Can't sing 'O Canada' at school? Sign it.

Teacher Alison Zimmerman taught her students to sign O Canada after teaching herself by using a YouTube video.

The grade 3 class at Holy Rosary Catholic School sign O Canada each morning while it plays over the PA

London elementary class signs O Canada

1 year ago
Duration 0:20
London elementary teacher Alison Zimmerman taught her students to sign O Canada after teaching herself by using a YouTube video. 0:20

When Alison Zimmerman set up her classroom this fall, she made sure all the desks were precisely five floor tiles apart. 

"I remember thinking, 'Oh, my gosh, it looks like 1957 in here,'" said Zimmerman, who teaches grade 3 at Holy Rosary Catholic School in London, Ont.

Plus, her 18 students wouldn't be able to sing either. Not even O Canada.

"There's no out-loud singing because of COVID," Zimmerman said. "We're trying to limit how much we express ourselves verbally."

Zimmerman found a solution.

"I was searching around on YouTube and I found another teacher in Ottawa and she had her students demonstrate it in American Sign Language," she said.

"So after many, many rounds of practicing myself, I taught my students. And that's how we we sing O Canada with our hands every morning," said Zimmerman who tweeted out a video that has now been viewed more than 12,000 times thanks to a retweet by Margaret Atwood.

As for her students, Zimmerman said they're excited, especially after learning what 'going viral' means.

"I have a different student leading it in front of the entire class every day," said Zimmerman. "So they really got on board."

"And it's it's a nice way, I think, for us to remember that we're really lucky and really privileged to live in Canada. 


Rebecca Zandbergen

Host, London Morning

Rebecca Zandbergen is from Ottawa and has worked for CBC Radio across the country for more than 20 years, including stops in Iqaluit, Halifax, Windsor and Kelowna.


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