WHAT MAKES YOUR CLASSROOM TICK?
Engaging classroom ideas and strategies to create an awesome learning experience
David Goes to Reading for the Love of It 2019
In a world full of "no's", David is excited to make his debut at #RFTLOI 2019, where "yes" is the word of the day!
Yes, David! The talented Wexford Gleeks and acclaimed television and radio personality, Candy Palmater are the opening acts on Thursday, February 21. Be prepared for a morning of music, dance and laughter.
Yes, David! Gifted author, illustrator and graphic novelist, George O'Connor, is sure to impress as the Thursday Luncheon keynote. How ingenious of him to retell those classic Greek myths in comic form through his ongoing series, THE OLYMPIANS!
Yes, David! Karl Subban is dad to P.K., Malcolm, Jordan, Natassia and Natasha. He's also an inspirational speaker and the recipient of numerous awards which makes him a perfect choice for our banquet headliner.
Yes, David! Through engaging visuals and stories, Maggie MacDonnell, winner of the 2017 Global Teacher Prize, will share her teaching practice at an Arctic school in the village of Salluit at Friday's Breakfast, underlining just how much good teachers matter.
Yes, David! Your creator and bestselling author, David Shannon, will be speaking at the Friday luncheon. We can't wait to hear all the funny antics he has to share about you!
Yes, David! The stellar line-up of workshop presenters include Penny Kittle, Kelly Gallagher, and Linda Hoyt, just to name a few. You can check out our Programme Book or visit our website at www.readingfortheloveofit.com. for a complete list of speakers.
Yes, David! We do have a wonderful, caring Outreach committee, chaired by Brian Svenningsen. You are invited to visit the Outreach tables and learn more about the local, national and international initiatives and organizations that we support on your behalf. Perhaps you'll even consider making a purchase to help our fundraising efforts.
Yes, David! "What Makes Your Classroom Tick" is the theme of this year's newsletters. We are grateful to
Liz Blake, Communications Chair, her dedicated committee, and all contributors to this publication for sharing their ideas, experiences and best practices with our readers.
Yes, David! None of this would be possible if not for the dynamic and hard-working committee members that make up the East York-Scarborough Reading Association! As the saying goes, "We are a team above all, and above all, a team!" Special thanks to Denise Canning, First Vice President and Conference Programme Chair, and her remarkable committee, who have worked diligently over the past year in preparation for RFTLOI 2019. Heartfelt gratitude is also extended to Erica Townson, Executive Administrator and Conference Planner Extraordinaire, whose "heart and hustle" sets her apart from the rest!
Yes, David! We do have a Mobile Conference Guide App available, so don't forget to pack your electronic device as you navigate your way through RFTLOI 2019!
Yes, David! We, too, are looking forward to seeing you on February 21st and 22nd, 2019 at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Toronto.
Until then David, wishing you happy, trouble free days filled with good books and reading… just for the love of it!
It is with deep sorrow that our organization recognizes the passing of Professor David Booth. He was a long standing friend and supporter of the EYS Reading Association and our annual Reading for the Love of It conference. Recent author of "What is a 'Good' Teacher", preceded by so many other brilliant books, David provided inspiration to both teachers and students alike. A superb educator, his passing is a great loss for the education community. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.
A Classroom Story – The Power Within Us
When I reflect on what makes my classroom tick, I think about the students I have taught over the past three years. Despite having many questions on how to make the learning engaging and meaningful, I knew that at the centre of all learning would be student voice - their ideas, wonders, opinions, and actions. In addition, learning is brought to a new and exciting level when knowledge is used for agency and student learning is given a purpose.
To begin, the class tapped into divergent learning sources which connected us to the world outside our classroom. It broadened our horizons of the many different ideas and opinions of the world that we inhabit. We opened our classroom doors to storytellers, poets, members of the community, content experts, and other students. A few of these experiences included a Global exchange with students from the Ivory Coast and India. We also invited an engineer to test our structures; an Indigenous storyteller to share his stories; and we skyped with an astronaut to seek information. Along with these experiences were varied perspectives from books and stories of empathy, courage, and advocacy. Our learning was ignited by these diverse sources creating a culture of inquiry and discovery.
As students became aware of important issues, school, local, and global initiatives were ignited. Students drew inspiration from the book, The Dot, on how they can make a mark in the world. Real world applications included writing to the Minister of Natural Resources and the Premier of Ontario with their concerns about endangered turtles and the lack of government protection of these species. Environmental studies led to concerns about the one time use of plastic items. Students were motivated to tweet their concerns to McDonald's and to write letters to the mayor. Other students led an initiative in an awareness campaign whereby they provided the local Seven Eleven store with recyclable paper bags, decorated by the students, with messages imploring consumers to minimize their use of plastic bags.
Thus, the learning was led by students, their interests, wonders, and concerns. With this awakened awareness, students realized they had the power within themselves to do good. Just like the determined bird, The Little
Hummingbird, students were inspired to make positive changes in their community, country and in the world.
Article by Emily Moretti,
Our Lady of Peace & Holy Angels
Toronto Catholic District School Board
Building Literacy Skills, One LEGO Brick at a Time
LEGO and Literacy; a perfect match! Place a box of LEGO in front of most children and they will gladly build for hours, if we let them. Add to that a challenging, real-world problem to solve and you have the making of an engaging learning opportunity that exposes children as young as six years old to STEM concepts.
For the last few years, my grade one students have participated in FIRST LEGO League Jr.'s (FLL Jr.), Annual LEGO Challenge. Working in groups, they conducted research about a given year's topic, and then used this knowledge to design and build a LEGO structure that showed what they learned. In addition to using standard LEGO bricks, the students also used LEGO WeDo 2.0 robotics kits to make their structures move. This process culminated in the LEGO Expo, a day in which the students shared their learning with the larger community, as well as with volunteers who reviewed the projects.
Throughout the six to eight week process, students asked questions, read books and websites, interviewed experts, participated in field trips, and watched educational videos. They were exposed to topics, people and places that would have otherwise been out of reach for many of them. Along the way, they had authentic conversations in which they solved problems, shared knowledge and negotiated with team members. Embedded in these conversations was rich new vocabulary related to STEM and research in general. Above all else, it was FUN! As one child exclaimed after presenting his project during the LEGO Expo, "This was the best day ever!"
Article by Melina Spinosa Ciaccia
Teacher, Westmount Junior School, Toronto District School Board
Don't miss our 2019 SUPERSTAR SPEAKERS including: Pam Allyn, Mary Bigler, Jan Burkins & Kim Yaris, Rachel Cooke, Kelly Gallagher, Adrienne Gear, Joyce Grant, Linda Hoyt, Sue Jackson, Penny Kittle, Kathy Lundy, Kristy Mraz, Jeff Nathan, Kathryn Otoshi, Kit Pearson, Barbara Reid, Aisha & Joe Restoule General, Mr. (John) Schu, Jennifer Serravallo, Larry Swartz, to name a few.
A personal story celebrating Thirty Years of Mabel's Fables.
Thirty years ago, when Mabel's Fables first opened, my little boy, Jamaal, was 5. Jamaal was an amazing reader and loved to spend time in libraries and bookstores. A friend suggested we check out a brand new store called Mabel's Fables, so one Sunday afternoon we got on a bus and made our first visit.
My memories of that day are still so clear. I absolutely fell in love with the place. Mabel's Fables was - and still is - such a wonderful spot to look at books and see children connect with one another through a love of reading.
I didn't know it at the time, but Jamaal had a special purpose for visiting the store. He went up to the owner, Eleanor, and said "I want a big boy book". I had no idea what a "big boy" book was, but Eleanor just kept asking him questions and soon it became clear that what he wanted was a novel.
Eleanor suggested My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett - -a Newbery Honor and an ALA Notable Book first published in 1948 - about a young boy, Elmer Elevator, who runs away to Wild Island to rescue a baby dragon. My Father's Dragon is the first book of a trilogy whose other titles are Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland.
As his quickly worn out copy attested to, My Father's Dragon became a favourite of Jamaal's and his friends who read it over and over again.
Fast forward 30 years (where does the time go?), and Mabel's Fables is still a treasured destination for book lovers of all ages and, Jamaal, is the new father of two young readers - Finn and Isaiah. I am looking forward to the day when I can take them to Mabel's Fables to pick their own "big boy" books.
Article by Marguerite Campbell,
Superintendent, Toronto District School Board
When it All Comes Together
I love it when it all comes together! But how do we pull it all together?
With a great book, of course! When captivating books are used to make meaningful links across the curriculum, they inspire students to perform, create, publish, and present while having fun during learning.
One such book that worked in my classroom is Peg and the Yeti, by Kenneth Oppel and Barbara Reid. Upon meeting fearless Peg and the grumpy Yeti, students readily felt part of the adventure. When I saw the sparks ignite in their eyes, I was inspired to create fun-filled lessons that built on that enthusiasm. This series of lessons interconnected visual arts, reading, writing, and drama.
The visual arts task involved creating a tissue sculpture, "Yeti on the Mountain," that encouraged students to focus on colour, texture and form, and identify techniques used by the illustrator to convey the setting and mood.
While they enjoyed bringing their Yetis to life, they were equally engaged in a variety of other creative experiences:
- a writing activity that focused on the effective use of adjectives, nouns and verbs to help them paint vivid pictures with words;
- a drama exercise in which partners collaborated as sculptor and clay to create character body poses that captured the story action and emotion;
- an oral communication exercise that encouraged developing voice qualities, gestures and facial expression while delivering a made-up chant from the Yeti's perspective.
Once in motion, this is a process that really makes my classroom tick!
Article by Theresa Hanrahan,
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School,
Toronto Catholic District School Board
The commitment of East York-Scarborough Reading Association to the development of literacy skills extends beyond the organization and execution of our annual conference. Each year, the association donates money to a variety of organizations whose efforts foster the growth of literacy skills or use the power of story to heal. As well, our outreach pays for the transportation, accommodations and participation of indigenous teachers from Northern Ontario in the conference. A portion of the proceeds from the conference is allocated annually to local, national and international organizations. This year's recipients are:
- CAMH - Native Men's Residence
- East York Learning Association
- The Forgiveness Project
- Matthew House
- Parkdale Project Read
- South-Asian Autism Awareness Centre
- First Book Canada
- The National Reading Campaign
- The Prison Book Club, Second Chance Scholarship Foundation
- Bhutan Canada Foundation
- Libraries Without Borders
- Refugee Literacy Programs in Athens, Greece
The money that is donated comes from your participation in the Reading for the Love of It conference. Please stop by one of the Outreach booths to learn more about this important work (located next to the Publishers' Displays and on the mezzanine).
3rd Vice President and Outreach Chair, EYSRA
The Bhutan Canada Foundation (BCF) works to further the development of Bhutan and its people through programs that have a beneficial impact on its educational and social institutions. They achieve their goals through partnerships with the people of Bhutan, carrying on a long-standing tradition of Canadian and Bhutanese knowledge exchange, cooperation and goodwill.
Special Reading Detectives Make Connections
Equity is very important to me as an educator and that's why I incorporate Cultural Relative and Responsive Pedagogy into my literacy practice. While focusing on making connections, I try to select meaningful and relatable texts for my students.
I read the book One Green Apple by Eve Bunting for understanding the main idea and making connections. Five students are chosen to be special reading detectives and hold magic mirrors to help them focus on identifying the characteristics and elements of narratives. The rest of the class' responsibility is to find the big idea of the story. After we discuss the text as a class, they are given a graphic organizer in which they retell a part of the story and then relate it to their personal experiences. Finally, students relate this connection to the big ideas of kindness and compassion. Through this literacy experience, students begin to understand empathy as they empathize with the main character. I've also chosen this text as it is reflective of our school's demographics; our school has many newcomers.
One way I thought students could make a connection to the story is by relating to the food and drink within the text--apples and apple cider. To my surprise, none of my students had ever tasted apple cider before. As a result, I went to the grocery store that night and bought two jugs of apple cider for my students to experience, just like the main character did in the text. The students were excited, and as one of my students said, "Ms. Fenty, you really know how to bring a book to life." That's when I knew they had made a deeper connection to the text.
Sometimes, as teachers, we have to create experiences for our students to go deeper!
Article by Shivonne Fenty,
teacher at Danforth Gardens Elementary School
Toronto District School Board
Great Fall & Winter Reads
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
French Exit by Patrick deWitt
Beirut Hellfire Society by Rawi Hage
Starlight by Richard Wagamese
Tin Man by Sarah Winman
Great Reads list is compiled by Jose Molina, EYSRA
MOBILE CONFERENCE GUIDE APP
Maximize your conference experience by using our Reading for the Love of It mobile conference app featuring speaker information and any applicable handouts/reference material, session schedules, exhibitor lists, maps and much more! Best of all, it's accessible from all devices with an Internet browser: smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even desktops. Register for the conference online and you will automatically be given a personal attendee profile page.
How to Access our RFTLOI2019 Mobile Conference Guide App:
Go to http://eventmobi.com/rftloi2019/ on your Internet browser to instantly access and download your mobile conference guide!
***NEW*** You can now download EventMobi from an app store (Apple or Google Play) by visiting http://eventmobi.com/app/rftloi2019/. The event app will open automatically. Click on "Get the App" to download to your device.
If you download the App Store version of rftloi2019, you will be alerted on any conference updates such as any changes to the programme or author book signings on the show floor.
Plan to Attend: Reading for the Love of It 2019 Conference
We look forward to seeing you on Thursday, February 21st and Friday, February 22nd, 2019 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel, downtown Toronto.
Click on the Register link at www.readingfortheloveofit.com
We recommend that you register early!
Visit us online and see what people are saying about Reading for the Love of It
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