I’m still saddened by the lack of Hallowe’en things in parts of the province as laid out by the Premier last week. Hallowe’en is the last fun event before Christmas and was always a day that I looked forward to as a child. Even in areas like around here where we aren’t the recipient of the mandate from him, everyone is encouraged to find alternatives.
Since it’s a Friday, I’d like to share with you some great blog posts that I read recently and would encourage you to check them out yourselves. As always, if you’re an Ontario Edublogger, let me know; I’d love to add you to the collection.
If you follow Aviva Dunsiger on social media, you know that this time of year, she follows the “Snails Across the Curriculum” resource. Amidst all this, she shares a story about the importance of time and how she and her partner are reminding each other to slow down so that students have more time on task.
It’s an interesting piece of advice but I’d like to see it further extended that their classroom.
Personally, in these COVID days, I find myself rushed all the time. And for no particular reason. In normal times, I linger while grocery shopping and I impulse buy; I like to browse the aisles at the LCBO; and, as I’ll talk about later, I’ll spend all kinds of time wandering bookstores when we’re at the mall.
These days, though, there’s none of that. I’ve got the floor plans of any place I’m going in to memorized and I’m basically in and out with what I had planned to do. Nothing more or nothing less. I haven’t even experimented with a new wine.
Aviva’s post and her stories about snails have got me doing a personal reality check. Maybe it’s time to slow down a bit and think about what I’m missing while I’m in such a rush. The things we learn from snails.
For Lisa Corbett, the month of September flew past. I’m hearing the same thing from all kinds of people. With all the angst that abounds, schools are now in the second month of the educational year.
Time flies when you’re having fun!
She shares some of the ways that she plans for curriculum – on her own and with personal experiences – and some of the things that have been covered in the mathematics classroom. I was a bit surprised when she talked about the use of manipulatives; many others are finding more pen and paper ways of doing things. But, we know from past experience that there’s so much more insight that can be had with hands-on activities. Yet, it’s not life as usual with them as she describes the nightly routine that she goes through to make sure they’re disinfected for the next day.
Next up – robots from the Education Centre. I wonder how you sterilize a robot?
How are you doing? Making time to check in
As I read this post from Jennifer Casa-Todd, I was reminded of an incident in my first or second year of teaching. I was walking outside the English hallway and met one of the teachers.
Me: “How are you doing?”
Him: “Why? Do you really care?”
I don’t recall what my response was but I hope that I was nice. I shared the experience with a colleague who left me know “Oh, that’s so and so”. He’s like that.
For me, it was never like that before or since. The moment still sticks with me as a result.
I still will asked people how they’re doing when I run into them. I do kind of care.
Jennifer’s post reminds us that it’s important to do these check-ins and they’re obviously much more serious these days. She shares her thoughts about the importance of doing this and also a Google document template that you can borrow and modify to make it unique to you. It’s certain to take on more importance as more classes go online. She’ll even take you to the level of mindfulness and its importance.
I hope that it’s reciprocated and that friends and colleagues are also checking in on Jennifer.
I felt compelled to include this post from Melanie White since she mentioned me! and also came down on the side of Elizabeth Lyons and centred writing!
But, I’ll be honest; I’ve read the post probably a dozen times and I’m sure that the message that she intends still eludes me.
Despite that, there still were some takeaways for me – I now know the word “chiasmus” although I’m not sure how I’d use it – and I really like the paradox that she talks about with her Grade 12 students and
the ability to intellectually hold two contradictory ideas which can both be simultaneously true;
That pretty much sums up two party politics in a nutshell.
Maybe if I’d become a librarian, I would have had some better insights to the rest of her post!
Speaking of Elizabeth Lyons, this post outlines another cheat of hers in the “one word” for the year activity that many educators take on. She’s already diverged by insisting on “one word” per month for 2020 except for October where she’s taking on the two words in the title to the post.
And she rationalizes it nicely.
Imagine being a teacher-librarian in a school. In a normal year, you’re fully booked with classes coming in for research, book exchange, readings, technology, and teachers coming in for curriculum planning assistance.
The traditional isn’t happening this year but Elizabeth is still trying to make a similar or better impact this year. The opportunities may not be as scheduled or as planned but moments that they become available are her opportunity to make her presence known.
So, the combination makes absolute sense here.
How to be an Anti-Racist in a Bookstore
This post from Matthew Morris might have been about me. It was his observation of an older white man in a bookstore. Matthew shared his thoughts about just what this man might be.
I checked so many of the boxes.
- blue jeans. Absolutely. I don’t know that I actually have any others anymore except for some really dressy ones for fancy occasions. Except, my wife would never iron my blue jeans
- plaid shirt. Maybe, although since the weather is cooler these days, it’s more likely a sweatshirt but definitely something comfortable
- grey hair and glasses – check
- cottage – no
- mid-size sedan – does a Ford Fusion count? Check? I bought mine used
- football – yes; golf – not for years – a real divergent here
- green lawn – yes, but by dumb luck; I don’t water
- retired – check
Matthew was surprised to see this man in the “community and culture” section. That could be me. For me, book stores are a place where I can go without an agenda. It’s just a nice place to spend time and just wander aimlessly throughout just looking at book titles and covers.
The part that I think that went missing was that Matthew didn’t stop and talk with the man as it sounds like he wanted to. I can’t help but think that that was an opportunity lost for both of them.
But that would be too judgmental. I put myself in Matthew’s shoes and I could understand standing back and doing nothing.
Unpacking the Invisible White Backpack in a Time of Black Lives Matter
Matthew’s post brought back a memory of this one from Deborah Weston. I’m wondering that if my comments about Matthew’s post don’t come from within my own personal Invisible White Backpack.
My knowledge of my family tree doesn’t go back very far, nowhere near what she describes in the post. I know where three of my grandparents came from – Denmark, Germany, and Great Britain and that’s about it. It never occurred to me in my younger days to dig deeper and maybe that’s because it didn’t matter. I was born in Ontario and I like to think I fit in nicely into my community.
As Deborah’s husband notes:
He knows that White people have more privilege and “it has always been that way.”
I found it interesting to read Deborah sharing her heritage and her understanding about appearances and fitting into society. A great takeaway from her post though are the activities and resources about the topic that she shares.
Please do take some time and read the blog posts from these great Ontario Edubloggers. There’s so much there.
Then, make sure that you’re following them on Twitter.
- Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
- Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
- Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
- Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
- Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
- Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
- Deborah Weston – @DPAWestonPhD
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