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Hands of Hope for Guatemala

Hands of Hope, a school-based organization that educates students about social justice and humanitarian issues throughout the world, is preparing to take three buses loaded with dental supplies to rural Guatemala.

This is the second year for this project. Last summer, two Newmarket teachers - Rick LeBlanc of Sacred Heart Catholic High School and Sean O'Connor of St. Paul's Catholic English School - drove a vehicle to a dentist in Guatemala City, to be used as a mobile dental clinic for the rural poor.

While down there, they encountered many grassroots organizations that asked for their help. When they returned home, LeBlanc, O'Connor and others began to develop plans to expand their project and to formally set up Hands of Hope.

The supplies that will be taken to Guatemala this summer are being donated by students in 14 schools from Peel, York Region and Simcoe County. Each school has contributed in its own way, organizing fundraising events such as concerts, shoe drives and white elephant sales. Sacred Heart student Michael LeBlanc has set up a Hands of Hope web site that provides information about the organization and the work it is doing, and about Guatemala.

Gord Kinahan, a Physical Education and Special Ed teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic High School, has been involved in fundraising for the project from the beginning. He says it really brings the reality of other peoples' lives home to the students. "The shoes we throw out are valuable to the Guatemalans," he says. "The students have responded amazingly and they are really driving this now. They want to do so much."

"We've been surprised at how much the youngest children are bringing to us, and their contributions are really useful. The Mayans of Guatemala are small compared to us and the used clothes of our high school students are way too big. But we really need the clothes the younger children can't use anymore," says Kinahan.

Two of the three buses are being donated to Mano d'Esperanza, a medical charity operating in Guatemala, and the third to Centro De Actividades Multiples E Investigation, a coalition of labour unions.

Hands of Hope is also working to collect and distribute clothing, shoes and eyeglasses to mountain villages and to distribute school supplies to local schools in Guatemala. Students and teachers at one school are currently operating a penny drive and later in the month will begin a tool drive.

The tools collected will help supply an apprenticeship program that serves the 3,000 people who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump.

For more information about how to get your school involved, visit the Hands of Hope web site at or contact the organization through Gordon Kinahan via e-mail at or telephone 905-895-3340, ext. 27.

Take a Break This Summer with the Arts

Teachers interested in integrating the visual and performing arts into their classroom teaching can take a new Additional Qualification course, called Integrated Arts.

The AQ is available through the Canadian Institute for Arts Education, a collaborative partnership of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Education and most of the major arts institutes in the Ottawa area. The new institute creates a national program of teacher professional development focused on teacher beliefs about education in the visual and performing arts.

For the summer of 2000, this program, operating in several national cultural institutions in the National Capital area, has three main components, one of which is the AQ.

The institute also offers a parallel workshop program for teachers who only want the personal and professional enrichment gained from the experience of working with artists, in formats related to teaching the arts in schools. Teachers from outside of Ontario who participate on this basis will receive an institute Certificate of Participation.

The Integrated Arts course is also eligible as a credit for the University of Ottawa's new graduate course called Teaching and Learning in the Fine Arts. Within the framework of arts education research methodology, participants will investigate the nature of arts learning in both experiential contexts and in the investigation of the learning that volunteer AQ course participants are undergoing.

All programs feature interaction between professional artist instructors and teachers, within the structures and resources of national cultural institutions, to provide a total program that fuses arts education with the general Ontario curriculum and with general curriculum demands across the country.

The AQ course runs for three weeks from July 10 to 28; the graduate course is offered from July 4 to 28.

The program is funded through a special grant from the Laidlaw Foundation and from particular members of the national partnership. The current partnership includes the Canada Council for the Arts, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Canadian Conference of the Arts, the National Arts Centre, the National Gallery of Canada, the National Library of Canada, The School of Dance, the Canadian Museum of Con-temporary Photo-graphy and the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa.

For more information about the English-language program at the Canadian Institute for Arts Education, call Dr. Michael Wilson at 613- 562-5800, ext. 4155; fax 613-562-5146; e-mail mpwilson@ For information about the French program, call Madeleine Aubrey at 613-731-0742; fax 613-731-4160; e-mail

International Congress on Equity and Change Comes to Toronto

Toronto will be hosting the 14th International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement January 5-9, 2001.

The theme for the conference is Equity, Globalization and Change: Education for the 21st Century. The conference will examine the policies, strategies and initiatives needed to ensure equity in education, how technology can serve as a catalyst and the global trends that are shaping the possibilities of equitable practices for diverse needs.

Speakers will include policy-makers, researchers and practitioners from Canada and from countries around the world, including Norway, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Sweden.

Topics include equity and change in leadership, teaching and learning, reflections on research on school effectiveness and improvement, technologies, innovation and change, and alternative visions for education.

The conference is being hosted by York University's Faculty of Education with support provided by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.

You can visit the conference's web site at where you will find more information about the conference themes, the call for papers, as well as registration and accommodation information.

Summer Workshop Promotes Classroom Equity

The Coalition for Inclusive Curriculum will be hosting three workshops again this July to provide elementary and secondary school teachers with the resources and strategies to take a lead role in developing and implementing an inclusive curriculum.

The coalition's summer workshops have been held annually at York University since 1997. The coalition now hosts three one-week summer institutes each July, bringing together between 35 and 40 educators - mostly elementary and secondary school teachers from the Greater Toronto Area.

During the one-week course, participants reflect on the connection between personal biographies and theoretical works about equity issues, share experiences and knowledge with each other, and learn to make connections between the various social inequities of race, class, gender, sexuality and issues of ability.

Activities typically extend beyond the classroom. Last summer, participants attended a lecture on "Making Museums More Equitable" at the George R. Gardiner Museum for Ceramic Art in downtown Toronto, and a resource fair was held to familiarize participants with available audio- visual and textual materials.

The institute's intention is not to develop new materials and resources but to discuss and reflect on how school knowledge and curriculum have traditionally been constructed and to identify possibilities for making the curriculum more equitable.

A study of previous participants conducted by the Centre for Feminist Research at York University found that all participants had a very positive view of their experience.

For information on attending the Summer Institute on Inclusive Curriculum, contact Marlene Richman at the Centre for Feminist Research at York University via e-mail at; at 416-736-2100 ext. 40204; fax at 416-736-5416.

Talking Union at School

What do hockey stars, teachers, truck drivers, airline pilots and ballet dancers have in common? They're all members of unions, and that surprises a lot of high school students. It's one of the insights they get from Talking Union, an Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) program that teachers can draw on for their classroom.

About 200 union members across Ontario are part of the Talking Union program. For years, it's been possible for teachers to ask the OFL to recommend a speaker to talk to students about the role of unions. But not everyone feels comfortable making a 75-minute presentation.

The OFL's answer was to prepare a cohesive program that would be interesting for the students and a support for the speakers. The result is a thick binder, created by teachers, that covers five topics: what unions do, workers' rights, health and safety, unions and social reform, and unions and equality. There is also material that the speakers can give to teachers for pre- and post-visit lessons.

Gillian Bracking, who teaches History and English at Morning Star Secondary School in Mississauga, was one of the teachers who helped create the resource material. "There was a lot of good material out there and one of the big problems was narrowing it down, because there was so much that was interesting and useable in the classroom."

The teachers also participated in training the volunteer speakers in how to use the material. Students learn that many of their heroes, like Gretzky, Dion and Carrey, are union members. They also learn something about labour history and about their rights in the workforce today.

To contact the speakers' bureau, e-mail The resource material is not available on its own. A French-language version of the resource material is being developed and francophone presenters are available.

Summer Workshops on the Arts

The Haliburton School of the Arts is offering a number of summer courses and workshops designed for classroom teachers and based specifically on the Ontario curriculum.

The courses being held this summer include week-long workshops on Teaching the Arts, for Primary, Junior and Intermediate level, The Art of Family Lore and Integrating the Arts in Elementary Education. Weekend workshops include Drawing for the Classroom Teacher and Creative Activities to do With Kids. Classes run from July 3 to August 25.

This year the school introduced the Expressive Arts certificate program, an eight-credit post-diploma program that aims to provide graduates with the knowledge and skills to incorporate the use of expressive arts into their professional work. The program teaches how music, movement, visual and narrative arts can promote self-awareness and personal growth. Two of the four mandatory courses and four of the elective courses are being offered this summer.

The school was established in 1967 as the Haliburton School of Fine Arts but has changed its name this year to reflect the expansion of its program. It now offers 300 different art courses, most of them during the summer, and has recently added literary and performing arts.

The school, a branch of the Sir Sandford Fleming College, offers an opportunity to combine studies in fine arts and crafts with a holiday in Ontario's cottage country.

For more information, contact Pamela Kinney, Haliburton School of the Arts, tel. 705-457-1680.

The Learning Zone

The education arm of TV-Ontario is offering some valuable materials for classroom use which teachers can tape during the early hours of the morning.

From 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. Monday to Friday, TVO broadcasts a range of educational materials that teachers can tape for use in schools without infringing copyright.

A schedule of the materials are available on the TVOntario web site's Learning Zone. Each day is reserved for particular materials covering Lifelong Learning, Elementary Classroom-Ready Resources, Secondary Classroom-Ready Resources, Current Educational Issues and Professional Development.

The listings on the web site are linked to additional resources, including lesson plans, all of which are also freely available. For example, teachers registered with the Galaxy Program will find materials relevant to the program from 3:00 to 4:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Secondary school profiles, a series of videotapes TVO is producing for the Ministry of Education, are being run on Thursdays between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m.

Other materials of interest include a series of five lessons on Teaching French as a Second Language to Grades 4 to 8, programs on peace and conflict resolution and courses on professional development like Coral Mitchell's four-video course on Professional Reflective Journal Writing.

For more information on the Learning Zone, visit the Learning Zone web site at or contact the Learning Zone via e-mail: