Gr. 3-6 Students Express their #HWDSBvoices at Junior Empowerment 2013

On Monday, May 6th, 600+ elementary students from Grades 3-6 participated in the Junior Empowerment Conference. It was a dynamic day designed to give students a voice and to empower them to make a change in their schools and in their community.


  1. All student voice and graffiti wall galleries as demonstrated below can be found on the HWDSB Social Justice Network blog at
  2. A bright and early arrival for setup and to prepare for the students....
  3. It's always a fascinating site before the students arrive - it feels so empty....It will be packed soon enough.
  4. Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca) and I facilitated learning together at our station where students could offer their voice and reflection on a variety of different topics in a variety of different ways. Here, Aviva is prepping the Graffiti Wall station for the students who wish to share their ideas on paper with markers (it's always popular - no matter what age or grade). 
  5. That's me putting out the circle stickers. We ask the students to place a sticker beside other student ideas that they agree with or feel strongly about. This is sometimes called "dotmacracy" and is a great way to visually capture the frequency of a comment.
  6. All #HWDSBvoices at the Junior Empowerment Conference were captured on the Social Justice Network blog. Here the netbooks are powered up, logged onto the blog and ready to go.
  7. This is the start of the first (of two) waves and the kickoff to the day with Superintendent of Student Achievement for North Cluster and for Student Engagement, Scott Sincerbox. The students sit attentively as he introduces their keynote speaker for the morning, Rebecca Upjohn, author of the book "The Secret of the Village Fool". Each student also received a copy of the book!
  8. One aspect of our station was the "Tweet Up". Following the opening presentation, and after the students began to explore the many activities of the day, Aviva and I asked them "What do you pledge to do when you get back to your school? How can you make a change in your school and in your community?" We anticipated a large amount of students and realized that we may not have enough devices to accommodate all of them. We decided that they could tweet with a device, write their tweet in a notepad or on the graffiti paper (for us to take a picture of and upload later), or write their tweet with a Livescribe pen. We were extremely happy with the results and the students really gravitated to their medium and tool of choice.
  9. ...and there they go. There were many options for them. They could make buttons, craft a talking stick, create a helping hand (students created outlines of their hands and decorated them with the phrase "I can lend a hand by . . . " In the end, all of the hands formed the words "Lend a Hand"), and express beauty in difference. The students were also able to get their book signed by Rebecca Upjohn. There was a reflective piece for all of the activities over at our table on the graffiti wall, blog, Speaker's Corner, and Tweet Up.
  10. All posts below by Miss D & Miss B (@6dand6b) are those of the students participating in the Tweet Up - these are their words. In order to streamline the Tweeting process, and in consideration that our audience was students in Grades 3-6 (9-ish to 12-ish) and, therefore, below the requisite age of 13 for an account, Aviva logged all of the devices into her classroom account for the students to participate.