Homework Zone


Homework Zone (HZ) is an after-school mentoring program connecting McGill University student volunteers with elementary school students in under-served neighbourhoods of Montréal. McGill students volunteer in schools from the Lester B. Pearson and English Montréal school boards.

How HZ Works

At HZ, we create an oasis for students where they can challenge themselves and nurture positive relationships within the school environment. The first half of each 90-minute HZ session is dedicated to academic support (ie; homework completion, problem solving, reading), with the second portion focused on imagination-based and academic enrichment activities or workshops offered by McGill students or community groups that focus on creativity, expression and building relationships.

Apply to be a Mentor

Deadline for Winter semester: January 19th, 2019


Find a day/time that works best for you: 

Tuesday 2-5pm 

Wednesday 2-5pm OR 2:45-5pm

Thursday 2-5pm 

 The time commitment is approx 3 hours per week (including travel time to and from the school) for a duration of 10 weeks over one semester (FALL: last week of Sept to first week of Dec. WINTER: last week of Jan to first week of April).



Attend the mandatory HZ Orientation (WINTER: Saturday, January 26th, 12-3:30pm)


Benefits and Recognition:

Letter of attestation from the Dean of Students for volunteers who complete at least 30 hours (includes orientation and travel time).

Bus/metro tickets are available on demand

Contribute to an innovative academic and socio-emotional enrichment program for children who need the extra support

Students are trained and supported in their work as mentors and tutors by SEDE and professionals from the education field

Gain skills in communication, leadership, teaching and time management

Workshops and reflection events are organized throughout the year to help mentors get the most out of their experience 

Work with other McGill students and explore the Montreal community beyond McGill!


Teach Science in Homework Zone


This year, we are offering a special opportunity for Elementary Education students and Undergraduate Science and Engineering students (any discipline).

Pairs of volunteers from the Education and Science faculties will work together to co-teach hands-on inquiry-based science activities to elementary students and their McGill mentors during the Homework Zone Afterschool Mentoring program (HZ).


The goals of this program are three-fold:

1. To give HZ students an opportunity to engage in science learning outside of their regular classroom;

2. To give pre-service teachers further opportunities to practice planning and enacting science lessons, and to get to know elementary-aged students outside of the classroom;

3. To give undergraduate Science students opportunities to develop critical science communication skills through engagement with young people.


Your commitment:


January 27th, 12-3pm @ McGill: Homework Zone volunteer orientation


3 x 2 hr planning sessions in February (dates & time TBD) with McGill Education instructor in the Education Science labs to learn the basics of inquiry instruction and practice teaching modules in advance of attending HZ.


Pairs of Education and Science volunteers will instruct 3 x 45 mins inquiry-based science activities in ONE of these elementary schools:

Gerald McShane Elementary (3-4pm): March 1, 15, 22

Riverview Elementary (3-4pm): March 13, 20, 27


Volunteers will be expected to attend at least one debrief session with the teacher educators, to reflect on the teaching episodes and to revise the activity.

Total time commitment: approx. 20 hours


Benefits and Recognition:

Letter of attestation from the Dean of Students for volunteers who complete at least 20 hours (includes orientation and travel time to schools).

Bus/metro tickets are available on demand.

Contribute to an innovative academic and socio-emotional enrichment program for children who need the extra support.

Develop important science communication, instruction, planning and collaboration skills.

Work with other McGill students and explore the Montreal community beyond McGill!

For more information on this special HZ opportunity, contact: allison.gonsalves [at] mcgill.ca (Prof. Allison Gonsalve)s, Faculty of Education 

For information on the Homework Zone contact: hz.sede [at] mcgill.ca (Homework Zone Program Coordinator)

Community Workshops and Activities


Homework Zone invites McGill students, student clubs and Montréal community members to share their passion and skills by facilitating a 40-minute Community Activity at one or all of our six participating HZ schools around Montréal. Available dates are during the last two weeks of October, November, February and March. Start times are either 3 or 4pm, depending on the school.

For McGill students, these activities provide your club or service with a great chance to engage with the Montréal community and consider new applications for your skills and interests. Past workshops: Caligraffiti, yoga, drama therapy, map making, astrophysics, poetry, music appreciation, activity that explored global food trade.


If you are interested in facilitating a workshop with Homework Zone:

Read the HZ Community Activity Guide for Facilitators
Click the link to tell us your availabilities for the Autumn and Winter semesters
Fill out the Activity Proposal Form
Email form and any questions to zainabfawzul [at] gmail.com (subject: HZ%20Activity%20Proposal) (Zainab Fawzul) or call 514-834-5633

Mentor Spotlight

Koby and his mentee, TristanTo celebrate all that he’s done for Homework Zone and his mentees, we sat down with Koby to reflect on his experiences at HZ.

Originally from Arizona, USA, Koby Song Nichols became a student at McGill University in Fall 2013. At McGill, he was in the Arts and Science program, majoring in Organismal Biology and East Asian Studies.

Koby first heard about Homework Zone in 2015 through an e-mail sent out by the SEDE office. Since then, Koby has volunteered for five semesters, for a total of 150 hours! He volunteered at two schools: Orchard Elementary and Riverview Elementary, and has had 3 mentees over the years.

This past year, Koby took on a leadership role while volunteering. He took over for the Volunteer Coordinator whenever needed, supported his fellow McGill mentors, and was a constant guide to all those who needed him. Koby was there to welcome new mentors at the Orientation, to build camaraderie with his fellow mentors at the reflection events and farewell get-togethers, and to constantly support his mentees.

When asked what kept him coming back to Homework Zone, Koby responded: “The kids. It was being able see my mentees grow throughout each semester. To be able to see their confidence grow so that they started to problem solve on their own. Seeing their growth and confidence helped me tackle my own studies at McGill. They remind me that success requires a lot of hard work.”

Koby explains that his defining moment at HZ was when his first mentee, Lucas, visited McGill campus for myDay@McGill. “I asked him what the highlight of his day was. He said that his favourite moment was getting to see me again.”

In his last three semesters at HZ, Koby worked with a mentee named Tristan.

Koby and Tristan showing off their paper scarecrow!

"Every Tuesday for three semesters I had the honor to spend a few hours with Tristan, a fourth grader and one of the best mentees I could have asked for. Although Homework Zone was supposed to be a time to help him with his homework, it became a space where Tristan and I could not only work together to solve problems, but also where I could see him grow more and more confidence and we could both encourage each other to keep growing.

From seeing his eyes light up as I walked into the room to him telling me that I am a great ‘drawer’ (even though my drawing skills aren’t that great), working with Tristan was a clear affirmation of how having someone who believes in you and encourages you can have incredible impacts on how you tackle life’s challenges.”

Now, Koby is tackling his next challenge: a Master’s at the University of Toronto, studying diasporic Chinese history. We at HZ sincerely wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors, Koby!


For More Information

Contact: hz.sede [at] mcgill.ca (Homework Zone Program Coordinators Kate Turpie and Rishav Aikat)

Check out HZ in the Press: 

Montreal Families Magazine (October 2014) and McGill Reporter (February 2014)

Go here to volunteer as a mentor

Go here to offer an activity or workshop at HZ

Follow HZ: 

Thank you to our valued partners!








Land Acknowledgment

Map of Montreal

McGill University is situated on the traditional territory of the Kanien’keha:ka, a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst nations. We recognize and respect the Kanien’keha:ka as the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we meet today.* 

Recognizing the history of where you stand is important, and becoming increasingly common practice when hosting events and activities across Canada.

Here are a few tips to remember if you want to make a land acknowledgment before a class presentation, in a written document, or when hosting an event. 


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