Hopefully, you remember the blog post from yesterday to help put this in context. We were without electricity for 32 hours. It’s funny how it impacted so many things that we take for granted.

The biggy was having no heat. Electricity is used to operate the thermostat which controls the furnace. The pilot light for the furnace was on but without the rest, boy, it was cold.

My friend, Peter McAsh, sent me a message…

Our society relies on electricity.

That really came back to hit me.

What we would like to haveWhat our reality was
FurnaceBlankets and a duvet, the gas fireplace in the rec room
LightsFlashlight and lantern
TelevisionSounddock with an iPod until it died
Uninterruptable power sourceA UPS that was there until it died
A drive to somewhere warmTwo powerlines on the road blocking north and south paths
A nice dinnerPot pies on the Barbeque
Internet accessNothing but a cell phone – no electricity
Christmas lights

We were able to stay in contact with family through our cell phones but, as time went on, that was becoming problematic. Every phone call or internet access took a bit from the battery.

I ended up having to work on a solution. Fortunately, I had a couple of small battery packs that I got as gifts at conferences. They did a pretty good job of providing at least some charge to the phones until they ran out. I felt kind of good since they had been on my desk and for some reason, I felt compelled to charge them a couple of weeks ago!

When they died, the drain on the phones started all over again.

This time, I opened our laptops and plugged the phones into the USB ports. Those laptops weren’t doing anything anyhow so they might as well work as battery packs. The problem is that without anybody at the keyboard, they would put themselves to sleep. So, I kept reaching over and tapping the space bar to keep them alive.

There came a time when those wires across the road got pulled away and we were able to get out. We gathered our phones and cables and were off to visit family and get charged — and get coffee.

It was interesting to look back now. At every turn, a bit of electricity would power something that would offer a solution.

This blog was even hit. Normally, I write a post while having my second coffee of the day. This happens after the morning dog walk. I came home to no power, no coffee, and therefore no blog post.

Maybe Peter was correct.


Whatever happened to …

… the power?

Better late than never, I guess.  This would normally have been a Sunday morning post but read on …

I’m writing this offline on my Chromebook, watching it try to attach to the internet.  There is none so give it up, computer.  When this actually gets posted will be anyone’s guess at this point.

This past Saturday morning, like every morning, Jaimie and I went for our morning constitutional.  We were almost at our turnaround point when it really started to rain and get windy.  We turned around and headed back.  It got even windier.

Now, we live on a concession road with a wide open field and the wind really picks up and howls, particularly in the winter.  We’re good walkers; we walk facing the traffic but as we started the last leg of our walk, it got really windy.  So windy, in fact, that we were both blown off the road into the gravel.

Then, it happened.  We were on the east side of the road and I heard a bang behind me.  I turned and saw that a hydro pole, on the west side of the road, had snapped in the middle and the top of it landed almost dead centre of the road. Fortunately, we were on the other side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.

I turned back to see a domino effect as pole after pole snapped the same way and their tops all hit the centre of the road.  Sparks were flying everywhere.  We figured we’d best be getting home.  When we got to the neighbour’s house, the line from the hydro lines to their house was lying across the road.

I remember enough of Elmer the Safety Elephant to not touch it.  I might have been lucky enough to step over but I didn’t know about Jaimie.  So, we headed cross country to avoid it and got home safely.  

All in all, I counted seven hydro poles that had snapped and were lying in the middle of the road.  We called 911 and the person answering probably didn’t believe us but said that she’d let everyone who needed to know, know.

Later, I checked Facebook and people throughout town were reporting power outages and priorities.  The power to Tim Horton’s was out!  Apparently, there was a huge lineup at McDonald’s.  I had this urge for a coffee now and I’m out of luck.  My mind thought about boiling water on the barbeque but then how do you get it through a Keurig cup?  This is starting to get serious.  

At last check of Essex Powerlines, there are all kinds of people reporting issues in Amherstburg, River Canard, and LaSalle.

Obviously, access to the internet is out although those newer poles that carry it are standing.  You do need a device to connect to it.

By dumb luck, I had charged a couple of portable batteries I got at conferences a few years ago so at least I can keep my phone alive.  

We’re not going anywhere soon; the power line to our neighbour’s house is blocking the road heading north and the line to our house is blocking the road heading south.

We even made the news – https://windsor.ctvnews.ca/section-of-concession-road-3-north-in-amherstberg-closed-due-to-downed-hydro-poles-1.6179676?cid=sm%3Atrueanthem%3Actvwindsor%3Apost

That’s our recycling bins in the video and in the pictures.

No heat (I will put the fireplace on at some point) but I’m sitting here under a duvet listening to Jaimie snore and wondering when I’ll get the chance to upload this.

For a Sunday, your thoughts…

  • Have you ever been without power?
  • Do you own a generator?
  • What’s the longest that you’ve been without power?  
  • Do you have emergency lighting?  We have four portable ones and used them all
  • If the worst hit, how much food on hand do you have?
  • Could you access your BBQ if you had to?
  • When do you figure our road will be cleared and power restored?  (Answer when this gets posted)  

As always, please share your powerful thoughts and more.

This is a regular post on doug … off the record.  All the past posts are available here.

And, here’s our answer
We’re back functional 32 hours later.  Rather than post this on a Sunday night, I’ll schedule it for tomorrow morning.  I’ll tell you, it was a rather cool night’s sleep last night!

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Regular listeners to the podcast know that there wasn’t one again this week. We weren’t able to pull it together. Tune in next week!

In the meantime, enjoy some bonus blog posts. There definitely is a connection among them.

Book Love

Amanda is back from taking and sharing incredible pictures to writing a wonderful story on her blog. I really enjoy it when people open the doors to their personal classrooms and give us a tour.

Photo By: Amanda Potts

I snagged one of her pictures that supports her assertion that there are books everywhere. That sends a very strong message to students about the expectations in the class. Even the strongest non-reader would be hard pressed to have their eyes open and not see a book and its title.

Essentially, that’s the setting for a great story about a student teacher who happened to be plopped into all this!

There’s more to the story including just how she gets all these books and makes them available to her classes.

Bringing Back the Class Read Aloud

I’m always a bit touched in the heart when a practicing teacher today gives a head nod to one of their former teachers and how something that they did impacted them for life.

I like everyone has memories of teachers that made a difference in their lives. Teachers and teacher-bloggers do it best in paying it forward.

There is a nice connection between something lost during the Covid years and reading which opens the door for Brenda discussion the process and gives a nice list of reasons why you would want to do read alouds in class.

But, I’ll bet that you knew all this (or should). What’s stopping you from bringing it to your class?

I Heard the Fall Sing

Photo By: Iyanuoluwa Akinrinola

And now for something completely different – there’s been a lot of that around here lately.

As I look out the window, I see two bare trees and another with maybe half of its leaves hanging on for dear life. I have Marianne Faithfull singing As Tears Go By in the background.

It was the perfect setting for reading this.

I love it!

Thanks for dropping by. Please click through and enjoy these wonderful posts.

Whatever happened to …

… passing notes?

Photo by Nathália Rosa on Unsplash

A very good friend of mine sent me this video.


I’ll just leave the link there and hopefully, you can click through to see it. Believe me, it’s worth the three minutes to watch. It’s sparked family discussion around here and made a bunch of us more reflective on our use of technology.

I go back to when we had 1 or 2 computers in the classroom and we had to schedule time for students to be able to use the technology. We just so wanted to predict the day when we were able to provide a computer for every student.

Even today, those institutions that do that are still very few. In many cases, parents are purchasing computers and probably even more likely, a smartphone for students. After all, who wants to be called to the office to answer a phone call from mom or dad? Let them do it in the middle of Mathematics class. They’re easily connected to the school’s wireless which gives all kinds of other connected opportunities.

It does bring a smile when I think back to my days of passing notes in class and getting caught.

Mr. Peterson, please read to the class what’s on the note?

The cool thing was that we didn’t have to use notes before and after school – we just talked with friends.

I can still remember being in the audience of speakers who held up one of the first smartphones and declared that he had more power in his hand than the computer that helped land the first man on the moon. I was always impressed that the power was there, and when I got my own smartphone, they had enough battery life to do it.

Back to the smartphone in the student’s hands. We now have enough power for all students to create digital content. Teachers too! But, if you watch the video, you know that there are so many alternatives to actually working on these devices. On the radio, yesterday morning, one of the dial-in questions was about what we did for 10 minutes a day five years ago that we now do at least 3 hours a day. Yep, use our current version of the phone.

This form of technology provides all kinds of opportunities and challenges for today’s classroom. It doesn’t take much of a stretch to see the stories mentioned in the video in real life.

So, your thoughts for today.

  • do you allow students to use smartphones in your class?
  • are they able to use a smartphone as productively as they might use a computer?
  • do you see students distracted as described in the video?
  • does being connected in this manner create other issues? bullying, for example
  • is passing notes still a thing in class still a thing or does everyone text these days?
  • would you ever consider having a student read a texting conversation to the class?
  • do you ever wonder about the future when those that will form it walk in a bunch together after school like we did but are all using their devices instead of talking to each other?
  • do you have family rules about the use of technology at home?

I’d love to read your thoughts. Please do so in the comments below.

This is a regular Sunday morning post around here. You can read all the previous posts here.

This was posted to dougpete.wordpress.com. If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Regular listeners to the voicEd Radio This Week in Ontario Edublogs show will know that it didn’t air at its regular time on Wednesday morning. It’s been pretty regular at that spot for the past 5-6 years. It’s not that it wasn’t ready to go; sometimes things happen.

The show itself has been postponed and not just ignored. The reason? We had a special guest who also programmed the show so it will happen when we can do it. Don’t worry; there will be announcements on social media. Actually, kind of a special announcement and it involves trains.

The format of this Friday blog post for the past years has been pretty consistent. The five blog posts that make the voicEd Radio show come first and that’s followed by two or three bonus posts.

This week, I’m just going to keep you wondering about the first five and go straight to the bonus posts.

Where Does the Buck Stop on Mandates??

In this very well-researched piece, Marie looks at a lot of things about masking and who does what or who could do what or who would do it if they hadn’t been told not to or … I guess the bottom line is that we haven’t got our stuff together.

You’d think that we would have learned from our horrible experiences over the past years about Covid. (Thanks to Marie’s earlier missive; I spell it this way now and I like it)

I’m scratching my head over the comment that school districts can’t mandate masks. They mandate everything else. For example, just try to go to school in anything that contravenes the school dress code and see what happens.

Try packing peanuts or having a peanut butter sandwich – yeah, but some people are allergic to peanuts. We need to protect them! End of discussion.

OK, I gave up peanut butter because of my concern for others. How is that more important and something that can be legislated and something as simple as wearing a mask out of concern for those allergic to peanuts and the kids sitting next to them?

There’s just too much finger pointing and so just where does the buck stop.

You don’t have to look hard at all to find a story about Covid. This just in….

Another large COVID-19 outbreak at Wallaceburg long term care home

That’s not peanut butter, folks. And, just who has been visiting those infirm? Any kids?

I Blame Social Media For All

The hook for me was this quote from Matthew.

I’m a teacher, so naturally, I have to blame something or someone other than myself.

He then walks us through some personal observations of the decline in student skills and the incline in the use and popularity of social media. It’s not based on the result of real research but on his observations and you get a sense of his frustrations as the post develops.

As I do before I comment publically like I am here, I read the post three or four times and get an increased appreciation for his frustration. He hits them all. Well, except for TruthSocial and I don’t see him apologizing for that anytime soon.

Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

We used to say that “once the kids are in the room and the door is close, I’m in charge”. That’s one of the cutesy sayings that really isn’t true when you have an administration that may not support you or you’re even leary enough to duplicate a story because the kids might not be able to follow along.

I would think this is a challenge to all administrators and board officials who are setting priorities and direction. Is what you’re mandating really working?

I do have a question for Matthew though – with so many of us getting Mastodon accounts, are things going to get worse or better?

Things are about to get nipplely

So, Doug made up a word. That was enough to get me to read this post.

It’s a short little piece written at the expense of renaissance artists. What, indeed, if current technology was able to look behind a painting or a layer of paint on a painting?

It’s happened before.

Artwork hidden under Picasso painting revealed by x-ray

Is the next big bit of investigative reporting going to be how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle came to be named Donatello?

Hmmm, that didn’t take as long as my regular Friday posts do!

Follow these authors on Twitter

  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Lord Douglas McDowall – @dougzone2_1

This is a regular Friday post around here. You can read them all here.