As the summer approaches, each of our Canada office staff are eager to find a comfortable spot on a couch or in the sun, with a cup of cold water, tea or coffee and pick up a book. Here's what we're reading this summer!
“Either way, the fact that you are here at all changes everything. Because this - you and me, looking at these stories together - this is one of the most beautiful parts of being a human; the drive to connect and understand, heal and blossom. This is the kernel that takes my breath away; the piece that I want to hold on to.”
Choosing a piece of literature for your course is an important decision. Take a moment to reflect on the very small number of books you will have the opportunity to introduce to your students in any given year. Stories have the potential to help students understand different perspectives, question their surroundings, and build empathy in meaningful and communal ways. With such an important role to play, these are some of the questions we encourage you to consider when deciding how to develop a course and which texts to teach:
For many educators, back to school is a time of excitement; the idea of inspiring young readers, fostering new understanding, smelling and holding books together as a classroom community brings delight. You hope students will bee-line to the bookshelf during independent and community reading time.
This blog post is the 2nd in a multi-part series. Natalie Steele, an educator with Peel District School Board in Ontario, will be sharing additional resources and strategies for your classroom over the next few months on the topics of Black identities, humanizing stories, amplifying missing voices in the curriculum, and correcting the systemic abuses of history in schooling.
Why Historical Fiction?
One challenge when studying the history of marginalized peoples is often the histories of these groups have a limited amount of primary source materials available for research to draw from compared to the prolific amount of Eurocentric sources. In your search to find primary sources that help students to connect to the humanity of those held in bondage in an inhumane system, you may encounter many barriers, like language, accessing the actual resource because it's no longer in print and/or digital versions are not available, and/or the only copy available is far away with limited access.
A sampling of Indigenous authored resources for K-12 classrooms from the OISE library. [Photo courtesy of Desmond Wong.]
In a talk titled, What is Reconciliation, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Senator Justice Murray Sinclair, reflects:
“It took us a long time to get to this point, in terms of the relationship between Aboriginal people and this country. Seven generations of children went through the residential schools. And each of those children who were educated were told that their lives were not as good as the lives of non-Aboriginal people of this country. They were told that their languages and culture were irrelevant...at the same time that was going on, non-Aboriginal children...were also being told the same thing... So as a result, many generations of children...have been raised to think about things...in a way that is negative when it comes to Aboriginal people. We need to change that.”
Including Indigenous voices, worldviews and resources into classrooms throughout Canada is an essential part of that change. In doing so, it is equally essential to bring a breadth of resources into classrooms so students encounter a diversity and depth of lived experiences. The following post, written by Ontario Institute of Studies in Education librarian, Desmond Wong, helps us to do that.
When I graduated from teacher’s college, my goal was to teach high school music and history. I wanted to have discussions about the people and choices that shape society, the injustices of the past, and the levers that we have to create change. I spent a year supplying, and then in 2014/2015 I was got a position - much to my surprise - in a grade one classroom, and the following year, in a grade five/six split classroom.
May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada. The following are five resources that provide entry points that teachers can use to invite students to explore Canada’s history of immigration through identity and civic participation.
As a middle school educator, I often find myself in the position of being unable to explore really rich resources with my class due to mature content. Several years ago I purchased 5 sets of the graphic novel MAUS, hoping to one day use it as an option for book talks.
Topics: Books, Antisemitism, Choosing to Participate, Facing History Resources, Holocaust, History, Canada, Holocaust Education, current events, Middle School, genocide, Lesson Ideas, Holocaust and Human Behaviour
In 2015, Dr. Rob Simon, Associate Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE), and students from his teacher education course partnered with Sarah Evis, a teacher from Delta Senior Alternative School in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), and her grade 8 students, to study Art Spiegelman’s popular intergenerational Holocaust survivor memoir and graphic novel, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.
Topics: Art, Books, Antisemitism, Choosing to Participate, Holocaust, Facing History and Ourselves, Innovative Classrooms, Holocaust Education, Middle School, Strategies, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, Night, genocide, Lesson Ideas, big paper, Inside a Genocide Classroom, Social Justice, Personal history