Get to know Canada through journaling

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Perhaps you keep a journal already – a nature journal, a gratitude journal, a personal journal… Journaling is a way of allowing your brain to process information in a more thoughtful and intentional way – it can involve writing, drawing, design, research, photography, etc., and it becomes something worth keeping.

Creating a journal can be done by any age simply by adjusting expectations. A young child just learning to write may create a journal mostly in pictures with a sentence or two dictated to an adult. As abilities increase, research assignments and more detail in the illustrations can be expected.

I have been messing around with keeping various kinds of journals over the past few years, and find it very satisfying. So I decided to try it with learning about Canada.

This is what you need to create a journal:

  • a spiral bound notebook like a sketchbook or scrapbook
  • pencil and eraser
  • fine-tip black pen
  • pencil crayons (or watercolours and brushes if you prefer)
  • glue stick and scissors
  • access to the internet and a library for research
  • a printer (colour or black and white depending on your preference)

Next, you need a list of subjects to journal about. You could come up with your own, or you could use the subjects here and here.

Then come up with questions about your subject. For example, what do you want to know about it? what makes it an important part of Canada? does it have a history? can you find a photograph or draw it? what facts can you find about it?

Do your research and then fill up a journal page with all the information you can find. Have fun!

I’m off for the summer, but hope to be back in September with some more ideas!

Learn through journalling

 

 

All the places to visit

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At the time of writing this (2017), it is Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. This celebrates the day when Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia joined together to form the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867.

There are a number of activities going on throughout Canada in connection with this anniversary.

  • Canada Parks is providing a free pass to all the national parks in Canada. Which one will you visit this year?
  • The Canada History Hall is opening on July 1st at the History Museum in Gatineau, Quebec.
  • One hundred and fifty murals are being painted in towns and cities throughout Canada to create a gigantic mural mosaic.
  • A photographer, Tim Van Horn, is travelling throughout Canada to capture 54,000 portraits of Canadians that will be made into a mosaic of the Canadian flag.
  • Canada C3 is a project to sail from Toronto around the Northwest Passage to Victoria and share it with all Canadians through the participants on board and digital media.

Activity: Draw up a bucket list for places to visit in your own home province this summer. Go province-wide or choose places close to your own community, or maybe even go right across the country. If you want to share photos, or your list of places to go, you are welcome to join the Getting to Know Canada facebook group. Here are some ideas…

  1. A national park
  2. A provincial park
  3. A wildlife preserve or zoo
  4. A natural history museum
  5. A farm
  6. A botanical garden
  7. A beach
  8. The best ice cream shop
  9. An art gallery
  10. An historic site

Here is our bucket list. We have decided to be more intentional in our “nature” journaling over the next year and so for the next school year I will be sharing our intentional journaling projects that hopefully will help us to get to know Canada better right in our own neighbourhood.

Click on it to download it, and then go have fun this summer!

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Inspirational Links:

The Gold Rush

Miners climb Chilkoot

In the year 1896, gold was discovered in the Yukon along a stream called Rabbit Creek. It was renamed Bonanza Creek because it made a few men very rich indeed.

For the next couple years, 100,000 people tried to reach the goldfields from all over the world. Dawson City, from which the gold could be reached, grew from a sleepy town of 500 to over 30,000 in just two years. However, the gold didn’t last long, and by the summer of 1898, the rush was over.

Of those who set out to find their fortune, only 30,000 to 40,000 reached Dawson City. Of those, only 4000 actually struck gold, and of those, only a few hundred became rich.

There were several ways of reaching the places where gold was being found. Some took longer than others and many were exceptionally difficult due to the rugged terrain and the cold. The Chilkoot Pass was used by many. Its main ascent, the last 1000 feet, was called “The Scales”. At some point, steps were cut into the ice, creating a 1500 step staircase. This was nicknamed “The Golden Stairs”.

Today gold is still being mined from the earth at the rate of 2700 tonnes per year. However the days of finding nuggets within easy reach are over. Instead, over 80% of the gold mined today is extracted using cyanidation which is extremely environmentally unfriendly. A recent study has shown that cyanide could be replaced with a starch with the same effect and much less toxicity.

Gold is used mostly for jewellery, but also in electronics as it is an excellent conductor and doesn’t react easily to substances like air and water. It is also used in medical and dental procedures.

Here is a poem that captures what is was like to be a gold-digger in the Yukon:

The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service, read by Johnny Cash and illustrated by Ted Harrison:

If you are able to, read Crazy for Goldcfcrazyforgold from the Canadian Flyer series.

Activity: A sourdough starter is a substance that is used to leaven bread in the absence of yeast or baking powder and it has become a nickname for gold prospectors. Many of them would carry a package of sourdough starter, of which a small amount when mixed with flour and water could be made into great bread.

Give it a try: Starter, Bread.

If you want to know more, this is an interesting website: A History of the Klondike