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


Wow, it’s still dark outside as I write this and I read about a winter storm warning for Alberta for today. Could it be?


GO! Explore!

Me commenting on Peter Cameron’s post could have two things happen.

  1. More people get involved with Peter’s current project
  2. The project gets so big that it becomes unmanageable

Of course, there’s a third option but I’d prefer not to think about it.

Peter has been known for a while for initiating and getting involved with projects that extend his classroom walls – a long way. I’m a big fan of the ideas that he has and how he shares them so openly.

This time, he’s sharing an exploration project world-wide where classes check in

Seeking Ts interested in establishing an explorer mindset with their students

Click through to see how you can get involved. The mapping aspect of the results is really intriguing to me and I look forward to seeing this project unfold.


Reflection and Self-indulgence

Much has been written and said about the concept of #EDUknowns and #EDUcelebrities.

In this post, Jennifer Brown shares her thoughts on the issue. I found the post to be very open with her thoughts and interesting to think about her perspective. She’s also brutally honest and I’ve never seen any of the social media compatants mention this at all…

But I also enjoy the attention that posting gives me.  I appreciate the comments, the “likes”, the retweets. My ego is fuelled by these digital interactions. Posting THIS is an inherently self-indulgent act.

So, are all of us who are active on social media guilty at some level in this?

Does it make a difference when there’s money involved for some and not for others?

While I don’t have any t-shirts to sell, I’m currently wearing a Tilley shirt that is no longer available for sale on their site. I wonder if I can promote it and sell it on social media?


School year start up

From the ETFO Heart and Art blog comes an interesting post from Kelly McLaughlin.

Now, given everything that is currently happening in the province, it would be like shooting fish in a barrel to complain about the way things are shaping up. She does anything but complain.

Instead, she share a story about the great things that are happening in her start to the school year. There’s a really positive collection of things and ideas. But one really caught my attention.

I have offered students homework to complete every night which will help them prepare for grade nine. 19 out of the 26 students have taken this homework and completed it each night

Now, kids are not immune to what’s going on and couldn’t be blamed for acting accordingly but this success is remarkable. After all, beyond the fact that kids are kids, it’s been a wonderfully warm fall. I’m not sure that, even if I was that age, I would be concerned about next year’s Grade 9 this early in Grade 8. I’d still be outside swimming, biking, playing football, … until the sun went down.

I hope that the success rate continues. Hopefully, she shares updates with us.


Leadership & Goal Setting for Math Learning

You can’t help but feel a bit smarter every time that Deborah McCallum blogs and you read it. I feel that way about this post.

I’ll admit that whenever someone else mentions “Goal Setting”, I pause and the hair goes up on the back of my neck. Methinks someone just went to a seminar and is now prepared to let me know ways that I can improve myself.

It’s not that I don’t set goals personally. I do it all the time. It’s a way that I ensure that I don’t lose sight of the prize and that I’m not spinning my wheels and wasting time. And, after all, if you don’t know where you’re headed, how will you know when you get there?

She nails my thoughts about going beyond working with myself.

I find it can also be very difficult to co-construct goals sometimes.

Maybe it’s the thought that I have to be judgy or maybe that I have to be accountable to someone else. But Deborah’s post does make me feel that there is rationale and reason for wanting to give this a shot.

Then, she takes the topic to mathematics and offers a scenario for all teachers. I like what she has to say.


Wondering About WHMIS: When Compliance Training Makes You Reflect On Assessment & Evaluation

It was with a goofy mindset that I dug into Aviva Dunsiger’s post. I tried to think of all of the great WHMIS sessions that I’ve attended over the years.

And drew a blank.

I remember my first one and this will date me. I went with a friend of mine who was a science teacher and gave me the advice “Don’t drink the ditto fluid”.

Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to the importance of WHMIS but Aviva takes us on a trip about assessment and delivery that hasn’t kept up with the current thoughts. In her district, she must score 80% on a test within three attempts. (she doesn’t share the consequences though)

I do like the thinking of Aviva and her principal about assessment, evaluation, and testing. Could the same principles be applied board wide on WHMIS training? Despite everything, it can’t be an easy job certainly without the supports everyone else has.


Snowbirds

It was kind of a big event around here a couple of weeks ago…

Snowbirds to make a Windsor fly-in visit Thursday

Stuff like that doesn’t happen every day. I’ve never seen them take off or land so whether they do it in formation remains a secret to me!

Peter Beens grabbed his good camera and headed out to take some photos when they visited Niagara Falls recently. This post has a link to a Google Photos collection where Peter shows off his photography expertise with some really good pictures.

Do yourself a favour and check them all out. You’ve got to admire the clarity and crispness of the images.

Thanks, Peter Beens

This is definitely going to be a great way to start your day.


Hallway Connections: Autism and Coding via @maggiefay_

On his blog, Brian Aspinall shares the news of Maggie Ray releasing the book she has written dealing with Autism and Coding.

“Follow Lucas and Liam’s coding adventure as they make a new friend! Lucas and Liam have been assigned a coding project by their teacher. At first they are more excited about working in the hallway than doing the project, until they meet Lily, a girl who has autism. The boys learn that not everyone communicates in the same way, but with the hallway coding activity, making friends is easy and fun!”

Now, I haven’t read the book but the whole premise not only sounds interesting but sounds important. I think we all have seen students in the hallway working on coding activities. But the element of inclusion of all students makes me wonder if this isn’t a book that should be in the libraries of every school in the province.


And, there’s your Friday collection of great writing from around the province. Please click through and enjoy the original posts.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

  • @cherandpete
  • @jennmacbrown
  • @Bigideasinedu
  • @avivaloca
  • @pbeens
  • @mraspinall
  • @maggiefay_

This post appears on

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Probably TMI, but I wore long pants and a sweat shirt for the dog walk this morning. It was so cool out there at the beginning (10 degrees) but it sure helped to work up a sweat.

For a Friday morning, here’s a look around the province at great content provided by Ontario Edubloggers.


Your Students Should Nap (and so should you)

Congratulations to Andrew Campbell for being recognized as one of the Top Canadian Educational Blogs. It says so on the link behind the badge on his landing page.

So, what does a high quality blog feature in its quest for cutting edge comments about education.

Napping.

The scientific research is clear that napping is good for us. A study showed that 10-12 year olds that took a midday nap had greater happiness, self-control, and grit; fewer behavioral problems; and higher IQ than students who didn’t.

And maybe a better command of buzzwords?

It won’t be the first study that goes ignored but it does beg a few questions.

  • If schools are struggling to get 40 desks into a classroom, where will they find the same number of cots?
  • If the kids nap, I’d want to too. We had a couch in the Business Department work area that we could flip a coin for
  • Who’s going to supervise the kids lest you have a sleepwalker?
  • Can you imagine the bad breath after wakey wakey time? Rush to the washrooms to brush?
  • Are we getting paid for this?
  • Who is going to break the news to the Ministry and the Government that this is a good idea? Or, in terms of public policy, the right wing newspapers?
  • Who would be the experts in this field? Maybe a daycare worker from down the street?

There is no STEM

I wonder how Tim King feels about STEAM then?

That’s been a hot item in education for the past few years. Keynote speakers, government grants here and there have all promoted the importance of the concept. Yet, as Tim notes in the post, there is no co-ordinated effort to make it a “thing” across the province.

Because, he notes, if it was a “thing” there would be funding, a curriculum, and recognition by universities and colleges.

Sadly, it could be taken as a slam to people that are trying their best to make it something (and some are doing great things) but it’s yet to rise to the standard of a curricular thing. The concept most certainly has value but, unlike other curriculum areas, it remains like a pickup game of baseball in elementary schools and an option in secondary schools.

It’s a shame that this pointless acronym has thrown a blanket over the grossly neglected curriculums of technology and engineering, while giving even more attention to two of the Disney princesses of academia.  To be honest with you, I think technology and engineering would be just where it is now had this STEM focus never happened, which tells you something about how this ed-fad has gone down.


The Gift of Staying Connected – Thanks Andrew and Diana

This is a heart-warming story from Diana Maliszewski about connections with students who have since graduated.

There are so many takeaways to this story other than the wonderful remembrances that Diana shares. (We now know the secret to her yearbook)

It’s a reminder that connections are constantly being made and are remembered long after graduations. Can you go back to your hometown without taking a drive past your old school or university and have fond memories flow?

For non educators who view teaching as just an assembly line for students, they need to read and see the empathy and connections made here and how Diana chose to share them with us.

And for kids – it’s just not you having memories of your teacher – it works both ways.


Three lessons on Grit and Resilience

This is another very thoughtful post from Jennifer Casa-Todd although she actually provides us with four lessons. A couple of them are kind of close so we’ll cut her some slack.

The biggest head nod that I gave Jennifer’s post was actually in her first lesson:

 Success is more likely when you work in manageable chunks

As a programmer, I set out a plan to do this, then this, then this, then this, and then put it all together. I always visualize a project as the sum of its parts. I’m not sure that I could do a more big idea approach without considering the sub-components.

It was always the way that things went in my Computer Science classes. It was easier for students to solve a problem if they worked in chunks. It also allowed them to get partial marks even if they couldn’t solve the big problem. When you’re walking around the room and asked for assistance, it was also easier to see and understand than looking at pages and pages of spaghetti code.

If there’s one piece of advice that people would be wise to consider, it’s this one. The other three are pretty good too!


HOW TO START THE SCHOOL YEAR OFF RIGHT

You know, if you could bottle that and sell it to teachers, you’d be a millionaire. Fortunately, there are all kinds of bits of wisdom about this.

This post is Kyle Pearce’s attempt at advice specifically for the mathematics classroom. I really like his ideas and concepts.

There are a couple of points that appear as statements that I think deserve to be fleshed out in greater detail.

Change their beliefs about math

Unfortunately, I see an underlying assumption here. While there are many students that don’t like mathematics, how about the kid like me that loved doing it? What would my belief change to? More importantly, just how would someone go about this – and doing so without dissing previous teachers in the process?

I’ve always wondered about the “beliefs about math” and wonder if it differs in grades 3, 6, 9 in Ontario over the other grades because of the impending year of preparing for the test. I think that would make for a great research study.

Establish expectations by painting a picture of what math class will look like

I’m curious about this one too – will all classes look the same? Will they all be functionally the same? Do you address homework while painting this picture?


“The More Strategies, the Better?”

There were three things that stood out to me in Mark Chubb’s post. He does use mathematics and a specific example for his purpose in the post.

  1. Is there value in knowing more than one way to solve a problem? I’d guess that the experienced mathematics teacher would argue yes until they’re blue in the face
  2. Mark does make reference to strategies that are “early understanding” versus those that are “sophisticated”. How does a student appreciate this? Does “sophisticated” equate to being more difficult? I had a university professor who just exuded a love for mathematics and the only word that I could think of for what he did when solving a problem was “elegance”. How do you get students so learned that their solutions become elegant?
  3. I really like the fact that Mark includes this in his post.
    “Have discussions with other math educators about the math you teach”
    Do you do that or do you just assume that you’re the teacher and there’s no room to grow and learn?

This is a wonderful post for anyone to read and understand. I can’t help but think of the teacher who is teaching mathematics for the first time. How do you bring them along and witness the wisdom and insights of experiences teachers?


Taking Old Town Road to School

Search YouTube for “Old Town Road” and sit back to see the many versions – live, karaoke, parode, etc. of the song.

Here’s another idea that’s also a great lesson for the classroom.

Then, check out the tags from this post from the Association for Media Literacy.

21st Century Literacies, association for media literacy, audience, codes and conventions, lil nas x, media literacy education, neil andersen, old town road

The post gives a wonderful lesson about how to take an original work and remix it so that it’s yours and address so many things along the way!

Need the lyrics – click here.

This whole activity just sounds like a whack of fun.


Your call to action this Friday morning —

  1. Read and enjoy the original posts
  2. Follow these bloggers on Twitter
    1. @acampbell99
    2. @mechsymp
    3. @MzMollyTL
    4. @jcasatodd
    5. @MathletePearce
    6. @MarkChubb3
    7. @A_M_L_

This post originally appeared on

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

ISTE 2019 Resources


The “I” in ISTE stands for International but it isn’t necessarily Ontario friendly in terms of its timing!  Schools are still in session in Ontario so, for the large part, the only Ontarians that are in attendance in Philadelphia are centrally assigned people and exhibitors.

So, the next best thing is to follow the hashtag on Twitter, right?  There are three that are important to follow…

The actual #ISTE2019 hashtag is pretty good if you’re there or you’re looking for selfies of people that are or invitations to special events and promotions.  For the rest of us, #NOTATISTE and/or @NOTATISTE19 are really good hashtags to follow.

There is another resource that you might find really helpful.

@pgeorge, @shighley, & @livebinders are curating resources into a Livebinder and making them available to all.

Welcome to our fun journey of capturing ISTE for those who can’t be there and for those that are there but can’t see everything! 

Annotation 2019-06-25 070919

Just like actually being at a big conference like this, the collection can be pretty overwhelming.  But, unlike going to the conference and attending the sessions that you can, they’re all archived there for current and future enjoyment.

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