Tag: Friday

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


The dog had an incredibly brisk walk this morning.  (Thursday – you do know that I don’t get up in the middle of the night for these 5am postings, don’t you?)  We had been watching the news from Toronto as per our normal routine and both the host and the weather person referred to Friday as a PA Day for teachers.  That was it.  No clarification of exactly what that means.  I was so disappointed.  If they got that fact wrong, can you actually trust any of the stories that they report?  The actual event of Friday would be so easy to fact check.  In fact, if it was true that the teachers had negotiated a PA Day, it would be a great teacher bashing story – negotiating for the day before a two week vacation?  It’s just a reminder that so many people don’t get it.  They need to read this post “Teaching Isn’t Rocket Science. It’s Harder.”

And, maybe some of the awesome blogs that Ontario Educators write to demonstrate the ongoing work that it takes to get and stay on top of things in Education.
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Friday’s event didn’t pass by Brandon Grasley who took to poetry at:
Brandon
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Let’s lighten up things a bit…
Debbie Axiak shares some of the things that made her laugh this week.
Debbie
How many other professions can do that?
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This post, by Brian Aspinall, reminds me of an activity that I used to do with Grade 11 Computer Science students after they’ve “learned” how to do a sort in their programs, in Grade 12 and at the University pre-service class to reinforce the notion that they might be able to code a sort, but do they really understand how it’s done?  In this case, Brian incorporated Procedural Writing in Language Arts and Computer Science with this activity.  I like the way that he described the activity.  BEFORE you click through and read his post, just write down the steps that you think you need in order to make toast.  Now, read the post!
Brian
BTW, this isn’t the first step.
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Those of us who use technology so regularly know of the power that can be brought to the classroom and for students.  In this post, Mary-Ann Fuduric takes the time to itemize the power in the Assistive Technology realm.  In particular, she talks about
  • Phonological/Phonemic Awareness
  • Decoding Skills
  • Fluency
  • Comprehension
  • Writing Skills

maryann

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’tis the season…

Not necessarily…
Tim
Tim King shares some of his thoughts about the Holiday season reasoned over time.  It serves to remind us that there are many takes to the season.  There’s nothing like trying to keep a lid on the container called Home Room with the school edict that this is just another school day when you’ve lived every morning since September with these kids and you know that, if there are 30 of them, there will be 30 different ways that will experience the break from the school routine.
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Normally, I do like to spread the acknowledgements for my TWIOE post around but had already tagged this post from Brandon Grasley for inclusion.  Then, he posted the Friday post and I felt compelled to include it as well.
brandon2
I was going to make a comment similar to what I did with Tim’s but I’m going to change direction just a big.  I think that it’s just testament to blogging and the power that goes along with it.  As I visited the post this morning, there were a number of readers who had taken the time to “like” it.  While “liking” may not necessarily be the best response to the post, it’s the only one other than leaving a comment that’s available to the reader.  I look at it as a way for folks to acknowledge that someone has bared their inner thoughts and to show that, despite whatever isolation we might feel at moments, we’re all in this together.
And, we sure wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for our social media connections.
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Having broken my own arbitrary rule, I’ll see your Brandon and raise you two Avivas.  Her blog was on fire this week.  There’s some good, thoughtful reading there.
Aviva
Aviva’s exploring ways of incorporating inquiry into her classroom.  This is quite an interesting approach.  Check her blog for details and I’m sure a reflection will be on its way.
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Amy Bowler got tagged in the Sunshine Blog Award meme.  Her Tumblr blog was a new find for me so I was curious to find out more about here.  Here’s what I now know!
Amy
Loblaws is such a classy place to meet a spouse.  I wonder what aisle?  What would the choice have been if she had gone to No Frills instead?
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Last week, I talked about a meme that was running around Ontario and North America.  It’s a fun little activity to get to know other just a little better.  As it typically happens, people end up getting double and triple tagged for these things.  To help avoid the situation, although apparently I didn’t do it completely, I tagged some folks in Europe that I deal with on a regular basis.  In fact, one of them, Marisa Constantinides and I have a number of Words with Friends games on the go at any time and this lovely lady clobbers me all the time.  So, I wanted to know more about her and included her.  She was good enough to play along…
Marisa
Well, I know so much more but I’m still puzzled at her amazing capacity to know words….
Marisa’s blog “TEFL Matters” is located here.
This just in…I also had tagged Vicky Loras in the same meme.  Vicky is an Ontarian taking up residence in Zug, Switzerland now, owning her own school.  Here are her answers to my questions.

Doug’s Questions:

  1. When was the last time you backed up your computer? I think it was in March – unfortunately, it crashed and asked me if I would like to back it up. I wish I had done it earlier, but I managed to save the majority of my files.
  2. If you could speak any language other than English, what would it be? I wish I could speak Turkish and Finnish fluently. They have always been languages that I would love to learn. I started off with Turkish and hope to start Finnish too.
  3. Where would you go for your dream vacation? I would love to go to Corsica, because I have been told a lot and shown lots of photos by a French student of mine.
  4. Have you ever received a parking ticket? No, because I don’t drive! Ha ha!
  5. You’re in control of the thermostat. What’s your ideal room temperature? Really warm, because I get cold easily.
  6. Have you ever taken an online course? I have – it was a 60-hour TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course which I enjoyed immensely, and a Grammar one too.
  7. What was the last educational conference that you attended? It was the IATEFL BESIG (Buisiness English) conference in Prague, in November. I loved the sessions, the conversations that emerged from them – but my only disappointment was that I didn’t manage to see Prague almost at all, as I was there for only two and a half days.
  8. When was the last time you were in a public library? Very recently – it is one f my favourite places to be : )
  9. Have you ever dabbled with Linux? No ; )
  10. What would you consider to be the best photo you’ve ever taken? A sunset over Lake Zug. The colours were astounding and I was really surprised it came out that good, as it was with my phone.
  11. What, and where, is your favourite park? I love the parks in Niagara-on-the-Lake (well, actually the whole place : )

I had to smile when I read her answer to question 4.  Toronto would cure me of driving too.

Vicky’s blog is located here.

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Thanks for dropping by.  This is the last TWIOE post before Christmas so let me wish you the best for the holidays however you celebrate them.  Please click through and read the blogs at the links provided and check out the complete list of Ontario Edubloggers here.  This week was actually a highly productive one for bloggers so you’ll see and read lots!

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This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Of all the things that I write about on this blog, my favourite ones happen on Fridays when I can share with you the enjoyment that I have in reading other people’s work.

This week is no different.  Check out some terrific blog posts.

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MY FIRST BLOG – HOW I LEARNED ABOUT ADD/ADHD

Tammy Wilcox wrote a beautiful piece in the LDAWE Blog that I think everyone should read and pause to think about her words.  I think it should be read and reflected upon at every teacher pre-service course.

In the post, she describes learning about ADD/ADHD.  It’s very personal and I think every parent can empathize with it.  I’d suggest reading it a few times from different perspective.  Put yourself in the role of parent.  Put yourself in the role of student.  Put yourself in the role of the educator.

Can you think of a better piece to describe education, parenting, growing up, dealing with the unknown?

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Media Projects

Imagine going to France to see a museum and walking away with all kinds of ideas for media in the classroom!  That’s what Angie Harrison did.

I totally agree with her synopsis…next to the Super Bowl is there a bigger media event than the Olympics?

Seeing an exhibit of keychains through the ages inspired her thoughts for ideas to enable educators to “seize the moment” and go beyond some of the simple activities that are so often found.  In the post, she provides a nice collection of starting points.  I’m sure that you can find even more and, if you do, make sure that you share them back.

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Ode To An Amazing Journey: Or I Can’t Believe They Paid Me To Do This For 28 Years!

Michael Redfearn and I would cross paths occasionally.  Geographically, Waterloo Region and Essex County require a concerted effort to get from one to the other.  But, at Western RCAC Symposia, eLearningOntario events, and ECOO conferences did afford a chance to get together, at least in passing for a chat.

When you work regularly with someone, you do end up knowing when they’re ready to call it a day for their career and then move on.  Sadly, I had to find this by reading his blog.

He created a very nice, reflective piece that showed some of the highlights of a terrific career.

I wish him all the best as he takes on his next challenge.

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What Do We Care About?

Donna Fry’s latest post talks about an issue that she is obviously very passionate about.  It made me think about things around here.  I’m a dog walker, cyclist, and driver on the local roads.

It’s not always safe for any of us.

As a dog walker, Jaimie and I often have to head to the shoulder and sometimes even further when the oncoming traffic doesn’t give us respect.  We walk against the traffic and keep our eyes open.  It’s amazing, especially first thing in the morning, to see people eating, drinking, applying makeup, and using a cell phone obviously not giving full attention to driving.

As a cyclist, I travel with the traffic.  I stop at stop signs and I signal.  It would be nice to enjoy the ride but you have to be constantly aware of your surroundings, people that don’t stop at stop signs, or cars that don’t give you much respect.

Donna speaks specifically of the road from Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie but her plea should be heard by everyone who uses public roads.

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Please take the time to visit these blogs and share your thoughts with the authors.

You can check out my entire collection of Ontario Edublogs here.

Did you start a blog this summer, either on your own or through an AQ course and are planning to continue it through the fall?  If so, please add the details to the form so that I can add you to the LiveBinder.

 

Yesterday in Ontario MicroBlogging


Normally, on Fridays, I share some of the wonderful Ontario Blogging efforts from the previous week.  I thought I would take a slightly different tact this week.  There have been a lot of “last day(s)” thoughts shared on Twitter on Thursday.  Here’s some of what caught my eye in case you missed them.

I’ve created a Storify of some of them.  I could have kept going and going but I’ll leave that up to you if you wish.

You can follow all of the Ontario Educators on my lists here and here.  It’s so good to see the professionalism of the discussion at the end of a very long and eventful school year.

If you want to be added yourself, visit here and complete the form!

Check out the complete Storify here.

(I think this is a record for the number of heres in a post!)

Storify

 

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Just to finish with a couple of blog references.

 

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Friday already!  Here’s what caught my attention this week.

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Lessons We Can Learn From The Early Years

Shelley Pike formed a blog post around this excerpt from an ETFO professional magazine.

It seems so logical.  As Shelley notes, young children shouldn’t have a monopoly on this approach. Shouldn’t it be good for all students?  It would engage and make relevant.  Plus, it answers the question “When are we going to use this stuff?”

A change in approach will require a change in mindset.  Right now, the teaching of mathematics is one that requires that you “get it all covered”.  The best implementors will be those who understand the mathematics and can focus on the connections.  If you’re struggling with the concepts, there’s little time left for anything else.

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What’s the Big Deal About Blogs?

Colleen Rose was talking to a group of principals about her ventures into blogging and, perfectly, put all of her thoughts down in a blog.  Great concept.  Even better, she took the time to create a very well thought out explanation that explains the “Big Deal”.

She’s covered so much.  This is a post worth bookmarking and bringing back when you need it.

The good news is that her post is still available and, if you’re having difficulties explaining the concept to your own principal, she’s done all the leg work.

What I really liked was the inclusion of this graphic…

What a great way to summarize the whole process in a picture.

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Inappropriate Use of Technology

Lorraine Boulos tells a sad story about what happened with students in her school had a moment of weakness and just did what kids sometimes do — make unfortunate choices.

The result was a pretty dramatic move by her principal.  Devices were banned from the school.

It’s a tough scenario.  Without further details, one can only guess as to what happened.

The terrific storms that went through our area last night brought back an elementary school memory of mine.  The principal very clearly came on during the morning announcements forbidding us from going down to the playground during recess and lunch.  It was a drop of maybe a couple of metres but was enough to catch the water.

Of course, a few of the lads had to test it out and were caught.

The consequences?  The entire school was subject to an indoor recess for the next week.  We students paid the price because we couldn’t let off steam.  The teachers certainly paid the price trying to keep the lid on things and then deal with students who hadn’t exercised.  I wish I could remember what the reaction of the parents was.

But I do remember thinking how stupid and unfair it was to penalize everyone for the choices of a couple.  We couldn’t even get back at them – they were some of the biggest kids in the school.

Surely there’s a better way to intelligently deal with situations like this.

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Does Liz Sandals Hate Twitter?

Trust Andrew Campbell to take on injustices wherever he sees them.  This time, it was the lack of use of Twitter by the Minister of Education.

Andrew analyses what he deems to be a missed opportunity for connecting with constituents on the issues of the day.  Certainly education is a very visible issue of the day.

There was a time when news was carefully crafted and strategically released along with photo opportunities.  I agree with Andrew about the need for immediate communications.  Do we really have to wait until the time is right and the message is perfect before releasing it.  My inclination is no and I am probably a bad example.  I like to shoot from the hip and call things as I see them, the moment I see them.

Those who follow Andrew know that he’s a player then.  As I write this, he’s in a “discussion” about the MOU between ETFO and the Ministry.

On the other hand, I remember a quote I heard once and that was that the primary goal of anyone elected to political office is to work on getting re-elected.

Is not having a Twitter ID a strategic move?  Is it a political move?  Is it just not know about the technology?  I think I would prefer that politicians engage with the population.  It’s immediate and timely.

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A TouchDevelop Tip

I try not to promote my own blog posts on This Week In… but I just want to direct you to one of the more exciting Computer Science applications that I’ve seen in quite some time.  In this post, I go from nothing to developing a simple application that can run on any device.

This is a great exemplar as to what BYOD brings to the classroom.

Please check out the complete posts above and give them some blogular love by liking their efforts or leaving a comment!

You can read the entire collection of Ontario Edubloggers here.  If you’re from Ontario and blog about education, please complete the form and I’ll add you to the collection.  It would be great to have you join us.

Thanks for dropping by and reading.

 

Expanding the Network


Remember the great experience of #ECOO12?  So many great Ontario Educators all descending upon one location in Richmond Hill.  So many people all in the same place enjoying the presentations, keynotes, and panel discussions.  Those who were unable to make the trip could live it vicariously by following the hashtag.

In addition to the formal events, there was the powerful connections made among the attendees in the hallways, at lunch, in the exhibit hall, and during the fabulous social events.  You’d like to think that these connections make for powerful opportunities that last beyond the event.  That’s always the hope of conference organizers.

In addition to the renewed friendships, there’s the new ones formed on the spot.

Doug, meet Sandy.  Sandy, Doug.

How do you maintain the strength of the connections and expand people’s networks after the event?

I’ve written before about my thoughts of “Why #FollowFriday is so important“.

For a while now, I’ve gone through the exercise of identifying Ontario Educators who are actively tweeting and recognizing their efforts on Friday mornings with my own “FollowFriday” postings.  It’s not that they’re the only important contributors but there’s something special about making those Ontario connections.

Twitter easily facilitates global discussions.  But the Ontario Curriculum and current issues are the ties that bind we Ontarians and are not to be ignored.

So that’s why you’ll see messages like this:

OntarioEducators

from me in the early hours on a Friday.  Early, so that it doesn’t clog up the Twitter stream for those who don’t care – at least in the Eastern Timezone.  Sorry Europe and beyond.

I had a couple of interesting private Twitter messages today that helped frame this post.

1)  “Didn’t you use to post the #FollowFridays quicker?” – Yes, I did.  I had a pretty good set of scripts that harvested names for me and made it easy.  Twitter has changed the rules about how to access messages so I’ve had to scrap the original plan.  My current routine is a little more manual that I’d like so it does take a bit to pull this off but I’m working on it.

2)  “When I log into Twitter, seeing the other Twitter IDs clumped with mine is just like a face to face introduction.  I follow them immediately.”  That’s another activity that’s become organic with this.  Some people when they see a message with their name in it elected to reTweet the message.  I never thought of that but really like it.

OntarioEducators2

What it does is amplify the concept.  It’s almost a decree to follow some new people.  And, doesn’t that allow us to expand the Ontario Network and continue the Ontario conversation?

If you missed the list of people identified this morning, I created the Storify below.

[View the story “#Active Ontario Educators” on Storify]

The complete listing of Ontario Educators is stored in two Twitter lists.

To get yourself added to the list, send me a message or complete the form located here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s not uncommon to walk into your classroom and to see an empty seat.  Students get sick, go on field trips, etc. all the time.  It’s the worst feeling though when you realize that the seat will forever be empty because of a student’s decision to end her/his life.  In my teaching career, I experienced it once.  The country went through this last week with the suicide of Amanda Todd, a British Columbia teenager.

It became the topic of a number of blog posts from Ontario educators this week.

Fraser Mitchell, Amanda Todd & Teen Suicide

Andrew Campbell reflected on the life of one of his former students and compares that situation with this one.  There are tough questions to be asked during times like this and not enough answers.

 

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Stephen Hurley contributed a pair of posts on the topic.  In the first, he develops on the information from a Toronto Star article.  Were the supports offered enough?

Who Killed Amanda Todd? Too Many Clues In This Room

Stephen’s second post was a repost from a colleague of his from the Globe and Mail School Council.  The story takes a look at girls in a world of change driven by technology.  It really does make you pause to think.

The Amanda Todd Story: It’s About So Much More

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A Facebook friend of mind shared a YouTube video offering a similar story with a different ending.  Kim’s quote was especially important “Never use a permanent solution for a temporary problem; suicide is NEVER the right answer.

Suicide is Never an Option

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As can be expected, there have been all kinds of suggestions for how to prevent things like this in the future.  People for Education ask a really good question.

Bullying – Can we really legislate people to be kind?

Normally, on Fridays, when I look through Ontario Educator blogs to find a few to include, I’m looking for positive, uplifting ideas.  It just didn’t seem right this week.

I hope that there is more than a knee-jerk reaction to hit kids further with more anti-bullying programs.  Yes, they are absolutely necessary but more importantly, understanding, living and dealing with the reality of “online” is important.

You can block it; you can ignore it; but that’s just avoiding the issue.  A deliberate and concerted education for all students is needed.  How many are left to learn about all of this by themselves?

You can read the above posts at the links included and all from the group of Ontario Edubloggers here.

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Plan Now for a Year of Social Success


Labour Day!

The last day before getting back at it. Flash forward 9 months and the school year will be just about over but you’ll be scrambling for content for the yearbook and/or end of the year assembly. A little planning now could make that so easy and social media is the answer.

All that is will take is a Twitter account and a blog. Done properly, all the pieces will just fall into place.

First Step – Grab that Hashtag
Hashtags are Twitter’s way to tag or follow a conversation. Before your students even cross the threshold into your classroom, decide on your class’ hashtag. #MySchoolG5R3 or whatever will uniquely identify your classroom. This is the basis for retrieving all the data that you’ll create. (Do a quick search for your proposed hashtag now, before using it, to make sure that it’s not in use by someone else.)

At any point in the future, a simple Twitter search http://search.twitter.com where you enter your hashtag will bring back all of your content. Share the search with your students, with their parents, with your school, with your principal, with anyone who might have a vested interest in your classroom.

Second Step – Use that Hashtag
But, where’s the content? This is typically the stumbling block for many well-intentioned plans. It takes time to come up with content. Suggestion – crowd source it with your students. They’ve been in class all day long – at the end of the day, do a little wrap up before they head home. It might be questions like:

  • What was the neatest thing we did today?
  • Who was our classroom guest today?
  • What are we excited about for tomorrow?
  • What books did we read today?
  • ….

Any of a myriad of questions that elicit any thoughts on the day will do! Just as long as they can be summarized in 140 characters or less. Then, post it to Twitter. It could be from you or the class scribe for the day or the tech helpers or …

But the key is to make it positive and upbeat. In YOUR classroom, of course, it will be the best of the positive and upbeat!

This daily positive message will make it home before your students.

Third Step – Blog it!
If you’re not a daily blogger, that’s OK. How about being a weekly blogger? Friday night, Saturday morning – create a blog post. Don’t worry about writer’s block. You’ve got at least five pieces of inspiration already. Just do the Twitter search for your classroom hashtag, copy the results, and paste them into a blog post. It’s a leisurely reflective 10-15 minutes to expand on your student crowd sourced raw material. Post it and the week is in the bag. Do you have any pictures or a video to support the Twitter messages? Stick them into the blog post and they won’t get lost or crumpled like they might in the file folder in the top draw of the filing cabinet.

Fourth Step – You’re a Genius
There are always times you need good news stories and you’ve got them all in one spot!

Parent conferencing? You can lead it; students can lead it; Twitter can lead it; your Blog can lead it.

End of the year celebrations? Piece of cake. You’ve been celebrating and reflecting on the great things that happened all year-long. There’s no need for deep memory searching or looking for that elusive piece of information. It’s all there in your blog! Pull the pieces together and you’re good to go.

A year’s worth of successes is a good thing. Crowd sourcing them from grass-roots 140 characters at a time leverages the technology and makes a big task easy.

And, next summer when you look back over everything – you’ll be fully justified in saying “That was quite a year”.

All the best to my teacher readers for a successful 2012-2013 school year.

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