When Phys-Ed teacher, Mark Gentile, asked Priory teachers if they would like to play a fun-friendly game of kin-ball, their answer was a resounding "Yes!" The 4th, 5th and 6th grade students cheered on their classmates as they competed against each other and their teachers. The exciting kin-ball game ended in a win for the teachers and a memorable experience for all the children!
Let’s Talk Science
Let’s Talk Science McGill recently visited with Grades 3 and 4 students for some hands-on and minds-on STEM activities. Ethan, the biochemist, performed a science magic show in Grade 3 using eggs, liquids and solutions to teach density, chemical reactions and introduced PH testing and acids and bases. The Grade 4 students were challenged by Ying, the civil engineer, to build marshmallow towers exploring strong shapes and the fundamentals of engineering, followed by a crime lab presentation using forensic DNA testing and fingerprinting. These STEM learning experiences gave our students an opportunity to build on what they know, investigate questions and discover the world around them in a fun and meaningful way.
A LIVELY THEATRE PRESENTATION
Last Wednesday, January 15th, St. George's Grade 9 drama students put on a spectacular theatre presentation for The Priory's Kindergarten, Grade 1 and 2 classes. Fancy costumes, lively music and sensational actions entertained and delighted the children. Classic stories such as Sleeping Beauty, Where the Wild Things Are, Alice in Wonderland, and Jack and the Bean Stalk were adapted in such a way as to involve the young audience in chants, songs, dances and even some acting up on stage. One Grade 2 student was heard to exclaim, "I wish we could stay here forever and see more and more plays!" It was a very memorable experience that everyone looks forward to repeating next year.
100 DAYS SMARTER
One hundred days smarter! Yes we are! Last week both the Kindergarten and Grade 1 students proudly celebrated one hundred days of school with crown decorating, special treats and exciting class activities based on the number 100! Kindergarten student Matteo Simonelli summed up the celebration perfectly when he said “This is a really fun day!” 100 pats on the back for everyone!
Chinese New Year celebrations
Dressed in red to symbolize good luck, the Grade 1 students celebrated Chinese New Year together in class. Books about Chinese New Year traditions and celebrations were read and fun crafts were made. The highlight of the day was when the children used chopsticks at lunchtime to eat long noodles “for a long life”. Happy Year of the Rooster!
THE PRIORY FAMILY CHRISTMAS MASS
In special celebration of Christmas, this year we welcomed Father Raymond Lafontaine who graciously presided at our Christmas Mass held on Friday, December 16. As part of the Christmas giving celebration, Father Lafontaine reminded us all to keep others in our hearts, thoughts or prayers. The Mass was a learning experience for some children and a celebration for others. The Family Christmas Mass came to a close with The Priory Choir’s beautiful rendition of the “Little Drummer Boy” who gave the greatest gift of all.
A NIGHT OF CREATIVITY – PPA WINE & ART
Passionate about sharing their love of art, Priory parent and Art Therapist, Kim Cooney, along with Priory teacher Mme Kuska, hosted a wine glass painting party at The Priory on Friday evening. Parents and faculty wined and dined as they created brilliant and beautiful designs. Each wine glass painting was unique and reflected the different personalities. Some hand painted monograms for each member of their family, some created holiday-themed designs just in time for Christmas, while several created floral and polka dot patterns. Every participant left with a smile and a happy heart wondering when the next activity for the soul would take place. Kim Cooney commented on The Priory's Instagram, “I loved it! Such a great bunch of parents and staff in an incredible school!” How blessed we are to have each other. Thank you PPA for all the wonderful things that you do!
Inspire Kindness/Inspire la Gentillesse
Our school wide theme for this year, “Inspire Kindness/Inspire la Gentillesse”, has children, parents and the Priory Community emphasizing on the importance and the benefits of engaging in acts of kindness. Class time, school events, and weekly assemblies are recognized at The Priory as a time to highlight kindness towards others through many activities and initiatives. One recent initiative took place during assembly on World Kindness Day in November where senior students explained a “Pay it Forward” inspirational video they had created about how kindness can be contagious. Members of the Peace Committee read a fable, “Wolf’s Favor”, illustrating a pay it forward lesson that starts with a wolf, and following assembly, every student took part in a pay it forward activityby writing and drawing messages of kindness on arrows. The “pay it forward” arrows are displayed throughout the school as a reminder of the kind acts that each student makes to better their school, community and world.
A HOWLING GOOD TIME!
Pirates, superheroes, cartoon characters, oh my! Priory students, faculty and parents had a frightfully delightful time at this year's annual Halloween Party! The celebrations commenced with our traditional costume parade where each grade showcased their creative attire. Everyone in attendance enjoyed an array of ghoulish activities including Halloween disco, graveyard walk, pumpkin roll, mummy wrap, treasure hunt and bobbing for cookies. A member of the Montreal police force was invited to talk about Halloween safety tips to ensure a safe trick-or-treating experience or all. A special thank you to Kelly Winter, Jennifer Ferst, Emily Ritchie, Fatime Souin, Stacy Prendergast and Vako Ohanian and their howling team of volunteer parents for organizing this much anticipated and appreciated annual event! A highlight of the afternoon was the Halloween Haunted Library full of innovative decorations and scary effects. According to the children who took this frightful tour, it was certainly a 5-star spooky spectacle! FOLLOW THE LINK FOR MORE PHOTOS.
As The Priory School provides diverse leadership opportunities for all students to flourish, and prides itself for encouraging students to play an active role in school life, morning assembly took on a different tone last week. Grade 6 students, Nicolas Lancry and Jackie Seitz, led the school twice weekly assemblies with both confidence and enthusiasm. During assembly, our senior students shared Priory news, reflected on our school-wide theme, ‘Lead with Kindness’, and awarded students with a Priory pencil in recognition of their good deeds. Well done!
STEAM Makerspace Challenge Day
On Tuesday, June 14th the Grade 4 and 5 students participated in a hands-on, highly engaging STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) Challenge Day. In collaboration with LEARN (Leading English Education and Resource Network ) Quebec and Priory teachers, students worked in small teams to develop and present solutions to three STEAM challenges which included building simple circuits to make a LED light function; programming robots to go through an obstacle course; designing and building a pin wheel that spins; building a homopolar engine; designing and creating an art robot that can draw by itself;using a clay figure to make a movie, and creating a 3-dimensional model that uses two simple machines. Students were excited take part in this terrific opportunity to solve challenging problems while fostering a love of STEAM.
As part of The Priory’s new Winter Program encouraging children to try something new while enjoying the pleasures of winter, the Grades 4, 5 and 6 students explored Mount Royal on snowshoes on Friday, January 8th. Led by snowshoeing enthusiasts and Priory teachers, Mme Martineau, Mrs. Raymond, Mrs. Rolnick and Mr. Feith, students enjoyed a fun and challenging snowshoe exhibition on a perfect winter day. On their way back to school, students were thrilled to be thinking about their next winter adventure together!
Teddy Bear Picnic
On a brisk and sunny morning, the Kindergarten class had a cozy Teddy Bear Picnic to celebrate the end of November's unit on Bears. The children took great pleasure in having their teddy bears from home visit in the classroom and participate in all the Kindergarten learning activities this month. The teddy bears were sent home to hibernate for the winter, leaving behind fun memories and a classroom decorated with painted portraits the students made of their bears. The Teddy Bear Picnic was the perfect way to say good bye to fall and welcome the winter season - and was enjoyed by students and teddy bears alike!
Artist and Author, Craig Thompson, visits The Priory School
At the Priory School, books and reading are not just promoted during "I Love to Read Week". Hot on the heels of this hugely successful week-long celebration of reading, The Priory School welcomed author and illustrator, Craig Thompson, creator of the graphic novels "Space Dumplins", "Good-bye", "Chunky Rice" and more. Mr. Thompson is also the recipient of three Eisner awards, four Harvey awards and two Ignatz awards. Visiting the Grade 5 and Grade 6 classes on Tuesday, October 27, Mr. Thompson talked about his process for preparing drawings and illustrations for publication, and presented to the classes examples of his drawings and different stages of development. It was inspiring and enjoyable for all of the students, several of whom had already read some of Mr. Thompson's work. Thank you very much to Craig Thompson, and to Babar Books, who brought in Mr. Thompson all the way from Los Angeles, California!
I Love to Read Week Explores New Lands
The theme of this year's "I Love to Read Week" was "Exploring New Lands in Literature". To commemorate Alice in Wonderland's 150th anniversary, many of the week's activities revolved around this timeless story written by Lewis Carroll in 1865. The teachers put on a fantastical reader's theater about the Mad Hatter's tea party in assembly to kick things off. The week continued with a special visit by one of our own Priory parents, Mr. Baudouin, who did a spectacularly engaging and theatrical reading of the Queen's croquet ground for the school and was met with heartfelt applause from his young audience. The Grade 3 class prepared a play for this event-filled week. They presented Peter Pan to their fellow students with great success. Bravo! The Kindergarten to Grade 3 classes were treated to an afternoon of Alice in Wonderland adventures including creating Mad Hatter hats, playing in the Queen of Hearts' Court of cards, listening to stories while enjoying heart-shaped jelly sandwiches in the tea room, and comparing a multitude of objects to Tall Alice and Small Alice rulers. Grades 4-6 were treated to a visit from author Jeff Storm whose books, inspired by video games, offer youngsters a new and exciting way to look at books. One reluctant reader was heard to proclaim, "In 45 minutes, Jeff Storm gave me a whole new perspective on reading!" The final day of the week was our most awaited and favourite activity of all; Pyjama Day! Students enjoyed cookies and milk during a special afternoon read-in with blanket forts, flashlights, well-loved books and cherished stuffed animals. In addition, the Babar book fair was open all day in the gym offering the chance to add to collections and build up both personal and classroom libraries. Children also participated in a couple of contests throughout the week including guessing which book settings their teachers would most want to explore and estimating how many Cheshire cat smiles adorned the halls of the school. Book prizes will be awarded to the winners at an upcoming assembly. Thank you to the "I Love to Read" committee for their hard work and enthusiasm! Follow the link for photos from our I Love to Read Week.
Six professional scientists from diverse fields across Montreal visited The Priory to help launch this year's Science Week. By the end of the week there were over 160 scientists in our school. As a school-wide project, all grades helped to improve our gardens. The week was a huge success resulting in beautiful and healthy gardens and each student able to say with confidence, "I am a scientist!" We look forward to seeing what these budding scientists discover next year in their brand new science lab.
Brain Awareness Week
What does your brain do for you? As part of Brain Awareness Week, Grade 6 students created a model of a brain by mixing together a few ingredients, kneading the mixture, shaping it and adding food colouring to represent the different parts of a brain, all the while learning about its main functions. The students also had a fun-filled opportunity to learn more about the role of the brain and its inner workings during a workshop given by two neuro-specialists from McGill University on Thursday, March 19th. The presentation was centered around the five senses and how our brain is responsible for what we experience and who we are. The students actively participated in the class discussion, and had a unique opportunity to observe and even touch a real brain. What does a mass of tens of billions of neurons feel like to the touch? Students shared their observations with the rest of the class: "the brain feels like filet mignon"; "it is cold and bumpy"; "it feels wrinkly and slimy".
As part of this year's ongoing Grades 5 and 6 project, one expedition group, while researching how changes impact society, focused their efforts on Graffiti in Montreal. Accompanied by their Grade 5 teacher, Casey Sherriffs, eager students toured around Montreal taking photos of Art Murals and interviewed Art companies who contract graffiti artist to beautify neighborhood residences and commercial buildings. Ready to share what they had learned and experienced with peers, teachers and parents, the Grade 5 students held a Vernissage on Tuesday, December 16. Other expedition groups showcased their documentaries and music videos to their peers, teachers and Mr. Peters while sharing their knowledge and expedition processes.
"I Love to Read" Week
Have you ever wondered why cheetahs have spots? Or why bears have short tails? Questions such as these have fueled the creation of "How and Why Stories" (also known as Pourquoi Tales) all over the world to explain phenomena in nature for many years. This year's "I Love to Read" week kicked off with the teachers' readers' theatre performance of "Why Bears Sleep All Winter Long". The students were then mesmerized by storyteller Stéphanie Bénéteau who recounted marvelous local pourquoi tales in the Library. Every grade chose a special pourquoi tale to explore as a class and generated beautiful displays on their classroom doors. Both Grade 1 and Grade 3 performed a variety of pourquoi tales during assemblies throughout the week. Throughout the week, students also had a chance to enter a contest which asked them to match each teacher's name with a favourite children's book; the winner received a gift certificate to use at a local book store. The week ended with the popular Babar Book Fair and the much-anticipated "Read-In" during which students created reading nooks with blankets and flashlights to read their books and munch on milk and cookies. Judging by the enthusiasm in the classrooms and the chatter in the hallways, it was a very successful week!
Mind Your P's & Q's Priory Cook-Off
Is proper etiquette a lost art in today’s world? Maybe in some places, but not at The Priory. Thanks to the Priory Parents Association, the week of April 28th was filled with excitement as students discovered the joys of cooking with hands on cooking classes from Coco Cannelle and learned the proper techniques for eating from experts at the Canadian School of Modern Etiquette.
In small groups, children from various grades helped one another with kneading, stirring and whipping. With a spatula in one hand, and ingredients in the other, students rolled up their sleeves and showed-off their culinary talents preparing sumptuous delights such as mini pancakes with coulis, stuffed homemade ravioli, kid friendly sushi, and baked mini rice balls filled with cheese and green peas.
Throughout the week, students were also engaged in activities reinforcing proper table settings, proper use of napkins, how to butter bread as well as social etiquette skills that will last a lifetime. This exceptional week culminated with a very enthusiastic presentation for friends and family. Students plated up their culinary creations and were given some challenges including how to serve and pass food, resting position for their cutlery, and how to close the meal. Several toasts were made by children during the special lunch. Grayson Csik in Grade 4 made a heartwarming toast to the “cookingclasses, etiquette classes and to learning something new.” The Grade 6 students led the final activity where each team chose an etiquette challenge and were asked to prepare and act out a skit to show what they had learned during the week. The children acted out the many ways they can make a great first impression when meeting someone for the first time, and came up with many good manner examples when using mobile devices. As their challenge, Team Ten crafted a toast to the volunteers, and hosts for this event, “Thank you to the PPA, Coco Cannelle and to the School of Modern Etiquette for the amazing cooking and etiquette classes and for the delicious food we had. We had an enjoyable week!”
This special week at The Priory was made possible through the dedication of PPA Co-Chairs Courtenay Price-Gallagher and Sylvie Koutroubis and their devoted team of parents who guided the process and ensured its success. The week provided a brilliant time for children of all ages to cook, learn and share together!
Jingle Session at The Priory
Julie Kryk, a singer-songwriter and creative arts teacher who has worked with musical sensations such as Sarah McLachlan, U2 and Sheryl Crowe, recently visited The Priory and spent a very productive two hours working with the entire school to help compose a song about The Priory School Community. During the jingle session, Priory students shared ideas and engaged in lively discussions about lyrics and melody for the new song. Thanks to the remarkable contribution by all students, a school song was successfully recorded!
Kids on the Block
What is unique about children with disabilities and special learning challenges? The Priory children have a much better appreciation for the uniqueness of others after watching a Puppet Show performance given by Grade 9 students from St. George's High School about diversity and empathy on February 4th. Tying in with this year's school theme of "I Care", 'Kids on the Block' performed skits introducing puppet characters that had disabilities in order to teach students that children with disabilities have many strengths, have dreams, are loving and would make a good friend. Priory children met Mark in a wheelchair, Jane who has Downs Syndrome, Valerie who uses crutches and braces to walk, Jennifer who has learning disabilities and Renaldo who is blind. After each skit, students asked the puppets questions such as "how do you know the traffic light is green if you are blind", "how do you drive a car if you have physical disabilities" and "is there a cure"? Priory students walked away more aware, caring and empathetic towards the uniqueness of others. Taken from Saloni in Grade 3, the lesson learned was that "just because someone is different, it does not mean that they can't do the same thing as other people. They just do it in a different way." If someone is different, it does not mean you can't be their friend."
Students Start a Chain Reaction of Kindness
The Priory School has always strived to create a school culture that promotes kindness and respect. During Friday assemblies, Principal Tim Peters awards children with Priory pencils in recognition of their good deeds and acts of kindness. Last Tuesday’s assembly took on a new approach. The Grade 5 students took on a leadership role during the assembly and their message was heard loud and clear: “Let’s all be part of the Kindness Chain.” Students showed a short inspirational video that demonstrated how far little acts of kindness can go. They also put together skits for the rest of the school to help create some ideas for being kind, such as helping a classmate with their class work, inviting someone to play, or placing a lost item in the Lost and Found so it can be claimed. They asked students to ‘pay it forward’. To do something kind for someone else when someone does something kind for them. Purple strips were distributed to all the teachers and the Grade 5 students encouraged everyone at assembly to write down and record the act of kindness received or given. The goal is to assemble the paper strips into links and create a chain that will stretch around the perimeter of the school’s gymnasium highlighting all the wonderful things that we do for each other in our Priory community.
The 4th Annual Family Christmas Craft Fair
Thanks to the dedicated Priory Parents Association volunteers and our resourceful organizer, Dora Knez, our little Priory elves together with parents were busy making special memories while creating delightful Christmas masterpieces. The annual Christmas Craft Fair was held on Friday, December 6th, bringing the joy of Christmas to everyone in attendance. Both child and parent had fun while creating Christmas candy wreaths, decorating holiday ornaments, designing Christmas tree decorations and creating a variety of other Christmas treasures to share with family and friends. This was certainly a heart-warming Priory family affair and a great time was had by all!
Derwent is Different
On Tuesday, November 12th the touring play, Derwent is Different, produced by Geordie Productions was performed for the entire school. The play, which was about a 10 year old boy's struggle with a bully, kept the students spellbound from beginning to end. It was clear during the subsequent "question and answer" period with the play's actors that the students had taken the play's message to heart. This play served as an excellent complement to the Second Step Program, a social skills and conflict resolution program utilized at The Priory School. It also served as a springboard to start a dialogue about this difficult and distressing issue, and to show children that, although it's not always easy, there is always a way out.
"Number Boxes" Exhibition
Mrs. MacKinnon's Grade 2 students recently hosted an exhibition of their "number boxes". Each child collected items that represent their favourite number and displayed their objects in a shoebox. The children made invitations for each class and then eagerly awaited their responses. The Grade 2 students were very excited to tell everyone about the significance of their number and explain how the objects represented it. For example, a rock with four stripes, a bunny with two ears, and a photo of the class to represent 24 students. Visitors commented on how each box was unique and that the presenters spoke with great pride and enthusiasm. It was a wonderful opportunity for the class to practice their public speaking skills and demonstrate their creativity!
The Science of Volcanoes
When Priory parent and Professor, John Stix, a geologist specializing in active volcanoes, learned that his son Adam and the Grade 3 class were studying the Rock Cycle and Volcanic Eruptions, he graciously offered to share his experiences, knowledge and expertise with the class. By the end of this memorable and hands-on workshop, many students aspired to one day become volcanologists and even submarine controllers. For this truly engaging learning experience, Ms. Trionfo and the appreciative Grade 3 class say, "Thank you for allowing us to feel like budding geologists and please come again!"
Family Night at The Priory
Family Night at The Priory was an evening filled with excitement. With a "Passport for Learning" in hand, students guided their parents and grandparents through the school to participate in fun and challenging activities. Parents in Kindergarten played colour bingo in French with their children, Grade 1 students shared their knowledge about tree facts and Grade 2 students practiced their spelling words by playing word games. Grade 3 took part in an Atlas Scavenger Hunt, while Grade 4 students played their favourite math games with their parents. Grade 5 participated in a five senses mystery box activity and Grade 6 students took part in a slime experiment and story writing competition. Families joined the French team in vocabulary and interactive Smartboard games. Mme Kuska's art room became the venue for creating Family Night pins while family members created a piece of music in Mr. Lahteenmaa's music room. Fun Family Photos were taken in ICT and co-operative games were played in the gym with Mr. Gentile. A scavenger hunt accompanied with a "Passport for Learning" recording all of the answers to the questions asked, completed the evening. Family Night at The Priory provided a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some special family time together at the school!
The Priory Welcomes Montreal Impact Goalie, Greg Sutton
Greg Sutton's visit to The Priory School on Monday, May 7th, proved to be a memorable and inspirational event. The Montreal Impact Goalie reminded the students of the value of pursuing an education, and working hard to attain high grades in order to achieve personal goals. Greg is a firm believer that respect is the basis of all human relationships and with this, goodness will overcome and make this world a better place.
He opened up the floor to a wealth of diverse questions. Greg talked about his career, family, and his interests. When all the students' questions were answered, he stayed behind to sign autographs for the entire student body. The children walked out of school waving their autographs and asking to visit with the athlete a little longer. This was certainly one visit The Priory School will cherish for years to come.
This fall, Grade 5 and 6 students participated in Jr. Peacemakers, a program run by McGill University students, whose goal is to further children's awareness of world issues, and to challenge them to seek innovative solutions. The five-week interactive educational workshop focused on human rights, inequality, world poverty, conflict resolution, the environment and child activism. Students learned effective ways in taking action to create a more peaceful world community and through role playing conflict resolution situations, they learned problem solving techniques to encourage a more peaceful lifestyle, both on a personal level, and on a global level. It was a wonderful eye-opening experience for all!
"A Celebration of Cultures"
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Canada-Japan Society of Montreal, an organization to facilitate cultural exchanges between Canadians and Japanese. In celebration of this milestone, an opening ceremony took place on June 26th at the Japanese Pavilion of the Montreal Botanical Garden. As a part of the opening ceremony, The Priory School was invited to participate in a doll ceremony, where two students from Japan presented two Priory students, Kate MacKinnon and Chaz Doherty, with a Japanese doll handcrafted in Kyoto, Japan. Priory students and guests took delight in exploring the special exhibition of Japanese Art on display, watching "shamisen", a 3-stringed banjo-like instrument performance, and the observance of "kagami biraki", a ceremony in which the lid of the sake barrel is broken open by a wooden mallet. It was indeed a great honour to be a part of this celebration! READ MORE IN THE NEWS: CELEBRATION OF CULTURE
Planting the seeds for peace - The Priory's Peace Journey
The Priory School, with the support and dedication of staff members, students and parents, has embarked on a journey to creating and maintaining a culture of peace. The peace journey is ongoing where peace is taught, modeled and worked at and has become an integral part of The Priory School's philosophy. This year The Priory School will continue its journey of peace by "Planting the Seeds for Peace". Once a month we will focus on a different value.
On February 5th, during a special assembly marking this journey, teachers received a flower pot and a bag of "politeness" seeds. During the month of February, every time a polite word was said or a good gesture was noticed during class or around the school, a seed of peace was planted. The focus for March is on how to be a good friend. Each time an act of friendship is witnessed or a polite word is said, we will continue to plant the seeds for peace. Our goal is to fill our pots as we learn to be more considerate and appreciative and ultimately build up friendly ties. READ MORE IN THE NEWS: THE PRIORY'S PEACE JOURNEY
Priory Wishes to the World
Priory children joined together to spread messages of peace by creating an inspirational string of peace flags that stretches across our school's walls. Using the inspiration of Tibetan Prayer Flags, each child from kindergarten to grade six created a peace flag with their own personal messages of peace. Assembly took on a special tone when representatives from each grade read poems from the book Wish: Wishing Traditions Around the World