A Focus on Social & Emotional Learning

At Dr. F.D. Sinclair, the staff remain committed to maintaining high academic standards while developing the students’ reading, writing, and numeracy skills because a good education is the key to a successful future.  This year, there will be a big focus on developing our students’ social and emotional learning (SEL) with the idea of developing the whole child.  Dr. Michelle Borba, an internationally recognized educational psychologist, said that “a child with a developed sense of empathy, violence is unthinkable!”

As parents, we all want our children to possess the moral character to be successful, kind citizens who are able to function well at school and eventually in the workplace.  Moral intelligence is learned behaviour.   SEL is a process through which we acquire the knowledge and skills needed to manage our emotions, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationship, and engage in responsible decision making processes.

From the Daliai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, this beautiful video “Educating the Heart” shares the importance of preparing our children for the ever changing world.






A long time ago, the Inuits built inuksuks in the arctic and northern territories.  The Inuits used large stone or sometimes snow to create the inuksuks, which served as markers to help them find their way.  The grade 3 students in Ms. Cowan’s class also learned that inuksuks helped the Inuits find food by steering the cariboo to the hunter and also marked places where they stored their food.  The inuksuk is also on the Nunavut flag, showing how important it was to their way of living.  The students use small stones to make models of inuksuks for their Mother’s Day gifts because our mothers show us the way and help guide us in our lives.

Spring Concert

Spring Concert has been an annual tradition at Sinclair for many years.  It takes a tremendous amount of time and effort on part of the staff and students; however, when we see the children shine on stage, we know it has all been worth the effort!

The theme of the Spring Concert this year was celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday as well as the school’s 60 years of excellent public education.  For the stage’s backdrop, the students and staff created a large collage of the students’ photos to form a large Canadian flag.  It was stunning!


I love the school-wide production, which brings the students and school community together, providing opportunities for students to excel in areas other than the academics.  “As backstage manager, I see the look of our kids’ faces just before they go on stage.  It is MAGICAL!” (Mr. Baker).

Grade 7 Book Club and First Nations Art Enlargements

Grade 7 Book Club and First Nations Art Enlargements

The grade 7 students in division 2 were engaged in literature circles with an aboriginal theme. where they looked at cultures such as Haida, Cree, Inuit, Tlingit, and Interior Salish.  One group of students read Farley Mowat’s classic Lost in the Barrons, an adventure story that deals with intercultural friendships between two boys.  Awasin, a Cree boy, and Jamie, a city boy from Toronto learn to work together and trust one another.

Another group of students looked at Shirley Sterling’s book My Name is Sepeetza, a year long diary of a girl in a residential school.  Julie of the Wolves by Jean George dealing with the importance of identity and sense of belonging in a changing world was enjoyed by a third group of students.

A group of boys thoroughly enjoyed Ben Mikaelsen’s Touching Spirit Bear.  Ankit, one of the grade seven boys, said the book changed his way of thinking in regards to punishment and to consider different ways to heal individuals.  How does one help someone become a better person?

After their different novel studies, the students researched the aboriginal cultures in their books and recreated an art poster in order to help them enrich their understanding of the novel.  It also helped provide more context to what they read.

ADST Friday Afternoons in Division 1

The grade seven students in Mrs. Reid’s division worked in small groups to create a VEX robot that moves and is able to lift small objects.  “It was amazing how much they had to cooperate with each other,” said Mrs. Reid.  Each group learned from the group who worked on the robot before them, and sometimes had to fix the mistakes of the previous group.  The students had to follow a set of building plans, work cooperatively, and develop their communication skills throughout the process.  They learned how to program the “brain” of the computer to create the robot and will be able to dismantle it in order to create another robot using light and colour sensors.  The students were proud of their accomplishments and experienced joy with the finished product.

Seth, a grade seven student, also enjoyed creating a skateboard grind rail with some of the new power tools we received.  Seth worked with Mr. Aubey and brainstormed what he learned through this process:


  • You need to pour cold water onto metal when you drill through it to keep it cool and that a drill bit makes a nasty sound when it breaks.
  • The red marks on a tape measure mark off where studs would be in a standard wall frame (every 16 inches).
  • It is good to hang out with the right people who can help you with stuff like this and I have a knack for using a drill to screw wood together.
  • Creativity is good and that anything is possible.






Science Fair

Every year, the intermediate students at Dr. F.D. Sinclair engage in an inquiry based project for Science Fair and work through the scientific method.  We are proud of all their hard work, and the teachers were glad to see the great quality among the variety of projects.  Special congratulations to Jot, Swapnil, Harkamal, Hammad, and Harleen who made it to the district level Science Fair.  Hammad and Swapnil won gold medals while Jot, Harkamal, and Harleen won silver medals for their projects.


Harleen discovered that natural orange juice was better than sport drinks, such as Gatorade, to replenish our electrolites for the proper functioning of our body.  Swapnil learned about how bioplastics are less harmful to our environment compared to the petroleum based plastics.  Harkamala and Jot researched the pros and cons of stress on the human body and understood the importance of adrenalin in our bloodstream.  Hammed learned that the tesla coil requires less voltage (less electricity) to operate electrical devices, which is ultimately better for our environment.  The tesla coil has low frequency and low currents, but high voltage, and it can oscillate.

We are proud of every Sinclair student who participated in this year’s Science Fair.  We are thankful to Mr. Baker for coordinating this annual event, and we are also glad for the teachers who encouraged and guided the hands on learning experience for the students.

3D Printing

The grade six students in Mr. Goertzen’s division 5 learned how to use a sophisticated online 3D program called TinkerCad to design their individual objects; they used the school’s 3D printer produce objects.  I asked the students what did they learn from this assignment.  Eshu said, “In order to create these objects, you have to combine basic shapes to make more complex shapes.”  Rafi told me it involves the use and understanding of geometry.  Daniel said they had to learn how to take an existing shape and cut a hole in it to create a new shape.  “Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are unlimited, depending on your creativity,” said Edward.

Below are some reflections from Mr. Goertzen, the classroom teacher: “The students learned how to manipulate, combine, and modify objects on a virtual plane, which could then be exported for 3D printing on our School’s Tinkerine Dito Pro printer. The basic mechanics of adding to, subtracting from, and modifying objects are not complicated, but it does take practice and time to learn. At the end of the instructional lessons, students were able to plan and design their own object and export their designs for printing.

The skills and knowledge that students acquired relates directly to the ADST portion of the new curriculum. They now have a basic understanding of how a 3D printer works, of the field of 3D Design and sculpting (including it’s different practical and aesthetic applications), and they also understand that with enough effort and imagination, they can create almost anything.

Students had a lot of fun with this unit. For some, their enthusiasm drove them to work extra hard at designing complex objects, choosing to work from home as well. That’s the great thing. Once the unit is done, students can continue to sculpt and design from anywhere, as long as they have internet access.

For those who choose to continue learning and applying the skills, there is much potential. Some students might discover more of the world of 3D or graphic design and go on to create fabulous things. Some students might become the new “handy” members of the household, as they are able to repair or replace broken accessories using 3D printing–imagine replacing that missing key on your keyboard by making and printing out a new one. Once students begin to realize the applications of creating and inventing, they get hooked.”

Basketball Champions

What an awesome basketball season!  Both the boys’ and girls’ teams demonstrated good sportsmanship and a big improvement in their skill levels.  The students learned tenacity, the importance of picking up their checks, and going for the ball within the complex set of rules.  A big thank-you to the coaches Mr. Shieh, Ms. Nuttall, Mrs. Cahen, and Mrs. Holms for their many hours of coaching.  Special congratulations to the boys’ team who were the Play Day champions against four other Surrey schools.

Look at How Much I’ve Learned!

The grade two students in Mrs. Barron’s division 14 just completed their study on Canadian animals. They each picked an animal to research and started writing down all the facts they knew about their animal.  After completing the unit, the students jotted down new facts they had learned.  They represented their learning with physical objects and could visually see the progress they had made.  Some students said they preferred demonstrating their learning through this format instead of always doing a traditional written test, and one student beamed and said, “I’m smart.”


Our Community

The grade one students in Mrs. Tait’s and Mrs. Sharpe’s division 17 learned about their community and built a 3D model of it, including important buildings in their daily lives such as their school, the temple, the mosque, Superstore, and even McDonald’s.  They also learned that all good communities need a hospital, a firehall, a school, and a police station.  Other important buildings included the library and Newton Wave Poll.  They also learned about community helpers and wrote about their goals on how they could be helpful members of the community both now and when they “grow up”.  This unit integrated the new ADSD (Applied Design, Skills, and Technology) subject together with social studies and career planning.  The children designed their building using blocks of wood they sanded and painted.  “It was fun to build and paint our buildings,” said one student.  “I like being creative and make something beautiful,” said another student.  The students also learned that the First Nations people were here first and preferred to live close to the coast, so they could fish in the ocean and hunt in the forest.

The grade one students in Mrs. Pilatova’s division 19 displayed their community they had built on bulletin boards comparing and contrasting an early First Nations community with their immediate modern day community.