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



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.

The First Page Writing Challenge by CBC

the-first-pageThe First Page is a brand new creative writing challenge for students in Grades 7 to 12, created by CBC Books. What’s the challenge? CBC Books wants students to write the first page of an original book set 150 years in the future. Watch these five Canadian authors who give their tips on writing a great first page.

Download the First Page teacher guide for key concepts to crafting a compelling opening, possible writing topics and discussion questions.

To enter the challenge, visit:

Contest: Your Solution to Plastic Pollution

Hey, students (& Teachers)!

(Teachers – we also have free resources to help you incorporate YRE into your lesson plans this year.)

The world has a big plastic pollution problem on its hands. And there’s a creative way for you to be part of the solution.

Environmental Defence’s Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) Canada program has just launched its annual eco-journalism competition for youth. The theme for this year’s competition is: Your Solution to Plastic Pollution.

Promo image for Environmental Defence's national eco-journalism competition for youth

For the competition, Canadian youth (ages 11-14 and 15-18) are invited to investigate solutions to plastic pollution in their communities, and share what they found through photography, videography, or writing. The deadline for this year’s competition is March 30, 2018.

Winners will be published by Alternatives Journal magazine. First place winners in each category will go on to compete in the International Young Reporters for the Environment Competition, run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

Plastic pollution is getting out of control

Plastic pollution on a beach
Photo credit: Cristina Bergman


Plastic pollution is one of the fastest growing problems on the planet. Here’s a quick look at how big this problem really is:

The good news is that there are solutions. So, grab a camera and/or your notebook, and head out into your community and start exploring.

Tips to help you get started

Not sure of how to get started with your story? We can help! We have lots of great free resources on our website to help you craft your plastic pollution stories, including handbooks and instructional videos.

Visit to learn more. And good luck!

P.S. Teachers – we also have free resources to help you incorporate YRE into your lesson plans this year.

Veterans Affairs Canada Remembrance Day Resources

Veterans’ Week Learning Resources These materials are free of charge. To receive your order by Veterans’ Week, please order before October 27, 2017.

This year marks the centennial of the First World War’s Battle of Passchendaele. Explore our web feature for historical info, photo galleries, commemorative events & 4 new lesson plans (one for every age group)