Education Library Blog

Stay up to date on news, events and special features.

New Book Highlights – February

Here are a few new books at the Education Library that can make your lessons more engaging and interesting.

Burn Math Class by Jason Wilkes – Forget everything you’ve been taught about math. In Burn Math Class, Jason Wilkes takes the traditional approach to how we learn math–with its unwelcoming textbooks, unexplained rules, and authoritarian assertions-and sets it on fire. Focusing on how mathematics is created rather than on mathematical facts, Wilkes teaches the subject in a way that requires no memorization and no prior knowledge beyond addition and multiplication. From these simple foundations, Burn Math Class shows how mathematics can be (re)invented from scratch without preexisting textbooks and courses. We can discover math on our own through experimentation and failure, without appealing to any outside authority. When math is created free from arcane notations and pretentious jargon that hide the simplicity of mathematical concepts, it can be understood organically–and it becomes fun!

Following this unconventional approach, Burn Math Class leads the reader from the basics of elementary arithmetic to various “advanced” topics, such as time-dilation in special relativity, Taylor series, and calculus in infinite-dimensional spaces. Along the way, Wilkes argues that orthodox mathematics education has been teaching the subject backward: calculus belongs before many of its so-called prerequisites, and those prerequisites cannot be fully understood without calculus.

Like the smartest, craziest teacher you’ve ever had, Wilkes guides you on an adventure in mathematical creation that will radically change the way you think about math. Revealing the beauty and simplicity of this timeless subject, Burn Math Class turns everything that seems difficult about mathematics upside down and sideways until you understand just how easy math can be. [Google Books]

Playful Teaching and Learning by Glenda Walsh, Dorothy McMillan and Carol McGuinness – Every early years practitioner should be able to captivate and maintain the interest of young children in their setting, through the provision of a playful learning experience.

Covering age ranges 3-8 years, this textbook explores the importance of infusing playfulness throughout the entire early years day, and includes chapters that:

establish the core principles underpinning playful teaching and learning
help students and practitioners understand how playfulness can be applied to all aspects of the early years curriculum including mathematics, literacy, outdoor environments, science & technology, and ICT
explore core issues in early years provision including observing, planning & assessment, and how they relate to playful learning
emphasize the role and qualities of the playful professional.

This is a fantastic resource for any student or practitioner looking to enrich the lives of young children through meaningful playful learning experiences. [Google Books]

Game on!: Gamification, Gameful Design, and the Rise of the Gamer Educator by Kevin Bell – The changing student body in American higher education demands a new approach to teaching, one that moves toward inclusive, hyperpersonalized learning environments that have much in common with games and social media. Kevin Bell’s Game On! presents dynamic case studies of gamer educators and game-derived techniques to help instructors creatively formulate their own teaching strategies.

Breaking gamefully designed classes into their component parts, Bell analyzes what these classes are actually doing and explains why they work. He offers faculty a rubric to assess their own courses for their propensity to engage students, particularly those from low socioeconomic and high-risk populations. Bell explores how game design, pedagogy, and intrinsic motivators can level the playing field to produce rigorous learning environments that are as addictive to all participants as the latest apps and social media systems. He also discusses best practices, lays out the broader context of computer-mediated teaching and learning, and considers the challenges and opportunities that gamification presents.

Instructors would do well to consider the key tenets of successful games if they are to engage and graduate the coming generations of learners. Bell’s careful analysis of the theories behind gamification, cognitive science, and instructional design will help them to do just that. [Google Books]

Freedom to Read Week – February 25-March 3 2018

What is Freedom to Read Week?

Under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadians are granted intellectual freedom. Freedom to Read Week is designed to encourage Canadians to reflect upon these rights.

Freedom to Read Week is organized by the Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council. Here is a list of over 100 books that have been banned or challenged within Canada.

How Can You Celebrate? has several ideas for educators on how to get involved. These ideas can be used during FTRW but also year-round.

1) Start a banned book club. Find a book that has been challenged or banned, and talk about censorship with your class or group.

2) Host a photo contest. Participants can submit selfies with a banned book or FTRW poster, a photo of a FTRW event in their community, or anything that promotes freedom of expression.

3) Hang a poster in your class or workspace. Freedom to Read kits can be purchased on the FTR site, which include posters and clip art. You can create a display centered on banned books or censored writers.

4) Organize a public event with your class. Censored author readings, awards for challenged books, or panel discussions on intellectual freedom are a few ideas.

Links and Resources

Games and Quizzes


Bannings and Burnings in History

List of Challenged Works

Posters/Infographics: 30 Challenged Publications, Understanding Canadian Defamation Law, Access to Information

For a comprehensive list of resources, see the FTR website.

Freedom to Read Week 2018

Serendipity 2018

Beasts, Birds and Words: The Poetics of Children’s Books

Join us to hear Isabelle Arsenault, Robert Heidbreder, Kyo Maclear, Tiffany Stone, and Frédéric Gauthier of Les Éditions de la Pastèque talk about their works, their inspiration, and the Canadian children’s book publishing space at UBC Robson Square on Saturday, March 3, 2018.

Isabelle Arsenault, an award winning Quebecois author/illustrator is Canada’s nominee for the 2018 world Hans Christian Anderson illustrator award, the top award in the world for illustrators of children’s books. She has won the Canadian Governor General’s Award for Children’s Books many times. Her books are published in French and in English. Her books are for both children and teens.

Presenting along with her is Quebecois publisher Frédéric Gauthier and a host of wonderful poetry writers for children and youth.

Mar. 3, 2018 | 8am to 3:30 pm | UBC Robson Square
Early bird rates end February 14, 2018 | Final ticket sales close February 28, 2018
Registration includes: Coffee, snacks, lunch, book sales, and book signing.

Find more information and register here.

Family Literacy Day is January 27th!

Family Literacy Day is January 27th! Taking time every day to read or do a learning activity with children is crucial to a child’s development. What do you have planned to promote this special day to your students and their family members? Here are a few activities to get you started.

Barbara Reid’s modelling clay activities

10 Family Activities

ABC Activity Sheet

ABC Activity Sheet (2017)

Play With Your Food!

Family Literacy Day Event Co-ordinator’s Guide

Be sure to check the ABC Life Literacy Canada website for more information and resources.

The Education Library currently has popular children’s books along with resources for adults about children’s literacy on display in the Education Library. Be sure to stop by and check them out!

Blackout Poetry – Classroom Connection

Have you ever considered using blackout poetry in your lessons?

Teachers at all grade levels are finding ways to use blackout poetry with their students. Here are a few examples from teachers:

Love, Teach blog: Blackout Poetry for the Win!
Scholastic: Blackout Poems
Vogel, E. & Miller, N.: What Would You Erase?: A Lesson on Blackout Poetry

To try blackout poetry for yourself, come to our De-Stress Day event on January 24 from 12:00-2:00pm! We will have all of the materials ready for you to make your own blackout poems.

When: January 24, 12:00-2:00 Drop-in
Where: Scarfe 155 – Education Library

Supplies for colouring and puppet making will also be available. We hope you’ll come de-stress with us!