Archive | September, 2012

New Look

29 Sep

Change is good and I hope you like the new look!
Please take a look at the new website as well @


One Year Gone

10 Sep

It was one year today that Gavin and Zachery Marengeur were tragically taken from us. My thoughts are with the Marengeur Family and all of the students from Banting Memorial who loved him so much. Many of those students are going into their first year of University, and it hurts to know that Gavin would have enjoying the same luxury as his peers. He was planning on going to University for theatre arts.
Today is a reminder of how grateful we all should be for the lives we live and people who love us. To the Banting students, I hope you make the most of this new post-secondary experience and that you stay safe.

Cool Quotes for Literacy Month

6 Sep

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
― Frederick Douglass

“There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.”
― Frank Serafini

“School made us ‘literate’ but did not teach us to read for pleasure.”
― Ambeth Ocampo

“Comics are a gateway drug to literacy.”
― Art Spiegelman

“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.”
― Vera Nazarian

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.”
― Kofi Annan

“Learning to read is probably the most difficult and revolutionary thing that happens to the human brain and if you don’t believe that, watch an illiterate adult try to do it.”
― John Steinbeck

“You may have tangible wealth untold; caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be. I had a mother who read to me.”
― Strickland Gillian

“To encourage literature and the arts is a duty which every good citizen owes to his country.”
― George Washington

“With words at your disposal, you can see more clearly. Finding the words is another step in learning to see.”
― Robin Kimmerer

“Growing Literacy of the Heart and Mind Cultivates the Landscape of a Child’s Future.”
― Clyde Heath

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Sir Richard Steele

“How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.” Henry David Thoreau

“No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.” Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

“If you can read this, thank a teacher.”
– Anonymous teacher

“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
– B.B. King

“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.”
– Clay P. Bedford

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
– Emilie Buchwald

“Live as if your were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
– Gandhi (1869-1948)

“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.”
– John Locke

“One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.”
– John W. Gardner

“To teach is to learn twice.”
– Joseph Joubert

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

“Literacy arouses hopes, not only in society as a whole but also in the individual who is striving for fulfilment, happiness and personal benefit by learning how to read and write. Literacy… means far more than learning how to read and write… The aim is to transmit… knowledge and promote social participation.”
– UNESCO Institute for Education, Hamburg, Germany

Students Praying in School… why not?

1 Sep

Why do religious groups always feel the need to get their panties in a twist over things that don’t effect them?

The article below looks at a protest happening in Toronto.  The protesters are sticking their noses in a place that doesn’t belong.  The TDSB is a culturally diverse school board, and the schools have a mandate to reflect the cultural make-up of the student body, meaning, if 80% of the students are Muslim then 80% of the staff and extracurricular focus of that specific school should reflect the cultural of those students.  My Muslim students do not want to impose anything on anyone, but they do want the same right to pray during the day as Christians might want to say grace at lunch.  I think what Valley Park has offered it students is a wicked example of our Canadian Mixed Salad theory.  These students are being taught in a public school that accommodates the needs of the students.  If there were schools with 80% populations of any other religion that required children be removed from school, than I would like to think that the community would feel as welcome to suggest an alternative as the families, educators and administrators of this middle school.  Would I condone my taxes paying for religious schooling, like the Catholic School Boards, no.  But that isn’t happening here.

Check out the article…


Groups protest Muslim prayers at Toronto

public school

07/25/2011  | Michael Talbot,

Several faith-based groups protested outside the Toronto District School Board’s headquarters Monday over Muslim prayers taking place in a Toronto school.

For three years, hundreds of students have been praying in the cafeteria at Valley Park Middle School during their lunch hour. The school doesn’t run or pay for the service.

TDSB director of education Chris Spence said the decision to hold the prayer sessions was made in consultation with the school community.

The service is operated by members of the Valley Park community, and was un-opposed by parents of other students at the school before Ron Banerjee, claiming to represent a group called the Canadian Hindu Advocacy, began complaining earlier this year.

“When you have 400 students coming in and out of class…it’s extremely disruptive,” said Banerjee, who organized Monday’s protest. “It’s discriminatory.  It raises lots of questions in terms of ‘Why are Muslims alone being allowed to do this?’ This is part of the Islam-ification of society.”

Members of the Jewish Defence League of Canada and the Christian Heritage Group also took part in the protest.

80 per cent of Valley Park students are Muslim, and the school began the Friday services to prevent students from missing classes to pray at a nearby mosque.

The TDSB defended the sessions, saying it’s simply trying to accommodate the religious beliefs of its many Muslim students, as mandated by the Ontario Human Rights Code.

It said the issue is not one about religion in schools but about religious accommodation.

“We have a predominantly Muslim population in the student body, so the parents were asking for a space where we can provide for Friday prayers,” board trustee, Shaun Chen previously told CityNews.

Banerjee doesn’t buy it.

“If they want to accommodate the Muslim students, they get a one hour lunch break, the mosque is five minutes away, they can just tell them to pack a lunch and during your one-hour break go off to the mosque.”

In the meantime, Canada’s largest Hindu group, Canadian Hindu Network, says the views of the Canadian Hindu Advocacy are not representative of mainstream Hindus.

07/25/2011  | Michael Talbot,

Celebrate Literacy Month

1 Sep

As an educator, I have become all to aware the of literacy skills that our students lack.  It is the reason I am offering literacy and numeracy programming!  Here are some of the initiatives and tips for Literacy Month!

Peel Region is offering a series of workshop for parents and children under the age of 6.  The workshops are free, and each provide refreshments, story time and strategies for parents!

Register for the workshops at this link.

UNESCO is celebrating International Literacy Day on September 8th and this year the theme is Literacy & Peace.  The website states…

“Literacy contributes to peace as it brings people closer to attaining individual freedoms and better understanding the world, as well as preventing or resolving conflict. The connection between literacy and peace can be seen by the fact that in unstable democracies or in conflict-affected countries it is harder to establish or sustain a literate environment.”

Here are their suggestions how to participate…

  1. Donate books and reading materials to your local school or community centre
  2. Start a reading club
  3. Volunteer to teach literacy classes in your community
  4. Become a mentor of a non-literate person
  5. Send your literacy stories to

Check out their articles, videos and resources on the UNESCO website…

ABC Life Literacy Canada is encouraging families to participate in everyday activities that support everyday literacy practices.  Here are their suggestions…

  1. When making your grocery list, have your child write out the items you need to buy.
  2. At the store, ask your child to count out the money to make the purchase.
  3. Make it a habit to always read a story together at bedtime.
  4. When cooking dinner, involve your children in measuring the ingredients.  This helps them understand fractions and measurements.
  5. Driving is a perfect opportunity to practice literacy.  Read signs, billboards and license plate together, and show your children the proper way to read a map.
  6. While on the internet, make time to research something new that your family is interested in. Research skills are important and help with reading and comprehension.
  7. In the car, sing along to songs on the radio. Singing encourages learning patterns of words, rhymes and rhythms, and is strongly connected to language skills.
  8. When playing board games, read the instructions aloud to each other or count how many spaces to travel the board.
  9. Involve yours kids when you pay the bills.  This will teach them strong financial skills early on in life.
  10. Children follow by example, so ensure learning and reading are part of your daily life too!

They are celebrating Essential Skills Day on September 21st and have focused their campaign on adult literacy and work place skills.

Check out their resources and website…