Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Canada pulls out of Kyoto Protocol

What does this mean? Why did Canada do this? What's the Kyoto Protocol? What other agreements have come since?  What will Canada do to reduce greenhouse emissions and address climate change?  What has BC's response been? Look into some of these questions, or ones of your own on the topic, and leave a comment with the results of your inquiry.

You may also want to think about Justin Trudeau's response to Peter Kent's arrogance in parliament -- the govt's environment minister would not allow opposition MPs to attend Durban, and then mocks an opposition MP for not attending! Check out Justin's explanation of his choice of words. And see what others thought of the parliamentary exchange.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Great Start!

Hello SS10 students... I'm so impressed with the first four of you bravely presenting your Heritage projects on Friday. I am honoured to hear and receive your stories and research, and can't wait for the rest of your presentations. I've written some more about this at

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Immigration stories

Today's lesson in class relates to the wave of Canadian immigration that came about as the result of Macdonald's National Policy and Laurier's Last Best West campaign. You are also researching many of your own family's immigration stories, and the stories of thousands of other immigration stories can be found online. Share one!  Don't copy and past a huge story... leave your own story, or leave a link and brief summary of one you found.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Heritage Project Check-in

Hailey's great-x?-grandfather,
ship surgeon on  Lord Nelson's
HMS Victory at Trafalgar
SS10 students have been working on heritage research, trying to connect up their own cultural and/or personal background to some of the major themes in history and even some important events, people, and places. In fact, they are finding that it is all important because, for better or worse, our past helps define who we are now and what Canada is all about. Thanks to Courtney, Hailey & Melanie (here), Hailey (here), and Bethany (here) for sharing stories of their research-in-progress. I look forward to hearing more (hint, hint) and really look forward to EVERYONE in the two classes presenting in a couple of weeks. I've asked you to fill out check-in slips in class, but feel free to let me know here, too, how it's going. As always, don't leave info online you are not comfortable sharing - be websafe.

Friday, October 28, 2011

More please... what's on your mind?

Elections in Tunisia (after 55 years of one-party rule), earthquake in Turkey, death of a dictator, flooding in Thailand... so much going on, and almost all of it has a connection to what we are learning about in school. I'd like you to investigate the "Occupy the World" movement that started on Wall Street in New York and has spread to many cities, including Prince George. On the surface, it seems to be about people's disgust for corporate greed. Search for "occupy" and "wall street" or "vancouver" etc. CBC has a map of other cities where this protest movement has spread. Why did it start? What are the protesters' issues? What do they want? How is the "movement" different from city to city? What is the role for social media like facebook and twitter? What impact do you think the "occupy" protests will have? Does this have anything in common with the Arab Spring protests last year that brought down the Tunisian and Egyptian governments and led to a revolution in Libya? Answer 2 or 3 of these questions in a comment.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Family History Research

Whether for a class Heritage project or for your own interest, you may want to investigate some of these "genealogy" sites:
Rootsweb engine search existing family trees
Rootsweb  research tools, free portion of
Canadian Letters and Images online archive of the Canadian war experience
Family Search  free family history and genealogy records
Canada GenWeb check out the provincial pages, too
please let me know in a comment if you find other useful sites, I'll add them

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What's on your mind?

Pic: Gadhafi captured and killed. SS10 students... some of you have been looking into current events and have found some interesting stories. Maybe you have other questions about Canada or society. Leave your thoughts as a comment, if you wish. If you have a news item, please leave a link, too.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Geography 12 Tectonics & Waffles

What a great way to wrap up our unit on earth structure, geology, plate tectonics, faults/folds, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Nick and Nick served up waffles for the class, using each one to demonstrate some kind of plate boundary or fault type before their classmates devoured them. After all of the lessons, slideshows, reading, videos, quizzes, and demos in out unit, we've had some fantastic presentations that fulfilled three criteria: deepen our understanding of selected learning outcomes from the unit, reflect the interest & talents of the student as applied to meaningful inquiry, and embody learning in some way -- voice, performance, demonstration, physical construction, etc. Today was a small feast celebrating learning with great waffles! Thanks, class -- engaging presentations so far, and 2 more to come...

Friday, July 8, 2011

SS11 class on CKPG

Some of you (SS11s) had a chance to talk to the TV camera towards the end of June... here's your piece on CKPG! Great work!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Resource Ethics

Yo Geo 12... identify a real-world case study that shows one of the resource ethics at work that we looked at in class... leave your response with the ethic under study, a very brief description of the case study (that shows how it demonstrates the resource ethic), and a link that gives a decent overview of the case study (e.g. news article)

Thursday, June 2, 2011


You've watched some online content about waste, consumerism, and sustainability...

What did you watch (title/url)? What did you think of what you watched? What did you learn?

pic from dump community in Managua

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Shake Hands With the Devil

Having just watched the documentary based on the book, and discussed a bit of the background to the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, what do you think? Why do you think it happened? What might have prevented it? What could prevent it from happening again somewhere else? What do you think of Dallaire? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Open Letter to my SS11 students

The Fading Echo...

Do you realize that you are the last of a generation? Fifty years from now you will be telling youngsters about life in the olden days, and they’ll be amazed that you were born in the 1900s. Some people call you the Echo or Boomerang Generation, the children of the postwar Baby Boom that changed the face of Canada, and for some of you the “Generation X” that followed. Others call you the Millennium Generation or Generation Y, the ones born at the twilight of the 20th Century. Take a look at the graph to see where you fit. Canadian Demographics - births per year 1921-2006 (source

Most of your parents and some of your grandparents were “Boomers” -- the big spike from 1946-1964. You are near the last part of the “echo” from about 1980-1999. So what? What’s interesting about the graph, about Canadian society, is that the generation before the war was not so big to begin with and is getting smaller all the time. These are your grandparents, your great-grandparents, and other people now in their 70s and older, people who lived through the Great Depression and World War Two. Almost all of the WWI vets have now passed (two are still alive as I write this, both 110 years old and living in the U.K.). Canada’s last WWI vet died in 2010. We have about 140,000 WWII vets still alive (less than half of 1% of our population). The youngest of these vets are about 83 yrs old. We have just a few years before there are just a handful of vets still with us. Of course, many other “pre-boomers” are with us, but they, too, will be less visible in the coming years. It is important that their stories are told, and that their unique perspectives on Canadian history in middle of the 1900s is preserved.

So, you are the last generation that will be born that can reach back past the “50 Year Gap” and ask questions of men and women who remember the Great Depression, World War Two, and the beginning of the Cold War. For many this was a rural life -- few had televisions, electricity, or automobiles -- Canada is now about 80% urbanized, but less than 50% in the 1930s, so chances are pretty good your great-grandparents grew up on a farm or in a small town. For many this was a time of restraint, conserving resources and fixing rather than replacing items that were broken. Those from beyond the 50 Year Gap know all about preserves and homemade bread, polishing shoes, and plucking birds. They’ll have stories of the war, of travel on ships, of hard work and strange accidents. They’ll have an opinion on Diefenbaker vs Pearson, on the building of the Berlin Wall but also its tearing down. Most importantly, their stories are personal and biased and expert and unusual all at once. When seen as a whole, their story is that of Canada itself, the foundations of modern society inherited by the Baby Boomers and those who followed, including you.

Monday, March 28, 2011

ELECTION ON! Try Vote Compass

Many Social Studies students will remember trying to find out where they were on the "political spectrum" -- but were often left with questions about what it meant and how it related to Canadian politics. As you may know, Canadian voters are heading to an election on May 2. CBC News has made their own spectrum quiz -- Try it and leave a comment if you like -- I'm interested to know if you are surprised by the results or not (e.g. did you end up matched up with a party you probably wouldn't vote for?). Also, why do you think people might vote for a party that doesn't match up with their beliefs?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Source: The Big Picture, an amazing series of photo essays on world culture, politics, and environment

News sites to follow the disaster:
BBC overview or recent story here on BBC

CBC overview or recent story here on CBC

What's you reaction to this natural disaster, or what questions do you have?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Unrest in Middle East and North Africa

Source: The Big Picture, an amazing series of photo essays on world culture, politics, and environment (like, Social Studies!)

Also, check out the interactive map on the unrest in the region from CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Political Spectrum

There are lots of places on the internet to learn about the political spectrum, political philosophies, political parties, and news items related to politics and elections. Put some of these words (political, spectrum, etc.) into a web search and see what turns up. What great sites did you find or would you use? Leave a comment.

Although some of the questions are hard to answer, the quiz at will help you determine where you might be placed on the political spectrum. I think the results tend to skew a bit towards the left.

Here's a political spectrum chart that you can use to locate political parties, ideas, debates, and historic events. You can compare it with one that has been filled out, probably by an American college student taking political science.

Egypt Protests Interactive Map