DAY 75 – Dec. 18, 2014 – Trip to the Nutcracker (Cuban National Ballet)


We traveled to the Burlington Performing Arts Center to see the National Ballet of Cuba‘s production of The Nutcracker (music by Tchaikovsky). More photos can be viewed on our school blog,  Rousseau Ramblings , but we wanted to share more of our class reflections here on our blog. As students shared their voices & experiences & connections, they moved the discussion in many directions.

The costumes were amazing. Also the make up was done very well – Caleb

I know a lot of people are talking about the dancer that fell. Sometimes people don’t appreciate how hard it is to do ballet. The shoes need to be wrapped and the ends covered in rosin so that the point of the ballet shoes don’t slip – Elise

There was a problem – there was no live orchestra. The music was recorded and the sound system sounded kind of fuzzy. A live orchestra would be better – Ryan

Live music is more intense sounding and beautiful and can affect us in a different way than recorded music – Ms Fawcett

In the productions that I’ve seen I’ve never seen the Middle Eastern/desert setting continue for the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy – Isabel
……..I infer that they didn’t change sets as often because they can’t take too many sets with them because it was a traveling show – Callie Laine
……..It costs money to travel and put on any kind of production – Brady

This traveling Cuban production used local children ballet dancers
……….Maybe they don’t want children from Cuba to go on tour with the company. Maybe they don’t want the children to be away from their families for a long time. It would involve taking extra people which would mean they would need more money – Owen

…….It would give a chance for local kids to dance in a ballet – Dea

…….The chance for students and local dance theaters to perform with the national ballet of Cuba could inspire them to improve their skills – Ms Fawcett

……..I’ve traveled to Cuba and I’ve seen how poor they are. Many people live in homes made of blocks stacked up, and have tarps for roofs. I’m not sure the Cuban government would have enough money to pay to send extra people like the children. Plus also because the children would have to travel with their families, the families and children would be out of the country together. They would have nothing keeping them in Cuba and they might try to stay with their children in Canada and not go back to Cuba. – Elise

Students connected what they know about countries like Cuba (a dictatorship) to our grade 5 learning about government. (It also connects to our upcoming new Ontario grade 6 unit about the building of Canadian communities from many diverse populations). We discussed examples of musicians, artists and athletes who have traveled to free countries like Canada while on tour, and then approached the government of the country they are visiting for permission to stay. Sometimes people don’t want to return to their “home” countries if they feel unsafe, or feel that there aren’t enough opportunities to have a good life there.

Some students wondered if the conditions of other people’s lives in other countries affects them. (e.g. “Am I connected to people in Argentina who have to have a dictatorship?” – Greg. Other students followed up with the idea that yes, they do feel connected to those people: because they have an emotional connection to what the other people are going through (this is one of our reading comprehension strategies).

Our trip to experience the ballet:
– connected to our current learning about Tchaikovsky’s music
– connected to our learning of dance & drama with Mrs. Crocker
– was an enjoyable live, performing arts experience (costumes, choreography, makeup, staging, music)
– inspired us to think critically about what is involved in creating a live production and how there are different ways to present a story depending on the resources available
– inspired us to think critically about the experience of the performers on stage
– inspired us to think critically about the performers lives away from the stage, including social studies connections such as politics and human rights

I was amazed as a teacher to listen to the students pour out their background knowledge and reflections. It is very rewarding to see the Arts create a joyous experience for students and to see the Arts create an opportunity for students develop feelings of connection to other people of the world.


DAY 73 – Dec. 16, 2014

Secret gift giving

We used Skype to Bring all members of our class community together! After the video (below), students shared their reflections about why they thought a secret gift exchange was a valuable experience.

I think the holiday season is about giving and by being able to get you kind of feel all happy inside – Isabel

It’s about making connections and like Isabel said giving and it just really feels good – Brady

I think that the holiday seasons teach giving and happiness and it’s not just about the presence especially for younger students it helps them with their care – Elise

I think it’s good to learn about just giving to anyone that you picked so you learn about how good it is to give – Carson

I think this sat in a class like this where we don’t really know each other that well in a split class that it helps to get to know you the person that you picked for secret gift giving – Owen

We called it secret gift giving because not everyone celebrates Christmas. All people can share – Matt




Reminders for upcoming fun this week!
Thank you two families for sending in $4 for our party on Friday, and $2 to cover the students yoga classes and Jim. Students brought home a notice from Miss Rankin about the yoga classes today. Students are really loving this yoga 🙂
Students in grade 8 at Ancaster Senior Public School I’ve also been doing yoga – check out this very brief ASPS blog post that shows a really cool picture of a “before and after yoga” student-reflection survey!!!

LITERACY – Grade 6
Students worked towards completing their final draft of their fictional narrative.

NUMERACY – Grade 5
We modeled and shared our problem solving strategies and communication strategies for patterning questions (text: Pg 14 #1)




For level 3 work, we can extend a pattern and predict a pattern by using Inout rules and Output rules (going VERTICALLY down the column of a T-table.

For level 4 work, we can add another strategy:
Find the pattern rule that relates the Input number to the Output number


We finished off today with deep you side with Ms. Rankin’s class, and then some seasonal singing with staff and students in the gymnasium. Students sing so well! It’s always fun leading the school singing. Thanks to Rousseau parent and piano teacher Susan Lee for being our accompanist today!

SOUNDS OF THE SEASON “Concert” – Friday @ 11:33
Please join staff and students on Friday for Rousseau arts presentation!
Each class from ELP to grade 6+ our primary and junior choir will be performing either a song or dance! it will be a lot of fun and we are looking forward to having as many parents join us as possible 🙂 Our class will be singing a song with six are that we have been working on in music class.

Grade 6 Math — Dec. 12, 2014

Hi Glen, Owen, Matt, Jae, Julia, Isabel, Stephanie and Elise!

In Patterning today, we’re going to take a look at using a T-table (e.g. like Input/Output machines) and plot them on a grid like coordinate points.  Remember plotting points last year???   GRAPH PAPER IS IN THE CUPBOARD ABOVE THE SINK —- Elise, you’re in charge of paper 🙂

Check out this webpage for an explanation ———- STOP before the GREEN examples where they start talking about Linear Equations.

Then, you will be working from photocopied pages that the teacher provides for you.   This is not covered in our Textbook very well.

Hope you’re having a great day 🙂

Ms Fawcett