Thinking & singing about the Holidays

Before our winter break, we had a sing along, and at one point we sang the familiar favourite, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” We got to wondering, if you were the person in the song receiving all those gifts from your true love, after the 12th day, how many gifts would you have received?

image by Leo Reynolds

It’s an interesting problem. We had to spend a lot of time working on our understanding of it. We found it depended on what counted as a gift. We ended up discussing a few other questions as well. We also found that keeping track of our thinking and our solutions got tricky, and organising how we recorded our ideas made a big difference.

If you have some thoughts to contribute toward tackling this question, please feel free to add them in a comment. Happy New Year!


Every time I read this chapeter of Wonder, at least a few tears come to my eyes. I start imagining how all of the characters would be feeling and what thoughts would be going through their minds., but soon my mind moves on to remembering the dogs we had when I was growing up. One of the many things I loved about having dogs was that a dog is always happy to see you. I found it next to impossible not to feel at least a little bit better once greeted by my happy, furry, tail-wagging friend.

Dogs don’t care about the petty things people get all bent out of shape over. A dog can be the best listener, best companion and best friend to have around, especially at those times when you feel like you just really need a friend.

I think including Daisy in this story was a great move by R.J. Palacio. A person like August might really need the kind of friend that maybe only a dog can be. A friend who is completely accepting of everything about you and who doesn’t care what anyone else said to or about you. Daisy could show August that the part of himself that sometimes seems like his biggest problem is not at all the most important part of him, and maybe isn’t important at all when you come right down to it.

August’s medical condition and his various trials & tribulations make that point very clear, but I don’t think the Augusts among us are the only ones who need to hear that lesson’s message. Maybe the rest of us, the Jack Wills, the Charlottes, the Julians, the Mrs. Garcias… maybe we, each one of us, needs that reminder. We are OK. We have value. Our problems, flaws, and imperfections do as much to make us just like everyone else as they do to set us apart. Everyone else feels the same frailty that sometimes makes us feel alone, frustrated, afraid, or in need of a friend. And we all need a friend who will accept us the way we are, who lets us know that we make them happy, and who lets us us know that everything is OK. Or maybe what we need most is to be the kind of friend who helps others feel that way.


How appropriate that it snowed after we worked on kirigami recently in art. Look carefully; you may find a few critters in the snowflakes pictured here. And if you’re pining for a snow day, ask the kids to teach you some snow dancing! (Seems like it worked!)

Wondering, what would I do?

We are in the middle of reading R.J. Palacio’s now well-known book, Wonder. Some of us have finished reading it on our own. Some have even already been to see the movie, which is never as good as the book, right As a group, however we are currently in the section from Jack’s perspective.


Jack is an interesting character. They all are, but what I find interesting about Jack is the particular set of flaws and challenges he has. Jack’s flaws are different from and less obvious maybe than August’s or less infuriating than Julian’s, but he has them. I find Jack’s challenges interesting to think about because they are familiar and common. How does one actually manage to do the right thing when it would require confronting friends and other peers, would draw a lot of attention and could mean being excluded?

Conflict is unpleasant, but to take on the kind of confrontation Jack might face were he to take a stand and declare his loyalties, especially as an adolescent when peers, friendships and social standing take on new significance, would require not only courage but the ability to think clearly and weigh big issues. Are there any of us who hasn’t avoided having an unpleasant conversation? It might be easy, reading a story, to decide what a character should have done, and that’s one great reason to read novels. Characters & stories give us a chance to think through conflicts that help us figure out who we are and who we want to be. But if I was facing Jack’s situation, as a 5th-grader, I’m not sure exactly how I would have dealt with it. I would hope I’d have done the right thing, but doing the right thing when we are called to act and in the face of all the complications of relationships & emotions is not so easy.

I do think Jack deserves a little of our scorn, but I wouldn’t want to be too quick to condemn him for having a very normal difficulty negotiating the kind of challenge we are all likely to struggle with. His character, his situation, and this whole story all help me reflect on important matters, and that is what draws my interest.

I’d like to know which characters you find particularly interesting. Who do you think is facing a particularly interesting challenge that wouldn’t be so easy to handle? What do you hope you might have done in the same situation? What do you hope the character would have done or will do?

Beedie Group Reflection

On April 26th, my class went on a educational field trip to the Beedie Group development site. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it but from what my peers have told me it was fantastic. They got to see one of the buildings that being completed. I think it would have been a very interesting experience though. Just to know that you made something out of something. Like if you made a door really you just made a wooden rectangle. I just thought that was interesting.

Here’s a link to my friends blogs that have more info on the visit: Holly, Kaden, and Genesis.


beedie group reflection

On April 26th we went to a Beedie group construction site. It was really cool when we got to sit / stand in the excavator. The people there were really nice and when we were there and when we got to the site there was a guide when we were on the bus and the guide guy was Andrew. He was REALLY helpful

this is a picture of what the plan is at Delta Fraser Mills.

After the tour we went to the Beedie group office in Burnaby and we had pizza. The people in the office were really nice too.

When we went to the office we learned what the people did there, and that Mr. Beedie is there almost every day. Unfortunately he wasn’t there when we went but that was ok.

Anyway my highlight was sitting in the excavator which is written above

Thank you for reading my blog
And thank you Beeding group for making this a really fun trip.