Canada Post Delivers to the Classroom
Canada Post has delivered thousands of free resource kits to elementary
classrooms across Canada to help students with letter writing, proper addressing of
envelopes, and other activities that strengthen their reading and writing skills.
The kits, part of Canada Posts School Program, are in the form of bright red
cardboard "mailboxes". More than 10,000 teachers in 2,800 schools registered for
the 1999-2000 school year.
|The lead item of the program is the Pen Pal
register, a national letter-exchange service for students in Grades 3 to 6. It provides a
secure, computer-based process that matches students according to their age, gender, grade
level, geographic location and personal interests and hobbies.
The school program also includes lesson guides for teachers and the Santa
letter-writing activity. Canada Posts web site features information about the school
program, and includes activities for students such as How to Write a Letter, How to Start
a Stamp Club and Creating Your Own Greeting Card.
All materials have been carefully reviewed and approved by a national advisory
committee of teachers and education experts to ensure that they deliver the greatest
The program was announced in May of 1999 through an information mailing and fax to
every elementary school in Canada. Responding schools received a School Program Kit
featuring curriculum-based activities and lesson ideas suitable for Grades 2-7, as well as
registration information for the Pen Pal Program. Registration for the program is closed
for the 1999-2000 school year, but schools will be advised of the next registration period
in the spring of the year 2000.
Teachers can find samples of activities and lesson guides at Canada Posts web
site at www.canadapost.ca
Classical Pursuits is a summer learning vacation at St.
Michaels College, University of Toronto, that offers people from across North
America a chance to immerse themselves for a week in the great classics of music,
philosophy and literature.
The heart of the program is a two-hour conversation each morning guided by a tutor who
asks interpretative questions and follows up on what participants say. Relying on the
text, participants work together toward the authors intent and evaluate its possible
meaning to their lives. There are a variety of optional related cultural activities
offered such as plays, literary cabarets, tours of art collections, dinners and leisure
Classical Pursuits is based on the premise that an advanced degree or
knowledge of the techniques of scholarly analysis are not needed to understand great works
Participants read the book or listen to the music on their own, prior to beginning the
week-long study. Lively discussions and spirited inquiry begun in the classroom can
continue over lunch.
In July 1999, the week-long program offered Platos Republic, Dantes
Inferno, Dostoevskys Crime and Punishment and Wagners Tristan
In the summer of 2000 the programs third year Classical
Pursuits plans to extend its offerings to seven seminar options. During the week of
July 16-22, small groups will discuss St. Augustines Confessions, Dantes
Purgatorio, Cervantes Don Quixote, Shakespeares Hamlet,
Mozarts Don Giovanni, Nietzsches Thus Spake Zarathustra and
three treatments of Death in Venice (Mann, Britten and Visconti). Those
registered for Hamlet can expect a trip to Stratford to see the play and meet the cast.
For further information, call 1-877-633-2555 or visit the University of Toronto web
site at www.utoronto.ca/stmikes
New Web Site Helps Teachers With New Ontario Curriculum
A new web site is providing teachers with resources to help teach the new
EduLinks at www.tvo.org/edulinks
has been designed by teachers for teachers, and is sponsored by TVOntario.
For the first phase, there are resources available in five subject areas at the Grade 9
level Canadian and World Studies, English, Mathematics, Science and Technological
Education. Each subject area is divided into three to five strands and relevant links are
accessed from each in an easy-to-read block format. A general resources section is
included below most of the strands and the Ministry of Education expectations are outlined
in each one.
Future plans for the site include comprehensive units of study, complete with lesson
plans and assessment tools.
Visitors to the site can also participate in discussion forums to ask questions or talk
about how they have used EduLinks resources in their classrooms. The web site also allows
teachers to submit materials they have used.
To ask a question or make a suggestion about developing the web site, e-mail email@example.com
The China Experience
When July comes around a group of Ontario teachers head to the province of
Jiangsu in eastern China to teach English to their Chinese counterparts. The China
Experience started in 1997 thanks to the leadership of two Hamilton elementary school
principals, Donna Quigley and Lauren Tindall, and is gaining in popularity every year both
in China and in Ontario.
"Our group of Ontario teachers has grown from eight in 1997 to 45 this year,"
said project leader Donna Quigley. "In terms of professional development, the
experience has no equals. We return to Canada with increased empathy and understanding of
the challenges faced by our immigrant students and their families. We also share new
perspectives with our Canadian colleagues."
Participants in the China Experience go as volunteers, paying their own way and
donating their teaching services in exchange for meals and accommodation. They often work
in large, thriving cities rarely visited by tourists. They teach a custom made-in-Ontario
curriculum that Chinese teachers are eager to learn and share with their students and
"Half a year has passed since we said good-bye this summer. I often talk with my
friends and my students about you and the English lessons you taught," said Chinese
teacher He Jing. "Some methods learned from you are being used in my class. I think
my students enjoy English lessons. Some of them like it much better than before."
For more information on the China Experience, contact Donna Quigley in Hamilton at
Space Day 2000
On May 4, 2000, teachers and students of Grades 4 to 6 from across North
America will have an opportunity to meet on the Internet to tackle some of the most
critical problems of living and working in space.
||The event is Space Day 2000, designated to encourage people
of all ages to advance science, mathematics and technology education and to underscore the
extraordinary achievements and opportunities of space exploration.
The key educational element of Space Day 2000 is a series of design challenges
created by Challenger Center for Space Science Education and its partner organizations,
which include the Canadian Space Agency and NASA. The design projects challenge students
to find solutions to real problems associated with living and working in space such as
creating a special exercise machine for use in microgravity, the construction of a water
purification system, how to deal with communication emergencies, and the design of sports
and games that can be played in microgravity.
A series of electronic lessons are now available to students at the Space Day web site
at www.spaceday.com. The lessons will help them
design teams to solve some of the design challenges. The web site creates a virtual
environment where students and teachers can find information and exchange ideas with other
students and with experts in space exploration.
May 4, 2000 will feature a live, interactive webcast that will showcase student
solutions to the design challenges. During the webcast, experts from a host of fields will
be on hand to answer questions about living and working in space.
Teachers can find more information about the design challenges and Space Day 2000
by visiting www.spaceday.com
U.S. Elementary Teachers Face Tougher Testing
U.S. accreditation authorities will phase in tough new licensing exams for
elementary teachers by 2002.
At present, elementary school teachers in most states are required to have only a
general knowledge of curriculum. The new exams will test new teachers on a more thorough
knowledge of core subjects in the curriculum, as well as creative teaching techniques.
States will begin receiving the tests sometime in 2000 and teachers in some states are
expected to begin taking the tests in three years.
The program is being introduced by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). ETS exams are already
used in 36 states. NCATE currently accredits nearly half of the teacher education programs
in the U.S.
For more information about the joint ETS/NCATE program, visit the NCATE web site at
www.ncate.org or the ETS web site at www.ets.org