CSH Blog Archive



Living Experiences of African Dance

The West African Dance workshop was both a teaching and learning experience for me. I volunteered to do something out of my comfort zone – teach a dance I had never heard of to middle school students. This workshop was an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. I am glad that I got involved because it was a wonderful experience.

Going in I did not know what to expect in terms of students’ willingness to participate. Within the first few minutes of teaching I could tell the students were eager to learn and wanted to participate. Students began to put their own spin on the moves and we just went with it. It was great to see the students’ willingness to dive in and enjoy the experience with their peers and with us.

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Being a part of the CSH cohort has given me the opportunity to part take in many different experiences throughout the year. I feel that I will be a better teacher with all the knowledge and tools I have gained from the CSH lunch & learns and workshops. It was through the CSH workshops that I learned about West African Dance. Partaking in the workshop has now lead me to learn, practice and teach Kpanlogo to others.

Teaching the West African dance of Kpanlogo to the students at St. Patrick’s Intermediate School was a lot of fun and a great day of physical activity. The whole experience of practicing with my peers and co-teaching the dance will be very beneficial to my future as an educator. Between each session our group would gather and discuss our successes and share tips to help improve our teaching practice for the next session.

My most memorable moment of the day was when a student who though I was not looking started to dance. This students was standing just outside the circle because he did not want to be seen. However, when I started to teach the dance this students was able to get the move on the first try. I made eye contact with him and acknowledged his expertise, then welcomed him into the circle. It was great to see this student participate and excel with this dance.

I was really surprised at the reaction that we received from the students. Often we think that dancing would appeal to girls and that boys would be to macho to dance. The students at this school shattered this stereotype. The boys were so excited to dance and would often volunteer first to try on the sarong and demonstrate the dance. I was also expecting a disinterest or a lack of enthusiasm from the students in grade 7 & 8. Again I was surprised at how much participation and willingness the students exhibited. The students showed a sense of openness and confidence in trying something new and different.

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The West African dance workshop was a really great experience. I have never participated in a dance workshop and I was a little nervous about my ability. We received a very warm and positive welcome to the school which helped to calm my nerves. The students at St.Pats were incredible. They fully participated, showed a lot of interest and most importantly they had fun and a positive attitude.  It was really great to see students of their age group stepping outside of their own comfort levels and trying new things and having a great time. I am really glad that I participated in this workshop. It was a great experience and I had a great time interacting with the students, staff and dancing with the rest of my dance crew.




Congratulations Champs of 2015!

by Dani Luther

Over the course of the year, this fantastic group of champions of health has worked incredibly hard at promoting comprehensive school health. Along with the amazing success of the student-led workshops, members went above and beyond what was asked of them and branched out into the community. Some participated in a day of instructing African dance and another group worked weekly to practice mindfulness in schools. Even further, we all have taken the time to implement as many elements of Comprehensive School Health that we could in our placements. Special mention, however, MUST go out to all of those who held workshops: not only is this not a requirement, but it is also an arduous task: especially in an eight-month condensed program. Way to go team! To round out the year, the cohort came together to write a simple children’s book representing a variety of elements that represent Comprehensive School Health. We called it, The ABC’s of Health© and we are very pleased to present the pdf version in the link below. 

ABC’s of Health©


Let’s Leave our Mark!

Contributed by CSH Members

This year, the CSH cohort came together to create an end of the year award. We call it the “CSH Student of the Year Award”. This special recognition goes out to a Champ who shows leadership, dedication and care for the well-being and success of the Comprehensive School Health Cohort. The first award went to Dani Luther!

A word from this year’s recipient, Dani Luther

“I got a pretty amazing gift today. I had the honour of being honoured by a very special group of people. I can’t even begin to explain how incredible this feels. This certificate truthfully holds more value to me than any diploma, degree or certificate ever could. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people with whom to spend the most ridiculously fast, yet at times painstakingly slow, seven months of my ENTIRE life. I will walk away from this program with more than just a degree; I’ll walk away knowing that I got to learn with and from some of the most amazing people that this world has to offer.Champs for life!”
– Dani



Champs Take on a Challenge!

Contributed on behalf of CSH Members

As a part of our learning processes course, we were asked to take on a meaningful learning experience and presentations were made in the final weeks of class. Everyone’s presentations were incredibly well done and extremely moving. From learning to play to knit to signing in front of people for the first time, the CSH cohort showed up to impress. Each individual shone in a rather incredibly way as they walked us through why they chose their particular learning experience, some challenges, some triumphs and a link to future teaching. Two amazing individuals have agreed to share their meaningful learning experiences. 

We challenge you to become a fellow Champ
(Champion of Health)
and learn something meaningful!

Slow Cooker Meals

Contributed by Lindsey Morrow

Follow these links for two Lindsey approved Slow Cooker Meals!

Recipe 1: 3 Bean Turkey Chili 

Recipe 2: Brown Lentil Soup

For my meaningful learning experience I made slow cooker meals. These included Slow Cooker Brown Lentil Soup, Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps, “Un”-Stuffed Cabbage Soup, Banana Bread Quinoa, and Crock Pot Stuffed Bell Peppers.

  • I learned that soup recipes work the best in a slow cooker
  • Experimented with a type of cooking I can use for the rest of my life, especially once I’m working full-time and have a family with a busy schedule
  • I was able to problem solve by reading recipe reviews and made my stuffed peppers taste better than they would have
  • I learned that I like regular recipes opposed to slow cooker recipes, unless I’m making soup
  • My slow cooker is too small, certain recipes were hard to fit in it
  • My slow cooker doesn’t have a timer, therefore I needed to schedule my time around the recipe, which defeats the purpose of a slow cooker
  • Cooking meat before putting it in the slow cooker seemed to defeat the purpose of a “hassle-free” meal
  • I could have experimented with the same recipe multiple times (e.g., my stuffed peppers broke when taking them out of the slow cooker and my banana bread quinoa burned)
  • As one person it was hard to make multiple recipes because each recipe yielded many servings
Relation to Theories:

Self-determination theory: I was intrinsically motivated to cook slow cooker meals and I felt autonomous and competent in my decision (Niemiec & Ryan, 2009). I wanted to explore a new method of cooking and I also wanted to use my slow cooker because I had it for a year and never used it. I was specifically motivated to cook lentil soup because my father made lentil soup; therefore it made the experience meaningful to me.

Flow: “is the degree to which an ‘activity becomes spontaneous almost automatic: [people] stop being aware of themselves as separate from the activity they are performing.’” (Beard & Hoy, 2010). I believe I was very engaged in the activity and could lose track of time (Beard & Hoy, 2010, but I was focused on following the recipe. I think flow would be better achieved by cooking intuitively by making up the recipe as you go, but still ensuring it tasted good.

Relation to Teaching Practice and Conceptualization of Learning:

Experimenting with the slow cooker was beneficial because it is an excellent tool to use in the classroom because it relates to math and language (e.g., a class can make apple crisp or soup, which gives them practice peeling, cutting, measuring and reading a recipe). Creating a meaningful experience to me meant incorporating my father into it. I think that it is important to be mindful of events in your life by thinking of them in healthy ways and coping in healthy ways. This year the health cohort has taught me that mental health is just as important as physical health. I’ve learned to be more kind and understanding of individual situations because it is impossible to know everything that is occurring in someone’s life. It is important to have this same attitude and create a healthy, comfortable, and safe environment within the classroom. Having an “open door” and always allowing students to speak to you is essential because talking and having support is the best therapy.

Future Goals for Self-Initiated Learning:
  • I will continue to experiment with slow cooker recipes and improving the ones I have made
  • I will experiment cooking meals my father cooked
  • I will decide on a bigger goal as a tribute to my father

A Meaningful Learning Experience

Contributed by Stephanie Duff

Stephanie’s full presentation


Festive Foto Frames!

Click the link to discover how you can get into a festive frame of mind!



Holiday Fundraising with CSH

The Comprehensive School Health cohort organized a bake sale fundraiser on December 16, 2014. CSH also offered photos with Santa. All money went to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Click here to view a recap of this event!


The 2014-2015 Comprehensive School Health Cohort “Champs”!




 —   2013-2014   —


Congratulating the CSH cohort on a job well done!

Words contributed by: Inspired peers and Passport to Health attendees

“I would like to commend the brave and passionate leaders of the CSH cohort for all the time and work they put into the Passport to health workshop series. Each workshop was engaging, fun, informative, and inspiring.”

“A truly mind-blowing experience! Really insightful. Great job. “


“I liked the open environment – I appreciated what I learned and feel I can implement them in my classroom. Thank you guys!”
– Alicia

“I truly enjoyed the three workshops that I have attended and wish that I hadn’t missed the first two. I loved how it inspired/gave me ideas on how to implement activities into the classroom.”

“Each presentation was very well organized and engaging.
It was great to see students put together workshops that are relevant
to teaching and society today. Great job everyone!” – Stephanie

“I really enjoyed the wide variety of topics that were covered. Great jobeveryone!” – Michael

DSC_0036 “The motivation and passion of those CSH presenters is both inspiring and empowering in terms of creating new and inspired champions of health”

“Student mentoring for student progress”

“These CSH workshops were very useful, giving me many activities and
ideas that could be implemented in my classroom.
Thank you!”



Passport to Health: A Personal Experience
by Melanie Duncan

Passport to Health - Week 1

My experience working with Michelle and the CSH cohort on the Passport to Health workshop series has been incredibly rewarding. As a teacher candidate in this cohort, I have been able to focus on collecting knowledge and experiences relating to health promotion in the fullest sense. In preparing the Healthy Minds workshop, I was able to share my perspective of mental health promotion in particular, and pass on the resources I have accumulated. These resources pertain to future teachers, specifically in terms of how they can build a repertoire of counseling skills appropriate to our teacher role in the classroom. I was able to supplement Michelle’s inspiring story by sharing an alternative perspective. By reading excerpts from personal letters between me and a friend, I was able to illustrate the fears and challenges of supporting a friend with exceptional emotional needs.

It was important to both Michelle and I to build a foundation of not only facts and information about mental health, but to show our peers through personal experiences how raising awareness and reducing the stigma surrounding certain aspects of mental health is the key to leading successful and healthy classrooms. We received endless help and support from our entire cohort throughout the process of organizing our workshop in tandem with the Passport to Health series. When I started presenting I was very nervous, but my heart was full of encouragement as the room filled with so many people who came to hear what we had to share. I feel inexplicably lucky to have had this experience during my year in teacher education.




Strength and Serenity Yoga
by Deanna Casanova

Yoga on Tabaret Lawn Yoga on Tabaret Lawn with Madelin Rocheleau of Strength and Serenity Yoga. 

Wednesday mornings at 9 a.m. we have the pleasure to partake in yoga classes lead by one of our Comprehensive School Health Cohort peers, Madelin Rocheleau. Madelin’s yoga journey began five years ago, when she began practicing yoga recreationally, both for the physical and emotional health benefits brought to her life. Upon completing her undergraduate degree, Madelin pursued the 200-hour Hatha Yoga Certification, eventually founding her business “Strength & Serenity Yoga Ottawa.” Among her clients are the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, the Odawa Native Friendship Centre, and the Funhaven Family Entertainment Centre.

Madelin has great presence as a yoga teacher. Although she gravitates to the power and vinyasa branches of yoga she makes her classes friendly to beginners. Wednesday mornings she guides our group through a gentle set of Hatha asanas, focusing greatly on the breath and deepening our experience of each posture. Feel free to join our classes to bring some tranquility and focus back into your week!

– Deanna Casanova (CSH 2013/2014 Teacher Candidate)



A Snapshot of 2013-2014 CSH Health Promoting Activities

Contributed by CSH Members


Our very own CSH Edugators Team Our very own CSH team – the Edugators!


Learning Hip Hop from the master!Momentum Moves Canada showed us the moves as part of our Lunch & Learn series.


CSH Group Hike CSH Group Hike 2013