We followed that session with two seminars that were facilitated by OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education). We had great discussions about educational leadership and drew parallels to the lessons and leadership changes that took place at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Also at this expedition hall was the Student Expo. Last spring I was asked to come up with an idea for a student activity that could be made into an activity at this expo presented by EF Tours. One of my three ideas was accepted and as a thank you to the school, Chemainus Secondary received money that is being used to support field trips in our school. I, as creator of the idea was provided with the opportunity to participate on this professional learning tour. My sincere thanks to EF Tours! Mrs. Bayley helped me produce the details needed for students to complete the activities here in France. The expo was very engaging, there were lots of hands on activities for students. Canadian Geographic Education had two giant sized floor maps on display, volunteers wore uniforms from WW1, code breaking took place, newspaper headlines, memorials and what they should look like in the future, Invictus Games, and my entry... an Illustrated War. There were four sections to the exhibit: 1. add to a comic strip wall display, 2. Caption This where students created captions for WW1 posters, 3. Animate Me where students drew the concept provided (trenches, view from the air, creeping barrage). There were lots of student contributions on display so I can see that it was a busy area over the last few days. It was great to see a concept/idea be taken and transformed into a large scale activity. As teachers, we do this all the time, but I certainly have never participated in anything like this in my career. Over 8,000 students attended the Expo in the last 3 days!
After lunch we met with our Youth Ambassador - Gracie is from the Yukon and her One Idea was to save a portion of wilderness in her region. She is a bright, articulate, passionate, and determined young woman. Mrs. Bayley and I chatted to her about her plan to protect this area and some ideas on how to achieve her goal. Last year my Geography 12 class took investigated the topic of the development of Echo Heights, so I mentioned to here the long process that is likely to happen, but that a few people or sometimes one person can make a significant difference. It will be great to keep in contact with Gracie and Mrs. Bayley and I are excited to see how her efforts will impact her community.
We finally had some free time and walked around the town of Arras. Canadian flags, and symbols of Canadian remembrance are everywhere in town. While the Battle of Vimy Ridge is seen as important in Canadian history, it of course took place here and the people of Vimy, and neighbouring towns such as Arras feel a special kinship to Canada. After a dinner of pomme frites...(not the most nutritious meal, but they were realllly good!), we went to city hall for a reception. We went up the bell tower to the outside walkway just underneath the clock (see the photos below for reference). The view into the square was awesome and we could see a giant poppy display in the middle of the square. We stood in the square after dark for a light show in the square that was projected onto the side of the city hall building and the neighbouring buildings. I have never seen anything so cool. Absolutely amazing! At times it was a video playing on the side of the buildings and then it was a laser light show and back to a drama. The sound system was so clear... At the end they played Oh Canada and the La Marseillaise and the approximately 3000 people sang very loudly and proudly. It was a fantastic display that was produced by Veteran's Affairs Canada. It was a great way to end another long day. Back to the hotel at 11pm. Tomorrow we head to Paris...