Tuesday, December 7, 2021

December 7: Homework Chart & brief note on assignments


If you have not signed up for a Brightspace account, I strongly encourage you to do this, so you can track the work that is being assigned in class and what has and has not been completed by your Grade 8 Learner.

Homework and assignments are happening and you may not be aware of this.  Here is the most recent photo of 8.2's Homework board:

More updates, regarding assignments, to come. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Brightspace for Parents & Homework


I now remember why I do not post a lot of information on this blog.  I place a lot of time and energy in maintaining Brightspace.  I recently sent out an email, along with a link, of how to create a Parent Account.  You will need to have an email registered at Amesbury MS for this to happen.

The link to set up your account can be found on this page:  https://sites.google.com/tdsb.on.ca/tdsbvle/families/brightspace-for-parents

In the following section on that page, you can access the link you need to set up the account.

For those of you who had asked about Homework, it exist, but a number of the Students make the decision not to complete it.  By setting up a Brightspace account, you will be able to monitor the assignment.  Moving forward, I want all assignments to be posted on Brightspace and will be available to answer any questions you have about the platform.

Here is a photo of our most recent Homework board:

As I always remind the class, if they have any questions about the Homework, please ask.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

High School Open Houses

 Important Open Houses for this week:

Etobicoke School for the Arts - November 2

Ursula Franklin Academy - November 2

Western Technical School - November 4

William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute - November 4

To access the ZOOM or YouTube links for these Open Houses, please click on the above image to find the links for the school.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

October 31/November 1

High School Transition & Parent/Guardian Brightspace account creation

It is hard to believe that 20% of the school year has gone by already and now in the busy season of Progress Reports and beginning conversations about high school. I must point out, again, that there is an important meeting tomorrow night, online, that I encourage you to check it out:
To access this, your Learner would have to log in to their Brightspace account to see this. It is posted in the CONTENT section in the High School binder under the tab that has the word "transition" in its title. As I have mentioned before, I suggest you set up a Brightspace account for yourself using the following link: https://sites.google.com/tdsb.on.ca/tdsbvle/families/brightspace-for-parents Once you visit that page, look for this section, which will walk you through how to set up an account. IF IT DOESN'T, please email me at my tdsb email. If you do not know this, please ask your learner for it.

Class assignment Tracking Chart 

I have updated the class assignment Tracking Chart to give the class a sense of what they have and have not completed.  It looks like this:

Xs indicate incomplete or assignments not handed in and a :) indicates that the assignment was handed in.
In most cases, I always allow a Student to hand in work, even if the due date has gone by.  I want to emphasize that they have a responsibility to complete and follow through with all of the assigned work, rather than ignoring it.  At this time, I have A LOT of marking to do and have not updated this chart, but will be doing that this week.  Please ask your Learner if they have been doing a good job at getting their assignment completed and if they haven't, ask them if they have come to the Teacher or another classmate for help.

Recent Math test & what to do if your mark was not as good as you wanted it to be

We had a Math test that brought together everything we have been learning since the start of the year with some new work on Scientific Notation.  There were a number of Students who scored above 70%.  Here are their names:

For the Students who did not do as well as they liked, I introduced them to an approach to improving their mark and understanding using something called a Rewwrite.

The example I posted explains the process.  If each question is done correctly, you can earn back 1/2 the value of the original mark.

There was already one of four people who did Rewrites to improve their mark.  Here is an example of their original mark and what happened, after a Rewrite was completed:

Deadlines for completing Rewrites for this test will be on Wednesday.  Students may use the original form to write out their mistakes and corrections, a blank piece of paper, or have a talk (conference) about their misunderstandings and newfound understanding.

In class, I provided time for Students to ask me questions about the test and posted -- in Brightspace -- a section on the test questions to assist them in understanding where they might have gone wrong.

Have a positive week.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Grade 8 to 9 Information Night for Parents

I am going to check to makes sure there is a link to this presentation. The image was taken from a PDF image and uncertain if the link to the ZOOM meeting works. One website that WILL provide some useful information on dates and transitions, can be found here: A useful video can be found here: Thanks, Mr. Proudfoot

Saturday, October 16, 2021

It has been a while but things are in a Brighter space

Hello, family members of 8.2 students. I have not posted on the class Blog for a long time. Most of the posting I have been doing has been on the Brightspace platform. This is the learning platform we will be using, exclusively, if we should move to online learning.
The link to access Brightspace can be found on this link: Most of the online resources for our class have been posted there. Please ask the learner in your home to take a look at their Brightspace page. I do know, for you as caregivers (Parent/Parents/Guardians) that to get access to Brightspace, you have to have a TDSB email registered at Amesbury and then you will be able to get in and see the postings that are there. Should you have any questions, please email me at the TDSB email address that I sent out my introductory email and note home with. If you are not sure about that, ask your learner to have me write it in the agenda. From my perspective, I am enjoying the class and 8.2 very much. Are there challenges? Of course and that is part of the journey of being a Teacher and being a student. This is the final year before Grade 9 and there are still 8.5 months of intense, challenging and fun learning in front of us. I believe we can do this and there will always be help available, whenever the works becomes challenging. The Students have been away from a consistent period of school for quite a while now and I am hoping this year will be about addressing some of those gaps while still keeping the bar high, in terms of academic success. On a Social-Emotional level, we continue to build and develop our class community to be a happy, safe, and engaged space.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Friday, September 17, 2021

I have not uploaded a video to this blog for a while from my Google Drive and wanted to see if it worked: This short clip is from a History exercise which explored a series of 4 images using the "Big Paper" technique to record observations, ask questions and make comments. The images were then linked back to the 4 models of Historical Thinking that are used in the Ministry Curriculum:
Here is one of the examples of the page that was annotated upon:

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Hello. I have been in the process of getting Brightspace ready to share with the class. All of the Students will have some time to learn about this platform and how it will work with the subects we are learning this year. I have not posted a lot for this week but will add a few items now:
This photo relates to a Writing activity today. Once it is handed in, I will write some feedback to the Students and, in some cases, begin a conversation with them about some of the answers they wrote. Often, to get the ideas flowing, I will model some answers. Here is what I wrote:
A method of helping Students keep track of their work, in addition to using their Agendas, which I will be signing off of on Monday, is the classroom tracking chart. It becomes a way for Students to have a visual reminder of what they have and have not completed. I have been using it for 2o years now and it is looking a little rough, but it does the job. It does not include marks and either has a "happy face" to indicate a completed assignment or a blank to indicate that it has not been handed in.
Today, I reviewed, and will continue to review and speak to, the development of habits related to doing Homework. Here is the chart and steps I will keep coming back to:
I would characterize our first week of school for 21-22 to be about learning to stretch our minds once again, remembering how to think and how to develop some of the learning skills and work habits that may have been underused during the 20-21 school year. I am very pleased to be in Room 102 and enjoying the students in 8.2.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Friday, September 10 & COVID-19 Screening information

Over the next week, I plan to set up my Brightspace "shell" for the 20-21 school year and I will use this page, for now, as a way to communicate some important information.  If I can obtain access, we will take a look at my 20-21 shell and how I used it to format the subjects we will be learning this term.

Here is some critical information on Covid-19 screening posted up on the TDSB website and we will read through this together today.

A question was asked about the COVID-19 app and I forgot to answer it.  You will have to go to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store to obtain it:


Here is a shot of the 3 words describing some of your experiences of your COVID-19 story.  If you haven't done so, I would like you to put your name on the Post-It note.  If you still need to complete it, please obtain a Post-It.

Here are the Coat of Arms contributions, so far.  If you have not completed it, please make sure you have and hand it in and ensure your name is on your work of Art.  Thanks.

Looking ahead:  High School

I did mention that discussion around High Schools would start soon.  Honestly, it is better to start earlier, rather than later.  Here is the link to the Open Houses for the schools across the TDSB.  If you have a question or questions about a specific school, please ask me:

Click on the above image to access this site

Letter to June Self (first steps)

This lesson will continue on Monday.  For now, these 2 slides will be helpful to begin the brainstorming for your letter:

possible approaches to Brainstorming/pre-writing might look like:

We will return to this on Monday and formalize the next steps for this item of Writing.  This is homework and due on Monday.

Math Social Emotional Learning exercise (SEL)

The Social Emotional strand of Math was only introduced last year to the Elementary curriculum.  It is designed to tap into the range of emotions and thinking that may be present, when they are engaged with Mathematics.  This might include:

- being aware of methods and strategies for problem solving
-developing the ability to be reflective and make adjustments
- developing the skills to be resilient in the face of challenges
- managing emotions when becoming frustrated or feeling overwhelmed

Today, the Students were tasked with developing a chart with the 4 headings you see in the preceding photograph that relate to where they see Math, how they feel about Math, where a measure of Success has been, and where a struggle has been noted.  I will be reading their entries and returning them after.  This is homework and due on Monday.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

On the eve of Day 1

This photo was taken last Spring, soon after I obtained the Grade 8 position.


There are so many new things that will be coming my way in the next little while and I am very excited about them.  First and foremost, I am glad to be a part of the Amesbury MS community and have been welcomed with open arms from Day 1.

There will be a lot of communication coming your way and I have not settled on what platform I will be using to stay in touch with families.  For sure, you can always reach me through my TDSB email.  More details to come.

Here are a few shots of our classroom:  Room 102. It underwent a massive cleaning last week.  This will be my first classroom in 4 years. I spent 1 year online in a Grade 8 Virtual School and 2 years in a Teacher-Coaching/Student Success Teacher role and am very pleased to be returning to the classroom.  This will be year #26 with the Toronto District School Board.

See you soon!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

mid Summer reflections: July 20, 2021


My reflections, on this blog, have faded over the last three years, but I have never stopped thinking, pondering, and challenging myself and the students I work with.

I feel blessed to have marked my 25 years of Teaching (from the early days in the Etobicoke Board of Education in September 1995 to now) with such a wonderful group of Students in 8A in the Learning Centre 4 network in the TDSB.

I could exhaust a list of reasons how this year was quite challenging but discovering, the more I think, about a few of  the positive things that happened this year:

- finding virtual manipulatives online

- attending virtual field trips and watching films

- have engaging class discussions

- being able to do some Guided Reading work

- Students asking for help in the "Breakout Room" in ZOOM meetings

There were some very challenging moments, also.  Not being able to see the class -- while they could see me -- created a huge imbalance in power and energy flow.  It was often challenging to gauge how the students were responding to what was being taught.  I am sure this has a lot to do with being 12 or 13 and the hesitancy to ask questions during the lessons for a fear of sounding stupid.  Grappling with questions, though, is the key to understanding.

A new chapter begins in a little over a month.  I am no longer a Centrally Assigned Teacher and will be back, I hope, in a school building and excited about my new start as a Grade 8 Teacher after 26 years of doing what I love.  I remain grounded, humble, and open to the new learning ahead.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Orange Shirt Day: more thoughts


Today is the actual, official, day for Orange Shirt Day.

As I do some more reading, reflecting, and thinking I wanted to add something that I feel is important.  At the University of Victoria in the Centre for Youth and Society a series of Digital Story projects were developed and known as "Residential School Resistance Narratives."  Fatty Legs is on its way; I liked the idea of the protagonist, 8-year old Margaret Pokiak, resisting!

In this video, Rita Merrick from Pasqua First Nation shares "Honouring the Stories of Our Grandmothers" from 2012.  It embodies the stories of resistance and resilience, key elements to balancing the narrative when examining the legacy of Residential Schools in this nation.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Orange Shirt Day, Historical Concepts, and our first read aloud

Understanding the background of what Orange Shirt Day is key to having an understanding of how we can move forward on the path towards Reconciliation in Canada.

Orange Shirt Day is rooted in the story of Phyllis Webstad and what happened to her, when she wore an orange shirt to St. Joseph Mission Residential School.  Here is Phyllis Webstad explaining the significance of the day:

If I had my class in the Virtual Classroom, I would have spent some time getting to know them and probably getting a sense of what they already know about Orange Shirt Day and the legacy of Residential Schools in this nation.  Having this knowledge would allow for one possible framing of our discussion; taking stock of Student knowledge is key.

Understanding the legacy of Residential Schools can be framed around the Concepts of Historical Thinking that exist in the Ontario curriculum.   At this point in the year, we have not started looking at subject areas but I do not think it is too early to look at this way of thinking right now.  Here are the 4 concepts.  This is a shorter summary I created from the curriculum document.

From my reading regarding the teaching considerations for Teaching about Residential Schools, it pointed out that it is crucial that Students understand the legacy of Colonialism in Canada.  Additionally, it's important that Students know that there was and is still resistance to existing structures of Colonialism in Canada.

I am formulating an idea of a novel to read to the class (when it arrives) called Fatty Legs, written by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-FentonI suggest this book because it introduces us to 8 year old Margaret Pokiak who embodies the act of resistance.  Goodminds.com is First Nations owned business and offer up the summary of the text:

For me, the character of Margaret embodies all of the concepts I have listed above, but I will need to buy and read the book.  Hey, I think I may have given myself an idea for our first read-aloud.  Here is a teaser of the first chapter, read by Christy Jordan-Fenton:

YouTube link

I look forward to meeting my Students and exploring and talking about Orange Shirt Day, even if it is not September 30.  In solidarity, resistance, joy and curiosity. UPDATE: I bought the book from Goodminds.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Rumblings from Virtual School: Navigating the early days of Brightspace



This year I will not be in my Centrally Assigned role and returning to the classroom -- the  Virtual Classroom.  This is exciting but I have not been assigned a class and it is the first day of school!

I am hoping this will be straightened out so my Students and I can begin to navigate this new space of learning.  For now, I am going to post some screenshots with information about the Brightspace learning platform under the inference that some Parents or Students may have "Googled" my name, wondering who this Mr. Proudfoot it.

First, what is Brightspace?  Since I am still attempting to figure and learn about the platform, I will post some images that may be helpful.

In order for you to get onto Brightspace, you are going to need to create an account.  I am hoping the following images will be helpful in explaining this process.  First, follow this link:  http://tdsb.elearningontario.ca

It will take you to a page that looks like this:

You will follow the orange link.  Eventually, the Students will follow the green one.  You will be prompted to set up an account.

Once this is setup, you you should be able to login to Brightspace.

In the time that I wrote this post, a YouTube video came out explaining this process.  It is kind of long, but it will probably help you through this process.

I hope this helps.  I am not even sure if any of my Parents, Guardians or Students will get this.  I hope so and look forward to working together to learn this year!

I look forward to Brightspacing soon in this school year.