Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013


Students may work on the Reading Response on Dr. Christopher Spence.  The online article was posted on yesterday's blog.  The format for answering the questions is here, in an older, sample entry I did.
We spent a period in the Library working on this.  Some students used Read and Write Gold to help them listen to the story.  If you are interested in obtaining the license to use this program at home, please contact me.

The final spelling dictation is tomorrow, along with the work for Unit 7.

Tomorrow there will be a short bit of work on the unit on Mixtures and Solutions we started.  This will lead up to a few experiments we explore in the class.

The Drama/History work was fair.  It was an attempt to assess the students' understanding of the work we have been studying.  Instead of giving them a test, I was using the medium of Drama to see how they processed the work.  I can see some areas for improvement and will provide the students with some meaningful feedback when we try this again.  Here are some photos from the event:

Have a good evening.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Homework for tonight:  

Double sided Math sheet which was re-taught and re-explained.  This was assigned on Monday but I did not do an adequate job in explaining it.  It involves a review of the Multiplication tables and makes some extensions into some more complex work we be exploring over the next few days.

The final dictation for spelling is on Friday along with the work for this spelling unit (Unit 7).

2 students need to complete the jot notes for tonight in History.

The students will be demonstrate their understanding of  the History work we have been discussing by participating in some Drama activities.

For our Reading Response this week -- we did not do one last week -- I selected an excellent article from the Website Teach Kids News.  It concerns the issue earlier in the month which involves the resignation of Dr. Christopher Spence from the role of Director of the TDSB.  The article can be found at:

The class will need some more time to complete it and will do so in the Library on Thursday.

I will take some photos of the Art we created last week in class.  We used Acrylic paint on some canvases I purchased at a Dollar Store.  The students did a journal response to their works of Art.  The theme was about being happy and the task was to pain something which made them happy.  The Library blog has a collection of journal responses, along with my comments, for the class to see.  You may click the link on the right hand site of this page or follow the following link:

I was alerted to this website for students, who are beginning readers, who may be looking for books or materials to read on line.  Here is that link:

For students who are learning and practicing their multiplication tables, have a look at this fun site:

To supplement some of the work we are doing in History, I have used some videos from Youtube.

While some of the content is American, we are using Canadian material in this class and are using the excellent resource by the CBC, Canada:  A People's History.

The reference to slavery was to demonstrate just how much the growth of the 13 Colonies was based on the labour of African men and women in North America and in the Caribbean.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Just a reminder.  There will be no school tomorrow.

This will be a short post today.    

Today we worked on an in class Reading Comprehension assignment relating to the article we read about the daredevil Felix Baumgartner.

The questions are modeled around the Ministry of Education Reading Exemplars.  I plan to grade them this weekend.  

We had a Problem of the Day today.  Here is the question:

Over the course of the weekend, I may make some additions to the blog.  Have a great long weekend.


- read pages 132-145 in History textbook and take at least 2 jot notes/page



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

For those who were away, I want to go over last night's Science homework.  I am going to paste a section of the assignment:

Here is a definition from the Ontario Science Curriculum.

mixture. The substance that is formed

when two or more substances are added

together. The substances are not chemically

combined and may be separated again              

Your short homework task is to think of a magic mixture that you can make at home.  The substances you use should be able to be separated.  Please give your magic mixture a name and state what it can do.  Please do the following work in the section below.  A rough copy of the work may be written on the back:­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

I also added the requirement of what the mixture would look like, if drawn.  This homework was due today but I will make an exception and accept it tomorrow for those who were absent of did not complete it.
Here are a couple of photos of some students playing the "Junkyard" game yesterday in class.  The idea behind the game was to have some fun and remind the students of what a mixture is before they had to complete the homework from last night.
Okay, so this is an example of a mixture from Bishop's lunch!

For the multiplication test today, I am going to provide some review time in class.  Some students wanted to use the opportunity to use the review website I posted for multiplication tables.  Here it is:

Art Journal questions
 I would like the class to respond to these questions on the Library blog.  Please number your answers in the comments section of the blog.  I would suggest having two windows open so can move back and forth between the questions and the answers you type.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We began the day by taking up a Problem of the Day question from last week .  I initially solved the question incorrectly and had to have a couple of students point out my error; good for them!

Solution to question

Original question

Here is the link for the review game on mixtures for Science:

The game, which is a good review for mixtures and solutions and should help them with homework.

An example of a mixture is the classic Bits and Bites snack. 
Each item can be separated and, therefore, is an example of a mixture.

The students are working on completing an Adobe Photoshop collage in Library class where they have to manipulate pictures, taken by Ms. Wills, our Teacher Librarian, of their face.  In the afternoon, the group of students had an open book, multiple choice  History test.


- 1- 10 Multiplication table test tomorrow
- Magic Mixture Science homework

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

For today's Community Circle, we are using a quote by Dr. King to contemplate his legacy.  I selected it because it relates to some of the character virtues and strengths I try to plug and talk about in class.

“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” 

I have a slide that I used to contextualize this discussion.  I try to move the discussion in another direction when it comes to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  The conversation often stops along the lines of race, but I want the students to understand how the issues of poverty and justice were also on his radar.

 Here is a quote from a speech that Dr. King gave on poverty in America.  What is interesting is that the same speech could be given today in the US and to some degree, in Canada for some members of our society who are marginalized and treated poorly because they may be racialized and poor.

Here if the image I had up on the Promethean Board to add to direct the discussion:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

Heavy rotary this morning (Music, Gym, and French Culture).

My daughter introduced this method of multiplying that students in Japan learn.  It is very visual and might be of benefit to students who are struggling with the approach we typically take in North America.  This approach still requires some understanding of Place Value.  I will post a link to a You Tube video so you may see what I am talking about.

It takes a few tries to really get it, but it is kind of addicting.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thursday, Janurary 17, 2013

Hello.  This will be a short entry on account of an early evening appointment I have

Because we are a model school, we had some books donated to the classroom.  The following are titles that the students from Room 52 can bring home:

The Grade 8s were visited by three staff members from Central Commerce ( and introduced to the school and provided an opportunity to ask questions about making the transition to high school.  Here are a couple of pictures from the short session this morning:

We continue our roll through the multiplication table.  Today we landed on 6 and, after a little confusion on my part, I shared another one of the cool strategies from the JUMP Math program:
- any outstanding Reading Responses
- Spelling work + final dictation
- 6 times table conversion
- read for 15 minutes

Have a pleasant evening.  Please write in the agenda of your son or daughter's agenda if you have a question for me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

While reviewing for the multiplication table for 9, Kiara came across this main site for testing multiplication skills:

For the 8 times table, I used the method outlined in the JUMP Math program.  Here is an image from the board along with a brief explanation of how it works.  A detailed set of instruction is listed in the handout the students have.

Explanation of image:

1. Begin with ones column and write 8 and count down by 2s to zero.
2.  Begin in the tens column and start from 0 and count up to 4
3.  Repeat step one (1.) in another column starting with 8 in the ones column.
4.  Begin in the tens column and count up from 4 until you have reached 8.

I am not sure if I properly placed the website link on spells for the Spelling assignment due on Friday.  Here is the link to some sample spells done by some students around the world.  I am sure a search on Google will allow you to find some more creative ideas.

One of the questions concerns writing a spell using some of the list words:

I will do an example:

- snake's eyeball
- toad's skin
- lizard's tongue

I use my voice to cast this spell to guide you to life you will live well

With the paste of a snake's eye, the crispness of a toad's skin, and stretched tongue of a lizard
Listen to my words and rub a palm-full of this blend upon your brow
Take one deep breath and walk through this door; your life will never be the same again

- quiz on 8 times table
- final spelling due on Friday + dictation
- complete outstanding Malala Library blog
by Ariane

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The homework board has been wiped clean for a new beginning!

Take one day at a time.  You will be able to stay on top of your work.

 This activity from this morning's Community Circle will continue into the afternoon with an Art exercise using acrylic paint.

I am not sure if I mentioned this in yesterday's post, but I believe I did.  It concerns the issue of the apostrophe s and how it relates to the issue of ownership.  This week's spelling unit concerns the use of "'s."  I used a series of simple examples from a lesson from the Promethean Board to help explain how this technical point works:

images taken from lesson by Erin Koss from Promethean Planet lesson


- 9 times table quiz
- spelling and final dictation due on Friday
- Reading Response due on Friday

Have  good evening.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Today was only a half of an instructional day on account of the Grade 8s visiting Bloor Collegiate in the afternoon.  The students listened to members of the band and heard from the Student Council President on the benefits from attending Bloor CI.

Closing exercises in the cafeteria.

The Grade 7 students volunteered in the Grade 1 classroom of Ms. Presedo.

This morning we spent some time looking at the new spelling unit on possessives.  I noticed a pattern in the student work where they would often use an apostrophe and an s when they were writing something in the plural form.  For example, they would say "the cow's all love grass" instead of writing, correctly, "the cow's tail is short."  This refers to the tail of the cow being short.

We will be using the spelling unit for this week to understand this topic more and we will also be using some of the Promethean Board lessons to deepen the class' understanding of the topic.
The homework, for this unit, was handed out today but I will review it tomorrow.  It is not due until Friday, when the final dictation takes place.

- Spelling work for Unit 25 + final dictation due on Friday

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

Room 52 Reading strategy posters
 Yesterday we were reviewing some of the reading strategies we have used in the class this term.  Before I got into the "academics" of doing it, I told the class that using reading strategies happens everyday without being aware of it.

I used the example of Matthew describing a situation of bumping into a student from my class year.  Unfortunately, they did not have a very friendly relationship but they had to read one another to figure out where they stood.  Here is the notes I wrote from the board and a brief explanation of each one.

prior knowledge had to do with the relationship they had in the past  they both realized they knew someone in common and had to make sense of this  Matthew had to decide and evaluate if the conflicts from the past would be an issue and if a conflict might happen

 I was hoping that might have helped the class understand why understanding these types of strategies is important.  I then went on to show them a photo of an coming reading exercise we will be doing.  The students then had to respond to the prompts in their Literacy folder:
The classroom on Friday was pretty bare.

I did not mention this for homework, but if the students are looking to review their multiplication skills, they can use this link to take them to the copies of the worksheets they use in class:
There was a quiz yesterday with the majority of students scoring perfect.  We will be moving on to the next day of numbers for multiplication on Monday.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Here is the work from yesterday from the library:

This work needs to be completed (the three questions) and posted in the "Comments" section on the Library blog (see link in link section or click:

Comment section of Library blog

The Multiplication test for 2-5 was given out today.  10/12 people scored 100% and the remaining students need to review their work carefully.  There will be another test tomorrow on the same set of tables.

We played a number of review games looking at the multiples of 2,3,4, and 5.  Here are some of the images from the games:

The Problem Solving Measurement conversion test Rewrites were due today.  Only one student handed it in to help improve his mark.  I want to have a parent signature on each test.  The test, if your son or daughter forgets, is posted on the page from Monday:

Have a good evening.

A photo of a current student and some former ones courtesy of Mr. Rodriguez.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013

Welcome back.

The first day was a little slow for everyone and it may take another day to get back into the learning groove.

Today we began a more focussed approach to doing our Community Circle exercise.  The sharing in  front of the class had to do with a happy or relaxed memory from the two week vacation.  I allowed the class some time to share and chat about their break:

I returned the marks from the presentation portion of the Media project.  I was very pleased with the efforts the students put forward and how they used the Success Criteria chart to help guide their work. 

I also gave back the Math tests from the last week of school from 2012.  Monique scored a perfect score on the test.  We went over the test and the opportunity is there for the students to do Rewrites to improve their test scores.

Here are the two pages from Monique's test.  There were a number of other strong marks from the class and those students should be proud of their efforts.

I am still trying to figure out where to fit in a small unit on Multiplication.  I think it is important that the class learn this skill, along with being able to divide.  We introduced the concepts with a few notes from the board and a short journey into how the operation of division works.

Some journies into multiplication and division
- Day 1 on Multiplication skills (for 2,3,4,5)
- Rewrites due on Wednesday
- Read 15 min
- bring $.30 for movie on Friday