Thursday, June 22, 2017

Social Studies: Rethinking Culture through some diasporic South Asian history

Close to 20 years ago, I used this 1990 film, I'm British But... to look at the ideas of Culture and how identity shifts in the face of Racism and immigration.  We will only look at the first 10 minutes of this film to see how this connects to some of the Big Ideas relating to Culture and Identity (intentionally capitalized).

This exercise is very interesting as we begin to think about Canada's 150th Birthday.  What does it mean to be a Canadian in this day and age?  Where do our diverse voices fit it?  Where do the voices of Canada's First People fit in?

There is a unique project I read about in a What in the World publication about "Lost Stories" of Canadians during this sesquicentennial year.  This project cannot capture all of the stories of Canadians, but it is working to shine a light on some voices we will not hear:

Significant to understanding Canada's History is recognizing that Canada was considered a colony by both the French and the English.  For some of our discussion in class today, we will be looking at how England colonized a large portion of South Asia.
Many people of South Asian descent moved to the British Empire after this period of time and are British.  Because South Asians are usually racialized because they are not White, they are sometimes not considered British.  Sometimes, people have simple ideas of how people from a particular group are supposed to be.  As you can see, British South Asia is very large and there is a lot of diversity within this space.

Sometimes, when people are racialized, they may be subjected to a type of Xenophobia.  So, while a person may Canadian or British on his or her passport, they may be seen as different or an "other" because they are not from the dominant or powerful cultural group.

I know this sounds very theoretical, but our conversations in class will break these ideas down a lot more.

This is the trailer.  The two parts of the film are here:

A comic twist on this can be seen in the film, Bend it Like Beckham.  The families of the movie, if not born in England, have come from the Punjab state in northern India:,+India,+India/@30.9988703,66.4337852,5z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x391964aa569e7355:0x8fbd263103a38861!8m2!3d31.1471305!4d75.3412179

As we prepare to wrap up our teaching year, we will spend some time discussing the importance of voices and stories in this year of celebration of our nation

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

National Aboriginal Day, looking ahead to the 2017-2018 school year, Geometric Art, another Element of Design example, final call for Homework!

What a super, beautiful day for National Aboriginal Day and the first day of Summer.

I was searching for a list of films from the Planet in Focus film festival -- where our film was selected -- which examined the morning statement we hear every day.

The 5 founding nations on what we know, currently, as Toronto

Unfortunately, the 2017 film selections are not up, so I have found this to provide some visual context for understanding the significance of the statement:

A copy of the maps and area in question can be also seen here:

Google maps and Google Earth launched a new feature that acknowledges Indigenous land:

But it is not only about things from the past; the past informs the present.  Today, the CBC has launched a great project profiling community builders in Ontario.

I will close this part of the entry with a reminder, as you walk today or the future.
This Fall, in our community, is this great opportunity for raising Historical/ Geographic awareness:
Specific information on this year's event is here:

By the way, I will be a teacher of History and Geography next year in my new role, at this wonderful school, as the Geography and History teacher.

public pledge:  

I do not feel I have done the best job with honouring some of the commitments made in the Truth and Reconciliation document.  So, I will model the idea of "YET" by making a commitment to exploring, in the 2017-2018 school year, to including more Indigenous perspectives and other marginalized perspectives to my school program.

Geometric Art:

The ability to demonstrate a translation, reflection, and rotation was the key part of the assignment.

There were a few misunderstandings among some students, so I walked through another example.

The personified Art is due tomorrow.  Here is another example, along with some commentary from the subject of the Art:

homework: all outstanding work is due tomorrow!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Growth & Fixed Mindsets, Off the Rails, Math Homwork, Personification Art exercise examples, Handsome and Majestic Frayer models, The Pyramid of Hate, remembering the Japanese-Canadian internment & other incidents of Canada's Racism

Carol Dweck's Mindsets:

This video, and the thinking behind it, has heavily influenced and informed my teaching philosophy since I first heard about it 2011.  It all relates with the concept of yet, which we have talked about.  We won't look at all of these, but you can view them whenever you would like.

Off the Rails:

This is the New York City subway map that Darius McCollum knows very well.

Math Homework:

This is some homework from last week that we only got around to correcting today:

I should have added the step of converting the Mixed Fraction to the improper fraction:
Multiply 8 x 2, then add three and place it on top of the 8.

We will take a look at the work we have done in fractions.  This work will have to be reviewed in Grade 7, but it is the foundational work needed to move to the next part of working and understanding fractions.

Personified Art:

In case you were wondering about this assignment, I have reduced the list of elements of design to 3/6.  While I do not have great works of Art to accompany these examples, I am hoping these examples may help.  If not, ask me about it a little more:

for Texture

for Line

Frayer model & Health

There are still a few groups who need to complete this chart.  We did this as we reviewed the film Handsome and Majestic.  The Healthy Relationships aspect of the film is a key part of the Healthy Living section of the Health curriculum.

Pyramid of Hate:  Japanese-Canadian Internment

For Social Studies, we recently read the article on the anniversary commemorating  the Internment of Japanese-Canadian citizens during World War 2.  This action, sanctioned by the Canadian government at the time, fits into this teaching tool for understanding how hatred and distrust can lead to terrible things happening.

First, let us look at a little bit of the History of this unfortunate moment.  Here is Canada's David Suzuki:

Here is another short film worthy of viewing:

We will review and discuss the article and weave a train of thought among these items.

Some of the other instances of Canada's racist past can be seen here:

- Canada's rejection of Jewish Refugees, fleeing Germany in 1939: more information can also be found at:

- In 1914, the Komagata Maru was loaded with many British subjects from India.  On the boat, there were mostly Sikhs and some Muslims and some Hindus

- The Liberal government of Wilfred Laurier put forward a proposed ban on people of African descent (Black folks) on the 12th of August, 1911


- Of course, we should never forget the tragedy of the Residential School experience in Canda:

Probably not today, but we will shift our eyes to the idea of how Canada's upcoming 150 year Birthday may not resonate with many of our Indigenous Canadians.

from by Artist Eric Ritskes

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Learning a little bit about your brain, using the Frayer model for Health & revisiting "Handsome and Majestic," explaining the Arithmetic behind Mixed Numbers and Improper Fractions

Some points of reference for our discussion on the developing brain:
I would like to believe that the idea that our brains are able to make new connections and learn new things relates to the idea of YET.  It is a "green" thought where we have the idea that our intelligence can be developed with some persistent effort in the face of challenging situations.  You may need to get some help from a friend, coach, or a teacher but it is possible

Frayer Model:

According to Alea Thompson, "the Frayer Model is a visual organizer that helps students understand key ideas and words by linking the new ideas to their existing knowledge. The graphic organizer looks like this, with the word or concept that you are teaching at the center"

Here is an example, from the same website:

We are going to use this model today to look at something in Health class and will use the film Handsome and Majestic and a portion of Milan's story to frame our discussion

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Selihom's last day. Have a great trip to Ethiopia! Mixed Fractions and a review answer

Okay, maybe a touch of a mood shift:

I did not take a photo of the number of students who made the leap to the Level 3 + standing for the measurement re-test.  I will take a photo of it tomorrow.  I am still allowing Re-writes to be completed for those who failed or really struggled with it.  Past blog posts highlight some of the approaches to solving the questions, but I thought I would post the answer sheet to the last page of the test.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Housekeeping, Puberty and Adolescence, Personification, and reading Homework

Changes:  Puberty & Adolescence

For a lot of students, this topic seems terrifying, but there is more to this topic than just changes in the body.  There are changes in the brain and we don't think about that, even though we use our brain to think.

One of the changes we notice is how different parts of our brain work:

Another observation about your brain; I mentioned the idea of pruning.  What is it?  Check this out: 

(For Tuesday):  Personification & Elements of Design year-end Art exercise

This is a fun project I did 8 years ago.  It has to do with Personification.  This is where we give human characteristic or qualities to non-human things.  Let's take a look at a couple of videos:

Read What in the World article on Nestle's water consumption for a short exercise tomorrow
FYI:  The main location they are talking about in the article is here:,-80.142281,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x35840a1391c92397!8m2!3d43.4664693!4d-80.142281

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Pushing boundaries, punctuating dialogue, great efforts, and have a great weekend!

Role model:

I applaud 7-year-old Chris Niehaus for participating in an event that has traditionally been done by girls.

This 7-year-old trailblazer is the first boy to compete in synchronized swimming in Ontario Shared via the CBC News Android App


As some of you put final touches on your Harris Burdick story/narrative paragraph, I thought it would be important to point out some of the rules that may help you.  Here are a couple of photos from a Neilson English text, Write Source 2000.

In some drafts that I read, I noticed there is some back and forth dialogue between two people.  Here is a helpful hint to keep this organized:

Congratulations to members of the cast of our school play.  You have put in such a great effort!  Shout outs go to Charlie and Tlaloc for their consistent effort, passion, and creativity.

Another set of congratulations goes out to Jahmarian and Miriam for their enthusiastic participation in yesterday's South Conference Track and Field Championships.

Final words and images:

Rhys is my 9-year-old son.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Surface area & Volume calculators (along with some review videos), Geometry & Art, reducing fractions pt. 2, Grade 6 students visiting from Pauline, Learning Skills and Work Habits journal
I was searching for an easy formula to be used to calculate the surface area of a rectangular prism.
We will use this as we prepare for Thursday morning's test.

I thought I would be much clearer with the surface area question about the box with no lid.  This is a practice question which you should do in class, with a partner today (Wednesday).  Use the formula listed above, or another method for calculating the answer.  At the end of the Math lesson, we will look at the answer at the bottom of today's post.

For the purpose of our lesson, here are the dimensions:
width = 8 cm
length = 14. 4 cm
height = 21 cm

Here are the answers for the Math test that I will redesign.  There will be fewer questions and I will be clear in my wording, although it was not that bad.  I strongly encourage you to review the concepts we have looked at.  This should be in your notebook, from your homework, and on the sideboard in the classroom.

In case you wondering, shrink-wrapped cheese may look like this:

When you receive your tests, you will see some feedback from me, which will help you prepare for the next test.  I have marked them with a "C" and a checkmark, similar to when I check your homework.  Remember to use your units!!!  If they are left out, you will receive a half mark!!

You will be receiving an Art/Geometry assignment today.  It is based on a draft exercise you should have all completed.  I did a sample for you and I will have it posted in the class.  For now, here it is for you to see and reference.

In addition, I found another video to explain how to reduce fractions to the lowest terms.  While I applaud the perspective offered by the Math Antics video, this one is consistent with the method we have been using in class.

I did not take any photos, but the incoming Grade 6 students from Pauline Public School popped in for an orientation of our school.  Ms. Kramer provided all of the 6s with a handout of the items they will need for next September.  Yes, I know that is a way off, but it is okay to plan a little.

The answer for the surface area of the box is 1171.2 square centimetres.  The volume is 2419.2 cubed centimetres for this box.

update!!  When the Google based Surface Area app was used, it thought there were six faces.  Our granola bar box only has 5 faces, since the top was removed.

updated answer:  thanks to the sharp students in Room 28 who pointed this out!
As the school year comes to a close, part of the preparation for the Report Card is a small reflection journal.  Here is my example.  The areas of focus for this term are circled.