Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I have not been feeling as peppy as lately and that probably speaks to why I have not posted over the past several days.  Gosh, it has almost been a week!

First and foremost, I wanted to say Happy First birthday to the blog (April 18, 2011).  That was the day when I started adding regular additions to it.
As the deadline for the Health project approaches, I felt it was important to review with the class how to take jot notes. As outlined on an earlier blog posting, this project has 2 main areas of focus:  what the drug is and what it does to the body.  So, research needs only to be focused on these area.  As a group, we looked at the issue of DDT (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT), how it was used to treat Malaria, and the consequences of using this drug.  First you will see the passage, a graphic illustration of the passage, and the jot notes we took from the article.

Since the Health project is to be written in 3 paragraphs, I have been providing many examples of how they can be set up.  Mrs. Machado and I have glanced at some of the rough copies of the exercise and see that some students are writing in correct paragraph format.

Lia proposed that she would do her project on the drug Crystal Meth.  I do not know anything about it but went ahead and created a "sample" essay, using a topic and concluding sentence for each paragraph, and wrote on the board.  Tomorrow, I will create a checklist for the students to assess their writing to see if they are following the expectations of the project.  I think it is very important that they get a sense of what is expected of them so they can become more involved and active in the assignment.  I think it is important that the students be able to do some peer editing.  I am going to, gently, try doing this once this Health project is done.  I use the word gently because some students can be very protective or uncomfortable having their peers check their work.

The only thing that was left out were the supporting details.

Today (Tuesday) was a short quiz in Geometry on plotting point on a coordinate grid.  As a lead up and review to the quiz, we played a game of Battleship last week.  The students worked very good together.
Kathy Macina Ciardullo, Special Education Coordinator for our Family of Schools, dropped by to see how we were doing in relation to our Strength Based Resilience (SBR) work.  We had 2 interesting activities where the students had to write one of their core values around a stick figure, which represented out classroom. 

Along with that, the students worked in small groups to create an image of a garden, first, full of weeks and dead plants, and, then, a healthy looking garden.  Not all of the groups created before and after images and I will be sure to take a photo of them.  The idea behind this exercise is in recognizing that creating a healthy garden requires effort, support, and a conscious choice to place healthy things in it (soil, manure, fertilizer).  Similarly, a healthy and resilient mind will require the addition of generative and positive things.  This portion of the SBR training will now shift towards the idea of identifying character strengths and exercises to build and support the resilient self.  Here are some images of the gardeners at work

The last set of images are from the Community Clean Up day on Friday.  Back in April 2011, that I began the blog with images of that same community initiative (http://rumblingsfrom52.blogspot.ca/2011_04_01_archive.html). 

There will not be any homework tonight.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I have a number of photos from our Field Trip to the TSO yesterday.  It was a very nice day and we walked back from King and University all the way to AMG!  We were in class very little (there was a Health period) and spent most of the day travelling and enjoying the performance.

There was a line in the production yesterday (also in the NFB film we watched) where the mother made an interesting comment and I decided to use it as a journal prompt.  Here it is:

We also set up our gameboards for Battleship.  This is a Mathematical take on a classic game that uses the idea of coordinates to sink the ships of an opposing player.  Playing this game will assist the students in preparing to do transformations for Geometry on a much larger grid.

After watching the "retro" version of the ad for the game (via Youtube), I modelled how each student should set up his or her grid to play.  They will play with a partner to sink the ships!

In the afternoon, we looked at the Health Project.  I have a sample set of paragraphs I did around the topic of Cocaine.  Emphasis was placed around the differences between topic and concluding sentences and the importance of having supporting details.  Here is the sample:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

After Snack and  Gym today we took a look at a couple of videos relating to the issues of being resilient.  One concerns a young woman named Carly Fleischmann, who is on the Autism spectrum.  The other is based on some recent brain research into the power of music.

Here is a video, from Youtube, of Carly promoting her upcoming book:
The original link for the article I read about her can be found at http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/04/11/toronto-carly-fleischmann-autism-book.html .

Here is the video of the elderly man who seems to come alive once he hears music from his past.  It is quite inspiring and says a lot about the power of music.

In relation to the body and the mind is the issue of the Health Project.  I mentioned this last week and wanted to post the more formal instructions for this project.  While it will be marked as a Health assignment, I will also use it as part of the Science and Language (Writing) mark for this term.
I apologize for the repetition of one of the lines.  When I copied it from the SMARTBoard it turned out this way.
More details about this project, along with some research time, will be provided but I am encouraging the students to take some initiative to work on this project on their own.  This may involve going to the local public library of arranging to do some research at AMG's library.

HOMEWORK:  A lunch is needed, in class, for tomorrow before we head off to the TSO concert in the afternoon.  If the Geometry or SBR homework was not completed on the  weekend, it needs to be for tomorrow.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

This coming Tuesday, we will be travelling to Roy Thompson Hall to watch the Toronto Symphony Orchestra perform from The Hockey Sweater by Sheldon Cohen.  The film is available for review at the NFB (National Film Board) website:  http://www.nfb.ca/film/sweater
Here is a picture of Mr. McLaughlin showing a copy of the book to the class.  (Sorry about your hand being on your nose.)
I downloaded a study guide from the TSO and will spend some more time talking about the performance and significance of the book before we go out on Tuesday afternoon.

We spent Thursday working on closing out the complete rough drafts of our narrative paragraphs.  The students added a concluding sentence but they did this after playing a paragraph matching game.  As a review, the students worked in groups to match topic sentences to the "body" sentences of a paragraph.  Here are some images of the class playing:

This game took us into the afternoon and the students -- with their minds filled with great ideas about writing -- returned to their paragraphs.  I reminded them of what they were doing and even did some modelling of what a 5 sentence paragraph could look like. It was my attempt to be explicit as possible and making a point of repeating the information over and over.

In attempting to develop a concluding sentence, I wanted the class to see the connection between the Topic and Concluding sentence. I used the following example to show how they are worded different but have the same spirit or intention:

We will return to another game next week and spend some time in the Library working on the final drafts of the assignment.  I plan to tie this exercise of writing paragraphs to the Health project they have.  I have changed the expectations from what Mr. Moye wanted so the students will end up writing 3 paragraphs based on this outline:

Each paragraph will be on a specific topic.  I will talk more about this on Monday, but this may help some of the students who are not sure how to proceed on this assignment.  We will also be going into the Library on Monday for a period for some research.

One thing that has been interesting about this Resilience based work is trying to find opportunities to showcase it in everyday events.  Fortunately, a number of the students do not often see how they get stuck in a lot of thinking short cuts (the homework from Wednesday and Thursday).  I have an image to share and I will comment a little about the conversation we had around it.
 This picture is mean to represent tunnel thinking.  In other words, you can only see what is inside of the tunnel and not what surrounds it.  For example, if a student got 8/10 on a Math test, he or she may be angry for not getting perfect.  What they may not notice or understand is that they only got two questions wrong!  Perhaps, if they were looking for a higher grade, they may have had to ask for some help or do some more reviewing.  By no means do I think that perfection is the key or should be the goal, but I have noticed that many students strive for perfection and end up frustrating themselves when it does not happen.

So, I have been gently reminding students to pay attention to some of the thoughts they have when they make comments that are negative or self-deprecating.  By stopping the class to see or get a sense of how the words they say can structure their ideas, thoughts, and actions, it develops a sense of meta-cognition.  They are beginning to think about how they think.  To be continued.

There is some Geometry homework this weekend relating to locating coordinates on a grid.  We reviewed today what a row and a column are and what comes first when we are trying to locate a coordinate on a grid.  We will review this concept on Monday with a game which mimics the classic game Battleship.
column, row [in an ordered pair]
 Enjoy the weekend.
Homework:  return forms and TTC fare for TSO, complete coordinate grid HW, Camp Kawartha forms or money, last 4 items of "Thinking Shortcut" work from p. 9 or the SBR workbook.