This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s nice to be able to write this blog post knowing that the voicEd show actually worked yesterday unlike last week.

As always, some great thinking from Ontario Edubloggers.

Read on to enjoy.


When your plan is no longer the plan

From Paul McGuire, a post that could well have been titled “The Essence of Teaching”.  In this post, Paul shares with us an incident that happened in his university class.

A student wanted to time to share an issue that he was passionate about with the class and asked for the opportunity to share his insights.

Paul could have said “Sorry, we don’t have time for that” but that wasn’t the right answer.  Issues of the day, lives of students, and in this case, the future for these educators was more relevant and important than any teacher delivered lesson could be.  We talk so often about honouring student voice; here’s a great example.

Sometimes when something is bubbling just under the surface, a teacher has to know it is time to throw the lesson out the window and just let the learning happen.


WHO HAS THE FINAL SAY ABOUT STUDENT MARKS?

Big learning for me this week happened on this post from Stacey Vandenberg on the TESLOntario blog.

The inspiration for the post was a discussion about student marks and whether the teacher or the administrator should have the last say on what mark is assigned.  The context was the PBLA assessment for newcomers to Canada learning English.  I’d never heard of PBLA so did a lot of reading to get caught up to speed.

There is no argument that the instructor is in the class for the duration and is able to assess the ongoing progress and abilities of the students.  The instructor should be in the best possible position to determine the final grade.  And yet, it’s the administrator whose signature vouches for the result.

As noted in the post, it would be a very rare situation when the teacher’s professional judgement should be overruled.  Not only is it educationally sound not to do so, I can’t imagine the lack of enthusiasm for going into work the next day knowing that your abilities have been challenged or overruled.

In this case, I find it interesting that a mark would be assigned.  It seems to me that this is one case where PASS/FAIL would be the best way to report the results.


Another Year and The Unlearning Continues

If I had to go back to high school and take the Humanities, I’d want to be in Rebecca Chambers’ class.  Musty old history books have no place here.  The approach and the topics covered are very progressive and currently relevant.

Just look at a typical week.

  • Mondays – Get Organized
  • Tuesdays – Content Day
  • Wednesdays – Community Outreach
  • Thursdays & Fridays – Passion Project Days

You’ll have to click through and read the details which she fleshes out very nicely.  Of interest to this geeky person is how the use of current technologies is weaved through things.


I DON’T USE TEXTBOOKS

Oh, Melanie Lefebvre, where were you when I was in post secondary school?

It wasn’t until third year that I realized that many of the recommended books and readings that I had accumulated were sitting on my bookshelf largely unused.  The tutorial books, yes.  But the textbooks, nope.

I then realized late in my educational career that the books were available at the library or the bookstore had a used textbook sale where you could buy at the fraction of the cost.

Things definitely could be different today.  So many resources are available online; it’s almost criminal to pay for a textbook.  Not only that, but how dated would that textbook be – factor in the research, writing, publishing, and delivery times.  Melanie is able to use resources that might have been updated yesterday with her approach.

She talks about being accountable for the money that students would pay for textbooks but I think the accountability goes much further in the use of current resources and having students knowing how to access them.

After all, when they graduate and work in the “real world”, there is no textbook available.


Building a Google Site and Relationships with Parents

My admiration and edu-worship for Jennifer Aston went up another notch after reading this post from her.

The post describes an approach that she takes for a Meet the Teacher night.  There are so many ways that this night can be attacked.  Her approach was to create a collection of Centres using Google Sites for the teachers to explore.

It seems to me that this goes beyond “Meet the Teacher”.

  • It shows an approach that could be described as “Meet the Classroom”
  • It shows a level of sophistication in computer use that lets parents know that it will be used in a meaningful way
  • A followup with parents to help inform her direction for communication
  • And, of course, the thing that all parents dread “Kids these days are doing so much more than what we did in our day”

Preserving the Cup

It’s Beth Lyons week around here!  Read the interview with her that I posted yesterday here.

In addition to completing the interview, Beth had time to write a blog post in her thoughtful manner – this time the topic was about self-care.  It’s particularly timely since today (Thursday as I write this) is Mental Health Awareness Day.

A regular school year is always hard for teachers.  With its ups and downs, as Beth notes, you can feel particularly stretched.  And, if you’re feeling that way in the first part of October, what’s it going to be like later in the year?

This fall, of course, is particularly stressful for teachers and education workers with the expiry of collective agreements and the posturing that’s taking place on a daily basis.

Teachers do need to take care of themselves and their colleagues.  After all, you’re together for 8 or more hours a day and should be able to see things and provide the best supports.


THE MEDICINE WHEEL VS MASLOW’S HIERACHY OF NEEDS

As I was monitoring my Twitter network yesterday, the name Liv Rondeau popped by.  This was a new educator for me so I added her to an Ontario Educator list and noticed that she had a blog and web presence so I took it all in.

This post really caught my interest.  I know that it’s over a year old but it was the first time that I had seen it so it was new to me!

The description of the Medicine Wheel and the doors was new to me and so I read it with deep interest.  Liv ties it to Maslow’s Needs which I certainly am well aware of.

Her explanations were well crafted and ultimately brought us into the classroom and servicing the needs of children.

At points, I felt like I was learning Maslow all over again; it was such a different context for me.

Take a poke around the website when you get there.  There is an interesting collection of resources and lesson plans for Grades 5 and 6 available.


Please take some time to click through and enjoy all of these posts at their original site.  Like all weeks, there’s some awesome learning to be had.

And, follow these educators on Twitter.

  • @mcguirp
  • @TESLontario
  • @MrsRChambers
  • @ProfvocateMel
  • @mme_aston
  • @mrslyonslibrary
  • @MissORondeau

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

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This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to another Friday of great reading from some of the group of Ontario Edubloggers. I hope that you find some inspiration and ideas from these posts I’ve read recently.


The value of the Exit Interview

You know, I’ve “exited” a number of jobs of various sorts but have never had an exit interview that I can remember. I think we all take a job and like to think we’re going to leave things better off than they were before we started. And, probably things were never finished and we had plans on how to improve and make things better for whoever follows us.

I guess maybe it doesn’t happen because it takes a courageous person to conduct the interview knowing that all of the comments might not be positive.

Ann Marie Luce is having a turnover of 20 teachers at her school and she is conducting exit interviews. Each is given 40 minutes for the interview so if you do the math, it’s a pretty big commitment.

In the post, she does describe her philosophy and reasons for doing this, as well as the questions used to frame the discussion.

I hope that the experience gives her much rich feedback to enable her to create an even better learning experience for her students.


The Open Learner Patchbook Went To The PressEd Conference

Sort of related to this is this post from Terry Greene at the PressEd Conference. Terry describes the open patchwork project and how it’s used to collect thoughts from post-secondary students as they handle their time at school.

I couldn’t help but reflect on my own post-secondary experience. It was anything but the environment of today’s student. We weren’t connected; we didn’t have open courses; we didn’t have instructors that were putting their learning online as they were teaching.

We were, I guess, what you would call pretty traditional. Our resources involved textbooks, professors, and teaching assistants. They certainly weren’t available 24/7 and just a click away. You had to make appointments for consults and it was for a specific time.

All of this was running through my mind as I enjoyed the curation of student content that Terry did for this. We’re anywhere but in Kansas anymore!

A highlight from this post was this great graphic by Samantha Pitcher.


A Day (or three) in the Life of this Grosvenor Teacher Fellow

With apologies to Peter Cameron, I expected a summary of life online for whatever the topic happened to be.

NOT!

Peter, along with a number of other educators were rewarded for their work by National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions with a nature learning trip to Sitka, Alaska.

A lesser classroom would have had plans for an occasional teacher while their regular teacher was out on a Professional Learning activity. Not in Mr. Cameron’s.

Peter had the students doing research and plotted the entire adventure on a Google Tour Builder. He remained connected to the classroom via social media.

Peter’s adventure

Everyone sure seemed to get a great deal of bang for their educational buck.

It’s just too bad that, to get to Seattle from Thunder Bay, you have to go through Toronto.


H is for Happy

I keep checking in to Lynn Thomas’ blog as she’s working her way through the alphabet. Recently, she’s celebrating H.

Her take was that “H was for Happy”.

The whole premise was that happy students and happy environments make for the best learning environment. I think it’s difficulty to disagree, especially when you look at the opposite – what does unhappiness in the classroom or your life bring? Certainly not the desire to learn.

Turns out, it has far more to offer than a sunny disposition and feeling contented. Parents are right to want happiness in their children albeit it is unlikely they know the science of why.

Her approach goes way beyond scratching the surface and brings into play research into happiness. There are lots of links to lots of resources to make it worth your while – including lesson plans and resources for teaching happiness.


Sharing the LLC Space- An Advocate’s Infographic

There’s nothing quite like a look into someone’s library. Beth Lyons takes us inside hers. Take a peek.

By itself, a picture or two may not tell the whole story and advocating for her learning space is the major focus here. Beth shares a couple of custom infographics that she created to share with everyone the great learning and the great opportunities that are there inside Mrs. Lyon’s library.

I can’t help but think that those infographics should be posted in every classroom in the school to help students as they turn to assignments and projects and they’re wondering where they might begin.

There’s much to enjoy about this advocacy post. Obviously, the infographic, but the social media connection is right there. This library won’t get lost!

Shouldn’t everyone be doing this?


The Caterpillar Math Problem: Is it possible to be unbiased in our assessment?

I suspect that the quick and easy answer is “Of course, we are unbiased.” Read on with this long discussion from Debbie Donsky. Her school did more than skim the surface on this question.

It starts with caterpillar problems offered to different classes.

The series of questions shared with staff were:

K-1: A kindergarten class needs 2 leaves each day to feed 1 caterpillar. How many leaves would they need each day for 3 caterpillars?

Grades 2- 3: A third grade class needs four leaves each day to feed its two caterpillars. How many leaves would they need each day for 12 caterpillars?

Grades 4–6: A fifth grade class needs five leaves each day to feed its two caterpillars. How many leaves would they need each day for a) 12 caterpillars? b)15 caterpillars?

The questions were given and observations with discussions during a debriefing are shared in this post.

Debbie shares a deep analysis of the process and the discussion. It wouldn’t be fair for me to try and capture that here; you’ll have to click through and read it in all its original context on the post.


Web Intentions

Sheila Stewart starts with

I have been thinking about my experiences online and on social media in the past few years and what has impacted my experiences and participation.  There is a lot of pondering: “Is it just me, or is it the web?”; “Is it the world, or the web?”; “Have ‘things’ changed, or have I?” 

I guess I can take a bit of the credit for starting this thinking on a recent blog post but I was originally inspired by the writing of Bonnie Stewart. To answer Sheila’s questions, working and interacting on line have definitely changed.

And, I mean working and interacting in the most literal of meanings. When the sample who were online and connected was smaller, I think that people were more devoted and focussed about what they were doing – and were serious about it.

Today, there are more people than ever connected and they bring abilities and mindsets from all over the place. It’s easy to see a few (I was going to use the word “bad actors” but that’s maybe not fair) different actors use the technology and its abilities to do things far differently from what we did. As I said in my post, people seem to need to shock and scream loudly to get attention focused on them. Whatever happened to collaboration? Maybe that’s a topic for a Sunday.

I’ll bet that a read of Sheila’s post will have you scratching your head and coming up with your own theories.


I hope that you have time this Friday or through the weekend to take a few clicks and enjoy these posts in their original locations.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs is a recurring Friday morning post highlighting some of the great blogging happening in Ontario. Are you an Ontario blogger that I don’t know about? Let me know! I’d love to add you to this collection. There’s a form at the link above to add your details.

This post appeared originally at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


If you’re looking for some good reading, you’ve found it – a weekly roundup of some of the blog posts from Ontario Educators.


Mindless cuts to education puts our future at risk

Charles Pascal tagged me in this op-ed piece he wrote for the Wellington Times. He had me hooked at the first paragraph…

A growing number of Ontarians are being hurt—and our shared future placed at risk—by the moment by moment uninformed decision-making by the current government at Queen’s Park. Led by an unthinking premier and enabled by a spineless cabinet, we are in the midst of a very damaging period in our political history.

Charles’ passion for society and education come through loudly and clearly as he challenges many of the assumptions that the current government has made as it has been making the cuts that we seem to hear more and more about each day.

There is an important message that shouldn’t go unnoticed in all of this. It’s easy to see the impact of cuts on students in the classroom but Charles points out that a child’s life is more than just going to school. Cuts can have the impact at many other points.

Set aside some time to read and understand the important message he’s crafted in this article – and then pass it along to colleagues and friends.


Student Infographics

Who doesn’t like a good infographic? Using pictures and numbers, you can enhance any message or concept you want. We see them all over the place.

John Allan argues that they fit nicely into the ESL classroom in this post on the TESL Ontario blog. He identifies…

  • Critical thinking
  • Planning
  • Designing
  • Optimizing
  • Researching

as being seen in any well crafted infographic.

Who can argue with the case for any activity that incorporates this?

Think of any infographic that you’ve ever seen and I’m sure that you can easily identify these components. It’s really not a very big leap to designing a student activity.

And, John has you covered in the balance of the post with details and links to external resources to help the cause.

Language, mathematics, communications, impact, … what’s not to like?


It’s “time”

A title like that doesn’t tell you much about the content so I had to read the balance of Sean Monteith’s post to find out.

In education, time is such a precious commodity. When you think about it, it’s the one common element that everyone deals with whether it’s time allotted to a quiz, time spent on a bus, time to be spent on various subjects, time to do homework, time for sports, time for major projects, or even time to build a new secondary school!

In Keewatin Patricia, Sioux North Secondary School opened

Sean notes that he’s packed 10 years of work into the six years that he’s been at the district. Opening a new school is a pretty deal.

Check out the guest list.

And yet, in one day we will welcome the Minister of Education, the Deputy Minister and Assistant Deputies; Grand Chiefs and First Nation Leaders, nationally renowned artists, students, former Directors of Education and retired staff. We will welcome the former Premier of Ontario, and the former Minister of Education as well, and numerous politicians. I am particularly pleased that Tanya Talaga will be joining us; and of course our kids, the entire reason we ask ourselves what is our human obligation, to young people…yes, they will be there too

What an amazing group to have join the celebration!


Why Caring Adults Matter: An Ode To My Alma Mater

Stephen Hurley and I discussed this post from Martina Fasano during our radio show earlier this week. Stephen asked me if a particular teacher had stood out in my mind. I immediately thought of Mr. Cook but the moment that his name came out of my mouth, I thought of so many others.

Growing up and living in a small town has its advantages and certain disadvantages. There’s nothing like your parents getting in a lineup at the IGA next to one of your teachers. Or, meeting up with them at Kinsmen or Kinettes. There was no waiting until parent teacher night; feedback was everywhere!

In retrospect, I was lucky to have had the opportunity to be in their classes. I think that’s why I enjoyed Martina’s post so much. The faces and names may have been different but the personalities were much the same. It impacted her.

I could not help but think to myself that if I could be the caring adult for even a handful of students throughout my career, that I would have done a great job of being an educator.

You can’t help but think that sentiment would be a good message delivered at any Faculty of Education.


A Tale That Endures

Martina’s post leads so nicely into this one by Jennifer Aston. There most definitely is a learning environment angle for students but this is mostly about teacher to teacher.

Jennifer had a colleague pass on a collection of books upon her retirement with one provision – Jennifer had to use the books ever year. And she did. I love the way that she worked “admire” into the conversation about the colleague. From that, the respect necessary to follow through on her promise only made it that much easier.

Jennifer has a true passion for the profession; I had a wonderful and colourful conversation with her at EdCampLdn. There’s no question that she honours the profession and is constantly looking for the best resources to use.

More than just using the books, Jennifer passes on a list of ideas for how to use it in her classroom and, consequently, this wisdom is yours just by reading her post. What a wonderful way to pass things along!

Then, there’s the whole soup thing.


Can Kids Understand Equity?

That’s a good question, Aviva.

The question arose from an interaction from a student who was creating a Raptors stadium. (What else these days…are the Blue Jays even playing, what is it … baseball?)

With video, she answers her own question and I agree with her.

I wonder though, is the operative word in her title “equity” or is it “understand”. My feeling is that it’s probably true that kids notice how different students or situations happen at any age.

While they may notice, do they truly understand? I suppose that there comes an age and experience where they do. But, Aviva’s post, sadly has me thinking of those children in cages at the US/Mexico border. I’m sure they recognize the inequity; do they understand it though?


Happy #DLweekTO

I’ve never known Diana Maliszewski to be late with a Monday post but she was with this one!

When you read the post, I guess I have to cut her some slack. What a busy week for me.

In the middle of the post, she shares this Digital Literacy link from the TDSB.

Quite impressive, I must say.

But, back to Diana – how did she celebrate Digital Literacy Week?

  • TDSB Professional Library held its second TDSB Teachers Read event
  • Denise Colby and I had a return engagement on the VoicEd radio show “Mediacy” with Stephen Hurley TDSB Professional Library held its second TDSB Teachers Read event
  • Today (Wednesday, May 29) was the “reunion” for the Media Literacy AQ participants from TDSB. TDSB Professional Library held its second TDSB Teachers Read event
  • Tomorrow (Thursday, May 30) will be the 3rd anniversary of the #tdsbEd chat. I haven’t missed an anniversary celebration yet. TDSB Professional Library held its second TDSB Teachers Read event
  • On Friday, May 31, the seventh annual Red Maple Marketing Campaign will take place at the Malvern branch of the Toronto Public Library TDSB Professional Library held its second TDSB Teachers Read event

Of course, she breaks each of these out in detail well worth your reading. I guess we can cut her some of that slack for missing her Monday deadline.


Please take the time to click through and read each of these wonderful posts. You’ll be glad you did.

Then, make sure you’re following these folks on Twitter.

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday!

Here’s some great reading from Ontario Edubloggers to kick off your weekend.


Guided Reading for Math?

I always get inspiration and ideas from Deborah McCallum’s posts and this one is no different.

Speaking of different, she sets the stage by talking about the way that we’ve traditionally made the study of language different from the study of Mathematics. She introduces us to the concept of reading for meaning nicely to Mathematics.

Who hasn’t struggled with an involved question that you’re positive the teacher stayed up all night trying to get the wording just right to mess up your day?

So, just like there are tools and techniques for understanding reading material, could the concepts not be applied here?

She builds a nice argument and provides 10 suggestions to make it work.

Why not try guided reading to help students build cognitive, metacognitive and affective skills for reading complex math problems? I encourage you to give it a try.


What Makes A Partnership Work?

You don’t have to follow Aviva Dunsiger for long on any social media before you see a reference to her “teaching partner Paula”.

This blog post is really a testament to the powerful relationship that the two of them have in their kindergarten classroom that I now know has about 30-ish students.

It’s a typical Aviva post – lots of colours and pictures. You’re going to love them.

There’s a powerful message in this post about partnerships in their case. It’s built beyond the professional requirement that they be in the same place at the same time.

As always, she’s looking for comments about similar relationships Stories like this are inspirational in education, particular at this time in Ontario.


Here’s to Paving New Ground

Sue Bruyns provides a bit of background with reading from Professionally Speaking but quickly gets to the heart of a very important issue.

It happens often in education.

I think we can all think of successful innovation stories. Little pockets of excellence at a school or within a department that swells and changes professional practice for others, sometimes changing the direction of things.

There are also other moments not as successful and we don’t always hear about them. Read Sue’s post and you’ll be exposed to one. A group of collaborators take to a piece of software, learn together, and make good things happen. Sue even notes that the company’s CEO flew in from British Columbia to help with some compatibility details. Staff persevered and the software started to show the results promised at Arthur Currie and other schools.

Then, it happened.

A directive from outside the school indicated that the software could no longer be used and that a board approved solution needed to be put in place.

You can’t help but feel sorry for those who spent two years learning and growing with the software. I hope that this gets past the software issue and that the skills and knowledge developed on the initial platform can be transferred to the board approved solution.

I really appreciated reading this post; we don’t often read thoughts from principals and even more infrequently their leadership challenges when influenced from outside the school.


Recess is as Real Life as it Gets

With a background in secondary school, I was out of my element here when the topic turned to recess. It just wasn’t a thing for me unless you counted “travel time” of five minutes between classes…

I really enjoyed the picture The Beast paints of recess and what happens there. I kept thinking that recess and some of the activities described were really application of the things that went on in class.

But, it’s not all fun and games.

And then, as The Beast does, they dig into just what recess actually is. More importantly are their thoughts about what recess could be in their perfect world.

I’m also still trying to figure this out…

Circle back around to the beginning of your post and what we know to be the difference between Dougie’s type of learning and actual learning.


When it comes to mental health in Canada, the gap is still too wide

Before we get to the message in Paul McGuire’s blog post, here’s an observation about format. For the most part, blogging platforms let you categorize and tag posts with words so that you can search later. Typically, this appears at the bottom of the post. In the format that Paul has chosen they appear at the top and one of the tags was “hope”. That helped me frame a reading mindset as I dug in.

He praises Supreme Court Justice Clement Gascon for publically acknowledging his challenges with mental health issues.

We live in a great country. Have we not resolved this?

The World Health Organization reports that in low- and middle-income countries, between 76% and 85% of people with mental disorders receive no treatment for their disorder. In high-income countries, between 35% and 50% of people with mental disorders are in the same situation.

Those statistics should shock you and I would hope would shock society into realizing that we need to do better.

This is a sobering post and I thank Paul for writing about it and bringing it to our attention. I encourage you to take the time to visit and read it. You may end up looking at some of those faces in your classroom differently going forward.


Self-Care for Writers

I kind of found myself out of water and then back in again with this post from Lisa Cranston.

I studied Mathematics and Computer Science at university so the concept of writing big research papers, much less a dissertation, is completely foreign to me. At the time, I hated writing – in high school it always seems that you were writing to be on the good side of the teacher instead of something that you were interested in. I probably have that all wrong but that’s how I remember it.

So, I’ve never had the stress and stressors that Lisa describes in trying to do a long-term writing project.

But, these days, I write every day, albeit not the long-term format Lisa describes. I enjoy writing now and doing whatever research goes into what I do. I was quite interested in Lisa’s suggestion for low cost, self care…

Some suggestions for low cost, short term self-care include: a hot cup of tea, a walk outdoors, playing with a pet, holding hands with a loved one, reading a chapter in a non-work related book. 

I’ve got all this nailed except coffee is a replacement for tea and reading blog posts substitute for non-work related book. (although there always is something on paper beside my chair)

I’m curious though about her definition of “mindless screen time”. I’d really like a definition of that.


bringing back the participatory: a story of the #ProSocialWeb

I’m in love with this very long post from Bonnie Stewart.

Play this album while you read it.

I feel very old when I read her definition of “old-skool Web 2.0”

The participatory web, originally – the old-skool Web 2.0 where readers were also writers and contributors and people were tied together by blog comments – but also social media. Twitter. Even Facebook. Together, these various platforms have networked me into some of the most important conversations and relationships of my life.

That was me in the early days.

I like to think that’s me today. Maybe I haven’t moved on. I value those connections; I worked hard to make those connections; I learned that success didn’t happen over night; I valued the connections; I never thought of myself as a piece of data.

Things indeed are different now. Bonnie describes what is and why.

I love this quote that she includes in the slidedeck embedded.

“If you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together”

I often wonder if those of us who were early adopters aren’t part of the problem. How many times have we shown the “power” of connections and the web and convinced others to join in? The missing part is that we don’t share how much hard work went into our initial learning to make it happen. We know it isn’t immediate gratification; do we share that?

Cringe the next time you’re asked to show the “power” of social networking by retweeting or liking a message.

You know that it’s much more than that and there’s great potential in the ProSocialWeb.


OK, inspired for a Friday – go forth and conquer now that you’re smarter than you were went you started. You did click through and read this amazing content, didn’t you?

Follow these amazing folks on Twitter.

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s another Friday and a chance to take a look at some of the recent blogging entries from Ontario Edubloggers.


Exploring By The Seat of Your Pants

There are some amazing things that can happen when you share the best of ideas and opportunities. Brenda Sherry does this in this post.

She’s been well versed in the Exploring by the Seat of your Pants project in a number of professional learning events that she’s been a part of. Recently, she actually got to bring the power of connections to a classroom in her own school.

Junior students got to participate in an interaction with a Canadian marine biologist. Along with students from many other diverse places.

When you think about the traditional guest speaker, they drop in and talk and leave. The power in this model is that it’s recorded and shared via YouTube. In this way, you can revisit the event and also use it in other years. Heck, since it’s publically available, you’re not just limited to the one that your class used.

It sounds like a wonderful learning experience happened. The big takeaway for you, reader, is how to get involved in your own classroom by bringing an expert into there. Details are included in Brenda’s post.


The Gender Gap in Technology

You can’t argue with statistics. In this post on the Heart and Art blog, Michelle Fenn sets the stage.

According to a recent report* by ICTC (the Information and Technology Information Council) Canadian women represent about 50% of the overall workforce but represent only 25% of the technology industry workforce. 

We’ve known this forever, it seems, and yet the inequities still exist. Michelle offers some good suggestions to help change things in your own school.

I think it needs to go further though. If we know that this is a problem then there should be an educational way to fix it. But, until it becomes a compulsory part of the curriculum, we’re left with good people trying their best. That pales in comparison to what can happen if it’s done systemically and supported well with a common set of tools and pedagogy.

In addition to the suggestions in the post, check out the NCWIT website for updates on their activities and for free resources.

Until the situation is formally recognized though, students will still be subjected to hit and miss approaches and cutesy little standalone professional learning activities.


Privilege Masquerading as Superiority

A secondary school teacher who is doing something about this is Tim King. This post details his efforts and observations as he takes an all-female team to the Cybertitan competition.

Tim weaves an interesting story involving both observation and action.

Some of these observations are disturbing.

– where are all the girls?

– A number of people (oddly all male)  grumbled about the all-female wildcard spot

– taking an all-female crew to this event had me constantly seeing micro-aggressions I might have otherwise missed

– we were only there because we’re a girl’s team

– as she reached for the pen a boy from another team stepped in front of her like she wasn’t there

And there’s more. You need to set aside a significant amount of time to read this post where even creating the learning environment was not supported by the school district and the students had to build their own computers.


Just Stop Using “You Guys”

My apologies, in advance, to Sue Dunlop. When I saw the title of this post, I thought it read “Youse guys” and that it was going to be a fun little post about literacy.

Instead, it’s about the expression that is used to refer to a group of people.

yes, “guys’ is a male term, not a neutral one

From the post, it’s clear that Sue has either been in a group that was addressed this way or she saw it being used in that way. Either way, it inspired her to write about it.

She offers some alternatives to use in the post.

Most importantly, it’s a reminder that our choice of words is important. It serves as a reminder to me of the importance of an objective peer coach.

This applies to writing as well. I hope that I don’t use expressions that would offend; I would hope that readers feel comfortable enough to let me know when I do; and I would hope that I would take that as an opportunity to avoid doing it again.


Dear Jordan…

One of the powerful things about blogging is that, at least for now, your thoughts will be there forever. (or until you delete it or the service goes away or … well, you get my meaning)

One of the things that Patt Olivieri will have a chance to do with her son is share this post when he’s old enough to fully appreciate it.

In education, we know all about assessment, evaluation, and data points. Our system and our jobs thrive on it. It’s one of the things that separate education workers from other workers. It’s scientific, artistic, and humanist all at the same time.

It’s not as powerful as a mother’s love for her child.

You see, my love, there is no test for all of this, no grade, no level that can ever capture the everyday, ordinary stuff that accumulates to the only stuff that can ever be measured in immeasurable ways.

Wow.

If you’re a parent, you’ll be moved by this post.


When Political Penny-Pinchers Pilfer Your PD

Alanna King didn’t post this to her personal blog (at least not yet) so I kind of stumbled onto it on the Canadian School Libraries site.

It was great to see a former colleague quoted in Alanna’s post. A bit of trivia – her office had a window, mine didn’t.

There are two major topics that Alanna addresses in this post.

  • Why should teacher-librarians self-direct their professional development?
  • How should teacher-librarians find sources of professional development?

It was good to see that the Bring IT, Together Conference and #ECOOcamp made her list. It goes much further than that and you’ll find yourself tired when you read about Alanna’s endeavours and recognized that they’re all tacked on top of her day job, including writing this post.

There was another area that I thought she could have addressed more completely and, perhaps it’s in a future post, but in addition to her involvement as a participant in things, she is also a highly sought after presenter.

If you’ve ever been a presenter yourself, and what teacher hasn’t in some form, you know that the research and preparation that goes into that can be some of the best professional learning that you’ll ever do. Unlike the professional that repeats the same session over and over again, changing your topics and focus regularly keeps you from going stale.


A MODEST SOTL PLAN: WORKING WITH LITERARY PASSAGES

Now, here’s something completely different from James Skidmore. It falls from a reflection on student abilities from a course that he just taught. He notes that they’re good readers but …

What they can’t do, however, or at least not do very well, is identify passages or quotations from the novel that can be used as the cornerstone for a commentary on the larger text, and then build a commentary based on that passage.

I’d never really thought about this. Now that I have, I would like to think that that is part of what I’m trying to do with these regular Friday posts. I guess it’s a bit of a confession that I try to apply this technique to blog posts which are, by design, short and typically focus on one thing. How would I make out in a larger text? I’ve never thought about it and I wonder.

James has done some research and finds that there isn’t much that has been done already. What to do? He’s going to make it a project for eCampusOntario Extend mOOC . You can read about it and there’s a link to a collaborative document in his post.

I wonder if there are any other teachers of Language that would be interested.


And that’s a wrap.

Like always, some great thinking from Ontario Educators. Please take the time to honour their efforts by clicking through and reading the original.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday before the long weekend. I hope that you can check out these posts over the weekend. I think you’ll find them very inspirational. I know that I did.


Virtual Reality in the Math Class: Moving from Abstract to Concrete

I’ve been playing around with Virtual Reality off and on ever since I heard of the concept. Most of the applications are pretty predictable – you know – explore a world that may or may not exist in real life because you can. You might experience something unique and different.

One thing that I’ve tried every now and again with limited success is to create my own virtual reality environment. I think that would be the ultimate use of technology and the concept. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is something that I need to grow in to and to have better equipment.

But, back to this post from Deborah McCallum. Her posts are always inspirational and have me thinking about things I might not have ordinarily thought of.

She was inspired by a post from Kyle Pearce about moving from the concrete to the abstract in mathematics. She talks about the opposite – going in the other direction – from abstract to concrete. I like her thinking and it enhances the original thoughts from Kyle’s post.

I think that this may be a new frontier for exploration. In Kyle’s original post, he uses a doughnut example. I think I’d really enjoy Deborah taking on the opposite direction and perhaps show how a concrete approach could turn into consolidation. And, what sort of gear would be required.

Is there room for both Kyle and Deborah’s thinking? I think so.


Momentum and the positive side of constraints

As Beate Planche correctly notes, education is full of constraints – resources, time, and priorities. It doesn’t take too much thinking before you can identify them.

I find time to be interesting. In a perfect world, it should meld to be just the required length. The reality is far from it. If you have a 75 minute class, darn it, everyone is going to be there for 75 minutes. Not a minute more; not a minute less. It doesn’t matter if you don’t need that time, you’ve got to be there anyway. The opposite to that would be the concept of an EdCamp where you can use your feet to move to a different topic if you’ve got the current one mastered. Yet, there’s the classroom where the concept of mastery is the same length for everyone!

Like the canvas analogy she uses at the conclusion, it’s not the canvas that should be of concern; it’s a constraint, it’s what you do with it that matters. Complainers would complain about the size of the canvas and it’s limits; the innovative would think about how to make the best of what’s available.

When you get your head around the reality that whatever constraints you face are real and you look at ways to work within them, momentum becomes possible.


Another Day another EdTech conference! #ECOOCamp 2019

ECOOCamp Owen Sound

So, I found a pair of blog posts from two of the people that helped make the #ECOOcamp a success – one from Jen Giffen and the other from Ramona Meharg.

They had different types of contributions – Jen was one of the keynote speakers and Ramona was a workshop presenter (x4).

Participants had the opportunity to learn from either or both of them.

I thought about the difference between their contributions. Jen would have had to have a message prepared that would have reached out and touched everyone in her keynote address. They might have been secondary school or elementary school educator as their background or an administrator. The message would have to be crafted to appeal to everyone if she’s going to be successful.

Ramona, on the other hand, would have had smaller, more focused sessions. People would have been with her because they were interested in the particular topic that she was addressing. And, they could vote with their feet if they were ready to move on.

A tale of two approaches certainly and both would be necessary for a successful day for participants. A common thread though, they both left having learned enough to comment on a presentation from Leslie Boerkamp and Nicole Batte. The leaders become the learners. Does it get much better than that?

I created a Wakelet of the Twitter conversation about the #ECOOcamp so that you can read what people were saying about the day! https://wke.lt/w/s/P5Md2L


99 Needs and They’re All Student Related

Those that question the passion behind teaching need to read this post from Karaline Vlahopoulos.

First year teaching = VERY overwhelmed. Love listening to your discussions. Awesome words from two awesome people.— Karaline Vlahopoulos (@KaralineVla) May 15, 2019

Despite this level of “overwhelmedness” (is that even a word?), Karaline’s post overflows with passion.

She describes the thrill that she gets when students return to class on Mondays, excited to share their weekend…

She wants to make the kindergarten experience memorable…

She worries about students who have left her…

Don’t ever question her passion.


My ‘Why?’ …

Laura Elliott gives us a look inside the teaching profession that those on the outside might never realize. I don’t think I even thought about this until I landed my first job and had my own classes.

I think I probably entered the profession figuring that the toughest thing in a teenager’s school day was learning the content that I was teaching.

Laura opens our eyes to much more than that. Every teacher knows this – you’re with those students as they’re learning about themselves, about others, the interpersonal relationships, and so much more.

Laura’s focus in this post is about understanding their body. She speaks from experience having this directed her way from a gymnastics coach.

I will never forget my coach yelling into the change room during a snack break that he could “hear me getting fatter.” Wtf!?

If you’re a teacher, you need to read this to affirm that those things that you’re doing beyond your subject are so important. Students may not show up in your class because of this, but they can leave with so much more.

You might even shed a tear.


Water Walking

This post from Peter Cameron could easily pass as a tourist post for his beautiful area of the province.

Living in Thunder Bay, at the head of Lake Superior, provides ample opportunity to experience water at its finest. Cascading over large slabs of granite, tumbling over waterfalls, trickling through a moss lined creek or lapping at a sandy shore, water does something for my soul.

Peter takes this background and explains how it has impacted his teaching and his approach to the Junior Water Walker philosophy. I was going to use the word “project” but his approach indeed goes further than that – it truly is a philosophy that has had a big impact on his teaching.

Visit his blog, read his words, and use the images of his students to understand the complete package.


Every time I write this Friday post, I marvel at the depth and dedication to the teaching profession that come through in the thoughts featured. This week is no different. Please take a moment and enjoy the blog posts from these educators.

And, follow them on Twitter.

This post originated at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s time for my weekly roundup and sharing of some of the reading I did this past week from great Ontario Edubloggers.


F is for Frankenstein, Focus & Future Ready

Lynn Thomas is on a personal project working her way through the alphabet and is up to the Fs. An F word that could have been used here as well would be failure!

Lynn takes a look at the original intent of Victor Frankenstein and how the plan actually failed badly. She ties it to the current plan to require four courses of eLearning for graduation in Ontario. You can easily see that it’s a “Make in Toronto” solution where connectivity isn’t a problem should you choose to afford it.

Supporting her cause are a couple of maps of the province showing where connections lie. This one, shared by Lynn, is from Connected North.

The discussion never actually gets around the appropriateness of students to work in that environment – it’s just getting that horse to water in the first place that will be the first challenge.


Maker. Space. Inquiry. Place. What might be the connection?

There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle that teacher-librarian Beth Lyons ties together in this post. The concept of a Maker Space shouldn’t be new to anyone these days.

There’s a twist here worthy of note.

First of all, there’s the connection to the Forest of Reading. That was an important twist for me and I’m sure will appeal to other teacher-librarians.

Then, there’s the analysis of what making actually means. Like so many schools, making in Beth’s world could easily involve booking the library and having a making period. Early models of computer implementation were done this way and we knew that there had to be a better way.

Beth follows along with making making (yes, I just said that) come to the students as opposed to students coming to the making. This is accomplished with her concept of Genius Carts.

It’s well thought through, she includes a link to a presentation she made about the topic and she’s also indicating that she’s collecting data to provide proof of concept.

As a followup to the original concept, Beth is looking at a podcasting bent to the next iteration. I like this approach.

It makes so much sense.


Moccasin Flowers: A Work-in-Progress

If you want the spoiler, go to the bottom of this post from Jessica Outram.

She’s already an author, although currently unpublished. The plan is to write another novel and publish it this time.

What strikes me as so unique in this is a personal analysis of her family, history, traditions, immigration and DNA research. It’s sort of a marriage of old and traditional with new and cutting edge.

I won’t spoil the result for you – click through to read her post for more.

Other than outlining her plans and I hope she gets published before someone rips off her idea, she does a wonderful job of personal storytelling that leads to her thinking about this project. There’s a wonderful retelling of parts of her history in the post.

I could see this being a very powerful novel and noteworthy for reading and studying in the classroom.

I hope that this actually happens; I’d buy the book.


We teach students not just content

A couple of Twitter messages was the inspiration for Lisa Cranston to write this post about going to school now and measuring time until the end of the school year.

The reality hit a little close to my memory of me as a first year teacher.

Obviously, it was my first time through the curriculum but I can recall returning from March Break and started to panic thinking that I might not get the curriculum covered before the end of the school year.

Oh no! What to do!

I suspect that people who are teaching in the EQAO years have the same level of discomfort.

Lisa offers a reality check for all and will make you think – just what is it that you’re in the profession to do?


A Positive Climate For A Culture Of Growth

How could you not like a blog post that has a Superman reference?

Frustration is the kryptonite to healthy culture

So, just get rid of the frustration and things are good, right?

Joel McLean argues that you need to go further.

Much has been written and discussed about creating a culture of growth. If that was all that was done here, it wouldn’t be all that exciting.

Joel goes further, though, and asks how to maintain things. That’s a whole different animal.

And, if you work your way through the list, you can see that it’s pretty much a full time job. That’s a good thing. That’s why we have leaders who do good things.

I’ll bet that it’s a piece of cake to visualize people in leadership that don’t do these things. It’s also to see just how little they lead and have the respect of those who they’re paid to lead.


When a Drawing is Not Just a Drawing

There’s a lot to be pulled from this post from Heather Theijsmeijer.

Her context is as a mathematics leader within a school district and a focus on mental mathematics.

A good annotation can also help uncover student misconceptions, and help them realize where they might have gone wrong. Or, it might lead to a completely different way of thinking about a problem. In either case, that visualization can be quite powerful.

I think we can all agree about the concept and the need and importance for visualization when attempting to solve mathematics problem. In the post, she goes through a great deal of sharing about how she thinks her way through what goes into the creation of a drawing to help with that visualization. There’s a lot of thought that goes into this.

If you think about the “good old days” when we learned mathematics, I’m sure that there was nowhere this amount of thought that went into the drawings that helped us visualize and understand.


TTalks for Impact 2019

Noa Daniel is always good for a new, inspirational approach to things. In this case, she describes the process of a TTalk.

There’s an amalgamation of TED-like talks and Genius hour strategies as students reached out in solution for real-world problems.

In her approach, she sees a big list of 21st Century skills.

  • critical thinking
  • creativity
  • collaboration
  • communication
  • information literacy
  • media literacy
  • technology literacy
  • organization
  • self-regulation
  • responsibility 
  • initiative 

Her students did buy in and blogging was an integral way of getting their thoughts organized.

Student voice is highlighted with their reflections at the conclusion. Could you use such an approach?


Please take the time to click through and enjoy these posts in their entirety. I think you’ll enjoy them immensely.

And, make sure that you’re following these folks on Twitter.

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com