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.


It’s Conference Time

A letter went home today about booking a meeting with teachers, after Progress Reports have gone home (Monday, October 30). Meetings will be held Thursday night and Friday morning of the PA Day.

The site will be available Wednesday morning to book your appointment. Below are the instructions on the note sent home today.

Image result for parent teacher conference

Booking your Parent Teacher Conference – Thursday Nov. 2 and Friday Nov.3

1. Go to our school appointments web site:http://greenleaf.schoolappointments.com/

2. Register for an account by clicking the “REGISTER” menu tab and filling in the on-line form. Choose a user id and password for yourself and then click the “Register Now” button.

3. Add your children into the system by clicking the “Add a Student” button. Click “Insert New” button to add more children.

4. Click the “date” icon beside each child’s name to schedule appointments. Select the staff you wish to book appointments with and the “View Calendars” button. Use the “Ctrl” or “Command” key to select multiple staff to view at the same time.

5. Click on available time slots to book your appointments and then click the “Book Appointments” button to save your bookings.

6. Booking @ : http://greenleaf.schoolappointments.com/ opens Wednesday, October 25th, and closes at noon on Thursday November 2nd. Please make sure that you book before this time.

Catching Up

A couple of busy weeks writing progress reports, and coaching volleyball, left me with little time to blog, but, in an effort to get back on track, here’s a recap of some of the things we’ve been up to…

Math: When I asked/wondered, “Is there a way to use combine decimal learning with art?”, students were happy to explore and give me their opinions. The challenge: Students were provided a variety of wool and paper strips to represent a variety of lengths (2/10, 150%, seven thousandths, etc.), given that 1 metre was the whole. After calculating, measuring, and providing a legend, students were invited to get creative. The activity turned out to be more ‘crafty’ than artistic, but, students felt the math portion was a beneficial experience, and helped them better understand the meaning of the numbers. “It was fun and different than just doing it from a book.”

More Math: In addition to decimals, we’ve done work on percentages. Cuisenaire Rod challenge: If the the orange rod is 100%, what are the values of the other colours? What if we make green worth 100%?

Some students also took on the challenge of exploring percentages used in fliers and food labels.

Science: We’ve been working on classification of plants and animals. Last week we read and watched videos about vertebrates, invertebrates, and arthropods. Today we sorted plants: non-flowering vs flowering, and angiosperms vs. gymnosperms.

Media: T-shirts can be used to communicate a message. Sometimes that message is direct…

And sometimes the message might be implied

Next Monday, students are asked to do their best to wear clothing that they think communicates a message.

We’ve had a few birthdays this school year, and when we do, we fill a bucket for our ‘classmate of honour’. Inspired by the bucket filling concept in the book, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?”, we each write a message to our classmate, telling them the virtues we feel they demonstrate and explain why they think so. We hold a birthday circle in which we read the messages aloud and then the recipient can take home their bucket of messages.

“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.