Posted in current events, education, family, health and wellness, loreeebee.wordpress.com

Covid and Kids, What are the Long-Term Effects?

I worry about the short and long term effects of this covid pandemic on our children. Social distancing does not come naturally to them. It is difficult enough for us adults, but we (most of us) can see and understand the reason behind the rules. We also do our best to explain these rules to our kids and grandkids.

When we were not allowed to hug or touch each other I would tell my grandkids that “grandma is sick and doesn’t want to make you sick.” This little white lie worked, but I could see the confusion on their sweet little faces.

The primary (pun intended) lesson learned in sending our kids to school at four years old is supposed to be the development and practice of social skills. You know, stuff like sharing, trading, empathy, taking turns and more. How can they do this if social distancing is their new norm?

What lessons are they going to learn instead? Don’t touch, don’t get too close, don’t care, and god forbid, don’t share. Will they learn anything beneficial? At what point are we doing them more harm than good?

Parents are facing a dilemma. Most families need two incomes to stay afloat financially, and cannot afford to have one parent stay home to look after young children. Single parents have even less choice. Daycares offer the same risk and discourage social skills as schools are doing.

So, what is the answer? Perhaps a Covid related, government issued benefit for a parent to stay home to care for, nurture and educate their young children. If we can pay any previously employed adults to stay home even though they could/should have returned to work, why can’t we pay parents to stay home? Of course, like a maternity/paternity leave, it would have to guarantee a job upon their return to work.

Posted in current events, education, family, loreeebee.ca

Teacher AKA Grandma, that’s me!

With Covid restrictions and precautions gripping our world for several months now, with no end in sight, online learning or e-school has become popular. It was a tough call, but my son and his partner (both essential service providers) decided to keep their eldest child home from school to reduce her (and the rest of our bubble’s) chances of contacting the dreaded virus.

Me a Teacher?

In high school, (waaaaay back when) one of my career goals was to be a teacher. That goal was stymied by lack of money in the family to support a university education. As I was fifth of sixth children applying for government assistance, the pickings were slim. I worked several jobs each summer and through the school years to scrape barely enough money together to attend college. Community college and medical laboratory technology was my reality.

That might explain why this always-wanted-to-be-a-teacher Grandma is embracing my new role as online supervisor to my seven year old granddaughter on the days her mom works or has an appointment. The teacher is online with the kids too, so I am just backup in case assistance or guidance is required, close enough for me.

Offline Lessons

In addition to the online learning I am helping my granddaughter with, I am creating lessons of my own to teach her during her breaks from the online stuff. Fun (to me) things like botany, geography and piano. She has shown an interest in my gardening business, so for her recent birthday, I gifted her with a mini greenhouse kit and some tulip bulbs.

The greenhouse kit came with all necessary components as well as instructions on how to grow plants from seeds. The seeds however were not included, so we collected some from my gardens…

When the seeds were all planted and peat pots were labelled, we decided to keep the greenhouse on top of our fridge as warmth and distance from little brothers is recommended for the success of this lesson.

Seeds planted and labelled

Much to my delight, she has also shown an interest in learning how to play the piano. My eldest son (not her father) attended piano lessons at Music For Young Children years ago when he was just a toddler. I was the adult attending with him, so learned basic piano too. Fast forward almost thirty years to where I am sharing what I learned with all of my grandchildren, but as the oldest this particular granddaughter is able to grasp the concepts and has already mastered Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Music is indeed the universal language!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Learning

Back to e-school and the online lessons we are both learning. I must admit I am impressed with the online program (OCDSB) my granddaughter has access to. Her teachers are cheerful and as organized as they can be, considering they are teaching six and seven year olds. At the beginning we encountered a few issues, like login failures, link errors and inability to get our French accents to work. That’s where my learning came in; having never used a Chromebook, I was not familiar with the language options on it. I may be an old dog, but I can learn new tricks.

Three weeks in things are going much smoother, in fact more and more children are joining the classes every day as the number of Covid cases continues to rise. Of course there are disadvantages to online learning, the main one being lack of physical contact with their friends. Although during the breaks they can be amusingly chatty, some kids more than others.

The main advantage is the computer familiarity for the kids. They have learned to log in, navigate between tabs, create their own favourites list, copy and paste links, alter the size of fonts, as well as the keyboard layout and the function of different keys, etc.

Their “jamboards” are cool, an interactive screen created by Google, where they can play around with ideas, much like a white board in a meeting, except it’s online.

They do get breaks often so their eyes and brains don’t get too fatigued, including 5 minute dancing sessions. A favourite dance tune is The Gummy Bear Song, although I bet their teacher is sorry she introduced them to that one…

The Gummy Bear Song

Next Lessons

Tulips will be next for my offline lessons, planted outside with banana peels to deter the squirrels from digging up the bulbs. We have both been saving banana peels in our freezer in anticipation of planting. I usually wait until just before the ground freezes to plant to reduce the temptation for the squirrels. As my dad used to say “squirrels have to eat too”, just not my bulbs!

I also want to teach my granddaughter basic geography with the help of an atlas and a large wall map my son used to be fascinated with, if I can find it. We used to have a globe around here, but think it is long gone. This idea came to me yesterday when she thought Florida was in Canada.

Any other ideas for offline, supplemental learning would be greatly appreciated!

Posted in education, family, grandparents, lorieb.wordpress.com

Photography Lessons, It’s Never Too Early to Learn

As most of you know, I thoroughly enjoy the time I get to spend with my grandchildren, especially the one on one time. Each grandchild has their own unique personality and interests which are becoming quite evident in the oldest three. The two youngest are still babies; their turn will come.

Recently my two and a half year old granddaughter has shown an interest in photography. Since she has been the subject of the oh so many pictures her parents and grandparents have taken on our cell phones since her birth, it is no small wonder she wants to try it herself. She is very independent, and getting more so every day.

I thought I would let her “show me how” to take a picture on my cell phone, and I was amazed at how proficient she is at it. Sometimes. Eventually. When she remembers to keep her fingers off the lens. It is amusing and fascinating (and so cute) to hear her talk herself through the steps.

  • Find the red “camera” button
  • Hold up the phone
  • Look for Grandma (I was her subject)
  • Move my (her) fingers
  • Push the white button

These were her first few attempts at getting the fingers out of the way…

Practice makes perfect; she did get better as she kept trying…

She is definitely a quick learner…as well as very determined and perseverant, all wonderful personality traits.

Posted in current events, education, lorieb.wordpress.com, ontario

Union Bosses out of Control

Unions came into existence years ago to protect employees from unfair and unsafe work environments and practices. Over the years unions have become stronger, louder and ultra wealthy, at the expense of taxpayers, including the employees they are supposed to protect. Today union bosses control everything including wages, working conditions and even how their employees vote in elections.

How is it that unions are permitted to dictate how their employees vote in a democratic society where freedom of thought is cherished? Have you noticed how unions spend lots of money on advertisements during election campaigns? They have taken the “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” practice to a whole new (unacceptable) level. Blatantly throwing money behind the parties that will in turn give them more (of taxpayers’) money when elected is disturbing. I heard from a reliable source that workers under the umbrella of one of these (too) strong unions are strongly encouraged (AKA bullied) to vote for whomever the union is promoting.

I believe in any profession some workers are better than others. The best ones should rise to the top so the not so good ones learn that their efforts and work ethic (and not the union) drive their success. In most worlds, success means a greater wage, making higher salaries fair compensation for harder workers.

Greedy union bosses prevent this practice of fairness since unions thrive on their stance that all workers are treated equally, good and bad. Their demand for more money only increases their coffers, making these unions stronger and the union bosses wealthier.

This cycle of corruption applies to most unions, including the teachers unions currently embroiled in a battle with the Ontario government. Taxpayers, parents, students and even the teachers themselves, are being held hostage because union demands for more money are not being met.

Teachers everywhere deserve respect for the job they do. Teaching children is a daunting responsibility and many (not all) teachers take this responsibility to heart, doing a wonderful job. However, the unions and the union bosses most teachers contribute to are out of control. They certainly do not appear to have the best interest of the children in mind.

Years ago, when my youngest son was perusing university degrees, thinking about his future, I thought he would make an excellent primary school teacher. I was discussing this idea with my sister that lives in the USA; she could not believe I would suggest a career in teaching. She went on to explain how overworked and underpaid the teachers are in the USA.

I am not saying that teachers here in Ontario, Canada are not hardworking, but I do believe they are well paid and respected. I also wonder how many of the dedicated teachers feel bullied into supporting their unions. I have three sons that are now past their school years and onto careers. Within their years of school I met many wonderful teachers and some not so wonderful. My eldest grandchild is currently in grade one with her siblings and cousins to follow within the next few years. I hope they are fortunate enough to be taught by men and women passionate about and committed to teaching without getting punished by the vicious cycle the unions create.

Although lots of money should never be considered to be the most important feature of success, in the competitive world we live in more money is, unfortunately, the ultimate goal. Unreasonable demands for more, at the expense of vulnerable children and their parents is just wrong.

Posted in education, humor, lorieb.com

How well do you know your acronyms?

How well versed are you on the acronyms that are so popular today in conversations via text, private message or social media?   If you have teenagers in your house, you are probably very knowledgeable about these.  If not, here is a quick lesson, LOL.  That stands for Laugh Out Loud by the way, not Lots of Love as some (of us older) people think.

  • OMG is pretty obvious, I just put it on the list to ensure everyone knows at least one.
  • WTF too, although I did see a joke on Facebook that implied many people my age do not know what it stands for. In case you are one of them, it’s What The F**k.
  • BRB stands for Be Right Back just in case you get interrupted in the middle of a conversation through text or PM (private message)  That’s like asking “Can you hold on a minute?” in the old days when you were talking on the (landline) phone and the doorbell rang, or your oven timer went off or…NVM (never mind) you get the picture.
  • MYOB means Mind Your Own Business.  Some people use an F before the B; you can probably guess what that stands for.  I guess that is added when you are really annoyed at someone.
  • LMFAO means Laughing My F***ing Ass Off. (a fancier version of LOL)  Again, you can add the F or remove it as you please or as your vocabulary dictates.  There is also ROFLMAO which is Rolling On the Floor Laughing My Ass Off.
  • AFAIKB3 means As Far As I Know Blah Blah Blah.  In other words, I don’t care, which means it could be abbreviated to IDC, which should never be confused with IDK which BTW (by the way) means I Don’t Know.

 

acronyms

 

 

Tell the truth, how many of these acronyms did you know already?  I admit I learned a few more today, and tested my eyes at the same time.  LOL.

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Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

Posted in education, lorieb.com, motivational, Ottawa

Allow the Wonder Wall to captivate you!

 

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Recently I attended a book launch to support a friend who has co-created a masterful piece of work named the Wonder Wall.  With my gardening business in full swing, I don’t usually get much reading done in the summer months, but I am so impressed with this book that I am making an exception this week.

The Wonder Wall is aimed at formal and informal educators of all kinds.  Teachers from kindergarten to university, scientists, managers, team leaders, administrators, parents, and volunteers alike can learn from this.  After all, we humans are all educators of some sort.  Whether you want to motivate and encourage children or adults within a school, start-up business,  major corporation, office, hospital, police force, daycare, or community association, the concepts within the Wonder Wall are easily applicable.

As much as I tried to put the ideas from this book into my own words to share with you, I found that my efforts could simply not do justice to the witty, inspirational way this masterpiece is written.   So, I am cheating; these (just a few of many) excerpts are literally straight from the book…

CONDITIONS THAT FOSTER CREATIVITY

three imperatives:

  • recognize there is a seed of brilliance in everyone
  • adopt a strength based approach
  • create cultures of belonging

four conditions:

  • storytelling and listening
  • moving beyond diversity to inclusivity
  • making it personal
  • celebrating

IDEAL LEADERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS:

  • good listener, approachable, personable
  • understanding, empathetic, respectful, caring
  • motivational, inspirational, visionary
  • honest, trustworthy, dependable, consistent
  • knowledgeable, informed, displaying expertise
  • good communicator
  • positive, enthusiastic, energetic

IDEAL LEADER BEHAVIOUR:

  • leads by example
  • provides support, encouragement, motivation
  • seeks input
  • inclusive/fair
  • approachable/friendly
  • professional/responsible
  • positive/energetic
  • respectful
  • sympathetic/understanding
  • team player/builds relationships

To learn the details of these compelling points, plus many more insightful strategies and how they can apply to your life, you will have to read the book yourself!

Get inspired!  Purchase the Wonder Wall at your local bookstore or online through Amazon.   I promise you will be captivated, both amused and motivated as you read and reread through the pages.

 

 

Posted in Canada, education, family, lorieb.com

Dr. Shelly Wismath receives prestigious 3M National Teaching Fellowship

This article is about my sister Shelly, the eldest of six siblings in our family and my first teacher. Mom and Dad would be very proud of you!

University of Lethbridge professor Dr. Shelly Wismath can count herself among the best university teachers in Canada. She is one of 10 university teachers to receive the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, an award that recognizes exceptional teachers in post-secondary education.

Dr. Jan Newberry, Wismath’s nominator and U of L anthropology professor, describes her as a “teaching ninja” who possesses a subtle and diplomatic style.

“Shelly has served as mentor and inspiration to me and to many other colleagues and students,” Newberry wrote in her letter of nomination. “She represents the best of what teaching can be as a career, a vocation and a model for life and learning.”

Wismath spent many years as a mathematics professor and researcher in abstract algebra. In 2009, she moved to the Liberal Education program and began focusing her research on the scholarship of teaching and learning. She played a key leadership role in building and sustaining the U of L Teaching Centre and became the inaugural Board of Governors Teaching Chair in 2007. Wismath is currently spearheading the revitalization of Liberal Education. In addition, Wismath initiated and secured funding for the long-standing Women Scholars Speaker Series.

“My reaction was stunned silence on the phone. I couldn’t believe it,” says Wismath. “It’s a huge honour to be in that group. I love teaching; it’s always been a part of what I do. It’s amazing to have that kind of recognition.”

Wismath’s philosophy of teaching arises from her experience in both mathematics and liberal education. She combines the logical reasoning and search for pattern that characterizes mathematics and the critical thinking and problem solving that mark liberal education into a philosophy that hones in on how people think, learn and reason.

“My goal is to share with my students the interactive process of asking questions and formulating and testing out answers, and engaging in vibrant discussion to learn more about ourselves and the world around us,” she says.

Wismath works hard to build relationships with her students so they feel comfortable in the learning environment and the approach works. One student wrote “I recall the many thought-provoking articles she assigned with the hopes that we, as students, would question the content of. She did not want us to merely read and accept blindly what the authors had argued, but to come to our own conclusions and situate the information within our own understandings of the world.”

“The great thing about teaching is that we learn as much from our students as they learn from us and that’s been really true for me in the last few years with a problem-solving course I designed,” she says. “That course has been the capstone of my teaching career. I’ve learned that you don’t teach people problem solving. You facilitate their learning. It was a steep learning curve for me but the students were just tremendous. They taught me a lot and were very generous with their reflections, their attention and their thoughtfulness about their learning.”

Wismath also credits the U of L for providing her with the flexibility to continue her education and to pursue topics she’s passionate about.

“The U of L has been a great place to nurture teaching as well as research,” she says. “I’ve been very lucky to have had the flexibility that I’ve had to spend time on teaching instead of research at certain points in my career or to combine them or to take on projects.”

The 3M National Teaching Fellowship brings several opportunities. In addition to becoming a life member of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and the Council of 3M Teaching Fellows, Wismath will be invited to attend the annual conference in Halifax and a teaching and learning retreat. This is the second time a U of L professor has been awarded a 3M National Teaching Fellowship. Dr. Patricia Chuchryk, a sociology professor, received the award in 1999.

 

Source: Dr. Shelly Wismath receives prestigious 3M National Teaching Fellowship | UNews

Posted in education, loreeebee.ca, technology

Another Scam

Right after I posted about SCAMS I received this email.  I just saw it today because it was filtered into my JUNK file where it belongs…

This is to inform you that after the evaluation and conclusion of our meeting with the board of directors and special representatives from BANK PLC BURKINA FASO on how to disburse and remit your funds to you.
 
BANK PLC and WESTERN UNION have collaborated in other to remit your total fund of $2.5M us dollar, via western union by transferring $8,500 usd to you everyday via western union until we conclude the remittance of your funds.
 
So please confirm your interest by providing the below details to enable us begin the payment of your funds and start to transfer your funds via western union.
 
1 . Your full names
2. Your contact address
3. Your country
4. Your occupation
5. Your contact lines
6. A copy of your id documentary or international passport
7. Personal email address
 
Upon receiving this details, we shall start the transfer of your funds via western union as stated transferring your funds to you in badges of $8,500 usd per day.

Please kindly contact our representative MR GABBERT PARKER with the details for your transfer of your fund.

Sincerely,
Yours Faithfully.
Manager(Operations) MR GABBERT PARKER
Chief Operating Officer, Financing & Portfolio
Money Transfer | International Money Transfer | Western Union
www.westernunion.com

 

Lucky me!

Posted in education, loreeebee.ca, technology

Scams, scams and more scams

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I received two more scams today by email.  The first one was from someone claiming to be “checking my Netflix account”  They (in broken English and poor spelling) wanted me to click on a link to verify my account information with a threat that my family’s access to Netflix would be cut off if I did not follow the instructions.

The second scam was an email from someone claiming to be from Canada Post telling me I had a package that they tried to deliver but no one was home.  Again, they asked me to click on a link to verify my information and find out where to pick up my package.

Both are scams, looking to get information on unsuspecting individuals.  Popular services (such as Netflix and Canada Post) are being targeted because many people use and rely on them.  Clicking on the link provided will introduce a virus into your computer which will track personal information including banking details.

Clicking on the link provided in these scams will introduce a virus into your computer which will track personal information including banking details.  Instead of clicking on the link, delete the suspicious email immediately.

Here are a few clues that should make you suspect an emailed scam:

  • poor grammar and spelling in the content
  • telling you about something you did not order (packages)  Canada Post would never email you if they stop by and no one is home, they leave a notice at your door.
  • offers of refunds or money for nothing or ways to help you save.  If it sounds too good to be true, it is!
  • emails from someone you know that do not make sense, are very vague (i think you might be interested in this)  or contain a link you know nothing about
  • emails asking for information the (fake) sender (eg. CRA, bank etc) would already have on file
  • they are providing a service you did not request.  For example, they are telling you something is wrong with your computer and want you to log in so they can “help you fix the problem”
  • miracle cures of any sort (skin care, weight loss, etc etc) go under the “too good to be true” category
  • reputable companies do NOT ask for updated personal information via email

 

A PREVIOUS POST talked about scams you might encounter when shopping online.  Remember and be aware that perpetrators can find innocent, unsuspecting victims by email, phone, regular mail and even at your front door.  With modern technology, the world is becoming a much smaller place.  Scams, especially ones through email, can and do come from anywhere in the world today.

If you are even the least bit suspicious, google the company represented to see if there are any known scams associated with that company.  Use information available online to educate and protect yourself and others.  For example, I googled Netflix scam, and guess what, a whole list of results turned up.  This particular scam has been going on across Canada for a while now.   Remember, the company is not at fault, they are being used too.  The scammers are relying on these reputable, trusted and popular companies to get your attention.

After you delete the offending email, share the knowledge and warn your friends, family members, and neighbours.  The RCMP has a website for you to report SCAMS  and other fraudulent activity.

Be scam savvy!

Posted in current events, education, family, lorieb.com, Ottawa, rant

Safety or false sense of security?

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This article CROSS WALKS  is about the newest safety craze that I believe promotes a false sense of security.   I have recently come across a few of these here in Kanata, a suburb of Ottawa.

To have flashing lights and special markings on roads between intersections only serves to tell our children that they do not have to look both ways and wait for all vehicles to pass before crossing.  So what if the pedestrian is in the “right” at these and any other crosswalks.  It won’t matter much who is in the right if a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle. There is nothing more annoying to a driver, not to mention dangerous to the pedestrian, than a pedestrian that is not paying attention to traffic when trying to cross an intersection.

Most drivers will stop to let pedestrians cross; I know I do if I see them waiting to cross. It is common courtesy, but so is crossing quickly if you are a pedestrian when a vehicle stops to let you cross.  How annoying is it when you stop to let someone cross an intersection or parking lot and the pedestrian is purposely taking their time?  With the new crosswalks, fines are given out to drivers that do not wait until the pedestrian has completely crossed the intersection before proceeding through the crosswalk.  Like they are with drivers, fines should be given to pedestrians who are distracted (talking or texting on cell phones) while crossing roads.

Much like the red flashing lights and stop sign on school buses that is supposed to keep our kids safe, these new crosswalks give pedestrians a false sense of security.  When my children were young, I refused to teach them to walk in front of a school bus.  Instead, they got off the bus and waited until there was no traffic before proceeding to cross the road.

What are your thoughts on this new safety feature?  Do you think we should teach our children that they are safe to cross in front of cars if the lights are flashing and there are special lines on the road?