RESERVE MINES, N.S. -- The Grade 2 students in Ashley Gouthro’s class at Tompkins Elementary in Reserve Mines have been practising O Canada in sign language every day.

They came up with the idea when they started thinking outside the box for a new way to express patriotic pride.

One day, their teacher realized the answer was right under her nose -- in the form of one of her own pupils.

"We have a student in the class who is familiar with the sign language program because she is hard of hearing, and we decided that sign language would be a perfect way to represent our country during this unprecedented time," Gouthro said.

That student is Kylie MacDonald, who seems to enjoy the experience and the fact her classmates are learning how to sign.

"I can tell what everyone is saying by doing sign language," MacDonald says.

It’s a learning experience that can be done at a physical distance.

And Gouthro says some of her students are practising their signing at home and with kids in other classes.

It’s something the entire school is proud of.

"They’re just demonstrating the sign language with all their heart," said teacher Lonita Loro. "You can see it in their eyes, their actions. And again, they’re doing a good job."

For generations, students have sung O Canada to start their day, but for these students, it was a chance to get outside their comfort zones and learn something new during COVID-19.

"It’s a great learning experience," Gouthro said. "It’s probably something that we wouldn’t have done otherwise."

A sign of the times, you might say.