Analyzing the Nation in Cambridge

Teacher Judith Bean and students at Ryerson P.S., Cambridge Doing as many school presentations as I do, I frequently meet teachers who have moved around a bit - sometimes across the country, sometimes just within their own school board, especially as new schools open up in growing communities. But even when they love their new school they leave a little bit of their heart behind with their old ones. That was the case for Kim Gill, the teacher at Groh Public School who initiated Friday's visit to the Waterloo region. And as soon as she got serious about bringing Six String Nation to Groh she knew it was an experience she'd want the students at her previous school, Ryerson P.S. in Cambridge, to have as well. Fortunately, her old colleague there, teacher Judith Bean (pictured here with students from multiple grades and classes), was already a 6SN fan so no arm-twisting was required. Judith even brought her own personal copy of the Six String Nation book for signing and Kim produced a video message for her former students that I slotted into the slide deck at the top of the show.

I'm accustomed to delivering the presentation mostly to middle and high school students or to the older grades at primary schools so I'm always a little nervous that the younger kids will be bored or confused by what is, frankly, a kind of long and kind of complicated presentation. But the students at Ryerson were once again proof that the storytelling aspect of the show - along with the strong images on the screen - is what reaches kids (and adults) of all ages. There's something exciting about being the person who might set them off on a path of knowledge about Haida Gwaii or Rocket Richard and it's always rewarding to see the hands go up with questions or in response to my own questions about whether they've been to Niagara Falls or know who invented basketball or what it is that makes a tree green (it's one of the first big words learned by little kids!).

Teacher Chris Gibson ably filled the performance pocket with Bryan Adams' "Summer of 69" and lead sing-alongs of Stompin' Tom's "Hockey Song" and "This Land is Your Land".

Thanks to Judith and all the staff and students at Ryerson P.S. for being such terrific hosts.
Go Raptors!

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