Celebrating Diwali

Cross-curricular explorations and building connections during Diwali. Useful links to information, activities and videos to help your class celebrate the Festival of Lights. Diwali in 2017 is on Thursday, October 19, 2017 and will continue to Monday, October 23, 2017.

STEM ideas and activities which can be linked to Diwali including: investigating shadows, creating shadow puppets, using spectroscopes and colour wheels to study light and colour, exploring electrical circuits and making lava lamps.



A rangoli is a colourful design made on the floor near the entrance to a house to welcome guests. At Diwali, people draw bright Rangoli patterns to encourage the goddess Lakshmi to enter their homes.

Group Chalk and Sand Project. Social Emotional Learning – cooperation, planning, inclusion, critical thinking.


Integrating Math Pattern Blocks and Rangoli Design


Integrate Fall and OutDoor education with Rangoli Design


Integrate Rangoli with Digital Design. iOrnament is a great little free app that turns simple lines and curves into great designs using creative geometry. Easy to use.


Diwali is called the Festival of Lights. People light hundreds of small lamps called Diyas. The more lamps they light the more likely it is that Lakshmi will be tempted to visit them.

Figuring out how to build a Diya from scratch can be a great problem solving Maker activity. Include information on fire safety.


Play-doh and Tea Lights.


Salt Dough Candle Holders



Also instructions for bake and no-bake Clay Diyas.

Other Resources:

Here’s a free app that plays 100 Top Diwali songs. Streaming with shuffle.

National Geographic video. 3 minutes. Good overview.

Festival of Lights video showing traditional celebrations in India. Late Primary and up. 13 minutes.

Rangoli Colouring Patterns



Create vs. Consume

Choosing apps for school iPads can be a transformational task that might encourage discussion on learning goals and school missions. There are many great apps available but there are a few things to consider.

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Begin by clarifying your vision for the use of the devices. What are your objectives and goals, the ‘why’. Look at apps that help you meet those goals.

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 7.39.19 AMLook for apps that are used to create rather than consume. Continue reading Create vs. Consume

Together We Are a Masterpiece

Check out our school community building project. Students who came to the Learning Commons all contributed to a wonderful hall display. Our goal is to celebrate our differences and to recognize that all together we can create great things. Read on for instructions on how to create your own school Masterpiece.

I painted the tree after school to give it time to dry.
Coloured pencils were sorted into 6 shades. I drew around a couple of mugs and a small glass for circles.

Continue reading Together We Are a Masterpiece

Check out these Music Resources

Get your toes tapping and take a look at some of these music resources available in the Vanier LC. Learn about the lives of musicians, styles of music, inspiring biographies, musical jobs and enjoy some great lyrics and picture books.

61FP59QVp3L._SX493_BO1,204,203,200_Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler. The most fun you’ll have reading a story aloud. Great rhythm and fun rhymes encourage children to join in this classroom favourite.  Continue reading Check out these Music Resources

Apples for the Teacher

Nothing says Fall like a crisp red apple and it’s a great welcome back-to-school theme. Check out these ‘applicious’ resources available in the Vanier Learning Commons.


Apples, Apples Everywhere! by Robin Koontz Autumn is apple harvest time. Come along on a trip to the apple orchard. Find out how apples are picked and stored. Learn which apples are best for munching. But watch out for the apple worms! Continue reading Apples for the Teacher

Refreshing Your MakerSpace

Beyond the investments in kits such as Makey-Makey or robotics or Lego, the heart of the MakerSpace is in the consumables. The paper cups, tape, cardboard and straws that not only inspire some serious creativity and ‘outside the box’ thinking but also are the great equalizer – accessible to all students and teachers.

We recently gave the Vanier MakerSpace a makeover by restocking some of those consumable items. Although donations, cardboard and packing materials flow through the space throughout the year, sometimes it is just more efficient to stock up on some of the basics.

With visits to several Dollar Stores we invested $300 in additional MakerSpace consumables for our school of 550 K-7 students. This included more large storage containers. Here’s what we chose:


Straws: From structures to toys, mazes to stop motion, straws are a must have. There are some great ideas on using straws ideas on using straws and free .stl files for 3D printing connectors. Continue reading Refreshing Your MakerSpace

Back-to-School Jitters

With the new school year just around the corner, it’s a good time to highlight some of our favourite books to ease back-to-school jitters. Reading about and discussing a character’s nervousness or anxiety can help ease a  child’s worries during this new and exciting time.


Back To School Tortoise by Lucy M. George It’s time to go back to school. But Tortoise is worried. What if he falls down? What if he doesn’t like lunch? What if the kids are mean to him?  The perfect back-to-school book about being brave, with a surprise at the end! Continue reading Back-to-School Jitters

Maker Social-Emotional Learning Resources

MakerSpaces can be a great catalyst for the growth of social-emotional learning.  Facilitating a maker culture can give students a venue for the development of the tools they need to recognize, understand and manage emotions and to make the responsible decisions that are critical to being a successful learner. These life long skills must be clearly articulated and deliberately discussed so that they become an intrinsic foundation for the emotional health of the student.

There are many excellent social emotional learning titles that can be used to encourage SEL development. However, a few of these also blend very well with a Maker mentality and build on some important tenants of social and emotional well being.

Take a Chance and Take Pride in Beautiful You


If I Never Forever Endeavor by Holly Meade. Take a chance, dare yourself, trust yourself, try it…and you can fly. (2011) Continue reading Maker Social-Emotional Learning Resources

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