Mon., March 27/2017



We transitioned into our day with some cursive writing practice, and then enjoyed another oral presentation (“speech”)!

We continued with our read aloud, “He Who Dreams”. Wonder how far we will be in the book by the time the author, Melanie Florence, visits us on April 6th?!??

We also had a discussion about the AMAZING FIDGET TOOL many of the students brought to school today! (Much better than the sticky tack trend I personally started for Rousseau students three years ago — oooops!!!!)

Many students learn well when given the opportunity to digest with their hands. Contrary to “traditional teaching thinking”, some students can pay attention while their fingers are fidgeting. In fact, many students work best when they are able to move in some way. However, we needed to set some guidelines. We need to be clear about when the fidget tool becomes a distracting toy & together the class generated this list:




We spent more than a period simply EXPLORING fractions through the use of “manipulatives“. Students used:

  • fraction strips
  • fraction rods
  • fraction circles

In order¬†to explore relationships between fractions….including fractions with different denominators! By far students were mostly challenged with the section rods (this brand is called “Cuisinaire rods”) because they are not labelled. You can choose any rod to be the “whole” (= 1) and then compare the sizes of all the coloured rods to show different fractions and mixed numbers.



Fri., March 24/2017


Sometimes, it’s great to get outside when it’s not raining ūüėČ



We enjoyed a couple oral presentations (“speeches” at the very start of the day. Then we began our new “read aloud“, “He Who Dreams” by Canadian author Melanie Florence. ¬†Melanie is the author who will be visiting us April 6th as pet of the Hamilton GritLit Festival “author visit”!

We began by making inferences about the book based on take a closer look at the cover of the book. Each observation we made led to an inference:

  • Bright colours and busy decoration……led to the inference that the story includes a celebration
  • Moving feet…..Led to the inference¬†that someone is dancing
  • We inferred that we might learn about a particular culture
  • We connected to the white rectangle with the ¬†number “736” because it looks like a number that a marathon runner where’s on their short for a race. So then this…..led to the inference that the person in the picture was in a race or dance competition

We are able to read along with the text as the teacher reads from an iPhone Kindle app, Airplayed onto the screen. Parts of the text can be highlighted as we discuss.

The purpose of a read aloud

……is for the teacher to model/demonstrate:

  • oral fluency (decoding, phrasing, expression, rate)
  • comprehension….by “thinking aloud” oral comprehension strategies (predicting, inferring, visualizing, connecting deeply, responding emotionally, questioning, etc..)
  • facilitate discussion & learning of deep issues and themes


……is for the students to

  • be involved in discussion & new learning of deep issues & themes
  • make & share aloud their own predictions, inferences, visualization, deep connections, emotional responses, questions, etc.)
  • deepen¬†their understanding of how to use specific reading comprehension strategies
  • learn new strategies for oral fluency
  • enjoy a story & develop their love of literature & learning


Some of the deep issues brought out in the story, “He Who dreams” are:

  • Identity
  • feelings of belongingness
  • unity – community, family
  • confidence
  • breaking through stereotypes (seeing dance as a masculine athletic endeavour)
  • lived experience of Residential Schools & Reservations that was imposed upon Canadian First Nations People

March22 2017 – Oral Presentations, Independent Reading or Literature Circles, Fractions


Student choice:

  • Literature Circles (for those finished competitive speeches)
  • Oral Presentation – memorization/practice
  • Independent Reading


MATH – Fractions

Review of yesterday’s work – what did we learn? What can we improve?

We learned a lot today from wrong answers – Why are they incorrect? How they can improve?

Is this an accurate representation of 2/3?


Is this an accurate representation of 3/4?


Is this an accurate representation of FIFTHS?

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†No —– see a correct strategy below:

Here is a better estimate of what FIFTHS look like….and if we divide each fifth in half, we can make TENTHS.

Making better estimates/sketches of fractions with a circle

  • What are the advantages of makes TENTHS by halving FIFTHS?
  • What are the advantages of making SIXTHS by halving THIRDS?
  • What are the advantages of making TWELFTHS by halving SIXTHS (that have been halved from THIRDS)?

By dividing up THIRDS and FIFTHS, it helps us to see EQUIVALENT FRACTIONS

Showing that the shaded area can be called 1/3 ¬†….. ¬†or ¬†2/6 ……. ¬†or ¬† ¬†4/12


                 1/3                    =  1/6            =  1/12


We can also show equivalent fractions by multiplying or dividing the numerator AND denominator of a fraction BY THE SAME NUMBER.




We can also try out this method to discover if two fractions ARE equivalent — in this case, if we multiply the denominator by 2 (which we must, in order to get 12)….and then try to do the same to the numerator, we clearly do not get “5”…..therefore, the two fractions are NOT equivalent

Number Lines

Everyone was challenged to quickly create a number line that represents the fraction 3/4 ¬† (Grade 4 & 5 review….maybe earlier!)¬†We began discussing¬†one of the answers, and will continue looking at more tomorrow! ūüôā

What is accurate about this answer? Is there anything missing?



Challenge: ¬†If a student was showing 3/4 by drawing a fraction circle and they forgot the starting number “0” (like in this number line above), what would the fraction circle look like?????


March 20/2017 – Oral Presentations (non-competitive “TED talks”), Literature Circles, Fractions

LITERACY – Non-competitive Oral Presentations

Students presenting non-competitive, “TED-talk style” presentations this week (starting tomorrow) have several options open to them —- which is in contrast to the competitive speech presenters before the break. All of this information is review for students. We did discuss today that what is spoken for our oral communication mark can be a little different from the written presentation — the BIG FOCUS is that students focus on a good delivery (criteria in the next chart).

We practised speaking — by talking to a partner about what we did for March Break. Students self-assessed their nervousness on a scale of 1 to 10 (totally relaxed to very nervous). Students rated these “information sharing” conversations about a 1 or 2 (not stressful). I remarked to students that they appeared to show all the non-verbal oral skills they will be marked on: expressive facial expression, eye contact, gestures, focus, etc.. ¬†(it was impossible for me to notice/comment on their verbal skills). Students were encouraged to work towards this low stress level for their oral presentation this week ūüôā

Students may not read their presentation (that would be for an oral reading mark….not oral speaking mark). We discussed the importance of eye contact — it helps us to come across as knowledgeable about our topic, interested in our topic, respectful to the audience listening, and engaging to the audience because the audience feels connected to us when we look at them.


MATH – Fractions (benchmarks)

Students were challenged to show different fraction benchmarks in their notebooks. Accurate fraction circles are created when we base the “dividing up” on a related fraction…


  • We create accurate “quarters” by starting with “halves”….and dividing them in half, into quarters
  • We create accurate “eighths” by starting with halves…dividing into quarters…and then dividing into eighths
  • We create accurate “sixths” by starting with thirds….and dividing them in half into sixths
  • We create accurate “ninths” by starting with thirds….and dividing them into thirds again, creating ninths
  • We create accurate “tenths” by starting with fifths…and dividing them in half, into fifths

These strategies help us to see the relationship between equivalent fractions

3/6    = 1/2