Friday, September 22, 2017

7/8 B @ work with Historical Thinking & Concepts, Factoring & Math homework


Our class was the last of the three classes to begin exploring the idea of connecting the Historical Literacy with a work of fiction.  By the time you have gone over a lesson three times, it becomes clearer.  To make the connection between the research chart and the in-class exercise, I numbered off the corresponding points.

Although all three groups are not finished, I photographed members of our class:

I will return to my text and make connections across all 4 modes of thinking to assist the groups with completing the assignment and preparing to select topics for the actual History projects.


When you have both a Grade 7 & 8 class, you sometimes have topics where the older group is doing something a little beyond the younger one.  In some cases, the topics can be entirely different.  Right now, both groups are dealing with the adding and subtracting of fractions and having to simplify the answers.

In order to simplify, you need to be able to factor.  Jiya and Saya's favourite talking head offers up some information in this video.  It is cool to see him talking about some of the concepts we have discussed in class. 

Grade 7:
Grade 8:

The Math homework is posted on the Google Classroom site.  The items relating to factoring will unfold next week in class.

Enjoy your weekend and stay cool.  Drink water.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Summary of John A Macdonald discussion, thanks from Kent Monkman, and History in action, Media Literacy, Math HW


This photo is a visual summary of the notes I recorded from our discussions during the Four Corners exercise.  Details of the notes are posted on the Google Classroom History site.  The photo of t he Residential School is from Carcross, YT, which can be found here:,+YT/@60.1762971,-152.6442385,4z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x51550bf452cd3023:0xbed32878aeaa519f!8m2!3d60.1675851!4d-134.7073506
From the initial inferencing exercise using Kent Monkman's The Subjugation of Truth, I was pleased to see his response to our exercise when I shared our finished notes with him:

The wealth of Canadian History in this photo will serve as the launching point for our first Inquiry, which will be explained soon.

On the radio and in the news today was the story about Prime Minister Trudeau speaking to the United Nations.
This story connects with all of the concepts of Historical Thinking we have been exploring, but I think it really zeroes in on 2 of them:

Historical Significance:  These schools have been around since 1880 and the discussion of their legacy still is a matter of importance to this day.  

Continuity and Change:  The fact that the PM is having this talk today is important.  The fact it is being discussed means that it is important to the government, but is it enough?  Will this help change conditions and offer support for the diverse Indigenous communities touched by the legacies of Residential Schools? The Canadian Encyclopedia has some more information on the Residential Schools:

This is happening now.  This is History in action.

I will explain why I posted this video and how it relates to today's lesson on bridging the Historical Concepts we have looked at in class, with this fictional tale.  

There is a photo I will post to help guide this exercise.  It involves some higher order thinking but will be a lot of fun.  It is intended to prepare the students to engage with the following research model:

The in-class portion of this pre-research project has the students thinking about one of the concepts they are interested in working with and selecting a story they are familiar with.  In this case, we will use a Fairy Tale which will serve as the item of history they will be researching, making sense of, and then briefly presenting it in front of the class.  To model this for the class, I am using this book.  

In reading the book and thinking about what concept I am interested in linking to the story, I am PREPARING and ACCESSING the information in the book.

Here are the concepts, which have been summarized, from Google Classroom.  

I decided to use the concept of Historical Perspective to look at the story.  In the History section of Google Classroom, I will upload some jot notes and an initial draft of my report.  Both items are examples of my PROCESSING.  I plan to return to those notes, so I can have another version to share with the classes for the next History class.  

Initially, I thought I would use this as part of my report, but I don't think I will.  Having this will confuse the example I am trying to model with too much information.  Still, you may find this story amusing, given the example, I am using.  

Language:  Media Literacy

To continue from our discussions/activity from last week, we will look at one of the key concepts of the study of Media Literacy and how this relates to the idea of "Fake News."  In fact, all news is constructed because it is a medium of communication.

One of the concepts, which may seem a little abstract, is that of Confirmation Bias:

Math HW

When homework is assigned, we usually take the time to put it up on the board.  There is not a lot of space for answers to go up, but I select several questions and we review them, if necessary.
Some students are not doing their homework.  This is not acceptable and will make learning very challenging.  If you did not do your work, take the time to record it from the board, or Google Classroom, and review it later on.  If you have questions, come back to class with them.
due to time constraints, I will post this on Google Classroom later on.

Monday, September 18, 2017

What is Going on in this Picture: New York Times inferencing exercise & looking at the crisis in Syria, Math and Homework

Here is a link to a link from September 11, 2017, for this exercise.  It is similar to the activity we did with the Kent Monkman painting.  We will look at this one together and discuss it and then find out what is going on.

Our collective notes looked like this:

Within the explanation of this story, there is a link to a YouTube story:
The photo is from the Alshaar neighbourhood in Syria.  Where is that?  You will find it here:,+%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%B9+%D9%83%D8%B1%D8%B2+%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%8C+Aleppo,+Syria%E2%80%AD/@36.2028659,37.175869,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x152ff8f2f53d9a19:0x5b5086321a45f24!8m2!3d36.2028527!4d37.1780256

The tragedy in Syria is horrific.  The images you took in from this morning's exercise are a small portion of the devastation of a once thriving city.  This particular Pinterest site looks at some before and after photos of the nation, Aleppo in particular:

The guide -- Success Criteria -- for this is on a laminated poster we have up during this exercise time:

The exercise for this week looks at this particular image.  Use the Success Criteria to help guide your thinking.


In Math, the test was put off until Wednesday.  I wanted to wait to review some past questions and review the Study Sheets completed by most members of the class.  On the Google Classroom site, I posted this note, which should be kept in the Math section of the binder.  The quality won't look very good in these photos, but if you are having challenges logging into the other site, this should work:

The first portion of the page can also be explained by looking at this video by Saya's favourite online teacher:

The portion about reducing to the lowest terms, or simplifying fractions, can be seen here:

This video uses a method based on the idea that you have learned about Prime Factorization.  Based on the work we have done, it won't be a stretch and I will be sure to cover it this week.  I will model one approach to reducing today.


Math test moved to Wednesday to provide more opportunity for a class review
What is Going on in due tomorrow
Science Test tomorrow

Friday, September 15, 2017

Media Literacy: Introduction and initial wading into the world of Fake, information on the Beep Test, Homework

Media Literacy:  What is this thing called Fake News?

During this class, there was a story about Erwin Sniedzins, who obtained a degree, which was fake.  The story can be found here:       The site for the university in question, at first glance, looks pretty good:
Erwin Sniedzins was issued a fake master's of education degree from Kings Lake University.
Erwin Sniedzins
In fact, the "university" is a product of a Pakistani software company, Axact.  By Googling the name, you will see the numerous stories about this type of misrepresentation.
I haven't laid down any heavy theory in relation to the Principles of Media Literacy, but this class introduced a key one:  all media are constructions.  In this case, the medium of the Internet was used to misrepresent a school that didn't exist. 

Physical Education:  Beep Test

On Google Classroom I posted a link to the age-graded assessments for today's Beep Test.  In case you can't get on, here it is  We will be doing this again at another interval so you can measure your progress.

This is how it looks and this offers a brief explanation of the test.


This work should be recorded in the agenda.

A hard copy of the calendar and Sports practice schedule went home on Friday.

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Study Sheet and Word problems, wicked 4 Corners and a Middle Discussion, Homework board

The guide for the Study Sheet was listed here.  As an example, I did this one:

Here is an example of a Study Sheet from a former student.  Coincidently, the topic in questions involved factoring and multiples:

For some students in the class, some of the concepts may still be a little confusing.  Without too much information, I will construct a short note on how you can use the multiplication table and a 100s chart to help you with some of the questions on the upcoming test.

The other portion of the word problems from Tuesday was this question:

The solutions to the problems, from the students, are here.  What is missing, though, is some feedback.  I will look at them tomorrow and post them up so each group can see the strengths and suggestions for improvement.

For practice, I will post the sample Study Sheet on Google Classroom within a few hours.  For those students having difficulty logging on, we can aim to sort that out before the end of the week.


It was super inspiring to have the first of three 4 Corners & a Middle (perhaps I should copyright this) discussion on the renaming of schools.  I was a little apprehensive about students coming forward, but he had some great contributions as evidenced by my furious note-taking for the group from 7/8C:


The Homework board has found a place at the front of the room and in the corner.  Most of the items are either referenced on the blog or on Google Classroom, or will be.  Here is a shot from today's board:
The agenda should have these items in it and should be used. 
Tonight's Math Homework is on Google Classroom.  A note, incorporating some Math teaching today, will be handed out tomorrow.  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Everyday GCF and LCM, Kent Monkman exercise...

Before moving into a review, or introduction, of fractions, I thought I would spend some time on the concepts of Factoring and Multiples and how they occur in everyday life.  I discovered some questions from this website:

I put the challenge to the class today for one question and we will look at the other one tomorrow:

I will post some of the photos of the student solutions -- and provide me with some insight into the thinking-- tomorrow morning.  For now, I will post the answer the sheet I put up on the projector:

A collection of inferences and thinking from our Kent Monkman painting:

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Barbie meets History, 4 Corners exercise, John A Macdonald and another story on name changing, Math HW

Yes, this is a part of a future lesson:

Questions for 4 Corner discussion exercise for the next History class:

To my knowledge, this is the one school in the TDSB that has Sir John A Macdonald's name:
I realize that this issue may sound complicated.  I hope that this article will help in explaining some of the issues at play.  I will read this to the class before we begin our exercise.
a group at work, consolidating their positions

Another story of an actual school that was renamed was in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Cornwallis Junior High was renamed because the original name was attached to a man named Edward Cornwallis.  According to a story in NOW magazine on March 20, 2017 by Pamela Palmater, he "was responsible for putting bounties on the scalps of Mi'kmaw people, causing many deaths."

This challenges a frequent Stereotype of man Indigenous people that they frequently scalped European settlers:
I have used this resource from Rethinking Schools to promote some critical awareness of issues students are not aware of:

From a British Colonial administrator in the province of Massachusettes in 1755.  I will scan a better copy.  From Rethinking Columbus:  The Next 500 Years:

Here is a story, from this past summer, on the Edward Cornwallis statue.  I believe this relates to the discussion we will be having in class.

Here is the story of the school's renaming and then a photo of the new school:
Math Homework

I was pleased to see a number of students who completed the assigned homework and some who were working hard today to catch up.  We put a select number of answers on the board and checked them.  This is a typical part of our process for checking homework.  If there are questions about the work, this is the time when we can ask them.

I know this may look messy, but the correct answers are there.


- Truth or Dare Community Circle
There can be two possible ways of presenting this information to the class.  The two options are posted.  The 3 statements are my example:  statement #1 is true.