Speech Success

Today we spent the morning listening to speeches from students in Gr. 4 to 8 and were very proud of our classmates who both demonstrated very strong speaking skills. During a follow up discussion and writing task, many students recognized the quality of presentations and what it must be like to be in the contestants’ shoes. They also mentioned the difficult task it must be for judges to select one junior winner and one intermediate winner. In the end, a decision was announced at the end of the day, and we’re happy to say the junior winner is one of our very own classmates who will now move on to represent the school at the next level of competition in April. Congratulations!!

And now that we are good and inspired, the rest of the class has booked a day to present their own speech.

Lots of Math Today

It was a very math focused day today. In addition to ‘warming-up’ with some surface area and volume calculations,


we did a number of geometric activities involving linking cubes. These are the same manipulatives we have used with our isometric drawings.

We were challenged to : recreate an irregular 3D structure based on verbal descriptions of its top view, side view and front view. We realized the importance of clear, precise communication when comparing our resulting interpretations!

We then took turns being both the describer and the listener.

Another challenge was to create 8 different 4 cube structures and then use combinations of them to construct  a new structure based on an isometric image.

It was interesting to see who was willing to persevere and who was tempted to give up because it was hard! We then wrote a reflection about our experiences and discoveries.

During another part of our day we took some time to further consider information about straw pollution (a continuation of last week’s discoveries). Rotating in small groups, we read information from various sources and generated some more of our own wonders that we plan to further explore.


In other news… 6 of our classmates earned E for initiative as they challenged themselves to present their speeches yesterday in hopes of representing the Gr 6 classes at the school level. I have to say, I’m not cut out to be a judge! I am so proud of each of them for their courage, preparation, and clear, confident voices, that I want them all to represent us! So, in collaboration with Ms. Steinberg and all the Gr 6 students, a decision was made, and our 2 Gr. 6 representatives will be presenting tomorrow. Good luck to them both. We are confident you will make us proud!

The rest of the class have the rest of this week and the first week after the break to present a speech within the class.

Eco House Visit

It was nice change of scenery in which to do our learning today as we spent the afternoon at Hamilton’s Eco House. In addition to being respectful visitors and active participants, students were asked to look for information they could incorporate into their current science project at school.

Today’s activities included:

identifying a variety of mystery objects and presenting our ideas on how we thought the objects could help conserve energy, 

creating a decomposition timeline of organic and manufactured products,  

observing the process of composting,

playing a group game about energy usage,

learning about the value of hybrid and community share cars,

a mathematical game calculating the usage of non renewable and renewable resources, and


comparing the amount of water used for different toilets. 

And one invention that impressed many of us, was a toilet that incorporates a sink on top of its tank. When the toilet is flushed, the clean water from the tank goes to the tap for people to wash their hands before it enters the toilet bowl. 

Tomorrow we will utilize an information booklet that was given to us as we left and work to incorporate ideas from the trip into our projects.

Continue reading

Selecting Our Means of Communication

Today we spent time adding finishing touches to our science ‘projects’. Knowing they had to identify, describe, and explain a variety of information about electrical energy, students selected a means of communication they felt would be effective. The students generated ideas that include: a model (e.g. museums, an ‘ElectriCity’), brochures, a children’s story, newscast, a cartoon, report, drawing, and a science show.

To work on fluency and expression today, we did some science based Reader’s Theatre, where groups rehearsed their roles as electrons.


Out of Curiosity Comes Discovery

In a conversation about the plastics that end up in our oceans, the topic of straws came up. Not an obvious polluter or even the biggest, but plastic straws are problematic to marine life. We sought out information and found that National Geographic reports Americans as using about 500 million straws a day. Enough to circle the earth twice, and enough to fill 127 school buses. A few students wondered, “How many straws would be needed to fill our classroom?”

Our recent work on volume came in handy as students knew which dimensions they would need to determine the volume of the room. Our room is an irregular shape and we rounded to the nearest whole number, but we determined the volume to be approximately 297 cubic metres. We then determined the volume of a box of straws (honest, they were in the room already), and found it to be approx. 1895 cubic centimetres. 

So… how many boxes would fit in the room? 

Students determined they would have to make a conversion so both volumes were in the same unit. 100 cm in a metre – no problem. We made the conversions and determined 15 boxes of straws would fit in the room. But, wait. That did not make sense. Through discussions, we realized we would have to account for each linear measurement when converting: length, width and height. So…. 297 cubic metres is NOT 29 700 cubic centimetres but 297 000 000 cubic centimetres. Which means 156 728 boxes of straws could fit into our room. That made much more sense to us. Knowing each box held 500 straws we could finish our calculations. 

Out of curiosity, we made both an environmental and mathematical discovery.  We’re now considering what to do with this information.  

Week End Update

Friday was another great morning of skating, where once again, our ‘new to skating friends’ got some helpful guidance from their classmates, and showed clear improvement. Nice team effort!!

Upon our return, we browsed through all the selected ads in the Spectator Contest, which included both 6A and 6B. Each student received a copy to bring home.

Math:  We have been working on surface area and volume of prisms.

Language: Using some Olympic commercials, we identified the features of this form of media, and found that some messages were subtle and we had to infer meaning. We also worked on making revisions to our speeches.  

Science: Students were given a list of curriculum expectations earlier in the month and asked to select a form of communication that would allow them to demonstrate their knowledge. They had to generate a plan and are currently working to follow their plans. I’ll try to remember to take photos during our next session to post!


Wednesday: Trip to Eco-House- PLEASE return forms, if you have not already done so.

Tuesday: Math Homework Due 

Please return Report Card Envelopes 

Friday: PA Day

Secret Friend Reflection

There was lots of excitement last week as students implemented their Secret Friend plans. With a range of surprises that included decorated lockers, treats (bought and made), and kind notes and cards, everyone enjoyed having their day brightened. Students later wrote a reflection with comments like:  “I appreciate the thought my secret friend put into my gifts.” “I felt good about myself when my secret friend liked the surprises I left.” “I liked the idea of this activity because it was fun each day waiting and seeing people’s reactions.” “This was a really great way to be nice to one another.” “This was a great way to get know someone else better.” “Doing secret friend has probably left other students in the class feeling good about themselves because they were so thoughtful and generous.” “I think it was amazing that all these people who may not know you that well, took the time to read your information and then make it even better.” “It was awesome and brightened up every day. I hope we can something like this again.”


In other ‘News’…

We spent some time reading our speech drafts to each other to give feedback,   

explained our science art that finally came out of the front display to a Gr. 5 class,


generated some of our own similies ,


and have been working on surface area of prisms.

Students were asked to demonstrate self regulation and initiative: Determine which type of practise questions to take home and manage their time to see how many they can complete by next Tuesday.

A trip form was sent home today to be returned ASAP and a reminder for skating this Friday.  

Meeting Our Ad Deadline

With tomorrow’s deadline looming, we gave each other feedback today so we could add some finishing touches to our Bulldog ads. A few of our efforts can be seen below: 

Homework: I was hoping to get our homework note ready today but had a few ‘slow downs’, and will  have to send out details tomorrow. We did write a message in our agenda, however, to remind students to select a topic for their speech, and write a first draft for next Friday. Students who are interested in competing at the school level, will need to be ready to present their speeches at the end of the month. The rest of the class will have another week or so if they need it. Drafts should be written/typed with double spacing (skip ‘lines’) to make room for revisions. 

*****Reminder**** – Students will be outside tomorrow for ‘Olympic Day’ so they should be dressed accordingly.

Week of February 5

As we head into a new week, I first want to show a few highlights from Friday’s visit from the Scientist in the Classroom program. Our guest took us through several experiments. We determined the type of charges transferred from a balloon to  a piece of foil in a jar, ‘built’ a battery to charge a calculator, and tested different strategies for increasing the voltage. We built different circuits and used proper symbols to make diagrams, and tested out electromagnetic energy.

So this week…

Today we got going on our ad design for the Spectator contest. As previously mentioned, we are designing an ad for the Hamilton Bulldogs. Originally, they had quite a few specifications but many of them were dependent on the results of this Thursday’s game- the day we are aiming to be done. So instead, we now have to get a bit more creative. We are to come up with our own headlines with the theme of teamwork. As we get further along, we’ll share some of our ideas.

Ski Trip Reminder- Students going skiing are to meet at the school at 7:15. For the rest of us (2/3 of the class), it will be business as usual (sort of- we’ll have gym instead of MAD and no French).

Pizza Forms-students were offered pizza forms for the next session. Due on Feb. 14

Thursday Deadline – This week’s assignment- students are to provide an outline of their plans for their secret friend. 

Friday- Outdoor ‘Olympics’ – Students should be prepared to spend extra time outside (Period 3 and 4) engaged in fun cross graded ‘Olympic activities’.

Midweek Update

Spectator Ad Contest: Late today we received notice that our client is the Hamilton Bulldogs. The team has given us a list of requirements they’d like to see in their ad, and will select the ad design that best meets their needs. We will be submitting our entries next week.

More measuring:  We have worked in small groups to review conversion skills and helped each other confirm estimates of various measurements. We also came up with our own wacky comparisons to calculate (inspired from a series of books we had looked at earlier in the month). Some of our ideas: How many giant squids to match the length of our hall? How many mini marshmallows to match the height of the fridge? How many pigeons to match the height of Mount Logan? How many CN Towers (lined up on their side) would be needed to cover the length of Canada (east to west)? What is the mass of a classroom chair in pretzels? 

We will be using our calculations to design a slideshow during Learning Commons with Mrs. W.

Tomorrow: Pyjama Day (for cozying up to read on Literacy Day) 

Friday: Measurement Homework due, Scientists in the Classroom coming