Geographic Literacy: The Power of Storytelling
Virtual summer conference!
Join us for inspiring keynote speakers, access to classroom-ready resources, and the opportunity to network with educators from across Canada. The conference will cover topics such as Indigenous teachings, citizen science, outdoor education, global citizenship, geospatial technologies, and more!
Canadian Geographic Challenge
Congratulations to our Can Geo Challenge National Finalists and to Ethan Nguyen, the 2021 winner of the Canadian Geographic Challenge! Congratulations also go out to second-place winner Angad Katra and third-place winner Jenny Jia.
Innovation in Geography Teaching Award
This award is given to a Canadian educator currently teaching at the primary or secondary level who is fostering geographic engagement and increasing the geographic literacy of their students in new and innovative ways.
Alex Trebek Medal for Geographic Literacy
This prestigious medal annually recognizes an educator who has made significant contributions to geographic literacy in Canada.
Read about what educators are doing across Canada!
Featured Teacher of the Month
May — All Canadian educators
For the month of May, instead of highlighting just one educator, we would like to feature all the hard work that teachers across Canada have put in while adapting to the restrictions of COVID-19. From dealing with tech issues to keeping their students motivated and engaged, teachers have had to overcome many challenges this past year.
April — Bobbie-Jo Leclair
Bobbie-Jo Leclair is an Indigenous education consultant for the Louis Riel School Division in Manitoba. She has been an educator for 18 years, specializing in Indigenous education for the past seven. Her focus is on supporting teachers in authentic teaching and learning when incorporating Indigenous history and perspectives by connecting with Indigenous voices in the community.
March — Court Rustemeyer
Court Rustemeyer is an outdoor education teacher at Vincent Massey in Calgary, Alta., for Grades 7 to 9. He’s been teaching for 13 years and is also the president of the Global, Environmental and Outdoor Education Council (GEOEC) for the Alberta Teachers’ Association, where he helps lead workshops and professional development sessions. Beyond the classroom, he runs a club with students called Outdoor Leadership, which focuses on developing leadership skills and community engagement in youth.
February — Scott Alexander
Scott Alexander teaches Grades 10 and 11 social studies and Grade 12 geography and history at Oak Bay High School in Victoria, B.C. Beyond the classroom, he guides students through work experience, career preparation, and scholarship and post-secondary applications. Alexander has worked as a collaborator with the Royal British Columbia Museum to help present the Historical Thinking Winter Institute and has spent four years as the B.C. representative for the Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy. He has also received a Certificate of Achievement for the Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence.
January — Brad Jones
Informed decision-making and open-mindedness are at the centre of Brad Jones’ teaching philosophy. Jones, who teaches Grades 11 and 12 social studies and geology at O’Donel High School in Mount Pearl, N.L., was part of the team that rewrote the provincial curriculum with the goal of equipping students with problem-solving skills for the real world. In his classroom, Jones focuses on teaching students to consider opposing views and to work together to find solutions. He is also spearheading a project to build a self-sustaining greenhouse on school property. He spoke with Canadian Geographic to share some of the strategies that have worked well in his teaching.
December — Lisa (Diz) Glithero
Diz Glithero is a national coordinator for the Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition, a cluster of existing organizations that have come together from across Canada to better understand and advance ocean literacy in Canada. Originally a classroom teacher who taught both at the elementary and high school level, Glithero has taken part in projects such as the Canada C3 expedition and Students On Ice. In addition to her ocean literacy work, Glithero is also an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa.
November — Somphone Souannhaphanh
Somphone (Sam) Souannhaphanh takes a cross-disciplinary approach to her classroom and emphasizes the importance of collaboration between departments and other schools as a way to develop innovative teaching methods. Recently, she started teaching Grade 11 travel and tourism, as well as introduction to anthropology, sociology and psychology, and Grade 12 world issues at Merivale High School in Ottawa, Ont. Souannhaphanh previously taught Grade 9 geography at Glebe Collegiate Institute for 16 years.
October — Chandrelle Marshall
Chandrelle Marshall is a collaborative teacher who works with teachers at the grades K to 8 to infuse Métis content and Michif language into their lessons. She works at Westmount Community School in Saskatoon, Sask., and spoke with Canadian Geographic about the importance of community and taking pride in your culture.
September — Jennifer Leduc
Jennifer Leduc is big on making real world connections and storytelling as a way to get her students to engage with material that may not always have an apparent link to their everyday lives. Leduc teaches geography and history in Secondary 1 and 2 at Rosemere High School, in Rosemère, Que. She took some time out of her class preparations, for what is sure to be a challenging school year, to talk about her teaching approach in the classroom.
August — Elliot Unger
Elliot Unger is a Manitoba teacher who focuses on getting his students to ask the right questions and look at issues from different perspectives. (Photo: Elliot Unger)
By Tanya Kirnishni
August 20, 2020
Elliot Unger teaches Grade 10 geography, Grade 11 Canadian history and Grade 12 social studies. In his 20-plus years of teaching, all of which he has spent at Kildonan-East Collegiate in Winnipeg, Man., Unger has run the gamut of the Manitoba curriculum and is always on the lookout for new material and content. We spoke with him about his years of experience.
July — Patrick Halford
Patrick Halford teaches Grades 6 to 8 technology and Library Learning Commons at Forest Hills School in Saint John, N.B. In the library, he gets to see every class in the school come through on rotation and helps students work on whatever projects they are interested in, letting their passions guide their learning. The biggest project he’s been working on with students is to create an aquaponic greenhouse garden, which was inspired by a cultural exchange his students went on last year to Listuguj Mi’kmaq First Nation, Que.
June — Louise Roberts
Complex topics such as energy efficiency, environmental impacts and conservation can be intimidating to approach with young students, but Louise Roberts doesn’t shy away from tackling these discussions with her Grade 1 and 2 students. Roberts teaches French Immersion homeroom in Brandon, Man., and her class takes part in the annual Classroom Energy Diet Challenge (CEDC). She spoke with Canadian Geographic to share some of her experiences and advice for other teachers.