This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Title double-checked. Everyone was too kind or didn’t notice but I mis-typed the title of this weekly post last week to “The Week in Ontario Edublogs”. I didn’t realize it until I did my Sunday summary post and, by that time, it was too late to correct. Because of WordPress’ naming convention, I’ve now done that four times. So, add 4 to the URL of this post if you’re interested in the number of times I’ve written this regular Friday feature.

However you look at it, it’s a chance to showcase some incredible writing from Ontario Edubloggers. As always, if you know of a blog from Ontario or you’re writing one and it needs to be added to the list, just let me know. Please.

What’s in a Name?

This isn’t a new blog post but rather a transcript of an interlude from Pav Wander from a year ago. It’s still as relevant as ever.

Every teacher deals with this. You get your class lists in advance of school and are ready to welcome these bodies to your classroom. I would go over those in advance and there always seemed to be some that look like they might be a challenge. I would practice reading them out loud to my wife for feedback. Here in Essex County, it seems like you can’t win at times. My Grade 10 French class didn’t prepare for the pronunciations that some French names had adopted.

I think I had a relatively easy name to pronounce and can recall only one time with a mis-pronunciation from a University prof who called me “Petterson”. It was a bit funny but I let it slide since, due the nature of university, it might be the only time he ever uttered my name. I still remember, though, how my head snapped to attention because it was pronounced incorrectly? A little thing? No, it isn’t. It’s my name.

In this post, Pav gives us a much different and very personal story that actually reveals why she goes by Pav as opposed to her formally given name.

Reading it, also brought back a couple more memories for me.

The first was a friend of mine who is in sales and his advice was wise – a person’s name is so personal and may be the most valuable thing that a person owns. He recommended always knowing names even if you forget other things since a person’s name is the most important thing they’ll ever own. You’ll be excused for forgetting other things as long as you get the name right.

The second is another friend of mine who reinforces that notion for me. He never, ever has said “Happy Birthday” that I know of. It’s always “Happy Naming Day”. His take goes beyond the notion of “Name Day” and makes assumptions about when you actually acquire your name. Still…

In high school, one of my friends called me a different name. I wasn’t “Doug” but became “Andy” (my dad’s name) and so many of my other friends followed. So, I guess it was a nickname that kind of stuck. A few years ago, we had a high school reunion some 30-40 years later. They still remembered me as “Andy”.

So, imagine this little girl growing up with a name that seemingly everyone mispronounces. From her past, Pav gives us a personal history, a lesson in language, and the rationale for why she changed her name to what it is today. It’s actually a little emotional – I’ve always thought of the issue from the perspective of a teacher looking over class lists but reading a reflection of a little girl who constantly had her name “butchered” was eye opening and quick frankly, more than just a little sad. Obviously, she’s a very strong woman and did something about it but it’s still not right that it had to come to that.

Bananas for Baton

Man, I love this post from Diana Maliszewski. You can always count on her to come up with an idea, a concept, a thought, an inspiration that is unique and pays back so much educationally.

Everyone in education is challenged by the new set of rules dropped on them. Yes, they’re there for the safety of everyone.

I think most people feel a connection to The Boy in the Bubble these days.

Diana was inspired by a real life passion and qualification that I had no inkling that she possessed – she’s a certified Baton Coach and through her community connections ends up with a class set of batons for her students and physical education. She was quite surprised that it was adopted so well by her class.

And, it’s not one or two batons as I ranted about earlier this week. She’s got a class set and these things don’t come cheaply.

Of course, there are more rules and that’s to be expected but I just have this delightful vision of a class in the gymnasium doing some twirling and enjoying it.

Only in Mrs. Maliszewski’s class!

Given the Gift of Choice, the Voice Soars

Given all the things that are ongoing with school administrators including the rolling of a die to see if schools are closed or open after the Easter Weekend, you’d think that class visits to see student work and presentations might not be anywhere near the top of the list for principals.

But then, you probably haven’t met Sue Bruyns!

Her description of her activity in the classroom is typically COVID. She deliberately avoided a group as she circulated a class because of the “very crowded” group around them but the teacher made sure that her promise that she “skipped, until later” was kept.

The result? You need to read Sue’s post to get the full experience. I can understand her reaction. The projects were about the journey of American slaves and how they ended up in London.

I thoroughly enjoyed this inspirational story from Sue. We need more of these to remind us that there are good things happening in our world.

Sue’s post reminded me of this article from TVO. The date reminds us of so many things…

The story of Ontario’s last segregated Black school

Developing a Sense of Exploration, Wonder, Curiosity and Adventure in your Classrooms

Peter Cameron shares with us a post with no real answers. It’s a copy of a post that he sent to the National Geographic Education Certification Community particularly focusing on the words…

“exploration”, “wonder”, “curiosity” and “adventure”

All of those are good words and, if you’re a follower of Peter, you know that he exhibits this in his class, shares to his social media, and I’ve helped amplify his voice by posting here or talking about the ideas on my voicEd Radio show.

Now, as a computer science teacher, my curriculum applicability doesn’t run the range of an elementary school classroom but I like to think I did a great deal addressing “curiosity”. At the time, I had a subscription to Games magazine and when I was finished with my monthly issue, I’d put the copy in the cupboard in my classroom. They were available for students to pull and work their way through and the type of student that ends up taking computer science likes a good puzzle to solve.

Even better, if they sit down and write a computer program as a solution, you have to be impressed. Or, they’ll look at someone else’s code and just wonder “how did they do that”.

A conversation with Melanie

Thunder Bay’s biggest Melanie fan has to be Sheila Stewart and she writes about the interview conducted by Stephen Hurley on voicEd Radio with the artist. He uses the entire hour for a discussion with Melanie.

You can listen to the show here:

Look What They’ve Done To My Song ft. Melanie Safka

It’s a nice recognition to the effort that Stephen went to host the interview. Of course, this calls for a song or two.

Growing as an Artist

It was a real treat to see Colleen Rose back in action on her blog. I think we’ve all felt the strain of winter amplified by the fact that we have to stay home almost all the time.

With spring on the horizon, I think we’re looking forward to getting a number of things back into gear again. Colleen is constantly keeping her eyes open to the world around here and also beyond.

It’s the beyond that she features in this post and is the reality for so many artists these days – online exhibitions which only makes sense from a logistical point of view. The voice in the back of my head sees this as a way for traditional exhibitions to maybe grow and feature the work of even more artists than in the past.

The other part of her post brings in some technology as she goes online to connect and learn with others. Again, I can’t help but be impressed that good folks are doing that to connect and help each other.

Sure, it was always possible but did it really happen? Has our current reality opened opportunities that might now have happened otherwise? It’s always a feel good story when wonderful people I know get a chance to connect with other wonderful people.

Congratulations, Colleen.

Wrong again

Will Gourley probably never will be hired as a textbook salesperson based upon this quote in his most recent post…

I am choosing to avoid the prescribed resources from text book companies that have grown largely culturally irrelevant and unresponsive

All of this emerges from a discussion he has in this post about anti-racism and ways that he’s addressing it personally in addition to everything else that educators have to address in these times.

our roles have now expanded to include daily counselling on issues of mental health, experts at PPE, and classroom sanitizers extraordinaire. We have also become distance learning specialists, multi-modal lesson trailblazers, fearless conversationalists about issues of race and racism, and criticial thinkers on how to overcome and dismantle systemic racism and bias.

I can’t help but think that the anti-racism stance is even more important than ever and textbooks can be excused for not seeing what’s happening in our world – just turn on the 6:00 news at night and there’s yet another sad story to report. Is it time that the traditional paper textbook is just discarded and publishers move to online so they can keep pace and stay relevant?

In the meantime, Will’s description I suspect describes life for so many well meaning educators right now trying to do the very best in a world that just seems to be out to get you at every turn.

Of course, I’m writing this on the Thursday before the Friday that it’s published. I’ve double-checked the title and am humbled after reading all of these blogs posts yet again. I hope that you can find time to click through and read them all.

Then, follow these educators on Twitter.

  • Pav Wander – @PavWander
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Peter Cameron – @petectweets
  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • Colleen Rose – @ColleenKR
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley

The Week in Ontario Edublogs

Live is great but can be a challenge to make happen. This Week in Ontario Edublogs, a live show, didn’t run this week. Stephen had another commitment. It happens every now and again and previously, we’d been able to record the show and just play it back as a podcast. We couldn’t even figure out how to do that this week so took a hiatus. We’ll be back next Wednesday.

And so it begins again…….

I’m going to lead off with this good news story from Richard Erdman.

Last week, I reflected on the latest post on his blog where he’s documenting his Cancer treatment story. It was a bad news/good news type of post. Bad in that his options were becoming limited; good in that he was hoping to get into a new treatment program at Princess Margaret Hospital.

So, the good news he reports is that he got accepted into the program and continues the sharing of what’s happening in his life. It’s an interesting reflection; hospitals are a challenge at times. But, as my former superintendent was fond of saying – “If you’re going to play by the rules, you have to play by all the rules.” That means more time visiting the hospital than ever for Richard.

He’s off to this new chapter in his journey and I know that you’ll join me in wishing him every bit of success with this new treatment.

[Movie Review] Zack Snyder’s Justice League: A Story of Heroes, Villains & Redemption.

I’ll admit. I grew up with the real and true Batman – Adam West! Who could forget the Batusi?

Actually, as a fan, I do like going back and watching Batman and Superman sequels from the 1940s. YouTube has them all!

I’ve also followed the genre? (is it really a genre?) up to today.

In this post, Anthony Perrotta introduces us to the latest in the long set of media, Zack Snyder’s Justice League. He comes across as a real fan in his writing. I haven’t watched the movie yet but I, too, have seen the talk about it on social media.

It will be viewed in the future at my house.

Join me at OAME 2021, May 17-21

Andrea McPhee is presenting a couple of sessions at the upcoming OAME Conference. Like many online conferences, it will be offered online. She’s doing one session live and one that’s prerecorded.

On the left: 20... 21... OAME Toronto. Equity Counts. On the right: Fidgets and Forks: Modelling Periodic Behaviour in Real-Time, Andrea McPhee, Jarvis C.I., TDSB, @Ms_McPhee. OAME/AOEM Annual Conference May 17-21, 2021. #OAME2021 #AOEM2021 Presenting on: Thurs., May 20 @ 4 PM

I can’t help but think back to a blog post that I wrote earlier this week about the need to change presentations to reflect these times. Over the past year, teachers have mastered the art of sit ‘n git and are ready to move on to better things.

It looks like Andrea will address this and her descriptor talks about all kinds of activities that she plans to talk about. Fidget spinners, tuning forks, … all of this could be presented in a play along format.

I wish her all the best and I hope that others are looking to present active learning events addressing so many people’s current realities, at a distance.

Some key priorities for education’s new normal

Charles Pascal’s newest post will have you thinking

Imagine it’s 2041 and a group of publicly educated 20-year-olds from across Ontario have been asked how they feel about the years they spent in school. The conversation is animated and positive. They say school made them feel like they belonged.

In the post, he addresses what he feels needs direct attention now and going forward. He starts with fighting racism and ends with the concept of a new plan for leadership and how that works.

In the middle are many other well thought out topics. When you look at them in their entirety, it reminds you that education is such a complicated enterprise. There is no one simple solution that we see in the media so often. You really do have to blame the media for their short summary clips and the politicians who play to it “We’ll spare no expense” – except in the most recent budget.

Many of Charles’ points can absolutely be addressed and they should be. They need to be addressed by highly aware teachers and leaders who refuse to accept that the current reality is good going forward.

In attention to his well presented topics, the comments including one from a former Education Minister, expands on his original premise. They add value to an already great post.

This post may well be the best educational reading that you can do for yourself if you are indeed concerned about where we’re headed. Do it.

What Are Your Magical Fairy Moments?

OK, so Aviva Dunsiger tagged me in this post which kind of made me want to read about it. She’s a kind person so I wasn’t worried that it was going to be bad but I do have a reputation to uphold! She tagged one of my blog posts. It turns out that the post was from 2016. Wow, she remembered? Either her or Google…

As Aviva always seems to do with my posts, I’m going to go off on a different tangent. Not that this isn’t a wonderful post full of pictures and thoughts but I can’t help but think that so many of us can be negative at times and it’s a piece of cake to do that these days.

Somehow, Aviva always manages to find the positive and in this case it’s a reminder of some of the great people that she’s had the chance to work alongside. In a time and era when it’s so easy to find problems, she looks for and promotes the great things.

Some of those great things were attributes that people just do because they’re genuinely good people. I want to meet them someday. But I’ve also had my share of genuinely good people in my career. I’m struck by Aviva’s use of the term “magical”. I’d be willing to bet that if someone approached these people or any educator for that matter and asked about their magic, they’d just get stared at.

I’ll bet that they don’t see what they’re doing (they’re just being themselves) as magic. It’s the effect that others see where the real magic lies. And that’s amazing in itself. I think of teachers who have worked their magic on me – I see the magic; they probably just thought they were doing their job.

Maybe everyone’s job is magic and it takes a post like Aviva’s to realize it.

Birds of a Feather….

From the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, Velvet Lacasse takes us on a flight.

Into Spring.

After a long winter, we’re ready to warm up and get on with the nice weather headed into summer. Velvet was looking for a way to incorporate that via dance in her classroom or whole school community. She came up with “flocking”.

Flocking is a type of movement improvisation, where the whole group mirrors each other’s movement. Students can be organized in a straight line or in the shape of a diamond. In flocking, there is one student who leads a movement, which is followed by the other students.

She could have stopped the post there and it would have been very inspirational. But she goes over the top when she ties it to Land Acknowledge and Indigenous application of gratitude.

She explains the Thanksgiving Address, Bear Song, and Medicine Wheel teachings and what it means to her. It’s an inspiration read for great thinking and took me to places I didn’t expect.

The 500 – #378 – (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? – Oasis

I’m so glad that I found John Hodgkinson’s ongoing series of blog posts talking about the greatest 500 albums of all time. The list and his discussion take me back to great music that I hadn’t run across for a while. This post is from Oasis.

Back I went to enjoy some great music.

I love this stuff.

Better, I enjoy exploring the original music videos on YouTube. Even better than that, I really appreciate reading John’s reflection on the songs and artists.

Even though we didn’t have the radio version discussing these blog posts, you can still click through and enjoy them.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Richard Erdmann – @rerdmann
  • Anthony Perrotta – @aperrottatweets
  • Andrea McPhee – @Ms_McPhee
  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Velvet Lacasse – @velvet_lacasse
  • John Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

I thought that we were about ready for Spring but I guess it was a faux Spring. Nonetheless, don’t forget to adjust your clocks this weekend. Is this the last time we do it?

Time in the Pandemic: It was a week ago, or maybe three months ago…

On the This Week in Ontario Edublogs show, Stephen Hurley and I had a lot of fun with this post from Debbie Donsky. It took us to Yogi Berra and his classic “It’s deja vu all over again”.

Debbie takes a number of looks at the concept of time as it affects her and probably affects us all. How many times have we truly have to stop and think about just what day of the week it actually is? Her analysis gives a thoughtful comparison between circular and linear time. That really made me stop and do some reflection; after all education most certainly is linear from September to June but apply that to a circular reality. Maybe it goes a long way to describing the frustration that so many feel these days.

The star of this excellent post is an embedded sketchnote she composed while doing a book study with Colinda Clyne. Don’t skim it; enjoy what Debbie captures and think about it just a bit. You’ll be glad you did.

But, time … this post brought back a memory of this awesome Jim Croce song.

Living in an Information Rich World

In Tim King’s recent post, I can come down firmly on both sides of the fence of the issue he discusses. The connected me agrees totally with his assertion that we have information available to us any time, any where these days. Why should a student have to interrupt a lesson to ask a question that’s easily Googled or Ducked on her personal device?

On the other hand, Tim as teacher, is the authority in the classroom. Why should a student have to immediately delve through all the misinformation and advertising and distractions that going online looking for answers entails? After all, Tim knows the answer. The student’s reality may also be one where other teachers have followed the great “ban” of cell phones in the classroom and so searching personally isn’t an option.

For me, the message in this post goes beyond Tim’s frustration in this particular instance. It’s a reminder that we haven’t got our act together consistently throughout Ontario classrooms. If it was my classroom, I would side with Tim’s philosophy and use the opportunity to reinforce the notion that we want kids to be self-directed learners.

An Overview of the”new”OSSLT Online Testing Format (2021)

The first run of the online OSSLT went over so well, let’s double down again this year. What could go wrong?

If you need a flashback, Kyleen Gray takes you back.

If you’ve successfully wiped EQAO’s last disastrous attempt at an online administration of the OSSLT from your memory, let me jog it by taking a look at my blog from 2016: Online OSSLT: Titanic Disaster.

There are three areas in this thought provoking post:

  • What’s new? (with a dozen points…)
  • How to prepare students
  • What’s next?

I think that the Titanic comparison is unfair. The folks on the Titanic didn’t have prior knowledge of what could happen.

Thinking about the power in our classrooms or more importantly time to rethink the power in our classroom

I remember now why I try to have short titles for my blog posts! Jonathan So’s rather longish title kept me thinking about what he might talk about before I even got to the heart of his discussion.

It’s something as simple as “cameras on” in the online classroom to bring forth the notion of control and compliance in the classroom for Jonathan. I thought it was rather insightful; I’m not a fan of long term camera use since I tend to do other things beside looking at the green light. I’ll get up and stretch – my watch will let me know if I’m sitting for over an hour – I like to look around and stretch my eyes rather than stare forward – and undoubtedly more than what needs to be discussed here.

Jonathan brings in elements of Matthew Morris’ TEDx talk where he addresses his philosophy and 1-1 discussion with students in a kinder, gentler format.

I felt that he did a really comprehensive job analysing more than just cameras but an entire reliance on compliance for a school system to survive. There’s lots more to think about than the little green light!

Space for. Space from.

Beth Lyons follows up on her February monthly word “permission” with one for March “Space”.

In my mind, they flow so nicely together.

We’re all living in incredibly strange times and so the notion of giving oneself permission to have more space makes so much sense.

We know that things are different in 2021 so it just isn’t logical to try and fit life as usual into the real world that we’re all living in right now. Is it fair to try and squeeze all the current initiatives that teachers are involved with (and Beth names a few) into today’s real world. Or, is it time to refocus on what’s really important.

Here’s to you, Beth, a young Alan Jackson and the real world.

Chords 9/31 #SOL2021

If you’re a follower of Melania White’s blog, you’ll know that she’s on fire as of late. There’s all kinds of incredible inspiration there to get you thinking but Rush’s 2112 had me open a new tab to listen while I went back to the top and re-read her post

Music seems to have been always a big divisor between parents and children. I think I lucked out; my parents didn’t play music. That was the domain for me in my room.

But, for my own kids, only one of them appreciate good music to this day. At least by my standards. There are still things that confuse me – how can you like Tom Morello and hate Bruce Springsteen? My favourite line when they were younger was “I paid a dime and got a Nickleback”. We resolved this ongoing conflict one Christmas with headphones as gifts. I still prefer to listen to music this way with my own and also in a really dark room.

And Melanie’s description of partying in high school makes me wonder if I met her in a previous life…

Open a door, open up to the world

This was a real bonus for me. I opened my browser to find that Joel McLean had published this new post this morning.

The post is well sectioned with inspiration.

  • Prendre une CHANCE
  • Chercher l’AMÉLIORATION
  • Faire avec PASSION
  • Travailler avec ARDEUR
  • Voir le BIEN
  • Avoir un impact EXPONENTIEL

All of the sections contains very inspirational pieces of advice. So, don’t skip any of them.

But, I really hung my hat on the advice he received from his parents. It deals with accomplishment and commitment. It’s tough in the best of times but how about these days? It would be easy to roll over and just give up. But, a stronger person would persevere. I know that this blog readers are in the latter.

Please take some time to enjoy all these posts and then follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Kyleen Gray – @TCHevolution
  • Jonathan So – @MrSoClassroom
  • Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Joel Mclean – @jprofnb


The Wednesday morning podcast on voicEd Radio is available here:

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Happy Friday! I hope that everyone is well and staying safe. Please take some time to check through and read some awesome thoughts from Ontario Edubloggers.

Teachers Teaching About Things: Has The Needle Moved?

There’s no doubt about this in Matthew Morris’ mind and I’m totally on side with this.

His Exhibit A is the events that happened on September 11, 2001. He reflects on where he was and how little he was able to know about the events of that day. His Physical Education classes went on without blinking.

Certainly, a lot has changed in society since then. We can be connected to news constantly if we wish. This includes students in seats in the classroom.

So, when events like those that happen daily are almost immediately known by everyone they can’t be ignored. No longer is the advice given to Matthew at his Faculty of Education valid. Teachers need to be aware of all that’s happening around then and have skills to be able to address them, age appropriately, when questions come from students.

There’s no question here; the needle has indeed moved.


For those of you who think that Pav Wander is just a podcaster, click through and read this post. She and Chey Cheney use this space to share thoughts between podcasts.

In this case, it’s a recognition of people other than teachers, students, and administrators and their contributions to the smooth operation of the school.

She takes the time, in this post, to recognize the secretarial staff. They are constantly juggling priorities and continuing to make it happen.

It’s a nice salute to these hard working individuals and I’m sure that any that happen to read this post will be appreciative.

While Pav suggested hugs, we know that that’s not a reality right now but I’m sure that you can come up with something tangible and virtual that would be just as affective.

She uses the word “unsung” and I’ve never seen it used better.

Play with Your Creative Blocks

Oh, man, did I need this shot in the arm from Jessica Outram.

While I don’t consider myself a creative person, I do have a few good moments. She outlines and describes four things to attack this…

  • Question
  • Adapt
  • Collect
  • Act

I’ve done a great deal of thinking about this. I know that I’m not the type to be able to sit down and “be creative”. I find that I have to keep a list when I do find myself being creative. Then, in my not so creative moments, I can always turn back to the list.

I’m going to give some of her suggestions a shot and see if it can turn things around for me.

Rassembler les championnes et champions

Excuse me for this interlude…

La pandémie, c’est un événement marqueur dans l’histoire de l’humanité. Elle nous a enlevé beaucoup jusqu’à ce jour: sens de sécurité, un degré de liberté, et pour plusieurs, des personnes près de nous. En même temps, elle nous a présenté une cause commune: celle de remettre en question ce qui est vraiment important dans toutes les sphères de la vie.

This was one of the better observations about the COVID pandemic and what it has meant to education.

We all know that “experts” are a dime a dozen and for a few thousand dollars, they’ll speak to your staff meetings. Is that necessary? Joel McLean offers a better solution – surround yourself with the right people, right now. He advises to not attract the wrong people which I think is good advice but I’m not sure exactly how to do that. Maybe he’ll write another post. And maybe another one about how to handle it when the right people turn into the wrong people.

Collaboration has never been so important. People are always looking for inspiration for success. In the past, it took special events to get together; these days, a message on social media is all that it takes at times to get started.

Coin Sorting Activity

On her EveryoneCanLearnMath blog, Alice Aspinall shares this activity. I recognized it immediately. I’d used it in Grade 9 mathematics as a statistics / probability lesson and in Grade 12 Computer Science as a nested sorting and graphing activity.

The concept is relatively simple and that’s where the genius lies. You just need to rob your piggy bank and do some sorting and arranging. Alice provides a link to a template should you want it. This should set the stage for interesting followup discussion about just what students are looking at.

As I read her post and reflected on my use of it in the past, I couldn’t help but wonder if we’re watching history.

  • when was the last time you used actual money to pay for anything? Even going for a coffee, I’m a tap and go type of guy now
  • when was the last time you used a penny? I suppose if you dig deeply enough into that piggy bank…but what a start for a discussion by letting students work with historical pieces of currency!
  • the Canada / US border has been closed for a long time now. I know that if I look at the change in my pocket, there’s a mixture of currency from both countries. In Canada, they’re used interchangeably most everywhere. If you look closely at Alice’s picture, you’ll see some American coinage. Now that the border has been closed for so long, will that be a reality as we go forward?

But I am thinking … if we become a tap and go society, how would we modify this activity?

If nothing else, it’s always been a good activity for that spare change!

OLA SC 2021

Only in education would Diana Maliszewski get away with a blog post title that has so many acronyms in it.

For the uninitiated, it’s expanded to be Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2021. I’ve attended this super conference a couple of times and presented there twice. It’s a must-attend conference for every teacher-librarian and librarian for sure but I would suggest that any educator that’s using any kind of material in the classes should go at least once. It’s amazing and I understand why teacher-librarians clamor to go every year.

Alanna King sent out this wonderful acknowledgement above to Diana’s summary of the conference which was obviously virtual this year. Diana does give a great summary and I’d suggest you click through to discover the nine sessions she attended and read her observations. It’s very complete including a large number of embedded Tweets which reads like a who’s who in teacher-librarianship in the province.

Create CHANGE in the Education System

I was a little hesitant to click and read this post from Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge.

Is this really the time to bring in some sort of new pedagogy?

But, I’m glad that I did because that wasn’t the point of this post. Nilmini is proud to be a brown educator and gives a quick summary at the top of her post.

  • Educators have a responsibility to teach anti-racist perspectives.
  • Create change in the education system by seeing skin color. Give a voice to individuals from diverse backgrounds in the field of education.
  • All educational spaces and systems need to move towards change and learn and adapt to bring about systemic changes.

Then, she digs in and gives us a very personal summary of things from her perspective. This includes discussing where she grew up and the political reality of Sri Lanka.

This is a post that I most certainly could not write. But I can read and learn with empathy. Folks, this is an important post and you need to read it.

I hope that you can find some time to click through and read these blog posts and enjoy them for yourselves.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Pav Wander – @PavWander
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Joël McLean – @jprofNB
  • Alice Aspinall – @aliceaspinall
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge – @NRatwatte

Mapping it

My learning today started early in the morning. When I was done, it was filed under the category of “Why am I just learning about this now?”

In my defense, the answer is “because you’ve never had a need to do it until now.” But now that I know about it, I’ll never forget and I’ll blog about it to reinforce my learning.

It started when I read this story

This Mississauga neighbourhood has one of the highest COVID-19 percent positivity rates in Ontario

It comes from the Mississauga | online news service.

I feel badly for those people who live, work, and learn in that neighbourhood. After all, your little town or neighbourhood should be safe to live in.

Embedded in the article is a chart of a lot of areas within the province ranked from highest to lowest in terms of highest percentage positivity of COVID. I was using a small screen so had to pinch out to see the content. Other than the name of the community, the first three letters of the postal code really meant little to me.

Then, I ran into three areas in Windsor and Essex County that would be part of our Health Unit. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit | Local, relevant, and timely public health information. (

But just where are these neighbourhoods? I made a mental note that I should check the Canada Post website because they’ll have that mapped out by postal code. Then, another visual from the article clicked in. Sure, they might have use Canada Post if they had to … instead they used Google Maps and a screen capture.

Could it be that easy?

And, it was.

The three areas around here have the first three characters in their Postal Code.

  • N8T
  • N8R
  • N8H

None of these clicked. When I worked in Windsor, my Postal Code started with N9A.

Where are they? It really was as simple as entering the three characters into a Google Maps search.


If I zoom in, it completes the picture for me as the schools in the area pop up.
William G. Davis, W.J. Langlois, and Coronation.


Here, there’s Eastwood, H.J. Lassaline, Parkview, L.A. Desmarais, and Forest Glade.


And, in the Leamington area, there’s Cardinal Carter, Leamington DSS, Saint-Michel, Queen Elizabeth, Margaret D. Bennie, Mill Street, and St. Louis. Interestingly, Gore Hill which does have an N8H address wasn’t inside the boundaries on the map. Ditto for the South Shore Christian School.

I looked for a second opinion on Bing Maps and indeed the first three letters of the Postal Code were mapped nicely. Apple Maps recognized the Postal Code but just dropped a pin and didn’t map out the area.

So, why am I just learning this now? Like I said above, I never had the need before. A couple more brain cells and blog space just expanded a bit to make room for this new learning!

Did you know this? Am I just late to the party?