Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Grade 7 and 8s continued to work on their symmetry masks.  I took several pictures, but forgot to bring the camera home.  I will have to upload those images on Monday.  Some students had some difficulty with the concept of symmetry, but many had a lot of fun creating the masks that we will be used for a future Drama based activity.

The class had Library today and used that time to begin researching their Health project.  I plan to assist the class in focusing their research questions so they can really be specific about the information they are looking for. 

We looked at two words today to prepare for an upcoming Drama exercise.  We looked at the words conscience and perspective.  Connections were made with the meaning of the words with the novel we are currently reading, Worse than Boys. 
We had a comprehensive desk clean up and spent some time preparing for the weekend.  The Grade 7s ended the day extending our discussion about Integers by looking at the temperature and working on the first page of a worksheet from the JUMP Math workbook.

Have an enjoyable weekend.

Grade 7 & 8 Reading  Response (to a newspaper, book, website, or magazine) to be completed in the green literacy duotang.
Grade 7:  p. 87 JUMP Math workbook page on integers

OUTSTANDING HW:  Needs to be completed by Chris, Jack, and Sophie.  This relates to the election question and voting (see blog from Tuesday, April 26).
  The lower portion of the memo needs to be signed, detached, and returned to class.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Today was the final day of discussion about the Federal election before the Student Vote ballots were cast.  Every student in Room 52 had the opportunity to vote for the candidate in the Davenport riding.  It is a large riding and a number of the students in the class reside in it.  Here is the link for the Student vote website:

Most of the students, though, were familiar with the main political parties (Conservatives, Green, NDP, and Liberal) and voted along those lines.  Just before the vote, we looked at the websites of these parties and reminded them about the Internet link to find out what candidates are running where they reside.

We did a group exercise today, involving art, which looked at what it might be like to have something you cherish taken away from you.  The idea was aimed at having the students reflect and discuss what it might be like to be unable to vote or have a voice in expressing yourself.  Here are some drawings from a few students: 

The other Art activity today involved doing the prep work for a symmetrical mask using construction paper.  It is my hope that these masks will also be used, in some way, for a Drama activity.  Hopefully, some of the masks may end up looking like this: 

I spent a fair bit of time going through the outlines the students did for their paragraph writing.  Most of the students are understanding the basic parts of the paragraph, but I will spend some more time conferencing with them in the coming days to prepare the students  to write on their own.  We have used the "hamburger" organizer to structure our ideas for our paragraphs.  The model looks like this: 

Since there was a lot of rotary today, I did not see the class a lot.  We continued with the reading of Worse than Boys and, as always, began the day with quiet reading during snack time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

After Snack and silent reading, we welcomed students back to the class today by doing a Community Circle.  This provides each student with the opportunity to share one thing they did over the long weekend.  I am aiming to have this sharing moment resemble the structure of a paragraph (1 topic, with details).

In preparation for watching a play (May 11, more details to follow), we read the book called Edward the Crazy Man by Marie Day.  Edward suffers from Schizophrenia and Charlie, the protagonist of the book, offers him help.  We spoke a little bit about what mental health is and how people can become ill, mentally.  We did a brainstorm about this and talked about some of the stereotypes of people who are called "crazy" or "mental".  We spend a little bit of time on the Centre for Addiciton and Mental Health website looking at what Schizophrenia is. The link for this site is:

In preparation for the upcoming election, we took a look at the boundaries of the Davenport riding and then had each student search for the riding in which they live.  Each student used either there postal code or address to find the location and the names of the candidates running.  Homework was assigned for this and will be listed below. 

The Math re-tests scheduled for today have been moved to Wednesday.  Just a reminder:  a Study Sheet was sent home with each student on Thursday, April 21.

Homework:  Ask a family member what advice they have about voting.  Have a discussion with them about the party they are thinking they are voting for and why.  If a parent or guardian is not voting, ask why.   

All students should be encouraged to read at home, quietly,  for at least 15 minutes.  It would be great if you could spend some time asking them a couple of questions about what they read.  

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I was at a workshop in the afternoon looking at strategies of how to support learners in an Intensive Support Learning Disabilities classroom.  The workshop was broken into three parts and I will briefly summarize each one.

1. Preparing for Learning.  This portion dealt with the importance of ensuring that students have an understanding of who they are and how they learn best.  Additionally,this segment spoke of the importance of integrating explicit social skill instruction into the weekly instructional schedule.

2. Assistive Technology.  The various types of programs available to the students, via the TDSB network, were summarized.  I plan to make this a goal of integrating them more in the lessons.

3. Executive Functioning.  This set of skills are often overlapping and deal with such issues as inhibition, emotional control, initiation, planning and organization, and self-monitoring.  These often confront, in different degrees, the learners in our class.  Our brief discussion spoke of strategies to implement to support students who may have difficulties in this area.

In the class today, we took another step forward in our "paragraphing" unit.  I think this may require another lesson, but the students began to work on an outline for their paragraphs.  We will resume work on this next week and use a couple of the strategies from today's workshop to support the students.

I worked with small groups of students who had difficulty on the last Math test on Integers and mapping on a Coordinate Plane.  I am hoping this intense review of the questions they had difficulty with will assist them when they are reassessed next week.  A Study/Review sheet was sent home with each student to look at before next week's test.

Due to the holiday, there is no assigned homework for this weekend.  Enjoy

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Today was the trip to the zoo.  It was a little cool and rainy, but the students had a good time.  We walked as a group and Mrs. Machado and myself took turns asking students questions about the exhibits we visited or the what they heard from the various presenters.  Here are some of the images from the trip:

The trips over the past couple of days have been really good at building a sense of community among the Grade Seven group. 
Upon returning to the school, we spent the remaining time writing a couple of journal entries explaining the favourite parts of the trip.  As well, the students were asked to illustrate those entries.

There was no homework assigned tonight.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Today is the day for a Grade 7 class trip.  The morning was short, but we managed to read a chapter from Worse Than Boys, a novel by Catherine MacPhail.  A detail of the book can be seen at book is quite suspenseful and full of intrigue and aimed at the tween audience.

The class wrote thank you letters to Indigo book store for providing AMG with a $250 000 grant to our school over the past three years.  Since I have been at AMG, I have seen $2000, in books and games, come into Room 52.  It has been a literary pleasure to receive this wonderful gift.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Today we began the day with our Community Circle.  This is a sharing time and for the class and a part of the Oral Communication portion of the Language curriculum.  I have decided to give the students 1 minute to share to focus their thoughts and structure the sharing like a paragraph.  "Paragraphing", as I like to call it, is the focus of our writing for the remainder of the year.

In terms of paragraphing, we spent a portion of time trying to come up with the ideal topic sentence to support a list of details for a paragraph.  Each student was able to provide an example of a sentence, but two really stood out as being ideal for the paragraph in question.  Here is an example of one of the completed paragraphs:

        I walked up to the big, empty looking house but as soon as I stepped on the porch, I regretted it.  My hands shook a little as I opened the door of the large, imposing building.  The stairs began to creak as I slowly ascended them, wondering who the last person was to ascend the stairs and whether I would ever come down them again.  Then I heard a blood curdling scream and ran as quickly as I could out of the building.  That was the last time I would ever enter that house alone.

In terms of Math work, the Grade 7s completed a test on mapping points on a coordinate grid and the Grade 8s reviewed the results of a test involving the adding and subtraction of integers.

Reminder:  Grade 7s should have an umbrella for the trip for Tuesday and Wednesday.  No lunch is needed for Tuesday's trip to the theatre, but one is required for the zoo trip on Wednesday.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Today we continued to talk about the importance of Pink Day and why bullying is a problem that everyone has a responsibility to confront and resist.  I spent some time commenting to the class about their journal entries about the significance of Pink Day and how it was important to not be a bystander when bullying is taking place.

We began to preview a documentary created by 18 year old, Alex Vander Vlugt.  It is called Speak Out and can be found, along with some other information on Pink Day, on the following link:
We will watch this film and then have a class discussion about the content of the film.

The Grade 8 students had a test on the addition and subtraction of Integers and will be moving on to multiplying and dividing them by next week.  The students are pleased and eager to know that this work is "at" Grade level and they are having success at completing and understanding it.

The Grade 7 students are preparing for a quiz on Monday and mapping points on a coordinate grid.  The mapping of points on a 4 coordinate grid is one of the expectations of the Grade 7 Geometry Math program and the students are very excited to know they are doing this.

At the end of  the day the students cleaned up their desks and participated in a 20 minute community clean up.  Once I figure out how to post photos, I will upload some images from the very windy, cold, but productive outing.

Grade 7 Coordinate Plane quiz (plotting points on a graph) based on classwork and homework