Pedometer project inspires students to get moving and make math meaningful

The start of a new year often places health and fitness at the top of everyone’s priority lists. The Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) in partnership with Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities is beginning a challenge that is sure to inspire students, teachers and families to include exercise in their daily routines.

Students from 45 schools across the SCDSB are participating in the Pedometer ProjectLearn to Move, Move to Learn. The initial goal is to collectively walk the entire perimeter of Simcoe County. The use of pedometers will be integrated into learning during the school day and classes are to submit their data to contribute to the overall goal.

“Our hope is that the students will be motivated to move more, to set their own goals, and to contribute their steps to our collective goal,” says Deborah Shackell, Innovation IRT – Healthy Active Living K-12. “Physical activity makes us feel good and enhances the ability to learn, which is why this initiative is so important,” she adds.

The data collection will put a special emphasis on math skills as well, according to Anita Simpson, Superintendent of Program and Innovation.

“Using data from the pedometers, students will make connections between movement and mathematics,” says Simpson. “They will use the data to analyze, interpret, calculate and predict how far they have come and where they can go, as part of a team. We’re challenging students to be active every day for a minimum of 20 minutes. We know Daily Physical Activity (DPA) improves physical and mental well-being as well as thinking and memory,” she adds.

The project kicked off on Thursday, Jan. 12 at W.H. Day Elementary School in Bradford with remarks and participation from:

  • Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation and MPP, Vaughan
  • Peter Beacock, Chair, SCDSB
  • Janice Medysky, Acting Director, SCDSB
  • Anita Simpson, Superintendent of Program and Innovation, SCDSB
  • Landon French, President, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities
  • Canadian Olympic boxing athlete, Mandy Bujold

Students started off learning how to use the pedometers and then got some new moves from the Olympian.

Over 21,000 students will be involved in increasing their daily physical activity through the Pedometer Project.

We look forward to providing updates on this exciting initiative and wish all students, classes and schools the best in reaching your goal. What a great way to get moving and to make math meaningful!

Commit to Character: Honesty

The SCDSB’s 10 values are a key part of our commitment to character education. We refer to our values as our character attributes. Each month our schools recognize and celebrate a different attribute. This month on the blog, we are highlighting ‘honesty’.

Honesty: We behave in a sincere, trustworthy and truthful manner

Some examples of how we can show honesty are:

  • don’t say things about people that aren’t true
  • admit to your actions/mistakes, even if it means getting in trouble
  • explain how a situation really happened, don’t lie (ex. if you break something, be honest and admit it was you)

Some ways that students in our schools learn about and develop honesty include:

  • analyzing product advertisements and their tendency to “stretch the truth” to encourage consumer purchases
  • creating a list of categories of people in the world who are expected to be honest at all times, then discussing the importance of these people living up to this expectation

“Be truthful, gentle and fearless.” – Ghandi

Learn more about character education in the SCDSB. 

Getting the ‘Royal’ treatment at Twin Lakes SS

Walk into the cafeteria at Twin Lakes Secondary School on any given day and you’ll be treated to the comforting aroma of soup simmering and pastries baking. These enticing scents are courtesy of the school’s cooking and baking classes. Students in these programs are preparing for careers in the culinary arts every day. Not only do they cook and bake for themselves and to learn new techniques and recipes, they also run the school’s cafeteria and a staff ‘soup kitchen’.

Recently, four students in the baking program entered the Royal High School Chef competition. Run by the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in partnership with Foodshare Toronto , the competition invited high school teams from across Ontario to submit recipes featuring local ingredients that could work as a menu item in a school cafeteria. Noelani Cline-Kitchener, Cory Lawrence, Nick Mason and Jason MacTiernan formed the team from Twin Lakes. Of the 27 schools that entered by submitting a recipe and photo of their creation, they were selected as one of three teams to compete at the Royal and recreate their recipe in the finals.

Students from team at the Royal

“We were trying not to think about (what a big deal it was) but when we got there we realized it was really big,” said Jason.

The team and their teacher, Kathryn Payne, took their Three Sisters Burrito recipe and wowed the judges with their innovative approach to the classic North American soup. Their creativity and skills in the kitchen (they made their own tortillas from scratch!) resulted in them winning the grand prize and bringing the 2016 Royal High School Chef championship home to Orillia.

Each member of the winning team is part of the Hospitality and Tourism Specialist High Skills Major at Twin Lakes, and have aspirations to continue in the culinary field after they graduate. In the meantime, members of the community can place special orders for food created by the students; contact Kathryn Payne at for details.

Great things are cooking at Twin Lakes!

Random Acts of Kindness at Nottawasaga & Creemore PS

By: Fisher Monahan, Abby Hamerton, Alex Rawn and Alison Golding

Did you know that November 4th was Random Act of Kindness Day? We certainly didn’t until I received a call from a  community member, looking to spread kindness in our community. RAK Day is an opportunity to do something kind for someone else, to appreciate others and to build community. An anonymous donor asked that we pass $300 along to three students ($100 each). She asked that they use the money to perform acts of kindness. In return, the only thing she asked was that they share their experience with their fellow students.  

Fisher’s RAK

When I was first chosen I was thinking about how I would spend the money. The first thing I thought about was the Georgian Triangle Humane Society (GTHS). Last year, I organized a fundraiser at school for International Cupcake Day benefiting the GTHS. My principal and the students working on the fundraiser got to take a tour to see the services they provide for homeless and abandoned animals in our community. This is a charity that I really like to support so I decided to donate $30 to them. On the same day that we received the RAK money, a flyer for Plan International came in the mail. Plan International is an organization that works to end child poverty around the world. I looked at the items available to purchase and decided to spend $20 to buy medications for moms and their babies and $50 on two birth certificates (which can help protect against child labour, child marriage and child trafficking). The organization then matched the amount donated for the medications by 5x and the birth certificates by 4x. My favourite was going to visit the GTHS. The lady at the desk took a picture on her own device because she was so impressed with what we were doing and we got to play with the cats which is always fun! This was a great experience and motivated me to continue to do good things for other people!

Abby’s RAK

When I was first chosen I felt amazing because this stuff doesn’t usually happen to me and I wondered why I was chosen to have the privilege to do this amazing act. I talked with my family and it took us about an hour to brainstorm, then come up with the perfect plan. The first thing that we did was go to the bank and get $30 worth of toonies. Then we went on the city bus and paid for people’s bus fare as they entered the bus. It amazing to see the people’s faces light up as they got on the bus and we told them what we were doing. Then we went to the Salvation Army Thrift Store and gave someone $20 toward their purchase. She was so happy and couldn’t stop saying “thank you”. The last thing we did was went up to a young couple with a little baby and gave them $50 and told them to buy something they really needed. They were amazed and almost completely speechless! It was an amazing feeling. My favourite part was seeing people’s faces and hearing them thank me, it made me feel great inside!

Alex’s RAK

When I was first chosen for this activity I was really excited. I talked with my family about ideas and decided that first we would go to the Stayner Tim Hortons and donate $50 worth of coffee and food for the next customers. It was pretty cool because a family friend reported later that they were given a free coffee at Tim Hortons earlier that day! After that we talked to the Stayner Food Bank and asked what they needed. We went shopping and got $40 worth of spaghetti and macaroni because they were running low on those items. We got to tour the food bank. The coolest part was how all of the food was sorted into sections, kind of like a small grocery store. With $10 left to spend, we decided to support a local business by donating $10 to “Video Visions” where I often go to get pop and movies. They have awesome deals like “free popcorn Friday” so I thought it would be a nice thing to do to repay their kindness. Lastly, I decided to add an extra $5 of my own money that I donated to the library building fund. It felt really good to spread kindness in my community. A lot of people said “thank you”. I even got a thank you card from the Food Bank and there was a thank you post on social media from the manager at Tim Hortons. It was a great day and I learned that if you do good things in life, you get good things back in return.

Kindness Everyday  

The message behind RAK Day is simple; do something nice for someone and ask nothing in return other than they pay it forward by doing something nice for someone else. The initiative doesn’t need to cost money and it also doesn’t have to be limited to one day a year.  

Here are suggestions for some random acts of kindness that don’t cost a cent, that you can do any time:

  • Hold a door open
  • Say something kind to someone
  • Help someone out in need  
  • Donate time to a worthwhile cause (i.e. raking leaves for a neighbour, visiting a seniors centre)

Through this experience we learned that it feels just as good to give as it does to receive…maybe better.  We encourage you to RAK up an act of kindness today!   

Commit to Character: Empathy

The SCDSB’s 10 values are a key part of our commitment to character education. We refer to our values as our character attributes. Each month our schools recognize and celebrate a different attribute. This month on the blog, we are highlighting ’empathy’.

Empathy: We strive to understand and appreciate the feelings and actions of others

Some examples of how we can show empathy are:

  • listen to what others are saying
  • look someone in the eye when they are communicating with you
  • if someone is feeling down or having a hard time, offer them a hug or other gesture of kindness
  • don’t judge people, gain a deeper understanding of the person and their perspective
  • offer help
  • volunteer

Some ways that students in our schools learn about and develop empathy include:

  • gaining a greater understanding about the importance of recognizing and considering the feelings of others and the impact that our actions can have on these feelings through role-playing
  • using community service hours and additional volunteer time to meet the needs of others who are going through difficult situations and experiences

“How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

Learn more about character education in the SCDSB.