Guest Blog! Button Making Takes the Stage in the Classroom at Georges Vanier Elementary School (Surrey) February 12 2018

We work with a lot of schools and educators who are doing such incredible things in the classroom with their button makers. And what they are up to is too good to keep to ourselves. So we've asked some of these teachers to share their programs and results directly with you!

Anna Crosland is an awesome award-winning educator. She teaches at Georges Vanier Elementary School in Surrey, British Columbia.


At Georges Vanier Elementary, our People Power Press button maker has been a welcome addition to the student makers and creators at our school.

Our focus has been on Social Emotional Learning and students have been highly motivated to share and further develop their understanding of a number of important Core Competencies. Each of our themed designs are on different colour backgrounds with a border template that allows students to individualize their creations. It is a fully inclusive activity: Absolutely everyone can participate.

kindness in schools

Kindness Counts: A School-Wide Celebration

Our first initiative was to create Kindness Counts buttons. The goal was to encourage acts of kindness but in particular to remember the power and impact of a simple smile. All Staff and students from Kindergarten to Grade 7 drew self portraits and wore their pins proudly to school. We celebrated kindness with a school wide assembly with over 600 unique buttons.

Handy tip: Encourage students to write their names in the middle of the back of their papers. Names at the edges will be cut of by the circle template.

Maker education in schools Canada

A New Generation of Makers

We also encourage students to be Makers: to imagine, to problem-solve, to design, to work co-operatively, to build and to create. Student work is celebrated, confidence is built and students take pride in their accomplishments and efforts.

Our second school-wide initiative, K-7, gave students the opportunity to show off their latest projects, share ideas and helped to solidify the concept that everyone can be a Maker.

Orange Shirt Day Residential Schools Indigenous Peoples

Orange Shirt Day: Understanding the Impact of Residential Schools on Indigenous Peoples

Most recently a Grade 4 class created buttons for Orange Shirt Day. Students have been learning about the impact of Residential Schools on the Indigenous Peoples.

As students come to a deeper understanding, we used traditional Coast Salish Art eye shapes to accompany the message ‘Our Eyes Are Open’.

See more here:

Handy tip: When creating hundreds of unique buttons, write student names on the black plastic backings with white pencil crayons. Also, make a handful of extra pins for 'just in case' - everyone will want to be included.

Overall, the use of the People Power Press button maker has been a great success. Students are highly engaged, not only in making the buttons, but in developing a deeper connection to the message they are sharing. There is a greater understanding of the issues.

Creating the buttons, sharing the process, visibly acknowledging that the school as a whole is working together, helps build and connect our school community.

Anna Crosland is the Teacher-Librarian at Georges Vanier Elementary School in Surrey, B.C. She shares practical ideas on her blog: and on Twitter: @crosland_a 


If you have your own story of how button makers are being used in your school, library or other communities, we'd love to feature your story on the button blog too! Please contact us for more information. :)