April 3rd, 2013 – Division, Student Blogs, Open Response, Drama, Our Day in Tweets



APRIL3 2013 Corridor of Voice COMPOSITION 2

April3 2013 Corridor of Voices COMPOSITION 1

April3 2013 Corridor of Voices COMPOSITION 3



All in all, a really great day! With no snow, and lots of sunshine 🙂

Wed., Jan. 16th & Thurs. Jan. 17th

Thurs., Jan. 17th


ART – Today, we started our day in Art with Mr. Obermeyer, while I taught music to 4/5O.

LITERACY – Next we read another chapter from “Alexandria of Africa” by Eric Walters.

Alexandria of Africa coverIn today’s chapter we learned a little about the Maasai culture of Africa, through the character Nabala, who is a Maasai warrior (as well as the protector of the Child Save volunteers while they are helping to build a school). 5/6 F students were very engaged — it is always fun to see them laugh when author Eric Walters weaves humour into the text …and it is also so rewarding as a teacher to watch their faces during all the “ah-a” moments, when inferences come together into a sweet realization, or they make a keep connection to sophisticated ideas in the text. We are able at this point to connect this read aloud to our current Social Studies unit (grade 5 students are learning about Ancient Civilizations and grade 6 students are learning about Canada’s Aboriginal Cultures — First Nations, Inuit and Metis). All cultures can be looked at in through the same lens: in terms of the needs of the people — physical needs, social or group needs and psychological needs — and how these needs are shaped and met through a close relationship with the environment. For example, we learned today about the belief systems of the Maasai with respect to males and their “coming of age” (part of a their culture’s psychological needs). [We connected this to our current Growth and Development unit in Health.] We also learned about the way that members of the Maasai culture settled disputes (Social or Group Needs) and students made connections to Western culture. Questions arose in the text about the clashing of traditional cultures and “modern” (Western) culture. In current times (the setting of “Alexandria of Africa”), the Maasai find that their culture is clashing with more “modern” (Western) cultures in Africa — Should the Maasai be subjected to the beliefs and laws of modern society? Is the “modern” culture better and should the Maasai adapt their traditional beliefs to this new culture? This connects particularly well to grade 6 students’ study of First Nations culture — were some Europeans who arrived on Canada’s shores correct in believing that their “modern” Western culture was superior to the supposedly “primitive” First Nations cultures? This can lead grade 6 students to some interesting thoughts about where we find ourselves currently in Canada.

As for the character Alexandria, in today’s chapter we witnessed one of her first positive interactions — where her intelligence and “spark” showed up! We won’t give away the story, but suffice to say that the warrior Nebala may have a positive impact on Alexandria and help facilitate her personal growth.

“Alexandria of Africa” is a very rich text — it is difficult for us to get through it without wonderful discussions — and the students of 5/6F can hardly let a paragraph go by without some deep insight and sharing of connections to their own lives and texts and experiences they have enjoyed.

Thanks to 5/6F student Holly, we have a non-fiction book in our classroom about the Maasai — an autobiography entitled, “The Last Maasai Warriors” by Wilson Meikuaya, Jackson Ntirkana Our class is borrowing the book from Holly and any student is welcome to read it 🙂


MATH – Students completed yesterday’s diagnostic assessment. Later in the day, Grade 5 learned about finding Mean and Mode in a set of data, and Grade 6 learned more about finding the Median in a set of data. We had some practise, and will practise again tomorrow while I am at an inservice analyzing their diagnostics for February’s Fractions unit.

SOCIAL STUDIES – We had lab time today to collect information about civilizations (Ancient Civilizations for Grade 5; Canadian Aboriginal Peoples in Grade 6). Each student will choose two cultures and create a power point or SMARTboard presentation. We will use the lens of Psychological/Group/Physical Needs + the Environment in our learning.
Wed., Jan. 16th

by Thomas and Spencer

In social studies today we went to the computer lab and picked two topics on ancient Civilizations. we are getting ready for speaches and our teacher gave us a lesson on how to deliver a speach and that we should use hand gestures and eye contact walk around a little bit. Here is the beginning of an Anchor Chart (we started with non-verbal communication and will also develop the verbal communication list).

In Gym with Mr. Greenway, some groups presented their Dances today! This dance is awesome and fun! Thank you to the 5/6F and 6G student leaders who taught this dance unit! [note: duplicate links follow — the Blogsy app inserts duplicate links that we can’t manage to delete]



Day 37 – Fri., Oct. 26, 2012 – Summary; Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction


by Brendan and Luke

Summary of our read aloud today:

Juge roberts is being sarcastic and has a glazed look in his eyes. He has suffered whiplash and is making Alexandria say if she has driven a car or not. Mr. Roberts was making Alexandria admit she was a shoplifter and why did she do it when she had four hundred dollars.

Alexandria has been sentenced to 120 days in the juvenile detention centre.

She then assaulted the guard witch will make her have to stay in juvenile detention longer.


Class Visitor on Monday!

by Skyler

Tom Cooper – Director of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction is coming to our school on Monday to talk to us about poverty and how we can help.

About them

The Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction started in 2005 and they wanted to help people in poverty. Who are the Roundtable and where are they from? Well the people in the Roundtable are people in Hamilton like leaders from business, non-profit sectors from government and education (including our HWDSB Director John Malloy) and faith communities.

There Goal and Why We Invited Tom Cooper

What they want to achive is something that is so huge it’s unbalivable. Stop poverty in Hamilton.

They want to bring 95 650 people out of poverty and we think that is awsome so we invited him into our school to talk to him on how it can be done. Rousseau school is also helping some students who might be living in poverty warm by sharing clothing in the Winter Clothing Drive (“Coat Drive”). Make sure you participate!!! Thank you for readig my blog post can’t wait to fill you in again!!!!!!

We know that providing warm clothes (and toys and food for other drives throughout the year) does not solve issues related to poverty. Students are learning that although clothing, toy and food drives help fill an important immediate need, poverty will persist unless other changes and supports are put into place. We tweeted out a question on Twitter from @FawcettsClass to ask for ideas and Tom Cooper shared this one, which I retweeted:


Day 29 – Mon., Oct. 15, 2012 – Inferring; 3-Part Math Lesson

EDITOR: We were excited to learn that awesome Canadian author Eric Walters will be visiting our school in January! Thank you to Nathan’s mom, Mrs. Starr, for organizing this for the school! This is wonderful news, and we will read as many Eric Walters books as we can. He is a versatile children’s author who writes for a variety of age groups. The book we began today as our read aloud, Alexandria Of Africa is perfectly suited to the critical literacy work and social justice lens we will apply to our learning this year. We won’t give away all of the details of this wonderful book, but will share many of our “aha” moment and inferences. Students will take notes for our blog while we participate in the read aloud and practice our reading strategies as a whole group. We have been working a great deal on visualizing, and now will move to a focus on inferring, in part using this book.

Alexandria Of Africa

INFERRING – “reading between the lines”, taking what we read and making conclusions about things (class responses scribed by Victoria)

The first sentence of the text reads: “My mother tried to straighten the collar of my blouse and I brushed her hand away”. We inferred:

  • Alexandria has a Mother
  • She might not like to be touched
  • She might not like to dress up
  • She might not care about her appearance
  • She might like to do things on her own

The text says that Alexandria has a lawyer. We inferred:

  • Alexandria might have done something bad
  • Her family might be going through something

In the text, Alexandria says, “It wasn’t like I was going to get life in prison for stealing a couple of tops and a purse.” We inferred she had stolen something and thought about why she might do that when her parents are obviously rich. We inferred:

  • Maybe Alexandria was stealing to get attention (Thomas made a text-to-text connection to another book he read where a child shop lifted to get attention)
  • Her parents may not buy her things
  • Maybe her parents don’t want her to be spoiled so they will not buy her things
  • Maybe she rather spend her money on something else
  • Maybe she didn’t want to spend money
  • Maybe she didn’t want to wait in line up


MATH: Daily Shoot Photographer: Farrah

EDITOR: Part of our 3-Part Lesson Math Lesson – “Reflect and Connect”: coming together (“Congress”) to share our group work from Friday. As we share our work, we will always label different strategies with a yellow sticky note. More tomorrow! Next steps: We will work more intentionally on including the strategies we have learned in class, and not “fall back” exclusively on the standard algorithms.

Great work everyone!

Here is a closer look at our 3-Part Lesson Format layout. Due to increased demands on classroom wall “real estate” (e.g. posting Learning Goals & Success Criteria; Anchor Charts; word walls; student work with specific feedback, Bump Up walls, etc.) the idea was put forth among Math Facilitators (I’m not sure who started it, but am happy to give credit if someone knows!) for a math work wall that could come down when not in use. Our “removable wall” is a vinyl tablecloth. The 3 parts of the lesson plan (from left to right) are
  1. Getting Started (introductory lesson, in this case “strings” for addition and multiplication)
  2. Working On It (the problem that all groups will work on; open ended word problem)
  3. Reflect & Connect (student groupwork samples that are shared & discussed)
The last column, “What We Learned” is often an Anchor Chart that might list procedures, or summarize strategies that students can refer to when solving similar problems. I have found that there isn’t room for it on the tablecloth 🙂 , and I usually roll our chart paper stand to the right of the “Reflect & Connect” and create the Anchor Chart on the stand.