This year’s conference will take place on Zoom on April 1st and 2nd and will have the theme, Creative Conversations: Connecting Teachers With Local Writers, Poets and Storytellers.
This year’s conference is all about connecting teachers to local authors. Here are the sessions scheduled for Springboards 2022 (full session descriptions in the program):
Deanna Smith & Jason Selman are teaching artists, poets, writers, and spoken word artists. They are also a married couple who work together, on occasion. In their presentation, they will perform their work, showing how it connects to both process and pedagogy. They will examine their individual approaches to teaching poetry, how they differ from one another and where they intersect. They will address the purpose of their work beyond poetry and their life journeys into becoming artists.
Connecting Text and Image in the Elementary ELA Classroom with Matthew Forsythe. Matthew’s presentation will focus on writing and illustrating picture books and the energies involved and on the connections between image, text, page turns, character and colour.
Fania’s Heart: Writing About the Holocaust for Young Readers with Anne Renaud. For Anne’s presentation, participants will be introduced to the pedagogical tools developed by the Montreal Holocaust Museum for elementary level students relating to the Heart of Auschwitz artefact, as well activities to do with students, depending on their grade level, which correlate with Anne’s books, Fania’s Heart, and the teaching of the Holocaust.
Reader Come Home: Our Book Club with Barbara Kurtzman, Mary Stewart and Elizabeth Walcot. Barbara, Mary and Elizabeth will speak about their involvement in an educator’s book club and the enrichment and mutual support that teachers can draw from such an experience.
Indigenous Historical Fiction Novel Study with Nadine Neema. Nadine will speak about her historical fiction youth novel Journal of a Travelling Girl aimed at 9-12 year olds. She will explain how teachers are already using the book as a novel study in several schools, and show what the teacher’s guide contains. Nadine’s book is a coming of age story of a young girl who goes on the annual Tłįchǫ canoe trip retracing the trails of their ancestors on their way to the celebrations for the effective date of the Tłįchǫ Agreement.
Rainbow Story Hour with Melissa-Ann Pereira Ledo, HercuSleaze and Uma Gahd. Melissa, HercuSleaze and Uma Gahd will discuss Montreal’s Rainbow Story Hour, which began as a study that followed elementary teachers’ creation and implementation of an age-appropriate arts curriculum focused on Queering Curriculum. Their presentation will focus on: practices that ensure a safer environment for 2SLGBTQ+ students in the classroom; how teachers can best practice allyship; the ways in which children’s literature can be used to create more intersectionality and inclusive classrooms; and the importance of live interactions with a community member!
Using the novel Zee to Explore Empathy, Difference, and Finding your Own Path in Life with Su J Sokol. Su’s presentation will show how her novel, Zee, can be used in the classroom to discuss empathy, both its power and its limitations; non-traditional and chosen family; issues related to gender, sexuality, and racialization; and resisting social and peer pressure to conform. The presentation will also address, with examples from the book, the use of literary tools such as point-of-view and “breaking the fourth wall” to help underline certain thematics, and speculative fiction as a fun and interesting way to talk about serious issues.
Teaching Teenagers About Poetry with Sarah Venart. Sarah will discuss teaching and writing poetry and share writing exercises she uses in her own classroom. She will share a writing exercise she has created called, “To My Fallen Soldier” and another based on an essay titled: “Teenagers are not Exempt from Poetry” by Kara Jackson. Sarah will also read from her book of poetry I AM THE BIG HEART.
Exploring Digital Reading Tools with Emily Mannard, Selma Hammad, Nicole Waldie and Josh Cross. Emily, Selma, Nicole and Josh will share final projects completed in McGill University’s EDES 461 Teaching Secondary English 2 course, which consist of teaching guides centered upon critical, activist approaches to digital new media texts like videogames, podcasts, online fanfiction, and coding.
Those Who Can Do, Teach with Dani Jensen. In this presentation, YA author and high school English teacher Dani Jansen will prove the old adage “those who can’t do, teach” is absolutely wrong. Teachers will have the opportunity to reflect on how their own reading and writing practices can help shape their teaching.
Speak Up! with Anne Beamish and Maria Raskin. With spoken word, students get the chance to fall in love with poetry and develop their sense of identity through the words they themselves write. Consultants Anne Beamish and Maria Raskin share the history of the Speak Up EMSB, an annual spoken word poetry competition.
Springboards is our annual, flagship conference held in the spring and so-named because the ideas shared are a springboard to either end-of-year planning, or beginning of next year creativity. A grass-roots conference, with an over 40-year tradition, it is held by teachers for teachers. Presenters are practicing teachers sharing what works for them, what has confounded them, and how they have attempted to solve some of the daily challenges of life as an ELA teacher. It is an opportunity to share best practices with each other in an informal, supportive setting. Join the conversation!