Still Working Away

With time just flying by, I’ve been ‘slipping’ in my photo taking, and consequently, my posts!! But, here a few updates on our latest learning.

Reflection Books: Last week, students reflected on how well they have been using their learning skills since the progress reports.  They justified their thoughts honestly, and decided what areas they would continue to work on.

Writing: Students are wrapping up their second informational reports, working to improve on their first efforts. They pursued their own areas of interests and  generated a wide range of topics, from motorcycle safety, aircrafts, and cool cars, to pesticides, chlorine side affects, and pig slaughter. Working to use all the strategies we have discussed in writing workshops, students are encouraged to `mess up`their drafts with revisions.

Math – in addition to continued algebra challenges, we have begun work on probability. In so doing, we have noticed the usefulness of ratios, fractions, and percents. We have used objects (like the coloured snowflakes below) as provocations to discuss theoretical probability, and, have incorporated art to represent experimental results.


A Few Week Highlights

Summarizing a few learning highlights from the week:

Coding challenges in the computer lab with Mrs. W

Making Words Challenge in the classroom

Generating questions for the Gr. 5’s as we listened to their presentations

Striving to complete our science art so it could be displayed in the front foyer. (We hope to put together some pics to post online.)

And now that we have communicated our thinking artistically, students have been asked to collect some numerical data to support the big idea of their art so we can communicate mathematically. Information is due by next Wednesday 

Algebraic Thinking

Today we saw how a picture book could be used for different audiences and purposes. Equal Shmequal  is a book I have used with primary students to teach the idea of balancing a scale. Today we showed how algebraic thinking could show what was happening with the characters, representing each animal with a variable .

Following the plot of the story, students were then given a question that required them to find eqalities between variables and generate several possible equations.

“I don’t get it!!”

As we were reminded of how the Pink Shirt day got started, we were also reminded of the power of taking positive action. Students shared their thoughts through discussions and short pieces of writing. One of our classmates inspired applause when he read his writing aloud:

Blue and pink. I don’t get it. When I look in my wardrobe, I don’t see “girl” clothes or “boy” clothes. I see clothes. When I look at markers, I don’t separate them into girl colours and boy colours. I see colours! When I watch TV,  I see TV shows. NOT girl shows and boy shows. They’re all the same thing. This stuff is an outrage. We need to MAKE IT STOP!! 


Tidbits From Friday

Thank you to Mrs Hood and School Council for Friday’s Pizza Lunch in recognition of our collaborative Pumpkin Carving efforts in October.

In small Reading Groups, we have been looking for clues and strategies for identifying the main message of non-fiction texts. THIEVES is one strategy we tested out. Before reading a text, we looked at the Title, Headings, Introduction, Every first (or second) sentence, Visuals and Ending to Steal away clues and predict what the main focus or message of the text might be. While we read, we also recognized the author’s use of purposeful repetition to emphasize the ‘Big Idea”. 

In addition to using our white boards for algebra talks this week, we also used them to our answer Friday’s question of the day: What act of kindness do you remember someone doing that brightened your day? 

Homework Challenge: Students did not get an outline or written expectations about their homework task this week. This was a purposeful choice. In efforts to develop leadership, we had discussions in class, and the challenge to take initiative was put forth. Students should be ready to contribute/share ideas tomorrow. We’ll see who was listening !! 

Guest Instructor and Heartfelt Talk

With a guest instructor from DanceMakerz studio today, we had an extended gym class where we learned a number of movements, transitions, and formations to use in our  dance assignment from Ms. Marion. The session involved the practice of isolated moves, opportunities to show some courage while dancing in front of a large group, and a freeze dance to finish things off.

Later in the day, we set aside some time to discuss the effect of our word choices when speaking to others. In an anonymous questionnaire, students agreed 100% that the language being used by Gr 6 students towards one another needs to improve. To reinforce the lasting effect of unkind/uninvited/offensive comments, we poked a hole in our paper hearts for each example that was generated. We were left with hearts that could not be completely repaired. So, now we are asking ourselves: Is this how we want to feel? Is this how we want our classmates/schoolmates to feel? How are we going to BE THE CHANGE? Students will be asked to reflect on these questions as we strive to encourage kindness over negativity well beyond Bully Awareness Week.

Time for an Update

Boy time flies! Here’s a little bit of what we’ve been up to.

Presented with a number of challenges in science, students have had the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding in a variety of ways while also developing their organization and self-regulation skills. They have shown their ability to research, classify and compare a range of plant and animal species, with appropriate vocabulary. And, after getting feedback on their art plans, some students began their creations today. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.

Yesterday we watched portions of a 20/20 episode called Wonder Boy, whose focus was a boy whose life closely emulated the story Wonder. In addition to analyzing the features/strategies used by the TV News Magazine Show to tell its story, we had some great discussions about the impact of our words and actions in response to the appearance or abilities of others.

Our mathematical thinking has included prime and composite numbers and problem solving with multiples. We continue to learn from one another by sharing and comparing our strategies for finding a solution and for communicating those findings.

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.