Friday, 19 December 2014

Registration for the 8th annual Mining Matters Teacher’s Day held at the world’s leading minerals exploration and development convention is now open.  By registering early, teacher’s will save 33% on the registration fee. Space is limited so I encourage participants to register early.

It is important to note that registration is limited to 40 teachers (maximum) beyond this number it is difficult to ensure a quality program. Mining Matters does not strive for an over-the-top-crowded-production but rather, a memorable and engaging learning experience. It is my hope that teachers will be able to use what they learn in their classrooms immediately following the event. 

When we developed the program this year, one quote was in the forefront of our minds, “We are currently preparing students for jobs and technologies that don’t yet exist….in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet” – John Dewey. This may be true but we can facilitate the process by showcasing activities the provide students with the opportunity to develop the skills (Learning Skills: critical thinking, creative thinking, collaborating, communicating and Literacy Skills: information literacy, media literacy and technology literacy) that will help them successfully tackle the problems of tomorrow.

Check out the pages and see what we have lined up and send this following URLs to teachers:

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

Kind regards,
Janice Williams, OCT | Manager

Teacher Training and School Programs, Mining Matters
 Fitting for Inquiry Based Learning:

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Giant Floor Map

Canadian Geography – Giant Floor Map-Energy Production & Transmission

Please view the attached calendar to view availability.
For the second year in a row the TDSB will have access to a marvelous resource. The Energy Floor Map will be on loan to the TDSB from January 19 until March 12.  It is very rare for us to have the availability of a map such as this. It is fabulous as a resource for your Grade 9’s and many schools have invited their feeder schools to come to the school to see and work with it.

Dimensions 10.7 m (35') x 7.9 m (26')
Diameter of Shipping tube: 32 cm (13")
Trunk: 82 cm (32") x 46 cm (18") x 58 cm (22.5")

More info at the website
Map will be distributed on a first come first serve basis . You will need a room of approximately 36 X 28 ft ( gym cafeteria or large room with movable furniture)
Please contact Ewan Geddes

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

DOCS for Schools

I have received  a number of inquiries about this new Docs For Schools event we announced in October.
Details are still coming together with some of the specifics of the day, but the framework is in place to begin the process of booking.  Complete details about the conference will be sent in early January.

Details re booking are at the bottom of this email.

DOCS FOR SCHOOLS’ Teacher Conference:
The conference is free for we recognize that your school will already be paying for a supply teacher.
Open to all Grade 7 – 12 teachers across Ontario.

·         Friday, February 20 – School of Image Arts, Ryerson University, Toronto
·         Registration begins at 8:30am and the conference will run from 9:00am – 3:45pm
·         We are hosting the day on a Friday as can be better for out of town teachers…. Plus some might want to stay for the weekend and visit with friends/family or be a weekend tourist.

Why Attend?
·         We know that you love your docs.   Each year, involvement in the Docs For Schools program continues to grow, with more teachers incorporating documentaries year round into curriculum.  
·         The conference will add a rich texture to aid in your offering students a better understanding of the medium, a strong critical eye and media literacy perspective.

Complete details about each session will be sent in January, but here is our outline for the day.

·         8:30 am Registration begins  
·         9:00 – 10:15 Welcome - keynote speaker w/Q&A – Announced in January
·         10:15 – 10:30 coffee break
·         10:30 – noon –1st session (Juan Baquero*:  What is Documentary? A History of the Medium)
·         Noon – 1:00 lunch break
·         1:00 – 2:15 – 2nd session (Juan Baquero:  Is objectivity possible?  Is Reality Documentable? Tools for Developing a Critical Eye)
·         2:15 – 2:30 coffee break
·         2:30 – 3:15 – 3rd session (Dimitra Tsanos**: from the teacher perspective, using the documentary in the classroom)
·         3:15 – 3:45 – Facilitated session re Docs For Schools

*Juan Baquero….Docs For Schools has worked for several years with Juan offering sessions for both teachers and students.  He is an educator and filmmaker and is co-owner of The Doc Studio in Toronto.  Juan is also a programmer for the Hot Docs Festival.

**Dimitra Tsanos…A Geography teacher at East York CI (TDSB) Dimitra has been one of the Docs For Schools education writers since 2010.  The session will offer insight and ideas re how Dimitra uses documentary films with her students.

To Book:
Because this is a free event, with limited number of seats, please do not book until you are SURE you are able to attend.  This is a first time event for Docs For Schools, with the goal of making it annual, but we need you to be committed if you reserve a seat.  

Email:  Lesley Sparks – with the following info:
·         Name
·         Email
·         Board
·         School
·         Grade
·         Subjects taught (do not use subject codes):
·         Any specific requests re content you would like to see covered:

Again, another, more detailed email will be sent early January about the conference.
Even if you are not booking, feel free to send any comments or thoughts along.

Lesley Sparks
Education and Youth Programs Manager
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
110 Spadina Ave #333
Toronto, ON  M5V 2K4

416-203-2155 X253
Ice hotel opens in Swedish Lapland – in pictures
The 25th Icehotel has just opened for the 2014/15 season in the village of Jukkasjärvi, Swedish Lapland. Carved from 1,600 tonnes of snow and ice, the hotel features 16 artist-designed suites, a bar and theatre.
Over the last few weeks, 42 artists from around the world have used 1,600 tonnes of ice and snow from the nearby frozen Torne River to create the 25th pop-up Icehotel.
This article has very strong connection to the Concept of Think: Spatial Significance.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Just in case you want to track Santa on his journey this year. Click on the link below to follow Santa.

Have you heard about the exciting changes to this year’s competition?
The Top School prize from previous years’ contests has been reworked into the School Spirit prize. It is now an opportunity to show your school pride and dedication to energy literacy, while having the chance to win great prizes like $3,500 for your school and a $1,500 donation to the charity of your choice. More information can be found on
Last year, we received feedback from some participants asking for an easier way to upload proof. So this year, we created an App that can be downloaded for free on iTunes (Apple) or Google Play (Android) that makes uploading proof as simple as snapping a photo and clicking a button.
Remember, you can start winning prizes before the contest even opens! Early bird registration deadline is December 31, and the more educators you refer to the contest, the more chances you have to win one of ten $100 Visa Gift Cards through our refer-a-friend draws.
Happy holidays and see you in the New Year!
Canadian Geographic Education and Shell Canada

The Canadian Geographic Challenge is CG Education’s longest running program. Since 1994, it has inspired students to push the​ limits of their geographic knowledge in a quiz format.

​With the generous support of Google Education, this year’s Challenge has been revamped to include a greater diversity of questions, better web-based tools and more prizes than ever before. The competition is FREE to register and has been expanded to reach more students across Canada ​in grades 4-6 (level 1) and grades 7-10 (level 2). All school winners will receive a medal as well as a one-year subscription to Canadian Geographic. All schools​ participating in the Challenge will also​ receive a free one-year subscription to the magazine.​
Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to help​ raise Canada’s geographic literacy one student at a time.
Learn more about the Challenge and register today at
Canadian Geographic Education


Monday, 8 December 2014

Revealed: how the wealth gap holds back economic growth
OECD report rejects trickle-down economics, noting ‘sizeable and statistically negative impact’ of income inequality
·         Larry Elliott, economic editor, The Guardian, Tuesday 9 December 2014

Where the Jobs Are, Macleans Guide to Jobs Canada, 2015 Edition

Jobs Most in Demand from West to East:
Halifax: 1669 jobs posted, most demand IT Professional, 2nd Geotechnical Engineer
Montreal: 5939 jobs posted, most demand Electrical Engineer
Ottawa-Gatineau: 5107 jobs posted, most demand Registered Nurse
Toronto: jobs posted 48725 jobs posted, most demand Business Analyst, 2nd Financial Analyst
Kitchener-Waterloo: 5348 jobs posted , most demand Software Developer, 3rd Business Analyst
Winnipeg: 3615 jobs posted, most demand Geotechnical Engineer 
Saskatoon: 2001 jobs posted, most demand Tunnel Boring Operator, 3rd Tunnel
Edmonton: 12601 jobs posted, most demand Mechanical Engineer, 2nd Electrical Engineer, 3rd Geotechnical Engineer
Calgary: 15887 jobs posted, most demand Electrical Engineer, 3rd Pipeline Engineer
Vancouver: 9886 jobs posted, most demand Geotechnical Engineer, 3rd Electrical Engineer

Interesting to see how many top jobs require Geographic Skills.
For more information and a nice map please have a look at page 68-69 MACLEANS GUILDE TO JOBS IN CANADA, 2015.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Baseball in the Time of Cholera:
Sundance award-winning doc addressing UN soldiers from Nepal bringing cholera to post-earthquake Haiti (and the UN's subsequent and ongoing denial of wrongdoing and avoidance of blame).
Good for connecting to the following Concepts of Thinking: Geographic Perspective, Interrelationships, and Spatial Significance. 

Good videos for discussing the following Concepts of Thinking: Geographical Perspective, Spatial Significance, and Interrelationships.

For a complete story on Chernobyl please visit :

13 Moving Images Showing The Impact Of The 1984 Bhopal Disaster

This is a good article for World Issues. Concepts of Thinking: Geographic Perspective
The touching hug photo from Ferguson protests is a blatant lie
It’s absurd that a nation’s new, yet old, encounter with its most destructive division can be summed up by this soppy picture of a tearful hug.
Jonathan Jones, Tuesday 2 December 2014 11.53 GMT  Jump to comments (984)

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Please check out the link to the esri blog.  Along with up to date information this blog provides a nice means of finding ArcGIS activities that match up with lesson ideas that teachers might have.   Click on the headings that are curriculum related and you should find related ArcGIS activities.

This is an interesting article dealing with Greenhouse gases, good for the Environment and Resource Management course.
Concepts of Thinking: Spatial Significance and Patterns and Trends
November 2014: Permafrost soil is possible source of abrupt rise in greenhouse gases at end of last ice age
Bremerhaven, 20 November 2014. Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have identified a possible source of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases that were abruptly released to the atmosphere in large quantities around 14,600 years ago. 
World's Ebola response slow, patchy and inadequate, Médecins sans Frontières says

Medical NGO MSF says response by foreign countries is ill-adapted to tackling the spread of Ebola in west Africa, warning the outbreak is far from over
This article deals with the following: Concepts of Thinking: Geographic Perspective and Spatial Significance.  Ideal for the World Issues course.

Monday, 1 December 2014

COBWEB: Ecosystem Modelling Software

A challenge that teachers face when covering climate change and sustainability in the curriculum is making it evocative and engaging to students. In conjunction with Dr. Brad Bass of UofT, non-profit EnviroThink presents the COBWEB workshop. This workshop will be closely examining anthropological impacts on lake ecosystems through a simple lab experiment and computer model with the COBWEB software. Developed by Dr. Bass, COBWEB is a learning and research tool that enables the simulation of complex systems in ecology, geography, sociology, and economics. The health of aquatic ecosystems is a pertinent topic to discuss with students, as the toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie earlier this year have made drinking water in several towns unsafe. The COBWEB workshop will take place at the Toronto Urban Studies Centre located in Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute (800 Greenwood Ave., room A18) and will run from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. There will be a lunch break at noon and we encourage you to bring a lunch, although there are fast-food options available nearby. We encourage teachers to bring one or two students as well, but they will need to sign-up for free at or else they cannot attend the workshop.

The maximum is 36 participants, teachers and students combined. Please click the link below.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

A cool website with lots of different applications.

This article discusses the future of oil prices and its impacts on the economy. Geographic Perspective, Spatial Significance, Interrelationships

Alberta shifts from oil as prices plunge
CALGARY — The Globe and Mail
Last updated 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Short update to let you know that seats have become available for the December Docs For Schools Monthly screening:

·         Wed, Dec 10
·         10:00am
·         Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
·         Screening in conjunction with United Nations International Human Rights Day
·         Q&A will follow screening.

Send me an email if interested with school name and number of seats you would like to book.

The 2015 Docs For Schools Monthly screenings are posted.  Online booking begins January 7, 2015

·         Tues, Feb 25
·         Screening in conjunction with African Heritage Month

·         Wed, March 25 and Thurs, March 26
·         Both screenings in conjunction with the AGO major retrospective Jean-Michel Basquiat

Mark Friday, February 20 in your calendar for the first all day DOC CONFERENCE for teachers at the School of Image Art, Ryerson University.
This is a free event for teachers and details will be announced mid-December.
·         There are still some dvd slots for the final two weeks of this program. 
·         December 8 and December 15

Next update in December, but if any questions, please be in touch.
….and like Docs For Schools on Facebook for additional doc info:

Lesley Sparks
Education and Youth Programs Manager
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
110 Spadina Ave #333
Toronto, ON  M5V 2K4

416-203-2155 X253

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Spatial Significance

Maps made from mobile phone records could help plan for the next tsunami or Ebola outbreak 

Monday, 24 November 2014

This website deals with Geographic Perspective, Spatial Significance, and Interrelationships and provides many details about the Ebola virus.  There are several links that can help teachers discuss the topic with students through maps, charts, and diagrams.  


From National Geographic

This article provides quality information about Ebola and where it is found.  The Concepts of Think that are evident in the article are: Geographic Perspective, Spatial Significance, and Interrelationships.

Don’t isolate Africa over Ebola, IMF chief urges

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde points to a button saying "Isolate Ebola, Not Countries" as she speaks during a news conference on October 11, 2014. (Reuters)
Polar bear population worldwide
Also read an associated article
The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Nov. 23 2014, 9:50 PM EST

Last updated Sunday, Nov. 23 2014, 9:50 PM EST

An interesting article dealing with the four Concepts of Geographic Thinking: Geographic Perspective, Spatial Significance, Patterns and Trends, and Interrelationships.

Ukraine's Maidan protests - one year on

What happened to the demonstrators who brought down a government and threatened to reignite the cold war? RFE/RL caught up with some on the anniversary of the movement.

Ukrainian anti-government demonstrators pay their respects at a memorial for protesters killed in clashes with police in Independence Square. Photograph: Fabrice Elsner /Sipa/Rex

Iryna Stelmakh and Tom Balmforth in Kiev for RFE/RL

Friday 21 November 2014 13.54 GMT 

Just one-third of the world's longest rivers remain free-flowing  Geographic Concepts of Thinking: Interrelationship , Spatial ...