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September 1998

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Valuable Lessons Through Television

Two Ontario teachers took grand prize and first place honours in this year’s A&E Canadian Teacher Grant Program, sponsored by the Arts and Entertainment television network.

Canadian teachers who developed a curriculum plan using A&E’s commercial-free programming were eligible for the competition.

Mark Bridges of Woodland Park School in Cambridge was the grand prize winner for his plan, "Freedom: It’s Your Right, It’s Your Life." Bridges used Houdini: The Great Escape and Tolerance in America to teach students about the varied definitions of freedom, the privileges that come with freedom and what it means to live without freedom.

First place winner Tim Sloane of Orchard Park Elementary School in St. Catharines used Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse to teach students about the steps to solving mysteries and how they can be related to everyday problem solving and reasoning skills.

Bridges received $2,000 and Sloane $1,500 in personal savings bonds, while their schools were rewarded with video equipment to develop the use of cable television in the classroom.

Three Outstanding Professionals Recognized by TVO Teaching Awards

Three outstanding teachers are this year’s recipients of the TVOntario Teachers’ Awards.

Now in its seventh year, the awards program recognizes teachers for going above and beyond the call of duty through creative approaches and innovative programs, and by making a positive difference in the lives of students and fellow teachers.

This year’s winners are Rob Bedford of North Bay’s West Ferris Secondary School, Catherine Davis of Roseneath near Peterborough, and Suzanne Fortin of École Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire in Blezard Valley near Sudbury.

Bedford designed an innovative high school-to-college technology program linking his school with Canadore College. The program prepares high school students for careers in aviation maintenance and telecommunications by allowing them to participate in co-op work terms with local industries

Davis set up a special education program for Native children of the Alderville First Nation. A library, an after school study centre, a storybook centre and an early intervention child care program were established by Davis with the help of the federal government.

Fortin created a room to provide a total sensory experience to aid children with sensory, intellectual and physical disabilities. Fortin also established the first francophone day program for developmentally handicapped adults in Northern Ontario, knowing that her students had nowhere to go once they finished school.

Sixteen semi-finalists were also honoured and received certificates of merit.

High School Students Select
"Best Science Teacher of the Year"

The Toronto chapter of the Scientific Research Society, or Sigma Xi, has chosen Elaine Charters of Richmond Hill High School as this year’s best science teacher. The award is designed to stimulate science teaching in secondary schools in the Greater Toronto Area.

Sigma Xi has over 79,000 members worldwide and more than 500 chapters. Each year, Toronto-area high school students nominate teachers who exemplify the best in science teaching, including mathematics and engineering. The students are members of the Youth Science Academy, the junior wing of the Royal Canadian Institute.

For more information about Sigma Xi, including chapter locations in your community, visit their web site at

EIC Opens Up Web Site to All Qualified Ontario Teachers

Teachers looking for jobs will be able to connect more easily with school boards that have vacancies now that the Education Improvement Commission (EIC) has made the teacher section of its on-line Employment Register accessible to the public.

Launched in May 1998, the Employment Register is a web site that provides an electronic employment listings service for people in elementary and secondary education in Ontario. The register also includes links to other sites that job seekers will find helpful.

The register was originally designed as a service to assist school board employees laid off as a result of education restructuring. Access to the register was restricted to teachers and other board employees who had received notice.

But for positions that require Ontario teacher’s qualifications, that situation has changed. Thanks to the new 85 factor, several school boards are now looking to hire teachers for September and the Employment Register’s emphasis has shifted to helping boards fill those vacancies.

The Employment Register web site is

World Teachers’ Day

October 5 marks the annual recognition of teachers around the world. Portraits in Courage is this year’s theme for World Teachers’ Day, sponsored by UNESCO, the UN agency for education, science and culture.

"World Teachers’ Day reminds governments and the general public of the role of teachers and of the need to improve their status and working conditions," says UNESCO. "Above all, it is an opportunity to show appreciation for their work in preparing the next generation to function efficiently in a changing world."

According to UNESCO, approximately one-third of the world’s estimated 50 million teachers have no formal teaching qualifications. Another third, they say, has inadequate training.

The UNESCO web site offers some compelling stories from teachers around the globe and relates the struggles many teachers face each day, whether it’s containing violence in a New York City classroom, or explaining to children why they live in a refugee camp, or working in a classroom with a ceiling "full of bullet holes."

Portraits of Courage can be found at   The site is in English and French.

Dance Troupe Delivers Shocking Message

"You can’t understand kids without first understanding the music which is central in their lives." – Culture Shock press kit

Culture Shock – a hip-hop dance troupe that visits schools, delivering a message emphasizing a healthy, drug-free lifestyle to children of all ages – is coming to a school near you. Maybe even yours – it’s your call.

Culture Shock volunteers its time by performing live hip-hop dance shows at school assemblies. Formed in 1993, this international organization offers "both a powerful message and a powerful workout that is more like fun than fitness." They also work with students to provide incentives to maintain perfect attendance, respect the school’s code of behaviour and improve grades.

Toronto and Ottawa both have troupes that customize their shows to meet a school’s particular needs. The performers meet with the principal and vice-principal to discuss the format and culture of each school. Kids are taught dance routines using current music that is profanity-free.

For more information, call Culture Shock Toronto at (416) 781-5588 or Culture Shock Ottawa at (613) 236-6614.

Kitchener Students, Teachers Win International
Multimedia Contest

Amanda Damsma and Jackie Daoust, Grade 5 students at Driftwood Park Public School in Kitchener, and their teachers Kate Vanderhorst and Rod Rychliski recently won an international multimedia contest sponsored by the International Society for Technology in Education.

In June, the students and Vanderhorst received their award before an audience of 6,000 at the National Educational Computing Conference in San Diego. The next day they presented "Olympic Skaters" to 100 teachers.

The interactive project, created with HyperStudio, highlights the Canadian ice dance champions Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz. It features original artwork, scrolling text boxes, actor-based animation, claymation, virtual objects, Internet links to the skaters’ fan club and an authors’ page.

Kate Vanderhorst and Rod Rychliski can be reached at or by e-mail at

PS Calendar

If you would like to list your conference or event here, please e-mail the College library with the information at;  fax (416) 961-8822; or phone (416) 961-8800 ext. 679.

The calendar of conferences resides at the College Library page.