Mindful Eating

The first step in the Friends for Life program is F for Feelings. We have been working on recognizing the signs of emotion in our own bodies and reading the emotions in other people.

This past week, we have been working on R for Relaxing. We have been learning what our muscles feel like when they are tense and when they are relaxed.

Another practice mentioned in the program is being mindful. We have continued our mindful breathing practice and just began to explore mindful eating. It is important to eat slowly and appreciate what you are eating.

We brainstormed adjectives to describe the taste and texture of food. We then put those words into practice as we sampled 7 types of apples and 5 types of pears. Each morsel was placed on our tongue, savoured and then slowly chewed.


The most popular pear was the Bartlett pear.IMG_3965

The most popular apples were Fuji and Granny Smith.

We also began wondering why some apples turned brown faster than others and why apples from McDonalds seem to last for weeks without turning brown. I sense an experiment about to happen…

I think that we also discovered that eating is also a very social activity. There was a lot of discussion between classmates about which apple or pear they liked best and why. Some of them were intrigued to find out that the fruit they liked best because it was sweet, was not liked by their friend who thought it was bland.

In honour of Turn Off the Screen Week, I invite you to cook with your child and sit down to dinner together. Talk about what you are eating. Where did it come from? Is it in season? Is it local? What does it taste like? Do you like it? Why or why not?

More information and ideas can be found on our “Food & Cooking” page.

“I feel like Santa. Giving makes me feel warm inside.” – Jo. Li

We were inspired by Kid President and our virtue of generosity to give this month.

1) We sponsored a toy drive! All our toys were donated to the Salvation Army.




and after!!!


Thanks to Ms. Gil’s class who helped us collect all the toys!

2) We collected supplies for the Lookout Society. They provide assistance to the homeless on the downtown east side of Vancouver.

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Homelessness happens year-round. Donations can be made throughout the year!

3) Knitting! We took on the task of knitting scarves for the homeless. We will also donate these to the Lookout Society!

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This would not have been possible without the huge donation of yarn from sweetgeorgia yarns.

A big thank you to the sweetgeorgia crew who stayed at work late to help me choose yarns, who wound the yarn into kid friendly balls and who supplied us with extra boxes for our toy drive!

“There is no distinction

between the one who gives,

the one who receives,

and the gift itself.”

– thich nhat hanh

Research is a tough thing to do.

Here are some pictures from our mini “Research Fair”. The students worked hard on writing their questions and sharing their learning. We managed to work around the technical glitches of the day and had a great turnout!

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Our research is good practice for what lies in the years ahead. This same week, we were invited to see some of the Grade 7 students’ “Great Works” projects.

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Weather School~ Yay!

With the holidays, getting sick and being back at school, I have had trouble finding the time to update our blog. I have made time to update this weekend but in the meantime, here are the links to watch us at weather school!


January 16th, 2014 at CTV BC

Please note you may not be able to view the videos with Google Chrome.

Going Out to the Orchestra~

Our adventure began with the bus.




*The photo may be fuzzy but they were having fun!

Once downtown, we started our going out experience with an exploration of the lines and shapes found in the Vancouver Public Library.


After some quick sketching, we walked through the building to experience the architecture. One of the students in my group thought that it felt like an airport.

We stopped for a bite to eat.

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Then it was off to the Orpheum for the Orchestra!

You can download the music tracks here.IMG_3613 IMG_3614

The performance ended too soon. Before we knew it, we were headed back to the Canada Line and on our way back to school.




Destination Imagination!

We are so excited about Destination Imagination!

We began our challenge exploration with some basic team challenges.

First, take a piece of paper. Fold it into a shape. Now, take all of the pieces of paper in your group and create a tall structure.

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For our next challenge, the students were given a bag of items. They had to select 8 items from this bag to create a tall structure that could hold a ping pong ball.

IMG_3570 IMG_3573  *Some of our buddies joined us too!IMG_3575


Then, from the same collection of items, they had to choose 12 items to help them build a bridge between two chairs that would transport the ping pong ball from one side to the other.

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The final challenge, create an obstacle course that would have the ping pong ball go over, under, through and down.



Now we’re ready to tackle the big challenge!

Magee Garden Club Visit

We were so happy to have the Magee Garden Club come and visit us last week. They shared with us the opportunities available for helping the environment in high school AND they taught us about what we could grow in every season – including winter!


They also took us on a tour of their garden. Photographs taken by students.IMG_3543IMG_3531IMG_3540IMG_3530IMG_3535IMG_3527

Then they helped us put a cover of leaves on our beds to keep them warm in the winter.

IMG_3546 Before,


IMG_3554 after

and in between.


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Lest We Forget


Today we honoured Remembrance Day. We wore handmade poppies and heard a story from my grandfather, Trevor Harrop. My grandfather was about 12 years old and living in Scotland during World War II. I have grown up hearing stories about what it was like for my grandmother and him to grow up during the war.

My grandfather’s brother was in the war. He volunteered. My grandfather wrote a story in his honour and shared it with the class this morning.

“Lest we forget”

Far-called our navies melt away—
On dune and headland sinks the fire—
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget![i]
The 11th of November is Memorial Day throughout much of the world. It reminds us of the terrible events of conflicts and wars. They, in turn, remind us of those lost and those who served. Birthdays remind us of our friends and family.  On occasions they are close enough to combine. Such is this story. While true, the details may be misplaced or out of order. I make no apologies.  I, certainly, have a well-worn memory. But, still “We recall without repining, all the heat of bygone noon!”
Today is my brother’s ninetieth. Good for him. While people are living longer, he is above the norm. “Congratulations John and may you live to hear your hundredth”. Please note I said ‘hear’ because he is blind but this doesn’t deter him from living. He has the sharpest mind which allows him to have a fine conversation. And on occasion somewhat more than fine.
John worked in AB’s (Anderson and Boyce. An engineering firm in a suburb of Motherwell in Scotland that manufactured among other things, coal-cutting machines.) When the Second WW broke out in 1939 he was finishing his apprentice term of five years. All engineers at AB’s were exempt from military call-up or conscription.  However, they could volunteer for service if so inclined. Haggs Reid worked in AB’s beside John and he volunteered for naval service. Some months later John volunteered too. And he too volunteered for the Royal Navy. Haggs was sent to Rossyth and John to Porstmouth for their preliminary training. As qualified engineers they were given officer status immediately. I do not know who and how their locations were decided but – but for the toss of a coin ‘there go I’. One went East and one went South.
After his induction to naval regulations, John was sent to Mombasa on the west coast of Africa a port that served the whole of Kenya. He went in a large troop ship as a part of a team of naval repairmen to the dockyards. This base served the whole of the Indian ocean. Shortly thereafter, his team was needed in Alexandria the major port for Egypt. They sailed up the Red Sea to the port of Suez at the south end of the canal. From there via railway to Alexandria, no luxury hotels in wartime, a tent city with troops for the Libya campaign . Following that stint, they were sent up the Persian Gulf to the island of Bahrain, then over to India and across to Sri Lanka (Ceylon in those days). Their posting was to the East Coast of Sri Lanka at Trincomalee. The harbor here was a huge lake with a small easily defended opening  into the ocean.  John remained in Ceylon for approximately six months when he was shipped back to Mombasa once more. Fortunately this repair crew never saw any hostile action. Finally after two years they were all shipped back to Portsmouth, then to Leith on the Firth of Forth where he was seconded to a minesweeper for duty on the North Sea. Billeted in this port, he managed many short weekend passes to our home in Motherwell. Minesweeping was a hazardous duty since they had to cut the mines anchor rode. When the mine floated to the surface, the crew took turns shooting at the activating cones on the mines thus blowing them to pieces. This assignment terminated  John‘s service in the Royal Navy. Demobbed they called it!
Haggs Reid was visiting us after his induction. I can see him yet, sitting on one of the kitchen chairs in his full naval uniform wearing his skipped cap, white shirt and dark tie. He had fair hair and a healthy ruddy complexion which emphasized his white regular teeth. “I’m off to Murmansk tomorrow,” he said. We never saw him again but we learned later that the “Murmansk Run” was the most dangerous assignment of WW11 naval encounters.
When you think of these two sailors, you realize that somewhere a clerk was sitting at a desk and had a list of names before him. His job was to fill vacancies in crews. A toss of a coin! Of the thousands and thousands of vacant wartime positions to fill, your future was a small pen mark on a list! The short or long straw.
As a young boy of twelve, I adored my brother and still enjoy his company with brotherly love and respect. And yes, we will chat once more when we visit with him this coming holiday season.
You, too, can imagine that this story would never have been written if the pencil or pen ticks had been reversed.
Tjh ©
Following our assembly, DWF read us “The Enemy: A Book About Peace” by Davide Cali. Here is a YouTube reading of “The Enemy: A Book About Peace“.
I also found some great questions for you to think about when reading the book.


Halloween is a time for candy and SCIENCE!

First, we challenged ourselves to build a tall and sturdy structure out of spaghetti and marshmallows.

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Then we did a little experiment. We tried to predict which candy or chocolate bar was the most dense. We tested Twix, Mars, Kit Kat, Coffee Crisp and Fruit Gummies. Surprisingly, the Fruit Gummy sank the fastest!IMG_3431

Then we asked ourselves, will Smarties and M&Ms melt faster in warm or hot water?

We discovered that they melt faster in warm water but we were fascinated to see that the S’s and M’s from the candies came off and floated to the surface in the cold water! Can you see them?


Next came the Pop Rocks test! Which liquid will make the rocks “pop”?

Water or vinegar?

Answer: Water!


Finally, we did a candy acid test. We filled several small bowls with water and some candy. To demonstrate what happens when baking soda meets an acid, we put some vinegar in a jar and added the baking soda…boom! Instant reaction! Bubbles came flowing out of the jar. Next, we added baking soda to the candy water to test which ones were acidic. The most acidic were Sour Skittles! IMG_3437

Our afternoon ended with board games, music and lots of chatter.


Our candy science experiments were from the site Candy Experiments.