The month of February is JDAIM- Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month. The right book can really help foster more awareness and kindness in our students. I have created a book bin with books on this topic for reading buddies that you can find at any time in the library. I have also created a short list of some of our most on-point titles;
Just Ask! by Sonia Sotomayor. This lovely book covers various kinds of differences and how every individual has so much to share.
Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin and John Archambault. A beautifully poetic book about a blind child developing confidence in his own abilities.
Thank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco. Patricia Polacco has to be one of my all time favourite children’s authors. She has so many titles that deal with themes of children struggling because they are different and then finding the support they deserve in their teachers and friends. It is about how much each child is capable of, no matter what the obstacle may be at first. In this book, our protagonist struggles with dyslexia but with the support of a compassionate teacher is able to learn to read.
I’m Wendy Blair, Not a Chair! by Carolyn MacDiarmid. This book is about not letting your disability hold you back. This was written and published by The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work.
You’re Different and That’s Super by Carson Kressley. This book was written by one of the original Queer Eye crew and is a hilarious and adorable book about how special it is to be different. A storytime favourite.
We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio. We can’t end a list like this without including something by Palacio. This picture book brings home the main message in the novel Wonder for a younger audience. Beautifully illustrated.
Grade 1 visited the library on Friday for a workshop on exploring non-fiction. We started off by discussing what some of the differences are between fiction and non-fiction, and grade 1 were already ahead of the game there and understood it quite well. Non-fiction is a book that focuses on real events and real information. It is a book we use to learn about something in most cases.
We moved on to talking about some unique parts found in most non-fiction books…
The table of contents
I showed them some examples of how we could utilize these parts of the book.
I gave the students a comprehensive walking tour of the non-fiction section of the library. After that, we played a scavenger hunt game. Students were given a slip of paper with a subject and a Dewey Decimal number on it. They were tasked with using what they had learned to locate it.
We all had a lot of fun and grade 1 may now be even more proficient at searching non-fiction than the rest of the school!
Today Grade 2 had the opportunity to hear about some of the books that we will have available at our Scholastic Book Fair from December 4-6. The books they were most excited about (of course) are the Dav Pilkey offerings. He has a great series for beginning readers called Dragon that they were all eager to get their hands on.
We then sat in the storytime area to hear another book that will be at the fair called Bruce’s Big Move. This book was laugh out loud funny for me and the kids.
Every student will have a scheduled time to visit with their class. Parents can visit at any time – drop-offs, pick-ups, or during the day. Parents will also have the opportunity to attend when visiting the school during parent-teacher conferences. It is also open to the community, so come one, come all. It will be a great opportunity to pick up some Chanukah gifts! If you want to help out, please get in contact with Jaimee Mitzmacher who is our PTA chair of the event.
The OJCS was very fortunate to get a visit today from author Jackie Mills. She wrote a wonderful new book called Little Synagogue on the Prairie about a Synagogue, the Montefiore Institute, in Alberta that had to be moved three times.
The kids were held rapt by this fascinating true story.
After the story, Ms. Mills gave a copy to each student to take home. They were incredibly excited and grateful.
Today we at the OJCS got to learn more about Jewish Canadian history and it was a wonderful experience.
Over the summer the library catalogue was updated with an exciting new feature – the reading level values for the books in our collection. At OJCS we use Accelerated Reader as a way for students, teachers, and parents to track reading improvement and progress. By making our catalogue searchable with AR values, students will be able to challenge themselves when making book selections.
The OJCS Scholastic Book Fair runs Wednesday April 3rd to Friday April 5th and again Sunday April 7th! Funds from this fair will be used to buy new books for our French Department! Be sure to send the kiddies to school with some money so that they can bring home a shiny new book. Also, parents, please feel free to visit the fair before or after school or even if you drop in during the day.
Teachers will have a class wish list board set up when you enter the chapel so that you can buy a book to contribute to your child’s classroom library.
We are very excited about this event and appreciate all the support!
The OJCS 5-8 students were very fortunate to get a visit from author and playwright Emil Sher today. Emil adapted the powerful Holocaust story of Hana Brady from the book Hana’s Suitcase for the stage. Emil went over the book with our students and went into detail about the choices you make when writing for the stage.
An example of this was an explanation about the artistic choices that he made when trying to show the systematic dehumanization of Jewish people for an audience in a way that can be felt by the audience without having to show each crushing law individually. He explained how seeing the actress playing Hana in a classroom setting first getting her books taken away, and then her notebook, and then finally the pencil itself by a faceless man in a suit conveyed the pain and demoralization that Hana went through.
Students engaged in a discussion segment about the moral impossibility of choosing who lives and dies in a made-up scenario. Do you choose someone who is 5 years old to live over someone who is elderly? How do those choices feel?
Emil asked students to remember that like adapting a book for the stage, life comes down to the choices we make every single day.
The world celebrates Black History Month in February and the library has a great collection of books to support teachers on this topic.
A few notable ones…
The story of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel. A wonderful book to share with grades 2 and up. These two men connected through their shared experience of discrimination. A powerful story about equality that even younger readers can handle.
This book is part of the brilliant Who Was series which covers important biographies for beginning readers. I could see this book being used as a read-aloud this month.
This book explains what the Underground Railroad was and what life was like traveling on it. A book that could lead to an activity of students writing short fiction pieces where they imagine the experience.
A graphic novel biography about Mandela for middle schoolers. Action packed, informative, and highly recommended!