librarian from Montreal, who sends out fre- quent communications highlighting French children’s books that feature Black charac- ters. The Stories for All by First Book Canada Marketplace ( ries-for-all-project) and booksellers like A Different Booklist (, Good Minds (, Glad Day Bookshop ( and Another Story ( all provide excellent suggestions for material that could potentially be found digitally and share my intent to provide resources that disrupt the systemic tendency in the children’s book world to highlight mostly white middle-class characters and experiences and exclude or silence all others. Have you found that online resources

seem endless and limited at the same time? Do you find yourself navigating websites with texts for hours and still not finding the one that is the right fit for your class? You are not alone! Not all online reading and viewing re-

sources are created equally or equitably. Many open access digital resources were developed with an erroneous belief that re- lating to a white, middle class dominant cul- ture and a mainstream population will mean more readers/viewers will consume the ma- terial. This belief often excludes content that highlights intersections and certain markers of identity – race, gender identity, gender ex- pression, ethnicity, ability, nationality, sexual orientation, family structure, social class, language and religion. So how are teachers to find material that

will be culturally relevant to the families in our classes as well as provide a window into the experiences of others? Your pedagogical intent and stance must assume that the online materials you usually find were never devel- oped with your particular learners in mind nor were they necessarily developed with any thought to include historically excluded nar- ratives (Black, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQ+). E-resources are a form of media. All me-

dia are constructions. In order to choose and respond to online material in a way that is equitable, engaging and culturally relevant, an educator must be reflective and courageous enough to question the status quo within your own thinking and within the material. Do not be afraid to occasion- ally post links to websites, videos and books that aren’t a perfect fit. Be very clear to stu- dents and their families about your misgiv- ings and thoughts around the suitability of this material. Justify why you chose it, but

be sure to explain how you plan to help students develop essential critical thinking skills needed to be modern learners in a digital age. Frame the learning as a critical read. Seek consistent feedback from fami- lies and students and allow that feedback to transform your practice. That’s the key to being responsive! In the end, practice makes practice. The

process of working with digital resources in a face-to-face, distance or hybrid learn- ing context is new to most Ontario educa- tors. To become proficient in any new skill requires patience, practice and perseverance. Collaborate with your colleagues by sharing what you have learned from reflecting on, researching about and responding to online resources. Learn from the successes of your students and the feedback from families to know what material best suits their learning needs. Then, repeat. So, the question is not so much, “Where

are the resources online that are culturally relevant?” but rather, “What do I need to do to frame online resources in equitable and culturally relevant and responsive ways in order to support my learners?” n

Karen Devonish-Mazzotta is a member of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto.


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