This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Here’s my Valentine’s Day gift to you.  Some of the great reading I enjoyed recently from Ontario Edubloggers.

Short Story: The Encourager, Part 1
Short Story: The Encourager, Part 2
I like it when people experiment and take their blog into new directions.  Brandon Grasley is using his blog as a platform for his own creative writing.  He’s writing and publishing his own short story in serial format – one piece at a time.

What a neat concept.  He’s making it work for him; how about writing and publishing for students in the same way?

Getting Boys Reading and Writing

This is Kent Manning’s passion and he continues to share some of his own and other’s work in this area.

In his most recent post, Kent references some great resources in that field.  I found that this link pointed more directly to Mr. Wilson’s resources.

To Question IS the Answer!

Peter Skillen offers a very comprehensive post that I think can be summarized as “respect for the student as learner”.  This is another one of those great posts from an experienced leader that absolutely should be used at a Faculty of Education to encourage students to shake the baggage of their own educational experiences.

This isn’t a one time thought from Peter.  If you know the gentleman, you’ll recognize that this is absolutely his passion.  Near the end of this post, Peter links to writing of his own from the past, all consistent and supportive for the work in this post.

I want to add my appreciation for the consistency and importance of the message that he’s offered to Ontario educators.

Did PowerPoint Make Me a Better Teacher?

You might be surprised at Jeff Brown’s answer.

I hope that he’s giving the software too much credit and that it was the tool that worked best in his arsenal for the desired task.

Great stuff folks!  Thanks for writing and sharing.

Please take the time to read these great blog posts at the links provided.

Also, my complete list of Ontario Edublogs is located at this Livebinder.  If your blog isn’t listed there and you’d like it to be, just complete the form and I’ll get it added as soon as I can.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Another Friday and I struggle to come up with yet another way to say “Great Reading”.  Writer’s block – so just read on.


If you need to read one “feel good” blog post this week, then this is the one from Eva Thompson.

I remember my first job and my principal pulling me aside periodically and checking to see how things were going.  I’ll never forget one of his pieces of advice “Choose your colleagues wisely – they’ll make or break your career”.

Check out this excerpt from Eva’s post.

Eva shares a wonderful personal story about a relationship in her professional career.  Read her post and see if you can’t recognize that colleague on your staff.  Or, even better, go out of your way to be that person for someone else.

Inquiry Overload – Ideas, Resources and Tips to Start Your Own Classroom Inquiry

Kristen Wideen is a big supporter of the Inquiry Process and has obviously thought long and hard about what it might look like and how it will play out in her classroom.  In this rather lengthy post, she talks about how she plays out inquiry in her classroom.  Of particular interest to me was the blend of technology and non-technology activities for the students.

I thought the reminder of ways to get answers to questions was great and could see it taking a prominent place in her classroom.  The comparison between then and now was great.  You can almost hear the brainstorming and ideas flowing!

From a technology point of view, I was pleased to see her students using Padlet, one of my favourite easy to use, easy to leverage tools.

There’s no “what if” to this post.  It’s packed with real examples and images from her classroom.  This is a great post to share with teachers at your school.

An Educational Debate: 10 Progressive vs. Traditional Teaching Ideas by @mraspinall

OK, so a traditional debate has at least two combatants.  Brian Aspinall debates himself over the questions “Am I A Progressive Teacher” and “Am I A Traditional Teacher”?

He identifies the following as traditional traits.

and then goes on to counter each of the points in what he calls progressive traits.  I won’t spoil the post for you.  Challenge each of these points and see where he lands.

IMO, I don’t think that you can be all-in on either side of things.  Check out Brian’s post to see where he thinks he fits.

I think it would be an interesting exercise for him to align himself with a true peer coach to help him with the answers.

Scrawlar – An App Review

David Fife takes the time to review Brian Aspinall’s Scrawlar HTML5 application.  I reviewed it myself in this post.  “A First Look at Scrawlar“.

In today’s world of “there’s an app for everything”, Scrawlar sits on the web, does not require student emails for access, and as I’ve said before, offers just enough features to make it attractive for student use.  We’ve all experienced life when you have way too many options available to confuse the writing process.  Siiiiiirrrrrr.  (You really can’t do a diphthong in print)

Read David’s post for his thoughts.

In a true BYOD environment, my personal opinion is that you can’t go far wrong if you elect to use Scrawlar for word processing, collaboration, brainstorming, notetaking, outlining, you name it.

Check out these posts at the links given above and all of the great Ontario Edublogs at the Livebinder here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Another week has passed.  I think this week has been a little slower than others because it’s just been so darn cold.  All this in-house time has given lots of time for blog reading though.  Here’s some of what I read from great Ontario Edubloggers.

Selfies -response to the video

Jamie Weir is looking to crowd source some ideas about selfies for use in her Grade 10 class which starts all too soon for her.  I wish her all the best as she gets back in the saddle again.

As I noted in my reply, this is a big, brave move on the behalf of Dove.  They’ve got to have looked at all sides of the issue before making the video go public.  How will it be received?  Positively?  With skepticism?  Negatively?  I think it’s a great flash point for discussion for her class.



This blog is a new addition to the Ontario Edublogger collection.  Welcome, Dillon Hutton.  His most recent post talks about a classroom activity that he’s planning dealing with Vikings.


He’s got instructions for students and an information piece for parents, including which expectations from the Ontario Curriculum that he intends to cover.  Looks like he’s on a great roll, covering a lot of bases properly.

Colleen Rose

OK, you’ve got to stick with me on this one.

I got a Facebook message from Colleen Rose letting me know about a new blog for me to check out.  I followed the link to an entry entitled “Colleen Rose”.  Then, I checked and rechecked the link and the URL and the title and, yes, I was in the right spot.

So, the author is Tim Bogatz, an art teacher, and he has started a series called 14 for 2014.  He’s embarked on the goal of interviewing a number of people and our favourite photographer/art teacher Colleen was one of them.

Now, technically Tim isn’t an Ontario educator but his interview of Colleen who is, is worth the read.


Hopefully, my explanation makes sense.  If not,  just read the post anyway!

Student Thinking Acts As A Provocation For Teacher Learning

Our blogging friend Aviva Dunsiger has no qualms about showing her refining of her profession in the open.  In this case, she’s musing about ways to get students to think deeper in mathematics.


I like the thought “giving better questions”.

I think that it’s a technique that matures and develops over one’s career.  As a first year teacher, the textbook (and answer guide) is a life saver.  Things only get better from there!

Growth Mindset: Pathways Without Borders

Kyle Pearce takes on the concept of pathways in Ontario Education.  Follow the arrows and you can only imagine the anguish of parents and students as they try to determine pathways and choices.


I remember a conversation with a superintendent once – “you have many options – choose wisely”.  Sadly, when it comes to education choices, you can end up being railroaded down a particular path.  He makes reference to a Grade 8 student.  I had many concerns at that age.  Determining post secondary destinations wasn’t among them.

Remixing “I Forgot My Phone”: Exploring the Greys in a Black and White Debate

As I read Royan Lee’s latest post, I couldn’t help but be amazed as he brought so much together in this unit dealing with media literacy.


I see:

  • brainstorming;
  • class sourcing;
  • Venn diagrams;
  • integration of video;
  • rich classroom discussion;
  • student created video.

All this in a unit on health and media literacy?  They should bottle this lesson and make it available everywhere.  Until they do, check out the post.  This is a goodie.

What a great collection of reading this week.  Please follow the links and check things out.  You can read these and all the collection from Ontario Edubloggers at the Livebinder here.  If you’re blogging and not listed, please complete the form to get added.

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This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s always refreshing and a pleasure to read the thoughts and sharing of Ontario Educators.  My own challenge is deciding which to include in this weekly post.  Please read on; I think that there are some great choices below.

Greetings from Cochrane Alberta

I don’t recall when I first met Patti Henderson but our paths keep crossing.  She’s got an incredible photographic eye and, when she lived in Toronto, shared some interesting pictures from her perspective.  She always seems to see something that I would have missed.

Now, we all like to refer to our blogs as journeys but recently Patti is having a different type of journey.  She’s headed out to Alberta for a new adventure and sharing pictures of her adventure.

The best pictures are on her SmugMug account.  There’s some great documentation of her journey.  Check them out.

Getting Started ~ Library Research Information Guide for Graduate Students

Denise Horoky from the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Ontario offers this blog post as an offer to graduate students.

It seems like an incredible offer.  I can’t imagine anyone not taking her up on the offer.

I think that this is a wonderful model that could be offered by any teacher librarian.  It’s almost a challenge for the student to be unsuccessful!

Parental Involvement

Yesterday, I shared a blog post “Young Canadians in a Wired World“.  I’m mulling around in my mind a followup post.  Tim King, however, jumped at the opportunity to share his thoughts.

I’ll admit this.  I don’t think I’ve seen the word “feral” used in a blog post.

Tim focused his thoughts on the Parental Involvement piece.

Graduation Caps and Gaps

When graduation day comes along, it’s the end of a run for students and teachers.  At my old high school, we used to graduate outside with chairs on the asphalt circle in front of the school.  If you’ve never enjoyed the sun and humidity of Essex County, be glad.  Put on cap and gown (and we as staff all wore our university hoods) and you’ve got the late afternoon sun beating down and the heat from the asphalt radiating up.  You’re so glad when it’s over.

Sheila Stewart’s post reminds us that it’s not over for the parents.  Sure, they’re beaming with pride during the ceremony but they’ve got to worry about the next steps.  Read her post to get some interesting insights.

As she points out there are “no easy answers”.

I really enjoyed the reading from this week.  I hope that you’ll take the time to read the complete posts at the links provided above.  There’s a great deal to think about.

You can check out the complete collection of Ontario Edubloggers here or here.  If you’re an blogger yourself and you’re not listed, please complete the form and you will be.