There is no substitute for that feeling you get when you pick up a good book and find yourself transported to another world and immersed in the lives of other people.
Step into Jessica Maloughney’s (BEd’11) Grade 2 classroom at St. Patrick’s Community School in Red Deer, Alta., and you may be reminded of a six-year-old’s bedroom. Minecraft posters decorate the walls, Lego figurines are tucked around the classroom, and collections of Star Wars and Frozen books populate the bookshelf.
The year Lori Friesen (‘12 PhD) began teaching, she adopted a puppy: a Maltese-poodle named Tango. It was the first dog she’d had since the passing of her beloved childhood dog, and she was thrilled. So were her Grade 1 students, who begged to meet the puppy. Seeing the learning opportunities for students, Friesen agreed to bring the dog to class.
Once Tango had been introduced to the children, pairs of students were allowed 10 minutes with the dog in the reading corner. That’s when the canine magic began. “They started bringing books to read to her,” recalls Friesen.
Stories have been part of human culture since humans were, well, human. It goes back as far as cave people scratching images of their lives onto stone, probably further. With storytelling, we recall the past and anticipate the future by weaving events into juicy narratives.
Traditionally, storytelling was a spoken-word or written affair. But with access to computers new ways of sharing stories have emerged — from podcasts and online learning to digital storytelling.
With Fall Reading Week and Fall Convocation happening this month and the holidays just around the corner, it is a perfect time to pause and reflect on the significant events and accomplishments of the past few months.
When local Cree and Métis artist Aaron Paquette was a young, rebellious teenager in Edmonton, he learned the impact words can have on someone.
“Your words create worlds,” said Paquette, 42, as he recounted how he started to believe a then-abusive family member when they would tell a teenaged Aaron, “You’ll never be anything”. Later in life, Paquette learned that this family member was so horrifically abused as a child that they had never learned to read.
Before students descended on the University of Alberta for the hectic start of fall term, a small group of 10 to 16-year-old girls from the Edmonton area were on campus for a summer camp with a difference.
When Linda Cook (‘74 BA, ‘75 BLS, ‘87 MLS) started as the Edmonton Public Library’s CEO in 1997, no new libraries had been built in 14 years. Libraries were considered old and tired—full of outdated, dusty books that were quickly being replaced by digital technology.
But Cook saw an opportunity. She saw EPL’s branches as community meeting places that could benefit from new technology rather than be threatened by it. That vision led to five new libraries, three rebuilt branches, countless new programs, and a complete overhaul of the EPL brand.
Retired teacher Margaret Epoch (‘77 BPE, ‘97 BEd, ‘02 MEd) picks up a binder and leafs through it, stopping several times to point to news articles that detail global projects her former students took part in. They did everything from random acts of kindness—driving into a town and sweeping the walk or handing out flowers—to fundraising for students in other parts of the world.
University of Alberta alumna Carla Cuglietta (’01 BEd, ’01 BPE) says helping people has been woven into her sense of purpose from early on, which informed her childhood notions about what she wanted to be when she grew up.
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” Cuglietta says. “The reach, the platform a teacher has to encourage others to get involved in serving others is pretty big. That was quite appealing to me at a young age.”