By Risa Gluskin

sculpture bridgepoint April 2016

Detail from William Lishman Sculpture Garden, Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, Toronto. Photo courtesy of Val Dodge from April, 2016.


It’s April 14th and the snow is falling. Regardless, the last quarter of the school year is in progress. We all know how fast it will move!

I wanted to take this opportunity to ask for your input (comments and contributions). I’m aiming to include more posts on social science related topics. However, I’m having a tough time getting writers on the subject. If you’re teaching social sciences and are willing to write, please contact me. If you have students or student teachers who’d like to write, please have them contact me.

In upcoming posts I’ll be examining the topic of instructional leaders/consultants and learning coaches. In my very preliminary research – and to my surprise – I’ve found that there are some school boards that still have subject-specific instructional leaders or consultants. It’s a surprise to me because my board (Toronto), which used to have them for geography and civics, history, family studies, and K-8 social studies, switched to a non-subject-specific learning coach model a few years ago.

Though I admit I am curious as to the rationale for the cutting of subject-specific positions, I am respectful of the incredible work that some coaches are doing. I hope to profile some of these people in the upcoming months. I’m also going to report on a new development in my board where there is a pilot program that combines subject-specific coaching with classroom teaching in a hybrid-demonstration classroom type situation.

If you’re a learning coach or instructional leader in Ontario, please feel free to contact me so that I can learn more about the different models across the province and can report on them.


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By Jean-François Bertrand


Students from Collège Catholique Samuel-Genest presented their project to raise awareness about stereotypes in media at the semi-annual Youth Action Showcase. Photo courtesy of Jean-François Bertrand.


For over half of grade 10 students in Ottawa’s French and English school boards, the “Active Citizenship” stream of CHV20, the one that deals with civic engagement, is a hands-on experience.

The program is called DILA, for “A Day of Information for a Lifetime of Action” and is created and run by Youth Ottawa, a non-profit organization with the goal of empowering and engaging young people for positive change.  

By Risa Gluskin

Here are some challenges I am facing in my ongoing efforts to become an inquiry teacher. I am currently teaching grade 11 World History. See my previous posts to read about my inquiry goals.

Vincenzo Camuccini La morte di Cesare

At least it’s not this bad! I survived the Ides of March.

Vincenzo Camuccini, La morte di Cesare, 1804/05,


“Just tell us what to think!”

So went the cry of a flustered student in an inquiry lesson on the Persian Empire. In my mind, all was as it should have been; students were working away on interpreting information about how well the Persian leaders balanced freedom and control. It wasn’t easy but it should have been doable, I thought. 

I pressed on, throwing out lines like, “part of the process of learning is struggling.” Of course I believed that to be true, but I might have been pushing too hard. I was overloading my students with information. I told myself that it’s okay because all of their tests are open notebook, but it might have been too demanding.

For the next unit (Rome) I have vowed to cut down on the quantity of information in order to make the inquiry more manageable, less frustrating.

By Kurt Bartlett

City School

City School,


I had no idea what to expect walking into an alternative school on only my second practicum. I had done some reading about alternative schools in my time at OISE, but nothing I could have read could have prepared me for how challenging, awesome, exciting, and interesting it is to be in an environment like that.

Many of the alternative schools in the TDSB exist for students that don’t “fit” into a “standard” school for a variety of reasons. Maybe they’ve had trouble with attendance. Maybe they have anxiety about class sizes. Maybe they want to be in a smaller community. Or maybe they want more freedom in how they learn. Alternative schools provide all of these alternatives, which can provide quite a challenge for teachers (and teachers to be, in my case). They also provide a friendly and inviting community that makes you feel welcome the second you walk through those front doors.

To make the most of my time teaching history and political science at this alternative school, I worked on creating several strategies that would help the class and I get on the same page. Far be it for the teacher-candidate to tell anyone how best to teach, but I believe by following and retooling these strategies at various points during my practicum I was able to make the most of my experience teaching. 

Lessons by students of John Myers at OISE


grade 7


In this issue of Rapport you will find four lessons for Grade 7 History from Unit 2. They are part of the series of lessons by students of John Myers at OISE.