Your guide to recently released books, CDs and other teaching resources.

Achieving Aboriginal Student Success

by Pamela Rose Toulouse

ALTHOUGH THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO published its First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework in 2007, few curriculum resources exist to support it. Toulouse, an Anishinaabekwe woman from Sagamok First Nation, teacher and education professor at Laurentian University, has written a book that finally addresses the needs of First Nations students.

Toulouse artfully grafts the scions of Aboriginal pedagogy and Anishinaabekwe culture onto the rootstocks of western education. She presents a holistic model with unique teaching strategies, including the traditional seven grandfather teachings, to shape a model of literacy and character education. The second part of the book offers literature-based K–8 lessons about First Nations, followed by detailed lesson plans based on best practices for writing, speaking, listening and presenting. The author also includes a brief history of Canadian Aboriginal education.

Although the writer’s intent is to better educate Aboriginal students, the content serves all students.

Achieving Aboriginal Student Success: A Guide for K to 8 Classrooms, Portage and Main Press, Winnipeg, 2011, softcover, ISBN 978-1-55379-316-8, 198 pages, $28.00, tel 1-800-667-9673,

Fred DuVal, OCT, is a program officer in the Accreditation unit at the College and was a teacher for the francophone school division in Manitoba.

Caught in the Middle

by David Booth

THIS LATEST BOOK FROM educator David Booth offers teachers a snapshot of the world of middle-school students. Based on the author’s extensive experience, the book highlights the pedagogical value of reading, writing, research and written reflection.

Modelling, carefully chosen read-alouds and discussion-and-response journals remain the key tools for teachers to strengthen reader engagement and comprehension. But Booth also highlights the value of the Internet and social media as essential for today’s students. The book is filled with examples of Booth’s classroom experiences as well as teaching stories gleaned from 33 of his colleagues. Topics such as student engagement and social justice, fantasy fiction and critical literacy on the Web are just a part of this wide collection.

This book leads us to reflect on the many questions arising from teaching literacy in a digital world.

Caught in the Middle: Reading and Writing in the Transition Years, Pembroke Publishers, Markham, 2011, softcover, ISBN 9781551382654, 160 pages, $24.95, tel 905-477-0650 or 1-800-997-9807.

Dorothea Bryant, OCT, teaches language arts methodology to primary, junior and intermediate teacher candidates at the University of Windsor’s Faculty of Education.

Teaching Literacy to Learners with Dyslexia

by Kathleen Kelly and Sylvia Phillips

THIS WELL-RESEARCHED TEXT provides a comprehensive analysis of best-teaching practices to support students ages five to 18 with dyslexia. Based on the decades of extensive brain research, the book illuminates how the dyslexic brain responds to structured input and repetition to gain the necessary literacy skills. It then shows teachers how to create multi-sensory strategies for working with students to enhance memory, information-processing skills and handwriting. Checklists are provided for tracking student development as are a wealth of websites with downloadable materials.

This book targets Special Education teachers working with students diagnosed with dyslexia.

Teaching Literacy to Learners with Dyslexia: A Multi-Sensory Approach, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California, 2011, softcover, ISBN 978085702 357, 424 pages, US$52.00, tel 1-800-818-7243,

Sarah Lynn Frost Hunter, OCT, is an elementary instructional resource teacher with the Peel DSB.

The Graphic Novel Classroom

by Maureen Bakis

THIS INSIGHTFUL BOOK OFFERS A fresh look at how graphic novels can be used realistically in the secondary school English classroom. While graphic novels are hugely popular with boys, they are largely ignored as a classroom resource. Bakis, a high school English teacher, has used graphic novels to teach all the concepts and skills she formerly taught using traditional novels.

Bakis shows how coupling images with fiction can enhance learning by motivating reluctant readers and easily engaging groups of students to work together. This is a practical guide to incorporating graphic novels into your classroom while teaching 21st-century skills — critical thinking, interpretation of content and form, writing, visual comprehension and using multiple formats.

The Graphic Novel Classroom: Powerful Teaching and Learning with Images, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, California, 2012, softcover, ISBN 9781412936842, 176 pages, US$31.95, tel 1-800-233-9936,

Laurel Van Dommelen, OCT, is a secondary school librarian at Highlands School in Enfield, England.

The Edge of When

by Carol Matas

PUBLISHED 30 YEARS AGO AS A three-volume series, The Edge of When , whose message is even more relevant today, has now been released in a single-novel format. In the first part of the novel, 12-year-old Rebecca finds herself in the year 2050 where a small group of people live underground after a global catastrophe. Rebecca must get to her own time to change this future.

Part 2 opens with Rebecca in a future where the world is a consumption-dependant capitalist state. People live in a bubble because pollution has completely destroyed the environment. Rebecca again must go home to try to change this future. The Edge of When is an easy read for middle schoolers.

The Edge of When, Red Deer Press (an imprint of Fitzhenry and Whiteside), Markham, 2011, softcover, ISBN 9781554551989, 276 pages, $12.95, tel 905-477-9700 or 1-800-387-9776,

Rosemarie Chapman is a retired teacher with the Hamilton-Wentworth Board of Education.

Behind Our Doors

by Esther Warmerdam and Bill Butt

THIS IS A REMARKABLE FIRST-HAND account of being a 13-year-old child in a Catholic family that hid Jews in the Holland of 1942. After the loss of their own daughter, Esther’s parents respond with compassion for the families oppressed by the Nazis. During the course of the war, the Warmerdams hide more than 250 Jews in their home.

Esther’s father, a shopkeeper, smuggles the children into the house in a small wooden crate attached to his bicycle. Her mother clothes, feeds and nurtures them alongside her own 12 children.

Behind Our Doors: A Memoir of Esther Warmerdam told to Bill Butt, The Althouse Press, London, 2011, ISBN 9780920354667, $32.95, tel 519-661-3182,

Andrea Murik, OCT, is a secondary school Special Education teacher with the Grand Erie DSB.

International Approaches to Professional Development for Mathematics Teachers

edited by Nadine Bednarz, Dario Fiorentini and Rongjin Huang

WRITTEN BY EDUCATORS AND researchers from around the world, this collection outlines the pedagogical underpinnings of collaborative school inquiry, showing how mathematics teachers across the planet are shifting toward inquiry-based professional learning. These techniques are increasingly tied to classroom practice, leading to professional development that is informed by, created for and refined by practice, with classrooms as the laboratory research environment.

Though it is hard to imagine teachers leafing through this dry text for help with math pedagogy, there is an excellent section on why invert and multiply works, or better yet, how to teach students why it works.

International Approaches to Professional Development for Mathematics Teachers, University of Ottawa Press, Ottawa, 2011, softcover, ISBN 9780776607474, 284 pages, $29.95, tel 613-562-5246,

Joe Restoule General, OCT, is a district numeracy teacher with Six Nations Schools in Oshweken.

Grading Exceptional and Struggling Learners

by Lee Ann Jung and Thomas R. Guskey

THIS BOOK IS AN IN-DEPTH discussion of grading and reporting, particularly in relation to exceptional and struggling students. It starts with a critical look at report cards and establishing standards-based multiple grading procedures that emphasize the report card as an instrument of communication between parents and teachers, rather than simply a definitive evaluation.

The authors also distinguish between accommodations, which level the playing field but still function at the same grade level, and modifications, which alter the grade-level expectation. Plus, they describe an intervention process based on what is best for all learners. Although this resource is American, it’s an invitation to revisit the Growing Success document (assessment, evaluation and reporting in Ontario schools) with new eyes.

Grading Exceptional and Struggling Learners, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, California, 2012, softcover, ISBN 9781412988339, 128 pages, US$25.95, tel 1-800-233-9936,

Marguerite Alfred, OCT, is a retired vice-principal with the Toronto DSB.

For additional reviews of French-language resources, visit With the exception of some classroom sets, items reviewed are available on loan from the Margaret Wilson Library at the College. Contact Olivia Hamilton at 416-961-8800 (toll-free in Ontario 1-888-534-2222), ext 679 or email