Author Archives: Paul Rombough

Paul Rombough

LEARN consultant in Social Sciences, ERC, Phys. Ed., and this year an online History teacher and active blogger on real-world teacher (and student!) issues.

April is cruelest month? Find out if that is so on the Gricscope Newsletter.

gricscopefacebookApril is Poetry month, and Elliot says it is the cruelest mont of all.  But for Chaucer… it’s a time for “setting out on a soul-stirring pilgrimage.”  The land, at long last, is coming alive!

Subscribers to CVE and Vodzone can check out videos on Poetry and Spoken word, and also environmental-focused video in celebration of Earth Day, via the April-May newsletter.

May too has a lot in store, beyond the flowers we are all hoping to get this spring!  May is Asian Heritage Month and Aboriginal Awareness week.  Vodzone and CVE video collections are highlighted to support those subjects.  As well the newsletter offers videos and educators guides on the delicate subject of Sexual Harassment issues at school that may interest ERC teachers.

CLICK here to read the latest newsletter!

You can also now visit and follow the CVE & VoDZone collections and news about them on Facebook.


SextingCyberintimidation Bullying: A Video collection on CVE

For those of you with CVE subscriptions, this is a useful collection of videos that could help you explain and deal with subjects such as Sexting, Cyberintimidation and Bullying:



by guest blogger Anne-Marie DeSilva, ERC Consultant at EMSB

Bullying by TrixOR on Flickr

By now everyone has heard of Bill 56’s anti-bullying initiative; less well-known is the Partnership Agreement signed by the schools and the government, which among other things promises to establish “a healthy and safe school environment” for all students.

Easier said than done, as most of us on the front lines know well. There are many approaches schools can take; school-wide initiatives, awareness campaigns, guest-speakers, classroom discussions, etc. Multiple, sustained approaches will have much greater impact than any one single attempt.

ERC class lends itself to addressing bullying, with its over-arching goals of “Pursuit of the Common Good” and “Respect for the Other”, and themes such as “The needs of humans and other living beings, demands of belonging to a group, demands of life in society, justice, tolerance, freedom” and so on. Many LES (learning and evaluation situations) have been written to address these themes; by using them in the ERC class, the teacher can both cover the content and evaluation of ERC as well as contributing to creating a healthy and safe school environment.

With that in mind, I have created a list of appropriate LES for each cycle, all of which can be found on the LEARN website. These LES either directly or indirectly address the attitudes necessary to combat bullying and promote compassion and respect. Most of the LES come from the Ethics component, but several of them are also part of Religious Culture, which also focuses on open-mindedness and respect for diversity:



Shared and Different Needs (Cycle 1) 

Students are encouraged to become aware that human beings have many needs in common and that their families and their class help them meet these needs in various ways. Students are encouraged to discover the uniqueness of all individuals in the way they meet their needs and the interdependence of people in meeting their respective needs.
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(Click to access the ERC Learning & Evaluation Situations) 
LEARN login required!


Rules and Values (Cycle 1) 

Students are asked to identify a few individual and collective responsibilities that stem from the interdependence between human beings. They are asked to recognize ways of acting that contribute to or are harmful to family life or school life, and to better identify a few values that guide action in school and in their families.
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(Click to access the ERC Learning & Evaluation Situations)
LEARN login required!


An Ideal Schoolyard  (Cycle 2) 
Throughout this learning and evaluation situation (LES), the students become aware that, in a common space like a schoolyard, various values and norms intended to facilitate group life account for the manner in which the space has been laid out. The students are invited to devise a blueprint for an ideal schoolyard by selecting feasible options and describing their potential effects on community life.

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(Click to access the ERC Learning & Evaluation Situations) 
LEARN login required!


The Colours of Diversity: A Student Exhibit    (Cycle 2) 
Students are encouraged to become aware of how religious heritage is present in their environment and to make simple connections between the forms of religious expression studied and the religious traditions to which they refer.

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(Click to access the ERC Learning & Evaluation Situations) 
LEARN login required!


Spring Giving   (Cycle 2) 
Students are encouraged to examine a situation involving helping others from an ethical point of view. They should evaluate actions that foster or hinder community life by taking a closer look at each person’s values, norms and responsibilities. Students should also recognize the influence of religion on different community agencies and cultural events whose mission it is to promote well-being in the community.
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(Click to access the ERC Learning & Evaluation Situations) 
LEARN login required! 


The Company We Keep  (Cycle 2)
Students will be encouraged to become aware that the different groups to which they belong help to shape their identity and meet their needs. They will examine their participation in various groups at home, in school and in their free time in order to understand that there are diverse relationships within groups and that these relationships can sometimes influence individual identity.

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(Click to access the ERC Learning & Evaluation Situations)
LEARN login required!


A Community Life Charter (Cycle 3)
Throughout this learning and evaluation situation (LES), the students become aware of the fact that life in society is governed by values, norms, rights and responsibilities. They are asked to identify actions and attitudes that are considered acceptable in society and to suggest guidelines conducive to the adoption of behaviours that respect human dignity and foster community life.

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(Click to access the ERC Learning & Evaluation Situations)
LEARN login required!


Fellowship  (Cycle 3)
Students are encouraged to recognize how actions and attitudes are conducive to fellowship among members of society. They are encouraged to ask themselves questions about behaviour that is acceptable or unacceptable between members of society.

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Gender Roles, Norms & Stereotypes  (Cycle 3)
Students will take a critical look at the effects of generalizations, stereotypes and prejudices on certain members of society, and to recognize and suggest actions that foster community life. They will explore some of the norms and rights that govern life in society and the references for interacting with different people.

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Managing Tensions and Conflicts: Finding Peaceful Solutions  (Cycle 3)

Students are encouraged to realize that differences between members of a society can be a source of enrichment as well as conflict. They will identify actions and attitudes that help manage these conflicts between individuals. They are also encouraged to promote the adoption of a responsible and informed manner of being that respects human dignity and that fosters community life.
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Actions That Make a Difference    (Cycle 3)
This learning and evaluation situation is intended to evaluate the level of competency developed in ethics. The student should be able to recognize options or possible actions that respect human dignity and foster community life, and make connections between these actions and the values and norms that govern life in society. The student should be able to explain how these values and norms contribute to community life.

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A Diverse Menu   (Cycle 3)

Students will recognize that religions embody values and norms that dictate behaviours and attitudes to be adopted toward oneself and others in order to foster community life. They will explore some of the values, norms and rights that govern life in society and the references for interacting with different people. They will be invited to draw upon practices related to food so that they may consider various ways of thinking, being or acting and suggest options or possible actions that contribute to community life.
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Values and Norms in religious and spiritual traditions   (Cycle 3)
Students will recognize that religions embody values and norms that dictate the behaviours and attitudes to be adopted toward oneself and others in order to foster community life. They will explore the moral dimension of religions by drawing upon examples from key writings.

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…. Secondary LES

LES 1 – Charity:    Doing good or feeling good?  (Secondary Cycle 1)
This LES will begin with the students investigating various charities that exist locally, nationally and globally. They will be asked to consider the benefits that are provided as well as the scandals that have occurred within numerous philanthropic/humanitarian organizations. They will deepen their understanding of people’s giving habits by designing and then carrying out a survey of their peers and adults in their community. The students will be asked to synthesize their thinking by taking part in a class-wide debate where they will be required to defend both sides of the question “Do people give money to charity in order to do good or in order to feel good?” A digital recording of the debate will allow the students to evaluate their personal dialoguing strategies and skills. To conclude this LES, the students will take part in a classroom Blog where they will be able to communicate their knowledge and understanding of charities, people and choices they make regarding the notion of “giving”.

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Access this LEARN Secondary Cycle 1 LES at
Log in may be required.


This learning and evaluation situation is designed to allow students to recognize that there are different ways of looking at tolerance. They will use specific cases in current events to reflect on indifference, tolerance and intolerance. Students will also consider various responses that individuals and societies have had regarding such situations, particularly in Québec.

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 (Click to access the ERC Secondary Learning & Evaluation Situations)
LEARN login required!


Autonomous People
(Non-validated LES translated from French.)

Students are encouraged to reflect on the autonomy of an individual, and to discuss the requirements of autonomy and the tensions it may give rise to.

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 (Click to access the ERC Secondary Learning & Evaluation Situations)
LEARN login required!


Disobeying the Law
and Its Impact on the Social Order

The aim of this learning and evaluation situation is to evaluate the development of the competency, Reflects on ethical questions. During the LES, the students will demonstrate their awareness of the different ways of understanding the social order and reacting to it, depending on the individuals or groups involved. They will draw on historical, literary and current cases in the media as well as personal experiences that involve instances of disobeying the law in order to understand the impact on the social order. They will also consider the values and norms that can lead a person or group to call into question the social order or the law.

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(Click to access the ERC Secondary Learning & Evaluation Situations)
LEARN login required!



Against Islamophobia: Teaching Tolerance in Today’s Classroom by Melanie Stonebanks

Against Islamophobia: Teaching Tolerance in Today’s Classroom


sunset mosque

I suppose the word to best describe what I was feeling at that moment was shock.  Yes, shock which was instantaneously followed by surprise, disbelief and then uncertainty.  I scanned the room, my eyes searching for a glimmer of acknowledgment; a connection, a possibility, a window through which the conversation could begin.  My smile remained perfectly in place, never once giving away the overwhelming confusion brought on by the lack of response to what I truly believed to be a simple question.  What was my query that appeared to stump my colleagues, seasoned teachers and respected leaders in the field of education?

“What resources or lessons have you been using in your classrooms in order to teach against Islamophobia?”


Read the rest of the article, with suggestions on what types of material to use,

on the LEARN blog at:



Thinglink on your iPad: Image analysis in ELA and ERC

Thinglink is a useful app that allows students to effectively analyze an image.  Students can either use a photo they take themselves,  or they can use one from the Internet.  Consider this image from NBC News Week in Pictures site from Nov. 27 to Dec. 5,  of “Afghan schoolchildren take lessons in an open classroom at a refugee camp on the outskirts of Jalalabad, Afghanistan.”   (Click image for full size)

Noorullah Shirzada / AFP – Getty Images (Click image for source gallery)

There is a lot going on in this picture, both in terms of factual information, but also in terms of the issues it raises (education, children’s right’s, perhaps even cultural differences).  Thinglink is an app to help students analyze this image on their tablets!

samplenubinWhat’s really interesting about Thinglink is what that it allows students to do next – and that’s to add “nubbins” which, when touched, open to show text they’ve added, or a video clip, or a link, or another picture.  This encourages them to label, or to show or tell more about the topic or subject of the picture.

7ea250d93a521967c2f7f49dcb984364I’ve used it in ELA to have students notice and comment on structure and features of illustrations in picture books.  In ERC it could be used to discuss different points of view on an ethical issue, or to label and expand upon a family celebration, or a religious practice.  (Click picture at right, from C. Bullet comment below!)

Thinglink is available for use online with a web browser, or on the iPad, and it is very easy to use.  It also lets you save and export a finished product for publication or for evaluation.  And it’s free!  Check it out at and on the App Store.


This article was submitted by Wendy King – English Language Arts & former Ethics and Religious Studies consultant at Eastern Townships School Board.  Thanks Wendy!

Comments and suggestions are welcome!






ERC Tablet Scenario – Present a learning context with Videolicious!

The application can be used by students to prepare a short presentation on just about anything.  It allows them to choose videos and photos and then talk over them, using a very simple interface.  For more on that check out:  Using Videolicious to help students with oral presentations in a language class

But what about using it to just present a learning context, in such a way that students are captivated and motivate to learn?

Recently we went through the MELS LES entitled “Celebrations Elementary Cycle Two” (available with login on LEARN), and we added comments as to how to use iPads during the LES.  We uploaded the LES with commentary as iPadified-ElemCycle2-Celebrations into the private ERC PLC portal area.  At the beginning of the LES, we thought that the introduction of the context for students could use a little iPadified punch.  So, we suggested simply presenting the context over top of images and videos.   A simple use of iPads to help get things started.

Here’s a sample video using the technique described by Avi in the blog post above, and with part of the introductory text in the Celebrations LES.  Obviously, a student could be using the application to read through their own interpretations of celebrations too!

Celebrations_Notre Dame Intro sample


Symposium on Bullying Prevention for Feb. 7th

February 7, 2014 :

The Peace Grantmakers Network is proud to present its first symposium.

“Creating Caring Communities : Social-Emotional Learning and Bullying Prevention”

For more information visit and to register visit: 




ERC Tablet Scenario – Religious expressions and traditions

This is a first in a what will hopefully be a regular series of posts offering short and easy to use suggestions, or “scenarios” on how to use technology, particularly mobile technologies, in the ERC class.  (Inspired by Avi Spector’s mobile Mondays)

In this case we are offering up three different documents that basically follow then same scenario, but which examine three different religious expressions as examples:  Salat (Muslim prayer), Murti (Hindu image/sculptures) and Prayer Wheels (Buddhism)


Steps are as follows:

Step 1   Describe a form of religious expression

Examine a high definition or panorama image and isolate and describe the object.

Step 2       Associate a religious expression with religious traditions

Watch a video and capture screenshots of segments that discuss and explain the religious expression.

Step 3       Associate a religious expression with religious traditions 

Use a note taking application to include images, video captures, connecting lines and written explanations to indicate  connections between the expression and the traditions in that culture!

Suggested applications include:

  • Safari combined with Flickr or 360 Cities web sites
  • Youtube video application or site (or use Discovery videos via VodZone on LEARN.  Use Puffin application to be able to download the videos if you wish)
  • Noteledge.   A note taking application which allows insertion of images.  Noteledge also allows videos to be inserted!  (You may need to use something like SimpleTransfer to move locally stored videos like Discovery videos onto the Camera roll!)



Enseigner ÉCR: Resources site for Ethics Teachers!

Des ressources pour l’enseignement de l’éthique et de la culture religieuse

Par les contenus qu’il aborde, les habiletés de réflexion et l’approche qu’il demande, le programme Éthique et culture religieuse est un défi stimulant. veut offrir aux enseignantes et aux enseignants des ressources qui contribueront à relever ce défi.

Lire plus, et visitez le site à

Global Dignity Day (Wed, October 17, 11:00-13:30 ET)

Global Dignity Day (Wed, October 17, 11:00-13:30 ET)

On October 17th, 2012, classrooms all around the world will once again be celebrating Global Dignity Day.
Last year, 22 schools and over 3,400 students in schools across Canada joined together to honour the intrinsic value and interconnectedness of each individual.

As a participating school partner of Global Dignity Day Canada, you would connect your class to the Parliament in Ottawa (Justin Trudeau and members from each national party), hearing from inspirational speakers who personally have struggled or been perceived to have struggled with Dignity. Their moving stories will unite the country and inspire your students to discover and share their personal Dignity story.
This is the second year that we ran this event and it is truly inspirational!

For more information, and to see just how global this event really is, please visit

Format on the day of the event:

  • 30 minute series of key note speakers..
  • 85 minute breakout session in which students create and share their own dignity stories and make a Dignity Pledge (within their own class).
  • 35 minute session in which we go across Canada and get each site to share one dignity story. (It is super powerful!!)

Contact Craig Bullett ( if you are interested.  He can fast-track you through the registration since they are looking for representation from Quebec.  He can help l figure out how to get you to a VC site if you don’t have one already in your school (every Anglophone Quebec board has several options now).