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OISE Alumni & Friends Leadership Series

Web Series: OISE Stay At Home Club

In a time of social distancing, it can feel challenging and isolating to come up with fresh ideas for teaching and entertaining children at home. 

Playgrounds, libraries and museums may be closed – but OISE's got your back. The OISE Stay At Home Club is a new Twitter Live series that features alumni and friends of the Institute leading interactive lessons for children and adults alike. 

We want to keep the learning experience thriving during COVID-19 – and our communities connected. Each lesson is designed to make staying home both fun and educational. 

New episodes each week on Twitter. No account necessary. 

Upcoming club sessions

Gary’s guide to Black allyship in challenging times

Monday, October 19
11:00 a.m. - 11:20 a.m.
Watch on Twitter

In this episode, school principal Gary Pieters will discuss the racial reckoning in society and the role of allyship for dismantling anti-Black racism through the lens of anti-oppression leadership. Gary will explore what it means to be an ally and how non-Black educators and leaders can support systematic change while being mindful of the voices and experiences of Black educators and academics.

Have a question for Gary? Ask away using the hashtag #OISEStayAtHomeClub.

Photo of Gary Pieters

Gary Pieters is a graduate of OISE with an MEd in computer applications in education and a BEd in primary/junior teacher education. He has 25 years of professional experience in the education sector as a principal, vice-principal and teacher. He has served as a member of the Ontario Ministry of Education, Minister's Advisory Council on Special Education (MACSE); and a member of the Toronto Islands Residential Community Trust Corporation. His extensive knowledge base and experience are leveraged through community building, youth engagement, equity, inclusion and diversity.


Past episodes

Angela’s Water Walker read along

Photo of  Angela Nardozi

In this session, lecturer Angela Nardozi shares The Water Walker, a picture book written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson about Anishinaabe grandmother (Nokomis) Josephine Mandamin and her work to raise awareness about water—the giver of life. Learn about Nokomis' walks around the Great Lakes and discover how you, your family and your classroom can carry on the work she began. Watch the episode

Latifa's take on traditional Islamic art

Photo of Latifa Soliman

In this episode, MEd student Latifa Soliman explores the history of Islamic art as she walks you through how to draw your own traditional Islamic floral design. Watch the episode

Marcus puts hip hop education on the mic 

Photo of Marcus Singleton

What's the difference between hip hop and rap music? Whether you think you know or don't know, check out this in-depth conversation with educator and recording artist Marcus Singleton. In this episode, Marcus walks you through the culture, history and evolution of the genres so that you can bring hip hop music into your education practice. Watch Part 1 and Part 2.

Janelle’s decolonizing Caribbean kitchen

Photo of  Janelle Brady

Janelle Brady shares recipe tips from her Caribbean cuisine and reads her poem titled: ‘In my Mother’s Kitchen: Spirituality and Decolonization’ from the Decolonizing the Spirit in Education and Beyond anthology edited by Njoki Wane, Miglena Todorova and Kimberly Todd. Bring your appetite for learning and unlearning decolonization—and good food! Watch the episode.

Elizabeth's guide to dismantling systematic racism (for allies)

Photo of Elizabeth Charles

As plans are underway to return to school, some students are bracing themselves to head back to spaces where they are subjected to the pandemic of systemic racism. In this s ession, social justice educator, writer, and mother Elizabeth Charles shares her insights into the ever-present and often unconscious every day acts of racism that many students endure. Learn strategies on how to become a critical friend in our collective efforts to eradicate systemic racism within our wider school communities. Watch Part 1 and Part 2.

Rich's digital classroom download

Photo of Rich Baxter

In this episode, teacher Rich Baxter and student entrepreneur Henry Greenberg discusses what it takes to innovate in a classroom in a large urban school district. They share experiences with online student project-based learning, and ideas for overcoming some learning design challenges during the pandemic. Watch the episode.

Isabella's augmented reality voyage

Photo of Isabella Liu

Science is about making sense of the world around us. In this episode, Isabella Liu, an OISE alum and educator, discusses how augmented reality can be a valuable tool for understanding reality itself. You'll learn how to engage students virtually using immersive technologies like MergeCube, AugmentifyIt, and HoloLabs. Watch the episode.

Sheliza confronts unconscious bias

Photo of Sheliza Jamal

Recent events across the world have highlighted the discrimination that can result from unconscious biases: attitudes or stereotypes that influence our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner. In this session, Sheliza Jamal, an equity and inclusion facilitator and certified educator, shares how to become aware of bias. Learn how unconscious biases can be harmful, and how we can interrupt and unlearn them. Watch the episode

Chrystal pardons your French pt. 2

Photo of Chrystal Smith

In this session, educator Chrystal Smith takes participants through some of the rules of forming masculine and feminine adjectives in French. You'll learn rhymes and songs for improving your writing and speaking. All levels welcome! Watch the episode.


John hits a high note

Photo of John Lettieri

How can we inspire and encourage students in music? In this episode, John Lettieri, a retired music educator, performing artist and composer, shows you how to guide students in their learning experience with music. Educators and students will challenge and deepen their relationship to music creation, performance, listening and learning. Watch the episode

Nouman amplifies student voices to promote inclusive learning

Photo of Nouman Ashraf

Nouman Ashraf's teaching focus at the Rotman School of Management is premised on connecting self-awareness with tools for overcoming barriers to inclusion that are often implicit within personal, inter-personal and organizational contexts. One of the key outcomes for adoption of an inclusive framework is actively soliciting feedback from learners as they navigate issues of voice, identity, agency and structural impediments to full participation. This highly interactive session explores how students can be enabled through a guided mastery approach into being contributors. Watch the episode

Cyndi fires up your synapses!

Photo of Cyndi Burnett

Are you a creative thinker? Of course you are – and we’ll show you how! Join creativity and education expert, Dr. Cyndi Burnett as she leads you through two fun and playful activities that will stretch your mind and ignite your creative thinking in new ways. The first activity will involve the ABCs. The second activity involves drawing a self-portrait. With these activities, you will use divergent thinking to explore many possible creative solutions and draw unexpected connections. Watch the episode.

Athena and her yiayia cook up a storm

Photo of Athena Tassis

Tune in to watch the importance of preparing and sharing traditional dishes from scratch! In this session, Master of Teaching student Athena Tassis will be preparing the Greek traditional pie spanakopita with her grandmother. Allowing students to express themselves and showcase their knowledge in her classroom is very important to Athena, as it is one of the many ways to foster inclusivity and respect for diversity. Watch the episode.

Karen and Isaac talk about racism

Photo of Karen and Isaac

Alum Karen Edge and her nine-year-old son, Isaac, will talk about their experience as a mixed-race family living in London, UK. In this conversation, they share how they understand and manage racism that comes their way, and what others can do when they see it happening. Watch the episode.

Chrystal pardons your French

Photo of Chrystal Smith

In this session, French language educator Chrystal Smith helps participants complete a self-affirming exercise, while improving pronunciation of mots-amis or word friends (cognates) in French! You'll learn vocabulary to describe yourself and tips for speaking in French. All levels are welcome! Watch the episode

Britt & Shawn's YouTube journey!

Photo of Brittany Cohen

Educators Brittany Cohen and Shawn Matts share their journey starting a YouTube channel for K-8 kids, as well as practical tips for engaging learners and creating your own educational video content. Watch the episode.

Sean’s Galapagos expedition

Photo of Sean Smyth

Join Sean Smyth as he shares the story of an expedition to the Galapagos Islands and the incredible biodiversity he encountered on land and underwater. Learn how we can observe the beauty of the natural world using curiosity, observation, and technology... and the small steps we can take to help be stewards of our planet. Watch the episode.

Dolf's wild and wonderful zoo quest

Photo of Dolf Dejong

With our populations becoming increasingly urbanized, how do we connect people to the natural world? Dolf DeJong, a conservation specialist and CEO of the Toronto Zoo, explores how zoos, aquariums, natural history museums and other places in the informal education sector have an important role to play in building wildlife literacy and helping people develop conservation-minded identities. Watch the episode.

Fatima boosts your learning network

Photo of Fatima Yousuf

With her passion for the latest web-based technologies, Fatima Yousuf explores how online learning platforms such as Physics Forums, Code Academy, Stack Overflow and Skillshare, and social media platforms, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, can offer students and educators knowledge beyond traditional classrooms – for a deeper learning experience. Watch the episode.

Jasmine's riverside learning excursion

Photo of Jasmine Jackson

With a background in environmental management and education, Jasmine Jackman believes that the best learning takes place experientially and outdoors. Join Jasmine as she explores the trails along the Credit River on this exciting, virtual nature excursion for kids and adults alike. Watch the episode

Marcia’s marvelous math kit

Photo of Marcia Bumbury

In this session, Marcia Bumbury, a kindergarten teacher, gives you a virtual look at a curated math kit that supports both literacy and math from home! We will have fun with math games using various math tools including picture books. You will leave this session inspired to lead your youngest mathematicians to create, demonstrate and understand models of mathematical thinking. Watch the episode.


Kristina’s philosophical self on stories

Photo of Kristina Leis

Join Kristina Leis, an energy healer, teacher and philosopher, and discover how telling our everyday stories can inspire and encourage others, and help us understand our own emotions, during this unprecedented time. Using her grandmother’s story about a love for cats and feelings of doubt and uncertainty, Kristina shows us how reflecting through stories and blogs can help us better understand ourselves. You will learn about the structure and philosophy behind personal storytelling including blogging. Watch the episode

Drorit's mathematical jam session

Photo of Drorit Weiss

Combining her unique passion for math, rap and Egyptian dance, Drorit Weiss, a celebrated math and physics teacher and professional dancer, breaks down some fundamental Arabic rhythms in this interactive session. Bring any percussion instrument to participate: drums, tambourines, pots and pans, or even just your hands! Watch the episode

Learning mathematics through origami

Photo of Ron Lancaster

Join Professor Ron Lancaster for a hands-on look at how mathematics can be learned through origami. Have several sheets of paper (preferred size is 8.5 x 11 inches) on hand and learn how to make a small token of appreciation you can share with others. While you fold with Ron, he will take you on a tour of many mathematical topics at the elementary and secondary level related to origami. Watch the episode.

Shona helps you storyboard

Photo of Shona Mistry

Interested in writing a story but can never find the time? Want to exercise your imagination but don’t know where to begin? Shona Mistry goes over the basic ‘how-to’ of writing (and finishing) your own stories! This episode is perfect for children, teens, and adults interested in developing and improving their fiction-writing skills. Watch the episode.

Justine's artsy approach to literacy

Photo of Justine Bruyere

Learn how you can use the arts at home to support children's literacy learning. In this episode, educator Justine Bruyère gives examples of child-led drama, art, music and dance-based learning, and demonstrates some ways parents and educators can make the arts both engaging and educational. Watch the episode.

MacGyvering math with Gurpreet

Photo of Gurpreet Sahmbi

Using every day items, Gurpreet Sahmbi will explore ways of challenging children at the intermediate level to develop problem solving skills through games. Discover ways of modifying deceptively simple activities to keep students engaged and challenged with common objects you have in your home. You might just find that your home is full of math games! Watch the episode.

Gauravi's Mumbai kitchen!

Photo of Gauravi Lobo

During this pandemic, student Gauravi Lobo has been spending time cooking with family – and it has given her a new appreciation for traditional yet adaptable recipes. For Gauravi, food has become an important way for her to share and experience her Indian culture. In this episode, she'll share with you a simple and delicious South Asian recipe. Watch this episode

Liliana puts meditation on paper

Photo of Liliana Compagnone

Discover the artist inside of you with the Zentangle Method – a form of meditative doodling! It’s a relaxing and fun way to de-stress, focus, and expand your imagination. All you need is a black pen, a piece of white paper, your imagination, and Liliana Compagnone will walk you through the rest. Watch the episode.

Jillian talks us through the news

Photo of Jillian Roberts

Dr. Jillian Roberts does a live reading of her new book about dealing with tragedy. On the News: Our First Talk About Tragedy, introduces young children to the realities of natural disasters, terrorism and other forms of tragedy. The child psychologist explains what tragedy is, the feelings it may create and how to manage those feelings. Grab your free read along copy of On the News and catch the episode

Michael’s bêtes de la mer

Photo of Michael Salvatori

Explorer le monde sous la mer que l'artiste impressionniste Henri Matisse a crée dan son chef d'oeuvre, les bêtes de la mer. Dr. Michael Salvatori présentera l'artiste impressionniste et son oeuvre d'art et vous proposera une activité d'art qui vous permettra de créer votre propre scène sous-marine. Regardez l'épisode.

Carol’s math and science garden

Photo of Carol Stephenson

Learn about the mathematical and critical thinking opportunities that arise when things start to grow! Carol Stephenson shares some quick and easy ways to see nature at work inside our homes. Watch the episode.

Stacy keeps her mind on puzzles

Photo of Stacy Costa

Puzzle designer and doctoral student Stacy Costa shows us the power of puzzles on the brain. Learn why puzzles are more than just a game or form of pure entertainment and why we should deliberately challenge ourselves to engage with them. Watch the episode.

Megan's big play on literacy

Photo of Megan Guire

In this interactive session for adults and children, student Megan McGuire shows you some playful and active ways to support children's literacy development at home — with everyday materials and no preparation or printing. Modifications and extensions are also provided to support families with children at different developmental levels. Watch the episode.

Jeffrey defies writer's block

Photo of Jeffrey Ansloos

Many people imagine writing to be something serene and peaceful, and yet, in reality writing seldom matches those descriptions. In this episode, Professor Jeffrey Ansloos shares some of his learning about writing — and the behavioral, artistic, social and emotional habits that have helped him grow as a writer. Watch the episode.

Tania kicks into action! 

Photo of Tania Sanclemente

In this high-energy episode, student Tania Sanclemente leads you through a series of exercise circuits drawing from boot camp and martial arts practices. A cool down will follow, which will encompass stretching and mindful breathing. This session is designed for all ages and fitness levels. Let's get your heart rate up and your sweat on! Watch the episode.

Shelley cultivates your calm 

Photo of Shelley Murphy

Did you know that mindfulness can help kids (and adults!) develop habits of mind that are central to managing stress, responding to challenging emotions and strengthening resilience. Learn about and participate in fun, child-friendly mindfulness-based practices in this upcoming episode hosted by Professor Shelley Murphy. Watch the episode.

Charles ruminates on reflecting

Photo of Charles Pascal

Parents and school kids of all ages, join Professor Charles Pascal, former deputy minister of education in Ontario, for a session on the powerful habit of reflection. Charles will explain the benefits of keeping a journal that focuses on the important lessons we can learn from our daily experiences. Watch the episode.

Mary crunches the numbers

Photo of Mary Reid

Need ideas for teaching math at home? Professor Mary Reid, a math education expert, shows you three engaging activities that will have your children begging for more! Plus, discover the importance of dynamic practice and offering children the element of choice while fostering mental math skills. Watch the episode.

Matt catches a tune

Photo of Matt Stodolak

In this episode, Matt Stodolak, an OISE alum, educator, neuroscientist and musician, demonstrates the immense power that music has on the developing brain. Learn how the music from your favourite movies and television shows make you feel different emotions or bring you back to a different time. Watch the episode

Michael colours your world

Photo of Michael Salvatori

Dr. Michael Salvatori, an OISE alum, educator and linguist, wants us to celebrate your city and neighbourhood. In this session, he will share picture books that feature famous skylines – and then show you how to do an art project that shows off the favourite parts of your neighbourhood or city. Watch the episode

Kate piques your Natural Curiosity

Photo of Kate Barrett

How do we find community during a time of isolation? Kate Barrett from the Natural Curiosity walks you through a simple activity that can help the children in your lives access a different kind of connection – one with the natural world. Learn how simple outdoor activities like "hug a tree" can help children discover a sense of connection and relief during these challenging times. Watch the episode

Reading with Rumeet

Photo of Rumeet Billan

Dr. Rumeet Billan, an OISE alum and best-selling author, conducts a live reading of her award-winning book Who Do I Want To Become? It's a book for anyone, of any age, who has been stumped by the question of what they’re going to be when they grow up.

Parents and educators also learn how to do a mini-lesson on this topic at home or online. Viewers also get access to free lesson plans, worksheets and guides. Watch the episode