Category Archives: Our Life

My Students Have Mad (Snow) Dance Skillz

Snow Dance

Canada is called the Great White North by some because of the blanket of snow that covers our country in the winter months. Neighouring provinces have already had their first blizzards and people are dealing with snow and cold weather. Our local ski resort, Mount Washington, already has 1.5 m of snow at the top.

Here in the valley, though, snow is a rarity, and snow days that close the schools are rarer still.

But the power of Snow Dance came through! A bit of wiggling, hand twinkling, turning in circles, and squinching of the eyes….and taa daa! Snow Day! I hope all my students get out, make snowmen, build snow forts, and have a snowball fight with family and friends today.

And thank you for your dance moves, Division 12.


Are you prepared for the Zombie apocalypse?

This silly video (aside from ArhArhArh meme that has taken over our classroom) reminds us of the three rules of emergency planning:

  • Know the risks
  • Make a plan
  • Create an emergency kit

Here in coastal British Columbia we don’t prepare for tornadoes (or zombies, for that matter), but we do anticipate earthquakes. We do regular drills where we drop-cover-hold-on-20mmacg

then evacuate the building. At our school we have first aid kits, a large emergency preparedness container, and organized plans for students to stay safe and be reunited with their families. Our staff train often to be prepared for a variety of emergency situations. Doing drills means we will stay safe, feel calmer, and be able to help each other through a difficult time.

Our Canadian neighbours in Fort McMurray, Alberta know that preparedness saves lives. Last year a devastating wildfire destroyed buildings and property in and around their community. Yet 88,000 people were safely evacuated in a very short time thanks to government organizations, local businesses (from gas stations to airlines), emergency responders, and individuals stepping up and helping.

Readers from the Student Blogging Challenge, here are your possible choices this week:

Activity #1
Readers, what natural disasters or emergencies are factors where you live? How have you prepared? If you have faced a large-scale emergency, how did you deal with it? Do you have any advice for us? Please let us know in a comment (and please leave your blog URL!).

Activity #2
Write a list post of items that a student can put in an emergency bedside kit. If you had to leave in a hurry, what could you have ready to grab-and-go? (Come back when you are done and leave your URL so we can read your post).

Activity #3
Write a post describing a natural or human-caused emergency that has happened in your community. What were the consequences? How did you, your family, or emergency responders deal with it? (Come back when you are done and leave your URL so we can read your post).

Activity #4
Please take our Emergency Preparedness Survey. We will share the results and our conclusions by mid-November. Thanks!

Stay safe, fellow bloggers!





What is Home?

In our Global Read Aloud novel Pax, Peter tells Vola he must go home:6339990758_fd1241ebce

“So which is it? You going back for your home or for your pet?”
“They’re the same thing,” Peter said.

Inspired by  Ms. Bunker’s grade 6 & 7 students’ writing, Huzzahnians explored their own ideas of home. Some quotations from their posts with links to their blogs are below.

Home is the place where you always want to return to. Where you feel accepted, loved, needed even…It’s the place they belong. The place with their hearts. The place they call Home.. ~ Kimberly

Home is camping, campfires and making s’mores and home is Christmas, having family over and shredding the snow-capped mountain. ~ Carson

One blogger said, “Home is where you want to be but can’t” and for me that’s Hogwarts!…I also feel at home when I am in my imagination (usually imagining myself in the world of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson) cause in there everything is perfect. ~ Arielle

My other home is a hockey rink. I think that it should be a nice place to relax and a place that you can give it your all. ~ Josh

Home is where you sleep, where you are loved, where family is. ~ Kaya

My home is one of the best places to relax in. We always have super tasty cookies in the tin, have a comfortable couch to lounge in, and best of all is roasting  a marshmallow at the fire pit in the back yard. ~ Daniel

I love coming home every day getting that feeling that I know I’m safe. I’m grateful every day for my house and I always will be. ~ Kaiya

Home is a place where some rules are put in place, but it is still a very free and open place where no one is judged for being themselves. ~ Jayden

Home is were there is always someone you can rely on. Home is knowing that my dog is always open for hugs….Last but not least that weird noise that the fish tank makes is the sound of my home. ~ Kayley

Home is a place where we can feel safe and loved. When I walk up to my house and see my dogs in the window all excited to see me that puts a warm smile on my face. ~Tyler

School is also a place I can call home. I’m very grateful I get to go to a great school with awesome teachers and people.  My school friends are like family too, they can always make me laugh and smile. ~ Livea

But above all else, above home in a house, home for me is theatre. Home is opening night jitters, filled with excitement and nervousness, but mostly excitement. Home is onstage during the finale, giving it your all for that final night. ~ Lyric

It’s also a place that you know you’re loved and trusted and you can let out any emotions you have. Home is the best place! ~ Jack

Home is when you feel happy. Home is what you love. ~ Briana

If you are reading Pax (and even it you aren’t) what does “home” mean to you? Please let us know, or better yet, visit our class bloggers to share your thoughts.

Photo Credit: Neuro74 Flickr via Compfight cc


Food, Glorious Food & Wonderful Wikimedia

Miss Wyatt set us a challenge this week that we could really sink our teeth into: writing about foods that Canadians (or at least these Canadians) love. Easy-peasy: no one was lost for words. Check out the delicious posts below.

Albert Roosenboom The tempting cakeWe used the opportunity to learn more about how to use images appropriately in our posts. As we were reminded by Miss Wyatt, we can’t just grab any old image from Mrs. Google–we must have the photographer’s permission. People who want their art, writing, images, or videos to be used and shared by others give their work a Creative Commons (cc) license rather than attach a Copyright (c). Wikipedia has a large and growing collection of such images, linked to its articles, called Wikimedia Commons. We learned how to use these files and give attribution (saying whose work it is) by pasting code into the text tab of our blogs. To see attribution (try it on The Tempting Cake, by Albert Roosenboom, right), mouse over the image; to see the license details, click on the image. Should you wish to try it yourself, the document describing the process is below.

But first, the glorious food posts of my hungry Huzzahnians. Who knew they had such a weakness for poutine?

Food Favourites:

Poutine: Ben, Brooke J., Rowan, Tate, Connor, Harley, Ayla
Maple Syrup: Chantal, Cami Bacon: Alinna, Tyler B.  Salmon: Abby D.
Pancakes: Morgan Doughnuts: Nathan, Hayly Oranges: Kalea
Spaghetti: Kasandra, Elijah Pizza: Tyler M. Sushi: Brooke L.
Fajitas: Rylie Buffalo Wings: Owen Waffles: Autumn, Liv, Abbie
Apple SauceAerin Pies: Talia

Here is the how-to document: [embeddoc url=”” viewer=”google”]

Please take a look at these excellent posts and leave comments for our dedicated bloggers. If you use this how-to file, let me know how it goes. And please remember to leave your blog url (your blog address) in the comments.

EaRtHqUaKe PrEpArEdNeSs

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 is the Great British Columbia Shake Out. While our global neighbours face and prepare for floods, droughts, tsunami, and hurricanes, we train to be ready for earthquakes. Those of you who live in the Pacific Ring of Fire or another earthquake-prone area will likely have done drills at school. Those facing other threats will have prepared for those emergencies.  In a comment, please share how you practice and stay safe–what is your advice?

This guest post is by Laina. She shares safety advice as well as her personal plan. Other posts on earthquake preparedness will be popping up on student blogs soon!


BOOM! The TV falls to the floor while the ceiling fan in your room crashes to your bed and the paintings fly off the walls. Drop! Cover! Hold on! Surprise! It’s an earthquake.

Every year students everywhere take part in earthquake drills. Most students just dismiss them as boring drills that you always have to do.

drop cover hold on But these are important, they could save lives if you remember what you did at that boring drill at school last week.

What not to do.

You may have heard that standing in a doorway, running outside, or using the ‘Triangle of Life‘ are the safest things to do rather than going underneath something. Well, that’s not true.

If you try to run outside then the ground can move under your feet and knock you off balance. You could also be hit by falling, flying items or tripped by objects on the ground.

Okay, then, I’ll stand in the doorway. No! Despite what people have told you before, standing in the doorway is NOT safe. People would say that because about eight to ten years ago there was an earthquake in California, and it showed a house with only the door standing. This is why we believe that the door frame is safe. But in houses today, doorways are no safer than standing where you are doing nothing when the earthquake appears.

What’s the Triangle of Life? (notice how I crossed it out so you won’t do it?)

The Triangle of Life is the theory to seek shelter next to a large building, because  if you hide under a table, the roof will collapse and crush you under the table (it is not true). The theory is that if you squat next to tables or stand next to a building outside it will act as a roof beam that will prevent other things from falling on you.

The best thing to do is find a table or solid structure and crawl under, and count to sixty Mississippi’s: one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi and so on. If the earthquake lasts more than sixty seconds, then keep counting or wait til’ an adult gives you the all-clear.


First thing you need to do is make a plan. You need to make a plan about where you would go and what you would do at school and home. If I was entering the bathroom when it occurred, I would get in the cupboard. If I was in my room, I would go under my bed and if I was in the kitchen I would crawl under the kitchen table.

If I was at school in the hallway I would run into the nearest room, if I was really close, and get under the nearest table. In the classroom or the computer lab, I would get under the desks or computer desks and hold on.

Everyone needs a plan, make yours now.

For more info visit: The Shake Out BC website or visit here to play Beat The Quake to learn about how to secure items in your house.

Image credit to

Reminding Us To Be Our Better Selves

A school is more than teachers and kids.

We couldn’t succeed without the support of our parents, administrators, educational assistants, clerk librarians, custodians, and secretaries. We ask a lot of them, and each of us has a story to tell of how, every day, each of these people has helped us solve problems or find the things we need.

One person who does a tremendous amount for all of us is our secretary, Mrs. Crawford. She is the one who keeps our school ticking along. In many ways she reminds me of the Energizer Bunny

Our school's Super Secretary, Mrs. Crawford

Our school's Super Secretary, Mrs. Crawford

She must have at least 500 interactions a day, from phone calls, emails, drop-ins, and requests for any number of things,–yet somehow she handles them all with grace and good humour. Students ask for permission forms, band aids, containers for lost teeth, and if they can use the phone. Usually, these interactions are courteous, but sometimes they are curt, demanding, and impolite.

We could say people are in a hurry, or lazy, or not aware, or maybe just in need of a little reminding. A little reminder to be, well, our better selves. Huzzahnians, a creative and thoughtful bunch, staged a bit of a Door Decoration Intervention to promote what all of us already know: good manners matter.

Here are some of our mini posters. Click on the thumbnail to see the whole poster.

We would love it if you would leave a comment.

Is there someone you know who is especially courteous? What difference does it make to you? Do you sometimes forget one of these habits when you are interacting with others? Is one of them especially important to you, and you really notice it when people forget? Please tell us if we forget to mention anything.

And by the way, thanks for stopping by. Do drop in again!