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ELA Today

ELA Today is an online journal compiled and edited by the ATEQ Board featuring content relevant to English Language Arts Teachers in Quebec. It includes contributions from people in Quebec and from abroad in order to foster beneficial dialogue and share information, knowledge and pedagogical approaches.

Below are excerpts from ELA Today. Click on an excerpt to read the full article. Access to ELA Today articles is exclusive to ATEQ Members – make sure you are logged in to access content, or become a member if you aren’t one already!

Stop Motion Animation

    While searching for resources online about using picture books in the secondary classroom, I came across another teacher’s YouTube playlist of stop-motion animation films that his students made from picture books. I watched nearly all of the short films they made and was inspired! These kids clearly called on several skills and were able to put together some pretty amazing productions.


      The fictional Wolf Creek is a tight-knit Adirondack mountain community that serves a maximum security prison. Kate Messner’s latest novel is based on the 2015 prison breakout where two inmates escaped The Clinton County Correctional Facility and attempted to make their way to Canada. The narrative is accessible to many readers because of the variety of text types. The book is sometimes funny and at other times serious, but it is always engaging since the voices of the young people of Wolf Creek tell a story that is very much close to home.

      From Hoaxes to Human Books

        Librarians and ELA teachers from the English Montreal School Board frequently collaborate to create initiatives that engage students and boost ELA competencies. Here are a few examples from the 2017-18 school year: Summer Reading Podcasts, Human Library, ​Fake News Detection, Le Combat des Livres NDG Reads.

        Animated Shorts

          Who doesn’t love a good animated short film? They’re creative, thoughtful and – like a last-minute snow day in February – they can serve as a nice brain break. They’re also perfect for the ELA classroom. For starters, students are already comfortable with the medium of film. Most teens spend at least some of their free time (binge) watching Netflix or playing narrative-based online games. Because of this familiarity, students are more likely to feel a sense of security from film that they may not get from non-visual texts like novels or poetry. And, feeling at ease is the first step to engagement. We’ve put together a list of our favourite short animations for you to use in your ELA classroom. While the list was created with a secondary audience in mind, many of the films are appropriate for students in elementary. With each film, we’ve included a short synopsis as well as three possible discussion questions for students. See LIST compiled by P. Bussey.

          Readers and Diverse Books

            Trying to find books that tell the stories that reflect the experiences of the diverse readers in our classroom can be a real challenge, one that members of the “We Need Diverse Books” campaign know only too well. Spearheaded by author Ellen Oh, in 2014, this organization began as the social media campaign #WeNeedDiverseBooks. What began as a response to both the lack of diversity in the programming and the presenters featured at major publishing conventions in the United States has grown into a larger movement to bring diverse books into the mainstream. Here, Lise Kuhn shares information about diversity in children’s and young adult books and discusses the advantages of including diverse texts in the classroom.

            Texts for R-W connection

              These texts have been recommended for use as models for drawing, writing and producing texts. They can also serve as texts to for the response process and for literature circles discussions. See the LIST.
              Image source:

              Go to to discover more texts for the ELA and SELA classroom.

              Reading Solar Bones

                The author, Abigail Anderson, had a career in education that spanned thirty-six years, from the classroom to the Quebec Ministry of Education and McGill University. She remains a passionate reader and proponent of teachers, ELA, and public education. As a literate person, she was unexpectedly confronted with reading a novel that challenged her repertoire, her knowledge and expectations of craft and genre, as well as her understanding of herself as a reader. After a lifetime of thinking, writing and teaching about reading, imagine what a gift it is for a reading experience to so surprise a reader — and for that same reader to allow themselves to be surprised. Follow Abigail’s reading adventure HERE.

                Alternative United

                  Alternative United is an organization based out of the EMSB’s Outreach high school system. In 2013, four teachers—John Devlin, John Commins, Paul Berry and I—approached the GMAA about bringing the outreach schools together to form a basketball team. The proposal was accepted and Alternative United was born.
                  The team drew players from five different schools that year and before long this talented group of athletes made a name for themselves as a passionate, scrappy squad that never quits. I wrote an article in the Gazette about how the team’s success on the court extended to the classroom. That summer, Gatorade discovered the story and approached us about making a short film about the team as part of their “Win From Within” series. It was an instant success, getting over a million views, and just like that Alternative United was receiving international attention.