Mindfulness at the OISE Library

Take some time for yourself to de-stress during the busy fall semester!

Starting on Tuesday September 26th, the OISE Library will be hosting three Mindfulness events in the library.  We will be offering yoga (bring a yoga mat and wear comfy clothes on September 26, October 10) and meditation (October 10) which will run from 12:15-12:45 on the ground floor of the OISE Library.

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Indigenous Perspectives on STEM Education

This month OISE Library is recognizing Indigenous contributions to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Please come visit the OISE Library Ground Floor Display for more resources that focus on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit worldviews, experiences, and knowledge for STEM teaching in the K-12 classroom.

Bridging Cultures: Scientific and Indigenous Ways of Knowing Nature
Bridging Cultures provides science educators with knowledgeable perspectives on scientific and Indigenous content that will help students in grade 6 to 12 build a contemporary and general understanding of Indigenous scientific knowledge. The second emphasis of this book explores practical aspects of interpreting some of the Indigenous knowledges found in the science curriculum. This book not only offers insights that help teachers construct their own understanding how both knowledge systems describe and explain nature, but it may also be valuable to Indigenous Studies students, ministry of education personnel, and future policy makers. This book is an excellent introduction to knowledgeable perspectives on scientific and Indigenous content.

A Native American Thought of It: Amazing Inventions and Innovations
by Rocky Landon and David MacDonald
Native communities in different areas of North America were successful at different types of innovations. Some of these Indigenous ingenuities include tool making, transportation, and techniques in agriculture. Rocky Landon, Objibway band member from a community in Northwestern Ontario in Canada, invites readers on a journey to explore, enjoy, and wonder at the innovations of Native peoples in North America.

Houses of Wood – Native Dwellings: The Northwest Coast
by Bonnie Shemie
This book looks into art-embellished wooden dwellings built by the First Nations of the Northwest Coast. Shielding the First Nations people from the northern cold are the high mountains of the Northwest Coast, providing the most beautiful landscape for wooden houses. This book provides sketches, beautifully coloured illustrations and in-depth explanations on the styles of houses.  Houses of Wood enlighten readers on each of the tribes who lived and traded with each other on the Northwest Coast, exploring customs, language, and style of house.

The Iroquois: Longhouse Builders
by Rachel A. Koestler-Grack
The Iroquois is one of six books in the America’s First Peoples series that take a closer look at the rich traditions that helped shape the lives of Indigenous people in the past and into the present. This book focuses on the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) people and their tradition of building longhouses. This book covers the construction of longhouses, the usage of space, living in a longhouse, and the Iroquois community today.

Animal Journey: Learning Shapes 
Animal Journey, designed by Bella Bella artist Ben Houstie from Vancouver, B.C., Canada is one of the many kits included in the OISE Library K-12 Manipulatives collection for students enrolled in the Master of Teaching programs at OISE. Animal Journey is a series of 4 figures, wolf (star shape), whale (circle), eagle (square), and raven (octagon), which insert in a canoe. Carved from solid pine wood and beautifully painted, these learning shapes are excellent for introducing shapes to primary school students while infusing Indigenous perspectives in early geometry teaching.

For information please see the following links:
Infusing Indigenous Perspectives in K-12 Teaching
Infusing Aboriginal Content and Perspectives Into Your Teaching Practice 

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The Evolution of Science Education in Ontario Schools

Science Literacy Week is September 18-24, 2017! This month’s historical display takes a look at how science literacy and science education has evolved in Ontario schools through the year 2000.

The earliest science textbooks in the Ontario Historical Education Collection were published in the mid-1800s. Books from this period include Comstock’s A System of Natural Philosophy (1838) and Sangster’s Natural Philosophy (1861; 1870 printing on display). While they pre-date the official lists of textbooks approved for use in Ontario schools, as these came into existence in 1887, these books include a statement on the title page that they were designed for use in schools.

By the late 1800s and early 1900s, the province was publishing curricula for use in Ontario schools. Public school students’ first experience with science was through a class called “Nature Study,” which was an obligatory course of study in Forms I-IV (today’s grades 1-8). Children in nature study classes were expected to interact directly with nature – as a result, the only textbooks produced about nature study were teacher’s guides, such as the Ontario Teachers’ Manuals: Nature Study (1926).

In high school, students studied Elementary Science in the Lower School (grades 9-10), which covered botany, zoology, physics, and chemistry. Students in the Middle School (grades 11 and 12) studied Physics and Chemistry, with Biology re-introduced in the Upper School (grade 13). Textbooks in physics and chemistry, such as Ontario High School Physics (1911) and Ontario High School Chemistry (1917), and their accompanying laboratory manuals were published for use in Ontario schools.

In 1937, the Ontario school curriculum introduced an intermediate level of schooling which separated grades 7 and 8 from grades 1-6. The “Natural Science” course for grades 1-6 was predominantly observation-based and continued to emphasize plants and animals in their natural setting. The Science course for students in grades 7 and 8, meanwhile, was designed “to employ the adolescent child’s curiosity as to why things happen as they do” (Ontario Programme of Studies for Grades VII and VIII of the Public and Separate Schools, 1938). However, teachers were advised to take care not to confuse students with content that was more appropriate for high school. With the move away from Nature Study, the province began issuing textbooks for grades 7 and 8, such as the General Science for Intermediate Grades series published in the 1950s.

High school science during this period was divided into two streams: General Science and Agricultural Science. The underlying principles and objectives of these two streams were similar, although their content differed in focus. Similar to earlier years, the General Science stream emphasized the study of Physics and Chemistry. By contrast, the Agricultural Science course was an applied course of study intended to integrate schoolwork with the activities of the farm and community; the focus was on topics such as raising livestock and crops.

The next substantial change in the curriculum came about in 1961. The Intermediate Division was expanded to include grades 7-10, with grades 11-13 comprising the Senior Division. Furthermore, separate curricula for each subject of study were also being published instead of a single curriculum document that covered all subjects of study. By 1961, science education had become a greater priority for schools and scientific concepts were being introduced at increasingly early ages.

The importance of science education and science literacy continued to increase through the 1970s. Curriculum documents began to grow in size – the 1987 science curriculum for the intermediate and senior divisions was published in 15 parts, each its own 50-page booklet! Accordingly, the science curriculum from 1987 asserts that “the characteristics of science and the needs of society indicate that science education should be given high priority in the schooling of all young people.” It is not surprising that the selection of textbooks in all areas of science also grew exponentially in the late 20th century.

At the turn of the century, science literacy remained a key aspect of education in Ontario:

During the twentieth century, science has come to play an increasingly important role in the lives of all Canadians […] There is every reason to expect that science and its impact on our lives will continue to grow as we enter the twenty-first century. Consequently, scientific literacy for all has become the goal of science education throughout the world. (The Ontario Curriculum Grades 9 and 10, Science, 1999)

With Science Literacy Week now upon us, a selection of historical science curricula and textbooks are available to view in the glass display table on the ground floor of the OISE Library.

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OISE Lobby Display: Back to School

September means back to school – and for OISE students, this means that classroom placements are just around the corner! Student teachers and new teachers alike will benefit from this month’s display highlighting books about classroom management, lesson planning, time management, and general advice for teaching success.

The Teacher’s Handbook: Strategies for Success by Anthony D. Fredericks

Designed to be of practical use for teachers, this book does not spend much time on underlying theory. Instead, it jumps straight into useful advice and applied methods for teaching. Intended to serve as a reference resource for effective teaching, this book covers the gamut of concerns teachers face and skills teachers need, providing clear advice for everything from lesson planning, choosing resources to use, time management, assessment and evaluation, homework, classroom discipline, and stress management. This book also provides advice tailored to specific groups, such as different age groups or special education.

The Complete Guide to Lesson Planning and Preparation by Anthony Haynes

Planning and preparation is the first step to teaching. Haynes’ book introduces some of the elements necessary to effectively carrying out this first step of teaching and provides teachers with a step-by-step guide for lesson planning. This book breaks down all of the aspects which must be considered when planning a lesson: what are the aims of the lesson? what are the needs of the students? what is the context of the lesson? how does this apply to the curriculum? – just to name a few. Each chapter includes anecdotes, exercises, and a list of “further reading” resources to help teachers develop their lessons.

Successful Classroom Management: Real-World, Time-Tested Techniques for the Most Important Skill Set Every Teacher Needs by Richerd H. Eyster and Christine Martin

Knowing that many new teachers are left to figure out classroom management for themselves, this book is designed to be both a practical resource and a reference book. Arranged in such a way that the material can be followed step-by-step, this book includes practical advice, anecdotes, suggestions for structuring your instruction and your classroom, and approaches to classrom discipline, as well as a discussion of how things like homework and evaluation related to overall classroom management. In addition to suggested steps for dealing with a difficult class, this book includes steps to take when dealing with difficult or angry parents as well!

Daily Planning for Today’s Classroom: A Guide for Writing Lesson & Activity Plans, by Kay M. Price and Karna L. Nelson

This book is a valuable supplement when learning how to create lesson plans – and experienced teachers may find it a useful refresher. The process of lesson planning is broken down and laid out into each individual component. This book illustrates everything from how to plan effective lessons to how to write detailed lesson plans and select the components needed for various plans to how to monitor student progress. This book also emphasizes an area of lesson planning that is often overlooked: how to accommodate a diverse population of students who have different educational needs.

Classroom Management Strategies: Gaining and Maintaining Students’ Cooperation by James S. Cangelosi

This textbook is full of classroom management strategies that can be used to keep students on-task and engaged in their lessons. This book not only explains classroom management strategies for a wide range of contexts, but also illustrates how these strategies can be applied using 328 case studies drawn from real-life experiences. These case studies also demonstrate the process of adapting these strategies to the specific situation at hand. Each chapter concludes with a synthesis of the different strategies and cases covered in the chapter and provides a bridge to the material covered in the following chapter.

For these and more books on preparing for the classroom, please visit the OISE Lobby Display on the ground floor of the OISE building.

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Science Literacy Week: Makerspace Pop-Ups

Science Literacy Week, an annual nationwide festival of science, takes place this September 18-24, 2017, throughout the University of Toronto and across Canada. Fun demos, insightful talks, special displays, and many other exciting events are taking place all week long at participating libraries from St. George, UTM, and UTSC campuses.

This year’s theme is Science in a Post-Truth Era. As recent political events have brought the problems of fake news and the trustworthiness of digital information to the world’s attention, the very relevance of facts has been called into question. This year’s science literacy week considers the place of science in a world where the importance of truth itself is contested.

The display on the ground floor of the library, Indigenous Contributions to STEM, invites viewers to think about current debates about our post-truth era in light of the history of the marginalization of Indigenous knowledges, and seeks to highlight the ways that Indigenous knowledges incorporate and express STEM principles.

On Tuesday, September 19th from 12-1pm, Thursday, September 21st from 4-6pm, the OISE Library will be hosting two makerspace pop-ups on the ground floor of the library. Makerspaces are increasingly becoming part of the teaching landscape, and hands-on experimentation is a great way to incorporate scientific literacy into teaching. Come and explore resources from the OISE Library collection that encourage tinkering, problem-solving, group work and exploration. We will be highlighting activity kits and resources like Makey Makey,  Snap Circuits Jr., and littleBits. For additional maker resources, check out Makers & Tinkers and Technology in Education.

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