||Creating a Classroom Community of Young
A Desktop Companion
By Jeffrey W. Bloom
Reviewed by Xavier Fazio
Jeffrey Blooms dissatis-faction with current elementary
science methods textbooks prompted him to develop a "handbook" for his students.
This handbook later became Creating a Classroom Community of Young Scientists: A
Desktop Companion, a book for pre-service and in-service teachers.
Blooms approach is based on several popular areas of research and theoretical
development. His book includes chapters on the nature of science, childrens
learning, classroom as community, and reflective practice. Those dealing with planning,
instruction, and assessment emphasize Blooms vision of an effective science program.
A chapter on the connection between science and technology would have been appropriate for
teachers of the new Ontario curriculum.
Reflective questions such as, "How could we provide such experiences of science in
our own classroom?" are inserted in sidebars. In a number of places, activities and
comments are given to provide experiences that examine a teachers understanding of
the teaching and learning of science.
Most chapters end with a list of suggested readings and appendices that provide useful
information. These range from safety in the classroom to sources of equipment and print
With the demand of the new elementary science and technology curriculum in Ontario,
teachers need a framework for the new curriculum that is more than a methods book.
Creating a Classroom of Young Scientists meets the challenge.
Creating a Classroom Community of Young Scientists: A
Desktop Companion, Toronto, 1998; ISBN-0-7725-2514-5; $27.96; Irwin Publishing;
Xavier Fazio is a science and technology curriculum
consultant with the Halton Catholic District School Board.
||The McGraw-Hill Big Book of Science
By Robert W. Wood
Reviewed by Rhea Brillinger
With an inquiring mind and a few easily found materials,
students can uncover the mysteries of science ideas and concepts. Robert Woods The
McGraw-Hill Big Book of Science Activities helps students aged eight to 12 do just that.
This fully-illustrated book outlines more than 250 fun and
kid-tested experiments organized into seven categories: geography, chemistry, meteorology,
geology, animal biology, plant biology and engineering. It also includes safety
considerations, suggestions for science fair projects, a glossary and a detailed index.
Each activity has a title indicating the learning goal, a
notebook illustration outlining all the materials needed, teacher background information
and activity instruction. All activities contain clear directions and are easy to do. You
will not need sophisticated equipment or knowledge. The experiments are suitable for the
suggested age range of eight to 12 and perhaps even for six and seven-year-olds.
This is the kind of science activity book teachers can pull
off a shelf and use right away when looking for experiments to enhance a science
curriculum learning program. Amaze your students with how fun and easy science can be!
The McGraw-Hill Big Book of Science Activities, New York,
McGraw-Hill, 1999; ISBN 0-07-071873-3; $15.95 US; www.books.mcgraw-hill.com
Rhea Brillinger is a teacher of Science and Technology
with the Toronto District School Board currently on leave as an education consultant with
Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc.
||Par quatre chemins
Lintégration des matières au coeur des apprentissages Activités sur
By Martine Leclerc
Reviewed by Louise Bourgeois
Par quatre chemins, a collection of 10 integrated learning
modules for Grade 4-6 teachers, proposes a range of relevant and meaningful activities
with an emphasis on interdisciplinary learning.
Each module is based on an attention-grabbing text. Stories
like Quelle vie de chat! (Its a Cats Life), where students meet a Kingston
couple with 689 cats, and Vous mourez denvie de fumer? (Dying for a Smoke?), in
which an emotional Trudy talks about her life going up in smoke, are sure to capture
Each module has interesting activities in a number of subject
areas and includes suggestions for using the Internet. The activities may be used as is or
The modules do not list the learning outcomes or content of
the curriculum and policy documents. But the author does propose three assessment grids
adapted to reading, writing and research that include the outcomes for Grades 4-6 and are
modelled on the achievement assessment grid in the French-language curriculum and policy
This collection emphasizes team discussion, transfer of
knowledge and partnership with parents and the community. The scenarios give students an
opportunity to solve problems, improve their communication skills, become aware of their
heritage and culture and open themselves to other cultures.
Par quatre chemins, Lintégration des matières au
coeur des apprentissages Activités sur Internet, Montreal, 1998; ISBN
2-89461-148-X; Chenelière/ McGraw-Hill; (514) 273-1066.
Louise Bourgeois is an education officer with the Ontario
Ministry of Education.
By Réal Charette
This book describes an assessment framework based on a vision
of teachers as professionals who have responsibilities they must integrate into their
teaching. The author has added a commitment to francophonie as a professional
responsibility. The book comes with a guide that combines all the grids in an easy-to-use
format and encourages all teachers to evaluate their professional skills.
1998; isbn 2-89442-751-4; $29.95; Centre Franco-ontarien de
ressources pédagogiques www.cforp.on.ca.
Reviewed by Lise Presseault, Ontario College of
||Raffi: The Life of a Childrens
For those who know Raffi as the beloved Canadian
childrens performer, famous for "Baby Beluga" and "Bananaphone,"
this autobiography reveals the man behind the music. It presents an intimate portrait of
Raffi as performer, champion of the child, environmentalist, and man on a journey of
Vancouver, 1999; ISBN 1-896943-44-6; Homeland Press (604)
Reviewed by Laurie Allan, Ontario College of Teachers
||Jump Start 1st Grade 2000
Software by Knowledge Adventure
This program is excellent for Grade 1 students, and its
truly fun to use. To begin, the students click the front door of a schoolhouse and enter a
room where they have access to activities including math and English games. Games are
practical, with an obvious connection to the real world. The only criticisms and
they are small are that the coins used are American and moving between applications
Power Mac CD-ROM/Win98/Win95; about $40 US; Knowledge
Adventure, Torrance, California; 1-800-545-7677; www.KnowledgeAdventure.com
Reviewed by Jim Files, vice-principal of Greensville and Pleasant Valley
schools in Dundas.
Learning the Arts in an Age of
By Walter Pitman
Walter Pitman draws on the work of many educators, artists
and scholars and mingles it with his own ideas. He cites many examples of powerful arts
experiences in Ontario schools and arts venues that serve to frame his message
place the arts at the centre of education.
Reviewed by David Geene, York Region District School Board.
Toronto, 1998; ISBN 0-9684672-0-2; Arts Education Council of Ontario, (416)