This blog was written by Defining Moments Canada in partnership with 'Ingenium - Canada's Science and Technology Museum', and first appeared on August 30th on the Ingenium website. 

def moments pic1 nurse

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of US National Archives

A nurse protects herself while fetching water, September 13, 1918.



Defining Moments Canada Announces a National Contest to Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Spanish Flu Pandemic in Canada 2018-19


A national contest is challenging schools, museums, and heritage organizations to tell stories about the Spanish flu pandemic using digital storytelling tools.

“We hope to inspire Canadians to bring to light the stories that shaped our country but are only briefly mentioned in textbooks, and often ignore the many diverse voices that need to be heard,” says Neil Orford, program leader for Defining Moments Canada, the bilingual, non-profit heritage organization hosting the contest. “Personal stories from the Spanish flu pandemic are hard to come by — yet they need to be told.” 

By Risa Gluskin


I admit I am very partial to TVO – I think we here in Ontario are lucky to have it. Here are six documentaries you can use to inspire yourself and your students. I am not one to show entire documentaries; I prefer a few relevant clips. Check out these docs and figure out how you can use them.


School of Babel

In France’s version of ESL classes the students experience issues similar to Ontario’s ELL students, including living away from their parents. I find it very touching, almost like turning a lense on ourselves. I wonder how newcomers to Canada would like the film?

By Kelly MacKay and Andrea Kerr 

The following is an abridged version of a blog post originally from The Beast, June 16, 2018

 the beat


SketchSketchnote by @andCreative


When it is the dark days of data analysis and you are in a basement room at the board office for days on end and an old friend invites you to listen and watch her students live history, you go.  You never once pretend the data means more and you go.


Grade 10 history, at a small local high school in Prince Edward County changed me.  I went, I watched, I listened and I rubbed elbows with living history, history as it was being uncovered and history as it was being lived and breathed by students who are supposed to understand very little of the purpose of history.  As it happens they are the only way it will evolve and become what it should…their culture and identity and who they will know to be their predecessors, change makers, innovators and glass ceiling breakers.  At 15 they hold what is dear to many and do it with reverence and grace.  Yes, you drop everything as an educator and you run towards this.

By Risa Gluskin



If there’s one thing I want my students to remember, it’s that they shouldn’t always believe what they see, hear, or read. This year I changed up my icebreaker again (see last year’s post on Teacher in a Box). After doing Teacher in a Box, I played a 5- minute audio clip from This is That. If you’re familiar with the satirical CBC radio program, you’ll get the connection right away. Most of my students didn’t know what they were listening to when they heard “Canadian lullaby writer has proudly put thousands to sleep with his music.”

By Risa Gluskin

Cortes book

Here’s a contrast: I have been carrying around a perfectly relevant history book all summer. It traces the history of the so-called Spanish conquest of the Aztec people. I have barely put a dent in it despite lugging it to all my appointments, on the subway, even to BC. On the other hand, I recently read an entire book in one day, a book that his little historical relevance at all! Granted, it was raining all day and I was stuck in a hotel in Lagoon City waiting for the rain to clear so my husband and I could continue our bike trip around Lake Simcoe!