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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 19, Number 4, January/February 2007

Yours for the asking

Grades 5–8 teaching resource

The Gathering Place: An Exploration of Canada’s Capital is a free teacher’s guide for Grades 5–8 social science/social studies and history designed to help youth explore our national capital in the context of who we are as a country and as a people.

Capital cities play a vital role in the life of nations, and Canada is no exception. Many of us are familiar with the energy, pride, and emotional connection that a visit to the capital evokes. It is a place of national institutions, treasures, and symbols that enable us to explore our history and examine our identity. It is where we make the decisions that shape us as a country, but it is more than just the seat of government—it is the place where we gather to remember, celebrate, and share the stories that define who we are and what has formed us as a nation.

The lessons will be of particular value for teachers trying to engage students in meaningful learning opportunities around Canadian culture, identity, and symbols, government, citizenship, and democracy, Canadian stories, heroes, and celebrations, and Canada’s connections and contributions to the world.

The Gathering Place has been pilot-tested with teachers across the country. The lessons include all student materials, are completely ready to use, and support a learner-centred, activity-based education model. Additional support materials for teachers are available online at www.canadascapital.gc.ca/gatheringplace.

To get more information, or to order your copy, go to www.classroomconnections.ca/ resources or e-mail info@classroomconnections.ca.

The Great EcoKids Challenge

All across Canada, schools and youth groups are taking action to positively impact the environment and their communities. Earth Day Canada’s EcoKids program recognizes the efforts and accomplishments of these groups through the Great EcoKids Challenge.

All elementary schools and youth groups in Canada are eligible to enter the challenge and tell us about their environmental projects. Sony of Canada Ltd. provides great prizes for the top three entrants including a Vaio notebook computer, a digital handycam camcorder, and a digital camera. All entrants receive a free EcoKids Club membership.

Suitable challenge activities are those that contribute positively to the health of the environment, produce positive outcomes, encourage student participation and leadership, and positively impact the local community. Previous challenge entries have included activities such as energy efficiency campaigns, schoolyard gardening, and waste reduction projects.

If you are an elementary school teacher or youth group leader, (including leaders of Girl Guides, Scouts, YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, or other youth groups) start thinking about your Great EcoKids Challenge project today. The deadline for applications is May 11, 2007.

Please visit www.ecokids.ca for information and to fill out the online application.

Thirsty Planet: World Water Lessons

Were your students impacted by the November 2006 boil water advisory? CoDevelopment Canada has a timely resource, entitled Thirsty Planet. The focus includes local, national, and international water issues.

The resource consists of a 49-page booklet and a CD-ROM that contains tools and resources to enhance the classroom experience. The booklet provides background information for the teacher and a modified version for students. There are 12 activities, including a pre- and post-water quiz in a self-test format.

Topics covered include:

  • Case study: Sto:lo, the people of the river
  • Water pollution and solutions board game
  • Is bottled better than tap?
  • Water around the world, with facts and figures for 15 countries
  • Women are the water experts
  • Who owns the rain?
  • Tips for using less water
  • Letter writing and lobbying.

The resource sells for $15 including the CD-ROM, plus shipping and handling of $3.95 per item. CoDevelopment Canada partners with the BCTF International Solidarity Committee and communities in the global South. Other resources are available as well.

Contact information : CoDev Canada, 101-2747 E. Hastings St., Vancouver, BC V5K 1Z8, phone 604-708-1495, e-mail : codev@codev.org, web site www.codev.org.

Schools in Kenya looking for same in BC

Over 60 schools surrounding the Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC) in Kenya are looking for schools to twin with!

Project Kenya Sister Schools is a BC public-school-based organization closely connected to the OPC’s community outreach program in the Laikipia district. Our relationship with the conservancy ensures that 100% of our donations go directly to the students without impediment. Connecting our school to Kenyan schools has not only enriched our school community with increased global and cultural awareness, it has afforded us the opportunity to support the educational goals of impoverished Kenyan students. Last years’ Kenyan Christmas Campaign netted $17,000 in donations through card sales. The cards simply stated that $15 was being donated in the donor’s honour to allow Kenyan students to attend school. Our school community was asked to avoid buying the box of chocolates or coffee mug and give a card that has true and lasting value. It was an overwhelming success. We are currently putting over 100 students through secondary school and have purchased desperately needed school supplies. We now have three sister schools in Abbotsford, Grand Forks, and in Langley. We would love to find 60 more.

There are currently 14 million AIDS orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa and at the current rate of infection that number will increase to 40 million by 2010. It is a pandemic of unprecedented proportion. This generation of young Africans are raising themselves. Waiting for governments and international organizations to respond with sufficient urgency is at best frustrating. Give yourself, your school, and African kids the priceless gift of education.

For more information, contact Neil Bryson, nbryson@sd35.bc.ca.

UBC looks at high caesarean rate

Researchers at UBC are trying to get to the bottom of BC’s high caesarean rate, but they need help from pregnant women. Wendy Hall, as associate professor at the UBC School of Nursing, is currently collecting information from 200 women to see how they feel prior to labour. BC has the third highest C-section rate in Canada at 27%. This is well above the World Health Organization’s recommended range of 10 to 15%.

Studies in other countries suggest fatigue, stress, and anxiety may create the need for otherwise healthy mothers to undergo a C-section. Hall hopes that the findings of her study help pinpoint problem areas, and to do that the sample size needs to be bumped up from 200 to 1,000 pregnant women across the province.

The survey takes only 40 minutes. Women who want to participate can call UBC at 604-822-7480 or toll free at 1-877-822-7480.

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