February 25

How to make a Fun Friendship Video and Random Acts of Kindness Cookies

I found a bag 10 of ‘nose and glasses’ from the Dollar store and used them to get some genuine, unposed smiles from students with their buddies for our Pink Shirt Day assembly. Students thought I was getting ready to take the picture but I actually filmed the students as they put the glasses on and saw each other for the first time, then snapped a quick photo and slowed the video down by 50% in iMovie.

Pink Shirt Day: Friendship from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.

We decorated cookies in the Learning Commons and 75 students participated. We discussed Random Acts of Kindness and the idea of how sharing a cookie can be a way to make a connection, start a friendship or show appreciation. The cookies were pre-made from kits bought on sale after Valentine’s Day so were easy to use. Each kit included 12 nut free cookies, icing and decorative candies. We set up a big bucket of hot soapy water for a hand washing station.

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May 13

Stuff the LC and #KindnessCounts

At Georges Vanier, the Learning Commons is a shared space that is used by staff and students for lots of great activities. We are helping further a sense of ownership by inviting students to bring a plush toy to hang out on the shelves in the LC for a couple of weeks. Please label stuffies with your child’s name and division.  No sentimental favourites, just in case…

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We are continuing to create some wonderful #KindnessCounts buttons. Students and staff are designing a self portrait with a big smile. We will wear them at the Year End Celebration Assembly on June 13th.

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April 23

#KindnessCounts designs

This week in the Learning Commons some classes have begun to experiment with our new button maker. This was purchased with greatly appreciated funds from the GVPAC, the school and with profits from the Book Fair. It has been a great success and we can see lots of possibilities. The students are designing smiling faces to help us remember to smile as we pass each other in the hallways.


“So Cool!”

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February 7

Designing Castles, Classroom Trophies, Global Play Day, Our Love Wall

This week in the Learning Commons we have been showing what we have learned about castle design and structure. Students included features such as a keep, arrow slits, crenellations, a gatehouse and a well in their creations. Next we will be looking at designing castles in more detail to include features of medieval life. Check out this great video showing their work.

Structures: Castle Design by Georges Vanier Students from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.

The #KindnessCounts trophy in the LC has been a great success. Each class now has their own ‘designer’ trophy or rosette to help continue thinking about kindness in the classroom.


We participated in Global School Play Day on Feb 4th. Students created, shared, problem solved, imagined, laughed, deciphered, communicated, were kind and cleaned up together. Read more about it here



Our ‘What Do You Love?’ wall is beginning to take shape. Students are asked to contribute by thinking about, ‘What makes your heart sing?’, ‘What brings you joy?’ The answers are wonderful. Come on by the LC for a marker and help celebrate the things and people we love.




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January 31

Virtual Castles, AppSmashed Anti-Bullying Posters and #KindnessCounts

This week students have been showing their learning about castles and creating their own virtual structures, incorporating the defensive design features of medieval castles. We are using a free app called Castle Builder – Minecraft style – that allows the students to view their creations in 3D.


We have also begun our Pink Shirt Day promotions. Students in Ms. Dhaliwal’s and Mrs. Lutz’s class created graphics that they will be posting on their student blogs to help spread the word about Anti-Bullying. We created images in Chalkboard App and imported them into Comic Book App to add quotes and pizazz.


We also had our first #KindnessCounts nomination for a group of students. Check out our Storify of recent nominations.

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January 24

Exploring design, Books of the Year, #KindnessCounts



This week we figured out that one whole division can fit into our co-operatively designed castle. We also explored castle design with a variety of websites. Next week we will try our hand at creating a ‘virtual castle’.

Other students have also been enjoying the nominations for the Surrey Schools’ Picture Book of the Year. Check out Spike:Ugliest Dog in the Universe by Debra Frasier. Spike’s message fits in perfectly with our #KindnessCounts ideas; A kind heart is a beautiful thing. We also enjoyed  The Black Rabbit by Philippa Leathers, and loved Michael Hall’s It’s an Orange Aardvark which was great fun to read aloud.

Don’t forget to follow our Vanier student Twitter account @VanierLC and check out our #KindnessCounts tweets.

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January 17

Cat Says Meow, Co-operative Building and #KindnessCounts

This week in the LC we had a wonderful surprise arrive in the mail from Michael Arndt – a signed copy of his wonderful book Cat Says Meow and other animalopoeia.

c0ver *Pictures reproduced with kind permission from the author.


Students had great fun learning about onomatopoeia  and exploring all of the cleverly designed pictures. Our favourite was the cow but the pig was a close second.



Students in several classes enjoyed sharing this great story and it really sparked their imaginations. They couldn’t wait to get started designing their own animal creations. We used Doodle Buddy App to come up with the shape for the animal and imported that image into PicCollage. We chose this app as there are a wide variety of fonts to choose from. Students explored with other ideas as they worked: adding the names of the animals into their images. We could also have extended the activity as a way to show learning about animal habitats or behaviours.

I shared some of the creations on twitter and as it was such a great project that I would definitely do again. The students were so excited when they saw that  Mr. Arndt had replied to our tweet and said he thought their work was ‘Cool’.

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The contact with the author of the book was an extremely meaningful learning opportunity for the students. The students were deeply engaged in the project, highly motivated to create and keen to figure out how they could show their ideas. They were showing the author what they could do, and they wanted it to be their very best. I am indebted to Michael for his support of our Vanier authors and illustrators.

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We also created a fantastic cooperative learning, problem solving, research background, think outside the box, respect each other’s work, get creative castle. Check out our process:

Cooperative castle building from crosland_a

And of course #KindnessCounts at Vanier. Check out our nominated Acts of Kindness

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January 10

Book of the Year, Imagine a day, Coding and Kindness

Lots of great things have been happening in the Learning Commons this week. Kindergarten to Grade 2 students have begun enjoying the nominations for the Surrey Schools’ Picture Book of the Year. Students used Balloon Stickie App to label images from the book.
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Ms. Dhaliwal and Mrs. Lutz’s classes worked on ‘Imagine A Day’ by Sarah Thompson. Students created their own imaginative ideas, designed a background using Color Effects App and added text using Pic Collage App. They blogged their fantastic creations.

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Many classes also experimented with coding and blogged a screen shot from the Hour of Code.

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And finally, #KindnessCounts. Students have been nominating their peers as recipients of the Kindness Counts Trophy. Accounts are tweeted in the student’s own words and photos are posted on the @VanierLC twitter account. Check out last week’s Kindness Stars on Storify.

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