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Teacher Tip

Illustration: Rebecca Green/Anna Goodson

An illustrated image of two students seated at a classroom desk.

Approach your students’ former teachers for guidance in classroom seating assignments.

Write your students’ first and last names on a colourful index card, making the first name larger. Ask your colleagues to assign the names to the desks that are best suited to each student, considering special hearing needs, disruptive behaviour and extra help requirements.

Happy with the seating plan? Laminate the cards to the front of the desks with packing tape, to discourage defacement. Now, when supply teachers and visitors enter the room, they can glance at the cards and properly address the students. You’d be surprised how powerful this simple act can be.

—John Devine, OCT
Retired Grade 5/6 teacher

Have a great classroom tip to share?
Send it to us at If we choose to publish it, you will receive a $50 Staples gift card. Be sure to check out our Teacher Tip research archive at

National Treasures

On the hunt for great Canadian literature for your classroom? Set your sights on the 49th Shelf, and get access to the largest database of this country’s books. The Association of Canadian Publishers is promoting this platform as a way to get more homegrown literature into our libraries and classrooms so that a new generation of readers can benefit from these gems.

The site boasts more than 65,000 titles from not only award-winning Canucks but also first-time writers, with categories ranging from almanacs and atlases to criminals and outlaws. Search by category, author or publisher, or get specific and use soon-to-be released tools that find titles based on grade/reading level, curriculum area or theme — with trusted peer reviews from teachers and librarians in each listing.

Use this resource to the max by browsing and building reading lists, reviewing and rating books, and checking out the 49th Shelf contributors’ novel picks. You can also peruse the Off the Page blog, which includes interviews with everyone from authors to bookstore owners, as well as the opportunity to enter contests, giveaways and more.

The next time you need Canadian content for the classroom, visit and decide for yourself if it deserves an eh-plus! —Kate Winn, OCT

Great Classroom Reads

Stay up-to-date on what’s new and exciting in publishing with Top Grade: CanLit for the Classroom. The initiative keeps decision makers on top of which Canadian-authored books are suitable for school (library and classrooms) collections and how they link to the curriculum (age group, grade level and subject area).

Twice a year, the program distributes free elementary- and secondary-level sample boxes to board consultants and co-ordinators, filled with recently released review copies, study guides, catalogues and other promotional items (bookmarks, posters, buttons, etc.) from 17 of Canada’s top publishers. For access to Top Grade’s catalogues, order forms and list of participating publishers visit

What is your all-time favourite Canadian book for elementary or secondary students?
Send your answer to by January 3 and you could win one of two Top Grade sample boxes, packed with either K–8 or 9–12 swag..