Thursday, March 8, 2018

International Women's Day, some notes on Black Panther, and Pi

This lesson coincided our recognition of International Women's Day.  As a teacher, I work hard to try to have a program that is inclusive and representative of the voices in our classroom.

video link:
This is an interesting story, which highlights some of the ideas we have looked at in Media Literacy.  In this case, all media are constructions and sometimes these constructions can be both sexist,  racist and exclusionary.

The next story, which many of you are familiar with, relates to a short, in-class writing response for Geography.  The exercise relates to 2 of the concepts of Geographic thinking on this chart:  Patterns and Trends, Geographic Perspectives.

Today (Friday) will be our Black Panther screening!  Here is the last set of notes from a class discussion on the film and its link to our key concepts of Media Literacy:

Finally, some Math.

Pi, the third letter of the Greek alphabet is the relationship/ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.  However, the number is infinite.  Here is the list of 10 000 digits which follow the 3.14 that we are so used to seeing.

Have a restful March Break. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Colonialism in the African continent, Black Panther (the film), apostrophes, composite shapes

On Friday, the Grades 4-8 classes will be traveling to watch the Marvel's Black Panther film.  While I cannot explain the layers of discussion we had in class today, I can summarize part of the discussion through a photo I took and two videos I used.  I will be using this as an entry point for discussion with the other classes.

For those of you who read this, the point on the right side of the board is very important.  It was prompted by having the students think and respond to the first three paragraphs of this article from Time magazine:

The magical power of Vibranium, found in the fictional country of Wakanda, is supposed to be a contrast to the plundering of resources from the African continent.
This short video attempts to summarize a short history of Colonialism in the continent.  The main idea, in relation to the movie, is that Wakanda was never colonized by any European power and has used the resource of Vibranium to run the technologically advanced civilization.

The conversation was weaved together during Media Literacy class by looking at some of the key concepts and making connections with the film.

Here are a few of the key players who were involved in the creation of the film and the potential they see:

It seems that apostrophes can be a point of confusion for a lot of students.  I went to school during an era where Grammar was taught and we picked up on some of these important lessons.  It is my hope that the students will take something away from this.

I was very pleased to see the effort that Justin and Hom put into completing these two Math questions.  Actually, the only one that is made up of parts is the one with the triangle and square.  Hom, showing her persistence and hard work, solved it with some coaching.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Circles (to be talked about on Tuesday) & Grtizner assignment using the "What is Where" of Bloor and Dufferin

13ways of looking at a circle


Geography:  Gritzner and using something local 

This is intended to be a summary of how the Gritzner assignment aligns with the type of thinking I hope we develop in Geography class.  The development of this busy corner will happen and, someday, you may remember talking about it in Geography class!

How the intersection looks now:

Incredibly long link:,-79.4353347,3a,75y,178.29h,86.83t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sVQtJLBw3O2m2KEafuUcu7A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m21!1m15!4m14!1m6!1m2!1s0x882b3f996d40ea23:0x53811be8d5343512!2sPeel+Regional+Rd+5,+Mississauga,+ON!2m2!1d-

aerial shot of intersection:,-79.4381117,111m/data=!3m1!1e3
how the intersection may look:
Information on the development can also be found here:

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

MSF & Ebola outbreak in West Africa (2014)

One of the resources I use will come from Medecin Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, an organization founded in France in 1971.  According to their website, they describe themselves like this:  We are Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). We help people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from health care.

Here is a link to another video about the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia.

This media production was created by MSF and points to one of the key concepts in our study of Media Literacy:

1. The Media contain value messages.  MSF, while an excellent organization, created this video to highlight the excellent and important work they are doing.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Perils of K-Pop: Potential Media Topic/Discussion; upcoming Math topics, Geographic Thinking & challenging stereotypes from the African continent

Media/Pop Culture:

The punishing pressures behind K-pop perfection Shared via the CBC News Android App

Before we get into a deeper conversation about the issues in this article, let us think about how K-Pop, and Pop Music in general, is a form of Media.  All of the concepts can be attached to elements that we see in K-Pop.

Members of EXO going through their routines.

In the article, there was a mention of the emphasis on particular standards of "beauty" in Korea.  I just heard about this story today and thought it would add something to the discussion.
This story is a companion piece to the artricle I posted at the top of the page.

Mathematics:  Measurement

Reading:  Diorama

In addition to returning to completing Reading Responses, I am going to assign this.  It is a fun, creative way to explore an element of a book you are reading.


This chart (updated from the prototype developed with 7/8A) will be explained with two supporting issues before a short, online assignment is given.

The information on this chart is derived from the Nelson Geography Grade 8 text, the Geography curriculum from the Ontario Ministry of Education, and The Critical Thinking Consortium's book, Teaching Geographical Thinking.  We will use this chart to explore the Toronto Blackout of 2003 and the Ebola outbreak in Liberia in 2014 before the online assignment on the flooding in Brantford is posted.

Looking at a Case Study on the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia & deconstructing stereotypes of the "single story" of Africa (...which is a continent, in case you forgot)

This short video, produced in collaboration with Unicef and the Red Cross (among others) will help explain the Case Study used in the Grade 8 Geography textbook on the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Reading Response: Remembering the storm from 2013, some review work for Math, Geography




This is an image from the Grade 8 textbook which explains the Gritzner project a little more.  This period will be a working one where you will have the laptops to help you think about the location you would like to select.

 This note is already on GC.  It is the outline for my "teacher modeled" project on Niagara Falls.  As you can see, I am not done and that is okay.  This project will take some time and that is why you will have at least one week to complete it.  If I have any additional notes to add, I will post them on GC.

I am going to have to look at all of the references I selected and make sense of them.  (This is where taking jot notes will come in handy.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Healthy Relationships, Early Geography Work: using the flooding in Brantford & the 2003 Blackout to open up your Geographic eyes


There was a moment when I thought this unit may be going on to long but then I realized that was a very narrow way of looking at the topic.  The 10-lesson unit is not moving along as fast as I thought it would.  

There is a lot of discussion, talk, and role-play going on.  I would also like to think that we are learning some crucial lessons about how to relate to one another.  Ms. Jocelynn shared a short video about learning how to communicate with each other.

The video recaps the three main type of communication we often see.  It is quite possible that these types overlap:


I forgot to post this on GC last night.  It is an example of conversion from the King Henry metric chart.

Use the chart to determine if you are travelling up (decimal moves left) or down (decimal moves right) the conversion chart.  Once you have done this, count the number of spots you have to move and go for it.  In this example, when we moved the decimal, we added zeros to serve as place value holders.
Working from left to right, each container's capacity is ten times greater.  So, the 1 mL becomes 1000mL or 1 litre by the end.

 This is not a very good photo of the unit for centilitre (cL):

But why did we decide upon the powers of ten in the Metric System.  Let's ask this wise person from back in the day...


In the Grade 7 curriculum, one of the overall expectations is this:

Application: analyse some challenges and opportunities presented by the physical environment and ways in which people have responded to them (FOCUS ON: Spatial Significance; Interrelationships)

In Grade 8, one of the sub-expectations reads like this:

A1.2 analyse how processes related to the physical
environment may affect human settlements in
the future 

Together, they relate to a story like the unfortunate news coming out of Brantford, Ontario (,+ON/@43.1475872,-80.3441055,12z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x882c65e278ea730f:0x353da5a5a466f9e0!8m2!3d43.1393867!4d-80.2644254).  We will use this to look at how the abstract expectations relate to something in the real world and use our Geographic eyes to understand it.  The following clip comes from Global News.

More information can be found here:
Shared via the CBC News Android App

To help you understand what it means to have Geographic eyes, we will use the example of the 2003 Northeast Blackout, which a lot of you were not around to experience.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


This is a post Report Card journal on the Learning Skills and Work Habits.  The intention is to inspire some reflection as a springboard for improvement for Term 2.  

Posted on GC, this is a What's Going On in This Picture journal due on Thursday.

The new Math unit -- Measurement -- will provide a brief opportunity to review some Place Value, among other things.  Detailed notes about this topic are posted on GC.   We used the distance from Toronto to Tokyo to convert from km to m and how many times it would take to run around a 400m Track.

The Powers of Ten concepts relates to this cool pattern from 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Geography & History, developing healthy communication styles, Positive News

Geography & History

The second term is right around the corner.  We will be transitioning from History to Geography.  This poster will serve as a cool -- at least I think so -- transition point between the subjects.

Charles "Fitz" Gritzner:
Retired Geography Faculty member from South Dakota State University (2007 photo)
For your first exercise, you will be responsible for thinking of a place you have visited, or know of, or would like to go to, and how you can respond to the three pressing questions, generated by Charles Gritzner:  What is Where? Why There? Why Care?

Unsure of where to begin?  Let us look at two examples.  The first one will be Mr. Gritzner:

Before I go to the second example, consider Mr. Gritzner's unique way of studying this topic:

The second example, which may be a little more local, is one that I used a couple of years ago:

This assignment will be posted on GC, once a new Geography page is set up.  At this point, there is no due date.


Today we began talking about learning to distinguish among three types of communication:

We began some role-playing and spent a lot of time in discussion about the three forms, which can overlap.
Something we will aim to avoid

Positive News:

Tired of all the negative news?  Looking some something inspirational?  Consider this:
Or this Ted Talk from a friend of Ms. Jocelynn, Ms. Eugina Duodu:

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Historical Significance: 2 more examples, a good Math question for review (Quiz on Friday)

Rethinking Typical:
This year's Gerber baby has Down syndrome Shared via the CBC News Android App

PM Trudeau's November 2017 apology"

Math review question

This is the type of question that brings all of the angle relationships together.  I will make some notes below the photo to help you review a little bit.

I apologize for it not being done with a ruler.
- all straight lines (like the two parallel lines) add up to 180 degrees (there are three examples of supplementary angles going on in this drawing)
- I began to solve this question by filling in the unknown 70-degree angle in the triangle and seeing the ALTERNATE (Z shape) angle possibility 
- once I had this, I knew the angle to the right would be 110 degrees (180-70) and it is also confirmed because the CO-INTERIOR measures total 180 (70 + 110) which has a C shape
-  knowing two angles in the triangle (60, 70), I could do some subtraction to find the missing angle:
60 + 70 = 130; 180-130 = 50 degrees
-  just to be sure, the top 3 angles on line GA, when added, equal 180:  60 + 50 + 70 = 180

There are some other ways to explain this, but I do not want to put TOO much information.  

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Media Literacy debrief, Homework & Term 1 work, inspiring videos on responsibility and hard work, TRIangles

Media Literacy

This will have to wait until this coming Friday's Media Literacy class.

These two examples of ads were tagged for the specific slogans they use but we did not get around to starting this exercise.  Instead, I used one of these ads to help the class complete last week's exercise on applying the Key Concepts (of Media Literacy) to a series of ads.

For Concept #2, the President's Choice ad might receive a different response or interpretation if you happened to be a Vegan, Jewish, or Muslim (because of the ham).  At least 1 of the 6 concepts were applied to the package of print advertising given out two weeks ago.

An older Health/Media Literacy assignment had us learn that "breakfast loves Nutella."  This is an example of a slogan which fails to mention that Nutella contains, in 2 tablespoons,  five and a half teaspoons or 5 and a half packets of sugar (

I of I (Item of Interest):

Term 1 work:

Homework assignments are written on the Homework board, usually on GC, and then onto the Homework chart in the class.  These items relate to the 2 video postings down below, which relate to the key idea of being RESPONSIBLE for your learning.

homework board
Top portion of the Homework tracking chart, which is posted in the class and updated for COMPLETION or INCOMPLETION of items

Inspiring videos (related to the completion of incompletion of Term 1 work)

 Will Smith on Fault versus Responsibility:

Young boy in Trinidad on honest and hard work:


The Homework and more in-depth notes can be found on GC, but here are some useful items related to the next stage of our Geometry unit.
Nice Work!

old photo: parallel lines, transversals, and TRIangles!