Reviewed by Michael Reist
title leads one to expect an invective against the current government at Queens
Park. This is not the case. The title refers to the starting point for this overview of
the history of education in Ontario.
In 1945, the government of Ontario
established a Royal Commission on education led by John Andrew Hope. This committee
submitted its report five years later, and thus began the post-war project of educating
the baby boomers and all who followed.
While the elementary school had
always been seen as a place for all children to get a grounding in the essentials, high
school had a more specific function the education of a select few.
This all changed in 1962 with the
implementation of the Robarts Plan, the main feature of which was streaming by ability
level. Politicians were struggling with the question of what to do with the huge influx of
students into what was still, in many ways, a 19th-century school system. It is
interesting to see that most of the controversy surrounding education, if it doesnt
have to do with money, seems to have to do with secondary school.
From todays perspective, one of the
most intriguing chapters is on the Hall-Dennis Report of 1968. Its hard to believe
that only 30 years ago the pervasive attitude in educational circles was child-centred
learning. Around lunch tables, teachers talk about pendulums swinging. A common joke among
older teachers is not to throw out any old curriculum documents youll be
using them again.
Gidneys greatest contribution is
his placing of the current upheaval in education within its larger historical context.
Whether secondary reform is the swinging of a pendulum, the coming to fruition of previous
trends or something completely unprecedented, the reader can decide.
From Hope to Harris,
Toronto, 1999; ISBN: 0-8020-8125-8, $24.95 paper; University of Toronto Press;
1-800-565-9523 or 416-667-7791; fax: 1-800-221-9985 or 416-667-7832.
is head of English and modern languages at Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School in
the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder:
A Mothers Story of Research and Recovery
Reviewed by Elizabeth M. Starr
developmental disorders (PDD), of which autism is one form, are generally considered to be
lifelong disabilities. There have been many theories as to the causes of autism and
numerous "miracle cures" touted by various groups. Given the very disabling
nature of autism in its most severe form and the often unimaginably difficult behaviours
of their children, it is not surprising that many parents will attempt any potential cure
despite the lack of controlled clinical trials attesting to its effectiveness.
Unraveling the Mystery of
Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder chronicles one mothers belief that
autism is an immune system disorder whose effects can be controlled and minimized by diet
specifically a casein (milk) and gluten (wheat)-free diet.
The first section of the book chronicles
the development of Seroussis son Miles, the devastating effect on the family as
Miles autism becomes evident, his mothers research into autism, and how his
being put on a gluten and casein-free diet allowed Miles to recover. The second section
discusses the diet in detail.
The book is aimed at parents and
certainly provides an interesting discussion of some causes of PDD as immune system
disorders and an inability of the body to metabolize certain enzymes. Seroussi provides
ample anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of the therapy. But no amount of anecdotal
evidence is a substitute for rigorous research.
I am concerned that some parents may
attempt the complex diet using only this book as a reference, although there is a
disclaimer acknowledging the author is not a physician and the diet should not be
attempted without consulting a physician and nutritionist.
The book outlines the theories of autism
as an immune system disorder in a way comprehensible to lay people, and I recommend it for
this reason. However, I recommend it with caution to parents wishing to implement this
controversial therapy. As long as the child is under a physicians and
nutritionists care and receives the essential vitamins and minerals, there
isnt necessarily any harm in attempting the diet, but parents need to be prepared
for the possibility that neither will there be any benefit.
Unraveling the Mystery of
Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, New York, 2000; ISBN: 0-684-83164-3; $35
hardcover (288 pages); Simon & Schuster; 1-800-268-3215 or 905-764-0073; fax:
1-888-849-8151 or 905-764-0086; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Starr is a
member of the Ontario College of Teachers and an associate professor at the Faculty of
Education, University of Windsor, specializing in autism research.
Different Windows into the Same Room: Howard Gardners Multiple
Four books from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Reviewed by Clifford
Have you considered restructuring your
classroom program or your entire school program to incorporate Howard Gardners
theory of multiple intelligences (MI)? If so, then these four books are a must read.
In Becoming a Multiple Intelligences
School, Thomas Hoerr presents an insiders account of how to apply MI. His details on
the 10-year process he and his colleagues encountered are thoroughly outlined. His
comments on how to develop new assessment for tracking and reporting student growth are
both refreshing and innovative.
Linda and Bruce Campbells
Multiple Intelligences and Student Achievement provides a fascinating commentary on
implementing MI in six schools that have used it for at least five years. Their case study
approach chronicles the application for all types of students.
Thomas Armstrongs expanded second
edition of Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom and his new ADD/ ADHD Alternatives in
the classroom update Gardners MI theory as confirmed classroom applications. The
former book outlines innovative strategies for integrating an eighth intelligence, the
naturalist. Also, Arm-strong presents new
outlooks about the possibility of a
ninth intelligence, the existential. His latter book highlights imaginative student
journeys, bodily-kinesthetic cues, posters, drama and dances as feasible classroom
strategies for empowering children stamped with the negative ADD/ADHD label. If any of
these books contains a flaw, it is this one. The author stumbles severely in his treatment
of the role MI can have on ADD/ ADHD students, devoting a meager two pages to possible MI
Nevertheless, the authors are to be
commended for their comprehensive comments on nurturing students intelligence
strengths. They suggest practical strategies for reducing or even eliminating achievement
gaps between all types of learners.
published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria,
Virginia; http://shop.acsd.org/ Becoming a Multiple Intelligences School
by Thomas R. Hoerr, 2000; ISBN
$23.95US paper (113 pages). Multiple Intelligences and Student Achievement:
Success Stories from Six Schools by Linda Campbell and Bruce Campbell, 1999; ISBN
0-87120-360-X; $15.95US paper (108 pages). Multiple Intelligences in the
Classroom, second edition, by Thomas Armstrong, 2000; ISBN 0-87120-376-6; $22.95US
paper (154 pages). ADD/ADHD Alternatives in the Classroom by Thomas
Armstrong, 1999; ISBN 0-87120-359-6; $11.95US paper (126 pages).
Morris, who lives in Kanata, is a retired classroom teacher who has been following the
writings of Howard Gardner since 1985.
Book of Mirrors: An Interactive
CD-ROM and Audio CD
Popov and George Vona
Reviewed by Patricia Bland
Book of Mirrors has three studies in interactive music. The first, El Sol del Sur,
presents the complex compositions of Latin American rhythms merged with classical
overtones. The second, The Book of Mirrors, allows the viewer to visualize how its five
pieces fit together like a musical puzzle. The third, Strategies Against Architectures,
Book II, integrates and contrasts the power of classical musical traditions with harsh and
savage sounds from urban society.
Additional information can be
explored by clicking on images of instruments, scales and dialogues by the musicians. One
section allows the viewer to discover precisely what sound an instrument creates with a
click of the mouse. You can slide your mouse over panoramic video of the
percussionists nest of drums, cymbals, steel pipes, vibraphones, chimes, a riding
crop, slide whistle and more. This is what my Grade 2 and 3 kids enjoyed the most.
Teachers of all grade levels will
appreciate The Book of Mirrors interactive CD-ROM for teaching music according to ministry
expectations. Primary and Junior students can explore percussion instruments and
associated sounds. Intermediates can correlate the effects of the sound with symbolic
imaging. Secondary and music theory students have an exceptional opportunity to associate
themes in tone and sound production. There are also web site links to the Internet where
students can communicate with composers and musicians.
My only frustration with this CD set is
the time needed. One must have an up-to-date computer system to allow for the demand on
the RAM memory. I recommend playing the music CD on another machine while enjoying the
truly engaging interactive Book of Mirrors. Visit www.bookofmirrors.com for a sampling.
Book of Mirrors CD-ROM
and audio CD, Toronto, 1998; $40; Novadisc Music; 416-214-2288 or 1-800-214-2293.
teaches Grades 2 and 3 at Joyceville Public School in the Limestone District School Board
and is an instructor for computers in the classroom at Queens Faculty of Education.
Your Kids Online: How and When to Introduce Children to the Internet
Arlette Lefebvre and Brian Hillis
Originally written for parents, Taking Your Kids Online is a valuable supplementary
resource for educators who have concerns about introducing children to the Internet. This
readable, step-by-step guide takes into consideration the developmental stages of a
The authors educate readers on how
to instill judgement and values about Internet content in children, not simply how to
drive the technology. Readers are left feeling confident to set parameters on their
kids Internet experiences in a positive way. Its a useful resource for
teachers of the Internet generation.
Taking Your Kids Online,
Toronto, 1999; ISBN 0-07-560932-0, $21.99 (224 pages); McGraw-Hill Ryerson;
1-800-565-5758 or 905-428-2222; fax: 1-800-463-5885 or 905-430-5203
Reviewed by Quentin DSouza, who teaches Grades 6 and 7 at Senhor Santo Cristo
School in Toronto.
Scholastic has produced an exciting new
way to enable elementary students to learn to spell confidently and fluently. The new
CD-ROM program, Scholastic Spelling Studio, available for students from Grades 3 to 6, has
a Hollywood theme to motivate students to improve their spelling skills while offering the
teacher a means to adapt programs and have a record of each childs progress. This
CD-ROM program may be used in conjunction with the Scholastic Spelling books 1-6 or
Studio, New York; $389.99 for complete unit (includes guide, resource book and 10
student books); Scholastic; 1-800-268-3848; http://education.scholastic.ca
Reviewed by Luisa
Busato, a program consultant with the York Catholic District School Board.
Teaching Gap: Best Ideas from the Worlds Teachers for Improving Education in the
W. Stigler and James Hiebert
part of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study, Grade 8 math classes in
Germany, Japan and the United States were videotaped. Researchers analyzed the tapes to
determine how teaching styles varied. The most striking differences were between Japan and
the United States.
In Japanese classrooms, students
often worked for extended periods on a small number of challenging problems, which were
then discussed by the class. American teachers explained terms and procedures, assigning
the students a large number of simple practice questions. As well as higher test results,
the Japanese method apparently produces far greater mental dexterity and appreciation of
The authors noted that teachers in
Japan also learn more. Small groups of teachers meet regularly to develop, revise and
implement lessons. They study educational theory and the findings of lesson-study groups
in other schools and are thus actively engaged as researchers.
One shortcoming is the books
inattention to the social status of teachers and how this influences their attitudes to
teaching and professional development. Another is that by proposing a model of teachers as
skilled technicians, it ignores the role of individual strengths and enthusiasms in the
work of excellent teachers.
The Teaching Gap, New
York, 1999; ISBN 0-684-85274-8; $34.00; The Free Press; 1-800-268-3215 or 905-764-0073;
fax: 1-888-849-8151 or 905-764-0086; e-mail: email@example.com
Reviewed by Brian
Day, a Grades 4 and 5 teacher at Rose Avenue Public School in Toronto.
Learning Happen: Strategies for an Interactive Classroom
Jeff Golubs chatty
and practical guide for experienced as well as new teachers provides ways to restructure
classroom instruction so that teachers wont confuse motion for progress. As Golub
says, keeping students busy is motion; helping them learn is progress.
Even though the book has a
language arts bias and an emphasis on the middle grades, its application is widespread.
Golub reminds teachers that sometimes lessons just dont work out. If the students
are not motivated to do the work, then promises of grades, stars, pizza parties or other
rewards are not going to help them learn. Engagement is the key. Getting students to
actively and enthusiastically participate in the task at hand is a product of the
teachers classroom community building. Golub goes on to suggest activities to help
build that community.
Making Learning Happen is a refreshing
reminder of the fun that teaching and learning can be.
Making Learning Happen,
Portsmouth, N.H., 2000; ISBN 0-86709-493-1; $14US paper (112 pages); Boynton/Cook;
Reviewed by Rick
Chambers, a program officer in the Colleges Professional Affairs Department.
Aboard! Cross-Curricular Design and Technology Strategies and Activities
Metropolitan Toronto School Board Teachers
Elementary teachers want to know how to teach technology. All Aboard!
CrossCurricular Design and Technology Strategies and Activities (K-6) can help.
The book has four categories.
Your Classroom is a primer for organizing your classroom. Content and Curriculum has tips
for content and cross-curricular links as well as an introduction to the basic concept of
design and technology. Making Your Own Activities is a model for the design process.
Student Activities has complete design projects for Grades K-6.
In addition, you will find three pages
of quick activity ideas after each set of activities. Each activity contains a
teacher-planning page, instructional strategies section to initiate the design process and
a variety of student pages. Other helpful features include additional activities,
reproducible planning sheets, assessment tools and topic webs.
Although the resource predates the new
Ontario curriculum, it will help teachers integrate design and technology into their
Cross-Curricular Design and Technology Strategies and Activities, Toronto, 1996; ISBN
1-895579-86-4; $29.95 paper (170 pages); Trifolium Books; 416-483-7211; fax: 416-483-3533;
Reviewed by Xavier
Fazio, a science and technology consultant with the Halton Catholic District School Board.