Jan. 28, 2015



Today, all Junior classes participated in their first of 8 “Music Champions” workshops. The workshop is made possible through a partnership between the HWDSB Arts department, the Royal Conservatory of Music and community guest artists. The program centres around learning curriculum through the lens of First Nations culture, especially Music. We will be enjoying eight sessions between now and March, first with a guest musician and later with a media specialist. All Junior classes receive 2 periods of instruction in Music each week, from September to June with Ms Fawcett ~~ and those periods remain part of the regular schedule. Music Champions is happening in addition to the regular Rousseau Music program and we will be covering parts of the Social Studies curriculum while also building community.

The first four sessions will be led by musician Jay Shawana, who is a member of the Ojibway community. Jay is a musician and an audio engineer! He also visits schools to share First Nations culture. Jay danced with us today wearing his “regalia”. The rattles on his legs are made from deer hooves; his vest is decorated with animal bone, his decorative shield has feathers; his head dress has hawk feather, horsehair and white ermine; and his bustle is made from two large fans of blue heron feathers.



The dance has a steady beat!


Men tell a story of the hunt through their dance with a small rhythmic stomp; women dance “heel to toe” to massage Mother Earth.

Includes three closely related communities: Ojibway communities, Odawa communities, and Potawatomi communities.

Jay’s Dad is a drum keeper and he always lets Jay to bring the drum into schools. One side of the drum is made from thick moose skin that resonates with a low pitch. The other side is made with deerskin, which is much thinner resonates with a higher pitch.


The drum or “dewe-igan” is considered a “living heartbeat”. We give the drum life when we beat the drum, and the drum gives us back life. We can feel the drum beat resonating in our chest, especially if we sit close enough.

The Ojibway believe a Creator gave the first drum to a woman of the community. The men were all away fighting (hunting rights, territory). The woman was told by the Creator to bring the drum into the heart of the community to bring peace & stop the fighting.

The songs sung with the drum include sound effects or “vocables” instead of words (onomatopoeia!)

The Medicine Wheel is a guide for how to live with balance: to have health and strength and wisdom. Women are believed to already be strong. Women are the leaders of First Nation cultures because they are born with the most “strength” (emotional, character, determination, etc.) As they get older, women can even give life and nurture life.

Men need to develop their strength through medicine. Drumming is considered to be a medicine. The men sing at the drum at a higher register of voice than they usually use. The men are “birthing” the song. The high register of their voice is a sound like the cries of a woman or the cries of the baby. Through drumming and singing together, men can develop the strength that the women already have. The themes of drumming as medicine include Harmony & Community.

No one owns a drum, but the drum keeper looks after it. Even though The drum is an inanimate object (not alive), it is considered to holds the spirits of the grandfathers and elders (it’s a metaphor). Jay refers to the drum as a “him” and the drum is treated like a member of the family. The drum is covered with a blanket when not in use, and is seat belted in the car, etc..

Jay allows us ALL to participate in drumming – boys and girls – so we can understand the medicine of drumming.

Each Song has 3 parts:
– The “lead” drummer starts
– the call back is where everyone echoes the lead
– the body of the song

We sang and drummed together! Jay was the lead and we did the call back.






Read a summary about the HWDSB’s “Learning Through the Arts” program (of which Music Champions is a part) here at the Hamilton Community Foundation website (one of the financial partners of the program)


Five students from our class traveled with Mrs. Stinson and some other junior students to the HWDSB Junior Empowerment conference. Thanks Mrs. Stinson, and thanks to Mrs. Mattern for sending us pictures. All students from he co Terence had a chance to work with Jay, too, when they came back. They joined 6R for this one session.




We had our outdoor break time separate from the rest of the school ‚Äď but we still had all of our eating & outside minutes ūüôā




We continue to learn about Mean in math. Today, we generated four sets of our own class data. We counted how many sit ups, jumping jacks, knee ups, and wall push ups we could each do. Then we compiled our individual data to make a set of data for each exercise. We found the mode, median and mean of each set of data. Each grade will do different learning with the data, according to their individual expectations.

JANUARY 28TH Reminders:

1. read 20  min.

2. read the class blog :

* * * * *     3. Pyjama day tomorrow!    * * * * * *

DAY – Jan. 21/2015 – PhysEd, Music, Biodiversity/Human Body, Area & Perimeter


We have been working for the past two weeks on Gymnastics, led by Grade 6 leaders from 6R & 5/6F. Grade 6 students have been enjoying gymnastics all together, and Grade 5 students have participated with Grade 5 students in our class. We began to create our group-work performances, which will continue next week, too!



Grade 5 – We have been exploring instruments of the orchestra! Students are currently working in pairs to explore two of the families of instruments: ¬†Woodwinds & Brass(wind). We are building our Anchor Chart, and partners are collaboratively searching the Canadian National Arts Centre website www.artsalive.ca, viewing instruments demonstrations on YouTube and answering their “wonderings” using various “kid-friendly” websites.

Grade 6 – We have been working with Ms Fawcett and all of the 6R students on learning how the different Elements of Music (e.g. Volume, Tempo, Form, Pitch, Rhythm, Mode) can be manipulated for a particular effect. We have listened to Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna” (O, Fortune), which is very popular as music to accompany scenes in movies and television. Check it out HERE and HERE. Students are making some pretty awesome ¬†conclusions about how to write music to have an effect on the audience! ūüôā



Grade 5Human Body – Students are continuing to work in partners to learn about a particular Human Body System.

Grade 6Biodiversity РStudents are continuing to work in partners to show their learning about a particular phylum of vertebrate or invertebrate.

Biodiversity Learning Goals Biodiversity - Overall Learning Goal

Partners in both grades were given a choice of various ways to present their learning. For the most part, students seem to have chosen to create a “Google Slides” presentation (similar to PowerPoint), but several are thinking of also making a poster, video or participating in a debate!


MATH – Area & Perimeter (both grades)

Grade 6 – In the past week we have thoroughly investigated the relationship between the areas of several shapes:

  • rectangles
  • parallelograms
  • triangles

We reviewed the formula for Area of a Rectangle (A = l x w ¬†or ¬†A = b x h), and inferred the formula for Area of a Parallelogram (A = b x h) and Area of a Triangle (A = b x h√∑ 2 ¬† or ¬†A = b√∑2 ¬† x h). Pictures to follow —- they are on the class ipad!


Grade 5  Рin the past week, we have created a formula for Area of a Rectangle (A = l x w) and have learned how to solve word problems related to Perimeter  and Area. The culmination of this can be seen below:

Jan21 2015 Gr5 Area pg1Jan21 2015 Gr5 Area pg2


Jan21 2015 Gr5 Success Criteria - Word Problems




Jan21 2015 Reminders

DAY 83 & 84 – Literacy (reading comprehension), Math (measurement)



We have been working for two days on an assessment to show our Reading Comprehension. Similar to the comprehension section of the diagnostic reading assessments we do each year (DRA), the reading assessment we are working on this week includes many parts:

  • Summary
  • Literacal Comprehension
  • Interpretation
  • Reflection
  • Metacognition (reading strategies)

Grade 5 students are learning about the Human Brain by working with their text. Grade 6 students are solidifying their understanding of fiction texts.



Grade 6 – We have been working on reviewing Grade 5 Area concepts, and practising converting linear measurements (mm, cm, dm, m, km)

39  38

Grade 5 –¬†We are working on understanding Area —– and not just how to simply use a formula to find area. We are learning how to DEVELOP a formula. Formulas can only be applied to tricky math problems if you truly understand how and why they work.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 5.27.59 PM

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 5.28.07 PM

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 5.28.14 PM

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 5.28.20 PM

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 5.28.26 PM

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 5.28.34 PM

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 5.28.41 PM

This rows and columns of  a grid on a rectangle are similar to an array, which we have been using in math since the primary grades.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 5.28.49 PM


36 37











DAY 82 – Literacy


 LITERACY РIndependent Reading

We started the day with Independent Reading.

Afterwards, Isabel gave us a spontaneous book talk about a book she recently read, “I Am Malala”.¬†More to come later, as we will be setting up a spot on our blog for students to share their book reviews. ūüôā

Isabel book talk Malala

What are some of the steps Malala took to spread her message? – Elise

Isabel: Malala started giving speeches to her classroom. People in the world started to be interested and came to speak to her. People in Pakistan created a documentary about what she was saying. A reporter from the BBC (British Broadcasting Agency) encouraged her to start writing an anonymous blog post about what the Taliban was doing (keeping girls from attending school). The Taliban found out she was writing the blog, and she started to receive threats on her life. She was injured, nearly died and when she recovered, she continued going to school and speaking out about the importance for all boys and girls receiving an education. Malala has been recognized with many awards for her courage and strength. Most recently, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.


Both grades gathered for a focused lesson on writing non-fiction summaries. We can use subtitles & topic sentences (in green)¬†to lay out the “skeleton” of our non-fiction summary, and then fill in a couple of details under each subtitle.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 6.54.43 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-12 at 6.52.23 PM



We have started learning Gymnastics, led by Miss Rankin and 6R student Taylor!



We finally were able to view a multi-media presentation created by Carson about his trip to Arizona. We were very intrigued to hear about his trip, since our read-aloud book, “Stargirl”, takes place in Arizona and has many references to the environment in Arizona. Thanks Carson!

Carson Arizona talk




We begain working with Mr. Obermeyer on learning about Rotaional Symmetry (which will have a Grade 6 math application later this year).