In September, our class offered to promote and organize the school's annual drive in support of the local food bank. Then, in October, high school ambassadors from Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF), visited our class and helped students identify a pair of outreach projects that would complement the food drive nicely: a winter clothing drive and a campaign to knit scarves for the less fortunate. Our project, which the students named "The Epic Knitty Bitty Clothing & Food Drive," took place from mid-November to mid-December.

Students in our class began their work by decorating banners and boxes for a drop-off station in the school foyer.

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Our drop-off station:

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Next, we created colourful posters and distributed them throughout the school.

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Students in our class also wrote a short piece for the school newsletter and counted out flyers, reminding Kindergarten through Grade 8 students and their parents to contribute. The Grade 4 class helped with promotion by writing and reading reminders on the morning announcements.

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After our drop-off station was set up and promotion was in place, it was time to start knitting! A few students in our class already knew how to knit. Several others attended a knitting course/club, run by our school's Grade 4 teacher.

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Some of us also made polar fleece scarves, for the clothing drive.

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Throughout the campaign students in our class kept the drop-off station neat, by organizing the food items and bringing bags of clothing to the classroom for storage.

When our trio of drives were over, we sorted the donations and readied them to be delivered to local social service agencies. Mrs. Black drove our food to The Sharing Place food bank, and clothing to the Green Haven Women's Shelter's drop off locationShe also delivered a few pet food items that came in with the food drive to the Orillia SPCA.

Here, we are sorting, counting and packing the food drive items:

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At the food bank:

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Sorting and packing the clothing drive items:

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At Green Haven's drop off centre:

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We were amazed by the response to our food and clothing drive! We collected 339 food items (which weighed in at 327 lbs.) and 14 large bags of clothes. Students in our class also made a total of 15 scarves for the less fortunate.

We want to thank everyone who donated food, clothes, knitting supplies and polar fleece, to "The Epic Knitty Bitty Clothing & Food Drive." Your donations will keep some grateful people warm and well fed this winter!

The "Knitty Bitty" drive isn't the only thing that's epic. Mrs. Black wants to recognize her EPIC STUDENTS for their caring and compassion, and congratulate them on a job exceptionally 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.

Last week, our class participated in "The Hour of Code," an initiative aimed at providing school children, world-wide, with experience writing computer code. Students watched the following video and then worked through various tutorials on the code.org/learn website, or for tablets at studio.code.org

Students 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 class' Hour of Code experience:

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This is what some of the students in our class had to say about Hour of Code:

Z.M.
I like Hour of Code, because it is fun and it makes you feel like a computer wiz. It is fun to rig games to get lots of points. Hour of Code is awesome!

J.S.
Hour of Code is the best, because you get to program games!

B.L.
I think that the Hour of Code was so cool, because you can make the game funny or weird. It is also awesome, because it is fun learning about how computer games really work.

S.T.
Hour of Code was cool, especially because you can "code" your own game!  🙂

J.M.
Hour of Code is a great way for children around the world to learn computer programming. It is fun for all ages. I enjoyed creating and personalizing games.

B.W.
I think the Hour of Code is wicked awesome because I got to create my own game!

A.M.
I like Hour of Code because you can design your own game. Then you can play it and change it. 

L.B.
I think Hour of Code is fun because you can program the game, and so it is a lot like creating your own game. 

B.T.
I like Hour of Code because it can express your computer-science-y imagination. You can control the character of YOUR game, and do whatever YOUR heart desires!

R.K.
I think it is a good experience to code your own game. I love it! It makes me feel like a real programming guy.

M.M.
Hour of Code is a game to learn computer codes. It is an awesome learning game. When I got home, I ran straight to my computer and played again. BEST GAME EVER!

This morning, students in our class used their experience with Hour of Code to mentor the children in Mrs. Wilson's Kindergarten class. The Grade 5's taught  four and five year olds how they could write computer code. Students, big and small, really enjoyed this experience!

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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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Norval Morriseau was a First Nations artist from Ontario, who passed away in 2007. Nicknamed "The Picasso of the North," he created works that depicted the legends and stories of his people. Mr. Norval's work is characterized by black outlines, bright colours, and pictures within pictures. Students in our class studied a number of Norval Morriseau's paintings, and then created original pieces of art that emulated his style.

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IMG_1536IMG_1534 IMG_1533 IMG_1532 IMG_1531The finished products are beautiful!

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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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My class is once again 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. Food drive for orphaned wildlife
  2. Writing project in support of Habitat for Humanity
  3. Letter writing in support of at-risk turtles in Ontario
  4. Fund-raiser for the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre
  5. Food, clothing & knitting drive for the less fortunate
  6. Shelters for orphaned wildlife
  7. Helping local residents combat flooding
  8. Fund-raiser in support of tiger conservation

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Project Details:

1. THIRD ANNUAL FOOD DRIVE FOR ORPHANED WILDLIFE

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Over the past three years, our school has helped local wildlife rehabilitation centres stock up on natural foods, to get their overwintering orphaned patients through the winter.

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

NOTE:  In the fall of 2015 our wildlife food drive received two national awards. The second one came with a $2,000. prize, which was used to finance project #6, on this page: "Shelters for Orphaned Wildlife."

These are links to BLOG posts about the food drive:

 

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 $5.00 to Habitat for Humanity. Our class raised $100. with our writing.

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

Here is a link to the BLOG post about this project:

 

3.  PERSUASIVE LETTER WRITING IN SUPPORT OF AT RISK TURTLES IN ONTARIO

persuasive-plannerEach year, we focus our persuasive letter-writing unit on a real world issue, in the hopes that our writing can make a difference. This year, in consultation with the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre, we identified a topic we wanted to address: the ongoing legal hunting of Snapping Turtles in Ontario, for food, despite the fact that Snapping Turtles are recognized, federally and provincially, as a species at risk.

This is a BLOG post detailing our writing project:

 

4.  FUND-RAISER FOR THE KAWARTHA TURTLE TRAUMA CENTRE

market-day-signAs our class' charity fund raiser for this school year, we held a "Market Day" in support of the turtle hospital in Peterborough. Students in our class donated gently-used toys and games, created "stores" from which to sell their goods, and took turns purchasing items from the stores. Money spent at the stores was donated to the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre. This project met curriculum expectations in media literacy, math and character education.

Here is our BLOG post about the event:

 

5.  FOOD, CLOTHING & KNITTING DRIVE IN SUPPORT OF THE LESS FORTUNATE

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For the second year in a row, our class agreed to promote and organize our school's annual food drive for the local food bank. High school ambassadors from Learning for a Sustainable Future helped us identify a pair of projects that would complement the food drive nicely: a winter clothing drive and scarf-knitting project. Items collected through our trio of drives were donated to The Sharing Place Food Bank and Greenhaven Women's Shelter.  In the spring of 2016, Nelson Publishing asked if they could use a photo of two students knitting for this project in their new Grade 2 Social Studies resource.

These are links to BLOG posts about our drives for the less fortunate in our area:

 

6. SHELTERS FOR ORPHANED WILDLIFE

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The Our Canada Project Award our school received, for our Food Drive for Orphaned Wildlife, came with a $2,000. prize. The money was to be invested in another student-led conservation initiative. We decided to construct sleeping boxes for squirrels, flying squirrels, chipmunks and opossums, and donate them to local wildlife centres for use with their orphaned patients. Orillia Home Hardware supplied us with pre-cut lumber and hardware for this project. Students at our school from Grades 3-8 assembled the sleeping boxes.

Here is the BLOG post about the "Shelters" project:

 

7. HELPING LOCAL RESIDENTS COMBAT FLOODING

class-sandbaggingFor the fourth year in a row, Grade 5-8 students at our school answered the call to assist local residents with spring flooding, by filling sand bags at the public works yard two doors from the school. Throughout the day, students filled over 500 bags. These sand bags are available to local residents, for free, to help keep spring flood waters from entering their homes.

This is the BLOG post about this project:

 

8. "HAT DAY" FOR TIGERS

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This year, one of the boys in our Grade 5 class wrote a speech about tiger poaching. Brogan's well-reasoned and impassioned speech was in the top three in our class, top two among Grade 4-6 speeches at our school, and came second at an area competition involving Grade 4-6 orators from six schools.

Our class took Brogan's plea for help to heart, by committing to organize a school-wide "Toonies for Tigers" hat day. (Students making a donation will be allowed to wear their favourite hat at school for a day.) This fund-raiser will be held in April, and proceeds will be donated to World Wildlife Fund Canada, earmarked for tiger conservation. Mrs. Black also adopted a tiger for the class, through WWF Canada.

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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 had the privilege of visiting Springwater Provincial Park and the Simcoe County Museum, in Midhurst, to participate in two different learning experiences related to the Grade 5 Social Studies unit "First Nations & Europeans in New France and Early Canada."

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Springwater Park is now being managed by the Beausoleoil First Nation, under a contract agreement with Ontario Parks. Park manager and educator, Jeff Monague, took us on a "medicine walk" in the park. He showed us a variety of tree species, and told us about their medicinal value in First Nations culture.

For example:

If you are lost in the woods and in desperate need of water, you will find it about a foot under the soil beneath a cedar tree. Cedar is very high in vitamin C and a good source of stress relief. You can use it to make tea. If you put a piece of cedar in your shoe, it will bring good luck.

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The little wisps of bark curling away from the trunk of a paper birch tree can be used to start a fire. The sap of this tree can be turned into cough medicine or a fine glue. Birch can also be used to make canoes.

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The beech tree provides nutritious nuts that are edible by humans and other animals, such as bears and chipmunks. They are a good source of calcium. If you crush the leaves from a beech tree, you can use the powder as a disinfectant.

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The sap of the White Pine is flammable and can be used in torches. It can also be used as a glue. The tree in the photo is about 50 years old.

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The stem from the leaf of the poplar (or willow) tree has the same ingredients as in aspirin. If you put a piece of stem under your tongue, it will cure a headache.

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Sugar Maple trees produce sap that can be cooked into maple syrup and sugar. Hardwood trees like the maple burn for a very long time.

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After our medicine walk, we enjoyed a visit to "the climbing tree" at Springwater Park, and then ate lunch in the pavilion.

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Next, the school bus took us to the Simcoe County Museum for an afternoon program about The Wendat and early explorers.

The museum features a miniature replica of a Wendat longhouse...

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... and a full sized cedar strip canoe.

IMG_0036The presenter shared some information about Wendat culture, as it was several hundred years ago. She told us about early explorers and fur traders, and their interaction with the Wendat people. She explained that the Europeans called the Wendat "Hurons," and she told us a Wendat story about why the bear lost his tail.

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Next, the presenter took us to the classroom, where students made Okie's out of clay, learned how to grind corn with rocks and played some Wendat games.

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The last part of our day at the museum was spent outside, learning how to throw and catch balls with Lacrosse sticks. Lacrosse was invented by the Wendat. It is Canada's national sport!IMG_0078 IMG_0079 IMG_0080 IMG_0081 IMG_0084

We had a great day learning about First Nations culture at Springwater Park and the Simcoe County Museum!

We'd like to thank the Moms who accompanied us on the trip for their assistance!

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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.

In June, our school's "Food Drive for Orphaned Wildlife" was one of eight projects from across the country to be recognized with the Jack Layton Youth Action in Sustainability Award.

This week, we were surprised and delighted to receive the following note, from the Director of Programs and Administration at Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF):

lsf_rbc_ourcanadaproject_awardlogo_2015_EN-231x300 (1)On behalf of Learning for a Sustainable Future, I would like to congratulate Rama Central Public School on winning the LSF-RBC Our Canada Project Second Prize of $2,000 for the project entitled, "Food Drive for Orphaned Wildlife". The Our Canada Project is a project of Learning for a Sustainable Future and is supported by the RBC Foundation.

The LSF-RBC Our Canada Project Award was established to recognize the creativity and innovation of Canadian youth in modeling responsible citizenship, as evidenced in the vision and action projects posted on the OCP website. The "Food Drive for Orphaned Wildlife" was selected as the second place winner from over 160 action projects posted on the Our Canada Project website in 2015.

These two awards recognize the work of the Grade 4 and 5 students who organized our three annual wildlife food drives, plus all of the Kindergarten through Grade 8 students who have collected acorns, pine cones, maple keys and windfall apples for orphaned wildlife!

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These photographs, which depict orphaned wild animals enjoying the fruits of our labours, were sent to us by local wildlife rehabilitators:

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In January, an LSF-RBC Our Canada Project Award certificate and cheque will be presented to us, at the school.

The prize money needs to be invested in another "youth action in sustainability" project. In consultation with LSF and one of our wildlife rehab. partners, we have decided to give students in Grades 3-8 the opportunity to construct wooden sleeping boxes for squirrels and opossums that are being cared for at local wildlife rehabilitation centres. Older students will mentor younger students, and a team of Grade 8 students will serve as a media crew, to document our activities for the Our Canada Project website.

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Our school's "Shelters for Orphaned Wildlife" project will commence in February!

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March 5th, 2016 update:

Our "shelters" project is now complete and boxes are in the process of being delivered to four local wildlife sanctuaries. This blog post depicts students in action, building the boxes!

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We want to sincerely thank Learning for a Sustainable Future and the RBC Foundation for recognizing our wildlife food drive, and for enabling us to help wildlife rehabilitators provide shelter to wildlife in need!

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.