This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s always a good week reading the great thinking of Ontario Educators.  It’s even better when you find a couple new blogs to follow.

Just last night, I had the opportunity to score two Kindergarten blogs to the list of Ontario Edublogs.

Snowflake Surprises

You know that it’s going to happen even though you hope it doesn’t.  That dreaded four letter word “SNOW”.  Of course, Early Years’ teachers can take anything and turn it into a teachable moment.  Joanne Marie Babalis’ kindergarten class certainly did that and documented the process this week.  Wind and snow turned into a picture taking, story reading, critical thinking activity.

There are lots of pictures there to document the fun.  Even more, I think this is an absolutely perfect way to demonstrate safe blogging with kids for those who are all concerned about privacy.  As I’ve mentioned many times, take pictures of the activity; not of the kids.  The activity was all about snow and there’s no doubt that there are students there but the images are all of the snow – not head and shoulder student shots.

What a great post to add to the “What Can You See?” project!

I made my own What Can You See book!

Another class that’s participating in the “What Can You See?” project is Jocelyn Schmidt’s Kindergarten Class.  In the most recent post from here, she shares a book that was created talking about what can be seen from their classroom.

It sounds like a neat environment.  You’ll have to check out the entire post to see the BBQ and the pavement!

School Life with No Connectivity

David Fife shares a school community story.  They lost connectivity to the internet at the school.  Wha?

That must have been the longest two days in everyone’s life!  Imagine not connection to the outside world?

Or, that might have been the best two days.  Imagine no email from the board office for two days.

Imagine taking attendance by writing names on a sheet of paper.  Imagine announcements on a sheet of paper distributed to teacher mailboxes and a request to read them in the morning!

When you think of it, it might actually be an opportunity to evaluate the amount of electronic waste/trivia that you deal with on a daily basis.  What would the kid miss?  David shares their list.


That doesn’t look like an insurmountable list.  I wonder if every school shouldn’t take a break from technology for a day and shift to Plan B.

Of course, I’m sure that Mr. Fife took one for the team and tethered the school to his smartphone for the second day.

The Social World of Midsummer Night’s Dream

Richard Farmer actually has a series of posts.  He’s giving Shakespeare up to social media.  He gives credit for the idea to Danika Barker’s Hamlet experiment.

You’ve got to love it.  Instead of using Twitter, his class is using Facebook.  It didn’t start flawlessly but it’s nice to see that the challenges are shared so that others who would want to try this get a heads up.


You’ve got to love these attempts to meet the students at least half way.  I suspect that the students are learning more about their favourite social network than they ever dreamed might happen in school.  It sounds like Richard is learning a great deal about the experience.

This will be very interesting to follow in subsequent posts to see how this play ends.

Breaking Ground With Senator Pamela Wallin

I really like Heidi Siwak’s line in her latest blog post.

 How does someone score an interview with such a prominent Canadian? Ask!  I contacted Ms. Wallin’s office. Her executive assistant, Renee Montpellier forwarded our request to Ms. Wallin who was delighted to be asked. Nothing like this had been done before, so it was a learning experience for those in Ottawa and us. Because the communication was with a high profile member of the government, we couldn’t use Skype. A secure line was required and Peter Feltham set this up for us from Ottawa using WebX.

What a great opportunity for the students.  In this post, Heidi goes through the entire process and you’ve got to like the fact that she put the students to work researching the background and accomplishments of Ms. Wallin.  Why didn’t stuff like this happen when I was in school.

The students seem to be very appreciative of the efforts.

“That was amazing!”
“I learned so much.”
“I can’t believe we got to speak with someone so high up.”
“That was so interesting.”
“When can we do this again.”

Not only did the students have a great opportunity, I’m sure that Ms. Wallin enjoyed it as well.  I guess the takeaway from this is  “Ask!”


I hope that you get a chance to read these entire posts.  Such interesting content.  Thanks everyone so much.

You can read the entire list of Ontario Edublogs here.  If you’re blogging or Twittering and you’re not on the list … just fill out the form and you will be.

Perfect Ontario EduTweeters

Recently, my friend @alfredtwo let me know that I had made one of those lists.  This time it was the Top 55 Connected Educators and published by @mytowntutors.  Now, a lot of times these things are popularity contests or re-hashes of someone else’s blog post with a top 10 list or something.  Alfred and I kid each other when we stumble across a post like this.  This one was a bit different in that it actually uses an analytic for a name to be included.  Twitter Grader is from a commercial site that is devoted to help marketing businesses and looking at the reach of a Twitter account.

The danger when you create a “Top 10” list occurs when someone gets let off the list.  So, I first tested myself to see if it was true and then I checked Alfred and he, indeed, has a perfect score of 100 and should have made the list.  I guess you can’t please all the people all the time!

As I looked up and down the list, I recognized many of the names and was quite pleased that I’ve met many of them in person.  But, I was surprised that I was the only name from Ontario on that list.  That can’t be.  I wish there was a bulk upload feature for this because I’d really like to upload the Ontario Educator List 1 and 2 to see who else had a score of 100.  That would be helpful (and processor intensive on the host site) but it was nowhere to be found.  I was bored, just watching television, and decided to try out a few names.  I opened Hootsuite and went to the Ontario Educator columns and started to check out a few names.

I’m happy to say that I found some!  Here for public amusement and living proof that there are great Ontario Educators to follow on Twitter, I offer the following list in alphabetical order…  (sorry, Zoe)

  • avivaloca – Formerly @grade1. Went from 11 years of teaching K-2 to moving to Gr.6. Looking forward to this exciting new adventure! Ancaster ·
  • msjweir – I’m a high school English teacher who loves to geek out with technology! Also, a mommy to a beautiful little girl!ON, Canada ·
  • shannoninottawa – Mom, Wife, Elementary School Principal in Ottawa, Canada – playing around with learning out in the open every single day 🙂 Ottawa, Canada ·
  • thecleversheep – I am a teacher-learner-collaborator, eager to engage in conversations with other learners. Project-based learning and Creative Commons are always on my radar. Komoka, Ontario, Canada ·
  • zbpipe – Teacher at HWDSB and Instructor for Pre-Service Education at Brock University~ Always looking for innovative /engaging teaching methods; Always learning.Hamilton, Ontario ·

Didn’t make the above list?  Don’t despair.  I lost interest before I tested everyone on the lists!  While only a select few made the perfect 100 score, there were so many in the 80s and 90s.  I don’t care who you are – that’s good enough for anyone to pass an EQAO test.  You can do all kinds of other things at the site like find out who joined Twitter on the same day as you.  Or, just snoop around and see what the site says about your friends and followers.

You’ll want to check yourself out at the site.  If you end up with a great score, add it to the comments!

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Another great week of reading from Ontario Edublogs.  Here’s but a few of the things that caught my attention.

John Seely Brown at PLP Live and #ECOO12

Peter Skillen shares his thoughts about the chance to hear from John Seely Brown.  He will be one of the keynote speakers at the ECOO Conference in Toronto in October.  Registration is now open for the event.  I’m equally as exited as Peter for this and all of the speakers/presentations at ECOO.  It promises to be another great teacher-directed conference.  Have you registered?  You can do so at the ECOO website.

My “Welcome to School” Letter

Well, Shannon Smith is certainly off to a good, transparent start to her new job as Principal of Glen Cairn Public School in Ottawa.  In a recent post, she shares with the world her “Welcome to School” letter that is principally directed to the parents of the students in her charge.  She touches many important bases so important these days such as community of learners, critical thinking and problem solving, and of course, how all of this dovetails with her employer’s strategic plan.  How many other principals do this?  Why don’t they all?  After all, it is a message to staff and community of the direction the school will take.


So, if a public blog is good enough for a principal, why not for a classroom teacher?  Brian Aspinall let’s the parents know of his happiness of being a Sundevil.  At his own self-hosted site, he plans to keep everyone informed as to what’s happening in his classroom.  What a great concept.  He must have had a great education at the Faculty of Education.

In addition to all of the things that would happen in an intermediate classroom, his students should be in for a great ride.  Brian brings a very strong background in technology to the classroom.  This will be a good classroom to keep tabs on.

Why does school need to change? Because students have changed,

I admit that I’m a sucker for posts like this.  They very clearly outline what makes a classroom teacher so special.  If you believe the rhetoric that you’ll find as you read the teacher bashing that’s so common these days – teachers make a gazillion dollars, work from 9-3, get paid every day that they are sick and don’t take the day off, and teach the same way all 30 years of their time in the profession.  If you believe any of this, then you need to read and ponder Andrew Campbell’s post.

From his post, here are some truisms about this year’s crop of Grade 9 students…

Check out these great posts at the links above or all of the good things from Ontario Educators at the LiveBinder site.  If you’re an Ontario Edublogger, please visit and add your site to the list.


So Much City

I’ve been in Ottawa for just a couple of days and have come to an appreciation of just how much there is to see and do.  At the same time, it’s so frustrating to know that it would take a lifetime to do it.

We arrived on the weekend and did some exploration and found some of the wonderful things to see around the Parliament Buildings.  It’s humbling to walk around the building, see the statues of the famous Canadians and be humbled at the War Memorial.

After a full day’s events at OSAPAC, we went out for another scout around the place and found out what we would have seen had we turned right at the river instead of turning left.  This time, tour guide Tim took us to see the statue of Samuel de Champlain holding his astrolabe and we got to hear the stories of this lookout, the effluent from the mint, and an alternate route back to the heart of the city.

It was great, and yet at the same time, the compelling architecture of area keeps you saying “I want to see this” and “I want to see that”.

We saw the giant spider outside the National Gallery of Canada and the unique statue outside the US Embassy Building.  Tim’s right; the view is much better from Google Earth.

We’re not done here yet but I know that we’ll leave Ottawa wanting to see more of this beautiful city.

Social Bookmarks:
Blogged with the Flock Browser