When Life Throws you Lemons, Sell Them

The Marketing class has been exploring and learning about ten important components of marketing. This week, students took on the challenge of running a lemonade stand in an online game. Through the game, they were able to learn about the importance of research, product development, pricing, sales and inventory management. They had complete control over pricing, quality, inventory and supplies, and their goal was to make as much money as possible over a 14 day period. It’s not as easy as it sounds though, as students needed to account for the weather, customer satisfaction and feedback, popularity, money, and inventory.

Although some students were more successful than others, everyone had fun trying to find the perfect balance between all the different factors at play. In addition, the game did well to demonstrate that marketing is more than just about sales and advertising. Soon enough, students will take these newly learned skills to put together a marketing plan of their own.

The Y-Fi: Creating a Digital Student Magazine in Magazine Club

Y-Fi Magazine

This year in the magazine club, a group of students has been working to publish a quarterly magazine for their YMCA Academy peers. In creating the first issue of The Y-Fi Magazine, available to the student body next week, the group has learned a lot about collaborating with each other: sharing ideas, making decisions together, giving feedback, and sometimes compromising.

The magazine includes all sorts of sections: puzzles, birthdays (of those who’ve opted to have them shared), seasonal recipes, music, movies, opinions, and more. Each section has a different editor, but students have also been eager to help each other out and offer encouragement. Many of the skills students are making use of, from writing and editing to design and digital literacy, have been developed in different courses, and it has been wonderful to see them apply these outside of class.

The process of creating a first issue has taken some time, but the learning opportunities have been many along the way. We had initially started out working with Canva, which would give us both a print edition and an online version of the magazine. However, with the move to fully virtual extracurriculars, we ran into a few challenges with this platform. Specifically, students wanted to be able to edit simultaneously without accidentally losing anyone’s contributions. With this in mind, we settled on Google Sites, as this free tool checked off all the boxes students felt they needed in order to work together successfully, and to create something that would appeal to their peers. For now, the magazine consists of text and visuals, but future issues will likely include video and audio content as well.

Finally, active Magazine Club members aren’t the only ones whose voices can come through in The Y-Fi Magazine — all Academy students can submit their ideas, artwork, letters, or feedback, and new contributors are always welcome.

Sharing Information about the Toronto Public Library



With so many of our interactions with other people and places in the city dramatically altered right now, it can be harder to find the community resources that enrich teens’ lives — and support their growth and learning. However, as the Literacy Skills class has learned and wants to share, the Toronto Public Library remains accessible in a variety of ways. And, once we’re able to connect more easily and frequently in person again, there will be even more services and programs for youth at library branches throughout the city.

The Grade 9 and 10 students in the class were tasked with collectively creating an informative website for their high school and middle school peers about a few different aspects of the library. Having a whole-school Google Classroom page means that this site is easily shared with all Academy students.

The first step, of course, was to gather the information. And while two of the city’s most impressive branches, the Toronto Reference Library and Lillian H. Smith, are within walking distance of the school, students were not able to visit these this year, so all the information had to be found on the library’s website. Fortunately, the site is filled with information, and gave students a chance to practice some of the reading skills they have been developing. Once they had gathered and collaboratively sorted their notes into different topics, students chose a topic and each wrote a paragraph to inform other teens on the subject. They then pasted and organized their writing into different web pages to create a Google Site, using various text features and graphics to make the information clearer and more engaging for their audience. They may have had a little too much fun with the images, but you can see how they were able to prevent this from distracting their readers too much by checking out their site here!

Tapping into the Entrepreneurship Spirit


We are just a week into the Entrepreneurship class but have already covered a wide range of topics. The class consists of a terrific mix of students, some of which already have entrepreneurial experience, and others who bring forth new and exciting ideas to the table.

Thus far, students have completed an entrepreneurial self-assessment, examined the pros and cons of becoming an entrepreneur, and identified essential qualities, skills and characteristics of an entrepreneur. In addition, students presented a brief profile of an entrepreneur of their choice, studied famous Canadian inventors and innovators, watched pitches from the Dragons’ Den show, and explored various different leadership styles.

Things will only get more exciting as students test their leadership skills in fun games and challenges, interview existing entrepreneurs to gain additional insight straight from the source, and develop their very own business plan.

There is no question of the severe impact this pandemic will have on our economy. There are many jobs, businesses, and industries that have been forced to shut down or are barely staying afloat. In some rare cases, there are examples of businesses that were fortunate enough to adapt and stay healthy during this time of crisis. As part of the course, students will analyze the ways in which different businesses have reacted to the change in market conditions.

Socially Distanced “Front to Front” Drawing



Even though during this pandemic we have to be distanced from each other, communication and collaboration are still important skills to be practicing! Last week, the Grade 9 Learning Strategies class learned about interpersonal skills and collaboration. They discussed what interpersonal skills are, why they are important and how we can best practice them (in a safe way!). They also discussed what it takes to be strong communicators and active listeners.

To put these ideas into practice, we did a “front to front” drawing exercise. In non-COVID times, this activity would be done “back to back”…but 12 students in a room with masks on talking back to back would likely be a bit too tricky! Students were paired up and asked to identify as Person A: The Speaker or Person B: The Listener. Person A was given a picture and Person B was given a blank sheet of paper and a (sanitized) pencil.

The rules were that Person A had to describe the drawing to Person B using as many details as possible! Instead of just saying “draw a circle”, they were encouraged to dive deeper and say “draw a medium sized circle, about the size of the palm of your hand in the exact centre of the page”. The catch was that Person B could not talk at all! They had to really listen to their partner and focus on what they were saying in a room filled with other distractions.

Once pairs finished the first round, they then did another and switched roles. After, we had a discussion of what strategies worked and what didn’t. Some students liked being both Speaker and Listener while others were drawn to one over the other. Overall, the activity was a blast and comparing the drawings in the end created lots of laughs. Not to mention, some of them were really accurate! It was nice to see students enjoying themselves and connecting with fellow students, despite the strange times we are in!