New ebooks: Engaging classrooms

Are you an MT student planning for an in-person practicum this fall? Or an instructor who will be teaching virtually? Regardless of the teaching and learning environment you’re preparing for, we hope this selection of new ebook titles provides some inspiration and insights into classroom learning. From promoting a culture of open thinking and debate, to engaging and facilitating learning virtually, these provide helpful resources for engaging students.

Engaging Learners Through Zoom : Strategies for Virtual Teaching Across Disciplines, by Johnathan Brennan.

This book provides ideas for synchronous online learning structures that can be used in any discipline, to implement fun and educational learning virtually. This work also suggests ideas for battling Zoom fatigue, providing both strategies and practical advice in how to engage learners virtually and maintain their interest. These tools can also be used in hybrid and face to face teaching environments. This resource provides active steps and recommendations for incorporating diverse strategies into the online classroom environment, with over 150 active learning strategy examples and multiple examples for 26 of the most commonly taught courses. 


The Noisy Classroom: Developing debate and critical oracy in schools, by Debbie Newman.

Cover image for The Noisy Classroom: Developing debate and critical oracy in schoolsThis resource highlights the importance of critical oracy for students. This resource is perfect for teachers looking to develop an a debating culture in their classrooms. Utilizing critical oracy in the classroom encourages students to explore new perspectives in their interactions with their peers, and in their thinking and learning. This resource provides step-by-step instructions for how to incorporate debate into the curriculum, ranging from small starter activities to full on debating. It is intended for school teachers, including both NQTs and more experienced practitioners.  Accompanying resources can be found here.

The Learner-Centered Music Classroom: Models and Possibilities, edited by David A. Williams and Johnathan R. Kladder.Cover of The Learner-Centered Music Classroom Models and Possibilities

This resource provides teachers with different user-centered models for teaching music that aim to create spaces that are interactive, and socially and culturally responsive. The music classroom provides an important opportunity to encourage creative, peer-based, and democratic learning for students. The compiled resources in this book include lesson plans, rubrics and models for teachers.

Flipped Classrooms with Diverse Learners International Perspectives, edited by Zachary Walker, Desiree Tan and  Noi Keng Koh.

This book examines the flipped classroom model and explores why it works. Through diverse examples with learners of all ages, the successes in the field are expanded upon to discuss existing research and future consequences. Instead of focusing on one specific domain, this resources takes a wide lens and explores studies across all age groups and educational ranges. A useful tool for intended practitioners, this is a resources for anyone engaging in flipped classroom learning from Kindergarten to Higher Education.


Rigor in the Remote Learning Classroom: Instructional Tips and Strategies, by Barbara R. Blackburn. 

This book provides guidance on how to keep motivation alive in a remote learning or hybrid K–12 classroom. Blackburn emphasizes learning with the mindset of rigor, “to create a remote culture of high expectations”, for both students and teachers in order to achieve high levels of learning for students. Blackburn also provides advice on how to frame the conversation of remote learning, to look at it as a necessity for high learning success instead of a roadblock. 

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Internet Archive Colouring Pages

Looking for something mindful to do over the Winter Break? Take some time to colour in some images from the OISE Library Internet Archive. Find out more about the Internet Archive in this blog post and explore the materials in the Internet Archive here!

Colouring Image of a castle
Colouring Image of Andromeda
Colouring Image of a Crow

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OISE Library Holiday Reads 2020 Edition

As the days grow longer and the fall semester finishes up, the team at the OISE Library has convened to create a list of books, podcasts, shows and more that they’ll be enjoying this winter break. 

Bethany Lepp, Toronto Academic Libraries Intern at the OISE Library, plans on digging into The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan, and Shakespeare’s Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature by Stuart Kells. book cover - Shakespeare Library by Stuart Kells

“Many of the recent additions to my bookshelf have been library-themed, and I’m hoping to read one of them over the holidays. The last title immediately piqued my interest — it’s about the mysterious lack of evidence of Shakespeare’s private library and how that relates to the authorship controversy,” she said.

Annie McCarron, OISE’s Graduate Student Library Assistant, plans on reading Hamnet: A Novel of the Plague by Maggie O’Farrell, a book that looks at Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the little known story behind it. In addition, she plans on tackling The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab and The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories by Danielle Evans.

book cover - the invisible life of addie larue by V.E. SchwabAnnie also plans on listening to Wind of Change, a longform podcast exploring the history of the power ballad “Wind of Change” by The Scorpions, a song credited for ending the Cold War by fans, and rumoured to have been written by the CIA. 

“One of my best friends has been recommending this one to me for a while as she knows I like investigative podcasts and history,” Annie said.

OISE’s Outreach Librarian, Desmond Wong, plans on listening to a podcast called The Memory Palace by Nate DiMeo, and recommends we all listen to it as well.

“Each episode is a stunning exploration of the visual world, through the lens of evocative language and description. DiMeo creates detailed, beautiful, intricate scenes through his words and his tone, immersing listeners in a world that is both of his mind and in their experiences. It’s a short journey through worlds, experiences and ideas,” he said. podcast logo - the memory palace

Polina Vendrova, Original Cataloguer at the OISE Library, will be spending this holiday break trying out the Pandemic board game with her family!

“Unlike our current favourite game, Settlers of Catan, which is highly competitive, Pandemic is a cooperative game where you and your teammates race to defeat the viruses spreading all over the world. Since there’s not much we can do in real life to help beat COVID (other than social distancing and wearing masks), at least we can be heroes in the game-world at our dining room table. And we might get a bit less competitive in the process. After all, we’ll have to endure each other’s close company for a while yet,” Polina said.

Jenaya Webb, OISE’s Public Services and Research Librarian, will be diving into several books about swimming. book cover - why we swim by Bonnie Tsui“With my favourite swimming pools remaining closed through much of the pandemic, I spent a lot of time swimming in Lake Ontario and am now making do by reading about swimmers and swimming instead,” Jenaya said. She plans to read Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui, an overview of the history of swimming, and re-reading Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton, an illustrated autobiography study of how swimming shaped Shapton’s life.

OISE’s Instruction and Public Services Librarian Emily Hector plans on reading Ninth House, a young adult fantasy novel by Leigh Bardugo and The Overstory by Richard Powers. She’s avoided learning too much about either books’ plots, but she is extremely excited to jump into both.

“[Ninth House] involves a chaotic backstory, Yale’s secret societies, and GHOSTS. I usually gravitate towards melancholic family dramas, so I’m hoping for something fast-paced and spooky,” she said. 

book cover - ninth house by Leigh Bardugo“I just received a copy of the The Overstory for my birthday, and I’m excited to dig into it over the holidays. Again, I’m intentionally staying away from too many synopses, but I know it’s basically about trees, trees, and more trees. I’ve always considered myself to be a reverent tree admirer (though…who isn’t?), but I’ve heard this novel weaves an incredible world with trees at its centre,” she added.

In addition, Emily is “laughing, gasping-in-surprise, and brow-furrowing” her way through the back catalogue of You’re Wrong About, a podcast series that takes another look at major moments in pop culture and history. 

book cover - how to pronounce knife by souvankham thammavongsaDirector of OISE Library Monique Flaccavento plans on reading Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, an uplifting story of trauma and resilience. She also plans on reading How to Pronounce Knife by Toronto author, poet, and U of T alumna Souvankham Thammavongsa.

“Growing up hearing my parents’ and grandparents’ stories about life as new immigrants to Canada, I’m really looking forward to reading the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner How to Pronounce Knife,” she said. “This collection is described by CBC Books as a collection of ‘idiosyncratic and diverse stories’ that ‘explore the tragedy and humour of the daily lives of immigrants.’”

Over the holiday break, Access Services Generalist Sam Eshafi is planning to do some reading, watch a couple of movies with his family, and do some Sudoku puzzles! The movies they’re planning to watch, as suggested by Sam’s daughter, include The Terminal, a comedy starring Tom Hanks, that tells the story of a tourist who finds himself accidentally stranded in JFK airport (stream on U of T Libraries’ Criterion), and Carrie Pilby, a story of a young prodigy who graduates from Harvard at 19 and then struggles to figure out the rest of her life outside of scholarship. On the more serious side, Sam is also planning to read several books that cover Iran’s recent history, including Torture in the Name of Allah: Ghezelhesar Prison, by Iraj Mesdaghi, which explores the terrible conditions and pervasive use of torture in one of Iran’s largest state prisons.

book cover - happy hour by marlowe granadosSasha Dhesi, another Toronto Academic Libraries Intern at the OISE Library, will be reading Happy Hour by Toronto writer Marlowe Granados, a glittering novel chronicling the life and hustle of a New York City party girl during the summer of 2013. “I’ve been a fan of Marlowe’s writing for a while now, so I’m looking forward to checking out her first novel and living vicariously through her prose as I continue to quarantine at home,” Sasha said.

book cover - we have always been here by Samra HabibSasha also plans on reading Canada Reads 2020 winner We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir by Samra Habib and ringing in the new year by blasting Rina Sawayama’s debut album, SAWAYAMA

Some of the books on this list are available to request for curb side pick-up from the University of Toronto Libraries. December 14th is the last day to request print materials from the OISE Library and December 18th is the last day to request print materials from Robarts. The last day to pick up requested items before the break is December 22, 2020. 

Thank you to everyone who contributed this year and happy holidays to everyone at OISE!


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Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day is a commemoration every year on September 30th for the survivors of Residential Schools and their families, as well as a time for settlers to reflect on how relationships with Indigenous peoples might be improved. Founded by Phyllis Webstad, a survivor from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, it remembers that Phyllis wanted to bring an orange shirt with her to the Mission School but was not allowed to do so as it was not permitted with the uniform.

As a library serving pre-service teachers, we want to encourage everyone to reflect on the responsibilities of educators on Turtle Island to support and empower Indigenous students in their cultural, linguistic and social achievements. In support of this, we wish to highlight some materials from our collection that may help with this reflection process and that educators may wish to bring into their classrooms or to their communities.

The cover of Orange Shirt Story by Phyllis WebstadThe Orange Shirt Story by Phyllis Webstad details the story of the author’s experiences and tells the story of the Orange Shirt from her perspective. When Phyllis arrived at Residential School, she was not allowed to wear her favourite orange shirt and it was taken away from her. This is the story of the events that inspired Orange Shirt Day. Teachers may also find lesson plans for the Orange Shirt Story from the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation here.

The cover of Residential Schools by Larry LoyieResidential schools : with the words and images of survivors by Larry Loyie with Wayne K. Spear, Constance Brissenden is a collection of accounts and images by survivors of Residential Schools, in their own words. Featuring the words and lives of 125 survivors, this resource seeks to create a dialogue with survivors about their experiences, healing and the future of Indigenous Education.

Residential schools : truth and reconciliation in Canada (educator’s package) Archival photograph of Indigenous students inside a Residential School classroomfrom McIntyre Media is a package of videos including an address to educators from Justice Murray Sinclair, Marie Wilson and former Prime Minister Paul Martin. It is meant as a call to action and reflection for educators as they move along the journey towards learning and relationship with Indigenous peoples. This video package is only accessible to OISE and UofT students, faculty and staff.

The cover of Finding my Talk by Agnes GrantFinding my talk : how fourteen Native women reclaimed their lives after residential school edited and collected by Agnes Grant is a collection of Indigenous women’s experiences as they reflect on surviving Residential Schools and their lives afterwards. It focuses on how these Indigenous women resisted settler colonialism and heteropatriarchy to begin their own journeys towards healing and culture. 

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Books for Two-Spirit Pride!

The term Two-Spirit is a term used within Indigenous communities to refer to specific Indigenous understandings of gender, sexuality and spirituality. The word is an umbrella term and there are different terms, responsibilities and roles for Two-Spirit people that are specific to each nation. The purpose of this term is to reflect the historical roles and spaces for diverse gender expressions and sexualities within Indigenous communities. For Pride Month, OISE Library has selected a few books written by Two-Spirit authors and featuring Two-Spirit characters. These books are a valuable resource because they share underrepresented Two-Spirit stories in a community specific way that centers the experiences of Indigenous people. As such, the following books deal with difficult, and sensitive topics but treats them with care. They range from perspectives of children learning more about their identity, to Elders sharing their insights and wisdom.  

Fire Song, the debut novel by Adam Garnet Jones is a YA adaptation of his 2015 film that was shortlisted for the CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature. This book is centered around various choices that the protagonist, Shane, must make in the aftermath of grief and loss. Shane, a gay Anishnaabe teenager, dreams of moving to Toronto to go to university; however, this is complicated by the suicide of his sister and the resulting effects that it has on his family. Furthermore, he is also struggling with a queer relationship that he must hide from his community and wants to move to the city where he wants to live openly. Fire Song revolves around the decisions that Shane must make about whether he should stay and support his family or leave and live truthfully. This book takes a critical look at how even making the “right choices” doesn’t have the same impact when you’re facing layers of systemic barriers that inevitably shape the outcomes of your life. The stories are crafted with beautiful language, including excerpts of poetry that tie together the emotional waves of this story. This book is recommended for readers age 13 to 17. 

A Two-Spirit Journey is an autobiographical book written by Ma-Nee Chacaby, a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder. This book shares an account of her life, and the multitude of socio-economic barriers which she overcame throughout her life. It starts off with her childhood in a remote Anishinaabe community where poverty and alcoholism remain as legacies of colonialism. In this autobiography, Elders sharing knowledge is an important theme as Ma-Nee Chacaby provides profound insights on what it means to journey through life as a Two-Spirit person, and she also shares the importance of Elders as she talks about the spiritual and cultural traditions that she learned from her own grandmother and step-father.

47 000 Beads is beautiful: in both the story, as well as the illustrations that surround it. It is a children’s picture book written by by Koja Adeyoha, Angel Adeyoha and illustrated by Holly McGillis. This story is written by a Two-Spirit Lakota author about a character named Peyton who enjoys dancing at the powwow. However, she expresses that she isn’t comfortable wearing a dress anymore and her Aunt asks a few friends to help Peyton get what she needs. This book is much needed because stories about Two-Spirit Indigenous children is very underrepresented. Furthermore, this book is also great representation for showing what validating and empowering relationships can look like. In this story her family is able to come together to show Peyton that they accept her and help her discover what being two-spirit means. This book is intended for readers age 5 – 7. 

Surviving the City is a graphic novel debut by Tasha Spillet-Sumner who draws from her Cree and Trinidadian heritage to write a story about friendship and resilience. It follows the story of Dez and Miikwan who are extremely close Indigenous teens. When Dez disappears, Miikwan is devastated and old wounds resurface. The novel visualises the trauma of missing a loved one through the appearances of various spirits throughout the novel. The illustrations within the graphic novel carry as much weight as the dialogue and through that, this novel confronts some of the worst legacies of colonialism. Spillet also provides an appendix in the book entitled “Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People” which gives more context and provides suggestions for further readings.This book is recommended for readers age 9 to 13. 

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