Monthly Archives: January 2015

Summer Institute and Battlefield Tour: Juno Beach, Normandy, France


A Professional Development Tour for Educators with a Passion for Canadian Military History
Application Deadline: Feb. 27, 2015

I participated in this professional in July 2007. It was a trip of a lifetime. I highly recommend that you take this opportunity to go on this trip. This is a trip that every Canadian should take. You will not be sorry.

During this 10-day tour, participants visit Vimy Ridge, Beaumont-Hamel, Dieppe, the Juno Beach Centre, the D-Day landing beaches and various other sites in Normandy. Some highlights of the tour include meeting locals who lived through D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, enjoying the kind hospitality in Normandy, and sharing teaching ideas with colleagues from across Canada.

Each year, in August, the Juno Beach Centre Association offers Canadian history teachers the opportunity to tour First and Second World War battlefields in France, and participate in the Juno Beach Centre’s Summer Institute on the historic landing beaches of Normandy, France.

Educators from across Canada now have the opportunity to apply to take part in our 2015 professional development program from July 25 to August 5. Participants will travel to Northern France via Paris to gain first-hand knowledge of Canada’s participation in the First and Second World Wars. The 10-day tour includes visits to Canadian battlefields at Vimy Ridge, Beaumont-Hamel, the D-Day landing beaches, the Falaise Gap, and of course, spend time at the Juno Beach Centre!

In addition, participants gain a better understanding of Canadian sacrifices through visits to the Abbaye d’Ardenne, the town of Authie and Canadian War Cemeteries at Bény-sur-Mer, Bretteville-sur-Laize, and Dieppe

A Canadian historian is on hand to provide in-depth historical content to participants throughout the tour. This expertise and historical perspective will provide informative and practical knowledge for classroom application. A full-day professional development session at the Juno Beach Centre will help participants connect these experiences with their provincial curricula, incorporating the Historical Thinking Concepts and commemorative work in their teaching.

“More and more each day of this tour I come to see how those of us who are here today are the witnesses of what others did yesterday and that as teachers we have an almost sacred obligation to ensure those deeds are never forgotten but will live on now and tomorrow.” – Scott Powers, 2014 Participant

To learn more about this professional development opportunity, as well as access the application forms and guidelines, please visit our website. Space is limited – apply soon! The deadline for applications is February 27, 2015.

National Flag Day of Canada: Sun. Feb. 15, 2015


Canada will be celebrating National Flag Day on Sun. Feb. 15, 2015, Canada’s 50th Anniversary of our flag.  Introduce this important event in Canadian history with  your class and encourage them to talk about it at home. Here are some ideas to celebrate in your school or community and also some teacher ideas.

Canadian Heritage offers free promotional material to use with your students. Order before January 30, 2015. Order NOW.

Use the Canadian Flag information links to prepare your students for the quiz. Have you students construct questions from the text links to make their own quizzes using Google Forms or Quizlet.

National Sweater Day – Feb. 5


Brrrr, if you are in Ontario today, it is cold outside.  We have all been bundling up for the past few weeks to try to keep warm. Keep  your favourite sweater handy to wear on Thurs. Feb. 5 to participate in the  WWFs National Sweater Day. What will your school do to make everyone think about our daily energy use? There is some time to plan for this event.

By participating, you will be helping to raise awareness about renewable energy and change behaviours around energy consumption in Canada. Did you know? If all Canadians lowered their thermostats by just two degrees Celsius, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about four megatons — equivalent to taking nearly 700,000 cars off the road. Teachers can access teaching ideas for this event by clicking Register, top right hand side of the page and complete the form.

Check out some teaching ideas here.



Newslea is a non-fiction resource featuring current news articles for your students. This online resource offers each article at 5 different reading levels. What a great way for all students in your class to read the same content. The levels range from approximately 500-1200+ (Approx. Grade 3+). Many of the article topics have an American focus but there are enough international topics for non-U.S. classes. Teachers can register for free with the site to enable them with the ability to assign articles to classes. There is a pay for use version for added student tracking features but the free version is worth a visit.

Book Tasting

Read Buffy Hamilton’s post about the literacy activity, Musical Chairs and Book Tasting that she and a colleague developed to introduce her students to new books. Although this activity is aimed at high school students it certainly can be adapted to younger students.
You will need:

  • enough books for each student (and some extras should they be signed out if activity to be repeated by another class)
  • age appropriate books for your readers (you could focus on a genre, fiction or non-fiction)
  • placemats printed out to keep the activity organized
  • Book Tasting Score Plates (these can be adapted to the grade level of your students)
  • appropriate music for students

Teach Magazine

Teach Magazine offers teachers and students resources to use in the classroom in English and French. You will find free lessons plans online and in their posted current and past magazine issues.

Some featured lesson plans and resources:

  • Canada’s Capital Treasures –  Grades 6-9
    A series of 7 lesson plans celebrate and commemorate key people, places and events as represented by important monuments, buildings, memorials and structures in the nation’s capital. Download the pdf files of the lessons. Use the left menu to access the link to Canadian Monuments. Particular Ontario Social Studies expectations that are addressed with these lessons are: A1.1, A 1.3, A 2.2.
  • The Ruptured Sky – Grades 5-12
    The Ruptured Sky is a dynamic digital literacy resource exploring the War of 1812 from First Nations perspectives. It features an interactive graphic novel, exclusive music and video and a comprehensive suite of pedagogical resources. Try this resource with a 30 day free trial. Pricing is available.

Earth Day

Start preparing your students for Earth Day (Apr. 22, 2015). Staples is running a contest that will award 10 schools across Canada $25,000 worth of new technology.

Be an Ecovator

Contest Eligibility and Entry Criteria

Eligibility Criteria

1. Must be a publicly-funded elementary or secondary school in Canada
2. Environmental Attributes
• The school has made a positive environmental impact through the establishment of innovative projects and programs
• The school incorporates environmentally responsible behaviour into everyday school life
• The school demonstrates a long-term commitment to supporting a healthier environment
3. School and Community Involvement
• The school has provided the school community (students, staff and parents/guardians) the opportunity to get actively involved
• The school has engaged the local community (other schools, local businesses,
local groups) to become involved
• The school is an environmental leader and has directly affected an increase in environmental knowledge and responsible behaviour within the school and local community
Entry Criteria
• Contest entry form must be submitted by a school offi cial with the approval of the school’s principal
• Contest entry form must be completed in full and submitted online at from January 5 – 31, 2015
• Responses have to adhere to the specifi ed word count for each question
• Only one entry per school is permitted

Canadian Geographic Classroom Energy Diet Registration

The registration deadline to the Canadian Geographic Energy Diet Challenge is fast approaching: Sat. Jan. 17, 2015. Through Canadian Geographic’s partnership with Shell, 75 curriculum linked activities have been written so that students across Canada from kindergarten to Grade 12 will increase their energy awareness and help improve energy literacy in Canada. There are 40 prizes totalling $40,000 to be won during at the end of the energy challenge.

Lots of quality resources as EARTH DAY approaches. (Wednesday April 22, 2015)


There are three streams to the competition: the Classroom Challenge, the Video Contest and the School Energy Project . As classes progress through the competition, students will learn about their energy habits and share their knowledge with the rest of the country.  (from the website)


Teachers can access the curriculum-linked lessons and activities to gain knowledge about energy awareness as well as gather points toward prizes.


With many schools with ‘green screens’ now this is an opportunity to take the challenge. Students are to produce a public service announcement about the importance of youth energy awareness. Once the video is uploaded voting of the videos takes place.


The whole school can get involved with this challenge. Classes are to devise a project to reduce their school’s carbon footprint. Many schools are already doing things to reduce their energy use, now is your time to share what you have done through a video for all to see.


Download the App to your iPad or iPhone so students can access the online energy information and activities.



Inquiry is on classroom agendas each day. Visit the Wonderoplis website daily with your students as ‘Bellwork” to start their day with an  inquiry. Or you could use the site as text for a non-fiction mini-lesson. Daily Wonders are provided. Each Wonder includes a short video, a text passage on the daily topic, Wonder Words from the passage, content specific weblinks to support further inquiry, and a Test Your Knowledge Quiz. The past Wonders are posted here. You can subscribe to the Wonders of the Day and they will arrive in your inbox each morning for quick reference.

Register for Camp Wonderoplis as a counselor. Once this is done, you can add campers to your list. They then can investigate a variety of topics. Their progress is tracked.

Teachers can join the Wonder Ground to be a part of an educators network. You will receive a teacher’s guide by email once you register.


Social Studies Resources: Coming to Canada

Saunders Book Company in Collingwood presents Weigl’s “Coming to Canada” series. This series offers junior grade students with a very accessible resource to assist them in their research on the various immigrants to Canada, past and present. The titles in the series includes:

acadian chinese french Metis UEL Ukranians

The Acadians, The Chinese, The French, The Metis, The United Empire Loyalists, The Ukrainians.

“Coming to Canada celebrates the rich history and colourful heritage of the many cultures that immigrated to Canada. Readers travel back in time to learn about Canada’s early settlers and the cultural traditions they brought from countries around the world. Each title highlights the contributions these people have made to the country and how Canada has evolved as a result.”  

These books are available in hardcover and paperback formats. The titles are priced individually or as a set. You will find provincial curriculum links on the Saunders Book Company website by clicking on the 300 Dewey menu link.

The content is written to support non-fiction mini-lessons: to introduce non-fiction as a text form, text features, and comprehension strategies.