Bayview Glen Independent

Staff, student and special guest players at BGISWell, now you've met Scott Milligan in the previous post, prepare to meet the extraordinary cast of characters he assembled for my three presentations over the course of a day at Bayview Glen Independent School. And not just any day - February 15th is actually Flag Day in Canada, when we celebrate the adoption of our iconic Canadian flag in 1965. Students had already done a lot of work around the topic - as well as background research on Six String Nation - so I arrived to find many students with handmade flags as well as a banner depicting Voyageur in great detail!

BGIS is on the edges of Canada's first planned community of Don Mills - just a few blocks away from where I grew up. The development of the area over the past 40 years or more largely obscures what a rolling, bucolic oasis it must have been at one time but BGIS, nestled behind the Prince Hotel and just down the street from the SOCAN headquarters, manages to preserve some of that sense - especially in their airy, glass-walled lunch room but also in their independent approach to education. My visit there brought together multiple learning threads and seemed to fit right into the school's ethos and mandate.

I was especially excited that Scott made quick use of a new tool I've developed in collaboration with Esri Canada using their ArcGIS Online mapping software. It's an activity that lets students create their own maps of Canada using the elements of the Six String Nation project - from the guitar, case and strap - as a kind of navigation device to focus in on their own areas of interest while at the same time discovering more about the project and more about Canada from a variety of perspectives. They had launched into their first round of activity with the tool just before I arrived to set up so I'm not sure yet about the results but the first impression was that it was a bit of a hit and I hope this will provide encouragement for us to roll out the other two activities we have planned and get some feedback from students and teachers about how it's working for them.

I gave three presentations to the Upper, Lower and Prep divisions of the school in their well-equipped theatre. For each presentation, Scott had lined up an array of players drawn from the student body, staff and special guests. Pictured here along with Scott are music teacher Danny Sargeant (in the "Canada" hoodie) and 12th Fret guitar guru David Martin. Student players included Carla Haddad, Gideon Beck, Juliet and Isabella DiMenna, Sebastian Altmid, Jaden Rawlins and Aidan Snaiderman. Not pictured in this group was student Arun Jolly Marlier, whose extraordinarily strong instrumental and vocal performance of Kodaline's "All I Want" was such a hit at the first presentation that they brought him back for an encore at the third!

So thanks to all of those players who did such a great job and some of the parents who attended the presentation and cheered on their talented kids. Thanks, too, to all of the students who were such an attentive and appreciative audience. Thanks also to all of the teachers and administration at BGIS who were so very welcoming to me and so clearly dedicated to their students in so many ways. And, of course, thanks to Scott Milligan for getting the whole ball rolling and building some wonderful momentum for the Six String Nation project at Bayview Glen Independent School. I hope we'll be invited back to meet the next generation!

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