This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to this blog and a regular post around here. Friday mornings are an opportunity to take a look at a number of blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. They’re always inspirational so let’s go…


Educational Bourgeoisie

Tim King was the guest host this week on the This Week in Ontario Edublogs radio show on voicEd radio. We talked about this post, inspired by a podcast that he did with his wife Alanna and his reading of Starship Troopers.

Tim sees a lot of parallels between the book and his life and shares them with us. In particular, “Everybody works, everybody fights”. Does that apply to education?

Tim uses this as an opportunity to think about teachers in Ontario that aren’t in classrooms. He estimates this to be 20%. He feels that when cuts come along, they apply to the classroom and the 20% bourgeoisie are unaffected.

As a person who spent part of my career in that 20% group, I know that we all have challenges in education. When you’re not providing a viable service to those who are in the classroom, it’s only fair that stones are thrown.

I wonder though … given that there is a desire for student population in classrooms to be at 15 … are there enough teachers available to hire or will the districts use those bodies at the board office to help with numbers. It will be a real statement on how a system values those in those positions.


Stunt Riding is Easier Than You Think in Ontario (and everywhere else evidently)

Tim actually has a couple of blogs. In addition to Dusty World where I pulled in that first post, he also blogs at Mechanical Sympathy. A recent post there has me thinking and wondering even more – on a different topic.

Tim tells a story about a motorcycle outing (complete with pictures) which lead to a discussion with another biker.

There was someone that ended up getting a Stunt Driving ticket for standing on the pegs of his motorcycle. If found guilty, the penalties are pretty severe and expensive.

Until this point, my understanding of stunt driving had been about those who get caught on the 401 particularly around Chatham for doing excessive speeds.

It never occurred to me that standing up on the pegs was problematic. I’ve seen it all the time and just figured that it was a chance to “unstick” yourself or, er, um, air things out. I would have thought some consideration would have been given to what the person was actually doing while in this position. I could see if you were swerving or driving dangerously otherwise. A ticket for that makes sense.

Tim takes on the situation and the Ontario laws in this post.


Scared, But Certain

Aviva Dunsiger is a person who I would suggest is one of the most positive and upbeat educators I know. Read her blog and you’ll see that she generally loves her job and enjoys her interactions with children.

In fact, at times, I wonder to myself if she’d feel the same way in a Grade 11 mathematics classroom. She makes reference to a blog post from here where I had noted that hugs are often currency in the younger years. I can honestly say it isn’t in Grade 11.

Teaching is an acquired taste!

School re-opening in whatever shape it occurs in Ontario and Hamilton-Wentworth will undoubtedly be different.

So, back to her title – in the post she lets us know that she’s scared and for sure questioning things but she’s certain that she’s going to make it work.


Black Hands Doing Mathematics

This post from Idil Abdulkadir left me with my mouth open just a bit when she described an observation made by her students.

Using a document camera to demonstrate things in her classroom is a way of getting the job done. I get that. I used to use an overhead projector all the time. It’s a great way to do things; you never turn your back on a class and you’re able to recognize hands that go up or puzzled faces immediately. Personally, I also found it easier to write neatly than on a chalkboard. My older technology didn’t try to do anything fancy; it just took what was there and projected it.

But her students noticed that something that was happening in Ms. Abdulkadir’s class that wasn’t in others. The camera was adjusting the colour balance because of the colour of her hands. Let that sink in for a minute.

There’s a lot of ways that this could be interpreted but she felt that it means something.

I want my students to see Black hands doing delicate work.
I want my students to see Black hands solving equations.
Black fingers counting.
Black hands doing mathematics.
Black hands making beautiful things.
Black hands and Black people thriving.

To that, I would add “I want students to see Black hands writing computer programs”.


Tents

Lisa Corbett missed the opportunity to talk about her son being a “child of the corn” when making an emergency pit stop. There were trees though.

The tree in question was near the community arena’s parking lot and that led to some observations and some social understanding during this time of COVID. Like every arena in the province, there was no ice, and the facility was used to give the homeless a place to isolate.

Now that the municipal plan of using the arena from April to June is over, those who would normally use the service have to look for other places. Lisa uses the opportunity to talk about the invisible homeless.

They’re there in every community. COVID has eased but has not gone away. Perhaps this will force communities to come to grips with this issue in a more permanent way.


AVOID THE SUMMER SLUMP: FOR SECONDARY STUDENTS

Although I had talked about this post from Alanna King in a previous post, it never was done on the TWIOE podcast. Tim wanted to give his lovely wife a shout out, so we did.

In the post, she offers three recommendations for secondary school students for the summer.

  • Read widely
  • Read Canadian
  • Buy yourself a new notebook

You can’t argue with that logic so it doesn’t hurt to repeat it. As I rethink this post, it may be even more relevant. As Tim noted during the show, he noted a drop off in student engagement with the Minister of Education indicated that marks wouldn’t count.

So, perhaps the Summer Slump started for some students even earlier than usual.

C’mon students – take her advice.


Math Links for Week Ending Jul. 24th, 2020

I’m guessing that I’m part of the choir that David Petro preaches to. I enjoy his Friday look around at the world of mathematics. I do wonder about his abbreviation for July though.

This time, he’s encouraging engagement in a couple of Twitter discussions in addition to his regular collection of:

  • Resource Links
  • Video Links
  • Image Links

The discussion and images in the Image Link is a reminder that skillful people can make statistics say just about anything – including incorrect things.


Please take the time to click through and read each of these wonderful posts. Then, make sure that you’re following them on Twitter for further engagement.

  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Tim King – @mechsymp
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Idil Abdulkadir – @Idil_A_
  • Lisa Corbett – @lisacorbett0261
  • Alanna King – @banana29
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314

This post was originally posted at:

http://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

Is Nothing Sacred


If you know me well, you know that one of my daily rituals is to have a peanut butter sandwich for lunch.  It’s one of life’s treats for me and I enjoy it so much.

It does mean that I have to have lunch by myself as there are folks who have allergies and I’m sensitive to that.  It is a situation that I deal with to treat myself to this delicacy.

Now, in the news we read about a recall of peanut butter in the United States because of salmonella.

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/01/12/health-salmonella.html
http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSTRE50F7GH20090120

Say it isn’t so!

What’s scary about things like this is that you don’t know until it’s reported in the news.  By the time it makes the top of the news stack, there have been sicknesses or even deaths to raise the awareness.

At this point in time, it’s still good news for my lunchtime plans.

http://kraft.com/MediaCenter/country-press-releases/Peanut_Butter_Ingredients_Update

It really does give you pause to think though.  We rely on the quality and work efforts of so many people as we go through the day.  Similarly, there are people that rely on us to do out best.  It may be time to mentally revisit the old adage “Autograph your work with excellence”.   

We all need to pull together, doing the very best that we can.

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A Community for Cars


PCWorld reports on IBM’s five predictions for the future at: http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,140683/article.html?tk=nl_dnxnws.

The one intriguing prediction surrounds making your car one with the road. For years, the infrastructure has been been laid along with road construction. This prediction sees cars communicating with the roadway with the result being more efficient and safer travel. Street lights that adjust to traffic patterns and alternative routes.

It makes sense. Over the past couple of years, there has been a huge surge in sales of GPS units. Once the domain of the hard-wired geographer, they are now commodity units for everyone and are standard on many new vehicles. I know that with my unit, it has discovered the secret paths through the city of Windsor for me. Ouellette Avenue and Tecumseh Road are now not my only options for travel and it does result in faster travel.

Before Christmas, I was waiting at one of our schools and there was a notice posted outside the kiss and ride area that indicated that if you’re going to idle your car for more than 10 seconds, you save gas by turning off your car and waiting.

So, if the logic is extended to more reasonable travel patterns, think of the gas that can be saved by alternative routes or traffic lights that do react to traffic patterns. This, to say nothing of the tempers that flow over when you’re sitting and sitting and sitting and idling.

If some form of technology taps into the community of cars and gives us better alternatives for travelling, there’s a great deal to be gained.