Six Ways to Stay Engaged This Summer

With summer break right around the corner, we have a selection of podcasts, documentaries, courses, websites and more for you to explore during your much deserved time off. These recommendations touch on a variety of topics related to humane education including social-emotional learning, animal cognition and behaviour, empathy, Indigenous perspectives! Do you have a resource that you think we should check out? If so, let us know! We would love to hear from you. 

*Views represented in these suggestions do not necessarily represent the views of the Alberta SPCA. 

The Secret World of Sound (CBC)

This three-part CBC Nature of Things documentary explores how animals use sound in extraordinary ways to hunt, find a mate and survive. Discover how owls use sound to survive in the winter, how young caimans coordinate their hatching by communicating with each other through their shells, and how scientists are using underwater speakers in hopes of saving damaged coral! A free CBC Gem account is required to watch this documentary. 

Entangled Empathy: An Alternative Ethic for Our Relationships with Animals (Lori Gruen)

In this book, author and philosopher, Lori Gruen suggests that when dealing with empathy, it is crucial for us to acknowledge the distinction between self and others as it can be simple to project our point of view onto others when they have their own needs, interests and perspectives. This especially can ring true when it comes to empathizing with animals as we can often focus on human capacities, which can lead to an oversight of the animal’s unique needs. 

“Animal”  (New York Times)

In uncertain times, what can we gain by looking at and learning from other animals? In this six-part podcast, Host Sam Anderson sets out on a journey to meet new animals (and the people who love them). This is an intriguing and heartwarming listen.  

An Introduction to Social and Emotional Learning (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) 

This free course (that can be completed in one hour!) pairs informative learning activities with opportunities for you to make connections to your community. While completing the course you will imagine ways you can (and already do) apply your own social and emotional skills to support social-emotional learning in students. 

Aboriginal Worldviews and Education (University of Toronto) 

This course, offered for free though Coursera, explores Indigenous ways of knowing and how this knowledge can benefit all students. Topics include historical, social and political issues in education; cultural, spiritual and philosophical themes in Aboriginal worldviews; and how Aboriginal worldviews can inform your classroom practices. (PBLWorks) 

PBLWorks offers project based learning (PBL) projects and resources to help you design and implement PBL in your classroom, as well as a variety of workshops and courses for teachers. A blog and podcast series that explore the power, potential and pitfalls of project based learning can also be found on the website. 

Wishing everyone a relaxing and refreshing summer break! We look forward to connecting with you again in September. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to reach out to us at We are available to answer your questions throughout the summer.

Record-Breaking Kindness Challenge!

This past December, a record breaking, thirty-eight Alberta classes committed to participating in the Kindness Challenge. Students from kindergarten to grade 7 spread acts of kindness towards self, others, animals, and the environment for the first half of December. Each day students completed a different

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Meet Gloria Ho: The Artist Behind the Posters

For the past six years, the Alberta SPCA has been fortunate to collaborate with local artist, Gloria Ho, in creating our character education classroom poster series. Each year Gloria paints animals that help convey the annual theme. Over the years, thousands of these posters have

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Using Books to Create a Caring Classroom

This school year started like no other. As we transition through these challenging times, it is important for everyone to show a little more compassion and empathy towards others. It is important for us, as teachers, to begin fostering these qualities in students at the

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A Message for Teachers:

Dear Teachers, Thank you for your hard work and dedication to students in this exceptional time. The need for caring for others is becoming ever more salient and we recognize and value the important role of teachers and learning communities in proving support and care

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Students Making a Difference through ‘Class Action’

Service learning projects are a great way to address curricular outcomes while providing students the opportunity to leave a positive and lasting impact on the community. The Alberta SPCA’s ‘Class Action’ projects to help animals, people or the environment provide an opportunity to engage your

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Fostering Curiosity in the Classroom

Children are naturally curious. We know this from the numerous questions they ask each day. However, for some reason it seems as children get older the number of questions asked become fewer. As educators we want to encourage students to continue asking questions and to

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After the War: Animals Helping Veterans

Animals had, and continue to have an important role to play in war. In last year’s Remembrance Day blog we discussed the role animals played in The First World War. This year we are looking at service dogs, and the important role they have in

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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

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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

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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

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