Thurs., Jan. 17th
ART – Today, we started our day in Art with Mr. Obermeyer, while I taught music to 4/5O.
In today’s chapter we learned a little about the Maasai culture of Africa, through the character Nabala, who is a Maasai warrior (as well as the protector of the Child Save volunteers while they are helping to build a school). 5/6 F students were very engaged — it is always fun to see them laugh when author Eric Walters weaves humour into the text …and it is also so rewarding as a teacher to watch their faces during all the “ah-a” moments, when inferences come together into a sweet realization, or they make a keep connection to sophisticated ideas in the text. We are able at this point to connect this read aloud to our current Social Studies unit (grade 5 students are learning about Ancient Civilizations and grade 6 students are learning about Canada’s Aboriginal Cultures — First Nations, Inuit and Metis). All cultures can be looked at in through the same lens: in terms of the needs of the people — physical needs, social or group needs and psychological needs — and how these needs are shaped and met through a close relationship with the environment. For example, we learned today about the belief systems of the Maasai with respect to males and their “coming of age” (part of a their culture’s psychological needs). [We connected this to our current Growth and Development unit in Health.] We also learned about the way that members of the Maasai culture settled disputes (Social or Group Needs) and students made connections to Western culture. Questions arose in the text about the clashing of traditional cultures and “modern” (Western) culture. In current times (the setting of “Alexandria of Africa”), the Maasai find that their culture is clashing with more “modern” (Western) cultures in Africa — Should the Maasai be subjected to the beliefs and laws of modern society? Is the “modern” culture better and should the Maasai adapt their traditional beliefs to this new culture? This connects particularly well to grade 6 students’ study of First Nations culture — were some Europeans who arrived on Canada’s shores correct in believing that their “modern” Western culture was superior to the supposedly “primitive” First Nations cultures? This can lead grade 6 students to some interesting thoughts about where we find ourselves currently in Canada.
As for the character Alexandria, in today’s chapter we witnessed one of her first positive interactions — where her intelligence and “spark” showed up! We won’t give away the story, but suffice to say that the warrior Nebala may have a positive impact on Alexandria and help facilitate her personal growth.
“Alexandria of Africa” is a very rich text — it is difficult for us to get through it without wonderful discussions — and the students of 5/6F can hardly let a paragraph go by without some deep insight and sharing of connections to their own lives and texts and experiences they have enjoyed.
Thanks to 5/6F student Holly, we have a non-fiction book in our classroom about the Maasai — an autobiography entitled, “The Last Maasai Warriors” by Wilson Meikuaya, Jackson Ntirkana Our class is borrowing the book from Holly and any student is welcome to read it 🙂
MATH – Students completed yesterday’s diagnostic assessment. Later in the day, Grade 5 learned about finding Mean and Mode in a set of data, and Grade 6 learned more about finding the Median in a set of data. We had some practise, and will practise again tomorrow while I am at an inservice analyzing their diagnostics for February’s Fractions unit.
by Thomas and Spencer
In social studies today we went to the computer lab and picked two topics on ancient Civilizations. we are getting ready for speaches and our teacher gave us a lesson on how to deliver a speach and that we should use hand gestures and eye contact walk around a little bit. Here is the beginning of an Anchor Chart (we started with non-verbal communication and will also develop the verbal communication list).