Learning about Nunavut

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Cheryl brought in a learning kit from the Museum of Anthropology today. The students were able to have a hands-on experience and learn about Inuit ways of life in Nunavut. They explored the bone tools, books, games and maps through touch, questioning and play!

Windsor House also uses the Nunavut learning kit with the high school level students in the First Nations 12 class.

Spring Into a New Start

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One of our projects this spring at The Farm will helping with the construction of a new outdoor cob kitchen. Our first step was to demolish the old crumbling cob ovens. While we hammered away, we discussed the importance of using recyclable materials. The old cob was able to return to the earth, while new clay would be harvested to create cob for the new oven with minimal impact to the environment.

We discovered that the oven also hosted a variety of insects within its foundation. We made guesses for why there were so many wood louse and centipedes living in the rubble. We came to the conclusion that, since these organisms are detritivores, they were likely feeding on the organic material in the cob that was used to construct the oven.

Other students involved themselves in animal care tasks. The straw in the goat and chicken pens need to be regularly replaced and our students took it upon themselves to make sure the animals had a clean, healthy living space. We took this opportunity to discuss what animals on the farm need to live a happy life so they can provide us with the food products we get to enjoy.

We finished the day with a farm explore and found that the chickens have been laying increasing amounts of eggs compared to the winter season. We filled our basket and prepared the eggs for sale at the farm’s market.


Whey-ah-Wichen (Cates Park)

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Today we went on an Out Trip to Whey-ah-Wichen. On the bus, I acknowledged that we were on the territory of the Tsleil-Waututh people and explained what ‘unceded’ means.

We played tag and explored the area near the totem pole and canoe.

We met to plan the day and to read the story “The Secret of the Dance” by Alfred Scow and Andrea Spalding. We talked about how the potlatch and the traditional dances and songs were outlawed, and how Alfred Scow’s family and Chief Dan George’s family dealt with the prohibitions on their cultural practices.

We then went to the beach and observed the crabs. We talked about what the crabs need to survive. Three students built a ‘crab castle’. It included shelter from the sun, protection from predators, and water.

We went into the forest, where students had previously found the body of a duck. We observed the bones and bill, and talked about the changes that had happened since they saw it last.


Gaming Meeting

Today we held a meeting to talk about gaming. We discussed the concerns that people often have about gaming, and thought about how to address those concerns. The students brought up:
Lack of exercise

  • Eye strain
  • Violence in video games
  • Lack of social contact
  • Lack of social skill development

Several students spoke thoughtfully about the collaborative nature of many video games, and the necessity of learning to work together, to communicate, and to value your teammates. They spoke of online communities that mentor and encourage, and how some people learn different social skills online than in person.

The students showed the ability to listen, to consider other points of view, to think critically about information, to plan ahead, and to advocate for themselves and each other. They also made and followed up on specific plans to be more physically active.


Hammer and Nail

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This April we rebooted our “Hammer and Nail” class. With a focus on design thinking and shop safety we have spent two sessions exploring the skills and processes that will support students in turning their creative visions into real world objects. We constructed boxes, doll houses, rings, sculptures, techdeks, and much more. Check the sign up schedule and newsletter for more Hammer and Nail sessions later in May and June.


Bean, Flower and Herb Planting

Students are planting various types of beans, flowers, and herbs. They are learning about the basic needs of plants through experimenting with water, soil, depth, spacing and light. One student said that to help a plant grow “all you need is to love it,” – we will see if it works!

Big Ideas:
* “Living things have life cycles adapted to their environment.”
* “Plants and animals have observable features.”


Outdoor Leadership

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The Elfin Lake snowshoe trip was a real highlight for everyone involved. The trip started with us waiting for a snow plow to clear the road up to the Elfin Lake parking lot. Because of the late start we had to hike hard to make it to the cabin while there was still daylight. It was a strenuous hike in sunny weather and we arrived at the cabin tired but satisfied. There was a metre of fresh snow while we camped at the Elfin Lake Lodge. Our trip out featured the task of cutting a new trail through the fresh snow. The group took turns cutting a path through the fresh snow on our way out. It was a real physical challenge. Everyone rose to the challenge.


Twelfth Night at the Theatre

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In December students of all ages took part in a drama meeting to decide the next play. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night came out on top of the process with the greatest amount of support. The idea for this show came from Claire (new EA at WH) who had a vision to do it as a 1920s musical.

In January Windsor House started with rehearsals two days a week, and built up to 4 or 5 days a week.
At this point, rehearsals are coming along great. We will be doing a week-long rehearsal intensive during conference week to race toward opening night on Feb 28th.

During rehearsal, students of all ages (5-18) have been working hard to learn their lines (in Shakespearean English). Claire was set from the beginning on not changing the lines, while giving the show a contemporary feel with modern music, played in 1920s style.

Off stage, students have also been working hard to prepare props, costumes, hang lights and to set up the Theatre, which has been empty for several months.

Using a real theatre the past 7 weeks has been a huge success. The multi-age environment has reminded us all of the magic of Windsor House and has instantly become a favourite location for many of the students attending rehearsal. When not rehearsing, the theatre lobby has been the centre of activity with student doing math and socials classes with Kelley, Linda and Cheryl, colouring and reading with Brittany, card games and more. And of course, there have been many trips to the public market to get lunch.