DAY 15 – Sept. 23, 2014

This post is a work in progress – be sure to check back later too 🙂


We started with some independent reading, and then Isabel wanted an opportunity to express her review of the book “The Mealworm Diaries”. Isabel reflected that although the cover of the book did not look very appealing, the book itself was extremely engaging, deep, and meaningful. We discussed the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” — and we were really talking about books! The cover isn’t always an indication of how good a book is: sometimes the cover matches the quality of the book, sometimes the cover looks better than the book and sometimes the cover is not modern looking or in great repair, but the book itself is FABULOUS. Student shared that they know that publishing companies often re-publish books with new covers because people often think that a new cover means a new book — and often, people assume that newer is better (although its not always the case!). One student shared that her absolute favorite classroom book last year was a book that didn’t even have a cover – and the student was so happy to have had the experience of reading this wonderful book.

Reading strategies
Our goal over the last two days has been to practice a variety of reading strategies while reading independently, and explain how we used the strategy on a sticky note on the page of the book.
We partnered with a classmate to share the different reading strategies that we have written on a sticky notes. We practiced providing each other with feedback –
e.g. Did our partner really explain a visualization? Or did our partner simply name the thing in the book that week or visualizing? Saying that I visualized Muhammed Ali entering the stadium is not visualizing – it is stating a fact. Saying that I visualized Mohamed Ali walking proudly into the stadium with his head held high and a determined look on his face, wearing his robe tied tightly around his waist IS visualizing. Visualizing uses our imagination.







Grade 6 students from both classes got together to work on their country/trade research. All of the countries where our T-shirts were made are either in South or Southeast Asia or Central America (With the exception of Turkey, which is in Western Asia). Today, students took a closer look at population. Specifically they looked at population density – they divided the area of their country by the number of people living in the country. We discovered that in most of our countries, each person wouldn’t have very much space of their own. In other words, the population in the countries where our T-shirts are made is quite dense and crowded – a lot of people are packed into a relatively small area. Miss Rankin used Canada as an example and showed that each person in Canada would have a space of approximately the size of our East Wing field. In China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Guatemala, Malaysia, Nicaragua, turkey, Cambodia, and Honduras a person would have just a tiny space.

How might overcrowding in a country affect something like getting a job?
How might overcrowding affect the availability of homes?

How might overcrowding affect the type of homes available?
How might overcrowding in a country affect people having choices?
How might overcrowding affect the availability of green space (parks, backyards, etc.)?




Grade 5 students learned a few more details about the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms, which were created in 1982 and protected by law. We talked about the importance of having rights and what life would be like without them. We brainstormed about the importance of voting: Why do people vote? Students had some excellent ideas!

Our text “Faces of Government” outlines the seven rights that are part of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We broke into small groups to investigate six of them a little further (The last right is that we have is the protection of the previous six rights – so we focused on looking at the previous six in detail.)
We will continue next time by sharing what we learned about the specific right. We will also answer two important questions for each right:

1. How does this right improve people’s lives?
2. What would people’s lives be like without this right?



We worked on bumping up our formative assessments to show our best thinking for place value.





This year, our class is partnering with Mrs. Knight’s class (grade 1/2 with our grade 5’s) and Mr. Lee’s class (grade 1 with our grade 6’s). Today we spent time getting to know each other over a book….and then later, outside while playing. Quite honestly, FawcettsClass students could not wait to get down to the primary end! I look forward to having students use this space to share why buddy time is so meaningful for them — it was clearly their favourite activity of the day, if not the year so far!


Today we created movements in response to different types of music. Isabel described this picture/music: “This one is like tai chi ballet!”. It was really neat to pop in on the class while they worked with Mrs, Crocker!


DAY 14 – Sept. 22/2014









All students have gotten into a routine of recording their daily reminders in some way – either in an agenda or other paper calendar or using a calendar or notes app on their personal device. Our daily lists on the blog (e.g. below )include everything that could be on a student’s daily reminders – but students will only write down the parts that apply to them personally.


DAY 13 – Sept. 18, 2014


(Be sure to check back later – this post is a work in progress)

Grade 5 – We generated an Anchor Chart of Comprehension Strategies for reading. We talked about different comprehension strategies that Ms Fawcett uses during our Stargirl
Grade 6 – We had an opportunity to invite 6R to our “hub” period to work on our Passion Projects.

Students in both grades finished their place value formative assessments.





Today we worked on brainstorming deep questions. This has proven to be a tricky activity for students in both grades, but developing our sense of wonder and developing questions is integral to the inquiry approach.

GRADE 6 STUDENTS used a provocation that was familiar: our list of countries where our T-shirts were made. Ms Fawcett also plotted the locations of the countries on a world map.



GRADE 5 STUDENTS Used a provocation inspired by our reading of the article “We are Canadian”. We learned that every year over 200,000 people immigrate to Canada from other countries. Ms. Fawcett shared a list from the year 2011 which shows the top 15 countries from which people immigrated into Canada.


And both grades, students were asked to quickly write down as many questions as they could about the two sets of data. Students about more comfortable brainstorming questions about particular countries, but they were challenged to write questions regarding the whole idea represented by their data.

DAY 12 – Sept. 17/2014

We started today in the gymnasium having physical education with Miss Rankin. Ms Fawcett and Miss Rankin have started a new routine where we go directly to the gym on the two days that we have phys ed (both period 1), so that we can maximize our opportunity to be physically active. (Miss Rankin’s class had music at that time.)

In music, we sang Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” theme from his 9th Symphony. Some of us knew the song with different lyrics, so we Googled “Ode to Joy” to discover which ones were the original lyrics. We learned that the original lyrics (in our text) were written by a German poet. Beethoven borrowed the lyrics and gave the author credit In his written score. We made connections between this credit and how we are learning to quote sources in our Genius Projects. The lyrics that some of us knew were different, and were written by a British poet.
We noticed that the music has two notes layered on top of each other. These are the melody (top) and harmony (bottom). We paid attention to the spaces or intervals between the melody and harmony. Ms. Fawcett played the melody and harmony at the same time with one hand on the piano and we followed along, with our eyes and/or fingers on the printed music. We identified where the intervals were smaller and where the intervals where larger. Grade 6 students will learn more about the intervals between the notes. Grade 5 students will learn more about the contour of the melody (where the notes go up, go down, or stay the same). Almost all of us can sing the melody already, and we will learn the harmony next time. We will put them together and focus on balance. We will also at some point listen to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and try to pick out the melody in the instrumental parts.

We worked individually on a formative assessment today to show what we know. We worked on representing whole numbers expanded form, standard form, and in words. We will have time to finish tomorrow 🙂

LITERACY/Social Studies
Grade 6 – We continued working with our partners on researching different countries where our clothing is made. All the grade 6 students from both classes continued this activity from last time.

Grade 5 – We reviewed our main idea/point form graphic organizer activity from last time. We discussed the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms and how there are Canadian laws that protect those rights and freedoms. We wondered: what are the rights and freedoms of Canadian citizens that are protected by law? We consulted a text book and read the table of contents. We read the titles of the different chapters and inferred which chapter would give us the information we needed (“Being A Citizen”). . We will learn about all of the rights and freedoms covered in the Charter. We looked at the poster of the Charter, which hangs in our classroom. We used it to learned about text features on a poster: title, subtitles, graphics, and fonts.



Previewing the chapters also led us to learn that there are three levels of government: Federal (governs all of Canada), Provincial, and Municipal (governs groups of cities, like our own Hamilton–Wentworth municipality).

We ended the day outdoors, sketching in Art with Mr. Obermeyer.

DAY 10 – Sept. 15, 2014

(This post is a work in progress – please check back later, too)


LITERACY/Social Studies
Grade 5 – Students began an organizer that shows the connection between topic sentences and their supporting details in a paragraph. We are using “We Are Canadian” from Nelson Literacy.
Grade 6 – Students are creating an organizer for their text “A Teading Nation” using SMART Ideas Mapping software. In Grade 6, the text is more complex with subtopics and sub-subtopics.








Today, Grade 5 students finally had the opportunity to play the games that the Grade 6 students created for place value!




“I thought the game was actually fun. I actually learned something from the game. Our game might’ve been more effective with fewer players.” – Brady

“Math is hard. The game makes it fun” – Caleb

“In our game when you landed on a space, you needed to answer a place value question. You needed to go around the game board twice.” – Miles

We all had an opportunity to work on our independent inquiry projects – our “Passion Projects”. We started with the check in meeting to review skills for research – such as putting a text into our own words. In these early stages of inquiry, some students are still refining their questions. Sometimes discover that we can find the answer to our question much faster than we thought. For example, one student was going to find out why cheetahs are so fast, but she found the answer rather quickly with a simple Google search. Instead, the student is now going to change her question to: “What are the different adaptations that cheetahs have to survive in their environment?”