Featured Activity Kit: The War of 1812 Timeline

The War of 1812 Timeline Activity Kit is perfect for teachers and educators who are teaching on topics regarding Canadian history. It uses a variety of visualization tools to help learners memorize dates, figures, and important events from the War of 1812 and the decades leading up to it. These visualization tools include sketches, drawings, and pictures of artifacts that were pertinent to that time period.  The activity kit also includes a teacher’s guide that provides a list of questions for students and a brief historical overview of the War of 1812.

This activity kit captures the war’s various significant events and moments using flash cards, post cards, and excerpts of historic texts. The kit contains over 130 different cards–each card contains a piece of information on an event or figure that impacted the War of 1812. These cards are divided into several different categories for students to explore, such as: weather during the war, geography of the battles, art and propaganda, exceptional quotes, battles on the water, and symbols from the war.

The War of 1812 Timeline Activity Kit is currently on display on the coffee table located at Ground Floor of the OISE Library, near the Service Desk. For similar activity kits in the OISE Library Curriculum Resources Collection, please visit the OISE Library K-12 Manipulatives Database or browse through the 3rd floor.

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Public School Art Education in Ontario

During March, the Ontario Historical Education Collection is featuring a historical look at art education in Ontario.

From their earliest years, art education featured prominently in Ontario schools. In the early 1900s, art was a compulsory subject in public schools through Form V (Grade 10). Art as a subject was intended “to beautify and ennoble the pupil’s life by the sympathetic contemplation of Nature and of works of art, and to develop facility in the use if Art as a means of expression” (Regulations and Courses of Study and Examinations of the Public and Separate Schools, 1915).

The Art curriculum in this period covered a wide range of activities, including the use of a variety of media such as pencils, charcoal, and watercolours, as well as techniques such as representative drawings of objects, patterns and ornamentation, landscapes, lettering, shading and colour, and perspective. Pupils also learned about famous artworks and architecture, and class visits to art galleries were encouraged. Although textbooks were not approved for use in the classroom past the mid-1800s, pupils used “blank books” such as the Public School Drawing Course or the High School Drawing Course for drawing exercises. A teacher’s manual for art instruction was, however, published by the Department of Education and school libraries were expected to have “suitable reference books” for art.

In the 1920s, less emphasis was placed on Art. A “minimum course” of study was required in all schools; however, the more enriched “supplementary” course was made optional. Art was also combined with Constructive Work into a single subject, which entailed a shift in focus and purpose to more practical endeavours than had previously been a part of art education. Other changes included an increased freedom granted to individual teachers about the content of the curriculum: specific topics of study could be selected according to the individual school’s situation. The Department of Education also stopped authorizing specific blank books for drawing – instead, teachers were permitted to make use of whichever blank books were available in their area. 

In 1937, the Department of Education conducted a major overhaul of the public school curriculum and art took on a more prominent role in the classroom. A compulsory subject of study from grades 1 to 8, the curriculum recommended 30 minutes of art daily. Art activities were also intended to be integrated into the curriculum across all subjects and creativity was strongly encouraged: “Every effort should be made to encourage the child in his art experiences and activities to select, observe, and record for himself, and to avoid reducing him to the position of merely doing what he is told. The sense of beauty and the desire and ability to express it are not likely to be developed by the dictation exercises sometimes called art lessons” (Programme of Studies for Grades I to VI of the Public and Separate Schools, 1937; emphasis in original).

As time went on, the Department of Education began to pay more and more attention to teaching art in schools. In the 1950s, for example, a series of supplementary pamphlets about art education were published for teachers. The actual content of the curriculum itself, however, actually changed remarkably little over the years. The media may have changed – with students using tempera paints instead of watercolours, for example – but many of the activities, techniques, and goals remained consistent.

These materials will be on display in the glass table on the ground floor of the OISE Library through the month of March.

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Indigenous Languages

This month, we are putting the spotlight on Indigenous languages! Did you know that March 31 is National Indigenous Languages Day? Stop by the ground floor display case to check out some of our books both about and written in Indigenous languages.

For individuals interested in a specific language, there are a number of dictionaries and grammars available, such as Learning Ojibwe: Anishinaabemowin Maajaamigad and Castel’s English-Cree Dictionary and Memoirs of the Elders. In addition to Indigenous language dictionaries and grammars, we’ve got a number of general books about Indigenous language use in the OISE Library collection. These include Native American Language Ideologies: Beliefs, Practices, and Struggles in Indian Country, Aboriginal Languages and Education: The Canadian Experience, and Indigenous Youth and Multilingualism: Language Identity, Ideology, and Practice in Dynamic Cultural Worlds. Additionally, some edited volumes such as Language, Learning, and Culture in Early Childhood: Home, School, and Community Contexts include chapters about Indigenous languages.

Language revitalization projects have received attention in recent years as communities work to grow speakers of Indigenous languages. The OISE Library collection contains several books about language revitalization research, such as Language Endangerment and Language Revitalization and Language Loyalty, Language Planning and Language Revitalization: Recent Writings and Reflections from Joshua A. Fishman. Furthermore, research and projects about Indigenous language revitalization in other parts of the world nevertheless bring with them information that may be applied to the Canadian context. This category includes titles such as Revitalising Indigenous Languages: How to Recreate a Lost Generation, which looks at Inari Saami in Finland. This doesn’t mean that we don’t also have case studies about Canadian languages, however! Remembering Inninimowin: The Language of the Human Beings and Cowboys, Indians, and Education: Regenerating Secwepemc Culture and Language, for example, both look at Indigenous language revitalization in a Canadian context.

The OISE Library also has a robust collection of dual language children’s books in English and an Indigenous language. Our Ojibwe language collection, for example, includes picture books such as Waaboos Miinawaa Mkwa Zidens Gchi-Twaa Niizhwaaswi: Nbwaakaawin (“Rabbit and Bear Paws Sacred Seven: Wisdom”) as well as instructional books such as Things that Grow from the Ground: Ezaak’kiigin. We’ve also got several monolingual Ojibwe children’s books, including Mino-doodaading: Dibaajimowinan Ji-mino-ayaang, Naadamaading: Dibaajimowinan Ji-Nisidotaading, and WiijikiiwendingOur Mohawk language collection, meanwhile, includes bilingual titles such as Tsi Ní:iot Tsi Ionatonní:’on Ne Taktsinén:nawen (“How the Butterflies Came to Be”), Tsítsho Tánon Tehahonhtané:ken Ká:kara (“The Story of the Fox and the Rabbit”), and Ratsenhanón:we Tánon Tehanonniá:khwa Ko’khó:wa (“Moth, the Fire Dancer”).

Languages from other parts of Canada are also represented in the OISE Library collection. A selection of these books are on display this month. From the Cree collection, you will find titles such as Wanisinwak Iskwêsisak: Awâsisasinahikanis (“Two Little Girls Lost in the Bush: a Cree Story for Children”) and Emily Whiskeychan e Ishi Memehch Ihtit (“Emily Whiskeychan’s Incredible Imagination”). Our Inuktitut books, meanwhile, include Trip to the Moon and Jaan aullaqsimanirijanga: unikkaaq inungnut nutaqqanut aanniaqaqtunut ilanginnullu (“John’s Tricky Journey”), which also includes an extensive bilingual appendix about navigating cancer treatments for parents and family. The Library also has a monolingual Inuktitut book, Qanuq pinngurnirmata: Inuit unikkaangit qanuq pinngurnirmangaata. From the Michif language collection, you will find titles such as Lii Yiiboo Nayaapiwak Lii Swer: L’alfabet di Michif (“Owls See Clearly at Night: A Michif Alphabet”) and Li Kaan di Sool: Aen Nistwayr di Michif li Taan Kayaash Taanishi aen Ishi Maykihk (“The Diamond Willow Walking Stick: A Traditional Métis Story About Generosity”).

Still other Indigenous languages can also be found in the OISE Library collection. These include, for example, Muin aqq l’uiknek te’sijik ntuksuinu’k: Mi’kmawey tepkikewey musikiskey a’tukwaqn (“Muin and the seven bird hunters: a Mi’kmaw night sky story”) (Mi’kmaq), Ekwǫ̀ Dǫzhìa Wegondi (“The Legend of the Caribou Boy”) (Dogrib), B_a’naboy’ la_xa _Gwa’wina ‘M_akw_ala (“Beneath Raven Moon”) (Kwak’wala), and Kou-skelowh (“We are the people: a trilogy of Okanagan legends”) (Okanagan).

The Library’s bilingual books are not limited to children’s books, either! Currently on display are the memoirs portion of the Castel’s English-Cree Dictionary and Memoirs of the Elders and Kôhkominawak otâcimowiniwâwa (“Our grandmothers’ lives, as told in their own words”).

These books can be found in the glass display case on the ground floor of the OISE Library. A full list of resources on display is also available in the display case. All of these books are available to be checked out – please speak to staff at the circulation and reference desks if you need any assistance.

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New Titles: Education and Technology

Come check out some of the new titles that have arrived at the OISE Library! Featured in this New Titles post are books on the topics of education, technology, and digital learning. All of these titles are located near the service desk on the main floor of the library.

Education and New Technologies: Perils and Promises for Learners, edited by Kieron Sheehy and Andrew Holliman, discusses the impact of twenty-first-century technologies in the classroom. This compilation of essays covers topics such as e-books and literacy skills, games-based learning, the impact of technology on abilities and disabilities, learner analytics, cyberbullying, and intelligent technologies. Sheehy is a professor of Education in Innovation Pedagogies at The Open University, UK, and is the editor of the Current Debates in Educational Psychology Series. Holliman is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Coventry University, UK, and is an editor of The Routledge International Companion to Educational Psychology. The 22 authors featured in this monograph provide readers with up-to-date, unique, and critical perspectives to the understanding of the relationship between technology and how students learn, discussing both the positive and negative impacts of technology on learners.

Game On!: Gamification, Gameful Design, and the Rise of the Gamer Educator, by Kevin Bell, discusses the connection between learning environments with games and social media. Bell, a pro vice-chancellor of digital futures at Western Sydney University in Australia, uses comprehensive case studies of gamer educators and game-derived teaching techniques to support his argument for the need to engage learners with games in the classroom. This debut work of Bell’s provides readers with information about the key elements that contribute to successful game implementation in education. For Bell, these traits fall within the categories of practitioner traits, implementational traits, and institutional traits. Overall, Bell provides readers with information on how the concepts of cognitive science, adaptive learning, learning analytics, and gamification can be combined to improve student engagement.

Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications, edited by George Veletsianos, discusses the sociocultural impact of educational innovations and argues for the need to better understand the implications of emerging technologies on education. This compilation of essays cover topics such as openness, data analytics, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), and social media in education.  Veletsianos is an associate professor at Royal Roads University in Victoria BC and has written and edited various books, journal articles, and book chapters on topics of education in digital environments. His book Social Media in Academia: Networked Scholars is also available at the OISE Library. By compiling these authors together, Valetsianos provides readers with an up-to-date critical lens towards understanding online education and digital learning through multidisciplinary perspectives of both scholars and practitioners.

Digital Media in Today’s Classrooms: The Potential for Meaningful Teaching, Learning, and Assessmentby Dawn Wilson, Katie Alaniz, and Joshua Sikora, discusses the need for teachers to equip students with necessary media literacy and safety skills while incorporating multimedia into daily lessons in order to enhance student engagement in the classroom. Wilson is a full-time faculty member and professor of educational technology at Houston Baptist University. Alaniz is an instructor of education courses at Houston Baptist University and has authored two other books. Sikora is the director of Cinema & New Media Arts at Houston Baptist University and has produced various feature films, TV series, and documentaries. Their description of how digital media can be used in classrooms as both an assessment and teaching tool is meant to be a starting place for teachers to reflect and imagine how they can incorporate digital media into their own classrooms. Furthermore, these authors incorporate QR codes throughout the text of the book to supplement and support their argument for the incorporation of digital media in the classroom.

Digital Technologies in Early Childhood Art: Enabling Playful Experiencesby Mona Sakr, discusses the impact of digital technologies on the experience of early childhood art. Sakr, a lecturer in education and early childhood at Middlesex University, UK, argues that the use of digital technologies changes particular dimensions of the art-making process. She provides readers with strategies to “enable children to adopt playful and creative practices in their interactions with digital technologies.” Sakr uses various theoretical perspectives, such as social semiotics and posthumanism, and research studies to support her arguments and observations. The main topics discussed are remix and mash-up, distributed ownership, imagined audiences, and sensory and social interactions. Overall, Sakr aims to open discussions on digital technologies and childhood art by providing readers with insights into the importance and visibility of playfulness in children’s digital art making.

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OISE Library Display: International Women’s Day

On March 8th, the OISE library celebrates International Women’s Day with the rest of the world. This day acts as a great platform to reinvigorate or continue discussions surrounding the lived experiences of women all around the world and the varying obstacles they are still forced to overcome. It is especially important that these discussions are being held inside of the classroom so as to inform and empower students of every background. It is the hope that the books featured within this display will imbue a sense of respect for and awareness of the varying ways that a woman’s aspect of humanity, such as her class, race, sexual orientation, or sexuality, intersect to create different experiences of life.

The first item to be featured within this post is Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire. This edited work is a compilation of articles written by Asian American activists. Together, the written works that compile this item represent the emergence of the Asian American feminist movement that first began to gain collective traction in the 1990s. The discussions throughout the chapters concern such issues as immigration, domestic violence, sexuality and health and encourage in the reader a better sense of the different obstacles women are forced to face because they are Asian North American. Combined with discussions surrounding how these conditions could be improved, the knowledge gained from this text can be effectively applied in the classroom to create an atmosphere of awareness and respect.

Next on the list is the work Take it as a Compliment by Maria Stoian.  Although this is an illustrated work, it deals with mature and potentially triggering content. Because of this, it would be important to issue trigger warnings before recommending the use or discussing the content of this book. However, it is important to discuss the issues that are covered within this text as it features the experience of sexual harassment and abuse, which unfortunately still remains a very present issue in the lives of females globally. Compiled of the real life stories of the text’s various contributors who have experienced sexual harassment and misconduct, this text acts as an important platform upon which to elicit discussions surrounding these experiences so as to create classroom environments that are respectful and safe.

The second edition of Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment by Patricia Collins is an integral text of the development of Black feminist thought. Collins discusses such issues as heterosexism, Black diaspora and the mistreatment of Black womanhood to create an item that has transformed into a vessel for Black female empowerment. By thoroughly outlining the theory of Black feminist thought through sections that outline its construction and core themes, Collins proposes attitudes and actions that could help to combat social constructions like white privilege that work to disrupt Black female empowerment. With the use of interviews, music, poetry and scholarly literature, Collins helps to share and encourage discussions surrounding Black women’s standpoint.

While it is important to discuss the many ways that women have been and are disadvantaged by patriarchal society, it is also important at the same time to celebrate their achievements and victories. The children’s book Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream by Crystal Hubbard features the real life story of a young girl who fights for her dream to play baseball despite the discouragement she receives because she is Black and female. This is the story of Marcenia Lyle, who grows up to be Toni Stone, the first women in history to play for a professional baseball team. An inspiring story of a young woman overcoming adversity as a black female, Catching the Moon is a great book to feature within the classroom so as to provide students with the presence of Black female role models they can look up to.

The last item on this list features the voices of Indigenous women in North America. Edited by the Lenape academic Joanne Barker, Critically Sovereign: Indigenous Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies features the works of Indigenous female scholars such as Jennifer Nez Denetdale and Jessica Bissett Perea and discusses and outlines the ways that the experience of gender and sexuality intersect with race to ultimately disadvantage Indigenous women. Focusing on how gender is intricately bound to the experience of Indigenous politics in North America, this item analyzes the experience of colonialism and globalization and how they affect Indigenous experiences of nationhood, citizenship, history and identity. By eliciting conversations concerning Indigenous sovereignty, self-determination, and epistemology, this item is an important classroom tool to be used to discuss and bring awareness to the unique experiences of Indigenous women.

For these and more books on female empowerment, visit the OISE Lobby Display on the ground floor of the OISE building. Please feel free to check out the materials found in the lobby display–OISE staff would be happy to take these out for you.

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