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New Podcast: Brock Baker

I met Brock Baker through a mutual friend and we spent some time discussing OwnYourEd Conference. Learn more about Brock on Twitter @birdsintowords or at www.ownyoured.ca

5/5 #5posts5days – The Anticipation of a Holiday

It was suppose to be the last day of my #5posts5days challenge to myself and a few others. However, in my excitement to start my March Break yesterday I did not get my post out on time. But it does raise a question. Where do the breaks in our teaching year come from? I did a quick search for the origins of March Break and could only find that it gained popularity in the 1930’s and it usually coincides with Easter Weekend.

How many of our holidays are based on the Christian calendar and agricultural influence from days gone by? We are off for 2 weeks at Christmas, 4 days at Easter, March Break, 9 weeks for summer, plus a few more here and there. Has there ever been an alternative schedule in Ontario?

When I was teaching in New Zealand in the late 1990’s we worked on a 4 block calendar. We had 50 days (10 weeks) of classes then 2 weeks off. This was repeated 4 times, only the Summer/Christmas holidays were 6 weeks long between school years. It was a great schedule, students and staff were never burnt out and your term had very few interruptions. (FYI Christmas is during the summer holidays in the Souther Hemisphere)

Maybe it is time to get rid of our old calendar and look for alternatives that keep learning fresh and new. What do you think? (Leave your comments below or on Twitter)

4/5 #5posts5days – Doing Away with Subjects

Sorry for the short entry today. I had a family member in the hospital and I wanted to be with them. 

A few weeks ago I visited Beal Secondary School in London to learn more about their Beal Innovates project. What I learned that day was inspirational. They have found a way to do away with subjects and create a true project based learning environment.

I was so impressed by what I saw that I could not help sharing everything that I saw with anyone that would listen. Check out the links below to see some of the really amazing stuff they have going on at the TVDSB.

Thanks to Richard Pardo (@rickpardo) and David Carruthers (@pluggedportable) for sharing their experiences with me.

Thames Valley Innovates

Beal Innovates

3/5 #5posts5days – Google Classroom for Marks

I have been exploring the types of posts I have traditionally posted. On Day 1 of the challenge I shared my thoughts and on Day 2 it was a Podcast. Today is Day 3 of the #5posts5days challenge and I am working on a ‘How To’ to help my colleagues as our School Board migrates to 1:1 Chromebooks for all students.

A few weeks ago I was helping some teachers learn about Google Classroom. I was explaining to them that it was a great tool for assignment management but awful for keeping track of marks. Of course after I said that, I started to demonstrate how you can only download the marks as a .csv file and you would need to import them into Excel or another spreadsheet like Google Sheets.

 

Of course, just like when you are having computer problems and you ask for help the problem always disappears. Somewhere along the way I missed the memo that you could now export your marks to Google Sheets. Classroom is becoming more of a one stop solution for most classroom needs.

 

2/5 #5posts5days – Podcast with Alison Bullock

This is my second blog post in the #5posts5days challenge. It is not a reflective post but a podcast where I talk to other educators that I have learned from. Also, face to face with your PLN is a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

This weekend I interviewed Alison Bullock (@aliringbull) over breakfast. We talked about her passions and she taught me that knitting was 11th century coding. I always learn something from Alison, have a listen and you might too.