Category: Uncategorized

Helpful Party Platform Links

We have been so busy with our Student Vote program we haven’t had time to post!

We’ll catch up after the election and we’ll see you all for Student-Led Conferences on May 18 where we will share our work.

For those of you who are looking to dig deeper into the differences between the parties, here are the links we worked with today in class.

If you have other sites you’ve found helpful, please share them in the comments section!

Why we learn about Student Vote

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We started Student Vote this term and we think that every kid should get an opportunity to learn about democracy, voting and the people that are doing things on our behalf.  We think Student Vote is important because it teaches kids about elections and how they work.  We learn about important issues like pipelines and rallies.  We also will learn about all of the candidates and what their platforms are.  In the past, we had candidates come in to talk to us about what their ideas were for fixing problems and we got to know a little bit about them.  Our past experiences have been amazing because we get to feel grown up and we get to do things our parents do.

When we are 18, we will know more than many other people because we will be more educated and informed because of this project.  Over years of learning about Student Vote, you get to know more about the candidates and the parties and what their beliefs are.

You can learn more about Student Vote at

By Touchdown, A-JuiceInjuryABC123, Arcticfox, Smeagaleater10


In Student Vote, we learned about democracy.  We watched a video about democracy and played a few games.  The video was about different types of governments.  Some are good and some are sort of a betrayal of their own people.

We learned that even though the Queen of England is our queen too, she isn’t the person who makes the decisions, it’s the Prime Minister.

The game we played was called “Survivor Island”.  In the game we had to make groups and make decisions, like if there will be a leader or not and if there will be a list of rules.  This game showed us about decision-making and what you have to do to make a system that works.

We learned that the definition of democracy means respect, freedom and trust and everyone gets to speak.  This is mostly everything we’ve learned about Student Vote so far.

by Flying Giraffe, the engineer, Skoule, Grass, French Waffles

Propaganda and Political Messaging

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We are studying democracy in a project called Student Vote.  Jody showed us famous political and propaganda posters from history and modern times. One of our favourites was the “Make Art Not War” poster.  We looked at other images (for example Rosie the Riveter, the United States “I want YOU” and “Loose Lips Sink Ships”.  And then we talked about them and we made our own posters.

We talked about how images and words can help to convince people of a point of view or values.  We talked about how certain posters were aimed at certain groups of people.  We also looked at political messaging from political campaigns and talked about the values and ideas they were trying to share.

Our job was to make a poster with a message that you believe in in the style of the images we talked about.  Some of the characteristics were bold letters and a plain background.  Our posters included topics like war, the ecosystem, racism, respecting objects, pro exercise, community effort, doing the right thing, animal cruelty, freedom, confidence in others education, cancer, littering and feminism.

We think that it’s a good way to express ourselves and to learn about the world around us.  Also, it’s a really good way to express our opinions!

by The Time Traveller, Amythest, Sparkle Sloth and super cheese cake

Body Image Presentation

Today Cindy Diett, a nurse with Vancouver Coastal Health who works with Dickens came to give a presentation on Body Image and the media.  We did this to follow up on the PUSH / Children’s Festival performance of “Mess” that represented a woman’s struggle with anorexia.


Here are some excerpts from student reflections on this presentation:

I think people should consider how other people feel, even on the web, because people can write whatever they want to and it doesn’t go so well all the time.

Nobody is perfect.  We are unique.  The definition of perfect doesn’t belong to anyone in society.  In my opinion, I think it doesn’t belong in our world or in our minds.  This expectation we are taught to look like from a young age ruins us as individuals.  We look different from each other for a reason.  There are reasons as to why shops sell different types of clothes in all different sizes.  We were born to be ourselves, not someone else.  We were meant to create our own paths, not have someone else carve  them out for us.  our individuality is blinded by body image. By insults and body shaming.  By cultural beauty standards.  I refuse to take part in the beauty standards and to put a mask over myself to suit someone else’s expectations.  But not everyone in the world has the courage to show themselves.  I believe beauty is from within.  I would rather live a life as a person who has heart and hope in their life over a model who spends their life being photoshopped.  Spirit and mind is what I think makes a person beautiful.  The ability to look at life positively, even when times couldn’t get worse.  I want to teach people to see beyond a person’s outer shell.  A different perspective is needed in our society.  One day, I hope there will be all types of people on billboards and in magazines.  Everyone is beautiful, we just haven’t learned to accept it that way.  A friend once told me that the people in this world are a lot like potatoes.  We all come out different but we are all still potatoes.  Some of us can be bigger or smaller.  Maybe we have a few bumps and lumps here and there.  But we are all perfectly beautiful in our own way.  -SlapShot18

Today we talked about body image.  Body image is how you feel about yourself physically and mentally.  I didn’t know anything about this topic until now.  Well what’s the problem with not having a good body image?  A problem with not having a good body image is you don’t feel good about yourself because you will compare yourself to super models because they look so perfect.  The key to having a good body image is to be yourself.   -Gaming Pickle 84

This presentation was really nice for many reasons and one of them was everything that Sidney said had an important message inside of it. Like how when she showed us the video that Dove made and about “fake beauty” and about how much Photoshop is used on a person.  Also she talked about how the smallest things will be criticized like Lady Gaga’s little bit of fat was shown there where memes of her everywhere. Just like if you have a small pimple on your lower left side of you face people bully you about it teas you even though that only 5% of the worlds population are models or what this world would call perfect and that was definitely new learning. Honestly the connection that I made was to every magazine or social media ever.  This presentation really made me think a lot differently about the way I look at advertising and the way brands convince people to buy a product without actually having to prove that the product even works or the model is not even wearing the makeup product that they are even advertising. – redlimabravo

I learn about body language and about editing people in photos.  When you look in ads or model pose they have big abs, flawless faces, they don’t have moles, pimples, freckles or wrinkles. But it turns out they edited it.  They deleted pimples and others.  The way the people looks helps attract people into buying their product. – French Waffles

Cindy talked about a lot of things today like how things on ads and magazines can have an impact on you.  Most of the photos on magazines and ads are edited and the people usually have a bunch of makeup on.  I originally thought that most photos aren’t being edited as they actually are.  They would put filters on things and make them look perfect when it has a lot of “imperfectness” and other things.  I learned a lot.  I also had the connection to when we watched the play “Mess”.  The main character has eating disorders and she didn’t want to eat anything because she always thought she wasn’t skinny enough.  Her friend encouraged her to eat but she wouldn’t.  At the end she started to learn that it doesn’t matter how she look.  The advertisements made the people look good to convince people that if they use their products they’ll also look good. But when people bought the product it didn’t make them look good enough or how they wanted to look and they would start blaming themselves and not liking themselves. – random student

I found this presentation very interesting.  I have never really thought about thinking from other people’s perspective and how they think about themselves.  This changed my thinking about how I might want to speak to someone because it can lower their self esteem. I also found it really interesting how big companies put very attractive people on their products to make people think that if they use the product they will look just like the people on the cover.  I think that an important message that I learned from this was to do things to keep up your self esteem so that you don’t feel bad about yourself. – The Baconator

When Cindy came in to speak about our bodies and how we feel about them I learned that the company Dove makes adverts about people that have freckles or some pimples to a person who gets strong looking cheekbones because of all the makeup.  Also when Cindy cam in she talked about photoshop.  I thought that all this time most of the pictures I saw in magazines the people in the picture might not have even been in that background so now I’m going to take a closer look at the pictures.  Cindy also talked about ourselves and how we can feel negative about what we looked like so I will end with a message: be proud of your body and look after it.  -flying giraffe

The biggest lesson I learned today was to not base celebrities who are photoshopped and have so much makeup lighting and have been airbrushed to perfection, on what I wish for myself to appear as.  Models have personal trainers, makeup artists and producers to make them look their best and putting that on the media affects everybody on their self esteem and how they look at themselves.  Having Cindy come in when we are at this age can help us throughout our lives about our perspectives on our bodies and others. -Amythest

A connection I made was that you should not think of yourself as different than others and to be yourself, be proud of yourself and tell people nice complements for example “you are beautiful, I love you, you are very fun to hang out with etc”.  I now will think about complementing people more often if they don’t feel good about their bodies.  I think that in a shorter version of what she said she was trying to tell us that you don’t have to look beautiful on the outside to be beautiful on the inside. -purple pom-poms

Seeing these pictures made me think that things are not what they look like.  It made me sad to think that companies are tricking people who have low self esteem about how they look into buying their product.  They might believe this will make them more feminine or muscular because when they see these totally photoshopped people and then they compare and judge themselves.  This will make an impact on you because obviously the photoshopped person looks better, then you might try to lose weight when you’re already healthy.  From now on when I look at an ad I will look closely because I am curious to see what they have changed.  I am also going to try to look at things in real life before I buy them so I know what it actually looks like not what it looks like in the ad.  This presentation has made me more aware of my surroundings -Sushi Monster

Today Cindy Diett came to talk to Division 16 about mental health and body image.  Cindy meant mental health as being happy with things you do and accepting who you are to yourself.  You might be asking yourself, well, what is body image?  Well body image is a mental image of yourself based on when you look in the mirror and your family and peers comments.  Both of these concepts connect to another thing she talked about, self esteem.  Because if you accept yourself and you have a good body image, you will have a good self esteem and be way more confident.  She also showed us a video of a person doing advertising and it showed that she was retouched to look better even though she looked fine in the first place.  Now that you know about this, I encourage you to accept yourself and if you already have, try to help someone you know to accept themselves. -smeagaleater10

What I thought was interesting was how when people have to do stuff for a photo shoot people put make up on her, fix her hair and skin and then they take some pictures and then they work on it to make it look better.  I think it’s kind of messed up because other people who look at magazines and stuff they don’t see the real her.  Also for men they take pictures of their abs and stuff but some of the men don’t even have abs like they’re not muscular.  So when they finish the photoshoot the people who work there would change it up a little bit like they would give him big muscles and maybe a six pack.  I feel those people are giving the models way too much photoshop stuff, probably people would like to be like them but they don’t really look like that. -Grass

In life there are lies and truths like ads.  Ads can be lies, just because something like a pair of jeans looks good on someone, they’re just trying to make you buy it.  To be honest, I didn’t know much about photoshopping.  At a program called “Welcome to My Life” we learned about how to be ourselves. I have always thought that all of the magazines were not photoshopped.  Now I know the truth.  The customer will think “those jeans look nice on her, they’ll look nice on me too” I’ll say Cindy was a great help to have us get more confident.  Everyone is different. – Skoule

The connection I made was to when those people came in from Pridespeak to talk to us about LGBTQ rights and gender equality and body image.  None of this was really new learning for me because these facts are more or less well known but I didn’t know just how much evidence goes into making one photo of an already good looking person.  After this, I think differently because I know I will be more careful of what I say to people.  The message I took from this was not to let the media change the views of my self image.  – Time Traveler

I never knew that they photo shopped models bodies that much.  I knew they were photoshopped but in the “Dove” commercial that Cindy showed us, they photoshopped that woman’s eyes to make them double the size.  And I also never know that models were that normal looking before a photo shoot.  I always thought models are very little and put a lot of things on their bodies to make themselves look prettier.  I also never knew that only 5% of our population are models.  I always thought that it was more like 25-35% because you see them everywhere and all you hear on the news nowadays are celebrity issues and Donald Trump.  I realized after the presentation that even fashion models don’t look perfect and it’s thanks to computer technology that they look almost flawless.  I guess the definition of a perfect body was much different in 1940! – Pink Pickle

I thought the presentation covered a lot of mainly the same thing, which was OK but I would sort of like to see something different.  My thinking has mainly stayed the same as I have had a similar presentation to this when I was in grade 5.  I think some of the important messages were about self esteem and don’t judge a book by its cover sort of thing.  I made a few connections to the play “Mess.” -Xaxo504

I never knew that it is really easy for them to photo shop pictures to make them “look better”.  I don’t normally read magazines or hear anything about models and I never really thought that they only took photos of only white men or women for their perfect bodies.  My connection is that I felt like my body is not “fit enough” and that I didn’t appreciate myself enough because I have some fat on my belly while other people around me are fairly fit and it makes me look at myself saying “I should exercise more”.  It’s like I was trying to compare myself to other people.  – Crazymemeslol123

Today Cindy Diett came in to talk to us about Body Image and how everyday things affect your concept of yourself and your weight.  An important message is that it does not matter what other people think about your body image, it’s about what you think. -Joaquin

I think that Cindy was trying to show us that most people don’t have what they call a perfect body because there is always something you can improve and perfect is a perspective so everybody can be perfect if you’re happy with how you look and how you feel about yourself.  Models are supposedly perfect and like what happened with Lady Gaga people get so mad at her for a little bit of fat.  I think that since we are growing our bodies are changing and she is trying to tell us that we shouldn’t try and have a different body shape because we don’t even know how our bodies will turn out. – SoccerboyABC123

Today Cindy came into our class and talked to us about body image.  She told us about what you think about yourself is really important.  Because if you think that you are bad at sports and isn’t fit enough, you will lose a lot of opportunity to learn and try new things. – super cheese cake

I thought Cindy’s presentation was interesting because it showed me how hard beauty products try to convince you that buying what they are selling will make your life so much better.  When you look at their principle (photoshopping and make up on models) it seems crazy that anything like that would work, but it does, otherwise we would stop seeing all of the advertisements using that technique.  But something that could prove to be even more interesting is the result these commercials have on people.  I was very surprised when I heard that people were being affected by them.  I think it’s terrible that people are self-conscious about their body and I think we need to be more aware. -Spamlington

Today Cindy Diett came to talk to us about body image.  She told us about some companies who advertise with models to make people want to buy their products.  These companies also made the models look good by changing their body shape with computers.  They didn’t only do this with people, they also do it with food.  For example, on most cereal boxes on the bottom in tiny writing it says “enlarged to show texture” for the picture, but say most people don’t read that small text.  That was all that she said and I hope that we have another presentation like that. – the engineer

Today Cindy came to talk about your body.  What I learned from today is that models aren’t always beautiful and perfect.  Also don’t think that you are not perfect enough or don’t think that you aren’t beautiful.  And it doesn’t matter if you are beautiful or not.  You have to think about your inside like finding yourself, kind and nice.  I found that this was so interesting to show and talk to other people about how you think of yourself. – Flying Mandarin

I learned that only 5% of the population has “perfect bodies” and that almost all models have white skin.  I never knew how many stereotypes there were for just how you looked.  I was really surprised when the “Dove” video showed what the model looked like before she had makeup and Photoshop.  I always knew people on magazine covers were usually extremely photoshopped but after watching the videos I was really surprised by how much makeup it took and how “fake” they really were.  I also thought it was weird how so many people criticized Lady Gaga for having a tiny amount of flab exposed while she was at the Super Bowl.  I though an inspiring message was when we saw the photo of the man holding the sign saying “It’s just as hard to be Ken as it is to be Barbie” because saying men also have body image problems and not only women. – Lord Of The Pies

People need to start to learn to look at each other in a different perspective because not only should you see their characteristics before making assumptions.  Getting to know someone on the inside is a lot better than looking at them and deciding what your opinion of them is.

Cindy had a slide that showed some of the things that can make it hard to have a healthy body image, including comments from friends and family, pictures in magazines, different body types, attitudes on TV about dieting and weight and messages about beauty and stereotypes.

This reminded me of Welcome to My Life because we talked a lot about image and social media.  We also watched the same Dove video.  One thing that came across really strong was that lots of ads have zero diversity (even though we only looked at a few) and thinking back I don’t really remember seeing many ads with much diversity at all.  I thought one message that came across with a lot of importance was having a good self esteem and making sure you’re balanced out. – S.P.E.W.

Some of the connections I made along the way were always that models look extremely photo-shopped.  I knew they put makeup onto the ladies but had no idea they changed how they looked.  I also didn’t know that they put oil all over the men’s backs to make them look shiny.  That’s some new learning, but I look at this in a new perspective now.  Women and men come to photo shoots looking dazzling, how they are naturally and they make them “prettier” by making them stereotypically skinny, masculine and change their image completely.  Which is obviously wrong.  Don’t look at yourself for your shape, colour or size, think differently.  Remember the nice comments, forget the rude remarks.  Your friends and family see you for who you are, beautiful. – Arctic Fox

I think that people should care about who they are more on the inside than the outside because it doesn’t really matter what you look like but who you are on the inside like if you’re smart or caring.

Cindy talked about how Body Image was how people see their bodies, how they feel about their bodies, what they think about their bodies and what they do because of how they see/feel/think about their bodies.  I think the last one is the most important and we have to be thoughtful about how our thinking changes our actions.


An Open Letter to the Children’s Festival

Last week our class went to a performance of “Mess” at the Children’s Festival and the PUSH Festival.  You can read about the play here.  The Children’s Festival donated tickets to our class, which enabled us to have an excellent day of the arts for the price of a couple of bus tickets.

Here is our letter thanking the Children’s Festival for having a relationship with us and donating tickets to our class community. Our process for these letters is to record a class discussion about the experience.  After that, Jody types out the conversation we had and puts some of the ideas together into a letter. Then we review it as a class and make changes if needed. We were fortunate to have our school nurse, Cindy, come with us and participate in the discussion afterwards.  She will be coming to have a longer conversation about body image with us in the next couple of weeks.


January 23, 2017

Dear Children’s Festival and PUSH Festival:

We are writing this letter to thank you for the opportunity to come to “Mess” last week. We are so honoured to have a relationship with your festivals and we appreciate the support of your organizations and your donors that allowed us to receive donated tickets to attend.  Not only that, but we wanted to write and say that we feel it is important to talk about issues and that the theater is an amazing way to approach both the humour and challenges of life.  We have learned so much over the years from attending Children’s Festival presentations and it has helped us see the performing arts in new ways.

Students say:

“This gave us the opportunity to learn about a different topic. A lot of us didn’t really know about mental illness and eating disorders and now we can become more aware of our surroundings and the people around us because you never really know what someone is going through.”

“I really liked how they brought up the topic because mental illness and medical conditions are really hard for some people and eating disorders are too. I liked how they were able to bring up the topic and be serious about it but present it in a way where kids can relate. I appreciated when they went through the thoughts about having an eating disorder because it’s a big problem and may affect how you think. I didn’t know much about it before”

A large part of our discussion centred around the way that the play represented a challenging topic in a way that balanced humour and the seriousness of the topic:

I liked how it was play of them acting of them acting. They were telling a story to an audience and in the play they were actors acting about her memory.  I thought that made it less serious and sad because you knew from the start that she would recover and it wasn’t what she was thinking at the time, and they could put in some serious bits.  It left room for a lot more humour than if she had the anorexia in the play.”

“I liked how it wasn’t all seriousness, like a lot of the time it was but also humour and I liked how it was a mix of that. The humour was appropriate to the theme so helped with the challenging parts, not just adding in jokes to keep it from becoming extremely serious. It was a really nice balance. I also really liked how they explained how she was feeling mentally and not only explaining the physical world but what was happening emotionally and in her head.”

There was a lot of discussion as well about appreciation for the set and the props, and how they engaged the students’ imagination and thinking:

“I liked how you made the stage setting and props in a way that we had to imagine it happening – you didn’t have all the stuff and we had to think about it”

“I liked how the only prop on the stage was used extremely well, it seemed like it was where her anorexia would take her and they also used it as her home – that was really powerful. It took her away from everything”

“Everything had a meaning. It wasn’t just for decoration. The umbrella and the medals were the things she was really proud of and they were always above her. It was powerful imagery”

The students also had a lot to say about the importance of speaking up and asking for help, and about the stigma that can surround mental illness and eating disorders:

“People don’t talk about it because they don’t want other people to know or they’re ashamed or they think no one else will understand. If you don’t talk to people about how you feel, it might get built up in your head. If you don’t understand something, talking about it can really help.  It can help you stop or slow down. I feel like secrecy and shame work together because when they have a secret they have the shame and it can get worse and worse.”

“If you don’t tell anyone about it, it can get worse and you could die. It doesn’t help to keep a secret, it helps to tell one person and they can help. When you keep something like this a secret not only do you not get the emotional support that you need but doctors are hard to help you with your situation.  Specialists can help people if they have knowledge.”

Thank you for bringing challenging and important programming to our city, and for ensuring that students have the opportunity to experience the performing arts as a community where we can learn together and grow and share understandings. We are grateful for the donation of the tickets to our school so that we could attend a performance that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.

We would appreciate you sharing our feedback with the cast and writers of “Mess” and wanted to express our gratitude for the opportunity.


Division 16, Dickens Elementary

David Murphy Interview


Division 16 sent two intrepid interviewers to chat with David Murphy, our new Vice Principal.  Soccerboy123ABC and Spamlington developed these questions, with the help of the class.  They spoke with David today at 1:45 and found out some interesting things.

Please read below and enjoy!

How long have you been working in a school?

This is my 4th year as a Vice Principal.  I was a teacher since 2000 and I mostly taught Intermediate.

Why did you choose to be a Vice Principal?  Any inspirations?

When teaching at the school level, I imagined how it would be teaching all the students and getting to know more parents.

What have you enjoyed about being a Vice Principal?

I like the busy schedule and the different energy.  There is more responsibility and I get to help out more.

What do you do on a daily basis?

I teach resource for Divisions 1, 2, 15, 19.  I do small groups and in-class work help.  I also do grade 7 stuff and IEPs.  For resource, I do different lessons, school based team and help with technology and organizing things.

What’s the weirdest thing you have encountered as a Vice Principal?

Working with a teacher who has the same name as me.

How was it when you came to our school for the first time?  Any feelings?

Wonder, I was very excited.  I liked the energy and loved how busy it was.  I like that you call adults by their first names and the multi-aged classes.

What is your favourite pastime?

Reading.  I really like travelling.  I go to Seattle on the weekends and also on big trips in the summer.

Do you notice any differences between your old schools and this school?

The number of kids is different and also this school has intermediate grades.

Thank you, David Murphy! Welcome to Dickens!