2. A Kids’ Guide to Canada – PROJECT SUMMARY

(This is the 2nd post of 3)


(Revised March 2016)

“A Kids’ Guide to Canada – By Kids and For Kids” is a national project which aims to provide elementary students in every part of Canada and in all educational settings with an exciting opportunity to contribute to Canada’s celebrations of our 150th birthday in a lasting and meaningful way. It will invite students from JK-8 to connect with their peers across this vast physical and multicultural landscape, and to collaborate and create an online interactive Kids’ Guide to Canada which is truly made by kids and for kids. 

To honour student voice, an initial pilot project in the fall of 2016 will see elementary students from every elementary grade and every part of Canada participating in each step of the project design and field-testing process.

Then, beginning in January 2017, school-aged children from JK-Gr 8 will create digital artifacts to celebrate and introduce their home communities to their peers right across the country, and then post these on a national interactive map.

From a simple photograph to a complex mystery panoramic tour, students will be invited to honour and share anything of interest to them within their local school area – from their favourite hangouts, local landscapes and resources, common forms of employment, and famous historic sites – to favourite family activities, local cultural and sporting events, and community leaders with wisdom to share. The content will range as far and wide as our students’ imaginations and willingness to share. Digital citizenship and safety for students will be embedded throughout, while online resources will be provided for teachers wanting additional support in learning new skills in the world of connected education.

While this digital content will be visible to the public,behind the scenes, classes participating in the project will be encouraged to connect with other classes in order to pursue conversations and collaborative activities to deepen their learning together.

Which leads to the heart of this project. The project includes a special focus on connecting Indigenous and non-Indigenous students across Canada, especially those living in our more remote, marginalized, and northern communities. It seeks to help our very youngest Canadian citizens to create positive personal relationships with their peers based on mutual intercultural understanding, respect, support, and collaboration.

The world is changed one person and one relationship at a time. This project aims to help our youngest Canadians do just that.


  1. To provide an authentic and meaningful way for the children of Canada to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday – to use the occasion of Canada’s 150th birthday to provide all elementary school-aged children with an exciting reason to learn about, celebrate, and share their home communities with the rest of Canada, focusing on the theme of Canada’s 150th celebrations: “Strong, Proud, and Free.”
  2. To provide an opportunity for Elementary students to discover and use their voice          – to truly collaborate in every step of the project’s creative process, and to help produce an interactive guide to Canada which is made by children and for children.
  1. To connect elementary students of all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds                – with a special focus on valuing and connecting Indigenous and non-Indigenous  students with each other and their counterparts in the many diverse communities across Canada.  [see TRC Call to Action 85 ii ]
  1. To foster a culture of mutual understanding, empathy, respect, and collaboration amongst Canada’s youngest citizens  – to help school children meet and create personal relationships with their peers across Canada, in order to help dismantle our limiting and out-dated Canadian cultural stereotypes.   [TRC Call to Action 63 iii ]
  1. To support teachers across Canada implementing new pedagogies for connected learning, and developing the new cultural competencies needed for teaching in a global classroom effectively, especially as these relate to helping our students learn about, from, and with their diverse InuitFirst Nations, Metis, Francophone, Anglophone, and New Canadian peers.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action                                                                    #63 iii …building student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect.   #85 ii …continuing to develop media initiatives that inform and educate the Canadian public, and connect Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.


If you are interested in supporting this project, or helping to organize and promote this project in your area, please contact A Kids’ Guide to Canada  c/o  beachcat11@gmail.com

Posted in 21st Century Learning, A Kids' Guide to Canada - By Kids, For Kids, Change, education, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Past the Point of No Return

Just now, in an overdue sense of awareness, I realize: There’s no turning back.  No matter what happens now, I’ve started something and I’m in it for the long haul. We’re in the middle of a roller-coaster ride, and I can’t stop it now, even if I wanted to.

Not that I want to. But I’ve just realized that there will no end to this story for me until we get the job done right.

No matter what else happens as this roller coaster dodges and dives, there’s no other road for me to travel but to find the funding we need and create the tool for Canadian kids to connect and learn about each other in a digital world. To find a way.

No matter the twists and turns, we need to get enough support from people who’ve earned high credibility, and convince the funding committees that this is an important project for kids and for Canada, and it needs to happen. As parents, educators, and elders, we want it to happen.

So there’s no turning back. There’s only riding this bucking roller coaster down drop-off cliff-sides and up mile-high walls until we reach a successful conclusion to this challenging, exhilarating ride.

And we won’t know where it’s taking us until we’ve reached the end.  All we have to do is hold on and keep going.


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4. When an Idea’s Time has Clearly Come….

(This is the 4th in a series of 3 – and that says it all.)

How the world can change in a few short days.

Last week I was battling fears of going ahead with A Kids’ Guide at all, without a promise of a sponsor, people to help, or any real funding. And today, I am worrying about how big this might get, and how we will need to do this WELL and do this RIGHT.

From Skyping with Robyn and Rola in BC and Ottawa last week, to deciding I might as well post the project on my blog…   I thought all of that was exciting!
But when I saw @CanGeoEdu’s tweet, and a DM from Jamie Bell in Arviat at the very same time on Saturday, I have to admit – it actually brought tears to my eyes.
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Because THAT was the moment I knew this project is actually going to happen in schools across Canada, for our kids.   “We can. We will. End of story.”  (-:
But that wasn’t all!
Nothing prepared me for the amount of attention @CanGeoEdu’s tweets would create over the next few days…  I’d been fighting the discouragement of “Keep waiting, keep waiting” from Canada150 for so long that we’d already decided it was too late and we’d written the whole thing off.
So when James Boxall, the Governor of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, retweeted our project out to 3 different cabinet ministers – I literally sat down in shock.
People get it!
And days later, I am still overwhelmed, completely humbled, and enormously grateful.  I can’t believe I’m going to get a chance to help make this happen – I’m just a classroom teacher who knows education and kids!  And I sure don’t have all the expertise and tools we’re going to need to make this happen.
But that’s OK.
I’m completely relying on people like yourself
…..who understand this project 
…..who can help and will help – 
….  to work together and figure it all out
to help make this incredible thing happen
for Canada, for our future,
and most of all,
for our kids.
Try to connect kids all across Canada,
especially Indigenous and non-Indigenous kids?!?
It looks like this might be an idea
whose time has finally come.



If you are interested in supporting this project, or helping to organize and promote this project in your area, please contact A Kids’ Guide to Canada  c/o  beachcat11@gmail.com

small Create wishes

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3. A Kids’ Guide to Canada – DETAILS

Revised, March 2016.

(This is the 3rd post of 3)

A Kids’ Guide to Canada – PROJECT DETAILS

Spring-Summer 2016

1. Establish a national Advisory Board made up of educational leaders from across Canada including both Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders, Francophone and Anglophone leaders, innovative educators, design thinkers, specialists in using technology for learning, etc.

2. Identify provincial and territorial representatives to co-ordinate the promotion of the project within each province and territory.

3. Seek assistance and leadership from Indigenous communities to help teachers work with students dealing with cultural stereotypes, particularly in learning from, about, and with First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people of Canada.

4. Identify needs and apply for financial support (ie Canada150 Fund’s “Community Stream”)

5. Establish a Pilot Project Committee and plan structure of the pilot project.

6. Create website with interactive map.

7. Create resource materials for teachers, including (i) technical information such as project guidelines, posting instructions, use of technology for learning, digital safety requirements, etc. and (ii) cultural competency resources for teachers.

8. Create bilingual translations of all materials.

       October and November 2016

9. Conduct a pilot project with select students and teachers from all 13 provinces and territories who will help to co-create and test a system of interactive cross-Canada connections and activities to ensure they will be both engaging and effective for their peers.

Pilot project classes will be paired with similar-aged students who are growing up in very different locations in Canada, and wherever possibly, matching Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. (Class matching will not be offered in the actual project.)

Each group in the pilot project will be asked to

  • create and post their digital content introducing their home area; this will remain online for the entire project
  • communicate with their partner class at greater length and depth
  • explore age-appropriate activities to examine cultural stereotypes and provide personal experiences as a basis for building positive intercultural relationships
  • reflect on pilot project experiences, and
  • provide design input on each project element.

10. Revise and finalize project design elements based on pilot project input. Re-test changes where needed.

11. Promote the project across Canada,  including promotions through school boards, teacher federations, education organizations, local media and events, and social media networks across Canada.

12. Register Project Participants

January 2017 – December 2017 

13. Open website: participating students create and post digital artifacts to honour and introduce the land and the people of their home communities. All content must be original student content and meet digital safety requirements.

14. Students access artifacts to learn about the diversity of our communities across Canada.

15. Participating classes connect with other classes to pursue conversations, inquiry, and collaborative learning activities at greater depth.

16. Teachers collaborate in self-initiated learning activities, PLC’s, and possible research activities throughout the project.

17. Project activities end December 31st 2017. 

        January – February 2018

18. Final project report completed and submitted to sponsoring bodies.

* Project website and artifacts remain online an additional 3 years.


If you are interested in supporting this project, or helping to organize and promote this project in your area, please contact A Kids’ Guide to Canada  c/o  beachcat11@gmail.com

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