Tag: ontario edublogs

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s been another great week of sharing thoughts and ideas from Ontario Edubloggers.  There’s always something to engage and get my mind thinking and, for that, I’m so grateful.  Here’s some of what I caught this past week.

The Undervalued Sense

We always talk about getting the perfect title for a blog post to hook potential readers.  This one by Diana Maliszewski had me hook, line, and sinker.  I tried to guess what sense it might be before visiting and I’ll confess to drawing a blank.  It could be any of them.

“I smell you. I smell you Ms. Molly.” I’m pretty used to my personal space being invaded by little people, who touch, grab, and hug me constantly, but this scent examination unnerved me at first.

OK, from the first paragraph, I determine that maybe she didn’t bathe or something.  Sorry, Diana.

She expanded on the concept and brought in so much that we now take for granted – perfume-free workspaces, for example – and then how to encourage the use of this scent in the classroom.

This approach totally took me by surprise but I’ll admit; I enjoyed the read and thinking.

The value of grades?

Speaking of thinking, Jamie Reaburn Weir’s post challenges the notion of a number given to a student.  Does the number define the student?

Any teacher worth their salt would answer the definition part with a resounding “NO”.

It brought back a memory of an absolutely genius young lady that I taught for three years in Computer Studies.  She couldn’t do anything wrong, it seemed.  I remember once giving her a 99 on some sort of assessment that was drop dead on target for what was required.  Not only was she smart, she had just the nicest way of approaching things.  She waited until the entire class had left and then asked me to show her what she missed so that it would never happen again.

I also remember a small handful of students in my education class who obviously had done the bare minimum for the assessments (and got the appropriate mark) and then went directly to the Dean about it.  When the Dean and I reviewed their submissions, I was not only supported but got into a great philosophical discussion about assessment.

The conclusion is an interesting tack on to Jamie’s post – we don’t let the number define the student; the student allows the number to define themselves.

Either way, as Jamie notes, there are other ways of thinking about assessment and her students had ideas.

But, for now, we have these hurdles that society has accepted as proof of accomplishment.

I think real change has to go beyond just the school system; it has to be a change in societal attitudes about what defines success in education.  That will be a much tougher nut to crack.

Do people do well if they want to, or if they can?

OK, maybe Sue Dunlop has the answer or at least can take our thinking along a different road.

I think we had the same parents…

So, with respect to students, what can be done to make them want to.

Then, in an unexpected turn, Sue talks about the other partners in education.

What can be done there?

Apple Watch and all about Complications

After reading Anne Shillolo’s post, I can safely say I know much more about the history of watches than I ever thought that I would.

It took me on a tangent to read about Patek Philippe & Co. and the effect on the Apple Watch.  How could a company created in 1851 impact a modern wearable device?

It’s all in the complications.

The website for Patek Phillippe watches states, “A ‘complication’ is any additional horological function to the display of hours, minutes and seconds.”

“Complicated watches made by Patek Phillippe are assigned to one of two categories.”

I’m just having visions of educators at the Bring IT, Together Conference next week comparing and contrasting complications.

Just Two Words

Another smile to my face.

Sue Bruyns starts this post with reference to the cliche “Have a nice day”.

Years ago, there was a gentleman that worked in another part of the school who came to my desk and asked for a bit of advice or a favour or bite of my sandwich or something.  I don’t recall.  I just remember that we somehow interacted and, as he left, I said “Have a nice day”.

I still remember his response.  He turned back and said “Why?  Do you really care?”

I didn’t have the heart to say “No, not really and I have less inclination now to ever care…”

Years later, and I’m reading Sue’s blog post.

Now that I’m wiser, I realize that the statement is just a collection of words, non-committal, and just done because it was expected to be.

Maybe I should have said “Now that you’ve eaten my sandwich, or now that I’ve helped you, how are you planning to make the rest of the day special?”  Or something.  A question is really a prompt for further thinking and interaction.  A statement indicates that we’re done and there’s no further interaction expected.  If the goal is relationship building, maybe the focus should be on asking a question instead.

Sue may be on to something here.

Playing With Green Screen (…finally!)

Of all the computery things that you can do, is there nothing that’s more fun than working with a green screen?  In this post, Colleen Rose talks about her experience setting things up in her classroom.

Selection_435Plus, she’s bringing it to the Bring IT, Together conference next week.  Is there any place that uses a green screen better than Niagara Falls?  How many places can you purchase a picture of yourself going over the falls using the technique?

I have lots of fond memories of working the green screen myself.  Once, at the professional learning lab at Dowswell, I wanted to play but had no green screen available until I realized that the data projector shining on a SMART Board provides a nice one.  Plus, you can get some interesting 3D effects if you spend a lot of time at it.  (or so I’ve heard)

I also recall an ECOO conference a few years ago when my friend Nazreen brought me on the stage as a stunt dummy for a Hall Davidson green screen demonstration.  Sadly, I had worn my green/blue chequered shirt that day.  We successfully answered the question “who don’t weather forecasters ever wear green?”

This could be a great deal of fun next week.

The more we learn, the more we QUESTION?

In an interesting followup to the field trip to the dump, Peter Cameron’s class had questions.

Selection_436Lots more questions had arisen from the outing and are available in this post.

Of course, this could lead to some variability.  What if Mr. Cameron owned an F-150 instead?

Thanks to all of the above for their wonderful posts.  Lots of thinking on my part here and writing a response in a blog post makes it even better!

Please click through and enjoy their original thinking.  There’s great stuff there and in all of the Ontario Edublogs.  Check out some of the great writing and thinking and add yours to the list if it’s not there already.


This Week in Ontario Edublogs

The frustrating thing about my Friday post  is boiling down the great writing that’s happening with Ontario Edubloggers into three or four of the best articles!  I did and these really caught my interest.

Sign Up For The January Blogging Community Session Now!

Blogging is good; building a community based on that blogging is even better.  Check out this global opportunity from Kristen Wideen’s blog.



Nathan Hall has curated a list of “no registration” resources for student use.  There are two advantages to this – one is respect for student privacy and the other is the ability to just use the tool rather than worrying about registration, logging on, passwords, etc.

We’ve got to get him to add Brian Aspinall’s work to this list!


Three Steps to Better Leadership

I love this post.  It takes a very reflective educator and leader to do some reflection and make admissions as well as a “next steps” plan online.  Sue Dunlop shares what she considers three steps to becoming a better leader.  It’s hard to argue with any of her thoughts but I think we can ALL benefit right now from her third step.



This is the million dollar question for education.  Read Donna Fry’s thoughts about the topic.  Life was so much easier when we just plain acknowledged that teachers were the holders of all information and students arrives to get their share of it!


Use of Language

This is a little different.  I’m going to highlight a response in one of my posts.


Brandon Grasley had a very thoughtful reply to a post that I had about language.  On the surface, his recommendations make a great deal of sense.  Spot and an error?  Just go back and fix it.  If you look further back in my blog this week, I did an analytic that included how many people read this blog.  The number that have opted to receive it via email far outweigh those who visit online.  Plus there’s the RSS readers and reader surfaces like Flipboard.  These may get their copy from the original post so even if I go through and fix any mistake that I find, those who are readers of the blog not using the blog, will have the original copy which has the errors!  Maybe there should be a warning that if you subscribe by email that you may get errors!


Please check out these blogs in their entirety.  There’s some great reading and room for reflection there.

As always, my complete collection of Ontario Edublogs is located here.  Check them all out!  The list continues to grow and, if you’re in Ontario Education and not listed, add yourself to the form and you will be.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It was yet another spectacular week of reading this week in Ontario Edublogs.  Here’s but a bit of what I enjoyed.


Do My Thoughts On Awards Change When I Win One?

I have to be careful that this blog doesn’t become the Aviva Dunsiger fan club site but a recent post from her is certainly worthy of sharing to anyone who drops by here.  Aviva has been recognized with a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.  It’s an incredible honour and I’m so happy for her.  And yet, there’s the shadow of current comments in vogue speaking against the concept of awards  As I noted when I commented on her post, I hope that doesn’t spoil the moment.  In the meantime, I’m pleased to note that I knew her when she was @grade1.  Congratulations, Aviva.

She summarizes her philosophy in blue!

 I do what I do because I love kids! I do what I do because I believe in the power of education. I do what I do because I want to see ALL kids succeed, and I know that they can. I do what I do because nothing makes me happier than teaching, and I’m thrilled that I get to do what I love every single day. 

The complete listing of all the Prime Minister’s Award winners is located here.


So What Do We Do With the Information?

Sometimes, we just take our knowledge for granted and move on.  It’s only when we step back and look at how students witness information for the first time do we get things put in perspective.

Recently Brian Smith did this activity with students.  Using Padlet, students posted their understanding of domain names.  It was interesting to scroll through the board and see their interpretation.

The next step was to evaluate some resources for trustfulness.  He collected the information via Google Form.  There was a whole lot of technology infused into this activity.


Bullying, Violence, Pictures Books – Oh My!

There’s so much in the news about bullying and cyberbullying these days.  Debbie Axiak takes a moment to reflect on recent events that she experienced and makes a promise to look more critically at resources.  It’s good advice for all!


School Based EdCamp for Professional Learning

David Fife muses over a different model for professional learning within his school.  He’s thinking about an EdCamp model rather than the practices of the past.  We’ve all experienced the “sit ‘n git” model and we know how effective that can be.  EdCamp involves an active model of learning by following your needs.  Traditionally, it involves a group of people who make a conscious decision to be at a particular place and time for the learning.  It will be interesting to see if this model works onsite at a school.  He promises a followup post to share the results.


#RCAC13 Final Program

If you’re able to make it to London on December 5, you’ll absolutely get a great day of Professional Learning at the Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee’s Annual Symposium.  It’s just one day in length but you’ll get a chance to hear two inspirational keynote speakers – Travis Allen and Gary Stager – as well as attend sessions from educational leaders from the Western Ontario region.

Oh, and you’ll have a wonderful Christmas dinner.

Full disclosure – I’ve been asked to co-chair the conference again with Doug Sadler.  It’s been a local event that I’ve been so passionate about since my first year as a consultant with the Essex County Board of Education.  I always used to bring my superintendent and key principals to hear what’s happening in other school districts just up the 401.  Every other school district would do the same thing and we would serve to push each other to greater and greater things.  It’s a full days of ideas and inspiration.

As Rodd Lucier notes:


Once again, I thought this was a nice collection of thoughts and publishing from colleagues throughout the province.  Follow the links to the original posts and share your thoughts.

My collection of Ontario Edubloggers can be accessed here.  If you’re an Ontario Edublogger and not listed, just complete the form and you soon will be!


This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Summer vacation is here and teachers are kicking back for two months at the cottage, right?  Hardly!  One of the things that make education in Ontario so superb is the amount of professionalism that goes on – even on vacation days.  I am so proud to highlight some of the excellent reading from Ontario Edublogs this past week.


Canada Day – Our Ed’s Okay

First of all, a confession.  I’m sorry Diana but I can never remember how to spell your last name so it’s always a copy/paste job.  Diana Maliszewski took some time while I was dodging thunderstorms on Canada Day to reflect on her own personal practice and also the positives of education in the province.  If you need some inspiration and sense of well-being, check out this post.


Changing My Mind About PD

Tim King is off to summer school for himself.  Tim’s reflecting about his own approach to professional learning as he takes on an Additional Qualification course this summer.
It is so easy to get negative but Tim provides his own thoughts about making his work positive.  Additional Qualification courses are one of those mystery things for the general public.  How many know that it’s a month of travel to a course or working online.  The courses are not cheap and come from the teacher’s pocket.
When they’re done, you’re in a great position to control your own personal direction.  People take the courses for a variety of purposes.  While I graduated from the Faculty of Education with specialists in Mathematics and Computer Science, I went back four or five years to pick up Business qualifications in Data Processing and Accounting.  I never really had aspirations to teach Accounting but ended up with a couple of sections once qualified.  It was a great deal of fun.  Beyond the course content, you could branch into personal financing, purchasing cars, bringing in chartered accountants as guest speakers.  We even had a car salesperson come in to explain the whole process.  It was great for everyone.
Beyond the course content, the connections that you make with others around the province are priceless.  Like all professional development endeavours, it’s up to each individual to find ways to maximize the experience.  It sounds like Tim’s off to a great start!
Of course, going to take an AQ course is only one way to grow professionally.  Julie Balen is participating in an online book talk around Alan November’s “Who Owns the Learning?”
As she participates in the study, Julie is blogging about her own thoughts as elements of the book ring true for her.  In addition to the book, she talks about being inspired by one of November’s TED talks.
She’s picked a great educator and book to work with.  We had the pleasure to have Alan November keynote a couple of Western RCAC Symposiums a few years ago.  He has a definite speaking style and really helped many in the audience shape a vision for the use of technology in Western Ontario classrooms.

Heather Leatham has experimented with using the Google 20% concept with her classroom.  As the school year came to an end, she surveyed her students for their thoughts and provided the results for us.  The post also features her own reflections about the project and the impact in her classroom.
It’s a very good read and the concept seems to be catching and spreading.  She’s going to continue it in September.   I think it’s wonderful, not only to experiment with the concept, but to share it with other professionals via her blog.
I’ll look forward to seeing what happens in the fall.
Such great reading this week.  Thanks to those who continue to write and share.  Please visit their blogs and drop off a comment or two if you’re inclined.  You can check out the complete list of Ontario Edubloggers here.  As I’ve mentioned many times, these are the ones that I know about.  If you’re blogging and not in the Livebinder, please add your details via the form and you will be.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

There was a great deal of fun and interesting reading this past week throughout the list of Ontario Edublogs.  Some of my favourites…

Great Grey Owl snow-plunges and catches mouse!

Every blogger lives to hit one out of the park.  This past week, Brandon Grasley did exactly that.

Brandon had a photo blog entry based upon an event that he and his daughter witnessed right in their own backyard.  An owl was caught in the act of catching a mouse in the snow and Brandon was there to capture the event with his camera.  The blog entry features some great photos and is definitely worthy of all the hits that Brandon says that he got that day.  Please make him feel even better by clicking the link above and enjoying it.  This is definitely a collection of images worthy of bookmarking for future reference.

Great Timing

So, look what Brandon and his images started!  Colleen Rose reports that she’s seen her first grey owl.

Between Brandon and Colleen, I’m a little jealous as I look out my window and see mourning doves and sparrow at the bird feeder.

11 Important Considerations for incorporating First Nation, Metis, & Inuit teachings into the Curriculum

First Nations & Cultural Shifts: Issues that can be addressed in Education

Very timely, Deborah McCallum offers a couple of blog entries suggesting how to deal with First Nations, Metis and Inuit issues in the classroom.


Given the stories that are in the news so often, students do have good questions and a great deal of curiosity.  These posts offer some great ideas.

The New Communication

One of my person preferences for blog readings are entries where people do some reflection very publically against a set of thoughts or ideas.  In this post, Tim Slack takes Michael Fullan’s 6 Cs necessary in education…


…and evaluates his school within each of the 6.  It’s a good read.

How would your school stand up?  Are you doing as much or even more than Tim?  I’m sure that he’d be interested in your thoughts.

New Inquiry

Like so many, Jenni Van Rees is a little nervous about the whole inquiry process.  This time, it’s about “Objects and Materials” and in the latest entry talks about this nervousness and what it translated into practice for her grade 1 class.


And the post is complete with pictures!  She very clearly explains how the students worked with the unit and made the learning their own!  Check it out.

Images from Commander Hadfield

From the ISS

I had a great time putting together some of the images that Commander Hadfield has shared from the International Space Station.  I used Storify to pull images together from Twitter.  I was very pleased with the result.  In the one post, I explain the process and, in the second, actually post to my blog from Storify itself.

But the story doesn’t end there.

On Twitter, I find out that Lisa Noble used it with her 5/6 class.  The result?

The class created a padlet with students sharing their favourite images.


It’s always nice to see that your efforts turn into ideas for others.  Thanks, Lisa.  Sharing this made my day.

Please visit the blog entries identified about and, in fact, all of the Ontario Edubloggers for more ideas about the great things happening across the province.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s Friday and time for my weekly wrapup of some of the blog reading that I did this week for inspiration.  Great stuff from Ontario Educators yet again.  Please read on.

Professional Reading Favourites

It’s a brave educator that can clean out their bookshelf.  After all, you never know when you’re going to need such and such.  At least, that’s the excuse that I’ve always used.  I’ve yet to find an educator who doesn’t have a bookshelf that has a mind of its own and just continues to grow.  David Fife took on his bookshelf and shared with us some of the resources that have influenced his practice.  Some interesting titles to check out.

Pedagogical Documentation

Continuing on the theme of professional reading, Brenda Sherry shared some initial thoughts about the Ministry of Education’s Pedagogical Documentation document, a good read by itself.  I liked the questions that she asked of her readers.

I immediately zeroed in on the “digital documentation” bit.  I think that it’s worthy of real consideration.  Without digital documentation, observations are open to interpretation of what you see at that precise moment.  With digital documentation, you have exact precision of observation.  Would you have a different interpretation at a different time during the day or in a different frame of mind?  Using something as simple as a telephone and adding a short movie to document what you’re observing allows for a revisit at a later taste.  I think it could also be used in an interview with the student where she/he sees her/his actions in the third person.  The key, it seems to me, is to use it regularly so that it’s not a novel intrusion but just the way we do business.

Networking:  Food for Thought

There has been a great deal of discussion about MOOCs now that #etmooc has taken off.  Some folks are even diving in and blogging about their experiences.

Steve Wilson was one of those who are sharing his learning and certainly there’s no better place or forum to do so than on your blog.  It’s a place to take the overwhelming amounts of information and try to make personal sense of it.

In this post, Steve shares his thoughts about how he uses tools like Twitter to interact with others.  I really liked the concept of using Twitter to “farm stuff out”.  Interesting approach

Today the Audience was Real

You know, I have memories of being sick when I was in school.  With my parents, I really had to amplify the symptoms lest I be encouraged to suck it up and get back to class.

When I was home, the last thing that was on my mind was staying up to date on school work.  I don’t think I ever recalled wondering what was happening in class!

Not so in Aviva Dunsiger’s class.  They’re broadcasting their learning on 105TheHive and Aviva shares a story of a student emailing her wondering when the class would be broadcasting so that the student could join in.

How’s that for motivation and a real audience?!  Way to go Grade 6.

Bits and Bytes

OK, I know this is one of my posts.  I took a walk down memory lane back to 1983 when Bits and Bytes was broadcast on TVOntario.  I remember it as a highlight in my learning about the Commodore 8032 computer.  I used to book time to watch Luba Goy and Bill Van.

The significant part of the post, for me, wasn’t actually the post.  It was Andy Forgrave’s comment where he itemized a number of other ways that TVOntario has been so helpful in Ontario education.

Thanks, Andy!

Please take the time to visit the blogs at the link about and view all the Ontario Edublogs for great content.  There’s a never ending flow of great thoughts and reflections.  If you’re an Ontario Edublogger and you haven’t been added to the list, visit the Ontario Edublogs Livebinder and complete the form.

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This Week in Ontario Edublogs

There were some interesting things up for reading recently in Ontario Edublogs.

Glen Cairn Public School
This may well be one of the most important blog posts I’ve read recently.  It’s also a message for school and system administrators.  In the light of the event at Sandy Hook Elementary School, principal Shannon Smith reached out to her community assuring them of the safety issues at her school.

Obviously, you’ve got to appreciate a principal who is concerned about her community, but the message continues the promise that she made to use social media to keep parents informed.  She could have left it to her school district to do something on its website or perhaps used a robo phonecalling service but this approach was quick and decisive to reach out to all in advance of students coming back to school.


Brandon Grasley took the plunge and joined Danika Barker and Colin Jagoe in an conversation.  Of course, the really interesting part was that he shared his thoughts on doing so from being creepy to appreciative.

The Days before Christmas Break

I elected to grab three snippets from classroom teachers.  It’s not been an easy time to be a teacher in the province this fall.  As the school year heads into the Christmas Break, I think that these three posts show the professionalism that happens in Ontario classrooms all the time.  In the supposed “real world”, things wind down before holidays.

There may be a party at the office, some beverages served to kick off the holidays and some places even close early.  Not so in education.  Every minute counts.  Here are some examples.

Living. laughing and learning in P1

Northern Art Teacher

Changing Views

As always, some great blogging efforts from Ontario Educators.  Check them out at the links above or the complete collection at the LiveBinder site here.

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