This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It was another week of inspirational posts from the fingertips of great Ontario Edubloggers.  There’s always a wide variety of content and posts ready to keep you thinking.  Way to go, friends.  Here are a few of the great reads that I had a chance to enjoy.


Self Portraits
Augmented Reality for International Dot Day
Dot Day 2013

I’m going to bundle these posts from Debbie Axiak and Colleen Rose together just due to the fact that they’re all visual arts related.  Two of them were reports about Dot Day and what it looked like in their classes.  I’m so clearly not an artist in this sense and I have nothing but awe for those who do have the gift.  In these posts, they share some of the techniques and final productions from their students.  Absolutely awesome stuff.  I really like the fact that they’re sharing all of this with whoever happens to drop by their blogs.  I hope that you’re one of them.  There are some wonderful products showcased.






On the Tip of Their Tongue – Use Audio for Assessment and Evaluation



Zoe Branigan-Pipe takes on the challenge of alternate strategies to the pen and paper assignment.  Ever the artist herself, Zoe makes the connection with audio and multimedia as the answer.  I’ve learned so much just talking with her about the use of the Livescribe pen.  That’s one of the strategies that she offers in the post.  Thanks to her, I always have mine in my computer bag and will use it when computer note taking (my preferred method) isn’t practical or convenient.

This is a very good read to help expand your thinking about options.


How Do We Make It Personal?

Aviva Dunsiger alerted me to her administrator’s blog yesterday morning.  I checked it out and added it to the ScoopIT! page and LiveBinder.  After checking out the posts, of course.

The latest post “How Do We Make It Personal?” really defines the teaching condition.  I like the comparison Kristi draws to dealing with her own children compared to a class full of students with differing needs.



I think we all know that one size doesn’t fit all.  I admire the goal of finding student choice and voice.  If you’ve got the answer, drop by her blog and let her know in the comments.  And, please cc: me because I’d like to know too.


School Leadership, Parent Engagement & Change

Tracy Bachellier takes some of the work from her MEd program.  She wrestles with:

  • leadership and management
  • change and culture

and manages to weave together a pretty insightful discussion about progress, always with school improvement and student achievement in mind.  She’s not naïve enough to think that it stops within the walls of the building and asks about the impact of school districts and school boards.



She draws inspiration from some posts from Chris Wejr and provides those links to extend her thoughts.  It’s pretty cool that Chris drops by and shares a comment to her post.


Thanks to these (and others) for continuing to blog and share your thoughts.  It’s just great reading.  Please visit their blogs and give them support.  The entire collection of Ontario Edublogs is located here.  If you’re blogging, please complete the form provided there so that I can add you to this wonderful collection.



This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It was another great week of content sharing from Ontario Edubloggers. Here’s some of what caught my eye.

The Schools That We Want: Bring in the Shovels before you bring in the Cranes

Stephen Hurley always challenges his readers by constantly asking them to define this, or put that in perspective.  His recent post surrounds the election of the new Premier for the Province and the challenges that she faces going forward.


I really thought hard about this paragraph.  The government wants the best possible education for our students (as do we all) and the answer always seems to be adding another curriculum or expand this or refine that.  School districts respond by implementing the government initiatives as well as adding their own layers.  Stephen does ask a really good question.  Do all these layers insulate things so much that we’ve lost sight of the “fundamental purpose”?

Duct Tape Challenge

You’ve got to love the creativity of the teachers that teach the youngest of students.  In this case, Angie Harrison talks about the “Duct Tape Challenge” going on in her class.  Nothing says Canadian like Duct Tape.  I have long lusted for a duct tape wallet ever since I first saw one!

Is this just a fun little extra-curricular that’s added to fill the day?  Absolutely not.  In her post, Angie includes pictures and talks about exactly what the students will be doing.  Most importantly, and I guess ties nicely into Stephen’s ideas of layers, she identifies the expectations that will be addressed.


Where was this when I was in school?

Visualizing Connections

Rodd Lucier recently took a shot at trying to visualize connections among online learners.  He did it in two dimensions – those being intellectual engagement against emotional connectivity.  Those were two interesting criteria.


I thought that his placements were interesting.  Of course, it’s all subjective but he does paint an interesting story.  Dig into Rodd’s blog if you want to discover what UnPlug’d is all about.  I think that there’s another attribute that needs to be considered.  It’s time.  Time for involvement with each of the activities and also time in terms of the longevity of the activities.  For example, there have been connections that I’ve had that I would rate highly in terms of both of Rodd’s attributes but the connection has been nil recently.  How would you best display that?  A 3D representation?

The Year in Review – a barrenblogger’s excuse

Tracy Bachellier shares her thoughts about blogging and I would suggest that she speaks for so many.  Whether they’re intermittent bloggers or daily bloggers, I think that everyone asks these questions.  How will I ever find the time?  How will I ever get the ideas?


Personally, I wish I could have a gig like David Pogue.  People send me stuff, I evaluate it, and then write a blog post once a week about it and my employer gives me a lot of money.   (Guess who read Pogue’s Post about the new Blackberry today.)

Personally, I think everyone should blog.  It’s great for learning; it’s great for expression.  Writing – and quite frankly, I have no illusions that I’m a great writer – has always been the way that I learn stuff.  When I would study for history tests in high school, I would write a story from the perspective of the historical event that I was trying to understand.  As a programmer, I always wrote a description of my programs before I actually coded them.  Nothing succeeds like success and these were the mechanisms that got me through it.

When I decided to write this blog, I struggled.  I always felt like I had to write a post that would stand out and put me in the same category of the Pogue’s of the world.  That lastest about two posts and then reality kicked in.  Nobody is going to send me a Blackberry to evaluate.  So, I went back to my roots and I used writing as a way to express my thinking.  Rather than just file it away on my hard drive, I put it online.  It made me a better proofreader, to be sure.  I also decided to give myself license to write about anything that came to mind.  If you were to look at my local hard drive, you’d find all kinds of half-baked ideas and partially fleshed out blogs.  But I keep writing and writing and writing.

I would encourage Tracy to just start to write about stuff that she’s doing and experiencing.  It will grow on you and soon become part of your daily routine.

Livescribe on the Road

Finally, from Mark Carbone, a great learning tip.  If you’re in the car a lot, why not learn?

It makes so much sense.  For me, I typically get in the car and turn on E Street Radio and listen to the E Street Band.  I’ve got it wrong.

Mark’s advice –


Plug your Livescribe pen with your notes into your stereo, tap the start from your notes and listen to your recording as you’re driving.


Thanks to the writers above for sharing your thoughts.  This blog reader really appreciates it.  Enjoy the complete blog posts at the links above or find all of the Ontario Edubloggers at this link.  You’re an Ontario Edublogger but not in the Livebinder collection?  Head over to the link and add yourself.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

This is the last school Friday of 2012.  Ontario Educators will be taking a well deserved break – it’s been a long fall with plenty of challenges.  Thankfully, the blogging continued.

Non-Extreme Makeover. Blog Edition.

I enjoy reading people’s sharing of their technology problem solving.  It helps me understand the problem solving and steps that they took to try and fix things.  It’s this sort of transparent sharing that’s so helpful for others who might be experiencing the same things.

This week Colin Jagoe wrote a couple of posts about his experiences upgrading his self-hosted WordPress blog.  It’s a good read.  I have my own self-hosted blog but it was done more for the experience of setting it up.  I use the free WordPress version for my own for a number of reasons.  I may make the other one home some day and it’s help like this that’s so helpful.  Thanks, Colin.

WRDSB Student Voice

You hear so often claims about listening to student voice.  You need to ask the questions – are you legitimately listening?  – are you going to change practice because of it?

Mark Carbone, in a recent post, described the listening process put in place in Waterloo.  He describes a good interaction with the student trustee group.

Even more importantly, there’s a section about What’s Next?  That’s an important followup to this.  Nicely done.

How I Lesson Plan

I had to smile at the content of Scott Kemp’s recent post.  He described his thinking about “The Bus Syndrome”.

I had a superintendent once that asked the same question of me.  How would we carry on if you got hit by a bus?  I assumed that it wasn’t just hope on his part but that he was concerned about continuity.  It reaffirms the need for documenting everything which I’ve always done.  Actually, probably overdone.  Sometimes it’s difficult to find anything.

Scott outlines nine questions that would be good for any teacher to ask of her/himself.

The Power of Hand-Writing

Another post that struck just a little too close to me.  When I was in secondary school, I had beautiful handwriting.  At university, it turned to scribble.  As a computer science teacher, I would print on a chalkboard or overhead as we developed solutions to make it student-readable.  Later, I became the master of word processing, desktop publishing, electronics – presentations, blogs, Twitter, etc.  I’m reminded annually when it comes time to do the Christmas Cards and I have to figure out which end of the pen is up, that I don’t write all that often and when I do, it’s horrible.

Rodd Lucier shared an interesting Vlog about his own thoughts.

Now, having beat myself up with this, my favourite notetaking pen is my LiveScribe device so I do take manual notes at times.  I just opened a notebook for a peek.  Uh oh.  I print my notes.  It does beg the question though – is it important that I don’t handwrite much anymore?

Our 21st Century Classroom

Mind Share Learning supports the use of electronics with its Video Challenge and Aviva Dunsiger’s students created an entry.

The video knocks down the school walls and gives us a look at what her students consider to be their 21st Century Classroom.  The kids are great and they’re using the technical terms correctly.  The video is worth viewing at least twice.  First time through, focus on the kids and the message.  The second time through, pay attention to just the technology.  There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of opportunities for the students.

Great offerings this week, folks.  Thanks for sharing them.  You can read the individual blog posts at the links above or the entire Ontario Edublog collection at the LiveBinder site or the Scoopit! site.

If you’re an Ontario Edublogger and your blog is not listed there, please consider adding it using the form.  Even if you’re not blogging, use the form to add your Twitter handle to the list of Ontario Educators.  Your thoughts just might end up in “The Best of Ontario Educators Daily“.

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