Thursday, October 29, 2015

Adding to the Items of Interest in Geography

As I revise and clarify the Geography assignment, I found this link to a series of great photos of the Kilis Refugee camp in Turkey:

A link to a YouTube video profiling this camp was put on the blog from a few days ago.  If you scroll back, you should find it.

A few students in the class new about the Hollywood movie, The Good Lie, which was inspired by the events explored in The Lost Boys of Sudan.  Here is a link to the article with one of the actors, who was a "Lost Boy" himself.

Challenging Stereotypes, Internet Learning in Geography, and a short Multiplication test for Friday

As we approach the end of The Lost Boys of Sudan, I thought I would share this video that a friend had shared with me.  I think it is always important that we challenge "fixed" ideas we may have about people or the communities people come from.

I wanted to gauge what learning is taking place as the students watch the documentary, along with doing other "fun" things.  The UNHCR (United Nations High Commission on Refugees) online video game (link posted at the side of the page) was also another avenue for learning for the class.  Today, I took 10 minutes to assess the learning which is taking place from viewing the film, along from playing the game.  This exercise was done in a group, where they could share their ideas.  To begin the exercise, I modeled these entries:

The Multiplication Quiz is based on the work we have been doing over the past couple of days.  It is short and follows the method I posted the other day:

Knowledge of the multiplication table, should be known for this quiz.  You have all been encouraged to review your tables on a daily basis.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Link to some multiplication games and another example of "Nat's" method, New York Times exercise, Complex Sentences, & Homework

For those looking for some games related to learning your tables, these series of games might offer a fun way to reinforce your practicing of your tables.

The games may be found at

I had a question this morning about the method that Nathaniel shared yesterday.  Here is another example, taken from a note I sent a parent:

One of the creative, language based exercises we do involves this exercise from The New York Times.  During the school year, the paper posts an image once a week and offers students an opportunity to explore what might be going on in the photo.  Last week's exercise looked at this photo:

The actual event may be found on:

After spending time looking at Simple and Comound sentences, we have now turned our intention to Complex sentences.  Here is a YouTube video we used to look at how they work:

Last week, a sheet was handed out for homework, but we only turned our attention to it today.  With some more writing under our belt, here it is:

It is the pairing of an INDEPENDENT CLAUSE and a DEPENDENT CLAUSE which allows us to create a Complex Sentence.

**As of 4:20 p.m., I had to redo this blog entry.  I tried to upload a couple of photos and ended up losing a lot of work that I had done earlier in the day.**

- Complex Sentence work (follow directions on page and add an Independent Clause to 3 of the Dependent Clauses to make a Complex may write on the worksheet that you took home)
- Multiplication test on Friday (1x1 didgit and 2-3 digits x 1 digit:  NO CALCULATORS)
- keep reviewing your multiplication tables
- p. 41 of the Math needs to be completed:  Use the methods introduced to you by Nathaniel or Mr.P

rainyday 1


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Halloween sketch by Catherine R., 2 Methods for approaching Multiplication questions, & Rewrites: What are they??

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we are going to spend some time working on multiplication skills.  A link was provided for the JUMP Math approach to learning the tables; you may want to take a look at that and download it.
On the weekend there were questions that involved multiplying 2 or 3 digit numbers by 1 digit numbers.  In class, we looked at 2 approaches:  one offered by me and one offered by Nat.  It served as the basis for a note which was recorded into the Math book:

This was the note.

After, we tried this approach on another question to see if it worked.

It did.  So, the homework assigned from Monday night on page 41 has been given to a few students who did not complete it.  In addition, there was a video I posted on doing division with more than 1x1 digits.  By no means is this THE video that will help you understand everything related to the topic, but think of it as a window into the world of educational videos available on YouTube to support your learning.

The last test was returned to everyone.  As I reported, there were some very happy students and some who were concerned about their grades.  In some cases, when there is a failing mark, I have provided an opportunity to do Rewrites.  Basically, you have the opportunity to redo the question and receive a mark that is worth half of the original total value.  The idea behind this is to give any student who has gotten below 50% an opportunity to improve his or her grade.

Confused?  Well, the idea behind it is that the student will take the time to find out where they went wrong on a particular question or questions, be able to articulate it, and then attempt to do the question again.  Here is a sample from a class I taught back 2002:

Coincidentally, the topic at hand was Order of Operations, something we are doing now.  The student needs to recognize what they did wrong and then solve the question again.  I have since modified this paper by removing the part where the student has to add a "detailed explanation."

The current Rewrite looks like this:

If any students have questions about specific questions, in order to improve their understanding, please see me.  The deadline for Rewrites to be handed in is on Friday.

-Multiplication test on Friday
-check the Homework chart at school to see what you may need to catch up on

Monday, October 26, 2015

A peak inside the Kilis Refugee camp, links to maps detailing Refugee "hotspots," the Passport Project, saying goodbye to Tafara, Level 3/4 results for Sentence Quiz and Math test #2

A YouTube video from the Kilis Refugee camp in 2013.

From the IRB of Canada:

The first of two maps we will use for this project.

The second:
The format of the map is off in this pdf document.

The assignment will be handed out soon.  I have gone through the rough draft of the assignment and answered questions that members of the class have.  Any Internet links related to the project will be posted in the LINKS section of the blog.

As this portion of Geography comes to a close, I want to remind you that we have been looking at how people negotiate their surroundings.  Since we have been looking at the Refugee crisis in Europe, and most notably with Syria, the challenging surroundings and negotiations have been across land and water.

Here is a YouTube clip from a CBC news story aired this morning:  

Once in the EU, the trip to Germany is daunting and not without challenges.  Here is a CBC news story from within the southern portion of Germany:

The Homework quiz will be marked and returned as soon as possible to the students.  In both classes, we have continued viewing The Lost Boys of Sudan.  

Last week was Tafara's last week before moving to Guelph.  He was a funny, insightful, intelligent student and I was sad to see him leave.  Here are a few shots from last Friday's goodbye:

When we have a test or an assignment, I may post the results of students who have achieved above Level 3 and 4.  I do not showcase the marks, but acknowledge the students who achieved a result of B (70%) or higher.  

For the Simple and Compound sentence quiz we had last week, here is a list of students:

For the second Math test, here is the list:

Friday, October 23, 2015

A couple of helpful reminders: Homework Chart & Thinking before speaking; Resources for Mathematics

Homework Chart:
A way for you to monitor your work and see what you need to do.  If you are not sure, ask three before me.
I am hoping that during the course of the year, you will learn to become responsible for your learning and be able to stay on top of your work. 

This was shared with me, from my partner.  It is from a post she got from Facebook about the importance of thinking before speaking:

On Monday, we had a Community Circle to discuss some of the concerns from members of the class.  One of the overwhelming themes had to do with treating one another with respect.  

At times, we may forget and say things that are hurtful to others.  Those thoughts should probably stay in our head and we should probably think and little deeper before we say or do something.

In an attempt to follow some of the content that the other Grade 7 classes are doing in Math, Mr. Chung and I decided to spend some more time reviewing the Multiplication Table.  While that might seem to be elementary, there are a number of students who still grapple with it.  

Some of the upcoming Math we will do will need you to be comfortable and confident with these multiplication skills.  So, the skills will be developed in small steps.

Again, the link to the JUMP Math approach to learning your tables:


In class, we looked at some basic models:

Here is a video that may seem elementary, but is linked to the concept posted in the preceding picture:

For homework, we will work on some basic multiplication skills and then move into some more challenging questions as we bridge towards long division.  The larger group of Grade 7s are also looking at division because they are looking at percentages,decimals, and ratio.  While we may not be doing exactly what they are doing, we are conceptually on the same page. 

Another video, which becomes a little more challenging:

Part 2 of this video:

Some of the content of these videos will serve the basis for tonight's homework.


For those who have not received your Math tests, they will be returned on Monday.  This is a promise.

Multiplication worksheet for smaller group:
questions:   p. 41 #1, 4 a,b,c ; p. 43 # 2, 4 a,b,c

Open book Geography quiz based on Thursday's handout "About Refugees"

Autobiography & Lifemap due for Mr. P

have a good weekend 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

UPDATED: NYT Journal Exercise, Introducing the Reading Response, & Group work around Complex Sentences

We  will return to this journal exercise.  If you are not done during the required time, you may finish it at home.

UPDATE:  The Reading Response exercise will happen on another day.  It requires much more time that we currently have.  In addition, the Complex Sentence exercise will be postponed.  I will leave the video up, in case you would like to look at it.  
One of the templates we will use for a Reading Response.  I will model an example in class for you.

Instead of doing the 2 preceding items, we looked at the previous posts on the writing process related to the Autobiography.  Examples related to the jot notes and how they inform the writing of the chapters were discussed today.


- Compound and Simple sentence test tomorrow (Complex sentences will not be on this test)
- Autobiography and Life Map due on Monday

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Lost Boys of Sudan documentary, second set of images from the Powerful photos exercise

This is a film we will be watching as we prepare for our "Passport" assignment in Geography.  The film is called The Lost Boys of Sudan.

Sudan is a country in the continent of Africa.

This assignment and film correspond to our study of how humans respond to their physical environment.  Here is an image I showed you in class:

In the documentary you watch, you will see young men from Sudan and in another film, you will meet a Kurdish teen from Iraq and how they grapple with travelling on the planet in search of something better.  

Here is the second wave/set of photos selected by the Grade 7s for photos that changed the world.

Here is the Trailer for an upcoming film on Jessie Owens:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Student Vote results 2015 (YouTube link), "Autobio Map" images, pointers, and examples

2015 Student Vote video results:

The Autobiography is due in just under a week.  For those who may not check the blog, I created a map in the class for you to look at to help you along the way with the assignment.  This assignment is due on Monday, October 26.

The jot notes are the ideas that eventually become the sentences for the paragraph.

Here is a copy of Nat's Life Map.  He agreed that I could share it with the class as an example:

During Language period tomorrow morning, we will look at this in more detail and do a comprehensive review of the type of sentences we have learned about this term.

I made a copy of the jot notes started by Nathaniel.  He wrote only a few words per chapter for the Autobiography.  I provided some feedback and made some suggestions on possible jot notes he could write.  The idea is that jot notes will assist in the writing of  paragraphs. 

If I was Nathaniel, I could now use these notes to help me draft a paragraph.  Pretending I am Nathaniel, I might write something like this:

For a long time it was hard for me to finish Gym class.  I would always be breathing hard.  I told my Mom and she took me to the doctor and I found out that I have Asthma.  Since I did not know a lot about Asthma, this made me sad.  I only knew bad things about it.  Then I got a puffer and I felt more comfortable.  I have had only one attach since I got it and now I am used to it.

Art by Edmond, Nathaniel, and Tony Liang

- jot notes for the chapters in the autobiography (this was assigned last week)
- any outstanding work for other subjects
- ask yourself:  should I be asking a teacher for some extra help or more explanation of the work being assigned?