January 25

JDAIM Storytime – Kindness

One of February’s designations is Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month.  Our focus this week is kindness and ways we can be kind.  We read:

When I Care About Others by Cornelia Maude Spelman and illustrated by Kathy Parkinson


Kind by Axel Scheffler and 38 illustrators!

Class Activity – Make A Class Kindness Jar!

You have two options for a class kindness jar…

Option 1:

Every time a student in your class does something kind, they can put a pom pom in the kindness jar.  Once it’s full, the class gets a prize!




Option 2:

Have students each fill in 3 post-it’s with ideas for a random act of kindness that can be done at school.  Each day upon entering class, students pick one post-it from the jar and need to find a way to fulfill that act of kindness before the end of the school day.  Ideas could include;

  • clean up part of the classroom
  • give someone a compliment
  • play with someone who is alone
  • open a door for someone
  • offer to help your teacher with something
  • pick up trash in the hallway and put it in the garbage
  • listen to someone who is sad or upset
  • make a new friend
January 20

Peculiar Pets Storytime

Today we read;

I Want A Pet by Lauren Child

The Best Pet of All by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Hanako Wakiyama

Don’t Take Your Snake for a Stroll by Karin Ireland and illustrated by David Catrow

Creative Writing and Drawing Peculiar Pets Activity

Draw a picture of any animal you think would make a peculiar pet (the sky is the limit… this could be a giraffe, a crocodile, a flamingo) and write what you would name it and what kinds of things you imagine you would do with your peculiar pet.  If you would like to share a photo of your work, send them to b.ruel@theojcs.ca and I will post them on this page!


January 13

Pizza Storytime

Today we read 3 pizza-themed books!  In the comments I want to know your favourite pizza toppings!

Pizza Kittens by Charlotte Voake

Hi, Pizza Man! by Virginia Walter and Illustrated by Ponder Goembel

Pete’s A Pizza by William Steig

Activity – Geometry Pizza!

This cool idea comes from Mrs. Thompson’s Treasures.  Cut out the following shapes using different coloured construction paper;

  • circles
  • squares
  • triangles
  • rectangles
  • ovals

Colour the edges of the paper plate brown to look like crust.  Glue your shapes onto your paper plate.  Voila, shape pizza!



January 7

Tu B’Shevat Storytime – Be A Friend to Trees

Hello everyone and happy Tu B’Shevat!  Today we read…

Be A Friend to Trees by Patricia Lauber  and illustrated by Holly Keller

Your Assignment:

Where the video asks you to make a list of things made out of wood, and then things made out of paper and cardboard, PAUSE the video and list the items you discover in the comments of this blog post.  When the story is done, also comment one thing YOU can do to be a friend to trees.

January 7

Tu B’Shevat Storytime – Now I Know Trees

Today we read a beautiful story for Tu B’Shevat.  This one is for our younger students.  It is called;

Now I Know Trees by Sharon Gordon and illustrated by Irene Trivas

Your Activity: Tree Life Cycle Colouring Page

If you have any difficulty viewing or downloading this colouring page, just contact me and I will email you a copy!

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January 7

Duck Storytime

Today we read;

Duck on a Bike by David Shannon

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Duck Soup by Jackie Urbanovic

Duck Activity

If you have a rubber duck at home, have fun creating a habitat for it using materials you have available at home.  Get a plastic bin and use it as a base for a fun rubber duck habitat.  Here are some examples using blue playdough and water and slime:

Duck in the Pond Play Dough Activity

These fabulous ideas are from Fantastic Fun and Learning! https://www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/duck-pond-play-dough-invitation.html

Another version is using water…

Duck Pond Sensory Play - Fantastic Fun & Learning

A version using blue slime…

slime ducks

If you have artificial plants, stones, or little pieces of wood you can really jazz it up!  Make sure you have your parents permission to use the items you gather.

January 3

Self-Esteem Storytime

Today we read;

Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell, illustrated by David Catrow


I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by David Catrow

NOTE: These books have the same illustrator and that wasn’t even on purpose!

Extension Activity:

Draw or write about one thing about you that you think makes you special.  Why do you love that about yourself?

December 3

Developing the Library’s French Collection

This year I am taking the time to evaluate our French collection and I am trying to fill in some curriculum gaps in order to help our French teachers give students at the school the best possible French language education.  Over the years there have been some beautiful books ordered, but were they the ones that the teachers wanted and needed?  That was the question I needed answered.

As I sat with each teacher, it was wonderful to hear about their specific curriculum needs.  English language arts teachers are often the first to tell me what books they need or want to help teach their topics.  But it is not something done as frequently with French language or Hebrew language teachers, probably because what was missing weren’t really topical books, but books that simply help teach French reading and comprehension.  These books are most often levelled readers that allow students to tackle reading one step at a time.  And this was by far the most requested type of resource that came up in these conversations.

Our teachers want to be able to have tangible evidence of our students progress by how well they can move from book A to B to C.  What’s more, having a hard copy of a book gives teachers the peace of  mind that students are staying on task… which isn’t always possible when work is assigned on a device.

There are numerous companies that have designed fantastic French readers that allow teachers to follow student progress.  But at the OJCS we need to streamline what system the team would want to use for assessment purposes.  For this reason a meeting with the team as a whole was required.  The November PD day was an opportunity for the French team to sit down and discuss their options.

I think going into this PGP it hadn’t occured to me how much this project could grow.  This became a really important conversationa about streamlining French language education at the OJCS.

It also illustrates to me the value of having these kinds of conversations more frequently with teachers outside of English Language Arts.  It is my hope that faculty in other departments will see the value of letting me know their needs so that we can together build the best possible collection of resources in the OJCS library.

Another big area that needs to be filled for our French department is French language Jewish holiday books.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if PJ Library published select titles in French for their big Canadian Jewish community!  That is exactly what I reached out to them to let them know.  I am sure there are many families in many of our French forward provinces who would love to have access to PJ Library titles in French.  If you agree I encourage you to also reach out to them and share your request.  Phone: 413-276-0800 pjlibrary@hgf.org   Some of our staff who regularly travel to Montreal will also be keeping their eyes peeled for these special and rare books!

My next step in this project is to evaluate and reorganize the French collection we currently have and find out what we do have that meets specific teacher requirements.  I have worked to grow the French collection little by little each year and I know there are definitely curriculum matches there and I want to ensure that I get those books into the teachers hands who need them.  I also want to reorganize that collection in a way that makes it easy for French language teachers to come in and find what they need right away.

This has been a very positive undertaking and I look forward to continuing my work on this project as the year progresses.