Valentine’s Day got me thinking this year. Although the history of this day is rooted in romantic love, the day has evolved into celebrating people in our lives who we love and appreciate. Just look in the card aisle at your local stores. You can buy a Valentine’s Day card for just about anybody!
Exchanging valentines in schools has supported this popular idea as well, so really Valentine’s Day is a time to recognize all the great people around us. It is a chance to absolutely make someone’s day … and that’s exactly what the Ripplers set out to do this morning.
Armed with 28 candy-grams, otherwise described as hearts with lollipops attached to them, we took the time to recognize every student in our class today, whether they were physically present or not. After each student received their personalized valentine, we proceeded to pass them along our “Compliment Train” to receive one anonymous positive message at a time. This meant a lot of trust had to be placed in each Rippler’s hands – but they’ve all heard time and time again “with great power comes great responsibility” (Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben was such a wise man). They made sure everyone in our class knew how important and valued they are as members of our learning community.
The best part of the day was watching the students read their candy-grams after everyone had signed them. A sea of smiles quickly engulfed the classroom. There were even a few surprises after learning how others see them. Finally, after rescuing their lollipops, students attached their valentines to our door so we could bask in all that positive energy for a little longer. Then, tomorrow we’re sure to make a few more people’s day when the students who were absent today hopefully return to read theirs. My secret hope is that these valentines will eventually be put in a personalized location where each student can read and reread them often to remember how amazing each one of them is.
Ripplers, remember how it felt reading these messages. Everyday we have the opportunity to have a positive impact on those around us – this means everyone … not just our friends. What can you do to continue this beyond Valentine’s Day?
Last year, the Ripple Effect and Huzzah joined forces to dance our way into the holiday season. We’re all set to begin practicing our dancing moves once again and of course all of our readers are invited…
Now, we need to clarify this isn’t a competition. And if you’ve just turned to your friends and quietly ordered them to “Run. Run away fast.” because you think we’re asking you to dance, then just hold tight for a minute. We are not going to be the ones dancing at all (although dancing in class is fun … I love when that happens).
This dance off involves Pivot Animation. Specifically, this means you will be creating a Christmas or Winter break dancing routine using this program. But why dancing you may ask? Well, we only have 2 weeks of school left before Winter Break, and we know schools in Australia and New Zealand are just about to finish their year. Doesn’t that make you feel like dancing? C’mon readers time to “bust a move”!
The more dancing the better. I know Mrs. Thompson’s class already has their pivot animations underway. If you’d like to be a part of our 2010 Dance Off, here is the criteria that we’ll be following. Each video segment will include:
When you post your video, please link back to this post. We’re looking forward to exploring everyone’s creative dance moves. Let the dancing begin!
image: 36/365: Danbo breakdances by Chris J. Bowley released under a CC Attribution – Noncommercial – No Derivative Works license
Remembrance Day is important to me. This is largely why I volunteer my class to organize the assembly each year. WWI and WWII seem unimaginable to my students. It was so long ago and most of them do not feel impacted by war or military operations. That’s a good thing in some ways because it shows how fortunate we are to live where we do; however, recognizing the sacrifices of our veterans is ever so important now more than ever because many of those voices are no longer here to remind us. To honour their dreams of peace we need to try to better understand the costs of war then and now.
On August 4, 1914, Britain declared war on Germany in support of France and Belgium. Canada was only a colony at the time, but since Britain had declared war on Germany that meant we were automatically at war as well. More than 600,000 Canadians served in World War I. The conflict took a great toll with 170 000 Canadians being wounded and 1 out of every 10 not coming home at all.
When I heard that Canada’s last World War I veteran had passed away at the beginning of the year, it prompted me to learn more about The Great War. I found out I knew very little, but as we started to talk about it in class, my students had great questions which inspired me to learn more. It became an easy decision to share what we were learning at our assembly and in turn honour John Babcock‘s request to continue to remember the sacrifices made by Canada’s war veterans.
To my surprise I found out that the Newfoundland Regiment had been to Gallipoli. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, known as the ANZACs, had been fighting there for months and had suffered great losses on the rugged rocky coast and in the wet trenches. While here, the ANZAC and British forces taught the Newfoundland Regiment trench warfare techniques that they would go on to use throughout different battles.
To be honest, I was astonished at how much I didn’t know about our connections with the ANZACs and a little embarrassed. Last year while we were Skyping with Mr. Webb’s class in New Zealand, they had written about ANZAC day on their blog. I remember investigating it a bit to figure out what it was. I had no idea. I found out it was to honour their veterans, but I didn’t even know what ANZAC meant! How silly I feel now.
The Allied victory in WWI was the result of many nations working together. Up until this past week, I hadn’t realized how important both Canada and the ANZACs were to this success. By the end of World War 1, the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian corps had proved they were important in ways quite out of proportion to their country size at the time. For each of them, this war gave rise to a new sense of nationality that would lead them towards becoming independent countries. In fact, as commonwealth countries, Canada and the ANZACs have fought alongside each other many times throughout our military history. I found this fascinating! Can you tell I was enjoying learning about all this?
Then, I found Eric Bogle’s song “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”. It fit in perfectly with what we were learning and provided us with a great way to include the Canadian – ANZAC military connection for our Remembrance Day assembly. Although he sings about Australia, it is about more than a moment in history. It’s about the great sacrifices that are made during war and how we must remember the individuals that have fought to preserve the freedoms we have come to expect.
While you watch our video, we encourage you to uncover his message and to consider what you will choose to remember. We’d love to hear your comments.
In February of this year, the last Canadian World War 1 veteran passed away at 109 years of age. Did you know that? I didn’t … at least not until I began conjuring up different ideas about our Remembrance Day assembly this year.
This last Canadian WWI veteran’s name was John Babcock and he was only 15 years old when he joined the Canadian Army. His one request before he died was that Canadians continue to remember the sacrifices made by Canada’s war veterans. In our Remembrance Day ceremony at school today we decided to honour that request by sharing some of the ways our World War I veterans have shaped the Canada we live in now.
Every year, November 11th is set aside for Remembrance Day in Canada. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month was chosen to recognize the official end of WWI and the signing of the Armistice. For the past couple of years, my class has been in charge of the program for the school assembly that always occurs the day before this national holiday. The way the Ripplers handled themselves as both presenters and audience members today made me very proud. It was clear this assembly also meant something to them and as they honoured our veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice, they showed that these efforts to restore peace and freedom were not forgotten.
In truth, I really enjoy preparing for this assembly because I have learned so much about our nation’s history in the process. I find it absolutely fascinating and incredibly sad at the same time. Thinking about what others have had to go through so I can have the life I do consistently brings tears to my eyes and my heart can’t help but fill with gratitude.
Is tomorrow Remembrance Day where you live? If not, do you observe a similar ceremony at another time during the year?
We’d love to hear your thoughts about it. What are the most important messages we can pass on as part of our veterans’ legacy?
There’s a new year ahead of us and lots to look forward to. We’re only a few days into January, but so far 2010 is off to a great start. Many people at this point begin to look back on the year that just ended and begin to assess what they would like to do differently or what they can improve on in the months ahead. These self-improvement goals are better known as New Year’s resolutions and are a long-standing tradition in many different parts of the world.
Have you ever wondered where the idea of New Year’s resolutions originated?
It’s believed that an ancient civilization called the Babylonians were the first to celebrate New Years Day. That was over four thousand years ago! The Babylonians were a civilization in Mesopotamia that existed where Iraq is today. Although they held celebrations for their New Year, these didn’t occur until March because the beginning of the spring planting of crops marked the beginning of their year.
The ancient Babylonians believed that what a person does on the first day of the New Year will have an effect throughout the entire year. Sound a bit familiar? Although it has evolved into the New Year’s we have today, we can look back to Babylonia to see its origins.
So what happens after people make their resolutions?
Well, only 20% of the people who make New Year’s resolutions keep them. That means out of every 100 people who set goals for the New Year, only about 2o were able to successfully complete them. Many don’t last past the first week and the rest of the 80% don’t make it past February. Here are a few reasons why people are not successful with their resolutions.
The Oxfam Education site offers suggestions on how to make resolutions that can affect more than just ourselves. Think of the 4 categories you need to set a goal in: personal, school, local community, and global. Use webspiration to organize your ideas around each goal. You’ll need several details about the small changes you will make on your way to success! What can you do to help yourself achieve this goal? How can you make sure yours sticks?
Once you have your web completed, convert it to an outline and begin writing your Resolutions post on your blog. You will need to include an introduction that demonstrates what you know about New Year’s resolutions and a conclusion after you share what each of your goals are and how you are going to maximize your chances for success. Once you’re done, leave a comment on this post about your thoughts on New Years. In June, we will all reflect on our goals to see if we are part of the 20% or not (hopefully, yes!) and what progress we have made.
I’m looking forward to reading all of your resolutions and learning about how you are planning to make a difference in your local, national, and global community.
Be the change you want to see in the world ~ Mahatma Ghandi
image: Happy New Year by ΛltoExyl through Creative Commons
This is a common North American expression that transfers the idea of digesting food in the stomach to mulling things over in the brain. It’s when something stimulates us to think and provides us with intellectual nourishment. Every Friday shortly before the class is dismissed for recess, Division 2 enjoys their snack together while I share some “food for thought”. Most times it’s a video. These range from inspirational to thought provoking to educational to just plain fun.
This past Friday, was the day before Halloween and it’s been an exciting week leading up to this event. Although we didn’t have a costume day at school, details were shared about the creatures that our class would soon turn into a little more than 24 hours later. Many of them involved zombie combinations of some sort. So, inspired by the Halloween spirit and my class’ fascination with Michael Jackson’s Thriller, we sat down to watch the full length video, which incidentally was first aired in 1982 when I was only 11 years old and in Grade 6 – probably enough “food for thought” for the day.
Once the video began, a funny thing happened in my class. I wasn’t able to catch everyone with the camera – I had to find it first! – but the excitement of Halloween soon took over.
Yep … Division 2 has no fun at all.
Image: Halloween Party Details by livinglocurto through Creative Commons