survivor

This week, during Literacy and Social Studies periods, our class participated in an island survivor simulation. The exercise was designed to consolidate learning in Social Studies, while stretching students’ ability to work collaboratively in assigned groups and providing them with an opportunity to engage 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 roles of various levels of government in addressing social and environmental issues. Students used this prior knowledge to inform their "island survival plans." Each student also created a character he/she wished to play during our island survivor simulation.

This is the basic outline of the project (Click on any photo to enlarge it.)

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Day 1

On Monday, we discussed the terms "collaboration," "compromise" and "consensus," as a class. Students were told that the goal was to reach consensus within their small group, when developing their survival plans.

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Students were then assigned to groups and given name tags, information packages and survival plan templates.

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For the purpose of the island survivor exercise, Grade 4 students "crash landed" in the region of Canada that they studied. After the class was divided into their survivor groups, the Grade 4 students taught their Grade 5 island-mates about the region in which they found themselves stranded.

Then, within their small groups, students introduced their characters to each other and began brainstorming a list of all the things they might be able to do with the items that were salvaged from the plane. Two students that participated in this exercise last year were given the task of researching search and rescue methodologies. They also took on a role as small group facilitators.

Day 2

On Tuesday, groups continued their work exploring potential uses for the items salvaged from the plane and began to develop their survival plans.

Day 3

On Wednesday, one or two members of each group began work on a land use map of their island, while other group members refined their survival plans. Students responsible for search and rescue plotted search grids on regional maps that included the locations of our islands.

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Day 4:  Search and Rescue/Ontario Survivor Press Conferences

On Thursday morning, groups were told that, against all odds, they had been found!  They were told they would be invited to participate in a press conference explaining how they had survived their island ordeal. The students that had researched search and rescue methodologies prepared to role play a presentation about how the survivors had been found.

On Thursday afternoon, Search and Rescue and the group that had been stranded on an island in Ontario attended their press conferences and made presentations. The rest of the class acted as members of the press gallery, listening to information, posing questions and completing presentation feedback forms.

During presentations, our student teacher, Miss Carson, and Mrs. Black also completed presentation feedback forms, and filled out rubrics assessing each student's performance as a role play actor.

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Day 5: Nunavut, Newfoundland and British Columbia Survivor Press Conferences

On Friday, we held press conferences for the survivors that crash landed in Newfoundland:

Nunavut:

and British Columbia:

At the end of the process,  students completed peer evaluation forms reflecting upon their group work skills and the skills employed by the other members of their small group.

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THE RESULTS ARE IN!

These are the scores the class gave each group's overall survival plan, based on their performance at the press conference:

  • Ontario:  64%
  • British Columbia:  59%
  • Newfoundland:  58%
  • Nunavut:  51%

The class was also asked to rate the odds of each group surviving a winter in the wilderness, based on the survival plans they presented. These are the class' estimates:

  • Ontario:  65% chance of survival
  • Newfoundland:  65% chance of survival
  • British Columbia:  57% chance of survival
  • Nunavut:  47% chance of survival

Congratulations to the survivors who crash landed near Shakespeare Island, Lake Nipigon, northeast of Thunder Bay, Ontario! You are the winners of Island Survivor 2014!!

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 Carson and Mrs. Black circulated. They stepped in and facilitated whenever personality clashes or inexperience with consensus-building created an impasse. They 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 collaborating with others on a project.

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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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In October, my class organized and ran a highly successful food drive for orphaned and injured wildlife residing at local wildlife rehabilitation centres. Then, in November-December, we assumed responsibility for the school's annual food drive for the food bank in Orillia.

Each morning for three weeks, several of my students made the rounds, collecting contributions from students in classrooms from Kindergarten through Grade 8 and placing them in the front hallway of the school. Whenever the bins started to overflow, a pair of students and I would spend a recess counting, weighing, boxing and labeling some of the food.

Today, a number of students in my class spent second recess moving all of the food donations to my car:

After school, I drove our boxes to The Sharing Place Food Bank. By our count, we collected 517 items. The official weight of our school's donation was 511 lbs., which is 27 lbs. more than we collected last year.  My students are very pleased with this result!

PAYING IT FORWARD!
As an incentive to bring in donations, Miss Wigle (Grade 2/3 teacher), Mrs. Ross (Grade 7/8 teacher) and I (Grade 4/5 teacher) pledged that we would each volunteer for an hour at the Lighthouse Soup Kitchen or Sharing Place Food Bank, for every 100 lbs. of food that was collected by our school.  My daughter Emily, age 14, said she would volunteer too. Miss Wigle and Mrs. Ross will be working a five hour shift at the soup kitchen on Monday, December 22nd. Emily and I will be doing the same on Tuesday, December 23rd.

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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This afternoon, our class participated in "The Hour of Code," an initiative aimed at providing school children, world-wide, with experience writing computer code. Students worked through various tutorials on the code.org/learn website.

Everyone LOVED the opportunity to learn about how computer programs are written, and to change the way characters and components of games behave. Here are some pictures from our Hour of Code experience (click on any photo to enlarge it):

DECEMBER 17 UPDATE:

Here are some comments students made about their Hour of Code experience:

Sam:  "Hour of Code was really exciting because it made you feel like a computer scientist. It was just like building a game online."

Shenice:  It was so fun when I created a Flappy Bird game with Elizabeth! We both took turns and we had so much fun when we were coding!"

Liam:  "I have always wanted to code, and most of the games were so cool! It's like making your own games, so my thanks to the CEO of Hour of Code!"

Elizabeth:  "The coding was very fun! It was really cool to make your own design for the rules. It was also fun to do it on a game you know how to play."

Christine:  "The Hour of Code was awesome because you can make your own Flappy Bird game, and I found the Frozen game like doing math.  I love Hour of Code!"

Ryder:  "Coding is awesome because I learned a lot of the code. It was so fun it blew my mind!"

Clayton:  "I felt very happy! It was so amazing and fun because you will not die on Flappy Bird Level 8. You just change the code!"

Zack B.:  "I loved how you can do what you want to do and you can't die. I love how there was multiple games and you can make the game different. You could type what moves you wanted on this one game."

Madison:  "The best part of Hour of Code was making your own game. My favourite game was the tablet and also the Flappy Bird game. I like the tablet because you can choose Stampy as a car. I like Flappy Bird because when you play it you can get 1,000 points each time you click!"

Rein:  "I felt like I was a real video game maker. It was really fun because I could program a game, so I could get a point every time I clicked. I could also use it to prank other people. Finally, sure it's fun to just play a video game, but programming a game is way better!"

Ben:  "I really liked the Hour of Code because you actually could program everything the way YOU wanted it to go!"

Lily:  "What I loved about the code is that you can play games that you don't always get to play. I felt so happy!  I loved that you also get to program how you get points and play the game. It was like you just made up a new game! I also loved the part where it helps students learn technology."

Aiden:  "I really liked Hour of Code because it challenged me and you had to think about it. It never ends, and it has great games, and it was awesome because you design the game."

Kailem:  "It was fun. The Flappy Birds game was awesome. I really wanted to play even more. It was fun making the game even better!"

Joslyn:  "I thought Hour of Code was awesome because when I went on the Flappy Bird game, it was cool how I could personalize it and earn points. It was fun changing a game someone already made to the way you want it to be."

Kristen:  "I liked the coding because there are really cool things, and because you learned how to make and awesome game. You can also let loose and have some fun!"

 

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, our class has been host to a teacher-candidate from Lakehead University's Faculty of Education.  Miss Carson had an opportunity to practice-teach several subjects and assist with beginner band.

Here are some images of Miss Carson's teaching in action.  Click on any image to enlarge it:

MATH

LANGUAGE

SCIENCE

ART

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

HOLIDAY CONCERT

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Miss Carson did a terrific job, and will be greatly missed by both Mrs. Black and the students in our class. We want to thank her for her hard work and wish her all the best in the future.

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.

A couple weeks ago, Mrs. Black was contacted by a teacher in an elementary school that is located a three hour drive from our school.  The teacher had found Mrs. Black's listing on the "Digital Human Library" website, and wondered if Mrs Black could speak to her kindergarten class about wildlife and wildlife rehabilitation, via Skype.

The Digital Human Library is a free Ontario-based educational resource (website) that enables teachers and experts in a variety of fields to connect with each other for "virtual" speaking engagements and field trips, via computer.

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http://digitalhumanlibrary.com/

Today, Mrs. Black and two of the students in our class made a "virtual visit" to the other school, during our lunch hour. They answered questions that kindergarten students had prepared in advance of the Skype session, showed them pictures of animals in rehabilitation at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and told them about our wildlife food drive. This is how the session looked:

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After our visit, the kindergarten teacher e-mailed us this note:

Thank you again for a wonderful beginning to our digital learning this year.  The timing was great, the photos were wonderful and the information we gathered was amazing.  The kids couldn't stop talking about everything they learned after we hung up. They were the most interested in the flying squirrels, so that gives us a new direction to explore.  I've attached some of their follow-up writing from today for you to see.

Tell [your students] thank you too--it was fun to see their enthusiasm....my kids are already talking about collecting seeds next year.  (:

Mrs. Black and students had a terrific time sharing their knowledge with the kindergarten class. We plan to invite some experts to visit our class, via Skype, in the near future.

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.