In the Virtual Classroom

Lamb on Zoom

This past week, the grade 11 biology class had a guest on their zoom session, a baby lamb.
The lamb had been born earlier that morning and student, Brooke Houwer, explained that it had been rejected by it’s mother. The mother would let the lamb’s twin feed but head butted this cutie out of the way anytime it tried to get some milk. The family had milked the ewe and were bottle feeding this newborn lamb. A zoom session with a lamb bleating, trying to nibble on Brooke’s clothing and being bottle fed can be seen as a distraction or a fantastic lesson in biology. We choose the latter and welcome baby lamb into our class anytime.

English ~ Grade 10

During this last month, English 2D has been discovering poems and the meaning that lies behind them. We started our unit by talking about literary devices and how they are able to strengthen a poem. After becoming professionals at using literary devices to describe a theme or topic through our five senses, we took a look at other people’s poems. Uncovering the meaning behind someone else’s poem was the next task.

Each student selected a poem written about a social justice issue. Using the poet’s statements and discussing with their classmates helped the students understand more about the meaning and beauty of poetry.

To finish off our unit, students were tasked to write their own poems about an issue that affects their daily lives, or a social justice issue. COVID-19 and quarantine, racism, technology, and equality are a few of the topics that students selected. The final task in this unit was creating a blog to share with our school community.

Check out our blog of original poems here:
– Jasmine Issa – Leadership Student

English ~ Grade 12

Mrs. Alkema’s and Mrs. Boonstra’s English 4U students have been working hard to finish a literary criticism unit that began before March Break. The unit traditionally involves a lot of class discussion and presentation with students taking much of the leadership for applying the principles of the literary theory we study (Northrop Frye’s Four Stories of the Monomyth).

As we moved to online learning after the break, we needed to rethink our lesson plans while still providing students with meaningful connections to both content and each other. For one of our recent lessons, we invited students to choose a film from a list of four and then take notes on how the film fulfills the requirements for the literary mode of Comedy. We then organized breakout rooms for our next in-class Zoom session according to the films students had chosen; students then engaged in a discussion about how their chosen film fulfilled Northrop Frye’s requirements. We came back to the main session all together again, and ended the class with groups sharing one significant highlight from their breakout discussions.

We were able to conclude the unit this past Monday with an open book test during our Zoom session. Students received a sight passage story and had to apply the principles we had been covering to the new story. We’re trying to focus on skills and analysis, so students were challenged to use a wider variety of tools–their notes, the story, and even Grammarly –to craft a well-articulated response.


My grade 10 science class is working through a unit on Climate change and how it affects the world we live in, specifically Canada and Ontario. After covering the information part of the topic, I wanted to try to make it personal to each student and each family so I asked each student to calculate their Carbon Footprint using an online calculator. We didn’t use the basic version of the software as it didn’t go into enough detail for what I wanted them to learn. However, some of the questions in the advanced calculator could be difficult to understand without me being there to walk them through it. So I asked parents to work with the students.

Having parent involvement accomplished a number of goals:

  1. students would get a deeper understanding of their Carbon Footprint
  2. parents would be involved in their child’s learning
  3. students/parents would also learn about how their choices in the home affect the amount of Greenhouse gases that are produced. That was part one of the parent homework assignment.

It was fun assigning homework to parents, some of them being students I had back in the day.

Part 2 – For the unit summative assignment, I required the parents to come back and work through a couple of questions with their child relating to their personal kgs of CO2 produced per year and then compare it to: the average in Canada, the average in the world (much, much less than Canada’s average) and the average in the Hamilton area.

Hopefully discussions can occur between parents and students about what they are learning, why it is important and what can family do to make their little difference in our world. Some of the questions assigned were meant to lead into these types of discussions.

~ Mr. Hordyk

Christians in Society

In response to Covid-19, a group of students from Christians in Society and the WATCH group is focused on reaching out to those who are feeling lonely or isolated at this time. The vision is to provide the opportunity to build connections and provide human interaction in a virtual way.

These students would like to dedicate some of their time to alleviate the feeling of isolation by connecting via email and phone or even Zoom if possible with those living in isolation in our community.

If you know of someone who would appreciate the opportunity to have someone reach out to them for a brief conversation or email connection throughout the week please ask them if they would like to be a part of this outreach program. We will be setting up a ‘Connection Calendar’ with those in our community who would be blessed by this interaction.

 “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” ~ 1 Corinthians 12:26 ESV

We want to provide an outlet for caring for others in a safe way at a time when it is needed. If you would benefit from this or know someone in your community, or church please ask if they would like to be included and connect with Pauline VanderVelde at