Monday, 9 May 2022

Ford is the Wrong Choice

Doug Ford is a nice enough guy, but he is a bad provincial leader.

Possibly a controversial take, as some liberals won't agree with the first part, while some conservatives won't agree with the end of that sentence. So stick around to find out why I said that.

For those who don't know, Doug Ford is currently the leader of the Conservative Party of Ontario. He was elected premier with a majority government in June 2018, after fifteen years of Liberal government (under McGuinty and Wynne).

Pictured: Doug Ford, January 2022

For those who DO know, and who have already made your decision for June 2022, I doubt I'm going to change it here. Some people are staunch conservatives, some always lean liberal, and this article isn't likely to convince you otherwise.

But for those who are undecided? Please read on.

Please, PLEASE use this summary as part of your decision making.

Heck, even if you have decided, I would encourage you to stick around too. Maybe there is something in here that you have forgotten. It may deepen your convictions, or help you to understand the dire circumstance that many believe Ontario is in as a province right now.

I now present my top three reasons why Doug Ford is a bad provincial leader.

3) FORD IS A BULLY

Being a bully is not necessarily a bad quality to have in a leadership position. True, one could argue that it's better for a leader to persuade others, rather than intimidate or coerce them into action. But if stuff has gotta get done, in particular during a pandemic, "do this or else" is a pretty solid take.

Some have accused Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister of Canada) of using similar methods.

For an example, in 2019, Ford capped the wage increases of provincial employees, including nurses and teachers, at 1% per year (below inflation). That's Bill 124. The Ontario Nurses' Association met with Ford as recently as February 2022 (considering the pandemic, staff shortages, and everything since the bill went into effect), but he's not budging.

Alternatively, in mid-April 2021, Ford closed all outdoor spaces, including playground and golf courses. While he did reverse course on playgrounds, golf courses remained closed right through May, despite criticism that outdoor activities posed a lower risk than indoor ones. Despite that, Ford was convinced this was the right call.

As long as Ford thinks something is worth doing, he'll make sure it gets done.

The problem is, Ford's motivations are often not in the best interests of the people living in the province.

For instance, part of the reason you haven't heard much from the Ontario Liberals in the last four years (other than the fact that the NDP is the official opposition) is that they are NOT OFFICIALLY A PARTY.

The 2018 election was so bad for them that they won only 7 seats; they needed 8 to have official party status. Meaning they don't get funding for staff salaries, they're excluded from debates, and basically must operate as independents.

The Liberals asked the PC government to grant them some accommodations. This is not unheard of; the NDP received some funding from the Liberals themselves back in 2003, when they failed to achieve party status.

Doug Ford's response was to not only keep funding away, but to RAISE THE SEAT THRESHOLD, so that the Liberals would need 12 seats in this next election, rather than 8. The claim was that 10% of seats was necessary after the size of the legislature increased.

Anyone can come up with a good reason for the things that they do, but the optics of the situation remain. Why is it better for Ontario to have only two official parties?

And speaking of elections, remember the 2018 Toronto mayoral election?

Registration for candidates closed at the end of July 2018. (Doug Ford, former city councillor and runner-up in the 2014 election, had planned to challenge the office but then sought the provincial leadership instead.) In August, Ford passed legislation to cut the size of Toronto's council down to 25 wards, instead of 47.

Sure. In the middle of an election, let's have almost half the wards, doubling the size of the territories, making candidates campaign in areas of the city where it hadn't previously been necessary.

A judge said that was unconstitutional. Doug Ford said the hell it is, I'll invoke the Constitution's notwithstanding clause if I have to. He called an emergency session, and the public gallery had to be cleared of spectators when he tried to revive the bill. The NDP banged on their desks to try and drown out the reading, and they were kicked out of the House.

Ford didn't care, Toronto stayed at 25 wards, and he took this one all the way to the Supreme Court. Where, to be fair, he won in a 5-4 split decision that said he did not violate the Constitution. And he didn't invoke the clause (that time).

But how was any of that in the best interests of democracy? What was so pressing, so urgent about the size of Toronto's council that a local election HAD to be disrupted?

The final decision was also close, perhaps could even have gone the other way, so let's quickly revisit a more famous judicial loss.

Under the Liberals, Ontario enacted a cap-and-trade program in January 2017, to attempt to achieve greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Doug Ford killed that as soon as he could, but Justin Trudeau (the federal Prime Minister) had said there would be a federal carbon tax for provinces without their own carbon pricing system.

That came into effect in April 2019, in Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan. It meant a cost increase of gasoline (and propane), but with a rebate at tax time, making this tax revenue-neutral (though some Canadians would pay more in taxes than they would gain from rebates).

Doug Ford's response? Well, you can't bully a bully. He required all gas pumps to show a sticker saying "The Federal Carbon Tax will cost you", which showed a poorly scaled graph, with no mention of the rebates. He then fined gas stations $10,000 per day if they didn't comply. (A judge would lower that penalty to $150 per day.)

This sticker is very unhelpful

An Ontario Superior Court judge ultimately struck this down as unconstitutional, saying that while a government can call out another tier of government for their actions, they cannot legislate that private retailers do the same.

The Ford government's response to this was to say the stickers could be left up or taken down, whatever. Meaning by the law of inertia, many of them stayed up. With the stickers themselves and the court challenge coming out of taxpayer dollars.

Another unnecessary fight that has not benefited the people of Ontario in any way.

The Supreme Court ultimately ruled 6-3 that the federal government was in their rights to impose nationwide pricing standards, considering the great threat of climate change.

But the problems with Ford go beyond bullying those at various levels of government.

2) FORD DOESN'T LISTEN WELL

I mean, he DOES listen. To everybody. In fact, one of the great selling points of Doug Ford is that he takes calls from the common person, theoretically at all times of day. Isn't that great? To have a premier who will listen to YOU personally? Who will take the time to talk directly to YOU?

This is part of why I said that Doug Ford is a nice enough guy in my entry statement. Even if he IS a bully, well, if you had been hurt by Somebody, wouldn't you want a guy like Ford in your corner? A guy who could tell Somebody to stay the hell away from you or else?

Two major problems with Ford's "everybody" philosophy.

The first problem is that anecdotes are not data. Just because one person is doing well, doesn't mean everybody is, and conversely just because one person is doing poorly, doesn't mean the whole province needs an overhaul.

The second problem is that the opinion of experts should really carry more weight than that of Joe Somebody who lives down the block. In much the same way that we have experts build bridges, and not Joe Somebody (unless he's an engineer, I guess).

See, a leader MUST determine WHO they should be listening to and WHEN, rather than opening the floor to everyone in every case. Because that leads to picking key moments of random conversations as lynchpins for provincial policy. And then we get grade schoolers revamping the education system.

Remember that?

To start June 2021, Doug Ford trotted out a story of a kid named Arthur who dropped off a letter at his house. Ford went to visit him, where Arthur explained how he'd rather go back to class in June instead of summer camp. (Context: Ontario schools had been shifted remote since the "April Break". The 2021 mid-month week off of school, which Ford had previously shifted out of March, because... reasons.)

Doug Ford negotiated (bullied?) his way towards Arthur wanting a graduation day instead of a return to classes. A graduation for all grades, not just Grade 8 and Grade 12.

Ford then trotted this out as a policy the following day, outdoor graduation ceremonies for all students in the province. Stated at the start of June. Without any consideration for the time it would take to organize that amid a pandemic, with the variability of weather and other logistics like cohorting, crowding and expenses.

I suppose to be fair, Doug Ford has never listened to anyone in the teaching sector. (Unless you count the anecdotes he spouts of teachers who are "fed up with their union".) So this wasn't much of a change. He didn't even listen to the NDP official opposition, when they tried to cap class sizes at 15 in September 2020 on account of the pandemic.

I mean, Ford also halted the implementation of Indigenous curriculum almost as soon as he was Premier, without consultation. There was then no discussion over forcing students to do online classes (before the pandemic). No consulting about policies (like who gets RAT tests during the pandemic), or about his making the EQAO Chair a full time position (that's the agency doing standardized testing in Ontario, which subsequently did squat because testing couldn't run in the pandemic), or about closures... I could go on, but it seems I digress. Sorry.

My point was experts should dictate policy, not random conversations had by Doug Ford.

(For full transparency, there has been some question over whether Arthur actually exists. I suspect he does, because I don't think Ford has that much imagination, plus we can then give him SOME credit for changing the name of a minor. Though if Arthur doesn't exist, we are then left with the question of who is giving Ford advice that sounds like it came from a grade schooler.)

Let's now look at another time when Ford didn't consult with experts.

Ontario white licence plates have used the slogan "Yours to Discover" since 1982. In April 2019, less than a year after the June 2018 election, Ford announced new plates. The new tagline would be "A Place to Grow" (though commercial plates could use "Open for Business"), and the plates would be blue, coincidentally the same colour as used the PC Party.

Oh, right... Americans? In Canada, Liberals use red and Conservatives use blue. In fact, pretty sure that's the standard in most of the world. Just saying. Anyway.

It was stated that by February 2020, ALL new licence plates issued would use the new plate design, and Ontarians could voluntarily purchase them. I have no idea who was calling for this, but the standard joke is that Ford met someone in a Tim Hortons.

Problems began almost immediately that February. With the plates, I mean.

Political Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, Feb 2020

A police sergeant in Kingston tweeted out that the plates are virtually unreadable at night. CTV backed this up with a comparison lighting test, using a prototype they'd received in 2019. The government insisted the prototype had been improved upon.

But there's more. Canadian border officials weren't even sent a demo plate until after the rollout. The OPP and RCMP did receive plates to test, but still got complaints from their officers (for instance, handheld scanners couldn't read the new plates). The 407 ETR (toll highway around Toronto) had to adjust camera angles to catch the plates.

It was a mess, and ultimately the Ontario government discontinued the plates in May 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic. A disheartened Ford told reporters, "I'm just not ready to put any more resources towards this."

I feel like maybe more resources should have been put in place prior to the rollout. (They did earmark half a million dollars for plate consultation in the 2019 budget.) Again, assuming this is even something that needed to be done in the first place.

Part of me even wonders if Ford recently scrapped the cost on licence plate stickers, giving everyone a refund in March 2022, not because he wanted to bribe everyone with money (that could have been better spent on heath care). But rather, because he wanted a search on "ontario licence plates" to turn up THAT, and not the plate-gate from 2020. Too cynical?

One last anecdote, again to try and show that this lack of listening to the right people is a pattern of behaviour, and not simply a fluke.

The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table was formed in July 2020. It's been described as "a group of volunteer scientists who have provided independent advice", and was overseen by a school of public health out of the University of Toronto.

Dr. Peter Juni, the director of the table and a physician and epidemiologist, almost quit the table in April of 2021. That was over the Ford government's pandemic response.

The Advisory Table had advocated for things like paid sick days for front-line workers. Doug Ford instead gave that mid-April announcement I mentioned much earlier, shutting down golf courses, while giving police sweeping new powers to stop people at random and demand to know why they were not at home.

Oh, right. That police stuff was walked back a day later, when several police services said they would not do random stops (Waterloo, Peterborough, Guelph, London and Ottawa), plus the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) said they were preparing to go to court. In case you're wondering why that never became bigger news.

Political Cartoon by Theo Moudakis, March 2021

My point again, however, is why not listen to an Advisory Table of Experts, rather than whomever wanted to chat with you that day?

Related, in March 2022, when mask mandates were lifted after March Break, there was talk of the Ontario government again not listening to the Science Advisory Table. Ford stated that he was instead following the advice of chief medical officer Dr. Kieran Moore... and Moore was consulting with the science table. Was he? He certainly wasn't consulting CHEO, who wanted masks to stay on in schools for at least another couple weeks.

As to Dr. Peter Juni, he stayed on through 2021, stating that leaving "would make things even worse because that would be a vacuum". He ultimately did step down as director in mid-March of 2022, to be closer to family in Europe. Having stated earlier that month that it was too soon to tell whether it was safe to end masking in Ontario after March Break.

Before the end of March 2022, Public Health Ontario assumed control of the table.

I feel like that's not a coincidence. If you don't want to listen to the experts, maybe instead you can bully the experts into listening to you? This brings me to my final point.

1) FORD BELIEVES HE IS ABOVE THE LAW

Even as a bully, if you bow to a higher authority figure, there is hope. Even if you don't listen properly, if you can use your other senses, there is hope.

We don't have that here.

Ford thinks that he is the authority. And as far as self-education goes, among other things, he unfortunately seems to be technologically incompetent.

Again, this doesn't necessarily make Ford a bad guy. Sometimes you need to buck the system in the name of the greater good... once you've learned what the greater good is.

For instance, right now, the law in Ontario says you don't need masks except in hospitals, long-term care homes and public transit. Some are saying hell with that. Hamilton-Wentworth board temporarily re-imposed masks after the Break, and Ottawa-Carleton board brought them back in April.

To venture into an even more controversial topic that's active right now, ectopic pregnancies are fatal for all involved. You need an abortion to save the mother. So again, hell with anyone who says you can't abort in such cases to save a life.

To be clear, I'm not saying the reverse - like saying hell with the law and NOT wearing a mask where you SHOULD - is something to celebrate. It's again that aspect of greater good, and listening to experts. (No, watching that one guy on YouTube does not make YOU an expert. Sorry.)

For one last abrupt tonal shift, Batman is seen as being above the law, and he's a good guy. But let's be clear, Doug Ford is no Batman.

Let's start with Ford's mandate letters. All premiers use them to lay out the orders for his/her ministers once they take office. They used to be secret, but have generally been made public since 2014, at all levels of government. Ford's government has now been fighting to keep them hidden for four years.

Some believe that there's great secrets inside them. Others believe they're embarrassingly short, given how few things Ford actually committed to in the 2018 election. I rather think Ford just doesn't like the idea of being challenged.

How DARE you want to see the orders I give my ministers. You shall not be allowed to criticize. Away with you.

Political Cartoon by Steve Nease, 2018

Ontario's former information and privacy commissioner (IPC) ordered Ford to disclose the letters. By request, the Divisional Court reviewed the case and, in September 2020, upheld the decision. Then in a 2-1 decision that took until January 2022, the Ontario Court of Appeal found the IPC's decision was reasonable.

At that, the Ford government waited the maximum length of time, 60 days, before filing an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in March. Which basically assures there's no chance of us seeing these mandate letters until after the election (assuming the Supreme Court rules the same way as everyone else).

But why?

As this former Liberal MPP writes, the whole thing is strange. At this point, there's been new mandate letters anyway (as recently as Fall 2021). But maybe it's less strange when you think Ford simply doesn't like being challenged? He certainly doesn't like being criticized.

"It's like listening to nails on a chalkboard, listening to you," Doug Ford said to Andrea Horwath in February 2021. Because how dare she criticize him in her role as Opposition leader, where that's literally her job. No apology given there either, because how could Ford be wrong in any statement he makes?

To add credence to this holier-than-thou attitude, Ford's government has already lost more than a dozen court cases. From trying to get post-secondary students to opt out of paying for "non-essential" services (read: unions), to scrapping the incentive program for purchasing electric cars, the Ford government is having taxpayers foot a lot of legal bills.

Because Ford MUST be right in the end, yes?

Granted, the press secretary has said the Ontario government is involved in thousands of lawsuits each year, not just those few. But shouldn't there come a time when you stop appealing the decisions? This seems really costly.

And while we're on the subject of money, there's the fact that Ontario failed to track over 4.4 billion dollars in Covid-19 pandemic relief spending, from March to June 2020. That's $4,400,000,000 dollars. Because ministries were unable to track when front-line workers actually began to receive pandemic pay.

Fast forward to January 2021, and Ontario was sitting on more pandemic-relief funds than any other province, at 6.4 billion still unspent. That's $6,400,000,000 dollars. And a report in late 2021 found that Ontario did not spend any funds from a new $2.7 billion dollar Covid-19 response program in that first quarter of 2021, during the third wave. That's $2,700,000,000 dollars.

Is seems Doug Ford does not like spending money, even if it would save lives... unless it's on court cases? (I know, that's a false equivalence, the money for the pandemic is NOT being used in the courts. But it DOES call into question his ability to budget, doesn't it?)

Let's take a quick look at the trucker blockades too.

For three weeks in February 2022 (starting Friday, January 28th), Canadians(?) opposed to lockdowns and vaccine mandates occupied downtown Ottawa. The "Freedom Convoy" protesters set up a hot tub, a bouncy castle, put way too much propane in one place contravening fire codes, even roasted a pig. They blared truck horns at all hours in residential areas, prompting a 21-year-old to file a class action lawsuit against the occupiers.

On February 4th, Doug Ford said the Ottawa situation was "not a protest anymore, it's become an occupation", when speaking about protestors planning to arrive in Toronto. He then went snowmobiling at his cottage. (Uh, timing?) On February 11th, Ford finally called for a state of emergency in Ontario, calling Ottawa "a siege". This only after a new blockade in Windsor at the Ambassador Bridge began to impact the Canada-US border economy.

On February 15th, Ford admitted his own daughter (Krista Haynes, nee Ford) supported the Freedom Convoy. Which was a surprise to nobody. Police finally cleared Ottawa streets during a three day operation that ended on February 19th.

I'm not sure on this one. Was Doug Ford merely pleased to see others fighting against the federal government too? Or was there some family friction that contributed to his apparent "your laws don't apply to me and my friends" attitude?

Political Cartoon by Theo Moudakis, March 2021

Perhaps capitulating to the protestors, Ford then announced on March 9th that mask mandates would be lifted across Ontario. But that he would keep his mask on "for the first few days" after, in the legislature. Yet that school boards better stick to the decision to drop mandatory masks because "they aren't medical experts". But that it's okay for private schools to keep masks.

Again, rules for you, not for me.

Which finally brings me to the notwithstanding clause.

Honestly, I feel like this alone should be enough to deem Doug Ford unfit to be a leader.

The clause, aka Section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, gives provincial legislatures or Parliament the ability to override certain portions of itself for a five year term. The five year term is to ensure the public has the chance to challenge a government's decision to use the clause in a general election before it can be renewed.

This is what's allowed Quebec to prohibit public sector workers in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols.

Doug Ford is the first ever Ontario premier to invoke the clause. He did it to ensure third parties can only spend $600,000 in the 12 months before an election is called. He said it was necessary to protect elections from outside influence.

But wait, this gets stupider.

Third parties were ALREADY prohibited from spending more than $600,000 in the six months preceding an election writ. All the Ontario legislature did (in February 2021) was double the time period, to 12 months. Then an Ontario Superior Court Justice decided (in June 2021, after a court challenge) that it was unconstitutional for Ford to double the period while keeping the spending limit the same.

Doug Ford lost his cool.

The legislature had risen for their summer break on June 3rd, with a planned return of Sept 13th. Doug Ford called everyone back for an emergency weekend debate on election finance law on June 11th. They pushed through Bill 307, using the clause. It passed on June 14th, reinstating the 12 month framework, even as the NDP attempted to introduce some pandemic-related issues. Then the legislature went back on break.

Until October 4th. Because Doug Ford prorogued everyone until after the Fall federal election. Incidentally, also his first prorogation.

So in September, when health care workers were dealing with the fourth wave of the pandemic, when schools were returning and dealing with yet another new curriculum put out by the Ford government, when that report about the lack of spending for Covid-19 release in early 2021 came out... no legislature.

But when you need to extend third party spending limits from six months to twelve? All in, to override the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I just... WHY? Because Ford wanted to stick it to one particular judge who thought Ford was in the wrong? How was Bill 307 more urgent than, I mean, literally anything else going on in 2021?

I cannot believe more people are not talking about that.

SUMMARY

It's been said that Ontario's election "will be a referendum on Doug Ford". A lot of polls also show the Conservatives poised to take government again, possibly even with another majority. In fact there's a better than two-thirds chance of that.

That's scary. I do not think the province will survive another Doug Ford majority.

Early Polling. Find more at https://338canada.com/ontario/

I mean, I think it would be bad under Conservatives anyway, but Doug Ford?

Yes, Doug Ford is a nice guy who listens to the common man. But he is also a bully, who does not listen well, believing he knows best, even if the law tells him otherwise.

That's not good leadership.

Remember, Doug Ford himself only won the leadership of the Conservative Party in 2018 by 51% over Christine Elliot... who had actually won the popular vote. (I blogged about that previously...) How soon we forget?

I wonder if, because Ford lacked the popular vote, he is trying to leave behind some sort of legacy now. So what do we want that to be? At present, it amounts to navigating us through the pandemic, perhaps introducing destreaming to education, and activating the notwithstanding clause. That's not terrible.

After all, in ten years, many people won't remember the empty promises, the waitlist for children with autism doubling, the hidden costs of the new Highway 413, and so forth. Because one presumes the next government will fix a lot of that.

Except if Ford gets another four years? I think his legacy will be so much worse.

He may be the guy who privatized healthcare. The guy who invoked the notwithstanding clause twice, to really stick it to the unions (and keep the minimum wage low). The guy who made a trillion dollars vanish, while giving the common Ontarian money back for their latest passport photo.

I mean, if you actually DO want those legacies for your man Ford... I'm pretty sure you're not still reading.

And the thing is, as much as you might want to vote for the Conservative in your individual riding, and as much as some of them are pretty great (Michael Chong, looking at you)... that is also a vote for Doug Ford. And they cannot control him. No one can... except maybe us. The general public.

Now.

AND ONLY NOW.

Doug Ford is the wrong choice. He is the wrong leader. And yet he's not going anywhere.

I'm worried about that. And you should be too.

Please, vote accordingly in June 2022.

*

Thank you for getting all the way to the end. Additional thanks to my wife and mother-in-law for entertaining the little one for a full day, giving me the time to write this.

If you prefer some lighter fare after all that, I've been reposting math pun stories over on my other blog, like "Quantum Loop". Yay!

Please take care of yourselves, and of each other.

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Summer's End 2021

 It's the 8th annual "Year End" recap post. (Started in 2013, did not run in 2016 as that's the year I wasn't teaching.) As I've said before, the end of August is the true end of the year, no matter what the Gregorian Calendar claims. That's teaching life.

Now, the fact that I'm posting this in MARCH 2022 instead of Sept 2021 is probably an indication of how next year's wrap-up is going to go. Though I did have the first part of this post done August 23rd. Anyway.

On the parenting side, daycare ran smoothly from Sept 2020 to Dec, then little one shifted to Preschool from Jan to "present"... being end of August 2021. Less some days for over half a dozen Covid tests. All negative, and all just runny noses for symptoms except in one case. (Which I still think was Roseola but we never saw a doctor in person on the rash, just CHEO during the fever stage.)

So that gave me some time. Mostly for work.

WORK RELATED

All the June schedules were retooled in Sept 2020 as students went virtual (effectively it's own separate school), changing the number of school sections. I ended up with MBF 3C, a course I hadn't taught in six years. Had to update the finance, among other things. (Wait, Canada Savings Bonds ended in 2017?)

We also had no semesters, but quadmesters of two courses (so four sets of P/T interviews), alternating weeks. This meant my prep time was full weeks in Sept to Nov and Feb to Apr. Otherwise (eg. Apr to June), NO prep time, ALL teaching.

First quadmester was all in person, second was split (fully virtual in January), third was in person but with the loss of March Break messing with scheduling, and the fourth was fully virtual in April (I thought we'd go back in June, nope). So even though I taught 3M and Data twice, it was different circumstances each time.

Learned Google Classroom. Also Google Meet. And learned about online software that could read SmartBoard files (thank you tech help). In the end, while remote, I had to upload the files from my computer, write on them using my Chromebook stylus during the Meet, download the written files in PDF, and reupload to Classroom. Still faster and easier than trying to figure out another way of teaching from home.

And of course, every day I taught remotely I had to drive to school, drop off my daughter, drive home to teach, then repeat the process at the end of the day. So I bought gas twice as often.

A bunch of otherwise normal items were retooled when things went online, including the evaluations, where I gave multiple options for some questions to catch the dishonest. (For example, choose 3% or 4% to answer this question... if strange answers match and choices too, well...) And much like last June, there was a massive such dishonesty case in June 2021. (This time it was in 4U Data, not 3U, but I guess it's the same cohort?)

Exams were nixed, of course, with classes those days instead, weirding the timelines. (Can't have anything due the last day, no time to grade it.) Did my best to pull people to credits wherever possible.

Shadowed the Virtual School's anime club (run by a teacher who shifted to virtual but of course still had to come to the building). It was often running when I was teaching, but occasionally I was there if it was prep week. That's about all I managed outside curriculum, aside from math contests. (Time factor, not an in person limitation.)

"This" month (Aug 2021), I put in for a reduction to 67% which was granted by mutual consent. Because I have a new course (MHF 4U), and 3C is back, and I already had one breakdown at the end of June over both of them existing at once. I strongly suspect I won't make it through the next few months without being part time. (Update: I was very much correct.)

I did get to a couple OAME 2021 sessions in May. I'm still the COMA secretary. My Cubic Formula song is just over 8,000 views in March 2022. I did write a new parody to end the summer that I haven't been able to put online yet. I'm sick of teaching. Let's move on.

HOBBY RELATED

As I said, there hasn't been much time for this. So I'm moving the yuri up here instead of leaving it for Miscellaneous as it's become something of a hobby. As in something I can read on my 10 or 20 minute runs.

The manga and light novels included "Adachi and Shimamura" (through book 4), "Fragtime" (in Nov 2020), "Strawberry Fields" (3 book series) and "I'm in Love with the Villainess" (started April 2021, only just started book 3 in late August). Also watched the Kase-San movie that I got back in April to end off the summer/year here.

I read some time comics too, "Life is Strange" and the BTTF/Transformers crossover. Also free comics, handed out earlier this month (in August) this past year. Bank Street had them outside, the weather was good. The only book I managed to read was "How to be an Antiracist" (Ibram X. Kendi) which was part of our book club at school. I'm so behind in webcomics and everything else.

I managed to keep up biweekly with writing "Epsilon Project" and their pandemic storyline, which had started in May 2020 and continued into April 2021. Ever since April, that blog has been about posting reruns (from old mathNEWS), many posts queued up months in advance.

Before "Epsilon" ended, I'd joined the 2021 Serial April Fools Swap in mid-March (when someone else dropped out and I was asked if I wanted to fill the gap). Somehow managed to read and write an entry for someone else, without having a March Break. And of course, now that I go to link to "Lemongrass: The Chaotic Life of Meadow Song" I find it's 404ed. (I know the author took a break later that April...)

I also not only wrote but recorded the 10th Annual Christmath Parody, "Solving for Unknowns" as a video for the school announcements (no Xmas assembly, of course). And I got my 2019 math parodies online at last, in April 2021 (the "new March Break"), with art: "Only When We Train" (Aug 2019) and "I Graph The Line" (Oct 2019).

Nothing else for personified math, except in summer 2021 I had to convert all the old Google Sites Personified Serial Entries to the new Google format. (That took time, the images were never placed right after conversion.) The new song I wrote in August 2021 is about logs, no clue when I'll get that up.

And of course, the big one in writing is "Time Untied" (my serial sequel).

Was at about 82,000 words in August 2019, about 127,000 words in August 2020, and this year saw more writing in November (for NaNo). Finally got it to the climax... the first one. With over 25,000 more words. That was after I'd done some October edits, in light of the weird "week of prep" quadmester schedule. Meaning more edits were done in February and March.

Since 150,000 words and still going means this needs to be two books, I split it after 10 parts, and later reformatted the start of the subsequent "Time Denied" book for the Ink & Insights competition at the end of June 2021. I figure feedback is good, under the circumstances. I continued the writing in July, with the last edits being August 8th to file "L". (A to J being the full "Untied" book.)

In December 2020 I finalized Alexandra's story translations and photos, in time for Christmas. I also managed to make some more videos of her, including Circle Time in March and a couple for her June birthday (in July). Also compilations for Year 3 which I hadn't been sure about doing but decided yeah.

In August 2021 I was able to post to the blog about some PD sessions, having not posted since November 2020. (Not counting the parenting summaries, which I no longer post but still do offline.)

On the role-play side, Tom started up another TORG campaign, so Ben Asim (from 2017) got dusted off and updated for some play in September/October 2020. Then came a follow-up campaign in January 2021, where a backup Avril Carroll was created, but Ben was the one used for gaming in February, March, July and August.

Through it all, I had several temporary breakdowns. My stress levels were consistently over 5. I'm not sure if that counts as a hobby, but it's what was happening in my spare time. Anyway.

UPKEEP RELATED

The garage door broke in April 2021, and the chain mechanism had to be replaced. The fridge filter broke in July 2021, and is still broken (in March 2022). I got a Pfizer shot in mid-May (a little before the presumed Roseola rash with little one) and a Moderna shot in July (earlier than originally scheduled, that being the start of September, which would have been not entirely useful).

The vaccinating meant we felt safe enough taking a trip in late July to visit my parents (and little one's cousins). Followed by a trip to the Piquard Cottage in August. The car air conditioning had failed before that, but was still under warranty from last year, so yay. The perpetually broken kitchen faucet also got replaced in late August, so yay water at more than a trickle.

The property outside is still something of a mess. I've given up on grass, never had time to clean the deck, and the driveway is starting to fracture from the roots underneath. It is what it is. The interior looks pretty good.

MISCELLANEOUS

What else goes here? Well, CBC finished their "Element of Surprise" this past month (August 2021), that was a fun thing to listen to on Tuesdays. Me and Anne-Lise actually went out for our Anniversary in the month too, since the France grandparents could mind the little one (ordered from Pelican Grill and went to park).

Other than that, phone's fine. Pedometer's fine but the online tracking ends for it when 2021 ends. Yeah, life is pretty much school, parenting, and trying to carve out time for hobbies around those.

WHERE TO NEXT

The units/lessons for the new MHF 4U course need to be put together, pretty sure this isn't the last time I'll see that course (now that Grade 9 and 10 are getting disrupted). Updating the personified math banner should happen.

I think parts A to J of "Time Untied" will just need to sit there now, until I work through "Time Denied" to the point where everything hooks back into needing to update "Untied". One hopes I have time. Publicizing any of my stuff remains pretty much a non-event.

Something exactly the same as in 2020, little one could fall ill or need a pickup at any point. Family stress is real. This pandemic is not going away, and needs to be dealt with more seriously. (But no, instead let's have a federal election during which Ford vanishes in the province, right.)

I don't know. At this point I'm half a year behind even publishing this, so let's just reiterate more from 2020 as we call it a day:

Things happened. It wasn't great, it sure could have been worse. As I said last time, if you have any particular questions about teaching or parenting, I'll see what I can do? Thanks for reading my mental rambling.

Saturday, 28 August 2021

OAME 2021 Summary

Welcome to a math teacher blogging about life in a pandemic. That's about all you'll get on this blog these days. (I still do weekly journalling, but see no point posting it.)

This is the second of two PD posts; the first was Boardwide PD of April 23, 2021. This time I will discuss the OAME Math Conference, during the week of May 17th, 2021. The current pandemic meant that both events were fully remote (in fact all teaching in Ontario was remote following the "April Break", moved from March).

Screenshot from Wednesday the 19th

Earlier in 2021 I'd hesitated on signing up at all (and see last year's OAME post for how I hadn't planned on going to 2020) but since the virtual conference hours were 4-9pm, with a session at 8pm (after the little one had gone to bed), I decided to at least take in evening sessions. Perhaps the blinders were on in late March?

For the record, OAME 2021 had sessions at 4pm, 6pm and 8pm, with their virtual trade show running in between. This was every day, Monday through Friday, though I stuck with 8pm (mostly). By then I was also teaching a full course load (3U & Data) without a prep (due to quadmesters) so there was a lot going on.

OAME: MON & TUES


The sessions were: M8.08, "Changing a Math Class Culture", presented by Alice Aspinall and Cesare Cetra. And T08.07, "Blurring Lines between Math and Art", presented by Karyn Hepburn.

The changing culture aspect was largely focused on the Thinking Classroom of Peter Liljedahl and his 14 practices (which I've blogged about elsewhere). This generation of students have different types of learners, with social media and more IEPs; don't start with course information, start with a problem together. Reduces pushback for problem solving in groups later on and sets classroom norms.

Verbal instructions where possible (careful of IEPs) and avoid writing, as it's something for them to fall back on. One marker per group, break down social barriers. Noted many aspects are more difficult during the pandemic and with remote teaching. Consistency through a department is nice.

Chat mentioned the use of Jamboards during online work for collaboration, and there was talk of growth versus fixed mindset along with Peter L's new book "Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics” (2020) and Jo Boaler's "Limitless Mind" (Going beyond mathematics).

Their favourite line: "You know more than you think you do." Connect to things already known, and 3-Act math problems. Making mistakes is very important, though kids don't want to hear it (worrying about a negative sign means you lose the process). Most common question is getting students to buy in.

Interestingly the last thing they did before going home for the pandemic in March 2020 was third annual school wide pi day math celebration. Overall it was a fine session - but mostly it reiterated points I've heard a lot elsewhere.

For Math and Art, the school combined the math/art program for Grades 9 and 10, allowing for completion of electives. The math curriculum was spiralled to revisit topics from three perspectives: Art concepts/graphs, Real life phenomena, and Algebraic representations. Allowing more time to absorb concepts in both subjects, and more productivity.

Experimental Probability: Random Art Types #1-4

First assignment was parabolas & texture (not Desmos, though that's another idea), then exponentials & fractals, then lines & patterns (find slope to create good symmetry), then design & 3D printing (for surface area and trigonometry). Photography can also link with trigonometry and contrast. Of note, 10P and 11C have perspective drawing in the course.

There was also a 3C Greeting Card Survey Reflection for statistics (survey the school for things like should there be snow, how many star layers). Once the cards were made from the data, they were signed and given to volunteers. Printmaking can also link to manipulating graphs, so they seem misleading.

During quarantine last year, statistics was instead make art where something can be marked in, such as tree trunks where their location can be plotted with quartiles (also goes to composition).

Karyn then put us in random breakouts, and I was with two other teachers, one from Toronto; we talked a bit about getting administration on side (low cost startup) but I also had to check on the little one who was having more trouble falling asleep (or possibly it was some other interruption around 8:30). To conclude the session, there was a Probability Art activity.

You chose four textures, then would randomly generate numbers from 1 to 4. Creating 8 results versus 32 results leads to experimental vs theoretical, make some predictions and calculate final results. I put in a graphic above.

Rather clever on the overall, and I only realized once it started that I know the presenter themselves. Some of the individual activities (such as that last one) might be ones to take advantage of on a smaller scale.

OAME: WEDNESDAY


I (mostly) went to the 6pm Keynote on this day (rather late) because the 8pm session was a follow-up. Both sessions were "Mathematics, Social Justice & Actions" by Robert Q Berry III. (Past president of NCTM. I put one graphic at the top of the post.) Alas, there was some confusion in the household, so I missed the first half of the keynote itself.

When I arrived, Robert was talking about using data and information to provoke questions. Such as a link between cigarette smoking and income, and whether advertisers are targeting a certain group. Or the idea of gerrymandering, and weaponizing in order to advantage some while disadvantaging others.

There was a look at a Social Justice Math Lesson Framework, a seven step plan. What matters: Content (learning goals, relevant issues, analysis tools) and Context (purpose, allies, building identity/agency). Also WHEN matters (current events, contributing to a goal) and HOW matters (strategies, student/parent reactions, how to assess). The Zoom chat mentioned "Skew the Script" and "Math that Matters".

Six elements of a Social Justice Mathematics Lesson Framework were shown. Robert concluded by questioning how Social Justice could be infused in math and what work must be done to prepare. With a reminder that social justice need not always come from a trauma perspective, but can also have a celebratory point of view. Acknowledging those who are not always seen (hidden figures) or shining a light on activism.

This was continued in session W8.02, with a look at three tasks. For reference, there was his book "High School Math to Explore, Understand and Respond to Social Injustice".

Two gender/sexuality graphs were provided, and what do you notice? ("Listen to GLSEN") Data can be organized into a matrix, and can be collected from their own school based on what they've learned. That was more statistical, the second task was finance related.

Culturally relevant income inequality. Complete the following sentence, "before I read, I thought that *** but now I know that ***". Students were to research an article on their own, then do reporting. Connect to race, with the greatest change from 1967 to 2014. Noted students can represent the data, then discuss rate of change, and make sense of that (it may or may not be linear).

Questions to ask: What is the injustice here? How can I make sense of it and mathematize it? What is the action that students will take in learning from this? (Maybe understanding historical significance of how wealth is built, blacks could not own homes or access loans the same, "red line".)

Screenshot from Wednesday the 19th

The third lesson was "A False Positive" on drug testing. Robert also mentioned gerrymandering again (from the keynote), along with a plan for Creating Your Own Lessons. Noted that book chapters are broken up by content (Stats, Geometry, Numbers...)

Consider even COVID cases by County in 2020, from the NYTimes. Why more towards the east? Population density? How do we mathematize it, relative magnitude? Proportionality? Or racial disparity in major sports leagues, players to head coaches. How to mathematize? How to assess not only the math goal but the social justice goal, what will they take away?

There were a few other references, and Robert also took questions in the chat. I posed about pushback from parents or administrators, and Robert says you have to *do the work* to understand the community. How where kids live intersect with standards to teach, meaning use the community as a resource. Might be a lack of understanding and potential of resources.

The social justice should not feel like an add-on or drop-in. You might only do it once or twice every 6-9 weeks, it's a matter of being COHERENT.

OAME: THU & FRI


The sessions were R8.09, "Creating a Spiralled Course", by Natalie Robinson, and F8.07 "Gender Equity: Promoting Female Presence in STEM fields", by Atinuke Adeyemi.

Personally, I figure spiralling is worth it, my attendance was more to get a sense of how it's best/being implemented. First offered, a "spiral" definition: a combination of laying a foundation of skills/concepts, and building upon these with continuous revisiting. Her department made spiralling a priority in both pathways (academic/applied) so a student who transitions is not losing anything.

To get started, find a friend (two is great to start), prioritize goals, then use previous lessons with revisions on the fly. Look sideways as well as up and down. Seasoned teachers are better with priorities, while new teachers are better with flexibility. Nathalie and colleague started with Grade 9 Applied.

They had FOUR cycles (loops through). Every strand represented in the cycles, which ran 24, 24, 20 and 9... the last was shorter owing to it being consolidating (eg solving for dimensions). It's never perfect on the first try (assemblies, interruptions, EQAO time...) but students were not confused by "jumping around".

Science of successful learning “Making it Stick” book, read around the same time. (Chat: By the Heath Brothers? Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger, and Mark A. McDaniel?) If you don't have a colleague you ARE going to find it overwhelming.

Assessment has to complement the process. Two part HW assignments, due Wed & Fri. Reinforces all concepts are “fair game” at any time. (Pre-teach and repeat options.) You might have taught algebra but the HW is geometry. Will be linking them. Evaluations occur to finish a cycle.

Wanted mobility of 1D/1P (where 1D has the extra strand), so would take framework of 1P and modify it. Analytic Geometry very blank in cycle 1; Numeracy/Algebra very blank in cycle 4. Wanted Grade 11 Mixed. FIVE cycles; cycle 1 had nothing specific to strands (properties of functions, notations, solving equations) then cycle 2 gets more technical (factoring, exponent rules) then in later cycles get transformations and finance.

11U was also accomplished (8 units became 5 cycles), where it takes LESS time to get through curriculum (even with assessments and some review, still a few leftover days). But be flexible and kind to yourself, even the second time teaching might not be quite right; there's so many moving parts.

The last cycle is always a compilation of all ideas, so you revisit everything (no new concepts just old ideas in new ways), meaning need only a day or two for exam review after.

Teachers from different schools have collaborated on Grade 10 and 11C (Natalie had to do 11C virtually due to pandemic, using those notes, and it was working). If your school has teaching pockets, that's hard on the kids; worst thing is having kids in a successful environment then get thrown into a traditional way next time, there's data on this.

Pros: Many lessons the same, students see links, confidence and understanding improve. Cons: Many other lessons useless, need to build all new tests, feels like new teaching.

You’re only *learning* when you’re a bit uncomfortable. Your brain is not growing and making connections unless it’s straining. Hence quizzes where anything comes up. Could do test and a task over two days. Progress tends to be a reverse bell. (Starts better, then they have to push through a bit, but they end the course UP. So no stress at the end.)

No textbook used, continued through COVID, only truly misplaced students struggle. “I could give you my outlines, but they’re based on our dept priorities, so they might not match your thinking.” Try to make the end of each cycle more an Application/Thinking item (rather than thinking early cycles are Knowledge and later ones are Thinking).

There were some other questions at the end which Natalie said she'd address later, and of course I never got around to revisiting the files. Something else I'd wanted to get around to was watching Friday's 6pm speaker; I only caught the last ten minutes or so of Eugenia Cheng's session. More on that below.

For Friday's 8pm session, Atinuke introduced herself and referenced life experiences influencing her research interest. Arriving in Canada, she noticed low female participation in mathematics despite government interventions. In her country it's reversed, 20 students in a class would have only 4 males.


She asked us for what words we might associate with STEM. A field where we need female contribution and innovation. Context: Concerns in the 1960s, several national publications drew national awareness in 1990s, and despite "improvement" in 2000s, it did not translate to careers in STEM fields.

34% dropped out (66% remained) from 2010 to 2015 within undergraduates. And females were twice as likely (23% vs 12%) to switch into health care/psychology fields instead. Here are some reasons for low participation:
1) Psychological factors (& math anxiety). Women may worry about impressing (or pleasing) others, and have incorrect self-perceived ability.
2) Biological factors. Researchers argue that males’ brains have neurological qualities to allow them to perform better. But female achievement scores refute this argument (2002). 
3) Attitude and Beliefs. Confidence (as from middle grades, females are less confident so they become uninterested or unmotivated). Usefulness (when girls value STEM as highly useful, it leads to career choices). Attribution style (females are more likely to attribute success to luck or effort and failure to ‘low ability’).
4) Social Factors. From parents and teachers, encouragement and support. Parents socioeconomic status and education plays in. Teachers with stereotypical remarks or who themselves possess levels of maths anxiety too. (And equality vs equity – discard the equality.) Peers and peer pressure as well, though from the outset, what do we let them play with?

She showed a video here of how dressing a baby girl as a boy and vice versa, an adult gravitated towards different toy selections. I'd recommend checking it out (from 2017) as well as this other video on gender role expectations.

There was also #5) Societal Belief and Cultural Milieu. (Media portrayal: Big Bang Theory vs Numb3rs. Girls who are “nerds” or not social in the former.) Also, employment trends, few role models. In a qualitative study on math and physics students, the major obstacles were seen as inadequate teaching methods (unappealing lectures), lack of social interaction and solitary feelings.

There had been an activity planned here but we were down to five minutes left, so she gave final recommendations: *Stimulate and increase female interest through exposure from a younger age, then ensure they're aware of some professions. *Organize more outreach programs. Talk about great women in math. *And higher education should accept more women into ranks to serve as role models.

As a general rule, be careful of assumptions. Particularly related to gender.

CONCLUSIONS


The sessions were kept online for a couple weeks after the conference concluded, along with other pre-recorded sessions. I decided I was too busy with my full time remote teaching to take advantage... I had at least seen more than I managed to in 2020. One quick shoutout to the Friday keynote here, which I'd hoped to see more of.


Eugenia Cheng was the speaker. ("Inclusion/Exclusion in mathematics", somewhat related to my other Friday session.) She noted that if you teach how to do standardized tests, then that's what students learn, which will not help them later. Need to change from ingression behaviour (to be powerful, we must put down others) to congressional (pursuit of depth and cultural awareness).

Her conclusion referenced how many different possible answers would be a wonderful way to make things more congressive at all ages (like "which one doesn't belong", shoutout to Christopher Daniels). "We don't defeat math by learning it, we make it bigger by learning it".

In the overall, like I said in my prior post about the April Subject PD, there were elements here to reaffirm some of the things I was already aware of (albeit not necessarily doing). The class culture and spiralling aspects fit there, along with a few items like gerrymandering (which fit into my Data class).

There were also things I could consider incorporating, once I have more time to think about them. That being the art aspects, and going deeper with social justice. And of course the gender issue is something to keep in mind, extending even more to my three year old daughter and not wanting to fit her into some societal norm.

If you're wondering about previous OAME conferences I went to, you can have a look at 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020. (In 2017 the sessions were full before I realized registration was open.)

Alternatively, feel free to drop a comment here. Did you learn something, or have any thoughts about the mathematics? Or the teaching, or applications? Please let me and other readers know. As always, thanks for reading through to the end.

(Note: For a more frequently updated blog, go to that link, where I've started rerunning "Quantum Loop" and other math parody serials.)

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Subject PD 2021

Welcome to a math teacher blogging about life in a pandemic. That's about all you'll get on this blog these days. (I still do weekly journalling, but see no point posting it.)

There will be two posts on Professional Development this month, the Boardwide PD of April 23, 2021 and the OAME Math Conference during the week of May 17th, 2021. The boardwide is subject specific info, rather than how to use Personal Protective Equipment and the like. (Why would I bore you with that anyway?)

The current pandemic meant that both events were fully remote (in fact all teaching in Ontario was remote following the "April Break", moved from March).

For the board wide, this meant it was possible to sign up for any of the subject area online sessions. I took advantage of that to include "Comics in the Classroom", listed under the "Canadian and World Studies" subject header. The other two sessions were within mathematics, and the overall plenary speaker at the start.

PLENARY

The plenary session was speaker Mante Molepo. You should go check out her story yourself; she's a black lawyer who co-founded Parents for Diversity. She presented through YouTube but there were links for audience interaction. Some of the early items I jotted down related to things caucasian individuals (such as myself) take for granted, like "flesh coloured" bandages, default emojis or non-dark tights (which can be a barrier to dance).

Also included were how Inuit names were forced to be changed for identification (their names otherwise evolve through life, a problem for the church), how Pullman Sleep Car Porters were (are?) referred to as "George" (after George Pullman himself, working "for him" as a callback to slavery), and how in fiction people of colour can be relegated to "token" characters who are without substance (tell a joke then fade into the background). Been trying not to do the latter myself.

There's also been repurposing by caucasians, like the image of a fist up. In the legal context, does requiring french remove indigenous options (as a second language)? This talk was, of course, prior to Mary Simon becoming the first Indigenous governor general in Canada, on July 26, 2021.

The analogy is antiracists trying to move up a down escalator. (I was reminded of "How to be an Antiracist" by Ibram X Kendi, which we were then reading for an optional book study at school.) There was also a rather good video about still being in practice (not being perfect).

TRANSITION WORKSHOP A

My first workshop session after this was "A35: Panel discussion to address concerns about transitioning to University in the time of COVID". It was put on by Monica Nevins, Steven Desjardins and Joseph Khoury out of the University of Ottawa, Dept of Math & Statistics.

Even then, at the end of April, the assumption was Fall 2021 would be online. Some downsides of remote are no casual connections/calibrations, more anxiety, it's easier to disengage (watch recordings on the weekend instead), and the necessity of mastering technology platforms.

Some upsides are setting of one's own pace, more resources at hand, equalization (with overseas students not on campus), better focus (no distractions by people in class and/or teacher interrupting themselves for such distractions) and more personalized help/feedback.

What was already noticed in Fall 2020 was unprecedented levels of anxiety, especially before midterms, and a harder time managing deadlines. By happy coincidence, U.Ottawa had planned (pre-pandemic) for different calculus streamed courses in 2020 (one stream having an extra 1.5 hrs of lecture per week for more depth/review) and many took the option. They were hoping to also have a BrightSpace calculus readiness assessment tool in place for Aug 2021 (in both languages), including skill building modules.

After the initial discussion, some polls were posted by the host, including what material may have been dropped from Gr 12 courses, what student skills stand out as better/deficient, and how much work students are completing (almost unanimous result was work is "less because there is less time"). The poll about technology platforms didn't even HAVE "Google Classroom/Meet" as an OPTION, showing a bit of a disconnect there (86% answered Other)... this session was through Zoom.

In some back and forth, it was advised that if you have to leave something out in 4U (non-Data), it should be the linear algebra. They're not cutting any post-secondary material on their end and have not noticed a difference in marks (there ARE issues but not in respect to overall marks).

Some discussion of cheating (academic integrity) also occurred. Use of "photo math" to check if students match, or in advance pose a question that would give a horrible answer if solved in a way that had not yet been taught. Steve remarked "[cheating] was nowhere as bad as I thought it could be". It was also noted that University professors are not allowed to speak to parents or guardians about academic work/program without written consent; they're adults, no longer minors.

Biggest advice for students: Use available supports, be proactive, and time management is stress management. Also, students like anonymous zoom polls.

COMICS PD

My second workshop session was, as referenced earlier, "B4. Comics in the Classroom". Put on by Hugh Goldring & Nicole Burton (of https://adastracomix.com/) with host Stephen Hoogenraad.

There are various roles involved in making comics, from concept to script to drawing to publicity to publishing. Comics use is growing faster than books, but it was noted that's maybe because they're starting from very little use. For benefits, you can be in space, in time, or concepts personified as superheroes. For challenges, not all kids can draw (or it takes them time).

One can start with character concepts/design. (I mentioned xkcd format in the online chat.) There is also thinking creatively and staging a dialogue (meaning the student gets to play two sides of a conversation), and related, wiping speech bubbles out of comics to allow kids to write in their own.

Detournement (from the french) is taking a text and subverting it's intended meaning, making it political. One example was in the UK reimagining Tintin as someone organizing a union (and it's noted that Tintin has almost no women in it). Some kids do this already, pencilling commentary into textbooks. You can move into propaganda posters, where you're not just drawing in speech, you also need to consider the original art in context.

Some anecdotes included mention of Art Spigelman, "Maus" (which has MetaMaus like a teacher's guide), Oxford University Press (Gr 5-12, with teacher resources in back), and "Enemy Alien" (internment camp). You can also get into conversations that are difficult as a group (some feel vulnerable, others want to joke) where you immerse yourself in another character/storyline. Topics like racism, sexism, mental health and micro-aggressions.

We did a sample exercise on a Jamboard (there were about 58 people present but we didn't all participate; one shared and there was discussion). One of the panels is shown above - what might you include? (Did you automatically assume there was a racial component?)

For creating whole comics, "BitStrips" has closed down, "Canva" can be used and "Comic Life" used to have board support (no more).

Superhero comics can be an analogy to Greek Mythology and many kids already have related conversations (like who fights crime the most effectively, and what does that mean). "The Nib" online mentioned for comics journalism, more current events. Tags on instagram. I asked about manga, and someone mentioned "Barefoot Gen" (atomic bomb, not for the faint of heart).

In conclusion, there's really comics for everything.

SUMMARY

To conclude in general, the day helped to reaffirm some of the things I was already doing. Such as trying to be more aware of racial/societal barriers (more on that with OAME), using Meet polls, and giving a summary evaluation at the end of my Data course. (We were mandated to not have exams or summatives, but I put in strand revisits so that we could cover the expectations a second time, and seems post-secondary exams aren't going anywhere... I tried to make it low stakes including a help sheet.)

As far as the comic use goes, maybe personified math helps? I wonder what would happen if I used one of my own comics as a prompt with their dialogue balloons. That might be something to consider. Did you have any thoughts, from reading this?

Obviously there's ways to take all of this further than I already am, but in the midst of a pandemic, sometimes it's nice to know that I'm not completely crashing and burning. What with having to re-imagine courses for the quadmester format. Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for another post about OAME 2021.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Pandemic Parenting: Dec 2020

Week 128

-Little one 12:30-1:30am; dreamt^ to 3am. Awake with little one 5:40am; trade off as she wakes up an hour later. Took some time to organize my day, brief family time 8am then over an hour Dad time. Shopping after 9:30am, which took 1.5 hrs; put items away, all had yogurts, then Dad time downstairs. Lunch after 12:00, Mom handles snooze as I attempt reference letter, other school, and then snooze itself after an hour of goofing. From 2-3pm I do NaNo, because. Then Dad time for not quite an hour and actual school work on 3M for an hour. Phone home. Dad time, then cooking and plotting out some 3M. Bed by 10:30pm.
-Up 5am; handle 3M test and quiz. Some NaNo, then 6:30am with little one. Mom time after 7am, some emails. School to tidy up the first of the 3Ms; finish the unit. Then monitor a 3C test in another room, creating solution sets. Lunch by 2pm, finalize items, run, then pickup in rain. Home, some emails. Play downstairs, some tidying before dinner. Nail clipping, dinner, finalize ref letter then NaNo crawl. More writing. Bed before 11:30pm.
-Up a bit in night, then from 6:15am. Prep/scan letter, help with dressing, eventually out. Run; forget mask in car. Teach 3M lessons with new set of 16. Emails, quick lunch, quiz correcting, staff meeting. Runs to after 4pm, quick pickup. Home, send letter, then almost 1.5 hr little one as Mom head hurts. Losing my mind before 7pm, eventually back in to handle missing quizzes and other emails. Finish quizzes after 10:15pm (brief break for RDA), then prep. Briefly cook.
-Bed 12:30am. Up by 6am, sled in circles in light snow before departing. First 3M test, many questions. Try to prep remote lesson. Trig continues, then grading quizzes and answering emails. NO staff mtg, brief relax including at home. Dad time 45 min involves cleaning. After 8pm, with dinner, back into quiz corrections until after 10:30pm. Finish remote lesson; decompress.
-Some interruptions. Morning to check messages, share yogurts. 3M test again, set up regression solutions and files. Then into trig. Lunch is a book club for Ibram X (distanced). Emails and calculator disinfecting (needed 7), run, and home. Mixed time includes sadness over island cleaning. Cooking, break, don't get to work until near 10pm on lesson planning. Up later than I wanted.
-Mom up 6am, Dad time 6:30am, school prep and tidying after 7am. Back to a regular teaching day. Put together rest of quads unit. Shopping trip, then notified maybe preschool in a month. Home, Mom time, then Dad time for half an hour, pick up food then back and forth. Dishes. Break, then talk about Xmas. In bed before 10pm.
-Dreamt^^. With little one 6am, Mom takes over 6:30am; over an hour to finalize Alexandra's story translation/photos. Dad time 8-10am, including blowing up beachball and wearing boots. 10am, parent email and video creation. 11am, some grading; 11:30 soup for lunch. By 1pm Mom snoozing, TGIO NaNo wrap party online. After 2pm, grading. 3pm Dad time for an hour; 4pm some grading then nap. 5pm phoning; eventual bath and bed. Grading 8pm, assist with bed before 9pm. Buy gas, milk, bit more grading then classifying photos to 11:30pm.

===
Item counts to Saturday (Dec 5):
Step Count 2016: About 51,200
-Trying to finish “Girl + Algebra” while baffled by darkness.

Step Count 2017: Over 62,300 (14 stars)
-Home life seems busier than work, wondering about my serotonin, RRL end.

Step Count 2018: Over 68,650 (10 stars)
-Tears in the night became cold too, MDM surveys, last "Time Untied" words for yr.

Step Count 2019: Over 75,850 (13 stars)
-Xmas lights, Santa photo, clear words, cut my finger; hospital, Jughead review.

STEP COUNT 2020: Over 56,400. 11 stars.
SCHOOL EMAIL 2020: 179 New (60 sent)
We have completed DAY 68. Now taught for 39 days vs. quarantine only nine. (3 overlap)

RH Stress Level: 9 (Blaster Mode, Full Power)

=======
Week 129
-Dreamt*. Up 5:30am, more photo sorting. With little one 6am for two hours (first 30 min asleep). After 8am, start calendar sorting and do more grading (including online course setup). After 11am, outside with Alexandra to park. Back noon, cook lunch; after 12:30pm head to snooze. Asleep after an hour; more grading (one set down). Nap myself for over 45 min. More grading after 3:30pm (near completion). Depart after 4:30pm with Tatie for Kanata Lights. (40 min wait from 5pm opening.) Home 6:30pm; little one out of sorts. Quick emails. Bed after 7:30pm; 8pm into prepping of Monday 3C Quiz/Review. Bed by midnight.
-With Alexandra before 6am. Break to queue up posts (and download images) at 6:30am. Regular day, two lessons and review, during which I can write out solutions. After lunch, put together finance assignment with solutions. Quickly out to buy card. Home with back and forth crashing until together after 6:30pm. Evening of trying to finalize finance and handle Geometry in a lesson. Breakdown. Bed by 11pm.
-Up from 5:30am, with little one from 6:15am. Regular day (cycled back to finance) with some missing students. Graded remote quizzes after lunch. Home, managed dishes then family time then Dad time; eventually take 10 min. Dinner, send emails about missing quizzes, prepare new quiz and geometry sheet. RDA while finalizing and queueing post, bed after 11:30pm.
-Up after 5:30am but all quiet. Finish sorting all photos, bit of sled in new snow. Test at school, finalize finance lesson, teach geometry (barely staying ahead). No quizzes?? Catch up with emails and some prep work, quick shopping trip. Home, and they read book online which lets me do one quiz and lie down. Then Dad time for 30+ minutes, her dinner 7pm which lasts a while. Start sending 'missing' emails before 8pm, takes half an hour. Time for dinner, eventually something in by 10pm; to bed by 10:30pm.
-Awake before 5:30am; trying to deal with emails. With Alexandra from 6:15 to 7am, then trying to complete quiz marking. Time outside, to work -- forget my drive. Anne-Lise emails me needed files. Alexandra sticker for going in the preschool door. Me two evaluations that day, won't see them again in 2020, exhausting. Finalize Friday tests. Run, home and an hour of grading probability quizzes; rejoin at 5:30pm for family and Father time. Bed after fall at 7pm; cook then 8pm Exec Social. Before 9pm, doing work, no energy to grade. To bed before 10:30pm.
-Up 5:30am. Do prep work for next week until 7am. Head out to another testing day, not as intense; have time to adjust Trig lessons. Then we start trig, and I find a video to show as things go fast. After lunch, draw up solutions and finalize more of next week; student doesn't show for Meet. Send emails about Assignment. Run, home, some back and forth and a half hour Dad time. After bed, I largely take the evening off; my bed after midnight.
-Up 6am. Start dealing with Holiday Parody. Dad time for 1.5 hrs from 6:40am; time away to figure out shopping. Tatie's after 9am, shopping to 10am, dealing with related items to 11am. Back to song parody. Drop-off at noon, more parody during snooze (with brief interruption to help); dishes once it's complete. Dad time half hour, then 2 hrs of grading along with some family time inserted; Dad time again 6:30pm. Bed after 7:30pm, dinner, wrapping gifts to mail, and more grading. Bed after 11:30pm.

===
Item counts to Saturday (Dec 12):
Step Count 2016: About 58,600
-Groaned about holidays breaking routine, tried to get ahead.

Step Count 2017: Over 67,000 (14 stars)
-Too busy before the holidays, Cappies mentoring, tried new phone.

Step Count 2018: Over 76,000 (12 stars)
-6 hrs sleep decided as standard, Similac Stage 2 & solid food, laughter video.

Step Count 2019: Over 71,700 (14 stars)
-Alexandra bandaid, Cappies mentor show, to Aunt Alyssa's, breakdown.

STEP COUNT 2020: Over 56,950. 11 stars.
SCHOOL EMAIL 2020: 137 New (60 sent)
We have completed DAY 73. Now taught for 44 days vs. quarantine only nine. (3 overlap)

RH Stress Level: 9 (Blaster Mode, Full Power)

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Week 130
-Up 6:30am. Sort photos, check messages. Family time 8:15am, getting out the tree and assorted garland, ladder, etc. Dad time 9:15am, then before 10am dealing with wrapping gifts and sorting boxes. Breakdown by 11am. Out to post office before 11:30; drop by store to look for replacement bottle (broke at Sat snooze). Home by 12:30pm, doing snooze before lunch. She's asleep after an hour, before 2pm... trying not to freak over still no grading today. Also considering ppt creation. Finally to work 3:45pm for 1.5 hrs, then phoning home, family time and dinner. Bath, cooking, back to work 8:30pm. Finish that after 10:30pm; dinner and put together powerpoint. Sleep after 12:30am.
-Dreamt*. With Alexandra from 6:45am; dresses with Mom after 7am. Teaching is back to 3M, the quieter class(?). Quads and Sins, then grading remains of 3C, emails, and handling probability. Home for more emails and grading; Dad time outside before 6pm for over half an hour, pulling sled in new snow. After dinner, the cooking and finish grading then getting midterm marks into the system during RDA; finish about 10:30pm. Then aim to record Holiday Song after 11pm. Trial run; attempt #1 slides do not advance; attempt #2 my computer shuts off despite power; attempt #3 the chromebook glitches audio; attempt #4 is hopefully fine, to bed before 12:30am.
-Up by 5:30am with little one. 6:30am, verify the vid audio and fix remote attendance. Then family, and head out. Teach the class I've seen 3 times; manage to grade a quiz on break. Once done, quick lunch, then Meet a student for 15 min, then enter all the Low Grades data (~45 min) then finalize and copy test. Now after 3pm, still need to start quizzes; send apology to stream. Quick shopping. Then emails & quizzes for over 1.5 hrs at home; Dad time before 6:30pm (Mom tapped out). Still more quizzes after she's asleep before 8pm, finally done 10pm. Consider dinner. Bit of prep, in bed by 11:30pm.
-Up after 6am. Dad time including her out of sack by herself; to work, still cold yet do my run early again. Hand out OSSTF magazines. Test (for finalizing next review), then finish quadratics. Handle parent emails (absences, midterms), student emails, quiz feedbacks, photocopying, attendance, probably more things; leave after 3:30pm (oops). Home for more quizzes and emails. Dad time for 45 min before 6pm, dinner, then lie down 15 min. After bed, quizzes and doing dishes. More emails. Bed by 11:30pm at least.
-Asleep after 1am; dreams included watching a small plane crash and I have no phone. Up 6:30am. Pull together Daycare articles, handle remote attendance. Needed 7:15am to dress in PJs. Morning announcements have my song; second test day, after review. Parent email, then Book Club. Quick lunch, then quiz corrections. Pickup after 4pm, home as Mom arrives. Brief staff gather 5pm (whoever's left from 4pm), then more quizzes. Dad time 6-7pm, quick break. More quizzes/emails before 8pm. Cooking, then printing at 9:30pm. Dinner 10pm, then de-stressing, then need to prep final lesson; bed after midnight.
-Awake by 6am; dreamt^. Dad time, and she likes the elastic with the Santa on it. To work, last test of 2020, I manage to sort my emails. Intro trig. Get Daycare message/photo about Santa's visit, despite my internal stress it didn't go well anyway. ("Gone.") By 1pm, 50/50 draw then contact tracing binders in, lunch (and I'm the Holiday poet from trivia?). Email student who was away and the one not returning in Jan. Write down the road map for both courses before I forget. Depart 3pm, do shopping, run, pickup. Start laundry, realize we need diapers so run out again before 5:30pm (also get printer ink). Dad time for 45 min after 6pm, then sushis. Asleep by 8pm, I square away some things, BNL live concert at 9pm. I'm wiped out by 10pm, bed.
-Decent night, up by 6:30am, start Epsilon story work and sort photos. Family after 8am, Dad time for an hour including sticker art from 8:30am; lie down for half an hour. Couple items, then outside 10:45am for family time. Small car to park with slides and swing; home solo after 11:30am. Lunch, then Mom takes snooze while I deal with Xmas lights; the extension cord has one prong too wide so need to deal with duct tape around door, takes an hour. Run, wake others 3pm to start laundry and do measure - she's ~93 cm. Dad time for an hour, then I need to deal with pedometer, check messages, lie down for half an hour. Back in and it's Dad time for almost an hour (including downstairs), then dinner on my lap. Vector to sleep is almost 8pm, then cooking and decompressing and I forgot to deal with photos and dishes and still have a list a mile long, fml bed 10pm.

===
Item counts to Saturday (Dec 19):
Step Count 2016: About 46,500
-Was meeting deadlines amid chaos.

Step Count 2017: Over 70,900 (14 stars)
-Car repair issue, caught a cold, secret santa art sketches.

Step Count 2018: Over 79,800 (10 stars)
-Holiday gatherings, visited school, into size 2 diapers, Timeless movie.

Step Count 2019: Over 77,100 (12 stars)
-Craft show, put up tree, unwraps own book, school protests and upload of files.

STEP COUNT 2020: Over 60,350. 10 stars.
SCHOOL EMAIL 2020: 245 New (105 sent)
 Removed 57 sent Placemat exports
We have completed DAY 78. Now taught for 49 days vs. quarantine only nine. (3 overlap)

RH Stress Level: 10 (Barrier Burst)

 (I wonder if that's harsh then remember I broke down in front of the little one dealing with shipping and had to handle "midterm" marks and song recording and Jan work for a student and all the quizzes and theme days and Xmas light extension cord and fml.)

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Week 131
-Dreamt*. Up 6am to write, with little one from 6:45am to near 8am. Break to clear camera and write, then 9am shoot holiday video for family. Dad time before 9:30 for over an hour towards family time outside. Home 11am to cook and finalize her story. Family from 11:45 including lunch, then vector to snooze. Asleep by 1pm; then I sleep (dream of someone short driving my car who can't reach pedals, somehow I help from in back?). Mom time after 2:30pm, write. Depart after an hour to Piquards; depart there 5:30pm, phone grandparents. Dinner after 6:30pm, bath, asleep after 8pm. Discuss calendar photos. Dinner, then dishes, asleep after midnight.
-Awake 6am with little one; relieved by 6:45am, Mom's glasses missing. To Daycare and Back to start self-clean oven and finish Epsilon Entry. Buy new battery for pedometer (fails to update properly?) and scones. Card for ECEs. To mall for ornament and new camera card. Home for lunch as lockdown's delayed. Buy gift certificates en route, pick up and right to Chapel. Play there, home after 6pm picking up food, eventually she sleeps as I shift to Photo Issues, then Calendar Issues. School email says do the impossible about impending lockdown (mesh the class with cohorts in different places). Some RDA also. Bed by 11:30, moving so slow.
-Awake 5:20am for relief duties. After 6am, more calendar work. 6:45am Dad time, but Mom must dress so handle breakfast and recycling. Brief sled play, Daycare. Finish calendar from 8:30-11:30am. Return a call, deal with dishes. Quick shopping, then bookstore, run and haircut 3pm (appointment yesterday morn). Second bookstore and novelties store to complete shopping. Pickup, exterior lights on by 4:30pm return. Then go pick up calendars; 5pm quiet time. 5:30-6:30pm back and forth, little one lacks energy, dinner was included... bed routine before 7pm. Half hour reduce before 8pm. Then into Xmas video rendering. Also break time. Bed about 10:30pm.
-Up 2:30-4:30; allowed to sleep past 7am. Update photos, social media, family time 8am (Dad focussed). Nose runs a bit; cold? Depart before 10am to Chapel, Alexandra grandparent time; I finish video rendering and print her story. Then mail calendar to Mom (G'ma) and final shopping, slip and skin my knees on ice. Lunch, then upload to Taylor Xmas and do gift wrapping. (Also Toddler room switchover, but I still want songs.) Depart 4pm for pickup and tea, return 5:30pm. I deal with emails and full photo card. Dad time 6pm, dinner after 6:30pm, asleep by 8pm. Cooking, some videos, finish 'Adachi/Shimamura' then 9:15pm into sketches. Bed 11pm. She definitely has a cold.
-Up 6am, tidy these files; 6:35am Dad time for 1.5 hrs including holiday outfit. Break for 1.5 hrs includes inking sketches. Dad time as Mom cooks chocolate; eventual lunch. Snooze attempt, I do dishes, tidy, finish wrapping... need to help finish sleep. After 1:30pm I complete channel edits to 10th Annual Parody and some colouring of scans... snooze extended to 4pm. Some family time, then I lie down for 45 minutes. Arrivals start 5:30pm. Little one gifts after 6pm. Dinner 8pm with her in PJs (after stocking) and me spending time by mattress - as she doesn't want to miss out but is tired. Eventually she helps carry gifts to people. Actual sleep after 10:30pm (she insists on book again), alone after 11pm. I finish scan colouring and prep work, bed 12:30am.
-Awake after 7am; little one up 7:45am. Out for stocking 8:30am by which point my video is online. Santa stuff. Call parents but they have snow (we have rain), so breakfast. Called back before 11am, an hour of remote gifts. Lunch, snooze attempt before 1pm succeeds before 2pm. I get my blog post online (and research chocolate). Lie down half an hour, back up 3:30pm. Potty talk. Depart before 4:30pm to Chapel; family dinner there and cleaning supplies. Depart 7pm, bath, bed 8pm but I take over 9pm, no success until 9:45pm. Do my run, we tidy up living room. 11pm break time. Bed after midnight.
-Awake after 7am; Dad time from 7:30am. Starting to feel like a cold. Mom from 8:15am as I fold up rug for a potty train day. Then do dishes. Some back and forth, family time outside after 10am. Dad time in park, then she gets small shovel; back inside 11:30am. Take time for inking, lunch, then shopping. Home before 2pm, more Banner work. Dad time for 1.5 hrs from 3:45pm including floor accident. About 5:30pm lie down and finish banner colouring. Before 7pm dinner, then Mom finishes truffles; bed before 8pm. Needed before 9pm. Asleep before 9:30pm. Banner completed, goof off online to 1am.
-Lotus Prince "Dino Crisis 2" (from Nov) #1-5 & AT4W

===
Item counts to Saturday (Dec 26):
Step Count 2016: About 36,000
-Was sick, but pleased by my writing of 2016.

Step Count 2017: Over 55,400 (19 stars)
-Getting over being sick, did art and writing, busy but not stressed.

Step Count 2018: Over 56,400 (10 stars)
-Dealing with gifts, long drive on Boxing Day, musical sleeps, 10 subs on Tapas.

Step Count 2019: Over 52,500 (7 stars)
-Sick, parody & calendar work, new car seat, driving and hospital (her then me).

STEP COUNT 2020: Over 58,150. 10 stars.
SCHOOL EMAIL 2020: 10 New (3 sent)
We are holding at DAY 78. Taught for 49 days vs. quarantine only 9. (3 overlap)

RH Stress Level: 8 (Starlight Breaker, Extension)

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Week 132
-Awake 6am after being up earlier; Mom takes over, me Tylenol, bit more sleep. Post banner, family time 8am. Dad centred from 8:30am; lie down again after 9:30 (one success and 10 min later one accident). Organize photos. Dad time reading by 10:15, then depart in car to get in-laws. 11-12:30am including brunch (and I email photos). Snooze attempt from 1pm, and I lie down, she's up after an hour. Rejoin 4pm, after another success. Phone grandparents 5pm, then videos. Lie down 6pm, back for dinner, aborted by shark in bath. Asleep after 8pm. Update some files, still sick, bed 10pm; actually read some Potty Train book chapter first to after 10:30pm.
-Awake 6:30am, Dad time 7am including paints. Outside with family after 8:15am for shovel and sled. I come in 9:15am to finish sorting photos. Rejoin 10:30am, Dad time until Mark H phones. Dad time again after laundry but losing patience; making lunch before noon. Grading from 12:30-4:30pm (during snooze and books), then back outside for 45 min. Family time, brief grading 6pm but then yoga. Health fading from 7pm, soon bed routine; cook, more grading, decompress (some RDA) and to bed 11pm.
-In A's room a lot with micro sleeps. (Like Reuben suddenly comes in says 'oh you're still here' then I'm awake.) Mom takes over 6:45am, micro sleeps. (Like we're setting up RP and I need to pick a bunny avatar; also we're around a table with a Gold account?) Join 8:15am, Dad centred time 8:30am. Family time before 9am, depart before 10am to Chapel. Once home, handle dishes and tidying, get online Archies, finish grading more tests, move humidifier. Drop-off 4pm, home for tallying tests. Chapel dinner after 6pm; depart before 7:30pm. Last things, I finish test tallies after 9pm. Bit more tidying, videos time. Bed after 10:30pm.
-Relief from 5:15am; awake 7:15am (micro sleeps). Dad time to 8am, grading 8:15am. Dad time 9:30am, cleaning begins 10am. Depart for store/bills (and book), return by 11:15am. Dad time, briefly outside (nice snow, but ice). Lunch, then snooze 12:30pm, goes quick. More book reading. Lie down 45 min, awakened 2:30pm. Resume grading, through another set by 4:15pm. Dad time including self-awareness and outside for 45 min; inside for rest after 6pm. Some grading before 6:30pm, rejoin 6:45pm. Dinner etc after 7pm; cook, bit more grading, sort photos, break, bed from 10pm.
-Dreams**. 7am deal with photos, finish grading tallies. 8am family time, Dad time for an hour after pants issue. Depart by 10am for Chapel. Home 10:45am, break, then grading online regressions. Still not done after 3pm; do run anyway. Pickup after 4pm, grading after 4:45pm. After 6pm DONE with 3M (3C remains). Dad time 40 min with much cleaning. Dinner, bed, record Daycare screen video. Family arrives before 9pm (watch little one videos); dinner after 10pm. Crackers at midnight. Bed after 12:30am.
-Awake before 7am, Dad time for 75 min including books. Sort through email then start grading. By 9:45am, back with others and Dad time to 11am. Family time, including call to Great Aunt. Dad time, then lunch. Then need to tidy kitchen, put things away; some grading before 2pm possible. 3pm Dad time, then depart for Chapel. Return before 4:30pm, grading (and Commencement view). Return 5:30pm for family dinner; arrive home 7:45pm (circled back for giraffe). Grading again after 8pm, needed to help sleep, grading after 9pm. Doctor Who special from 9:30pm, then 11pm needed potty (that was unexpected). Send emails, bed from midnight.
-Dreamt&. They're up 7:15am. I catch up with some non-school things. Join 8:15am, Dad time from 8:30am with lots of reading. Back to work 9:45am, also try to convert MOV to be visible by old FinalCut (VLC allows saving as wmv/asf but not without watermark?). After 11am out to shovel as family. Brief Dad time then noon potty including new book. Lunch after 12:30, snooze 1pm, asleep 2pm and I can read more on training (including Daycare section). Up 3:30pm, I attempt file render then off to Chapel for scheduled swim. Photos, mark tallies, back home for an hour of Dad time including tree ornaments. Break for email (and file render died), dinner and bath. Finish grading, then bath fault. Bed before 8pm; potty again before 9pm. After re-recording and cooking, quick run, read new yuri. Bed after 11pm.
-Lotus Prince "Dino Crisis 2" #6 (end) & Drakengard 3 pieces

===
Item counts to Saturday (Jan 2):
Step Count 2017: 52,000
-Roundup posts, finally started tackling item backlog post-writing.

Step Count 2018: Over 56,300 (14 stars)
-Sick AGAIN, so was either moping or very busy doing things.

Step Count 2019: Over 64,750 (8 stars)
-"Doctor Who" special, movie, sorting "Time Untied", vaccinations & standing

Step Count 2020: Over 39,500 (5 stars)
-Hospital and driving, SO sick alone in basement, "Frozen II" & "Star Wars".

STEP COUNT 2020/21: Over 53,150. 11 stars.
SCHOOL EMAIL 2020/21: 15 New (3 sent)
We are holding at DAY 78. Taught for 49 days vs. quarantine only 9. (3 overlap)

RH Stress Level: 7 (Starlight Breaker)

*****
CONSTANT TO-DO LIST:
 -Sketches for 2019 holiday parody
 -Write a TANDQ article on Polling and Bias
 -Write a post about types of praise/encouragement
 -Catching up with web serials/comics (from ~August 2018)
 -Read some of the books sitting at my desk