Congratulations to Jennifer Casa-Todd for getting her Masters degree in Curriculum and Technology. In any other year, the day that she booked off would have been spent travelling to convocation, getting taken to a nice supper and getting showered with congratulatory gifts.
Of course, things are different and she made the effort to still make the day special by dressing up in cap and gown and walking across her front lawn.
So many questions – flipflops or barefeet? who just has a cap and gown hanging in a closet for this occasion?
Jennifer uses the post to extend congratulations to so many that are in the Class of 2020 no matter where they are. Achievements like this are big and definitely need to be observed.
Anne Adamson shared how they’re celebrating around here.
From the ourdadshoes blog comes this post from Jay Dubois. Like many of the posts of the blog, it’s written to honour the man that served as his father.
Jay is a bit tough on himself indicating that there were some things that his father tried to teach him that didn’t take. I think all of us often felt this way, that we couldn’t stand up to the standard that the greatest man in our lives set.
Jay’s in the position now of being father to his own children and shares his insights on how that’s going with him.
I just hope he doesn’t get this thrown at him like I do. “Daaaaad, you’re such a teacher.”
When Noa Daniels blogs about anything that fits into her BOB philosophy, I find it very insightful and most definitely worth the time to read, consider, and bookmark.
In this case, she talks about a concept that she uses called “Snapshots” which is such a rich activity at so many levels. Of course, there’s the photo aspect but it goes way beyond that when you consider media literacy.
What made such an impression on me was how flexible this activity was. It was started long before the school building closures but it seems to me that it’s relatively easily done at the distance teachers find themselves from students these days.
I think this is something bookmark-worthy for implementation in your own classroom whatever shape or form they take in the fall.
If you go right to the bottom of the post, Noa has included a slideshow of the images that the students have submitted for this assignment. You’ll have faith that Noa’s students are going to be world aware and empathic going forward.
Rachel Johnson, Katie Attwell are the EduGals. They take a departure from the regular focus of their blog – technology support, insights, and inspirations – to share their very personal opinions about what we’re seeing south of the border.
They recognize straight up their privilege as white women and some of the things that they’ve never had to worry about in their lives.
I felt that they identified and explained their position nicely. But Canada is not off the hook here and they don’t let the issues of the day that are in the news go unnoticed. Kudos to them for that.
Included in the post as well are resources worth investigating.
I’m reminded of this article written for TVOntario about the last segregated school in Canada. When and where before you click.
This is an older post from Idil Abdulkadir, dating back to February. So why share it now?
Like Noa’s post above, this describes a wonderful classroom activity for MAP4C. And, it’s given the very technical name of “The Thing”.
In a world where mathematics is seen as something that needs to be dragged from students and something that is to be endured until the end, this is different. The enthusiasm for mathematics and engagement from Idil comes through clearly in the post.
So why now? Because in these days of not meeting face to face with students, it’s something that addressed important expectations and yet has a huge engagement factor. Using support for Twitter, Idil has assembled a delightful learning activity and it begins with a collection of data in a shared spreadsheet.
We all know the power of infographics and data analysis done correctly with the element to convince the reader to get immersed in the topic.
So, “The Thing” has evolved over time.
Over the past few weeks from when I found it, I’ve been trying to highlight the great father posts from ourdadshoes.com. Since Father’s Day is this Sunday, I’ve run out of time. Posts that I haven’t shared here…
And, just like that, it’s June. It’s been the longest three months and yet March Break seems just like yesterday. We’re now hearing of schools that are opening so that things that got left behind in March can be picked up. I’m not sure that you could write this as a story. And yet, here we are.
Here we are again for another Friday and an opportunity for me to highlight some terrific blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. I hope that you can come with me and enjoy their writing.
I’ve been a participant of badging as a child through swimming lessons from the Red Cross and Royal Life Saving Society and then as a Wolf Cub and Boy Scout. The concept is to learn a skill, demonstrate a proficiency in it, and then demonstrate that proficiency to a tester that awards a badge for success.
We’ve seen badging or credentialing all over the place, typically for teachers. Microsoft, Google, and many software entities offer badges for teachers to put on their website or other social media as a way to give them cred with visitors.
Amy Bowker is looking at the concept for her classroom going forward. Whether schools are back in classroom or online learning continues, there undoubtedly will be more focus on digital portfolios to demonstrate skills. She’s created herself a set of credentials for expectations with varying levels of proficiency.
In education, we often think that the motivation to do well is a mark at the end of a course or year. Why not recognize smaller achievements ongoing throughout the year?
One takeaway from all this Learning at Home stuff has been the challenge of maintaining motivation. Perhaps ongoing badge collection would be helpful.
Patt Olivieri takes us on a deep dive thinking about assessment and growth in these emergency times. She was inspired by a Twitter message from Brandon Zoras that generated quite a bit of discussion. As Brandon notes, the document has the flexibility to be melded by professional educators and many are doing so at this time.
I can’t do justice to this post except to encourage you to read it at least a couple of times. It’s rich in content and ideas and a section encouraging you to focus on what matters. She addresses a number of things there but there was one that really leaped from her list for me.
‘P’ is for Pandemic not PD – learn one thing well from a place of curiosity and care, not panic.
This was an important message for me. My job was Professional Development among other things. In order to stay on top of things, I was always learning because I wanted to.
In these times, people are indeed learning new things just as a way to survive. You could easily panic and feel a need to learn outside the traditional route. But good learning comes from curiosity, not from threats.
I’ve really been interested in the posts from the ourdadshoes.com blog. It’s a space for people to talk about being a father and honouring your own father.
This post came from Chris Cluff.
There’s a terrific opportunity that Chris has when going to university. He had the opportunity to meet up with his father at Union Station and take the train with him back to Oshawa. I’m jealous; I didn’t have that opportunity.
Of course, on the train, there might be a discussion between father and son. Chris had the opportunity to ask his father why he chose the profession that he did. The answer might surprise you so you need to read the post in Chris’ words.
The concept of organizing thoughts has never been so important as it is these days. People have different ways of organizing; I tend to use bullet points in a document or a graphical tool. I do recognize that my resultant notes always tend to look like a timeline or a flowchart.
I’m envious of people like Laura Wheeler who have the ability to create Sketchnotes as their way to organize. I enjoy it when they share their creations; in this case, it’s the book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink. I find it easy to understand the message that she has diagramed.
I just can’t do it myself. I’ve spent way too much time trying.
Maybe I should just come to the conclusion that it’s not just for me. I really do appreciate that Laura shared her work with us.
Please take some time to click through and read these inspirational blog posts. There’s some great thinking there for you to enjoy.
Then, make sure that you’re following these educators on Twitter.
What a week! It was so warm hot here. I guess that I can’t complain too loudly though. The Sun Parlor was not the hottest place in the province. It looks like it’s going to get cooler for the weekend. Isn’t that doing things backwards?
This post comes from the mindfulness side of the Stillnesshub blog and written by Safina Hirji.
I’ve read a lot of blog posts recently about how to re-open schools. They’re typically full of ideas about the mechanical and logistical side of things. All of that is really important for safety and I’ll admit to reading many of them.
This post takes a different tact though.
It focuses on students. What a concept! But, it’s not the sort of thing dealing with assessment and evaluation, content, and other teacher things. True to the theme, Safina deals with student mindfulness. She touches on four areas.
Mental Health and Well-Being through Mindfulness
Individualized Learning Opportunities
Mindfulness with acquiring knowledge and building skills
Accessing the right Tech Tools for Collaborative, Synchronous Learning
It’s a good read and a powerful reminder that opening schools is more than unlocking doors.
From the Our Dad’s Shoes blog devoted to issues about Fathers and Fatherhood comes this post, from Will Gourley. It is actually a post he’d written in the past and brought forward at this time. It fits nicely into the theme.
He discusses four attributes of fathers:
and does a great job about it and offering a tribute to his father.
There is a natural connection to teaching because, as we all acknowledge, our first teachers were our parents.
From the Self-Regulation blog, Aviva shares a list of things that she’s learned about self-regulation and herself at these trying times.
Too much social media
OK to put yourself first
Social stressors are online
Why and why now?
Stress behaviours multiply online
Importance of routine
Aviva joined Stephen Hurley and me as a guest host on This Week in Ontario Edublogs, did a nice job and got a chance to elaborate. There were three of these topics that I singled out to hear her speak about, in addition to writing about it.
Fidget Toy – she sees a need for one of these in her future as she hesitates to jump into discussions with students. I had to smile, I play with my mouse when I’m listening to others
Social stressors are online – we all know about the stresses due to social media but what about the social interaction that goes on in the online classroom. When to jump in, when to lay back, …
Saying hello – Aviva notes that it’s OK for some students to jump into a class and not necessarily be active for the entire session. It’s OK just to say hello and sit back and watch. Just being there can be enough at times
I know that Tim King speaks for thousands of teachers in this particular post. He lashes out at many things, many people that are players in this “absolutely terrible school year.”
I like the success story that he shares (and had pictures on Facebook documenting it) when he and family were allowed into the school to put together some computers for colleagues.
I can understand his feeling of exhaustion but was taken aback when he indicated that he was feeling defeated. I’ve never heard that from him. Then I look at my own household. My wife is delighted when she needs to leave the place to address some essential service in town.
There are so many lessons to be learned from those on the front lines during this time. As Tim notes, our leaders had assumptions about the readiness for a shift in teaching and it’s been proven wrong over and over again.
For me, the low point of all this was the political statement about expecting teachers and students to be regularly engaged in synchronous communications. For that to work, so many assumptions had to be made. I know that many teachers have tried and some have been successful but I suspect they would have been successful without the directive anyway.
Please click through and enjoy these posts in their entirety. There’s so much great thinking.
Then, make sure that you’re following these folks on Twitter.
Beth Lyons shares a reflection about life as a school librarian who isn’t going into a physical library these days.
And then she asks
Am I still a teacher-librarian?
It’s an important question to ask. For many of our who were out of the classroom during major disruptions to the normal, it is something that we always pondered “You wouldn’t know; you’re not in the classroom”, “You don’t have to do report cards”, …
I think it’s natural to see yourself as having a bulls-eye on the forehead at times like this and to do some self-examination.
But step back a bit. There are thousands of teachers who aren’t in their traditional classroom. That doesn’t make them less of a teacher. More that ever, being in a school isn’t the defining factor of teacher. Similarly, being in a library doesn’t define who is a teacher-librarian.
The rules have changed, to be sure. But the things that make a school a school continue. The same applies to Teacher-Librarians. While a classroom teacher knows her/his curriculum backward and forward, a Teacher-Librarian typically knows everyone’s expectations. It seems to me that they can be the best resource a teacher working with a class online can have. While all the resources many be digital for a while, the Teacher-Librarian can be working harder than ever providing research and assistance for colleagues. Beth shares what she’s doing in the post.
I think it’s normal for everyone to ponder their abilities with these new situations. Now is not the time to pull back; it’s more important than ever to be visible to others and supportive like never before.
Alanna King shares an insight to the learning space that is carved out of the King household where she and Tim are now working with their classes.
This post is a wonderful story and truly answers the question “Can students get involved in community service during this time”?
And, it comes from Tim King’s Computer Engineering students. He shared a form with staff members indicating that his students could offer some technical support. In Alanna’s case
I would like a secure Google Doc/Form way to communicate mark updates with students. I’m wondering if we can use something like DocAppender on a spreadsheet to mail merge a column to users with a specific email address e.g. 72 goes to firstname.lastname@example.org and then to have the recipient create a read receipt/digital signature to confirm that they have read it.
One student stepped up with a solution and documented it via a YouTube video.
In these days with all kinds of stories swirling, this is just so inspirational. I hope that the rest of the staff is tapping into this resource. It just has to lighten their load and put their mind at ease knowing someone has their back if they run into problems.
Sometimes, it definitely are the little things that we take for granted and Sue Dunlop reaches out with her experience during the lockdown in her section of the world.
When you think about it, Education is all about timed events. The morning bell is at #.##, National Anthem and announcements at #.##, Every class is ## minutes long. You have exactly # minutes to travel from one room to another otherwise you’re going to be marked late. Lunch is at ##.## and final dismissal is at ##.##. Everything is programmed and timed down to the last minute.
If you’ve ever tried to make an appointment with a superintendent at her/his office, you have to go through a support staff person and will be given a time slot during the course of the working day.
For the most part, the classroom or office door is closed (literally or figuratively) while work is happening. It’s what we do. It’s what we’ve done since kindergarten. Education is no place for a timetable non-conformist!
In light of all this, there are special moments and that’s the point of this post from Sue. You go to the mailroom or the staffroom or out into the hallway between classes or a whack of other quick moments when you’re not switched ON. Those happenstance moments are what Sue is missing at this time.
She’s trying to replicate it during lockdown. And yet, it’s still not the same. Even to have an informal chat on a video conference, you typically have to schedule a time when all participants are able to be there.
Sue concludes with a call to action for leaders to contemplate once they’re back together. I suspect it will be a part of a long list of reflections about this experience. If nothing else, I’ll bet that we all have a deeper sense of appreciation of those moments.
When I coached football, we had three quarterbacks and one of them was left-handed. We had one play that required a “pivot” and what should have been simple (I thought) wasn’t for everyone. One took too it easily and the other two had challenges. It didn’t come across as a natural action for one and for the left-handed one, it was difficult to even describe because the play was a mirror reflection. I am right handed and there’s no way that I could gracefully demonstrate what was needed.
I learned there that things aren’t always easy and transferable. Peter Cameron has a very distinct edge in voice with his advice to the Minister of Education calling the transition from regular classroom teaching to “Emergency Distance Learning” a simple pivot. His words brought back that football memory immediately. It was almost surreal because I can’t remember the last time I actually ever used the word pivot.
If I had to select an educator that I would think could make the move to distance learning relatively easily, Peter would be high on my list of choices as I consider him well connected. But, like so many, he notes that his misses the daily interaction with students. So, he definitely hasn’t simply pivoted to the new reality.
In other news from Peter, he shares a reminder of the upcoming MAD (Make A Difference) PD event this weekend. Details are here.
David Petro is always good for some resources for Mathematics and, with his deep understanding of it and the Ontario Curriculum, shares resources and ties them directly for classroom teachers.
This week’s collection resources, video, and images featured a flash back to FEUT Professor Fraser who was part of my teacher education. He shared this puzzle…
It was a wonderful puzzle and I was thinking about coding a solution when I scrolled down and saw that someone had created a moving example illustrating why it works.
The other important takeaway from David’s post announces that, although the annual OAME Conference is cancelled, there will be a “virtual OAME” in its place. Everyone is invited and it’s free.
I look through the sessions and was proud to note some names from my former school district and most certainly many folks that are part of my #FollowFriday posts. It’s a nice replication of the traditional conference including door prizes.
DigCitTO had dropped off my radar. It’s a short duration event normally held face to face. Driving all the way to Toronto, finding parking, etc. really makes it prohibitive.
But, the organizers went ahead and held the event anyway, shifting to the online world. Editorial Note: microwaving something from M&M pales in comparison from the great downtown Toronto food.
As it turned out, I could only drop in a couple of times for a few minutes to see what was up.
In this post, Diana Maliszewski shares her conference attendance (or partial attendance) including a session that she co-presented. All in all, good reading.
She did close with some musing about the future of conferences. Some, perhaps, could live in an online presentation world. I think that those of us who have attended sessions know that online that they can easily turn into a “sit ‘n git” with the worse of them. It really takes a skilled presenter to bring interactive elements into such a session. I look to Speaking Bureaus to provide learning into engagement techniques because this will be our future for a while anyway. Diana has a question mark beside the OLA Superconference. Gulp.
Regardless, there are so many things that I would miss – exhibit halls, interactive sessions, hugs from friends, first meetings with new friends, walking a strange city, finding old friends and meet up for dinner, sitting in a pub or bar sharing war stories and so much more. Organizations use the opportunities to foster partnerships and use attendance fees to fund themselves. So much would change if this format was lost.
Shortly after I scheduled my post for Re-opening questions, I got a message from Deb Weston that she had written this post.
Like my crystal ball, Deb took the opportunity to envision what classrooms might look like once teachers and students are able to return to them.
She has a nice discussion on the various elements as she sees them. There are just so many concerns and decisions that have to go into the planning. While my approach was largely from my thoughts in a secondary school background, she brought into focus what an elementary school might have to plan for.
What comes through in both of our posts is the concept that schools are a large mass of humanity compressed into small facilities. Bizarrely, the media seems to be spending more time reporting on how baseball might open or hockey might wind down than what schools re-opening might look like.
The biggest cost item (other than hand sanitizers) would be staffing and she takes some time doing the mathematics and predicts that a 42% increase in the number of teachers would be needed.
I’d like to suggest that both posts would be good reads and “look fors” when the bell rings. You can’t just flip a switch.
Please find some time to click through and read the original posts. We live in interesting times and there are some great thoughts generated.
Welcome to another Friday and a look around at some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. At least I think/hope it’s Friday. All the days seem the same anymore. My biggest fear it to post this on a Thursday or do a #FollowFriday on a day that isn’t Friday.
This is kind of a public service for those new to using a computer for serious things other than game playing or a refresher for those of us who know everything (or at least did at one time) and have forgotten but still think you can leap tall buildings. See the link in Tim King’s post about the Dunning-Kruger Effect if you think that’s you.
Tim’s post has seven things to check out. I hope that you never get to having to do #7 since both Microsoft and Apple have had some buggy updates as of late. Chances are, you’ll never have to get past #1 on his list.
Of course, one of Tim’s suggestions assumes that you have two devices, one of which isn’t working properly, to solve some problems.
Barring that, there are those that you can reach out to via your network if all else fails. I can’t think of anyone that wouldn’t empathize when a colleague has an issue and offer support. Personally, I’ve helped out a few people and don’t mind if I have what I think might be a solution to their problem.
If the device in question is on loan from a school district for home use, there may be some restraints on what you can do by yourself.
Thanks to Sheila Stewart, I now have this earworm.
Sheila uses this post to share her present feelings and to pose a couple of hypothetical questions that will ultimately be answered as we go forward.
She notes that she finds comfort in music. I suspect that she’s not alone. I tend to have music on all the time anyway and I can understand that.
I especially like finding new music which is what this post did for me. It’s not the sort of song that you’re going to put on while you’re doing a workout though. The best part though, is that it sparked a bit of a private communication between myself and Sheila. That was great
We used the song as the intro to the This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcast this past week.
So this post, from Aviva Dunsiger, started with a little popularity poll that she posted to Twitter to find out what people were eating for Easter. Thank goodness for blogs; I didn’t see the post when it originally went out but did catch it later on Aviva’s blg. FWIW, we had ham steak, brocolli, and potatoes with peach crumble for dessert. Normally, our house is filled with people and there’s a much more diverse menu but this year there was just the two of us.
I’m glad that Aviva didn’t call this a statistics exercise because there certainly was a limited sample size and audience. She did get the attention of @jennzia who offered some suggestions for a much richer approach.
Aviva did mention the use of professional terms like “scientists”, “mathematicians”, “authors and illustrators” and “researchers”.
I couldn’t resist – “I’m not a scientist but I play one at school”.
This was a short and to the point post from Lisa Corbett.
I found it rich in successes with things done on time (teachers love noting the time …) and kids remembering passwords after being away from school for three weeks. These are major successes.
Lisa also indicated that she had created a video to help families log in. From her description, there was a bit of a learning curve with the video taking 45 minutes and she’s confident that the next ones will go quicker.
There is another element that I can help but notice – Lisa’s class won’t be unique in having this experience. Now is absolutely the time for teachers to share resources. It lightens the load and the stress of doing everything yourself.
Apparently Lisa listened to the Wednesday voicEd Radio show because she did respond acknowledging how she appreciates it when people share and she’s made a connection with Melanie White for future ideas.
Folks, this is heart-warming – this is why we make connections to other educators. There is so much love and support at times.
I’ve been using all this time at home trying to find things to stay engaged. I did clean up my workspace to the point where I can’t find anything anymore. In addition to my regular habit of blogging, I have done a bit of programming. It’s nothing serious; I just get a kick out of putting together some instructions and pressing run to have the computer do something. It remains a mental rush and piece of satisfaction after all these years.
So, Peter does restate his personal philosophy of learning and coding in particular as a way to introduce the learner to his current passion – working with Code to Learn with details about how to get involved with the coding, examples, and links to upcoming learning webinars. Past sessions are online so you’re never without.
Online learning has become a priority for everyone in education and the University of Windsor’s Dave Cormier wasn’t left out.
Now, however, we at UWindsor Office of Open Learning (OOL) find ourselves facing the idea of ‘teaching teachers to teach online,’ not for few final weeks of emergency remote teaching, but for a term. At least.
Dave has taken to his blog to explain the process of putting this all together, well, in a hurry. Isn’t everyone in that boat?
The result is a combination of synchronous and asynchronous times. The structure for the synchronous is
Introduction to Online learning
Thinking through course goals online
Finding content (includes learner/web as content)
Creating content (includes lecture/text etc…)
Assignments and assessments
The student experience (reflection on their experience in the course and what that tells them about how students will experience it.
This isn’t a quick process and you can tell from a read that there is a great deal of thought that has gone into this.
Beyond this, the University of Windsor is also offering advice for K-12 educators through three online webinars. Details here. Registration required.
I hope that you can set aside some time to click through and read these posts in their entirety. As always, there’s great advice there from educators here in the province.
Then, make sure that you follow them online via Twitter.