Connections - In your classroom

— Luisa Lloyd, OCT, Rogers PS, Newmarket

My students love what I call our Fit in Five break — a daily five-minute energizing activity that mixes math with movement. They get so excited to lead the group and be led — even when it involves sit-ups! Here’s how it works:


Make a series of fitness cards that show images of safe and age-appropriate in-class exercises (squats, jumping jacks, push-ups, lunges), adding the name of the activity to the bottom of each. I’ve made 12 and have laminated each, so that I can reuse them.


Now write the multiples of a number on your classroom board. We work on one set for a few weeks — start with multiples of 2s, then 3s and work your way up.


Designate a student-of-the-week to decide the order in which the cards will appear on the ledge of the board; it’s a perfect height for younger students.


Now get moving! Ask the student-leader to call out the movement that orresponds with the first fitness card. Everyone will do that movement each time they say their multiples (2, 4, 6, 8, etc.). Once you’ve done a drill of 10, start over — this time with the student-leader calling out the new exercise.

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Dare to dream

In need of some fresh audiovisual content to complement your lessons? Take a look at Learn360. This interactive K—12 media-on-demand service recently added more than 200 streaming videos from Canadian publishers Northey Productions and The Creative Native.

Northey Productions, which has produced 3D-animation science videos for more than 25 years, has added 29 videos and two video clips on physics-related topics for Grades 9–12. The videos can be streamed, edited and downloaded.

The Creative Native, meanwhile, is offering 41 videos and 150 clips on the arts, crafts, culture and traditions of indigenous peoples. The series also offers instructions for a range of age-specific classroom art projects.

These new videos are a welcome addition to the thousands of titles — including more than 400 that are French specific — that Learn360 already offers subscribers. And now you can take advantage of each one!

The Ministry of Education has purchased a subscription for all Ontario public schools — contact for your username and password. For more info, check out

connecting with nature, an educational guide for grades 4 to 6
a natural resource

Few people can impart a passion for environmental issues like David Suzuki. Now you too can bring that same excitement into your classroom with the help of Connecting With Nature: An educational guide for grades four to six, published by the David Suzuki Foundation.

With 16 lesson plans that cover biodiversity, climate change, waste and where our food comes from, among other topics, the guide meets Ontario’s curriculum requirements, and comes with assessment and achievement charts to gauge students’ progress. There are also suggestions for how to combine plans when you’re short on time.

Each lesson begins with a guiding question and then leads the class through a series of exercises and discussions to find the answer. For example:

• What relationships do humans have with nature?

• What effect does all the garbage and waste we create have on nature?

• How does your daily water use affect the rest of the planet?

• What are the benefits of buying foods grown in-season, naturally and locally?

There’s also an outdoor component that relates to each topic. In the “Alternatives to the Car” section, students are asked to tally the vehicles, bikes, pedestrians, parking lots and bike racks in their school neighbourhood. They then discuss why seeing a large number of motorized vehicles is a concern, and how bike racks and bus stops encourage low-impact transportation choices.

And the learning doesn’t stop when the lessons are over. The guide encourages students to use their new-found knowledge and passion to establish a class foundation that supports their favourite environmental concern.

Download your free copy of the guide at It’s compatible with LCD overhead projectors and Smart Boards — no wasteful printing required! Look for the French version of the guide at

Learn more about David Suszuki. Read his Final Exam.