This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I’m not quite sure what to say here. Normally, I’d wish everyone a good return to school on Monday after the March Break. But, it’s April and nobody’s going back to a school building on Monday although classes resume in some places and teachers are getting ready for the day to resume online classes on Tuesday. I think we should just relish the fact that it’s Friday and just pretend that it’s a good day. Agreed?

Oh, and read some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


How To Easily Create Bitmoji Stickers in Google Drawings

Wednesday was a special edition of This Week in Ontario Edublogs. Since educators are on holiday which involves not going anywhere, I reached out to the EduGals who joined Stephen Hurley and me on our voicEd Radio show. They were absolutely delightful to have a conversation with and I gained an extra level of appreciation from where they’re coming from and their positive approach to education and technology in education.

This post from them I think is timely now that we’re returning, in Ontario, to a bout of learning from home which means a whole lot of digital. While everyone appreciates a numeric mark or a letter, how about something a little more exciting and digital? Stickers!

It’s a long post, full of screen captures that will take you through the process along with descriptive text. Alternatively, they’ve prepared a YouTube video if that works better for you.

This might be just what you need to change your game.


The good, bad and ugly of online learning

Charles Pascal pretty much has it covered in the title of this post. The comments to this post add even more fuel to his premise.

To be clear, there really isn’t anything wrong with online learning. As Charles notes, it’s been done for over 100 years in Ontario. For students, the ability to take a course online is a real solution for scenarios like a course not being offered at their school for whatever reason, the need for an additional credit, the ability to keep up with studies if forced to be home for sickness reasons, etc.

For those who are not educators, the shift to requiring four courses for graduation or to just pull the plug on a return to school and doing everything online is seen as an easy educationally valid “pivot”. (Gawd, I hate that word)

If we’re learned anything from what’s happened over the past year, it’s that a seemingly simple change to online learning for everyone just isn’t a quick and easy solution. There is so much to be factored in. We’re now seeing some school districts taking next Monday as an adjustment day. As my old employer has on their website:

On Monday, the 19th, both elementary and secondary teachers will connect with their students to make sure they’re ready for the following day and determine any technical needs and access to resources. They will also provide students with some work for the day they can complete, independently.

from https://www.publicboard.ca/News/ourstories/RemoteLearningUpdate/Pages/default.aspx#/= April 15, 2021

Clear and supportive efforts from a government are needed at this time and Charles shares his thoughts about what he see and what he doesn’t see right now.

A very good read.


The Lab That Isn’t A Lab

Normally, a post like this would get a read from me and then I’d move on because I like to have current blog posts on this Friday post of mine. From Tim King, this goes back to 2012 but I think it’s worth another look.

I can’t speak for Tim’s reality but, in my old school, when scheduling came along all the department heads were brought together to try to allocate classes to appropriate rooms and resources. Personally, even as computer science teacher, I wouldn’t want to be in a computer lab. There is a need for planning, collaboration, problem solving even before a finger is laid on a keyboard. If you think of the typical hard technology classroom, it has two distinct areas – desks and then the saws, lathes, welding, equipment, etc. in another. In my old high school, we had a program where students could learn to sew or cook and they sure weren’t plunked into a room full of sewing machines or in the kitchen!

Tim ended up being assigned to a computer lab and he didn’t want it. You see; his subject to be taught is computer engineering, which if you care to look at the expectations, is all about the nets and bolts of tearing apart computer components and putting them back together. It’s hardly the setting that the district IT Support Team would want done on a computer lab that would have been installed and customized over the summer. You can read “customized” as meaning that all the fun as been taken out of the computer so that they are reliably working day by day.

I know that we used to invite computer engineering teachers to a warehouse where the computers to be retired were housed so that they could select an appropriate number and type for their program.

There are all kinds of permutations for how this could happen.

But, beyond the discussion of Tim’s classroom and I’ll bet he’s not alone, there’s a bigger message about top down efficiency decisions made arbitrarily and expecting good intentioned teachers to make it work. You wouldn’t put a French class, for example, into a room outfitted for English classes just because there are a lot of new books there without seeing if they’re appropriate.

It really is a matter of understanding all the courses and all the resources and listening to those involved to come up with the best solution.


It’s Getting Ridiculous

I love the reference to basketball that Matthew Morris starts out with. After all, I’m not a Kings fan but there’d be screaming if he ever said something about the Pistons.

In the post, he shares his feelings about going into a school of 200 people every day during our current situation. High in his mind is the case of the Toronto teacher who is intubated in a hospital.

I’m glad that he brought up the news stories – everywhere it’s the same. Local doom and gloom and COVID numbers for the first 10 minutes or so and then a shift to something else. I can’t help but note that the stories are the same and that I could match his CP24 with CTVWindsor and there wouldn’t be much of a change.

Ridiculous is his summary word for what he’s seeing. I agree but would add a couple of colourful adjectives before ridiculous if I was writing this post.


The 500 – #375 – Late For The Sky – Jackson Browne

First up, an apology. Apparently during the voicEd Radio show, we got Marc Hodgkinson’s name wrong. That should never happen.

I check in with his blog when my RSS reader flags that he has a new post. I’m really enjoying his working through “The 500” Greatest Albums of All Time.

This time, it’s the “Late For The Sky” album by Jackson Browne. I was pleasantly pleased with this post. I thought that I knew much of Browne’s work. As it turns out, I was completely wrong.

From the album, I only knew Before the Deluge

But the rest was new music for me. This album was released in 1974. Man, I missed so much!


Nothing is Better Than My Classroom

It was wonderful to see Sarah Leroux back and contributing to her blog.

This post is a reflection of her teaching from at home. It sounds like she has a great workspace with all the amenities and that’s a good thing. But, apparently it pales when compared to her classroom.

Can you agree with this sentiment?

I understand that it may not be the safest place for us to gather, at the moment, but as a passionate in person teacher, I live and thrive off the energy of my students. Their Aha moments, their jokes, their collaboration. Not only do I TEACH better, in class, but I truly believe, for most of my students, they LEARN better in class. 

Click through to her post and read her thoughts.

I’ll be willing to bet that you can’t disagree with her.


The P3 Ends- But the Memories Live On

You’ve got to feel for Noa Daniel.

She had a real niche in the blogging, podcasting space with her P3 collections. Three songs are submitted and Noa crafts them into a discussion for the podcast. Between the interview and the post-production, you can tell that she’s put so much into each episode.

I had the honour to be on her show and I was number 61. Her complete collection at Spotify is 158 episodes. That’s quite impressive. Sadly, it has come to an end and Noa explains why in the post.

My songs were:

  • Blue Hawaii – Elvis Presley
  • Growin’ Up – Bruce Springsteen
  • Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

It was a great experience to be asked to join Noa for the show.


On this Friday, I hope that you can click through and enjoy these posts as much as I did.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher
  • Sarah Anne Leroux – @sarahanneleroux
  • Noa Daniel – @noasbobs

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


That sigh that you just heard was from the collection of Ontario Educators on the last Friday before the Spring Break. Days like this are becoming milestones, it seems. It’s a chance to acknowledge some of the great writing going on from around the province.


Your Moment: Getting You Ready for Retirement (OTPP Retirement Planning Webinars)

For many educators, the next big milestone will be the end of the school year and the end of a career in education.

What comes next?

Getting ready for retirement is of importance to these people.

In this blog post, Peter Beens shares the times and dates for some retirement seminars from the Ontario Teacher’ Pension Plan. If you’re calling it a career, this is something that you should do for yourself as you plan your future.

“Next Steps” will take on an additional meaning!


This is the end/beginning #SOL21 31/31

Amanda Potts is part of the Slice of Life project and has been doing so for four years. The big event is to write once a day for the entire month of March. This is her culminating post.

I liked her philosophy about why she continued to write. I do think that bloggers are a special community. I’ve tried to build and support that community in the province here. It’s interesting when you think in terms of community; we can build it, we can interact with each other, but realistically most of us will never meet in real life.

Yet, we remain part of whatever this elusive group happens to be and that’s pretty important in my mind. I guess a tip of the cap needs to go to our all teachers who encouraged good writing skills in school. They equipped us with the ability to do this.

Amanda has a moment of inspiration in this post that I think we all need to stop and ponder for a little bit in the spring of the year. What happens when you pull back that underbrush and everything that has accumulated over the winter?

It’s a message that we all need right now.


Doing hard things 31/31 #SOL

Another Slice of Life post to be shared comes from Melanie White.

So nicely done, she gives us an insight as to why this March has been hard on her. I suspect that she speaks for so many educators. It has indeed been hard and nobody wants to switch to the news to see what sort of alternate reality has emerged on any particular day.

Melanie notes that she uses her blog and her writing to create her own alternate world at times. I really thought that that description was particularly powerful. I know that there is all kinds of frustration and worry among all. Could sitting down and writing in this new world be a coping mechanism that would be good for all?

It couldn’t hurt.

If nothing else, it would be a break in the teach/mark/teach/mark routine.


Slice of Life: Words

The third Slice of Life blog post comes from Lisa Corbett. She’s been doing this for, gasp, fourteen years. Wow.

Wow, just wow.

March has been a challenge for her as well — wishing to write and then discarding efforts lest she get too emotional about putting her thoughts to text.

Many times this month I would sit down intending to write one thing, the thing I’d been thinking about all day, only to discover I had so many other things that needed to come out.

It got me thinking about why so many people do blog. I suspect that, for most, it truly is a cathartic experience and a real release.

I know that, personally, I use it as a way to get something free and clear from my mind. There’s something special about knowing that it’s out there so I don’t have to struggle to remember; I’ll just go back and re-read it. I know that our minds are amazing things but they have to have their own limits too!

If you’ve ever been in a classroom, you can’t help but empathise with the emotional stories that Lisa shares. We all have them and we’ve all had to deal with them.


Changing school from solving problems to dealing with problems – A way forward (part 2)

I’ve been waiting for this post, a followup to “Part 1” from Dave Cormier.

In Part 1, he took us through his thoughts about the Chegg-ification of education. I think that we all know that the goal of education has to be more than the regurgitation of facts. Particularly in an information rich society where you can find 100 answers easily with a quick DuckDuckGo search.

So, if answers are so easy to find, then maybe we refine the question to find the “best” answer from among those 100?

In this post, Dave takes us much deeper than that. He gives us the example…

“How many watts of power does your apartment use” becomes “What is the best way to reduce the number of watts your apartment uses”.

So, go ahead and shift some gears here. I think it’s tough to argue with his logic. I think we’d all like to think that we’re teaching students to be individual thinkers and problem solvers.

All of this stems from the original premise of the “Purpose of Education” which Dave starting thinking/blogging about ten years ago.

I know that I’m stuck in my own mindset of what education and school should be like and look like. At every level of education that I’ve been in, there was a series of assessments followed by an evaluation from someone who presumably knows more about the subject area being studied than me. After all, that’s how education works. Imagine having to assess thirty different solutions to a problem. Do our sense of marks/grades have to go away and move to a fail/pass scenario?

Dave’s got my head spinning thinking about this and he promises a Part 3 to this where he takes on the notion of what a problem is and how do you present it effectively which my old mindset is interpreting “do I have to be taught how to solve a problem in order to solve another problem?”

I can’t wait for this Part 3.


Old Fellas New Music

Paul McGuire is back with a new partner and a new podcast. The partner is Bob Kennedy and the podcast is

I like the premise. I enjoy music from all sources and I enjoy listening to new music when I can find it. I can’t help but think about my youth and how our radios were permanently tuned to CKLW, The Big 8 where we didn’t have to find our own new music. Big Jim Edwards, Pat Holiday, Ted Richards, Charlie O’Brien, Tom Shannon, Dave Shafer, and more found it for us. Actually, they just took the top 40 and played it over and over for us. We knew every song and every lyric.

We live in a different world now. Yes, we could just turn on the Oldies station and relive the past. I’m hoping this podcast will introduce me to some great new music.

In the post, Paul points us to the Podcast and a Spotify playlist so that we can enjoy what he and Bob have been listening to. I had the playlist going in the background while typing and it was refreshing to have new music.


The Frailty of the Body

Joan Vinall-Cox shares a short mix of media in this post.

It’s a poem about the human body posted next to a shadowy image which I’m assuming is Joan.

I’m taken a bit by this poem and I fully understand that, for me, it’s about living in the times that we live in.

We’ve been able to heal broken bones, can fix skin problems, adjust eyesight, have a solution for the common cold, and yet the world comes to its knees with a new virus.


I’ll sign off with a wish for a restful next week for you. For some of you, the option of getting a vaccine becomes possible.

Then, follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Peter Beens – @pbeens
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Dave Cormier – @davecormier
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Dr. Joan Vinall-Cox – @DrJoanVinallCox

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Another week; another collection of great blog posts from Ontario Educators.


Beginning a New Job

In a time when I’ve seen people happy to reach retirement and others who are wishing for retirement, there’s Terry Whitmell.

She’s starting a new job in educational leadership. You’ll have to read the post to find out where and what.

It was just a few weeks ago when we looked at a blog post from here talking about assisting with home schooling in kindergarten. How things can change!

I found this an interesting post to read about the things that go through an educator’s mind in a situation like this. In the post, she does break her thinking into five areas:

  • You need a lot more “stuff” to begin work in 2021, especially in a pandemic
  • You need to get to know a lot more people
  • With social media you can easily make “faux pas”!
  • It’s not as simple as “getting the keys”
  • Your identity needs to be more explicitly communicated (Terry/Theresa)

And, within each area, she shares her thinking. I’ll bet that many of the things you’ll have well under control but there may be a few items that you need to think about.

I’m sure that she would appreciate any advice in the comments to this post.


A Pedagogy of Kindness

These days, you often see this sentiment …

Laura Elliott had this sort of sentiment as she went through and redid her educational philosophy. It might seem to be a straight forward decision but Laura really describes how the sentiment applies in so many ways.

Of particular interest to me was the part of the blog post when she talked about the necessity for students to actually trust their teacher. That will make you stop and think for a bit. It seems like a simple concept but when you think of the alternatives like what would make a student mistrust a teacher, you really can see where she’s headed with this concept.

We all need inspirational moments these days; I suspect that reading and reflecting on this post will be one for you.


It’s Your Writing Spiral Now! So Then Who Am I?

There was a great deal of learning and thinking in this recent post from Jessica Outram. She has that ability as a writer.

First; I’d never heard of the word “autoethnography” so that was my starting point.

The post is full of ideas and practical motivation pieces to get you thinking about yourself as writer. I’m pretty sure she didn’t write it with me in mind but there were so many good ideas in there to ensure that I’m writing to be true to yourself.

In school, I’m not sure that that was ever true. I seem to remember that the goal was to write like some of the authors that we had been reading in class. This goes in a different direction that seems to me would be more powerful. There are elements of thinking about your own culture and its impact on you and your impact on it. I’d never really thought about it this way before.

It just makes so much sense. We all bring out own individual backgrounds to the writing process and the chances that two of us are exactly the same are slim. So, why wouldn’t this reflective approach work and work nicely?

It’s very powerful thinking. Thanks for sharing this, Jessica. Shouldn’t everyone be encouraged to write this way?


Negative/Positive

Richard Erdmann uses his blogging space to share his ongoing challenges dealing with cancer. As such, his writing is often a different vector than some of the posts that I include here. That doesn’t validate or invalidate anyone’s words but just reinforces in my mind all the positive things that can result from blogging.

In this post, he shares the results of a biopsy. The results set the tone for the negative part of this post and the resulting disappointment.

Then, he turns around with a mindset that can only be helpful. He talks about the positive things that he’s going to be doing including mindset and daily approach and the possibility that he may be admitted to a new program at Princess Margaret Hospital to try a new treatment.

I know that we all talk about Plan As and Plan Bs in our lives. Richard’s working on Plan “E”. Let’s all wish him the best and that “E” is it.


Friday Two Cents: Perseverance

Everyone who has ever been in a classroom knows the importance of March Break. The Fall session last from September to December and the excitement sustains.

Then, the return from the break in January marks a very long stretch to the end of June. It starts with the darkest days of the school year and there are are a couple of holidays but it’s always been the Spring Break that makes that chunk of time bearable.

Throw in the current stress of COVID in the classroom and you can really understand those that lament the movement of the break.

Paul Gauchi shares his thoughts about the movement of the break from March to April. In the post, he acknowledges the stress and fatigue that so many educators are enduring.

In a normal year everyone could look forward to time off  to help recharge their batteries for that final push until June.

As we know, this is anything but a normal year.


Staff Relationships: COVID Edition

I thought that this was an interesting look at the perspective from an Occasional Teacher, Melissa Turnbull. It’s not a job that I’ve ever had nor aspired to. Just covering classes internally for other teachers was challenging enough, particularly when you don’t know the subject matter.

Occasional teachers allow the school to continue though. We always treated these people as guests when they came into our department. We had an extra desk that was available should we get one on any particular day. If we had two, it went to whoever got there first! We’d give them a tour of where rooms are, where the coffee is made, etc.

But that was in a regular school environment. As with many educational things in the days of COVID, things are much different these days. This post, from the Heart and Art blog, will give you a look at what it looks now through Melissa’s eyes.

It’s also a reminder that you can never been too friendly for those guests at your school. Isolation and all the other rules that need to be observed can really push back.


A Pandemic Fugue

It had been a while since Helen DeWaard had blogged so it was nice to see a flag by her blog in my reader and then with a title like this, I knew that I had to dive into this post. Two new words this week, courtesy of reading blog posts. Does it get much better than that?

Thankfully, Helen takes the time to provide us with a definition of the word “fugue”! I’d never heard or read it before.

I think that, in these days of COVID, we’ve all seen screen captures of video conferencing sessions with participants in their own little window. That’s become the reality for most people and we’ve all made fun of it and have seen how others can be brutal in their comments as well.

Helen provides another interesting look, a couple of examples, and an inspirational call to action.

We too can step out of our fugue and leave a legacy of our teaching and learning, just as this video models. This is a record of a moment where musicians came together purposefully, to create something meaningful and beautiful.

There’s your challenge if you’re working in an online class environment for this Friday.


Check out all these amazing posts and then follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Terry Whitmell – @TerryWhitmell
  • Laura Elliott – @lauraelliottPhD
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Richard Erdmann – @rerdmann
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Melissa Turnbull
  • Helen DeWaard – @hj_dewaard

The Wednesday morning’s edition of This Week in Ontario Edublogs is available here: https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/identity-pedagogy-and-a-meaning-of-life/

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


After yesterday afternoon with a high of 13 degrees and walking around comfortably with just a jacket, it was back to winter coat and big mittens today. Spring in Ontario. As I look out the window, I see little flakes of snow. This is nuts.

What’s not nuts are the posts this week from Ontario Edubloggers.


Celebrating Kindergarten

And it seems just like yesterday when I first went to kindergarten. It was such a traumatic experience. But, it launched my educational career. You gotta start somewhere.

On the Heart and Art Blog, Melissa Turnbull writes to remind us that this is the tenth year anniversary of full-day kindergarten. Except for having kids of my own, I figured that Grade 1 would be the end of thinking about kindergarten! Then, later in my teaching career as a computer consultant, it was my privilege to visit students and teachers in their kindergarten environment. Everything is so small. Looking up from those in the roof, we must have looked so big.

Full days changed everything for the youngest in our schools and you’ll find Melissa’s observations and links interesting to check out.

We now think of it as just the way that education is done but it was a huge shift at the time.


Getting Older

We all do it annually.

Diana Maliszewski reached another birthday milestone recently. You’ll have to click through and read her blog post to figure out which one. She doesn’t hid anything.

I love the fact that she doesn’t mind having a birthday. May that never get old. She does have one thing about birthdays that I never had. A birthday during the school year. It’s a special time where you might have something going on at school – I can remember kids’ parents bringing in cake for the class and all of us singing.

There really are no bad days for birthdays. Well, maybe mid-August when all your friends are at cottages or doing something to capture the end of the summer. And then it falls on the family reunion where your celebration is ignored because everyone is greeting everyone else and waiting for the corn on the cob to arrive. But, other than that, there are no bad days.

But I’m not bitter. I’m envious that Diana is so positive about every thing that’s happening to her as she hits another milestone and is still the enthusiastic wonderful person that she always seems to be. May that never change.

Happy Birthday, Diana.


Bottle critique

Don’t judge a blog post by the images in it. If that was the case, you might skip past this post from Alanna King. Well, unless you like a good wine.

I do like a good wine so I was drawn in by this post that was not the typical post from Alanna. As it turns out, it wasn’t too much about wine at all. It was more about design layout for some advertising pieces.

The Business educator in my was intrigued by her analysis of some different layouts and how she interpreted them. It was interesting to see the design and the strategic placement of chocolates in a couple of them. We did this exercise in Marketing classes all the time!

I had to smile just a bit to see the wine bottles lying on their sides. In our financial reach, there don’t seem to be any bottles that come with real corks anymore so there is no need to lie them on their sides.

Actually, our “vin de jour” now comes conveniently in a box. For a couple of years at university, we got into making our own wine and I learned so much about the process. Now that I’m older, it’s far more convenient to just drive into town and buy it ready to go.

And with all the great wineries in Essex County, you can go right to the source.


Girls Who Game (GWG) 2020-2021

I have great admiration for educators who go above and beyond and it’s even more amplified with all of the challenges that we have in education and society right now.

But, that doesn’t stop Zelia Tavares and Katina Papulkas from offering gaming opportunities to the young ladies involved in the Girls Who Game club. Thanks to Zelia who names names in this post, I have a couple more Ontario educators to add to my list – Kamla Rambaran and Sebastian Basualto.

The post is an update to this effort – gaming in Minecraft which seems to be very popular and I’ve yet to hear of someone who has regretted getting involved. With Zelia and her tinkering abilities, it must be a hoot for the girls.

They’re talking about designing “an eatery of the future in Minecraft”. I couldn’t help but think that I had a glimpse, growing up with the Jetsons.

But what an environment to turn the imagination loose to see what might shake out! You might not be able to create it in real life but you often can in Minecraft.


Slice of Life: She likes me so much!

I started to write “It’s the little things that matter.” But this isn’t a little thing. It’s a huge thing! It might even be the most important thing

Lisa Corbett drops just a lovely post to read in these times.

Maybe it’s because she was out in the cold doing her morning assigned duty and was looking for things. Maybe it’s something that she suspected all along and it was just reinforced. Maybe it’s just that we’re all looking for good things these days.

Whatever the reason, this post is a reminder to all that there are special relationships in education and it could be easy to overlook. Lisa didn’t; she captured the moment in her mind and blog and you’ll feel good reading about it. You may wish to keep your eyes open in the future to see it happening around you.


Exploring The World of Google Arts And Culture – E040

The Edugals, Rachel Johnson and Katie Attwell, dropped another podcast – this time about Google’s Arts and Culture product.

I’ll admit that it’s a wonderful pastime for times when I might be a little bored or I’m just looking for something inspirational and different.

For all the time that I’ve poked around in this environment, I know that there’s so much left to be explored. It’s never time wasted.

I’m mentioned various parts hers in posts from the past. I use it as a personal reminder if I ever want to follow the cookie crumbs back and re-enjoy things. The applications are so rich for the classroom and I appreciate the fact that the ‘gals took the time to share their thoughts.

If you’ve never explored this resource, this post and podcast may be just the inspiration that you need to get started.


LearningInTheLoo: Photocopier Fitness

This isn’t too depressing at all.

After reading Laura Wheeler’s post, I thought about all the time I spent staring out the window or eavesdropping on conversations going on while I was waiting for something to happen while at work.

With Laura’s list, I’m reminded of how there can be dead time in the course of the teaching day. Her list…

waiting for:

  • your copies to print
  • the staff bathroom to be free
  • your lunch to heat up in the microwave
  • the bus to arrive 
  • the bell to ring
  • students to arrive

I wasted all that waiting time doing other things. Rats!

In the graphic, Laura offers some suggestions about what you could be doing instead and doing something good for yourself.


I hope that you can find some time to click through and read all these terrific blog posts. There’s some inspiration, fun, and insights to get you thinking.

Then, follow most of them on Twitter.

  • Melissa Turnbull
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Alanna King – @banana29
  • Zelia Tavares – @ZeliaMCT
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura