Wow. After last week’s schedule of special events, every day, this week has felt like a totally different thing. We had lots of uninterrupted learning experiences and had to hunker down a bit as the weather drifted more towards autumnal. I guess we can’t really complain, though!
- Division 4 has had special visitors over the last two weeks, with candidates from all the major parties in this year’s federal election visiting the class to talk with students about democracy, the election issues, and their parties’ platforms. Students will be participating in the StudentVote (
#studentvote15) by October 15, and we’ll be able to see what their choices were. When I talked to the students, it was clear that they had been listening very carefully to what the candidates were telling them, and they identified in detail the similarities and differences between the party platforms. We discovered that all parties say they are concerned about the environment, and none of them want to raise taxes, but not all are prepared to stop the building of pipelines. Our students identified that, for them, money and the environment are key issues.
Here are some of the class’ observations and thoughts about the election and the candidates:
“The candidates all had really interesting lives.”
“Some countries don’t have as much freedom as we do. Here, everyone gets to vote, and no one can hurt you for who you choose.”
“I’m iffy that they’re going to legalize marijuana, but otherwise I like what they’re doing.”
“Only one candidate presented anything [negative] about the other parties or leaders.”
“I wish you could vote at a younger age. More 12-year-olds would vote than 18- or 19-year-olds.”
“I feel good because this is the first time we get to vote for someone to lead our country [in StudentVote].”
“It is really, really important to vote, because if you vote, you can change who gets elected, and you can change Canada.”
“In Canada, you can join a party when you’re 14 years old. You just need $10 and you can sign up. Then you get to vote for who gets to be the candidate in Langley.”
- Tuesday was the last ‘regular season’ Cross Country race. With 20+ runners each day, we’re one of the highest per-capita schools participating. Congratulations to Mya, Mason, Kayden and Ian who have qualified to run in next week’s Championship race, where they’ll face off against only top-8 finishers from all Langley area schools.
- On Wednesday, Division 7 made Thanksgiving Sharing Soup in class. Students brought in everything from soup to nuts. No, that’s not right. They brought in vegetables, barley & pasta, and one student remembered the Bay Leaf. And of course they all remembered their bowls and spoons to share in their work. They also realized how much we can accomplish if each of us adds one little thing to a group effort! I got to try some, and it was delicious. A highlight for me was that there were local, fresh-from-the-garden ingredients in there!
Before we ate, each person around the circle shared something to be thankful for. Here are a couple of samples:
I am thankful for my family because they are warm and kind
I am thankful for my family because if I feel sad, they help me.
I am thankful for my house because it gives me shelter from the rain.
I am thankful for my pets because they are always there for me.
I am thankful for my mom because she made me alive.
- Also on Wednesday, I had the distinct pleasure of talking with Division 3 about the year I spent working in the House of Commons (a looooong time ago) as a Page. They asked so many quality questions, and were interested in both the details of the job, and in the content of what I saw and heard. They asked what happens if someone doesn’t understand the French or English being spoken (live, simultaneous translators), what the significance of the Mace is (defends the House), and what important issues were debated while I was there (Free Trade and the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, among others). They also wondered about the amazing detail in the architecture and design of the place, and about how the food was in the Parliamentary Resaurant (really good, but I only got to eat there once). You can see pictures of the amazing stained glass windows in the House here. We meandered a bit (but that’s part of storytelling) and they made me say something in French (Je peux parler en francais seulement un peu, maintenant, mais je l’essaye chaque jour). I haven’t felt so interesting in years! Thanks to Ms. McLeod and the kids for making me feel so welcome, and for giving me the opportunity to remember in some detail a wonderful and learning-filled year from my youth.
- On Friday, Carman MacKay, from Soowahlie Nation near Cultus Lake visited Division 4. He told us stories, both true and imagined, about Salmon fishing on the Fraser, about how Coho got his hooked nose, and about how Eagle got his excellent eyes. He took us on a journey in our minds’ eyes through nature where we met an elder who shared knowledge and wisdom with us. We also learned that the name ‘Cultus’ means ‘bad’ because stories tell that a jealous, negative, bad man was put there by a good and more powerful man many years ago. Every day, the water churns and ‘boils’ as the bad man tries to get back out. It was an honour to have Carman share the knowledge and wisdom of his people with us, and students made many connections and asked excellent questions about what they were learning.
- Bonus: We had some delicious snacks from Cob’s Bread on Friday at recess. Everybody wants to thank the parents who bought the treats, the extra team of parents who organized it all, and the litter patrol kids who cleaned up all the dropped wrappers (actually, that’s something for Mr. Oliver to GROWL about, instead). The raspberry-white chocolate scones were particularly delicious. Don’t forget, too, that any purchase you make at the Walnut Grove Cob’s can be added to the “I support West Langley Elementary” category, and the school sees a donation straight from Cob’s.
- And a couple of comeback ROARS: Tetherball and the Canucks both reappeared this week!