This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I almost did it again.  Instead of “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”, I started to type the title as “The Week in Ontario Edublogs”.  I’ve done it before and that’s why this post’s numbering doesn’t reflect the actual number of times I’ve written this post.  Sigh.  Let’s just say I’ve written it a lot.

And here’s what I was excited to read this week.


An Alternative To A School Cellphone Ban

After a bit of a dry spell, Andrew Campbell is back blogging.  What caught my eye about this post was that he claimed that the Premier made reference to it on social media.

As Andrew notes, this isn’t a problem that schools have created, it’s one that parents and students have brought into schools with them.  So, Andrew offers the simplistic solution – have parents make students keep the devices at home.

I suppose that such a simplistic approach is doable.  After all, there are other things that are not allowed in schools and there are heavy handed consequences for doing so.  The same could apply to cellphones.

I think back to my schooling and we actually had to purchase a sliderule for use in school.  One of the wealthier kids in the class came with an electronic calculator and was absolutely forbidden to use this device which gave exact answers in favour of using a device that approximated the answer.

Calculators were introduced with some folks screaming about the demise of civilization (at least the Mathematics part of it) and yet these devices are just taken for granted these days.

I suspect that years from now, people will look back and laugh at how we anguished over the issue of BYOD and bringing powerful and enabling devices into the classroom.  The issue they might be debating could be about whether reading about Einstein or interacting with a holograph is more educationally sound.


Back To The Map Of Canada: What Do You Do With That 2%?

This post from Aviva Dunsiger brought me back nightmares about quicky PD sessions given in staff meetings.  Often they’re about 15 minutes long, totally out of context for me at least and ultimately we wrote them off as filler.

As you read Aviva’s post, you can visualize her heart rate climbing as a result of anxiety.  I’m surprised that she didn’t bring in something to do with self-regulation.

Personally, I can recall such PD sessions where I got my colours done in that 15 minutes to tell me that my learning style was something other than what I thought.  Then, there was the time we all had to sing and, believe me, you don’t want to hear me sing.  After the meeting I approached the superintendent and offered to lead a session to have everyone create a program and was turned down.  I guess there are priorities.

It seems to me that doing something in a staff meeting with teachers from various grades and subject areas is actually a very hard task.  It needs to be generic enough to be meaningful enough to everyone and yet valuable enough to justify the time devoted to it.

Not an easy task.


This week we did…something

It’s the time of year for Progress Reports – the things that go home in advance of Report Cards.  There was a time when these were a quick glimpse about socialization and a status report on work habits.  Now, they’re substantially more than that.

This post from Lisa Corbett paints an interesting picture of the challenge of making something worthwhile at this time of year, given her approach to the teaching and learning done in her class so far.

Because of the work I’m doing to spiral in math this year I am feeling like I don’t have a lot of things to use for comments on progress reports. I’ve decided to focus my commenting on some of the mathematical process skills.

I think that, when you read it, you’ll empathize with her plight.

Perhaps for the Mathematics subject area, she could just put a link to this post in the student progress report and have the parents read what’s going on here.


Focus on Trees – Part One

Absolutely every now and again, it’s really important to take a look at the learning environment and that’s what Ann-Marie Kee does here.  In particular, she identifying various trees and their significance on her school property.

Could you do that?

I think to some of the new builds where a bulldozer comes in and flattens everything and a boxy school building appears.  A little later, perhaps some grass and a few trees as part of a planting or community partnership.

You’d never be able to say this with that approach.

I think of our trees as keepers of our culture.

And, I just have to include this.


Preserving the Cup

Skip to the end and Beth Lyons says it well.

But our educators can not pour from an empty cup.

One of the things that Beth has observed is that this year is a bit different from others.  She claims to be an optimist but is struggling to have optimistic thoughts these days.

She sees teachers stretched thin already.  Herself included.  And, it’s only October.

Who better than a teacher-librarian who has interactions with every staff member in the school to make that observation?

Is there a magic potion that can be taken to turn this around?  I think we all know that the answer is no.  I can’t help but wonder if the recent election hasn’t contributed heavily to this – we live in a time when positive messages take a back seat to the negative.  It has to take a toll.

Caring for others is important but Beth notes many times that it’s also important to take care of yourself.  It’s not being selfish.

We need to get beyond that.


100DaysofCode

Peter Beens is participating in very active pieces of personal learning.  Earlier this week, I noted that he was part of the WordCamp in the Niagara Region?  This is different.

When you click through, you’ll see that this whole project is very comprehensive. Much like other challenges like the 30 days of photography challenges, Peter has to work on something every day. He’s doing so and documenting it.

You’ll also click through to see the activities and Peter sharing his notes on his work.

Wow!


‼️‼️ELECTION DAY‼️‼️

And, finally, a new Ontario Blogger. This is from Indigenous Awareness.

Essentially, this post is a summary of positions about Indigenous issues from the major political parties in Canada. When I first read it, I was feeling badly that I hadn’t read it in advance of the election.

And yet, now that we have a minority government in place, perhaps the messages and positions from the parties are even more important. Will they be held accountable?

By themselves, each of the parties have shared their positions. But, since no one party will be able to pass legislation without assistance from another, looking for common threads or close to common threads might be a good indication of what might happen.


As I say every week, please take the time to click through and read these posts in their original form. There is great thinking and sharing of ideas there.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter to stay on top of their future thinking.

  • @acampbell99
  • @avivaloca
  • @LisaCorbett0261
  • @AMKeeLCS
  • @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • @pbeens
  • @indigenousawrns

This post appeared originally on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement


Just so that I don’t lose track of this and to share to those who are interested.

“Canada’s boreal forest dominates our country’s geography. Explore the region, from the tip of Newfoundland and Labrador to the Yukon/Alaska border, and learn about Aboriginal treaty boundaries, protected areas within the forest and woodland caribou ranges. With engaging activities and innovative teaching techniques, this map will spark curiosity in students of all ages.”

Complete details at:  http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/educational_products/boreal_floor_map.asp

Too Noisy


Under the category of “I dunno about that”, comes the “Too Noisy” app.

With a slider to control the sound threshold, the concept is to set a suitable noise level for the classroom and let the app monitor what’s happening.  Once the noise level exceeds the threshold, you’re alerted.

Now, how do I test this?

It’s shortly after 5am at dougpete labs, my wife and dog are sleeping, and the only sound that I can hear is from the cardinal outside welcoming the sun and the news on television.  You’ll see from the time on the screen captures that I took the high road and didn’t do the testing until they were up.

I set a much higher threshold and gently increased the volume on the television until I did set off the alarm.

Then quickly turned it down before I got into too much trouble!

My first two reactions were:

  1. I could just picture a few of my former students who would view this as a challenge to see if they could make the alarm go off;
  2. In the computer science classroom where collaboration is so important, I’d actually be disappointed if the noise level wasn’t high.  It’s the sound of great ideas and arguing over algorithm development.

Do we need an app for this?  What do you think?  Does it have a place in your classroom?

 

ECO Schools 2009


Today was the kick off of the 2009 version of ECO Schools in the Greater Essex County District School Board.

The event brings environmentally conscious students and teachers together to plan environmental issues surrounding their school community.

Last year’s focus was on refreshing the environment at the school.  But, it wasn’t just about buying a few trees and planting them and seeing what would happen.  It was about planning for sustainability and making intelligent decisions about what to get and where to put it.

During the process, student plotted pathways, areas that don’t drain on the school grounds, sun patterns, and more to determine the life of the school and its grounds.  Each school was provided with an aerial view of the property in a SMART Notebook file and their job was to map out the property, identifying all areas, in order to make intelligent decisions about greening.

It worked out well and schools will get a chance to revisit this year.

Above and beyond that, we’re moving into a serious stage about recycling.  More information is constantly available about the cost to the environment by some of our human habits.

This year, schools will work with the latest revision of the home grown ECO Calculator.  Activities that takes the students deep inside the calculator will be a key component of the day.

I visited the setup this morning to make sure that the technology component is good and ready to go.  It appeared to work well and I’m looking forward to hearing how the day went.  Tomorrow, I’ll return and take some pictures which I’ll be sure to share.

To recap the events from last year, I live blogged here.  A discussion of the planning happened here.  And, pictures of the event were posted here.

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