3 Teacher Tips Thursday: April 8th Edition

This week’s 22nd edition of 3 Teacher Tips Thursday comes from TCDSB Catholic teacher Francis Contiga.

Below are 3 simple yet effective resources broken up into 3 categories:
– Great Ideas
– Online Tools
– Teacher PD

Enjoy 3 Teacher Tips Thursday. Hope you find it resourceful.

MEDD-itate to Re-direct

MEDD (a.k.a. DDME)…..Do you know what this acronym stands for? If you do, great. If not, that’s okay. MEDD stands for Multiple Exceptionalities/Developmentally Delayed. I am currently teaching our amazing MEDD students at St. Richard during this challenging and trying school year!

I have been teaching for over 15 years and this is the very first year I’m teaching an MEDD class. Let me tell you, I can say without hesitation, that this experience has helped me become a better teacher. Fellow educators, I encourage you to try teaching an MEDD class at least once in your career. Believe me, not only will you be teaching amazing students, but these students will teach you about life and how we should appreciate all the blessings God gave and continues to give us.

The Great Idea that I would like to share for this post is called the “RE-DIRECT”. Re-direction is the action that my Educational Assistants and I take when we need to divert one or more of our students’ attention to another activity. We do this because our students may not be having a good day and are either crying, not listening to instructions, or simply do not want to participate with the current activity. During distance learning, I found a really useful and simple video to “RE-DIRECT” our students’ attention.

Click here to listen!
*TIP: Without any warning or preparation, simply play the video. Do not talk to anybody and observe your students…what did you notice? From our experience, this video has not only helped re-direct our students attention, it also helps them calm down.

Digital Resources

There are millions of resources out there that exist and it can be overwhelming to educators worldwide. Learn one or two digital tools, apply it in your lessons, and then learn new online tools to continue scaffolding your list of resources.

Here are just a few of the resources that I used and to continue to use in my M.E.D.D. classroom:


A fun and engaging tool that help students identify the letters of the alphabet and their associated sounds. Watch here


There are a lot of awesome videos on Jack Hartmann’s YouTube channel that help students understand specific concepts. Also, he uses songs and movement to engage students to watch, listen, and participate.
Watch Here

TEDx + YouTube

Professional development is helpful in learning more about Autism. Continuing to learn new information and strategies will help you prepare engaging activities in your classroom to best meet the needs of your students. Due to the current state of the world and the pandemic, professional development does not look the same. Before the pandemic, thousands of teachers across Ontario attended physical brick and mortar locations to keep up-to-date with current developments, trends, and best practices. Due to the pandemic, professional development is still the same, except the main mode of communication has changed…that being Zoom and Google Meet. 

One resource that has helped me in my professional development journey has been watching the TedX/Ted Talks related to education on YouTube. Simply open YouTube on your device, type in the topic you would like to hear and/or watch and make sure to include the word “TedX Ted Talk on….(select topic of choice).”

Not only is YouTube an excellent resource for both teachers and students, it is also a great resource to help and encourage teachers to continue their professional development. Sometimes less is more…do not overthink things. YouTube has been around for what feels like ages. Looking for that “cool digital online tool” may be time consuming.

Open YouTube and search for specific TedX talk topics you want to learn about…available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Professional development at your fingertips, whenever…wherever (as long as you’re connected to the internet of course ;)!

Here’s a watch. 13-year-old Brynjar shares how he found his autism “X factor.” Here’s a quote from the video, “I’m fine with having Autism as long as you’re okay with me being different.” Watch here!

Mr. Contiga is passionate about teaching and believes in creating an inclusive, respectful, and
fun learning environment where students are motivated to learn. He also works with OECTA PD as a
‘Moderator’, helping fellow educators across the province. Mr. Contiga would like to take this opportunity to reach out to his fellow educators regarding the MEDD classroom.

“I would like to encourage my colleagues across Ontario to try teaching the MEDD classroom at least once in your career. This experience has been so rewarding. Is it easy teaching MEDD? Definitely NOT! Are there any obstacles? Which grade doesn’t pose its own challenges? MEDD students are amazing and I thank God for the opportunity to work with them each and every day. Although it sounds cliche, they have taught me that life is precious and to value all the blessings that God has given me. If you have thought about teaching MEDD or would like to have some insight on what a day looks like, please feel free to contact me!”

P.S. “Shoutout to my MEDD students! You are awesome! Thank you for making me a better educator. Also,
I can’t forget my amazing Educational Assistants (Goretti & Fran)…thank you for all you do…our students
are lucky to have you and I feel honoured to call both of you FAM!”


Francis Contiga is currently teaching the MEDD class at St. Richard C.S. in Scarborough. Mr. Contiga (a.k.a. “Mr. C”) has been teaching for over 15 years with experience in the primary, junior, and intermediate. Mr. Contiga has also worked as a Resource Teacher in the 21st Century Learning Department at the TCDSB. francis.contiga@tcdsb.org.

This edition of 3 Teacher Tips Thursday is brought to you by:
@teachmetoolbox. Educators sharing best practices with fellow educators.

Instagram: @teachmetoolbox

I hope you enjoyed our 22nd weekly edition of 3 Teacher Tips Thursday. Got an idea, online tool, or PD opportunity you want to share? Email stefanie.lenzo@tcdsb.org.


One thought on “3 Teacher Tips Thursday: April 8th Edition

Add yours

  1. Well done, God bless your incredible ministry, thank you for the difference your work makes!

    Peace, Joy, Hope, Charity, Gratitude, Patience, Gentleness, Respect and Humility,
    Steve De Quintal
    Teacher, St. Mary Catholic Academy, 66 Dufferin Park Ave. Toronto, Ontario M6H-1J6.
    416-393-5528 ext. 84293
    “that they may have life and have it to the full.”
    ***You can always email but a call or a visit will get a quicker response***


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