This Week in Ontario Edublogs

If you need to read one article for blogging inspiration, let it be this one.

Bring back personal blogging

I couldn’t agree more. The internet is full of dead blogs from people who felt they had something to say at the time. You know what? They still do. Please revive that blog; the world needs positive, original thoughts at this time.

There’s a lot of great music in this post – we tried something different with the radio show.

Giant Snowman in peril!

Who could turn an image of a giant snowman into a blog post?

Doug, of course. (not this one)

It was a fun read and I was impressed with his rewrite of a winter classic.

I ain’t Frosty the Snowman

I’m a miserable pile of snow

I have balls for eyes

And I am stuck with pucks

And this place I live just sucks!

It’s a far cry from this classic version by Jimmy Durante.

If you listened to the show, you heard Stephen sing Doug’s version.

One Word 2023

The concept of a “One Word” for the new year is a nice tradition that Sue maintains in this blog post.

There were a couple of messages in the post for me. One was her selection of the word “Time” and her explanation of how she plans to use it with:

  • staff
  • students
  • colleagues
  • school community

Admirable goals.

As I mentioned in my discussion with Stephen on our show on Wednesday, she’s addressed everything but herself.

Read the post carefully and you’ll see that she’s going to take care of herself in about six months.

#OneWord2023 = Lift

There was a wonderful surprise in this post from Diana that I didn’t know.

Of course, she shares her one word and it’s “Lift”. Fair enough.

After a review of previous one words she’s used, it starts to get real.

Lift has many meanings and that was a nice spin for the post. I had no idea that Diana was lifting weights and she shares her journey there – along with a picture – not photoshopped.

There’s another personal, professional spin to “Lift” that she brings out in this well-crafted post! Love it.

time off time

You know, checking your email could be a 24-hour-a-day job if you let it. Will reminds us of this as he shares parts of a pair of email messages (the irony is not lost on me) reminding him to unplug and step back from checking the latest directive or missive from someone else in the profession.

It’s great advice and, if you’re going to take it today, you’ve missed a couple of weeks that could have been different.

Never fear – there’s always that Spring Break upcoming and his advice along with suggestions for what to do with that extra time will still be valid.

The Christmas tree layout may be dated though.

Book Joy #SOL2022

My high school was so old school.

We studied the same novel at the same time. We had to. We had class sets.

When we wanted to read a book, we could go to the library for part of a period and find something. I remember being hurried because the period was ending and we need to get going – pick a book.

I’ve never actually had any teacher select a book for me that she/he thought might be of interest to me.

Melanie does this and more. There’s a wonderful twist to this and it’s at her personal expense! She reaches out to one student and a few others fall in love with the gesture.

Whatever Happened To Carol Sings?

Regular readers of this blog post or Sunday blog post readers know that “Whatever happened to …” is a weekly blog post from yours truly. It’s fun and quick to write.

In this post, Aviva takes a crack at the concept and does a wonderful job. Maybe I should hire her to write my Sunday posts and give me a day off. <grin>

In elementary schools, carol singing was a regular occurrence at Clinton Public School. Not so much in my secondary school or at university. It really is a community-building opportunity lost.

But, Aviva’s prompt brought back a wonderful memory for me and that’s the reason for the “Whatever happened to …” post.

Here’s my reply to her post.

Thank you for the kind shoutout, Aviva.
You brought back a wonderful elementary school experience. Those that were allowed were invited to an assembly every morning leading up to the Christmas break. We’d all sit on the floor and our music teacher had her piano rolled in. We all had Simpsons-Sears Christmas song sheets and she’d pick a number and we sang them as a school. I think the school was 4-500 students at the time.
When I had my own classroom, there were a few young ladies in my homeroom (whatever happened to homerooms) who were fabulous singers and they’d organize a sing along just for my homeroom! It was awesome.
It took a different turn – I happened to mention it to the vice-principal and he invited them to come to the office and sing a couple each morning over the PA for the whole school! Before that, I think we had just a public assembly that was just to celebrate the end of the term.
Thanks for bringing back that memory.
Merry Christmas!

Make Mistakes on Purpose

As a teacher, we’ve all done it. We slip up when we are teaching something and some kid points it out to us. The response

I just did that to see if you were paying attention.

Confess – you’ve done it. I’ve done it.

But, what about the “real world” where Colleen is right now with producing Christmas presents (at least for me) with her original work.

In the post, there’s a wonderful picture of her on the couch with her puppy warming before a fire. For mere mortals like me, that would be a winner. With someone of Colleen’s talents though, it was a chance to sketch it. Wow!

Mistakes? Hardly! And, I was paying attention to the original and the sketch with my eyes darting back and forth. I can honestly say that I’ve never done that in a blog post before. Thanks, Colleen.

Please click through and read all of these wonderful posts. Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Doug McDowall – @dougzone2_1
  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Colleen Rose – @ColleenKR 

This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio

Opening Song

Closing Song

Peace Playlist

Since the incident in Ukraine, we’ve been opening and closing the radio show with songs of peace. They’re all here in this playlist.


This Week in Ontario Edublogs

I hope that everyone is enjoying the break from the regular routine. The voicEd Radio show enjoyed a break this week as well. But, Ontario Edubloggers kept on writing and here are a few posts that caught my eye. Those that have been featured on the Wednesday morning show are on this list. I know that there are some inactive links on both lists but I hang on to the hope that the blogging urge will hit again.


You can’t be reading anything on line these days without coming across stories about the use and the power behind the use of AI. OpenAI’s ChatGPT is the one that’s getting most attention in my world. This morning, I had it write a short computer program for me. I followed the logic and most definitely, it would have worked.

I’ve watched enough episodes of Star Trek to know that it’s inevitable. I can’t help but think that that premise so long ago developed by Gene Roddenberry foretalls of our current reality and more. By the way, the show was written in 1966.

I found the post very interesting to read.

The common joke in education among some circles is that so and so hasn’t updated anything since she first started teaching. If anyone is looking for a presentation idea, imagine digging out an old lesson and show it on one side of a screen and then use AI to generate a current lesson while the audience watches. That’s keynote material.

Well, unless you have AI do the presentation! People need to be paying attention. This “trend” isn’t going to be trendy and go away any time soon.

Slice of (Who Are You) Life

I love reading Lisa’s writing. She’s so honest and open and I can identify with her right away. It’s like she’s in my mind at times.

A friend once told me that you can screw up anything about a person but as long as you remember their name, they’ll forgive you. It’s a premise that I’ve tried to live by professionally and socially.

Sometimes it works; other times it doesn’t. I think I can safely say that it works for me most of the time.

Lisa’s got a new environment with a lot of new colleagues and, if you’ve ever changed schools, you will smile immediately after reading this.

When I became a Teacher Consultant, I visited so many schools and met so many new people. My strategy was to take my planner and sit in the parking lot after I left the school and write down the names of the people I had just met and a little something about them or their classroom that I could use later.

Upon revisit, I would go back into my planner and read what I had written and it helped. People do appreciate it when you know their names.

Lisa, I hope that you get to remember them all over time!

If you can’t identify yourself when you read this post …

Old Fellas New Music Episode 38

Ask any of my family and they’ll tell you that I always have something musical going on in the background when I’m working. (or football if there’s a game on)

Bob and Paul’s playlist is on the speakers as soon as it comes out.

I appreciate the fact that they talk about things and do a little research beyond the music. My favourite this time around was from Sister Ray.

Sister Ray is the stage name of Ella Coyes, a Métis singer-songwriter. They were born and raised in Sturgeon County, Alberta. Their debut full-length album Communion was released in May 2022

Educators’ To-Do List for Winter Break

If you’re in the Ottawa area, Amy has a great list of things to do and places to go.

And, even if you’re not in the Ottawa area, there is a collection of books for you to read. After all, this has been a tough fall and you need to treat yourself.

Amy inspired me to give you ideas if you’re in Essex County.

  • visit Point Pelee National Park – it’s always different
  • visit Amherstburg’s Navy Yard and see the lights (and Toddy Jones Park for the kid’s lights)
  • check out the newest store in your town – it’s nice to support them and you might just find something new and inspirational – you’ve got to drop in on our new popcorn store
  • walk along the Detroit River – it’s always humbling to see just how big the Ambassador Bridge is and the Renaissance Centre in downtown Detroit is impressive
  • take your dog for a walk on the Greenway – there are miles and miles of torn-up railroad tracks (Jaimie made me write that one)

She also provides this graphic for inspiration. The list sounds like fun and I’d suggest DON’T wait until a break to do it. This should be part of your life all the time.

Episode 51- Kindness Is Karen’s Kind

If you need a podcast that will absolutely put you into a wonderful place in mind, this is it.

Like many people, the pandemic inspired Monique Monelle and her husband to take up a new hobby during lockdown. But their new ‘hobby’ was wonderfully unusual. They were inspired to rescue ex-battery hens.

I never stop being amazed with the wide variety of what you find when great people turn to social media to try and get their message out. This is all about adopting chickens. I’ll bet you didn’t see that coming!

Be good to yourself.

I hope that you can find time to click through and enjoy all this wonderfulness.

And, then follow them on Twitter.

  • Cecilia Aponte-de-Hanna – @capontedehanna
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker
  • Anitha Rao-Robinson – @AnithaRobinson

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s Thursday morning as I start this post. It takes the longest of all my posts to write. We just got back from in town and bought what I hope is that last top up for Sunday. BTW, there will be a Sunday morning post; I wrote it yesterday and it’s Christmas themed. I had a wonderful time chatting with Stephen Hurley on voicEd Radio this week and the blog posts that we talked about plus a couple of bonus ones appear below.


A Polite Request is NOT a Mandate.

Not only did I read the blog post but I had the opportunity to see Marie on the CTV Kitchener news talking about this. Of course, it was about Covid.

The Waterloo Board is wrestling with the concept of masking like so many boards are. Particularly with Christmas coming, two weeks off school and kids gathering for this and that, I have to wonder about the wisdom of not wearing masks after the break. It there ever was a recipe for a super spreader, this would seem to be it.

I’ve always found that Marie is down to earth in her concerns and approach to dealing with the resperatory issues. It just seems to me that, unfortunately, it’s a lose-lose scenario.

if they don’t require masks and there’s an outbreak, they’re wrong, if they do require masks and there isn’t an outbreak, they’re wrong – a lose-lose situation. 

Which side would you rather lose on?

She lays out her thoughts nicely and compares the language about masking from a few other districts. I found it to be a fascinating read and my heart goes out to her as she tries to do the very best for the schools in her charge.

Steps to Self-Publishing

If you are a skilled artist, how do you get your works out into the hands of others? Some people might not wish to get an original or a print for the wall so Colleen has another way of handling things.

She’s self-publishing some blank notebooks covered by replicas of her art work.

And, they’re gorgeous! How do I know? I ordered a couple of them and they’ll be under our tree for the notetaker that I married. I can tell you this because my wife doesn’t read my blog.

I’ll share her reaction probably and will let Colleen know but my impression is that I’m over the top happy with them.

So, how did she get the inspiration? Certainly not from any place that I would have guessed. You’ll have to enjoy the post to find out how.

kids these days – educator version

As educators, we owe so much to so many for our experiences at the Faculty of Education.

Yes, there were all the professors and sessional instructors but there are also those teachers who offered up their classrooms for us to go in and try out teaching. Some of us did great things, some of us screwed up royally, some of us learned from a practicing teacher, some practicing teachers learned from us.

Will shares her thoughts about the practice teaching experience and then focuses on the fact that so many teachers who would open their classrooms to others just aren’t these days. That’s really sad when you think of the opportunities lost.

Of course, the years of Covid were tough but when you read Will’s post, you get the sense that that mentality persists.

After reading, you just might be inspired to say yes the next time the Faculty comes calling.

What are you going to do? A Leadership Recipe for Success

If you aspire for a leadership position in education, you really need to be reading Rolland’s blog on a regular basis. There’s so much wisdom and direction there.

This time, he shared this image as inspiration.

There are six points to consider in the graphic.

  • Practice discipline
  • Take on more projects
  • Learn to follow
  • Inspire others
  • Keep learning
  • Resolve conflicts

The concepts are fleshed out nicely and I agree with most of it; I do wonder about “taking on more projects” as there has to be a limit somewhere. There has to be a point in time where there are diminishing returns for your efforts.

The other interesting point that Rolland addresses are those who would “fake” it. We’ve all seen so many of these people, I suspect, and I’m in total agreement with his assessment.


I actually had the opportunity to catch up with Lynn at a book sale in Tecumseh last weekend. I got the story of her inspiration for the children’s books that she is co-authoring with her niece. As luck would have it, I met her again at David Garlick’s table and found that both of them considered themselves “closers” as the two of them had been the last principal at a number of schools which were subsequently closed.

But, that has nothing to do with this podcast!

I follow Natasha Feghali on a couple of social media platforms and I’m just amazed at her energy and the number of opportunities she’s had for professional growth and opportunities and philanthropy. And, oh, the number of connections. I’d love to have the discussion wth her but she’s currently in Kuwait teaching so Lynn’s interview was the next best thing.

Not only does she come across as a very professional young lady (one of the 40 under 40 around here) but she gives a terrific interview. It probably comes from all the presentations that she gives. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable conversion between two leaders.

Lynn also uses a transcribing piece of software so that you can read the interview if you would rather. It does a pretty good job.

the fact that someone notices

I’ve never been able to write poetry so I’m always pleased to be able to read someone else’s work. That was the case with Chris and this post.

Unlike a straight forward blog post, I do have to slow down to read the words and muse about the meaning.

we are chapters,
not categories or
title pages,

That’s a bit; click through to read it in its entirety.

The Thing With Feathers 

Jessica has published a book of poetry and it’s available now on Amazon.

She calls it

“a story of becoming whole by reassembling broken pieces of self, holding onto hope in the darkest moments, and seeing everything in a new light.”

I love the pictures from her book launch.

Give yourself an early Christmas gift and click through to read all these wonderful posts. Yet again, there’s great content from Ontario Educators.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Colleen Rose – @ColleenKR
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • Lynn McLaughlin – @lynnmcla
  • Chris Cluff (he is on Facebook)
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Peace Playlist

Since the Ukraine situation, we’ve opened and closed the show with songs of peace. This week, it was these two.

The peace playlist

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

This Wednesday’s show was extra special. We had a guest chatting up the posts along with Stephen and me before. Our guest this week, Vicky Loras, also got to pick the Ontario Edubloggers that she wanted to talk about. It was fun. Stephen noted that we had a whack of listeners from Europe checking in as well. Vicky’s notoriety was obvious!

My PhD Bookstack: Indigenous Resources

For courtesy, when you have a guest host, it’s only polite to let them chat about their own writing. Vicky had identified this as an important post for her.

It was good because I had a number of questions for her:

  • Do you have more titles that you’ve researched than are in the post
  • Is it a sign of the times that someone living in Switzerland could make the connection to Canadian variations on a language?
  • How do you find a mentor for any Ph.D. and, specifically, how do you find one in Switzerland about this topic? Her response was awesome
  • I didn’t get a chance to ask just how would you find resources this specific in a foreign country. I could kick myself about his

An Upside To Covering Classes

For me, this was the dreaded thing about checking my mailbox – those yellow sheets that indicated that I had an on-call and had to take over a class for someone else. Depending upon the class and the content, the best that I could hope to do is keep everyone in the classroom!

If there was one neat thing, it was to see my students in another setting. It’s surprising how different they can be.

In typical Aviva fashion, she gives us the details and looks for the pot at the end of the covering class rainbow. Her regular routine has a positive spillover when covering a class happens.

  • learn the names of the students.
  • find out about things that matter to the students and staff.
  • start to observe reading, writing, and oral language behaviours in action.
  • have longer conversations with staff members to find out more about program decisions and ideal supports.
  • teach and learn alongside the students, but also, alongside my colleague

If you have to do it, and every student needs to be supervised, you might as well find the best of it.

Slice of Life

On any other week, I probably wouldn’t have included Lisa’s blog post. But, with Vicky in on the conversation, I actually thought that it was really important. Both of them are doing some heavy-duty academic work so how does that fit into things.

Lisa shared her work and I totally got where she was coming from. In addition to everything else, it was progress report time and we all know what that means.

I thought it really interesting and insightful that she could talk about the difference between academic and casual writing.

“My point, however, is that I am having a hard time writing a casual slice of life because my brain is so solidly in academic writing mode.”

I’m glad that she has a devotion to blogging and most definitely she has a follower in Vicky.

Refocus on Planning and Partnering

Diana is so dedicated to her blog.

I could set my clock and calendar by her devotion and dedication. I get the announcement of a post right on time every Monday morning.

In the post, she talks about her assignment of co-teaching and the details

  • Grade 6 Social Studies with Connie Chan
  • Grade 3-4 Language with Brenda Kim
  • Grade 7-8 Geography with Farah Wadia

I can’t imagine the preparation that goes into something so wide and so deep. Diana gives us a taste and, certainly, as she does, there are lots of great pictures.

In true Media Literacy importance, she provides pictures of the process and the product and not of the students that actually did the work. There’s a lesson there for so many.

Curating a Student-Driven Holocaust Exhibit By Noa Daniel

I thoroughly enjoyed this podcast with Noa, Rob Flossman and four students. This was an important project that generated a great deal of outside interest.

Imagine a project like this that’s now totaling 1300-1440 artifacts!

I was riveted to the show from beginning to end. It is always awesome when a student can speak so eloquently about what’s going on.

Noa has years of experience in podcasting and her style comes through nicely once again. She is cognizant of the time constraints and all her works fall together without a sense that something was cut or that there was filler to be added to reach the mark.

Please take the time to click through and enjoy the content. Vicky chose wisely.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

  • Vicky Loras – @vickyloras
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Noa Daniel – @iamnoadaniel

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It was great getting back to the microphone for the radio show / podcast this week. After two weeks, the boom arm on my microphone was dusty and Stephen caught me cleaning it during the show…

Here’s what we talked about and a couple of bonus posts.

Hurting? Ask For Help!

I’m a big fan of how Cameron uses his blog as inspiration for students to write. And, because they’re writing on the blog, they’re truly writing for an audience.

This time, the topic was bullying and anti-bullying. Of course, he used the opportunity to remind students of

After setting the stage, the students had a choice of two ways to respond…

For your blog post this week you have two choices: 
1. I want you to imagine a student in grade five who is struggling with anxiety, stress, or bullying and write them a letter that you think could help them get through the tough times. 
2. Write a paragraph that explains your strategies or ways that you deal with stressful situations or tough times. 

The responses are honest and open and I thought really rich for a Grade 5 class. This is well worth checking out and maybe replicating in your class.

The Many Benefits of Mud Play

I remember, as a kid, playing in the mud and catching all kinds of heck when I got home. Things would be wild if I had been in Deanna’s classroom.

It didn’t come out in the post but parents are so supportive of students playing in the mud that they chipped in and bought a class set of boots. How’s that for support?

Deanna gives us a lovely description of what she’s expecting as teacher when the kids get muddy.

  • Playing with natural materials like mud and water help children build a relationship with nature.
  • Mud play encourages problem-solving and innovation.
  • Children explore many math concepts authentically through mud play
  • Mud play bolsters children’s oral communication.
  • Playing with dirt and mud strengthens children’s fine and gross motor skills.
  • Mud play appeals to sensory learners and can be a calming and enjoyable activity for many
  • Research shows that playing in the dirt can strengthen children’s health and immunity.

Each bullet point has a detailed description and pictures to show what it looks like in real life. Fun!

Deanna is so devoted to the concept that she’s written a book about it  Muddy Math: See, Think and Wonder.

Despite all this, there was room to grow. During the show, I got this message from Colleen Rose.

Mud = clay = ART CLASS!!!

Routine. Familiar. Customary. Methodical.

Elizabeth continues to find ways to attract my attention and wanting to read her blog posts. This time, it’s a series of four words all punctuated with periods.

I thought this was a very brave post to put out in the open. It’s one thing to talk about great things happening in your class but quite another to talk about challenges that you’re having. And, quite frankly, I wouldn’t have thought that her challenges would be where she identifies them, coming from a library position.

First of all, in the subject area where many people have challenges – mathematics – she seems to have wrapped it nicely into a routine fo the students.

  • Monday “Minds on”
  • Tuesday and Thursday “Roll and Write”
  • Wednesday “Number Talks”
  • Friday “Esti-Mysteries” from Steve Wybourney’s blog from Oregon

As an aside, the Esti-Mysteries was a real sinkhole for me. Great stuff!

The area where she identifies challenges is Literacy. That surprised me but here we are.

She’s working on building a framework for that class. I really love the openness in this post.

Icky But Interesting Facts About Poop

This is an incredibly important topic and everyone should be aware of it. Kudos to STAO for posting it to their blog.

Just the other night on the evening news, I saw a report about the growth in the number of cases of colorectal cancer. It’s scary.

Do yourself a favour and read this –

As noted in the blog, your body can tell you a lot about what’s going on and all that you have to do is look.

The post gives a short description of things to look for – what’s normal – and what could be happening.

Meet the PhDs

The podcast this week comes from Vicky Loras. Vicky is on her own way to earning a PhD and along the way she’s interviewing others who have already completed that journey.

This episode was with Dr. Thanassis Godelitsas.

I found his story very interesting. I guess, coming from education, I see most PhDs as those who completed a Bachelors’s and Masters’s degree and continuing in education. There was no straight path for Dr. Godelitsas and his bio as you’ll see on Vicky’s website shows studies in so many areas.

Beyond the content, it was interesting to listen to Vicky conduct the interview. She’s constantly prompting to keep the conversation alive. Unlike a few others, she doesn’t just give us a pat set of questions; she adjusts based on the conversation. It’s a nice style and if you’re a podcaster who interviews others, you could learn a lot just by listening.

NU#17 – Leading Teams These Days…

One of my superintendents was big in leadership and he did so many professional activities with us – because he wanted us to become leaders in our own rights.

He was always talking about change and how we need to evolve with the realities that are happening in schools and society. Nothing stands still.

That was the strong message coming from this post from Jen.

Leadership needs to look a lot different these days. It’s the people around us that matter most – now more than ever- and I think we’re all just trying to figure it out as best we can, as we go along.

Over my career, I worked for many leaders. Each of them was strong and powerful in their own way but no two were the same.

As I read Jen’s post, I could easily see that they would fail as leaders in our world today if they continued to use what worked for them back then.

If you’re a leader or you aspire to be a leader and wonder what might work, you will find this an interesting read.

Phone home

This is one of the most difficult things for teachers to do – make that call home because something has gone amiss at school. This has a nice ending to it.

“I’ll call again and let you know how it’s going,” I said.
“I’m looking forward to it,” she replied.

Amanda is short of specific details and that’s a good thing for the privacy of the student. I think we’ve all had that moment when we know that we need to make the call and dread it. Nobody likes to be the bearer of anything but very positive news.

I can’t help but think that this is one of those very powerful reasons why we blog. We anguish, over-think, fret, worry, … and blogging is a release. You can talk to a spouse but, unless they’re an educator, they don’t really get it.

Amanda shares her thoughts with her blog and with us if we care to read. If you’re like me, you’re going to want to send her a virtual hug and celebrate a happy ending that came unexpectedly.

Please take the time to click though and read all these wonderful posts. Dropping a comment while you’re there is always appreciated.

Then, follow them on Twitter

  • Cameron Steltman – @MrSteltman
  • Deanna McLennan – @McLennan1977
  • Elizabeth Lyons@mrslyonslibrary
  • Claire Zuliani & Michael Frankfort @MsZuliani @mfrank_76
  • Vicky Loras – @vickyloras
  • Jen Shirley – @jen_shirley
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

This is a regular Friday morning post around here and a live radio show appears Wednesday mornings at 8:45 and available as a podcast later.