Monday, October 31, 2016

Hug Monster (Even at #ETFOt4t)

For those who celebrate, Happy Halloween! The monster in the title isn't your typical Halloween fright ... read on.

Is it possible for your students to influence what you do and what you say?
I'm starting to suspect this happens more than I realize.

Some of the students in my school love to hug. I'm not sure if it's because they can detect that I'm okay with hugging (which I've written about in the past here) but they make a point of collecting a "morning hug" and "afternoon hug" each day from me, and will verbally scold me if I've forgotten or neglected to give them their twice-daily allocation. They are the ones to initiate the contact, as I must be cautious about this sort of contact. We've also worked with particular students around issues of consent, and I've tried to transfer this useful practice in general to other students - ask before touching. Coaching students to ask "May I have a hug?" instead of grabbing an adult in an unexpected embrace is a good idea.

I had to remind myself to use this technique while at the ETFO ICT conference on October 28-29, 2016. I'm glad I asked for permission most of the time. Who received these physical greetings?

Bixi Lobo-Molnar, one of the ETFO organizers. I've been fortunate to work with Bixi on the 2016  ETFO Summer Academies. She and Jill and Emma and all the team members do a fabulous job ensuring all the needs of participants and presenters are met.

Using Plickers on Friday

Denise Colby, my co-presenter. Denise was a saint and saviour at this conference, because not only did she co-run our Friday and Saturday sessions on Minecraft, she volunteered to lead two more Friday workshops because the original presenter could not attend.

Showing Minecraft tips Saturday

Great comics website I can use! Thanks Melissa!
Melissa Jensen. I sat with Melissa and several other teachers from Simcoe County DSB during the opening keynote and I also picked Melissa's brain about my upcoming Teach Ontario course on graphic novels and comics when both of us had a break from presenting in our schedules on Friday. Melissa has a wealth of information at her fingertips (and on her phone) and I really appreciated the feedback she provided for me.

 Andrea Payne. Andrea said it wasn't necessary for us to attend her session on search techniques, but her absolutely stellar slides - perfect for use with students and a designer's dream - were the perfect PD piece for me on Saturday. We ate lunch together as she polished her presentation and it felt like I experienced her session first-hand. Although Andrea and I are in the same board, she is in the west-end of the city and we don't get to see each other often. That's a shame.

 It was an excellent conference as usual - most of the sessions were similar to the ones offered in June but thanks to some additional funding, ETFO was able to provide it again for those who were not chosen to attend this past spring. Dr. Camille Rutherford was an excellent keynote (don't worry - I didn't run up and hug her - we don't know each other) and it was very affirming to hear her mention female ed-tech leaders of Ontario by name, like Zelia Tavares, Aviva Dunsiger, and Alanna King, with whom I was also familiar. These were some key tweets from the keynote and some important things to remember as we continue:

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