This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Good Friday morning! Hope you have a quick Friday (at least it’s a Friday the 14th) and on to the weekend. Oh, and check out some great blogging from Ontario Edubloggers.


Love the Interview Learning!

From Sue Bruyns, some thoughts about interviews. Personally, I hated them when I was on the being interviewed side. I was always afraid that I’d say something stupid; sometimes my speaking exceeds my thinking ability. What the heck, most of the time that happens. That’s why blogging and the ability to proofread and edit suits me well.

I did have occasion to sit on the other side of the table and it really isn’t any better watching the interviewee squirm. Apparently, Sue enjoys the interview process and explains why in this post. What I found interesting was the approach of asking interviewees to bring in an artefact and share that with the interview team. I think it’s a great approach as it shifts the control away from the people doing the interview and lets the person being interviewed take control over something they’re very comfortable talking about.

So, Sue walks us through the interview. I found it interesting and brought back memories for me of times when I sat in one or the other chairs. It’s a necessary process, I suppose, but I still get the shaking nerves when I think about it. Of course, Sue has such a wonderful style about her, I’m sure that she would make you comfortable for the interview.


Friday Two Cents: Daily Routine

If there’s one way to maintain sanity and get results in education, it’s having a healthy and regular routine. Paul Gauchi writes about a personal experience when that happens to fall off the rails.

I think he speaks for most people in the province when he says

During these past months there has been nothing but turmoil from the government: are we going into virtual learning or are we staying with the in-class option?  It goes back and forth, back and forth.

It’s pretty difficult to build a regular routine when that is your reality. He notes the shortage of occasional teachers and that only adds to the situation.

I think we all look back at the past year with a critical eye and that’s done here, in the concept of a routine. What happens when that routine stops? What happens when you rebuilt the routine?

Read about it in this post.


Windows #SOL

I’ve been sitting on this post from Melanie White for a bit because it’s kind of sad, kind of insightful, kind of nostalgic, …

She starts by talking about cleaning windows which immediately made me think of this Safety Last! scene.

There’s a husband story here about cleaning windows to start the post but she ends up with a thought about classroom windows. Supposedly, they let you look outside, but you really only see a subset of what’s out there. In my teaching experience, most of my time was spent in a windowless classroom. The outside was neither a distraction nor an inspiration. When I did get a classroom with an outside window, it was one of those tall windows that you’ll find in an air conditioned building. It was slightly better.

But, I got thinking … all that comes into play when teachers and students are in the same room looking out the same window. What happens these days with remote learning? Everyone has a different window, if they have a window at all. What’s missing as a result? Can there be a meeting of the minds?


Thoughts on online teaching

Every0ne in education is reflecting on this and Lisa Corbett adds her thoughts. Particularly with the oddities of teaching online, planning and maintaining a schedule is crucial for success.

As Lisa notes, there are other things to remember to schedule – feed your own children.

It’s the teacher mentality and we’re all guilty of it. Everything about those students in our charge is important. We’re supposed to know them, be a social guidance, mentor, inspiration, and sometimes the more important things are devoted to whatever time is left over. Sure, we all know that’s wrong but we all do it.

Time is such a big deal in education and Lisa notes another upcoming time crunch – five weeks of teaching content and four weeks until report cards are due.

Gulp.


Les moments décisifs

Joel McLean gives a nice discussion about decisive moments, at the same time revisiting the notion of routines.

He works with the premise that we are a society of instant gratification – but what happens when it doesn’t come right away … The Valley of Disappointment!

I think we all go through this daily. What’s so frustrating is that horizontal axis. You plod along it never knowing what’s going to happen next. We rely on the fact that there will be an upturn —- but when?

I’m going to give a shout out to educators. We may not be able to see the future but we absolutely know that, if we stay the course, that curve will bend and we will see results. It’s just disappointing, even frustrating, until that happen.

Joel’s formula for success?
Patience + Perseverance + Effort = Decisive Moment


Anti-oppressive student placement cards

I’m a bit out of my element in this post on the Heart and Art Blog from Deb Weston. She tagged me in it and there was a ton of responses to it so I know that it resonated with many. It never really affected me – I was the only computer science teacher in the school so if you wanted that subject, you got me. Full stop.

Of course, the world isn’t all like that and Deb shares her thoughts.

She identifies past practices for placement of students in classes.

Past Student Placement Cards:

  • Gender: Blue cards for boys, Pink cards for girls
  • Academic success: High, Medium, Low (circle one)
  • Language: High, Medium, Low (circle one)
  • Math: High, Medium, Low (circle one)
  • Special Education Support: formal/informal IEP (circle one)
  • English Language Learners: Steps of ELL for Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing
  • Students to place in same class with:
  • Students to not place in class with:
  • Attendance issues: Yes/No Reasons for absence:
  • Student Behaviour: Big “B” and little “b”
  • Parental issues: Big “P” (big parent problem)

Then, she addresses the assumptions and issues with this approach and puts forth an alternative way of looking at things. It’s an interesting and informative read. You might want to pass it along if you’re able to influence the process.


The Annual End of Year Pressure

I guess it’s an annual event – summer is coming and there’s pressure to ensure that all that needs to be addressed in the class is, in fact, done.

Kelly McLaughlin takes a look at her world and feels that there is more pressure than normal. I think that’s perfectly understandable. How many times have educators had to shift gears this year? Then, there’s the whole “are schools going to re-open in June” thing.

One of the things that educators have had to learn on the fly is assessment in its current form… i.e. at a distance. Never mind the actual teaching, consider the whole assessment picture. All of the traditional techniques and observations have been rethought in the current reality.

Kelly shares her plans for the month of June and the things that she has planned – coding and health among others as well as some of the approaches and resources that she has been using just to get to this point.

I like the fact that she was so open with this – the more that people share good ideas, the more we realize that the wheel truly doesn’t need to be reinvented.


Please take some time to click through and read these wonderful posts and drop off a comment or two.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Joel McLean – @jprofNB
  • Deborah Weston – @DrDWestonPhD
  • Kelly McLaughlin

This week’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcast can be accessed here:

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


That sigh that you just heard was from the collection of Ontario Educators on the last Friday before the Spring Break. Days like this are becoming milestones, it seems. It’s a chance to acknowledge some of the great writing going on from around the province.


Your Moment: Getting You Ready for Retirement (OTPP Retirement Planning Webinars)

For many educators, the next big milestone will be the end of the school year and the end of a career in education.

What comes next?

Getting ready for retirement is of importance to these people.

In this blog post, Peter Beens shares the times and dates for some retirement seminars from the Ontario Teacher’ Pension Plan. If you’re calling it a career, this is something that you should do for yourself as you plan your future.

“Next Steps” will take on an additional meaning!


This is the end/beginning #SOL21 31/31

Amanda Potts is part of the Slice of Life project and has been doing so for four years. The big event is to write once a day for the entire month of March. This is her culminating post.

I liked her philosophy about why she continued to write. I do think that bloggers are a special community. I’ve tried to build and support that community in the province here. It’s interesting when you think in terms of community; we can build it, we can interact with each other, but realistically most of us will never meet in real life.

Yet, we remain part of whatever this elusive group happens to be and that’s pretty important in my mind. I guess a tip of the cap needs to go to our all teachers who encouraged good writing skills in school. They equipped us with the ability to do this.

Amanda has a moment of inspiration in this post that I think we all need to stop and ponder for a little bit in the spring of the year. What happens when you pull back that underbrush and everything that has accumulated over the winter?

It’s a message that we all need right now.


Doing hard things 31/31 #SOL

Another Slice of Life post to be shared comes from Melanie White.

So nicely done, she gives us an insight as to why this March has been hard on her. I suspect that she speaks for so many educators. It has indeed been hard and nobody wants to switch to the news to see what sort of alternate reality has emerged on any particular day.

Melanie notes that she uses her blog and her writing to create her own alternate world at times. I really thought that that description was particularly powerful. I know that there is all kinds of frustration and worry among all. Could sitting down and writing in this new world be a coping mechanism that would be good for all?

It couldn’t hurt.

If nothing else, it would be a break in the teach/mark/teach/mark routine.


Slice of Life: Words

The third Slice of Life blog post comes from Lisa Corbett. She’s been doing this for, gasp, fourteen years. Wow.

Wow, just wow.

March has been a challenge for her as well — wishing to write and then discarding efforts lest she get too emotional about putting her thoughts to text.

Many times this month I would sit down intending to write one thing, the thing I’d been thinking about all day, only to discover I had so many other things that needed to come out.

It got me thinking about why so many people do blog. I suspect that, for most, it truly is a cathartic experience and a real release.

I know that, personally, I use it as a way to get something free and clear from my mind. There’s something special about knowing that it’s out there so I don’t have to struggle to remember; I’ll just go back and re-read it. I know that our minds are amazing things but they have to have their own limits too!

If you’ve ever been in a classroom, you can’t help but empathise with the emotional stories that Lisa shares. We all have them and we’ve all had to deal with them.


Changing school from solving problems to dealing with problems – A way forward (part 2)

I’ve been waiting for this post, a followup to “Part 1” from Dave Cormier.

In Part 1, he took us through his thoughts about the Chegg-ification of education. I think that we all know that the goal of education has to be more than the regurgitation of facts. Particularly in an information rich society where you can find 100 answers easily with a quick DuckDuckGo search.

So, if answers are so easy to find, then maybe we refine the question to find the “best” answer from among those 100?

In this post, Dave takes us much deeper than that. He gives us the example…

“How many watts of power does your apartment use” becomes “What is the best way to reduce the number of watts your apartment uses”.

So, go ahead and shift some gears here. I think it’s tough to argue with his logic. I think we’d all like to think that we’re teaching students to be individual thinkers and problem solvers.

All of this stems from the original premise of the “Purpose of Education” which Dave starting thinking/blogging about ten years ago.

I know that I’m stuck in my own mindset of what education and school should be like and look like. At every level of education that I’ve been in, there was a series of assessments followed by an evaluation from someone who presumably knows more about the subject area being studied than me. After all, that’s how education works. Imagine having to assess thirty different solutions to a problem. Do our sense of marks/grades have to go away and move to a fail/pass scenario?

Dave’s got my head spinning thinking about this and he promises a Part 3 to this where he takes on the notion of what a problem is and how do you present it effectively which my old mindset is interpreting “do I have to be taught how to solve a problem in order to solve another problem?”

I can’t wait for this Part 3.


Old Fellas New Music

Paul McGuire is back with a new partner and a new podcast. The partner is Bob Kennedy and the podcast is

I like the premise. I enjoy music from all sources and I enjoy listening to new music when I can find it. I can’t help but think about my youth and how our radios were permanently tuned to CKLW, The Big 8 where we didn’t have to find our own new music. Big Jim Edwards, Pat Holiday, Ted Richards, Charlie O’Brien, Tom Shannon, Dave Shafer, and more found it for us. Actually, they just took the top 40 and played it over and over for us. We knew every song and every lyric.

We live in a different world now. Yes, we could just turn on the Oldies station and relive the past. I’m hoping this podcast will introduce me to some great new music.

In the post, Paul points us to the Podcast and a Spotify playlist so that we can enjoy what he and Bob have been listening to. I had the playlist going in the background while typing and it was refreshing to have new music.


The Frailty of the Body

Joan Vinall-Cox shares a short mix of media in this post.

It’s a poem about the human body posted next to a shadowy image which I’m assuming is Joan.

I’m taken a bit by this poem and I fully understand that, for me, it’s about living in the times that we live in.

We’ve been able to heal broken bones, can fix skin problems, adjust eyesight, have a solution for the common cold, and yet the world comes to its knees with a new virus.


I’ll sign off with a wish for a restful next week for you. For some of you, the option of getting a vaccine becomes possible.

Then, follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Peter Beens – @pbeens
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Dave Cormier – @davecormier
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Dr. Joan Vinall-Cox – @DrJoanVinallCox

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


After a snowy week, it’s nice to be able to sit back and check out some blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


February Patience

Aviva Dunsiger has taken the suggestion from Beth Lyons about doing a #oneword each month rather than one for the year and February is going to be “Patience”.

I think every teacher will agree that February is a tough month at the best of times and the 2021 version is just so much worse. For teachers throughout the province, face to face teaching resumes this February. This following weeks of teaching online. Or as Aviva puts it

we’re about to begin a September in February

As a result, she’s questioning the concept of patience as she, dare I say pivots, back to face to face.

I can’t help but think that patience isn’t necessarily patience online versus face to face. The concept of dead air comes to mind. It’s OK in the classroom since there’s all kinds of other feedback cues but online?

There are some interesting questions that she asks that I think every teacher might ask themselves. Heck, they’re good questions for everyone.


The (A)politics of Education–In a World Where There is No Such Thing as Neutral

This post, from Debbie Donsky, is a nice followup to the recent post from Matthew Morris. In fact, Debbie does make reference to Matthew’s quote and Faculties of Education.

I had to look up the definition of “apolitical” just to make sure that I understood what I thought it meant.

Having no interest in or association with politics. 2. Having no political relevance or importance: claimed that the president’s upcoming trip was purely apolitical.

“apolitical.” Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary. 2010. 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. 18 Feb. 2021 https://www.thefreedictionary.com/apolitical

Throughout the post, Debbie mentions some of the issues of the day. From my perspective, I’m not sure that I could be considered apolitical about these things. I clearly have my leanings on things.

The notion of not bringing politics into the classroom was perhaps well minded about days near an election. It seems to me that most things of importance these days are political.

Debbie does a really deep dive about the topic and ties it nicely to education. It’s a good and powerful read.


STUDENT PROJECTS TO PROMOTE CREATIVITY

I’m not sure why you would ever assign a project to students that didn’t promote creativity but maybe that’s just me.

On the TESTOntario blog, John Allan uses this premise to introduce or re-introduce some pretty important tools.

  • CANVA
  • WinkSite
  • Google Tour Creator
  • QuestGarden

For each, John gives a nice discussion and there’s plenty of reference to good pedagogy there. There are all kinds of ideas. I think that I’ve mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating.

Online learning from home is better if students understand the tools involved. So, in these days where schools are back face to face, it’s a good time to use these effectively in case the unthinkable happens again. If not, they’ll still generate some great learning opportunities.

For each of the tools, John provides a “how to”, an “example”, and a ‘blog post.”

Consequently, it’s just not a list of tools but a launchpad to using these tools effectively.


Improvement is the Enemy of Change

This provocative title leads us to a discussion and observation of two of the high profile issues of the day. Charles says he’s non-partisan.

But, my thoughts as I read this — political? You betcha.

Far too often, huge and wasteful attention is paid to the superficial expressions of a problem rather than putting in the energy and time to go deeper to discover the real obstacles that get in the way of meaningful movement towards the desired outcomes. 

Charles Pascal uses this as a way to discuss

  • paid sick days
  • profit motive that drives 60% of Ontario’s long-term care facilities

These are topics for discussion in any year. In a year with COVID and the desire to keep virus spread, they take on increasing importance.

Briefly, doesn’t it only make sense for people who are sick to stay home? Wouldn’t paid sick days help address that?

And, isn’t it just obvious that cuts to expenditures to increase profits at long-term care facilities put residents and workers at greater risk?

We’ve seen the effects of both of these things. It’s on the news constantly. In this post, Charles goes into each topic at great discussion. This is a very sobering post to read. I’m glad that he took the time to share his thoughts with us.


Building practices for great equity: Careful engagement in Collaborative Learning

Beate Planche reached out to me to let me know of her blog and this was the most recent post. She gives us a nice discussion about Collaborative Learning and some links for additional reading.

Thinking back, I really didn’t get any direction about collaborative learning while at the Faculty of Education. We did talk about “group work” but it was never with the deep understanding that Beate drives home in this post.

Even as an educator, I’ve been in situations where we were “doing collaborative learning” at professional learning events. Often, it was contrived and seemed like a way for a presenter to fill time.

If you follow Beate’s post, she describes a practice that is a great deal of work and doesn’t elevate the teacher from the actual learning. If done effectively, the teacher is moving and working hard to encourage students.

In the study of Computer Science, a collaborative process described as Pair Programming can be found here. It’s a popular topic at Computer Science professional learning events.


Time is the…

As I read this post from Sheila Stewart, bells went off in my head. She says she stumbled into this song.

She was struck by the last of the song

Time is the mirror
Time is the healer
Time is the teacher

My song? And in response to Sheila’s call to action from the post… Certainly not as obscure as hers but very powerful as I really and truly paid attention to the lyrics.

And I enjoyed listening to Sheila’s suggestion as well.


Snow Day = No School Day

I knew that someone would be writing about Snow Days on the Heart and Art Blog. Heck I’d even written a post myself on Wednesday. Well, I wrote about it on Tuesday for it to appear on the Wednesday.

So, back to Heart and Art because this post isn’t about me – Deborah Weston took on the topic. I’ve got to believe that part of her inspiration came from social media as teachers throughout the province checked in on what was happening in their districts.

It seemed to be divided into two camps – Camp 1 let Snow Days be Snow Days and Camp 2 was The Show Must Go On. I can actually see how the logic would flow in the Camp 2 camp from those who are at the system level and make the decisions.

I’m getting tired of the terms “pivot” and “flip to” and Deborah uses them to share her observation about what might happen. It’s a good read for all teachers, to be sure, but I would suggest even better for decision makers.

If you can just easily pivot from a planned face to face lesson to online, the lesson can’t have been very good to begin with.


I hope that you can find some time to click through and read these original posts.

Then, follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Debbie Donsky – @debbiedonsky
  • John Allan – @mrpottz
  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • Beate Planche – @bmplanche
  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • Deborah Weston – @DPAWestonPhD

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Well, my first week back at the keyboard is in the bag and the voicEd Radio This Week in Ontario Edublogs was back on air. All is good and this Friday post is inspired by these great Ontario Edubloggers.


Weekly Plan for Online Learning: Special Education Classroom

From the ETFO Heart and Art blog, this is an interesting and very brave post.

I think most of us who are presenters are accustomed to putting our content and slide decks online for all to take a look at.

Tammy Axt goes one step further. She puts her entire teaching plan for her class online. It’s very precise in terms of the time for each activity and shows a nice balance between technology and non-technology activities. Of course, there would be the ever present meeting software running throughout. So, parents, students, colleagues, and now you can see what’s happening in her class this week.

It’s a jam packed schedule. No wonder teachers are exhausted.


That which doesn’t kill you…

Cal Armstrong shares with us a brutally honest look at his teaching life.

He’s a strong man and a real leader and so I know that, when he confesses he fell asleep at his desk, that there’s incredible amounts of stress going on in his teaching life.

He describes very nicely his working conditions, complete with plexiglass, and also some of the challenges. You can’t turn a school around 180 degrees in such a short period of time. There are challenging areas like the department office and I get that. I’ve never been to his but our office was over capacity.

Despite all the personal issues, it’s a testament to Cal that he also worries about his family and colleagues.

This is a hard, long post to read but I know that Cal speaks for many.


GO Explore! Developing an Explorer Mindset in Yourself and Your Students

When I first read this post from Peter Cameron, my first thought was Holy Overload, Batman.

It’s darn near everything that you might expect to have at your disposal if you decide to unlock your inner explorer and the explorers in your students. You can’t just throw this to the students; you need to experience it yourself and determine where it fits into your plans.

Great advice – start local and then go global.

Topics you could explore

  • Start an “Adventure Log” with your Students
  • Take the Learning Outside!
  • Don’t Forget Your Camera!
  • Novels Are Gateways to Adventure!
  • Virtual Field Trips to Anywhere in the World
  • Snow Kidding!
  • Google Earth: Bring the World to Your Classroom

Each of these topics is fleshed out in detail with links to all kinds of resources.


#oneword 2021

Many educators are exploring #oneword as a way to inspire themselves in 2021. It’s like a New Year’s Resolution but with a combination of personal and professional elements.

Sue Bruyns’ work hit me a little personally since it was my grandmother’s first name and my mother’s middle name – “Grace”.

When you research the word and the name, it quickly takes on a religious meaning.

In a world where you can be excused for being frustrated, lashing out, blaming others, blaming a virus, blaming a government, Sue suggests taking a step back and handling things with grace.

I don’t typically do a #oneword but I suspect I will have the meaning of this post running in the back of my mind at times as we move into the new year.


Follow Recommendations from a Twitter-Obsessed Nerd

I don’t typically use the word “nerd” myself but Shawna Rothgeb-Bird does use it to describe herself.

She’s found the advantages of making connections with quality educators and the power that comes from sharing and learning together. I love that.

She’s so enthralled with the concept, she shares a list of educators that she recommends following. I’ve already followed some on the list through one of my Ontario Educator Lists.

There was one person missing from her list of people to follow and that is Shawna herself. You can follow her here.


Expect the Unexpected and #OneWord2021

Diana Maliszewski jumped in with her #oneword for the upcoming year. Last year, she had chosen “push” and does a quick reflection. I think anyone could be excused for things not falling into place like they might.

So, her word for 2021?

“Well”

What follows next is her analysis of the word but her plan is to

  • Do well.
  • Be well.
  • Stay well.

Alone Together.

Trust Zoe Branigan-Pipe to cheat with her #oneword for 2021.

But, you know what, we all were cheated from many things in 2020 so this may well be a payback.

Her word?

“Alone Together”

Her explanation falls nicely from understanding each of those words individually.

I can’t remember a time in my connected life where Zoe wasn’t part of it. I so value the opportunities to sit and chat with her. I truly enjoyed the opportunities that I had to co-present with her.

I look forward to the opportunity to connect again. May it be sooner rather than later.


As always, I hope that you’re inspired by the thinking from these incredible bloggers. They’re all worth a click through to read in their entirety.

Then, please make sure that you’re following them on Twitter. Shawna, if you’re reading this, you can’t go wrong further building your network with these names.

  • Tammy Axt – @MsAxt
  • Cal Armstrong – @sig225
  • Peter Cameron – @petectweets
  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Shawna Rothgeb-Bird – @mmeshawna
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Zoe Branigan-Pipe – @zbpipe

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to another Friday and a chance to take a look at some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. As always, you won’t be disappointed with this great content.


#girlswhogame – Part 2

From Roland Chidiac, this is a followup to his Part 1 blog post from a few weeks ago. Read the blog post and you’ll see where Roland and the #girlswhogame are heading now in their learning.

Spoiler – Minecraft

Unlike games of old that are often first person shooter types, the gaming in this classroom includes work with:

  • solve problems using an inquiry process
  • think of and express questions in order to generate novel ideas
  • think about their thinking and have a growth mindset
  • participate in team work
  • communicate effectively in a variety of ways
  • understand how they are globally interconnected

Of course, all of these concepts are fleshed out in the post and it comes complete with pictures so that you can get a sense of what it looks like in Mr. Chidiac’s classroom.


Friday Two Cents: Society Cannot Function Without Women

Paul Gauchi shares with us some observations from his recent tour of occasional teaching. He’s noting that many of the teachers he’s working with are female.

In a discussion, as I’m sure happens in all schools, the reclosing of the school buildings is a topic.

Paul offers two reasons why he thinks it won’t happen.

First, he shares his thoughts that the politicians view schools as daycare. Secondly, he wonders about teaching positions being undervalued and expands the list to include a number of positions that are traditionally held by women.

He then takes a turn and offers a solution that might help the cause. As a father of two daughters, I didn’t find it a particularly easy post to read.


No Longer School Online

Regular readers will know that I really appreciate a good reflective post and Terry Whitmell looks at the first part of the school year and the successes that her school had with online instruction.

  • Teacher Networking
  • Student Agency
  • Consistency
  • Tools
  • Efficiency
  • Organization
  • Professional Learning
  • Student-Student Connection
  • Success

In the voicEd Radio show, I took a bit of liberty with Terry’s post and used the work Efficacy instead of Efficiency. I really liked her observations about how students took control of their educational lives. In a normal school setting, the structure is imposed on students but she observed their taking control of things. That seems to me to be one of the most important things from this post.

The post is written from the perspective of an administrator. I’d love to know if the teachers at the school observed the same things.


Step Down #SOL2020

Melanie White had me a bit emotional as I read this post. It was difficult to read because she uses “step down” as a delimiter throughout the post. It really was effective as it made me slow down and really mull over her thoughts.

Her thoughts took me through a sense of loneliness as she walks through her school describing what she sees. It reminded me of my own secondary school where we had an old part and a new part. The new part probably could have been a school anywhere in the province but the old part was really unique and yet, at the same time, similar to the building that Melanie describes.

I know that I’ve mentioned it before but her writing can be so moving and she’s done it again.

Then, the bottom fell out when she describes an airless room with Grade 9 students and her efforts to change that. While only a few people could have written something this emotional, I would bet that the emotions and the imagery she uses could be the words of so many others.


Social Distance Games & Activities

The day before I read this post from Larissa Aradj, I’d driven by French Catholic elementary school and students were outside.

Normally, that’s nothing to take note of but the ground was wet and it was the activity that the students were doing that caught my attention. They were lined up, physically distanced of course, and they were doing pushups as the teacher walked along in front of them. I was witnessing a Physical Education activity.

That took me back to my football coaching days!

This year, Larissa has picked up classes of Physical Education herself. It seems to me that that really is a challenging assignment these days. In the good old days, you’d have soccer balls and other tools of the game trade. These are not allowed these days so innovative ways to keep students engaged must be found. In this post, Larissa shares some ideas and links to professionally created activities. It’s a good collection to pass along to colleagues. Thanks, Larissa.

Hey, how about burpees?


Changing the narrative

I found this an interesting discussion from Alanna King. And she’s right; every curriculum document and course of study is presented chronologically.

My “yah, but” came from Computer Science where you build capacity in that matter; it you jump ahead, you overlook key concepts. I mean, what Computer Science teacher hasn’t had to stop in the middle of a lesson to explain something that was not apparent to be missing when you started.

Alanna’s talking more about the big picture in the humanities and that got her thinking about educational structure.

Good questions.

(Alanna, I felt badly that I started at the top of your list and read down)


Creating Engaging Lessons with EdPuzzle – E029

From the Edugals blog, a link to their podcast and the notes to go along with it. The topic this time around was EdPuzzle.

Reading this made me feel old!

EdPuzzle is a tool and a technique for helping students understand the content of a video and you’re probably thinking YouTube. I read an article recently that children put more credibility behind something from YouTube rather than something teacher created. When you think about it, it makes sense.

I actually was “formally” taught about how to use video in the classroom and the lesson went far beyond the play button. It involved noting the timer, having a sheet of questions, and most importantly a remote control. So teacher centred!

In the post, the ladies take you through the process as a teacher and a students and offer some sample codes so that you can experience what they’ve been working with.


There’s lots of great content yet again this week that will inspire you and help you take your game to the next level. Please take the time to click through and read all of these wonderful posts.

Then, make sure you’re following these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Terry Whitmell – @TerryWhitmell
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Larissa Aradj – @MrsGeekChic
  • Alanna King – @banana29
  • EduGals – @EduGals

This post comes from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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