This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Good Friday morning. It’s time to check in on some great writing from Ontario Edubloggers.


Writing on the TESLOntario Blog, Jennifer Hutchison writes a post that will resonate with so many educators over the past while. Many people have written about being tired, exhausted, burned out, …

Jennifer takes it a step further. Other than the physical exhaustion, are there other things about your body that are having difficulties? And, if you’re feeling any of these issues, how does it play out for you on a personal basis?

She digs nicely into a person’s Physical Health, their Motivation and Mental Health. So, what can you do about it? She offers a number of suggestions and they centre around getting away from that screen.

Beyond the physical relief, there’s also a teaching relief to be considered. Locked into a room with little faces in windows on your computer may have generated more than normal use for software applications, in some cases applications that wouldn’t have been chosen in the best of scenarios. So, why continue to use them?

Jennifer helps diagnose and then offers solutions. It’s a good read for all.

I bundled the next posts from Rabia Khokhar and Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge in my own reading. Both of them deal nicely with the concept of Community. I got on board with making digital connections years ago and Will Richardson was my inspiration. I bought his book; I bought into his concept of building community; I agreed that you should be found on the internet, doing good things.

The reality is that back then there were just a few of us doing this and we were really looking for other techie people to connect with. As I read the posts from these ladies, I’m struck by how they’re aware of and using the same concept of community connections but their use is so much more sophisticated. Yes, the tools have got a great deal better but it’s just not for sharing new insights about technology anymore.

A Reflection: ‘Community’ is the heart of Teaching and Learning

The title of Rabia’s post sells itself. I suspect that every educator considers their classroom a community at varying levels throughout the school year and that’s a good thing. Rabia notes:

I believe community is a broad term. We are part of many communities such as in the classroom, wider school as well the broader neighbourhood/world context.

Technology facilitates connections that go well beyond the classroom walls and opens all kinds of other opportunities. She shares a story of working with adult learner refugees from Burma. What a terrific opportunity for a young educator at a Faculty of Education! The insights that she gained from that experience is so impressive. That community inside a classroom is one thing but extending outward affords so many other opportunities.

The image that she includes in the post speaks so clearly. There was a time when we would sit in rows all facing the same direction, not daring to talk to others. Now, we see a sense of community with the gathering of students around a table or groups of tabs, sharing in the learning. Well executed, you’d be hard pressed to tell where the front of the classroom is.

Equity and Inclusion in Education

Writing on the Teach Better blog, Nilmini puts her concept of community out for all to see with a focus on equity and inclusion. We now know that it just doesn’t happen; it has to be worked at.

The post starts with a TL;DR which often is an invitation to skip the rest of the article but I found that it brought me in looking for more.

  • Classroom management and creating a positive school culture are part of equity and inclusion.
  • Build meaningful relationships with students, colleagues, and the community.
  • Be a role model.
  • Don’t forget you are human and so are your students.
  • Be true to yourself. Be the good for others.

The post, I found, is a call to action with three concerns.

  • The most important thing: relationships.
  • Practice what you preach.
  • Hold yourself accountable.

Of course, each of these is broken out and described nicely. I’ll bet that you will pull inspiration for self-improvement immediately.

The concept of being a role model is interesting. Do we want students to be impressed with the “sage on the stage” being the sole provider of content? Or do we want to model a constant learner for them instead?

Fidget Toys-Tools (For Me)

Confession time, here – this was all new learning for me thanks to Diana Maliszewski. If you’d asked me what a Fidget was, I’d smile and talk about Fidget spinners and we did get a couple of them to give as Christmas gifts a couple of years ago. If I recall, they were difficult to find and quite pricey as everyone had to have one. It was a great lesson of supply and demand.

Thanks to Diana, this post opened an entire world for me. Fidget spinners are passe; there’s a whole new world of fidgets out there. She talked about an “infinite bubble wrap” and comes with a picture.

Photo courtesy of Diana Maliszewski

I want one! I had to stop in my tracks when she talked about getting a box of random Fidget toys. So, I went shopping.

It looks like so much fun. I could really get into this as a form of self-regulation by trial and error.

Riding the Rollercoaster

Just imagine being the head of a school that got hit by a hurricane. That happened to Ann Marie Luce and that set the stage for this blog post. That calls for a song.

So, how do you start over in a school setting? Ann Marie shares with us the story of getting forms, permissions, police checks, etc.

The million dollar question though is “where”. That took her and her team on a tour of New Orleans looking for a place and she shares the journey in the post. She had me pondering what would happen in my community if the secondary school suddenly went away. Where would you house everyone?

A great read and Ann Marie drags you in and takes you for the ride.

Spoiler – it has a happy ending (I think) and you need to read the followup post.

Lessons from the Earth and Beyond – Learning from the Stars

If you’re reading this on the 3rd, you’ll have missed the launch on the 2nd of this resource.

Together Sandra Indian (Ojibways of Onigaming) and Jodie Williams (Co-Chair of FNMIEAO) will provide teachers with an over of the new resource Lessons From Beyond.

Hopefully, the launch will be recorded for later playback.

In the meantime, the complete resource can be accessed online.


The resource is identified for students in Grades 6-8.

An interview with Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge

Finally, I’m going to conclude by calling my own number. (football reference)

If you missed it on Monday, I had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge. I always enjoy the chance when people say “yes” to an interview and doing some research to find out what makes them tick and then share it with anyone who cares to drop by.

Please take the time to click through and enjoy all these posts.

Then, for more, follow these educators on Twitter.

  • Jennifer Hutchison – @TESLOntario
  • Rabia Khokar – @Rabia_Khokhar1
  • Nilmini Ratwatte-Hensdridge – @NRatwatte
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Ann Marie Luce – @turnmeluce
  • Janice Williams – @staoapso

The voicEd Radio show where Stephen Hurley and I discussed these posts is available to listen here.


OTR Links 12/03/2021

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