This Week in Ontario Edublogs


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


Love the Interview Learning!

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

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

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


Friday Two Cents: Daily Routine

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

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

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

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

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

Read about it in this post.


Windows #SOL

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

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

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

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


Thoughts on online teaching

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

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

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

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

Gulp.


Les moments décisifs

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

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

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

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

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


Anti-oppressive student placement cards

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

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

She identifies past practices for placement of students in classes.

Past Student Placement Cards:

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

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


The Annual End of Year Pressure

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

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

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

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

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


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

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

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

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Stephen and I had a guest host this Wednesday on the voicEd Radio live This Week in Ontario Edublogs in Vicky Loras. Vicky is teaching and working on her PhD in Switzerland and I took a chance that our 8:45 start time would be later in her afternoon and she’d be free. As it turns out, she was and was a great addition to the show. Here’s what we chatted about.


How Should Leaders Spend Time In a Pandemic?

Anne-Marie Kee comes at this topic from a school leader and does a terrific job. But, leaders are everywhere and how they react to events of the pandemic are noticed by others.

Who can forget Justin Trudeau who was isolating and yet managed to come to the front steps and address the nation as we all were trying to figure out what was going on? In the beginning, Doug Ford did the same thing but as of late, he just hasn’t been visible. Right now, #WheresDougFord is trending on Twitter.

I suppose the easiest thing would be to hunker down at home and drop out of sight. In education, that would be horrible. Teachers and students look for guidance and leadership from their principal. To that end, Anne-Marie has made the decision to be very visible. Now, her school is residential and so there are other opportunities than virtual classrooms to do so.

In the post, Anne-Marie took me back to my time playing air guitar as she talks about keeping the popular air band tradition alive at her school.

As she notes, a leader’s job is to be the biggest cheerleader of the organization.

And it appears that she is.


Failure

It’s something that every teacher dreads. That moment when the student has not proven to your satisfaction that they’ve complete the course work and requirements sufficiently to received a passing grade.

I suspect it’s a great deal easier in the college / university setting where the class environment is different. In K-12 though – and more likely 9-12, as Amanda Potts point out, you make a call home to the parents in advance of the report card to let them know. As one of my vice-principals once noted, report cards are no placed for surprises.

She notes the best of practice for assessment techniques – running records, encouragement, accepting lates, extra support, nagging, prodding, etc. What do you do if none of this works? Well, you know.

Things are different in this environment for kids as well. You have to wonder and worry about the workload that these unique class arrangements have on the stress level of students. And, heck, teachers too.

Amanda tells a story about how it weighed so heavily on her. I think every educator would relate and hope that it never happens to them.


“To Take the Road or Not to Take the Road… That is the question!” – Robert Frost Meets William Shakespeare

From the TESL Ontario blog, this was an interesting post from Setareh Dabbagh.

Since I’ve never taught in an ESL classroom, I was a bit out of my element but fortunately guest host Vicky Loras wasn’t. It turns out that she was totally onside with Setareh when it comes to using poetry in the ESL classroom.

One of my wonders going into this was whether you needed to provide poetry from the original language translated to English for the student. For interest, I took the poem snippet provided in the blog post, translated it to Greek using Google Translate and then back to English.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Becomes

«Δύο δρόμοι απέκλιναν σε ένα ξύλο, και εγώ—
Πήρα αυτό που ταξίδεψε λιγότερο,
Και αυτό έχει κάνει τη διαφορά. “

which becomes

“Two roads deviated from one tree, and I—
I got the one that traveled the least,
And that has made a difference. “

There definitely is something lost in the translation and I expected that. I can see it though because poetry is a different beast than text. Yet, for the well rounded student, poetry would be equally as appropriate for the classroom. Choose wisely.

I really enjoyed the description of how to use poetry in the classroom including the observation of unity while reciting. Poetry is a different communication skill and perhaps that makes it even more important to include in a complete and rounded program for the ESL student.


Focusing On My April Word Made This Word Late

If you follow Aviva Dunsiger on Twitter, you might have been as amused as I was as she tried to guess which of her posts were going to use on the show. She didn’t think that it would be this one; I’m not sure which one that she thought would make it but I’m guessing it was her post about vaccinations.

But I like this one for a couple of reason.

First, she’s being true to herself in following Beth Lyons’ lead of a word for the month as opposed to a word for the year in these times.

Secondly, her choice of word is completely different from the sort of thing that I would associate her with. She’s always been so generous and giving. Now, a little self care.

Aviva’s work had impressed Vicky and she made sure that she said so on the show. It was only afterwards that Aviva tweeted the update that her plans had fallen through.

Curious? Head over to her blog and see what she had planned.


Enough About Me – #PaidSickDays

On a good week, a blog post from Diana Maliszewski might take you into gaming, libraries, media literacy, working with students, or educational issues but what happens when the post happens the day after March Winter April Break?

In this post, she shares her thoughts about the latest issues surrounding the Ontario populace – COVID and the Premier’s announcement about stay at home, enhanced police powers, science, and paid sick days.

This post will give you another insight into what makes Diana tick with her concern about social issues, including a wish for Paid Sick Days for those that don’t have them. And, throw in better leadership and an end to the pandemic.

She wishes on a star for the type of change she wants.

As it turns out, things may be changing on the Paid Sick Days front although perhaps not to the extent that people were hoping.


The Promise of Early Learning and Child Care in Canada

Writing in the Linkedin space, Stephen Hurley shares his thoughts about these programs as announced in the recent Federal Budget.

What had me particularly reflecting on this is the comparison between my life and those of today’s 4-6 year old.

My mom didn’t work outside the house. That allowed her to stay at home and be the full-time caregiver. While I wasn’t the perfect child, I don’t think I was the worst of the worst. But, I’ll admit that there were times when being with me 24/7 would wear on a person. These days, many of those issues wouldn’t even come to the attention of the parent unless it was bad enough to be reported by the school or day care. My early learning space would have been devoted to those things that my parents could afford and they would have been chosen for their entertainment value and not necessarily any academic choice. The rest would have been available for play in the side yard. When I went to school, it was to Kindergarten. It was a one year induction to education and I have no recollection of the sorts of things that you’ll see in today’s rooms.

After 50 years of talking about it and fighting for it, we’re finally going to get it done.—Hon. Chrystia Freeland

It’s taken us 50 years and the kindergarten classes of today really bear little resemblance to what I remember. Vibrant in colours, stimulation, freely chosen activities and exploration, the learner is truly in charge. We understand better how students learn and thrive.

If only I’d had that – quoting from “On the Waterfront”

I could have been somebody

But we’re not done yet and Stephen looks forward to what the future might brings and refers you to a Podcast to support your thinking.


About a name

I went to school with a Sheila. She was a year older than I was and was the daughter of the principal of our school. So, you had to be careful about what you said when she was around….

Sheila Stewart reflects on her name and that got me thinking that she may actually be only the second Sheila that I have met. To be honest, I hadn’t really thought of it as being a unique name but maybe it is. And, this Sheila claims to be OK with that.

And she asks a bunch of questions…

Readers, were you named after a song or a famous person? Your children? Do you have a good story about how you were named, or any good story about a name to share? How about a favourite song that is based on a name?

Me? My name was my father’s middle name. It’s kind of a tradition that we stepped away from with my son since my middle name is something that nobody would wish on anyone. My daughters were just great names.

I can’t complain about my name. A favourite comic comes from the Far Side.

There are far more available similar cartoons as the result of a simple search. Later this morning “Thanks Doug” may be trending on Twitter. Believe me, it’s not for me because there are other Dougs getting that attention.


Thanks for dropping by this post. I hope that you can take a moment and click through and read these posts in their entirety and drop off a comment or two.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Anne-Marie Kee – @AMKeeLCS
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Setared Dabbagh – @TESLOntario
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Stephen Hurley – @Stephen_Hurley
  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking

The Wednesday morning This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcast is available here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to another Friday and countdown to the early spring predicted by Wiarton Willie. Enjoy some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers as you count.


Gearing Up for MST with a Master Storyteller

In these COVID days, you would understand how someone might lose their enthusiasm for doing extraordinary things. That’s anything but the case for Noa Daniels and this post shows just what extraordinary might look like.

She and her grade 8 students have partnered with Lucky Budd about storytelling. This is kind of amazing to think that this would happen but why not.

In the post, Noa describes everything and it sounds pretty awesome. It’s also not the sort of one of that’s done over a weekend. You’ll have to read to get the complete details.

Her students are also appreciative about what’s going on. Here’s a sampling of the comments from students

  • I thought it was cool how the story connected with the 3 rivers in BC: the Skeena, the Nass, and the Stikine
  • I found it very interesting and I really liked how you paused during the story to add suspense. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and telling us about how you got into storytelling.
  • I think it’s very inspiring that although the first time you tried to publish a book it didn’t happen but that didn’t stop you from trying.
  • I also really liked the suspense and sound effects you added when you were telling the story. It was really fun listening and you have such a cool vibe!

The complete story is in her post which makes it well worth the read.


I Want to Break Free!

Here’s a sentiment from Richard Erdmann that we all want to experience. Even the notion of going mall walking which, quite honestly, I never particularly care for takes on new importance simply be the fact that we are prohibited from doing it. In my case, I actually miss shopping with my wife who actually touches everything that she might be interested in purchasing. It drives me crazy. When we get the chance to do it again, I think I’m going to have a different outlook.

Cabin fever and stir crazy are two things that I can definitely related to. These days, the highlight is going outside to walk the dog which fortunately is still ok within the rules.

Richard’s situation is a lot more serious and his notion that he is not only missing the experiences but that he’s being robbed of them will give you pause and a chance to empathise.

I don’t know what else to say, Richard, other than to agree with you that we will eventually get through this. Let’s hope that it’s soon. Numbers across the province continue to show promise.


Stress and The Evolving Teenaged Brain: A Study in Contrasts

From the self regulation blog comes an interesting post from John Hoffman. Regular readers here will recall a post I made last week about a group of teenagers who felt robbed that they were not able to get their driver’s licenses.

I remember thinking, at the time, that their logic wasn’t rational – everyone is paying the price during the lockdown. Maybe now I can cut a little slack when, according to John, their rational mind isn’t fully matured until age 25.

But he notes the research that indicates that the teenage mind is specially vulnerable to excess stress. If what we’re living through doesn’t meet that criteria, I don’t know what would.

All this leads to the announcement of an upcoming course specially for this age group through the Merit Centre – Feeling Stress: A Self-Reg Mini-Course for Teens.


What I’ve learned from being a Virtual Teacher so far

I’m hoping that Amy Bowker’s “so far” doesn’t extend too much further and that any more learning comes from reflection.

She does a really good job of identifying her thoughts and feelings about teaching during these times. It’s sad but predictable that students are just plain disappearing by turning off camera or microphones or just not showing up. I can’t imagine the stress on the teacher who needs to mediate those actions.

As I read through Amy’s post, the word “communication” kept popping up. It lies in the answer to so many things that she addresses. Social cues, working with parents, retention and engagement all can be addressed with effective and ongoing communication.

All of it seems so simple until you realize that a teacher doesn’t have all the tools available that she would have in a face to face classroom.

Regardless, there are powerful observations in her post with lots of ideas and a plan for the future.


Per / Con / In / Re – form

Another great post comes from Will Gourley on the Heart and Art Blog. I can’t help but think immediately – are there any other words that end in “form”?

In the post, Will shares his observations on each of these. Each of these words take on a paragraph and you feel the weight of each of these on him personally. In football terms, I would call it “piling on”.

There’s real wisdom is this quote. Pause and think about your own reality as you read this.

I worry that too much emphasis has been placed on performance and conformity without serious consideration to being fully informed of the true social, emotional, and physical costs of virtual learning. 

I can’t help but think that the emphasis part is easy because it can be summarized with a visual checklist. The other part is so difficult to understand and address. Yet, it’s so important.

Thanks, Will, for summarising these “forms” so nicely.


Why Code Illusions?

It’s a question asked of Peter Skillen as a lead in to this activity.

My response is “Why not code illusions?”

If we believe in the power of programming, then we should never question a good premise for a programmed solution.

In this case, Peter introduces us to a nice visualization of an optical illusion that I’m sure you’ve seen many times. You may actually have created the illusion yourself. You may have pulled out a ruler to prove that it is indeed an illusion.

Peter doesn’t provide a solution but it’s relatively easy to program, especially if you take a good look and analysis of the animation that he provides. Of course, I’m not going to include it here; you’ll have to visit Peter’s post to see it for yourself.


Sick Days for All

From Deborah Weston, a bit of a sobering post dealing with sick days. Much has been said about sick days for teachers, particularly how they don’t take them since it’s more work to prepare lessons for someone else than to drag yourself in to work.

We see the messages everywhere these days.

If you have a fever, shortage of breath, or a temperature, please do not enter.

Advice about this also applies to the workplace.

If your collective agreement has provision for sick days of some sort, it makes staying at home easier.

But that doesn’t apply to all. Deborah has done incredible research on this topic and pulls back the curtain to reveal the impact of no sick days.

  • Put Workers at Risk
  • Spread of Illness to Communities and Workplaces
  • Impacts Parents and Guardians
  • Women Face Labour Inequity
  • and more

She fleshes out each of these and ends the post with a true call to action to her readers.

Devote some time to this and you’ll find another counter to the simple statement “We’re all in this together”. Really?


These are terrific and thoughtful blog posts. Please take the time to click through and read them all. Then, follow these bloggers on Twitter. (and follow their blogs too!)

  • Noa Daniels – @noasbobs
  • Richard Erdmann – @rerdmann
  • John Hoffman – @UncommonJohn
  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker
  • W!ll Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Peter Skillen – @peterskillen
  • Deborah Weston – @DPAWestonPhD

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I’m still saddened by the lack of Hallowe’en things in parts of the province as laid out by the Premier last week. Hallowe’en is the last fun event before Christmas and was always a day that I looked forward to as a child. Even in areas like around here where we aren’t the recipient of the mandate from him, everyone is encouraged to find alternatives.

Since it’s a Friday, I’d like to share with you some great blog posts that I read recently and would encourage you to check them out yourselves. As always, if you’re an Ontario Edublogger, let me know; I’d love to add you to the collection.


Why “Time” Matters …

If you follow Aviva Dunsiger on social media, you know that this time of year, she follows the “Snails Across the Curriculum” resource. Amidst all this, she shares a story about the importance of time and how she and her partner are reminding each other to slow down so that students have more time on task.

It’s an interesting piece of advice but I’d like to see it further extended that their classroom.

Personally, in these COVID days, I find myself rushed all the time. And for no particular reason. In normal times, I linger while grocery shopping and I impulse buy; I like to browse the aisles at the LCBO; and, as I’ll talk about later, I’ll spend all kinds of time wandering bookstores when we’re at the mall.

These days, though, there’s none of that. I’ve got the floor plans of any place I’m going in to memorized and I’m basically in and out with what I had planned to do. Nothing more or nothing less. I haven’t even experimented with a new wine.

Aviva’s post and her stories about snails have got me doing a personal reality check. Maybe it’s time to slow down a bit and think about what I’m missing while I’m in such a rush. The things we learn from snails.


Month 1: Done

For Lisa Corbett, the month of September flew past. I’m hearing the same thing from all kinds of people. With all the angst that abounds, schools are now in the second month of the educational year.

Time flies when you’re having fun!

She shares some of the ways that she plans for curriculum – on her own and with personal experiences – and some of the things that have been covered in the mathematics classroom. I was a bit surprised when she talked about the use of manipulatives; many others are finding more pen and paper ways of doing things. But, we know from past experience that there’s so much more insight that can be had with hands-on activities. Yet, it’s not life as usual with them as she describes the nightly routine that she goes through to make sure they’re disinfected for the next day.

Next up – robots from the Education Centre. I wonder how you sterilize a robot?


How are you doing? Making time to check in

As I read this post from Jennifer Casa-Todd, I was reminded of an incident in my first or second year of teaching. I was walking outside the English hallway and met one of the teachers.

Me: “How are you doing?”

Him: “Why? Do you really care?”

I don’t recall what my response was but I hope that I was nice. I shared the experience with a colleague who left me know “Oh, that’s so and so”. He’s like that.

For me, it was never like that before or since. The moment still sticks with me as a result.

I still will asked people how they’re doing when I run into them. I do kind of care.

Jennifer’s post reminds us that it’s important to do these check-ins and they’re obviously much more serious these days. She shares her thoughts about the importance of doing this and also a Google document template that you can borrow and modify to make it unique to you. It’s certain to take on more importance as more classes go online. She’ll even take you to the level of mindfulness and its importance.

I hope that it’s reciprocated and that friends and colleagues are also checking in on Jennifer.


Cataloging and Comprehending

I felt compelled to include this post from Melanie White since she mentioned me! and also came down on the side of Elizabeth Lyons and centred writing!

But, I’ll be honest; I’ve read the post probably a dozen times and I’m sure that the message that she intends still eludes me.

Despite that, there still were some takeaways for me – I now know the word “chiasmus” although I’m not sure how I’d use it – and I really like the paradox that she talks about with her Grade 12 students and

the ability to intellectually hold two contradictory ideas which can both be simultaneously true;

That pretty much sums up two party politics in a nutshell.

Maybe if I’d become a librarian, I would have had some better insights to the rest of her post!


Impact/Moments

Speaking of Elizabeth Lyons, this post outlines another cheat of hers in the “one word” for the year activity that many educators take on. She’s already diverged by insisting on “one word” per month for 2020 except for October where she’s taking on the two words in the title to the post.

And she rationalizes it nicely.

Imagine being a teacher-librarian in a school. In a normal year, you’re fully booked with classes coming in for research, book exchange, readings, technology, and teachers coming in for curriculum planning assistance.

The traditional isn’t happening this year but Elizabeth is still trying to make a similar or better impact this year. The opportunities may not be as scheduled or as planned but moments that they become available are her opportunity to make her presence known.

So, the combination makes absolute sense here.


How to be an Anti-Racist in a Bookstore

This post from Matthew Morris might have been about me. It was his observation of an older white man in a bookstore. Matthew shared his thoughts about just what this man might be.

I checked so many of the boxes.

  • blue jeans. Absolutely. I don’t know that I actually have any others anymore except for some really dressy ones for fancy occasions. Except, my wife would never iron my blue jeans
  • plaid shirt. Maybe, although since the weather is cooler these days, it’s more likely a sweatshirt but definitely something comfortable
  • grey hair and glasses – check
  • cottage – no
  • mid-size sedan – does a Ford Fusion count? Check? I bought mine used
  • football – yes; golf – not for years – a real divergent here
  • green lawn – yes, but by dumb luck; I don’t water
  • retired – check

Matthew was surprised to see this man in the “community and culture” section. That could be me. For me, book stores are a place where I can go without an agenda. It’s just a nice place to spend time and just wander aimlessly throughout just looking at book titles and covers.

The part that I think that went missing was that Matthew didn’t stop and talk with the man as it sounds like he wanted to. I can’t help but think that that was an opportunity lost for both of them.

But that would be too judgmental. I put myself in Matthew’s shoes and I could understand standing back and doing nothing.


Unpacking the Invisible White Backpack in a Time of Black Lives Matter

Matthew’s post brought back a memory of this one from Deborah Weston. I’m wondering that if my comments about Matthew’s post don’t come from within my own personal Invisible White Backpack.

My knowledge of my family tree doesn’t go back very far, nowhere near what she describes in the post. I know where three of my grandparents came from – Denmark, Germany, and Great Britain and that’s about it. It never occurred to me in my younger days to dig deeper and maybe that’s because it didn’t matter. I was born in Ontario and I like to think I fit in nicely into my community.

As Deborah’s husband notes:

 He knows that White people have more privilege and “it has always been that way.”

I found it interesting to read Deborah sharing her heritage and her understanding about appearances and fitting into society. A great takeaway from her post though are the activities and resources about the topic that she shares.


Please do take some time and read the blog posts from these great Ontario Edubloggers. There’s so much there.

Then, make sure that you’re following them on Twitter.

  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Deborah Weston – @DPAWestonPhD

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 another Friday edition of This Week in Ontario Edublogs. #twioe It’s cool here but I’ve heard reports of you know what in other places. Stay warm and read some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


Living in the age of incivility Part 3 – The Iron Cage that is the school system

This is a rather longish post from Paul McGuire and even longer if you click through and read about “The Cage” and I would encourage that and thank Paul for including it.

As teachers, I think we’re all aware that a school district sets a direction and all teachers are expected to follow those directions. There are consequences for not playing along. I couldn’t help but think about this skit from Monty Python.

On one hand, people are encouraged to be creative but one the other hand, only when it’s within the rules.

As teachers, we always had the ability to contact our federation if we felt that we were treated improperly. Paul’s experience reminds us that principals are not part of any federation and are basically on their own.

In my mind, “The Cage” has become more of a thing with the amalgamation of school districts into super boards. More than ever, it’s easier to manage from the top if everyone follows the dictated rules.

The question should be asked – what type of school system results?


Back to Life, Back to Reality…

When a blog post starts with bad news and then good news and there’s still a great deal to read, it’s hard to predict!

Jen Aston lived with the message that she would be in a portable classroom for the school year. That really isn’t good news. There was a glimpse of sunshine when she was directed not to do too much setup. Because things change. In 2020? Really? <grin>

It sounds like she ended up in a better than expected classroom – a large room in the primary area of the school. That’s good news.

What’s in the rest of the post? It’s an interesting discussion about what’s happening in Mme Aston’s classroom in the various subject areas. If you know Jen, you just know that beekeeping would end up being part of the discussion.

Click through to see how!


Student Virtual Room Tutorial à la Bitmoji Classroom

Larissa Aradj shares with us an idea that she used from earlier this year. She had students design room; not with a drafting tool but in Google Slides.

She includes some pictures of what has been done by her students. They don’t need to maybe draw their own personal room but the room they’d like to have? It’s interesting to explore these images. As you might imagine, if you take a quick look, you might miss a great deal. Take some time, blow up the pictures, and see all the messages that are there.

Since it’s done in Google Slides, it seems to me that there are some interesting additional things that could be done. Make some areas hot spots so that you could open the books on bookshelves or any of the other objects in the room.

I’m also thinking that if this just one big collaborative slidedeck, the teacher could be hiding that Elf on the Shelf within student’s rooms and have them looking for it regularly.


Deciding whether or not to make the switch…

This really is a sign of the times in the fall of 2020. Some students have elected to start the year face to face and others have decided to do it online.

Depending upon the first decision and how it’s going, it should come as no surprise that students may wish to change their mode of learning. No surprises there and the rise in number of COVID people in the province might be forcing a new reality.

To manage this, school districts have set a date by which families must declare how it is that their children will go to school. That date determines the last date that they can switch, at least for now.

Kelly McLaughlin lays out the reality in her district where the date is November 3. To help parents, she’s created a pro and con information resource for them.

Of course, I know just what everyone is thinking – another reorganization of the schools and classrooms.


7 Reasons Why I’ll Miss My 7s

I fell for Diana Maliszewski’s teaser for this post

So I cried at school on Monday and I cried again at school on Friday. Different reasons; apologies to my in-person colleagues who were worried/alarmed at 1st. (Consider this a “teaser trailer” for this Monday’s blog post.)

— Diana Maliszewski (@MzMollyTL) October 10, 2020

and I held a spot for it.

You can feel her emotions come through in the post and I wish that I could be there to give her a hug. Split grades are a reality more than ever but imagine a school that looks like this…

JK-SK, 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6-7 and 7-8

The staff got together and reorganized as

JK-SK, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8

In this reorganization, Diana ended up having to pass off what sounds like a great group of Grade 7 students.

Now, keep in mind that in the TDSB, things have been in a flux so she hasn’t had a stable classroom since the first day of school. And yet, she is able to identify a bunch of attributes for these students and how they wished her goodbye. Hence the tears.

You just have to read the post.


Slice of Life: ***

I gained even more respect for Lisa Corbett after reading this blog post. Truly.

It brought back advice from my father – you can do the wrong thing and you can do the right thing. The wrong thing might make you friends or help you through a situation but doing the right thing will let you sleep at night.

The bottom line is that you have to live with yourself when things are done and you should never have to apologize for doing the right thing.

Do the wrong thing and you might be doing some explaining for a long time to come.


Bicycles for the Mind

It was great to see Helen DeWaard back blogging again.

This time around, she reflects as a result of watching the Social Dilemma.

This film, ironically warehoused within the Netflix collection, is touted as a “must watch” docudrama bringing a critical view to the impact of social media on the cultural fabric of society

She makes the connection for analyzing the moving using resources from the Association for Media Literacy and shares her questions with us.

A discussion of this also appeared on #OnEdMentors. Read the post for her analysis of things and check out the podcast on voicEd Radio for the group discussion.


Please take the time to read these posts in their entirety.

Then, follow these educators on Twitter.

  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Jen Aston – @mme_aston
  • Larissa Aradj – @MrsGeekChic
  • Diana Maliszewski  – @MzMollyTL
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Helen DeWaard – @hj_dewaard

This post originates from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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