This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Let me tell you about dedication. After a stretch of cold weather, it’s been incredible around here. Today, I took a drive to Belle River and the marina on Lake St. Clair. I just sat there enjoying the warm and the lake and watching the people fishing. If it wasn’t for the need to get home and write this blog post, I could have stayed there overnight! But, back to work. Here’s some great content from Ontario Edubloggers.


L’aigle et le corbeau

I learned a great deal from this post from Joel McLean. Originally written in French, I let Google Chrome translate it for me. In the process, the word “corbeau“was translated both to raven and crow. Not to point fingers at Google Translate solely, Bing Translate did the same thing. Joel jumped in for clarification later in the day.

Back to the post, the other thing that I learned was that a raven is the only bird that will attack an eagle. How does the eagle handle it? You’ll have to read Joel’s post.

Above the walk through nature, Joel challenges you to think about the ravens that are on your back and attacking. How do you handle them? What are your ravens? Why are you wasting your time with the ravens?


A Cure for Double Doubling

Tim King thinks that maybe the implementation of the Quadmester might be unique to his district. I can tell you that it isn’t; I know of a number of districts that have also taken this route.

At this point, I have yet to see any educators that affirm that this is a good idea. Instead, a whole course is compressed to fit into a longer period during the day and a shorter course length. The net result is huge pressure on both students and teachers and real concerns that the content won’t be adequately learned.

In secondary schools, there are a number of courses that require specialized instructors. If you follow Tim, you know that he’s one of them. In a perfect world, there is contractual language that talks about class sizes. Have the rules changed in the time of COVID?

Tim offers his analysis of both of these topics and offers ways for it to be resolved. That may well make things even more difficult for a district to implement so I hope that Tim isn’t holding his breath.


Learner Variability

Lynn Thomas uses this blog post to describe her walkthrough of the Learner Variability Navigator. Based on solid pedagogy, this appears to be a complete resource for educators dealing with today’s students.

As Lynn notes, these students show up for school with a lot of baggage.

  • Poverty​
  • Learning to speak English ​
  • Lacking background knowledge​
  • Boredom and disengagement​
  • Trauma​
  • Color, ethnicity, or gender making you susceptible to stereotype threat​
  • Working memory, decoding, or attention challenges ​
  • Devastated socially and emotionally in school​

Dealing with language and mathematics, this is a one stop place to embrace and understand so much. Set aside a bunch of time to work your way through this.

Again, language and mathematics are the target for this research but I could see how the elements could play out in other disciplines.


#girlswhogame – Part 1

Rolland Chidiac is back and describes a wonderful opportunities for the girls in his 5 / 6 class.

With the onset of COVID, it kind of looked like it might not happen and yet, it did. Kudos for all who pull that together.

The “game” is Minecraft and the girls have the change to work with Brenda Sherry and Rolland’s Vice-Principal Sherry as mentors. With the connection through Katina Papulkas at Dell, they’re involved with Dell’s “Girls who game” initiative. Gaming?

Exciting times are ahead as the girls discover more about gaming using Minecraft as well as the Global Competencies, STEM, and future career paths that may be of interest to them.


A good Canadian Maple

If you think that sounds much like “a robust, full-bodied red wine”, you’re pretty close to the content of this post from Sheila Stewart!

She’s been on fire writing blog posts as of late but I ended up intrigued with this one. I’ve definitely heard of Bailey’s Irish Cream but Sheila had the opportunity to experience Cabot Trail Maple Cream, another liqueur. Just reading her post and the experiments that she’s had with it make me want to brush my teeth!

Our favourite warmup for the winter months is a mulled wine – easily made with a non-descript red wine, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. That’s our comfort drink, Sheila.

I will have to keep my eye out for her recommendation the next time I drop into the LCBO.


In Remembrance: Service, Sacrifice and a Soldier Bear Named Winnie

On the Mathematics Knowledge Network blog, Arielle Figov introduces us to this film featuring “Winnipeg Winnie”.

It comes in time for Remembrance Day and, more than just the movie, includes curriculum resources tied to the Ontario Curriculum.


The 500 – #398 – Eliminator – ZZ Top

Following Marc Hodgkinson’s walk through Rolling Stone’s Top 500 albums has been an awesome experience for me. It also is a reminder of how long ago some of these albums actually are.

This time, it’s ZZ Top’s Eliminator.

If you are in the mood for a trip back to the fusion of blues-rock and synth-pop in 1983, give this record a listen. Better still, click on some of those video links and enjoy the cheesy decadence of a classic ZZ Top video.   

For me, this brought back a smile. I moved to Essex County from an area of Canada with a much more decided Canadian taste. I was always all over them about Canadian versus American spelling. I remember a home room moment with a chat with a student who sat right in front of my teacher’s desk.

Hey, sir! Have you heard the new song from Zed Zed Top?

To his defence, they were bombarded by the Detroit media.

I always wanted a spinning guitar.


Phew! I got the post done in time to watch Thursday night football.

Please take a moment to click through and read these terrific posts. Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Joel McLean – @jprofnb
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Lynn Thomas – @THOMLYNN101
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • Arielle Figov
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

When games were good


That should open up room for argument!

Recently, I had a chat with a teacher who complained that the computer setup at her school was essentially a multi-plex movie theatre with every student having their own screen watching YouTube video!

I one-upped her by recalling the good old days.  My computer lab was actually an arcade.  During lunch, before and after school, of course.  Students were allowed to use the computers and there were a few games that we available for play.  Hang in there; there’s a good educational story to come.

But first, big news from the Internet Archive

Another few thousand DOS Games are playable at the Internet Archive! Since our initial announcement in 2015, we’ve added occasional new games here and there to the collection, but this will be our biggest update yet, ranging from tiny recent independent productions to long-forgotten big-name releases from decades ago.

I had to click on over and see what was there.

Holy smokes!  What a huge collection!  So huge, in fact, that there were so many titles that I had never heard of.  Truthfully, most of them!

Of course, I had to try a couple of them out.  They run directly from the website in a DOS box right in your browser.  Here’s a classic!

Screenshot 2019-10-16 at 11.18.42

Who hasn’t played around the The Incredible Machine.  You can now relive your inner Rube Goldberg!

Now, the educational part.  While the original games had initial appeal for Computer Science students, the win came when they had the desire to write games of their own to try to out-do the commercial products.

The standard curriculum used smaller, simpler programs to write because students were learning the programming concepts.  As any Computer Science teacher will affirm, they aren’t always the most exciting or motivating thing to write.  But, turn students on to writing games that they can actually play or challenge friends with and they catch on fire.  They’ll research and learn new techniques; research parts of the language that they need to make something happen; and consider the person who’s actually going to play the game.  Bottom line, they’ll go much further on their own than you would ever hope to see in the regular class.

Admittedly, current technology is far more sophisticated than these games but they’re still enjoyable.

It’s a nice reminder that we all started somewhere.