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by : Thomas
Published 18 December 2005

Havana-Toronto Elementary Class Exchange

In November of the current Canadian school year, I was approached to do a "friendly" letter exchange with a school in Havana, Cuba. I checked with my grade 4/5 students to see if they would be interested in writing a class letter to students in Cuba. They were very enthusiastic to participate in such an exchange. We decided we would write to them about our school and our class. Students wanted to include digital photos in their document. All photos were taken by them. Here are extracts from their letter...

December 10, 2005

Dear friends in Cuba,

Toronto

We are so excited to be twinned with your class. We are a grade 4/5 class in Toronto, Canada. Our school is called Jackman Avenue Public School. There are 30 students in our class. We have 17 boys and 13 girls. Our teacher’s name is Mr. Recke. (...)

Our school principal is Mr.Walsh. Our vice principal is Ms Urban. We are an English class but we also learn French every day. Our French teacher’s name is Madame Hooton. We learn French because French is one of our country’s official languages. In addition to these official languages, the top 5 languages spoken in Toronto are Chinese, Italian, Tamil, Portuguese and Spanish.

Jackman Avenue Public School

People from all over the world live in Toronto. The United Nations calls Toronto the most multi-cultured city in the world. With more than 100 cultures, Toronto is North America’s most multicultural city. (...)

A subject we really like here at Jackman is gym, otherwise known as physical education. We have physical education three times a week for 40 minutes. Our gym teacher’s name is Mr. Plytas. He teaches us running, soccer, football, basketball and hockey. Every year our school wins all sorts of awards for being one of the best cross country running teams in our community.(...) Basketball is a popular sport in Toronto. Our city’s team is called the Toronto Raptors. They are not so good this year.(...)

There are around 700 students in our school. They range in age from 4 to 12 years old. Our school was built in the 1960s. Our school is on a street called Jackman. The school is just north of the Danforth - a street that is full of shops and restaurants.

The fishOur class has some pets in it. We have a rabbit. His name is Oreo. We also have some fish. Our fish tank is huge. We have gold fish, some minnows, and some large sucker fish. The sucker fish are great because they help keep the tank clean. They don’t need much food either. We have had them for two years.

We heard that you have very special classes at school like learning to drive tractors and learning to bake. That is really cool. We also heard that you learn dancing and all sorts of sports. We would love to see photos of you doing dancing and sports. (...)

Our school does lots of work to help our environment. We have sent you illustrations of our gardens, our recycling, our composting and our green roof that we are building. We heard that your school does lots to help the environment as well. We find that really amazing.

We do many other things in our school. We recycle our paper. We bring litter-less lunch to school and we take all our food scraps out to our compost heap as you saw in our photo. But perhaps the most exciting thing we are doing is building a green roof.

Where the future green roof will beA green roof is just what it sounds like. It is a roof with self sustaining plants on it to help add oxygen to our air and to help keep our school cool in the summer and warm in the winter. (...)

Bye For Now!

From Mr.Recke and his students in room 309.