Courtenay Elementary students finding their identities

KYLEE McDONALD participated in Courtenay Elementary School
KYLEE McDONALD participated in Courtenay Elementary School's first Identity Day.
— image credit: Lindsay Chung

What is important to you?
Intermediate students at Courtenay Elementary School had a chance to ask themselves that question and then share their answers with their teachers and classmates Tuesday when the school held its first Identity Day.
Every student in Grade 4, 5 and 6 created a project about themselves and shared it with everyone else.
The students were divided into three groups, and students in each group spent half an hour with their own project and then wandered around and took part in a scavenger hunt about their classmates' projects.
"We're trying to get all the kids to work together and try to get to know each other better even though they're not in the same class," said principal Kyle Timms. "They seem pretty excited about going around to check out each other's projects."
Students worked on their projects for three weeks, and they made posters, built three-dimensional displays, created photo slideshows and much more.
"The kids were given total freedom to do a project on anything important to them and in any format," said Timms.
For her project, 11-year-old Kylee McDonald, who is in Grade 6, created a diorama of Willingdon Beach in Powell River.
"It's really important to me because I spent a lot of time there with my family and friends," she said. "I spent a lot of time with my aunt, who died when I was about six, there. I go swimming there, play on the playground with my little sister and stepsister, and there's a trail that used to be a railroad but it had the rails taken out of it so it could be used as a community trail."
McDonald says it was a little hard to pick what to do her project on, but she was happy to get a chance to choose whatever she wanted to do.
"I like it because it shows people where I grew up and it tells people about where I grew up and what I did in the summers," she said.
Timms says Identity Day comes from the United States, and it has spread through Twitter.
A teacher in Agassiz was promoting Identity Day at his school last year, and Timms connected with him and then presented the idea to the Courtenay Elementary teachers.
Identity Day is part of an initiative at Courtenay Elementary where all the intermediate teachers get their students together in different groups to work on common projects every Tuesday afternoon.
"We're calling it Opportunity Time because it's a chance to try something different," said Timms.

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