Life at The Element High School

Editor’s note: Stephanie Lett, a teacher at The Element High School, sent us news articles written by her students about events at The Element and what it is like being an Element student. Here is a selection by Grade 8 students Sydney and Simon and Grade 7 student Tomasz.

The Element students cook regularly together, building cooperation skills while eating well!
Photos: Courtesy of The Element

A Day in the life of The Element students
By Simon T.

Being part of The Element is an experience that not many people get to take part in. It has one-of-a-kind courses, ranging from cooking to running a small business. Not only that, but you also get to choose independently who will be in your work groups.

“At first, my parents thought that kindergarten would be all that I did at the previous school,” said Simon, one of the students at The Element. “But, it offered so much more, so I stayed with the school until junior high, and I don’t regret that one bit.”

Located at Lansdowne Park, The Element offers many opportunities to interact with the community. For example, students have the ability to use the community field or the Aberdeen Pavilion for gym classes. There are limitless possibilities.

In the classroom, cooking is also a large part of the program. The reason it is part of the curriculum is mainly because it builds cooperation skills and teaches everyone to work together through making a meal for all of the students and staff. Every week, a student will choose a recipe, shop for the ingredients and cook with a small group on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Most recently, they prepared Greek pasta salad, Japchae (a Korean stir-fry) and garlic chicken.

In the Entrepreneurship course, students form a group and work together to create and sell the products.

The students love this program’s courses, and are definitely in their “element”.

The Element of physical education
By Sydney O.

A pretty typical middle school/high school program involves a pretty typical physical education. This includes learning, developing, and practising new skills in sports, learning how to live an active and healthy lifestyle in a fun way, and experiencing it all in a basic gymnasium. Of course, The Element provides most of these things, but we step a bit out of the box when it comes to the latter.

With The Element’s marvellous location, unfortunately, we are unable to use a traditional gym. “Unfortunately,” though, may not be the right word for such a happenstance. Students were able to learn the technique and game of Ultimate Frisbee on Ottawa’s Great Lawn, just a moment’s walk from the school. The Great Lawn is literally advertised by the City of Ottawa as “a great space for festivals, family picnics, or a game of Ultimate.” None other than the captain of uOttawa’s Gee-Gees women’s volleyball team, Alyssa, instructed The Element scholars on the incredibly fun sport over two classes.

Currently The Element High School physical education program is teaching the students how to play badminton. On November 26 some of the up-and-coming badminton stars played in the Ottawa Independent Schools Athletic Association badminton tournament.

They made it to the quarter-finals after being briefly coached by Kenny Yuen, the head coach of the University of Ottawa badminton team, in the Cattle Castle in Lansdowne, the winter location for gym classes.

16 The Element School Newspaper Jan 2016 The Element of Physical Education
The Element students play badminton in the Aberdeen Pavilion.

The Cattle Castle, or Aberdeen Pavilion, is the oldest surviving venue in which the Stanley Cup was held in 1904. This year, more than 100 years later, The Element’s budding athletes are learning new skills therein.

Bring your own… banana?
By Sydney O.

The Element High School brings you a delicious and new way to learn about their new program and enjoy yourself a little more than you should on a Thursday evening. Advertised as a simple BYOB, you might not get what you expect – something you’ll hear a lot when learning about The Element High School.

The BYOB initials stand for Bring Your Own Banana, an occasion in which you bring a banana and help yourself to ice cream and delicious sauces. These delectable dressings are prepared by the students themselves in the new industrial kitchen at The Element location in Lansdowne. Students and their families were invited to come enjoy a banana split before watching a presentation by the school director, Pat Gere, on the new e2 program being offered at The Element.

This program for grades 9–12 is one of the first Montessori high school programs in Ottawa and provides a unique experience for the students as they grow up and step out into the real world.

The Element students get crafty
By Tomasz P.

The Shop Your Local Talent Craft Fair, is a place for artists, entrepreneurs, and many other people to come together to buy and sell their goods. This year The Element participated in this gathering. This year’s craft fair was held in the Old Ottawa South Community Centre on Sunnyside Avenue, close to Lansdowne. One of the reasons The Element sells its goods at the fair is because of its Entrepreneurship program. Entrepreneurship is a class that aims to help students learn how to manage a business. Students pick different roles to fill throughout the program, including managers, finance officers and others.

The Element students sold scented candles, cookies, jams, and wooden and plastic trinkets. They also brought a 3D printer to print extra items on the spot including mini figures, bracelets and key chains. Students worked in shifts throughout the day so that they could take breaks. Overall, the students sold a lot of products and had a great time.

Sydney and Simon are in grade 8, and Tomasz is in grade 7 at The Element High School in Lansdowne.

16 The Element School Newspaper Jan 2016 Element Students Get Crafty
The Element students made scented candles, cookies, jams and wooden objects
for sale at the Shop Your Local Talent Craft Fair.
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