May 27

Be Who You Are: Self Expression

Students shared Be Who You Are by Todd Parr and we talked about all of the different messages and images that students wear on their clothing. Here’s a quick video showing some of our T-shirt choices..

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May 27

Celebrating Diversity in the Learning Commons

This week we invited parents and guardians to an appreciation tea held in the Learning Commons. We celebrated our work with The Salmon Run by Clayton Gauthier with a video showing how we completed our project. We decorated the tables with vases of salmon perched in pebbles and colourful salmon art and, coordinated our plates and table cloths to match the red and blue of Mr. Gauthier’s art.

Students who were sharing a bhangra dance at the school variety show were also invited to perform for our guests.

Ms. Perry’s class created some wonderful clay salmon inspired by Mr. Gauthier’s art. Check them out in the hallway display case.

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May 2

Inspiration from Clayton Gauthier – Cree/Dakelh Artist and Author

Many thanks to Clayton Gauthier  – Cree/Dakelh Artist who kindly gave us permission to draw inspiration from his wonderful book The Salmon Run.

We are so proud of this collaborative Learning Commons project which included every student at our school. Everyone was able to participate in different ways, from design, sanding, drilling and painting. It was an entirely inclusive project.

Each division looked at the life cycle of the salmon from an Indigenous Perspective and discussed Clayton Gauthier’s powerful images about showing true colours, persevering in the face of struggles, following your heart, honouring your ancestors, protecting the environment and the interconnectedness of life. Safety First from Kindergarten to Grade 7:  Sanding the wood and drilling the holes. Thanks to Brian Newbold for the jigs. The painters each did one part of a salmon and were totally engaged in this cooperative, communal project. Over 500 students made 100 fish.The project took one full month to complete, including our discussions and developing an understanding of the perspectives of  The Salmon Run. This involved scheduling entire classes as well as small groups into the Learning Commons. The space was taken over by tarps, newspaper, wood and paint cans for the duration of the activity. Our next step is to celebrate this Indigenous project with the school community. We will be hosting a parent tea with The Salmon Run theme and showing a video of images from our learning.

For next time I would remember: Outdoor paint goes a long way – don’t buy too much. Match the drill holes better to the size of the wire. Get very fine sandpaper for the exuberant sanders. Don’t worry about the carpet – we didn’t spill one bit of paint, not one! Regular sweeping keeps the sawdust under control. Wash the brushes immediately. Buy better quality brushes. Most importantly, just jump right in.

Clayton Gauthier. Dakelh translation by Francois Prince.
Penticton, BC: Theytus Books, 2016.
20 pp., stapled pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-926886-44-2.
Click image for CM Magazine review.


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April 22

Fantastic New Picture Books

Here’s a few of our newly arrived picture books, guaranteed to get you right in the feels. Synopsis from the publishers.

Words and Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal, 2017 This book is about your heart. (the little bit inside of you that makes you, you!) The words we listen to can affect how we feel. Some words can do amazing things and make us happy. And some words can really hurt us (we all know what sort of words those are). Our words have power, and we can choose to use them to make the world a better place.


Most People by Michael Leannah. Pictures by J.E. Morris 2017 

The world can be a scary place. Anxious adults want children to be aware of dangers, but shouldn’t kids be aware of kindness too? Michael Leannah wrote Most People as an antidote to the scary words and images kids hear and see every day.
Jennifer Morris’s emotive, diverting characters provide the perfect complement to Leannah’s words, leading us through the crowded streets of an urban day in the company of two pairs of siblings (one of color). We see what they see: the hulking dude with tattoos and chains assisting an elderly lady onto the bus; the goth teenager with piercings and purple Mohawk returning a lost wallet to its owner; and the myriad interactions of daily existence, most of them well intended. This reassuring picture book is a courageous, constructive response to the dystopian world of the news media.

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April 21

Celebrating Sakura: Cherry Blossoms

This week as part of our Japanese theme, some classes read Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms by Paul Robert Weston.  Students have begun to decorate our cherry tree using different shades of pink tissue. We also made some petals out of Japanese origami paper. The tree was painted onto the bulletin board paper and the trunk was cut out and taped onto the wall. Classes continue to add flowers. 

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April 17

The Salmon Run in our Hallways

Students have been learning about salmon through Clayton Gauthier’s book The Salmon Run. With Mr. Gauthier’s permission we have been looking at his designs for inspiration. We are completing an art installation outside based on this work. We have also been decorating our hallways.

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April 2

World Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day is April 2nd. Here are twelve of the great resources available in the Vanier LC. Synopsis provided by the publishers.

un/FAIR by Steven Harper (2016) It’s difficult enough to live in the neighborhood “freakazoid” house. It’s even more difficult when you’re autistic and neither your family nor best friend really understands you. So when Ryan November wakes up on his eleventh birthday with the ability to see the future, he braces himself for trouble. But even his newfound power doesn’t help him anticipate that the fair folk-undines, salamanders, gnomes, and sylphs-want him dead, dead, dead. Ryan races to defend himself and his family against unrelenting danger from the fairy realm so he can uncover the truth about his family history-and himself. Except as Ryan’s power grows, the more enticing the fairy realm becomes, forcing him to choose between order and chaos and power and family. And for an autistic boy, such choices are never cut and dry.

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (2010) Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it’s just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does.

Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoneixBird-her name is Rebecca-could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to met her, he’s terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca wil only see his autism and not who Jason really is.

By acclaimed writer Nora Raleigh Baskin, this is the breathtaking depiction of an autistic boy’s struggles-and a story for anyone who has ever worried about fitting in.

My Friend Has Autism by Amanda Tourville (2010). My friend Zack has autism. But that doesn’t matter to us. We talk about airplanes, build models, and enjoy hanging out at each other’s house. I’m glad Zack is my friend!

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March 13

Six Steps to Superimposing Lego Creations into a Cityscape

Students in Grade 2 and 3 used Lego to show their learning about skyscrapers in Tokyo. They cooperatively created a neon-lit street scene in Akihabara. As a group, we used Superimpose App to place our buildings into a Japanese photograph. No green screen required. Here is how we did it:

1. Begin by importing a background from photos using the square icon on the top left.

2. Repeat by importing a foreground from photos, again using the square icon on the top left.

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