This Week in Ontario Edublogs


This has been another strange week but I guess it’s just another day in the life in 2020. The highlight, as always, is being able to share some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.



MAINTAINING BALANCE & THRIVING DURING COVID-19

Welcome a new voice to our blogging group – Gonul Turkdogan. She shares this post with us on the TESLOntario Blog.

I know that we hear a lot of advice about balance in these extraordinary and unique times. Actually, in education, we’ve always heard about it. Usually, it comes from someone who has things in check and therefore thinks everyone else should as well. That part is interesting and we certainly do need to hear it now, maybe more than ever.

It was the “thriving” part that really got me interested in this 11 point blog post. While all are good points, there were three that really stood out for me.

6. Currently, I am a volunteer with TESL Ontario as an Exchange Video Moderator.

For one thing, I didn’t realize that there was a moderator for things like this although it makes sense when you think about it. It’s a volunteer position and Gonul is thriving by giving back to her community in this manner.

8. I have also found it extremely satisfying to do presentations, webinars, and posters

I get this completely. There was a time when I would be a passive audience member and I got some things from sitting in a presentation. But, my world changed and my understanding grew exponentially when I started doing presentations myself. You never understand anything as deeply as you do when you teach someone else.

10. But don’t forget getting some physical exercise!

These days, exercise usually comes in the form of dog walks. There’s just something special and rewarding about turning off everything else and devoting my mind to paying attention to other things. Even something as simple as parking at the furthest distance to the school or shopping centre and hoofing it can be so rewarding.

That’s but three pieces from this post. It’s rich in advice and I would suggest reading it from top to bottom at least a few times.



Slice of Life: Walking

And, finishing Gonul’s post with exercise leads nicely into Lisa Corbett’s Slide of Life post.

She has taken upon herself to do some walking, setting new days in a row records for her. She’s currently at 166. That’s impressive and I enjoyed reading how she had one goal and then just kept stretching it. For her health and mindset, I hope that she keeps stretching.

She’s set a limit of -25 for the temperature that puts a halt to her walking. That’s legitimate and also reveals the challenge that walking is for teachers who are typically working during the warm part of the day.

My adversary for the winter time is snow ploughs. It’s always a good idea to walk facing the traffic when there are no sidewalks like around here. Except when a plough is coming.

I’ll bet that ploughs are more frequent in her world than they are in mine.



Mountain of Marking

The best insight I ever had was

“Teaching is the greatest job in the world – except for the marking”.

I think that, like most people, when I first started teaching marking involved mounds and mounds of paper all needing a number or letter assigned to it.

We’ve become more sophisticated over the years. The biggest revelation is that not everything needs to be marked! And, we’ve taken a new turn on the concept and put more emphasis on the notion of assessment and the options/benefits that it offers over traditional marking.

Click through to read Diana’s thoughts about:

  • Plickers and Clickers
  • Self- and Peer-Assessment
  • Google Forms
  • Rich Assignments with Long Completion Times
  • “In-The-Moment” Marking

I’ve done them all – the big game changer for a variety of reasons for me was the last point in Diana’s list.


Self-preservation, in the time of Covid-19

Deborah Weston never leaves anything on the table in her posts. This time, it’s a personal story of her walk through COVID and teaching at times.

Many people attempt to put a bow on many things when they talk about how teaching these days has impacted them. This post is anything but.

I’m sure that she’s sharing the sort of insights that many people have had for these past months. Her experiences in the Spring and the Fall. I think that most people feel like they’re on the end of an “easy pivot”. As we know, it’s been anything but.

That sad part in this whole post is that Deborah does share some of the health challenges that she’s had to deal with as a result. It’s a brave person that is able to that so publically.



Running a Marathon to Support the Peel Learning Foundation

Teaching and Learning has continued, as we know and Rob Ridley is sharing part of what he’s doing to keep something special in his area of the world alive.

He’s running his 41st Marathon!

This is no small feat, to be sure. I’ve seen people running these days with the goal of being able to compete in a virtual half-marathon. This takes the running concept to a whole new level.

The Foundation provides support so that students can get clothing, food, soap, deodorant, bus tickets, school supplies, backpacks and many other things. They help students in some of the hardest times of their life – and give them a hand getting through the challenges they face.



Wellness- Time to Set Priorities

Elizabeth Lyons shares her thoughts about Wellness. As regular readers know, instead of one word for 2020, she’s elected to go with one word a month.

And Wellness is her word for November.

Again, being brave and out in the open, she shares her thoughts about her own personal COVID scare.

Click through to read her post about the steps and life changes that she’s making to address it personally. If you’re feeling the pressure, you may be inclined to do some of what she’s doing.


The Burnout Blog

Any blog post that involves dogs and dog walking get my immediate attention!

For Anne-Marie Kee, she finds enjoyment and a break from walking her dogs. What’s not to like?

The balance of the post talks about the challenges she faces in her school, including the creation of a task force to deal with wellness. I like the concept described for a Wellness Wednesday approach.

Her life includes a couple of things that I’ve never experienced.

  • being a headmaster
  • working in a residential school

There really is another world out there and I appreciated reading her thoughts and action items. There was an important notion about wellness there – it’s one thing to talk to others about it and quite another to look inwardly to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself.



Part of my motivation is writing this weekly post. I’m inspired by the thinking of others. I hope that you can find time to click through and read these wonderful posts.

Make sure you’re following these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Gonul Turkdogan – @turkdogan_gonul
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Diana Maliszewski  – @MzMollyTL
  • Deb Weston – @DPAWestonPhD
  • Rob Ridley – @RangerRidley
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • @AMKeeLCS – Anne-Marie Kee

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday, the 13th. Do yourself a favour and take a pass on Port Dover today. Be safe.

Check out some great blogging from Ontario Edubloggers instead.


Treaty Recognition Week – Guest Post by Tamara Bolotenko

Larissa Aradj lent blogging space to Tamara Bolotenko to share some of her thoughts about Treaty Recognition Week. In the post, she shared some sobering realities for many of us.

In our education, we had no sense of the realities that current students are understanding. Like Tamara, I learned in school that Canada was discovered by Jacques Cartier. I guess this land was just sitting around waiting to be discovered? Nothing else was happening? As she notes, so much of what we learned was so Eurocentric and it’s only later in life that that was just part of the story.

Her post is interesting and quite humbling to read and I would encourage you to do so. As part of an AQ course, she had to create a resource – she used YouTube- and she has them embedded in both English and French.

Kudos to her for being so open with her learning.


Walking On Sun Branches

Jessica Outram has done it again!

In this post, complete with pictures, she reminds me of the difference between me and creative people. I’ve always maintained that creative types see things that I would normally just walk by, sometimes paying a bit of attention, most of the times not.

Interestingly, she ties some wonderful photographs with her thoughts and endeavours surrounding creativity.

The images are surrounded by some clever wordsmithing and makes for an interesting read, look, and ponder.

Inspired by this post which I had bookmarked for this blog post and Wednesday morning’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs, my wife and I took a trip to Point Pelee. It’s a luxury that we normally enjoy a few times over the summer but we stayed away this year. We had a bit of incredible November weather and so did spend an afternoon there. I took my phone out and made a conscious effort during our outing and took some pictures of my own.

They’re not in the same class as Jessica’s art but I am kind of proud that I did take the time to find some interesting shots and will assemble them into a blog post for Saturday.

Thanks, Jessica. I love it when people push me.


About those special days at school pt 1.
About those special days at school Pt 2.

From the Heart and Art of Education blog, Will Gourley shares a couple of blog posts describing his fall.

Part 1 deals with some thoughts about inclusion and equity. These are important concepts and Will’s Grade 4 and 5 class were up to the challenge.

Some quotes from the students in the post…

These are wonderful comments from these students.

You have to ask yourself — if they feel this way now but change their opinions later as they get older, what happened? How can education be the enduring answer?

In Part 2, Will gives us a week by week summary of how things when for him in October. In education, it was a month like no other. It’s supposed to be the time for sugar and pumpkin distractions. That’s all different this year.

Will speaks, I know, for so many educators when he notes that October is also the time for “Meet the teacher”, “Curriculum nights”, and of course Progress Reports.

Thrown into this month like no other, there were also a number of teachers thrown adrift by reorganization of schools in addition to online, hybrid, face to face, and whatever buzzword describes your reality.

These are a great pair of blog posts and it wouldn’t be fair to include only one of them here.


Finding Balance With Hybrid Learning – E026

During our radio show, Stephen Hurley asked me if I felt awkward using the term EduGals to describe the authors of this blog post. I had to confess; yes, I did but it’s the name that they elected to use so we use.

They do acknowledge that it’s tough times for all educators.

It’s difficult to pinpoint just one audience for this post, based upon their podcast on the topic. From beginning to end, it’s rich with naming various technologies and how they can be used in the classrooms of today.

As I mentioned in the show, this is truly the time for technology to step up and deliver for all teachers. I think that many will acknowledge that serious and deep use of technology only occurred when school classrooms were closed in the spring. So many people were unprepared for the wide variety of tools that are available to tackle the job.

In this post, Rachel and Katie identify some of their favourite tools and deliver an engaging analysis and how they might be used by the connected educator. It’s not a short blog post but identifies so many tools that are worth the time to explore and see if they fit into your teaching flow.

This post is well worth the read.


Catching Up

It was great to see a new post to Peter Cameron’s blog. It had been a while. The post isn’t unique to his blog, it’s actually a copy of a letter that he sent to a friend and shared with us. He let us know that he was busy … but I hope that it feels good for him to be back at it.

There are lots of links to presentations and collections of resources that he’s working on. He spoke at Lakehead University in addition to his day job and provides us with a list of things that he has done in the past and wants to do in the future.

But that future will be different … he applied for a new gig. I know that those who read his blog and experience his successes wish him the best going forward. He shares what’s up in a Twitter message.

If you read the blog post, you’ll note that he’s promising us big things in November. I’m looking forward to it.


Golf in Gym

I don’t know, Diana, but this past Monday and Tuesday were pretty good golfing days around here. As I drove by many of the courses in Essex County, they’re doing a good late fall business.

Of course, it’s different in schools.

In Health and Physical Education, many traditional activities are off the table for now. I think we all understand and appreciate that. Diana has acknowledged that it’s been a while since she taught Physical Education but she decided to give it a shot … indoors.

Well, maybe not a chip shot but a putt for sure.

What do you do when you don’t have golf equipment at your school? You cobble together some things and make it happen.

This post is inspirational … read and learn from it!

  • never say never
  • if nothing else, steal borrow Diana’s idea for those inside winter classes

Better late than never. After all, The Master’s starts today.


Please take some time to click through and read/enjoy all of these terrific blog posts.

Then follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Tamara Bolotenko – @TamaraBolotenko
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Peter Cameron – @cherandpete
  • Diana Maliszewski  – @MzMollyTL

This post comes from

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Hallowe’en Weekend. Recommendation from the province for many is to modify your routine. That’s so sad. On the other hand, you have an extra hour to read these terrific blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


Toxic Positivity in a Brave New World

From Michelle Fenn, writing on the ETFO Heart and Art of Teaching Blog is this thought provoker. She’s done her research and found a definition for Toxic Positivity that reads

“the excessive and ineffective overgeneralization of a happy, optimistic state across all situations. The process of toxic positivity results in the denial, minimization, and invalidation of the authentic human emotional experience.” 

It’s interesting to see her interpretation about what this means at this point in time. It’s part of the job to be positive with students as it’s the best way to be supportive of their efforts.

She identifies a number of people that you might recognize in your staff room. Well, if you were able to go to your staffroom.

Click through for an interesting read and see what she intends to do personally.


“The Daily” ~ Daily exercise for the brain, body, heart and spirit.

This post from Zoe Branigan-Pipe is something that you might see provided by your subject association. Some definitely are doing this; others not so much. So, you might want to dip into what Zoe shares.

She has curated a number of different collection of “dailies” with access to things like French Word of the Day, THIS day in History – Canada, a bunch of others, and the one that hooked me Daily Brain Teasers.

The resources are collected in Powerpoint Online format which makes them so easy to use if you can broadcast over your network, over the Internet, or to a data projector.

For the price of an email message, she’ll even send you the answers …


The Posturing and Performance of Antiracism Work: The Power of Words and Ways We Abuse Them

Debbie Donsky correctly talks about things in education that swing like a pendulum.

We are used to the pendulum swings from traditional to creative, from rote to inquiry, from the basics to critical thinking.

The “thing” she identifies for us right now is antiracism. I think that we all recognize this and hope that no pendulum swings backwards. My old secondary school, for example, had a racial image as its mascot. I’m ashamed to confess that we saw nothing wrong with it at the time. I’m happy to report that it has changed.

As Debbie correctly notes, we can work on things but

Know that even if your intention, as a White person, is to let go of your power and privilege, that it is still intact. 

The thing about today though is that we are starting to seriously recognize these things and actively challenge them. In education, we have some very active guides that are helpful – she specifically identifies Pamala Agawa.


To Stand on the Family Rock

I haven’t been as moved to thinking and action for a long time as I was with this work from Jessica Outram. Who would have thought that a lighthouse would do this?

I wrote an entire post yesterday with my thoughts about lighthouses. I don’t know that I’m a fanatic about it but they are wonderful landmarks to see when you’re out and about.

Despite the wonderful pictures that Jessica shares in the post, that’s not the point of the post!

Her adventure took her to Gereaux Island Lighthouse to personally witness the footsteps of her grandfather. Her visit was extremely personal with a desire to see things that her grandfather would have seen years ago. Instead of a row boat, she had a boat with a motor! With her words, she describes the experience and you just may get a sense that you’re there with her.


John Teaches the Turtle!

From Peter Skillen, this isn’t a long blog post but the real gold is in the YouTube video interview

The mind blower here lies, not in the content (although that’s pretty impressive) but in the confidence and ability of the student to explain just what it is that he’s made the computer do as a result of a summer workshop.

Those of us who remember programming in the Logo programming language will admire the text coding that appears on the screen as opposed to dragging and dropping as is so vogue these days.


Is The Loss Of Halloween Really A Loss?

I disagreed with Aviva Dunsiger in this post. She gives reasons why she doesn’t like school celebrations for Hallowe’en…

  1. The disruption to a regular routine,
  2. the numerous sugary treats,
  3. the scary costumes (I scare easily when I see horror in person),
  4. the loud parties,
  5. and the light effects (which tend to include a lot of brightness),

I shared my thoughts in a reply to her post based on my own elementary school experience and later, as a secondary school teacher. As a kid and as a teacher, I guess the biggest thing was that it was a one day break in the regular routine. And, it’s an opportunity to do some Hallowe’en based educational activities.

All of this is moot since she’s living the dream nightmare of COVID this year and everything is different.


PEER FEEDBACK: NOT THE SANDWICH, BUT SUNNY-SIDE-UP, PLEASE

I enjoyed reading this post from Cecilia Aponte-de-Hanna. Peer feedback can be a very powerful technique. I’m always believed that and I thought that I knew everything about it.

After reading Cecilia’s post, I realized that my approach would have been what would best described as “The Sandwich Approach”. With the description in this post, there is an element of “yeah, but” to it.

Her description of “The Sunny-Side-Up Approach” is a nice pause and a look at a different approach to peer feedback.

I do strongly agree with the premise that the processor should provide a learning opportunity for both the giver and receiver.

It’s a nice read to think about when working on your pedagogy. (Just don’t read the one comment to the post)


Put that extra hour to good use this weekend and enjoy all of these posts. If you’re a blogger and I don’t know about you, there’s a submit form at the Ontario Edublogger’s page. It would be great to add you to the collection.

Follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • Michelle Fenn – @toadmummy
  • Zoe Branigan-Pipe – @zbpipe
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Peter Skillen – @peterskillen
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Cecilia Aponte-de-Hanna @capontedehanna

This post originated at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Welcome to another Friday edition of This Week in Ontario Edublogs. #twioe It’s cool here but I’ve heard reports of you know what in other places. Stay warm and read some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


Living in the age of incivility Part 3 – The Iron Cage that is the school system

This is a rather longish post from Paul McGuire and even longer if you click through and read about “The Cage” and I would encourage that and thank Paul for including it.

As teachers, I think we’re all aware that a school district sets a direction and all teachers are expected to follow those directions. There are consequences for not playing along. I couldn’t help but think about this skit from Monty Python.

On one hand, people are encouraged to be creative but one the other hand, only when it’s within the rules.

As teachers, we always had the ability to contact our federation if we felt that we were treated improperly. Paul’s experience reminds us that principals are not part of any federation and are basically on their own.

In my mind, “The Cage” has become more of a thing with the amalgamation of school districts into super boards. More than ever, it’s easier to manage from the top if everyone follows the dictated rules.

The question should be asked – what type of school system results?


Back to Life, Back to Reality…

When a blog post starts with bad news and then good news and there’s still a great deal to read, it’s hard to predict!

Jen Aston lived with the message that she would be in a portable classroom for the school year. That really isn’t good news. There was a glimpse of sunshine when she was directed not to do too much setup. Because things change. In 2020? Really? <grin>

It sounds like she ended up in a better than expected classroom – a large room in the primary area of the school. That’s good news.

What’s in the rest of the post? It’s an interesting discussion about what’s happening in Mme Aston’s classroom in the various subject areas. If you know Jen, you just know that beekeeping would end up being part of the discussion.

Click through to see how!


Student Virtual Room Tutorial à la Bitmoji Classroom

Larissa Aradj shares with us an idea that she used from earlier this year. She had students design room; not with a drafting tool but in Google Slides.

She includes some pictures of what has been done by her students. They don’t need to maybe draw their own personal room but the room they’d like to have? It’s interesting to explore these images. As you might imagine, if you take a quick look, you might miss a great deal. Take some time, blow up the pictures, and see all the messages that are there.

Since it’s done in Google Slides, it seems to me that there are some interesting additional things that could be done. Make some areas hot spots so that you could open the books on bookshelves or any of the other objects in the room.

I’m also thinking that if this just one big collaborative slidedeck, the teacher could be hiding that Elf on the Shelf within student’s rooms and have them looking for it regularly.


Deciding whether or not to make the switch…

This really is a sign of the times in the fall of 2020. Some students have elected to start the year face to face and others have decided to do it online.

Depending upon the first decision and how it’s going, it should come as no surprise that students may wish to change their mode of learning. No surprises there and the rise in number of COVID people in the province might be forcing a new reality.

To manage this, school districts have set a date by which families must declare how it is that their children will go to school. That date determines the last date that they can switch, at least for now.

Kelly McLaughlin lays out the reality in her district where the date is November 3. To help parents, she’s created a pro and con information resource for them.

Of course, I know just what everyone is thinking – another reorganization of the schools and classrooms.


7 Reasons Why I’ll Miss My 7s

I fell for Diana Maliszewski’s teaser for this post

So I cried at school on Monday and I cried again at school on Friday. Different reasons; apologies to my in-person colleagues who were worried/alarmed at 1st. (Consider this a “teaser trailer” for this Monday’s blog post.)

— Diana Maliszewski (@MzMollyTL) October 10, 2020

and I held a spot for it.

You can feel her emotions come through in the post and I wish that I could be there to give her a hug. Split grades are a reality more than ever but imagine a school that looks like this…

JK-SK, 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6-7 and 7-8

The staff got together and reorganized as

JK-SK, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8

In this reorganization, Diana ended up having to pass off what sounds like a great group of Grade 7 students.

Now, keep in mind that in the TDSB, things have been in a flux so she hasn’t had a stable classroom since the first day of school. And yet, she is able to identify a bunch of attributes for these students and how they wished her goodbye. Hence the tears.

You just have to read the post.


Slice of Life: ***

I gained even more respect for Lisa Corbett after reading this blog post. Truly.

It brought back advice from my father – you can do the wrong thing and you can do the right thing. The wrong thing might make you friends or help you through a situation but doing the right thing will let you sleep at night.

The bottom line is that you have to live with yourself when things are done and you should never have to apologize for doing the right thing.

Do the wrong thing and you might be doing some explaining for a long time to come.


Bicycles for the Mind

It was great to see Helen DeWaard back blogging again.

This time around, she reflects as a result of watching the Social Dilemma.

This film, ironically warehoused within the Netflix collection, is touted as a “must watch” docudrama bringing a critical view to the impact of social media on the cultural fabric of society

She makes the connection for analyzing the moving using resources from the Association for Media Literacy and shares her questions with us.

A discussion of this also appeared on #OnEdMentors. Read the post for her analysis of things and check out the podcast on voicEd Radio for the group discussion.


Please take the time to read these posts in their entirety.

Then, follow these educators on Twitter.

  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Jen Aston – @mme_aston
  • Larissa Aradj – @MrsGeekChic
  • Diana Maliszewski  – @MzMollyTL
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Helen DeWaard – @hj_dewaard

This post originates from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I can’t get over how we seem to be speeding into winter. Cooler nights, the furnace got turned on, and it’s easy to detect the shorter days. On the other hand, it makes for a cooler dog walk…

Please enjoy these blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. As always, there are some great thinking in there.

The voicEd Radio archive of This Week in Ontario Edublogs podcasts is located here.


We’re back and it feels…

So, school is a month in and people are experiencing the new reality. Some teachers had a choice of teaching face to face and some online. Will Gourley decided to take the face to face route.

He describes his experience as CAGE.

  • Confusion
  • Anger
  • Grief
  • Elation

and expands on each of them. It’s an interesting read and I suspect that Will speaks for thousands of teachers this year.

This year is definitely different and yet the descriptions that Will uses might well be the reality of any different year. But, the reality this time around is that everything is amplified and teachers are much more cognizant about everything that’s happening in their world. Normally, a routine is established in classrooms in that first week. It’s definitely taking longer this year. They don’t cover this at the Faculty.

Prepping to teach this September has matched the level of confusion and effort of my very first years. 

Give Will a read and see if he’s not describing your reality.


Mask Productions

Around here, we turn on the Windsor and Detroit news stations to find out what’s happening around us. Because these stations are part of a big network, often they will bring in stories from the rest of the province or the country so that we get a sense of what’s happening elsewhere.

Of that, I’m sure that you can imagine the out of district news settles in on what’s happening in Toronto and/or Ottawa.

I think the last time that news from the northwest of the province came in a celebration for Terry Fox.

Certainly, nothing COVID from Thunder Bay or westward makes the news because their numbers are miniscule. That’s great news. So, I appreciated this post from Sheila Stewart letting us know how things are going from her perspective.

We are a big province indeed and bloggers from different locations help bring the entire picture into focus. In the post, we get a look at Sheila’s crystal ball for how long masking will be around.


Get Jamming with Google Jamboard – E022

I’m a big fan of digital visual aids in the classroom. Those lucky enough to have SMARTBoards or some other interactive product hopefully feel the same.

When Jamboard was announced, I actually thought it was for music but I was wrong. It’s Google’s idea of what an interactive whiteboard should be.

The EduGals share their insights to the product via both a podcast and this blog post. The podcast is nice but I’m more of a fan of the post. They include a number of screen captures and walk throughs of the functionality of the product. Man, we’ve come so far from the days of being excited about Microsoft Paint!

So, what makes this product different? To me, it’s the Google element. It’s enhanced for the web and that makes a huge difference. It takes away dependency on installing and maintaining software and it just works. As the EduGals point out, it’s very friendly and functional regardless of your platform. That makes it worthwhile.

If you’re just getting started with Jamboard, this is a pretty definitive walkthrough. Make sure that you check out the resources that they’ve included and their usage advice. You’ll leap from functionality to pedagogy almost immediately!


Finding my joy

I thought that this was a masterful piece of writing from Amanda Potts. The first time I read the post, I read it picturing it with the scenario that she describes. On the phone and working with a special needs student and helping the student decide between what they could control and what they couldn’t.

It was an emotional read and I put myself in her shoes and could feel the reality of dealing with that student. Any teacher could empathize. You could even feel the pain of having the phone pinned to her ear that way.

Then, I read the post again.

This time, I felt that she was telling us a story about herself and the reality of teaching these days – those things you control and those you can’t.

The first read was powerful; the second read was even more so.

I do hope that she continues to find her joy.


Apple Strudel: Family Recipes and Rituals to Heal an Aching Heart

Debbie Donsky bases this post around Apple Strudel. Normally, I would read and move on but there’s much more here than the strudel.

It came as a result from her father’s request when asked the question

Is there anything you want to eat?

The balance of the post describes how she goes about fulfilling this request.

These days, if I wanted apple strudel, I’d go to Sobeys in town and buy it in a package all ready to go.

That wasn’t Debbie’s solution and what she described was more or less the routine that my mother would have followed. (Except we wouldn’t have travelled to Niagara). The jar of canned peaches reminded me of the rows we would have in the basement once the fall canning blitz was over.

There really is something special about homemade. The results aren’t always perfect; they aren’t always even symmetrical. But they were awesome and a real treat.

So, please read Debbie’s post where she reveals the “secret ingredient”.


Covid Education Is What The Unicycle Is To The Bicycle

This is such an interesting title for a blog post and generated by Matthew Morris. I’m happy to know that I’m not the only one who was unable to master riding a unicycle although to my defense, I only tried twice.

I can vouch for his premise – riding a unicycle is nothing like riding a bicycle.

The first days of school were nothing like dusting off that old 4-speed and taking it for an easy ride down a familiar path. The first days back to school, under Covid education, felt like someone told me and all teachers, “You know how to ride a bicycle, right? Good, here’s a fucking unicycle…it’s basically the same thing.”

It’s a good comparison and would be funny if it wasn’t so serious. Even online learning in the time of COVID is different from online learning during regular times.

The difference? It goes back to the message from Amanda above. There are some things that you can control and some you can’t.

Is anyone in control these days?


A year later…

So, this is my official check in with Ramona Meharg.

As she reminds us, it’s been a year since she lost her mother and is taking time to think about the past year.

I’m told the first year is the most difficult as I pass these days and events without her for the first time.

I hope that the advice works out for her. I can share that, in my experience, the first year may be a collection of milestones but it’s certainly not the end to the memories. In fact, I would suggest that something is wrong if those memories ever do end.

Ramona is correct in her thoughts – going through this in the time of COVID is awful. In our family, some final meetings were through an external window. Nobody should have to do that.

Ramona’s post should serve as a reminder to all – make sure that you’re checking in on friends and loved ones. It’s always important but never more than right now.


I hope that you can find some time today or over the weekend to do a read of all of these wonderful blog posts and then share them within your network.

And, follow these awesome bloggers on Twitter.

  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Ramona Meharg – @RamonaMeharg

This post originated from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.