Category Archives: Education

Why Are Most Canadian Prime Ministers Old White Men?

prime ministers of canada

Poster of Canada’s Prime Ministers available from Teacher Tools.

In a grade five and six class I have been visiting the last couple of weeks the kids and their teacher have worked out a kind of rap with actions to learn the names of all of Canada’s prime ministers.  

For Sir John A. MacDonald they hold up one finger since he was Canada’s first prime minister.  They make a sun over their heads for Wilfred Laurier because his catch phrase was  ‘sunny ways’.  They make the peace sign for Lester Pearson because he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

They make a curly French moustache for Pierre Trudeau because he was responsible for making French the official second language of Canada.  While they say the names of the prime ministers and do the actions the kids look at a poster that pictures all the prime ministers. One day the student teacher I was supervising asked the students what questions they had about the prime ministers of our country.  Here are some of the things they wanted to know.  

  1.  What makes a good prime minister?  
  2. What makes a bad prime minister? 
  3. Why are most of Canada’s prime minister’s old white men? 
  4. Why was Kim Campbell only the prime minister for such a short time? 
  5. How did Justin Trudeau get so popular? 
  6. How old do you have to be to be a prime minister? 
  7. What does a prime minister do anyway?
  8. Which prime minister made the first law? 
  9. Do you have to be rich to be the prime minister? 
  10. What does a prime minister do when they aren’t the prime minister anymore? 

I thought these were great questions!  I’d like some of them answered myself!  

Other posts. ……

Who Should Be Prime Minister? 

I Sat in the Speaker’s Chair

The Famous Five

1 Comment

Filed under Canada, Education

The Future Belongs To Those Who Are Curious

On the window in one of the classrooms I visit for my work as a supervisor for university education students I saw all these reminders of the hallmarks of a good learner. Students had created each one with unique materials.










Running all along the front of the classroom there was a long wall banner that said………


Each of the signs the students had made provided great suggestions for how learners can pique their curiosity and satisfy it.  They are good suggestions for all of us if we want to be life long learners. 

Other posts……………..

Words to Live By

Imitating Emily

Include Me Please

Leave a comment

Filed under Education

Persuade Me

I was visiting a grade five and six class this week where the students were learning how to write persuasive essays.  They had all come up with thesis statements and three reasons why their statement was true.  Now they were gathering information and examples to support each reason.   As I walked around the room I was fascinated by the variety of their thesis statements.

Solar panels are an excellent energy source. 

My parents should buy me a cat. 

Plenty of sleep is good for you. 

They should serve snacks at school.

Good government is important. 

Divorce is a bad thing for kids. 

Shoes are too expensive. 

My old school was better than this one. 

I need a new computer. 

Soccer is the best sport. 

Immigrants are good for Canada. 

My house needs to be more organized. 

All schools should have sports teams. 

I thought it was great that the students were being encouraged to have strong opinions and being taught to defend them in their writing. I loved talking to them about their opinions. 

Other posts……….

Helping Children Become Writers

Writers All Around


Leave a comment

Filed under Childhood, Education

Get Smart, Crokinole And Ping Pong

Recently Canadian Mennonite University published this photo on social media of students hanging out in a lounge  playing video games together. My how times have changed I thought. But……… then I remembered the shared screen time and games that were popular when I was a student at the same university/college in the early 1970s.

CMU students watching Get Smart 1970s

Many of us would congregate in front of the television screen just before supper to watch reruns of the popular comedy Get Smart. In the show a bumbling detective named Maxwell Smart also known as Agent 99 and a smart savvy female investigator Agent 86 tried to protect the world from the evil KAOS organization. 

Guys watching TV in CMU lounge 1973

My husband playing ping-pong with a CMU classmate in 1974

We didn’t play video games in the early 1970s but ping-pong and crokinole matches consumed endless hours of students’ time.

My husband’s most competitive crokinole opponent was one of his professors

By the way I noticed in this photo that current CMU students are sporting fairly long hair and that is something that was also popular in the early 1970s as my husband’s 1973 yearbook photo illustrates. 

Maybe times haven’t changed that much. 

Other posts………

Doc Schroeder

And A Baby Cried

Meet You At the Folio

A Chat With My Old Professor


Leave a comment

Filed under Education, History

Merry Christmas From My Bitmoji

christmas bitmojiOne of the student teachers I visited as part of my job for the University of Winnipeg put together the most engaging power points to guide her grade five and six students through her lessons. She had created a bitmoji of herself and the character always showed up somewhere on the power point slide in a relevant way.  For example if the lesson was about solving a scientific mystery the bitmoji of my student teacher might be carrying a magnifying glass. The grade five and six students absolutely LOVED this!  They were always so excited to see a new bitmoji of their teacher.

bitmoji christmasI had seen bitmoji’s before but had no idea how to make one.  I decided to teach myself.  I downloaded the app to create one on my I- phone, took my photo and then made a few changes to the bitmoji my photo created. marylou bitmoji christmasI am not really sure my bitmoji looks like me but here I am bitmoji style wishing you a Merry Christmas.

Other posts…….

Christmas in Different Places

My First Christmas Without My Mom

I’m Trying to Draw Cartoons


1 Comment

Filed under Art, Education

Words To Live By- Be Nice

in grade five six classI photographed  this bulletin board  in one of the Winnipeg classrooms I have been visiting in the last six weeks.  I mentioned how much I liked it to the teacher and she said the motto had become a sort of touchstone for the class.  They referred to it often and the teacher was always happy when she heard students reminding each other about the ideas in the motto.  

Although the message  is aimed at kids  I think it has wisdom for adults too.  It doesn’t matter if we have the nicest house, or the best job, or the fittest body, or the prettiest face, or the highest income.  Those things don’t  make us nice people.  What does matter is whether we are friendly and generous and happy and honest and kind.  

Other posts……..

Living Intentionally


The Salmon Saved Him


Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Reflections

Include Me Please

I walked into a classroom recently where the student teacher I supervise for the university had made a sorting chart with the children.  On one side was the label NATURAL and on the other MANMADE.   In each section of the chart the children had pasted appropriate items.  In the lesson I was observing, my student teacher was talking about community helpers and referred to them as firemen, policemen and garbage men.  

In our post lesson conference I mentioned that MADE BY PEOPLE would have been a better chart heading than MANMADE  and that words like firefighters, police officers and sanitation workers were more inclusive than firemen, policemen and garbagemen.   Apparently my student teacher’s exclusive language had already been pointed out by the regular classroom teacher and my student was a little embarrassed about unconciously slipping back into using terminology that might send the wrong message to the girls in the class or children who may not be sure about their gender identity. In another class I visited, the student teacher was leading a science lesson on the characteristics of animals.  Every single time an animal was mentioned she referred to it as ‘he’.  In the post lesson conference I suggested that perhaps the word ‘she’ could have been used equally when referring to animals or a more neutral ‘it’ could have been used. The student agreed completely telling me how dedicated she was to feminist ideals. She thanked me for pointing out the exclusivity of her language.  

Language is a powerful thing and using exclusive language in even little ways sends a subtle message to some children that they aren’t included.  We’ve come a long way since my childhood when exclusively male language was the norm but there is still reason to be vigilant about trying to raise a new generation for whom the use of inclusive language is a natural thing. 

Other posts……….

I Remember When……..

Proud of the New Words to Canada’s National Anthem

From Pale and Weak to Platoon Commander



Filed under Education