This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Hallowe’en Weekend. Recommendation from the province for many is to modify your routine. That’s so sad. On the other hand, you have an extra hour to read these terrific blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


Toxic Positivity in a Brave New World

From Michelle Fenn, writing on the ETFO Heart and Art of Teaching Blog is this thought provoker. She’s done her research and found a definition for Toxic Positivity that reads

“the excessive and ineffective overgeneralization of a happy, optimistic state across all situations. The process of toxic positivity results in the denial, minimization, and invalidation of the authentic human emotional experience.” 

It’s interesting to see her interpretation about what this means at this point in time. It’s part of the job to be positive with students as it’s the best way to be supportive of their efforts.

She identifies a number of people that you might recognize in your staff room. Well, if you were able to go to your staffroom.

Click through for an interesting read and see what she intends to do personally.


“The Daily” ~ Daily exercise for the brain, body, heart and spirit.

This post from Zoe Branigan-Pipe is something that you might see provided by your subject association. Some definitely are doing this; others not so much. So, you might want to dip into what Zoe shares.

She has curated a number of different collection of “dailies” with access to things like French Word of the Day, THIS day in History – Canada, a bunch of others, and the one that hooked me Daily Brain Teasers.

The resources are collected in Powerpoint Online format which makes them so easy to use if you can broadcast over your network, over the Internet, or to a data projector.

For the price of an email message, she’ll even send you the answers …


The Posturing and Performance of Antiracism Work: The Power of Words and Ways We Abuse Them

Debbie Donsky correctly talks about things in education that swing like a pendulum.

We are used to the pendulum swings from traditional to creative, from rote to inquiry, from the basics to critical thinking.

The “thing” she identifies for us right now is antiracism. I think that we all recognize this and hope that no pendulum swings backwards. My old secondary school, for example, had a racial image as its mascot. I’m ashamed to confess that we saw nothing wrong with it at the time. I’m happy to report that it has changed.

As Debbie correctly notes, we can work on things but

Know that even if your intention, as a White person, is to let go of your power and privilege, that it is still intact. 

The thing about today though is that we are starting to seriously recognize these things and actively challenge them. In education, we have some very active guides that are helpful – she specifically identifies Pamala Agawa.


To Stand on the Family Rock

I haven’t been as moved to thinking and action for a long time as I was with this work from Jessica Outram. Who would have thought that a lighthouse would do this?

I wrote an entire post yesterday with my thoughts about lighthouses. I don’t know that I’m a fanatic about it but they are wonderful landmarks to see when you’re out and about.

Despite the wonderful pictures that Jessica shares in the post, that’s not the point of the post!

Her adventure took her to Gereaux Island Lighthouse to personally witness the footsteps of her grandfather. Her visit was extremely personal with a desire to see things that her grandfather would have seen years ago. Instead of a row boat, she had a boat with a motor! With her words, she describes the experience and you just may get a sense that you’re there with her.


John Teaches the Turtle!

From Peter Skillen, this isn’t a long blog post but the real gold is in the YouTube video interview

The mind blower here lies, not in the content (although that’s pretty impressive) but in the confidence and ability of the student to explain just what it is that he’s made the computer do as a result of a summer workshop.

Those of us who remember programming in the Logo programming language will admire the text coding that appears on the screen as opposed to dragging and dropping as is so vogue these days.


Is The Loss Of Halloween Really A Loss?

I disagreed with Aviva Dunsiger in this post. She gives reasons why she doesn’t like school celebrations for Hallowe’en…

  1. The disruption to a regular routine,
  2. the numerous sugary treats,
  3. the scary costumes (I scare easily when I see horror in person),
  4. the loud parties,
  5. and the light effects (which tend to include a lot of brightness),

I shared my thoughts in a reply to her post based on my own elementary school experience and later, as a secondary school teacher. As a kid and as a teacher, I guess the biggest thing was that it was a one day break in the regular routine. And, it’s an opportunity to do some Hallowe’en based educational activities.

All of this is moot since she’s living the dream nightmare of COVID this year and everything is different.


PEER FEEDBACK: NOT THE SANDWICH, BUT SUNNY-SIDE-UP, PLEASE

I enjoyed reading this post from Cecilia Aponte-de-Hanna. Peer feedback can be a very powerful technique. I’m always believed that and I thought that I knew everything about it.

After reading Cecilia’s post, I realized that my approach would have been what would best described as “The Sandwich Approach”. With the description in this post, there is an element of “yeah, but” to it.

Her description of “The Sunny-Side-Up Approach” is a nice pause and a look at a different approach to peer feedback.

I do strongly agree with the premise that the processor should provide a learning opportunity for both the giver and receiver.

It’s a nice read to think about when working on your pedagogy. (Just don’t read the one comment to the post)


Put that extra hour to good use this weekend and enjoy all of these posts. If you’re a blogger and I don’t know about you, there’s a submit form at the Ontario Edublogger’s page. It would be great to add you to the collection.

Follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Michelle Fenn – @toadmummy
  • Zoe Branigan-Pipe – @zbpipe
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Peter Skillen – @peterskillen
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Cecilia Aponte-de-Hanna @capontedehanna

This post originated at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

What Does Twitter For PD Mean


 

Twitter for PD?  What does this mean?  (Old radio listeners from Detroit will recognize Dick the Bruiser format)

I referenced a couple of blog posts yesterday in my post about hurting yourself with social media.  There doesn’t pass a day when I see reference to using Twitter (or other social media for that matter) for professional development.

I often wonder about this.  I agree with some of the assumptions made but not all of the examples given actually work for me.  I think the joy of it is that it can work at so many levels.  Here are some thoughts about mine.

Twitter Chats
Inevitabily, any discussion about Twitter for Professional Development includes reference to Twitter Chats.  I’ve bookmarked a number of references to my Diigo account and probably the reference to start with is this one. I know that people swear by these online sessions.  For me, I tried and gave up.  I find the time commitment for active participation too much and, if we’re looking for examples of echo chambers, the ones that I’ve participated in just seemed that way.

But that doesn’t mean hashtags are to be ignored.  Put together after the fact using something likeStorify can be a terrific way to quickly scan the thoughts and sharing from a focused event.

140 Characters at a time
Anything Meaty?  I got taken to task yesterday for sharing the post about Twitter and Facebook replacing Traditional Teacher Professional Development.

From the title of the article, it was probably justified.  Just getting a Twitter account and doing a couple of Twitter messages and reading a bunch certainly doesn’t cut it.  It’s a modern equivalent of going to the library and skimming the card catalogue and calling yourself informed.  Even if you do use “texting talk” to imply more than 140 characters, it can still be lacking.

Getting a PLN
Creating your own Professional Learning Network is easy.  Just log on to Twitter on any Friday and look for #FollowFriday or #FF links and follow those people.  Put together more than one and you’ve got yourself a network.  If that’s all that you’re doing, it’s the equivalent of hanging around with a group of strangers outside a movie theatre.  It’s nice to be there and associate but that’s as far as it goes.

So, now that I’ve started this post off in a negative fashion – which quite frankly isn’t something I like to do – how can it be productive and why does Doug spend so much time with it?

Lose the Development
I’m not a fan of the term “Professional Development”.  In my mind, it reinforces the concept that someone or something else is doing something to, or for you, to help you improve…just like everyone else at the session.  There was a time and place when this was valuable.  At a Teachers’ College, for example, there are a certain set of skills that should be part of any future educator’s toolkit.  Well all know, though, that once you get into your classroom and close the door, it’s you and your students.

Gain the Learning
If you’ve graduated from that Teachers’ College, your professional needs don’t stop.  In fact, they should probably grow exponentially.  The more you know, the more you need to know.  Have you ever taught the exact same class two years in a row?  Heck, have you ever taught the same class exactly the same way two days in a row?  In a lock stepped curriculum, perhaps a standardized development approach would do the trick.  For all others, learning as you go, on the fly, as needed, is a necessity.

Differentiate
You just know that there had to be some sort of edu-babble introduced into a discussion like this.  Remember those needs?  They now become YOUR needs.  At any quality conference, you are enabled by allowing you to select just what you need during any time slot.  Learning online should work the same way.  Track down and engage in the discussions that feed your present needs.

Build a Critical Mass
I was showing off my RebelMouse page to a friend recently as a way to show how we might accumulate stories for a totally different reason.  Her comments were “You have over 5000 followers?”  Yes, but more importantly, I follow over 3000.  The folks that I follow have been chosen for a purpose.  I can count on them to engage, inspire, and challenge me daily.  It really helps to grow my thinking.  I recall when I did follow 20 or so people.  My impression then was that this whole exercise was a waste of time.  Not now.

Twitter as a LaunchPad
The best learning for me happens when the conversation takes off and doesn’t necessarily stay in the social media.  I like following the links – take me to news reports, research, forums, wikis, and blogs where the meaty stuff resides.  You don’t get the full monty 140 characters at a time but like the library card catalogue, it should be there to tease and inform you about where the good stuff is.

Give Back
It’s one thing to be there and suck it all in.  Anyone who has ever put together a child’s toy where “some assembly is required” knows that there’s much more to the job that simply reading the instructions.  You’ve got to roll up your sleeves, find those tools in the toolbox and then get to the job of doing it.  The same thing happens with social media.  Find and share.  You can do this 140 characters at a time.  While you’ve differentiated for your own needs a set or sub-set of yours will undoubtedly have an appeal to someone else.

Don’t keep your best learning to yourself
You can’t get in shape by watching other people work out at the gym.  You can learn the techniques of the exercise but you don’t get the benefit until you do it yourself.  Ditto for social media.  Did you learn something inspiring, out of the ordinary, or just something that got your through to morning recess?  If it worked for you, it just might be of value to someone else somewhere.  Blog about it; add it to your wiki.  Education isn’t about the person who wins by hoarding the most; the winner will be the one who influences by filtering and sharing or creating the best of the best.

When you look at Twitter and what it can really do, I think you’ll see that it can be an incredibly powerful tool.  Unlike Professional Development where you show up for a coffee and muffin and sit back, Professional Learning with Twitter is work.  It requires engagement, active interactions, creating and sharing your learning.  Isn’t that what we expect from our students?  Should we expect no less from ourselves?

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