Each year during the first full week of May, schools in Ontario's public education system celebrate Education Week. This is a time to recognize the excellence of our teachers and the achievement of our students.
This year, the theme is #StrongerTogether.
Teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year has been challenging for educators and students alike, to say the least. And yet, they are finding creative and inspirational ways to connect and support each other.
Unable to physically bring guest speakers into classrooms or take students on field trips, even when students were/are in school in person, educators have been resourceful in reaching out to ask for virtual presentations.
One recent example is presentations from Toronto spoken word poet Britta Badour, Teachers from Howick Central Public School and North Perth Westfield Elementary School signed up to bring Britta to their students virtually for a poetry workshop. Feedback from some of Tyler Schaefer's Grade 7 Westfield students (shown verbatim) demonstrates how this presentation is sparking curiosity in their minds:
- What is one interesting thing you learned or gained from Britta B's presentation?
- Poetry is impact of art
- That you need to look forward stay positive and just keep on going and don’t stop trying
- I learned that poetry is not just rhymes and words, but it is an expression put into a piece of art.
- One thing that I learned is that words spoken in the right way can be amazing. Like the poem about hope. Because it was said in such a way the message is really meaningful.
- I learned how she never runs out of topics and how much she admires so many of her poems
- The way she was able to rhyme all those words super quick
- that you need to write for you, but edit for the readers and that you should always keep your characters moving, or doing things.
- From what she went though and how she got into poems.
- that she writes a little bit of poems everyday.
- I learned how you transfer emotions into poetry.
- I loved how focused and calm she was when she was reading us her poems and I found i5 so interesting when she was so happy when she was reading
- I learned that anyone can write poems and say then out loud and teach other people and how they can give advice to people on to how to write poems
- That poems come from your heart
- I learned that poetry is not just talking, it is inspiring others to make a change and follow a path that you made.
- Of how long it takes to do a poem.
- I found the way she spoke in motivational tones, flowing nicely. And the story behind each poem, felt like I was there in her home, sharing those memories. The way she worded her sentences was elegant and always fitted with the rest.
- How she took a negative and put a positive spin on it.
- to keep moving forward no matter what other people say
Many thanks to the Foundation for Education for providing the opportunity to connect with Britta B.
Stratford District Secondary School's Grade 12 Art teacher Michele Carter had another great idea: she decided to present her students' final portfolio of work online, since they weren't able to have a show like they normally would. Twenty-Two Days is a digital exhibition of work her students did in only 22 days in studio! Michele says, "'These students worked tirelessly for twenty two days to put together a thematic body of work and their talent should not go unrecognized. If you have the time to view the show they would appreciate it!"
There are many other inspiring examples across our board and we are proud of our educators and students as they navigate this challenging pandemic. Keep up the great work! #IamAMDSB #StrongerTogether