Mrs. Black's Class Blog

where learning, creativity and fun go hand-in-hand!

Archive for the ‘Community Service’


Wildlife Food Drive Update #1

This year’s “Food Drive for Orphaned Wildlife” is shaping up to be an overwhelming success!  Over the past two and a half weeks, students from Kindergarten through Grade 8 have been contributing a steady stream of acorns, pine cones, maple keys, apples and black walnuts, to feed animals overwintering at three wildlife rehabilitation centres.

(Click on any photo in this blog post to enlarge it.)

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On Monday, students in our class solved a math problem associated with the food drive. They determined how many kilograms of acorns fit in a standard-sized box. They weighed a student holding a box of acorns, weighed the student again without the acorns, and then worked with a partner to devise a strategy for calculating how many kilograms a box of acorns weighs. 

The day we completed this math problem, Mrs. Black delivered four boxes of acorns to Aspen Valley, adding to the 29 kg they had already received. Students were asked to calculate how many total kilograms we shipped to Aspen Valley.

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Altogether, Mrs. Black delivered 92 kg (203 lbs.) of acorns, a large box of pine cones, a small container of black walnuts, a box of sumac flowers, six pumpkins and two bags of peanuts in the shell to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, in Rosseau.

This was delivery #1 (29 kgs. of acorns):

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These are students helping load Mrs. Black’s car for delivery #2 (63 kgs. of acorns):

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Delivery #2 ready to leave for Aspen Valley:

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We have also shipped 57 kg (125 lbs.) of acorns and two medium boxes of pine cones to Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge, in Pefferlaw:

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This week, we are collecting for Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary, in Minden. On the weekend, Mrs. Black expects to take them approximately 57 kg (125 lbs.) of acorns. Woodlands will also be receiving two medium boxes of pine cones, two boxes of sumac flowers, a box of black walnuts, some pumpkins, farm-feed corn and peanuts in the shell.

Food that students collect on the last weekend of the food drive will be delivered to Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge next week.

Aspen Valley staff asked Mrs. Black if she would write an article for the Parry Sound newspaper, explaining how students in three schools have conducted food drives this fall, to help Aspen feed orphaned and injured wildlife over the winter. As a media literacy/writing project, students in our class worked in groups to write their own articles about the food drive.

Students even got to pose for pictures to illustrate their articles:

Here are a couple of the articles we wrote about the food drive:

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Mrs. Black used our articles as sources for her Parry Sound North Star column, and let our class help edit her article before she e-mailed it to the newspaper.

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Friday, October 3rd Update

This is a link to the article Mrs. Black and our class authored, on the Parry Sound North Star website:

food-drive-article-2014http://www.parrysound.com/news-story/4895585-students-hold-food-drives-for-animals-at-aspen/

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Next week, we will share three more math activities that are based on our food drive, and tell our blog readers how much food we collected during our three-week campaign.

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

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2nd Annual Wildlife Food Drive!

Welcome to our class BLOG for 2014-15!  This year, our Grade 4/5 class will engage in a variety of projects that fulfill curriculum expectations, while providing outreach that benefits the community and beyond.

Our first outreach project is a “food drive” to assist three local wildlife rehabilitation centres, by providing natural food for orphaned wildlife that will be overwintering with them before being released back into the wild.  Orphaned animals need to be provided with the food they will eat in the wild, so they know what to look for after they are released. Our food contributions will go a long way toward educating and sustaining baby animals throughout the winter months.

Our class is taking the lead in advertising and organizing Rama Central’s 2nd annual food drive for wildlife. Students from Kindergarten through Grade 8, as well as school staff, are encouraged to collect and contribute items such as acorns, pine cones, maple keys, apples, sumac, black walnuts and corn to the cause.

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On October 6th, the deadline for bringing in food, our class will begin a multi-faceted math project that will involve estimating how many of each item we collected, based on weight and/or volume, and calculating how long our food will last if fed to particular types of animals.

When the math project is complete, Mrs. Black will drive our food contributions to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, in Rosseau, Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge, in Pefferlaw, and Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary, in Minden.

Here are some images of students counting flyers and preparing announcements, posters and our hallway display, to advertise our food drive. (Click any photo to enlarge it.)

Here are some of the beautiful posters students created, to decorate the school. (Click any photo to enlarge it.)

Day 1 of our food drive, and the contributions are already coming in!  Today we received a bucket of acorns and several dozen pine cones.  (Click any photo to enlarge it.)

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

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Persuasive Writing, Part Two

Overall expectation #1 in Writing, in the Ontario Curriculum, asks students to “generate, gather, and organize ideas and information to write for an intended purpose and audience.” This project provided students with an opportunity to write for two purposes and three different audiences.

We asked the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre (KTTC) to help us turn our persuasive writing unit into something with a real purpose. Staff at the centre told us they would love it if we would write some letters aimed at persuading potential donors (companies and those offering grants) to support KTTC. They said they would also appreciate some kids’ thank you letters that they could give to donors.

As you can see from the following pictures, working for a real-world client inspired students to do exemplary work. These are their persuasive letters (click on any photo to enlarge it):

These are samples of their thank you letters to donors:

We also wrote thank you letters to the staff and volunteers at the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre for the amazing work they do!  Here are samples of those letters:

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

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Persuasive Writing for a Real Purpose

This year, our persuasive writing unit fulfills Grade 4 and 5 curriculum expectations in Writing, Grade 4 expectations in the Science strand “Habitats and Communities,” and Grade 5 expectations in the Social Studies strand “First Nations Heritage and Identity” (turtle symbolism)… plus, as a bonus, our writing may save the lives of some turtles! In consultation with staff from the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre, we are writing letters intended to persuade companies to support the centre.

kttc-logohttp://www.kawarthaturtle.org

The Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre, in Peterborough, is a twelve year old Canadian registered charity that rescues, rehabilitates and returns to the wild over 1,000 turtles per year. The centre also engages in wild and released turtle population research, conservation initiatives such as establishing “eco-passages” that allow turtles to cross under busy roadways, and education outreach.

After students’ persuasive letters are graded, and writer strengths and “next steps” identified, the letters will be forwarded to the to the turtle hospital. Staff there will include student-authored letters with applications for support from companies.

We began the project by educating ourselves about Ontario turtles, and the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre. Seven out of eight species of Ontario turtles are at risk!

turtle-species-posterhttp://saveconcordwest.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/ontario_turtles.jpg

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These videos and websites provide a good overview:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Based on what we learned, we brainstormed information about the role of turtles, why Ontario turtles are at risk, the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre and how people can help. This is what we came up with:

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Next, we discussed the elements that make a good persuasive letter and agreed upon the following success criteria (click on the photo to enlarge it):

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Then, we began planning our letters and authoring first drafts (click on any photo to enlarge it):

After drafts were edited by another person, students began to write good copies of their letters and draw pictures of Ontario turtles on them (click on any photo to enlarge it):

Students are taking great care with this project.  In a future BLOG post, we will share the final products!

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

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Celebrating Earth Day 2014!

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On Tuesday, April 22nd, our class participated in three curriculum-based learning activities in celebration of Earth Day.

In the morning, we engaged in an activity about decision making, and discussed how our decisions can impact lives and influence the decisions of others. Mrs. Black modeled these concepts, by “saving a turtle” on Earth Day (making a donation to the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre, in Peterborough), and inviting her friends to follow suit, via Social Media. She then invited students to focus their next writing project (persuasive letters) on encouraging local businesses to donate supplies to the turtle centre. The class was very excited about the prospect of engaging in persuasive writing that is “for something,” instead of just an academic exercise. Kids can and want to make a difference! (More about this project to follow, in a future BLOG post.)

kttc-logohttp://www.kawarthaturtle.org

loraxNext, we read “The Lorax,” a book that was published in 1971 and is even more relevant today. We discussed some of the problems that occurred in the story, as a result of one character’s decisions, and engaged in a lively class debate. During our debate, half of the class assumed the perspective of the industrialist (The Once-ler) and the other half assumed the perspective of the environmentalist (The Lorax). Students soon discovered that there were no easy answers, and that it was hard enough to get others to consider a different perspective, let alone change their minds.

In the afternoon, students in our class served as role models by assisting Mrs. Turnbull’s Grade 1 class with a school yard nature hunt. Students found living and non-living things on the yard that were common and uncommon, interesting and surprising. They also learned the terms “flora” and “fauna.” Here are the students in action (click on any photo to enlarge it):

2014-04-22 001Heading out on our Earth Day nature scavenger hunt!

Later in the week, when the yard was dry, we went out to do a big yard clean-up with the other two Junior classes:

It’s amazing how much litter accumulates on our schoolyard over the winter!

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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):  [email protected] or to add a comment to this page.

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Helping Local Residents Combat Flooding

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For the second year in a row, Grade 5-8 students from Rama Central P.S. are helping local residents protect their homes from spring flooding, caused by a combination of greater than average snowfall, a sudden melt and rainfall. A public works employee told me that water levels in our area are expected to start peaking on the weekend.

This afternoon older students, including the Grade 5 students in our class, walked to the public works yard and filled sand bags. Our work will spare local residents the effort of of having to fill the bags they need themselves.

Thank you to our librarian, Mrs. Torrey, for arranging this community service opportunity for students in our school!

Here are some images of Grade 5 students in our class at work this afternoon (click on any photo to enlarge it):

Sandbagging, Day 2: Students from our school filled over 1,000 bags today!

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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):  [email protected] or to add a comment to this page.

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Decorating “Bowls for Beds”

On Tuesday, April 1st, Mr. Fitzgerald’s Grade 5/6 class and the Grade 5’s in our class assisted with a fund-raiser to benefit homeless women and children in Orillia.

Volunteers from Georgian College and Couchiching Jubilee House came to the school, gave a presentation about homelessness, and provided students with ceramic bowls, paint, brushes, and instructions.

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Students then created beautifully painted ceramic bowls that will be fired and used at a soup-tasting fund raiser for Couchiching Jubilee House, a transitional housing facility. The soup-tasting event will be held at Twin Lakes Secondary School, on April 27th, and will feature the best soups from restaurants across Orillia and area. Several students and their parents opted to purchase the bowls they decorated, which will serve as their tickets to the event. The rest of the student-decorated bowls will be sold to the public for use at the event.

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Here are pictures of students in action, painting their soup bowls. Click on any picture to enlarge it:

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

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Wacky Dress Up Day a Big Success!

On Friday, March 28th, our class hosted a “Wacky Dress Up Day” fund raiser, in support of two local animal welfare organizations: the Orillia SPCA and Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.

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Students in our class took a lead role in promoting and running the event. They wrote and read advertisements on the morning announcements, posted fliers around the building, counted out reminder notices for students from Kindergarten through Grade 8 to take home, and went from class-to-class collecting donations on the day of the event.

Here are some of the students in our class, dressed “wacky”:

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Students weren’t the only ones that enjoyed dressing wacky for a day. Staff also joined in the fun:

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Wacky Dress Up Day raised $204.28!!

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The money will be split evenly between the Orillia SPCA and Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. Our class decided to use Aspen Valley’s money to sponsor some of the sanctuary’s permanent residents. We reviewed the list of available animals and their sponsorship costs:

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We decided to adopt both of the sanctuary’s deer, for $25.00 each:

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We still had $50.00, and three of the animals cost that amount to sponsor, so we reviewed their information and then voted.  Brooke the beaver only got two votes. Monty the bobcat edged out Mikey the fisher by three votes, to become the third animal we sponsored:

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The school will receive adoption certificates to thank us for sponsoring Andy, Annie and Monty. Students in Grades 4-6 will also get a chance to meet all of the permanent residents, including our adoptees, when we visit the sanctuary in May.

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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):  [email protected] or to add a comment to this page.

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Supporting an Ill Student at a Neighbouring School

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):  [email protected] or to add a comment to this page.

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Reading Comprehension as Community Service!

This project fulfills curriculum expectations in reading and science, while helping a local wildlife sanctuary!

This week, students brainstormed reading comprehension questions and discussion/debate topics that touch on the “big ideas” in a series of educational articles, authored by staff and volunteers at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.

We started the project by reading an article, that was projected on the Smart Board, about a Raven that was successfully rehabilitated and released, through a cooperative effort between Aspen Valley (Rosseau) and Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary (Minden).  Then we worked together to brainstorm questions to accompany the article.

Ray-Raven-screenshothttp://www.cottagecountrynow.ca/opinion-story/4163625-ray-the-raven-s-full-recovery/

A student writes a reading comprehension question on chart paper:

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Another student jots down a question about the article:

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Here are the questions the class developed about “Ray the Raven’s full recovery”:

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After our shared reading comprehension activity, it was time for students to break into small groups and work with other articles:

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Students have discovered that it takes as much skill and effort to formulate good questions as it does to answer them.  Even so, they are enjoying the opportunity to take on the role of educators.  A retired school teacher who conducts school tours at the sanctuary and I will be compiling the class’ ideas.  Then, finished study guides for twelve newspaper articles will be uploaded to the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary website, as free resources for teachers to use with their students.

These are the results of our brainstorming sessions.  The first picture shows the class’ reading comprehension questions and discussion/debate topics about articles having to do with wildlife rehabilitation.  The second picture shows their notes re: articles about permanent residents.

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The finished products are now available for free download on the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary website!

reading-comp-screengrabhttp://aspenvalley.ca/aspen/resources/teachers-corner/

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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):  [email protected] or to add a comment to this page.

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