Same story, two takes


It was a different #FollowFriday. As I was looking up and down my Twitter lists of Ontario Educators to see who was active, there seemed to be a common thread. Tired, exhausted, and stressed out at the end of a long week. People are coping with their new job assignment reality.

Jennifer Aston put it this way.

Those that know me know that I’m an early starter to the day – 4:44 usually. Unless it was my turn to put the kids on the bus, I was early in to work – the most productive time of the day for me. Like most teachers, I start the day tired and coffee makes it better before crashing later on. On my drive in, my level of exhaustion (and the length of cars in the drive through) determined whether I got a coffee at the Tim Horton’s on Malden Road or held on to the one on Tecumseh Road.

Sadly, the big COVID news in the province was the closing of the Fellowes High School due to an outbreak there. It was reported on in a couple of ways.


The Toronto Sun had this on their landing page.

LILLEY: Teachers responsible for first Ontario school shutdown amid COVID-19 resurgence

Here, we got a chance to read the opinion and teacher bashing that is all too common. Oh, and a slam at the president of OSSTF’s educational background which had nothing to do with the story.

The CBC reported the story differently.

Pembroke school staff with COVID-19 thought they had allergies

Reporting here came from an interview on the CBC News Network with the Director of Education for the Renfrew County District School Board. He paints a story of doing things appropriately and taking action.


There is a difference in presentation between the two sources; the Toronto Sun allows for anyone to comment on the post. This lets you take the temperature of those who read the story.

According to the Government of Canada self-assessment tool when looking at symptoms,

Most common symptoms:

  • fever
  • dry cough
  • tiredness

Less common symptoms:

  • aches and pains
  • sore throat
  • diarrhoea
  • conjunctivitis
  • headache
  • loss of taste or smell
  • a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes

Serious symptoms:

  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • chest pain or pressure
  • loss of speech or movement

The advice, as we all know, is to stay away from work if you suspect anything. I’m looking at you “tiredness”.

I can’t imagine what the media coverage would be if all of those who, feeling the tiredness and exhaustion of the times, had called in and requested an occasional teacher. According to the CBC article, the staff felt they had allergies which are quite common this time of year.

We hear over and over again how “we’re all in this together”. If these are examples are taken, it’s clear that we aren’t.

The Province of Ontario assessment tool is located here.

https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/

The Ontario scoreboard is located here.

https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-cases-schools-and-child-care-centres

OTR Links 09/19/2020


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Around here, someone flipped the switch and now it’s fall. The warm days went away, replaced by cooler ones. Crickets are everywhere; there actually have been a couple of nights where we closed the windows to keep the noise down!

Not noise, but great commentary from Ontario Edubloggers it the focus of this regular Friday morning post. Please enjoy.


Calendar

As a secondary school person, it was culture shock when I visited primary classrooms, often at “Calendar Time”. It was always a big deal and I remember students highly interested in having their voice heard.

Now considerably older, calendars are important – in my digital life although This Week in Ontario Edublogs and Walk the Dog are the only two recurring events. That, and birthdays. I don’t really need that; we have a calendar on the fridge and the rules is that if it isn’t in the calendar, it won’t happen.

I remember that the calendar templates in Microsoft Publisher were crowd pleasers in the schools!

In this post, written before her teaching assignment was confirmed, Lisa Corbett shares her thoughts about the important of calendar with Grade 2 expectations. And, perhaps a different approach for doing calendars this year…


Back to School Thoughts

It was great to see Jennifer Aston back at her blog. This is another post talking about the nervousness before the return to school. She seems to have a great summer that included some camping. More on this later.

She speaks for so many educators when she lets loose about her frustrations with the Ministry of Education and the approach taken to re-opening schools that, by most accounts, excluding talking with teachers.

What a missed opportunity to work together for our deserving children!  

Besides being a teacher, Jennifer is also a mother and is very aware that emotion and words can be heard at times from an unexpected audience.

Dwelling on the negatives can really bring one down and so she does talk about some of the very positive things that she’s expecting for September. Way to go.

Back to camping; there are a number of ways to take a holiday this year – staycations (for the most of us), going to a cottage (which can be like a home away from home including internet access), or going camping. Now, camping is all over the map in terms of experience but part of it is maintaining a safe site, cooking outside, etc. I wonder if students who camped to survive the summer will be tougher when back in the classroom?


Don’tMessWithTheShield: A Little Unexpected, Humorous Teacher Inquiry

Aviva Dunsiger takes us on a little adventure with her experiences with a mask and a shield. Like all of us who wear glasses, fog becomes a very distinct enemy. Of course, I had to think about the Andy Reid shield wearing at the Kansas City football game.

Imagine teaching a class of kindergartners through that fog!

Now, I hope that my friendship with Aviva withstands this comment but she seems to be in the shield modification skill department like how she describes her ability to park. Love you, Aviva.

You might smile as you read this but I’ll bet you can see yourself doing exactly what she tried to do.

Thankfully, she had a VP with a replacement shield to save the day.


Rollercoaster

Diana Maliszewski takes us on an emotional rollercoaster that so many Ontario educators can empathize with. She found out on Thursday, September 10 what her teaching assignment would be. Think about the date and the fact that normally, school would have started September 8. Over the prior summer, teachers are likely to be engaged in planning and collecting resources for the fall.

If you’re a user of a school library, this will break your heart.

The big picture here, and Diana spells it out, is that she’s had at least a part timetable as a Teacher-Librarian for her entire career. She didn’t use the role as a selfish way to avoid teaching kids; she’s been an advocate and poster child for the transition from libraries as a repository of books to the Learning Commons that we take for granted these days.

More than that though, Diana has been a leader, coach, critical friend, presenter, advocate, champion for technology and libraries. She’s been a mainstay presenter with subject associations like the OSLA and ECOO. She refuses to accept the status quo.

The TDSB has elected to not fund Learning Commons this year.

That places Diana in a full time teaching situation; a 6/7 split. She has three concerns that she outlines in the post. All three are legitimate concerns and I wish her all the best as she undertakes this new reality.

Once she settles in, I know that she will recognize that her years of being a connected educator has made her so many connections and her above average ability to curate resources (check out her wikis) will serve her well.

I also hope that subject associations which have thrived because of the contributions of educators like Diana are there with real resources to assist this year.


Are We Prepared To Be Doing The Same Learning In The Future?

This essay from Rola Tibshirani should be required reading for everyone who emerged from the spring of emergency learning depressed.

Rola uses this post to share her insights into how things went well in her classroom and I suspect many other classrooms. It’s easy to focus on the challenges and certainly there were so many. Rola observes:

Our ecosystem during the emergency remote learning grew stronger due to the established partnership with parents and the students.

It was a slide/transition from regular classroom to teaching online. Rola observes that her success emerged from those idea connections that were already in place. I would suggest stepping back from your current reality and think objectively about what actually happened last spring.

Could your classroom be as successful as hers?

She provides a large list of events about learning, well being, and resilience.

It is so inspirational.


Talk Me Through Your Process

Any time you can take a significant educational think online, be open and collaborative, only good things can happen.

And, good things should emerge from this new intiative that Roland Chidiac describes in this post. In collaboration with Chris Cluff and Ramona Meharg, he introduces us to a new podcast devoted to getting Principal qualifications.

The podcast is a great tool to assist us in sharing our perspectives, learning from each other, and learning from others outside of our immediate circle. We are modeling our process in a public way with the hope that it will start up great discussions and encourage others to do the same. As my friend Joe Marquez likes to say, education is a collaborative sport! 

The concept sounds very interesting and the timing may well be perfect for those who are interested in this leadership role in education.


ADAPTING LESSON PLANS FOR ONLINE TEACHING

There are a lot of students whose family has elected to have them start this fall learning online. So many, in fact, that many newly created online schools have a delay in starting that put them behind the starting date for those going face to face.

As we learned last spring, there is a significant different between teaching face to face and teaching face to Zoom/Meet/Skype/Teams.

Like all things educational, engagement is a huge factor for success. Writing for the ESLOntario blog, Azi Pordel shares thoughts about the use of Microsoft Powerpoint or slides in general in the classroom for engagement. Tips on design and the rational behind slide design and process are discussed.


I hope that you can find some time to click through and enjoy all of these blog posts.

Then, make sure that you’re following these educators on Twitter.

  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Jennifer Aston – @mme_aston
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Diana Maliszewski  – @MzMollyTL
  • Rola Tibshirani – @rolat
  • Rolland Chidiac – @rchids
  • TESL Ontario – @teslontario

This is an original blog post from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

OTR Links 09/18/2020


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Why masks?


As the scoreboard tracking COVID cases in Ontario schools continues to provide a disturbing account of what’s happening, it’s time to do a little math.

Until now, we’ve just assumed that it was good and the right thing to do. Now, there’s a little mathematics behind the theory available here.

We now know that masks have an outsized effect on slowing the spread of COVID-19. And yet, some people oppose wearing masks because they view this as a personal choice rather than a public health issue.

It’s an interesting read and will help reinforce the message that we need to be wearing masks when we can’t guarantee being socially distanced from others.

If you need to convince someone to wear that mask or you need to confirm that it’s the right thing to do, this is a very good read.

No time to read but 7 minutes to learn? Check out this video.