Classroom Energy Diet Challenge


Classroom Energy Diet Challenge

Canadian Geographic Education is hosting the fourth year of the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge, an award-winning contest aimed at raising Canadian students’ energy literacy.  The contest will be held from February 2 to April 28, 2015.  At the beginning of the school year, the Intermediate students voted to participate in this year’s Challenge.

The Diet Challenge consists of three streams:  The Classroom Challenge, Video Contest and the School Energy Project Contest.  There are many prizes to be won, which is a fun motivational tool for sure, however, my emphasis in having our students participate will be the learning itself, and putting the learning into action.

I will be sending home activities for home participation and I do hope our students will lead a School Project.  That will be up to them.  If there is a parent or parents who would like to volunteer any expertise in helping the students produce a video, that would be most welcome!

You are welcome to check out the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge website at

Grants Available for Environmental Projects

I just received an email today regarding the TD Green Streets Program.  If there are any parents who would like to take the application process on for a project for the Home Learners, please let Shannon know.  We could do the project with all the students in the Spring.  I have copied and pasted the information sent to me below:

Le français suitGreetings!

Tree Canada and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation are encouragingcommunities nationwide to get innovative with their urban forests, with an offer of  matching grants up to $15,000 for qualifying projects.

Since its inception in 1994, Green Streets has awarded funding to more than 500 recipients, helping to change the landscape of communities across Canada. AsTree Canada’s flagship program,

TD Green Streets supports and encourages innovation in urban forestry. The program is open to all Canadian municipalities and Aboriginal communities, as well as business improvement associations (BIA) in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

The deadline to submit an application for a 2015 TD Green Streets grant is December 12, 2014. Recipients will be announced in March 2015. Grant recipients are selected by a panel of representatives from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Tree Canada, and regional urban forest practitioners. TD FEF has been the title sponsor of TD Green Streets since 2010.


Click here for more information, or to submit an electronic application for TD Green Streets for 2015. 


Should you have any questions, please contact Tree Canada at or 613-567-5545


The Great Nature Project

great-natureNow here is a great way to learn about nature around us, and the earth’s biodiversity!

 National Geographic Kids is hosting  the world’s largest citizen science project. The Great Nature Project is an international attempt to record our world’s biodiversity, and your family can join right from your backyard. Find out how your kids can see their photos on a National Geographic website, and be a part of a worldwide event!

In my own backyard, I will be taking photos of the Painted Lady butterflies that are still visiting my lilac tree, the wonderful striped spiders that seem to have webs everywhere right now (what kind of spiders are they, anyhow?), the finches and chickadees that visit my feeders, the skunk family that lives out back – oh, and – of course! Sam and Sophie – the Wonderdogs that find themselves in so many of the adventures your children hear about every school year!

What a great way also  to fulfill curricular requirements in Science and Social Studies!!

Let’s get started!

Excellent Resource!

Here is an excellent resource which recently came my way:  Geography! The Adventure in Your Community.  Written and distributed by the National Geographic Society, this adventure geography booklet offers children a series of  “missions” they are challenged to do.   The missions cover all aspects of the curriculum and are a fun and creative way to study neighbourhoods and communities!

Missions cover everything from invasive species, plant growth and development, transportation, ecology, space and shapes, etc.  Wonderfully  cross-curricular!

This resource is US based, and does include links to search for specific information – also US based.  However, all the info on their suggested searches is available on Canadian websites for you and your child also.


Rock Primary School, Uganda


In preparation for teaching workshops in Uganda, I packed along a photo of our class.  I hoped the teachers there would be interested in seeing what a Canadian class looked like and that the photo would serve as a nice ice-breaker into deeper conversation.  I was deeply touched when I noticed our class photo being passed from teacher to teacher at the first workshop – with much discussion among the teachers and many questions to me.  Most of the participating teachers there chatted with me at some point about what education in Canada is like and shared their experiences about teaching in Uganda.

I was elated when one teacher in particular approached me to ask if our class might be interested in becoming pen pals with his class.  Arriving at school this week to get everything set up, I noted an envelope addressed to me from Uganda – of course it is the first piece of mail I have opened!  Enclosed was the photo I have posted and a lovely letter from that teacher, Mr. Tumusiime.  He has included all the names of the students that have joined the environmental club he formed as a result of our workshop and is hoping that we can match students who can then build a long distance relationship.  What a great way to build cross-cultural understanding.  This approach will be perfect for us, as he has students participating from K through grade 7.

If your child might be interested in being a pen pal, please let me know and I will match our students with  his.  We will write some class letters (or send pictures), cards, holiday greetings, etc. throughout the year. Whether children are directly matched or not, everyone will have the opportunity to participate.

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Join the Garibaldi Home Learners’ kick off to the school year with a hands-on learning activity!  We will be joining thousands of Canadians from coast to coast to coast taking part in the annual Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup event to remove shoreline litter from ponds, streams, rivers, lakes and oceans.

This year The Shoreline Cleanup has an ambitious goal to remove over 100,000 kg of harmful litter.

The Home Learners’ are signed up to clean the Mitchell Island Beaver Pond – at the west end of the Michell Island. This is the perfect location for learning and helping the environment with its high density of wildlife including a beaver dam, river otters, wild ducks nest sites, eagle nests, hawks, cormorants, harbour seals, salmon and sturgeon.

Our cleanup event will be on Thursday, September 22nd at 1:00 p.m.  Mark your calendars!

More information, directions, supplies and carpooling info will be disseminated closer to the event date.


What Represents Canada?


The Canadian Wildlife Federation has just launched their of 2011 Reflections of Nature Photo Contest.

Next year marks 50 years of conservation for the Canadian Wildlife Federation and they want to start celebrating early! Set your sights on moments and photos that represent Canada’s past, present or future; it could be an owl perched on a century old pine, a chipmunk storing food near an urban center and everything else in between that reminds you of how Canada once was, is or might be someday. Since the winning photos from the contest will be featured in a 10-page spread in their magazines in January 2012, they thought it would be a perfect way to kick things off.

They will be judging all high resolution photos that feature flora, fauna, landscape or urban wildlife.

Prizes include a year-long magazine subscription to Canadian Wildlife, CWF goodies from their online store,   Photo printers from HP, a poster of your photo courtesy of Photojack and so much more!

So start snapping today! You have until October 31, 2011 to capture and submit your winning shot!

Participation in this type of project is a great way to incorporate curriculum areas such as community, Canada, weather, science, social studies, fine arts, even language arts!  What a great way to get us all thinking about all the things that represent Canada – and the things we cherish as Canadians!  Enjoy!

Photos From Our Sister Class

This week, we received a lovely letter from Mr. Gilbert Okenye, the teacher of our sister class in Nairobi, Kenya along with photographs of the school and community people.  They have two questions for our students:  What kind of food do we eat?  And  “How do you relate with other people outside your culture?”   I have to admit I am mulling over the second question as I am not completely clear in my mind on the question itself.  However,  these two questions might be good ones to discuss at home with your child so when we get together to write our letter in reply, we can write thorough, thoughtful answers back to the students.

They have also received the camera, pencils, books, stickers, erasers, etc. that we sent them, and are very pleased!

Our Sister School


Masai Graduates from University

Masai Graduates from University


Masai Culture

Masai Culture

Jane Goodall

I am pleased to announce that our class – the Home Learners – has been selected to attend a special Dr. Jane Goodall event on October 20th being hosted by Science World and the Jane Goodall Institute.  This opportunity is being offered to only a select group of Metro Vancouver students and teachers.  We are truly fortunate to have been selected to attend and meet Dr. Goodall.

If you would like your child to participate, please ensure you complete and sign a field trip form – in your folder – and place in Shannon’s folder prior to October 20th.  Only students who have submitted their field trip forms by October 19th will be able to attend.

The event will take place at Science World in Vancouver.  Transportation to and from Science World is on your own.  Please arrive before our 9:15 check-in.  Our group will convene outside the front entrance.   This event is for registered students only.  Sorry, no parents or siblings.  Below is the itinerary for the morning:


9:15      Arrive at TELUS World of Science, check-in

9:30      OmniMAX Theatre

Welcome and Introductions

Dr. Jane Goodall

9:50        Watch Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees

10:30     Simon Jackson (Spirit Bear Youth Coalition)

10:45    Q & A with Dr. Jane Goodall

Opportunity to purchase Jane Goodall Institute merchandise

BC Green Games

Roots and Shoots

11:45     Leave TELUS World of Science

In preparation for this event, we will be learning about Dr. Goodall, her work with Chimpanzees, and Gombe, Africa from now until the event.  Following the event, we will debrief and perhaps embark upon a Roots and Shoots program or line of inquiry the children wish to pursue.

Earth Gauge

I found and checked out a great new science website designed for Intermediate students – but I think Primary students would really enjoy it as well. It is called Earth Gauge and focuses on a new Weather-Environment theme each month.  Students can find fun facts, activities, an interactive quiz and links to “cool tools” and games.  November’s theme was Migratory Birds and December’s theme is Winter Weather.  The Earth Gauge website is a project of the U.S. National Environmental Education Foundation.  Using the monthly themes of Earth Gauge might be a fun way to learn new science topics and stay engaged with science learning!