Media Literacy Tuesday


I suppose this will ultimately be labelled as a Post from the Past. In the past, it would have been posted on the Monday after the Super Bowl. But,with schools re-opening yesterday, I figured it would be better posted today. I suspect people had better things to do yesterday.

This was always a big concept for a colleague of mine and I supported her with doing the research and this post. It always seemed a little out of place because with a 6:30pm start to the Super Bowl, a lot of kids would be in bed by the time all the commercials had aired. But, I guess they’ll see them eventually.

If you’re concerned about Media Literacy, waiting until the Super Bowl is probably too late. It’s something that should have been done all along. Have you checked out the resources from the Association for Media Literacy?

This year was a bit different. With the new NAFTA, Canadian television stations were allowed to override the American commercials. Around here, the local CTV station did not broadcast the game so we watched it on the Detroit CBS affiliate so we did get the American commercials.

Anyway, here’s the original post, fact checked and updated to make sure the links are current and relevant.


Could there be a bigger opportunity than the Monday Tuesday after the Super Bowl to talk about advertising and Media Literacy?

Who could forget this classic advertisement from 1984?

From yesterday, the commercial that I best remember would have been the Jason Alexander, err, Tide commercial.

Maybe the most interesting one and I’ll admit to missing it was the Reddit ad. They could only afford 5 seconds.

CBS has a page devoted to the commercials that it will show during its broadcast – http://www.cbs.com/superbowl/commercials/video/ – this should be your best source for the original content, right from the broadcaster. The link is there but I can’t get to it since it’s blocked in Canada. There’s a lesson there in itself.

If you’re still in need to seeing them all, check out this link.

Amazingly, there was a time when a media literacy lesson couldn’t be taught the day after Super Bowl.  You might have to record the commercials at home or wait for you media department to edit and distribute the commercials.  Increasingly in schools, YouTube and other media sources are unblocked, the actual advertiser is making the commercials immediately available.  And well they should to get the bang for their buck.  Today’s going price is $5M for 30 seconds. Update in 2021, they were $5.6M according to this article.

But, how do you actually plan for the lesson?

Frank Baker shares an excellent lesson plan just for times like this.

Deconstructing a TV Commercial: Media Literacy” is a terrific lesson for investigating any commercial.  He has a page devoted specifically to the Super Bowl here.

With these resources and, certainly, the tools that we have available in the classroom, this is one of those teaching moments not to be missed.

Remembrance Day


This is a “Post from the Past”.  It’s very powerful and worth a revisit and a click to the link provided in the post.


Today is Remembrance Day and it means so much to us and our way of life.

Photo Credit: Matthieu Luna via Compfight cc

We all will wear a poppy to show that we remember.  To be honest, it was more difficult this year (2020) to find a place to purchase but we did.  As noted earlier, we also purchased poppy masks to support the Legion.

My friend Sheila sent me this link.  (validated as live)

I think it’s worthy of display in classroom and at assemblies.  We focus on just what November 11 means and that’s important.  There’s another side and that’s one of hope for the future.

Visit the site and you’ll see images from 1944.

Move your cursor over the image and hold down the left mouse button and move your cursor to the right.

You’ll see a more modern picture taken from the same location.

Scroll down for even more.

The message?  There is hope going forward.  It can help to put things in perspective.

In the classroom, this easily turns into an exercise of discussion, writing, and a deeper understanding and appreciation for the day and why we are so passionate as a society to remember.

Happy World Teachers’ Day


Updated for 2020

Dated, perhaps, but still one of the greatest teaching videos!

If …

  • pulling an all-nighter now means lesson preparation or test marking
  • wardrobe malfunction means not wearing your teacher identification
  • you walk down the street wishing you had a red marker or red chalk to correct spelling errors
  • you’ve seen the sign “Sorry for the inconvience” so many times you’re convinced that you’ve been wrong all these years and where’s your red marker
  • you try out neat learning ideas with your own kids
  • you have someone else filter your web content for you and decide what applications you can use on your computer
  • you have a love/hate relationship with Staples
  • you’ve had someone else’s kid call you dad (or mom)
  • you don’t mind drinking cooled off coffee or tea
  • you have a well trained bladder

… then today’s your day.

Don’t take it from me….enjoy this.

Or this.

There are a few additions for 2020.

If …

  • you can enunciate while wearing a mask
  • have learned how not to fog up your shield
  • have become a Brightspace guru

Wait! Why do it when Schitt’s Creek does it better?

https://www.boredteachers.com/humor/teaching-in-2020-as-told-by-schitts-creek

And this…

Happy World Teachers’ Day. It’s a Saturday … enjoy knowing that you make a difference every day. No, it’s not! It’s a Monday this year.

If you’re looking for awesome Ontario Educators to follow, check out this Wakelet. That was last year’s Follow Friday.

This year’s is in this Wakelet.

Learning resources


March Break and then a two week closure of schools in the province. This puts a great deal of pressure on parents. The common wisdom/advice is to avoid large gatherings so things like hanging out at the mall generally isn’t a good idea.

I also know that many parents have cancelled family holidays that involve going out of the country or into places where there are large crowds. In fact, many of these places in the province are rightly closed down. March Break programs, swimming pools, etc.

And yet, I think that all parents recognize that this is different from a summer break in terms of the continuity of learning. They will be looking for some help. Hopefully, it goes further than just doing a Google search for resources. Teachers and Program Departments spend a great deal of time curating resources all the time that address expectations in the Ontario Curriculum. Google’s mandate is to give you the best results based upon your searching abilities and not necessarily the ones that students in the province need. It takes the skill of an educator to align content to provincial expectations and ensure that the language is Canadian and the techniques demonstrated consistent with what regularly happens in the classroom.

I thought that the Ministry of Education might be proactive and provide resources for the province. I couldn’t find anything at their education website. The announcement of school closings is here. Perhaps resources are forthcoming? Technically, the upcoming week is still a holiday.

In the meantime, educators are doing their best to help out. Over the weekend, I was tagged by a couple. I have no doubt that there will be more coming. If you develop or share something and want it placed here, just tag me with a link It could be a blog post or a curation.


Deb Weston – Stay Home Activities for Kids

Upon hearing that my students could be at home for up to 3 weeks due to an “extended March Break”, I started putting a list together of “kid” things to do. Once my students discovered I was writing this list, they gave me many more activities to keep kids busy at home.


Aviva Dunsiger – Kindergarten From Home: Here Are My Suggestions. What Are Yours?

Never would I have thought that I would need to write a post like this one, and yet, sometimes the unexpected happens. Every Friday, I start my day by reading Doug Peterson‘s This Week In Ontario Edublogs post. Just like with all of Doug’s blog posts, I know that he writes and schedules this Friday post the day before (often earlier in the day, I think). When he chose to include John Allan’s post, he wouldn’t have known that by Thursday evening we would all find out that Ontario schools would be closed for an additional two weeks following the March Break.


Finally, a “post from the past” on this blog. Just before the Bring IT, Together Conference, Neerja Punjabi and her team from TVOntario wrote a guest post on this blog about what TVO offers.

Discover new and interactive ways you can inspire curiosity, exploration, growth and learning. Bring TVO’s in-depth Current Affairs, thought-provoking Documentaries, and award-winning TVOkids content into your lessons today!

At TVO, we believe learning has the power to ignite potential – and change the world. As we get ready to celebrate TVO’s 50th birthday, we continue to create powerful learning experiences for Ontarians of all ages. We do this through TVO’s portfolio of impactful digital learning products, award-winning TVOkids content in-depth current affairs, and thought-provoking documentaries. Visit https://education.tvo.org/ for more information.

Explore TVO’s portfolio of digital learning resources to spark more moments of learning:


Award-winning, advertising-free children’s programming, games and online content that helps set children up for early success in school and in life. Visit tvokids.com.


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Seamless school-to-home math learning for grades 7-10 that includes free one-on-one online after-school math tutoring with an Ontario Certified Teacher. Visit tvomathify.com.


Ontario’s largest online high school that enables students to earn credits towards their OSSD. Offers flexible start times and 100+ courses. Visit ilc.org.


An innovative online community where educators share best practices and collaborate on new ideas to support stronger student engagement and achievement. Visit teachontario.ca.


TVO’s balanced, in-depth journalistic videos, articles and podcasts engage and inform Ontarians on issues that matter. To read articles, watch videos, listen to podcasts, and read newsletters anytime, anywhere, visit tvo.org.


Thought-provoking TVO documentaries enable you to explore social, political and current affairs through a diverse range of storytelling perspectives. Browse documentaries at tvo.org/documentaries.


Searchable by grade, subject, and keyword, TVO in the Classroom provides access to more than 10,000 videos, articles, and games to enhance in-class learning for students in grades K-12. Search at education.tvo.org/

We are proud to be a trusted partner for educators. Find what you like and bring TVO into your teaching and learning today. Visit your VLE, speak with your TELT contact and check-out TVO.org. We also support schools and classrooms through Outreach.  Send an email to Outreach@tvo.org to learn more.

Connect with TVOntario on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/tvo

Family Day


Happy Family Day holiday if you’re from a jurisdiction that celebrates it.

Or is it such a happy day?  It certainly was chosen well in the middle of winter to give an extra day of sunlight for those who go to work in the dark and return in the same. Educators know this all too well.

I was fortunate, as a teacher, to have this as a recognized holiday.  Some school districts also negotiate for a professional day on the Friday before to make for a four day stretch of no students in class.  My wife, being employed in an essential service, didn’t always have the day to spend with us.

I’m sure that, if you looked, there would be a story like this for your community.

That sort of shoots down the theory that this is a holiday.  In fact, it’s only a holiday for some.  When you think about it, many of these places will be open and operated by secondary school students and others making goodness knows how little.  On top of that, add the essential services – police, firefighters, nurses, heath care providers, snow plough drivers if it snows, etc.  Then there are the homeless; I don’t think that you’ll find them taking a day to be with family.  In addition, there will be those that have negotiated with their employer for a different day in lieu of this one.

What does family mean anymore?  In this day and age, it’s hardly a consistent mother, father, 2.4 children, and a dog.  You know all the various permutations because, as an educator, you see them all enter your classroom daily.

And, they’ll be back on Tuesday.

Just like the return from the winter holidays, it’s important to recognize that not everyone will have had the wonderful “Family Day” that was the original goal of the holiday.  In fact, the return to your classroom may be the best thing to happen to them since last week.