Day 10 – Sept. 18, 2017 – D.R.A., Writing (Poetry, Sentence structure), School Positive School Culture


Writing – We used an online “poem generator” to write an “I Am” poem. If students would like to share it with the class, it’s an interesting way to get to know each other 🙂  The poem requires some creative thought! The format of the poem is interesting as well — and will provide inspiration for students to create their own poems that will use patterns (patterning also being our upcoming Math unit 😉 )

We have also been working each day (a bit at a time) on several activities to review & build up our sentence writing/grammar skills. One of the more common grammar errors in grade 6 involves the writing of either “incomplete” or “run on”/”run together” sentences. It appears that some students may also need some instruction & practise understanding parts of speech so that they can understand when a sentence is incomplete.





D.R.A.  (Developmental Reading Assessment)

The DRA is an excellent tool HWDSB has been using for years to assess students’ independent reading levels. I administer the test for most students in September/October and again in June, with some students needing an addition “check in” in January. DRA is great tool because it is completely aligned with the (relatively newly) revised Ontario Language Curriculum. Today, as students worked on Literacy activities, students visited me 1:1 in the classroom to get the D.R.A process start. D.R.A. assesses students abilities to:

  • Reading “widely” (choose books at an appropriate grade level, from a variety of genres & authors) 
    • reflect on the types of books they like to choose for independent reading
    • reflect on their strengths & goals as a reader
  • Fluency (reading aloud), with appropriate:
    • expression
    • phrasing
    • accuracy  (= reading the words correctly, or “decoding” — which many people mistakenly confuse with “reading skill”)
    • rate
  • Comprehension:
    • predict what they will read, based on an introduction to a story or topic
    • summarize important facts (non-fiction) or  events, characters, setting (fiction)
    • literally comprehend (answer factual information about a text)
    • infer meaning that the author has left clues for (“read between the lines”)
    • reflect on deeper themes & meanings
    • reflect on the comprehension strategies they use while in the process of reading (e.g. visualizing, inferring, questioning, determining importance, connecting, responding emotionally, etc.)
  1. First, a student reads a passage from a book, aloud.  If they read accurately enough, they can move on to…
  2. Predicting what might happen next in that book
  3. Reading the whole book & answering the Comprehension questions.

Rarely have I found the D.R.A. score to be out of sync with students’ reading/comprehending skills in all other classroom reading activities & assignments. I will have data to share with families in the next week or so.


Positive School Culture – Graffiti Wall

Mr. Gris posted four thought provoking questions the first week of school, on the wall outside the gym. Students had a chance to discuss and share their individual thoughts/responses. We’ll post these below the graffiti wall posters so that the other grades will have space 🙂 Great thoughts by grade 6 students!

Reminders for Sept. 18th

  1. read 20 minutes
  2. review our blog
  3. Boys 3 pitch tournament tomorrow
  4. Consider donating a Toonie for Terry tomorrow
  5. Terry Fox run @ Rousseau Thursday 2:30p.m.

Day 8 – Sept. 14th, 2017

LITERACY – Reader’s Theatre

We began the day sitting in a large oval, reading our script for Reader’s Theatre. While we work through decoding the words, we are focused also on Oral Communication/Speaking skills. A great first read through! The script deals with themes of peer pressure, and is quite humourous 🙂


All the grade 6 students came together in our classroom today to express what they think and feel about “Leadership”. Using several scenarios from our life at Rousseau (school spirit, announcements, monthly assemblies) as well as the idea of a positive & inclusive school culture, students shared ideas of what leadership means to them. They also shared what they think leadership is and what student voice are.

Interestingly, the majority of students answered the questions from the point of view that all students are leaders that can set a good example! This was wonderful. Some students did think beyond their role as an independent role model towards the idea that student leaders can also help to organize groups of students, and still others thought beyond being a leader who “organizes things” towards being a leader who inspires & encourages. We will work towards an understanding of servant leadership, which is related in a way to the quote on our door today:

                                       “Great leaders don’t set out to “be” a leader.                                            They set out to make a difference in the world”


Day 6 – Sept. 12, 2017


The Sweetest Fig – We completed our list of evidence from the text……evidence that supports our answer to the question “Is Bibot a kind and empathetic person?”

In order to answer the question fully & well, we need to

  • look at the space provided
  • decide how much evidence to include 
  • decide if any evidence is similar to another piece of evidence and can be COMBINED (e.g. both times Bibot threatened to “teach Marcel a lesson”)
  • decide which evidence is the most important to answer the question


Looking at the lines provided, we decided that 2 pieces of evidence from the text would be sufficient. It will also give us space to add our own ideas

We talked it out with a partner — which pieces of evidence are the most significant?


We crafted an answer together — sometimes quoting from the text directly with “quotation marks” and sometimes paraphrasing so that we can use fewer words.

We talked about the addition of our own ideas & inferences and highlighted those in orange.


Tomorrow, everyone will independently write their own answer to the question!!  🙂


We realized that everyone can solve a math problem creatively, and many people can have many different solutions to the SAME problem!

ACTIVITY #1 —- Dot Cards –  We started with a fun activity where we quickly saw an arrangements of dots and quickly counted them. Because we didn’t see the dots for long, our brains combined the dots in order to add them in groups.

We shared the various ways we looked at the dots in order to count them up. Some of us recognized the hexagon right away (6 dots) and then added the dot in the middle:

Here are all the ways we quickly saw & grouped the dots:


ACTIVITY #3 —- Paper folding & Convincing a skeptic why we are right!

We were each given a square of paper. We were asked to use folding to construct a square that has exactly 1/4 the area of the original square.

We practised (with a partner) justifying that we were correct, by giving specific descriptions & proof. It is important to define everything (what is a square?) and how we know our answer is correct. Tomorrow we will try a few more challenges



Next, we reviewed the visual representations of composite numbers and their factors from, and previewed tomorrow’s math work.

The first two composite numbers (4 and 6) are completed for us already. Remember,  “x”  (multiply) means  “groups of”.


  1. Use a line to divide groups of circles into groups (all composite numbers have more than 2 factors, and so they will have at least two different ways to group the circles)
  2. You may need to add your own circles to show another pair of factors.
  3. Write the multiplication sentences for the groups (e.g. 1 x 4   and  2 x 2)
  4. Highlight the factors   (if a number occurs more than once, only highlight one of them)
  5. List the factors in the last column.
  6. Write down the number of factors in the last column.


We continued the last lesson, where we focused on:

  • posture
  • diaphragmatic breathing
  • balance
  • steady beat
  • harmonizing

Day 5 – Sept. 11/2017


Some students started the day getting our “Readers Theatre” scripts ready! We will be working on our reading aloud & oral communication (vocal effects: expression, tone, pace, volume). Students will all have a turn reading one of 16 roles in a one scene “play” entitled, “It’s not a Party; It’s Just a Get Together”. [the themes of the text are peer pressure and responsibility]. We also participated in some independent reading, while other students worked with the teacher 1:1 on an assignment follow-up].

Supporting an Open-Response Reading answer with “Evidence”

We followed up our previous independent activities where we highlighted words & phrases to support the answer: “No, Bibot the dentist is not a kind and empathetic person.” As a whole class, we began to                   List the evidence from the text:

  • direct quotes  (word for word, exactly as they appear in the text)
  • paraphrased quotes (the ideas from the exact words in the text are the same, but we can shorten whole sentences or combine ideas —- as long as we don’t add any new information like opinions or conclusions)

We’ll finish this list tomorrow and prioritize which pieces of evidence are the best for our answer (about 2 or 3 —- a great exercise in critical thinking!). Then we’ll craft a final answer that uses the evidence from the text (direct quotes or paraphrased quotes) as well as our own ideas.



We began by reviewing Prime Numbers from Friday….and then identifying and naming Composite Numbers. We’re still using this very cool visual representation of numbers from YouCubed.


We noticed that if we list the composite numbers, there is a pattern of even numbers and odd numbers……but then the pattern stops?!

None of us knew why, so we turned to Twitter & learned how to tweet out a question, complete with hashtags to engage readers (e.g. #onted for Ontario Education and #math for Math) and mentions (e.g. @MrSosClassroom), all in 140 characters. Hopefully we get an answer — it looks like Mr. So (who teaches in Milton)  has shared with his 6,000+  twitter followers!





We tried a Tango-salsa kind of dance today. Amazing how many students are very good at this…the rest of the class did random fun arm and leg movements like me. It looked more like the chicken dance…..but we were still moving!!!



We sang in harmony, in a round with “Fish and Chips”. We’re focussing on:

  • posture
  • diaphragmatic breathing
  • producing a pleasing tone with our “head voices
  • balance between two parts singing in harmony

(oops, video is upside down…)