Feed your Body, Feed your Heart, Feed your Soul

When Marguerite Cox started her latest Community Based Service Learning project (CBSL) with Primary Cycles 1, 2 and 3 at Netagamiou School the idea was to create a cookbook which would present the history of food in the community of Chevery, Quebec. However, her project quickly grew into so much more, due to the enthusiasm of her students and their desire to give back to their community, and even, communities abroad.


Called Feed Your Body, Feed Your Heart, Feed Your Soul, Marguerite’s CBSL project integrated Social Studies and Language Arts. It took place after school for students interested in participating. The students were asked to find old-fashioned recipes from their community to include in a cookbook. Marguerite and her 18 students then decided to bake some of the goodies and occasionally open a small bakery.

During the process, the students shared stories about the friends and loved ones who had provided them the cookbook recipes, which led to the idea to transform the cookbook into a memory book. The book would include photos, stories, and of course, the recipes.

From there, the student’s wanted to do something good with the money they had made from selling the treats and book. They sent money to the victims of Philippines Typhoon Haiyan (2014) and helped fund a student through the Hilde Back scholarship in Kenya. Their final funding project will be helping endangered elephants in Kenya. The students also gave back to their own community by spending time with seniors, sharing their baked goods and telling stories.

Marguerite describes the project as a great success. “The students learned so much, I am having trouble putting it into words,” she writes, “Leadership, mentoring, cooking, safety in the kitchen, compassion, writing, storytelling, listening skills and most of all, they learned that it takes a team to make it all happen.”

Chick Hatching

When it comes to Community Based Service Learning (CBSL) projects, often times, members of the community are more than willing to contribute. That was one of the discoveries Belle Anse Elementary School teacher Marissa McCallum had during her CBSL project, Chick Hatching.



She received chicken eggs from a local farm, which her Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, Primary Cycle One and Two students were able to see hatch right in their classroom. The students witnessed the process starting from 48 hours before hatching up until the baby chicks were ready to go back to the farm. Along the way, students learned about the life cycle of the chicks and how to take care of them.

Through the celebration and education of the students’ local heritage, environment and community, Ms. McCallum witnessed a great deal of engagement and learning from her 14 students. “They learned about an aspect of our town they are not fully aware of,” comments Ms. McCallum. She also says with the help of the nearby farm, students were about to see what can be done, and is available, locally. “They also learned about the life cycle of an animal that they are not familiar with on a daily basis and how this animal is used.”

2014-05-20 10.58.24There are a lot of resources and lesson plans to help teachers bring this unique experience into their school.  You might want to start with a document from Nova Scotia entitled Egg-ricultural Egg-periences.

Student produce film based on shipwrecks and traditional ghost stories

Things got spooky this year at Grosse-Ile School/CLC on the Magdalen Islands, as Secondary Cycle 2 Students researched and produced a short film about a haunted shipwreck.



The story was inspired by traditional tales from local history and culture. In preparation, students sought out traditional ghosts stories from community members, and researched sites of historical shipwrecks around the Magdalen Islands. The story they tell in their movie is fictional but inspired by the stories they were told.

The teacher at the helm of this interesting learning project, Julie Boisvert admitted there were several challenges along the way including scheduling with a professional from the Cégep des Îles who helped teach specific movie making techniques. Despite some difficulty in arranging schedules, it was an extremely important factor in the project being steered to success, “Through this partnership they were able to learn about the rigorous work involved in movie making”.

Mme Boisvert said  “Despite any difficulties, students remained dedicated to the project. Students felt great pride in their achievement!”  She notes that with a dynamic project like this one, it is more possible to create and organize projects where each student’s strength and talent can be used and brought to light.



The movie project was integrated into their Media class, but included cross curriculum links with Geography, History and Citizenship Education, Français and Arts Education. The students were given a grade for their work and involvement through the various steps and stages of the production of the short film.  Beyond academic outcomes,  Mme Boisvert added that participating in the film project helped students to better appreciate their small and isolated community, that “It is a rich and interesting [place] which is worth sharing with the rest of the world.”

Food in our school, food in our community



Work Oriented Training Program (WOTP) students at St Michael’s in the town of Low jumped into action and took over food preparation for their school two days a week after a local restaurant that provided school meals ended that service. The class also made sandwiches daily for several students who are undernourished.

As if that was not enough, the class wanted to support seniors in their community. They took some of the by-products (such as chicken bones for making soup) and made meals for members of the community who are shut in or less mobile.

The project was fully integrated into the curriculum and taught practical skills like procedures for safe handling of food and working in a professional style kitchen.

Their teacher, Billy Boudreau, commented, “The students are more engaged by projects, especially those that require much hands on work. This project helped to allow for that to happen.”  The students also learned the “value of giving back to the community and making healthy choices.”



Among the greatest successes were “the students’ personal feeling that they had accomplished something real, and the fact that students who come from lesser means were able to get a lunch.”

This is a great example of service learning; students identifying an authentic need, coming up with a solution, all the while learning and making a contribution to their community.

Grand Plants



Julie Leduc and the Primary Cycle 2 students at Riverview Elementary in Verdun learned that “students can, and will, get their hands dirty for a worthy cause!”

Through the “Grand Plants” project, the students fostered a love for plants and then spread that love, like the seeds of their plants, to their grandparents, who were invited to the school to be involved in the project.

Ms. Leduc felt that not only would the project strengthen inter-generational ties, but it would also integrate French language arts, science, arts and citizenship. The project gave students a greater understanding of…

  • the importance of plants
  • the easiness of growing planting
  • how to help plants grow
  • the impact of global warming
  • the need for inter-generational ties and activities.

Student’s were in awe and amazement by how well their plants grew. Another success of the project was seeing the students enjoying the time spent with their grandparents at school and working on the project.

While it’s not always easy to coordinate schedules and find the time to get everything done, students were engaged.  For instance, “some students, who were previously afraid of worms and compost (“Yuck! That’s sheep’s poo”!) began to take interest in how soil becomes more nutritious for plants and were excited to find worms when we turned the soil in the community garden outside.”

Interested in learning more about school-community gardens in the CLC network?  Contact Ben for links to lesson plans and grants.

Slice of Life



Slice of Life is a story of how a local artifact can get students and the wider community to talk about their history and reflect on the changes over the past century locally and globally.

It started with a 2 inch thick slice of tree from a towering pine, cut down outside Pope Memorial Elementary School in the town of Bury.  Students counted the rings and determined the age (109 years to be exact).

Next, their teacher Jocelyn Bennett read a book about a thousand year old tree and what had happened during that time period.  French teacher Celine Carbonneau asked her students to bring in artifacts from that period and wrote about is in French, later presenting to the community.  This inspired the students and community to research the history of the town and vote on the most significant town and world events over the past 109 years.

You can see pictures and read more about the project and how the community got involved in an entertaining article by Rachel Garber in The Record.

Inspiration can be found in the strangest places.



Music Through the Decades

Music through the decades is a wonderful service learning project addressing the authentic community need of reducing isolation of seniors from the Mary- Elizabeth Residence in Châteauguay while being integrated into the music, math, English and French curriculum.

The project was lead by two teachers from the New Frontiers School Board, Moira Lemme from Centennial Park Elementary School and Melissa Ianniciello from St. Willibrord.



The project started with students interviewing seniors and taking notes about music they loved throughout their lives.  The students took the information back to the classroom analyzing the results with surveys, bar graphs and answered questions using the information.  Perhaps not surprisingly, some students less engaged by math, “took the assignment very seriously as we were analyzing data. They wanted to understand – what the averages were and most common answers”  Ms. Lemme noted “Projects like this lead to better understanding for students, especially typically lower scoring students who can make connections and be excited about the work they are doing”.

The project didn’t stop there, students responded to what they had learned by working hard to put together a set of songs that would appeal to seniors.

Let’s not pretend inter-generational projects like Music through the generations are not without some challenges, even with the support of a great CLC Coordinator like Anthony Spadaccino.   Ms. Lemme mentioned the difficulty in finding time to visit the seniors and the arranging transportation logistics.   After some back and forth with the seniors home, it became apparent the seniors did not want to leave their home to see the show in the school gym.  So instead, the class brought the concert to them (with a cold buffet, props, and costumes).

Reflecting on the concert, The most popular songs were Brown Eye’d Girl and Can’t Help Falling In Love. The students brought the seniors potted flowers and presented cards saying “thanks for having us” and “have a good summer”.

A lot of work went into this project, and we have a few clues that the event was successful for the seniors and students.

After the concert, Ms. Lemme was proud to say she had received 4 calls from seniors at the residence “to thank us for our show, the flowers and the snacks!”  She also said the

“students wrote a journal today about their experience and many of them noted that they felt really good doing something for their community. They also loved learning songs that they don’t hear every day. (A few also said their parents were happy to hear some classics when their child practiced at home)”.  “I was very pleased! The kids were happy and the seniors seemed very happy!”