HELPING TEACHERS INSPIRE COMPASSION
FOR ANIMALS, PEOPLE & THE ENVIRONMENT

Category Archives: Blog

Why Curiosity Matters

Curiosity is powerful. It encourages us to ask questions, seek answers, think critically, and find solutions to problems both big and small. It helps us to be open to others, build understanding and foster empathy – and it needs to be nurtured.  Astrophysicist and science educator, Neil deGrasse Tyson has lamented that “kids are born curious about the world. What adults primarily do in the presence of kids is unwittingly thwart [that] curiosity.”

However, curiosity is an essential part of learning. Research suggests that curiosity in a subject area positively correlates to retention of information. Teaching that promotes curiosity can help improve student success at meeting learning outcomes.

Our theme for the year Stay Curious focuses on sparking curiosity and wonder about our natural world including the animals in it. Sparking curiosity through animals is supported through the biophilia hypothesis.

This curious little kitten I was fostering was into everything!

Put forward by biologist E.O. Wilson, the biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans have an innate drive to connect with nature and other living things – a byproduct of human evolution. As such, children are born intrinsically curious about the natural world around them, including, and especially about animals. This makes animals a natural conduit for sparking curiosity that can be extended to others and the environment.

Current global challenges require that we seek innovative ways of doing things that respect the planet while promoting and improving the well-being of all living things. Young people, with their creativity, imagination and optimism have the greatest potential to create positive change – let’s not hold them back.

Summer Reads for Teachers

We usually highlight great animal-themed books for your students, but this list is just for you! The following suggested reads span fiction to non-fiction and are guaranteed to kindle your curiosity about animals and spark reflection about our relationship to them. Saving Manno by Spencer Sekyer (autobiographical, Canadian) Spencer Sekyer is a Sherwood Park teacher who…Continue Reading

Animals in the classroom: Responsibilities & Rewards

Mrs. Ainslie-O’Connor is a seasoned grade three teacher who has incorporated classroom animals in her teaching for about 10 years. I met with Mrs. Ainslie-O’Connor in her brightly lit grade three classroom in Spruce Grove and was introduced to some of her furry – and not so furry – friends.  She has a six-year old guinea…Continue Reading

Volunteer Spotlight – April 2019

The Alberta SPCA Education Department is fortunate to have two wonderful volunteers that help us connect teachers to humane education resources they can use in their classroom. Whether it is coming into the office once a week, or helping us at special events, our volunteers are an integral part of our department being able to…Continue Reading

What to Expect with AnimalTales

Are you thinking about getting AnimalTales but not sure what to expect? This blog is intended to give you a better idea of how AnimalTales can be used in your classroom. The AnimalTales program is easily adaptable; each activity can be modified to fit the needs of your class. You can spend as much or…Continue Reading

The Rise of Alternatives

Technology is paving the way for advances in science and medicine, and providing opportunities for learning, through the use of alternatives. From Organ-on-a-Chip to a virtual dissection table, superior methods to the traditional use of animals for education and research and being created and implemented. In science classrooms, dissection has been a popular activity since…Continue Reading

Animals and Remembrance Day

This Remembrance Day marks 100 years since the end of the First World War. Over 650,000 men and women from Canada served in this war, with 66,000 of those making the ultimate sacrifice. That is one in ten people who never returned home to their loved ones. Working alongside these brave men and women were…Continue Reading

Help animals in your community through a ‘Class Action’ Project!

Alberta SPCA ‘Class Action’ projects to help animals are the perfect opportunity to engage your students in service learning. Service learning projects address curricular outcomes while providing an opportunity to make a positive impact in the community. These projects help students build skills such as goal setting and critical thinking, and can help improve self-esteem…Continue Reading

Every One Counts Contest Prize Recipients!

We are happy to announce the prize recipients of the Every One Counts contest! Many of the entries were strong contenders, so to say it was a difficult decision would be an understatement. The three entries selected to receive a prize did a great job of telling us why the animals count and what actions…Continue Reading

Volunteer Spotlight – April 2018

We are fortunate to have two dedicated volunteers to help in our education program. From helping with our book lending program, to translating material for our recently launched French website, much of what we do would not be possible without the help of these fantastic individuals. With it being National Volunteer Week, we wanted to…Continue Reading

Blog posts represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Alberta SPCA.