This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Here’s a bit of the great reading I enjoyed from Education Bloggers in Ontario this past week.  Some great thinking here.


Using Social Media as a Teaching Tool

Many people are incorporating social media into their classrooms.  There are many sides to this discussion.


Kristen Wideen explains why she uses social media in her class and tries to address the issues as she sees it.  By being open and honest about this, she’s communicating well with her student’s parents and the larger community.

It’s a good post and well worth making reference for future use.  You may wish to write a similar post to your parents sometime in the future.


Jumping on Board. Change is good.

Indeed it is.  I caught the recent post from Heather Touzin who was inspired by some track marks coming to a level crossing.  Her reflections were all about learning the sorts of technologies that she has to support within her district.

My thoughts took me back to riding a different type of train – the subway in Toronto.  The train I wanted to ride always seemed to have just left the station.  It can be frustrating not catching it but soon you come to realize that there’s always another chance to hop on.  You just know that you want to be on the train, headed in the right direction.  It seems to me that technology is a lot like that train that just pulled out.  You seem to be forever chasing and will never catch it.

But, that’s OK.  The game is in the pursuit.


As I left I wondered when the last time was that I went ‘Ooooo’ about a learning prospect.

Tina Zita tells a wonderful story of teacher professional development through the eyes of a student as they reacted to what was happening in the library.

More than this particular story, I wonder … could everyone get more excited about professional learning and growth in the profession if we gave all students glimpses of teachers as learners?

There are lots of people talking about co-learners – does it really happen?

SmartCar Smash!

How’s that for an inspiration for a post?

Read on to see how it inspires a 3 Act Math Lesson.

Reflections form Week 2

I remember the days when we would sit around the supper table and I’d ask the kids – “What did you do in school today?”

The answer was always “Nuthin'”.

I’ll bet that never happens with Alison Bullock’s charges…

Sounds like Week 2 was full of excitement!

Thanks to all these bloggers for sharing the great things that are happening in their educational lives.  What an active week in Ontario schools.

Please check out these posts at the links above and the entire Ontario Educational blog collection here.  This Livebinder is packed full of great things happening in Ontario classrooms.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

I never tire of reading the great posts from people throughout the province.  This week is no exception.  Here, in case you missed it, are some of the wonderful posts that I enjoyed.  Not inclusive, but just in case you missed them.

Art & Integrity

Colleen Rose shared a reflection from an art lesson she had with her students.  I think this is just such an example of what can/should be done when teachers blog.  It’s a thought about what made the lesson special.  Those thoughts accumulate over time and make one a better teacher just for reflecting.  And, if it’s written in a blog, it’s there for good and for reference in the future.

The lesson was about artist Andy Goldsworthy (who I had never heard of before) and Colleen shares a YouTube video about “River and Tides”.  Some really interesting thinking happened on this end of the wire so many thanks, Colleen.

In particular, I really love this quote that she shared.

If we present nothing but perfection to our students, we are starving their creative spirit.

That’s really something to think about.

Reflections on #EdCampSault

Another of my favourite  Northern Ontario bloggers, Brandon Grasley, shared his thoughts about the organization and implementation of the first EdCamp in the Sault.  The first time for anything is always a challenge but it’s awesome that there were people to take that first step.  They’ll walk away with a whole bunch of “we won’t forget that next year”s and ideas for how to make it better.

But just remember that, if you don’t do the first one, you don’t get a chance to make it better.

Having organized a lot of professional learning events, the one thing that you have to remember – and it’s crucial – is to have good food.  Good food forgives a lot of oversights.

When I look at the picture of the dessert tray, I know that people walked away happy.  The real challenge will be making it happen again.  Best of luck for 2015

Looks like tech, feels like people: #tllp2014 & #tdsbgafe Part 1

Diana Maliszewski was dressed surprisingly conservatively for her participation in the Teacher Learning and Leadership Program.  The gathering was a chance to learn and share with other educators in from the TLLP program.  I’ve seen plenty of discussions about the TLLP program and it almost always evolves around the technology that goes into the program.

Diane was insightful enough to go beyond that and recognize that the success is also depending upon the people involved.

I think she absolutely nails it when she says:

However, what struck me most during the two and a half days was the importance of connecting with people.

I hope that the Ministry is listening to voices like Diana’s.  You can throw a lot of money at technology and the companies will take every penny that you’ve got.  But, if you’re going to be successful, you have to leverage the possible connections.  That has to be more than putting every teacher in the district in the same hall at the same time.  It has to involve small groups of like minded people who define and work toward reasonable goals with their projects.  Then, you need to make the learning sustainable and able to grow.  No more one and done.

Looks like tech, feels like people: #tllp2014 & #tdsbgafe Part 2

In a subsequent post, Diana shares her learnings from a Toronto District School Board Google event.

Once again, she does a nice job mixing people and technology as she saw it at the event.

In the post, she shares one takeaway from each of the sessions that she attends.

I had to smile as I read them – I often wonder what would happen at events like this if everyone shared one takeaway as an exit card.  Would all the takeaways be similar?  How could it be done in the most productive way possible?  As a presenter, you’d know the hits and misses for sure.

Getting Kids to Code

In Brian Aspinall’s blog, you’ll find this link.

Selection_181Brian’s collecting web resources designed to get kids coding as well as the actual application to make it happen.  You’ll want to bookmark this one.  (or tuck it away in Diigo / Delicious)

Again, another wonderful week of reading and sharing from Ontario Edubloggers.  Thanks to everyone who continues to blog for the purpose of public enlightenment.  Please take the time to visit the original posts at the links above or view the entire list of Ontario Edubloggers at this Livebinder.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

The Ontario Educational blogging community is amazing and continues to grow and inspire.  As always, I encourage you to take a look at the great things being mused, shared, or thought about by these great digital leaders.  There’s just so much to learn.

Here’s some of the inspirational things I happened upon this week.

“When Will This Be Over?”

After a couple of sad posts (I empathize and send positive thoughts, Aviva…), she’s got her blogging mojo back.

She describes a class situation that I think we’ve all been in.  What do you do when a student gets bored or uninspired about the tasks at hand?  There are lots of analogies to use here – I think I’ll use this one – drop back and reload.

Read her post and see how she handled it.

Response to @dougpete and using Social Media with students

Brandon Grasley had written a post sharing his experiences about using social media with students and shared some of the concerns that the teachers in his session had about its use.  I’ll bet that you could come up with the list without reading his post but do it anyway.
tMI – Students’ Personal Lives and Twitter in the Classroom.  I may have missed the original post but decided to jump in with a reply anyway and that inspired a followup post from him.  I really like this advice that he’s included.  Isn’t this the message that we should be sharing everywhere?  It’s a good reminder as folks jump in and a reminder if you’re already in the deep end.

We are developing online presence all the time, and remembering that online presence is a real-life presence should go a long way towards ensuring we make good choices in our interactions with students.

Taking Chances

One benefit of the OSSEMOOC project is new bloggers.  Welcome Denise Buttenaar to our exclusive group!  Her first post talks about taking chances and she considers putting her thoughts online in her blog one of her chances.  I hope that it’s the beginning of a long list of inspirational posts.

Her post had to make me smile.  I have fond memories, as a district computer consultant, of going from a secondary school to an elementary school and having to shift gears based on the student clients.

It’s so much fun once you get the hang of it.  Talk about your differentiated instruction!


This is a student blog that I follow because it’s just so inspirational at times.

In this post, the bookybunhead crafts an absolutely beautiful poem.  I’m in awe – I could never write poetry and am so impressed with those who can.  She paints a picture with a real surprise ending.  Thankfully, she does go into a description of what inspires the poem.  That make me like it even more.

Surefire Ways To Improve Your School’s EQAO Scores

So, putting your nose to the grindstone and other traditional ways that we’ve always tried to improve by working harder don’t work.

According to this post by Andrew Campbell, we could have saved millions in testing by following his advice gleaned from the top 15 EQAO scoring schools.

Of course, improving the scores isn’t what makes the newspapers.  It’s the fact that they are ranked so the cycle wouldn’t necessarily solve the problem.

If we followed his advice, perhaps PD Days could be reclaimed to doing other things?

Tweets of the Week – April 27, 2014

David Fife is keeping track of Twitter messages that inspire.  He’s got a nice collection this week, including the one below that I actually had caught in my own message stream.  It sure rings true…

Brought forward here to share and make sure that I don’t lose it!

As always, thanks to these folks for their thoughtful efforts.  Please visit their blogs so that they know they’re not blogging in a vacuum!

These blogs and the rest of the Ontario Edublog collection is located here.

When you land on that page, there’s a form there to enter your own coordinates and I’ll be happy to add them to the collection.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

If you look at the URL for this post, you’ll see a “-101” at the end of it.  For those, like me, who are too lazy to create a unique URL for each post, this is WordPress’ way of creating it for you.  So, last Friday, it would have been “-100”.  To celebrate the fact that I had written the same blog post 100 times, I went about going through all of them and was working on a chart tallying how many times I had made reference to individual Ontario Education Blogs.

Then, five things happened.

  • I did the math and realized that that was actually the 101st post since the first one wouldn’t have had a digit tacked onto the end of it;
  • A friend once told me that a blogger is only as good as her/his last post;
  • I turned off the computer without saving the document;
  • I decided to blog about some of the writing from edcampSWO and edcampldn instead;
  • It was tedious work and I lost interest.

It also was a redundant task since the list of all the Ontario Edublogs that I’ve found were already listed in the Livebinder anyway.

All that it was going to do was give me the number of times that I’d made reference to individual blogs.  That was only the ones that I had included in the post.  I read much more than that regularly anyway.  The bottom line is that I appreciate so much those who continue to share their learning online.  So, hats off to you.  Keep up the great work.

This week, I enjoyed more great reading.  Here’s some of it.

Questions Circling Around in my Head

Jennifer Aston shared some thoughts about inquiry.  The post started with her observation of it in action in classrooms that she visited and concluded with an inquiry of her own.  In the post, she shared this image about engagement.

I skimmed over it the first time but then revisited it and it made me do some wondering on my own.  In particular, I was curious about the size of the various elements.  That would be an interesting discussion.  I would hope that nobody would interpret them as static and that they would grow and shrink depending upon the moment.

My first thought here is “here’s what to spend money on when you’ve bought everything else”.
Then, I read the rest of James Cowper’s post to see his rationale for doing this.  I also followed the link to the DNA testing site to see their rationale for why someone would want to do this.  Very interesting.
It does make you think about nature versus nuture.
Knowing James, this will turn into a learning activity for his entire school!

Weekly Challenge # 30 – Recognizing our #EnviroEd Mentors or Being More than a Retweet

Rob Ridley wrote one of those posts that make you feel guilty.  Yes, I was a scout but my environmental efforts these days involve keeping my own yard clean and picking things up while dog walking.

What a great question.  Does Environmental Empathy permeate everything or are events just restricted to Earth Day?

Sorry I am Not That Teacher……

I’m glad that Brian Aspinall finally reworked his blog so that he could start blogging again.

In his latest post, he reflects on his own personal professional practice.

It’s an interesting read.

Have you ever noticed that nobody ever blogs the opposing point of view?  But then, again, they’re probably not bloggers anyway.

Math is Harder When Using an iPad

Read how Kristen Wideen reacted when her students threw that in her face.  Imagine – worksheets are easier!

Obviously, it’s not the mathematics – it’s the approach to mathematics that is different.  The post shares her thoughts about how she’s raising the mathematics bar in her classroom.

This is a good read and supports the case for doing different things with technology.  Can you imagine a world where all “students have to explain their thinking with pictures, numbers, words AND their voice.

Thanks so much to everyone for your continued attention to your blog and sharing such wonderful and motivating posts.  Please take a few moments to visit their blogs and read the entire post.

As always, check out the entire list of Ontario Edubloggers.  If you’re an Ontario Edublogger yourself, fill out the form and I’ll get you added to this great community.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

I want to do something a little different this week.  Last weekend, two edcamps were held at the same time.  One in London (edcampldn) and one in Tilbury (edcampswo).  It was a very interesting day in risk taking for the organizers.  First, you have to do the math – bring 100 connected teachers together and you’ll need at least capacity for 200 devices.  On top of that, a couple of sessions were held collaboratively through Google Hangouts and a Google Document.  Both sites appear to have done it successfully.  Congratulations to the organizers.

One of the best ways to measure success is to gauge the reaction from the participants.  During the event, of course, monitoring the Twitter hashtags is the best way to go.

But, after the event, blogging is the way to go.  Even better, when you get new bloggers, you know that you’ve changed the reflective practice of some.  In this post, I’d like to identify the blog posts that I found as professional educators share their learning and their thoughts about their learning.

That’s about what I was able to find.  If you did blog about either event and I didn’t find you, please let me know below in the comments.

I’ve already added the new bloggers to the Ontario Edubloggers Livebinder.  If there are any more new education bloggers, I’d love to add them.  Remember, if you want to know about Ontario Education, talk or read an Ontario Educator.

To all those involved, don’t let this be a traditional one shot in the dark event.  Keep the conversation and the learning going.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It was another great reading from Ontario Edublogs.  Here’s some of what I enjoyed this past week.

Wow what a great day of learning at the Ontario GAFE Summit

The Ontario Google Apps in Education Summit was held last weekend.

It’s always pleasurable to read blogs and Twitter stories from people who attended professional learning events.  This blog post will bring you up to speed with at least a part of the summit.  And, the content is extended further with a Storify of Twitter messages to tell more of the story.

Jonathon’s comments certainly echoed what I caught from the summit with the hashtage #gafesummit


Tim King had a different take on the Google Summit.  He was tweeting some non-summit things clearly at the time the summit was happening and they had nothing to do with it.  Oh, I finally clued in, he’s stayed home to watch the Bahrain Grand Prix.  Sometime during the weekend, he penned his thoughts about getting excited about a sole provider in education.

It’s an interesting reality check for all to have.  As I commented on his blog, technology does tend towards a single solution at times.  i.e “We’re a Macintosh board” or “We’re a Windows board”.  There’s certainly more curriculum to cover than time, do we have the time to spend on a broad sampling of software or hardware?

Also check out his later post “Hack the Future“.

Want Great PD? Enter Another Teacher’s Classroom!

This is something that we all know could be of value but the time has to be right, arrangements made, and a plan put into action.  My computer science classroom door was never closed and a certain Science teacher would always wander in while I was working with students and see what they were doing and asking questions.

I remember the first time that it happened – it was my first year of teaching and a million thoughts entered my mind “Were we to noisy?” “Did one of my students get caught wandering the halls?” “Was there a science experiment gone bad and there was an evacuation?”

No, he was just curious…

This post by Diane Maliszewski should serve as a reminder that we don’t need to have a big, involved professional development event to learn.  Sometimes, a great idea may be just down the hallway.

Feeling off-balance is okay

Julie Balen offers a wonderful post that should remind us all that the learning should never stop.

Taking technology purchased for one of her courses and then using it in all her courses was considerably more involved than passing them out, turning them on, and watching the magic happen.

I think that everyone could or maybe even should write this blogpost from their own experiences.

It’s a nice reality check.

What a wonderful collection of posts from this past while.  Thanks so much to the authors.  I hope that you take the time to visit these blogs and enjoy the full postings.  While you’re reading, check out the complete listing of Ontario Edublogs here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Today is Pi Day.  It would be a great day in Mathematics classrooms.  But…

…today wraps up the March Break in Ontario.  I feel a bit sorry for those who headed south for the Break.  Usually, they return to an Ontario that has warmed up and melted a bit.  This week’s storm sure turned that theory upside down.  Even the dog and I had to go looking for new places to walk – our Navy Yard path was completely snowed over.

Despite all this, or maybe because of it, there still was some great material written by Ontario education bloggers.

Cold But Beautiful

Colleen Rose’s latest post is actually a photo essay showing off some of the beauty of Lake Superior.

I’m always amazed at what the artistic eye and mind does that mine doesn’t.  I could take that picture but would never have thought of enhancing it like she did to emphasize the textures.  I think the result is quite impressive.  Check out the rest of her post for more pictures and also for her trip to Duluth.  My favourite quote on the image of all the quotes was “The EARTH without ART is just ‘eh’”.

After #EdCampWR ~ Where To Now (Part 1)?

EdCampWR (part 2) – Everyone Has Something IMPORTANT to Share

Donna Fry shared a couple of posts about her thoughts from the EdCampWR experience.


I had to smile when I read her comment about having to explain the concept of an EdCamp to others.  I can just see the conversation.

There is a mindset that professional learning only occurs when it is “done to you” by someone further up the food chain.  Usually, someone in charge of professional development and training who has a check list plan.  Heaven help us if the minions get together and start talking and sharing ideas.  Oh, sure, it’s talked about in some circles but only as cursory lip service.  You have to experience an EdCamp to truly understand.  The ECOO website has a section devoted to Ontario EdCamps right up front.


Even the ECOO Conference has its own “Learning Space” where you can carve out your own area for discussions and learning.

A lot of good happens when great minds get together.  Ontario has an incredible group of connected educators – look out when they get together.

Board Reflection

Why would anyone want to become a trustee of a school board?


We’ve come expect reflections from educators as a way to validate the present and set the course for the future.

Why wouldn’t we expect it from those who would serve on the Board of Trustees.

Robert Hunking opens up about his own thoughts.

It’s an enjoyable read although he did stump me here.

I recently saw this title. ‘The Shift from Learning to Read to Reading to Learn’. I thought to myself how appropriate this is and complex. Lets change it to’ Learning to Learn to Learning to Learn.’

Imagine a world where all trustees were expected to blog and share their thoughts about the decisions they make and their own personal commitment to the job.

#ossemooc Presentation: February 25th, 2014

Rob DeLorenzo has been a big advocate for mobile technologies as long as I’ve known him.  It makes sense that he was tapped to give a presentation to the OSSEMOOC group.  He shares the slidedeck from his presentation in this post.


Like most posts of this ilk, the slidedeck is incomplete without the author’s voice.  I’m sure that Rob would be willing to entertain questions via comments on his blog or via Twitter.

It’ll give him something to do other than beating me in Words with Friends.

Once again, a nice collection of thoughts.  Thanks, everyone, for continuing to share your thoughts.  Please check out these posts at the original links given above.

I want to read YOUR blog!  If you’re an Ontario educator and have one, please consider sharing it via the form at the Livebinder site.

There’s always great things coming from the keyboards of Ontario Educators.  Add yours to them.


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