Today we celebrated the holidays and said farewell to our student-teacher, Miss M.

This is our class' amazing door decoration.  We are going to remove the Christmas ornaments and present in January, and leave our winter scene up until March Break.

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Here are a few images from today's party:

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We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!  See you in the New Year.

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

Over the past five weeks, Olivia Manovich, a teacher-candidate from Lakehead University's Faculty of Education, completed a teaching practicum in our classroom.  During her first week with us, Miss M. observed Mrs. Black's teaching. From weeks two through five, Miss M. began to create her own unit and lesson plans and teach the class herself, with Mrs. Black providing feedback.  Each subsequent week, Miss M. assumed a larger proportion of the teaching responsibilities, until last week (week 5) when she was teaching full time.

Miss M.'s enthusiasm was contagious and her thoroughness was second to none. She brought as many new ideas to the table as she took away! We want to thank Miss M. for all her hard work and dedication.  It just won't be the same when we return in January, and Miss M. isn't there.  🙁

Here are a few images of Marvelous Miss M. at work with our class (click any photo to enlarge it).

Introduction to The Elements of Dance:

Daily Physical Activity:

Math:

Writing:

Gym (Volleyball):

Science:

Playing with the school band and teacher-band:

We wish Miss M. all the best in her future as a teacher.  Any school would be lucky to have her!!

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

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Last week, during Literacy and Social Studies periods, our class participated in an island survivor exercise.  This exercise was designed to consolidate learning in Social Studies, while stretching students' ability to work cooperatively in assigned groups and providing them with an opportunity to participate in role play.

Prior to undertaking this project, students in Grade 4 worked in pairs, or individually, to research one of Canada's physical regions. Students in Grade 5 completed an inquiry project exploring the tasks various levels of government might undertake in addressing an emergency such as a major regional ice storm. Students' learning in Social Studies was assessed based on these projects.

Each student then created a character he/she wished to play during our island survivor project and was assigned to a group destined to "crash land" in one of four Canadian regions. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

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These are our Learning Goals, co-created Success Criteria, and scenario. The Learning Goals focus upon applying student learning from Social Studies to solve a problem, cooperation and drama.

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For the purpose of the island survivor exercise, Grade 4 students were assigned to crash land in the region of Canada that they studied. After the class was divided into their survivor groups and they listened to a story about the crash scenario, the Grade 4 students in each group taught their Grade 5 island-mates about the region of Canada where they found themselves stranded:

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In our scenario, the plane went down in water and sunk. Survivors were able to paddle to a nearby island, in a lifeboat, with the following supplies:

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Their first task, as a group, was to brainstorm a list of uses for each of their supplies:

Then they worked on the tasks of developing survival plans, a form of government, laws, an environmental protection plan for their island, a flag, and a map of their island (depicting landforms, vegetation, water sources, their settlements and paths to their hunting and fishing areas, etc.)  To assist them with the mapping task, each group was provided with a laminated satellite image of an actual island in the physical region where they were stranded in the scenario.

The Newfoundland (Appalachia) and Nunavut (Arctic Lowlands) groups were both stranded on islands surrounded by sea water, but had fresh water available on their islands. The Nunavut group was in the high arctic, above the tree line. The Ontario (Canadian Shield) and British Columbia (Cordillera) groups were stranded on islands surrounded by fresh water. The British Columbia group was in an area of Northern B.C. with high mountains on either side of their lake.

Students were initially told that their chance of ever being rescued was slim to none; that they needed to prepare to spend the winter or longer on their island.  Once groups had completed their plans, flags and maps, they were told that, miraculously, they HAD been rescued, and that they would soon be invited to participate in a press conference. At the press conference, they would explain their experiences and survival plans (in role) to a gallery of print, television and internet journalists. Groups then set about preparing for their press conferences.

While each group presented, the rest of the students in the class played the role of journalists, asking questions and completing forms rating presenters on their plans, and their perceived chance of surviving the winter had they not been rescued. Everyone took the drama seriously and ensured that all questions about each group's plans were fully explained.

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Our student teacher (Miss M) and I used checklists and anecdotal notes to rate how well students cooperated within their groups throughout the island survivor exercise, and used a rubric to assess each student's performance in drama:

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Island Survivor was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for most students in the class; a frustrating one for a few. While groups were meeting to brainstorm ideas and achieve consensus about their survival plans, Miss M. and I circulated. We stepped in and facilitated whenever personality clashes or inexperience with consensus-building created an impasse. We hope the one-on-one and small group coaching that transpired during this activity will provide students with some new tools and strategies they can employ next time they are working within a group setting.

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

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A teacher-friend of Mrs. Black's, who is the librarian at Victoria Harbour P.S., has a gravely ill student at her school. Eight year old Rebeccah's mother asked that people support her daughter by sending Christmas ornaments to decorate a tree in her bedroom.  When students in our class were told about Rebeccah's predicament, they jumped at the chance to support her.

This morning, we made ornaments using plastic bottle bottoms, glitter glue and shiny elastic.  Students put a great deal of care into their work and it shows... the results are truly lovely.  Click on any picture to enlarge it.

This is our class posing for Rebeccah with their creations:

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Mrs. Black had a cousin who lost a battle with leukemia at age 10, so she wanted to do something more.  She adopted Andy, the White-tailed Deer at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, for Rebeccah.  Andy isn't one of Santa's reindeer, but he's pretty darned close!

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When she was at Aspen Valley for a meeting, Mrs. Black and the sanctuary manager, Mr. Smith, made Rebeccah a short video of Andy.  Click on this link to view the video in wmv-format:  http://www.blackdeer.ca/For-Rebecca-w.wmv

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Mrs. Black will be delivering the class' ornaments to Rebeccah at a community fund-raiser for her family, in Victoria Harbour, on Saturday, December 7th. The sanctuary will be sending Rebeccah a certificate of adoption and a picture of Andy in the mail.  We hope our small gifts to Rebeccah will put a smile on her face and help her to see how much others care.

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UPDATE:  Sunday, June 29, 2014

Becky, her family and the librarian from Victoria Harbour P.S. came to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary today, so Mrs. Black could give them a private tour. One of the highlights for Becky was finally getting to meet Andy the deer!

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

As a culminating task in our Pulleys and Gears (Grade 4) and Forces Acting on Structures (Grade 5) science units, students worked together in teams to build bridges out of popsicle sticks, straws, paper clips, toothpicks, string, elastics, paper and tape.

The class worked with Mrs. Black to define the requirements and Success Criteria for these projects.  The goal for Grade 4 students was to build a 30 cm lift bridge and swing bridge, using at least two pulleys. The goal for Grade 5 was to build a 50 cm bridge that could hold at least two math textbooks.  Students made two or three attempts, building on the success of their previous attempts to improve their designs.  They kept detailed lab notes explaining their thought and building processes. Their lab reports became their explanatory writing pieces for literacy.

The following photo collage depicts the fun students had with this project.  Grade 5 students far exceeded the expectation that their bridges support two textbooks. All of their bridges held 5 or more books.  One bridge held 22 books before it listed to the side and dumped its load!  Click on any photo to enlarge it.

With this project, students had a great time learning some principles of design, through trial and error, and by building upon the knowledge they gained in each trial.  They also learned how to write up detailed explanations using a standard lab report format.

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