Thursday, November 16, 2017

Louis Riel and Historical Perspective, some announcements and Integers

One of the issues from our recent Open-book assessment in History.

Intermediate Division Award winners for September and October

Excellent initiative, spearheaded by the Student Council.

The Grade 7s have a trip next week.

In Math, we are in the last of topics (for now) in the Number Sense strand.  The topic we are looking at Integers.
We add to this, as we move forward.

One of the tricky aspects of working with Integers involves subtraction or working with the idea of Difference.  A lot of the technical aspects of this are posted in the Math section on Google Classroom.  It seems as though most of the thought and energy for the subject-specific material is posted there.  

I do miss posting on the blog, but it is hard for me to find the time.  Google Classroom seems to be more accessible for the students so I will focus on that space.

If you are a parent and have any questions about the class or the program, please drop me a line at my TDSB email address.    Enjoy your weekend.  Thanks to the parent(s)/guardian(s)/extended family members who came out to meet with me for the Progress Report conferences.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Wajahat Ali follow up, Integers, Parent/Guardian Conferences, History Inquiry

Framing Wajahat Ali discussion in relation to Cause & Consequence:

KWL for Integers

One of the interesting tidbit involving Integers came from looking at the temperatures on Mount Everest, which can be found here:

Parent/Guardian Teacher-Interviews are in 1 week

Thanks to everyone who has booked in a time.  Additional forms are available in the classroom.

History Inquiry

This is something all of the students are a part of and following the 4 stage process of research.

At this point, most of the students are in Stage 1 and generating questions for research.

2 separate examples

The blog posts are not as spectacular or detailed as they once were.  I have been using  Google Classroom a fair bit to post a lot of curriculum related stuff that I use while teaching.

This time of year is quite busy with the changes of the season, reporting, and the demands of work.  I hope all of you are doing well.  If you need some help, ask for it.
Have a good evening.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Contemporary issues & Historical Thinking: Viola Desmond, Treaties, Wajahat Ali, photos, Lava walk in Math, & class election results

As the last of the History tests are completed, I thought it might be a good time to review some recent items in the news that would fall under one or more of the concepts we have been studying this term.

Historical Significance:  Viola Desmond

Historical Significance:  Treaties Recognition Week

Ontario Regional Chief, Isadore Day of is from Serpent Lake First Nation ( & and he was on Metro Morning on CBC Radio this morning.  The show is not up and posted on the Internet, but you can hear him explain what a Treaty is:

This is one of the topics on the Grade 7 list and it should also be on the Grade list.  If you find this interesting, please consider pursuing it.  A good starting point could be the Wikipedia page on the numbered treaties in Canada:

Historical Perspective:  Wajahat Ali, Lawyer, Writer, Playwright

We talked earlier in the year about the dangers of Stereotypes.  When unfortunate incidents of violence happen in the world, namely Terrorism, some may be quick to associate these acts with Islam.

Perhaps if we can all think differently about the Stereotypes, we can prevent some of the hatred and hurt in the world.
Images, with short commentary: History Inquiry

In the following short photos, I demonstrated to the class what an initial brainstorm may look like.

The following photo is a blurred photo of a pair of Grade 8 girls who will be looking at Residential Schools in Canada.  I did not want to have it in focus because I did not want their ideas borrowed.  You can see how they have the main idea in the middle and have created a series of questions around their topic.   I will comment further on this in subsequent History classes.

Kit Kat Math:

In an attempt to review a question on Mixed Numbers and Improper Fractions (they seem so important, so I capitalized them), I brought in 4 Kit Kat bars to demonstrate how 9/4 is equal to 2 1/4 chocolate bars.  I think we were so excited about the prospect of eating them that I forgot to take a picture of the bars before cutting them up into serving portions for the class.

 To recap:  2 and 1/4 chocolate bars, when separated, works out to nice "fingers" of Kit Kat Bars.  Four fingers makes 1 Kit Kat bar.
 Halloween photo:
Mr. P illustration, by Anny:

Today we did the Math test, which was postponed from Friday.  To review, we played this game which reviewed the concept of Prime Factorization.  It was called Lava Walk and the students played it in their Gym quads (groups).  A member of a squad was provided with a Composite Number and they had to safely cross the stream of lava and collect all of the prime numbers associated with that number.

In this case, the student did the Prime Factorization for 48, I believe, and gave me the following cards:  2, 2, 2, 2, 3.  When those numbers are multiplied, the answer equals 48.  If it is a different number, I will make the needed changes
2017-2018 Class reps:

Mahima, Anny, Efaz
Unfortunately, 2  ballots were spoiled, which may have altered the final tally.  The 3rd and 4th place were separated by 1 votes!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Learning Skills and Work Habits journal, Math, Health/Media Literacy

Learning Skills and Work Habits

This reflective bit of writing is intended to get the students thinking about how they learn and what they may need to do to improve or set the bar higher for themselves.

As usual, I model this exercise with a short example:

The assignment is posted on Google Classroom.

Over the last few years, I have come to see these skills as being just as, if not more, important than the grades students will receive on their report cards this term.  A number of years ago, I listened to author Paul Tough talk about "non-cognitive" skills that we often see in this Learning Skills section:


A review of Prime and Composite numbers will accompany an upcoming test on the Order of Operations.
There are a few games I came across while doing some research, that we will try out to review before the test.

Media Literacy & Health:

All of the students had some opportunities to look through some wrappers and packaging of food and snack items that have been collected over the past couple of months.  While it is not a well-balanced collection of food items, our aim was to check out some of the nutrition labels; the long-term purpose of this exercise involves developing an awareness of what we put in our bodies.

We will continue to dissect these labels some more, but here are a few shots of the worksheets (I was out of the classroom at the time).

This was my initial sample for the class to mirror.

Not the best photo (lighting sucks), but each student became more familiar with some of the content on the nutrition labels.  On the Google Classroom site for this assignment, I posted a couple of Youtube videos providing some details on the labels.

It is not even Halloween yet, and I took my serving portion of these tasty snacks.  Not a lot of nutrition happening in these cookies.  Perhaps I will need to pay closer attention to the topic of the magazine in this photo if I keep snacking on these items!
 In our Media Literacy class, we will take a look at the CBC Marketplace program on food labels and how they can be misleading.  There will be a short, in-class set of questions to accompany this viewing.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A few snapshots and the move towards Google Classroom

Hopefully, most of this blog's audience will have taken a look at the Classroom sections on Google Classroom.  In posting some assignments, links, and information there, I have not been as active in this space.  Still, I will post from time to time.

Fall is always a busy time in school.  With almost 8 weeks under our belts (we're knocking on 2/10, 1/5, or 20%), we are approaching the Progress Report season.  Parent-Teacher interviews will be happening on the evening of November 16 and the morning of November 17.

Here are a few shots:

As we near the end of our look at Order of Operations (using the rule of BEDMAS), we played a version of BINGO involving the computation of Mathematical expressions.  I may use this as a review strategy for when we evaluate this unit.  I also have another game, relating to factoring, that we may do before the next test.  
UPDATE:  As I was contemplating adding another photo, I accidentally deleted the entire post, which is quite frustrating. So, it may not be an engaging as it was about 5 minutes ago.

The homework that is being put up on the board is now posted on Google Classroom.  Every student is responsible for checking to make sure that they are understanding the homework.  It is also being tracked for completion.  I do not grade homework, but it is something which should be completed and a part of developing a greater sense of responsibility.
For one of the questions on the Grade 8 Math, it involved a word problem about joining a Gym.  I often want to find connections between what happens in the real world and the items we study and learn about in school.  So, I found some information about the membership rates of the Planet Fitness gym at Galleria Mall:

There were a few shots, I took with my phone, from our visit to Stratford a couple of weeks ago.  Here are a few shots of our class members on stage during the Prologue workshop:


Thursday, October 19, 2017

NYT for Thursday, History Inquiry Project thinking, Toronto's "The Ward" neighbourhood, helpful Order of Operation image

New York Times inferencing exercise 


Over the next few periods, the specific details of the History Inquiry/Project will be shared with you.  For now, we will be thinking a little bit about the topics that may interest us and where we should look for some of that information.

I will be posting a list of tentative topics here and on Google Classroom for you to think about.  
The older textbooks in the class might be a place to begin browsing, but the Virtual Library is a solid place to begin.  I am going to post the link for it here and in the links section.

There is an extensive list of possible topics to explore.  I am going to post them here and on Google Classroom.

As I said before, I will be explaining what some of these items relate to so you have a better understanding of what you are researching.  For the first stage of the research, you are asking questions and poking around to see what you may be interested in researching.

Item 1 is where we will be spending some time for now.

You can ask Ms. Ling, or myself, questions, and you may want to think of visiting the Gladstone Branch of the Toronto Public Library.

I did not post any of the information from our class discussion, a couple of days ago, on The Ward.

taken from

Bound by College Street to the north, Queen Street to the south, University Avenue to the west and Yonge Street to the east, the Ward was where many newcomers to Toronto from the mid 19th century to the mid 20th century first settled. It was a densely populated neighbourhood and at various points home to African-Canadians, refugees from the Irish Potato Famine, African-Americans who escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad, Russian and Eastern European Jews, Italian and Chinese immigrants, and many more. Prior to this, the area was a site of human activity for at least 15,000 years, with the land most recently being the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit River (Ontario First Nations Maps, 2016). Amid protest, residents of the Ward were eventually pushed out of the neighbourhood. Businesses, churches, synagogues, theatres, and shops closed as residents were moved out of the area. Buildings were demolished to make way for hospitals, government buildings, department stores, a bus terminal, new City Hall and Nathan Phillip Square.
The amount of information is wonderful and says so much about our city.  To see some of the of the early community members of The War, stories, please check out:
From my reading, a lot of the stories about the neighbourhood have been pejorative.  In this context, that word refers to something being insulting.  Often, this community was referred to as an "immigrant slum", but this bustling community was a vibrant home to so many people, who were often poor yet working hard to create something new.

This video captures some images from some of the earliest immigrants in Toronto, who often had cause to leave where they were originally from (Jews in Russia, Irish fleeing famine, African-Americans coming to Canada via the Underground Railway) and, consequentially, developed the early blueprint of multiracial/multicultural Toronto.


A helpful slide which demonstrates how to take one step at a time in a BEDMAS/Order of Operations type question:

It seems like there are a lot of goodies from this site: