Filed Under (Healthy Living) by on February 5, 2014 and tagged , , , ,

60mkc_logoOn January 15th, the Ripplers began participating in the 60 Minute Kids Club, which is helping us learn about healthy choices that impact our lie and our learning. We have been tracking their daily habits around eating fruits and vegetables, physical activity, sleep, hydration, and screen time. 5-2-1-0 is our goal  - 5 serving of fruits or vegetables, no more than 2 hours of time playing/watching screens during free time, at least 1 hour of physical activity and 0 sugary or sweetened drinks.


Tracking an “honest” day’s progress with these guidelines can be rather tough and sometimes we don’t like the results we begin to see, but it’s important to chart our habits realistically. This way we can form a “bigger picture” of our current lifestyle, and then from here, we can reflect on our data to see where our strengths and areas of need are.  We will be looking to see where improvements can start to be made.  The challenge lasts for 60 days, so we are just taking it one day at a time.

To begin thinking about healthy meal plans and food choices, the Ripplers have also been playing Titanium Chef. This online game created by Dieticians of Canada is helping us learn more about nutrition. We have investigated how the Nutrition Fact table on packaged food can inform us about serving size and the nutrients it does/does not include, as well as the average number of food group servings we consume over the course of a week. We’re finding out all sorts of things about ourselves, and I always find it fascinating to hear the conversations that have started about Health Living now that it’s been put in the spotlight. In the near future, each student will be contributing a healthy meal to their dinner table at home to help show what they have been learning.

So now that we are 3 weeks into this unit, Ripplers, what are your thoughts about the 60 Minute Kids Club and what you’ve been learning about nutrition? What have you noticed most about your food choices? What have you discovered about other factors, like sleep and screen time, that can have an affect on your learning? Has anything surprised you? How are you going to use this information to continue working on making healthy choices? I can’t wait to hear your ideas!


keyboard_girlDecember 9-15, 2013 was Computer Science Education Week. Darn. We missed it. Don’t judge … December got a little busy with school concert performances, the holidays … it was hard to fit something extra in. But after two weeks off, we’ve got all the time we need now. We’re well rested (hopefully) and so excited to be back at school (maybe), so why not start 2014 with a little time spent learning how to be basic computer programmers? Ripplers, we will be working through the tutorial Learn an Hour of Code, so get your Computer Science brains revved up and ready to tackle some drag and drop programming. Hold on! Wait! Don’t go there just yet. I’m sure you want your work to count and all, so before you begin, please check you email for instructions on how to log in and get started.

You never know … the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg may be amongst us, and all that’s needed is a little time to learn. We’ll start with basic code and then see where we want to venture next. Java Script? Python? We’ll have to see. After all, the physics puzzle app, Bubble Ball, was developed by a Grade 8 student in Utah in 2010 and he was only 14 years old.

If any of our readers have already participated in this program, we’d love to hear what you thought about it.  What about the other tutorials from the Computer Science Education Week site? Have any Ripplers thought about or even tried developing an app before or worked with code?

image: Computer Testing by Zhao ! released under a CC Attribution license

Filed Under (Community, Holidays) by on November 1, 2013 and tagged , ,

Some pretty interesting individuals showed up to class yesterday, and a wide range of personalities shone through making the day both memorable and full of fun. So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce ….

and …
Little did we know what was still in store for us. Suddenly, we were faced with …
and …
But you’ll all be relieved to know we survived, although it was a close call when …
The scariest was still to come, though. The unimaginable happened next. Yes, it’s true. Suddenly, we were face to face with …
But, luck was definitely on our side before things really got out of hand.
We also quickly realized that …
Knowing we were in good hands – with whatever or whoever crossed our path – was comforting. In fact, our halls were bursting with superheroes.
We were reassured to know that we could always count on back up, and surprisingly, things actually started to settle down by lunch, but then ….. things got a little weird when this lady showed up!
Thankfully, she and her attitude didn’t stick around for long and we were able to continue with our afternoon festivities. With so much imagination and a whole lot of smiles, nothing and no one was going to get in the way of us enjoying our day together!
In any case, that was my take on the day. How about you, Ripplers? What stood out for you yesterday?



A few years back, I came across a video made by the Gratidudes – two young men who were encouraging others to focus on the positives in our lives and to remember all that we have to be thankful for. Ever since then, I have wanted to create a video with my students to showcase our own Gratitude Dance. This year is finally my year to do this! The Ripplers this year are clearly a grateful bunch, and we set out to do exactly what Brad and Matty suggested:

  1. We each made a list of everything we were individually grateful for
  2. We watched their video
  3. We danced!

If there was a fourth step, I bet it would be: film your gratitude fuelled dancing and share it. So, that’s exactly what we’ve done and in the process, I was able to accomplish a long-time goal.


I definitely get the feeling that this year’s group of Ripplers are mighty thankful because they all found something to dance about. Perfect timing for Thanksgiving, too. Division 2, now’s your chance to fill our audience in on  all the positives you have in your lives.

What does enthusiasm have to do with being successful? Being enthusiastic means approaching tasks with an open mind and a good attitude, willingly taking on challenges and being interested in expanding your understanding. These are all characteristics of an engaged learner. When we are engaged in an activity, we open ourselves up to a much richer experience and ultimately, we learn more. We achieve more. We benefit. So what can happen when a rather ordinary task that requires a little more effort is made more enjoyable? Would others choose it over the usual option – an easier route?

Finding the fun in tasks can sometimes be challenging – really challenging. Often, if we can’t find the right motivation, persevering becomes more difficult. Here lies a big problem. Who wants to put their best effort into something that isn’t fun? If we’re honest …. not many of us. But we  can’t expect others to always make our work enjoyable and interesting.  That’s actually our own responsibility. Life is full of tasks that we don’t find particularly fun.

Think back to a time where you were asked to complete something you really knew you wouldn’t enjoy doing. Were you able to find a way to make it more enjoyable? If not, what strategies could you have used to help you become more engaged and motivated? Tell us your story.

As we get to know each other in the class, the Ripplers have been figuring out what we’d like our classroom learning environment to look like. To do this, students started out with 10 Creative Commons images that were selected from Flickr. They were asked to think about the ways each one could be connected back to our classroom. There were so many fantastic ideas! It’s always so interesting to see how a picture can speak to us in different ways. As each picture gathered more thoughts, some common ideas emerged. Below is the result of our efforts and we can begin to see that by following these class agreements, we can create a pretty amazing place for learning.


Ripplers, how are you feeling about our classroom agreements? Are there any that stand out for you more than others? Which ones do you feel might impact your learning the most?

After a longer hiatus than expected, the Ripplers are back! We’ve had a busy first few weeks of school and we’re getting our feet wet in the blogosphere again. One of our first tasks has been to visit Mrs. Smith and the Huzzahnians as we learn how to be effective commenters. We really enjoyed her post Be More Awesome and watching Kid President’s Pep Talk. We know he was speaking to us, too! It fit right in with what we’ve been discussing in class.

We’ve been talking a lot about what it means to “show up” to learn and how to keep thinking our way through those tough spots that we all encounter at some point. What can we do to help ourselves? Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in our struggles rather than search out creative solutions that move our thinking forward. Watching The Broken Escalator got us thinking about what our options are when we get stuck in the different and sometimes difficult learning situations we face.

What do you do when you face the unexpected? How can we find solutions to difficult situations where we just feel stuck? What skills do we need to be solution-oriented rather than problem-focused? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this, too.



To coincide with Earth Day, April 19th was the 3rd annual Tim Hortons Community Clean Up on Vancouver Island and with over 10 000 students participating from Comox to Victoria, our Island home is a little cleaner. There were several schools within our district taking part and a number of classes within our school that joined us in our effort. The primary students kept close to the school, but we took the opportunity to walk to a nearby park to pitch in there. Along the way, we picked up what we could, but there really wasn’t a lot of litter to be found. Once in the park, we combed the wooded areas and eventually took the back trails that edged the nearby subdivisions. It ended up being quite the adventure – more than we bargained for – and our 45 minute walk soon turned into an hour and a half. It was well worth it, though. and it opened our eyes to our neighbourhood home just a little bit more.



We’d like to thank Tim Hortons for sponsoring this event and providing the yummy timbits, BFI for picking up our school’s collection of garbage and recyclable materials that were found, and the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) for waiving the tipping fees at our local landfill where it all eventually ended up. After this experience, it’s clear we need to head out into our community a little more often to do what we can to keep our neighbourhood clean and beautiful.

Division 1, what surprised you most on our walk? After commenting here, your task this week is to write about your impressions of our clean up adventure and what you think some of our next actions could be to address this.

If you or your class has ever participated in anything similar, we’d love to hear about it!

image: Earth Day 2012 by Bioversity International released under a CC Attribution – Noncommercial – No Derivative Works license

Filed Under (Art) by on April 20, 2012 and tagged , , ,

We’ve been looking at different types of portraits in art this year, from abstract to realistic ones. Our investigation into self-portraits revealed some interesting facts about our facial proportions that, at times, we’re hard to believe. A few points that could be heard more than once in class were:



  • Yes, your eyes are at the 1/2 way mark of your face
  • Think about how big your forehead would be if your bangs started at the top of your head
  • I know you prefer to draw your nose as a side profile, but a front profile face needs a front profile nose
  • Look at your classmate, your nose really is as wide as the space between your eyes
  • Yes, your ears extend from the middle of your eye level down to the tip of your nose … really they do

It was an interesting challenge dissecting facial features and realizing the interesting proportions that complement each other altogether. In the end, though, Division 1 created an amazing set of self-portraits that captured each of them, appearance and personality-wise.



image:[ H ] Jenny Holma – Vanity (365/175) (2008) by Cea released under a CC Attribution license

Filed Under (Exploring) by on December 1, 2011 and tagged , ,

The Ripplers are investigating how we can work towards becoming successful learners – and not just for school either. We’re interested in how to be the best learners possible wherever we go and with whatever we do.

So we’d like you to meet Danny MacAskill. He is from Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. One day in 2009, he uploaded a video to youtube showcasing his riding skills and by the next day, people around the world knew who Danny MacAskill was.



At one point in time, Danny wouldn’t have even been able to ride a bike. He had to learn how to do that just like many of us have. So how was he able to develop the skills he has now? What did it take for him to get to this level?

To help us answer these questions, please share your ideas in the comments below. We’re also hoping this post might attract the expert advice of our Huzzahnian neighbours, who we happen to know are also on a journey towards becoming successful learners.