Sunday, June 19, 2011

Haliburton/Muskoka/Algonquin by Motorcycle

On Saturday morning 5 of us left Goderich for a wee mid-northern Ontario adventure.  The weather was absolutely perfect and the driving conditions could not have been better.  I was on the road with my dad, Larry Swick, Darren Culbert & Matt Gascho.

We got through Huron County and up to Howick.  From there we were in Grey County and riding along the Agnes McPhail Memorial Hwy to Creemore.  Then we got on the 400 in Barrie and headed north for about 60 km past the famous Epps Sporting Goods Store and Weber's hamburger restaurant...  The fun began when we got off of the 400 and onto an amazing 70km stretch of twisty and winding roads called Southwood Rd 13.  It was very, very fun.  It basically took us to Bracebridge and then we were on 118 all the way to Haliburton.  It was about 500km or so for the day.  Not too much - but enough.  That was basically Saturday.  We got to our motel by 4:30, had some drinks and some snacks, ate dinner and called it a night. 

Today, on Sunday morning, 4 of us hit the road to make our way up to Algonquin Park to tour around.  My dad has been feeling a bit under the weather, so he stayed at the motel to rest and relax.  We got to Bancroft and had a breakfast scoff and then we went to their lockout area called Eagle's Nest I think.  It is an impressive lookout, other then the fact there is a Tim Horton's to gawk at centre view....   From there we went up to Barry's Bay and Whitney.....  Had some lunch at the Mad Mushers....  And it was straight into the east entrance of Algonquin. 

We only skidded through about 80 to 100km of the park.  We stopped at a lake/lookout for a bit to relax and then off again....  It wasn't 10km past this area where we stopped because there was a bull moose only about 30 feet from the shoulder of the road.  We took some pictures of the moose and it really didn't seem to mind all that much.  It was not camera shy.  But we only went through this small section of the park as we exited at the west entrance.

From that point we went south on 35 back to Canarvon.  We past through Dorsett, I remember.  Just before Canarvon we stopped at this neat dam and it was thunderously sending water through its channel.  I didn't have a picture, and forget the exact name of this place, but it was pretty neat. 

So we are just getting back and enjoying a beer and watching a bit of the golf.  It was a great day of riding.  Tomorrow we will get up and just leisurely make our way home.... 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Real Horse's Ass!

Marsha, Loch, Alden and I went out for some fun and excitement to the Wright's.  I was on Alden duty while Marsha and Loch checked out the mare and the new colt which was born on May 13th.  It is really friendly and loves to be pet.  The mother's name is Sugar, but the colt is yet to be named, I think.  The Wright's grand-daughter Molly calls it Peanut.
We also checked out the chickens, gathered some eggs, minded the baby kittens, and saw the frogs and tadpoles in their pond - Which also has really colourful water lillies....  It is always lots of fun out at the Wright's!  Sorry we missed you Joel - See you out there next time buddy.

 And to remind everyone, and myself sometime, a great picture of my sweet baby Shelly with Copper the dog!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

E-Tivity 3

3 Things I Will Do To Become a Better Leader of Technology
  • Listen: I would listen carefully to my colleagues and hear their issues regarding this topic.  Listen to what their successes are, and failures too.  I would listen to their needs and concerns.
  • Share:  I would share what I have learned in the first and second parts of this IICT course so far.  Perhaps some of the staff will know most of this content, maybe they haven't heard of any of it, and maybe some know just a bit of this.  But regardless, I would share the ideas and content I have learned.
  • Experiment:  Too often I have not started or tried a task related to technology and computers because it has intimidated me.  However I think a good leader is someone who takes initiative and tries things no matter how (un)comfortable they feel with it.  I will experiment more with technology and be an example of how almost anyone can figure out these darn things! 

Philosophy of Using Technology in Education
It is becoming increasingly important that teachers need to integrate technology into the curriculum and instructional program in order to enhance student achievement.  Each student should be provided with equal access to technology in the school setting.  To ensure students are prepared for their future in the workplace, teachers need to provide students with the opportunity to experience a wide range of systems of technology, and computer programs.  Placing items of technology in the classroom is important as it allows students to use them as tools. Students need these tools to solve problems as part of the learning process.

3 Things I Have Learned So Far In The Course
  • The types of technologies that are available for students in schools with special needs
  • I have learned a great deal about computer software programs that can be used with students and in the classroom such as BitStrip Comic Creator, Skype, Coral Photo Paint, and Hyper Studio for example
  • Elements of staff development and how it is conducted 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Education & Blogging

* A post I created for my course I am enrolled in at the moment = Perhaps some students in the class came and checked it out.  I promised them a picture of me in the class = This is an oldie. 

Blogs can be a useful tool for students and staff within a school.  The single most important aspect of it is being read (visited) by other people.  Secondly the content has to be decent to ensure returning visitors.  But these two things go hand in hand.  If the blog is visited by people who need to find information then it is a success.  I started a personal travel and adventure blog last September because I am on sabbatical this year, and I wanted to keep people posted about my whereabouts and activities.  It has been a huge success with nearly 4,000 views since September 2010.  Now it isn't an educational blog per se, (although I posted my comic and people thought it was hillarious), but I do have one started that I can adapt when I have to go back to work in September and perhap it will morph into that for a while. 

There are many ways a blog coud be used with students in a classroom:
  • To post a monthly newsletter or calendar
  • To post important upcoming dates, events, quizzes, field trips (still calendar stuff I suppose)
  • To list homework (daily or weekly)
  • To inform about expectations in the curriculum
  • To highlight key successes in the class
  • To inform students about school or board news and issues
  • To put web site links to curriculum expectations
* I would never ever:
  • post a picture of a student in the class on a blog
  • post test results of students in the class on a blog
  • write an ancedotal comment about a particular student on a blog
As far as using a blog with staff members in a school, many of the same things come to mind that I listed already.  However I would add:
  • To post a school's mission statement and various policies (computer for example)
  • To list or inform teachers about federation issues or collective bargening things
  • To post the minutes of staff or division meetings for others to read if they were absent
  • You can create a survey on a blog and staff could respond to a questionaire about a particular topic

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Trevor

June 1st is my brother's birthday.  He is 34 this year.  Happy Birthday you old dog! 

I haven't called him today or sent him anything - But I thought I would create a post (letter) is his honour as a gift.  A crap gift perhaps....  But I am thinking of him.


I wanted to send a few quick words let you know personally what a fantastic time I had out in Rossland with you and your family this winter.  It has been the highlight of my 8 month sabbatical so far, and I know it will still be the highlight after it is finished when I am back to work.
I really enjoyed playing on your hockey team and being an "Ice Hawk" with your friends.  I can't remember if we have ever played on the same hockey team together...  It was long overdue at any rate and I am thankful we got this chance.
I also really liked going skiing with you.  Meeting you at the hill on Tuesdays while you were patrolling was always a highlight for me.  I am really impressed by how well you handle yourself on the slopes.
Another highlight I can not, nor will I ever forget, is going for a run with you on Christmas morning in Vernon.  Unreal! 
Most of all I looked forward to the time I spent with Tara, Cole, Grayson and yourself.  The four of you are one hell of a smooth operating machine.  I loved taking the boys out on the GT SnowRacer, out for a walk, and even babysitting while you guys were out. 
Anyhow it'll be too late, as far as I am concerned, until the next time our paths cross.  Nevertheless take great care of yourself, that terrific family, and have a wonderful 34th year of your life.