Poetry Evening

This past Thursday evening, thanks to the leadership of two teachers and a book store owner, as well as with the help of a number of other individuals, Cleveland Elementary was home to Words in the Woods, a celebration of poetry.

Thank you Mme Santarosa and Mme Berry for inspiring our young poets, and this old one too. Thanks to Deb from 32 Books for her invaluable contributions to this evening. We appreciate the hours and hours of extra effort you all made to make this a special evening.

The evening was magical. The gym was transformed into a forest. Trees, large mushrooms, ferns, a couple of deer and some birds hiding in the foliage drew us into their world, where children (and adults) were invited to create poetry on river rocks, on clotheslines, on quilts and on magnetic boards. Our fishing pond for poems was a hit with the little ones, as was being able to write their poems outside with sidewalk chalk.

The most magical part of the evening for me was watching the students recite poems that they had written or ones they wanted to share. Thank you to the following students who helped to create the magic:

Nika (grade 1), Brennan (grade 4), Maddi (grade 3), Tessa (grade 3), Diba (grade 6), Cameron (grade 6), Sydney (grade 6), Oliver (grade 6), Zozia (grade 5), Robyn (grade 5), Jennifer (grade 5), Dreya (grade 3), Hayden (grade 1), Cassandra (grade 6), Ben (grade 6), Grace (grade 6), Murray (grade 1), Mone (grade 6), Alyssa (grade 6), Tianna (grade 6), Cierra (grade 5), Staffania (grade 5), Nicole (grade 5), Claire (grade 4), Kobi (grade 6) and Simon (grade 5).

They did an outstanding job speaking in front of over 300 people.

We also had a guest from the Squamish Nation, a former student share a slam poem, a father of one of our students, a singer/songwriter perform a couple of songs, and a few adults read what they have written. Thanks to Stewart Gonzales (Aboriginal Drummer), Andrew Warner (Handsworth student), Chris Mizzoni (father and author), (Jody Quinne (singer/songwriter), Dhana Musil (creative writer), and Charles Van Sandwyk (artist and writer). I also read a poem, and will include it at the end of this post.

Thanks to Mel and the Cleveland parents. We are so fortunate to be partners with such a supportive and encouraging PAC at Cleveland. Together, the parents, staff and students work to create a fantastic school culture, and it is a joy to be part of this team.

Thanks as well to the parents who lent us items (kiddie pools) for our forest. Maple Leaf Gardens lent us some ferns for our forest. Thanks Loni.

Thanks as well to everyone who came along and supported this wonderful evening. Our wonderful crepe makers (former teachers from Clevleand) fed the crowd. The number of students and adults who volunteered their time to make this event a success is mind boggling. Again, we are so fortunate to be part of such a wonderful community.

Please visit 32 Books in the village.

Take care

Walk the Streets
By Doug Beveridge
In parts of the city people suffer.
My fancy hotel serves as a buffer.
From men of the streets who beg for some change,
From me every time I come within range.
Walk the streets. Stare straight ahead.
You may not see those less fed.
They live in the gutters. Sleep on the streets.
Survival for them is a tremendous feat.
Some are aggressive. Some are quite calm.
They think you are rich and beg you for alms.
You shake your head and keep on walking.
Can’t you hear your conscience talking?
You’re just one man. What can you do?
A few spare coins won’t see them through.
To help these poor souls would feel great,
But perhaps it should be left up to fate.
Is it really my calling to feed the poor?
Perhaps it is not, but could I do more?
Once in a while, I could give just a bit.
Some of my change. Do I need all of it?


Gardening Season

Are you ready for Spring? Thanks to Emma (grade 1), her mother and father, and our Edible Garden team (students and teachers), we will be ready soon.

We have our plants getting ready to grow in our front hallway. When they are ready, they will be moved to the courtyard planters.

We are looking forward to seeing all our vegetables grow.

Take care

The Electronic Project

At Cleveland Elementary, some classes have been allowed to make use of personal electronic devices to support learning and organizing. It has been seen as something that is more suitable for grade 7’s .

Ava, a grade 4 student, has written a persuasive essay arguing for students in all classes to be allowed to bring their own devices. I am sharing her essay with her permission.


The Electronic Project

If schools across the country allowed kids to bring one electronic device to school to help them with their work and to listen to music when working, kids would be happy coming to school. We should have one electronic device on our desk or in our desk during school hours because the people who don’t speak English as well as other children could use the translator on their device to help them understand difficult words like literacy. I also think kids should be listening to music when we are working, and that we can take a picture of the agenda.

Many children in our schools don’t have English as their first language. So if we had an electronic device at school the ELL children (English Language Learners) could use the translator on their device to look up the words that they don’t understand when the teacher is speaking. Another reason is that the ELL children could use the translator when they come across a word when reading that they do not know or understand.

I think kids should be allowed to listen to music when they are working. Listening to music is going to make kids work more because they will be listening to music and not talking to other children. You are probably thinking, “What if kids are listening to explicit music?” Well, I have a solution. Kids would make a playlist with no explicit music and check it over with their teacher or their guardian. If they are listening to explicit music during class time, there will be consequences by the teacher and guardian.

If we were allowed to bring an electronic device to school we could take a picture of the agenda or homework. I know that lots of kids don’t like writing in their homework agenda. But if we could take a picture of the agenda, then everybody would. It only takes seconds. It also saves time, like if you are on a hurry to get your work done.

Since electronics are so useful in our lives, we should be allowed to bring an electronic device to school. Why not let the ELL children use the translator? Why not let us listen to music when we are working? Why not let us take a picture of the agenda? “WHY NOT?”

That is why we should be allowed to have one electronic device at school.

Thanks Ava,

Take care

Classroom Blogs – Mme Cusanelli’s class

This afternoon I found myself spending a fair bit of my time in Mme Cusanelli’s class. This is a grade 2 class, and they were having fun. Her students were doing fish printing, and I stayed and helped. I took some pictures and even got my hands a dirty by helping out with the printing a bit. Isabelle (a grade 12 volunteer from Handsworth) was a great help, assisting the students with the painting and making the print. Mme Cusanelli worked with students with the fish printing, while at the same time helping those who were making salmon images using plasticine or were doing other activities. She also helped out with my French from across the room at times. Merci.

The class has been studying salmon, and they are in charge of our two salmon tanks in the school. Our salmon have hatched, and are now in the alevin stage. The ones in the library seem to do a better job of hiding than the ones in the front hallway tank, but we know that they’re in there. Our grade 7 helpers continue to monitor the tanks and check the water chemistry regularly.

Fish printing was messy, but in a good way. Each child was able to make two prints, and I suspect that those children who were away today will get a chance to do it soon. If they weren’t making their fish print, they were working on another art project. See images below for an idea of how creative they are.

Take care.


Schools have a lot of assemblies over the course of a year. Our last assembly was for Remembrance Day, and it was special. The students in many classes contributed to the assembly, and, with support of many teachers, our students did an excellent job. The highlights included:

  • Oh Canada sang by all students (in French and English).
  • Grade 7’s speaking (in French and English) about Remembrance Day, war, and the meaning of the poppy.
  • Grade 1’s (the two French Immersion classes and the English class) singing Merci in French.
  • A grade 6/7 class reciting the poem “I Hate Change.”
  • A grade 3/4 class creating tableaux images of war and peace.
  • Last Post and the moment of silence.
  • Art work from kindergarten students, as well as students in grades 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

We are working on holding more assemblies this year, and each assembly will have a focus. This week, we will be holding another assembly, and our focus will be on respect. Classes will be helping us learn what respect is, and will be sharing a sing-a-long.

I look forward to the contributions students and classes will be making to our assemblies. Below are some more examples of the art work classes made for our Remembrance Day assembly.

Take care.