This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Good Friday morning.

Why not get a little smarter by reading some of these blog posts from great Ontario Edubloggers?


If Ever There Was A Time….

It’s the spring of the year, and under normal conditions, things would be ramping up towards graduation celebrations in schools. In this post from Sue Bruyns, she reflects on what it might look like for Grade 8 students. It’s a big deal to move from Grade 8 to Grade 9.

That’s not the only graduations that happen in our schools though. There’s kindergarten graduations as they move to Grade 1. Grade 12 students moving to whatever is next for them. Colleges and universities graduate students from there as well. And, quite frankly, there’s a sense of celebration at the end of any grade level as students move on to the next.

Depending upon the school, Sue describes a range of ways that formal celebrations take place. Even in Sue’s district there are a number of different types of celebrations, often based on history and also economics. Another set of big events are the big school trip as well.

So, Sue wonders if this is the opportunity for school districts to sit back and consider just what is happening at this time of year. Is it time to change the “business as usual” format to something more consistent. It’s an interesting look and topic to consider. I’m sure that Sue would appreciate hearing from you and what’s happening in your school.


Still Making an Impact- Even from Home

In many classrooms, things are quite different and often teachers and students are learning from day to day. I’ve heard reports from some teachers that there are students who aren’t checking in as often as they might. I heard it first hand from a couple of kids that dropped by for a patio visit “We didn’t do anything … it’s boring!”

Noa Daniel has long used this very sophisticated approach for students doing their research and presenting results to classmates. This year, the focus is on the 17 Sustainable Goals. Since we live in different times, the regular face-to-face mode just won’t happen. Instead, elements of this might well be face-to-Zoom. They’re going to experience first hand what it looks like to present to the audience in this different mode!

The other thing that is apparent when you try to visualize this is that is not a short term event. There are many different things that are happening here and a student shouldn’t want to miss a step along the way. Noa’s approach has always intrigued me; it will be interesting to see how it plays out in today’s reality.

In addition to all of the planning that Noa shares, she includes a nice collection of student observations. They get it.


Tying The Room Together

Terry Greene’s post is an opportunity for his to tie together a couple of posts he’s addressed in the recent past.

What impresses me about this post and the two previous ones is Terry’s focus on providing opportunities for students to share their voice.

It’s not something that we normally associate with higher education. I know that my own experience was rewarding but in a different, more traditional way.

As you work your way through Terry’s post, you’ll note all kinds of links to supporting documents and observations/recordings.

If you follow one link, I’d suggest this one to a slidedeck.

Here are the slides again from the session. The simple goal was to talk a bit about the who, what, when, where, why, how of it all and then to do it for real in a mini-interview from start to finish with the same mini-interviews we used in the Ideate session so that attendees could see it happen live.


Love in the time of COVID-19

You know, my heart goes out to Heather Swail. She’s been very open about the things that have happened this year, her last year, in education. First there was all the work stoppages and now the whole teaching at home thing.

I follow Paul McGuire on Instagram and lately he’s been posting pictures of their walks showing off the empty streets. It looks lonely, sad, and yet very artistic.

Back to Heather, this is a heart-warming post describing how she celebrated a birthday, a very special birthday. Head over to read how she celebrated the event and some of the unique gifts that she received.

And while you’re there – wish her a Happy Birthday.


Animal Crossing New Horizons – Popularity and Possibilities

From Diana Maliszewski, a rather long blog post but it’s OK because she posted it to three of the blogs that she contributes to.

Never having played the game, I found her post and description both engaging and intriguing. She calls the use of the game as cross-generational in its appeal. I was quite impressed with the 3D representation and lifelike depiction of characters in the game. It’s a long way, at least in appearance, from Minecraft, her previous love.

Of real interest to me was her observation about the values that are conveyed via the environment.

What does it mean to be a good citizen? This message is shared in so many ways in ACNH. Good citizens pick up litter, like fallen branches. They chat with their neighbours and bring them medicine when they are sick. They are active and wander the island. They donate items to the museum. They contribute to the prosperity of the island by buying and selling items from regular vendors (Timmy and Tommy, the Able Sisters) as well as visiting salespeople (CJ, Flick, Leif, Kicks, and even “shifty” characters like Redd the Fox who sells authentic and fake pieces of art). 

I think any activities, even games that engage, and can work values into themselves should deserve a second look.


Overwhelming Resources

Right now, you can see organizations and people with websites publishing lists of resources for classroom use during learning at home initiatives.

Quite often, little thought goes into the curation of these. Here’s a link, here’s a link, here’s another link, … I addressed the concept of privacy of email addresses in a product (Private Relay) under development by Mozilla in my blog post yesterday.

Michelle Fenn’s post on the Heart and Art Blog took me back to the days when I evaluated and shared resources with my colleagues for a living. It’s not a copy/paste activity. There are so many things that you really should consider before your recommend others use it and have them used with children. Privacy, cost, longevity, and much more. Michelle has a list of 10 things that people need to consider while evaluating a resource.

I would add one point that I always argued strongly when I was on the OSAPAC Committee and that the language needs to be Canadian with Canadian spelling. I strongly objected to recommending a product that would have a student sit down and be faced with text written in another language.

I really like that Michelle considers Canadian software developers first (which should but doesn’t always result in Canadian spelling) and importantly that any information is stored on servers in Canada.


How to Edit Auto-Generated Captions in YouTube

Jen Giffen got a request from Noa Daniel about how to turn on captions in a YouTube video. I thought that it might be helpful to others to know how it’s done and so brought it forward here.

It’s a short video with a whoops to prove that Jen is indeed human but will step you through the process.


Don’t you feel smarter now?

I hope that you clicked through and enjoyed the posts and learned a little something in the process.

Now, make sure you follow these great folks on Twitter.

  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Noa Daniel – @noasbobs
  • Terry Greene – @greeneterry
  • Heather Swail – @hbswail
  • Diana Maliszewski – @mzmollytl
  • Michelle Fenn – @Toadmummy
  • Jen Giffen – @VirtualGiff

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


After a quick check to make sure this is Thursday morning and if I schedule it properly, it will come out tomorrow, here’s a sampling of the great thinking from Ontario Edubloggers.


So you’re teaching from home. How’s your back?

You know how your feet hurt when you get a new pair of shoes?

It might be that you’re experiencing different pain now as a result of teaching online from at home. I suspect that many people will be jumping in worried about teaching, worried about kids, worried about isolation, worrying about a lot of things except their own well being.

Will Gourley gives us a sense of the pain that he’s feeling in his particular work situation, along with pictures of folded clothes indicating that his desk doubles as a laundry space or that after allocating all the good spaces in their three stories to others, he’s left with this.

He offers five good suggestions for taking care of yourself and they’re all worth considering if you find yourself dealing with discomfort or outright pain these days. Or, use it as a check so that you don’t end up in that case.

What he didn’t include was taking a break and folding laundry…


Remotely Speaking

As I said during the This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcast, Melanie White could be a poster child for effectively trying to engage all students.

She’s pedagogically savvy enough to try and ensure that all students are engaged in class activities and technically savvy enough to recognize that it may take more than one strategy to reach everyone.

I love this image from The Mentoree that she includes in the post.

I really appreciated the fact that she shared how all students don’t follow the formal conventions of writing when using email. I think it’s a nice reminder that the technologies that are often available and in use are our technologies and may not be the ideal solution for a new generation.

Of course, everyone just got thrown into the middle of this; it will be interesting to see if more relevant tools emerge that are more easily embraced.


Skyscraper Puzzles – printable package

When I think back at the Mathematics that I studied (and I studied a great deal of it), there really was a focus on Algebra and Geometry. For the longest time, Geometry was really about two space and it wasn’t until the later years that we got into three space.

Ironically, though, three space was represented in two space via the blackboard.

This post, from Mark Chubb, offers up free materials that he’s made to help students with the understanding of space. They’re called Skyscraper Puzzles and a link will let you download and work with them. The resource is in PDF format.

By itself, that would be worth the read of the post. But, Mark takes it to a new level. He indicates that he had some helpers with the work. Anyone who believes in the maker concept will immediately realize that they just wouldn’t be creating materials – they’d be learning the concepts as well. As we know, you never really know something completely until you teach or make it.


Ça va prendre un chapeau d’apprenant!

Anyone teaching from at home at this time will definitely identify with this observation from Marius Bourgeoys.

The comfort zone has left the building.

Marius includes a number of observations that are hard to disagree with. Towards the end of the post, he offers 12 suggestions for checkins with students.

I found number 7 particularly interesting.

Quelles nouvelles responsabilités as-tu à la maison?

We all know that it’s not life as usual. In some cases, though, it may be substantially different for some students other than just taking their schooling online.

Mom and Dad may be essential workers and that student is picking up additional responsibilities to make sure that the family continues to thrive. I think it’s a very powerful question to ask student and could easily be a great writing prompt.


Sandie’s Music Teaching Blog

Students in K-12 are not the only ones dealing with the current reality of teaching/learning. In this post, Sandie Heckel is looking for advice from the field to give to prospective music teachers.

It’s a good advice to be sought at any time, for any subject.

I would suggest that it’s particularly relevant in these times. Many of the school re-opening plans that I’ve seen specifically name music as a subject that won’t be there when school resumes.

Those providing the advice are looking beyond that. They recognize the value of music in a child’s life and offer ways to consider your own personal growth planning.


Math at Home: Week 1

There have been a lot of memes circulating about the learning at home situation and one of the funniest was a couple of kids complaining that not only were they being schooled at home but that their mother was a math teacher.

Lots of that ran through my mind when I read this post from Lisa Corbett. Her son’s doing the math and she’s giving us a blow by blow account of how it’s going. And, they have a blackboard to do math on. Who has a blackboard at home these days? Got to be a teacher!

It’s a good accounting of what’s happening. I think there will be a big payoff when all this is over by re-reading blog posts and learning about the learning that everyone experienced. Journaling this experience is good advice for everyone. They didn’t prepare you for this at the Faculty of Education. You’re living history as it happens so why not document it.

There’s another element to this that can’t be lost. Not only is she working with her own kids schooling at home, but there’s still those from her day job that are learning at a distance too. Double-dipping.


Teachers Reminisce

This post, from Albert Fong, goes back to the beginning of March. It seems so long ago now.

Speaking of a long time ago, Albert relates a story of a youngster coming to Canada and learning to grow up in his new reality in different schools. This new reality includes fighting amongst schoolmates. That part, I could relate to. I suspect we all can.

But, what happened when an older student got involved was not something that I had ever experienced.

Albert learned from that moment and that experience and had an opportunity to apply his learning when he was a bit older.


For a Friday morning, please click through and enjoy these blog posts. There is some great inspirational reading to be enjoyed here.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Mark Chubb – @markchubb3
  • Marius Bourgeoys – @Bourmu
  • Sandie Heckel – @SandieHeckel
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Albert Fong – @albertfong

This post appears at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I started writing these regular Friday morning posts a long time ago. The goal then is the same that it is today. It lets me celebrate the great thoughts of Ontario Edubloggers. All of the posts are available here.

In the big global scheme of things, Ontario may be a relatively smaller player. But, province-wide, there is always a need for a local perspective. Every week, I close by asking you to visit the original blog posts. I’m still going to ask you to do the same thing but I’d like to request something else since you’ve got nowhere to go outside. Please share the link to the actual post in your learning networks whether it be Twitter, Facebook, an internet discussion list with your district, Instagram, or whatever you turn to for your learning.

These bloggers, as all of the blog posts that I’ve included on this regular Friday feature do a magnificent job of sharing their thoughts and research. They need to be heard. Please help their cause.


What I Wish I Knew: Reluctant Readers

Tina Bergman blogs on the voicEd website and her latest post continues her sharing of thoughts and readings about, well, reading.

She’s borrowed the concept of the naming of things from Ramona Meharg with “What I Wish I Knew”.

This post includes a nice collection of research articles – embedded and included in the notes at the bottom along with her thoughts about the RIGHT TO READ inquiry.

She brings into the post the ongoing list of resources from the Ministry and other sources that could help inform instruction.

When I read works like this, I can’t help but think back to my own education. There was nowhere nearly the research breadth that this is available to educators today. Reading was just something that you learned to do. It was important around our household and it just sort of happened at school. I don’t recall the strategies explicitly in play that Tina talks about.

When I think back, I can remember a few in my class who struggled and were probably written off at the time as “they don’t get it”.

That isn’t a solution anymore. For those of us who do get it, it’s easy to leap at the assertion that teaching reading is easy. And it probably was for us. But when you take a look at the classroom composition today, you can only appreciate what hard work teaching reading actually is.


V is for Village

On this blog, and on this computer, I’ve been following and enjoying the walk through the alphabet with Lynn Thomas. I keep guessing what happens when she hits Z!

We often hear the much used phrase “it takes a village” and we generally understand it related to child-raising practices, but it is so much bigger than that. It takes a village to raise ALL of us. We all never quite stop being children because we all have more to learn no matter what age or stage of life we are in

It’s a short and to the point blog post.

When you think of “the village”, it’s time to move past the cutesy sayings or the little artifacts that you might buy in the mall for a gift.

Never before has the importance of this global village been so visible. Well, maybe not to those who claim it to be a hoax even though they’re going to a revisionist approach to say they recognized it all along. But, it is true for the rest of us.

One person isn’t going to pull a global community through all this. It’s going to take everyone.

Let’s respect and honour that.


Outdoor Education – let’s go camping!

Oh, but if we only could.

It’s hard to think back but Laura Wheeler takes us back to a time before the struggle that we’re having now. Sadly, it’s not a large leap back in time – it’s just a month. I’ll bet it seems so much longer for Laura and her students.

They got to go winter camping. It’s an experience that really needs to be enjoyed. It’s so different from summer camping.

  • no mosquitoes
  • clothing is so much different and needs better care taken of it
  • camping is nothing without a campfire but what is a “nice-to-have” in the summer becomes a reality in the winter!

And so much more you’ll find in this post along with some terrific pictures along with strong encouragement to give it a shot.

Are you up to it?


COVID-19 & Education: Part 2

Shelly Vohra is on a bit of a blogging streak.

Last week, I took at look at her thoughts about education these days during the outbreak of the virus.

This week, she took a second view in Part 2 of the series.

The realities of education from home have come up into everyone’s face since her first post. She addresses so many of the important issues – developmental levels, screen time, the role of the computer, choice of digital resources, security and privacy, and even the concept of re-connecting with students who have been away from the classroom now for three or more weeks.

A great deal of time is spent on addressing mindfulness and well-being. It’s easier to do face to face but that’s not an option.

Since I read this, she has actually written a series of posts for you to consider. As things are set to gear up in the province there’s so much wisdom, advice, and thoughts for consideration here.


4 Teachers + 80 minutes = Powerful Learning

Diana Maliszewski shares one of her “this is why I teach” moments in this post.

It involves cookies and a whole lot more.

Don’t just glance at this picture! Study it.

You’ll find the word “authentic” in there.

Huh?

There is so much richness in this post that a quick summary here really wouldn’t do it justice. But I would encourage you to click through and read it in its entirety. You’ll find novels, questioning, professional learning, teacher observation, puzzle pieces, chocolate chips, student-teacher work and follow-up, and more.


What’s the first thing you will do when your world opens up again?

Warning … you’re going to want to have a tissue nearby when you read this very personal and emotional post from Debbie Donsky.

We’ve all had challenges and parts of our regular life stolen from us during this time and she was no different. Imagine having to hospitalize a parent and then being prevented from visiting.

My heart goes out to Debbie. Her message is so personal and yet there is a realization that blogging can be so many things to so many people. It truly can be a way to at least lift part of a heavy load.

So what’s the first thing you will do? Read the post to see what Debbie wants to do.


Timing Is Critical – Seize The Moment!

Joel McLean is absolutely correct.

We’re in incredibly difficult times and leadership has never been so crucial. We’ve seen political leaders make media appearances and some are very strong (and I blogged about that) and some are just pathetic.

There’s no two ways about this. It’s not about YOU; it’s about all of US.

Being a leader today means that we must continuously transform ourselves. Not only because of the fast-changing environments that we work and live in, but because we cannot hope to lead and improve tomorrow if we keep relying on yesterday’s abilities. Once opportunity is knocking at our door, it is too late to prepare. You have to be ready to seize it!

Nobody could have predicted or planned for what we’re going through. That’s OK. We don’t expect that you already have the tools but the best leaders will make an effort to find or develop them. The best and strongest have stepped up and learned what leadership means at this time. This includes classroom leaders, school leaders, and district leaders. How they respond now will speak volumes going into the future.


And a shout-out

Earlier this week, I had written a blog post itemizing 10 things that I’ve learned from this whole experience. I challenged bloggers to share their learning and I got two takers that I know of.

Melanie White

10 Things I’ve Learned: a response to Doug Peterson’s Blog

Aviva Dunsiger

My List Of 10 Things That I’ve Learned

As I always say, please click through and read these great posts in their entirety. This week, I’m also asking that you honour their work by sharing it via your networking connections.

And, follow them on Twitter:

  • Tina Bergman – @blyschuk
  • Lynn Thomas – @THOMLYNN101
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura
  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • Joel McLean – @jprofNB
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca

This blog post appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


You know, you don’t really appreciate something until you lose it. I’m feeling that this week in my loss of freedom to just go and browse my way through a store. It’s not that I do it a lot but the important part is that, in another time, I actually could if I wanted to. I just can’t now.

I did have a fulfilling moment last night. A childhood friend of mine had a crashed iPad and I was able to give her some advice and she’s back online now. My price was very affordable compared to what Apple would have charged. I got:


On to some of the great things that crossed my keyboard this week from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.


COVID-19 & Education

Shelly Vohra offers some candid advice about attempts by the Ministry of Education to promote e-learning or online learning or what you may wish to call it. She echoes some of the observations that have been talked about here and in other places. It is in stark contrast to the comments coming from some of the right-wing news sources in the province. They just don’t have a clue. The sad thing is the number of anonymous comments. I don’t reshare because I don’t believe and yet I can’t resist the urge to read the garbage that they are spewing. Like I indicated previously on this blog, you can’t equate one person with a computer from their employer and an internet connection with a teacher trying to teach a class of students with varying needs and just as many varying computer configurations. That is, of course, if the student is fortunate enough to have a computer and an internet connection.

Shelly points out, with respect to the Minstry’s assumptions that this is a good thing:

  • The first is that educators were not consulted in the creation of this ‘resource’
  • Secondly, the ‘resource’ doesn’t take into consideration the diversity in our student population
  • my third issue with such a ‘resource’ – the issue of equity.

We can’t overlook that this will be a good resource for some and certainly school districts are, or have been directed to, share on their website.

Shelly promises a followup post with some of her ideas.


How The Coronavirus Should Impact Education

Matthew Morris takes on the topic of how all this should affect education. He thinks that we’ll all play out and make the best of things in the short term. He focuses instead on the future.

So, what does happen if and when the balance of the school year is cancelled.

I did have to smile just a bit when he took on society’s perspective of Physical and Health Education. Is it a nice break from the rigours of the classroom or does it have a more important role?

And, where do report cards fit in?

This post is a nice focus on reality.


Illness, Shame and the Educator Martyr Complex

From the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, Michelle Fenn makes some observations based on the current reality and some of the realizations that can come from it.

We all have experienced the various scenarios in Michelle’s post. We have indeed dragged ourselves into work when we should have stayed at home.

We all have those emergency lesson plans that are tucked away for such an occasion and hope that we never need them.

We all know the panic of going to bed well and waking up ill. What will the kids do?

At some point, we’ve all had the experience of going into work when we really shouldn’t. As Michelle notes, we’ve made gains through collective bargaining about how to take care of ourselves. Sadly, there are employers that want to cut into this. There’s a huge difference in workplace activity between dealing with a full timetable of students who might be sick and some other professions that are nowhere near this. I still can’t get over that moronic Twitter message that I read indicating that teachers will get through COVID-19 because the experience of dealing with coughing the spreading a of germs of the classroom will help them.

Ironically, we have an entire province that has shut itself down due to a virus and those that are really worried about the impact of the lack of doing their jobs and the students they’re charged to work with are the teachers.


Exceptional Times: Using a Pandemic to Close the Digital Divide

Tim King follows up on a previous blog post where he addressed the challenges of having insufficient internet access at school for his needs with this post.

Now, he takes the concept of connectivity globally. I found his reference to the Loon project interesting. Note that this video is at least three years old.

And, of course, you’ll need a computer to attach to the network. He cites two sources; one being the unused computers at schools right now and the second being the Computers for Schools project.

I would suggest that all this is a start but won’t get us where we ultimately need to be. My internet service provider uses LTE and Satellite; it’s part of Canada’s rural solution. I had to send a warning to Stephen Hurley earlier this week that our voicEd show might be in danger when I ran a Speedtest and got this.

Image

Stephen recommends at least 2MB for success. Fortunately, it was a bit better for Wednesday morning. Had I needed the speed when I ran the test, I would have been out of luck. Imagine being a student at home relying on synchronous connections with a teacher.

The second part of the equation involves getting computers in the hands of students. One solution is to provide repurposed computers with a Linux environment and have them connect to a network with those specifications. The problem with older computers is that repairs and getting parts can be a challenge when things go wrong. I have a Dell (not exactly a generic machine) with a flashing orange light indicating that it doesn’t recognize the battery that it came with. It’s not likely that I’m going to shell out money for a new battery for this older computer.

On top of all of this, we make reference to this as a solution to those students whose families cannot afford their own technology. So, the poorer get a bandaid solution?

Despite my negative points above, a solution like this needs to be found. Traditionally, we’ve looked to public libraries as an evening solution but when they’re closed, that option is out.

Looking for a solution while living the problem really isn’t the solution. A proactive solution like hospitals have in hand needs to be in place. Smart educators like Tim should be given credit for their thoughts, along with a budget, and come up with a permanent solution should a similar situation ever arise again. And, even if it doesn’t, who wouldn’t want a solution where every student in the province has reliable access to the internet.


Being a Skillful Teacher

From the TESL Blog comes a post from Martina Finnegan that includes one of the best thinking moments for me this past while.

“Skillful teaching is the teaching that is contextually informed” (Brookfield, 2015, p. 20). We teach what we assume students should be learning in their particular situations, and sometimes this requires veering away from a syllabus and taking hold of alternate methods to help students learn what is required for their field

In today’s reality, I think of teachers that are now thrust online to continue their teaching.

I’ve been in conversation with a friend in the States that is teaching his Computer Science courses online. The connection to the student is through video conferencing from his living room to goodness knows where. I do know that one of those locations is in China.

One of my superintendents was a big believer in Management by Walking Around. Great read here. He believed that the best teachers are always walking around, looking at student progress and then let the alternate methods that Martina alludes to kick in. Educators know what the end game is and will do whatever is needed to get there.

I would hope that the best of the best meet Martina’s standards of a “Skillful Teacher”. She’s got some great references for additional reading in the post.


Neighbourhood Mending – 19/31 #SOL20

Melanie White SCREAMS

“This is not my neighbourhood!”

Why is she screaming?

She’s looking at a glossy magazine that describes her neighbourhood. The pictures that she sees in the magazine are drastically different from what she sees when she looks out the front window or around her neighbourhood.

It’s difficult to believe that this is happening in Canada in 2020. Judging by the comments to Melanie’s post, she’s not the only one who sees this and want to take action.

Letter writing to the magazine is a good start. Letter writing to those businesses that advertise in the magazine, cc: the magazine and to social media would even be more effective.


Andrea’s 2 Degrees

The Beast is back!

When I read the title, I thought it might be about a Degree in the Arts and a Degree in Education like so many teachers in province have and how could that be a post.

But I was wrong.

It’s a wonderful story about a relationship and professionalism that brings in a running kindergarten student and how grade 5 students ended up being more effective than the vice-principal in her role of authority.

Now, I’ve heard (and watched) 6 degrees of separation. I had to do a bit of research to find out just what was meant by 2 degrees. I hope that this is the context that they use in the post because I used it to understand their message.

There are specific spaces around each of us: 1. private space is the immediate space or circle – you. The next circle or microsystem is: 2. close family, friends, and peers in school, workplace, religious affiliation and neighborhood. The next circle would be the mesosystem: 3. to a lesser degree of closeness, extended family, acquaintances, and peers in school, workplace, religious affiliation and neighborhood. Circles 2. and 3. are the combined social space. Next is the exosystem, public space: 4. community, county, state, nation. The final circle, macrosystem, would represent: 5. the world. In Karinthy’s concept of six degrees of separation, a person would be six steps away from any one person in the world. This is the interconnectedness of dependent-origination. We are all connected. One degree of separation would place you solely in the inner most social circle or microsystem. This would lead you to a very select few within that social space closest to you.

When her direct message was ineffective, she turned to the connections of the 2nd degree and they were indeed able to be effective in stopping the running behaviour.

Then, in true Beast fashion, we’re witness to a discussion between Andrea and Kelly about this and their relationship.

In particular, I’m interested in this concept of a “2 degrees pilot”.


And, again, a wonderful collection of thought from Ontario Edubloggers. Please take time to click through and read the original posts.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Michelle Fenn – @Toadmummy
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Martina Finnegan – @TESLOntario
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • The Beast – @thebeastedu

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to the last TWIOE in June and the school year.  As always, there is some inspirational content written by Ontario Educators.  Perhaps you’ll be inspired to start or re-start your own blog this summer if you’re not already a regular writer?


Rethinking End of Year Countdowns

File this post from Laura Bottrell on the Heart and Art Blog under “maybe I’ve been doing things wrong all this time”.

For many, it’s been a month (or more) of counting down until today.  I even remember a colleague who shared the countdown on his blackboard for all to see.

Laura reminds us that this countdown may not necessarily be exciting for everyone in the class.

I always thought that celebrating the end of the year was just adding to the fun and excitement of summer. I’ve always had a fun countdown for my class. Lately, I’ve been wondering if this is just adding stress on some of my students. It really hit me last week when I announced that we only had ten school days left and there were at least five children in my class that crumbled to tears.

Her suggestion turns the table and has you thinking about treating things differently.  A little late for this year perhaps but … it’s nice to have a reminder that things aren’t always what they seem.


Why do you want kids to code?

With apologies to Jim Cash, I read the title to this post a little too quickly.  Instead of “Why”, I read it as “What” and thought that it might be about some new things to code!

However, using the word “Why” changes everything.  Jim summarizes his thoughts in this graphic he created.

It generated some interesting comments when Jim announced the post on Facebook.

I understand his message but I also wonder if I’m on the same page with him because of having a background in programming.  As Jim correctly notes, there’s a certain bandwagon effect about coding that has people jumping on because it’s felt that it’s important or someone is keynoting about the cool things that kids are doing.

Coding goes well beyond the mechanics of getting the job done.  (Blue side) Until you’re looking at the big picture, you’re not doing it justice.  (Green side)

It would be interesting to find out how many people get pressured to “do coding” because it’s the latest thing and yet they may be doing it without a suitable background in coding.


Go Magic! Let’s do this! 🙂

And the winner in the “Who gets David Carruthers added to their staff” raffle is …

<drum roll>

Bonaventure Meadows.

It looks easy enough to get to.  (at least by driving)

Getting to the actual school placed David in a series of job interviews and he shares his reflections about that process in the post.  I can understand the need for standardized questions for all applicants for fairness.

But, the school really needs to be prepared to take advantage of the skills that David has refined over his time as a learning coordinator.

Maybe instead of “Go Magic!”, should read “Get ready, Magic”.

And, then there’s the whole Plugged-in Portable thing?  I guess we’ll find out in the future.


Reader’s Theatre = Experiential Learning

I read this post from Stepan Pruchnicky a few times and I absolutely understood his message.

In Language, it’s important to read and understand different texts.  The concept of reading a script was a new spin on it.  But, as Stepan digs into it, it has to potential to go very deep, rich in understanding and empathy for characters to be played in the script.

It was during the radio version of This Week in Ontario Edublogs and Stephen Hurley’s comments about the connections to David Booth and Stephen’s own experience that really put me over the top with the concept.

I’d suggest putting Stepan’s post on your list for summer reading.  This is an idea that could really generate mileage for you.  Perhaps a future post would recommend suitable scripts?


Context is Key

Of course it is, Ruthie Sloan.

But, I certainly haven’t thought about it as deeply as you explore in this post.

You take the notion of context and apply it to…

  • wardrobe
  • digital expression
  • body language
  • how we communicate

The post is a great discussion about each of these.

It’s also a reminder of so many things that may just pass us by as life goes on.  These are things that we do every day.  It goes beyond what and moves into how, when, and who.

I loved the collection of images that she includes at the bottom.


“I Don’t Have Time For That”

Joel McLean reminds us that this comes up too often when people are wondering about taking charge of their own professional learning.  I suggest that it’s an easy answer and often given to avoid things.

I also am reminded about my Covey training.  The first rule – schedule the important things first.  Then, let all of the other stuff fill your time for you.  Goodness know that, in education, there’s no danger of that not happening.

I remember also returning from my training and explaining the approach to my supervisor.  We still meet for coffee every now and again and he notes how this changed his professional life.  (Not my comment but after my experience, he went and took the course himself.)

There was only one caveat to my own implementation – I was never allowed to allow my priorities to supersede his priorities for me!  I shouldn’t have encouraged him to take the course.

Maybe Joel has some advice for how to handle that!


Observations & Conversations : Part 1 of many?

The structure of the Interstitial App, or, Observations & Conversations – Part 2

From Cal Armstrong, a pair or posts and maybe more to come.

After my session at the OAME Conference (link to Presentation), a few folks asked me how I had put this together, so I’m going to give a brief run-down here.

It sounds like the audience was really impressed with Cal’s use of Microsoft Powerapps.

I know that I was; I’d heard about it but really hadn’t done anything with it.  I guess that you need to have a reason and Cal used his mathematics audience as the target for his presentation.

If you’re curious, read both posts.  If you’re interested in creating your own, pay attention to the second post.  Here, Cal takes you through his process step by step.


And there’s your last day of school inspiration.

Make sure you’re following these great bloggers on Twitter.

  • @L_Bottrell
  • @cashjim
  • @dcarruthersedu
  • @stepanpruch
  • @Roosloan
  • @jprofNB
  • @sig225

This post was created and posted to:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Well, that was a quick week.  Best day had to be yesterday, at least in the morning.

For your next week inspiration, check out some of these great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


Back in the day was better (because now is often unbearable)

Will Gourley’s post on the Heart and Art Blog made me smile as he wrote about the challenges that faced teenagers 40 years ago.  It was like a checklist of my teenage years except that I didn’t own headphones at the time.  But, I could crank up the radio…

Of course, we didn’t have social media back then.  Heck, we didn’t even have FM radio but who needed it when there was the Big 8 CKLW?

Will relates that part of his teaching load this year includes working with students in his role of Guidance Counsellor and shares that the same problems exist today.  Perhaps they’re even amplified.  We do have programs and supports in place but are they enough?

I like the disjoint that he describes between the education system and the medical system.  He’s right.  There’s enough disconnect between your own personal kids 1-2-3-4?  but consider all the students in your charge.  How can you provide the support that they so often need?

Will pleads

Our students need help.

Is anyone listening?


Counting

Given that it was March Break, Lisa Corbett was good enough to join This Week in Ontario Edublogs on Wednesday morning and I got a chance on the air to ask a question that has been bugging me and that was – who was the audience for her posts?

  • other teachers?
  • herself?
  • her parents?

Given that she has a 2/3 split, the audience could hardly be her students.  Listen to the show for her answer.

On the show, she shares what a gold mine she found at a yard sale!  It looks like castoffs from a Mardi Gras somewhere.

I found it interesting to read her take on a traditional French game in the classroom as she incorporates this jewelry into skip counting and other things.  Such good mathematics instruction and I had to smile at how she and her class was aware of modulo although not necessarily explicitly stated.

Only teachers can repurpose things found at yard sales for a class of students!


“You aren’t what I was expecting…”

If people were exactly what we thought they were when we first meet them, it’s hardly worth the effort.  There’s something special about meeting someone for the first time, particularly when you may have known their digital self for a long time.  In real life, they may be something different.

That was the situation Debbie Donsky found herself in and she makes the claim that the above was said to her by a host of a professional learning session that Debbie was to keynote.  I would hope that the person who said it intended it as a compliment.  On the other hand, it could lead Debbie to want to know the answer to “What were you actually expecting?”  The “looked at me — up and down –” was particularly disturbing.

In her mind, Debbie interpreted the situation to mean “you don’t look like a principal”.  So, she did what any 21st Century learner would do – she Googled the concept.  What does Google think a principal should look like?  Her screen capture is included in the post.  This was equally as disturbing because it looks like she should shave and wear a coat and tie.

I tested her hypotheses on a couple of other search engine and got a little more diverse results.  A little anyway.

Fortunately, Debbie has a good support team around here and it was great to see Ron St. Louis’ name pop up.  I hadn’t heard about him for a long time.  There is a positive message about taking on a new role to be learned from this post and it has nothing to do with clothing.


How Do We Use Our Powerful Words For Good?

TL;DR – use them to enhance the conversation and not close it off.

So, self-proclaimed “Educational Troublemaker” Aviva Dunsiger tells of a story where she was challenged by a colleague over a blog post.  It seems that this person saw herself, and not in a flattering way, in one of Aviva’s blog post.

Guess what?

All bloggers need a frame of reference when they create a post.  It may be themselves; it might be their environment; or often, an amalgam of various people and practices.

My suggestion is that anyone who finds offence may have very thin skin or may be reading more into things than are necessary or just personalizing it too much.  I think I know Aviva enough to know that she wouldn’t name names and then attack the person.  She would be challenging what she sees in action and then questioning it … in purple.

She correctly identifies the best approach to take if you can’t ignore it.  Engage in a conversation; perhaps there’s a misunderstanding or there’s an opportunity to learn and self correct.


Too Random, Or Not Random Enough: Student Misunderstandings About Probability In Coin Flipping

I love a good post that gets me thinking mathematically and that’s what this one from Matthew Oldridge did for me.  I get excited when others get excited about mathematics.

In the post, he talks about dice rolling, coins flipping, and spinners spinning.

All of them are excellent ways to create data collections, small and large, at no cost in the classroom.  Matthew encourages a deeper looking and includes a lesson about coin flipping.

Lots of concepts are there in living colour.  It could also lead to a discussion of dependent and independent events as well as sample size.  It also took me back to some really fun events in computer science talking about pseudo-random numbers generated by computer and how to use them to encode messages.  Of course, a real life example is a look towards encryption that we rely on every day.

All this was generated from a simple flip of a coin.  There’s some fascinating reading about how to understand the 50/50 assertion.  I love this stuff.


Writer’s Self-Regulation Project

One of the wins from having Lisa Corbett as co-host for the voicEd Radio show was that I found out about her “other blog”.

It’s a team effort created as part of a TLLP Project.  If there is any doubt about the value of the TLLP, it should dispelled after working your way through this very public sharing of learning.

and it goes back much, much further.  I have lots of reading to do to catch up.


Twitter – To Reply or Reply All?

A quick lesson to Twitter users appears in this post from Jen Giffen.

Getting a reply to a Twitter message which was obviously intended for one person but going to a group of people can be annoying – particularly when you don’t care or you have a thin skin.  (That’s twice I’ve mentioned thin skin in this post)

Twitter is different from email programs in that there is no specific REPLY or REPLY ALL options…

With a couple of screen captures, Jen shares how you can either be:

  • less annoying
  • the person that stops community building by including everyone in messages 😀

Your take?

At a bare minimum, it’s something that every Twitter user should know.  And, you should know how to do it in Tweetdeck and Hootsuite if that’s your tool of choice.


Please take a few moments to click through and read the original posts.

Then, for more, follow these great bloggers.

This post is part of a regular Friday feature.  Click here for all past issues.

This post was originally posted to:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


The dog had an incredibly brisk walk this morning.  (Thursday – you do know that I don’t get up in the middle of the night for these 5am postings, don’t you?)  We had been watching the news from Toronto as per our normal routine and both the host and the weather person referred to Friday as a PA Day for teachers.  That was it.  No clarification of exactly what that means.  I was so disappointed.  If they got that fact wrong, can you actually trust any of the stories that they report?  The actual event of Friday would be so easy to fact check.  In fact, if it was true that the teachers had negotiated a PA Day, it would be a great teacher bashing story – negotiating for the day before a two week vacation?  It’s just a reminder that so many people don’t get it.  They need to read this post “Teaching Isn’t Rocket Science. It’s Harder.”

And, maybe some of the awesome blogs that Ontario Educators write to demonstrate the ongoing work that it takes to get and stay on top of things in Education.
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Friday’s event didn’t pass by Brandon Grasley who took to poetry at:
Brandon
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Let’s lighten up things a bit…
Debbie Axiak shares some of the things that made her laugh this week.
Debbie
How many other professions can do that?
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This post, by Brian Aspinall, reminds me of an activity that I used to do with Grade 11 Computer Science students after they’ve “learned” how to do a sort in their programs, in Grade 12 and at the University pre-service class to reinforce the notion that they might be able to code a sort, but do they really understand how it’s done?  In this case, Brian incorporated Procedural Writing in Language Arts and Computer Science with this activity.  I like the way that he described the activity.  BEFORE you click through and read his post, just write down the steps that you think you need in order to make toast.  Now, read the post!
Brian
BTW, this isn’t the first step.
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Those of us who use technology so regularly know of the power that can be brought to the classroom and for students.  In this post, Mary-Ann Fuduric takes the time to itemize the power in the Assistive Technology realm.  In particular, she talks about
  • Phonological/Phonemic Awareness
  • Decoding Skills
  • Fluency
  • Comprehension
  • Writing Skills

maryann

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’tis the season…

Not necessarily…
Tim
Tim King shares some of his thoughts about the Holiday season reasoned over time.  It serves to remind us that there are many takes to the season.  There’s nothing like trying to keep a lid on the container called Home Room with the school edict that this is just another school day when you’ve lived every morning since September with these kids and you know that, if there are 30 of them, there will be 30 different ways that will experience the break from the school routine.
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Normally, I do like to spread the acknowledgements for my TWIOE post around but had already tagged this post from Brandon Grasley for inclusion.  Then, he posted the Friday post and I felt compelled to include it as well.
brandon2
I was going to make a comment similar to what I did with Tim’s but I’m going to change direction just a big.  I think that it’s just testament to blogging and the power that goes along with it.  As I visited the post this morning, there were a number of readers who had taken the time to “like” it.  While “liking” may not necessarily be the best response to the post, it’s the only one other than leaving a comment that’s available to the reader.  I look at it as a way for folks to acknowledge that someone has bared their inner thoughts and to show that, despite whatever isolation we might feel at moments, we’re all in this together.
And, we sure wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for our social media connections.
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Having broken my own arbitrary rule, I’ll see your Brandon and raise you two Avivas.  Her blog was on fire this week.  There’s some good, thoughtful reading there.
Aviva
Aviva’s exploring ways of incorporating inquiry into her classroom.  This is quite an interesting approach.  Check her blog for details and I’m sure a reflection will be on its way.
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Amy Bowler got tagged in the Sunshine Blog Award meme.  Her Tumblr blog was a new find for me so I was curious to find out more about here.  Here’s what I now know!
Amy
Loblaws is such a classy place to meet a spouse.  I wonder what aisle?  What would the choice have been if she had gone to No Frills instead?
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Last week, I talked about a meme that was running around Ontario and North America.  It’s a fun little activity to get to know other just a little better.  As it typically happens, people end up getting double and triple tagged for these things.  To help avoid the situation, although apparently I didn’t do it completely, I tagged some folks in Europe that I deal with on a regular basis.  In fact, one of them, Marisa Constantinides and I have a number of Words with Friends games on the go at any time and this lovely lady clobbers me all the time.  So, I wanted to know more about her and included her.  She was good enough to play along…
Marisa
Well, I know so much more but I’m still puzzled at her amazing capacity to know words….
Marisa’s blog “TEFL Matters” is located here.
This just in…I also had tagged Vicky Loras in the same meme.  Vicky is an Ontarian taking up residence in Zug, Switzerland now, owning her own school.  Here are her answers to my questions.

Doug’s Questions:

  1. When was the last time you backed up your computer? I think it was in March – unfortunately, it crashed and asked me if I would like to back it up. I wish I had done it earlier, but I managed to save the majority of my files.
  2. If you could speak any language other than English, what would it be? I wish I could speak Turkish and Finnish fluently. They have always been languages that I would love to learn. I started off with Turkish and hope to start Finnish too.
  3. Where would you go for your dream vacation? I would love to go to Corsica, because I have been told a lot and shown lots of photos by a French student of mine.
  4. Have you ever received a parking ticket? No, because I don’t drive! Ha ha!
  5. You’re in control of the thermostat. What’s your ideal room temperature? Really warm, because I get cold easily.
  6. Have you ever taken an online course? I have – it was a 60-hour TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course which I enjoyed immensely, and a Grammar one too.
  7. What was the last educational conference that you attended? It was the IATEFL BESIG (Buisiness English) conference in Prague, in November. I loved the sessions, the conversations that emerged from them – but my only disappointment was that I didn’t manage to see Prague almost at all, as I was there for only two and a half days.
  8. When was the last time you were in a public library? Very recently – it is one f my favourite places to be : )
  9. Have you ever dabbled with Linux? No ; )
  10. What would you consider to be the best photo you’ve ever taken? A sunset over Lake Zug. The colours were astounding and I was really surprised it came out that good, as it was with my phone.
  11. What, and where, is your favourite park? I love the parks in Niagara-on-the-Lake (well, actually the whole place : )

I had to smile when I read her answer to question 4.  Toronto would cure me of driving too.

Vicky’s blog is located here.

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Thanks for dropping by.  This is the last TWIOE post before Christmas so let me wish you the best for the holidays however you celebrate them.  Please click through and read the blogs at the links provided and check out the complete list of Ontario Edubloggers here.  This week was actually a highly productive one for bloggers so you’ll see and read lots!

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