Monday, February 29, 2016

Agenda, Historical Concepts & Drama, Homework

I have been encouraging students to get in the habit of writing in the agenda during the day, when they have a moment.  Often, at the end of the day, we run out of time because we may be somewhere else in the school.  Has your son or daughter been using this to keep track of his or her work?

Max contemplates and shares his idea for the Historical Concepts/Drama assignment.  

This is a sample outline of a improvised monologue I will perform in class tomorrow.  I also included the steps involved in creating the piece.  This note is based on the The Creative Process image I posted earlier from The Arts curriculum.


Ms. DaSilva Math test tomorrow
Science test on Wednesday
Resource Math on Wednesday
Comma Rule "clicker" test on Thursday
a lot of outstanding items of homework for a number of students ** please check the homework chart**

Friday, February 26, 2016

Media Literacy lesson, playing with Coding, adding to our Geometry unit, Outstanding work (also posted on the Homework chart)

Media Literacy

Here is our initial brainstorm poster around where we see advertisements:

Recording responses and ideas for the questions, posted below


This coding exercise will have to be picked up on Monday.  This type of  play (see links on the side of the Blog) will give us a sense of the work involved in learning to code.  There is one student in the class who is curious about learning the coding language of iOS devices.  Information for that is also posted on the links, at the right hand side in the link section.

I will model, briefly, how both of these, coding based activities, work.


On a similar note, we followed up our circle designs with making sure we know how to use the protractor to measure angles:

We took another look at this question Jade did and pointed out where she made her error:

The common mistake, explored a little further.

In the last image, a common mistake is usually with not reading the protractor correctly. Depending on where the angle opens from (the left of the right side), it will determine what scale you use.  In this case, Zoe used the incorrect scale for the measurement of her 120 degree angle.

She initially used the first line, which is actually a 60 degree Acute angle.  The correct measurement for the 120 degree Obtuse angle is where the highlighted line is.

 A useful video to assist with a review of angles may be seen here:

As for the protractor use of the protractor, I may have used this before, but it is fitting that I post it here:

Once you watch this particular video, there are countless others to look at to assist you.
For those who require the calculations to complete the Geometry/Art assignment, here it is:

Outstanding Work

Only 3/13 students have completed all of the homework that has been assigned over the last few weeks.  There will be more homework and I worry that students will become even more overwhelmed by the volume of work.  Stay on top!

Here is the homework for the Math Resource group.  You have to draw these angles in your Math notebook:
This week went by fast.  Wow.  Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Children and the Refugee camp in Calais

Children in Calais refugee 'jungle' risk falling through cracks in coming demolition:

Shared via the CBC News Android App

Historical Concepts and Drama: Looking at a view of Drama techniques in action

I made 5 suggestions on the back of the assignment page for this History/Drama exercise, but you may feel free to experiment with another approach.  Remember:  your performance must explore 4 out of the 7 concepts listed on the poster in the class (and on the apologies for the poor resolution of the photocopy).

I spent a bit of time hunting down some YouTube examples of the techniques I listed.  Here they are and some of the variations of them.


Corridor of Voices or Conscience Alley


I couldn't upload the YouTube video, but here is the screenshot (, along with the link to the video:


Inner/Outer Circle

This is not a video, but an image from the Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators
It was tricky to find a video for this, but the emphasis on this has to do with contrasting points of view

Interviewing (could be done as a "Hot Seat")

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Homework Chart and some items in need of completion using student samples, Math, Coding, an update of the Starbucks' Barista, and a real life connection of the film "Welcome," and Homework

Homework and Outstanding work

A few weeks ago, there was a post of a blank looking Homework chart.  Over the past few weeks, it has filled up with some new work:

One of the items is the comma collage:

We will be working on a Media project that is based on an invention.  Here is a planning sheet from one of the students:

The book talk planning sheet was also due.  Here is a student sample:

At the bottom of Tony's planning sheet you will see some sketches.  This is the planning part for his Diorama.  What is a Diorama?  We looked at some examples from a group of students a few years ago, and we will now use this YouTube video as a bit of a reference.

I will not post the rest of the student samples for work that still needs to be completed.  I will list off the items on the Homework chart.  If you are a student, ask yourself if you have completed these things and then check the chart:


I have not posted about the work being done in Math for a while.  Mr. Chung came up with this creative project that had the students working with angles and designing shapes (from 3 up to 12 sides) inside a circle.  I will post some samples and then an example, done by me, to explain one possible approach to the project:

Coding Project

I added three links to the side of the page in the "Helpful Links" section on items relating to our coding project.  Our Model School's coach, Sarah Papoff, dropped in for a visit to hear about the progression of our ideas with our app development ideas.

 It is not  the clearest picture, but Sarah commented that she enjoyed our ideas.  The three links I was talking about relates to the more technical aspect of this project.  Actually, the 4 top links all relate with this project.

The X Code link is the actual coding language used to make iOS apps.  The other three links will allow the students the opportunities to play in the world of code on a developmentally appropriate level.

I plan to explore the sites on my own and provide some direction for the students when it comes time for exploring and creating.

The in-class work on the three apps may not get to the coding stage (before the ideas are presented in April), but this will allow the teams to develop some confidence and competence in the world of coding.

Update on Starbucks Barista

Last month I shared an inspiring video of Sam, the dancing Toronto Starbucks Barista. Tonny brought this video to my attention.  I found it to be very touching.

Fiction meets reality

At the end of our Geography unit, we watched the film Welcome about the Kurdish man, who was determined to swim the English Channel to be with his long lost love.

The Refugee camp in Calais, France is real and you can see some of the details here:

In one of the scenes, a group of Refugees attempts to cross the channel in the back of a truck.  The reality of this explored in a short radio documentary on CBC radio:

h o m e w o r k

The homework chart is the best place to see what it is you need to complete.  It is my intention to produce a note, to send home, to identify what work each student needs to complete.  My intention is that each student develop the skills to self-monitor and be aware of what it is they have to complete.  Each student is different, and that is okay, but I do believe that everyone is capable, to some degree, to figure out what they have not done.

As the Media/Advertising & Book Talk assignments are about to begin, it is very important that the initial planning sheets (posted in the earlier part of this entry) are completed, so I will list these as priority items:

- Hedonics Invention planning sheet
- Book Talk planning sheet
-Geometry Art due on Monday, February 29

There are a few other things which need to be completed, also.  They could be:

- Comma collage
- Reading Response
- Second paragraph
- History title page

Monday, February 22, 2016

Developing compassion and empathy: Dewson's Syrian family update & letters to a Syrian boy; exploring the Historical concepts/Drama exercise with an example
I know there are a lot of families and individuals who have helped host Syrian families.  Even in our own school -- AMG & The Grove -- there have been contributions to help our newly arrived Canadians, but we don't always hear about those stories in the news.

The first link is to a news story we looked at in the Fall from one of our neighbourhood schools, Dewson PS, and how they were sponsoring a Syrian family.

The second story is a bit alarming, but the response from the students towards a Syrian teen, who was held in a detention centre for 3 weeks in solitary confinement.  Due to public protests and questions, he will be starting school, according to the CBC story, in the High Park area.  It was lovely to see the kind letters of support for Mohammed; children are truly remarkable and optimistic!

While thinking of an example I could use to help illustrate the Historical Concepts/Drama activity, I thought of this news story:

If is of historical significance, since it is in the news, and I will model how to approach setting up this group exercise.  I will probably come back to this post over the next couple of days, but I will be using this chart to help provide some context for this assignment:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A short note on diversity in China, the Francophone and Commonwealth games and link to Colonialism, NFB's "E," and some images from the Grade 7 Skating trip

As we reviewed the diversity of Canada's First Nations people, I wanted to point out that this diversity exists in other parts of the world.  Initially, I pointed to China, but then I realized that China is comprised -- about 92% -- of the Han ethnicity.  My intention was to illustrate the point that there is not one Chinese type. 

Here is some more information:
From this same webpage is a map illustrating the breakdown of languages and ethnic groups:

The issue of diversity will be explored in our travels in History for the rest of the school year.
As with most lessons, I do a recap of where we have been and what we have learned.   In terms of Colonialism, and the development of Canada, we looked at a present day event tied to France's colonial past; The Francophone Games:

From the same link, here is a map of the nations who participate:

I suppose the same thing could be said of the nations who participate in the Commonwealth Games, who were once a part of the British (colonial) Empire!

One last note on History.  We will be frequently talking about the importance of perspective when looking at various elements of studying History.  I shared a humourous, sharp animated film from the NFB with the class.  It is from 1981 and I have used it as a teaching tool.  You may view it from the link below the screenshot.
 Some images from our trip!