Showing our Learning and Listening Skills

Last week, students had  the opportunity to demonstrate responsibility and initiative with the completion of their homework task. After handing in a copy of their speech, students received feedback on post-its, providing them an opportunity to strive for excellence by making revisions before presenting. Several students took this initiative.

4-6 students a day have been presenting, while others listened on. Listeners have been given the challenge of identifying the speech’s big idea, 3 supporting facts, and offering a reflection about the information they heard.  Again, students are given feedback for their responses, allowing them an opportunity to make improvements over time.   

Yesterday, the whole school demonstrated their respectful listening during a Remembrance Day Ceremony run by Student Council and featuring community veteran Mr. Thomas. We later worked in small groups to read several Remembrance Day books from the library, with the purpose of identifying the target audience, the big idea, and writing strategies used by the author.

This week’s Homework Task was sent home on Wednesday (due on Wed. 15th not Tuesday). For those who lost their copy….

Identify 3 different war memorials/monuments that recognize Canada’s history. Select one and explain the importance/significance of its existence and its location.

Express your thoughts and feelings about the importance of the memorial in helping people understand Canada’s heritage. The form of communication is your choice, but you must be accurate, thorough, and thoughtful.

Please provide your sources of information.

Warming Up Our Brains with Estimation

Last Thursday, students were presented with an empty aquarium (well, empty of water), three containers, and the challenge to estimate the number of units needed to fill the tank. Two units were non-standard (blue cup and dixie cup), and one was standard (mL).

Today, after gathering new information, students were given the option of adjusting their estimates. We determined that six dixie cups filled one blue cup and one blue cup equated 500 mL . After adding 6 blue cup fulls of water to the aquarium,  we had new information to gauge our estimates.

Many students adjusted their original estimates, demonstrating their ability to rationalize. E.g. “I estimate the tank to be 1/6 full. Since that took 6 blue cups, I think it will take 36 blue cups to fill the tank. That also means 216 dixie cups (6 x 36) and 18 L (36 divided by 2) since 500 mL is half a litre”

Lots of good thinking! 


Updates and Reminders- Week of Nov. 6

Book Fair: Tomorrow is the last day for the Book Fair in the library.

Theatre Tickets: Mrs. W distributed trip forms to students who were interested in attending Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat at Theatre Aquarius. There are limited spots, so it will be first come, first serve. You can also see the school’s website for more information. 

Photos: Individual photos were sent home last Thursday. Retakes will take place on November 21st. No word yet on class photos. 

Report Envelopes: Just a reminder to return the Progress Report Envelopes so they can be used again for reports in January and June.Thank you to all those who met with me last week.  

Homework: A reminder to students they are to hand in a copy of their speech on Tuesday. 


With the goal of working on our skills in collaborating, problem solving, communicating clearly, and thinking more deeply, this week we continued to build on our mathematical wonders. We used questions from last week, as well as generating some new ones. 

Students read an article/post by the World Wildlife Federation about the environmental impact on  chocolate production, which had us questioning both mathematically, and ethically.

We also read some mathematical information regarding the usage of food banks in Hamilton and Canada.


After generating many questions, students indicated which of those they would like to investigate.

They set out to collaborate, investigate, verify, communicate, and then, reflect. 

For instance, one group of students wondered, “How many people could be fed with the total of food donated by our school during the Halloween for Hunger campaign?” They knew they would have to … 


After gathering totals collected by School Council and then adding our own class contribution, they then had to estimate how many items they thought would be needed for a meal. In their reflections, some students communicated to the class, that they were surprised. They felt many more people would have been fed. Our next step? To decide how can we use this information to make a difference.

We didn’t finish our sharing or reflecting, but some of it did get observed by a photographer from the Hamilton Spectator. We had been asked last minute, if we could demonstrate some of our math strategies to support an upcoming article. Turns out, the photos are in today’s paper, if you want to check it out. 

Collaboration Pays Off

It was a team effort when asked to carve a pumpkin for today’s Halloween FunRaiser. The pumpkins, provided by School Council, were carved in Gr. 6-8 classes to act as decoration for the day long school dances. When a Gryphon was suggested by a few students, the rest got on board and contributed ideas to build on the Greenleaf theme.  After the scoopers, the sketchers, and the carvers were done, the sign makers and vine makers added the finishing touches. So, we had a carved Gryphon, with a sign that read ‘Greatness Grows at Greenleaf’, and a vine ‘growing’ from the stem (peduncle!) full of leaves of virtues. And, the result of our team effort was winning the pumpkin carving contest, and therefore, a class pizza party! Super job 6A!!! 

Another great team effort has been shown in the collecting of canned goods. We have over 80 items, and have been able to apply some mathematical skills along the way. In our agenda today, students were challenged to calculate the latest mass and capacity totals, recognizing the difference in measurement units and adjusting accordingly (e.g. don’t add kg and g together unless a conversion has been made). If you haven’t had a chance to make your donation, there’s still time tomorrow and Thursday. Thank you for supporting our Food Drive.

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Media Monday

Looking at the messages on clothing today, we observed that the purpose of some shirts was pretty direct/clear. Support a team or event with names and logos.

Some included a well known logo/brand along with a message that we had to think and wonder about…

And some supported a brand/business in a more indirect way, where again, we had to look for clues and infer the meaning. 

Well done, to students who remembered to wear their media today. You were able to complete the task of explaining the design choices made to communicate your direct or implied messages. 

Halloween Candy Wonders

When a box of chocolate bars was placed in the middle of the class, students had several questions. Mostly, “Do we get to eat them?”. But, when asked to generate questions that could be answered with some mathematical thinking, they came up with a greater variety. (Though some tried to get clever with, “How many do we get to eat?”)

After sharing and sorting the questions, students selected a question they wanted to investigate. We shared our findings/discoveries and determined whether the question was quick or easy to solve, or if the solution was more involved.

Some of our questions included: How many of each chocolate bar are in the box? (Is it 25 each)? How many boxes of smarties could fit into the package? How much does the box weigh? If you ate all the chocolate bars in the box, how many calories would you be eating? How much sugar? How much does it cost for each chocolate bar (unit price)? How many smarties are in one box?

We didn’t answer all our questions, so we’ll try to fit in a few more tomorrow. We did discover, however, the question we thought had a simple solution, “How many smarties in a box?”, took longer than expected. Turns out, not every box had the same number of smarties, so we had to check several, and use the mode.

6B’s Week Ahead Reminders


Media Homework: Wear clothing that communicates a message, either directly or indirectly. Be prepared to explain how design choices were used to communicate the message.

Coming Home: Progress Reports and New Homework Task: Speech #2 

Pumpkin Carving: School council will be providing classes a pumpkin to design for the dances on Tuesday 

Tuesday:Halloween FunRaiser (Students may bring costume, board games, small treats) 

Thursday: Parent/Teacher Conferences – see school site or previous post for booking a time slot

Friday: PA Day, morning conferences

Playful Learning in Gr. 6??!

As a longtime primary teacher, one of my ‘concerns’ going into Gr. 6 was that  students would think I was treating them like ‘babies’. Singing instructions, or  channeling my inner Dr. Seuss with silly rhymes has been so ingrained, that I found myself making a conscious effort to ‘hold back’.  But, as I ‘test out the waters’, I am constantly reassured that as fast as kids seem to grow up, they still want to be playful in their learning. The latest toy learning tool that has received great enthusiasm, has been puppets. I first put out a few puppets to provoke conversation, and then received many requests for different animals. So, after digging into my ‘too large’ collection, students were quite animated as they practised their skill of comparing animal characteristics using proper scientific vocabulary. The ‘bad news’ for them? I suspect the silly songs and rhymes will soon follow!!   

Food Bank Math

Two of our classmates got us off to a good start with their Halloween 4 Hunger donations today, so of course, we’re seizing the opportunity to further our math skills.

As we gather more food items, we will be calculating the accumulating mass and capacity. In addition to some addition (!!), we can work in some decimals and conversions. Today, the total mass of our items is 1891 grams or 1.891 kg. Thank you in advance for helping to support the Food Bank AND your child’s math skills!!

Another math skill we have been working on this week is communication. Working in pairs, students we challenged to find as many strategies as they could to prove 1 and 1/2  is larger than 5/4. Strategies included number lines, money, pictures, converting to percentages, cuisenaire rods, and equivalent fractions. We held math talks to compare findings and were able to reinforce the importance of neatness and accuracy (taking the time to use the grid lines on the paper to draw shapes to ensure each fraction piece was equal). Drawing quickly or using the circle shape, limited our accuracy and effectiveness.

We also took the time to self-evaluate our collaborations, reflecting on what made us successful and where improvements might be made.