In the Learning Commons, students have been thinking about diverse families and recognizing that families come in all shapes and sizes. We used our Button Maker to create Be Who You Are buttons that celebrate all the different kinds of families in our school community.
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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..
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.
Click image for CM Magazine review.
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.
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.
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!
In the Learning Commons, we shared Danielle Daniel’s book Sometimes I feel like a Fox. The paperback edition is in a larger format which makes the pictures more visible in a group. Students discussed which character they connected with the most on that day. We used FaceFilm App to show ourselves in the characters.
Morphing into character connections from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.
Students in Kindergarten used QR Reader App to scan book spines created by Grade 3s. The codes lead students to extension videos or pictures related to the story. Later we will put our QR spine labels on display in the library.
Students had great fun sharing the terms of endearment their family uses. We celebrated Valentine’s Day with the wonderful book Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World by Jacqueline K. Ogburn with illustrations by Chris Raschka. Students showed their learning with digital creations using Doodle Buddy App.