“Best math class ever!”

So, when your classroom has a kitchen, you gotta cook, right? Students have been asking to cook again (I knew I was in trouble after baking the first day!), so I told them I would look for curriculum expectations we can incorporate. As a result, today we made some pumpkin waffles. 

First, students were given a recipe for 8 waffles, and had to adjust the amounts for their group of four. To make this activity more challenging, the amounts had been altered to include fractions, decimals and units that needed conversions. Groups of four then followed their recipe, where they came upon a few challenges. For instance, not all the measuring cups/spoons matched their recipes so they had to calculate how they would use alternate tools. Also, the brown sugar’s unit was grams, so they had to use a scale. They also had to account for the mass of the container that held the sugar.

While their timer did the cooking count down, students were responsible for washing up dishes for the next group, and then enjoyed the ‘fruits of their labour”. We recognized many of the ways that math helped us make waffles, though we forgot to mention the time management factor. Our last cooks were down to the wire. It was a busy afternoon, but hearing students exclaim,  “This was the best math class ever”, makes all the effort worth it!

Earlier this week, we were active listeners during the election speeches, keeping notes about effective strategies, before then voting.

And, we said goodbye to our final butterfly on Wednesday. From the safety of our classroom, to a windy day outside, Jade clung to the school for a while before setting off. The students have enjoyed our monarch butterfly season, but are now asking about  getting a new pet.  I’m kinda fond of the Chia Pet or Pet Rock suggestions!! 🙂 

TERRY FOX RUN and PLAY DAY tomorrow. Harvey’s lunch available. Note with prices was sent home today.

PIZZA, SUBS, PITA PIT forms were sent home with interested students. All due next week.

MEDIA HOMEWORK – Due on Tuesday. Congrats to the students who brought their election posters in early. Good show of initiative and organization. 

Week of October 2

Today we had some math talks about the following questions:

Which does not belong? (WDNB) How do we read these numbers? A decimal is a number. True or False

Math talks are a regular part of our math program and allow for students to strengthen their communication skills as they share their understandings through group discussions that are respectful and encourage risk taking. In addition to using our listening skills, contributing ideas and/or asking for clarification is a great way to take responsibility for our learning. We are respectful of others’ ideas and use language like, “I would like to add on to what…..said” or “I respectively disagree because…”

Media Homework: Building on work we have done in class, students have been asked to create an election poster for a position (real or imaginary) that they would run for if they could. An outline was sent home today. Due next Tuesday Oct. 10

Photo Day – originally scheduled for tomorrow, photo day has been postponed until October 23

Terry Fox Run/Get Acquainted Day: This Friday students will be spending most of the day outdoors- dress accordingly. Harvey lunch will be available.

Looking Back: Last week we released our butterfly ‘friends’- one male, one female. Can you tell which is which? 

We’ve Also Been…

… Using Student Council Election posters for some Media Response work. What is the purpose of the poster? What is the overt message? The implied message? What strategies were used to convey the message? What is your opinion on the effectiveness of the poster?

…Demonstrating our Learning Skills- This afternoon, we did a touch of S.D.L. (self directed learning) to test out our self regulation skills. Students were reminded of some tasks that needed to be done, and were asked to generate a ‘post – it plan’ of how they would organize their time to complete the tasks. Students kept their plans nearby, checked off completed tasks as they went, and finished off with a self assessment. We later shared our successes, and our challenges in hopes that we could learn from each other for next time. 

…Watching and waiting for our butterflies to emerge, and of course, it happened during French! At first students were curious why one was so small. But we realized the small size was an indication of how recently it had emerged, wings still folded up from being inside the chrysalis. One more butterfly to go! 

No Monkeys, No Chocolate

Ok – I admit it. I used the title of a book to create a catchy heading, but we did use the text to reinforce both our listening skills and our understanding of biodiversity.

One of our expectations in oral language is to identify the thinking strategies we use to listen effectively. As the book, No Monkeys, No Chocolate was read aloud to them, students listened for key information, made notes and/or sketches, and then explained which strategies were helpful in determining and understanding the main message of the text. 

Students felt visualizing, asking questions/wondering, making connections, and identifying important details were important in understanding the main idea of the book. We did note that we have some work to do on our explanations of how the strategies were helpful. We all agreed the book was a good example of interrelationships within a habitat, and of the importance of biodiversity. 

Biodiversity is a strand of science we have been incorporating throughout our reading, group discussions, and writing. Prior to Wanakita, students selected topics they would like to report on while communicating the bigger message that ‘Biodiversity is a source of strength’. They have been doing research within class, but have also been encouraged to collect information outside of class to support their work.

Haliburton Highlights

It was a fantastic outdoor education week at Camp Wanakita. Hope all our ‘happy campers’ were able to recap their activities for you. If not, here are a few highlights to help guide your discussions/questions:

Cabin groups stayed with Counselors nestled on the edge of the forest, where you might see a rafter of wild turkeys wander by! Each cabin group took turns setting tables and sweeping floors, and all campers were encouraged by the ‘Food Waste Fairy’ and Dragon to aim for zero food waste – “Take what you need, eat what you take”

Each day found us hiking for hours through the woods, where we deepened our appreciation for nature’s cycles and interrelationships.

Many activities were designed to strengthen our observation skills…

including daily visits to our ‘Magic Spots’. It was pretty amazing to see students sit, look, and listen SILENTLY for 20 – 30 minutes.

We found several examples of how trees were adapting to survive.

Some of the activities that received an enthusiastic response from students…

emulating the growth of moss

making soil,

and passing the energy used to make an apple vs. a hamburger

Large group activities included making wood ‘cookies’, playing ‘runanagrams’, and Survivor.

In their free time students enjoyed…

In the evenings we had campfires, sing songs, story telling, and night hikes. On our last night we made bracelets with beads to represent the life and energy on earth as well as the letters we focused on all week. Ask your child to tell you what E.C.D.C.I.C.A. represent!!

Thanks Moms and Dads for allowing us this opportunity!!

Using Our Homework # Facts

When students brought in their large number facts last Thursday, we used the opportunity for some oral language skills as well. Each student presented their information in front of the group, while their classmates were responsible for recording key notes, asking for clarification when needed (as good listeners do).

The next day, groups were given the same numbers and facts as a mixed pile. Together they found matches, and then worked to sequence the numbers from least to greatest.

A few of the interesting facts we heard: Did you know there were 15 000 vacuum cleaner related accidents in 1990? That in one year, Americans eat 1.2 million pounds of chips and buy 3 million miles of dental floss?

Wanakita Reminder

Two more sleeps!

Tomorrow students will receive a last reminder note for Tuesday’s trip to Camp Wanakita: Please remember:

  • we plan to leave at 8:00- please come at 7:45 a.m. to load luggage on the bus.
  • to make sure any medication is clearly labelled in a ziplock bag, and times and dosages are clear. This includes “just in case” medications, like Tylenol or Advil. Teachers must keep all medication, except  frequent use inhalers and epipens.
  • to administer Gravol for the ride to Wanakita at home, and make sure to give to me Gravol for the way home- again in labelled bag.
  • space will be limited on the bus for luggage- try to stick to the packing list!
  • to include a lunch to eat when we arrive at Wanakita.  The first prepared meal for us is dinner (about 5:00)
  • to pack a reusable water bottle that can be refilled, used on hikes, lunch the first day, bus rides, and for medication
  • our bathroom stop will be about Barrie. Students will not be able to buy anything and need no money on our trip.
  • hats, sunscreen, reusable water bottle, as well as layers for cooler weather at night.

Students not attending Wanakita will be joined by some students from Ms. Steinberg’s class and will follow our regular schedule with a supply teacher.


‘Luck of the Draw’ Seating

We have a variety of seating options in our class and during the first week, students selected their seat of choice as they entered each day.

This week we have changed it up a bit. Desks/Tables were numbered (into the millions) and students prepared a number word card to match each spot. Now, as students enter, they select a card from a bag and must find their corresponding #. Not only are we reinforcing some number sense, but we are challenging our flexibility, getting a chance to explore different seating options, and, learning to collaborate with a variety of classmates. 

We might find ourselves at a table for 3, a cozy spot for 2, a window seat with plenty of natural lighting, or high up at a counter ‘desk’.  


Students are not ‘glued’ to these spots, however. Bean bag chairs, saucer chairs, milk crates, the floor, and the carpet are popular reading locations.     

Monarchs in Our Classroom

No matter what the grade, monarch caterpillars can find a place in the curriculum. In Grade 6, our 3 caterpillars (four if you count the chrysalis), are helping us engage in conversations about biodiversity.

One of the ways biodiversity is shown is within a species. (e.g. butterflies). 

But why is there a need for so many kinds of butterflies? For a few years, many people have been concerned about the decline of monarch butterflies. But does it matter if they go extinct? What would happen?  

During writing workshop, we discussed the difference between ‘thin’ and ‘thick’ questions a writer might ask to produce an informative, deep thinking piece of writing. We have just started generating our own topics to support the big idea: Biodiversity is critical to the health of the planet. Once students have narrowed down their topic, and generated some thick (deep thinking) questions, they are encouraged to gather information from which to research. They will be doing the writing at school.

Reminder about tomorrow: Large number facts are due. Meet the Teacher 5:30-7:00.

Looking at Large Numbers

Over these first couple weeks, we are looking at large numbers (to the millions) – how to read, write and represent them. In addition to demonstrating our knowledge in small groups, students were asked to match a variety of large numbers to descriptors that made sense for their number. The surprising facts came from National Geographic and a DLK books. Did you know our bodies contain about 96 561 km of blood vessels? Slugs have 3 000 teeth, there are 31 556 926 seconds in a year, and, a lock of Elvis Presley’s hair once sold for       $115 120!


We then looked at the design of the pages within, to incorporate some media. We identified the audience and purpose of the pages, as well as the strategies used to effectively engage readers. (different fonts, colours, pictures, layouts etc.)


Students are now working to create their own page design, utilizing facts that incorporate large numbers (represented in words and numerals), and, the strategies/features they feel will attract others to read their facts.

Homework: Students have been asked to bring in two more large number facts to school by Thursday.