Thursday, November 27, 2014

A couple of introductory Math games for Cicumference and using Geoboards to calculate Area and Perimeter

Geoboard perimeter exercise:

To supplement this exercise, we did some work with "old school" Geoboards.  The challenges, and they went from easy to being a little more complex, are captured in some of the photos:

Reproducing work from the Geoboard onto the paper and then working on calculating the perimeter of the shape.

Most of the students were not aware that the formula for calculating the perimeter of a rectangle.  This is something we will use in this unit of Math.  It is: P = 2(l+w).

Here is a screenshot of a calculation we did as a class from the mathplayground game:

Using the formula to calculate the area

I did some scaffolding with the more complex portion of the work.  This involved creating different shapes with the same perimeter.

 Introductory review of the Circumference of a circle:

To support this Grade 8 investigation, we were looking at the relationship between the circumference of a circle and the diameter of a circle.  Here are some photos of our investigations:

LOG IN LINK FOR Strength Based Resilience project, background information on the program, and access to TDSB student accounts

The following link will be used to enter the website for the Strength Based Resiliency project.  Information on this program will be coming home today.

The recent Problem of the Day/Journal question I posed to the students about a Growth and Fixed Mindset was based on some of the research from the manual that we will use in the program.  I participated in this project three years ago and would like to think that it provided the students with coping skills and an understanding of how their minds and thoughts work.

Here is a link to the authors of this project:


Email accounts used by the students will be set up using the TDSB student email account system.  This service was made available on October 16 of this year.  The link to set up this account is

From the TDSB Academic Workspace (AW):

"Students will access their TDSB email through Academic (AW) Workspace by selecting the “Mail” tab. Access to AW is available 24/7 from anywhere in the world on any device with an internet connection."

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Growth versus Fixed Mindset

The Growth Mindset:

Square Footage (sorry, it is not metric)

For Grade 7 Math, I thought I would continue our introduction to Area and Perimeter by doing a fun activity.

Here are some measurements for a condo development on St. Clair.  The area is measured in square feet.

A square foot is the standard unit of measure for developing a floor plan.

For this building, the floor plan I will use as an example if 444square feet.  Here is what the plan looks like:

To begin our journey on matters relating to area, you will be designing a floor plan for your own condo!  You will be using 1 cm grid paper (metric measurement).  You will be planning out your living space with the necessary items that you believe are important.  Afterwards, you will calculate the total area (in centimetres squared) of your space.

Here is a rushed example, done by Mr. Proudfoot to help illustrate what you will do.  Your finished floor plan may be coloured to personalize your space. 


Character Trait assembly, November 25, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Corrected location of comma, visit to Central Tech, classroom Advertising Tour

While reviewing this example of the Sentence Collage for the students, I noticed that I misplaced the location of the comma. I corrected it.  It is supposed to be located before the conjunction.

The Grade 8s went on a trip to Central Tech today. I did not take photos during the visit, even though there was so much to see.  There is an information session, for families, on Wednesday, December 6.  Here is the flyer:

Flyer sent home today.  Family members 5-8 may attend!
Outside the front doors of the fabled Central Technical School
I have always believed that this school offers a HUGE variety of options and programs for students who are interested in many pathways (Culinary, Electrical, Academic, name a few).

Yesterday, we got a head start on the Media Literacy project by doing a walking tour of the print advertisements in the classroom.  Here are some photos from the exercise:

Applying some of the lessons learned from this exercise to the next stage of the Media project on creating an Ideal Society will be our next objective.

Both the grades are embarking on new units in Math.  The 7s will be looking at the Area, Volume, and Surface Area of Rectangles and Rectangular Prisms (look at that, I capitalized all of them... such great respect).  The 8s will be looking at the area and perimeter of a circle.  Both concepts are Grade appropriate, albeit with reduced expectations.  I am pleased to say that most of the students, with the required accommodations, have been able to tackle the work we have been doing in class which has been at Grade level!

To those students who have been experiencing difficulty, I will be modifying the final evaluation from them and shifting the Grade level on the IEP (Individual Education Plan).

Have a good evening. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sentence Collage examples 2 & 3, film review from RPFF

Here are a few things we are working on today.

I completed two more examples of Art for the Sentence Collage.  One if for a Simple sentence and other is for a Compound Sentence.
Simple Sentence

Compound Sentence
The students who attended the film were responsible for completing a review of it.  I replayed the trailer, just to remind them about the basic plot of the film.

Sample Movie Review (Problem of the Day for today) 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Regent Park Film Festival, Carol Dweck, Media Literacy FF: To be Continued

This a panoramic shot inside the lovely theatre at the Regent Park Film Festival.  The class watched the documentary American Promise.  We arrived back to AMG quite late and I did not have to hand out the homework and explain the mini movie review they will do on the film.  On Monday, I will spend some time reviewing the film (probably by showing the trailer again) and have the students do this exercise as part of the morning routine.

In preparation for the film, I knew that some of the concepts brought up in the film might be knew for them.  So, I created a word wall of vocabulary related to topics that came up in the film.

Many of these concepts are sociological and I wanted to give the students a richer sense of who we are as people.  So, while concepts of Race and Class impact the two main characters of the film, there are other aspects of who are too.  In the following image, from a lesson,  I selected a variety of "Identity Wheels" from the Internet.  Each one is slightly different, but you can see that who we are is made up of many dimensions.

For a lot of students, and adults, when they may watch a film with a protagonist who is not White and see and understand that character as being Black.  A good film, or documentary, allows you to see the many dimensions of his or her character.  I believe the filmmakers in American Promise were successful with that.  We were able to see more dimensions to the characters of Idris and Shay than their "race."  Race is a huge component of the film, but it is not the only part and this is something I want the students to understand as we continue our discussions in class.

In the wheel that is at the bottom right of the image posted above, you may be able to make out attitude, motivation, or perception.  These are parts of our identity that are often overlooked and sometimes take a back seat to the more obvious and visible markers of skin colour, accent, where we work or live.  These markers are important parts of who we are and what moves us.

In relation to the movie, I am hoping the students were able to pick up on some of the attitudes, perceptions and motivations of the two main characters.  Based on the research of Standford Psychologist, Carol Dweck, I have used her research around "mindsets" to have the students do some thinking about how they may think about themselves and what may drive them.  Here is the chart of Mindsets, along with the questions:

The following page was taken from a TDSB publication on the Strength Based Resiliency Manual (to commence in 2015)
To assist them, I jotted off some ideas to show them how the questions might be answered.

The answer is not entirely complete, but I hope it gave them a starting point to think a little more on how they think.  This concepts is often new and challenging for them (and for a lot of people), but I think it is a valuable exercise.  I look forward to reading and commenting on those journals, this afternoon.

Earlier this week, some of the Grade 8s had the opportunity to visit Western Technical School                       ( ) and see some of the programs available there.  Here are a couple of photos I grabbed:

We have made some progress in getting deeper into our Media Literacy unit.  I used one of the ads I selected to help model for the class what they are expected to due on the "advertising tour" we will be doing in class.  I was pleased to see that the Grade 8s added some more observations to  the ad I selected.  Here is a screen shot.

The aim of this exercise involves the students picking up on and developing their understanding how how advertisements are constructed and adhere to a certain style to make them appealing to consumers.  

The Number Sense unit on Fractions came to a close last week.  I could have extended it into other important and crucial aspects of fractions, but I need to move on to a unit on Measurement.  Opportunities for Rewrites exist for failing grades.  I have to check some of the Rewrites submitted from students and see if some of them attempted to exercise elements of a Growth Mindset and worked hard to improve their grade.


- no formal homework was assigned (a Journal entry on the documentary will be handed our tomorrow)
- a non-graded paragraph (5 sentences) was handed out on Thursday to be completed by all of the students

enjoy your Sunday

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Election Results for Student Council Class Representatives, trip to Western Tech, Sentence collage, and Advertising Tour

I was very proud of these two students for the work they did in preparing for our class election yesterday; great job!

Congratulations to all of the students who demonstrated a level of courage and risk to speak in front of the class yesterday.

The Grade 8s will be off to a tour of Western Tech this afternoon.  This will be the first of several visits to some of the local high schools the students may attend.  Even if your son or daughter does not plan to attend that school, it is kind of eye opening to see what the world inside a secondary school looks like.  A trip to Parkdale Collegiate is planned for Thursday morning.

As the 8s are out, the 7s will begin working on a Sentence collage that doubles as a small Art project.  Here is the outline of the assignment I showed them this morning:

My example is included here (and posted in the class) along with a handout that the students have on the three types of sentences expected in this assignment.

The other activity we began was the Advertising Tour based on advertisements posted around the room.  To help the students with this, I am going to demonstrate a couple of examples.  Here is the first one.

We won't start the "tour" of the ads posted in the room until I review the one to the left and model another response for the students to see.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Reflecting on the ease of my words and Student Class reps for Student Council

Over the course of the weekend, I was thinking about what this meant to the students.

You may use your agenda.

But then I thought, what if they don't know how to use the multiplication table in the agenda?  How might I better support their understanding of multiples and factors?  So, I made some notes and decided to teach a lesson before the test.  For the record, here are the notes that I shared with the group. 

This page looks at the finding the common multiple using a 100s chart

This uses a multiplication table to help you find the GCF

This is the actual page from the agenda with instruction on how to find the GCF and LCM

We also has our class vote for class reps for the 2014-2015 Student Council.  Here are the clas candidates in action:

Congratulations to the candidates.  Results will be posted shortly on the 2 candidates who are the representatives for the class.


Math test will be concluded tomorrow
Multiplication test on Wednesday

Friday, November 14, 2014

Interviews, Homework, and the Regent Park Film Festival

The following trailer is from a film we will be watching at the Regent Park Film Festival in 1 week.  The entire Senior Division will be attending this film at the.  The film is free, but the students are responsible for bringing a lunch to eat at school and their own TTC fare.
We will discuss some of the content of this film before we view it next week. 

Enjoy your weekend.