Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Geography & History, The Ward and remembering Judge George Carter

Close to 2 weeks ago, my friend's father, Judge George Carter, passed away at the age of 96.


In History class, we looked at The Ward neighbourhood.  During the teaching, I learned and shared with the classes that Judge Carter grew up there.

Here is a modern map with the boundaries sketched in by me (sorry for the shaky hand):

Most of you would recognize Old City Hall and see the community bumping up on it.

Judge George Carter was the son of immigrants from Barbados, who arrived after the First World War, and are pictured in this wedding photo, from 1926.  This church, the British Methodist Episcopal Church was in The Ward on Chestnut Street.  He was born in 1921 and noted as an avid reader when he first attended school at Hester How PS.  He would later go on to Harbord Collegiate, Trinity College at UofT and Osgoode Hall Law School, where he graduated in 1948. 

Hester Howe PS was the school of The Ward opened in 1912 and closed in 1953.  Although a few year old, here is an image of the original school and the site, which is now occupied by The Hospital for Sick Kids.

from more information on the school can be obtained here:;jsessionid=2A2C9F983A816CBE0F819CDEB826262B?method=preview&lang=EN&id=26328

Judge George Carter was a pioneer of Black Lawyers in Toronto and in Canada.  He was called to the bench (to serve as a judge) in 1979 and only retired at the age of 75.  Some of the information for this post came from John Lornic's Obituary from The Globe and Mail from June 18, 2018 (

It seems fitting that in a community where he spent some of his time growing up, a new courthouse is being built in downtown Toronto.  As we learned -- hopefully -- in class, this community really reflected the diversity of the city:

I forgot to mention that he was a wonderful man, always with a smile, with a lot of positivity.  You will be missed but your legacy continues to inspire countless people in this great city.


Audio and video files of Justice Carter, including some memories from growing up in The Ward, can be heard at this website:

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Bloor and Dufferin development (some new items in the news) & the discussion around "Discovery Math"

The future of Dufferin and Bloor?

This was a topic of discussion -- and a possible example for a Geographic Inquiry -- in the early part of 2018.  Recently, in the Toronto Star an article raised a series of questions from Build a Better Bloor Dufferin (BBBD, a community group who want to make sure the area remains affordable for all residents in the neighbourhood.  The article can be found here:

3/4 of the concepts of Geographic Thinking can be found in the article and in the photo I posted from the article:  spatial significance, who will be able to afford to live in this space; geographic perspective, looks at the positions of the residents and what the developer has to say; interrelationships, how will the issue of space be negotiated, given the population increase in the community?

Over the past week, there was a great discussion on Ontario Today on the debate over the best method to teach Mathematics.  This YouTube method comes from CTV in Winnipeg from 2016.  The 51 minute show on CBC radio is worth a listen; it does not suggest that any one method is correct.  In my opinion, there should be a mix of both methods but the foundational skills really should be developed so students feel confident and competent.  I think this will make the exploring that much more exciting!  

Here is the link to the show, hosted by Rita Celli:

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Douglas Coupland's Vortex installation takes a look at plastics in our oceans

Personal statement and some notes on Recycling & Geographic Thinking

It has been a couple of months since I have posted consistently on my blog.  I have been on a Medical Leave and benefiting from the time I have been away from the classroom.  I haven't stopped thinking about school and have often thought about posting items but have shied away from doing so.  My teaching and thinking mind is hardly ever at rest.

I appreciate the support.  


In terms of Geographic Thinking, the issue of recycling and plastics touches on all of the concepts in our chart.

Working from the top left and moving in a clockwise direction:

spatial significance- plastic waste being dumped in oceans and not being recycled and taking up space in landfills and storage spaces

interrelationships- human impact on the natural world with the careless disposal and overuse of plastics

geographic perspectives- this issue looks at the issue of recycling from environmental and social perspectives (there are more)

patterns and trends- sadly, this issue of problems associated with recycling and plastics are on an upward trend; apparently, there are multiple collections of plastic waste (forming "islands" found in the ocean that are held together by ocean currents)

related articles:

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Recycling and Geography

Canadian cities losing revenue and scrambling to find new markets for recyclables Shared via the CBC News Android App

I am certain that you will see major policy changes in the city, as they relate to the recycling of plastics.  Gone are the days, I am sure, when every item of plastic can be tossed in our blue bins.  This is an example of how Interrelationships work when when we think Geographically.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Water, Volume and Surface Area: something new and some review!

Cape Town, South Africa & water

from the 2017/2018, Issue 6 What in the World
review before last Friday's test (to be returned later on in the week)
We are now going to move from looking at 2D shapes to understanding the Volume of a cylinder (Grade 8) and the volume of a right prism (Grade 7).
Here is our helpful friend:

on circles:
something a little more challenging (for later on in the week):
Grade 7 Review (sorry about the Imperial measurements):

DPA during the Dance X workshop in the Gym

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Another Gritzner idea: Galleria Mall's redevelopment, IDERD, & "Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys & Girls"
There was a question about the recent Charles Gritzner project, so I went looking for another example.  Actually, Saya brought up the redevelopment of Galleria Mall.

The what is where answer could be given by pointing out the Mall's location.  The why there section would look at some of the information about the mall and the planned ideas relating to the redevelopment.  This section involves some research on your part.  The why care section is where you share your ideas about your topic and should involve you using your geographic perspective and looking at the issue -- in this case the redevelopment -- from different points of view.

I was looking for some issue relating to this on YouTube.  Instead, I found an offensive video.  At least I thought it was, as someone who shops at Galleria Mall from time to time.  It referred to the mall as a Ghetto Mall.  Oftentimes, this word is thrown about and few people understand it and it is usually used in a negative way.

I point this out since it is important to think about the language we use.  As my Partner points out to me, language structures thought and we should cautious about making judgments about who frequents a particular place.  If I shop at Galleria Mall, instead of Dufferin Mall or Yorkdale, am I not as cool or less than a person? If I am struggling with a lower income, is my value in the community less?  These are difficult questions that GEOGRAPHIC THINKING contemplates.

Remember the issue around this?

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
I am going to mention this but return to it as a future Geography topic and connect it to a news story about the water crisis in Cape Town, South Africa.  I posted a link to this story here:

The origins of this important day are rooted in the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960.,+Vereeniging,+1928,+South+Africa/@-26.6858739,27.8594167,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x1e94582d96928b13:0xcef265eecbc7fbaa!8m2!3d-26.6864257!4d27.8750976

Usually, I spend a lot of time plowing through the teaching material but I am not going to do this.  We are going to use the STUDENT section of the play's guide and use this YouTube video, provided by Ms. Brougham, to help us through this discussion.

We will also look at this:
for Leve:!16-CN-Tower-2-resized

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Patterns and Trends: Geographic Thinking and Gender

Are scientists male or female? See how kids draw them Shared via the CBC News Android App

image from the story:

I posted this story because it reminded me of the interesting video we watched from International Women's Day a couple of weeks ago.  This is an example of a trend and a disruption to the pattern of how children see Scientists.  Still, a pattern seems to still exist, especially when older kids draw Scientists.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

International Women's Day, Malala Yousafzai, some notes on Black Panther, and Pi

This lesson coincided our recognition of International Women's Day.  As a teacher, I work hard to try to have a program that is inclusive and representative of the voices in our classroom.

video link:
This is an interesting story, which highlights some of the ideas we have looked at in Media Literacy.  In this case, all media are constructions and sometimes these constructions can be both sexist,  racist and exclusionary.

The next story, which many of you are familiar with, relates to a short, in-class writing response for Geography.  The exercise relates to 2 of the concepts of Geographic thinking on this chart:  Patterns and Trends, Geographic Perspectives.

Today (Friday) will be our Black Panther screening!  Here is the last set of notes from a class discussion on the film and its link to our key concepts of Media Literacy:

Finally, some Math.

Pi, the third letter of the Greek alphabet is the relationship/ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.  However, the number is infinite.  Here is the list of 10 000 digits which follow the 3.14 that we are so used to seeing.

Have a restful March Break. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Colonialism in the African continent, Black Panther (the film), apostrophes, composite shapes

On Friday, the Grades 4-8 classes will be traveling to watch the Marvel's Black Panther film.  While I cannot explain the layers of discussion we had in class today, I can summarize part of the discussion through a photo I took and two videos I used.  I will be using this as an entry point for discussion with the other classes.

For those of you who read this, the point on the right side of the board is very important.  It was prompted by having the students think and respond to the first three paragraphs of this article from Time magazine:

The magical power of Vibranium, found in the fictional country of Wakanda, is supposed to be a contrast to the plundering of resources from the African continent.
This short video attempts to summarize a short history of Colonialism in the continent.  The main idea, in relation to the movie, is that Wakanda was never colonized by any European power and has used the resource of Vibranium to run the technologically advanced civilization.

The conversation was weaved together during Media Literacy class by looking at some of the key concepts and making connections with the film.

Here are a few of the key players who were involved in the creation of the film and the potential they see:

It seems that apostrophes can be a point of confusion for a lot of students.  I went to school during an era where Grammar was taught and we picked up on some of these important lessons.  It is my hope that the students will take something away from this.

I was very pleased to see the effort that Justin and Hom put into completing these two Math questions.  Actually, the only one that is made up of parts is the one with the triangle and square.  Hom, showing her persistence and hard work, solved it with some coaching.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Circles (to be talked about on Tuesday) & Grtizner assignment using the "What is Where" of Bloor and Dufferin

13ways of looking at a circle


Geography:  Gritzner and using something local 

This is intended to be a summary of how the Gritzner assignment aligns with the type of thinking I hope we develop in Geography class.  The development of this busy corner will happen and, someday, you may remember talking about it in Geography class!

How the intersection looks now:

Incredibly long link:,-79.4353347,3a,75y,178.29h,86.83t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sVQtJLBw3O2m2KEafuUcu7A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m21!1m15!4m14!1m6!1m2!1s0x882b3f996d40ea23:0x53811be8d5343512!2sPeel+Regional+Rd+5,+Mississauga,+ON!2m2!1d-

aerial shot of intersection:,-79.4381117,111m/data=!3m1!1e3
how the intersection may look:
Information on the development can also be found here:

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

MSF & Ebola outbreak in West Africa (2014)

One of the resources I use will come from Medecin Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, an organization founded in France in 1971.  According to their website, they describe themselves like this:  We are Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). We help people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from health care.

Here is a link to another video about the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia.

This media production was created by MSF and points to one of the key concepts in our study of Media Literacy:

1. The Media contain value messages.  MSF, while an excellent organization, created this video to highlight the excellent and important work they are doing.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Perils of K-Pop: Potential Media Topic/Discussion; upcoming Math topics, Geographic Thinking & challenging stereotypes from the African continent

Media/Pop Culture:

The punishing pressures behind K-pop perfection Shared via the CBC News Android App

Before we get into a deeper conversation about the issues in this article, let us think about how K-Pop, and Pop Music in general, is a form of Media.  All of the concepts can be attached to elements that we see in K-Pop.

Members of EXO going through their routines.

In the article, there was a mention of the emphasis on particular standards of "beauty" in Korea.  I just heard about this story today and thought it would add something to the discussion.
This story is a companion piece to the artricle I posted at the top of the page.

Mathematics:  Measurement

Reading:  Diorama

In addition to returning to completing Reading Responses, I am going to assign this.  It is a fun, creative way to explore an element of a book you are reading.


This chart (updated from the prototype developed with 7/8A) will be explained with two supporting issues before a short, online assignment is given.

The information on this chart is derived from the Nelson Geography Grade 8 text, the Geography curriculum from the Ontario Ministry of Education, and The Critical Thinking Consortium's book, Teaching Geographical Thinking.  We will use this chart to explore the Toronto Blackout of 2003 and the Ebola outbreak in Liberia in 2014 before the online assignment on the flooding in Brantford is posted.

Looking at a Case Study on the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia & deconstructing stereotypes of the "single story" of Africa (...which is a continent, in case you forgot)

This short video, produced in collaboration with Unicef and the Red Cross (among others) will help explain the Case Study used in the Grade 8 Geography textbook on the 2014 Ebola outbreak.