DAY 120 – Wed., April 6, 2016 -Inferring Characterization; Flight Inquiry; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Point of View



SCIENCE – Flight Inquiry

Last week, we generated a ton of questions about flight! 🙂 We worked last week on removing duplicates, and grouping similar question topics together.

We put our questions into larger categories. We will at some point touch on our questions about helicopters and hot air balloon’s, but for now our biggest focus is airplanes.


We compared our questions to the specific Ontario curriculum expectations, and underlined or circled parts of the curriculum that matched our questions.


Today we identified our big, main question: How is it even possible for a very heavy objects to fly? 

Clustered around our main question How does heavy object fly, were smaller questions such as  How heavy is too heavy? How can a plane lift off the ground? What parts of the airplane make it fly? What factors of physics are required to cause the airplane to fly and why?

ALL OF THESE are versions of our main question…. And they will be answered as we research the subtopics. We organized the questions into subtopics, and they are:

  • Aerodynamic shape (body & wings)
  • Process of a flight (take off, laintaining flight, landing)
  • Engines
  • Wings (flaps, positions)
  • Weather (effects of weather)




LITERACY – Media, Point of View

We continued to watch the movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” as an opportunity to infer the elements of a story

  • Characterization
  • Setting
  • Rising Action
  • Complication

We are still watching the first two thirds of the story, where there is Rising Action. (no climax yet……)

We also discovered the Main Theme (according to the Dad, Caratacus Potts): There is always hope.

Curricular links

We had many opportunities to discuss high level, deep, questions & ideas, especially related to Point of View, but also related to other topics:

LITERACY/Media, Point of View

  • The country where the “evil” King/Queen live is called “Vulgaria”
    • it is similar to the real country called, “Bulgaria”, but
      • the writers/film makers could not use the name “Bulgaria” because it would be insulting to the real country, “Bulgaria”
      • the writers called the country, “Vulgaria” — related to the word “vulgar”, which means rude
  • The story takes place in 1910 – we could infer that Caratacus Potts has lost his wife, due to the “traditional” families that existed at that time. In 2015, Caratacus Pott’s missing partner could have been a husband & the children.
  • Vulgaria reminds us of Germany, where people were terrorized by the Nazis
    • the King/Queen have a “Child Catcher” and they take away the children

the people are afraid of the soldiers and hide in their homes (reminds us of Nazi Germany and European countries during World War II that were taken over by the Nazi’s)


SCIENCE – Flight, Aerodynamics

 How aerodynamic is the flying car??? Not very!!


Questions for Students to Answer:

  • What other “point of view” questions or situations have you been thinking about while watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?
  • Would the car in the movie actually be able to fly? How would you change the car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to make it more “Aerodynamic”?
  • What other curriculum links have you noticed while viewing the film?


April 6th Reminders

  1. read 20 min

  2. Read blog —- answer the question

  3. Pizza day tomorrow

  4. Today is last day to order Hotdogs

online for FRIDAY





Day 65 – Jan. 5, 2015 – Reading, Health/Media, Art



Students engaged in Independent Reading and received feedback on their homework as necessary. Be sure to read student comments at the end of yesterday’s blog post

HEALTH/ Literacy (Media)

We continued viewing scenes from the movie “Inside Out”. See yesterday’s blog post for an overview of the health curriculum topicsToday, we witnessed the main character, Riley, becoming overwhelmed with her grief at the loss of her old school & friends. Riley thinks her parents would want her to be happy about the move and so she allows her Joy and Sadness to struggle with each other….leaving Anger, Fear, & Disgust in charge of her control centre/brain. Students are thinking very deeply about this interplay of emotions and how Riley is ignoring parts of her personality (hockey, friends, honesty) and making poor choices. We watched Joy learn to let Sadness take control back at the control centre….and we’re waiting to see how it turns out.

Here are some very deep & insightful student reflections about why Joy might be letting Sadness take control:

  • If Riley feels her sadness, she might change her mind about running away –  Dea

  • Riley might need to feel sadness before she can feel joy again – Myles

  • If Riley feels her sadness, it might get her to think about going back to her mom and dad – Ryan

  • Riley has been shutting down. Sometimes, you need a little bit of sadness to wake you up to feel joy and other emotions – Katherine

  • If Riley’s sadness takes the controls, Riley will be able to feel her sadness, think about her parents, and then realize that running away is wrong – Carson


Here are some sample answers to yesterday’s reflections – click on a thumbnail to enlarge. You can also visit yesterday’s blogpost and scroll to the bottom (“comments”)

MATH Review – blog question

Students should practice 3 Multiplication Strategies (below) to solve the following question:

325 x 47

  • Use decomposition in an array
  • expanded form/decomposition
  • standard algorithm

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ART with Mr. Obermeyer

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DAY 120 – Tues. March 10th – Music Champions/LTTA, Social Studies (First Nations People), Writing/Speeches, Math/Division

Fawcett’s Class DAILY QUOTE:

MUSIC CHAMPIONS – Media, Music, Community Building, Social Studies

Today, students had their second session learning about Visual Storytelling. Our community media expert, Vanessa Crosbie Ramsay, facilitated the beginning stages of our music video creations

We are taking our  inspiration from the songs about community  that we created in our clan groups in sessions with musician/producer Jay Shawana

Both Vanessa and Jay are involved with our class, Miss Rankin’s class and Mr. Obermeyer’s class as part of the HWDSB partnership with the Royal Conservatory of Music and community artists for the “Learning Through the Arts (LTTA)” program. Our sessions are called “Music Champions”. Today, we also welcomed three additional special guests in our classroom. It was exciting to welcome more members of the community into our school!

“Form in Music” – As we planned the length of our music videos, it was necessary to review the structure of our songs. Our songs consist of elements that Jason shared with us from traditional Ojibwe or Anishinaabe songs, such as those performed around a drum at PowWow. The songs consist of vocables (sound effect words ) and also lyrics in the language of the singers (in our case, English). Each song has a theme of community. Ms. Fawcett reviewed form in music – and we noticed that our songs follow an ABA form

A (vocables)    –     B (lyrics, in our language)    –     A  (vocables, repeated)

Vanessa and the students got further acquainted today, by sharing an interesting or important fact about themselves – and Vanessa quizzed us afterwards 🙂 Do we really listen and learn about people when they share? (Ms Fawcett’s provocation for professional reflection this year: Do we listen to respond, or do we listen to understand?)   We used a matching game to become acquainted with vocabulary used in video production.

Through the creation of our songs about community, we were storytellers. 

Our song lyrics will be basis for the stories in our music videos.

Everyone in our student groups will experiment with the different roles of video production & everyone will have equal say! Ms. Fawcett emphasized our learning about community – Everyone’s voice is valued and heard in a functioning community. Even as we try to think about the roles that we would personally like and enjoy as individuals, we always need to be compassionate and consider everyone’s point of view.

In our clan groups, we reflected on the roles we will play in the production of our music video.   Vanessa helped students illustrate filming concepts like wide-angle shots and close-ups…while Mr. Yokoyama took pictures of us taking pictures! Before our next session on Friday when we will film the video portion of our music videos, we will work in class with our clan groups to create our music video Storyboards.   We also worked today on creating movements/drama/tableaux for our music videos that reflects the meaning of our songs. We will use the elements of Visual Storytelling that Vanessa helped us brainstorm last time: IMG_1439.JPG   IMG_1441.JPG We also use student expertise when possible ~~ this will become so important during the filming and editing stages (iMovie). Today, one student shared his expertise with the class about how to save images online that we might use as “stills” in our videos. IMG_1450.JPG   IMG_1453.JPGIMG_1452.JPG   We are very excited to film on iPads on Friday!  We will use the iMovie app to put it all together!   LITERACY – Speech Writing/Oral Communication Today, some students finished writing speeches or memorizing speeches, or practiced their oral delivery of their speeches. Students who have completed their speech delivery enjoyed some independent reading time.

MATH – Division Today we reviewed basic concepts of division. Divison is the inverse operation of multiplication

factor    x    factor =  product

product   ÷  factor   =   factor

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Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 – Math, Literacy, Social Studies, Drama

by Lauren & Ella


First today we had art. In art we worked on tesselations. Basically you cut out a basic shape and cut out a different shaped piece but way smaller. Then you had to tessellate it on a blank piece of paper. Everyone did a great job!!!!

[EDITOR: See this link for basic information about tessellations — they are quite mathematical — and this link for images of tessellations.  Students learn about the patterning aspect of tessellations in Grade 7.  Looking forward to seeing the final products that students have been creating in Mr. Obermeyer’s Art class!)



Today in literacy we worked on our point of view wheels: based on the Social Studies texts, “When We Built the Trojan Horse” for gr.5 and for gr.6 “Ashooging and Bjarni”. When we were done we would find a partner and make a interview with them. But you weren’t being interviewed as your self you were one of the characters in your story! Later we will film the interviews, upload them and present them to the class! [EDITOR: Curriculum expectations addressed as part of our “Point of View” TLCP: Reading, Writing, Media, Social Studies and Drama]

709 708


Next we did math. Grade 5’s corrected their home work questions on the SMARTboard. [EDITOR: We looked at student examples for question 5 — thank you Thomas, Jack and Spencer for sharing such great strategies! We worked on showing all our thinking, and adding additional strategies to bump up our Level 3+ answer to Level 4. For homework and in class tomorrow, students will work on bumping up their answers]

Feb26 2013 Grade 5 math - fractions, mixed numbers_1

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GR.6 did the same but did it with the over head projector  [EDITOR: Thank you to Holly, Katelynn and Madeline showing leadership in this regard]. Tonight we will all bump our work up to a level 4.




In the lab we worked on the social studies story that we have been using for point of view, but we worked on question on it. [EDITOR: Students answered an Open Response question, using their Google Docs so files can be shared with me online].

Gr. 5’s question about “How We Built the Trojan Horse” was: How would the story change if you swithched around the point of view to the trojans. Use information from the text and your own ideas.

Gr. 6’s question about “Ashooging and Bjarni” was: What did Ashooging give Bjarni a “gift”? Use information from the text and your own ideas.

[EDITOR: These reading responses will be shared and “moderated”, along with other classes’ work  on Thursday. Junior and Primary teachers will be gathering in their divisions to look at Open Response and some Writing samples as part of ongoing school planning. The activity is based on our current class TLCP that looks at Point of View as well as Reading for Meaning, which are curriculum expectations.]

Back in the class, we wrote Agendas and then went out for DPA! We played kick baseball in the slushy snow and everyone had a good laugh and worked extra hard to move quickly and kick the ball in the wind and slush. Great day!

Day 31 – Wed., Oct. 17, 2012


We took a look at our multiple strategies for adding, subtracting and multiplying using standard algorithm and mental math strategies.

We may have come up with a new term for a strategy and will look for some guidance from our math facilitator. We know that when we break large numbers that are being added into smaller addition questions, it is called using “partial sums”. One of our strategies (3rd picture) was a subtraction question where smaller chunks of the number are subtracted (instead of subtracting the whole number all at once). We inferred that this strategy should be called “partial differences”. Fingers crossed!

Subtraction: using expanded form
Subtraction: rounding to a friendly number, then compensation
Subtracting: partial differences

Music & Literacy: (thanks to Skyler, who took some of the notes for this blogpost)

We are going to be learning a song called, “The Green Fields of France” for Remembrance Day. We needed to talk about our background knowledge and learn a bit about what the song is about. Ms Fawcett said the song talks about World War I. When WWI and WWII were mentioned, students had questions about how it started. Students who started their grade 5 year in Miss Napier’s class and grade 6 students who were in Miss Napier’s class last year shared their background knowledge from having red Lois Lowry’s “Number the Stars”. Other students will have a chance to read this too. It is a story of peaceful resistance, where Danish people hid Jewish people and made sure they escaped safely to Sweden during WWII.

Students wondered how Hitler was able to convince the German people to fight and to murder Jewish people in the Holocaust and this lead to talking about the importance (now and then) of MEDIA. First, we talked about how Hitler first gained the trust of many Germans by helping them with the country’s problem with money (there was a lot of poverty) and how he was elected their “Chancellor” (like “president”). Germans believed that Hitler was trying to help their country. But he just wanted power. Thinking about media, we talked about the importance of the media and howdictators like Hitler used their officers (soldiers) and the media (radio, pamphlets, posters, speeches) to convince the citizens of a country about only one point of view. We talked about how citizens in Germany were only given Hitler’s message and not anyone else’s point of view. Hitler brainwashed the people to think they must hate Jewish people, for example, and must kill them. So the German soldiers murdered all the Jewish people that they could in Germany and also in countries that Germany invaded (over 6 million Jewish people died) and at least 6 million more people died too:

  • the people that helped Jewish people
  • the citizens in Germany and other countries who were against Hitler and the Nazi party
  • the people that Hitler thought were not “perfect enough” — for example, disabled people, gay people and people that were part of the “Gypsy” or Roma culture.

All together, over 12 million people died in this killing of citizens and the tragedy is called, “The Holocaust”.

Students talked about how some of us have German heritage and that it’s important to not blame all of Germany for what happened. Many German people tried to save Jewish people! As well as making a connection to “Number the Stars”, some students made a text-to-text connection to “The Diary of Anne Frank”, which is a true story where this helping happened. Some German people tried to get rid of Hitler!

One student wondered if Hitler and his top officers also had to go into battle and the answer is no. Students started to think about how unfair it is that people who make decisions to start wars often don’t have to go into the danger and the battles.

We talked about technology and how it changes the way wars are fought. In World War I, soldiers fought on the ground with rifles and bayonets and in WWII airplanes had been invented and many soldiers fought in the war in the air and also dropped bombs from the air. Someone shared that WWII ended with the use of two nuclear bombs in Japan (Japan had joined Germany’s team). That was a new technology, too.

Students shared knowledge of other war technology in WWII: tanks, more sophisticated rifles and bombs. Some students became excited and wanted to talk about how fighting in video games is fun. Ms Fawcett asked us to think about the real use of guns. A real war is not fun at all.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We will not discuss certain particular details about war because they could be too upsetting for some. Students collectively have a lot of background knowledge about WWI and WWII and moving forward, we will focus on the importance of peace so that wars can be avoided.


We were going to finish our announcements for the Winter Clothing Drive, but we were interrupted by a tweet from Craig Kielburger in our twitter feed. He said that the Globe & Mail newspaper wanted to know from students what they were learning at school to prevent bullying. We orally summarized as a whole class all the different learning and actions we have participated in this year for building a Culture of Peace in our classroom, and in the school. . Here is a summary:

We went to the computer lab and opened our second Google Doc and pasted our responses to the question about preventing bullying into a form on the Globe and Mail website. If they are interested in printing selected responses, the Globe and Mail will call the school and we can ask parents for permission. It’s exciting to be using our literacy skills beyond our classroom walls!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: When we talked today about characteristics of “bullies” but that got me thinking as a teacher about the harmful nature of labels. Just yesterday, as we wrote announcements for the coat drive, I pointed out to students that we should revise language that labels and de-personalizes people. For example, some students referred to students who had many needs as “the needy”. I explained to students that when we label a group of people, we start to see them as a group and not as individual people. When we use a label like “the needy” we stop seeing them as people — as sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces. We stop seeing them as people with hopes and dreams. We marginalize them further by taking away their individual identities. If people have needs, they are stil people. “They are people with needs”, and that’s the word choice we should use…….So I learned something tonight while reflecting on our lesson about preventing bullying: a person who bullies is not “a bully”. They are a person. A person who bullies, but they are an individual, a boy or a girl, with hopes and dreams. It is not helpful to label anyone. Bullying is not who they are; it is a behaviour they engage in. Next step: Another lesson on word choice and the role of using labels in the marginalization of people.]


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