As we wrap up and stick at fork in 2020, there are lots of places that are providing their highlights of the year. I’m going to be able to do that this year.
Because of COVID – how sad is that?
Earlier this year, I sat down and created a spreadsheet itemizing all of the blog posts that I had included in my Friday “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” post and also for the voicEd Radio show. I guess this is my signature post; I do it every Friday and feature some great content from Ontario Edubloggers. I’ve written a blog post with the title “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” or “The Week in Ontario Edublogs” 445 times. I do make mistakes.
I started blogging in 2007 and have been at it since then. I even have the book on it written by Will Richardson called “Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms.” So, don’t let anyone tell you that this is a new concept!
My worry, at the time, was there were lots of people all excited about the concepts and digital messages and were sharing stuff to their Personal Learning Network. That’s certainly a great concept and most definitely still worthwhile but everyone was all over American blog posts. There just had to be worthy Canadian content and even more specifically, Ontario content. I was now on a mission. As I would discover Ontario blogs, I started to accumulate them in one spot, this Livebinder.
I’ve actually collected lots of Ontario blogs. Like many things on the web, there comes a time when people move on but I decided to maintain the list just because the blog might return and the original content was just that good.
Certainly, I don’t have time to wade through all of these every week. At one point, I had put the posts into Google Reader which has since gone away. I now maintain a resource stored in The Old Reader so that I’m notified when the RSS spots a new post.
About four years ago, Stephen Hurley extended me an invitation to do a show on voicEd Radio. Unlike traditional podcasts, we would do this show live on Wednesday mornings with the show being recorded and available later as a podcast. We still do that! I write the show overview and share it with him in advance so that he can do some reading. When we have guest hosts like we do in the summer, they get added to the document as well so they know what we’re talking about!
A typical share looks like this one I did for a fun blog post from Terry Greene.
Just enough information to jog my memory but not enough that the talk becomes scripted.
The data from blog posts that are used either on the show or on my Friday blog posts gets entered into the spreadsheet. A typical weekly entry would look like this:
Just check out the titles of those blog posts. Ontario Edubloggers are absolutely the best. There’s always inspiration there and the content never fails to get me thinking. And, after all, that’s one of the reasons why you blog in the first place.
The first five entries would be used for the radio show and the last two which I call “Bonus” in my notes are exclusive to this blog. You’ll see that each author name is actually a link which opens a new sheet in the spreadsheet devoted to that person. Then, there’s the blog post title, the number of times I’d used that particular blog author last year and then a link to the actual TWIOE post. (I had a lot of time at the keyboard during being locked down…)
From my perspective, all this data collection is interesting and lets me make sure that I’m bringing in new voices all the time. It also let my create another new sheet where I could do some statistics and come up with my personal “Top 10 of 2020” list. It’s purely quantitative.
For the record and grand total, 349 blog posts made their way into a Friday TWIOE blog post.
As posts are used on the radio show, I add them to my public voicEd Radio Blog Roll. I feel so honoured that I’ve actually had the opportunity to meet some of these people in person – typically at a professional learning event. Will and I even held a wall up at the back of an auditorium!
I’m so appreciative to all the Ontario Edubloggers that give me raison d’être on Thursdays so that the post can be written and appear on Fridays.
I’m happy to indicate that the voicEd show and the TWIOE post will continue into 2021. I’ve created a new draft document and it’s ready to go (2020 had 114 pages to it and takes forever to load, even with high speed internet).
Now, I’m not naïve enough to think that I’ve got all the Ontario Educational Blog posts corraled. If you’re a blogger and I don’t know about you and your blog, please complete the form you’ll find here. I’m looking for a bit of information like your Twitter handle and link to your blog post. I’d really like to be able to add you to the collection.
In the meantime, I wish everyone a Happy New Year and a prosperous and safe 2021. Look for the radio show and Friday blog post to pick up again next week.
If you listened to This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio yesterday morning, you would have heard Stephen and me make reference to a new series of podcasts that Stephen was involved with.
Stephen was commissioned (volunteerissioned?) by ECOO to have interviews with a number of Ontario educators who are on the front lines, teaching in these challenging times. The series is titled Ontario: Learning Together at Home.
I did know that Aviva Dunsiger had been on the podcast as I’d already listened to her thoughts and that was all that was posted.
The list of names wasn’t terribly surprising. Many of the individuals have been presenters at provincial conferences for years. Jason was a new name for me so I listened to him with extra interest. To this point, he was a name on one of my Ontario Educator lists. Now, I know a great deal more about the gentleman.
I found their insights interesting. They come from different disciplines and panels (I was surprised there weren’t more elementary educators). Even geographically, they were nicely spread across at least Southern Ontario. Of course, the husband and wife team are a great deal closer!
Stephen let it slip that there’s another one in the pipeline.
Their stories are short and I think you will immediately empathize with them. They do reveal some important insights about how they’re getting through the current situation.
I would encourage you to visit the voicEd Radio site and listen to one or more of these. It’s a nice reminder that all teachers are on this ship together.
On a personal note, as a person who doesn’t get out much these days, it was absolutely terrific to hear all these recognizable voices again and visualize them in the rolls that they describe. I’ve been in sessions led by them all. Thank you to each of you so much for sharing your stories.
I’m glad to add this blog to my collection. As I said on the voicEd Radio show, this could have been titled “A union stewart and a school principal walk into a coffee shop”. These people would be Judy Redknine and Toby Molouba.
Because they did. It’s an interesting combination given what’s happening in education and, quite honestly, something that should be seen in more places. There are most certainly lots of things to think about in education – when this post was written the current actions were only visible on the horizon.
I love this quote from the blog post.
“When your child walks into the room, does your face light up?” Our belief is that adults, like children, need this same light. The heart of the matter is it is about our humanity. Relationships truly matter.
Humanity and decency are things that I would suggest can be taken for granted if left alone. I really appreciate the message of collegiality that comes through in this post. Relationships are number 1. It’s a lesson for all of us. And yes, adults need to see the same light.
I wonder if the faces light up when the two sides enter the room for a round of collective bargaining. Of course they don’t. Like playing poker, you don’t want to show your hand.
But imagine if they did. Would that lead to an earlier conflict resolution?
A while back, I read Part One of Anne-Marie Kee’s thoughts about trees, in particular as they apply to Lakefield College School.
This is an interesting followup as she reflects on trees and how they grow, survive, and thrive. In particular, she shares some interesting observations about community and deep or not-so-deep roots in the section dealing with myths.
Towards the end, she turns to how it is so similar to today’s teenagers. Trees help each other grow and so do teenagers. In fact, by giving them the opportunity to take on more responsibility in truly meaningful ways, you do help the process. Not surprisingly, she makes the important connection to mental health and well-being.
I know that we all think we do that. Maybe it’s time to take a second look and really focus on the “meaningful”.
Will Gourley really grounded me with his observations about giants. Perhaps because my use with computer technology, a new field in the big scheme of things, I can name and appreciate the giants in the field.
With a career in education, I can think back to the giants who I looked up to professionally. Egotistically, I remember my first days in the classroom just knowing that I was going to be this stand-out educator and change the world all on my own.
And you know what? What they told us at the Faculty was true. You could close your classroom door and nobody notices or cares!
Then, either the first Thursday or the second, there was a big package in my mailbox. It was an updated collective agreement. As a new teacher, I got the entire agreement and then the 1 or 2 page summary of changes from the recent rounds of negotiations. I was blown away to realize that I had received a raise!
That weekend, I sat down and read the agreement from cover to cover. On Monday morning, I sat down with our OSSTF rep and had a bunch of questions. I recall many being “what happened before this was in the agreement”. It was then that I got a true appreciation for the work that had gone into things over the years.
The value of being an OSSTF member continued to grow and impress me over the years. I served as our school PD rep and CBC rep for a few years and every step led to an increasing appreciation for the work that was done. When OSSTF started to provide quality professional learning, I was over the top.
I know that there are tough times during negotiations but just thinking about where you are now and how you get there is important. In a few years, those leading now will be the shoulders that others are standing on.
Of course, I had to share this post from Arianna Lambert. Computer Science Education Week is near and dear to my heart and the Hour of Code may be the most visible thing to most. I wrote a bit this week about things that can be done with the micro:bit..
I deliberately moved her post to this week, marking the end of the Hour of Code. Why?
An hour of anything doesn’t make a significant difference. The Hour of Code should never be considered a check box to be marked done. It should be the inspiration and insight that lets you see where coding fits into the big scheme of things. It is modern. It is important. It is intimidating.
If you’ve ever taken a computer science course, you know that seldom do you get things right the first time. But every failure leads to an insight that you have for the next problem that you tackle. Student and teacher can truly become co-learners here. Why not take advantage of it?
Included in Arianna’s post is a presentation that she uses and a very nice collection of links that you can’t possibly get through in an hour. And, I would suggest that’s the point.
I know what I’ve been doing all week and plan to continue into the weekend.
I cringed when I read the title of Aviva Dunsiger’s post. After all, she had kind of dissed my post about Advent calendars.
This post was different though.
There are lots of pictures she shares about classroom activities so there is a holiday thing happening in her classroom. Check out the menorah made from water bottles.
She shifts gears a bit and tells a story of her youth. She grew up Jewish and then a second marriage gave her the Christmas experience. It’s very open and a nice sharing of her experiences. It was a side of Aviva that I’d never seen before. I appreciated it.
You’ll smile at the story of her grandmother. We all have/had a wee granny in our lives, haven’t we?
The podcast version of our live TWIOE show featuring these posts is available here.
I hope that Tim King and I are still friends after my comments on his post. It’s not that it’s a bad post. It’s actually very factual and outlines for any that read it teacher salaries, qualifications, benefits, etc. They’re done in Tim’s context with Upper Grand and that’s OK. With the way things are done now in the province, it’s probably pretty standard. There’s enough statistics and insight there to choke a horse. (sorry, but I grew up in a rural community)
What bothers me is that teachers somehow have to defend themselves for all that has been achieved through collective bargaining. Why can’t it just be said?
Damnit, I’m a teacher! This is what I’ve chosen to be in life; I worked hard to get here; my aspiration is to make the world better by educating those in my charge. Period. Nothing more needs to be said.
What other profession has to defend its existence every time a contract comes up for renewal? And teachers are such easy targets. We’ve all had that one teacher that we didn’t like; some people like to project that across the entire profession.
Part of Tim’s inspiration for the posts comes from the venom of “conservative-leaning reporters”. I think that may be a bit of a concession. The venom, from what I see, comes from opinion piece writers. Unlike reporters that do research, opinion pieces are based on supporting a particular viewpoint.
But, let’s go with reporter. According to Glassdoor, the average base pay in Canada is $59,000/year. That would put them about the fifth year of Category 2 in Tim’s board. For that money, they write a missive a number of times a week for their employer, attach perhaps a stock image and call it an article. The point is to feed a particular message. A truly investigative reporting would put them in a classroom for a week to really get a sense of the value educators give for their compensation. But you’d never see that.
While I know that these messages really upset educators, they should always be taken in context and understood for what they really are.
BTW, it’s not lost on me that these reporters make about $59,000 a year more than this humble blog author. I don’t even take weekends off. Who is the dummy here?