University of Washington

January 2011 Report

Programming News

UW Libraries & Canada Collections

Note from the Canadian Collections Librarian - by Sion Romaine, UW Libraries’ Canadian Studies Librarian

The challenge: guide students in the Jackson School’s Task Force courses to the many quality resources and services available through the University Libraries and the Odegaard Research and Writing Center, and by doing so, improve the final reports produced by each Task Force.

Iceberg between Langø and Sanderson Hope, south of Upernavik, Greenland
Iceberg between Langø and Sanderson Hope, south of Upernavik, Greenland

The solution: have the University Libraries subject librarians partner with Task Force instructors and the Odegaard Research and Writing Center to create a research and writing workshop that will assist Task Force students in creating a research concept map, help them develop research questions they can use to find and evaluate appropriate policy sources, and point them to quality and relevant information resources.

For SIS495A Governing the Arctic, librarians Louise Richards (Fisheries/Oceanography) and Mike Biggins (Russian Studies) and Odegaard Research & Writing Center director Jenny Halpin met with SIS495A Task Force students and instructors and covered concept mapping, tools for critically evaluating resources, and collaborative research and writing processes. Additionally, Richards and Biggins worked with Anna Bjartmarsdottir (Nordic Studies) and Siôn Romaine (Canadian Studies) to create a class resource page that will guide students to recommended resources on researching Arctic governance and policy issues. The page contains links to a wide selection of resources including those purchased by the Libraries as well as quality resources freely available over the internet. Select resources are noted below. More are available at

Background information …
Arctic Strategy Documents (strategy documents from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Russia, the United States, and the European Union)
Encyclopedia of the Arctic (an online encyclopedia covering the Arctic's environment, climate, history, resources, economics, politics, indigenous cultures and languages, , and many other topics)

Current news & blogs …
Who owns the Arctic (Blog of Dr. Michael Byers, Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia)
Eye on the Arctic (A collaboration of circumpolar media outlets that seeks to better tell the stories of Arctic communities and people)

The interdisciplinary nature of Arctic studies meant that multiple subject librarians were involved in creating a class guide for SIS495A, and presenting at the research and writing workshop. Sometimes, you really can have too many cooks and still come up with a good broth!

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Outreach to Educators & the Community

Morna and Michael Papritz.
Morna and Michael Papritz.

Center and Kentridge High School Partnership Builds Canadian Content in Advanced Placement Courses

by Mike Papritz, geography teacher, Kentridge High School

At Kentridge High School in Kent, I have been teaching an Advanced Placement human geography course for juniors and seniors for the past six years. One of our major units in geography during the year is a focus on cultures around the world. I have been fortunate to have established a relationship with the Canadian Studies Center that provides guest speakers for the classes. My students have had the opportunity to listen to valuable information about Canada far beyond the scope of what they realized cultural elements of Canada to be. From learning about the Inuit language and culture and understanding how the political border between the U.S. and Canada has altered cultural traits of certain people, my students have received a wealth of information about our neighbors to the north.

In December Morna McEachern, Social Work and Affiliated Faculty of the Center, showed clips from Travels Across the Medicine Line and then talked about the effect of the Canadian-U.S. border on social welfare outcomes, policies and practices as they pertain to two disproportionately poor groups that are often divided by the border and thus social services – Indigenous peoples and refugees.

Morna addresses a cultural geography class at Kent Meridian High School.
Morna addresses a cultural geography class at Kent Meridian High School.

All these guest speaking engagements were made possible from the ongoing presentations I went to while attending the numerous social studies leadership conferences that took place over the years at Lake Chelan in March. Nadine Fabbi did a tremendous job of bringing Canada to life while presenting and then she later became a vital liaison in coordinating guest speakers for my geography courses. The Canadian Studies Center and Nadine have given my high school students a greater depth of understanding regarding Canada that they would not have otherwise been exposed to. I look for to using individuals at the center in the future to continue to give my students exposure on the importance of Canada.

Morna’s visit was funded by the Center’s Program Enhancement Grant, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Government of Canada and Title VI grant, US Department of Education, Office of International Education Programs Service.

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Local Educator Enhances the Canadian Content in Her First Grade Classroom Thanks to STUDY CANADA Summer Institute and the Canada Valise

Martha Gibney's students
Martha Gibney's students

Dearest Tina,
I just wanted to tell you how much fun I have had teaching, and how much fun the first graders have had learning about Canada this fall. Their interest was initially piqued when the K-12 STUDY CANADA Resource Valise arrived. They have loved learning about the weather, geography and important landmarks in Canada. It has been particularly fun for them learning about the Arctic in this season so close to Christmas. It was not in my lesson plans, but the students are eager to figure out how exactly to get to the North Pole in order to find Santa!

The students are becoming much more proficient at their map reading skills. As you (and other instructors) presented in the summer course, these students do associate Canada with a vast frozen land. But, as they are learning about the varied landscapes and weather, they are seeing how Canada does have icy land, but it also has big cities, and farmland, and forests and important rivers and lakes.

The students have loved the story The Sweater. They are practicing their French-Canadian accents to mimic the voice on the DVD as they cheer for the Montréal Canadiens and Maurice Richard.

And, my students really are connecting to the Canadian value for diversity. I teach at a school that is quite diverse – about 50% of our families speak at least two languages (English and a home or native language). So, my students are naturally connected to what is clearly Canadian of being integrated into a multi-cultural community that appreciates and celebrates differences.

My students have figured out that I typically tie a field trip to any of our science or social studies units. So, they are certain that we are going to be field tripping to Canada soon. (Of course, I am all for this! I haven't exactly figured out the logistics of taking twenty-six first graders on an international field trip!)

Additionally, I have gotten a lot of great feedback from my students' parents, who are happy to see the kids using critical thinking skills in order to build their own knowledge about geography and the inter-connections between geography and communities.

I am so happy that I was able to participate in the STUDY CANADA Summer Institute as I learned so much in the process. I knew that I would be able to use the information in my classroom and now I am excited to report how beneficial the institute has been to my social studies instruction this year.

These students have learned a lot about Canadian geography. They have developed more and more questions about Canada and are eager to visit. And, I think we have about twenty-six newly indoctrinated Montréal Canadiens’ fans!

Happy Holidays to you. I hope you enjoy it with your family.

Martha Gibney
1st grade teacher, St. Matthew School, Seattle, Washington

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Canadian Studies Center
University of Washington
Box 353650
Thomson Hall, Room 503
Seattle, WA 98195-3650
T (206) 221-6374
F (206) 685-0668