Thursday, September 29, 2016

Short post on Curriculum Night: Study Sheet

As I get ready for Curriculum Night, I only have 1 item to post.  It is a sample Study Sheet, which I assigned for Homework.  It pertains to an upcoming test in Math on our most recent area of study.

For those of you who were not able to attend, I will summarize the evening in a later post.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Terry Fox Run at Dovercourt, Teamwork skills with Grade 6 Math, Goal Setting diagnostic writing

As I do some preparations for tomorrow's Curriculum Night, I will keep the commentary to a minimum with today's post.

It was great to see groups of students working together to take aim at a series of word problems around the multiplication skills we have been working on.  At this point, all of the students seem to be having a measure of success using the Lattice approach.  I think that this approach, along with developing and reinforcing the skills of 1-10 multiplication, is developing a sense of competence for the students, which will be a key for exploring other avenues in Math.

The questions now are at the Grade 6 level and we are now tapping into some other aspects of the Number Sense curriculum by multiplying with a decimal point (to 1 decimal place) and even flirted with a Grade 8 expectation when we looked at the issue of sales tax.

Terry Fox Run/Walk: 6A photos

The 3 MCs have been working for a couple of weeks preparing for the big day!

 Goal Setting Diagnostic

A Success Criteria chart for the diagnostic writing

Posted in the class, this is an example of my jot notes and the first draft of my writing.  I also posted it, below.

 This is the type of work I want the students to do in the class.  I do not want them to have help with this -- aside from some peer feedback -- so I can assess their writing abilities and focus in on the areas where the students  need help.


Some students are getting in the habit of writing the work down in the agenda.
Complete Reading Response, if you haven't done it already
Open Book Sentence quiz on Friday (on the types we have been looking at)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Social Studies, take 2; peer teachers: Inferencing with The New York Times, Introducing the Reading Response, and a look at the Homework chart

Return to Social Studies

About a week ago, I ambitiously put together a post for our entry point into Social Studies.  It is an entry point that the TDSB begins its day with; a rightful and respectful acknowledgement that we are not Indigenous land.  

More information on this story can be found at:

Here is the link, to the earlier post.  :

Math helpers

For most students, doing a review of particular concepts is a good thing.  Using students to help explain some concepts is a good thing by providing some leadership opportunities:

  In both cases, the Lattice method was being explained.

I cut this video short and I wish I did not.  Saya was doing an excellent job explaining it.


Although I do not like students writing on desks, I was pleased to see a few students helping one another with this approach.

New York Times
This is the image from The New York Times inferencing exercise.  We will read/view the answer on Thursday or Friday.

Class Expecations

As a class, we signed off on our jointly developed expectations.  If you have not signed, I hope that you will.  Room 28 is a space we will all share and learn in and it is crucial that we respect one another and the process of learning.

Reading Response

One of the Term 1 Expectations for Reading involves developing the particular strategies of making connections, summarizing one's work, and asking questions.  I have used Reading Responses to do this.  From time to time, the students will have to do this with an article I provide or something they select.

I often grab a stack of the free local papers at transit stops as a common source for information. I wanted to model how it works by selecting this relevant article, which was also in the news on the CBC website.

Even before we read the article, Chole asked if this related to Halloween; she was making a connection to an experience she had. 

My response, as a model, looks like this:


What is going on in this picture journal response
Reading Response #1

This is a shot of the Homework chart, posted for all to see.

Why I had to race home to bake for my Partner's Birthday

Monday, September 26, 2016

Math Homework on the board and the Homework chart

Homework in Math is checked for completion and tracked, but I do not grade it.  Some students were out this afternoon at a workshop.  Here are the completed questions, along with the correct answers:

I had intended to take a photo of the Homework chart, which I updated today.  It is a visual, reminder of work that should be handed in.  First, there is the Homework board, where it should be recorded in the agenda, and then a final reminder is posted on the homework board.  If an assignment is past due, unless there is a firm deadline, it can be handed in.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Lattice approach for multiplying, Complex Sentence building

The Lattice method/approach for Multiplying

We had a test today on 1 digit x 1 digit multiplying.  I intentionally picked this approach to ensure that we could enter the Lattice approach to multiplying with more confidence.
Here are a couple of explanations for how this works, along with a graphic.

Here is a step-by-step approach for doing it:
I did hand out an explanation for the class, on the back of the homework, and did a couple of examples on the board.  If there are any questions, I can usually offer help after school.
For the test, I added some Grade 6 type questions. To challenge some students, I included questions with decimal points in them.  These questions will not be counted for marks, since I have not taught the class the correct method for doing these questions.  For some students, it may be just a matter of review.  On Monday, I will provide this handout to place in your Math notebook.  
Okay, let us take a listen to a video, which may help some of you:

Learning the three types of sentences will be the key for doing writing in all subject areas this year.  The groups worked on writing Complex sentences and, by the end of the day, we took a shot at a game of Jeopardy.

These were dependent clauses that the groups had to select and turn them into Complex sentences.

Our scorekeepers.
The link to the game can be found here:

I forget where I found this video, but used this list to do some Complex Sentence building.  Here is are the sentences the students generated.
Since she was late for school today, she rushed to get to her classroom. Since she was late for school today, she was marked late.  If you like anchovies on your pizza, you will like anchovies in your pasta.  When I go to my old elementary school, I still recognize my teachers.

After she travels to Europe, she will give us European candy.  Until we win the big game, she shouldn’t celebrate too early.  Until we win the big game, we should keep practicing.  While we are speeding down the interstate,  we were eating a McFlurry

A video of a question, while play Jeopardy.


Lattice Math sheet*

Have a nice weekend.
photo by Mark Arbus

If you happen to be away and check this blog, I think you
may be able to access this site I developed last year.

On the blog, you will see a link to the Proudfoot Institute link.  I believe you can log into it.  On the Assignments and Handout page, you will see a PDF version of the Lattice Math homework, which I think you can download.

Please try it and let me know.  This will be a great way to share files with home.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Leading to Reading Program @ Bloor/Gladstone TPL branch, Curiculum Night on Thursday, September 29, apostrophe use, taking a look at Complex sentences

This information was forwarded to me from Ms. Kramer.  There is a three page information package for this.  Please email me, if you have interest in this program.  IT IS FREE.

As I mentioned before, this was an error I notice on lots of writing over the years.  It has to do with not using the apostrophe correctly. 

The apostrophe often appears when there is an s tacked on to a word.

If Love was a person, then we could use the apostrophe correctly.
Here is a short video.  We will follow up with taking down a short note in our Language books.

In the group work on sentences, our aim was to practice writing Simple and Compound sentences.  A couple of the groups took shots at the Complex sentences; good for them!  To understand what makes a Complex sentence what it is, let us look at the components of a complex sentence:
The clause in bold is a dependent one; it needs the help of the Independent clause to make a Complex sentence.

The middle row of conjunctions are needed to make a Complex sentence.

Here are the two Complex Sentences created from last week:

Curriculum Night:
Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Community Circle, Entering Social Studies by looking close to home, Multiplication, and Homework and Neural Pathways

Language:  Oral Communication

Our Community Circle around our Island School experiences.  An opportunity for an oral communication.

Social Studies

Our entry point for Social Studies will begin with recognizing the Indigenous roots of our city.

Close to our school is Davenport Road.  It sure looks a lot different now:

If we want to dig a little deeper, we can discover the Indigenous roots of Davenport Road:

It is also important to recognize that there is not just one First Nations person in Canada.  Similarly, there is no one African person, since Africa is a continent made up of many nations.  I would like to order this map to use in class from this Kansas City artist, Aaron Carapella, and researcher is based:

While teaching Grade 7 History and Geography last year, I wanted the students to understand that Canada was a colonial nation; both the French and British had their eyes on this nation and the potential it served.

 So, here is a visual of how European colonialism worked, courtesy a video from YouTube:

Before Europeans colonized various parts of the world, there were Indigenous nations in many locations.  The maps, created by Aaron, highlight the names of these nations.

In this famous painting, based on the historical records of Jacques Cartier's early travels on Indigenous lands, Cartier is seen erecting a cross as a symbol of the French making a claim to the land:
So, there you have a very abridged version of a small portion of European settlement in Canada.  
Now, where does that leave you?

In Grade 6, one of the components of the Social Studies curriculum is the theme of Heritage and Identity:  Communities in Canada, Past and Present.  To see yourself as part of History, and to understand why it is important to study the subject, you will embark on an inquiry based project to see how you fit in to the mosaic of our nation.  

Speaking of a mosaic, here is something I found, while putting together this post, by the Photographer, Tim Van Horn.

One word, which relates to this exploration, which I thought needed clarification, is ethnicity.  Often it is thought to refer to people who are not White or non-European. Even the concept of what White is undefinable and complex.  On the World Wall I came up with this definition:

A lot of times, some people may say that they want to eat more Ethnic food. Really, every item of food has some ethnicity associated with it.

A Cheeseburger may have evolved out of North American cultural context, while a pot of Curried Chicken may come out of South East Asia or the Caribbean.

Math:  Multiplication

In addition to doing the Community Circle on the experiences at the Island School, I also wanted to get a sense of what it was about Multiplication and Division that was most challenging.  I posted to links to timed activities that they can do for practice and a link to a list of apps that could be purchased for phones.

There is a lot in Math which relies on the foundation of being able to multiply and I am hoping it is something we can successfully get through of, this year. On the side of the page are a list of links.  I added two that are timed exercises, similar to what we have been doing in class.


Math Test (1 digit x 1 digit multiplication) moved to Friday
Rough copy of "I am" poem link for a sample:

A video to provoke some thought on how we learn and the effort it requires.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

NYT inference recap, what we can do with Day 1-4 of JUMP Math, uses of teacher feedback, Island School Art

Now that I have read through your responses, and commented, let't take a look at what is really going on:

I will briefly comment on the following items.

 This type of question builds on the knowledge/practice of the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9 tables.  The 7 tables is the Day 5 skill to be worked on for tonight.  For practice and review, we did some colouring of a 100s chart:
An interactive version of this -- even though it does not correct you -- may be found at this site:

The student sentences, with feedback.  From this, I can see where some of the students are having challenges and plan some lessons.  I noticed that students often like to use apostrophes when they don't have to; this is a cue for me to explain this some more.  

The Water colour painting from Room 28's visit to the Island School.


Curriculum Night:  September 29, 2016 (time to be determined, I will update)
Goal Setting rough planning paper (yesterday's post had an example)
Day 5 of Jump Math 
Math test on Thursday, September 22