Illustration: Clare Owen/i2i Art
Instilling a growth mindset in our students is essential. I’ve been reading Ready-To-Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom: Everything Educators Need for School Success by Mary Cay Ricci — a fantastic tool for understanding how to develop our abilities through dedication and hard work. Ricci provides practical tools that you can put to use from K–8. I particularly enjoyed the page about everyday items that were invented by mistake, like Play-Doh, popsicles and chocolate chip cookies. This helps students understand that it’s OK to make mistakes, and that they in fact make our brains grow! Creating a growth mindset culture encourages our youth to be more confident, take risks and show what they know!
— Chrys Fraipont, OCT
District School Board of Niagara
By Stefan Dubowski
A new youth campaign is reinforcing key messages surrounding anti-bullying, tolerance and compassion through music. We Vow (wevow.ca), a national initiative, offers tools that are tied to the Ontario curriculum and promote social justice in schools and communities.
The idea for the movement stems from a discussion between co-founder Robert Cribb and his daughter, Alexandra, on the negativity that exists in the world. As a result, they wrote a song that asks children to “vow” to make their community a better place. Alexandra’s school choir sang it first, and then it spread to other school and community choirs. Eventually professional musicians joined the cause, donating their time and expertise to record the official version of “We Vow.”
Access to class activities that complement the uplifting song are available at wevow.ca/teaching-tools. The site provides lessons that are suitable for Grades 4 to 8 in music, dance, drama and visual arts. One music activity, for instance, invites Grade 7 and 8 students to consider how the lyrics make them feel and to develop musical compositions that reflect their emotions.
We Vow also encourages students to take positive action within their community by, for instance, clearing snow from a neighbour’s driveway, volunteering for a school breakfast program or fundraising for a local charity. As well, the initiative welcomes your young social activists to create their own songs and artwork on anti-bullying, tolerance and other affirmative messages. Your class can submit their work (or youths can do this independently) for a panel of artists to consider for an online gallery, some of which will be featured at a Toronto event next year. Visit oct-oeeo.ca/wevow for the complete details.