Thursday, June 25, 2015

Last Day of School

I sensed that the posts would slow down.
I will post a series of pictures, with limited commentary, as the final 2 hours and a bit of Grade 7 & 8 to come to an end.

This is the final display, which has been now taken down, of the Media/Art/ Writing assignment where the students had to create a Food item to sell.

A number of students failed to complete 1 or more of the components of the assignment, which ended up effecting their final grade.

 A few photos from graduation, on Tuesday night.

The modified report cards will be sent out of the school and should arrive at home on the week of July 13th.   The homework chart will be wiped clean for 2015-2016.

Once the classroom is packed away, I will post up my last photo.  Here is one of the lead up shots -- which has become an annual staple of my end of year blogging -- for the year end routine from Room 52.  Have a safe and relaxing summer.  

Final Moments of the year

The End

Friday, June 19, 2015

Last Friday of the 2014-2015, teachings from The Matrix, a last look at the Homework chart, and a photo from the Grade Grad Luncheon at Bairrada

Photo from yesterday's Character Trait Assembly:


Integrity:  David Akyol
Perseverance:  Jihua/Eva Yang
Honesty:  Diego Jimenez

Over the past couple of days, the Grade 8s have been rehearsing for this Tuesday's graduation.  Here are two shots of us at work:

If I could summarize how some students had great measures of success this year and others did not, I would share this video from the film The Matrix.  This 30 second clip is based on a Buddhist teaching:


On a similar note, here is a quotation:

I feel as though I have worked to the best of my ability at showing my students the door.  I have explained how it was built and given them strategies to approach it, with confidence.  In the end, it was up to them to decide if they wanted to open the door and walk through.  If that choice was made, I was there to support and guide them as they walked through.

The last update of the Homework chart before final grades are tabulated

A quote from an unknown source that I have posted on the door into the Room 52
Have a great weekend.

Monday, June 15, 2015

WEDNESDAY UPDATES: Last Math test for the 8s and pulling things together


I sensed that the last couple of weeks would feel very long.
As you may have heard, Report Card grades will go out in mid July.

I am still in the process of grading the final Media/Art and Writing assignment and finalizing my marks for the subjects I teach.  Even though I have submitted the marks to the office, I will be updating some, based on the last minute efforts by some of the students.

The moments leading up to the end of the year are always tricky.  You want to celebrate the end of a long year, but you also want to squeeze every last ounce of effort and creativity out of them.  For some students, they are still driven to succeed, while others have simply lost  the desire to learn.  In the coming days, the blog posts may decrease as we ease out of the formal assignments and traditional curriculum.

It is my hope to return to the Strength Based Resilience project.  This was a project that did not get off the ground this year.  The disjointed schedule made it very difficult to accomplish.  This is unfortunate because it is such a great project.  Over the coming days, I will return to select sections of the project and pass on some knowledge and insight.



Sunday, June 14, 2015

Report Card grades and the final days of assignments

While I have shared my opinions of a number of things on my blog, I am not going to discuss the ongoing political sparring between the TDSB and my Union.  The students will receive a notice if they pass or fail from the Administration and I am willing to share the marks the students have achieved in the courses I have taught them.  The ETFO (Elementary Teachers of Ontario) have stated that the grades for all of the subjects will be in the hands of the Administrators.

The year is coming to a close and even though there is not a report card going home, I am continuing to mark assignments.  Work is still being accepted, within reasonable limits.  At the moment, there is a Food Project  --a Writing, Media and Art component -- that is still due and there will be a short Reading assignment related to an older article from What in the World pertaining to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict.  

A number of days ago, I posted up a trailer for the documentary Promises. I think this will help contextualize the article a little more for the students.

A screen shot from the website for the documentary
A big part of the political conflict in this documentary, and of the continuing violence, relates to the erosion of what used to be a Palestinian homeland.  The idea of "Promises" relates to the idea that a 2 state solution between Israel and Palestine might be possible.

Here are a couple of the pieces of Art from the Food Project.  A number of students have created other ads for the project.  I will post images of them during this week.

/Commentary on end of year work:

In extreme circumstances, where there has not been enough work submitted, a grade of "I" will be assigned.  That stands for Incomplete.  I have been very flexible in my due dates for assignments over the course of the year.  The HSP schedule has provided more than enough class time to complete assignments in Language, Math, and the work they have with the "other" teachers.  

In the area of Language, most students will not receive a grade below 50%.  In the area of Mathematics, students may receive a failing grade of "R" -- indicating remedial help is needed -- but I have always felt that students should not fail in Mathematics if they take advantage of the opportunity to complete Rewrites in order to raise their grades.

For the Grade 8 students, I have pointed out that if they fail a course in high school, they will be responsible for taking a course over. I do not thinking failing is a bad thing.  I have failed two high school courses and managed to do what I needed to do to complete high school, but it is a reality that the students should prepare for.

I applaud the efforts of students who have used their time in a responsible manner to work to the best of his or her abilities.  Good for you.

Have a good evening.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Last review for Probability test, the Mindset scripts, and the Trailer for an upcoming documentary

The Grade 8s who were in class today had a chance to check the work they did yesterday with the answers I went through.  The test will look very similar to the questions we reviewed today.  The posters will be up during the test and the students will be able to look in their notebooks.

We concluded the script reading today and our formal conversation about the Fixed and Growth mindsets.

Here is a trailer for an old documentary that will support an article we are reading about in class.  I am not sure why the screen shot for this YouTube video is so small.


All "Food Project" related work is due tomorrow, by the end of the day.
Map of the Occupied Territory and Israel is due on Monday

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Returning to Dweck, and Neuroplasticity

It is late in the school year, but it is never too late to talk about mindsets or ways of thinking, according to Carol Dweck.  As a recap, here are the two Mindsets that she outlines from her research:

I have not spent as much time on the Strength Based Resiliency project as I would have liked.  This is disappointing for me.  I became very overwhelmed with the limited time I had with the Grade 7s and 8s this year.  With a program like this, you need time to understand and savour the work.  So, I have decided to devote a fair bit of time, over the course of the year, to exploring some of the topics that I think are key to this project.

I picked up on a topic that is dear to my heart.  The chapter from the workbook is entitled "Growth and Fixed Mindset."  There were two videos attached to this lesson and a Reflection activity after.  I will post both of the videos.  For homework, the students will be complete a short Reflection exercise.  I thought this would happen today (Tuesday), but it will wait for another day.

In order to rethink or shift our way of seeing or acting, we may need to understand what Neuroplasticity is.  Think of it as your nervous system being flexible and able to make new connections. 

Here are two videos.  One is animated and the other, which I may have shown you before, is footage which uses the analogy of building a bridge as an example of what Neuroplasticity is like

Here are two videos.  One is animated and the other, which I may have shown you before, is footage which uses the analogy of building a bridge as an example of what Neuroplasticity is like.

One of the extension exercises from this chapter on Mindsets saw two students reading through a script where the characters were exhibiting characteristics of both mindsets.  

We will continue this on Wednesday.

The final test for Math, for the Grade 8s, will be tomorrow.  The detailed review of the questions will be discussed today (Wednesday).

Two main items for "Food Project" explained using Mr. P's drafts + Last Probability Test

Once you have worked from your jot notes to the thinking in your booklet, you should be ready to begin your draft portions of the assignment.

To help you, I have placed the drafts for both my writing and Media/Art on the blog.  I have attached a Success Criteria for each one and pointed out where I have covered what I need to.

Does this seem like a lot of thinking and work?
It is and it requires some effort and patience, but once you have finished to the best of your ability, you will feel a sense of accomplishment.

List of items for final Probability test
Here are a couple of shots of the first group of 8s tackling a couple of review questions:

**There are 2 students in Grade 7 who will be completing a Re-test for the Geometry unit.**

Sunday, June 7, 2015

This American Life

On a day to day basis, I am teaching in my classroom, but I think a lot about teaching and issues relating to my Craft.  I capitalize it, because it is that special and important.

I posted a very important link from the show, This American Life back in the Fall.  It concerned the important issues of students needing to develop Non-Cognitive skills to be successful in school.  To make this clearer, I think of those skills being like the items on the first page of the provincial report cards:  The Learning Skills and Work Habits.

If you would like to listen to that show, I posted the link on the series of links located on the right side of the blog.

This show is about two high schools in The Bronx, NY.  It is American in content, but the story is universal and sheds light on how our own city of Toronto is becoming more divided along lines of Class, Income, and Ethnicity.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Marking Day!

Although there is no school, there is a lot of sorting through of assignments and marks as we prepare for the end of the year.  I am pleased to see a few more names added to the Level 3 + results for a  few assignments:

Dylan's name was recently added

Diego's name was recently added

Savannah's name was recently added

The last Movie evening will be taking place this Friday at AMG:

A lot of work time over the past week has been spent working on the Food product project.  There has been consistent time provided in class for the students to work on this and receive consistent feedback from me on how to improve this project.  Tips and examples are up on the class bulletin board to guide the students.  
For the next phases of this project, the students will be embarking on a joint Art and Media piece.  The students will be taking the product they created and then creating an ad for it.  Eventually, and if we have time left in the year, we will be doing an Oral presentation component of the assignment:

On this sheet, there are some more examples of persuasive words to help in the selling/presenting of the product.  I have also taken out several example of ads for the students to see how some of the elements of advertising (some of the checked item on the list) work.

This part of the project is based on an idea inspired from a book I have used on Media Literacy.  In terms of creating an media product, the following elements must be taken into consideration:

So, a student should look back at the booklet they should have been working on to think about how they could take his or her rough sketch and begin to add in some of these elements.  Here is an idea in need of some development:

In Mathematics, the Grade 7s are close to the end of the unit in Geometry.  There are a couple of students who are still having some difficulty and will be provided with another opportunity to improve their standing.  The :) faces are highlighted for the students to pay attention.

For the Grade 8s, they are coming to an end of a challenging unit on Probability.  We are now dealing with doing experiments where we have two separate events -- known as Independent Events.  Here is an image that I will further explain:

The coin is one event and has two outcomes:  Heads or Tails (1/2)
Using the 4 coloured spinner is the other.  Red, Blue, Green, Yellow (1/4)

When using a Tree Diagram, you can see that there are 8 possible outcomes, if you were to conduct an experiment:  HG, HB, HY, HR, TG, TB, TY, TR.  If I selected HG (Heads + Green) as my favourable outcome, I would have a 1/8 Theoretical chance of getting that when I roll the dice and spin the spinner.

We have been working on those experiments, in class.  I will use Megan's as an example.  She has the idea correct and just needs to add a few closing details.

Megan has correctly set up her tree chart and listed all the possibilities for her 6 sided spinner and 6 sided die (6 x 6 = 36 possible outcomes).  If her favourable outcome was rolling a 6 and spinning a blue, it theoretically should come up 1/36 times or 2.8% of the time.  

Megan decided she would spin the spinner and roll the die 36 times.  She recorded her results.  As you can see from my comments, she needs to tally her results so she can determine the Experimental Probability results
 In a more controlled situation, I would have encouraged her to do it at least 72 times!.  
In the 36 spins, Blue + 6 came up 2/36 times or 5.6% of the time.

2 independent events:  coin flipping + die rolling
The final test for Probability will likely be this week.
Possibly to be continued or updated before Monday.
If not, enjoy your weekend.


Written portion of Food assignment, due on Monday
Grade 8 Grad lunch"  $20:  due on Monday

I have only received these from:
Heather, A.J., Drile, Eva, Lisa, Mattai, and Dylan.  13 are outstanding.