Indigenous Land-Based Education

January’s Ground Floor Display focuses on Indigenous Land-Based and Environmental Education. Land-based education takes an environmental approach to learning that recognizes the deep connection and relationship of Indigenous peoples to the Land. It seeks to offer education on the Land that is grounded in Indigenous knowledges. It is through the cultivation and observation of this relationship that knowing and learning occurs. The materials within this display case are examples that educators can observe to think about their own relationship to the Land and to the Indigenous peoples and knowledges that have come from it.

The first item featured in this post, Professor Sandra Styres’ Pathways for remembering and recognizing Indigenous thought in education: philosophies of Iethi’nihsténha Ohwentsia’kékha (land) speaks to the ways that Indigenous traditional pedagogy and relationship to the Land informs Indigenous educational philosophy. By recognizing and engaging with the many ways that colonialism is reinforced in classrooms through the current education system, Styres works to offer a new, more inclusive philosophy that is guided by Indigenous pedagogies. This book works as a great aid to understand and conceptualize Indigenous educational philosophies that would help to disrupt colonial power relations that are so present in classrooms today.

The Water Walker by Joanne Robertson is a brightly illustrated children’s book that
explores the deep love that Josephine Mandamin, an Ojibwe Nokomis (Grandmother), has for Nibi (Water). This story follows Nokomis as she walks around the Great Lakes in order to raise awareness of the importance of Nibi for future generations and the need to protect such a vital resource of life and knowledge. By providing a glossary and pronunciation guide to Anishinaabemowin words, this book acts as a great resource for teaching children the importance of the environment, and how they can in turn care for the Nibi around them.

Acting as an environmental and cultural resource to Anishinaabe teachings, Sacred Water: Water for Life by Lea Foushee and Renee Gurneau is a resource filled with knowledge from Anishinaabe Elders and the language they use to transmit this knowledge. Sacred Water is a resource that educates students on the importance of environmental knowledge and stewardship, and of the many ways that our relationship with the Land affects our daily lives. With the inclusion of a reading list, student questions and suggested activities, this resource is an excellent tool in implementing Land-based education in the classroom.

In Our Children, Our Ways, the footage captured explores Indigenous programs across the Turtle Island that are geared towards educating and empowering Indigenous students. Our Children Our Ways helps to promote and celebrate the culture of the communities involved, including the varying ways that the children of those communities are educated. This video demonstrates the ways that Indigenous children learn from Land based pedagogies by emphasizing the learning that occurs through the interaction with their culture, language, family, and Land. With a whole video that features the importance of Land and the engagement with outdoor activities in the upbringing and education of children, this resource is a useful guide when introducing Land-based education in the classroom. By encouraging students to learn from the Land, the methods and activities that are promoted within this video helps to emphasize the importance of integrating lessons of the Land into the classroom.

The book A Walk on the Tundra is a colourful yet informative children’s book that follows a little girl, Inuujaq, and her grandmother in their travels across the tundra. Amongst their travels, Inuujaq learns from her grandmother the ways that the Land transforms throughout the seasons, and the many ways that the Land provides nourishment and life to other plants, animals and humans in one harmonious cycle. With a field guide that includes photographs and scientific information concerning the Arctic environment and its plants, this book acts as an excellent guide while teaching students the importance of Land, and the many ways they can learn and benefit from it.

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Featured Activity Kit: Lucky Mammal Survival

Lucky Mammal Survival is a fun game that introduces students to the concept of animal survival and adaptability. Students get to create an animal and see if it is able to survive factors such as climate, overpopulation, the predator/prey relationship, and the role of humans in the environment. The game is meant for students grades 5-12 and allows up to 8 players to play at one time. The game is useful for teachers wanting to provide students with the opportunity to learn about biology and biodiversity in an interactive way. This hands-on game will allow students to learn about the characteristics that allow animals to adapt to their environments and what kind of impact humans have on their ability to adapt.

The game includes the 18″ x 18″ game board, 28 survival factor game cards, one die, 100 blue tokens, four pencils, eight large game piece stands, a paper pad for drawing your own species to use as a game piece, “Species Attribute Forms” to use when creating each player’s animal, and the instructions for the game.

Lucky Mammal Survival is currently on display on the Ground Floor of the OISE Library on the coffee table near the “New Arrivals” shelf. For more information on this activity kit, and many others available in the OISE Library’s Curriculum Resources Collection, please visit the OISE Library K-12 Manipulatives Database.

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OISE Lobby Display: French Language Materials

This month, the OISE Library is featuring its French Language Materials in the OISE lobby display cabinet. From children’s literature to research materials to curriculum resources, the OISE collection has a wide range of materials to support French language teaching and education. Please visit the lobby display on the ground floor of the OISE building for more suggested readings.

Image result for How to learn French in Canada; a handbook for English Canadians victorFeatured on display are several faculty publications, both in French and English, on French-language education. Professor Victor Graham’s How to learn French in Canada: a handbook for English Canadians provides useful and practical advice on how to become fluent in French for adults. With a list of practical solutions, this book acts as a self-guided book on applying oneself to a study of the language. Aligning with the information and services from the governments of Quebec and France, the book also includes a list of course offerings in various Canadian communities, clubs and societies, correspondence courses, universities and summer schools, and language laboratories. Also featured in the listings on French instruction are publications, music and songs, records, films, and radio Image result for Negotiating identities : anglophones teaching and living in Quebecand television programs. In the book  Negotiating identities: anglophones teaching and living in Quebec, Professor Diane Gérin-Lajoie explores the stories of Anglophone teachers living and working in Quebec and their experiences of the relationship between language and identity. Using a critical sociological framework, Negotiating Identities explores the life stories of Anglophone teachers and illustrates the social practices which connect them with their linguistic, cultural, and professional identities. With both in-class and out-of-the-class examples demonstrating the complexity of identity as a lived experience for Quebec’s anglophone teachers, the book presents compelling narratives on the political forces that impact educators’ lives and makes comparisons with other Canadian ethnic-minority teachers, also drawing from Quebec’s Francophone teachers.

Image result for le petit nicolas bookIn the OISE Children’s Literature collection, there are great selections of French-language children’s classic and award winners. Le petit Nicolas is a series of short stories written by French writers Jean-Jacques Sempe and Rene Goscinny. Narrated in the first-person by a seven-year-old boy named Nicolas, the book presents an idealized version of childhood in 1950s France. The Image result for madeline bookbook is full of humour emerging from Nicolas’ (mis)understanding of the adult world in his tales of growing up. Similar to Le Petit Nicolas, Madeline is one of the best-loved series created by Ludwig Bemelmans and was named a Caldecott Honor Book in 1940. Madeline follows the daily adventures of a seven-year-old girl named Madeline who is attending a boarding school in Paris. Under the care of Miss Clavel, she and eleven other girls wind through the streets of Paris in a cheerfully humorous and rhythmic text.

Image result for Ontario Curriculum: French as a Second LanguageFor educators, teachers’ guides provide effective strategies for teaching the French language. The Ontario Curriculum: French as a Second Language provides guidance on curriculum design and lesson planning for educators. The expectations and goals outlined for grades 4-8 in core French and extended French, and for Grades 1-8 in French immersion, align with those described in the Ontario Curriculum for French as a Second Language (FSL) programs. This document outlines the overarching vision and goals for FSL in Ontario and provides principles and strategies to inform teaching and decision making.

For more titles on the French Language materials in the OISE Library Collection, please visit the lobby display on the ground floor of the OISE building and the OISE Library catalogue for additional education resources. If you are interested in reading any of these titles, please visit the circulation desk in the OISE Library for information regarding borrowing privileges. Happy reading!

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Holiday Hours

The OISE Library will close at 5pm Wednesday December 20th for the holidays, and will reopen at 8:30am Wednesday January 3rd, 2018.

If you’re looking for a study space over the holidays, the Robarts Library will be open:

  • December 21st – 23rd, 9am – 5pm
  • December 26th – 30th, 9am – 5pm
  • January 2nd, 9am – 5pm

Online library resources (e-books, online articles, etc.) will continue to be accessible throughout the holiday season.

On behalf of everyone at the OISE Library, we wish you a happy, healthy, and restful holiday season!

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Early Ontario Primers and Readers

Books of curated stories, or Readers, have been used throughout history for the purpose of teaching children to read and to expose them to literature. Many such readers have been used in Ontario’s history. These readers include the Canadian Series of School Books readers (1867), the Royal Canadian Readers (1883), and many editions of the Ontario Readers (1884, 1909, 1920, 1933). Although new editions would periodically be published, the Readers used in Ontario schools remained fairly consistent in format and content until the Second World War. 

Learning to read in early Ontario schools began with the Primer. These books presented children with texts written for the express purpose of teaching children to read. As such, the texts in Primers generally contained simple words of one or two syllables and often written using larger fonts. Some of these Primers even broke words down into syllables, such as the 1881 Canadian Readers: Primer II.

However, the Primers used in early Ontario schools also differed from what we expect to see in schools today. For example, pupils were often taught to read cursive writing as they learned to read. Some, such as the 1920 edition of the Ontario Readers: Primer, even teach children cursive before teaching them print letters! By contrast, today cursive is not typically taught in Ontario schools until grade 3. Furthermore, although the texts presented in Primers were designed to be simple and easy to read, some Primers nevertheless included small print and relatively dense text blocks.

While the texts included in Primers were typically purpose-written, and included adaptations of fairy tales and fables, excerpts from English literature would be progressively included as pupils became more experienced readers. For example, the Second Reader often contained a combination of purpose-written material and excerpts, while the Fourth Reader was comprised entirely of excerpts from classic English literature. These excerpts came from a wide variety of authors and poets, such as Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Wordsworth, John Milton, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Readers were not only used to teach pupils how to read and to introduce them to literature. The Golden Rule Books (1915), for example, were a series of Readers used for the moral education of Ontario pupils. Written as a supplement to the 1909 edition of the Ontario Readers, the Golden Rule Books imparted moral lessons using written stories as a medium.

Furthermore, Catholic schools in Ontario had their own set of Readers approved for use in schools. Examples of the Readers used in Ontario Catholic schools include the Canadian Catholic Readers (1899) and the Canadian Catholic Corona Readers (1930s). The Catholic school Readers largely resembled the public school readers, although they emphasized religious education and included explicitly religious content in the chosen texts. By contrast, the Readers used in public schools were largely secular, although they did include some religious content. For example, the Ontario Readers: Third Book (1909) included a selection of Biblical passages among its content.

Although today we are used to teachers having some choice in the textbooks they use in their classroom, this was not the case in early Ontario schools. For many years, only one series of readers was approved for use in early Ontario schools at any one time. This meant that all public schools used one set of readers and all Catholic schools used a different set of readers. It was not until the 1950-1951 school year that multiple series of Readers were approved for use in Ontario schools, allowing individual teachers and school boards some choice in which texts they used in their classrooms.

A selection of historical Readers will be on display in the glass table on the ground floor of the OISE Library through the month of December.

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