Archive for Global Perspective

We have an amazing opportunity in front of us! The Ripplers are heading to We Day this year and it’s pretty difficult to contain our excitement about it. Stemming from the Me to We movement sparked by the non-profit organization Free the Children, there are several We Day events all across Canada. In each location, the efforts of young people, who are dedicated to learning about social issues and being the change they want to see in this world, are recognized and celebrated.

In a single day we will get a chance to hear:

We will also get the chance to see Hedley, Shawn Desman, and Down With Webster perform. Incredible as that is, additions to this line-up are expected to be announced in the coming days. As part of our preparation to go, we have learned the We Day dance that was chorepgraphed by Shawn Desman to one of his own songs, Night Like This. At some point during this event, he will perform it and the arena will erupt into a sea of dancers.

This past week, we learned that we could enter a contest to potentially win a chance to dance on stage while he performs or the possibility of a dance party at our school with him present. How could we turn that opportunity down? Well, we didn’t. Our original idea to record our class dancing in the gym quickly evolved into a music video and luckily we have a really cool principal who agreed to play a role in it. We’re pretty pleased with what we created. Have fun watching it and wish us luck!



Ripplers … what are your thoughts on our video making process? Did one part of it stand out in your mind more than others? What are your thoughts on attending We Day? What do you hope to get out of the experience?


twitter_silentThis year is the 21st anniversary of The Convention on the Rights of the Child Convention (CRC) and we need to ask ourselves: Are children’s rights around the world being respected? There are over 1 billion children living in poverty today. Hunger, child labour, exploitation, discrimination, lack of education and a lack of medical care continue to impact children’s lives around the world.

In 1989,  the CRC established a universal set of human rights for children that should be respected by governments around the world. These standards are supposed to be non-negotiable and include 54 articles that outline children’s rights.

Article 13 states:

The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through other media of the child’s choice.

Article 13 fit perfectly with our decision to participate once again in the Vow of Silence sponsored by Free the Children. We want to let the voices of children everywhere be heard. We want their rights to be upheld. So today, along with 3 other classes in the school, we were silent – for the entire school day. We learned in silence. I taught in silence. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it if we were able to bring that much more attention to the unthinkable conditions some children live and work in. Family and friends also pledged us for every hour we were silent and we’ll let you know our total soon. the money we raise will go towards a Free the Children project.


We have another video in the works as well – a combined effort of all the classes involved in the Vow today. We’ll post it as soon as we can.

I have to say the Ripplers were a determined bunch. Today was our first day of snow, too! Normally that would create quite  a scene in class, but today it came in second to their commitment. This year’s students outlasted last year’s class by quite a bit. It was clear that this mattered to them. It was clear they took it seriously.

And this was only one day … we know it takes much more than one day of activism to make a difference … but it’s a start. Now, the discussion begins … what will we set our sights on next?

(While you are waiting for this year’s video, feel free to watch our masterpiece from last year)

Since the beginning of this year, Division 2 has been learning about our rights and responsibilities as Canadian citizens. They are outlined in our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which was added to our constitution in 1982. Our Prime Minister at the time, named Pierre Trudeau, had a vision of a multicultural country based on human rights and the protection of individual freedoms. His dream was a “Just Society”. He spent a total of 16 years in office making him one of our longest running prime ministers of all time.


As Canadian citizens, we have discovered we have many rights and to help maintain these rights for us and others, we also have responsibilities.

Now we have started to compare our rights with the rights of people in other countries. We’re noticing that people do not always have as many rights as we do, especially children. And girls are less likely to have as many rights as boys. For example, we have the right to an education in Canada whereas 113 million children around the world are denied an education – 60% are girls. That’s almost 68 million girls! Surprisingly, we have found out that water can prevents girls from going to school. Water? Do you know why? When access to water is limited, it often becomes the girl’s job to fetch it. This can take hours every day. Hours that could be spent in school if clean water was available much closer. We want to help empower women and girls to rise above the inequalities that exist worldwide. Will you help us by watching the video below? We would like all of our readers to consider the Girl Effect.


Filed Under (Community, Global Perspective) by on April 26, 2010 and tagged , , , ,

maori_fenceKia ora koutou katoa! This week we are finally going to be able to talk to Mr. Webb‘s Year 7 class in Hamilton, New Zealand. We’ve been learning a little about this country in class, but we’re looking forward to learning more from the experts in Room 8. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a few visits and if we’re lucky a collaborative project, too.

We have a number of questions prepared for our Skype conversation,and even though only two students at a time will be directly conversing with Mr. Webb’s students, the rest of the class can watch the responses through a projected image on the Smartboard.

As part of our preparation, we are preparing Maori mihis, a traditional greeting, to introduce ourselves. Mr. Webb and his students have been posting several “how to” videos that focus on the basic Maori language of a mihi, which have caught the attention of other classes around the world. During this week, you’ll be able to explore our mihis on our student blogs.

Most of the Ripplers know I tend to join in on the fun (teachers still need to learn as well, you know) so here is my first attempt at one. Room 8, please let me know what I still need to practice! But try not to give me too much homework.  :)

image: Maori Fence by pietroizzo through a CC Attribution – Noncommercial – Share Alike license


paperwasteEarth Day is just around the corner and as we gear up for a number of different activities, the one at the forefront is our pledge to be paperless on Thursday, April 22, 2010. When we first signed up, there were less than 100 teachers who were committed to going paperless on Earth Day, but now the list reaches over 1300!

Last year our school district consumed 12 500 000 sheets of paper!… and we’re not a large district. As you can probably guess, we now have a district-wide goal of lessening this amount. In our technology-infused classroom we have tried to limit our use of paper by making our blogs our primary writing platform, our Smartboard for lesson activities and more and more of our tablet. We have demonstrated our learning through videos, blog posts, and several different Web 2.0 tools along the way, but we’re curious to see what it’s like to be truly paperless.

The original challenge came from Steve Katz, a teacher in Costa Rica, and has been highly promoted by another teacher in the state of Maryland, in the USA who posts under the name Shelly Blake-Plock. If you are interested in joining us on our paperless adventures, visit the Teach Paperless blog to learn more or you can add your name to the pledge list right now!

A wiki has also been established for teachers to share ideas about how they will be tackling the paperless challenge, which will also help teachers looking for options.  



We know Mrs. Yollis and her Grade 3′s are also going paperless this Thursday, but we’re curious if other classes might be joining us on this adventure. Please let us know.

Image: Paper Recyclingby Telstar Logistics released under a CC Attribution – Noncommercial license

Filed Under (Global Perspective) by on December 3, 2009 and tagged , ,

Guest post by Daniel

On November 20th, 2009, our class participated in a vow of silence. An organization called “Free the Children” asked people around the world to take a vow of silence for the whole day to represent the children of the world whose voices are not being heard and whose rights are not being recognized.

It was very hard to stay silent for the day, especially because we were at school, and with school being a very sociable place it proved to be very challenging. To speak to our classmates, we brought notebooks, pens and pencils so we could write what we were trying to say. The people who were taking part in the vow of silence wore a tag around their neck with a fact written on it about how children’s rights were not being upheld so people would know why we were silent. We still did all of the normal activities we would do on any normal day, but we had to improvise ways to do them without speaking. We learned how to play a math game, but it took some of us a while to understand what the teacher was trying to ask us to do (like me), because she was spending the day in silence as well.

At the end of the week, we went to an assembly with all of the intermediate students to discuss the vow of silence and child rights which Mrs. Braidwood and Mrs. Anderson put together. In the days that led up to National Child Day, Mrs. Braidwood shared a few facts about child rights and videos. The videos had a lot of information, like how some children’s rights are not recognized by their country’s government. One boy got sold to a carpet factory for the rest of his life to pay off a debt for his family; that debt was $20. It’s pretty sad that this happens to some children, but there are organizations around the world who are trying to help end child poverty, like Free the Children. They have built over 500 schools and clean water systems for children living in poverty.

Together our class (Division2), Division 1, and Division 3 created the video above to share what we had learned about children’s rights with the other intermediate classes at the school.

poverty_kenya_zoriahFollowing World War II, the United Nations adopted its first Declaration on the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1959. Included in it were 10 principles that began to outline the basic rights that children were entitled to. Thirty years later, on the same date in 1989, the Conventions on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted by the United Nations, which expanded the 10 principles to 54 declarations that identified not only the basic rights of children, but also protocols for how the rights should be implemented. It is legally binding and states that countries must act in the best interest of the child. To date, 193 countries have signed it and are now bound to it by international law. This includes all of the members of the United Nations, except two countries – the U.S.A. and Somalia.

Today, which is known in Canada as National Child Day, marks the 20th anniversary of the CRC. To learn more about how the CRC developed and how children are being treated around the world in present times, take a moment to watch the State of the World’s Children’s special edition video – 20 Years of Child Rights

In our class, we have been learning about different individuals like Craig Kielburger from Ontario, Canada who at 12 years of age in 1995 laid the groundwork for his international organization Free the Children which inspires children to become agents of change around the world. Another organization, UNICEF, was created in 1946 by the United Nations to provide food, clothing and health care to children who faced famine and disease after the end of World War II.

In the next weeks that follow, we will be continuing to examine the challenges that globally face children and why the declarations within the CRC are needed. One of the questions we hope to investigate is: What can we do to help?


Division 2, carefully watch the video above – more than once if necessary. What do you notice about its two main characters?  What thoughts come to mind when you watch this?

image: zoriah_photojournalist_war_photographer_kenya_child_children_poverty_poor_20090119_3316 by zoriah through Creative Commons license