Day 77 – Thurs., Jan. 21, 2016 – Social Studies – Canadian Communities

LITERACY – Speeches 

Our competitive speech writers worked in a quiet area with our classroom volunteer, Mr. Khan. Their goal is to finish their reading and point form fact list by the end of tomorrow.

Social Studies – Canadian Communities, Past & Present

MUSIC CHAMPIONS ASSEMBLY inspires us to learn about POW WOWS – by Carson M.

Guest post by 5/6F student Carson M.


On Friday, April, 24th, 2015, Rousseau students celebrated First Nations culture at a special “Music Champions Celebration”, featuring guest performers Jay Shawana & the group O Niagara. They also viewed a documentary by community media specialist Vanessa Crosbie Ramsay. As well, students viewed the music videos created by students in Classes 4/5O,  5/6F and 6R,  who participated in the 3-month-long “Music Champions” program, a program offered by the Royal Conservatory of Music (“Learning Through the Arts”). Students had the chance to experience some First Nations dancing, singing and learn about the specifics of these performances. As I said on a previous blog post, “it was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see all of the dances”, but as the blog also states, it’s not a once-in-a-lifetime experience! If you want to experience more of this original Canadian culture, you could go to a Pow Wow. I decided to look further into Pow Wows, here’s what I learned!

Just by searching up: “First Nations PowWows Hamilton” I got tons of cool websites that show dates for upcoming Pow Wows of all First Nations cultures! Here is a link for a website full of PowWow schedules for the Province of Ontario!

Here are some specific Pow Wow dates:

What is a Pow Wow? Pow Wow time is a First Nations peoples gathering and meeting together, to join with each other in various celebratory events such as dancing, singing, visiting, renewing old friendships and making new ones. This is a time to bring back the thoughts of the good ol’ ways and to keep the rich heritage alive! Pow Wows or “celebration” as it was called back then, were held in spring to welcome new life and different tribal nations would come together for the event. The different groups would take this time to settle arguments, form alliances and trade with each other. Also, families would hold naming and honoring ceremonies. Original Pow Wows were often of religious significance furthermore, they consisted of religious dances and songs. However at contemporary Pow Wows, religious dances are not usually performed. Contemporary Pow Wows is a social event for everyone to have an awesome time, whether you are a Native Canadian or not! It offers a chance for Native Canadians and also Native Americans from tons of different tribal nations to get together and participate in visiting, signing and dancing. Also it is a chance for our non-First Nations people to come and take part in inter-tribal dancing for a Pow Wow is considered a cultural sharing event for all to learn about Natives and to share information and ideas.

The Pow Wow season is from March to September or later and some choose to “go the circuit” for the entire season. They might travel all over Canada, and even parts of the United States. People also take part in competitive dancing and signing for money is a recent change in the traditional Powwows. You must be registered to partake.

The word Powwow, some trace, belongs to the Algonquin language. Originally pronounced “pauau” or “pau wau” which means “gathering of medicine men and spiritual leaders in a curing ceremony”. Early European settlers thought that the term meant a council or a large gathering of native peoples, so the word spread through the nation. As the natives learned the English language, they accepted the term and definition given to their social events.

“The circle is an important symbol to First Nations  cultures because it symbolizes  the continuation of life. To the Native Candians, life is never ending, exactly like the geometric shape we, today call, a circle. Powwows bring the circle of the people closer, closer to their culture and their community”

I hope you learned something about Pow Wows from this post and until next time, this is Carson singing off. Have fun!!!!

DAY 144 – Aboriginal People (Gr. 5), Air & Flight (Gr. 6), Decimals/Fractions (Gr. 5), Ratios (Gr. 6)



Tomorrow is our Music Champions assembly! Please join us from 9:10 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. to see Music Videos created by students in classes 4/5O, 5/6F and 6R. Also, our community artist, musician Jason Shawana (who taught us about Ojibway culture and drumming) will bring a group to perform music that represents their Ojibway culture. Jason will lead the whole school in some PowWow-style singing warm ups and Nikki Shawana will sing and dance! Community film-maker Vanessa Crosbie Ramsay (who taught us storyboarding and visual storytelling) will show one of her short films. We are very excited! Our invitation on the school blog, Rousseau Ramblings was posted earlier in the week.  Today, with 4/5O and 6R, we made and signed 3 huge “thank you” cards for Jason Shawana, Vanessa Crosbie Ramsay and Sara Dickinson (Learning Through the Arts coordinator for the Royal Conservatory of Music)



We began the day with Independent Reading  practice, and then moved into Social Studies & Science.

Gr. 5 SOCIAL STUDIES – students worked with their partners to put finishing touches on their Google Slides presentations about pre-contact Aboriginal People (First Nations, Inuit….we will learn about Metis people later).


Gr. 6 SCIENCE –  students worked on the Scientific Method for two separate experiments related to Properties of Air. Two Questions/provocations were posed by Ms Fawcett. Students recorded their background knowledge related to the topics, we did a bit of  research as a whole group, and then students made their Hypotheses.

We conducted the first experiment in partners (What happens when moving air/air under pressure is “capped off”?)

Students needed guidance especially with the concept of OBSERVATIONS – what we actually see happening. It is difficult to jump to the conclusions, especially when we are sooooo good at making inferences!!!!

After practising how to articulate actual Observations, we worked on making Conclusions (inferences about WHY the observable facts happened they way the did).



Grade 5 students worked in groups with Base Ten materials and place value charts on converting decimal numbers into fractions (tenths and hundredths)




Grade 6 students continued to help their buddies work on their “About Me” Google Slides presentations  on iPads  

Grade 5 students and their buddies from 1/2K enjoyed books together — in our classroom for a change! Last time, the grade 1/2 students hid on us….so today, Grade 5 students excitedly hid all over the classroom when they heard their buddies were coming to our room!!

In Grade 6, we continued working on Equivalent Ratios. Students are reminded to write the ratios in one of the two correct formats.


  • 3:2
  • 3 to 3



DAY130 – March 31/2015 – Aboriginal Peoples & Communities in Canada (S.S.), Fractions, Music Monday, Buddies

MATH – Fractions

Grade 5 students…

…started working on a review of fractions from grade 4. Working in partners is a great way to share our expertise!


Grade 6 students….

…..reviewed fractions as well, by reviewing anchor charts from last year’s grade 5 blog posts.


We used a simple provocation as a “launching pad” to explore proper fractions, improper fractions, mixed numbers, and decimals.

“If a fraction has a numerator which is smaller than the denominator, is the fraction greater than, less than, or equal to the whole?”




We began learning the song for the annual Music Monday celebration!

This year’s celebration of music education will take place at Rousseau on Monday, May 4th in the Gymnasium. It is an initiative of the Coalition for Music Education. Classes will perform music that they have learned during Music class or Choirs (Primary Choir & Junior Choir) with Mrs. Stinson (West Wing) and Ms Fawcett (East Wing).  You can read more about Music Monday here. This year’s song is called “We Are One”, and is written by 16 year old Connor Ross — he won a contest to have his song featured in this year’s Music Monday celebrations across Canada!

The Coalition for Music Education describes the singing of a common song as follows:

“In a song that captures Canada’s cultural mosaic, We Are One illuminates the purpose of this annual artistic celebration; providing an anthem that is sure to inspire Canadians of all ages to unite in recognition and celebration of the vital role music plays in our culture, our communities and in our schools.”



We had a great time with our younger buddies today! In Mr. Lee’s class, grade 6 students taught their younger buddies to sign into their Google docs accounts! Class 5/6 is full of technology experts who love to see smiling learners, and 1L is full of students eager to learn new technology! Win, win! 🙂

In Mrs. Knight’s 1/2 Class, we explores the first seven letters of the alphabet……….and ALL THE WORDS that can be made!! Amazing!! Who knew there were so many words????

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DAY 103 – Feb. 11, 2015 – Speeches (Writing, Oral Comm.), MUSIC CHAMPIONS/Social Studies/Community

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

MUSIC CHAMPIONS – Ojibway Culture, Community & Music
We had our 3rd session with Jay! The First Nations welcoming sing that is an equivalent to a national anthem is called a “Flag Song” Jay is a real athlete when he sings — and he teaches us about the power of the breath while singing.

We sang the call and answer Pow Wow song we have been singing since the first session. Energizing!!!


We took a look at last week’s work:
– our group-generated word wall on the theme of community
– our group-generate list of possible vocables for our song






Each group also had a Janice to work with Jay on the big drum!

Misappropriation of Culture
As we learn more and more about new cultures, invariably students will bring in their background ideas, misinformation & biases. Today a student used markers to draw “war paint” stripes on their face. This is a great learning opportunity to teach students what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. When we take a tradition (like face paint from a First Nations culture), take it out of its proper context (an actual First Nations person participating in a sacred ceremony) and use it to “become like them”, we are misappropriating or misusing the tradition in a way that can be seen as disrespectful. Instead of blaming or shaming students for copying this sort of behaviour that they likely learned from adults in the media (tv shows, movies), we can teach students the true meaning of the tradition (e.g. Face paint) and when it is appropriate.