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For the second year in a row, the Grade 5 class at Rama Central P.S. organized a winter clothing drive for the less fortunate.  Our drive ran from mid-November until December 20th. Afterwards, we sorted and bagged all of the clothes, for delivery to a local shelter.

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img_6342img_6345img_6346img_6348After everything was sorted and bagged, the class loaded all 34 bags into Mrs. Black's and Ms. Lyons' cars.

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Then, Mrs. Black and Ms. Lyons drove the bags of clothes to "Green Again," the store operated by Greenhaven Women's Shelter, in Orillia. This is Green Again volunteer (and retired Rama Central french teacher!) Erin Price, with some of our donations.

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Thank you to the Rama Central P.S. community for their generosity, and congratulations to our Grade 5 class on a job well done!

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

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In  November and December, our class had the privilege of hosting a teacher-candidate from Lakehead University's Faculty of Education.

Mrs. Tingey began her five weeks in our class with observation.  Then, she gradually assumed responsibility for teaching some of our lessons. By Week 5 she was teaching full-time, in consultation with Mrs. Black.

Here are some images of Mrs. Tingey's time with us:

MATH

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LANGUAGE

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SCIENCE

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GYM and DPA

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MUSIC

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VISUAL ARTS

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We want to thank Mrs. Tingey for the energy and enthusiasm she brings to her teaching. Her excitement about education is contagious and we are really going to miss her!

All the best to Mrs. Tingey in her future career as an educator!

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

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Canada's only chimpanzee sanctuary is located near Montreal, Quebec. The Fauna Foundation is currently home to fourteen middle-aged to elderly chimpanzees. About half of the chimps were rescued from a medical research lab. in New York State. Several others spent decades on display in Canadian zoos. Two, who are fluent in American Sign Language, were part of a cross-species language study at a university in Washington State.

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http://www.faunafoundation.org/chimps/chimps-resident/

This year, the sanctuary invited the public to help brighten the lives of the chimpanzees by decorating Christmas stockings to adorn "the chimp house."

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http://www.faunafoundation.org/2016/11/rock-the-sock-contest/

Our Grade 5 class jumped at the opportunity to help!  Almost every student in our class willingly gave up a recess period to begin work on the stockings.  When we started the project, there were twelve chimpanzees in residence at the sanctuary. Students worked individually or in pairs to decorate a beautiful stocking for each one of them.

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Mrs. Black researched the types of "enrichment items" the sanctuary's chimpanzees enjoy and then purchased some Christmas colouring books and DVD's, crayons, small stuffed animals, Santa hats, hair brushes, sunglasses, beads and paper streamers to send to the sanctuary, as stocking stuffers.

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After our first package had been shipped, the sanctuary announced that it had taken in the last two zoo chimpanzees in Canada, two very elderly females named Blackie and Dolly, who had lived at a Quebec Zoo for over 40 years.  Two students in our class created stockings for Blackie and Dolly, and we sent a second package to the sanctuary.

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The chimpanzee's caregivers were delighted with our contribution!

On December 16th, the sanctuary posted this picture on their Facebook page, depicting Loulis', Jethro's and Chance's stockings stuffed with goodies:

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On December 18th, the sanctuary posted a short video of Dolly helping herself to items from Jethro's stocking:

http://www.facebook.com/faunafoundation/videos/1179755042073159/

This is a screenshot from that video:

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On December 23rd, the Fauna Foundation announced the winner of their "Rock the Sock" contest. EXCITEMENT!  Our entire class won the contest!!!
(click on the image below to enlarge it)

We sent the sanctuary back a big "Thank You" for chosing our stockings!

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UPDATE:  Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Today, the class received a wonderful thank you package from The Fauna Foundation!

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.caor to add a comment to this page.

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Our class recently read, "Ice Dogs," a young adult novel by author Terry Lynn Johnson. Ms. Johnson, who lives in Whitefish Falls, Ontario, also works as a conservation officer, and has written a number of outdoor-themed novels.

Students really enjoyed Ice Dogs as a read-aloud, and expressed an interest in sending pictures and reviews of the book to Ms. Johnson.

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Ms. Johnson loved receiving pictures and feedback from our class and offered to send us advance copies of two other books that won't be published until next fall! She is looking forward to receiving our reviews of her next two books.  🙂

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.caor to add a comment to this page.

For our Grade 5 Science unit "Conservation of Energy and Resources," we read background information, watched educational videos, completed home energy surveys, and engaged in some fun hands-on learning.

Our first hands-on energy lab. was an outdoor demonstration of two renewable energy devices:

  • a small photoelectric solar panel that converts light from the sun into electricity to charge batteries;
  • a "biofuel" camp stove that converts heat from fire into electricity, to run an internal fan and to charge electronic devices.

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Our second energy lab. had the class using wattage meters to determine how much energy a variety of small household appliances consume. Students found some of the results quite surprising. Many tended to overestimate the consumption of electronic devices, such as radios, pencil sharpeners and computers, while underestimating the consumption of heat-producing devices such as space heaters, toasters and blow dryers. Students were also surprised to find that the incandescent bulb that drew 60 watts of energy gave off the same amount of light as the compact fluorescent bulb that consumed 12 watts and the LED bulb that drew just 9 watts.

img_6018 img_6020 img_6021 img_6022 img_6026 img_6027 img_6028 img_6031Through this energy lab., we learned that "wattage" is not the whole story.  A device that consumes a great deal of energy but is only used for a few minutes at a time, such as a blow dryer, can actually use less energy per month than a lower-wattage television that is used for many hours each day. The same principal applies to large household appliances, which we explored using Hydro One's Appliance Calculator:
http://www.hydroone.com/MyHome/SaveEnergy/Tools/calc_main.htm

Our third energy lab. involved the construction of several types of solar ovens, and then testing them outdoors. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate. The best day that week, the sky was partly cloudy. However, students did observe slightly higher temperatures in their devices when the sun was not obscured by clouds.

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As a writing assignment, students wrote lab. reports detailing their solar device experiments.

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Students enjoyed the opportunity to learn about energy use and alternative energy technology through hands-on projects. Their next step will be to consider how our class can encourage greater conservation of energy and resources, at home and school.

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.caor to add a comment to this page.

For the fifth year in a row, my class is engaging in a number of outreach projects that meet Ontario curriculum expectations, while benefiting others in the school, community and beyond. This page will be updated throughout the year, as we complete new projects.

Here is a list of our outreach projects, to date:

  1.  Fourth annual food drive for orphaned wildlife
  2.  Expanatory writing in support of Habitat for Humanity
  3.  Art project to benefit rescued lab. and zoo chimpanzees
  4.  Clothing drive for the less fortunate
  5.  Pack-a-shoebox for First Nations youth

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Project Details:

1. FOURTH ANNUAL FOOD DRIVE FOR ORPHANED WILDLIFE

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During the past four autumns, our school has helped local wildlife rehabilitation centres stock up on natural foods, to sustain their overwintering orphaned patients throughout the winter months.

Our class organized and promoted this year's wildlife food drive, by inviting students from Kindergarten through Grade 8 to contribute acorns, pine cones, maple keys, black walnuts, apples and sumac. This year, we collected three carloads of food, which were delivered to: Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, in Rosseau, Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge, in Pefferlaw, and Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary, in Minden. This project met curriculum  expectations in math, science, literacy and character education.

Here is a link to a blog post about this project:

 

2.  EXPLANATORY WRITING IN SUPPORT OF HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

Habitat-for-Canada-300x211-HunanityDuring the month of October, students in our class authored short explanatory writing pieces as a school project, and then entered them in a national writing contest.

The topic for this writing project was "What Home Means to Me."  For every entry received, builder Genworth Canada donated $10.00 to Habitat for Humanity. Our class raised $190. with their writing!

This is the contest website:  http://meaningofhome.ca/

 

3.  ART PROJECT TO BENEFIT RESCUED LAB. AND ZOO CHIMPANZEES

stocking-iconCanada's only chimpanzee sanctuary is The Fauna Foundation, located near Montreal, Quebec. This year, the sanctuary invited the public to help enrich the lives of their fourteen rescued chimpanzees by decorating Christmas stockings to adorn "the chimp house." Students in our class worked individually or with a partner to decorate a stocking for each of the chimps. We mailed the stockings to the sanctuary, along with some stocking stuffers (enrichment items) appropriate for their chimpanzee recipients.

This blog post shows the amazing work the students did for the chimpanzees:

 

4.  CLOTHING DRIVE FOR THE LESS FORTUNATE

clothingdriveiconFor the second year in a row, our class agreed to promote and organize our school's winter clothing drive for the less fortunate. We used media literacy skills to advertise the clothing drive and create a drop-off station in the school foyer. When the clothing drive was over, our class sorted and bagged all of the donations, for shipment to the Greenhaven Women's Shelter and Lighthouse Men's Shelter.

More about this project is here:

 

5.  PACK-A-SHOEBOX FOR FIRST NATIONS YOUTH

pack-a-shoebox-element69In the new year, the Grade 5 and 6 classes at our school will be participating in an outreach project to benefit First Nations children and youth in remote northern communities of Canada.  The project entails packing school supplies, toiletries, small clothing items such as socks and mittens, and small toys and games into shoeboxes. The shoeboxes will be shipped to communities by a Canadian registered charity and distributed at the beginning of the school year and when children reach particular milestones at school.

This is the project website:  I Love First Peoples Pack-a-Shoebox

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.caor to add a comment to this page.

This year Grade 1-8 classes, in Area 2 of the Simcoe County District School Board, have moved from a three-part, 60 minute daily math session to six-part, 100-minute daily math.

The components of our new math program are as follows:

1. Foundational Practice:  This includes practice of basic math operations via the book, "Daily Math Review," drills, math games and flash cards.

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2. "Strings":  This part of our daily math program entails a guided discussion of mental math strategies used to solve basic multiplication equations.  Our "strings" resource is, "Minilessons for Early Multiplication and Division: A Yearlong Resource."

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3. Forward/Back: The third part of our 100-minute math session involves reviewing previously studied math concepts, for which extra review would be helpful, OR pre-teaching upcoming math concepts, in order to ensure that students have some familiarity with them.

4.-6. Our traditional Three-Part Math Lesson:  This part of our daily math session includes a "Minds-on," Lesson & Independent Practice, and Consolidation. An exit ticket is often used, following consolidation, to gauge how many/which students fully comprehended the lesson concepts and how many/which students would benefit from further work in a "Forward/Back" segment.

Our three-part math lesson follows the Simcoe County District School Board's "Course of Study in Math," and utilizes such resources as Nelson Math 5, Supersource Math Resource and the Ministry's Effective Guides to Instruction in Math.

This is a sample of the Grade 5 Course of Study Overview and outline for Unit 1:

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We are hoping that the extra time and program components will help to shore up some of our students' math skills.

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 HERE ARE SOME MATH RESOURCES YOU CAN USE AT HOME

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.caor to add a comment to this page.

This fall, our Grade 5 class took the lead in advertising and organizing our school's "food drive for orphaned wildlife." We used media literacy skills to encourage students from Kindergarten through Grade 8, as well as school staff, to collect and contribute items such as acorns, pine cones, maple keys, apples, sumac and black walnuts.

Orphaned baby animals that are overwintering at wildlife rehabilitation centres need to be provided with food from the natural environment, so they will know what to look for after they are released back into the wild. Our school's food contributions will go a long way toward sustaining and educating the babies at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (Rosseau), Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge (Pefferlaw) and Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary (Minden) throughout the winter months.

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Each Friday, the class weighed, measured and estimated the number of food items we were shipping out to a particular sanctuary.

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Then students packed the food and helped Mrs. Black load it into her car.

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Here are three of four carloads of food we shipped to local wildlife sanctuaries this fall:

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img_5595Staff and volunteers at the wildlife rehabilitation centres, such as these people at Aspen Valley Wildlife Centre, in Rosseau, were most grateful for our assistance!

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...as were the many orphaned animals who will benefit from the fruits of our labour all winter long!

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(Orphaned fawns enjoying our food at Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary, in Minden.)

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After all of our deliveries were complete, we collected an additional box of food for the non-releasable squirrels that reside at Speaking of Wildlife (formerly the outreach arm of Muskoka Wildlife Centre).  Our friend Krystal, who now owns that company, brought one of her "ambassador squirrels" to class, when she picked up the food.  Squirt is a youngster who had been someone's illegal pet, briefly, and is too habituated to humans to live in the wild. The class loved meeting Squirt and learning about these clever and industrious little animals.

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

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In order to provide students with breaks from sitting at their desks and assist with focus, the centre of our classroom includes several types of high and low alternate seating, plus "portable podiums" that can be used as stand-up desks.

Here is our study lounge in action:

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When we need to use the centre of our room for building projects or drama, etc., the entire study lounge packs away neatly onto one of the Muskoka chairs.

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

This week we enjoyed several special events.

On Monday, Mrs. Black's friends Hank Debruin and his wife Tanya visited our class. Hank is a Haliburton-based sled dog racer who has completed the 1,000 mile Iditarod and the 1,000 mile Yukon Quest, with his team of Siberian Huskies. Hank and Tanya thanked students for their support during the 2016 Yukon Quest, showed us a video of their northern dogsledding adventures, answered questions, signed autographs, and let the kids see one of their racing sleds!

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Over the past few weeks, students had asked for another visual arts project so, as her farewell gift to the class, Mrs. Black purchased an an acrylic painting board for each student, and other paint supplies.

On Tuesday, Mrs. Black's high school aged daughter, Emily, volunteered in our class. She brought some of her acrylic art samples and assisted students with their work. It was a beautiful day, so we painted in the front yard of the school.

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On Wednesday, Kindergarten through Grade 7 lined the halls and applauded the Grade 8 graduates, attended the school's year-end assembly, went outside for a second acrylic painting session, and had a class party.

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Here are a few of the students' masterpieces!

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At the end of the day, everyone on staff went outside to farewell the students. It is a Rama Central tradition for the buses to circle around past the line of staff four or five times, before heading out.  When viewing these images, picture students waving and yelling loudly, bus drivers honking their horns repeatedly, and the staff waving and calling out to students to have a great summer!

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Thank you for a great year students and parents/guardians!  Have a safe and restful summer...

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.caor to add a comment to this page.