and direction needed.

It’s pretty easy to beat yourself up at this time and nobody would you fault for it. But, the fact that it’s the last school Friday in June today and you’re here, you may wish to get strength from his closing paragraph.

As I approach the end of this very interesting and unprecedented school year, I am walking away from it feeling successful


Slice of Life: Glitch

Lisa Corbett is always good for a smile when she’s writing like this – I call it a bait and switch post.

She starts out talking about squirrels and ends up in personal time management. Along the way, we witness her story of disconnectedness that I think that we all have been feeling at times these days.

But, back to the squirrel – I’d never noticed but this morning’s walk took Jaimie and me past a couple plus a couple of rabbits. Given Lisa’s description in her blog post about squirrels, I took the time to observe the same type of reaction.

I wonder what they saw in us?


Reading Challenge: Centering Muslim Characters

This is an important resource that all educators should click through and take a look at. Rabia Khokhar had let us know on Facebook that she’d been interviewed on CTV about a collection of books that she had curated for readers where the central character is a Muslim character.

I elected to highlight this resource on a post on this blog earlier this week. You can check my thoughts about her content there.

As you know, you can elect to follow your message as others favourite it or share it with other. Her resource struck a note with educators and it’s been shared all over the globe. The message is that this is a resource that educators want and maybe have been waiting for.

Rabia provides it for them. I hope that educators continue to share this wonderful resource and that it finds its way into so many classrooms this summer and onwards.


Final Reflections from a Remote Teacher

When I read the title from Kelly McLaughlin writing on the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, I sincerely hoped that this would be the last time that she would be forced to use the term “remote teacher”. For some bizarre reason, we won’t find out officially until July.

In the post, she includes an open discussion of things that she’s personally learned

  • Saying hello to each student in the morning
  • Morning music until the announcements start
  • Discussing current events rather than hoping they didn’t hear the news 

and thoughts from her students

  • Not getting distracted 
  • Improved on tech. skills 
  • Being nice 

I’ve included some snippets here but make sure you click through and read the entire post to get them all.


What will we bring back to in-person learning?

Terry Whitmell appears positive that schools will be back to in-person learning for the fall. I think we all hope that she’s right.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a principal in these circumstances. In normal times, any room or class is just a stroll away. Now, they’re a click away and we know that they’re different and that people are doing their best to make it as good as they can for students.

For the fall, Terry predicts the following

  • Learning Management System
  • Student-to-Student Digital Collaboration Tools
  • Increased Differentiation
  • Transparency and Structure
  • Greater Professional Networking

and fleshes them out in detail. It’s a good read and Terry promises a followup when she meets with staff.


Thank You Caregivers, Students, And Families!

And, what a way to end this last Friday of the year post with a reference to this one from Aviva Dunsiger.

It’s been a challenge for everyone and Aviva takes time to acknowledge them all.

Caregivers

  • Thank you for logging in even when there are a million different things going on, and you’re trying to balance your own work with school.
  • Thank you for your upbeat attitude, daily smiles, and friendly hellos, even when all three might be hard to do.

Students

  • Thank you for coming as much as you do, even though other things might be taking your attention at this time of the year.
  • Thank you for filling our day with laughter, stories, and new learning.

Families

  • Thank you for reminding us that online learning is about more than just the kids in the class.
  • Thank you for increasing our conversations and having us reconsider what learning looks like with all that you contribute.

What a way to end this blog post. Make sure you click through and read all of Aviva’s thoughts.


Please take the time to enjoy all these posts by clicking through and reading. Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • David Garlick – @garlickd13
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Rabia Khokhar – @Rabia_Khokhar1
  • Kelly McLaughlin
  • Terry Whitmell – @TerryWhitmell
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca

The Wednesday This Week in Ontario Edublogs show.