Reviewing Elf The Musical!

If you haven’t been lucky enough to catch our school production of Elf, there is one more evening performance tomorrow. (Warning: You may end up humming a few catchy tunes!) We really enjoyed the performance on Tuesday and appreciated the courage, dedication, and excellence the cast and crew have shown. We also acknowledged the commitment of some of our classmates who have logged in 7 performances, as part of the choir. So, they will certainly have material for their homework assignment: writing a review of the play. Extra homework instructions were glued in our agendas today. The information also served as an editing task.


Our reading response question today was to identify the most important part of Winter’s Gift. This is a great story for readers to use inferring skills, and for introducing a new signpost: Memory Moment. When an author has a character take time to think back to an event, he/she is signalling to the reader that the information they are about to read is important.  In addition to explaining our opinions with text details, we are working to connect the title to the big idea (main message) of the story. Once again, we will level our work, identify ways to bump up our answers, and communicate through our agendas.   

Monday Mentionables

We started our day with an organization check. Students browsed through their language notebooks asking themselves if their pages: were legible? dated? underlined? had writing start at the margins? used an eraser rather than scratch outs? used pages in order or skipped? were ‘graffiti’ free? They wrote a reflection identifying their strengths and next steps.

Students are familiar with using Base Ten Blocks to represent thousands, hundreds and ones.

But today, they were asked to look at these manipulatives in a new way. What if the square represented one whole? What would the cube represent? What would one ‘rod’ represent? 

We then used whiteboards to show all the ways we could write the numbers represented by the manipulatives. E.g. 17 tenths, 1 7/10, 1.7. We are working to read 1.7 as one and seven tenths rather than 1 point seven to reinforce the value. 

During some Drama time, we found out how the meaning of a phrase could be changed by simply changing the emphasis of our voice.Students were randomly assigned a mood/feeling that they tried to communicate through the simple phrase-“What a day.” We then took a look at an excerpt from the Elf script. We get a preview performance tomorrow.

The Creative Process IS a Process

While I sometimes feel I am working towards a gold medal in patience (!!), I am starting to see the benefit of providing repeated painting opportunities followed by group discussions/reflections.

Yesterday, we explored the later stages of the creative process while continuing work on our painting challenge. We started by reflecting on our progress so far, using both self assessment and the feedback of others. From there, many students made revisions before sharing the final results. 

For example, this student realized the size of his paper was going to be problematic for the design he chose. “This is going to take forever. I think a smaller paper would be a better choice.”

Another student also realized cutting her paper would make her use of space more effective. (Sorry, clearly I need to work on my use of light!)

And while some students decided their first draft was not working out the way they had hoped, and opted to start again, some students, like the one below, were pleasantly surprised with their results. “I found out I was better than I thought I was.”


Reading Response Time

Day 3: Time for another reading response. We used a Northwest Coast Legend called, Peace Dancer. Students were asked to identify what they felt was the most important part of the story and used the OREO strategy to organize their answer. Tomorrow, we will record in our agendas how we plan to bump up our answers.(As we did last week). 

We also took some time to locate cities in a good old fashioned atlas. So keen to ‘google’ everything, students are being encouraged to slow down, and exercise those problem solving ‘muscles’!! 

A Few Catch-Ups

I  forgot to upload our photos from Friday, so today is catching up on a few activities.

In French, the class is working on little presentations for Mme DePelino.

We continue to incorporate some patterning skills into our Fitness Breaks.

For a drama warm-up we used the following object for Pass and Pretend.

We used some tinsel garland to estimate and measure length in different units (mm, cm, dm, and m). We are noticing we have to do a bit more problem solving when presented with a shortage of measuring tools. For instance, the floor tiles can be be a good alternative since we know their size.

We worked to try and finish up our Viola Desmond hallway display today. We’re almost there.

Reminder: This Friday is a P.A. Day.

Wednesday Highlights

While working on our estimating, measuring, and recording skills, we had a discussion about the coloured sections on some of our metre sticks. From our discussion, many students realized that a decimetre is one tenth of a metre and a centimetre is one tenth of a decimetre. Those fractions really are everywhere!

We were excited to find out that the office had received one of the new ten dollar bills, so we got a chance to see the Viola Desmond bill in person before it headed to the bank.

As mentioned last week, students were challenged to create a piece of art, that demonstrated painting skills and communicated a feeling or message of peace. Students generated a plan, experimented with techniques and colour mixing they felt they would need to produce their art, and then gathered the necessary materials. Most students got started today, though a few spent some extra time with their planning and experimenting.


Book Preference

With only 1 language period together, we have dedicated Day 3 to working on reading responses. Today, after reading a second version of Viola Desmond’s story, students were asked to explain which book they preferred through a written response. 

We reviewed the OREO strategy, designed to help organize a complete answer.  Ostate opinion, R- give a reason, E providence evidence/examples, O- restate opinion in a new way.

Tomorrow, students will reread their answers with fresh eyes, along with teacher feedback, and given the opportunity to bump up their answers.

Homework: A Homework task was sent home today. The activity is one we have done twice at school, so it should be review. Self-Reflections are due on Friday. If students have questions, encourage them to ask for clarification:)

Who Is Viola Desmond?

Last week, when a classmate wanted to discuss the new ten dollar bill, we were introduced to Viola Desmond. Few had ever heard of her.

Image result for ten dollar bill canada

Today,  we read a book and watched a Heritage Minute to better inform ourselves. 

We wondered how many other people had heard of Viola Desmond, especially now that she would appear on our currency. So, a few volunteers took advantage of the rainy indoor recess to conduct a survey. After discussing the results, we decided it would be a good idea to create a bulletin board so more people were better informed.  

Zoggles, Gumps, Wangari, and of course, a Pizza Lesson

Happy Saturday! Here are a few talking points you can use when asking your child what what they did at school this week and they say, “I don’t remember!”

Measuring With Zoggles and Gumps

One math activity we tried this week was designed not only to bring awareness to the idea that math can be creative, not just a set of rules, but also to reinforce fractions as numbers that can be put on a number line, and, see the value of fractions in measurement.

Students were given a strip of paper, the length of which represented 2 zoggles. The challenge was to fold the paper several times to determine where 1 whole, one half, one quarter etc. would be located. They then used the tool to measure items and record their lengths. They soon discovered the relevancy of equivalent fractions when half a zoggle, was also two fourths and four eighths of a zoggle.

We built upon the same kind of thinking by presenting a gump (an invented unit to measure mass). Working together the students determined one half, one fourth, one fifth and one tenth of a gump. When measuring the mass of objects, we had to use different fractional parts. By turning them all into tenths, we could record the mass.


Peaceful Literature

We read two versions of the same story this week. Both books are based on the life of Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan women who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her environmental work. We first read, Seeds of Change. We used the book to practice writing a reading response, identifying the virtues that led Wangari to earn the Peace Prize. Later in the week, we read Wangari’s Tree of Peace, noting the choices the second author made to write for a different audience, and then, ‘stepping into the story’ for a drama activity. This had followed drama warm-ups that involved imagining a familiar object as something different, and some creative movement to music.

Yesterday we made a real effort at self regulating our learning with purposeful work choices, self tracking task completion and self assessing our progress. We had a second installment of Notice News (sadly I forgot to upload the photo from the ipad at school), Mme DePelino sent home a note about a French resource available online through our board, and we enjoyed our pizza lunch courtesy of School Council. Of course, I could not resist the opportunity to reinforce why pizzas are NOT the best examples of fractions since the slices were NOT equal parts:)

Have a great Weekend!


Creative Process Similar to Writing Process

As we reinforce the writing process while working on our research reports (some of us are still in the planning stage, while others will begin drafting tomorrow), we came to recognize the similarities between planning a piece of writing and preparing a piece of art.

Over the last few weeks we have been exploring with different paints and paint brush techniques in preparation for an art challenge. Students are being asked to create a piece of art, that will show their skills with paint and paintbrushes, and, that will communicate a message of peace (the school’s virtue of the month). Before jumping in, however, we discussed the Creative Process (as outlined in the curriculum) and focused on the first steps: getting inspired (or challenged!), brainstorming/imagining possible ideas, and selecting an idea to create a plan. Those plans involved making a sketch, considering what materials they would need, and providing a list, specific enough to ensure they get the supplies they hope to use. E.g specify the type of paint not just the colour, specify the size, type and colour of paper, not just list ‘paper’

Once students have a plan, they will be encouraged to experiment before ‘drafting’ their art. Some students have already identified a certain technique or colour mixing they feel they will need to practice, BEFORE beginning their masterpiece.