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Guest Post by Nathan Gildart: Distance Learning: Strategies for Wellness

I’ll cut to the chase so-to-speak in this post. If your school has closed (or is poised to close) due to COVID-19 then you’ll want to keep a couple of things in mind: our students’ physical and emotional health. The activities below are aimed at fostering physical and social activity. At the end of this post, for those rainy days, see some apps that kids can have fun with while being creative, thoughtful, and should bring a smile! Do you have an idea? Please leave them in the Comments box.

Before I continue:

1. Consider enrolling on one of these two free online courses:
Designing for Online Learning from the Global Online AcademyTeach the Global Goals: Health and Well-Being. (a 2-hour self-paced program) 2. Look at these resources put together by a couple of people using crowdsourcing to help. (there is overlap):
Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions due to School ClosingsFree Tools for Schools Dealing with CoronavirusEducator Temporary School Closure for Online Learning (Facebo…
Recent posts

We Need Wellness More Than Ever

Wow!  So much has happened in our world over the last few weeks!  In just the last few days my province, Alberta, has seen school closures due to the Coronavirus (COVID19) and many other provinces are or have closed their schools.  Teachers are needing support and wellness more than ever, as they transition to working remotely with the expectation of still delivering some kind of curriculum through distance/online learning.

Several of my former colleagues have been hustling to pull together what that will look like, and for many there are steep learning curves as they must now learn about educational technology and tools they can use to aide the delivery of their lessons.

As educators who are going online settle into their "new normal", they will find that their own wellness will become paramount, as they begin to see how lonely it can be on a day-to-day basis without that personal connection.  One of the best things about teaching is being with the kids in the classroom and…

Take a Moment

February 27, 2010 my life changed.  I lost my dad to his battle with cancer, and he was only 52.
Today is ten years since he died, and I have to say, it is a very tough day.  I didn't expect it to be so difficult, but I am struggling today.  Grief can consume, and it is a sneaky thing too, as you don't realize it's going to get you until it does.  I am constantly on the verge of tears, my every thought is consumed with memories of him - both good and sad ones.  How is it that TEN years has gone by so quickly?

I was having a conversation with one of my Google Innovator mentees today, and he was saying how his life was so busy this past month and his Innovator project has somehow paused for a few weeks.  He was still motivated and enthusiastic about it, and best of all - he didn't feel any guilt about having hit the pause button.  My mentee's project is focussed around teacher self-care and wellness, and he recognized that if he tried to fit in everything this last m…

There's Nothing Like...

Browsing my Twitter feed this morning and I ran across a tweet from a friend in California.  @TechCoachSusan tweeted, "Woooooot! Nothing like a little Springsteen to start you going in the morning!" and this made me think - "YES!!  I love a good tune to get me going."

Music is so essential in life, in my opinion.  There is rarely a quiet moment in our house, as we always have music playing in the background, or turned up loud so we can enjoy a tune or two.  One of our favourite things to do is to ask Google to play a song, and we wait to see what kind of playlist it keeps going with.  Just this morning, my youngest daughter started our day off with "Footloose" and the next song was A-HA's "Take On Me" - there was not a grumpy morning person in the house!

Music can change a mood, and I love that this morning it amped up @TechCoachSusan so much that she tweeted about it.  Wellness can be brought into our lives in so many ways, so let's enj…

Breathe

My daughter recently took part in a poetry workshop at school.  Once it was over, her assignment for class was to write a poem and then deliver it in a spoken word performance to her class.  If chosen, she would then compete against the other top poems from the other 5 classes in her grade.  What she wrote and performed was so intensely personal.  I was blown away by her courage to share, but more so by the profound words, technique and delivery of the poem itself (the English teacher in me!).

She was extremely self-conscious about sharing with others in her school about her experience with anxiety, but I told her that she was likely helping others by sharing about what she has dealt with.  A friend of mine, who is a teacher at her school commented on how she impacted other students with her words.  My friend shared that at school she appears to be such a confident, composed and self-assured young lady, so in sharing her story and poetry, my friend overheard some students commenting on…

Be A Lighthouse

I was having a conversation with my mom over Christmas.  My mom is a worrier.  She has three children - adult children - and she still worries.  As a mother, I understand, as I will likely always worry and think about my daughters and their well being.  In this conversation though, I had to think as a daughter.

My mom is on the verge of retirement, along with her husband.  They are so close to moving on to that next phase.  They recently purchased a condo in Mexico and are anticipating spending the winter months under the sun in Mexico.  As her daughter, not as a mother, I wanted to share some thoughts with my mom.  For her own mental wellness, I had to tell her that she no longer needs to be as motherly - less worry.  I was not saying she needed to stop worrying all together - no way - a mother isn't capable of that.  What I did say was that for so long she has been the "buoy".  She supports and holds us up when times are tough.  Ten years ago when we lost our dad to ca…

21 Days of Doing Good By Your Body and Soul

A close friend of mine reached out early in this new year and asked a favour.  One of her best friends went missing over a year ago, and a huge Search and Rescue effort was put into place on Vancouver Island.  To repay the Search and Rescue teams, her late friend's wife, family and friends are organizing a Facebook group to raise money and improve their health.  She invited us to partake in a 21-day fitness challenge.  To take part, we would donate $1 a day, so $21 to Search and Rescue.  The challenge is simple - dedicate 30 minutes a day to working out, drink more water and eat a little better.  We were automatically in because our friend means a lot to us, and we knew how much her friend that she lost meant to her.  On top of everything else, mental health was at the root of this story, and that always strikes a chord with me.

On January 6th, we began our fitness challenge.  Recently I had trained and completed a half marathon, so it has been nice getting back into a routine wit…