Monday, October 28, 2013

Grade 8 University of Toronto tutoring opportunity

This program came to my attention from my Principal, Karen Sitarek, about an opportunity for our Grade 8 students to receive tutoring and mentorship from university students.  Any interested parents and students are asked to return the signed forms to me, as soon as possible.  I will be sending these homes on Monday.

The attached image is the first of two pages from the handouts sent to me.

Have a great week.

This image is a screenshot from a sample Rewrite I did with the class.  The first question was for the Grade 7s and 8s and the second question was, specifically, for the Grade 8s.  With a Rewrite, the students must first identify what they did wrong and then correctly answer the question.  I suppose the most important thing is for the students to understand the question, in order to answer it.  The students are provided the opportunity to ask questions about the test, in class or after school.

For each question, answered correctly on the Rewrite form, half the value of the total mark is given to the student.  So, while this is about improving your mark, the main thing is that the student understands the work and is aware of the error he or she made.

Here is the list of students who scored a grade of 70% or higher on the test.  It is still possible for those with marks below 70 % to improve their grades, but they must commit to completing the Rewrites which involve some effort!

A Success Criteria chart composed for students for when they are working on Reading Responses.

This week's Reading Response was based on the October, 1960 episode from the Twilight Zone:  The Man in the Bottle.


There are a number of students who have not completed many assignments and work.  You will obviously see this observation noted on the upcoming Progress Report.  When your son or daughter has not homework, this may be true, but ask them if they have caught up with the work that is being tracked by the Homework Tracking chart in the classroom.  

This image was from the 2012-2013 school year.

Rewrites for Math test due on October 30
Final copies of Myth due on November 1 (Friday).
Science test on Tuesday (study notes to be handed to students and used on the test).

Friday, October 25, 2013


A very short entry, that I may modify over the course of the weekend.

This Place Value chart is the intersection of both the Number Sense and in Measurement strands of Math.  Teaching them together will, it my intention, bring a greater understanding of size and distance.

The final writing stage of the Myth project involves self-editing and peer editing.  Once again, it encourages the students to look at what they have written and see if it connects with all of the expectations outlines in the Success Criteria for the assignment.  Here is a look at the checklist:

We will continue our exploration of the technical aspects of writing (the last item on the checklist) on Monday.  There are several students who did not hand in the homework from Wednesday where they had to complete 5 simple sentences.

Some students are legitimately caught up with their work and have no homework this weekend, but there are many students who have not completed some work.  As I have mentioned before, this is posted on the Homework Chart in the class and it is easy for students to see what they have or have not completed.  Ask your son or daughter about this.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Tonight is Transition Night at Bloor Collegiate.  Here is the reminder, once again:
Most of the students have developed their graphic organizers for the Myth writing project.  This is a required part of the process!  By the time the students prepare to type up a draft, they will have a clearer idea of how to organize their ideas.  Students are able to check if they have completed this steo by referring to the homework board in class.  While this serves as a reminder for the students, I am hoping they will develop the skills and discipline to become responsible for their learning.

Anyhow.  The reason I mention the Myth is in relation to another aspect of the Success Criteria.
The third item listed relates to the technical aspects of writing.  Since Grade 1, the students have learned how to write sentences, but I am often surprised that some students still have difficulty creating them.  As the students move from Grade 1 through Grade 6, the sentence structure and types of sentences expected from the students become more complex. So, we began with some short exercises yesterday and continue to build on them as we progress through this assignment and through some of the other work we will do in Language this term.

I usually begin the exercise of Goal Setting much earlier in the year, but it is never to late to think about things you want to accomplish.  We are doing a series of short, but fun ... I believe... exercises relating to some of the accomplishments we have had in our lives (they can be school related and outside of school or in the community).  This will eventually lead to setting up some goals for this school year.

As part of this exercise, we did a Community Circle activity where each student had to speak about something they had accomplished.  This exercise in speaking in front of the class prompts them to think about something positive they have done, and feel good about, and share it with their peers.  Also, by speaking the accomplishment, it has the potential for activating other thinking and ideas in their heads.  Here are Junior and Rasheed sharing their ideas.  Unfortunately, the battery died and I was unable to record any more contributions from the class:

I modeled another Reading Response for the class.  On Monday, the students were given another opportunity to complete one.  I am concerned because only a handful of students completed this homeowork.  As I mentioned earlier, the students can look at the Homework chart to see if they completed the work, but really should be making a point of recording this information in the agenda and taking responsibility for completing the work.

Here was my example from yesterday, or was it Monday.  I must apologize in advance, I hit a key on my computer and have engaged the French characters on it and no longer have a question mark.

Tamar completing a review for the Math test the students did last week.  Tamar did superbly.  If the students have fallen below a Level 1 (50%), they will have the opportunity to improve their grade by doing a Rewrite (more details to follow on another post).  I have to factor into the final grade who completed a Study Sheet for this test.  It is worth 5% of the total grade.
Have a good day.

The link for one of our morning work activities is from the New York Times newspaper.  Here is the link:

Complete 5 Simple Sentences related to the Myth you are writing.  Do this in your Language notebook.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Some Myths about Learning Disabilities

One of the links attached to this blog is from the US and known as LD OnLine.  It sends out weekly reports and I like to read it every so often for inspiration and insight.

From this week, there was an article that explored some of the myths around Learning Disabilities.

A chapter of the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario (LDAO) is the Learning Disabilities Association Toronto District.  They also have an interesting site with ideas and resources you may find helpful:

On another note, here is the packing list for the Etobicoke Outdoor Education Centre.  We still had some warmish weather last week, but I imagine it will be much cooler for when the 7s venture up in November.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Some Albion Hills Photos

I managed to get shots of all students from Room 52 who attended last week's outdoor education trip.  I spent the most time with Jonathan, Trine, and Jessica and was only able to catch a few shots of Jackson and Kevin.

The Grade 7s will have their turn next month but not have access to the gorgeous colour of leaves we saw on our various activities.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A short post

I am off to Albion Hills for two nights with the Grade 8s.  The Grade 7s received their permission forms for this trip.  It will be taking place between November 12 and November 14.  Please see the permission form for more information.

The Individual Education Plans, along with some 2012-2013 EQAO results, went home today.  Here is the information letter I enclosed in the envelope:

Please keep the IEP and return, only, page 5.  As the year progresses, there are usually changes and updates to the IEP.  When IEP update season rolls around again, you will be informed and receive any additional information about your son or daughter.

During my absence, the majority of the Grade 7s will stay with Mrs. Ayearst (Science and History Teacher) and a few students will be with Ms. Seguire (across the hall).

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Study Sheet

Last week I started to work on a Study Sheet to prepare for this week's test.  Only 5/15 students, or 33% of the class, completed it.  This is not good.  The Study Sheet is meant to be a study aid for the students.

They create a series of questions or examples (based on the homework or classwork) and hand it in to me.  I will then provide them with feedback about what they may be missing from their sheet, so they are prepared.  Here is the sample I posted, in colour, of the topics that will be on the test.

This is the list of items on the test.  The two bottom items, in pink and red, are for the Grade 8 students.
As I looked over the Study Sheets, I did notice that Brandon put in a solid effort on his.  I have made some suggestions, for improvement, on his and will encourage him to ask me any questions about my comments.

As for the development of the Myth, I wanted to model my own writing process for the assignment.  I began by asking the question about why gorillas ended up being in zoos.  I used a three part graphic organizer to help develop these ideas more:

The second organizer, which I changed, so it will be a little clearer for the students, is here.  I have not filled all of the sections in because I need to spend some more time thinking about my story!

Complete three part graphic organizer for Myth
Complete final graphic organizer for Myth
Math test on Wednesday

Monday, October 14, 2013

Giving credit to a source

The idea for this graphic organizer was inspired by an article I read from a bulletin entitled Current Practice Alerts from .  It was originally published in the Spring of 2009 in issue 17 from the article entitled "Self Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) for Writing."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday, which feels like Friday

Jessica is the one and only Cross Country athlete from Room 52
The above screenshot is an image of a possible Grade 7 Study Sheet.  Both the Grade 7s and 8s will be responsible for writing notes, and doing examples from the homework and class work we have been doing on the topic of Multiples and Factors.  All of the work that will be on this test has been assigned before to the students and reviewed in class.  The Study Sheet encourages the student to review his or her work.  After it is handed in, I will look at it and provide some feedback on what else they may want to consider in getting ready for the test.

Grade 7 topics on test

Grade 8 topics on test

The multiplication chart runs through the list of multiples and factors for many numbers.

Here are two extra concepts that the Grade 8s looked at:

This is a short video that I tried to make a little larger for you to see.  I found that the other videos were too small to view.  This one is a sample of the word problem type question, from the homework.  It is not an 100% improvement, but it looks a touch better.

The photo posted on the New York Times website every Monday offers the students the opportunity to speculate on what is going on in this picture.  Here is the image from this past Monday and the link to the explanation.

In the area of Language, I am finding that a lot of the students are very eager to want to begin writing their Myths, but are not approaching the assignment correctly.  Over the weekend, I will scan another sample of a Myth from a former student to show what I am looking for or expecting in this assignment.

Last week, we did an exercise where I read them a couple of myths and they had to pay attention to the key details outlines in the Success Criteria (what I am expecting) and write some points about what they were listening to.

Add caption

The short homework I assigned for the Myths was intended to "chunk" this writing into smaller parts and help the students plan more effectively.  So far, only a few students, out of 16, have completed the second stage of planning for this assignment.

On Tuesday, I will model the planning we have been doing so far by developing a Myth for the class to see.  I will follow all of the steps the students have been told to do.  This is known as Modeled Writing and do some think-a-louds to model the thinking that may go into the initial steps of writing.

The next planning portion of this assignment will use another graphic organizer.  After this is completed -- some time next week -- we should be able to begin the draft portion of this assignment.


Complete Study Sheet for Tuesday (this will be worth 10% of the final test mark).  The test will be on Wednesday, after the Study Sheets have been returned.
A short quiz on the 6 & 7 Multiplication table will be on Tuesday.
Enjoy your long weekend.  There is no school tomorrow.