This Week in Ontario Edublogs


We had a flavour of Switzerland on the This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcast this past Wednesday when Vicky Loras joined the show as guest host. Vicky has been a connection for many Ontario educators so it was nice that she knew of some of the Ontario Edubloggers that we featured on the show. Vicky is gearing up to get a PhD in Linguistics. Her Masters program included a study of “Canadian English” and you can read her research as it’s linked to her PhD blog.


#tdsbbt2020 Board PD? Why not?

The first blog post we talked about originated from Diana Maliszewski and it was an inspirational way for her to finish her summer. She attended the TDSB New Teachers Conference. Hence the hashtag in the title for the post.

There’s a great deal of logic to attending something like this – for teachers new to the profession, they would never have covered how to teach and manage students safely in the time of a pandemic.

Heck even teachers with 30 years of experience may not have the skills. Even last spring, school buildings were closed and school continued from home at a distance. So, in some respect, everyone will be a new teacher entering classrooms whenever and wherever they do. It varies from district to district!

Diana wasn’t a passive participant either. With partner Sarah Baynes, they did a two hour session called “It’s All Political: Media Literacy and our Texts, Talk and Teaching”. I love the sharing of expertise and the notion of paying it forward.


Reflect. Review. Revise. A year in the Library Learning Commons

So, this was a discussion about an academic document created as an assignment for an Additional Qualification program in Librarianship. If we weren’t headed into a new year with teacher-librarians and Learning Commons in question, we might not even heard about this.

Beth Lyons does show her technology skills in the creation of the document (using Canva and publishing to Issuu) and it reads like a blueprint for what every Library could/should be.

Divided into two sections, pre- and during- COVID, it’s a beautiful summary and also inspirational to the extent that the library didn’t pack up and leave when students stopped coming into the building. Again, she uses Social Media like YouTube to keep doing the good things that she had always done.

The link to the document is in the post and worth the click.


Splendour in the Grass

I really didn’t know how to approach this post from Colleen Rose. There’s a link in there to a very specific internet site that left her ugly-crying. I supposed that she could have dwelled on this aspect and that would have made the post very depressing.

Instead, she used it as inspiration to share with us some of the things that were uplifting in her life over the summer. Her painting, her baking, her trips to the beach, the beauty that is Northern Ontario, sharing a beer and her two lovely children.

She led the post with the Wordsworth poem

In the faith that looks through death,

In years that bring the philosophic mind.

A personal note to my dear friend Colleen and, indeed to all educators headed back to school buildings, keep your heads up and focus on the priorities. You’ve got this.


Building Community & Advanced Features within Brightspace by D2L – E017

This is a rather longish post from the Edugals and elaborates on one of their podcasts featuring Tanya Williamson.

Many educators will be forced to use an online Learning Management System as a result of their teaching assignment and choices. We saw last spring though that everyone ended up scrambling to learn the skills to teach online. It truly was building the airplane while flying it.

The post highlights some of the features of Brightspace and ranks some of the features in terms of importance so that people don’t feel like they need to use every feature right away.

If the worse happens again and schools are closed down or if you are teaching using Brightspace, you’ll find this a good reference.

I think my recommendation to all teachers regardless of where they are teaching is to use the features of the LMS that they have at their disposal. It opens a lot of opportunities and is a chance for students to learn how to function in this environment while the teacher is “in the house” and can be there to assist.

Of course, that requires access to the technology in a safe manner. BYOD anyone?


Brain Words Book Club: How the Science of Reading Informs Teaching

Yet another real thinker comes from the blog of Deborah McCallum. It’s an insight into a book study she was involved with Brain Words: How the Science of Reading Informs Teaching, by Richard Gentry and Gene P. Ouellette.

I was at a big of a loss when reading this; I’ve never had to teach children to read – by the time they get to secondary school, I just assumed that they had that skill.

I also marvel that I was ever able to learn to read personally; the techniques and insights that educators have today certainly weren’t around when I was learning. I go back to the days of the Primer so I’m the odd man out in these discussions. Deborah draws a comparison of memorizing mathematics concepts to memorizing language concepts and words. That may well describe at least part of my reading journey and whatever success I might have had.

Yet, reading in Computer Science is still a skill. I wonder if some of the techniques would help when the reading gets technical.


Set-Up Day 1

This was a new blog for me and came as a comment to yesterday’s post. Mrs. Crockett and Miss Dunsiger have created a blog that they’re calling their Daily Documentation. If you’ve followed these ladies in the past, you know that they have used a variety of social media and are now trying to rein it in a bit. This blog looks like it might be their answer.

It’s more than a little sad to think that this is what a kindergarten classroom looks like in the Fall of 2020.

This is so far from the status quo that had been used, developed, and refined over the years.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I hope that many educators take the time to show to the world what their classroom looks like and this elicits a bunch of suggestions to make it better.

Maybe even a set of before/after pictures?


Friday Two Cents: What Makes Me Happy

Paul Gauchi read an article that inspired him to share with us what makes him happy. It just takes three things.

  • positive relationships
  • financial security
  • sense of purpose

Of course, he expands on each of them.

Is he really happy? He notes that some of these items are a bit strained but maintains a positive outlook.

That’s a good thing.

I’m happy for him. We could always look at things and allow them to get us down or we can choose to look at things positively. The key is that you’ll never be perfect so maybe you need to find some other way to define happiness.


Please take some time and click through and read all of these wonderful posts. There’s great inspiration there.

Then, follow them all on Twitter.

  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Colleen Rose – @ColleenKR
  • Edugals – @EduGals
  • Deborah McCallum – @bigideasinedu
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon

This post originates from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Zoe Branigan-Pipe was the guest host on the voicEd Radio This Week in Ontario Edublogs show this week. Our paths have crossed so many times in the past. Probably our biggest togetherness was hosting the Great OSLA Faceoff, repeated again for an ECOO conference, and then for a local elementary school. She was interviewed for this blog here and you can check out a picture of the Beauty and the Beast.

So, it was nice to chat again; normally, we would meet up at the annual ECOO conference but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen this year. For me, the big value of spending money on professional learning comes from face to face connections.

Zoe has been a long time social media leader; she’s like the poster child for making authentic connections. And, of course, she’s among the amazing group of Ontario Edubloggers.


BlackLivesMatter. No Time for Silence.

We started the show by taking a look at Zoe’s post. I was quite surprised when she mentioned that she had to tone it down upon advice from colleagues that it might not go over well with others in her district. I found this disturbing in the summer of 2020.

What remains is a post full of links to resources across the web. Teachers who are looking at addressing Black Lives Matter in their classrooms this year would find this a treasurer trove of content.

Some of it will take some modification for a particular purpose in an Ontario classroom but the gold comes from the resources developed by ETFO linked to by Zoe.


#ETFOProud

Speaking of ETFO, the Heart and Art Blog features a new blogger this week, Velvet Lacasse.

The post was essentially an introduction to Velvet post but I had a Wayne’s World moment when I read her thoughts about becoming a Union Steward in her first year of teaching. There’s no way that I could have found the time to do that.

In my first year, OSSTF was just a deduction from my paycheque until the New Teachers’ Night where I learned a little bit more about what District 34 was all about. Eventually, I did become part of the Collective Bargaining Committee but I wouldn’t have dreamed it for my first year in the profession. Her observations about attending the Annual Meeting is bang on. You get the real provincial perspective there.

Velvet brings a wealth of social activism to the blog and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.


Education Will Never Become What It Should Be Until It Is Freed From Politics

This blog post, from Tim King, is about as long and involved in content as the title of the post. TLDR; is this statement.

To further complicate things, education is run by politicians. 

That sets the stage as Tim pulls apart so much of what’s actually going on and what could be happening. Of course, this would only happen if decisions were based upon the advice of those educators that are actually in the classroom. As we’ve seen this summer, that’s so far removed from what we see about the decision making process.

As an almost daily follower of the 1:00pm Premier news conference, I keep waiting for something other than “best plan in Canada”, “we spent this much money”, “union bosses are the problem”, etc. Sadly, it doesn’t come.

Tim sees a world where education is best served by a removal from political connections. This is firmly embedded in the BNA Act and so it won’t be happening any time soon. Besides, what’s an election campaign without addressing education?

It’s still a good read and I’m sure that many educators will agree with Tim’s points so it’s comfortable that someone has taken the time to write them out. At the same time, it’s just difficult to ever see significant change being made.

Unless we create the “Teachers’ Party” and somehow get the majority of seats.


Math Games – building a foundation for mathematical reasoning

I have a fondness for mathematics and really enjoy posts like this from Mark Chubb and others in the mathematics education realm. I do check out the links to the resources that are shared.

Now, I’m old enough to remember multiplication charts and memorization. I remember doing word problems ad nauseum; I knew enough about mathematics to recognize when my teacher really knew her/his stuff and when they were struggling to get by.

When I think back, mathematics was always about gaming for me. Like any good game, there was a real sense of accomplishment when you got it right. It was almost strategic. I never did tests top down; I picked and chose those questions that I knew I’d be successful with.

While it was about gaming, I don’t recall actually playing something that might formally be defined as a game. That’s a relative new concept and today’s student has that advantage with the wise teacher picking and choosing the best of the best from so many choices.

In this post, Mark shares a number of games that are worth evaluating for your own classroom. I like the reference to using them as part of a distance learning program; may you elementary teachers not need to consider that this school year.

Yet, there’s something about a hip pocket.


Let’s Get Explicit

In a million years, I don’t think I would have made the connection between Open Educational Practices and hip hop artists on my own.

But, Terry Greene does in this post and it’s a fun read. He addresses the five essential elements of hip hop.

  • Lyricism (Rapping)
  • Turntablism (DJing)
  • Breaking
  • Graffiti
  • Knowledge of history

I immediately zeroed in on the concept of “turntablism” but I shudder when I think of using my own personal record collection…

For those in this world with Terry, there’s an element of wisdom and reality in each of these elements. The biggest message is that the same ol’, same ol’ doesn’t have to continue.

Your first inclination might be to take a pass on this post but at least give it a read and see another side of teaching.

Warning, Terry uses bad words in this post.


What is Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)?

Education loves a good buzzword. Recently, I ran across this

15 Words Teachers Officially Never Want to Hear Again

If you check it out, you’ll find a collection of words that you’ve probably heard from a keynote speaker somewhere. They have this ability at times to use words and make it part of their presentations and you feel badly that you didn’t know that.

Then, there are some words where you need to sit up and pay attention to. Deborah Weston takes on new terminology that we’re going to see in Ontario Curriculum as it’s revised, starting with the new Mathematics Curriculum, addressing mental health.

Deborah digs into the roots of this and shares her thoughts. A note that should make you sit up and notice

SEL is now also a distinct section of the updated curriculum

She does a nice job of stepping through the curriculum pointing out where it occurs in the elementary school curriculum, by grade. The question whether or not it’s a learning skill or will have to be reported on separately is addressed from her perspective and offers come questions for the future.


Footage of the Falls: Back Then and Now

You know, if I lived in Northern Ontario, I’d visit visit Kakabeka Falls regularly. As a family, we’ve been there a few times – once going to the Calgary Stampede, a couple of times on the way to relatives in Minneapolis, and a couple of times just as a married couple looking for an interesting place to camp. I can agree that there are all kinds of things out and about at night!

As Sheila Stewart notes, it never gets old. Our context these days from Southern Ontario is visits to Point Pelee, Erieau, and the “Niagara of the South”.

What a find it must have been to have discovered some footage from the 1950s and, in the spirit of good sharing, doing some editing and putting it on YouTube.

Much more commonly are modern videos of Kakabeka Falls.


Thanks to these terrific bloggers for continuing to share their thoughts and ideas in their blogs so that we can all share in the learning.

Make sure that you’re following them all on Twitter.

  • Zoe Branigan-Pipe – @zbpipe
  • Velvet Lacasse – @velvet_lacasse
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Mark Chubb – @MarkChubb3
  • Terry Greene – @greeneterry
  • Deborah Weston – @DrDWestonPhD
  • Sheila Stewart – @sheilaspeaking

This post originates from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


This Wednesday, Matthew Morris joined Stephen Hurley and me for This Week in Ontario, the Podcast. You can listen to it here. With Matthew’s insights, we took on a few new topics. You can read my thoughts about them below. As always, insights from great Ontario Edubloggers.


5 Things Every Teacher Should Do During Summer Break

This was a post from Matthew Morris. Here, he takes on the very popular blogging format “# Things …” and shares some advice about what to do during this time off.

  • Sleep
  • Purge Your Classroom
  • Un-Plug
  • Reflect on the Year
  • One New Thing for Next Year

Fortunately, for the podcast, he woke up early and plugged in, thereby breaking at least two rules on his list! But, as you work your way down the list, you’ll undoubtedly agree with them. Most support the notion of mental well-being.

I found that the “Reflect on the Year” to be one of the more interesting things when you consider that most people would consider this a year to forget. To be certain, we don’t know what the fall will look like so consolidating them with the on the fly learning that’s happened in the past few months could be very important.

It’s also advice that Subject Associations should be heeding. For the most part, teachers made it work but I’m sure that many of them could provide guidance to make things better. Just this morning, ACSE member Lisa Rubini-Laforest indicated that she will be leading a panel discussion at their virtual conference this summer about teaching online. All Subject Associations should be highlighting their expertise in this area and the sooner the better.

Take the lead; do them early, record them and place them online so that they’re accessible when most school districts do their end of August professional learning.


Cancel Culture and our students

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding that social media has got meaner over the past few months. Personally, I have isolated some people from me because of a number of reasons. I’m emotionally happier as a result.

The concept has not gone unnoticed by Jennifer Casa-Todd and she takes on the topic in this post from the perspective of students. They can be brutal at times. She asks about various things that will get you thinking. One in particular struck me as needing to be answered.

If we are talking about adolescents, will their entire future be marred by one mistake?

Of course, Jennifer has many other thinking points and that will make reading her post worthwhile.

Trending this morning is this post from Margaret Wente

It’s an insight from the other side, from one who was “cancelled” due to pressure from Social Media.


6 Similes to describe how it felt to teach during COVID 19 Quarantine

During the podcast, I mused that only teachers and students would be able to use the word “similes” properly. Matthew indicated that rappers could as well!

In this post on the Heart and Art blog, Will Gourley does a top six list…

“Teaching during a quarantine”

The similes are certainly worth the read and has to bring a smile to everyone. I know it did for me. I also learned that AWOL doesn’t always have the meaning that I thought it did after watching years of M*A*S*H.

It seems to me that the best of the six was comparing learning to eating an ice cream code with a hole in the bottom. Read the post to see Will tell you why he feels that way.

It’s a great read and I get a sense that it might have been healing for Will as he got a lot off his chest. Read and share.


ENGAGING FAMILIES – COVID AND BEYOND

Where students come from a family to school, the insights from With Equal Step are really important.

Over and over again, we heard about how parents had a renewed appreciation for teachers (or a first appreciation) and how teachers had appreciated the support received from families.

The observations in the post about silos and bridges are important. There’s wisdom here for everyone.

While teachers and parents may be frustrated that they can no longer easily hand off our child to the other at the door, our new immersive connection reminds us that, “Diverse groups make better decisions than homogenous ones.”


How do research plans change in a COVID context? #MyResearch

I think that everyone could learn something from the observations in Anna Bartosik’s post.

I think that most people can envision the days of going to the library to grab some books or microfiche and doing the research. Since Anna made the reference to OISE, I remembered a couple of coffee places and the cafeteria at FEUT where many of us would meet and work together on things.

So, now you take all that away.

Well, we now have different/better tools. Just open a shared online document and a video conferencing window and take it from there. Anna shares her experience working in this environment.

microphone icon from noun project

Sure, we have the tools, better tools but …

And, I also learned about the Noun Project.


Is This When We Change Our View Of Planning?

I love it when Aviva Dunsiger says I’m right.

As Doug indicated in his comment, many people might be preparing for worst case scenarios right now. While I was quick to reply that my teaching partner, Paula, and I are not doing that, maybe that’s not completely true.

Well, maybe not in so many words but I’ll take what I can get.

So, Aviva is doing some planning

  • I’m planning for possibilities
  • I’m planning with connections
  • I’m planning to connect
  • I’m planning through reading
  • I’m planning to blog

Knowing her as I think I do, none of these come as real surprises.

Probably all teachers could say they’re doing these things and they wouldn’t be wrong. But I would point to the one in the middle. (Mental note: should have used a numbered list)

The value of connecting needs to go further than “I gots me a Twitter account”. Connecting means building that account to have a critical mass of wisdom both supporting and challenging your assumptions and more importantly to put yourself out there, offering advice, asking for suggestions, working collaboratively, being humble…

Just don’t get yourself cancelled.


MakerEdTO 2020 Virtual Conversations

I’m really liking it when organizations are rolling with the punches and coming out the other side winning.

MakerEdTO is one of those groups and Diana Maliszewski shares with us how it was done.

Of course, they couldn’t get together and make things happen by all being in the same place at the same time. It wasn’t talking heads; they worked on giving everyone selection and used online breakout rooms to make it happen.

There’s a great deal to be learned from this post and I’m sure Diana would be more than accommodating for those who want to ask questions to make educational gatherings like this work, even in these times.


Please take the time to click through and read all these wonderful posts and then follow these educators online through Twitter.

  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • With Equal Step – @WithEqualStep
  • Anna Bartosik – @ambartosik
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL

This post appears on

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to another Friday and a collection of wonderful blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


A virtual climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro – Join Us!

Here’s something that everyone can get involved with at home. Paul McGuire was planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro this summer. Obviously, that’s out given our current situation.

But, like many activities that would normally be done in real life, Paul and his Christie Lake Kids team have gone virtual and they want you to join them.

No, not there, but your location.

Each day for seven days we will put out to those who are interested 1) a step count that approximates the steps you would take on that particular day (8-10,000 steps); 2) a commentary embedded for you to listen to that goes over what that day on the trail is like;  3) a video log of that day by Arienne Parzei; 4) a conditioning follow-along video by Chase Tucker; 5) some music to inspire you for your day; 6) some Kilimanjaro interesting facts and; 7) a fun African recipe.

Why wouldn’t you do it? Or at least part of it?

Remember – “Communities move mountains”


Saying, “I am not racist” is not enough pt 1
Saying, “I am not racist” is not enough pt 2

From the ETFO Heart and Art of Teaching and Learning blog, there are a couple of posts from Will Gourley.

This is a very transparent and open commentary on what we all are experiencing in our communities and watching news on television.

In the first blog post, Will shares what he considers his level of privilege. I suspect that many of you will be nodding your head in agreement with his observations.

In the second blog post, he outlines what he plans to do personally about things. It’s an admirable plan.

Throughout, he makes the very valid case of the difference between “I am not racist” and “I am anti-racist”.


The Future of eLearning

Staying with the Heart and Art Blog, Deborah Weston shares her thoughts about eLearning and our future.

Given that we are at a time in history where a pandemic is pushing school work onto eLearning platforms, I can see growth in the technology of eLearning platforms for many students.

Nobody chose to have us where we currently stand. But, teachers have answered the call and are doing the very best that they can given limited professional learning, access to technology for themselves and students, lack of preparedness for the variety of tools, privacy, security, etc.

As she notes, there is an absolute flaw in Ontario’s implementation of Online Learning. For years, we’ve embraced and worked with the notion that one solution isn’t appropriate for all students. Yet, Online Learning is forcing many to back off and try to make that notion fit.

The ultimate solution can’t be a memo from Mowat Block. It needs to seriously listen to parents, students, teachers, and administrators. There is no one size fits all solution here.

I believe that school districts, federations, and subject associations need to step up and provide professional learning opportunities for addressing classrooms effectively in the fall. When you consider that the typical teacher studies for one or two years at a Faculty of Education, a few hours at the end of the summer just doesn’t seem appropriate. Teaching is a profession of continuous growth and learning and needs to be respected at this time.


Good Will: it’s what holds the education system together

This is a very personal post from Tim King. Tim share the mathematics of his own involving salary, hours worked, hours volunteered, and professional growth taken.

Despite all this, teaching position have been lost. The current scoreboard is available here.

I think that any teacher who reads this post will share a feeling of the same story in their career. Teaching isn’t a 9-5 job with other hours left for other things.

Teaching is a commitment not only to the learning of students but also to the interactions with those students to prepare them for their future lives. Throw in marking, lesson preparation, and all of the other activities that happen outside of the physical school and you get the picture.

All this for 1% while Members of Provincial Parliament vote themselves a cost of living raise!


W is for Wonder

Lynn Thomas is still working on the alphabet!

This is actually quite a long blog post with a great deal of thought and contemplation on her part – obviously aimed at wondering what the upcoming school year will look like.

In particular, she addresses

  • What will school look like in September?
  • How will mental health and well being – of students and teachers – be supported?
  • What about equity?

As Stephen Hurley noted in our radio show – curiouser and curiouser. Lynn does a terrific job of expanding and sharing her thoughts on each wonder.

To Lynn’s well-thought-through list, I would add another …

Are School Districts and is the Ministry of Education prepared to fund any solution so that it’s done properly with the interests of students foremost?


Dad’s Gold

Melanie White adds her thoughts about her husband in this entry to the Our Dad Shoes blog post.

The post is a heart-warming collection of stories – even this Minnesota Vikings fan could cut some slack with the Green Bay Packers construction helmet logo.

I can’t help but be moved by the personal family stories about how they got to where they are today and the character(s) her husband assumed to help in difficult circumstances.

May her boys always honour this

The boys see his tenacity, his unwavering commitment to them, and he knows their teasing is loving kindness. But they don’t know that their dad is an alchemist who transforms the unimaginable into living gold.


No Title

For me, the power in Matthew Morris’ posts lies in the stories that he tells through his lens. I’ve mentioned many times; I can have empathy but can never fully understand his reality. His posts do help with that.

It’s easy to listen to podcasts or to read blog posts from people sharing what a wonderful job that they’re doing in this very difficult time.

But things have become more difficult

These teachers don’t literally kneel on the necks of children but some suffocate them of future opportunity by their mere position of privilege and power and pretentiousnes

As Matthew notes, school are grounded in what they consider stability. I think he makes an argument for serious consideration when he compares the stability of education with the stability of society.

You need to read and ponder the points in this post.


I hope that you can find time to read through all of these posts. You will learning something from each of them.

Then, follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Deborah Weston – @dr_weston_PhD
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Lynn Thomas – @THOMLYNN101
  • Melanie White – @whiteroomradio
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris

This post comes from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I had a bit of a surprise yesterday afternoon when I opened WordPress to write this post. Generally, I don’t look at the dashboard but this caught me eye.

Wow! I knew that I had a few posts but 9 000? Now, truth be told, every other post for some time now are links from my previous day’s reading so they’re not all original work by me.

Anyway, it’s another week of great posts from Ontario Edubloggers. Please sit back and enjoy.


Living in the Times of Covid – 19: A Journal

Paul McGuire shares an interesting observation in this post

There is no balance in the time of COVID -19. There are highs and lows and all are good. 

We probably all go through this on a regular basis but being permanently at home only serves to amplify them. Paul isn’t the only person to make this observation that I’ve noticed this week. I would think that the real problem would come when a person is unable to distinguish between them.

So, Paul is aware of what’s happening in his world and shares some observations of life going on outside it. I found it interesting and like that Paul’s coping mechanism can be so powerful – just write.

Whether it’s a blog, an article, a journal, a note … it’s a way of getting the weight out and that’s always a good thing.

Don’t freak out at the image on the landing page of this post. Sometimes, the silly just takes over.


Keep Calm and Teach ONLine

It was refreshing to read this admission from Deb Weston.

I’ll be honest with you, reader, I’ve had some lasting moments of being completely overwhelmed with the circumstances we are going through as teachers. Isolated in our homes, we deal with steep learning curves while worrying about our students in their lives and in their learning.

I’ve read so many things about how well learning is going; the kids are really excelling and all that. You just know that that may well be a bit of an exaggeration.

I suspect this article was written before the announcement by the Ministry of Education about the purchase of iPads and Internet access for students as she does identify a lack of these as part of the frustration that’s happening. But, even dropping off technology with “no touch” isn’t an immediate solution to a problem. It’s an attempt to level the playing field and will get better over time, I hope. I’ve got a blog post of my own about this in brainstorming mode.

(update: I’m reading now that this purchase may not be for new technology and I’m researching)

It’s also not just access to technology that is at hand here. Deb correctly has sympathies for those students who would normally handle things in Special Education settings but now are unable.


Content and Copyright Considerations in Distance Learning

I thought that this post from Michelle Fenn tagged nicely after Deborah’s post. So, you do have access to the internet. We all know that you can find absolutely anything and everything out there.

However, finding and using it can be two different things…

In the post, Michelle addresses:

  • Posting YouTube Videos
  • Reading Books Online to Students
  • FairDealing and Copyright
  • Privacy Policies and Statement

She touches the surface on these. It’s difficult to address them all here so make sure that you check out her post. Michelle does give an excellent piece of advice because not all resources are created equally.

Be proactive and check with someone in the Instructional Technology department at your school board to ensure that you are following recommendations before asking students and parents to sign up for a digital tool.


Distance Learning: Week One

And yet another post from the ETFO Heart and Art Blog. This one comes from Kelly McLaughlin. Here, she lays out her plan for Week One that she has for students that address Mathematics, Literacy, Geography, and Science.

The activities were to be done asynchronously and she let the students know what times she was available for assistance.

There was an element of concern and empathy that I thought was important to note. Using the tools, she polled her students to see how they were doing in the various subject areas, on a personal basis, and as learners.

I could see this feedback as being very crucial for future planning. The response would inform her as teacher as to how the students are coping and would allow her to adjust future learning activities accordingly.


5 Things That Will Change After Coronavirus 

Hmmm, Matthew Morris, only five?

It’s hard to argue with any of the things in his list.

  • Social Distancing – we’re starting to see districts outside Ontario planning to open schools. The good thing is that many of the schools are not planning for school as usual. Schools are build for the masses; they line up to go in, they mob the hallways, they get squashed into classrooms
  • Online Learning – if we learn one thing about using technology and learning, it’s that you can’t just flip a switch and move from face to face to online. Look for a move for more blended learning approaches
  • Self-isolation – I liked his observation here, particularly is it applies to the use of social media. We’ve always know that there was bullying online but when online is your only answer, it only follows that so does the bullying
  • Quarantine – he takes an interesting look at this concept in a different way. It was the concept of racism and speared by the leader to the south of us. There is a history of naming viruses from their place of origin and, even though it hasn’t been conclusively proven, COVID-19 has been referred to by location. And, it’s not the use of the location, it’s in the way that it’s pronounced
  • Super Skepticism – we live in a day and age where you can turn and find resources to find any opinion that you want. A good global citizen will definitely stand and question everything

I really, really liked the items that Matthew has identified and he takes them on in his particular style.


Inspiration to Join the TESL Ontario Board

Here’s an opportunity for those involved in TESL.

How about joining the Board of Directors?

On the TESLOntario blog, Paula Ogg talks about her inspiration to join the board.

I am passionate about creative problem solving, design thinking, and design-based research, so I hope in the future I will be able to share and use these tools and techniques to give others a voice in TESL leadership.

While I’ve never been a TESL teacher, I find that whole group of educators very interesting and inspirational. The TESLOntario website does a wonderful job of collecting and sharing resources.

If that’s where your interests lie, you may wish to get further involved.


Dixit: A Game for Everyone (Language, Thinking and Abstract Learning Skills)

Zoe Branigan-Pipe shares a card game that is played in the Pipe household and in her class. I think a lot of people are playing games to while the time and keep things under control these days.

At home, I play this with my family (ages 16, 17, 20 and adults). I also have an ELL student living with us who loves using this game to learn vocabulary. He uses a translater to help him express his ideas.

Then, she gives us a big long list of educational things that she sees from playing the game and using it in her classroom.

Zoe, I’ll leave you with a quote I get from my kids

“Daaaad, you’re such a teacher”

I always take it as a compliment.


Please take a moment to check out these posts and read the complete insights from these great bloggers.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Deb Weston – @DrDWestonPhD
  • Michelle Fenn – @Toadmummy
  • Kelly McLaughlin
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Paula Ogg – @TESLOntario
  • Zoe Branigan-Pipe – @zbpipe

This post originated at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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