Spring 2017 edition of Education Canada (CEA) available

A preview of the Spring 2017 issue of Education Canada is available on the CEA site – a theme issue on welcoming newcomer students.

Check out the article The Immigrant (Dis)advantage (Volante, Klinger, siegel, Bilgili). From the conclusion: “Canada ranks significantly higher than the international average in the use of effective immigrant policies and has done a fairly good job of supporting the academic achievement of their immigrant student population. Nevertheless, the challenge of immigrant integration is still a pressing concern for national and provincial governments,[x] as evidenced by the performance disadvantages that are present in several Canadian provinces. Ultimately, it is up to provincial governments to study and reduce these achievement gaps. To date, our PISA results suggest we have much to celebrate, but also some cause for concern.”




February 24, 2017 at 4:08 am Leave a comment

March issue of Professionally Speaking available online

The March issue of Professionally Speaking [OCT] is now available online [pdf]. It devotes a large section to AQ courses, but also a couple of articles about the TDSB community including OCT Helen Wolfe from Nelson Mandela (read her tips on running successful school clubs) and winning Olympian Penny Oleksiak (Monarch Park and how the school supported the balance on school/training) .

Check it out, and remember, the Professional Library is open all year for TDSB teachers with a FABULOUS library staff to support you.


February 22, 2017 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Diverse Books: OLA jot notes

The 7th and final post from Natalie C., one of our fabulous reference librarian who attended this year’s OLA super conference – and who obviously enjoyed many sessions during her 3 days there.


One of my favourite sessions from last year’s Super Conference was a panel hosted by Teacher-Librarian Fatma Faraj on the importance of promoting children’s books reflective of diverse populations – #WeHaveDiverseBooks. You can read my blog post on last year’s session here.

This year, Fatma hosted the session solo and highlighted some of the best diverse Canadian children’s books that have come out in the last year.

Starting the Conversation: Fatma suggests using What Makes Us Unique? by Jillian Roberts to get the diversity discussion started. While the book may be a bit general, she suggests using it as a launchpad before moving to more specific texts.  You can borrow What Makes Us Unique? from the Professional Library.

Finding Yourself & Fitting In: Fatma tells her students that “exploring is not always about what we find in the world. It’s also about what we find in ourselves.” She suggests Bear’s Winter Party by Deborah Hodge and Akilak’s Adventure by Deborah Kigjugalik Webster for readers in need of some internal discovery

Getting Kids Hooked: To get children interested in an ongoing story featuring diverse characters, Fatma recommends two series:

    • West Meadow Detectives by Liam O’Donnell: This series features a protagonist who has autism. The author is also one of TDSB’s Writers in Residence. Encourage your students to submit a book review to Just Read It and your school could win a visit from Liam.
    • Shu-Li by Paul Yee: A touching series featuring strong multicultural relationships

New Homes: With the recent refugee ban issued by our neighbours to the south, it’s going to be important to find texts that explore immigration and emigration thoughtfully. Fatma suggests Adrift at Sea by Marsha Skrypuch, Stepping Stones by Margaret Ruurs, and Seeking Refuge by Irene N. Watts.

Indigenous Stories: Fatma highlighted several texts featuring Indigenous characters. Some to note:



Fatma singled out I Am Not a Number, which you can borrow from the Professional Library and When We Were Alone, which she says will make you cry.

Forest of Reading;  If you’re looking for texts featuring diverse characters that your students are already reading, Fatma suggests that you look no further than the current Forest of Reading selections, especially this year’s Silver Birch picks. She points out OCDaniel by Wesley King specifically saying that “If you want to build empathy in your kids, have them read OCDaniel.”

A Few Other Special Picks: A couple other texts mentioned in Fatma’s talk:


For more great reads from Fatma Faraj, follow her on Twitter at @HoldFastLibrary

Whew, great job Natalie!

February 21, 2017 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment

Fraser Institute 2017 Report Card on secondary schools

February 21, 2017 at 9:37 am Leave a comment

2 TDSB schools featured on EQAO ‘school stories’ site

From the EQAO site: “Each year, EQAO collects stories of schools that have been successful in using data to improve student achievement. The remarkable outcomes at these schools show how good information can help dedicated professionals identify areas for improvement and make targeted improvements. EQAO shares these stories so that other schools throughout Ontario can learn about their successful practices.”

2 TDSB schools have been included in the 2016 school stories:

Read about their school improvement initiatives. Rowan

February 21, 2017 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

What’s new in kids books: OLA jot notes

6th in a series by Natalie C., one of our fabulous reference libraries who attended this year’s OLA Super Conference


There was a ton of book chatter at Superconference 2017. One of the most popular Superconference sessions each year is offered by the Dewey Divas and Dudes — a group of Canadian publishing reps who love to read.

Here are some of the recently published and upcoming books that piqued my interest from their session:

A Horse Named Steve by Kelly Collier. (April 2017), Kids Can Press, Gr. K-3A Canadian picture book about a horse named Steve who decides that he wants to become exceptional but ends up learning that he already is.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. (Feb. 2017), Balzer + Bray, Gr. 9-12: 16-year-old Starr’s life is turned upside down when she witnesses the shooting of her best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.

The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue. (Mar. 2017), HarperCollins Canada, Gr. 3-7: From the Canadian author of Room, a story of a big messy, blended family whose dynamic is thrown into flux when they are called to care for one of their grandfathers who suffers from dementia.

Out by Angela May George. (Jan 2017), Scholastic, Gr. JK-3: A moving story of a mother and daughter’s emigration.

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet by Carmen Agra Deedy. (Feb 2017), Scholastic, Gr. JK-3: This story about a village that elects a new bossy mayor who outlaws singing may hit a little close to home, but its message about speaking out for what you believe in will become increasingly relevant.

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts. (June 2017), Disney Hyperion, Gr. 9-12: Described as a young adult version of Game of Thrones, this is likely to be your students’ newest obsession

Water’s Children by Angèle Delaunois. (Apr. 2017), Pajama Press, Gr. JK-3 : A title about water that combines science with social justice.

We Are Family by Patricia Hegarty. (Jan 2017), Tiger Tales, Gr. JK-3: This book about different families will come in handy for both the Social Studies and Health & PE curriculum.

Where Will I Live? by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (April 2017), Second Story Press, Gr. JK-8: A highly topical “photo-based picture book” that depicts the hardships faced by young refugees around the world.

Yawning Yoga by Laurie Jordan. (Mar 2017), Little Pickle Press, Gr. JK-3: Filled with elements of yoga practice, this looks like a great title for promoting physical activity and mindfulness.


Check out more recommendations and book talk from the Dewey Divas on Twitter (@DeweyDivas) or on their blog.


Rowan: The Professional Library creates monthly list of books with **starred reviews** that is books reviewed as exemplary reads. TDSB teachers can check them out at http://bit.ly/PLstarredreviews . Remember to use your TDSB login to open the Google folder.

February 20, 2017 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment

Relationships for Learning: Supporting indigenous learners

From The Learning Exchange:  Relationships for Learning

This series of 7 videos has captured the thinking and work that was shared with educators, Elders, and community partners from 44 different school boards who are actively involved in facilitating collaborative inquiries to support all students with a focus on Indigenous learners. The workshops offered this Fall were designed to support the needs of the group that were identified through the work of Dr. Susan Dion and her research team. The sessions were taped to provide others with an opportunity to learn from those who have been involved in Indigenous Focused Collaborative Inquiries.

Check it out! Rowan

February 20, 2017 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

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