Welcome New History Students

By , January 31, 2019 8:45 pm

Hello everyone! Welcome to my CHY4U class, whether you’re a new student, or familiar with me. I’m really looking forward to a good semester; this will be my third time around with my revised version of grade 12 World History. It’s very different from grade 11 – be prepared for a very different style. If you’re new, the course will hopefully make you realize the incredible horizons of history!


First Activity

If you scroll through my blog you’ll notice that I like to write book reviews. I would like you to write either a book review, a movie review, a documentary review, a YouTube review, a website review, or a tv show review. The one catch is that it has to have something to do with HISTORY! Any time period, not necessarily just 1450-present (the time frame for CHY4U).

Also, please reveal something of yourself in your review: what do you like when it comes to history and reading/viewing? What does this review say about you? Your preferences? Tastes? Personality traits? Interests? Curiosities?


Or, If You Don’t Like That Idea

If a review is not to your liking, write me a blurb telling me which historical time period (and place) you think you would have liked to live in.  My answer is below.


Length: a good paragraph at least – it doesn’t have to be as long as some of my reviews or my sample below.


Send It To Me

My email risa.gluskin@tdsb.on.ca. Please send your review by Monday Feb. 4. As a courtesy, always put a message in your email, not just an attachment. Thank you.


Ms. G: My Historical Time and Place (slightly adapted from a 2016 blog post)

Believe it or not, I have given a great deal of thought to this question: if I had to live in another time period, which would it be? The catch is that I’d have to be of the time period, I couldn’t be presentist about it and say that I wouldn’t have liked to live in Tudor England because the technology was so low. I wouldn’t have known about Netflix and email at that time. So I couldn’t have missed it.

Though the technology would be different, another catch is that my personality would be similar to the way it is now. I’m not a very social person, I think a lot, I am rather moderate with the occasional radical thought. These things matter when I’m thinking about time periods. I would have been okay in the first phase of the French Revolution, expectant with change! However, in the Terror I wouldn’t have liked the extremism and would definitely have feared the guillotine.

Though I absolutely love studying ancient Egypt, I’m not sure I would have survived in that civilization; I’m an atheist and wouldn’t have had the personality for joining into the state religion. However, if I were an ordinary farmer I might have been just fine doing my thing and living my relatively good life along the banks of the Nile, especially as a woman. Perhaps I would not even have had a concept of atheism.

I don’t think I’d have made a good Roman or Greek either. As a woman in ancient Greece, I probably would have had some complaints about how much I contributed to my society yet how little I was valued for it.  The Roman blood lust just wouldn’t have been acceptable to me. I’d have winced at gladiator shows, drawing the ire of my fellow Romans.

A few years ago my final decision was this: Being who I am, I probably would have done best in the 1960s somewhere like Berkeley or San Francisco. It was a time of change and freedom. Young people were standing up for their beliefs, challenging society to become more progressive. Though I wouldn’t have liked the drug scene, and I for sure would have been VERY anti-war (Vietnam), I would have felt like I belonged in the forward motion of history.

Now, I don’t think so anymore. This time, I’m going with the Renaissance. A very appealing possibility is living in Florence or Venice in the late 1400s to late 1500s. There was so much creative license and artistic expression. Even though I’m not a creative person, I think I would have enjoyed the climate of exploration and self-expression. I would have made a good humanist, I think, because I believe education can change people’s lives. Still, there was a lot of emphasis on religion. But it was getting safer and safer to express more secular ideas. As a woman I would have had to be quite extraordinary to make my voice heard. Maybe I could have been a writer.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, a Renaissance masterpiece.

Can you spot him?

By , January 27, 2019 1:02 pm

Photos courtesy of Val Dodge

From the dining room window at our cottage Val spotted this Common (or Eastern) Screech Owl. He’s doing what he’s supposed to do: sleeping against a tree trunk. Poor little guy; it’s super cold and blowing snow.

I have never seen an owl live in the wild before, though, like most people, I hear them often. This is very exciting.

Grade 11 History Class – Almost Last Day

By , January 19, 2019 3:29 pm

Thanks everyone. We had some ups and downs but you were a fun bunch.

Thanks for putting giraffe in the photo!

Tell Your Friends to Take Grade 11 World History

By , January 4, 2019 8:28 pm

Watch this video to see what all the fun is about!

Take Grade 12 History Next Year

By , January 4, 2019 1:30 pm

What do we do in grade 12 history? Check out this video. And see you at Course Fair in February.

Good Things of 2018

By , January 2, 2019 8:18 pm

Other than things I have already posted about – such as our amazing trip to BC – here are a few other memorable events from 2018.

Summer with Val – Bike Trip

Val planned an entire Risa-friendly bike trip in August around Lake Simcoe, from Barrie to East Gwillimbury. Other than the hills near Keswick it was desirably flat.

Even when there was no vegan restaurant around Val cooked for me on his camp stove at Lagoon City.

A great, if obvious, sign from Orillia.

Lindsay and Ian

Lindsay kept the surprise for Ian’s grad party in the spring. Even better, they are now engaged to be married. Looking forward.


I’m not a big fan of Halloween. Judging by this look, neither is Richard.

Cottage Time

Sunset at Rice Lake.

Out and About in Summer

During the school year I don’t see much of life because I’m at school so long each day. I really tried to get out and about this summer, mostly on my bike.

A heron fishing in the Don River on the trail north from Pottery Road.

An art installation on the Lower Don Trail south of Pottery Road. I love the viaduct in the background. By the way, the Prince Edward Viaduct celebrated its 100th birthday this year. I’m proud to say our street begins at the foot of the bridge.

Mike, our leafy greens guy, at the Peterborough Farmers’ Market. We visited his Tiny Farm some years back. He is such a lovely, positive guy.

Val on the waterfront trail in front of Redpath Sugar. That was my longest ride in the city – 43 km.

Sculptures of three ladies at Zim Art on Rice Lake, an outdoor gallery specializing in Zimbabwean art. The work is incredibly beautiful and diverse.

This graffiti on the trail near Davisville subway station was my inspiration for the cover of Rapport. I’m not usually a positive person but I liked its message for these troubled times.

The young artist Lacey Todd took inspiration from the photo and came up with this cover for November’s Rapport. I am now happily retired from editing Rapport. I met Lacey in December and she’s a lovely girl.



Everything else that I enjoyed I already posted about. No need for repetition. Happy 2019.

Horses of 2018

By , January 1, 2019 1:56 pm

In the spirit of end-of-the-year lists of things we should remember, here’s my biggest.


I still can’t bring myself to write too much about the fire and the death of the 16 horses below. Let’s just say when I close my eyes I often see fire. And since I have only ridden twice since the fire in May, I miss riding and I miss the 13 beautiful horses who did survive. I have the utmost respect for school horses with all they have to put up with, including innumerable children and poor riders. It’s an immense sadness that all of these solid horses met their end in this tragic way.

from https://deskgram.net/explore/tags/sunnybrookmemorials.

Here are a few short recollections about some of the Sunnybrook horses lost to us now.

(photos from https://ridexc.wordpress.com/category/riding-lessons/ and the Sunnybrook Stable site)

Sugar – one of my favourite horses, though I often didn’t want to ride her because of her horribly uncomfortable saddle. She could be really cantankerous but she could also provide a very lovely frame if you treated her mouth with gentle caution. For entertainment, her kick-outs during cantering weren’t to be missed! She was graying and slowing down but still very reliable.

Christmas, 2017.

Misty – another of my favourites. We had some really nice rides during which she showed she was quite capable. Lovely little pony-like canter. She could even hold a frame in the canter, something most school horses couldn’t do. I always called her Misty May after the volleyball player.

from https://deskgram.net/explore/tags/sunnybrookmemorials

SutherlandSudsy. This old man was the first horse I ever rode at Sunnybrook for my assessment way back in 2005 (or so). I didn’t ride him too much after that. When I rode Charlie consistently a few years ago, Sutherland would make a bee-line for him and try to ram into him. Very entertaining. Everyone knew Sudsy was the boss at Sunnybrook.

Marty – this epitome of a mare was one of the horses I rode most during my early years at Sunnybrook. My first private lesson with my “mean” instructor was on her. That’s when I got a hump in my back from trying to put her on the bit for a solid hour. Still years later I didn’t know anyone who could, not even Julie. Marty had a lot of spunk and bile! But she had an excellent temperament while being ridden. She had the equivalent of a corner office in the barn!

Sandy – she lived at Sunnybrook a long, long time ago when I first started riding there. She was old then. I rode her quite a bit. She was probably the first horse that I could regularly put on the bit, but it was more of a show on her part than actual submission. One thing I do remember is she’s the first and only horse I ever rode in a dressage saddle. One really cold winter lesson it was only me and the “mean” instructor. She let me have a go in her dressage saddle. Sandy just cantered round and round because she had so much pent up energy from not having any turnout. When Sandy returned to Sunnybrook about a year ago it was a shock. She was still old but still going.

Beau – like everyone who rode him, what I remember most is his rocking-horse canter. He was a lot younger when I rode him. He had aged a lot but he was very trustworthy. We saw a lot of beginners riding him and a lot of instructors giving him his verbal commands to get going!

Tess – Tess was an enviable ride when she first came to Sunnybrook as she was quite capable. I didn’t ride her much over the ensuing years but I always enjoyed visiting her as she was Misty’s next door neighbour. I thought Tess had a beautiful face.

from https://deskgram.net/explore/tags/sunnybrookmemorials

Mr. T – it amazes me that I never rode Mr. T, the denizen of Sunnybrook, over the years. I came close – I was slated to ride him once but a thunderstorm meant it never happened. Julie just loved Mr. T! He was old and slow but a really trustworthy epitome of a school horse. As the last horse in the main aisle he had a lot of friends! Anytime the horses broke out of the paddock Mr. T was usually responsible – smarty pants knew how to open the latch.

from https://deskgram.net/explore/tags/sunnybrookmemorials

One last thing I want to mention is the horses who lived in the main barn who had moved on to greener (supposedly) pastures over the years and thus didn’t have to die in the horrible fire: George was one of my first loves at Sunnybrook, and Skye (the older, smaller one) was my solid, if extremely fickle, companion over many years.

One day we will come back and reclaim this beautiful piece of Toronto and remember them all forever.

From https://mapio.net/place/6187159/


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