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In order to provide students with breaks from sitting at their desks and assist with focus, the centre of our classroom includes several types of high and low alternate seating, plus "portable podiums" that can be used as stand-up desks.

Here is our study lounge in action:

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When we need to use the centre of our room for building projects or drama, etc., the entire study lounge packs away neatly onto one of the Muskoka chairs.

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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 enjoyed several special events.

On Monday, Mrs. Black's friends Hank Debruin and his wife Tanya visited our class. Hank is a Haliburton-based sled dog racer who has completed the 1,000 mile Iditarod and the 1,000 mile Yukon Quest, with his team of Siberian Huskies. Hank and Tanya thanked students for their support during the 2016 Yukon Quest, showed us a video of their northern dogsledding adventures, answered questions, signed autographs, and let the kids see one of their racing sleds!

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Over the past few weeks, students had asked for another visual arts project so, as her farewell gift to the class, Mrs. Black purchased an an acrylic painting board for each student, and other paint supplies.

On Tuesday, Mrs. Black's high school aged daughter, Emily, volunteered in our class. She brought some of her acrylic art samples and assisted students with their work. It was a beautiful day, so we painted in the front yard of the school.

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On Wednesday, Kindergarten through Grade 7 lined the halls and applauded the Grade 8 graduates, attended the school's year-end assembly, went outside for a second acrylic painting session, and had a class party.

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Here are a few of the students' masterpieces!

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At the end of the day, everyone on staff went outside to farewell the students. It is a Rama Central tradition for the buses to circle around past the line of staff four or five times, before heading out.  When viewing these images, picture students waving and yelling loudly, bus drivers honking their horns repeatedly, and the staff waving and calling out to students to have a great summer!

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Thank you for a great year students and parents/guardians!  Have a safe and restful summer...

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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.caor to add a comment to this page.

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In an effort to make learning more fun and to help students focus, the centre of our classroom has been transformed into an alternative seating area. We rolled out our new "study lounge" this morning, and the response was very positive!

Groups of students were given an opportunity to choose alternative seating, this morning, to give them a break from sitting at their desks.

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At the end of the morning, students were asked to write down what they liked about the new, alternative seating, how it helped them, plus suggestions about how the set up could be improved.

Aspects of the study lounge that students "liked" varied. Some enjoyed being able to choose where to sit, others appreciated being able to change seating locations a couple of times during our 100-minute literacy block, some students mentioned favourite new seating areas, and several said the alternative seating was very comfortable.

Almost every student said the new seating area helped him/her relax, focus, work, or be more productive.

Suggestions from students included more study lounge time, more or bigger cushions and turning the classroom lights off to foster calming.

When we need to use the centre of our room for building projects or drama, etc., the entire study lounge packs away neatly onto one of the Muskoka chairs.

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We also have four "portable podiums," for students who would rather stand at their desks, while working.

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Students have already come up with other ways to use the "podiums":

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In the future, Mrs. Black is planning to add balance balls at some of the student desks.

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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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We have enjoyed a very productive and fun first two weeks of school. In preparation to learn the Grade 5 curriculum, we have engaged in some team-building activities, established classroom rules and routines, completed a learning style inventory, completed PRIME math and CASI reading comprehension baseline tests, and reviewed concepts from Grade 4.

This is our class' "Community Agreement" (the guidelines for behaviour upon which we all agreed):

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These are some images of students working on paragraph writing in our school's new outdoor classroom:

This is what math looked like this afternoon, in our "indoor classroom":

We are also studying media literacy and math within the context of the school's "Fall Food Drive for Orphaned Wildlife." That project is explained in a separate BLOG post.

We will be alternating between Social Studies and Science, throughout the school year. We are starting with the Social Studies unit about Canada's government, because it ties in so nicely with the Federal election. Today, students watched part of last evening's leadership debate. They made some keen observations about the types of responses and demeanor of each candidate. Closer to the election, we will hold our own mock poll, to see how students in our class would vote.

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Our first gym unit is baseball, and our first health unit will be about healthy living (nutrition and exercise):

We started off our visual arts program with "Name Graffiti" posters:

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Within the arts curriculum, Mrs. Black will also be teaching drama. Mr. Volgmann, will teach our class music and dance.

We are looking forward to having you along on this year's adventure in learning. You can sign up to receive an e-mail notification whenever a new BLOG post is published. That way, you won't miss out on any of the action!

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.

Today we bid a fond farewell to the student teacher who took up residence in our classroom for the past five weeks. Emily MacLennan was a delight, and it was fun watching her grow throughout her placement. The kids will never forget her Zap Game, Team Math Challenge and Paper Mache Pig Club!  I'm not sure how I will top, or even match those activities!!  🙂

This is a video Emily compiled, using pictures she and I took during her time in our class (NOTE: The video may not play on all mobile devices):

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For the past five years, Emily has been a student at Lakehead University. Today was the last day of her studies. We wanted to recognize the significance of the day, so this afternoon we threw a "graduation party" for her. (Click on any image to enlarge it.)

We will miss Emily's smiling face in our class, and wish her all the best in her teaching career!

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.

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

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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.

For the third 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.

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Here is a list of this year's projects:

  1. Food drive for orphaned wildlife overwintering at local wildlife rehab. centres
  2. Writing project in support of Habitat for Humanity
  3. Math project to inform school decision-making
  4. "Book Character Dress Up Day" in support of polar bear conservation
  5. "Hometown Heroes" art, literacy and outreach project
  6. "Virtual Speaking Engagement" in another school
  7. Food drive for The Sharing Place food bank
  8. Persuasive letter writing, in support of a new turtle hospital
  9. Animal Game creation, to benefit Grade 1/2 science buddies and Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary

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Project Details:

1. SECOND ANNUAL FOOD DRIVE FOR ORPHANED WILDLIFE

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Orphaned baby animals being raised for release at wildlife rehabilitation centres need to be fed natural foods from the environment to ensure that they receive appropriate nutrition and also so they know what foods to look for after they are released.

Building on last year's "wildly" successful two week food drive in support of two local wildlife sanctuaries, this year we expanded our campaign to three weeks, and provided food for overwintering animals at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, in Rosseau, Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge, in Pefferlaw, and Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary, in Minden.

Our class organized and promoted the food drive, inviting students from Kindergarten through Grade 8 to contribute acorns, pine cones, maple keys, black walnuts, apples and sumac. In terms of curriculum, the project met expectations in math, science, literacy and character education.

We collected 217 kgs. (almost 500 lbs.) of acorns, eight big boxes of pine cones and numerous boxes of the other food items on the list above.

These are links to BLOG posts about the food drive:

 

2.  EXPLANATORY WRITING IN SUPPORT OF HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

Habitat-for-Hunanity-Canada-300x211During 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 $110. with our writing.

On October 24th, we had a representative from Habitat for Humanity, Gravenhurst, at the school to share the organization's vision and work with Grade 4-6 students.

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

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

 

3.  MATH PROJECT TO INFORM SCHOOL DECISION-MAKING

2014-10-30 017This year, as part of their Data Management math unit, our class conducted surveys for real purposes.

The baseline data they collected, graphed and analyzed were forwarded to the appropriate adults within the school community, to help inform decision making about the initiation of a breakfast program, the promotion of waste-free lunches, and the purchase of sports equipment for use at recess and during Daily Physical Activity breaks.

Here is a link to the BLOG post detailing our findings:

 

4.  "BOOK CHARACTER DRESS UP DAY" IN SUPPORT OF POLAR BEAR CONSERVATION

polar-bear-wwfAs our class' charity fund raiser for this school year, we invited students from Kindergarten through Grade 8 to come to school dressed as their favourite book character, on November 13th.  Students who wished to participate were asked to donate a "toonie" (the coin with polar bears pictured on it), in support of polar bear conservation.

We raised $168.25 through Book Character Dress Up Day. Proceeds were donated to World Wildlife Fund Canada, earmarked for polar bear conservation.

This link will take you to our BLOG post about the event:

 

5.  "HOMETOWN HEROES" OUTREACH PROJECT

hometown-heroes-logoThis was a multi-step project that met curriculum requirements in visual arts, media literacy and writing, and also included character education and outreach components. Students reflected upon their strengths, talents and abilities and produced a caricature, labeled with these traits. Then they dreamed up a project they could do to help someone, and created an advertisement for a volunteer with their strengths to complete the project. The next step was to produce a procedural writing piece describing the steps involved in the outreach project in greater detail. The highlight of this school assignment was the opportunity to become a "Hometown Hero" by completing the outreach project!

This is a link to our BLOG post showcasing student work on this project:

 

6. "VIRTUAL" SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT IN ANOTHER SCHOOL 

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On December 8th, Mrs. Black and two of her students "traveled" to a kindergarten class, a three hour drive from Rama Central P.S., via Skype.  They were guest speakers in the other class, sharing information and answering questions about wildlife and wildlife rehabilitation.

This "virtual" speaking engagement was made possible by the Digital Human Library website, which enables teachers to connect their students with experts in a variety of fields, via computer.

Click on this link to read more about our virtual speaking engagement:

 

7. FOOD DRIVE IN SUPPORT OF THE SHARING PLACE FOOD BANK

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This year, our class promoted and organized our school's annual food drive for the local food bank.  

As an incentive to the school community to contribute, three teachers at our school pledged that they would volunteer for an hour at the Lighthouse soup kitchen, for every 100 lbs. of food donated, up to a maximum of eight hours.

We collected 517 items, weighing 511 lbs. As a result, Mrs. Black, Mrs. Ross and Miss Wigle completed five hours of volunteer work each at the Lighthouse soup kitchen, over the holidays. Mrs. Black's daughter also volunteered. 🙂

This is a link to our food drive BLOG post:

 

8.  PERSUASIVE LETTER WRITING IN SUPPORT OF A NEW TURTLE HOSPITAL

gbthSeven out of eight species of Ontario turtles are now at risk, and one of the main issues for turtles is collisions with vehicles, on roadways. Scales Nature Park, near Orillia, is sponsoring the creation of a new hospital, where rescuers in the Georgian Bay watershed will be able to take injured turtles for treatment and release back into the wild. (Right now, the only other dedicated turtle rehabilitation centre in Ontario is in Peterborough.)

This year, our class assisted with this project by writing persuasive letters to local hardware stores, encouraging them to donate materials to help the new Georgian Bay Turtle Hospital  get up and running.

Here is the BLOG post about this project:

 

9.  ANIMAL GAME CREATION FOR YOUNGER STUDENTS & A LOCAL WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

woodlandsWoodlands Wildlife Sanctuary approached our class about helping them create a wildlife presentation they could take to local schools and summer camps, to teach about animals and how to help prevent human-wildlife conflicts. We accepted this challenge, and broadened the focus of the project by including outreach to Grade 1/2 students at our school, who will be studying animals in science.

Students in our class worked in small groups to research needs of and threats to various species of native animals. They then invented board, card and scavenger hunt-type games aimed at sharing this information with younger students. Our student-created games will also be used to inform the presentation that Woodlands needs. Woodlands will be piloting their school presentation with us, and seeking feedback from the students in our class, in order to improve the draft of their presentation.

This is the BLOG post about our Animal Game Creation project:

 

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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.

Today we celebrated the holidays and said farewell to our student-teacher, Miss M.

This is our class' amazing door decoration.  We are going to remove the Christmas ornaments and present in January, and leave our winter scene up until March Break.

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Here are a few images from today's party:

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We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!  See you in the New Year.

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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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On Tuesday, January 22nd, the Ontario Ministry of Education revealed the next stage in Ontario education.  Next steps include sustaining improvement in literacy and numeracy, while developing greater competency in areas a policy paper calls "The 6 C's":

  • Character education— honesty, self-regulation and responsibility, perseverance, empathy for contributing to the safety and benefit of others, self-confidence, personal health and well-being, career and life skills.
  • Citizenship — global knowledge, sensitivity to and respect for other cultures, active involvement in addressing issues of human and environmental sustainability.
  • Communication — communicate effectively orally, in writing and with a variety of digital tools; listening skills.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving — think critically to design and manage projects, solve problems, make effective decisions using a variety of digital tools and resources.
  • Collaboration — work in teams, learn from and contribute to the learning of others, social networking skills, empathy in working with diverse others.
  • Creativity and imagination — economic and social entrepreneurialism, considering and pursuing novel ideas, and leadership for action.

Our class' Community Service projects align nicely with this next stage in education. Apparently, we are just slightly ahead of our time!  🙂

To read the 14-page policy paper, in its entirety, click on the image below:

To read a summary of our class' Community Service projects click on this image:

Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@mail1.scdsb.on.caor to add a comment to this page.

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You may hear your child use these two terms at home and/or during our upcoming student-led conferences.  The intention of this post is to define them for you...

Learning Goals are curriculum expectations stated in language that students can understand.

Every day, we list our goals for each subject area on the board shown below.  The appropriate mini-posters are inserted into sheet protectors on the board.  Students help to highlight key words using dry erase markers, or they reword the goals in order to make them simpler and more easily understood. (NOTE: The Learning Goal mini-posters we are using on our board were created by another Grade 5/6 teacher in Ontario, named Jennifer Runde:  http://www.rundesroom.com )

 

Success Criteria define what students need to do in order to demonstrate that they have met particular Learning Goals.

Success criteria:

  • are co-authored by teachers and their students
  • ensure that students have input into their learning process
  • ensure that students understand exactly what they need to do to be successful
  • encourage students to move toward becoming independent, self-monitoring learners

This is an example of Success Criteria (click on the image to enlarge it):

We are using Learning Goals and Success Criteria across all subject areas.  Students seem to appreciate the way they take the guesswork out of learning!

Thank you for visiting the class, via our BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me:  mblack@mail1.scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

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