Tag Archives: humour

Creative Anti-Bullying Immersion

3 Nov
Pillars Representing the Stages of Human Life from Infancy to Old Age

Pillars Representing the Stages of Human Life from Infancy to Old Age

In my post yesterday, I wrote about how I visited Joe A. Ross School in The Pas, Manitoba, and the architecture of the building beautifully embodies concepts significant in Cree spirituality. In such a meaningful setting, I was privileged to teach enthusiastic students from Grades One to Six.

Vibrant Sky and School

Vibrant Sky and School

A highlight of my visit was that students in the three Grade Six classes began my novel, The Beech Nut of Big Water Beach, and the accompanying Novel Study and Anti-Bullying Guide, with the help of three skillful teachers, Crystal Ross, Myrna Ducharme, and Michelle Edwards. Together, over the two weeks we engaged in a variety of activities. We read the first five chapters which immediately engaged students as every kid has experienced the bullying scenario, whether as bully, bullied, or bystander, a major theme in the novel. A big plus is that the book is humorous, which draws in more young readers, and there is social intrigue and romance, always captivating themes.

Teacher Myrna Ducharme Reads The Beech Nut of Big Water Beach to the Class

Teacher Myrna Ducharme Reads The Beech Nut of Big Water Beach to the Class

More Students Involved in  the Reading and Listening Process

More Students Involved in the Reading and Listening Process

The World of Big Water Beach Comes to Life in the Mind's of Students

The World of Big Water Beach Comes to Life in the Minds of Students

The following synopsis will give blog readers an idea of what these Joe A. Ross students read in these chapters. The first chapter of the novel sets the stage for the bullying theme as we discover that the main character, Munro McLean, has been bullied all through Grades Five and Six, and that he has been called a nerd, dork, and geek, and has been thrown around, ridiculed and generally made miserable at school.

Teacher Crystal Ross and Students Immersed in Novel

Teacher Crystal Ross and Students Immersed in Novel

In the next chapter, we discover that Munro is popular at Big Water Beach, a great relief, but in order to stay popular, he has to avoid Cassandra Beech, an elderly woman who is a hermit and an artist, nicknamed The Beech Nut of Big Water Beach, and her grandniece Alison, who have decided they want Munro to create art with them.

Attentive Readers

Attentive Readers

In the following chapters, as Munro’s typical beach life unfolds, with swimming lessons, a game of Truth or Dare, a dog show and more, we are introduced to the fun-loving kids of Munro’s peer group, who we discover have a dark side, in that they begin to pick on Alison, the outsider. Munro, on the other hand, starts to secretly hang out with the Beech Nut and Alison to make art, and tension deepens and high antics increase as Munro madly tries to keep his life as an artist with the Beech Nut and Alison separate from his life within his peer group.

The Plot Thickens

The Plot Thickens

An activity that the teachers and I used was to allow students to draw ten pivotal characters in the novel. When students draw and visualize the characters, they engage more with them and can see them in their minds’ eyes more easily. Some students are visual learners who relate strongly to having the chance to draw.

Character Images are Projected and Students Immerse in Drawing

Character Images are Projected and Students Immerse in Drawing

Concentrating on Artwork

Concentrating on Artwork

Teacher Michelle Edwards Joins Students in Art Activity

Teacher Michelle Edwards Joins Students in Art Activity

In my next entry, I invite you to come with me to my lodgings during this Northern visit, a little cottage on the shores of the third clearest cleanest lake in the world, Clear Water Lake….

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In Celebration of International Women’s Day

9 Mar
A Wall of Student Artwork at Henry G. Izaat School

A Wall of Student Artwork at Henry G. Izaat School

In celebration of International Women’s Day (a day late), I post this latest instalment of student letters of advice to Echo. These students reach back in mythic time to bolster Echo’s spirits and to give her the confidence to believe in herself instead of pining away over Narcissus. While students project their insights toward a figure outside of themselves, in fact they are finding out about their own inner wisdom and resources for self-sufficiency.

Echo is a part of every person’s psyche. We all have the capacity to undervalue ourselves and overvalue others, even when they are negative towards us. Writing these letters helps students to strengthen their own ability to achieve self-love. For women around the world, the ability to live with independence and pride is essential to the well-being of humankind.

An Engaged Student's Rendition of Echo in the Cave

An Engaged Student’s Rendition of Echo in the Cave

Letter One

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

I’m so sorry that you got so let down that you’re hiding in a cave wasting away. But you should really go out and have fun. You could meet people and go out. Just leave the cave soon. You could go on a train and leave to go somewhere and have a party. You could also find another guy.

Yours Truly, L.

Letter Two

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

I’m sorry about what happened to you with Narcissus. He is not worth your love. He is handsome but not kind. But to move on, you might want to try making a friend to help you get through it. Believe me, your friends will make you feel a lot better! Think about what you love to do, like soccer or dancing. Try to join some kinds of club, because I promise, doing what you want to do for once will make you feel a lot more confident. Try to think about what you’re good at and try to realize that there are many things that you are good at. You are very good at many things. I guarantee it.

Yours Truly, I.

Letter Three

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

Echo, stop lurking and weeping in a cave. Go to your parents and get some friends. Don’t be fooled by looks. Narcissus is a handsome little demon. That’s all! He is MEAN!!

Find someone with a similar personality. That will most likely be the best choice. Now go and don’t just be a voice. Be a person. Have a happy life!

Yours Truly, C.

Letter Four

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

Hello Echo. I’m Ch. I read your story. So tragic. You deserve better. Even though he was beautiful, it matters what’s on the inside. You’re pretty and forgot what matters.

I suggest what you would love to do. You could become a model because of your beauty. A beauty pageant contestant and you could just let someone love you for you!

Yours Truly, Ch.

Letter Five

Vibrant Student Color Work of Adorable Baby Narcissus

Vibrant Student Color Work of Adorable Baby Narcissus

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

Please leave your cave! Find someone who really loves you! You are so much better than you think! Please join civilization! Find a group where you belong. Let me tell you this: hiding is not a good solution! Live your life! Enjoy all the good things that will happen if you leave your cave. Please, oh please, listen!

Yours Truly, N.

Letter Six

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

You have to leave the cave and try to make friends outside or join a club. You always have to focus on yourself and not on Narcissus :). Don’t mind him. You just have to believe in yourself!

Yours Truly,  B.

Letter Seven

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

Don’t you feel so lonely in your caves? Stop swooning over Narcissus. Get out there more! Go back to your village. Find some friends. Join a club. Just make sure you don’t spend all your time wasting away in those dark, cold, lonely caves.

Yours Truly, M. 🙂

Letter Eight

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

I’m so sorry to hear that you have been hiding in caves.

I will give you some advice. You should try to make some friends. Stay out of caves and you will have lots of friends. Be more proud and believe in you. Believe you can achieve.

Yours Truly, M.

Letter Nine

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

I am so sorry that you hide in caves, hiding from the world. But it does not have to be that way. If you want to live your life right, by caring about yourself more. Tell yourself that you are beautiful. Say that you can do anything that you try to do. And you could go to a town and try to make friends by entering a dance group or a dance competition. Those are some ways to be happy.

Yours Truly, M.

In my next entry, readers will find more letters to Narcissus, that mythological fellow whose lack of empathy is remarkable…