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


by Terence W. Cavanaugh and Jerome Burg

Do you remember your teacher pulling down a big map of the world at the front of the class to find a city or country you were learning about? Or do you remember reading a story about somewhere in the world, and then drawing a map of all the places you read about on a piece of chart paper? Now with Google Maps and Google Earth, all this and more is digitally available. With Bookmapping, teachers can integrate the reading of stories and texts in English, geography and technology with the geographical settings that influence them.

Bookmapping describes numerous ways for integrating Internet map journeys with text. For example, students can write descriptive passages or creative short stories just by looking at a street or place in another part of the world. They can plan and develop storyboards or locate places in novels they are studying. Students can then share these literary maps in Wikispaces across your board, or they can be used by other students to predict what will happen in future chapters.

Bookmapping offers full lesson plans and technological support at the same time as providing teachers with a range of ideas for using the technology, which means that your school will need high-speed Internet to support this kind of learning. Because Bookmapping is written by American educators, the suggested book lists may need to be altered to reflect relevant Canadian literature.

Bookmapping: Lit Trips and Beyond, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Washington, DC, 2011, softcover, ISBN 978-1-56484-283-1, 228 pages, $47.44, distributed by Scholarly Book Services Inc., tel 1-800-847-9736,

Kara Smith, OCT, creates curriculum for the faculty of education at the University of Windsor and for the Lambton Kent DSB.

Raising Boys in a New Kind of World

by Michael Reist

Based on his 30 years as a father and teacher, Michael Reist, OCT, communicates some essential truths about boys, parenting and being human in Raising Boys in a New Kind of World. From encouraging boys to read more to ensuring that our sons grow up to be men of character, Reist draws upon current brain research, the insights of a host of classical and contemporary writers, as well as his own teaching experience to help readers understand what is behind the growing number of boys who are disengaging from school — or, as he says, “students (who) are increasingly unwilling to submit to the process called school.” 

For Reist, the decline in boys’ achievement stems from a variety of factors, including boys’ physiological preference for moving in a visual-spatial world rather than a text world.  “The typical male brain … loves cyberspace, which is a feast of looking and virtual motion,” he writes. In addition, he says, the three core beliefs on which schools are based are obsolete — that print literacy is the principal way of measuring ability, that hierarchical structures are the best way to organize schools, and that a one-size-fits-all approach is the best way to teach students. When programming for boys, Reist suggests a greater emphasis on oral evaluations of boys’ understanding of concepts and skills, that boys be given regular opportunities to move and that they complete assignments in smaller chunks. These are all suggestions supported by key Ministry of Education publications, including Learning for All and Growing Success. Perhaps the greatest strength of Reist’s book is the author’s courage to address topics that remain outside most contemporary musings on education — spirituality, politics, corporate capitalism, video games and sex are all candidly discussed. While acknowledging the crisis in boys’ education faced by many North American communities, Reist is optimistic that, with the political will and our growing knowledge of children’s development, brain function and unique learning styles, we will be able to help boys succeed and change schools for the better.

Raising Boys in a New Kind of World, Dundurn, Toronto, 2011, softcover, ISBN 978-1-45970-043-7, 307 pages, $24.99, tel 416-214-5544,

Michael Bellrose, OCT, is the principal of C. R. Judd PS in Capreol.

Creating Caring Classrooms

by Kathleen Gould Lundy and Larry Swartz

Learning rarely happens in a silent classroom. It must buzz with communication, where students and teachers can listen, cooperate, hear and value each other’s opinions. To accomplish that goal, classrooms must be built on what the authors call the five Cs: community, communication, collaboration, compassion and confronting bullies.

Based on their years of teaching, the two renowned Canadian educators and authors have synthesized a comprehensive body of information about community building that is as valuable to seasoned as it is to new teachers. Though originally intending to deal exclusively with bullying, the authors chose to tackle the overarching theme of student disenfranchisement, disengagement and of classrooms that don’t work. Each chapter is dedicated to exploring one of the Cs with activities and games to engage students in fun and non-threatening ways.

Listed at the end are current picture books and novels sorted by age range, as well as films and websites for students and educators. Throughout are worksheets and checklists for classroom use.

The authors stress that to create a caring classroom, you need to care. This resource is not meant to be an add-on to the myriad duties teachers already have — it is meant to support the creation of an environment that is conducive to learning for all.

Creating Caring Classrooms: How to Encourage Students to Communicate, Create, and Be Compassionate of Others, Pembroke Publishers, Markham, 2011, softcover, ISBN 978-1-55138-270-8, 160 pages, $24.95, tel 1-800-997-9807,

Jennifer Wyatt, OCT, is on leave from Havergal College Junior School in Toronto.

Journey to Literacy

by Krista Flemington, Linda Hewins and Una Villiers

The foundation of this must-have new release is the certainty that young children learn best in a “dynamic, messy and uneven way” — more commonly known as play. The book suggests that balanced literacy activities embedded in a play-based environment make such programs more meaningful for children. By having educators look at their current practices, the book asks them to carefully consider classroom organization, routines and timetables, and to reflect on what learning they expect to take place. Most impressively, the book offers authentic student work samples so that teachers can see what their students might be capable of when given the freedom to share their thinking.

The authors also provide a suggested map of the learning environment — for drawing, writing, reading, visual arts, dramatic play, sand, water and construction. They show how to use these traditional learning zones to encourage young students to find authentic reasons to listen, read and write. Lists of materials to foster open-ended play opportunities are also proposed. This resource is recommended not only for kindergarten teachers but could easily be used by all primary teachers as well.

Journey to Literacy: No Worksheets Required, Pembroke Publishers, Markham, 2011, softcover, ISBN 978-1-55138-261-6, 168 pages, $24.95, tel 1-800-997-9807,

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

From Seatwork to Feetwork

by Ron Nash

In his new book, Ron Nash offers brain-based strategies to maximize collaboration, conversation and participation among students. Rooted in the latest research on movement, memory and learning, the book provides teachers with tools to transform their students from passive attendees to active participants and leaders in their own learning. By skillfully presenting a progression of classroom strategies, he gets students out of their seats and onto their feet. These practical ideas include redesigning classroom space for collaboration and connecting classroom learning with real-world applications. His engaging vignettes drive home the point that movement, music, technology, planning and a positive climate are authentic teaching practices that foster student engagement and critical thinking.

Written from the perspective of a high school teacher, the book raises awareness of what kinds of classroom practices really work for students from K–12. It also warns that a barrier is created when teachers sit behind their desks and lecture.

From Seatwork to Feetwork: Engaging Students in Their Own Learning, Corwin, Thousand Oaks, CA, 2011, softcover, ISBN 978-1-4129-9794-2, 152 pages, US$26.95, tel 1-800-233-9936,

Anjana Thom, OCT, teaches at Sir Wilfrid Laurier PS in Brampton.

The Best of Corwin Series

edited by David A. Sousa

The Best of Corwin Series is composed of eight concise volumes showcasing hot topics from critically acclaimed Corwin publications, including: Classroom Management; Differentiated Instruction; Educational Neuroscience; Education Technology for School Leaders; Equity; Inclusive Practices; and Response to Intervention. The series highlights chapters from books published over the years. My favourite is Educational Neuroscience, which shows how to apply current brain research to teaching. The book focuses on brain development, the brain in school and strategies for addressing the needs of learners. Chapters include how brains pay attention, how they learn to read and differences between the male and female brains. All this research into the brain has been accomplished during the last decade and has turned brain science on its head.

Educational Neuroscience, Corwin, Thousand Oaks, CA, 2011, softcover, ISBN 978-1-4522-1734-5, 200 pages, US$27.95, tel 1-800-233-9936,

Mary Veronica Maloney, OCT, is a teacher with the Toronto Catholic DSB.

Students with OCD

by Gail B. Adams, Ed.D.

This is a comprehensive resource on the causes, effects and challenges facing students with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). A recent American study estimates that one in 100 students suffers from this frequently debilitating disorder. OCD can have profound psychological impacts on students as they struggle to fit both within their classrooms and the many social situations that are part of their daily lives.

The text shows how a strong link between the mental health community and school personnel can make a positive difference. In addition, it provides detailed information on how to recognize and accommodate students with potential difficulties and bridges the lines of support between school, home and the medical community. The first part of the book introduces the disorder and suggests why school personnel need to be sensitive to students who exhibit obsessive-compulsive behaviours. It highlights the differences between compulsions and obsessions and how these might manifest themselves in a school setting. The middle portion focuses on the medical issues associated with OCD, including a detailed exploration of assessment and treatment. The book closes with excellent practical suggestions for accommodating and supporting students. It wraps up with a detailed reference section, unfortunately with distinctly American content.

In Canadian schools, the book serves as an in-depth guide for special education teachers and school administrators. The suggestions for accommodations are extensive and would be useful when supporting many special needs students, especially those with OCD symptoms.

Students with OCD: A Handbook for School Personnel, Pherson Creek Press, Wasco, IL, 2011, softcover, ISBN 978-0-9834364-0-9, 251 pages, US$19.95, available at

Laura Barron, OCT, is a teacher-librarian at Fernforest PS in Brampton.


by Ursula Poznanski

Erebos is a riveting novel filled with online bullying culture, gaming addictions and suicide cults. When does an Internet game go too far? What is illegal online? Is it unethical to create a fictional killing game? What modern-day examples might there be of such games? For an intermediate English teacher ready to address these critical 2012 themes with classes, it is a dream novel.

When athlete Nick Dunmore receives the black market game Erebos on a disc at school, he takes on the persona of Sarius, a dark elf by night and an introverted loner by day. Gamers have one object: to ascend enough levels and gain points to make it to the inner circle to fight Ortolan. Players have to perform hostile and illegal acts in the real world, outside of the game. It quickly becomes addictive, with players missing weeks of school to play. A Big Brother character in the game can read people’s minds and, using blackmail and fear, can convince players that Erebos’s enemies are growing stronger. One of these enemies is Nick’s English teacher, Mr. Watson, and his artist friend Victor, who encourage a small group of the students to begin investigating the criminal mind behind the game and its exclusionary tactics. It is the slow unravelling of the game and the students that keeps readers hooked. Erebos is a literary marvel.

Erebos: It’s a game. It watches you. Annick Press, Toronto, 2012, softcover, ISBN 978-1-55451-372-7, 434 pages, $19.95, distributed by Firefly Books Ltd., tel 1-800-387-6192,

Kara Smith, OCT, is an English curriculum creator and researcher for the Faculty of Education, University of Windsor. She is a former teacher with the Waterloo Catholic DSB and the Lambton Kent DSB, and is currently a College Council member.

This Dark Endeavour

by Kenneth Oppel

In this prequel to Mary Shelley’s gothic classic, Frankenstein, 16-year-old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever. Victor’s twin, Konrad, has fallen ill, and no doctor is able to cure him. Unwilling to give up on his brother, Victor enlists his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and best friend, Henry, on a treacherous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life. Impossible odds, dangerous alchemy and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at every turn.

Just as with many twins, the two boys differ considerably in personality: Konrad is the laid-back, confident one who seems to be good at everything while Victor often feels to be in his shadow. This feeling of inadequacy snowballs even more in Victor’s mind when he discovers that his growing love for his cousin Elizabeth is not reciprocated. Instead, she and Konrad are fast becoming an item. Despite their differences, Victor and Konrad are very close and when Konrad falls dangerously ill, Victor will do anything to try to make him better.

This is a dark and magical book, full of adventure, drama and romance. It would suit teen readers who are looking for something more challenging than Darren Shan or J.K. Rowling to extend their reading. Oppel’s writing is clear and thought-provoking and lends itself to a variety of literacy discussions.

This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, HarperCollins, Toronto, 2011, hardcover, ISBN 978-1-55468-339-0, 304 pages, $19.99, tel 1-800-387-0117,

Laurel van Dommelen, OCT, is the librarian at Highlands School in Enfield, England.

Experience for AQs
The Teachers’ Qualifications Regulation includes Additional Qualification (AQ) programs requiring specific successful classroom teaching experience prior to reporting a qualification to the College.

The College recognizes that a teacher may have limited opportunities to accumulate one school year of teaching in some subjects for entry to the respective AQ courses when the subject is integrated within another curriculum area being taught. In such cases where a teacher is teaching the subject in an integrated format, supervisory officers may consider experience when a teacher can demonstrate that he or she has planned and implemented instruction, and evaluated students using approved curriculum policy documents related to the subject.

➔ This guideline used to apply only to some subjects. However, as of August 31, 2012, it applies to all subjects, including religious education — if a teacher is working toward obtaining Specialist Qualifications in religious education taught in an Ontario Catholic school.