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From February through April, our class had the privilege of hosting a teacher-candidate from Lakehead University's Faculty of Education.

Miss Whipp, who is in the first year of the two-year teacher's college program, spent five Wednesdays observing in our classroom, and then five full weeks observing, co-planning and co-teaching. Miss Whipp started off her five week block teaching one subject. By Week 5 she was teaching almost full-time, in consultation with Mrs. Black.

Here are some pictures of Miss Whipp's time with us:














This afternoon we threw a farewell party for Miss Whipp.  A good time was had by all!

We want to thank Miss Whipp for inspiring us to learn, with her creative and fun lessons.  We loved having her in our class and we are going to miss her!!


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.


Each year, police, emergency, medical and community service agencies run an educational event at ODAS Park, Orillia, for area Grade 5 students.

R.A.C.E. Against Drugs is a fun, interactive, multi-station event that aims to educate students about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco, and to provide students with some refusal strategies that can help them make healthy and safe life choices. The acronym R.A.C.E stands for "Respect, Action, Courage and Excellence."

Here are some pictures of this year's R.A.C.E. Against Drugs field trip:


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.



In  November and December, our class had the privilege of hosting a teacher-candidate from Lakehead University's Faculty of Education.

Mrs. Tingey began her five weeks in our class with observation.  Then, she gradually assumed responsibility for teaching some of our lessons. By Week 5 she was teaching full-time, in consultation with Mrs. Black.

Here are some images of Mrs. Tingey's time with us:


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We want to thank Mrs. Tingey for the energy and enthusiasm she brings to her teaching. Her excitement about education is contagious and we are really going to miss her!

All the best to Mrs. Tingey in her future career as an educator!


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.


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:








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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!


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.


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!


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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!  🙂


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.


Today, Grade 5-8 students from Rama Central P.S. helped local residents protect their homes from spring flooding, by walking to the public works yard to fill sand bags. Our Grade 5 class worked alongside the Grade 8 class and filled over 150 sand bags in 100 minutes. In total, students from our school filled over 500 bags throughout the day.


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CTV Barrie dropped by to interview people at the public works yard, while covering the story of local flooding.

Students in our class:

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Mrs. Torrey, who organized our first sand-bagging day, four years ago:

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Ramara Mayor Basil Clarke:


Our class, after completing their 100-minute sand-bagging shift:


These pictures depict high water about a kilometre south of the school. The blue "lakes" are actually flooded farmer's fields:

Hwy169-near school1 Hwy169-nearschool2 Hwy169-nearschool3 Hwy169-nearschool4Spring flooding was the lead story in tonight's Barrie newscast:


Our school's efforts to help were also featured in the Orillia newspaper:


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.

Rama Central P.S. has one of the largest, most diverse schoolyards in the county. We are also fortunate enough to own several sets of cross country skis and snowshoes, and students are welcome to keep Krazy Karpets at school for the winter.

Yesterday and today, our class hit the slopes in our schoolyard, for some good old-fashioned winter fun. Gym class doesn't get much better than this!

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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): or to add a comment to this page.


Each year in health class, we study the importance of healthy eating and exercise. Our class recently reviewed the Canada Food Guide and a PowerPoint presentation about nutrition labels. - Copy

We were curious about the sugar and salt content of prepackaged foods and drinks that students bring to school for lunch. After one of our nutrition breaks we collected a random assortment of packages that had nutrition labels, from classroom garbage and recycling bins.


We examined the sodium content of salty snacks, in small, Halloween-sized bags. Most of the potato chip, Dorito and cheezie bags contained between 95 and 110 mg of sodium. This represents 5% of the Daily Value for sodium.

We compared the sodium content of the chip bags to that of a "Lunchable." We were shocked to find that the Lunchable contained over five times as much sodium as the chips... or 23% of the Daily Value for sodium!


Next, we examined the sugar content of "sweet" treats, and ranked several items in order of sugar content.


Then, we graphed the sugar content of twelve sweet snacks that students had brought to school for lunch.

IMG_1295While some students were drawing and colouring the graph, others weighed granulated sugar to approximate the amount of sugar in each snack. We bagged the granulated sugar and attached it to the graph.

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IMG_1339The ranking of some of the items and the large quantity of sugar in the bags surprised everyone!

P1010008 P1010009 P1010010We mounted the graph in the hall outside our classroom. It became an instant conversation piece for students in our class, and for those passing through our hallway!

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During our next health lesson, we decided it might be a good idea to examine the sugar content of healthier school lunch items, and graph them as well.


The "healthy food graph" gave our class and passersby some extra data to consider. These are Grade 5 and 6 students discussing the graph on their way in from recess.



This is a Grade 1 class discussing the graph. They are also studying nutrition right now.


We discussed the fact that, although we represented sugar content for all items using granulated white sugar, the sugar that is present in most of the items on the healthy food graph are natural sugars, rather than manufactured sugars that were added to make food and drinks more appealing.


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Students in our class felt our graphing activity was an eye-opening experience. Here are some of their comments:

R.K.:  I was shocked to find out how much sugar was in Powerade and chocolate bar flavoured milk. I thought Coke would be the worst.

B.T.:  It’s unbelievable how much sugar can be in everyday foods!

B.L.:  I agree. It’s amazing how much sugar is in everything we eat.

J.M.:  Nobody really thinks about how much sugar and sodium they are intaking every day.

W.C.:  I couldn’t believe how much sugar is in root beer. I thought Coke would be higher.

R.P.:  Every day, every person thinks they are just drinking flavoured milk, but the Caramilk type has a ton of sugar in it.

E.G.: I think more people should stop to think what they are buying at the grocery store. They should be looking at the food labels, not just the advertisements about things being “high fibre,” etc. 

C.B.:  I had no idea that the Caramilk milk-thing had more sugar than pop!

J.C.:  I wonder if a Caramilk chocolate bar has as much sugar as the Caramilk drink?

L.B.:  I can’t believe that Powerade has more sugar than Coke.

S.T.:  It’s surprising to me how much sugar could possibly be in a simple drink like pop.

K.P.:  I think it was really surprising that the ham had no sugar in it, and I was really surprised that root beer has more sugar than Coke.

S.M.:  I was really surprised that oranges had more sugar than carrots.

N.H.:  I was surprised that apples have more sugar than oranges, because sometimes apples taste really sour.

M.M:  What I eat is scary!  🙁

The next step in our nutrition unit involved discussing what constitutes a healthy school lunch item, and what could be defined as a less-healthy snack item. Students rated the lunches they had brought to school that day, according to how nutritional and waste-fee they were. Most students rated their lunches as moderately to highly nutritious; most rated their lunches as poor in the waste-free department. Students with waste-free lunches then provided tips to their peers about how to reduce school lunch waste.

Afterwards, each student made a list of the healthy food items they sometimes bring to school. Then they were given an opportunity to peruse others' lists and jot down new healthy school lunch items that they would like to try.

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Hopefully, our graphing activity, and the conversations it inspired, will help students to really think about the food and drinks they are putting into their bodies, and to try some new healthy school lunch ideas!



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.

In gym class, students have been learning the basics of three-pitch softball and refining their skills. We divided the class into two teams, and students remained with the same team throughout the baseball unit.

Over the past week, we wrapped up our baseball unit with a best-of-five championship series.

  • Game One went to the team that called itself "The Hillbilly Rednecks."
  • In Game Two, the "Fire-breathing Bulldogs" leaped into action. Their win evened the series at one game each.
  • In Game Three, the Rednecks surged back and took the lead in the best-of-five series, two games to one.
  • Going into Game Four, everything was on the line for the Bulldogs. A win would even the series at two games apiece; a loss would give the Rednecks the championship. The Bulldogs took an early lead in Game Four, but in the bottom of the final inning the Rednecks came from behind and scored four runs, to tie the game. The tension was palpable, as the Rednecks' final batter came to the plate, with the game tied and a runner on third. The batter drilled a line drive into left field, scoring the runner... and the rest, as they say, is history.

Here are some action shots from the championship series:





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Congratulations to both teams for the skill and sportsmanship they demonstrated during our baseball unit, and to the Hillbilly Rednecks for their championship win!

The Hillbilly Rednecks:

IMG_1329The Fire-breathing Bulldogs:


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.



Rama Central's "Second Annual Food Drive for Orphaned Wildlife" brought in an astounding number of natural food donations. Over a span of three weeks, we collected boxes and boxes of acorns and pine cones, and also received donations of maple keys, wind fall apples, black walnuts, chestnuts and sumac seeds. Our class would like to thank the entire Rama Central P.S. community for participating.

Four carloads of food have been delivered to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, in Rosseau, Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge, in Pefferlaw, and Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary, in Minden. (Click on any photo in this BLOG post to enlarge it.)

Mrs. Black's car is now loaded for a second delivery to Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge:


This morning, we engaged in some math problem-solving involving the food drive. We calculated how many kilograms of acorns and boxes of pine cones we collected, in total.

IMG_5245We collected 217 kilograms (478 lbs.) of acorns and eight cartons of pine cones.

Then, using information we obtained earlier about how many acorns are in a kilogram and how many pine cones fit into a standard-sized box, we estimated how many acorns and pine cones we collected.




Here are the totals!

IMG_5249We collected approximately 58,590 acorns!

IMG_5254We collected approximately 7, 200 pine cones!

Afterwards, some students tackled a "challenge question" using consumption estimates provided by Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary. Woodlands estimated that, if a young squirrel ate only acorns, it would eat about 30 in a day. Based on this information, students calculated how long our acorns would last one squirrel.

IMG_5255If a squirrel ate only acorns, the acorns we collected
would last that squirrel approximately 5.4 years!

This math problem led to a discussion about healthy eating (our current topic in health). Students learned that, like us, squirrels actually eat a varied diet, consisting primarily of nuts and seeds, and that a varied diet is what provides squirrels with balanced nutrition and ensures good health.

At the end of the food drive, students in our class polled the school to determine how many students participated in the food drive. We were excited to learn that 20 percent of students and 25 percent of staff brought food to school for the animals!  We distributed Certificates of Appreciation and I Saved a Life wrist bands (courtesy of Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge) to everyone that participated.


food-drive-certificates1 Students in our class with their certificates and wrist bands

 This project has provided students with some wonderful hands-on learning experiences in math, literacy, science and character education, but the best part of the food drive is seeing orphaned animals at local wildlife sanctuaries enjoying the fruits of our labours!

A flying squirrel kit eating one of our acorns,
at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.


Above and below: raccoon kits at Aspen Valley
Wildlife Sanctuary, enjoying our acorns.


SOH-squirrelA baby squirrel at Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge
enjoying our acorns and pine cones.


Link to video of baby squirrels eating our acorns,
at Shades of Hope 


An injured adult porcupine dining on our acorns and pine cones,
at Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge.

woodlands-deerWhite-tailed deer fawns enjoying our sumac, acorns and maple keys,
at Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary.



One day, when we were a week into our food drive, the supervisor and students that attend the school's before-school daycare came to Mrs. Black's class to tell her they had found a flightless bird on the schoolyard.  Mrs. Black and Ben, a Grade 4 student in our class, contained the bird and brought him into the school. Mrs. Black e-mailed Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge and they recommended that she bring the bird to them for treatment.

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The bird, a male finch, spent two weeks living in one of the aviaries at Shades of Hope, recovering from a wing injury. When Mrs. Black took Shades of Hope their second food drive delivery, she picked the finch up and brought him back to the school, for release. This morning, Ben released the bird, while the other daycare kids cheered the bird on. Here is the video of the finch's release.

Link to high definition version of release video:

To thank the children for rescuing the finch, students involved in rescuing the finch received I Saved a Life wrist bands (courtesy of Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge). The kids of Rama Central's before-school daycare program are wildlife heros!




After the food drive officially ended the food just kept on coming, creating the need for a third food delivery to the closest sanctuary, Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge!!!

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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): or to add a comment to this page.

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