New Titles: Identity and Education

Who Are You? The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity by Brook Pessin-Whedbee
This book introduces children to gender as a spectrum by talking about how individuals experience gender differently. By assuring children that it is okay to talk about how we experience gender through our body, our expression, and our gender identity, Pessin-Whedbee hopes to bring an understanding that gender is individual and it is something that connects us to the people around us. This book encourages children to be who they are, and explores how gender identity can be expressed through feelings, through what you like, how you likes to dress, and how you act. Included in the book is a guide for grown-ups with an additional list of resources for reading with a class or any group of children. The back of the book also includes a page-by-page guide to key concepts and discussion points. The book also comes with a three layer simplified gender wheel that can be used to help children express their body, identity, and expression.

The Gender Identity Workbook for Kids: A Guide to Exploring Who You Are by Kelly Storck
Uniquely created with thirty-seven fun activities, this workbook is created to provide information about gender that reflect the experiences of gender-diverse children. The author hopes that this book serves as a guide with aims to support a happy and healthy life for a growing child. Storck suggests that the best way to use the workbook is to allow the child to take the lead in uncovering their gender experience. The workbook is divided in three sections: “Understanding Gender,” “Understanding Me,” and “Being Me.” These sections are intended to help the child learn more about gender, more about their unique gender, and how to be the happiest, healthiest, and truest version of themselves. The workbook is meant to be fun and inclusive to support all gender-diverse youth with their journey of self-discovery.

10, 000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert
This beautifully illustrated picture book written by Marcus Ewert tells the story of Bailey, who dreams every night about magical dresses made of of crystals and rainbows, flowers, and dresses made of windows. Bailey is able to dream of up to 10, 000 dresses, but  Bailey’s family members does not want to hear about these amazing dresses and reminds Bailey and she is a boy. Bailey’s dream of making beautiful elaborate dresses eventually come true when she meets an older girl who loves Bailey’s imagination and creativity. Readers are brought onto this journey with Bailey as she discovers an outlet for self-expression, friendship, and acceptance. 10, 000 Dresses is a picture book that can be used for in-classroom reading for empowering and inspiring other children who are struggling with gender expression.


Bright Ribbons: Weaving Culturally Responsive Teaching Into the Elementary Classroom by Lotus Linton Howard
After spending four decades teaching in diverse classrooms in inner-city schools, Howard’s growing passion for social justice and the educational rights of all children inspired the development of this textbook. Focusing on culturally responsive teaching (CRT) practices, the author aims to create a curriculum that builds on relationships with students while creating a community where every child can thrive. This is an instructional textbook for educators interested in how to use CRT as a philosophy that infuses every aspect of the school day, strategies using the weaving strategies of the seven principles of CRT into all lessons and activities, and how to be more self-reflective in unlocking students’ individual uniqueness.

Case Studies on Diversity and Social Justice Education by Paul C. Gorski and Seema G. Pothini

This is the second edition of a text that aspires to challenge  educators to  consider their teaching in light of the “sociopolitical context of schooling” (Introduction), in other words: the relationship between inequities  in the education system and those in society. The authors feel that the case method strengthens efforts to prepare educators to “think, teach, lead and advocate more equitably and justly” (Introduction), by providing opportunities to identify biases and ideologies and to practice in-depth analysis and problem-solving skills. Scenarios present school/classroom injustices based on issues of racism, sexism, ableism, transphobia, heterosexism, socio-economic status, religious, linguistic  and ethnic differences.

These can all be be found in the New Titles shelf of the OISE library, close to the seating area against the west window near the Circulation Desk.

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Lobby Display: Health Education Curriculum

***TRIGGER WARNING: This post includes reference to potentially triggering topics like physical and sexual violence***

While controversial, the changes introduced in the 2015 Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum were an important step towards transforming Ontario schools into safe spaces. The sex ed component of the curriculum included information pertaining to safe sex, consent, cyber-bullying, sexuality and gender orientation and intimate partner violence, recognizing the varied lived experiences of the diverse demographic of students of which the schools of Ontario serve, and helping the curriculum remain relevant for the 21st century. Consequently, the Ontario Provincial Government’s announcement in July of this year that the province would be reverting back the 1998 curriculum was a disappointment to many: the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, for example, recently filed a court challenge over the rollback. Many view the decision as drastic and irresponsible, as it negates a curriculum that actively sought to ensure the safety of its most vulnerable students.

As these discussions unfold, the OISE Library continues to support our students and teacher candidates in their research and their studies. Regardless of the government’s decision, the library will continue to provide resources that support inclusive education, and that advocate for the safety and rights of students. This month’s lobby display highlights some of our resources that cover safe sex, consent, cyber-bullying, sexuality and gender orientation and intimate partner violence, and how teachers can effectively address these topics in the classroom.

OISE MT and MA CSE students are also encouraged to sign up for the Draw the Line workshop on Friday, September 21st. The workshop, provided by White Ribbon Ontario, will cover a number of these same topics.

Acting as an extensive guide to knowledge pertaining to the LGBTQ+ community, Creating Safe and Supportive Environments: A Guide to Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Question Youth, and Families offers a theoretical foundation from which to approach gender and sexual inclusivity within the classroom. Taking an academic approach to issues concerning the LGBTQ+ community, Fisher and Komosa-Hawkins have gathered a vast array of materials that offer an in-depth scope on a varied array of topics. Including materials that explore topics like adolescent development, varied diversity and law and ethics across the LGBTQ+ community, Creating Safe and Supportive Learning Environments is a great starting point when creating a foundation for a safe and inclusive classroom for the LGBTQ+ community.

Hard-hitting and provocative, Intimate Violence against Women: When Spouses, Partners, or Lovers Attack adopts a proactive approach when confronting the issue of intimate-partner violence that works to equip survivors with resources and knowledge that would help them or others in the case of violence. Exploring the effects that emotional, physical and sexual violence has on survivors, Lundberg-Love and Marmion use these materials in their efforts to educate the public about the effects intimate-partner violence has on class and culture, as well as the potential legal issues and potentially effective treatments for recovery. With the inclusion of safety recommendations and legal and advocacy resources for survivors, this item is crucial in its role in dispelling myths of intimate-partner violence and in advocating for the safety of survivors.

One frequent critique of the curriculum rollback has focused on the 1998 curriculum’s failure to account for changing school environments in the digital age. While the digital era has granted many opportunities for progressive learning, it also has had many social implications that includes the rise of cyberbullying. In Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying, Sameer Hinduja and Justin Patchin confront the presence, implications and consequences of cyberbullying. Featuring the voices of students who have experienced cyberbullying firsthand, this item offers realistic and informative practical strategies to combat and prevent the occurrence of cyberbullying.

In his book, It’s Perfectly Normal: A Book about Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, Robie Harries explores the physical, psychological, emotional and social changes that occur during puberty in a progressive and inclusive manner. Promoting body and sex positivity by emphasizing that no body or experience of gender or sexuality should be othered, Harries offers an informed and enlightened perspective on sexual education when considering topics like sexual orientation, sexual reproduction, pregnancy, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases and sexual abuse. With its demonstrative and informative illustrations, It’s Perfectly Normal is an excellent resource that confronts the reality of sex and sexuality in a progressive tone, emphasizing the importance of including sexuality in health education.

An item that confronts the issue of sexual harassment in schools, Pervasive Vulnerabilities: Sexual Harassment in School seeks to uncover the source of its persistence by examining the beliefs, attitudes and behaviours of students and teachers. This item address the issue of sexual harassment in schools fourfold by exploring: the impact of harassment on women’s lives, how the perceptions that teachers hold over the adolescents they teach inform classroom culture, the young woman’s experience in middle and high school and the attitudes and beliefs held by young men in middle and high school. Exposing the perseverance of the double standard that holds men impermeable to reprimand for harassing women yet condemns women if they show interest in consensually participating in sexual acts, Pervasive Vulnerabilities is an excellent classroom resource that works to address and dismantle systems of behaviour that perpetuate sexual harassment and rape culture.

For these and more books that will help to fill the gap of the new Health and Physical Education curriculum, visit the Lobby Display on the ground floor of the OISE building. Please feel free to take out the materials found in the lobby display—library staff would be happy to take these out for you.

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Featured Activity Kit: Squishy Circuits

Looking for an exciting and educational way to teach your students about electrical circuits?  Squishy Circuits may be the thing you’ve been searching for!

With Squishy Circuits, electrical circuits can be installed without the need of breadboards or soldering. Instead, to power the circuits all your students need are the play dough (made from the recipe provided with the package) and batteries.  Further components are also provided: five LED lights (red, yellow, green, blue and white), the motor and also the piezoelectric buzzer provided inside the box. With the hands-on approach of Squishy Circuits, your students can discover new and innovative uses for circuits that they design.

Squishy Circuits is targeted for students eight years old or older. Students under eight should be closely supervised.  

Want to try it out? Squishy Circuits activity kit is currently on display on the ground floor of the OISE Library, next to the Circulation Desk-OISE students. For more experiment games similar to Squishy Circuits, please check out the OISE Library K-12 Manipulative Database or browse the 3rd floor of the Library.

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SAD Lamps at the Library



The OISE Library has 4 new SAD lamps for use on the 2nd floor of the library.  The lamps can be found on the study carrel desks on the east and west sides of the library.

For additional information, please refer to SAD Lamp Info. 

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New Fall OISE Library Reference Desk hours

Welcome to the new academic year at OISE!  Here are our new fall Reference Desk Hours.  Best wishes from your OISE Library Reference staff



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