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Mrs. Black has offered to help a local wildlife rehabilitation center and sanctuary, by developing some school resources for them. The activities in the school resource packages would fulfill curriculum expectations and character education objectives, while engaging students in supporting the work of the centre through fund-raising, collection of goods, animal sponsorship, writing, media literacy, math and the arts.

Mrs. Black created a two-page resource, based on a "Help me stay wild" info-graphic about Black Bears produced by the rehabilitation centre. Click on the image or link below to see her sample resource:

teacher-resource-sample-screen-caphttp://www.blackdeer.ca/AVWS-TeacherResourceSample.pdf

Last week, Mrs. Black showed the class the sample resource. Students really liked the idea and asked if they could help with the development of resources for other species, as a media literacy project. They also asked if they could try out the narrative writing prompt in the sample resource about Black Bears.

The Grade 5 students completed the narrative writing task this week, while their Grade 6 counterparts were writing the EQAO test. Students thoroughly enjoyed learning about the habits and food preferences of Black Bears, and then writing a story about a visit to a dump, from a bear's perspective. In the process, they learned about what their families and neighbours might be doing to inadvertently attract bears to their neighbourhood.

Friday morning, we had a media literacy session in which students:

  • watched a video about the work of the rehabilitation centre:  http://environmentfilms.org/EF/ASPEN_VALLEY.html
  • reviewed the sample resource
  • listened to three of the "bear narratives" written by the Grade 5 students, and identified the lesson or moral in each story
  • discussed what other forms of writing can be used as a teaching tool
  • broke into small groups and rotated through six stations, brainstorming fund raising ideas and curriculum-based project ideas, for five other animal species for which the rehab. centre has produced "Help me stay wild" info-graphics

Here is how today's media literacy session looked:

NOTE:  We have sent the wildlife centre links to the sample resource and this blog post. We are now (May 31st) waiting to see if the centre would like us to further develop our ideas for their website.  July 31st:  Mrs. Black went to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary for a meeting with the General Manager and the retired teacher who conducts school visits at the sanctuary.  They loved the work the class did and asked Mrs. Black to go ahead and develop four more project sheets, using the ideas the class provided.  🙂   September 14th:  The Board of Directors at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary viewed and approved first drafts of five educational resources. Next step: They will go through final edits and field testing, and then be uploaded to the Aspen Valley website.

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

During September, our class reviewed math concepts, completed the PRIME numeracy test (which identifies strengths and needs in the area of number sense) and began to move forward with the Grade 5 and 6 math program. We are currently finishing up our first major math unit, which deals with large numbers and decimals.

Our math program follows the Simcoe County District School Board’s Course of Study.  The Course of Study summarizes key principles and learning expectations in the Ontario Mathematics Curriculum and provides a teaching sequence, timeline, and list of tools and lesson resources needed to cover the expectations.

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

There are similar documents for Grade 6.

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At the beginning of each topic in our regular Grade 5 and 6 math program, students complete a diagnostic test assessing how well they remember the math concepts they learned in prior grades. Guided Math Groups are created based on the results of the diagnostic tests.  These groups meet once a week.

Review, through small group Guided Math and Guided Math homework, makes it easier for each student to build upon his/her knowledge during our regular Grade 5 and 6 math program. The resource for Guided Math is Dr. Marion Small’s Leaps and Bounds: Toward Math Understanding for Grades 5/6.

http://blackdeer.edublogs.org/files/2012/09/cover56-1dcx49i.jpg

After completing the weekly work with his or her group, each student may use any additional time during our weekly Guided Math period to play math games.

These are the math books, games and enrichment activities
available in our classroom.


Here are some of the 15+ math games that are stored in the green bin (above).

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Our daily Grade 5 and 6 math lessons follow a three-part lesson format.  It includes:

  1. A “minds-on” activity that serves to review a familiar math concept or introduce a new one;
  2. A lesson and opportunity for partner- and independent-practice;
  3. An opportunity for the class consolidate understanding by discussing new insights gleaned from the lesson.  Consolidation sometimes includes creating a note, in the form of a definition, rule or procedure that students copy into a math journal, for future reference.

Resources for our daily Grade 5 and 6 math lessons are listed in the Board’s Course of Study. They include “Nelson Math,” “The Super Source Math Resource” and the Ontario Ministry of Education’s “Guides to Effective Instruction in Math, Grades 4-6.”

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From time-to-time, each student is asked to answer a math question on a piece of paper called an “exit card.” Exit cards indicate how well each student has understood a particular math concept that we have been studying.  Students who have difficulty answering the question, or who ask for additional assistance, are offered extra tutoring.

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 HERE ARE SOME MATH RESOURCES YOU CAN USE AT HOME

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.

This year, in accordance with Simcoe County District School Board policy, students in our class will be assigned homework that falls under four categories:

  • Completion: any work assigned during the school day not completed in class;
  • Practice: any work that reinforces skills and concepts taught in class;
  • Preparation: any work that prepares students for upcoming lessons or classes;
  • Extension: any work that explores and refines learning in new contexts or integrates and expands on classroom learning.

Under the category of "practice," students are expected to read at home for at least 20 minutes per day.  Students are asked to complete a log sheet for four nights of reading each week, and have a parent initial the sheet to verify that at least 20 minutes of reading took place.

Also under the category of "practice," students are expected to complete 3-4 sheets of math review homework every other week.  This work is part of our class' small group "Guided Math" program.  The resource for Guided Math is Dr. Marion Small's Leaps and Bounds: Toward Math Understanding for Grades 5/6.  At the beginning of each topic in our regular Grade 5 and 6 math program, students will be asked to complete a diagnostic test assessing how well they remember the math concepts they learned in prior grades.  Guided Math groups, geared at reviewing earlier math concepts, will be created based on the results of each diagnostic test.  Guided Math groups meet with the teacher once a week, during an extra math period.  Students who don't understand how to complete the math homework may bring it back to class and receive additional tutoring during nutrition breaks or recess.  Review, through small group Guided Math and Guided Math homework, will make it easier for each student to build upon his/her knowledge during our regular Grade 5 and 6 math program. 

In addition to the above, at times students will be expected to study at home prior to taking tests.  Unfinished work and occasional home projects may also be assigned as homework throughout the school year.

This is a homework resource for parents, provided by the Simcoe County District School Board:
Bringing School Home:  How can I help my children with their homework?

Click on the link below if your child needs to print an extra copy of the Weekly Reading Log sheet:
SummaryReadingLogHomework

For information about the other elements of our math program, see the math program overview published to this BLOG last school year.

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.

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:  mblack@mail1.scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

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During the month of September, our class reviewed math concepts, completed the PRIME numeracy test (which identifies strengths and needs in the areas of number sense and operations) and began to move forward with our math program.

Our math program follows the Simcoe County District School Board's Course of Study.  The Course of Study summarizes key principles and learning expectations in the Ontario Mathematics Curriculum and provides a teaching sequence, timeline, and list of tools and lesson resources needed to cover the expectations.


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

There are similar documents for Grade 6.


Resources listed in the Course of Study include "Nelson Math,"
"The Super Source Math Resource" and the Ontario Ministry of Education's
"Guides to Effective Instruction in Math, Grades 4-6."
We utilize all three of these resources in our classroom.

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Our math period begins with "bell work" from the Canadian resource Daily Math.


This resource provides practice with all five strands of math each week.

After "bell work," we engage in a three-part math lesson that includes:

  1. A "minds-on" activity that serves to review a familiar math concept or introduce a new one;
  2. A lesson and an opportunity for partner- and independent-practice;
  3. An opportunity for the class consolidate understanding by discussing new insights gleaned from the lesson.  Consolidation sometimes includes creating a note, in the form of a definition, rule or procedure that students copy into a math journal, for future reference.

At the conclusion of instruction about a concept, each student answers a math question on a piece of paper called an "exit card." Exit cards indicate how well each student understood the concept.  Students who have difficulty answering the question, or who ask for additional assistance, are offered Guided Math instruction the following day.

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Once a week, our class participates in Numeration Stations.  These math stations, or centres, are geared toward improving proficiency with math facts and mental math.  Instant recall of simple addition and subtraction equations and "times tables," and an ability to do simple math in one's head, improves a student's efficiency in solving more complex math problems.

We begin Numeration Stations with a "Times Table Challenge" quiz.

After we take up the quiz, students rotate through a variety of numeration games and activities.  During the rotation, I conduct Guided Math sessions with small groups, to ensure that each student is progressing to the best of his/her ability.

The following pictures show some of the components of Numeration Stations:


Stations include "Fraction Stories,"  Guided Math, Board and Card Games,
"Math Mysteries," and "Math Frog" (a Grade 4-6 math game website
created and hosted by the University of Waterloo).


These are some of the resources for Numeration Stations.


These are some of the 15+ math games that are stored in the green bin (above).

SOME MATH RESOURCES FOR HOME

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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