hometown-heroes-logo"Hometown Heroes" was a multi-step curriculum-based project that met expectations in three curriculum areas and included a character education/outreach component. Art and written work generated by this project will be included in our new student portfolios.

Click on any photo in this BLOG post to enlarge it.

STEP ONE:  Brainstorm your strengths, abilities and interests.

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STEP TWO:  Draw a caricature of yourself and label it with some of the ideas from Step 1 (Visual Arts).

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Here are some of the finished products:

STEP 3:  Think of an outreach project you have the strengths/skills to complete, and create a job description for the task (media literacy). This project should benefit family, neighbours or the community.

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Students chose a wide range of outreach initiatives. Some projects of benefit to family included:  babysitting, teaching crafts to younger siblings, helping with grocery shopping, cooking breakfast, washing dishes, doing laundry, raking leaves, shoveling snow and helping prepare the home/yard for winter. Projects of assistance to others outside the home included: assisting a neighbour that was recovering from surgery, making cards for children in hospital and volunteering at a veterinarian's office.

STEP 4:  Write a manual for your outreach project (procedural writing).

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STEP 5:  Go home and do the task you identified (character education/outreach)!  🙂

STEP 6:  Reflect upon how it felt to be a "hometown hero."

STEP 7:  Participate in a sharing time/celebration of your accomplishments with the class!

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 fall, as our annual fund raiser for charity, my class invited students and staff at our school to donate a two-dollar coin (the one with the Polar Bears on it) in support of Polar Bear conservation, and come to school dressed as a favourite book character.

We used our media literacy skills to promote our fund-raiser, via the school newsletter, flyers, announcements and mini-posters:

Mrs. Black provided our class with an extra incentive to participate. She pledged to donate a dollar for each student in our class that brought in a donation. Twenty-three of us took up her challenge!

We estimate that about 30% of the school population participated in our event. We collected $168.25 in donations. Our money will help World Wildlife Fund Canada protect habitat and conduct research to ensure a future for Polar Bears in Canada.

These pictures show members of our class dressed up as favourite book characters, plus "Adopt a Polar Bear" items from World Wildlife Fund Canada. The bear is our new class mascot. We named him "Snowball!"

On behalf of the bears, we want to thank everyone who participated in our event!

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.

math projects

The Data Management and Probability strand of the Ontario Math Curriculum asks students to fulfill curriculum expectations related to the collection, display and analysis of data. As part of our data management unit, the class collected primary data for real purposes, i.e. to help adults make informed decisions about several school initiatives.

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The class began by working in five groups to design questions around particular topics, administer surveys and compile responses into charts. Afterwards, each student produced his/her own display and analysis of the data his/her group collected.

Here are students engaged in various stages of the project:

Grade 4

Students collected yes/no data and then constructed double bar graphs to display their survey results by grade.

Group 1 posed a question to help Mrs. Black determine levels of student participation in our school's recent wildlife food drive:

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We learned that 20% of students at our school brought in food for our local wildlife sanctuaries, and students from Kindergarten through Grade 7 participated.

Group 2 collected baseline data for our School Council, to help determine whether it would be advantageous to implement a breakfast program at our school:

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We discovered that 25% of students at our school do not eat breakfast regularly, before coming to school.  The most likely to eat breakfast are younger students. The least likely to eat breakfast are students in the intermediate grades. This information was presented at a School Council meeting and included in the School Improvement Plan.

Based on our survey results, School Council did implement a breakfast program at our school.  Several trays of food, like this one, are available to students each morning, as they enter the school:

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Group 3 sought to provide The Green Team and custodian with baseline data about how many students bring waste-free lunches to school. This information will help The Green Team develop a campaign to promote litterless lunches:

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We discovered that just under half of the students at our school bring their lunches to school in disposable containers. Kindergarten and Grade 4 students were the least likely to bring waste free lunches to school, and older students the most likely to bring their food in reusable containers.

Grade 5

Students sought to determine what sports equipment children would prefer, should School Council have funding to purchase new baskets of DPA/recess equipment for our classrooms.

One group of Grade 5 students surveyed children from Kindergarten through Grade 3:

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We discovered that younger students overwhelmingly prefer equipment such as trucks and large, soft bouncy balls, while older primary students like such items as skipping ropes, soccer balls, tennis balls and mini-sticks.

A second group of Grade 5 students asked children from Grades 4 through 8 about sports equipment preferences:

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We learned that students in Grades 4-6 would love to have a wide variety of sports equipment, including soccer balls, basketballs, tennis balls, large bouncy balls, and baseball and volleyball equipment. Students in Grades 7 and 8 were most interested in acquiring volleyball equipment.

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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Habitat-for-Hunanity-Canada-300x211This year, we participated in a national writing contest in support of Habitat for Humanity. Students in Grades 4-6 were invited to pen 50-300 word explanatory writing pieces, explaining what "home" means to them.

The contest involved the usual incentives and prizes for students, but the best part was that builder Genworth Canada pledged to donate $5.00 to Habitat for Humanity Canada for every contest entry that was received.

Students our class planned and drafted their writing on either side of Thanksgiving weekend... a perfect time to reflect upon thoughts and feelings about home.

Then, on October 24th, a representative from Habitat for Humanity's Gravenhurst office came to the school to share the organization's vision and procedures with students in Grades 4-6 (click any photo to enlarge it):

Students were required to get parental permission in writing, in order to enter the contest. We set a class goal of having 20 out of 25 permission slips returned, and we exceeded our goal. At the time this BLOG post was written, we had received 22 permission forms back, meaning our class' writing efforts generated $110.00 in donations for Habitat for Humanity!

moh_sitelogo_enHere are some of the reflections that our class entered into the contest:

A.M. (Grade 4):  Home means everything to me, because I have a roof over my head and a family that takes care of me. I have clean water to drink and lots of food to eat, and I am thankful for having a warm fire to keep my Mom and Dad, my brother and me warm. That is what I'm thankful for.

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C.B. (Grade 4):  When you come home, it is to a warm place. Home is where you are safe. Home is where you are loved. Home is where when you are sad you will get a hug. I feel sorry for the people without homes.

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Z.M. (Grade 4):  Home is a place to be loved and a place with my family, my Mom and Dad, my fish and my bed. Home is a place where Mom and Dad make you food, so you aren't hungry when you go to sleep. Home is a place where you have holidays all day and night, Christmas, Easter and everything else. Home is a place to be hugged when you cry. Home is a place for me to stay and lay. Home is the perfect place for me.

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J.M. (Grade 4):  A home to me is a place to feel safe where family loves you. Home can be for anyone, like a web for a spider or cave for a bat. You don't need to be rich as long as you have a roof over your head and family to love. Home for humans can be a cabin, or condo, a mansion or an apartment.  A home can be small or big.  It can be any size or any shape. If I won the lottery I would give it to charity so someone could have a home. Home is a place where I can cry.  I know how it feels to have nowhere to go.  You feel trapped and insecure.  At least I have hope when I come home to family.

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S.R. (Grade 4):  Home is a nice warm place. There's no need to think you're not safe. Home's a place to spend time with your family. This is where your memories be. If there's work you don't want to do, at least your family is there for you. It's not just you, there's also your family, a soul, it's not like an old cereal bowl. A home is filled with love and joy. There's the same amount of love in a gifted toy. That' what home means to me.

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E. M. (Grade 5):  Home is a place I can be with family. It is a place of laughter, love and warmth. It gives me a safe place to be. If a strong storm comes, we know where to go. My home is the place to be. We cuddle up and watch TV together. It gives us a place to eat our dinner. Everyone should have a home. It is a safe place. It is YOUR home.

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R.C. (Grade 5):  Home is a place where we all belong. It makes us want to sing a happy song. After a cold winter day we gather 'round the fireplace. Home is a place where you can be sad, but also be glad. Home is like a castle, which hatred cannot penetrate it's walls. Home is not like a house. A house does not share love, but a home does. Everybody needs a home, either trailer or mansion, a home is made of LOVE!

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I.A. (Grade 5):  Hopefully today will inspire you to make a very nice story of love and no hate. Build a good home for you and me, open for someone to eat and sleep. Home is a place for companionship and joy, always comfy. Home is a place which some people desire. Home is a place for fluffy and soft. Home is a place to be yourself, where family knows what to say when you're down. Where you should not be lost to hope and be free to be a dope with no question. Where you can chatter when it matters, with sisters, dads, brothers, moms, as long as they love you. You can call it a home, with cats, dogs, turtles and snacks. Whatever you want. Where no one calls you dumb, small or tall, weird, because you're different, not my friend, or where they take advantage of you because it's funny. My home is one of my greatest loves, wearing my Mom's sweatshirt, with all of her love. It would kill me thinking of me and my family on the street, hoping and wondering where to sleep and what to eat.

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The other Grade 4-6 students at our school also raised money for Habitat for Humanity, by participating in the contest.  Afterwards, the Junior Division received a "caring classroom award" from our local Habitat office and a "spirit award" from the builder that sponsored the contest (Genworth Canada):

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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.