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About Margaret Black

Grade 4/5 teacher at Rama Central P.S. in Central Ontario. Website:


What happens when students are given an opportunity to play with words, after spending a month engaged in researching, writing, memorizing and presenting speeches?  Hilarity and high jinks!

For this task, students were given ten story starters to choose from, and fifteen minutes to write as much as possible.  On your mark, get set, go!

Here are some of the results:


Image result for ice cream clipart

"If snow was ice cream, there wouldn't be any snow left! Kids would eat it all, and winter would go really fast. No one would eat anything else, like Doritos, because they'd be eating ice cream. Now we know who's causing climate change! R.I.P. Winter Olympics!"
-- By Soren



 "I was sledding down the biggest slope, when a grizzly came running after me, as if it was a dog running on a treadmill, chasing a bone on a string!  As it chased me, I came to a fallen tree branch and dragged it with me. As I held it in my hand, I tore all the small branches off it, to use as a steering wheel, so I could go around trees, holes, jumps, etc. The bear was gaining on me, and when I was coming to the bottom of the hill I saw the biggest jump. I let the stick go and held on as hard as I could to my sled, closed my eyes, and went over the jump. Just as I got off the jump, the grizzly jumped, missed my sled and landed in a big snow pile. I landed in a tree and couldn't get out of it, because I was stuck between the branches! I found some snow, melted it, and then used it to make the branches slippery. I slipped out of the tree and landed in a snow bank. I quickly got out of the snow bank and ran as fast as I could to my house, shut the door, ran up the stairs to my bedroom, jumped into bed and pulled a blanket over my head. I stayed there for the rest of the day!"
-- By Brooke


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"If I saw the Yeti, I would flip out! I would say, "Hey, Dude. How's it goin'?" Then, he would say, "Nothin' much. I'm just sitting on top of a mountain." Then, I'd say something like, "Hey, you, a cool dude, want to catch a movie or something?" From that moment on, we would be best friends for our whole lives! We'd start growing up together, having fun and seeing movies. But, one day the Yeti would disappear. We'd look up and down... well, practically everywhere. I'd be heart broken, thinking I would grow old and weak all alone. But then, one day, a Superhero would break into my house to give me the most important information ever!  He would say, "The Yeti thinks you suck!" So, I would get over the Yeti and become best friends with the Superhero...
-- By Enya


"If snow was made of something else, it should Image result for marshmallow clip artbe marshmallows because... first, if the snow was ice cream it would melt and you would get all wet. Marshmallows are soft and if you wanted a slippery hill, you could just eat the top off the marshmallow. Eating is also a good way to snow blow, or should I say marshmallow blow. If you needed help clearing the marshmallows off your lawn, you could just call my name! Mmmm.  I can just imagine it. Next, I love marshmallows. Have you ever had those massive marshmallows? They are just marshmallows, but BIGGER!  They give you more time to finish, and more time to finish means more flavour to crave in your mouth."
-- By Owen, Gr. 4


Image result for santa treadmill

If I lived at the north pole I would do Santa's work. I would be rich. I would be at all the parades. I would make the reindeer work extremely hard. I would make Santa go on the treadmill. I'd make Santa run 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,038 laps. I would get fired."
By Ethan


dffc4f63e9c983229820c1834aac7162_400x400.jpeg (400×400)"If I met a Yeti I would say, 'Back off!" He would be the one running the other way. If he ran away I would chase him. Once we got to the top of a mountain I would beat my chest and scream like King Kong, forcing him to run off the mountain. If he survived, I would grab one of those flags in the arctic and stick it in his foot, so he could not run away. Then I would walk up and give him a hug, take the flag out and walk him home. We would be be friends for the rest of our days!"
-- By Owen, Gr. 5


Image result for ant clip art"I was sledding down the biggest slope when a bear, a cheetah and an elephant were running at me from behind. I screamed as loud as I could, but while I was screaming I got distracted by a butterfly, fell off the sled and crashed into a tree. I felt like I was flying, then I fell into a pond where badgers were ice fishing. One of the fishing hooks got caught on my pants. When I got out of the pond, there were five hundred animals chasing me. I ran into the closest house, but didn't realize I ran into my enemy's house. Before I could get out, she locked the door and started yelling at me. Then the animals started to break the windows and climb into the house. I busted through a window. Then I saw Mr. Phelps swimming with a penguin. After that, something really scary big happened: a saw an ant. By the time I got to the hill, the biggest thing EVER happened to me..."
-- By Grace


Image result for bear cave winter clip art"If people hibernated, like bears, I would go crazy. Before hibernating, I would eat all the pizza in the cave. I would also eat ice cream before hibernating. I would probably eat while sleeping, too. I would hibernate with my family. I would sleep at the back of the cave, so I wouldn't get cold. I would cuddle with my stuffy buddy. I would probably kick my mom a million times, while hibernating. I would probably sleep walk out of the cave, and when I got cold I would run straight back into the cave, tripping over everybody. If I went into a bear cave, instead of my cave, I would run to the hills screaming like a madman. When I woke up I might have a bruise from hitting the walls of the cave while hibernating. I don't know what would happen to my dogs and my fish, but that's what I think I might do if people hibernated like bears."
-- By Paige


"If I could invent a new Winter Olympic sport it would probably be a food eating competition. I would invent this sport because I am good at eating, so I could probably go to the Olympics for Team Canada. I could probably win gold if it was some good food, but if it was bad food I would likely just win bronze. It wouldn't be bad to win bronze though, because that's third place and still a medal!"
-- By Madden


"If I saw a Yeti, of course I'd scream and yell and run for my life! Then, he'd follow me into my house. He'd break my  house. I would grab a sled and go down the mountain.  He would be eating out of my fridge when he saw me head straight for a tree. Owwwwwwwww, I would think, what is that big dot coming toward me? It would be him on my other five sleds! I would move away from the tree and continue my way down. I would get to the end and run into town. Of course, he would follow me, so I would run to the zoo, but before I could tell them, "Get a mansion-sized cage," he would crash the zoo too!  So I would get a cage, thank the zoo keepers for their help, and drop it on him. After that, I would get $1,000,000. The end. Hope that doesn't happen to you some day!"
-- By Phynn


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, we paired the Grade 4 Science topic Light and Sound with the Grade 5 Science topic Conservation of Energy and Resources.  Students in both grades read, watched educational videos, and participated in hands-on labs., exploring their respective Science topics.

These are photos of our device-testing lab., in which groups of students measured the wattage of everyday household items, using special watt meters. The Grade 4's took particular note of the conversions from electrical energy to sound, light, heat and/or movement with each device. The Grade 5's considered which types of devices used the most and least amount of energy.

The Grade 5's concluded that devices intended to create heat for the user (e.g. curling irons, blow dryers, curling irons, toasters and space heaters) use the most energy, and devices that create little or no heat tend to use a lot less energy (e.g. LED light bulbs, compact fluorescent light bulbs, laptop computers, radios).

Another lab. involved testing a solar panel and a twig-burning stove that is capable of generating electricity to charge devices. Before going outside to test these devices, students watched the following videos, which explain how these alternative energy sources work:

These are photos of the class outside, testing the solar panel and electricity-generating camp stove.


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

Today, the Grade 5 and 6 classes at Rama Central P.S. travelled to Midland, Ontario, to learn about the outpost where the Jesuit and members of the Wendat community lived an worked together for a brief period in the 17th century. This trip fulfilled expectations in Grade 5 Social Studies.

This is a link to the St. Marie website:

Here are some pictures of our day at St. Marie, which included a tour of the village, two crafts, a tour of the museum, and a game of lacrosse:


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

During the month of January, outdoor educators from Geneva Park Outdoor Education Centre came to Rama Central twice, to teach our class about "Habitats & Communities," food webs and sustainability (Grade 4 Science topics). The background lessons at the school were followed by a day at the outdoor education centre, participating in a guided hike, looking for signs of wildlife in the trees and snow, and playing games including a food chain tag game.

Here are some images of our fabulous day at Geneva Park:

Wood shavings left by a Piliated Woodpecker:


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



During recent Social Studies and Literacy periods, our class participated in an island survivor simulation. The exercise was designed as a culminating task for Grade 4 Social Studies (Physical and Political Regions of Canada) and Grade 5 Social Studies (Government). The simulation also stretch students’ ability to work collaboratively in assigned groups and provide opportunities for students to engage in role play and oral discussions.

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



For the purpose of the island survivor exercise, Grade 4 students were assigned to crash land in the physical region of Canada that they studied as part of their Social Studies unit.

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:



Within their small groups, students began brainstorming a list of all the things they might be able to do with the items that were salvaged from the plane.



Groups began work on survival plans and land use maps of their islands. Then they were told they had been rescued and needed to prepare a presentation for the press.



Groups presented their survival plans at a press conference. When students were not part of a particular presentation, they became members of the press gallery. Ten members of the press rated each group's chance of survival, based on the plans they shared. Mrs. Black assessed the drama aspect of the project, based on how well each student acted his/her roles and listened during other groups' presentations.


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

  • Newfoundland:  73%
  • Nunavut:  72%
  • British Columbia:  64%
  • Ontario:  60%

The press gallery 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:

  • Newfoundland:  83% chance of survival
  • British Columbia:  70% chance of survival
  • Nunavut:  66% chance of survival
  • Ontario:  60% chance of survival

Congratulations to the survivors who crash landed off the coast of Newfoundland! You are the winners of Island Survivor 2017/18!!

Island Survivor was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for most students in the class; a mildly frustrating one for a few. While groups were meeting to brainstorm ideas and achieve consensus about their survival plans, Mrs. Black circulated. She stepped in and facilitated whenever personality clashes or inexperience with consensus-building created an impasse. She hopes 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.


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

This year, our class Christmas party was preempted by a bus cancellation day on the Friday before the holiday, and another bus cancellation on the first Friday after we returned to class in the new year!  As the saying goes, "third time's a charm."  On the second Friday of the new year, we finally had our Christmas bash!

We started the party with a Christmas gumdrop and toothpick tower-building challenge:

After the gumdrop challenge, a group of students that had written and rehearsed a Christmas play, for the party, performed for the class:

Next, we finally got to open our "Secret Santa" gifts!

Then, we enjoyed some games and food:

Our party was worth the wait.  A fun time was had by all!


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

This year, students in our class decided use our class fund raising event, "Market Day," to try to raise enough money ($150.00) to sponsor a tree on the Highway of Heroes."

This website explains the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute Project:

This is how Market Day worked:

Students in our class were invited to donate gently used toys, games, books and videos that they no longer needed and were willing to sell to friends. After everything had been collected, students divided the items into four categories, or "stores," created storefront signs, and priced the items they would be selling. All items were priced between 25 cents and a dollar.

Then students were invited to bring up to $5.00 in change, to spend at Market Day. When Market Day arrived, students set up their stores and took turns selling, or browsing and purchasing goods. Then, they counted their profits and we tallied up how much we raised.

Here are some images of Market Day:

After our sale, it was time to tally up the money raised:

All of the money was donated to the Canadian charity tasked with planting trees along the Highway of Heroes, and our leftover sale items were donated to School Counsel's "Christmas Shopping Day" initiative.

Here is the letter we sent with our donation:

Thank you and congratulations to all the students and parents who supported our fund-raiser with donations of goods and money. We are proud that we could raise enough money to sponsor a tree on the Highway of Heroes!


UPDATE:  February 9, 2018.
We just received a note and certificate from the Highway of Heroes Legacy Project, thanking our class for sponsoring a tree in memory of a Canadian veteran.


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

Canada's only chimpanzee sanctuary is located near Montreal, Quebec. The Fauna Foundation is currently home to a dozen 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.


Each year, the sanctuary invites the public to help brighten the lives of the chimpanzees by decorating Christmas stockings to adorn "the chimp house." Our Grade 4/5 class jumped at the opportunity to help out!  Students worked in pairs to decorate a beautiful stocking for each of the chimps and monkeys living at the sanctuary:

We also made stockings and a card for the sanctuary's founders and the chimps' main caregivers:

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, beads and musical instruments to send to the sanctuary, as stocking stuffers.

We packed everything in a photocopy paper box and mailed it to the sanctuary:


UPDATE:  Monday, January 8, 2018

Today, the class received an amazing thank you package from The Fauna Foundation!

When Mrs. Black was in high school, she read about the groundbreaking American Sign Language (ASL) study in which Tatu was involved, at Central Washington University. Tatu and her friend Loulis are the two remaining chimps from that study (the other three have passed away).  Tatu learned sign language from humans and has an ASL vocabulary of about 350 signs. For Mrs. Black, the most amazing thing about our thank you gift was that Tatu used sign language to tell her caregivers she had drawn a bird for us!  That picture of Tatu's is most definitely "a keeper!"

This is a photo of Tatu, taken by The Fauna Foundation's official photographer:


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 sixth 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.  Fifth annual food drive for orphaned wildlife
  2.  Explanatory writing in support of Habitat for Humanity
  3.  Art project to benefit rescued lab. and zoo chimps
  4.  Clothing drive for the less fortunate
  5.  "Market Day" for the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute Project


Project Details:



During the past five 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.



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 $250. with their writing!

This is the contest website:



Canada's only chimpanzee sanctuary is The Fauna Foundation, located near Montreal, Quebec. The sanctuary invited the public to help enrich the lives of their rescued chimpanzees by decorating Christmas stockings to adorn "the chimp house." Students in our class worked decorated a stocking for each of the chimps and monkeys living at the sanctuary.

This blog post shows the wonderful work the students did for residents at The Fauna Foundation:



clothingdriveiconFor the third year in a row, our class offered 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 delivery to a charity in Orillia.



Highway of Heroes Living TributeOur class' charity fund raiser for this school year, was a "Market Day" in support of the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute Project. Students in our class donated gently-used toys and games, created "stores" from which to sell their goods, and took turns purchasing and selling items from the stores. All monies raised were used to sponsor a tree on the Highway of Heroes. This project met curriculum expectations in media literacy, math and character education.

This is a blog post depicting "Market Day":



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.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!  🙂

On Monday, students in our class were invited to bring commercially-made fidget spinners to class, so they could conduct trials to see how long they would spin.

Generally speaking, the heavier the spinner the longer it continued to spin.

Today, students tried making, timing and filming their own spinners (in slo-mo!) Students used a wide array of materials from the classroom and from home, to create some very impressive designs.

These are the results of our student-made spinner trials:

These spinners spun the longest. The one on the left spun 20 seconds; the one on the right spun for 24 seconds.

Here is a video clip of one of our student-made spinners (click the link to download and view):

A fun and educational time was had by all!

The lesson plans we used for this project are available through the "Teachers Pay Teachers" website:

Mrs. Black wants to take this opportunity to wish the students in our class a restful and safe summer.


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

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