We’ve Got the Beat 

by Isabella Ferritto

Hello my name is Isabella Ferritto. I am a first year Bachelors of Education student at Ottawa university. I am in the CSH cohort. I have loved my first-year practicum placement. I was blessed and placed at an amazing school with an awesome associate teacher and an incredible grade 5 class. Throughout my placement I taught music. I loved being able to teach music as it got my creative juices flowing. I created lesson plans weekly and I created slideshows to support my teaching. I also invited my 17-year-old son who is a drummer to teach my students how to bucket drum. I created weekly music centers and my students thoroughly enjoyed my weekly music lessons. It was an incredible feeling seeing how my grade 5 students enjoyed my lessons and looked forward to music. I loved that I was able to be creative and share my passion for music. Being a visual learner, I know the importance of visualization. There are many different learning strategies. I incorporated visual, auditory and tactile styles with every lesson I planned. I believe incorporating such an interactive and versatile way of learning has helped to increase my student’s participation in my lessons. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my students and I look forward to continuing my journey in year two. I also included some of the pictures from my music lessons and activities.


Cupid’s Musical Heart


Clothesline Musical Notes


Go Beats (Homemade Original Card Game)



Adventures of a Year 1 Teacher Candidate

by Kimberly Norris, first year P/J teacher candidate within the CSH cohort

The start of a new school year is filled with nerves and excitement for any student. For the new teacher candidates heading to their Year 1 orientation, it’s no different. Some of us had spent our summers off after completing undergrads in May, while this is the first time back to school in years for others. I happen to fall under the latter category.

For me, starting my first year with the Faculty of Education comes as both a career change and return. After I finished my undergrad here at the University of Ottawa in 2014, I flew off to South Korea as soon as I could. I was ready to travel, to meet new people, and to work as an ESL teacher in Incheon. I spent nearly three years there working in a private school and learning the ins and outs of the kindergarten classroom. At the same time, I travelled as much as I could and got to see some pretty amazing sights. I count myself eternally lucky for my experience while living in Asia, but most especially for the students who touched my heart and changed my life.

After I left Korea for the next adventure, I eventually ended up living in Edinburgh, Scotland. I took a break from teaching and got into recruitment. I learned a lot from this job and I absolutely loved it, but at the same time it often felt like something was missing. When a candidate brought his son in to wait during a meeting, I found myself sitting in the lobby with the boy having a conversation about what he was learning in school and what subjects he liked best. That was a game changing moment for me. I realized how much I missed my role as a teacher, and applied to the Primary/Junior program here at uOttawa straight away. It was time to come home, and it was time to return to the classroom.

It wasn’t long before I found myself sitting in a lecture hall in CRX (where was that building when I was in school—it’s amazing!) listening to Nicholas Ng-A-Fook and Tracy Crowe and a variety of other talented people inspire and welcome their newest group of teacher candidates. You could tell by the buzz in the hall that everyone was excited and ready for this new challenge. We had come ready to make friends and to make a difference. For me, it was my first time living back in Canada in four years, and what a wonderful reintroduction it was!

Now we are almost a month into our first year of school. Our CSL placements have begun, and we know each other’s names and stories pretty well. I belong to the Comprehensive School Health cohort, and my class of nearly fifty teacher candidates has already become like a family. We chose CSH for different reasons, but among the top reasons is a positive focus on mental health. We are hoping to bring mindfulness to our classrooms, which is something I’m very excited about. I know that with CSH and the Faculty of Education, I have found my place.

When I tell people what I study at uOttawa I always get the same responses. “Good for you” or “That’s a very noble profession”, and I’d have to agree. We are starting an incredible journey with some pretty amazing people. The overwhelming feeling of excitement for the next two years is pretty unanimous, and I can’t wait to see where this new adventure leads!

You can follow Kim’s journey on Twitter at @MissKim_uo


Early Successes in Involvement with the Faculty of Education Students’ Association (FESA)

by Andrea Lefebvre, second year P/J teacher candidate within the CSH cohort

I am always amazed by how fast each year comes and passes and cannot believe I have already begun my second year within this program.  I had such an incredibly memorable experience last year between classes, placement, and several cohort community excursions and functions that I have been eagerly looking forward to contributing to and engaging in again this year.  However, during these last few months as a student, teacher, and leader in this program, I wanted to become even more involved on campus, particularly in student-faculty relations. I decided to join the Faculty of Education Students’ Association (FESA) to help me better understand how we can enhance our relationships among students and staff, bring forth a stronger relationship between first and second year students, build a greater connection among students enrolled in both years of their cohort, and improve our communications among all members of this program in a simpler and more efficient manner.

These networks have become increasingly important to me because I feel that within this profession there should be an open dialogue between fellow students and professionals within the field, as well as a strong sense of community for support, guidance, encouragement, and inspiration.  I feel that teaching is such a multifaceted profession that extends far beyond lesson planning and report-card writing that it is actually the level of engagement among one another that will ultimately help us to learn all that we can about the various components of being a life-long learner to in turn be the best and most well-rounded educators we can possibly be.

I already feel as though my involvement in this association has proven to be an incredibly valuable opportunity in working towards addressing these questions and desires I have.  This association is grounded in the same philosophies and values I, and many others, possess which has made me increasingly eager to devote my time to actively participate within this program on my own and as part of a team.  I feel honoured to work with such passionate, hardworking, and dedicated members of this association and am truly committed to working on continuously improving our program alongside an incredible team of students, educators and leaders.  I wholeheartedly believe that this year is going to be one of significant growth and success personally, academically, and professionally, and I am beyond looking forward to sharing this with everyone within this program and faculty.

If you are interested in becoming involved with FESA and/or have any questions or suggestions, I strongly encourage you to reach out.  This group has evidently already inspired me in more ways than one and has allowed me to begin (and become successful) in the process of fulfilling my educational goals.  I truly believe it can and will do the same for you.

Cheers to another exciting, educational, and memorable school year ahead!  Good luck to you all!

You can follow Andrea’s journey on Twitter at @LefebvreMiss


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!