Cold Winter Months

Letter from Ann

In this GRICScope Cold Winter Months, we have over 10 hours of programming on Special Days, Special Events, topics such as Black History Month, anniversary of the Killing of Mahatma Gandhi, World Day of Social Justice, Valentine's Day, World Wetlands Day.

We have suggestions for videos that will help you draw out the significance of these special days and events. If you have any suggestions, please let us know. We will try and accommodate your curriculum needs.

Kind regards,


Special Days – January and February

January 30 – Anniversary of the Killing of Mahatma Gandhi

  • A Death for Peace: Mahatma Gandhi and the Impossible Quest (52:00)

    This documentary video explores the significance for India of Mahatma Gandhi, both when he was alive and struggling to achieve his country's independence and since his death, which took place on January 30, 1948. He was killed by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist opposed to his tolerant, nonviolent, and inclusive ideals. This film relates his story as he struggles peacefully to rid India of the colonial British regime while at the same time making sure that all groups within the nation felt at home. A Death for Peace gives viewers an unsentimental assessment of 20th century India as it struggled to free itself from colonial subjugation and then to establish a national identity. Viewers will understand why the mahatma's ideas still inspire liberation movements around the world, from the Martin Luther King's Civil Rights movement in the United States in the 1960s to the early moments of the "Arab Spring" movements for regime change in the Middle East today.

    Contemporary World Program – Cycle Two, Year Three (Secondary 5)

    Competency 1:

    • Interprets a contemporary world problem
    • Relevant theme: tensions and conflicts

    Competency 2:

    • Takes a position on a contemporary world issue
    • Relevant theme: Power, Tensions & Conflicts, Wealth
    • Examines some points of view on the issue
    • Debates the issue
    • Considers opportunities for social action

    Ethics and Religious Culture: Secondary Cycle Two

    "In Secondary Cycle Two, students address new aspects of ethics, religious culture and dialogue using complex topics for reflection. Their understanding of what constitute values and norms should thus enable them to identify a large number of ethical questions or significant challenges related to tolerance, the future of humanity, justice and the human ambivalence. To broaden their understanding of forms of religious expression, students further explore the symbolic and experiential dimensions of religion, as well as the study of important periods in the development of religious traditions. Lastly, they acquire a greater facility in the practice of dialogue and more easily master its various components."

    Competency 1:

    • Reflects on Ethical Questions
    • Analyzes a situation from an ethical point of view
    • Examines a variety of cultural, moral, religious, scientific or social references
    • Evaluates options or possible actions


February 2 – World Wetlands Day

Livelihoods from fishing, rice farming, travel, tourism, and water provision all depend on wetlands. And wetlands are vital to us in many other ways. They host a huge variety of life, protect our coastlines, serve as natural sponges against river flooding, and store carbon dioxide to regulate climate change.

Unfortunately, wetlands are often viewed as wasteland, and more than 64% of our wetlands have disappeared since 1900. Approximately 40% have been degraded in just over 40 years according to the Wetland Extent Trend and this decline is continuing at an accelerated rate of 1.5% annually. Wetland loss is one of the great natural disasters of our time, but few people are aware of it.

For more World Wetlands Day information, classroom activities and posters, visit World Wetlands Day. Click on "View all available materials".

  • Energetic Energy (14:30) Elementary Cycles 2 and 3

    Just what is energy, anyway? In this episode of Science and Me, Molecular Mike helps us to figure out the answer to this puzzling question! We'll learn about ways that we use energy, how the Sun provides energy for all kinds of things to happen on our planet, and ways in which light and heat are used every day. Join us on this installment of Science and Me and get ready for some… Energetic Energy!

    A teacher's guide is provided

  • Energy Encounters (14:30) Elementary Cycle 2

    This is an interesting and fun way for young students to become aware of the role of energy in living systems, including wetlands – and people. In this program from the series Science and Me, Molecular Mike looks at how living things get their energy, and how different kinds of energy move through systems.

    A teacher's guide is provided with learning activities.

  • Geography (13:39) Elementary Cycle 3, Secondary Cycles 1 & 2, Adult Education

    The first element that influences how people act in cultures is Geography, which can be broken down into Topography, Climate and Natural Resources. Topography, the natural surface features of an area, causes people to adapt, often by changing land and water phenomena, or by building structures upon them. Climate, the average temperature and precipitation of an area over time, creates many varied human lifestyles. Natural Resources, animal, plant and mineral, are behind many human activities, from economics to religious beliefs and values, from indigenous to developing to developed cultures. These diverse cultures are beginning today to depend more upon each other to meet their needs and wants.

    A teacher's guide is provided

    Students will:

    • Understand how geography influences a people group's culture.
    • Consider how different geographical regions have different cultures because of the area.
    • Gain a greater understanding of your own culture due to your geographic location.
  • Living Environment (28:29) Secondary Cycles 1 & 2

    Living Environment is linked to The Living World where students acquire scientific and technological knowledge pertaining to life as it relates to molecules, cells, organisms and ecosystems. 

    This episode shows how environments have biotic and abiotic interactions for example. 

    According to the Progression of learning (POL), this episode is linked to the following sections:

    Secondary Cycle 1

    1. Ecology
      1. Dynamics of Ecosystems
        1. Ecosystems
          • Defines an ecosystem as the relationships between the individuals in a community and abiotic factors in the environment.

    Secondary Cycle 2

    1. Diversity of Life Forms
      1. Dynamics of Ecosystems
        1. Trophic Relationships
        2. Chemical Recycling
    2. Life-Sustaining Processes
      1. Photosynthesis and Respiration


February 14 – Valentine's Day

  • Romeo and Juliet (54:37) Secondary, English Language Arts and English As A Second Language

    Shakespeare in Love actor Joseph Fiennes investigates how Romeo and Juliet came to be Shakespeare's most famous play. Visiting a school where students are encountering it for the first time, Joseph discovers a play with a unique power over young people. He meets writer and critic Bonnie Greer to discuss the play's remarkable heroine and talks to theatre director Dominic Dromgoole about the play's enduring appeal.

  • Antony and Cleopatra (54:28) Secondary, English Language Arts and English As A Second Language

    Cattrall explores the real character of the great Queen of Egypt, and travels to Rome, ironically Marc Antony's city, in her quest to find out more about the historical Cleopatra. She also meets with her director, Dame Janet Suzman, who herself made an iconic Cleopatra at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1973. Together they begin to uncover the truth behind this astonishing middle aged love story. Antony and Cleopatra are no lovesick juveniles, they are mature, heroic – real – political figures. As such they were quite dangerous roles to write, let alone to play.

  • Cinderella (07:57) Preschool and Elementary

    Poor Cinderella is treated like a maid by her cruel stepmother and stepsisters. One day her Fairy Godmother appears and with a wave of her magic wand allows Cinderella to go to the ball where she meets the Prince. He falls madly in love with her at first sight. But Cinderella must be home by midnight. As she flees the palace, she loses her slipper on the stair and the Prince searches the kingdom to find the person whose foot fits into the slipper and make her his wife.

  • Love Hurts (24:00) Secondary, English As A Second Language

    Nick sees Bridget's vulnerable side, as she is not happy in her new job. Annie and Hector are having problems in their relationship – she is convinced he is seeing other women. It turns out that one of the women is making an offer that Hector may find difficult to refuse.

    Program Segments

    1. Romantic dinner
    2. The secret phone call
    3. What kind of egg?
    4. Annie's number
    5. Hector talks to Annie


February 20 – World Day for Social Justice

Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous sexual slavery coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability. – from the United Nations World Day for Social Justice website.

Social justice is one of the issues that make up the new Secondary Cycle 2 Year 3 program, The Contemporary World. But the concept reverberates through other programs at both the elementary and secondary levels (for example, Ethics and Religious Cultures), which makes this day a particularly relevant one to be marked in our classes. In 2016 the theme was "A Just Transition – Environmentally sustainable economies and societies". (The theme for 2018 has not been announced as of this publication.)

  • Cultural Interdependence (4 x 15:00) Secondary Cycles 1 & 2

    The CVE series Cultural Interdependence is an excellent resource to inform students and spark discussions about social injustices.

    The four programs in this video series help lay the foundational framework for analyzing societal issues. They are grouped around four universal elements that define culture: geography, economy, social organization and beliefs and values. The series notes the tremendous diversity and interdependence of societies – and also the disparities that exist between them.

    • Geography is the first element that influences how people act in cultures. The program looks the roles that topography, climate and natural resources play in the lives of people in diverse areas around the world.

    • Economy distinguishes between needs necessary for survival and wants that result from the human urge to do more than just survive. The program illustrates the roles played by such phenomena as geography, climate and natural resource distribution that help explain disparities in the world, as well as the differences between free market and command economies.

    • Social Organizations include family units, religious groups, educational groups, recreational and work groups, government and political groups as well as ethnic groups.

    • Beliefs & Values underpin any culture. The many challenges of living today, both human-created and natural can be helped by the current technological and communications revolutions that may help to foster cultural interdependence.

  • Malala: The Power of One Voice (16:16)

    An assassination attempt was not enough to curtail the human-rights work of teenage activist Malala Yousafzai. "One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world," she told the United Nations in a stirring speech.

    Around the world an estimated 66 million girls are being denied the right to an education. Girls make up more than 54% of the non-schooled population in the world. Recent global estimates indicate that more than 100 million girls are involved in child labour.  Fix that, scholars have long said, and you could change the course of human history. Educated girls are safer from sexual assault and childhood marriage. They go on to raise more educated children themselves.

    This is what Malala is trying to change. Education is a basic human right. In October 2014, Malala was the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. She has also been made an honourary Canadian citizen. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described her as "a brave and gentle advocate of peace who through the simple act of going to school became a global teacher.”

    This wonderfully inspiring Canadian production can be used for discussions on human rights, gender/women’s rights, activism and politics, comparison of education in the Middle East and Canada, the importance of education and examining the barriers that keep girls out of school.

    A teacher's guide is provided.

  • Women Educating for Peace (31:54)

    This video explores the lived experiences of a group of Montréal-based women educators, who are all in different ways interested and involved in teaching for peace. The video points to the linkages between peace education and citizenship education, cooperative learning, and intercultural understanding. It also highlights the importance of artistic and creative process.

    It draws attention to the role that women can play in classroom-based peacebuilding processes, and to the many different ways of addressing issues. At the same time though, through the words of the women teachers involved in the project, the tensions, contradictions and challenges in doing this sort of work are acknowledged.

    Société GRICS wishes to honour the memory of Jackie Kirk killed in Afghanistan while working with women and children.


New in CVE

  • Loonies, Toonies, Credit & Debit: Financial Literacy for Canadian Teens (20:19)

    A concerned teacher stages a financial intervention for some of her students. You'll meet Darrel, Leona, Jessica and Kristin, four high school students wading through the financial world of pay cheque, debit and credit card transactions, interest rates, car loans, tuition, housing payments and needs versus wants. With input from their teacher, employer, bank manager, car salesman and a financial advisor, these students learn important facts that will help them manage their finances throughout their lives. 

    Chapters include: 

    1. Introduction 
    2. Gross Pay & Deductions 
    3. Banks & ATMs 
    4. Credit Cards 
    5. Needs & Wants 
    6. Interest Fees and Fraud 
    7. Right Time to Buy a Car? 
    8. Budgeting 
    9. Online Banking 
    10. Investing, Stocks & Bonds 
    11. Conclusion
  • Making Sense of Your Cents: Financial Literacy for Elementary Students (16:46)

    Introduce elementary-aged students to money! From a field trip in a Dollar Store to a visit to a bank to an interview with a volunteer organization, children will learn what money is, how it is earned, how to save, spend and share; and lots more. 

    Our cheerful young host Olivia begins by explaining what money is. She explains the value of our Canadian currency and children learn about the eventual elimination of the penny. Students are given ideas on ways to earn money through doing household chores or helping out a neighbour. Olivia's older sister also gives students some simple tips on how to save money when shopping - how to find those elusive bargains! You'll also meet your local bank manager who gives a simple explanation of how your money can grow in the bank. Children are given simple explanations of terms such as savings, interest, and debt. 

    The program also discuss the importance of being responsible with your money as well as being charitable.

    Teacher's guides and student booklets are available from the project Dollar Sense in collaboration with Autorité des marchés financiés.


Special Events: Black History Month

  • Blood Coltan (52:00)

    The West's demand for Coltan, used in mobile phones and computers, is funding the killings in Congo. Under the close watch of rebel militias, children as young as ten work the mines hunting for this black gold. This series exposes the web of powerful interests protecting this blood trade. Meet the powerful warlords who enslave local population and the European businessmen who continue importing Coltan, in defiance of the UN.

  • Beliefs & Values (52:00)

    Beliefs & Values underpin any Culture, and all of the other elements in it. History and tradition often influence these beliefs and values, such as the ideas about liberty of the early founders of the US that still propel our free enterprise, religious, and democratic institutions. Today, through trade, travel, and technology, cultures learn from each other faster than at any time, resulting in some confusion and even conflict. But, more and more cultures value education as much as traditional and historical preconceptions. The many challenges of living today, both human-created and natural, can be helped by the current technological & communications revolution that may foster more Cultural Interdependence.

  • Glory (02:59)

    Plot: Robert Shaw leads the US Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of both his own Union army and the Confederates. 

    Scene: Colonel Robert Gould Shaw informs the troops of his all-black company that they are to be paid less than white troops. 

    Theme: Citizenship: Solidarity 

    Focus Question: What would you have done? Why? 

    Studio: Columbia Pictures 

    Cast: Matthew Broderick… Colonel Robert Gould Shaw – Denzel Washington… Private Trip – Morgan Freeman… Sergeant Major John Rawlins 

    Directed by: Edward Zwick 

    Writing Credits: Robert Gould Shaw (Letters), Lincoln Kirstein (Book "Lay This Laurel"), Peter Burchard (Book "One Gallant Rush") & Kevin Jarre (Screenplay)

  • Othello (54:29)

    Othello, with David Harewood 

    Astonishingly, David Harewood was the first black actor to play the great Moorish Venetian general Othello at London's National Theatre, triumphantly taking on the role—but not until 1997. Now he returns to the play to discover how the centuries have changed our views of it. 

    Harewood learns about the Moorish ambassador who visited the court of Queen Elizabeth I and may have inspired Shakespeare. He meets the National Theatre's latest Othello, Adrian Lester, who has also starred in a play about Ira Aldridge, the 19th-century American actor who was the first black man ever to play the role in England; the reviews were shockingly racist. And he watches different Othellos on film, including Laurence Olivier's acclaimed if controversial "blacked-up" version from the 1960s. 

    Othello is actually a play dominated not by race, but by love and a great villain – Iago. A forensic psychiatrist helps to analyze this extraordinary psychopath and how he manipulates Othello by persuading him that his young wife is having an affair. Harewood meets Simon Russell Beale, who played Iago to his Othello, and they re-examine the lethal relationship. Imogen Stubbs and Sir Ian McKellen, who starred in Trevor Nunn's production; Julia Stiles, whose movie O was a modern take on the play; and Sir Patrick Stewart, who played Othello in a "color-reversed" production, also reflect on their characters.

  • The Power of Performance (32:00)

    This program – arguably the most stirring and insightful in the series – admirably succeeds in its mission to "shed light on the power and process of creating and performing spoken word."

    In his introduction writer/director James Seligman notes that, "as you will see, spoken word is poetry. And it is also storytelling, acting, comedy, tragedy, and movement. It can be challenging, and humorous, sometimes difficult, and often inspiring.

    This video is a recording of a performance that took place in 2008 at the Los Angeles Poetry Lounge. The artists perform on a small, bare circular stage surrounded by their audience. Seligman notes that, "the Poetry Lounge is a place where people from diverse backgrounds and experiences come together on a weekly basis to share and celebrate their creativity."

    As with the first two programs in the series, the performances are interspersed with interviews with the artists, who talk about their motivations and attitudes to performing. They unstintingly encourage others to try out spoken word poetry themselves. The simple performance setting demonstrates that this type of event can be staged just about anywhere.

    Note: While "the Power of Performance" can (and should be) shown to diverse audiences at any time of the year, this video (indeed the series) is a particularly good resource for BLACK HISTORY MONTH.

  • The Power of Poetics (33:00)

    This video program, the second in a series of three (to date), continues to inspire viewers with the raw power and eloquence of spoken word poetry. Once again Gina Loring, Thea Monyee, and In-Q use stage presence and eloquence to draw viewers into their worlds and their perspectives on life.

    Along with Nikki Blak and Javon Johnson, they explore issues such as gender relationships, urban poverty issues, and personal faith perspectives.

    In interviews the poets reveal what inspires their works, and encourage viewers to delve inside themselves, find their own voices and connect with audiences.

    The program is designed to inspire. As video program writer/director says, "Most of all we invite you to join them in expressing your thoughts, feelings and stories, and sharing them with others."

    NOTE: These poets discuss real issues affecting their lives. Sometimes mature thoughts and expressions are employed.