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“This has been a great experience. It has really opened a lot of people’s eyes about education and inner-city schools.

It has made me reflect upon my community involvement and possible career options.”


From February 19-22, 156 UBC Vancouver students, four UBC-Okanagan students, and 15 students from Carleton University worked on 10 different projects in Vancouver schools. The Carleton team, including students, two faculty and two staff members, crossed the country to collaborate with UBC students on projects at Grandview/?Uuqinak'uuh Elementary School. Undergraduate students from UBC’s Emerging Leaders program, International Peer Program, and Faculty of Applied Science collaborated with classroom teachers for a week of workshops, hands-on activities, and fun.


Grandview/Uuqinak’uuh Elementary School: Graffiti at Grandview


Positive messages now abound at Grandview/Uuqinak’uuh Elementary!  Thanks to the teamwork of UBC and Carleton University students and children from grades six and seven, negative graffiti has been removed in one of the busiest stairwells at the school. Once the negative graffiti or ‘tags’ were cleaned off the walls, the students and volunteers reinvented the space with bright and exciting depictions of their school and cultural communities.  The Grandview/Uuqinak’uuh students were especially pleased because they actively participated in the design and painting of the wall. In addition to leadership from the UBC and Carleton students, an artist from the Vancouver School Board’s Artist in Residence Program brought important artistic vision and expertise to the project.


Strathcona Elementary School: Learning through Literacy & Technology

Getting in tune with technology was a big focus for the grade five and six students at Strathcona School during Reading Week. For many of the UBC students working on the project, it was the first time they had led hands-on learning activities with children. As technology is playing an increasingly important role at younger grade levels, the UBC students were charged with the objective of helping Strathcona children create Power Point presentations, scan documents, and use new computer technologies. As a result of the project, Strathcona students now know how to create interactive presentations, as well as contribute to the development and maintenance of their school website.


Grandview/?Uuqinak’uuh: Garden Revitalization and Planting 


The Grandview/?Uuqinak’uuh students couldn’t get enough fresh air and flowers this Reading Week!  As a project leader reported, “The students fell in love with the garden!”  Eager to use their newly acquired shovelling skills, the children from kindergarten to grade two worked with UBC and Carleton students to remove weeds, till the dirt and do spring planting. There were also breaks from the hard work of pulling weeds when the university students led outdoor learning games. For example, when one of the Grandview/?Uuqinak’uuh children said to a Carleton University student, “Where is Ottawa?” he jumped at the opportunity to make the most of a teachable moment. He took the group to the giant map of Canada painted on the school courtyard and walked them across the country from Vancouver to Ottawa.



The 2007 Reading Week Projects began with a one-day orientation event on February 10th at Strathcona Elementary School. The event gave UBC student participants and project leaders an opportunity to learn about their projects and do team-building activities. Dr. Margo Fryer, Director of the UBC Learning Exchange, presented thought-provoking ideas and challenged students to think about their motivation for getting involved in their communities. In addition, Dr. Fryer encouraged students to use their Reading Week projects to reflect on the key elements of UBC’s Trek 2010 vision: global citizenship, the strengthening of civil society, and sustainability. Dan Marriott, Community School Teams Coordinator for the Vancouver School Board, gave an introduction to inner-city school settings and some of the issues facing children. A highlight of the orientation was the perspectives shared by past student participants about what they learned doing Reading Week Projects.


During Reading Week, students spent the bulk of their time working on their service project in schools, but also attended various educational workshops presented by UBC faculty, staff, and graduate students, student groups, staff from community organizations and schools, and community members. Student learning was also reinforced through journal writing and small group dialogue.

Six workshops were held during Reading Week:


Building Sustainable Communities I: facilitated by Mark Bomford, Program Coordinator, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, UBC Farm.

Building Sustainable Communities II: facilitated by Spencer Hebert, Park Commissioner, Vancouver Park Board.

Science and Technology: Making the world a better place?: facilitated by Blair Fulton, UBC Civil Engineering student, and Rebecca Goulding, UBC PhD candidate in Genetics.

Human Early Learning Partnership (H.E.L.P.): facilitated by Michele Wiens, Research Manager, Early Childhood Development (ECD) Mapping Project.

Personal and Social Responsibility: facilitated by Kim Schonert-Riechl  Associate Professor, UBC Department of Education and Counseling Psychology and Special Education

Working together for literacy friendly community: facilitated by Dr. Suzanne Smythe, Research-in-Practice in Adult Literacy in British Columbia (RiPAL-BC).


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For more information contact

Erin Kaipainen at Carleton


Davina McKaig at UBC

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