Teaching with the Dear Canada series and I Am Canada series

If you have a child in grades four – seven, you have likely heard of the Dear Canada series (which I highly recommend for SS/LA).  These books are historical fiction, written in diary format by a main character during a specific historic event or time period.  Some titles that we have in the TLA library include:

dear canada 2 dear canada 3 dear canada 4 dear canada

…just to name a few!  But did you know that Scholastic has created multiple teaching resources called Teaching With Dear Canada ?  These are non-consumable resources that you can order through your Home teacher from the TLA library.  We have volumes 1 – 4 and each of them focus on 4 Dear Canada novels.  They give a timeline of Canadian history, story summaries, lists of thought-provoking discussion questions and engaging extension activity ideas.


Dear Canada also has a brother series called, I Am Canada (also highly recommended).  The main characters are boys and aimed at ages 9 – 12.

So far, we just have 2 titles in our library but I hope to be adding more in the coming year.

i am canada 2 i am canada

Scholastic has posted discussion guides for each I Am Canada book on their site.   Watch a video about this new series of books here on the Scholastic website.

Incorporating language arts and social studies by reading historical fiction is a great way to pique a child’s interest in history in a way that they can begin to understand what it might have been like during those periods of time.  I hope that you and your child will have a chance to check out some of these titles in the coming the school year.

ITTT Boards in the library: check them out!

We are slowly but surely increasing the number of consumable resources that we have in stock as samples for teachers and parents to check out in person.  Who doesn’t love flipping through the pages of a workbook or opening the box of a board game in person instead of purchasing online based on the cover and a written description!?

A TLA Learning Support Services (formally known as Special Needs) teacher  suggested we have a couple of these Independent Tactile Teaching Tools (or ITTT) Boards in the library for parents and teachers to see in person.   What are they?



According to their website, ITTTBoards.com, “ITTT Boards promote independent learning through literacy and numeracy activities. Learners are given the opportunity to practice and advance these skills daily with the use of our calendar board and activity board. Once the target learning goal is introduced (i.e. ordering numbers), ITTT Boards allow learners to review their tasks and work at their own pace without more assistance from the teacher.  For most students, adding the extra sense of touch to an activity helps with focus and the overall learning process.  The task of putting pencil to paper is removed and replaced by manipulatives and motion. The repetitive nature of the activities encourages independence.Independence is key to helping a student gain confidence in a task or activity. ”

An ITTT Board set would be ordered as a consumable because of the self-assembly of the pieces upon arrival plus so many little pieces to keep track of.  For $45, a parent could get both the activity and calendar sets which includes one Calendar Board, one Activity Board, Numbers Tiles 0 – 100, Alphabet Tiles A – Z, Months (12), Day Numbers (31), Days of the Week (7), and Calendar Activity Tiles.  If only one set interests you, it’s $25 for one set.

ITTTBoards.com gives lots of ideas for activities here.  

But here’s the best part – we have TWO at the library as samples so that you can check it out in person when you stop by.  LSS teachers – if you want to borrow one to take with you to a meeting with one of your families, let me know!  I will get it into your hands so you can share an ITTT Board with students and families who would benefit from this tactile resource.

EPIC! Online Access to 10,000 books

I discovered the EPIC! app this spring and if you have not yet tried it out, you must!   This is a library at your fingertips full of familiar books like Berenstein Bears or Fancy Nancy, PLUS, books about every possible topic that you can imagine.   Imagine that you are teaching your child about weather and you have a site that you can search “weather” and awesome books like these pop up:

weather weather4 weather3 weather2

Books for ALL ages!  And these are only four of over a hundred that you can add to your child’s learning!

These books open on your screen and you or your child can flip through the pages.  Some have the green “Read To Me” label at the bottom of the book which means that your child can listen to the book on their own.  Otherwise, you would need to read them aloud to your child from the screen.

A book like this Science Explorer: Weather one for ages 11 – 13 looks like this inside:

weather 5

I downloaded the app for my iPad and iPhone but it can also be used on any computer.  I am still looking into pricing but currently it comes with a 30 Day Free Trial then costs $4.99/mo.  In my opinion, worth every penny!

What a wealth of knowledge to add to your program!

Library Progress!

If you have stopped by TLA Hawthorne since January, you likely found me surrounded by piles of books on the floor!  Yes, I am in a constant state of re-organizing over here.  It has to get worse before it can get better, right?


Why am I in this constant state?  Firstly, I have only been working at the TLA library since January and after the library’s big move from our main office to Hawthorne Square this past October, some sections were in a bit of a disarray.  Secondly, it’s not your typical library like your local public library.  Most of what we have on our shelves are textbooks, specific programs, and a variety of games/math manipulatives/DVDs etc.  We don’t organize using the Dewey Decimal system or anything like this so it’s important to make sure the subject sections are clearly labeled in a way that we can locate specific items when your Home teacher orders your resource.    So this has been my focus!

The shelves are looking better and better as the weeks progress (if I do say so myself!).  I hope you’re stop by.  And if you DO find me with piles of boxes and books surrounding me, fear not!  It’s a work in progress!