Feel the Burn

From the depths of a long, snowy winter, we are finally emerging and welcoming Spring 2011. Soon, the large snow banks will disappear and the muddy ground cover will turn to lush green fields and lawns. The crocuses, daffodils and tulips will be blooming and adding a rainbow of colour to our gardens.

 Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth and this spring I’m working towards a renewal of my own personal fitness regime. I’ve joined a club and I’m working with a trainer. During my first couple of sessions, as I discovered muscles that have been dormant for a while, I couldn’t help but draw many similarities between my fitness journey and the journey that some of our students travel as they work their way through learning activities.

In order for students to improve, there needs to be many factors in place. They need the right tools such as reading material that will challenge them, but not frustrate them. They need a variety of learning opportunities . Similarly when I choose weights to lift, if I choose ones that are too heavy, I may damage muscle tissue, but weights that are too light, will not give me any noticeable results. I also thrive on a variety of exercises that challenge me to think about my body position and breathing techniques.

 Teachers track student progress by collecting assessment information from diagnostic, formative and summative tasks. Together, the trainer and myself use a tracking system to record the intensity of some of the exercises and the number of repetitions. In order for me to get stronger, I need to increase my endurance and use my muscles in a variety of exercises. In order for students to get better, they need to practice their skills in a variety of applications.

Not unlike the trainer, who provides ongoing encouragement, support and feedback in the form of correct positioning, correct breathing etc., the teacher is integral to the success of a student’s ability to learn and improve. Teachers can be the greatest cheerleaders and encourage students on a daily basis. Teachers provide meaningful, constructive feedback which gives students information on how they can improve their performance.

 “The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate “apparently ordinary” people to unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people.” ~K. Patricia Cross


I Believe!

March 1, 2010


 “Believing in yourself is not for you; it’s for every person who has touched your life in a significant way and for every person your life will touch the same way five minutes from now, or five centuries from now.”
Jaye Miller

We have just finished two weeks of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The world came together as athletes demonstrated their personal best.  They triumphed through unkind weather conditions and worked through personal tragedies.  But in the end, they came together and celebrated their success!

As a country, we garnered our personal best and earned 14 gold medals. We demonstrated pride in our country, rolled with the spring like conditions and poked fun at ourselves as a “mime” was needed to raise the final arm of the Olympic torch.

Small towns throughout the country celebrated as proud parents, relatives, neighbours and former teachers, spoke with pride about the determination of young athletes and how their journey was one of hard work, but it was definitely worth it.

 The opening and closing ceremonies showcased some amazing Canadian talent.  We combined music, humour and hometown favourites. My personal favourite was Michael Buble.

What have we learned from the Olympic games?  I have learned if we want excellence then we have to work hard. If we believe in ourselves then we are capable of greatness and it takes a team approach to reach all of our goals.

Our students need to continue to see themselves as extraordinary learners, talented student athletes and good citizens.

I believe in the students, staff and school community of Wilfrid Jury.

As a result of watching and hearing about the Olympics over the past 2 weeks, what have you come to believe about yourself, your life, your school or your community. Tell me about it. Share your ideas. We’d love to read about them.

Mrs. Bruyns

One Small Light

 January 2, 2010
This Christmas Eve, I had the pleasure of attending the Christmas Eve service at New HopeChurch, along with all the members of my family.  Although my children moaned and groaned throughout the day about having to go to the service, all three of them (ages 20, 18 and 14) were able to pull themselves away from their friends, their Wii games and their cell phones long enough to attend the hour long service.  As always, I enjoyed the music and message and the fact that we were all sitting side by side, but my favourite part was the candle lighting at the end.  We started with a single flame that Pastor Greg lit and then effortlessly and silently the whole congregation passed the flame from one person to the next.  Anxious parents cautiously assisted their young children, young couples held hands, while others watched their own flame to ensure that it didn’t go out.  Once all candles were lit, the lights dimmed and the whole church was a glow.  

From a single flame, we were able to light an entire room….

 Earlier on that very day, another important flame made its way through London.  Day 56 of the Olympic Torch relay was spent in Victoria Park, where John Davidson lit the community cauldron, in honour of his son Jesse, who was originally going to light the flame, but sadly lost his battle to Muscular Dystrophy in November. The Olympic flame represents many things to many people and not unlike the candle in the church it started with a single flame and is currently being passed from one person to the next.  As the torch makes its way across the country, it will be reminding us about the magic of the Olympics ~ young athletes who have worked tirelessly to earn the opportunity to compete with the best of the best.  

From a single flame, we are able to unite an entire country….

 As educators, we get the opportunity every day to light a candle and pass a torch.  We start with a single flame, a goal for improved student learning and we work together to ensure that all students become part of the torch relay.  We are all in this together ~ working towards creating a caring, positive, productive learning environment.  Our staff works tirelessly to ensure that our students are given every opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of skills. They offer praise, encouragement and constructive feedback which promote a desire to do better. Our staff models life-long learning and pride in our school community. 

From a single flame ….we are able to ignite a passion for learning in our students