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March 11
What did learning look like in term 2 at PJ?

​Kindergarten students are developing their phonological awareness, learning to count and converse 'en français', through movement, song and play. They learned about seasonal changes, habitats of various animals, the art of Ted Harrison, and aboriginal stories. They are working and playing collaboratively and enjoying their growing bond to their "grands copains", or big buddies from the intermediate grades.

Grade 1 students are reading French fiction and non-fiction books. They know how to find important facts about seasons, the community, and many other things. They are learning how to write stories with a beginning, middle and end, including interesting characters, and sequential events. Using graphic organizers is helping them create clear texts. They enjoy discovering numbers and patterns in their Math journals. They love dancing in PE! And other games too!

Grade 2 students were esconced in their inquiry projects on marine animals and they used Hundredth Day to showcase their creativity and understanding. Team work, critical thinking and effective communication skills were clearly evident during their presentations. They danced in class daily for their action breaks, and spent a lot of time learning about their environment, the impact of our actions on the environment, and raising awareness to climate change and other environmental issues throughout the school with their 365give Challenge and announcements. 

Grade 3 students impressed me so much with their inqury projects on Aboriginal peoples! Along with their parents and guests, I visited the classes during the February celebration and had the pleasure of seeing the results of their efforts with their research and artistic creations. I enjoyed their musical talented throughout the day when they practiced the recorder and sang. They learned a lot about what matters in Science with their unit on matter!

Grade 4 and 5 students were very busy learning about resources. I loved hearing the debates where the students worked in teams to highlight the advantages of one type of energy source as opposed to another. I learned a lot! I was very impressed with the depth of their understanding, and their communication skills during the debate. In Science they became very familiar with the human systems. I know that their project on residential schools touched them deeply. 

Grade 6 and 7 students in the early immersion program participated in the Vancouver Biennale Project on Fast Fashion. It has been wonderful to witness such engagement and collaboration. Working with artists and experts and making connections with people from South America is a powerful experience. The late immersion grade 6 and 7 students worked on their own inquiry project, learning through research and artifacts about ancestors and first peoples. All grade 6 and 7 students participated in our Concours d'art oratoire, a public speaking contest. What a great opportunity to dig deep and find out about a particular topic of interest, or share an important personal experience with an audience. Much work has gone into the research, the writing, and the presentation of their speeches. I can't wait to hear the finalists in early April! Other grade 6 and 7 highlights include Genius Hour projects, and the Rube Goldberg machines projects, perfect opportunities to demonstrate our term 2 core virtues of responsibility, perseverence and kindness. 

We celebrated Pink Shirt Day at PJ, created a brand new student council, continued to highlight our achievement and initiatives in monthly assemblies, and buddy classes activities, building connections between students of all grades. Teachers are collaborating to explore the new curriculum, creating units of inquiry in various subjects. The core competencies are at the centre of our work, and the new reporting format at Kindergarten and grades 1, 2, 4 and 5 share the student's progress in a more meaningful way. 

Culture continues to vibrate within our walls, from Fete d'hiver to other traditions like Le concours d'art oratoire and film festivals.  All the intermediate classes participated in our Aladdin Musical production, a two-night affair with two different casts since we had just too much talent! It was a fantastic night where parents and teachers rejoiced in seeing the students shine on stage! 

Our volleyball teams practiced twice a week, showing commitment and team work. We're thrilled to that our girls team brought the District trophy back to PJ, and proud of our boys who made such progress throughout the season.

Students had many opportunities to learn outside the classroom with various feild trips to The Vancouver Museum, the Aquarium, the Gordon Smith Gallery, the Museum of Anthroplogy, the Britannia Mining Museum.

I am so proud of the work, effort and performance of our students, and thank you for supporting them at home. 

I wish everyone a wonderful and relaxing Spring Break! Bonnes vacances a tout le monde, élèves, parents et professeurs!


February 26
"What Does Pink Shirt Day Mean to Me?" A blog series by Grade 6 and 7 students

​Here we have it, the last instalment in the blog series on Pink Shirt Day, from Samia Trottier, a Grade 7 student in Division 6! 

The simple fact that this event started almos ten years ago and is still happening now shows how much this day means to everybody and how much it makes a change. There are so many cases of bullying around the world and if two teenage guys stood up for a bullied boy and it created an international anti-bullying symbol, imagine what would happen if everybody stood up for kids in their school.

This event tells me that if people stand up against bullies and come together as a community, it can make a change. Bullies won't bully if they don't have an audience and even if it takes a lot of bravery to do it and no one stands up with you, you made a change and at one point this will inspire others to follow you.

Someone I know got bullied for a whole year in my previous school and didn't tell anyone since she thought that it was her fault. After a whole year her parents finally figured it out but it was too late and she changed schools. I was quite young when that happened, but even then, I thought to myself "why did no one help her? How did I let this happen?" Now I realize that it takes a lot of courage to stand up but the results make so much difference that you shouldn't even think twice before reacting. I bet that if one person stood up for her and inspried other to do the same, the bullying would have stopped in a day.

Pink Shirt Day means that there is hope for change and that one simple action can make drastic changes.

Merci Samia!

February 25
"What Does Pink Shirt Day Mean to Me?" A blog series by Grade 6 and 7 students

​It was wonderful to see so many students wearing pink yesterday for Pink Shirt Day! There were celebrations in classrooms and on the playground! See some photos and highlights on Twitter @chantaltrudeau

Today's article was written by Heidi Wilson in Division 3. 

Pink Shirt Day is one day a year, a mere twenty-four hours, but it has a special meaning, not only to me, but also to millions of other people across the globe. To me, Pink Shirt Day means showing people around the world that they aren't alone with their problems. That there is always someone to talk to, to help you and support you. There is nothing worse than feeling all alone in the world and that no one understands you. Being bullied can ruin your life, as it already has done for many others. Pink Shirt Day also means letting those people who are the bullies know that what they are doing is wrong, and telling all those people who have watched someone being bullied and just stood there to speak up and stand up for the person who is getting picked on.

Thousands of people have seen someone getting bullied, and just watched or did nothing to help. They thought, "Oh, at least it's not me they're picking on. Sucks for them." But what if it was you, what if you were the one that no one stood up for? The one no one cared enough about to say something? It could be you. If more people stood up for each other and showed their support, the bullies would be the ones that are alone with their bullying and no one would pay attention to them.

In conclusion, Pink Shirt Day is one day a year, but it has a very special meaning. I think every day should be an anti-bullying Day like Pink Shirt Day.

Merci Heidi!

February 24
What Does Pink Shirt Day mean to me? Blog series by PJ's Grade 6 and 7 students

​Today's special write up is offered by Katelyn Carvell from division 1! Very thoughtful, and poetic!

It's Anti-bullying Day for all

Kindness: one size fits all.

Love each other and be kind

We all stand as one, keep this in mind.

Wear a pink shirt on this day

"Stand up to bullying", the teachers say.

Treat others the way you want them to treat you

We need this day and this is true.

To show others that you care,

Love is something we all wish to share. 

Merci Katelyn!

February 23
What Does Pink Shirt Day mean to me? Blog series by PJ's Grade 6 and 7 students

​Our second blog post this week was written by Razaan, a grade 6 student in division 5. Very well done!

Pink Shirt Day was instituted to prevent further bullying. Statistics show that 71% of students that are being bullied, keep being bullied, thus making it a problem with no end. The original Pink Shirt Day event was organized by David Sheperd and Travis Price of Berwick, Nova Scotia, who in 2007 bought and distributed 50 pink shirts after a male 9th grade student named Charles McNeil was bullied for wearing a pink shirt during the first day of school.This event has evolved to a point where 25 countries worldwide wear a pink shirt to symbolize a stand against bullying. Interestingly, according to the United Nations, Pink Shirt Day is held annually on May 4th. 

​Pinks Hirt Day is when many people worldwide wear pink shirts to prevent bullying. It's a day to recognize those who are bullied and to stand up for them. On this day, we all stand up united to stop bullying by wearing a pink shirt or a pink button to give recognition to this very serious problem. One individual who I feel really represents this day and is an amazing person is Lissie Velasquez: she was born with a condition where she never weighed more than 64 pounds, and started losing her sight at the age of 4. She was bullied since her childhood and "felt like a monster", and was named "The Word's Ugliest Woman" on a YouTube video. She didn't know how she would recover, but she did graduate with a degree in communications and became a motivational speaker and anti-bullying activist. I am so inspired by Lizzie's and other stories like hers for overcoming incredible obstacles in their lives(including being bullied) and using that experience to help others in similar situations. Having read about Lizzie and others like her, I have made a decision to follow those role models and make a difference.

How am I going to make a difference? I will stand up for anyone I see getting bullied, I will never encourage or be a part of bullying because I know that I can do better. I believe that if each of us does our part in our daily lives to stop bullying, then we can collectively change our thinking so it will no longer be cool to bully anymore. Hopefully, our anti-bullying actions such as kindness and thinking differently, such as being accepting of others, will reduce the sad consequences of bullying such as suicide, depressions, dropping out of school, and other such tragedies.

Merci Razaan!

February 22
What Does Pink Shirt Day Mean To Me? Blog Series by PJ's Grade 6 and 7 students

Pink Shirt Day is celebrated every year on February 24th. We encourage everyone to wear something pink to show that we are all working together to prevent bullying in our schools, in our communities and online. Pink Shirt Day comes from two Nova Scotia high school students, who decided to take a stand against bullying in their own school. At Ecole Pauline Johnson, Grade 6 and 7 students participated in a writing contest. The topic was "What Does Pink Shirt Day Mean to Me?" We received wonderful texts from our students! We chose the best ones to be shared with you on the Principal Blog every day this week! We hope that all our students will wear pink on Wednesday! 


The first student text was written by Parnian, a Grade 7 student in Division 1.​

To each person, Pink Shirt Day has a different meaning; however, what does Pink Shirt Day mean to me? Pink Shirt Day is a day when everyone is accepted and valued as they are. No one should be judging a person by what they wear or where they were born, because each person is unique. Pink Shirt Day celebrates and embraces the differences that each person has and teaches us not to make fun of one another, because being mean is not ok.

Pink Shirt Day is also a day to celebrate friendships and kindness. It is a day when we can support those who have been bullied. We can connect with one another and talk about bullying and how we can stop it. By sharing our experiences, we can give advice to people who need help and make closer bonds. We learn to be kind and brave. In my experience, having a workshop about bullying at school made a closer connection between my classmates and me. It creates a true understanding and that, although we are unique and are individuals, we share similar feelings and we all care about each other.

In my opinion, Pink Shirt Day shares different messages to different people. Its message to me is that 'anyone can make a positive change' and that inspires me to stand against bullies. It also inspires me to make closer bonds with classmates. Pink Shirt Day has made a positive change in our world by letting us empathize with each other. Now it's your turn to make the positive change!

Thank you Parnian! 

December 16
Happy Holidays from PJ!

​What an exciting week! Yesterday was a big day for the primary students! They performed for their fellow students after the whole school marched to the beautiful Kay Meek Theatre for the dress rehearsal in the afternoon, then presented their Primary Winter Concert "Le royaume d'hiver" for their parents and guests in the evening. They were amazing! I was so proud of them!

Putting a show like that together takes a lot of commitment and hours of work and rehearsal from staff and students! Our primary teachers asked to book the Kay Meek last year so the commitment had been made quite some time ago. It is a fantastic place to showcase our talent, that's for sure. We are lucky to have a beautiful theatre like that at West Vancouver Secondary. The seating is perfect and the sound and lighting right on cue. Not to mention the knowledgeable and helpful staff! Mme Storry was in charge of the headset, and was at the ready to "cue music" during the whole show!

Students from Kindergarten to Grade 3 had learned and rehearsed their songs with their own class, and with the whole group, so they were prepared. Our grade 3s had the chance to demonstrate their recorder progress and they sounded fabulous! My favourite song was a whole group number. It's a song called "Un enfant de paix", a child of peace. Having over 130 voices singing such a beautiful message is heartwarming. I've been humming that song for weeks! I was so glad that the audience enjoyed the performance!

Today is our annual Santa's Workshop at PJ. An opportunity for students to buy a gift for their family members, a great "give" since it's also a fundraiser for the school and for the Syrian refugees. This annual tradition would not be possible without the hours of work from our parent volunteers who organize this incredible Christmas time event. Huge thanks to Robin Eisler and her whole team of "elves" for making this happen for our students. They are all excited to choose the perfect gift for their siblings and parents. The gym is looking like a winter wonderland! To some, it may look like total chaos, but to us it represents a great collaborative effort! Parent volunteers coordinating the sales, wrapping and displaying, and "buddy classes" helping their "petits copains" choose and wrap their gifts. We're all wearing our pajamas, (yep, I am too!) and we're in the holiday spirit here at PJ!

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and holidays with your loved ones!


November 16
"My Late French Immersion Experience", by guest blogger Grade 7 LFI student Parnian Ashrafi.

Ever since visiting Paris, France when I was 4 years old, I have loved the sound of the French language. At the beginning of Grade 4, I heard the news that in Grade 6, I would be given the privilege to move to Late French Immersion at Ecole Pauline Johnson. I finally had the chance to learn the language I always wanted to learn! French! Now I have a third language along with Farsi and English.

I moved to Pauline Johnson Elementary School in Grade 6. I was both excited and scared at the same time.I remember stepping into my sixth grade class for the first time. I was so scared because I felt like I would not fit in with the other students in Early French Immersion (EFI) classes. Yet, I was so amazed. I knew half of the people there and others were friendly and eager to learn French like me.  

Throughout the year, my French skills improved thanks to our amazing teacher, Mme Fee. We had many opportunities to strengthen our French like using CAO or ‘Concours d’Art Oratoire’, a public speaking contest, which helped us orally and with our writing. We also had many fun exercises and activities that helped us to develop with our vocabulary. To be honest, I feel that my French is at the same level as the EFI.

I thought that my Math or Science would not improve by the end of the year but I was wrong. Our teacher taught Math every week and we completed the book and learned all that we needed to learn. She also gave the students who excelled in Math a chance to challenge themselves to compete in a Grade 7 Math competition called GAUSS.

This year, we have another amazing teacher, Mme Carter. She really challenges us to get ready for high school, which is perfect. She is funny and very nice. She gives us the same great French practice as the EFI students and almost everyone in our class can do it. She really challenges us and we love all the great French verb games, especially Verbathon! We write and read various French articles and books everyday. We get the chance to write creatively in French and share orally our work and anything we are thinking all in French.

Moving to Pauline Johnson Elementary School and joining the Late French Immersion program is really helping us to achieve our dreams.  I would like to thank our Principal Mme Trudeau, our Vice Principal M. Parslow, my Grade 6 teacher Mme Fee (even though she moved to another school), my Grade 7 teacher Mme Carter, my friends and the other staff members for making the school a great and safe environment for me. It is great chapter in my life that I will never forget.




November 05
First Peoples Principles of Learning

​"Many years ago, classroom resources had few references to Aboriginal people or, if they did, it was often superficial or incorrect. As curriculum processes evolved, resources began to include some information about Aboriginal people but not how Aboriginal perspectives and understandings help us learn about the world and how they have contributed to a stronger society. Now, with the education transformation, the province is attempting to embed Aboriginal perspectives into all parts of the curriculum in a meaningful and authentic manner". (BC Ministry of Education) 

In our new BC curriculum (Kindergarten to Grade 9), aboriginal content is embedded at every grade level in a number of subject matters. As we developed our Aboriginal Education Plan as a staff, we paid particular attention to what are being identified as The First Peoples Principles of Learning. These principles generally reflect First Peoples pedagogy. 

Here are the 9 First Peoples Principles of Learning:

Learning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits and the ancestors. 

Learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiental, and relational (focused on connectedness, on reciprocal relationships, and a sense of place).

Learning involves recognizing the consequences of one's actions.

Learning involves generational roles and responsibilities.

Learning recognizes the role of indigenous knowledge.

Learning is embedded in memory, history, and story.

Learning involves patience and time.

Learning requires exploration of one's identity.

Learning involves recognizing that some knowledge is sacred and only shared with permission and/or in certain situations.


So much of the learning that happens at our school reflects one or many of those principles. On Monday, all the students watched a performance by The Dancers of Damelahamid. Since 2004, the Dancers of Damelahamid has established itself as a preeminent professional Aboriginal dance company that has self-produced several theatre based productions, and the creation of newly choreographed dance works while asserting time honoured practices. They shared their songs and dances with us, telling us about the importance of family traditions and values that are transmitted from generation to generation. One of our core virtues at Pauline Johnson is respect. We strive to teach our students to respect others every day at school as you do at home. Recognizing the value of our elders promotes respectful relationships. Next Tuesday morning, we will honour our veterans and troups during our Remembrance Day assembly. Many classes are doing projects to celebrate our veterans. Division 1 students in Mme Carter's class are writing individual post cards to Canadian veterans, and participating in a drawing contest organized by the Royal Canadian Legion. In the new year, our Grade 4 and 5 students will visit the West Vancouver Senior Centre as they continue the work they started last year with our inter-generational project. Our youth has so much to learn from their family members, from seniors in the community, from elders and the previous generations. Of course, this principle around generations is linked to the focus on connectedness. It's a win-win learning situation when we connect with others and learn to respect their knowledge and wisdom.

In my next blog post, I will tell you about the Grade 2 Inquiry Unit  "Self and Identity", which ties in beautifully to the first principle above. 


October 07
The Power of One

​At Pauline Johnson, we believe that it is important to instill the belief in our students that each one of us can make a difference in our world. We all know that great things are accomplished by ordinary people who have vision, energy, and passion. Not to mention to virtue of perseverance, one of our 9 core virtues at PJ.

Our 365give Project was launched this week with a school-wide assembly on Monday. This is Year 3 of the 365give challenge at PJ. Students are excited to embark on another year of giving, understanding that the impact of their giving has been far-reaching. I have heard from children from Kindergarten to Grade 7 tell me how powerful they find the 365give challenge. They remember who they helped, why it is important, and how a little gesture can make a huge difference. Last year, we gave to people of all ages in many communities, from our own West Vancouver Senior Centre friends, to children in Haiti and Uganda. There are some children going to school in Uganda this year, thanks to the contributions of our students. The feeling of joy and happiness that comes from giving back is being felt deeply. At our assembly on Monday, a number of students spoke in front of their peers to tell them what they most liked about the 365give Challenge. The speakers, from a range of grades, were articulate and passionate, and their message was clear. People, animals, and our planet need our help! I was touched when I heard one Grade 7 student say how much she enjoyed and benefited from participating in 365give with her class. "It was my best school year ever".

Today our students in Grades 4 to 7 are participating in an all-candidate debate and student vote. We are very lucky to live in a democracy where we have a voice. Many adults choose not to vote, and many do not. We want our youth to understand the power of one in a democratic system. Understanding the electoral process is important, and I am impressed that our students (and teachers) have embraced the Civix Canada curriculum at time important time. I am grateful to our PJ PAC for leading this important initiative at our school.  

One individual can make a tremendous difference. I'm glad that our students hear that message at Pauline Johnson and take every opportunity to get involved on many fronts to do so. 

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