Friday, December 15, 2017

Citations & Health Class


Here are some sites which will help you.  They are also posted in GC.

Health & PE:  continuing our conversations on developing healthy relationships

copied from TDSB resource "Talking Relationships"
The resource is excellent and will be part of Health unit for the next ten weeks.  Here are some of the key concepts we will be exploring, to name a few:

developing our class expectations for subsequent discussions

We did not get to this today, but we will return to it.  It is another variation of a video that Officer Paul shared with us on the matters of consent.

As we learn about relationships, it is also important to learn about ourselves and the aspects of our identity and feel pride in them.  We will be doing this by doing the Circles of Ourselves exercise.  It uses a template similar to this:
We will continue this next week.  Here is what I began.  It looks slightly different that the one pictured above:

The idea is to tap into the many different things that make us who we are.  A friend of mine, and York University professor, Carl James used this in one of his books.  Sorry, I can't remember the title right now:

When we return to this next week, we will begin to see how we may have things in common with people we don't, on the surface, think we do.

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

a few photos

Subject-specific materials are posted in the Google Classroom sites.

A few photos with short stories:

Award ceremony hosts

Grade 7/8 Award winners for December

Excellent work in the RED ROOM

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Media Literacy: Ethos, Pathos, Logos, Unilever and Proctor and Gamble

Media Literacy:

Not sure of the original source, but web page is typed at bottom

Current Examples of each

funny video!! (cheesy, pun intended)

Logos:  Since we have been exploring Unilever's Dove soap, we can see that the product is now part of the research (statistics) into how women feel about themselves:

I intentionally took a screenshot of the Men+Care product line.  We will take a look at that, as we begin to explore concepts of masculinity in Media and Health class.

Unilever, which owns Dove cosmetics, also has a lot of other brand names:

Another company, Proctor and Gamble, also have a lot of brands:

Monday, December 11, 2017

History and another tidbit of wisdom from Alice


The Success Criteria for both the RAFTS assignment and the Inquiry are now complete and will be posted on GC very shortly.

Throughout the process of the Inquiry, I have attempted to model parts of the assignment.   One topic I looked at was the history of the Black Loyalists in Canada.  Here is a very short example of Stage 1 and Stage 2/3:
If this was a real project, the attempt to answer questions would be a lot stronger.

UPDATE:  I am using this lesson to update and bring this project a little more to `life`with a lesson I have done, or will be doing, with the other classes:

In the epic novel The Book of Negores, author Lawrence Hill introduces us to Aminanta Diallo who chronicles her travels from being stolen from west Africa, sold into slavery in the United States, and her journey to Nova Scotia.  Eventually, she returns to Sierra Leone, but that is not part of this lesson.

The Book of Negroes was first on-air back in January of 2015.  I am going to show a short clip and link this with the concept

The environment for the newly arrived Black Loyalists was not entirely peaceful.  There was a long established history of Slavery in Nova Scotia ( & which was very challenging, no doubt.  In the small section I just showed you, the location was Birchtown, Nova Scotia, which is close to a well-established Black community in Shelburne:,+Nova+Scotia+B0T+1W0/@43.7552155,-65.6268285,10.08z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x4b568c5405fd6089:0xb48e8efefc3f681e!8m2!3d43.747735!4d-65.3786529

Hopefully, by now, you will see the value in studying History.  Fast-forward 224 years, some of the issues around the land promised for the original Black settlers are still present:

Originally I thought this was a topic relating to Continuity and Change.  It is, but I would change it now to Historical Significance because it is an important part of our Nation's History.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

A strategy for improving your memory, Drama, Skills Canada video, Slavery in Canada, wisdom from an Iceberg

Canadian researchers say you can improve memory with this one weird trick Shared via the CBC News Android App

A quick snapshot from Drama:

Skills Canada time-lapse video.  This video link was provided by the super presenter we had a couple of weeks ago from Amy Kearns, a liaison officer with Skills Canada.

I think one the key things which struck a chord with me from this presentation had to do with the fact that pursuing an Apprenticeship is a form of Post-Secondary education.  As a graduate of York University and George Brown, I had this idea that this was what Post-Secondary schooling looked like.  I now realize that this is only part of the story.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Historical Significance Part 2: The Halifax Harbour Explosion, 1917; Media Literacy & soap

Rorden pointed out on Tuesday that this was also an item of Canadian History, from 1917, that was of historical significance.  The event also illustrates an example of how cause and consequence operates.  For example, check out some of the points made in the following article:
Viola Desmond's sister recounts the experience of the explosion:

Language Arts:  Media Literacy

I will use the blog to frame the lesson for today.  I will return to this and provide it with some more context.

Historical Significance (Remembering December 6th & Gitanjali Rao), RAFTS assignment, wise words

Healthy Living

Today, as part of our introductory class on Healthy Relationships -- from the Healthy Living part of the Health and Physical Education curriculum -- we took a look at a couple of related issues.

The first one concerns the shooting of 14 Women at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.  We discussed how gender based violence was connected to this event and the thinking of the killer, who had very narrow and hateful thoughts on gender.  Here is a list of the women on a plaque in Montreal.

Challenges do remain for Women who are interested in entering STEM-based careers.  The number of women entering the field of Engineering is increasing and there is still a lot of work to do (

Gitanjali Rao is a young girl, aged 11, who was inspired by the water contamination issue in Flint Michigan ( and created a testing system to assess for the level of lead in water.
Location of Flint, Michigan:,+MI,+USA/@43.2209742,-83.9234679,7z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x882378fba5977317:0xc1853a098e33686b!8m2!3d43.0125274!4d-83.6874562

A clip of her explaining her invention:


While most of the details of the RAFT assignment are on GC, I can summarize the journey we have been on with this image.

This image explains the process I have modeled for the students with an example of the assignment.  The entire RAFT [ it is actually RAFTS:  Role, Audience, Form, Topic, Strong verb] has been explained on the Google Classroom History page; the due dates for each class are posted, as well.

Parting Thoughts:

Eleanor Roosevelt, Activist
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Restoration of Identity project: Coming to Nathan Phillips Square in 2018

This news came from the Anishinabeknews paper.  The Anishinabek Nation unites 40 First Nations across Ontario.
"In Ontario, the term Anishinaabe most often refers to the three nations that formed a Confederacy known as the Three Fires Confederacy: Ojibway (Faith Keepers), Odawa (Warriors and Traders), and Potawatomi (Fire Keepers)." taken from The Bruce Grey District School Board:

Monday, December 4, 2017

Learning Skills and Work Habits, Healthy Living, Writing Exemplars, Integers, Algebra; RAFT in History

Learning Skills and Work Habits

I really like the idea that Ms. Brougham put forward about getting the students engaged with a deeper understanding of what the Learning Skills actually mean.  To do this, we looked at them on the report cards and a group had the task of breaking them down and presenting them to the class.

The collection of completed posters are now up on the side bulletin as a source of inspiration and guidance.  At some point, I will take photos of them to reduce the space they take up and post them in another location in the classroom.

Healthy Living:  some facts from a Reading Response on the importance of eating Breakfast

As I mark some of the Reading Responses from a while ago, some students are making some notes on the importance of breakfast and how this relates to our overall sense of health.

Add caption

4g of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon

It was to my utter shock that I found out that this drink I love to have, every now and then contains 44g of sugar!  How many teaspoons of sugar would that be?

A student brought up the issue of Mental Health and how it may relate to the importance of eating breakfast.  Just to clarify, Mental Illness and Mental Health are two different things.  This slide may offer some insight:

This is a massive subject area and something we will come back to.

Writing:  Getting a sense of what writing can look like from Gr. 1-8

This is an older document but it was first introduced to me by a former Vice Principal who suggest I used it to get a sense of where students are in their writing.

At the time,  I was teaching in a Special Education class and being able to identify the Grade level of a student was key.

In class, I have shared Level 3 examples from Grade 1 to 8 to give the class a sense of the writing levels expected.

Mathematics: bridging Integers & Algebra

We just completed our unit on Integers and will begin to see this type of Math in the next unit we begin on Algebra.
results above B- or 70%
For a lot of the work in this unit, the homework was assigned and the answers were posted on Google Classroom.  If students had questions about the work, I strongly encouraged them to ask questions.

With some problem-solving work we did, courtesy of Mr. Toale, I posted some feedback on the questions:
The feedback is designed to improve student learning; this means the students need to be aware of the feedback and understand why it is important.

Before moving onto the mechanics of Algebra, I thought it was important to begin to understand some of the basic parts of this form of Mathematics.

The scholar Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi is credited with the development of Algebra.  At the time, this form of Math was known as al-jabr.  Translated from Arabic, this refers to the "reunion of broken parts" from

I have posted more class centered activities relating to Algebra on Google Classroom (GC).

History: Inquiry & RAFT

The Inquiry project continues and has been given more attention in GC.  It is much easier to post items, examples, and items to print from this website.  Please ask your student about this and check it out.

The RAFT activity is actually an acronym:
It is a Writing based activity that can be used in History.  I learned about it from a workshop I attended many years ago by the Critical Thinking Consortium

For this exercise, they will be looking, once again, at the issue of the name change proposal of schools bearing John A. Macdonald's name.  I recently received some feedback from the Principal of John A Macdonald SS, in the east end of the city, about the discussions they had at their school about the topic of renaming.

While the students in the Grade7/8 classes at Dovercourt explored this matter and shared their opinions during the four corner exercise, I thought I would deepen this problem by having the students look at the subject from another point of view.  Again, the topic is more fully explored on GC and I won't attempt to detail it here.

As I have done with other assignments, I am doing an example that I will share with the classes, before it is due, and use the following rubric to help guide the assessment:

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Canada History Week, Calgary's weather, Hades + the coaster...


I was not aware of this happening last week and will return to this resource and use some of it for this week's History lessons.


When Mr. Toale stepped in to work with the class on Friday, I noticed the Math word problems you did.  As I review some of the questions about Integers, it makes me think about the up and down weather that Calgary often faces:
There was a question about a rollercoaster ride.  I have not calculated the answer, but I have seen three different results for the same question.  Before I try to figure it out, I will say that the ride seems to end UNDERGROUND.  So, in honour of the answer, here is a cool video, relating a little bit to the question:

In Greek mythology, Hades was the god of the underworld:

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wisdom from "The Matrix" & Integers


Mathematics:  "I didn't do nothing."  A classic statement, uttered by many students, which will usher in our explanation of Grade 8 Math.
The graphic using the baby walking --to explain how you multiply with Integers-- was not explored very much.  I returned to it with a renewed sense of purpose and came up with an explanation that some of you may find helpful:

This section on Integers may be a lot easier than the adding and subtracting we have been doing.  
I used to use this site, when I had a Grade 8 class, to do some online reviewing of concepts we are learning:
This item is also posted on Google Classroom.

Another item of interest, relating to Integers in the "real world."