Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I wish I could say I was really into Halloween but I am not.  There were no Halloween themed items to talk about in class today but I may do a small journal on the amount of candy that is given out tonight.

This was a heavy Rotary morning and only spent 1 period doing Math and clarifying some of the concerns students were having about understanding the place value of thousandths or 0.001.  We will be reviewing some homework tomorrow and do a study sheet before proceeding on any new Math.

There was a dance this afternoon for the Grade 7 and 8 students and all of the students were awesome!  This dance was organized by the students and I think it was the best one we have had in my 3+ years at AMG.  Here are some photos from the event:


- complete Math sheet
- complete Reading Response

Time and support are always available in class for the completion of assignments.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

This video was something I wanted to show the students earlier in the year.  We have now done enough in Math to explore the worlds of very large and small numbers.  This video includes some information on exponents and the Base Ten number system.  This is a part of the current unit we are doing on Measurement and the conversion between units (e.g. mm to km).

A friend of mine works at TVO kids and is in charge of programming the education component of the network.  Well, maybe she is not in charge, but she does have a lot to do with the great videos and homework links they have developed.  Here is a Youtube link to some of the great content available to support homework strategies:

Once you direct yourself to the Youtube link, you will see that there are countless videos available for use.  While we are not working on paragraphs right now, it is a useful video to watch!

In terms of work on the Interactive White Board, we went over some of the homework from the weekend. 
Looking at "hundredths" and decimal points

Rewriting Simple sentences as Compound sentences using conjunctions

Forms for participation in Chicken Soup lunch:  due October 31
Halloween Dance:  October 31 ($3)
Homework:  complete questions 6-10 on creating Compound Sentences

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

This was something we did at the end of the day on Wednesday.

This sentence work is building towards and integrated Art and Language activity.  More details to follow.  This image is a review of sentences and distinguishing between "fragments" and complete sentences.

In Science, we began to talk about the importance of eating healthy.  This topic will be paired with an examination of the digestive system.  For homework, the students are to fill in some information for the first two columns of this chart:

We will continue our work on sentences tomorrow.  I will do a lesson about Compound Sentences and we do some practice together.  It is my intention that we can begin to work on this creative Art assignment I have in mind.

A friendly reminder (along with a short discussion) around how we should treat one another in class.
We are in the process of finishing off a film a intended to start last Friday.  it is called Brownstones to Red Dirt and follows the story of a Pen Pal relationship between students from New York and a group of students from Sierra Leone who have survived the devastation of the Civil War.  Here is the trailer of the film.
Although we are studying Canadian History, I will be making a link between the Historical Concepts we are studying in History and this film.


Final Spelling dictation on Friday + Unit 2 work due
Read for 15 min
Science:  Start working on the KWL chart on Healthy Eating and Digestion
Math Rewrites are due tomorrow

Have a great evening.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

For the Grade 8 parents/guardians who were not available to make it to the meeting last night at AMG about the Grade 8-9 transition, here is a key piece of information you may be interested in:

Information about how the Special Education process works for high school will be discussed more with the students in class with the help of our Itinerant Counsellor, along with the IPRC (Identification Progress Review Committee) meetings in late November or December.

A folder with some general information about last night will be going home today.

Although written on the Homework board, there have been some items that students may need reminders about to complete before the end of the week:

- spelling:  unit work and dictation on Friday
- Historical Concepts definitions
- Reading Response #2
- Goal setting work (one for School and outside of School)

I think it is crucial that homework be monitored and completed.  During the presentation on high schools last night, it was mentioned that students will, most likely, have 4 different subject teachers in high school.  If each teacher gave the students one item of homework/night, that would be a lot of work to manage.

If students are able to get in the habit of using the agenda (writing stuff /work down and then checking it off when it is completed), it would be invaluable.

Have a positive day.  If you would like to communicate with me about anything related to this or any other Blog entry, please email me or write a note in the agenda.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012


Complete definitions of main Historical Concepts.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DEFINE CULTURAL CONTACT.
  Spelling final dictation and group work due on Friday.  This was reviewed in class today.  This involves understanding the differences between the long and short e sound.  We worked on this as a class today.  It came from a shortened version of the lesson/exercise given out today.
 If the Reading Response was not completed on the weekend, it is due tomorrow.  See the post from Friday for a model of how a Reading Response might look.  It may be based on an article read from a free newspaper, book or magazine.  The idea is that the students find and read something they find interesting.

Page 5 of the IEP -- signed -- must be returned.

Have a good evening. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

This will be a short entry.

The Math test was today.  It will be marked and returned on Monday.

Today, we started working on the chequing activity which helped to consolidate the Math we have been doing.  Here is the cheque I used to model what was expected.

We used the Internet to look up items we wanted to buy.  I will review this on Monday and we will return to completing this assignment next week.

We started to put some thought into writing a couple of goals.  We are using the SMART goals approach to goal setting.
Here is a sample of a goal I made for myself.
HOMEWORK:  A Reading Response.  Forget how?  Here is the sample I used on the Interactive White Board from last week.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Study for tomorrow's Math test.  Use either your Study note or examples from the Blog (from Wednesday) to help you.

Return page 5 of the IEP signed.  You can keep the rest of it.

Progress Reports should be signed and returned.

Spelling Unit work and Math tests should be returned.

Today we spent a lot of time going over the History homework from earlier in the week.  I put some samples up on the Promethean Board for the students to understand what I am hoping they will understand about studying History.

I re-introduced them to the main concepts I usually explore in History and they worked in partners to define the meaning of the concepts.  (I tried uploading the image but running into some technical challenges.)

We previewed tomorrow's "chequing activity."  This will be another opportunity for the students to demonstrate their understanding of representing larger numbers in a variety of ways.

There was a dental screening run by Toronto Public Health.  Results, if concerns are found, will be sent to the school.

Have a good evening.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The IEPs will be coming home today along with some information about the program in Room 52.

I will smooth out this entry, but I want to get some information up that will help with my lesson today on goal setting.

The sheet we will be working from, to continue this lesson, looks like this:
I made a slight change to it by adding in a section for the things the students need help (struggles) with.  I felt it was important for the students to understand both their strengths and struggles.

Mr Rodriguez, our school counselor, passed by to speak with the students about the transition to high school and the different requirements for graduation.  This is a conversation that will be continuing during the year leading up to the application and course selection process for high school.

Setting a goal provides you with a sense of direction and purpose and, hopefully a plan of action.  By being clear about what you want, and the direction you need to move in, you are giving yourself choices. 

There will be a Math test on Friday to close out our unit on large numbers.  I did say that I would post one of the sample like questions from a lesson I did a few days ago.  Unfortunately, I erased that but came up with a couple of photos that I think will be helpful for reviewing for Friday's test:

  There will be a review exercise on Thursday, in class, on writing cheques and making certain numbers into different forms of expanded form.  This will help with the preparation for Friday's test.

The IEPs went home today.  In the past, I have written up a note and sent home to explain what they are and have converted this note to an image for you to see.

Along with this note, I sent home a newsletter explaining some of the activities and important routines in Room 52.  Here is the newsletter:

I was going to add some more images (homework tracking chart, progress report, and homework board) but I think you are already familiar with the importance of these items.

HOMEWORK:  Completion of the Math Study sheet, outstanding History homework

I did find the missing slides from Tuesday's lesson and will post them:


Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Progress Report went home on Friday.  It is a short report that gives you a short summary of the work habits your son or daughter has had this year.  Here is a photo I took of one of them:

I first learned how to do this at Lawrence Heights Middle School in the former North York Board of Education.  It is not an indication of your son or daughter's academic performance but more of a comment of the Learning Skills he or she is demonstrating.  It should be signed and returned by Wednesday, October 17.  If you have any questions about this, please write in the agenda or send me an email at:

There is a Math test today.  It was placed on the Homework board on Thursday.  I did ask students to submit a Study Sheet (a review sheet) and I received sheets from 2/3 of the class.  Some were done better than others and I reviewed all of them and made suggestions on the parts where more information could be added.

There will be another test this week.  I will ask for another Study Sheet from the students based on Math work we have done over the past couple of weeks.  I have purposely chunked, or broken down, the tests into units so there is not too much information on one test.  Monday's test, by far, will be the larger of the two.

Once we complete this unit on Number Sense, we will be moving to the Measurement strand and it will look at the conversion between unit of measure (millimetres to centimetres to metres to kilometres). This unit will also reinforce the Number Sense unit we are currently in because it will review the Base 10 system we are studying.

The second half reading/image previewing of the first chapter of the History textbook was to be completed for homework this weekend.  It follows the same format of the homework we did last week. I went through a couple of detailed examples of how to do this homework and used a couple of student samples to provide correct models of how to do this.

All homework is written on the HOMEWORK board and reviewed.  Time is provided for students to jot down homework assignments and for questions to be asked.  In addition, if homework has not been completed, additional time is provided in the class to catch up.

On Friday, we began viewing a film called Phobe in Wonderland about a young girl who is having some difficulties in school but finds some comfort in her Drama class, where she blossoms.  Our Friday afternoon film festival is a part of my curriculum and I have recently decided that I will refer to it as the Room 52 Film Festival.

We may not always watch a film but I try to find one that provokes some thinking about the characters and the realities in which they find themselves.

Have a good week.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday, October 11

We completed watching a film called Stand and Deliver.  It was based on a Math teacher, Jaime Escalante, who worked at Garfield High in East Los Angeles, CA.  Here is a short tribute about him:
It was his teaching methods, zest, enthusiasm, and desire which made me decide to become a teacher and educator.  I will use some of the messages in this clip for a journal exercise.

Time was provided, in class, for students to complete outstanding work (Spelling, Study Sheets for Math, and History) but a number of students still have not completed work. 

For those completing the Journal, I have created a sample that might help guide the writing process.

HOMEWORK:  Journal response to question on worries, Grade 8 Exponential Math questions, CHOICES For 9 forms for Grade 8 students,

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Our final spelling dictation was today after a heavy morning of rotary (Music, Gym, French Culture).

The spelling work was due today and I only received 8/12 copies of the work.  I have not checked or graded it yet but that would mean that 2/3 of the class completed the work and 1/3 did not. 

In the afternoon, we went through our usual routines of doing cursive writing and a read-a-loud of The Hunger Games.  We are at the point in the book that is right before the start of "The Games" and many in the class our excited about this.

The Grade 8s were supposed to go down for a Guidance presentation this afternoon with Mr. Rodriguez but that didn't happen.  They will be hearing some information about the Grade 8 to 9 transition next Wednesday.  In addition, there will be a presentation, at AMG at 7:00 on October 23, to discuss the transition to high school.  Invitations for the event went home today.

Our discussions in History continue.  The homework assigned last week was reviewed and another homework assignment will be given this week.  Again, I am trying to have the students do some "historical thinking" about some of the content in the textbook and record this in their notebooks.  So, while the students will have to do some reading of words, the emphasis will be placed on the maps, images, and photographs contained in the book and other resources we use in history this year.

HOMEWORK:  Math Study-sheet for pages 29, 30, 31.  The test will either be on Thursday or Friday.  I want to be sure that all of the students have the Study-sheet to review for the test.

Have a pleasant evening.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Part 2

There was a program that the students in Room 52 participated in last year.  It had to do with the idea of developing or understanding character strengths.  The idea behind this project  (known as the Strength Based Resilience program) encouraged the students to understand the importance of being able to cope when things in life become challenging.

I was doing some reading from the LD Online newsletter I receive (the link is one the main page of the blog) and came across this thinker, Paul Tough, who was promoting his new book, How Children Succeed.  I decided to do a search on Youtube to get a sense of who this guy was.  Here is a short video interview with Paul.

I was invited back to the program and information on the program should be given to me sometime this month.  I believe in this program and hope it is something I can extend to all of the students in Room 52.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I must apologize for the delay from the last post a week ago.  I have been busy preparing the drafts of the IEPs (Individual Education Plans).  They will be going home next week.

A few important points:

1. Picture Money is due tomorrow

2. Money for the snack program is still be accepted.

3.  There are only a few students using the agendas on a regular basis to keep track of their work!  I strongly encourage you to ask your son or daughter to use it.  Check it on a regular basis to make sure they are writing down assignments.  There are a number of students who have NOT been completing homework on a regular basis.

4.  Coming Soon:  A curriculum information sheet will be coming home with details about the work happening in Room 52.  This will be sent home in the absence of Curriculum Night at AMG.

5.  The Spelling is due tomorrow along with the final dictation.  This was assigned last Thursday.  The assignment was reviewed, question by question, in class.

I am pleased to see that all of the students in Room 52 have made an attempt at some Grade 8 Math.  It concerns taking large numbers and putting them in a form of Expanded Form that is known as Exponential Form.  This is taken from one of the specific expectations from the Number Sense strand in Math.  Here is a sample question:

Each student has to show a teacher that they could correctly do one of these type of questions.

A study sheet has been assigned (due on Thursday) for a Math test.  The page numbers for the type of questions being evaluated was put on the homework board and should have been copied into the agenda.

The Drama performances happened last Friday.  We spent some time reviewing what would make a successful performance -- SUCCESS CRITERIA -- and had a dress rehearsal.  The marks for the performers will be returned by Thursday, for the latest.  Here are the photos of the different groups who performed.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Promethean Board has been up and working for the past few days now.  I am quite pleased with it and think it exceeds the performance of the Smartboard I used last year.

Aside from the flexibility of being able to supplement my lessons with this technology, it also provides the students the opportunity for some interaction.  Here are a few shots of the class at work building on a Math lesson I did yesterday.

We have also moved into our study of History.  While we use a textbook, I am aware of the number of students who have difficulty reading.  I am going to base the program around understanding key concepts.  For the first exercise, I am asking students to scan the text and select 5 images that they think relates to History.
(We have spent some time talking brainstorming what History is and what we might learn from studying it as a subject.)

Here is a sample I did, to help the students along with understanding what is expected of them:
I have not figured out how to save images from my Promethean Board lessons yet.  This one was taken from the laptop computer.  Only jot notes were expected for this.

HOMEWORK:  Complete selection of 5 images from pp.3-13 of History textbook along with a brief explanation of the importance of it as it relates to the study of History.


There is one other thing I forgot to add.  I adjusted the sign on the front door of the classroom.  For all of the items the students are to bring in, I forgot to mention one, very crucial thing:  having a positive attitude.