December What Ifs

  1. What if you were asked by a conservation committee to think of 20 new uses for a new pinecone.  Could you do it?  Brainstorm by yourself or with a group at least 20 ideas!
  2. What if you were hired by the Holiday Decoration Company to create a table centrepiece.  You were only allowed to use twigs and Styrofoam cups.  Make or illustrate and describe your creation.
  3. You were on the school holiday dance committee.  You were asked to create a new dance that all the students would be performing at the dance.  Describe and perform your new never before danced dance!  Don’t forget to name it and be ready to teach your class!
  4. You have been thinking about many different celebrations and holidays that you celebrate with your family!  What is valued in all of those celebrations!  Make a list, and then create your own celebration, name and describe it!
  5. You were hired by the Starry, Starry Night Astronomy Foundation to search for a new constellation.  You found one.  Draw the new constellation, name it, share where it is located in terms of other constellations and write a myth or story about why it is in the night sky.  
  6. You were celebrating winter by taking selfies in many different winter scenes!  You decided to upload them to your computer to find that you weren’t in any of the pictures!  Write a story, entitled, “There is Something Strange Happening this Winter!”
  7. You were chosen by your class to make a gift for you teacher or school principal.  What would you choose?  Describe or make it and write a letter to go with it that would explain why you chose this gift.
  8. Winter celebrations are very important to many cultures. Make a holiday chart with as many winter celebrations as the class can think of, including how it is celebrated, the importance of the traditions, games, recipes, etc.  Have the students write in their journals or have a discussion about why respect for each other’s beliefs is important.

Written by D. Wunder




Creative Sparks

creative-sparks-decemberSpark your students’ divergent, thinking skills with these openers….

December Creative Sparks

What Would You Do…

  1. if you were asked to be teacher for the day?
  2. during nutrition breaks if you had to be in a wheelchair for a year?
  3. if you were asked to create a new holiday to celebrate Charles Darwin?
  4. if you caught your Principal stealing from the school?
  5. if gender roles were reversed and you now were expected to act as the opposite sex?

What Would You Think…

  1. if your teacher insisted the world was flat?
  2. If your parents started acting like kids?
  3. if there were no genders?
  4. if New Year’s eve was no longer a holiday?
  5. if it stopped snowing in Canada in Winter?

What Would You Write…

  1. if you were to give your class an inspirational speech on any topic?
  2. as a poem to celebrate winter?
  3. about if the title of your story had to be, “When Bananas were Green”?
  4. in a letter to the monster under your bed?
  5. if you had to create a new birthday song?

What Would You Make…

  1. if all you had was left over wrapping paper and cardboard rolls?
  2. if you had to cook a 3-course meal (appetizer, main course & dessert) for your family?
  3. if you had to invent a brand new product to sell?
  4. for a bed if you were living in a forest?
  5. an outfit out of, if you could only use food waste?

What Would You Say…

  1. to Donald Trump or Justin Trudeau if they came to visit your class?
  2. to the person who bullied your mom/dad as children?
  3. to the new baby New Year?
  4. to a little kid who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus?
  5. to a snowman who is afraid of melting?

Adapted from Creative Starting Blocks by Monica A. Harris, Think & Discover by Menagerie Publishing, Inc.

Nobel Prizes: Lessons & Teachers Guide

The Teacher’s Guide is a step-by-step timetable for Nobel Prize Lessons – a set of six complete lesson packages, each one about a 2017 Nobel Prize.

A lesson package consists of three parts:

  • a slide show with a speaker’s manuscript for the teacher,
  • a text for the pupils including questions,
  • and this teacher’s guide.


Learn about Nobel Prizes in the field of:

  • physics,
  • chemistry,
  • physiology or medicine
  • literature
  • peace &
  • economics


SuperPower Your School – Win $20,000 for your Eco Initiatives

Win $20,000 worth of technology for your school!

Does your school save the planet with its environmental programs? Here’s your chance to superpower your school with the latest technology!

The 2018 Staples Superpower your School Contest, brought to you in collaboration with Earth Day Canada, will run December 1, 2017 – January 31, 2018 and will recognize schools that are doing their part to protect the planet. Get ready, because your environmental initiatives could help you win 1 of 10 prizes of $20,000 worth of technology for your school. Please note – entrants must be an elementary or secondary school located in Canada that is either publicly funded or independent.

For more information about the contest, please visit
If you have questions or would like to discuss your entry in advance email us at

  1. STEP 1: Read the contest Eligibility and Entry Criteria to make sure your school qualifies to enter.
  2. STEP 2: Read the contest Rules and Regulations to learn about the contest details.
  3. STEP 3: Contact Earth Day Canada at to discuss your entry in advance (optional).
  4. STEP 4: Complete the entry form and submit online at from
    December 1, 2017 to January 31, 2018.

Want to get a head start on your entry? Download the Pre-Entry Guide for a sneak peek at the entry questions and helpful tips!

Register Now!


Help refugees: Volunteer and donate

Many refugees will need extra help getting settled in Canada. Supportive social networks and service provider organizations are essential to the integration of newcomers, including refugees.

Through these networks and organizations, refugees can get information, find housing and jobs, improve their language skills, become civically involved, gain critical cultural knowledge and receive emotional and other support.

We encourage individuals, communities and businesses to welcome refugees and help them integrate into the communities.

Volunteer in your community

Consider volunteering with an organization that works with newcomers in your area.

Search our interactive map for federally funded organizations that may be in need of resources, visit Volunteer Canada’s website for ideas or seek out volunteer opportunities in your community.

Donate to help in Canada

New refugees have immediate needs, including furniture, clothing, food, dishes and much more as they resettle in Canada. Canadians can help by donating money to local organizations such as Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) that help support newcomers in Canada.

If you want to find out if an organization is a registered Canadian charity that can issue tax receipts, check the charities listings.

Local donations can go a long way. Not sure where to start?

In British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Nunavut, you can visit or call 211 toll-free to find out how you can offer support for refugees. 211 is Canada’s primary source of information on government and community-based health and social services.

Consider donating through the

A few more ways you can contribute

Find out where the refugees are going

Learn which communities and service provider organizations across Canada are welcoming refugees.

Sponsor Syrian refugees

There are a few ways to sponsor refugees. Find out which way works best for you.

From Damascus to Toronto: Mohamed

Facing forced enrolment in the Syrian army, for a war he did not want to join, Mohamed fled to Lebanon, where his dreams of Canada took root.

Rethinking Giftedness: A YouCubed Video

I think this video is important to show to all “gifted” children and their guardians.

What does it mean to have that label? How can this label hold children back from growing and succeeding?

Find out here:

From YouCubed:

We decided to work with Citizen Film to make this short film after many years of my being a professor at Stanford and hearing from students about the labels they had received growing up. Many of the students had been labelled as “gifted” or “smart,” when they were in school, and these labels, intended to be positive, had given them learning challenges later in life. Most people realize that it is harmful to not be labelled as gifted when others are. The labelling of some students sends negative messages about potential, that are out of synch with important knowledge of neuroplasticity showing that everyone’s brains can grow and change. But few people realize that those labels are damaging for those who receive them too. At Stanford many students were labelled as gifted in Kindergarten or 1st grade and received special advantages from that point on, raising many questions about equity in schools. But labels and ideas of smartness and giftedness carry with them fixed ideas about ability, suggesting to students that they are born with a gift or a special brain. When students are led to believe they are gifted, or they have a “math brain” or they are “smart” and later struggle, that struggle is absolutely devastating. Students who grow up thinking that they have a special brain often drop out of STEM subjects when they struggle. At that time students start to believe they were not, after all, gifted, or that the gift has “run out” as one of the students in our film reflects.