Day 44 (of 183) the most important assembly of the year

Day 44 (of 183) the most important assembly of the year

Remembrance Day. One of the few mandatory assemblies in the BC school calendar. The day before we observe November 11th with a day away from school. It’s not a day off. It’s a day to reflect and remember. 
As I point out in my assembly, “service” takes many forms – with Canada’s military and peace keeping services and other works around the world (and in our own country). As we could see in our school assembly, we have cousins, grandfathers and great grandfathers among other connections serving our nation. And it’s not just tempering those who serve but also their families that make sacrifices – parents spouses children etc – which I like to share with the son Ric-a-dam-doo by the spouses of the Princess Patricia’s Regiment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ozsOV7s7fM
I also so appreciate when we get representatives from our Legion come out. I love to reinforce to my learning community how fortunate we are to have three gentlemen regularly come out (this year a new participant is planning on talking to our assembly next year!) and one leading the colour guard playing the bagpipes. I know we have a few in the audience who tear up when the first note gets payed. 
I am also mindful of my audience (and appreciative of the members of our learning community who do not attend this assembly and respect their reasons). Here’s the agenda for this year:

Welcome/intro (explaining we will stand and not be clapping our hands) a chance for me to explain a bit about why we have an assembly such as this. It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘lives lost’ but I do try to focus on why so many have served. 

Colour guard. And again, I get shivers every time John breaks out the bagpipes. Bringing in the girl guides (and one cub this year!) to present flags and wreaths. We then go right into O Canada and then the Last Post, minute of silence and ‘reveille’ with the bonus of John ending our moment with the Lament on the pipes. 
Poem – I do love it when students and classes get involved. This year we had a K/1 class recite the poem Remembrance Day. 

Music – to me having ‘the right’ music is always important.  For most part I try to ‘mix it up’ (love songs like Pittance of a Time that remind us not to be too busy on the 11th, but I’m really attracted to the story behind Ric-a-dam-doo)

NSlideshow – again, not every year, but this year I did a call out for photos of family connections. It’s interesting to see how connected some families really are to serving our country. 
Flanders Field – again, not every year (and last years class reading was very nice!) but a video reading with images helps show what was going on when John McCrae put pencil to paper. Next year will be the right time to share the Heritage Minute https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ3hNU5mgww
Choir – this year we have a choir! And this year they did a great job singing to close our session. Well almost. 
Thank yous  – I always want to thank the varied members of our learning community who come to be part of our assembly. It was very interesting having our strong start families visit too! But again – a big thank you to our Legion who make sure we get to see veterans who have done what we hope our students don’t need to do. 
And a reminder: Wednesday is not a day off of school – it is a day to take a moment and remember – and reflect on who we are as Canadians and why we are who we are. 
Closing- the bagpipes lead the colour guard out and the the classic Bryan Adams Remembrance Day video – an upbeat tune that I always finds reminds me that Remembrance Day is not about being sad – it is about taking time and acknowledging that what others have done (and are doing) on behalf of our country isn’t easy. 
It’s not an easy assembly. I’m almost always brought to tears (or near enough). But I’m also mindful not to overwhelm our audience and yet balance how important this day is. Almost as important as tomorrow. Take a moment. 

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About technolandy

Principal of Sorrento Elementary Educator pushing 'technologization' in education: blending technology and curriculum seamlessly. Advocate for better understanding of Anxiety in Education (and use of self-regulation) Piloting ePortfolios
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