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I want to thank all of my students for a terrific school year!

Now that Summer vacation is upon us, students will need some activities to keep their minds and bodies occupied.  Here are some fun  Summer learning ideas:

Kids Turn Central

Summer Learning Fun Links

Sylvan Summer Fun and Learning Guide

(click the button after "subscribe via" and the site will send you a fun, daily learning activity, via e-mail)

Bedtime Math
(sign up and the site will send you an engaging math activity daily, via e-mail)

Summer Science Ideas

2012 Summer Olympics Learning Activities
(the games will be held from July 27-August 12, 2012)

Ancient Egypt for Kids

Space for Kids

Nature Week for Kids

Beach Days for Kids

And, of course, you can also revisit the links in our class' Live Binders page

Thanks again, and have a safe, fun and productive holiday!

Mrs. Black

Today, the Grade 5 and 6 students at our school went on a field trip to YLCC, just outside Orillia.  The trip included Physical Education and team-building activities.  Here are some pictures of our day:

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

Music and Physical Education classes have "moved outdoors" of late, along with Science and Math (see previous BLOG post).

In Music, students are working with homemade "unpitched rhythm instruments" to create percussion accompaniments to Aboriginal legends and student-authored stories.  In gym, we've been honing our baseball skills.  Below are some pictures of these outdoor learning experiences.  (Click on any photo to see it enlarged.  Click on the "back" button on your browser to return to this page).:

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

In late-May, the Grade 6 students in our class started work on their final Science topic of the year:  "Biodiversity."  In case you are not familiar with this term, it is word first used by scientists in the 1980's.  They created the word by combining "biological" and "diversity." Biodiversity refers to the diversity of living things in an environment.  The more diverse an environment is, in terms of its living organisms, the more balanced, resilient to stressors and healthier it is.  The Ontario Ministry of Education added biodiversity to the Grade 6 curriculum in 1998.  In order to raise awareness of the need to protect environments and species, the United Nations declared 2010 "The Year of Biodiversity."

A large component of our biodiversity study is field work.  In our outdoor sessions, we are studying the biodiversity that exists in four different biomes within our schoolyard.  We are then researching how the organisms that live in our schoolyard and local area interact with and depend upon each other for survival.

The culminating task for this Grade 6 unit involves writing a research paper comparing two different organisms that live in the Washago area, in terms of appearance, food, housing, niches in their biome and seasonal coping strategies (i.e. what does it do in the winter?), etc.

This month, the Grade 5 students in our class are continuing their study of Human Organ Systems, with some field work observing the impacts of exertion on their heart rate, in various weather conditions.  The culminating task for their Science unit is a research paper discussing how our organ systems work together, how best to care for our bodies and what might happen if we fail to do so.


Our entire class is also involved in some math problem solving in the out-of-doors.

  • Students are estimating the percentages of sand and various types of flora in random sample areas on the schoolyard, and tracking changes over time. After surveying several areas, students calculate the mean percentage for each element they found in their samples.  They then graph the means.  Students conduct a new survey each week and add the data to their graphs. This week, every group's graph showed a decrease in live grass and an increase in dead grass over the previous week.  This illustrated, in a concrete manner, the impact that little rain for several weeks had on schoolyard vegetation.  It will be interesting to see what results next week's survey yields, after the rain on Friday and the weekend.
  • This coming week, we will go outdoors and I will ask students to think up a way to estimate, through calculations, the number of leaves on a small tree (Gr. 5) or needles on a pine tree (Gr. 6).  They will most likely solve this problem via multiplication.
  • Students will also be using a map or satellite image of the schoolyard to calculate how many bags of grass seed one would need to overseed the grassy areas of our schoolyard.  To determine this they will have to divide the schoolyard into regular polygons, calculate the area of each polygon, add the totals, and use the coverage information on a bag of grass seed to determine how many bags one would need to cover the yard.
  • I will then pose a division question:  if the students in our class were to do the overseeding, how many bags of seed, or what size of area, would each student have to cover in order to share the work evenly?

Hands-on problem solving, such as the above, really helps students to consolidate and apply the learning they acquired in math throughout the year.


All students in our class who conform to the rules about proper use of equipment and respect for living things are welcome to use our nets and bug keepers at recess.  Students are also invited to bring specimens from home or the yard into class for further study.  These "classroom guests" must be housed in secure, humane enclosures and (in most cases) be released where they were found the same day they were captured.


Here are some recent pictures related to our field work.  Click on any picture to see it full-sized and then click the back button on your browser to return to this page.

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

The Grade 5 students in our class recently completed their models of colonies in ancient Greece, Egypt and China.  The results were outstanding, as were the Power Point and BLOG presentations that groups created to showcase the research behind the models.  Here are the models:

by Chelsea, Isaac, Kyle, Robert and Spencer


by Aidan, Brandon, Daniel B., Daniel N., David and Timothy


by Hanna, Julia, Kevin, Nicholas and Taiten

These models are currently on display in our school library.

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

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