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Our class recently read, "Ice Dogs," a young adult novel by author Terry Lynn Johnson. Ms. Johnson, who lives in Whitefish Falls, Ontario, also works as a conservation officer, and has written a number of outdoor-themed novels.

Students really enjoyed Ice Dogs as a read-aloud, and expressed an interest in sending pictures and reviews of the book to Ms. Johnson.

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Ms. Johnson loved receiving pictures and feedback from our class and offered to send us advance copies of two other books that won't be published until next fall! She is looking forward to receiving our reviews of her next two books.  🙂

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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.

For our Grade 5 Science unit "Conservation of Energy and Resources," we read background information, watched educational videos, completed home energy surveys, and engaged in some fun hands-on learning.

Our first hands-on energy lab. was an outdoor demonstration of two renewable energy devices:

  • a small photoelectric solar panel that converts light from the sun into electricity to charge batteries;
  • a "biofuel" camp stove that converts heat from fire into electricity, to run an internal fan and to charge electronic devices.

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Our second energy lab. had the class using wattage meters to determine how much energy a variety of small household appliances consume. Students found some of the results quite surprising. Many tended to overestimate the consumption of electronic devices, such as radios, pencil sharpeners and computers, while underestimating the consumption of heat-producing devices such as space heaters, toasters and blow dryers. Students were also surprised to find that the incandescent bulb that drew 60 watts of energy gave off the same amount of light as the compact fluorescent bulb that consumed 12 watts and the LED bulb that drew just 9 watts.

img_6018 img_6020 img_6021 img_6022 img_6026 img_6027 img_6028 img_6031Through this energy lab., we learned that "wattage" is not the whole story.  A device that consumes a great deal of energy but is only used for a few minutes at a time, such as a blow dryer, can actually use less energy per month than a lower-wattage television that is used for many hours each day. The same principal applies to large household appliances, which we explored using Hydro One's Appliance Calculator:
http://www.hydroone.com/MyHome/SaveEnergy/Tools/calc_main.htm

Our third energy lab. involved the construction of several types of solar ovens, and then testing them outdoors. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate. The best day that week, the sky was partly cloudy. However, students did observe slightly higher temperatures in their devices when the sun was not obscured by clouds.

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As a writing assignment, students wrote lab. reports detailing their solar device experiments.

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Students enjoyed the opportunity to learn about energy use and alternative energy technology through hands-on projects. Their next step will be to consider how our class can encourage greater conservation of energy and resources, at home and school.

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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.

For the fifth 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.  Fourth annual food drive for orphaned wildlife
  2.  Expanatory writing in support of Habitat for Humanity
  3.  Art project to benefit rescued lab. and zoo chimpanzees
  4.  Clothing drive for the less fortunate
  5.  Pack-a-shoebox for First Nations youth
  6.  "Market Day" for the SPCA
  7.   Drive for the Sharing Place Food Bank
  8.   Crazy Hair & Pajama Day in support of March of Dimes Canada

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Project Details:

1. FOURTH ANNUAL FOOD DRIVE FOR ORPHANED WILDLIFE

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During the past four 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.

Here is a link to a blog post about this project:

 

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 $10.00 to Habitat for Humanity. Our class raised $190. with their writing!

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

 

3.  ART PROJECT TO BENEFIT RESCUED LAB. AND ZOO CHIMPANZEES

stocking-iconCanada's only chimpanzee sanctuary is The Fauna Foundation, located near Montreal, Quebec. This year, the sanctuary invited the public to help enrich the lives of their fourteen rescued chimpanzees by decorating Christmas stockings to adorn "the chimp house." Students in our class worked individually or with a partner to decorate a stocking for each of the chimps. We mailed the stockings to the sanctuary, along with some stocking stuffers (enrichment items) appropriate for their chimpanzee recipients.

This blog post shows the amazing work the students did for the chimpanzees:

 

4.  CLOTHING DRIVE FOR THE LESS FORTUNATE

clothingdriveiconFor the second year in a row, our class agreed 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 shipment to the Greenhaven Women's Shelter and Lighthouse Men's Shelter.

More about this project is here:

 

5.  PACK-A-SHOEBOX FOR FIRST NATIONS YOUTH

pack-a-shoebox-element69In the new year, the Grade 5 and 6 classes at our school participated in an outreach project to benefit First Nations children and youth in remote northern communities of Canada.  The project entailed packing school supplies, toiletries, small clothing items such as socks and mittens, and small toys and games into shoeboxes. The shoeboxes were shipped to communities by a Canadian registered charity and will be distributed when children reach particular milestones at school and at the beginning of next school year.

This is the project website:  I Love First Peoples Pack-a-Shoebox

 

6.  "MARKET DAY" FOR THE SPCA

Our class' charity fund raiser for this school year, was a "Market Day" in support of the SPCA. 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 donated to the SPCA shelter in Orillia. This project met curriculum expectations in media literacy, math and character education.

This is a blog post depicting "Market Day":

 

7.  SHARING PLACE FOOD DRIVE

For the third year in a row, our class promoted and organized the school's drive in support of the local food bank. The Sharing Place Food Bank is the Orillia area's largest and busiest food bank. Over the past year they have provided needed, nutritious food to approximately 15,000 people of all ages, from infants and toddlers to disabled seniors.  Through our drive, we collected several boxes of non-perishable foods, for the food bank.

 

8.  CRAZY HAIR & PAJAMA DAY

Each year, our class organizes one school-wide fund raiser, in support of a charity. This year, students in our class chose March of Dimes Canada, where the aunt of one of our students works, as the beneficiary of this event.  March of Dimes Canada enhances the independence and community participation of people with physical disabilities through a wide range of programs and services across the country. Students and staff were invited to donate a toonie, in order to participate in our event.  Crazy Hair & Pajama Day raised $207.02 in donations!

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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.

This year Grade 1-8 classes, in Area 2 of the Simcoe County District School Board, have moved from a three-part, 60 minute daily math session to six-part, 100-minute daily math.

The components of our new math program are as follows:

1. Foundational Practice:  This includes practice of basic math operations via the book, "Daily Math Review," drills, math games and flash cards.

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2. "Strings":  This part of our daily math program entails a guided discussion of mental math strategies used to solve basic multiplication equations.  Our "strings" resource is, "Minilessons for Early Multiplication and Division: A Yearlong Resource."

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3. Forward/Back: The third part of our 100-minute math session involves reviewing previously studied math concepts, for which extra review would be helpful, OR pre-teaching upcoming math concepts, in order to ensure that students have some familiarity with them.

4.-6. Our traditional Three-Part Math Lesson:  This part of our daily math session includes a "Minds-on," Lesson & Independent Practice, and Consolidation. An exit ticket is often used, following consolidation, to gauge how many/which students fully comprehended the lesson concepts and how many/which students would benefit from further work in a "Forward/Back" segment.

Our three-part math lesson follows the Simcoe County District School Board's "Course of Study in Math," and utilizes such resources as Nelson Math 5, Supersource Math Resource and the Ministry's Effective Guides to Instruction in Math.

This is a sample of the Grade 5 Course of Study Overview and outline for Unit 1:

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We are hoping that the extra time and program components will help to shore up some of our students' math skills.

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 HERE ARE SOME MATH RESOURCES YOU CAN USE AT HOME

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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.

This fall, our Grade 5 class took the lead in advertising and organizing our school's "food drive for orphaned wildlife." We used media literacy skills to encourage students from Kindergarten through Grade 8, as well as school staff, to collect and contribute items such as acorns, pine cones, maple keys, apples, sumac and black walnuts.

Orphaned baby animals that are overwintering at wildlife rehabilitation centres need to be provided with food from the natural environment, so they will know what to look for after they are released back into the wild. Our school's food contributions will go a long way toward sustaining and educating the babies at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (Rosseau), Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge (Pefferlaw) and Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary (Minden) throughout the winter months.

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Each Friday, the class weighed, measured and estimated the number of food items we were shipping out to a particular sanctuary.

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Then students packed the food and helped Mrs. Black load it into her car.

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Here are three of four carloads of food we shipped to local wildlife sanctuaries this fall:

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img_5595Staff and volunteers at the wildlife rehabilitation centres, such as these people at Aspen Valley Wildlife Centre, in Rosseau, were most grateful for our assistance!

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...as were the many orphaned animals who will benefit from the fruits of our labour all winter long!

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(Orphaned fawns enjoying our food at Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary, in Minden.)

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After all of our deliveries were complete, we collected an additional box of food for the non-releasable squirrels that reside at Speaking of Wildlife (formerly the outreach arm of Muskoka Wildlife Centre).  Our friend Krystal, who now owns that company, brought one of her "ambassador squirrels" to class, when she picked up the food.  Squirt is a youngster who had been someone's illegal pet, briefly, and is too habituated to humans to live in the wild. The class loved meeting Squirt and learning about these clever and industrious little animals.

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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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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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You never know where an idea might lead...

This year, Brogan, in our Grade 5 class, decided to write an informative speech about white tigers. In the course of his research, he learned some disturbing facts about the decline of tiger populations in general, over the past century, due to habitat destruction and poaching. He responded by writing a speech about the desperate plight of the tiger, and how people in Canada and elsewhere can help.

Our class was moved by Brogan's appeal, and nominated his speech to represent our class in the school's Junior speech competition, along with Ben's speech about racism and Lily's speech about ten ways to make the world a better place. A panel of judges selected Brogan's and Lily's speeches to represent our school at the area competition, in Brechin. Brogan and Lily proved to be excellent choices. Lily's speech received honourable mention, and Brogan's speech won second place in the Grade 4-6 category!

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Our class was so inspired by Brogan's achievement that I adopted a tiger, through World Wildlife Fund Canada, in Brogan's honour. Then, Brogan's classmates voted, unanimously, to make our final fund raiser of the year in support of tiger conservation.

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We wrote to World Wildlife Fund Canada, and told them the story of Brogan's speech and how it had inspired further action. They sent him a hand-written thank you post card and some beautiful tiger posters to display around the school. Then, Brogan wrote a piece for the school newsletter, explaining our fund raiser to parents, and the class created announcements and posters, and distributed flyers reminding students of the date.

IMG_4253 IMG_4260 IMG_4259 IMG_4257 IMG_4256Emily, in our class, also desktop published some posters at home and posted them around the school!

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Today is the big day!  Staff and students brought toonies and their favourite hats to school.  Brogan and Aiden went from class to class, collecting donations, and then they counted all the contributions.

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We were pretty excited with the results!

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Here, Ben and Brogan are writing an announcement, to share the results of "Toonies for Tigers" with the school:

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Thank you, Brogan, for inspiring everyone at Rama Central P.S. with your passion for helping the tigers!  Kids can make a difference!!!

These students in our class participated.  Do you like our hats?

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For more information: http://www.wwf.ca/conservation/species/tigers/

NOTE:  For those outside Canada, "toonie" is a common nickname for Canada's two dollar coin!  🙂

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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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This year, we had the privilege of hosting a teacher-candidate from Lakehead University in a May-June placement.  Miss Brew was a fun and engaging student teacher. She will be fondly remembered for her creative approach, which included a hands-on, centres-based science unit, a video introduction to persuasive letter writing, a poetry cafe, and the "get it together" classroom management system she developed to motivate students to stay on task.

Here are some pictures of Miss Brew in action, over the past five weeks:

LANGUAGE

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MATH

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SCIENCE

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PHYSICAL EDUCATION

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DANCE

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MISS BREW'S "GET IT TOGETHER" BOARD

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MISS BREW'S GRADUATION PARTY!

Miss Brew completed her placement and her Bachelor of Education degree today! She also completed a Bachelor of Arts degree this year. We threw a graduation party for her:

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Mrs. Black's gift to Miss Brew:  "Me to WE" merchandise that provides assistance to children in developing nations:

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Congratulations, Miss Brew!  We can't wait to follow your future adventures as an educator!

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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 March and April, we had the pleasure of hosting Lakehead University Faculty of Education teacher-candidate Amanda Medeiros in our class. "Miss M." observed Mrs. Black during her first week with us, and then started taught the class in weeks 2-5, starting with Math and DPA and adding one or two subjects each week.

Here are some pictures of Miss M. in action!

MATH

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DAILY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY & GYM (Volleyball)

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DRAMA

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HEALTH

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SOCIAL STUDIES

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LITERACY

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MISS M'S "GRADUATION PARTY"!

As of today (Tuesday, April 26th), Miss M. has fulfilled all of the requirements for her B.A. and B.Ed. degrees!  We threw her a party, to celebrate!!

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IMG_3695IMG_3684We loved having Miss M. in our class, and wish her all the best in her future as an educator!  🙂

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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.