May 10, 2015


Contributed by Kelli Vogstad.
IMG_5569This last Friday, Cambridge’s first school-wide Spaghetti Marshmallow Challenge took place. It all began from a simple tweet sent by one of our Cambridge teachers; “Let’s try the spaghetti challenge next week”. That’s all it took for Mr. Vendramin and I to begin planning, inviting teachers and classes who were interested to join in; before we could say spaghetti, all 26 divisions, 612 students, were ready to participate.

As we prepared for the big event, we started to investigate where this challenge originated. Watching Tom Wujec’s TED Talk, we learned that this Canadian global leader in 3D design and technology began this challenge. In his TED talk he shares the impetus and learning principles behind this learning experience.


We also found out that this challenge has been conducted by tens of thousands of people in every continent, from the CFOs of the Fortune 50, to students at all levels, Cambridge Elementary could now be added to this list.

IMG_5603On the day of the event, students were organized into teams of three to five students, “bigs”, “middles”, and “littles” were mixed and together. Each group was given a Marshmallow Challenge Kit, which included 20 pieces of dry spaghetti, 1 metre of string, 1 metre of masking tape, and 1 marshmallow. The teams of students were instructed to work together and to apply the very best of their thinking, feeling, and “doing” to the task. Their challenge was to build the tallest structure possible that would support one marshmallow at the top. They had 18 minutes to accomplish this goal.

At 11:12, an announcement was made to the entire school: “Let the building begin!” For the next 18 minutes students from kindergarten to grade seven worked together to build their towers. As I walked around the various classrooms, the multi-purpose room, and the gym, the energy and focus was palpable. It was amazing to see the development of the structures and to take note of the patterns of innovation that many teams were demonstrating. The learning was rich, meaningful, and engaging!

The learning intentions behind this hands-on, minds-on, team problem-solving task were many. It moved beyond helping students to understand and begin to identify the hidden assumption in the problem. As Tom Wujec shares in his TED talk, “Every challenge has its own marshmallow”. Students learned, some sooner then later, that the marshmallow was not as light and fluffy as they initially thought and the spaghetti sticks did not easily support it. You could hear the conversations among the students, “Oh no it’s bending over.” “We need to make it stronger.” “Look out, it won’t hold, we need to do something different.”

Some groups were quick to learn that they had to test their structures out early, and often, if they were to succeed. This is the mechanism that leads to effective innovation. Others waited until the final minute and their once considered tower of strength became a leaning spaghetti disaster. Students were learning to work together in a shared experience to find a common language and a common stance to build the right prototype in solving a problem. This task challenged students to think creatively and collaboratively to solve a problem as a team.

When I think about the learning going on, I am amazed at how many intellectual, personal, and social and emotional proficiencies the students were learning and practicing – the very skills they would need in order to engage in deep, life-long learning as successful citizens in today’s society. Students were learning to communicate their ideas and thinking. They were learning to listen, contribute, and to consider diverse perspectives, and, importantly, to build consensus. Students were learning to collaborate and value the input of others. Some you could see were frustrated and had to learn to be patient with their group members. Some you could see struggled to join in and had to learn to find their place and voice in the activity. Students came away learning that teamwork was integral to building a successful structure. They were learning to collaborate to plan, to carry out, and to accomplish a goal. For some, this was not an easy task. Students were learning to evaluate their ideas, decide which ones to develop, refine, and work to realize them. Students had to learn to persevere and use failure productively if they were to succeed. Some may question the time 612 students and 35 teachers spent playing with spaghetti, tape and string, but here at Cambridge we know and value that this is exactly what learning is all about.


Contributed by Shelagh Lim.
alevin eggIn January, we welcomed 108 Coho eggs from the Serpentine Enhancement Society’s Tynehead Hatchery into our classroom incubator. There were 110, but two of them died before we put them into the tank. We kept our tank dark and cold to duplicate what the environment would be like if they were in the river but we made observations every few days.

pic0176After a month, our eggs began to hatch into alevin. A few of the alevin died, but because we are learning how to be good scientific observers, we put the dead alevin under the microscope and had a good look at them. Here you can see the colouring camouflage that they have to hide from predators as well as the eye, nostril and mouth. Bennett wondered if we could get the mouth open to have a look at the teeth, but the mouth wouldn’t open wide enough.

Bennett MasonOnce the alevin began to button up [turn into fry] we had a lot of visitors come to see the salmon! We explained how the salmon migrate, about the different species of salmon and why our tank was a great place to rear salmon. “We learned how important the salmon are to our marine ecosystem and how culturally they are to First Nations peoples. “ ~ Mason and Jacob

Part of our learning included visiting the Historic Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston to learn about the historic perspective of the salmon industry to BC. “I learned how important salmon are to BC’s heritage.” ~ Eric We saw the canning line and learned about the people who worked in the cannery. Some of what we learned was disturbing – depending what your job was and what ethnicity or gender you were made a huge difference to your pay. We visited the Fisherman’s Memorial at Garry Point and reflected on how dangerous fishing can be.

CanneryOur final event was last week when after five months, we returned the Coho to the Serpentine River. We met Carol and Chris who, along with many others, volunteer at the Hatchery. “…releasing them [our Coho] was

Photo: Jake K.

Photo: Jake K.

hard because we’ve had them for five months and we got kind of attached to them (and seeing 10 000 hatchery fish released at the same time was AWESOME!) We learned a lot of new things during the tour, as how to identify a fish as male or a female, and we got to hold some huge frozen fish of different types. We got to release their fish, and we got to fish them out of their artificial habitat. We got to feed the adult steelheads and saw a CD farm, used to protect the Coho salmon living there. (Birds can’t land with little runway) We surveyed the surrounding area by the hatchery, and found some interesting wildlife and plants. We learned about some invasive species, species that aren’t naturally from there. Knowing that all the people that work there are volunteers makes it even better, that people actually care about the salmon, and learning that salmon are such a crucial part of or culture is very cool and interesting.” ~ Caellum

We released 92 fry into the river which is a success rate of 85%. We are very proud of our job ensuring that the salmon live in Surrey rivers for generations to come!


It’s all the little things that mothers selflessly do everyday that make them the special people they are. To all the moms out there…HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!



Our bell schedule for next year reflects an additional 6 minutes of instructional time due to a compressed 2015-16 school year (which begins September 8, 2015 and ends June 23, 2016).

8:27 a.m. Welcome bell
8:32 a.m. Classes begin
10:12 a.m Recess
10:27 a.m. Classes resume
11:45 a.m. Students eat lunch
12:00 p.m. Student activity time outside
12:30 p.m. Classes resume
2:30 p.m. Dismissal

8-First day of school – 10:00-11:00 a.m.
9-First FULL day of school – 8:32 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
9-Running Club Begins
16-Kindergarten students begin FULL DAYS
24-Meet the Teacher-Community BBQ – Time TBD
28-Professional Development Day – Classes not in session

9-Final day of Running Club
12-Thanksgiving – Classes not in session
16-Interim Student Learning Communications sent home
23-Professional Development Day – Classes not in session

10-Remembrance Day Assembly
11-Remembrance Day – Classes not in session
13-Professional Development Day – Classes not in session

4-Term 1 Student Learning Communications sent home
9-Early Dismissal at 1:30 p.m. for Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences
10-Early Dismissal at 1:30 p.m. for Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences
18-Final day of classes before Winter Break

4-Classes resume

8-Family Day – Classes not in session
18-Student-Led Conferences
19-Professional Development Day – Classes not in session

4-Term 2 Student Learning Communications sent home
8-Early Dismissal at 1:30 p.m. for Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences
14-25-Spring Break – Classes not in session
28-Easter Monday – Classes not in session

6-Professional Development Day – Classes not in session
23-Victoria Day – Classes not in session
30-Professional Development Day – Classes not in session

1-Parent Tea
3-Kindergarten Orientation
10-Sports Day
17-Grade 7 Celebration
23-Year-End Assembly
23-Term 2 Student Learning Communications sent home
23-Early Dismissal at 1:30 p.m. for Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences
24-Administration Day – Classes not in session


Each school year, parents support their child(ren)’s formal learning experiences in a wide variety of ways. We so appreciate all that you do to ensure a successful year!

In addition to providing the school supplies itemized on a grade list, parents are periodically asked for monies to cover specific items and/or special events. No student will be denied the opportunity to participate in any school activity due to the inability to pay. Please contact the Principal should you require any financial assistance.

As we plan for the 2015/16 school year, we anticipate the following costs:

Student Planner: We encourage all students in Grades 1-6 to purchase a School Planner at a cost of $5.00. Included in the planner is our school code of conduct, school calendar and school district information. We find this to be an excellent tool for facilitating home/school communication, as well as for developing our students’ organizational skills. However, using our school planner is optional as a parent may purchase their own version. Grade 7 teachers have decided to use alternative methods of home/school communication which will be shared with parents early in September, 2015.

Field Studies and Field Trips: Classes often enjoy educational visits to community facilities which extend and enhance the curriculum. While we use school monies or fundraise to cover the costs of such activities wherever possible, there are times when parents are asked to contribute towards the cost of the trip. If you choose to have your child not participate in a field study, a suitable program will be provided at the school.

Musical Instruments: Grade 4 students learn to play the recorder. Students will have the option of purchasing one through our music teacher for $8.00 or receiving one on loan from the school. Also, our Grade 7 students who make the decision to take band either purchase or rent an instrument. Costs vary depending on the instrument.

School Supplies: Parents have the option of purchasing their child’s school supplies on their own utilizing the grade supply list or for your convenience you may wish to purchase supplies as a package through EDU-PAC Payment is made directly to EDU-PAC. Costs for supplies vary based on grade. Bulk orders are done for Kindergarten supplies. The anticipated cost per student is $25.00, but this cost is tentative. Parents have the option of contributing their own supplies to the class. Supply lists will be made available shortly in order for you to order, or purchase your own supplies.

Please do not hesitate to call us at the school if you have any questions: 604-595-4036.



Here is the Track and Field schedule for the coming week:

Please check the CambridgeLearns blog weekly for updated schedules. We look forward to a fun Track and Field season!


The date of our Spring Family Fun Fair has changed!

New date: Friday, June 5th
5:00-8:00 pm

If you would like to sponsor the event, or have products or services you are able to donate, it would be greatly appreciated. More details will be following shortly.

Thank you in advance for your continued support!

Shortly, we will begin the VERY TENTATIVE process of organizing classes for the 2015-16 school year. If you would like to make a request about your child’s placement for next year, please put this in writing and submit your letter to Mr. Vendramin by May 15. Requests may include a description of a preferred learning environment or details about your child. It would not be considered appropriate for parents to request a particular teacher by name.

Parent requests will be one part of our decision-making process as we work collaboratively to create the best possible learning environments for all students.


The competition is heating up! Check back weekly for updates.

Grade 2/3 Standings W-L-T
Team 1 – 1-2-0
Team 2 – 2-1-0
Team 3 – 2-1-0
Team 4 – 1-2-0

Team 1 vs Team 2 – 1-4
Team 2 vs Team 3 – 4-6
Team 3 vs Team 4 – 1-0
Team 1 vs Team 4 – 0-2
Team 1 vs Team 3 – 1-0
Team 2 vs Team 4 – 3-1

Grade 4/5 Standings W-L-T
Team 1 – 1-0-1
Team 2 – 0-2-0
Team 3 – 1-0-1
Team 4 – 1-1-0

Team 1 vs Team 2 – 4-1
Team 3 vs Team 4 – 9-5
Team 1 vs Team 3 – 0-0
Team 2 vs Team 4
Team 1 vs Team 4
Team 2 vs Team 3

Grade 6/7 Standings W-L-T
Team 1 – 0-0-3
Team 2 – 1-0-1
Team 3 – 0-1-1
Team 4 – 1-1-1

Team 1 vs Team 2 – 7-7
Team 3 vs Team 4 – 2-3
Team 1 vs Team 3 – 2-2
Team 2 vs Team 4 – 4-2
Team 1 vs Team 4 – 3-3
Team 2 vs Team 3



Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 1.41.56 PM



12-Grade 2 classes to Grouse Mountain
13-Grade 6 Immunizations
13-Grade 7 students to Sullivan Heights – 12:15-2:00 p.m.
13-Division 7 and 9 – Swimming at YMCA – 12:30-2:15 p.m.
14-Fine Arts Performance: Magician Sheldon Casavant – 9:00 a.m.
15-Panorama and Team Photos
18-Victoria Day Holiday – Classes not in session
21-Grade 4 classes to Capilano Suspension Bridge
22-Spring Family Fun Fair – 5:00-8:00 p.m.
25-Professional Day
26-Division 20, 21, 22 to Pacific Space Centre
27-Division 7 and 9 – Swimming at YMCA – 12:30-2:15 p.m.
28-Assembly – 8:45 a.m.
29-Talent Show – 1:00 p.m.

1-Parent “Thank You” Tea
1-PAC Meeting (AGM) – 7:00 p.m.
2-Sullivan Heights Carnival – 3:30-6:00 p.m.
3-District Track Meet – Bear Creek Park
4-Kindergarten Orientation 12:45-1:45 p.m.
12-Sports Day
17-Panorama Youth Company dance performance – 1:30 p.m.
19-Grade 7 Assembly
25-Last Day Before Summer Holiday
25-Final Assembly
25-Early Dismissal 1:30 p.m.
25-Term 3 Student Learning Communications


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