Makerspace Pop-up!

Makerspaces are increasingly becoming part of the teaching landscape. Curious to know what all the makerspace talk is about?  On June 8th from 4-6, come and explore resources  from the OISE Library collection that encourage tinkering, problem-solving, group work and exploration. Experience for yourself what all the hype is about!

For a sneak peak: take a look at Makey Makey,  Snap Circuits Jr. , and littleBits. For additional maker resources, check out Makers & Tinkers and Technology in Education. 


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Child Poverty and Equity in Education Display

An equitable and inclusive education system is fundamental to achieving a high level of success for all students. To support educators in fostering equitable and inclusive school environments, the OISE Library Collection has a wide range of books on the topic of child poverty and equity in education. Items from the collection are featured in this month’s OISE Lobby Display. Here is a sneak peek of some of the items currently on display.

The Cutest Face by R. Zak

Meet Vrajesh, who is the first to walk through the classroom doors with a big smile on his face!  Throughout the book, readers meet the rest of the students in the class. The Cutest Face recognizes and celebrates diversity and equity in the Canadian classroom. This book aims to engage conversations with students ranging from kindergarten to the Grade 8 level on building positive relationships and citizenship, and emphasizing the variety of characteristics, skills, competencies, qualities, and talents of other students. Guess who’s going to walk through the doors next?!

Handbook of Effective Inclusive Schools Edited by J. McLeskey, N.L. Waldron, F. Spooner, & B. Algozzine

Handbook of Effective Inclusive Schools summarizes the research literature regarding how students might be provided with in classrooms and schools that are both inclusive and effective. The four sections outlined in the book include 1) organizational and systemic perspectives on effective inclusive schools, 2) effective inclusive schools for students with high incidence disabilities, 3) effective inclusive schools for students with severe disabilities, and 4) supporting effective inclusive schools. By addressing the needs of students, the design of multi-tiered systems of support and evidence-based practices can improve educational opportunities for students with disabilities. A synthesis of research and other scholarly work regarding critical issues on inclusiveness in schools is presented. Educators can explore current trends, related critical issues, and directions for classroom goals to develop and sustain effective inclusive schools. Each chapter offers a guide for research practices and how to conduct research. Learn about the roles educators can take on to improve educational opportunities and learning outcomes for all students.

Equity and Inclusive Education: A Resource Compendium for Elementary and Secondary School Teachers in Ontario by Council of Ontario Directors of Education

This compendium is a valuable resource in continuing support for an equitable and inclusive education system to support student achievement and well-being in Ontario. It reflects on the framework outlined in the document Realizing the Promise of Diversity: Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy to help the education community identify and remove discriminatory biases and systemic barriers to student achievement. The principles of equity and inclusive education can be embedded in all aspects of operation, from policy to programs, employment practices, curriculum resources, and instructional and assessment practices. To foster equitable and inclusive environments and student success, students, parents, and members of the school community should feel welcomed and respected. With a list of resources, including organizations and agencies, print and electronic resources, and workshops and seminars, each resource entry provides a brief description of the resource, and contact information. Check out this item to explore some of the resources that are available for elementary and secondary school teachers in Ontario!

Reducing Educational Disadvantage by P. Tassoni

In Reducing Educational Disadvantage, author Penny Tassoni recognizes that some children, through no fault of their own, are at a disadvantage throughout their educational journey.  By intervening in the early years, an active safety net can be formed for children who are most at risk of underachieving. In order to develop an approach to supporting children at risk of disadvantage, this book provides a step-by-step journey for early educators. Issues of social mobility and disadvantage and the impact of poverty on children’s life chances are discussed to explain how early practitioners can provide maximum benefit for children whose home learning environments are weaker than those of their peers. Tassoni emphasises that creating a strong, long-term education programme is key to positively impacting children’s future learning and the benefits of enjoyable play targeted by adult-guided activities on childrens development.

For more recommended titles on Child Poverty and Equity in Education, please visit the OISE Lobby Display on the ground floor of the OISE building. Please see the OISE Library catalogue for additional resources.

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Featured Activity Kit: Renewable Energy Kit

“Everything we do is connected to energy! We use it to warm and cool homes, to cook and clean, to entertain use, to grow good, to travel and to make products.” Energy is also what makes things move such as to ride a bike or drive a car.

The Renewable Energy Kit is comprised of many components that allows students to explore how the sun, wind, and water can supply energy to make things move and work. Through fun, hands-on building activities and experiments, students discover the basic principles of energy:

  • energy is what makes things move;
  • energy is something that is stored, ready to use, and which can be used up; and
  • energy can change from one form to another (energy transfers)

The kit also comes with an instruction-assembly sheet, and activity booklet that provide the framework for students to record their observations, collected data, questions and discovered using the kit. Each activity is accompanied by section with background information, teacher notes, additional activities, display ideas and answers to support teachers in the classroom. Discover how you can bring clean renewable energy into your classroom curriculum to build a sustainable environment to support a greener future.

The Renewable Energy Kit is currently on display on the Ground Floor coffee table by the “New Arrivals” shelf. For more information on this activity kit, along with many more hands-on learning resources, please visit the OISE Library K-12 Manipulatives Database. Looking for books on renewable energy sources? Check out the OISE Library Collection.

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Empire Day and Commonwealth Day in Ontario Schools

On display in the glass table this month is a selection of colonial booklets and programmes used in Ontario schools for Empire Day and Commonwealth Day ceremonies.

Empire Day was first celebrated in Ontario on May 23, 1899. By design, it was intended to coincide with Victoria Day:

The school day immediately preceding the 24th of May shall be devoted specially to the study of the history of Canada in its relation to the British Empire, and to such other exercises as might tend to increase the interest of the pupils in the history of their own country and strengthen their attachment to the Empire to which they belong – such day to be known as ‘Empire Day’. (Circular to Inspectors, 1900)

As Empire Day was adopted elsewhere in the British Empire, this convention was not followed. Countries that did not observe Victoria Day instead celebrated Empire Day on May 24th.

From the beginning, the purpose of Empire Day was educational: to teach children living in British territories about the British Empire. Furthermore, Empire Day booklets and programmes reflected the colonialism of the period. In addition to containing factual information such as the populations of major cities within the British Empire, these booklets were intended to instill “good British values” such as loyalty to the British Crown in Ontario schoolchildren. Many of these booklets also highlighted themes such as British “valour” and “supremacy.” The 1912 Empire Day booklet, for example, describes Empire Day as a day where “British subjects everywhere celebrate the history, traditions, character, unity and greatness of the British Empire.”

Over the years, the rhetoric used in Empire Day booklets underwent a shift. Instead of promoting the “greatness of the British Empire,” in later years these materials emphasized the importance of good citizenship. By the 1950s, Empire Day was also informally known as “Citizenship Day.”

In 1957, this holiday experienced another shift: Empire Day ceased to be celebrated and was replaced by Commonwealth Day. The emphasis on citizenship remained: in 1958, Citizenship Day was formally recognized in conjunction with Commonwealth Day “to prompt Canadians to reflect on the responsibilities, duties, and privileges of citizenship involving individual rights, love, compassion, and concern for all” (Ontario Ministry of Education, 1982).

The Commonwealth Day booklets discussed topics such as the opening of the Canadian Parliament, how the Ontario Legislature was run, and surveys of the provinces’ coats of arms and provincial flowers. In addition topics about about Canada, the Commonwealth Day materials also sought to educate Ontario youth about other Commonwealth countries. For several years in the 1960s, for example, these booklets contained profiles of Commonwealth countries in Asia, Africa, the Carribbean, and the Pacific:

The Commonwealth of Nations is neither an empire not a power bloc. It is a family of countries, the very survival of which depends upon the maintenance and strengthening of the ties that bind one member to another. This strengthening process can best be achieved by a continued effort to keep citizens of each member country informed about the unique and the shared features of their own and their sister countries. (Commonwealth Day booklet, 1968)

In 1977, the Commonwealth of Nations made a joint decision to move Commonwealth Day from May to the second Monday in March.

These books will be on display in the glass table on the ground floor of the OISE Library through the end of May.

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Toronto Seed Library + Gardening Resources

Spring thyme is here and the OISE Library Branch of the Toronto Seed Library is newly stocked up with seeds. The Toronto Seed Library has 20 branches across the city where gardeners, both seasoned and beginner, can pick up a wide variety of seeds for free. Gardeners are encouraged to learn about the process of seed saving and return seeds for use by their fellow gardeners. More information about seed saving and using the Toronto Seed Library is available on their website. Members of the OISE community and general public are welcome to stop by the OISE Library Branch during our opening hours to pick up seeds.

The OISE Library has a number of works relevant to the intersection of gardening and education, which might interest students hoping to integrate gardening into community organizations or the classroom. How to Grow a School Garden: A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers by Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Kathleen Pringle walks prospective gardeners through the step of setting up a school garden—big or small—drawing on the authors’ years of experience working with the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance. The book covers all the steps of establishing a school garden process from early advocacy and design to maintaining the garden’s vitality and ecosystem over many years. The nitty-gritty of soil and composting are addressed alongside tips about effective classroom management and lesson planning to help students get the most out of a school garden.

Once a garden is established and sprouting smoothly The Garden Classroom: Hands-on Activities in Math, Science, Literacy, and Art by Cathy James offers lesson plan suggestions which incorporate plants and gardening with various strands of the curriculum. The Garden Classroom does offer tips on getting a gardens of varying size started, but mainly focuses on detailing outdoor and garden based activities appropriate for students ranging from kindergarten through grade three. The activities James’ discusses range from getting students to keep a gardening journal, to creating your own natural dyes.

Garden and plant-centric lesson plans might benefit from the beautifully illustrated Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal, from our Children’s Literature collection. The picture book’s story introduces children to the various insects and animals who inhabit the garden, ranging from worms to wasps to ladybugs, emphasizing the important role these creatures play. The story familiarizes children with the seasonal changes, following the garden’s progress from early spring until the return of winter. Messner and Neal’s book matches well with the Ontario Science Curriculum for primary grades and offers a starting point for familiarizing students with gardening.

How Groundhog’s Garden Grew written and illustrated by Lynne Cherry introduces the reader to how plants and gardens grow, with special attention to how vegetables grow from seeds into dinner. Groundhog, the book’s main character, plants seeds in the ground and nurtures them from seedling into full grown vegetables, learning lessons about the diverse life cycles of plants, pollination, and the changing seasons along the way. The book introduces children to gardening vocabulary teaching them about fertilizer, perennials, and other key gardening concepts.

Start your gardening adventures today by visiting the OISE Library Branch of the Toronto Seed Library, or by checking out a gardening title from our collection!


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