Monday, October 23, 2017

Reflections from TDSB Teachers Read and TMC5

I began composing this blog in a hotel room in Winnipeg. It's been a hectic week but one that I've enjoyed tremendously. Two big events occurred that I participated in and I wanted to give adequate time to sharing and reflecting on both. I wondered if there were any parallels I could draw from the two – I’ll share the similarities at the end.

Manitoba bison, Ontario teacher-librarian

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 = TDSB Teachers Read

As part of the Library and Learning Resources Open House to honour School Library Month, the Professional Library Department organized a TDSB Teachers Read panel. Five educators in TDSB were asked to champion a favourite professional learning texts. Each presenter had just five minutes to summarize the book and persuade the audience that their book was the “must-read” for TDSB for 2017-18. The talks were live streamed and recorded so that people who wished to experience the Canada-Reads-look-alike could do so at their leisure. I was one of the panelists and my book was Calm Alert and Learning by Stuart Shanker.

I chose to use an Ignite Talk as the format for my presentation. (An Ignite talk is a five-minute presentation in which the images from the slides automatically advance every 20 seconds.) I decided to share with this style because I wanted to ensure that I did not go over time and I wanted my viewers to be entertained and informed. Even though it meant extra stress for me beforehand to prepare and rehearse the Ignite talk, I think it was a wise choice because the time elapsing did not take me by surprise during the actual talk. (Thanks Jennifer Casa-Todd from the York Catholic District School Board for introducing me to this technique and allowing me to do it at a conference she arranged in her board some years past.)

I want to thank my fellow panelists … Rahim Essabhai, Chris Lee, Christina Saunders, and Jennifer Watt. I also want to thank Natalie Colaiacova for arranging such a dynamic and enjoyable event. I stayed long afterwards to talk with Joel Krentz, Catherine McCuaig, and Rian and didn't get home until 7:00 p.m. that night. 

If you missed the event, you can still see it by going to and you can click this link to go to the voting site. (Pssst - I'd appreciate it if you voted for Calm Alert and Learning if you get a chance!) Check the twitter feed from #tdsbReads

Saturday, October 21, 2017 = Treasure Mountain Canada 5

This was my third Treasure Mountain Canada research symposium and it did not disappoint. I flew out to Winnipeg immediately after my Media AQ course. I was sad to miss the Manitoba Teachers Society’s SAGE (Special Area Groups of Educators) conference that was connected to TMC5, because it had a lot of relevance to my school and my board’s emphasis on indigenous education and would have been extremely useful to my own school's work.

You can see for all the papers contributed to this school library think tank. The day was filled with great keynotes (Dianne Oberg and Camille Callison), wonderful table talks on some of the informative papers submitted (I got to hear from Pat Trottier and Jo-Anne Gibson; I myself presented twice), virtual visits (Leigh Cassell and Michelle Brown) and brain-melting "big think" tasks. I am going to have to sit down and digest all the things that were discussed.

Thankfully, I was not alone at TMC5 - several Ontario teacher-librarians and educators were in attendance: Michelle Campbell, Alanna King, Jennifer Brown, and Melanie Mulcaster. I am also grateful for my Manitoba friends, especially Jo-Anne Gibson and Vivianne Fogarty. I have known Jo-Anne and Vivianne for a long time but we only get to see each other at conferences.  This time, we were on their home turf and I know Melanie and I were grateful to have a bit of extra time before our flight home to enjoy brunch at Fort Whyte, a nature conservatory and education/recreation center. We were incredibly fortunate to have time to visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Visiting this facility was thought-provoking (and we even got a sneak peek at their library). The night before, Melanie, Jennifer and I spent time with Melanie's university friend and companion to eat a scrumptious dinner and walk around The Forks.

So, what's the similarities? I had an alternate title for this blog but I thought it would spoil the "surprise" that connects the two events.

Treasure Those You Don't See Daily

Even though I work in the same school board as some of my friends, Toronto is a huge city and I don't get the opportunity to visit with my colleagues. Double that for friends in different school boards. Triple that for acquaintances outside the province. Spending time together is so important. I'm a bit extra nostalgic because this is probably the last time I'll see Jo-Anne face-to-face. She is one of the most hard-working, talented, and wise teacher-librarians I know. You must read her paper on "Facilitating Reconciliation through the Library Learning Commons" - it will help not just school libraries but entire schools on ways to make the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations possible to implement.

Melanie and Jennifer in Forks
Rob, Jen, Andrew, me, and Mel
Me, Joyce, Vivianne, Mel and Jo-Anne at Fort Whyte

Learn Before, During, and After

I had to prepare for both events weeks ahead. For TDSB Teachers Read, it meant choosing my book and preparing my persuasive argument. For Treasure Mountain Canada, it involved reflecting on my practice and writing a paper. There was lots of learning during the events as we listened, asked questions, and came up with thoughtful answers. The learning after is still important. What will we do with this information? The Museum of Human Rights even had a section where it asked visitors to commit to paper what they would do.

The interactive display at the museum
This is what Melanie and I wrote and left as our promise
I'd write more, but this is getting shared around 8:30 p.m. on Monday, October 23, 2017 - pushing my Monday deadline a bit! I have media literacy reflections to consider, report cards to start, an extra presentation to prepare ... but despite it all, I have no regrets taking the time for TDSB Teachers Read and Treasure Mountain Canada.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this, my friend! I was thrilled to read about your adventures. How cool is the idea of #tdsbreads ? And you got to be a panelist. You are a rockstar! (And speaking of being a rockstar, these pictures seem to prove that you are a fitness rockstar as well - the incredible disappearing Diana)