Friday, January 29, 2016

Revisiting "What is Where, Why There, Why Care" exercise with an image from 1974 Inferencing with the Critical Thinking Consortium, Lynne Truss video on commas, and a trailer for the film "Welcome"

This photo came across my Facebook page from a friend.  The photo has a date of 1974.  If you look at it through a geographic lens, the landscape of downtown Toronto has changed so much over the past 42 years in such a dramatic fashion.

Close to 10 years ago, I attended a workshop hosted by The Critical Thinking Consortium (  There goals, taken from their website:

Our goals are to foster in learners:
  • enhanced abilities and inclinations to think effectively;
  • deeper understanding of the curriculum;
  • increased engagement in the world;
  • greater willingness to act in thoughtful, ethically responsible ways.  

Last week, in Geography, we looked at a photo from a What in the World activity and then the students had to look at the details (from facial expressions to objects in the photo) to create a bit of a back story.

Lynne Truss video to help with the understanding of how commas work:

To support our understanding  of how these things work -- and by no means is this final -- we will have a small, creative assignment:

For example, rule number 13 (which is not a part of the assignment) states that "commas are used to separate the day from the year in dates.  If I was trying to find this example "in the world," it might come from the newspaper.
For each of the rules, it would be pieced together, as a whole, in a collage.  The rules are coming from the Writers Express workbook.  We walked through the rules together and the students have a copy of the rules for their binder.

 As the Geography portion of the year comes to an end, we will be taking a look at a French film that mirrors some of the ideas we explored in the Passport assignment.  Bilal, the main character in the film, Welcome, is Kurdish Iraqi and wants to make the journey to England to visit his long, long love.  At some point, on his journey in France, he is placed in a Refugee camp near Calais.  This is across the channel from Dover, England.  The rest, will unfold as we watch the film.  For those who can't see it, here is the trailer:

  The location of these two geographic points in the film is in this screenshot:,+France/@50.9518646,1.7989165,12z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x47dc3f75d7f1e363:0xacbed9e08cd279f4
Last week I formally introduced the idea of the Book Talk/Readers Theatre/Diorama project.  We will not begin presenting them for another month.  At this point, everyone should be reading their novels.  I am going to hand out this sheet and have it be due in 3 weeks or less:

With this being a small part of the assignment, it will keep this at the front of their minds, ideally.  The due date for this, and other work, is posted on the Homework board, in the class.

February 2 Health Project spoof video presentations
Book Talk planning sheet (due February 19)
Comma collage (due February 4)
agendas are being signed


Ideas around gender are engrained: What is a boy or girl colour?

Purple is the new black: mom sticks up for son wanting bright-coloured glasses

Shared via the CBC News Android App

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Returning to our adventures in Coding

Last week I posted a news story about a young boy who developed an app to assist Syrian Refugees arriving in Toronto.  Here is the link to the blog post:

Here are a couple of templates we are going to use for the planning and development of our app ideas in class:

We will return to the initial ideas we came up with an do some thinking about the app ideas and relate them back to the two charts posted above.  Eventually, we will try our hand at some very basic coding at this site:

There are sooooo many websites on coding available.  I will select the ones that have been recommended by the MSIC (TDSB:  Model School Inner City) committee for this project.  There will be other sites posted as we continue in this project  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Rethinking Ability

Dancing Toronto Starbucks barista with autism serves up grande moves

Shared via the CBC News Android App

Update on Syrian Refugee settlement: some difficult days; Resource Math quiz tomorrow

Syrian refugees say they're 'grateful' in spite of long wait in Toronto hotels:

Shared via the CBC News Android App


- quiz on Patterning/Measurement involving the King Henry Metric conversion chart (please refer to the handout notes provided by Mr. Proudfoot)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Power of a photo and Passport assignment images

At one point in the Fall, some Grade 7 students did some research on the power of images and how they could change the world.  This one, related to a large component of our study of Geography, appeared once again in the The Toronto Star on Saturday with an interesting story:
I am going to summarize this story and model one of the elements from the Passport assignment in class.  A link for the story may be found under the photo.  We will either get to this on Tuesday or Thursday.  The Grade 6 students from the feeder schools will be visiting AMG tomorrow and this will alter the schedule for Tuesday.

Here are some selected images from some of the Passport assignments handed in for Grade 7 Geography.

To support our understanding of writing paragraphs, I thought we should veer off a look at the technical issues related to using commas.

We began, as usual, with developing a KWL chart:

The first question to be asked was about what would happen to a sentence if we took out a comma.  I responded by finding this image:
I forget where I got this from, so I am unable to reference it.

In terms of what we are doing in the Resource Math class, a couple of tests were returned.  Options to do Rewrites, if necessary, are available.  For the more recent Measurement/Patterning test, I reviewed two examples from the two parts of the test:

If there are any students who would like extra help or review with this, they may see me after school on most days.

A few notes from my son and daughter for my students.

- second paragraph, which will be graded, is due on Wednesday, January 27
- Rewrites the recently returned Math tests are due on Wednesday, as well

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sample photos from "Humpty Blooms" exercise, Paragraph reminder, recognition of some hard work, and homework and quiz reminder

We had a fun time reviewing some of the images from this week's exercise.   It demonstrated the flexibility of thinking that most of the students had towards something as simple as a Nursery Rhyme.

The questions were posted on yesterday's blog post.  We answered the two questions from the B section, which concerned Prime Minister Trudeau's comments.  The Bloom's Taxonomy questions will be used in an upcoming, open-book, test using the "Long Road to Canada" article from What in the World.  

A glimpse at a handout provided to the class on paragraphing:

Recognition of some recent hard work:


- create another 5 sentence paragraph in your Language notebook (use the feedback I provided you to improve on your first one)
- Bloom's Geography open book test from What in the World on Tuesday, January 26