Our Class

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

This Year is Going to ROCK!

Welcome back to our classroom blog!  The grade 5 students in our class are the same as last year.  We have new grade 4 students joining us for a great year of growing and learning!  Our class is really AWESOME!  

So far this year we have started to learn about Rocks and Minerals in Science.  Yesterday we used cookies as a pretend rock, we broke the cookies apart to see how different ingredients make up the cookie, just like different minerals make up a rock.  We drew diagrams of rocks and the cookies and labelled the different parts of each.  It was both fun and delicious!

We have also started to learn to tell time in math.  Soon we won't have to ask Ms Blacker what time recess is, we'll be able to figure it out on our own!  She is looking forward to that! 

Today Ms McIntyre visited our classroom.  She is going to teach us once per cycle.  We're very excited and lucky to have her teach us too! 

We're looking forward to sharing lots of exciting learning, news and activities throughout the new school year!  Please check back in with us soon! 

Written as shared writing by room 16 students and Ms Blacker

Friday, 26 April 2013

Our Recent Class Read Aloud - Holes

    Recently our class finished reading the novel Holes by Louis Sachar.  We really enjoyed this novel because it was filled with mysteries that focused on the theme of destiny.  The main character of the novel is Stanley Yelnats, a boy whose first name is his last name spelled backwards.  The novel reveals to the reader how Stanley’s life, both past and present, is connected to the stories of the other characters. 

    To celebrate the end of the novel (and my last day as a teacher candidate in the classroom), we watched the Disney movie version of Holes.  We also made a special snack – worms and dirt! – that fit into our Holes theme.

Here is what the class had to say about Holes.  **SPOILER ALERT**

Thor – I liked when Stanley and Zero were climbing the mountain and broke the curse.
Thomas – I liked when Stanley and Zero were released and Camp Green Lake became a girl scout camp.
Taylor – I liked when the lizards didn’t bite Stanley and Zero.
Angelynne – I liked when the sploosh saved Stanley and Zero.
Inderdeep – I liked when they survived in the desert.
Seth – I liked when Stanley, Zero, and Zigzag were fighting.
Efrel – I liked when they found the onion patch.
Alyssa – I liked when Zero told Stanley that he took the shoes.
Mackenzie – I liked when Stanley told Zero that there was an Italian restaurant on the top of Big Thumb.
Delson – I liked when they had the Superbowl party.
Jamie – I liked when Zero’s mom sang to Zero at the end.
Emily – I liked when Zero found his mom.
Jules – I liked Sam’s onion patch on Big Thumb.
Angelica – I liked when Stanley sang the song to Zero.
Quintin – I liked when Kissin’ Kate Barlow killed the sheriff.
Kyrra – I liked when Stanley and Zero were digging the hole at night.
Aidain – I liked when Mr. Pendanski got hit in the face with the shovel.
Ms. Wiens – One of my favourite parts was when Stanley made the joke about Mary Lou in a bikini.

    As a class, we loved reading Holes!  I am glad we had the chance to celebrate the novel for my last day at Brooklands.  To the students of Room 16 – I will miss you very much, and want to thank you for all the learning and fun we have had together this year!  I wish you the best for the rest of this year and beyond.

Written by Ms. Wiens and the students of Room 16.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Earth Day is Every Day

We read Schim Schimmel's book "Dear Children of the Earth: A letter from Home" prior to Earth Day.  This book is a beautiful book about how Mother Earth needs help from the Children of Earth to help protect, care and love her and our brother and sister animals.  After we read this book, we discussed how we can help Mother Earth so that she can be a healthy home for future generations.  We decided that Earth Day should be every day if we want to help our home.  We then wrote our own letters to Mother Earth explaining what we are thankful for and how we will strive to protect her.  After we created slides on Keynote with a line from our own letter, we put them together to create this visual letter to our one and only home, Mother Earth!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Something Good

At the end of the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio, there is a quote that says: "Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good."  We decided to write about a time that we did something good in honor of Auggie Pullman (the main character from Wonder) and his wonderful new friends.

Here are the things that we've done that are good:

Ms Blacker helps her dad because he is in a wheelchair after having an accident.
Seth helped a friend who was being bullied
Inderdeep helps his grandma to do stuff because she has a hard time walking.
Charity helps her mom to make supper.
Thomas helped his grandpa when he fell down the stairs.
MacKenzie helped a friend get up when she slipped on the ice.
Jules helped his dad clean out the garage.
Karen helps her mom and dad when her baby brother gets sick.
Quintin helps elderly people cross the street.
Delson helps his mom clean the house.
Kyrra helps her mom by walking her brother to school.
Taylor helps by holding the door for elderly people.
Jacob helps by doing chores at his house.
Efrel helps his little sister with her home reading.
Angelynne helps her brother learn to read.
Alyssa helps her mom to shovel snow.
Cole helps his little cousin to tie his shoes.
Jamie helps her sister by holding her music sheets when she plays the clarinet.
Emily helps her mom to do the dishes.
Thor helps by walking his younger brother to and from school

Being helpful and doing good things makes us feel better! 

Written as shared writing by room 16 students and Ms Backer

Wonder by R.J. Palacio Book Review

Have you ever had friends so great that they stand up for you no matter what?  If so, you should read the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio,  this book is about friendship and kindness.  August Pullman is starting school for the very first time, but he's in grade 5.  He hasn't attended a "real" school yet because he has a facial disorder.  His face doesn't look normal and he is embarrassed by this. When August starts school other kids look at him funny, whisper about him, and they don't want to be touched by him.  This makes August feel sad and at times he doesn't want to go back to school.  August soon discovers, with the help of his family and some new friends that he is just like everyone else and he shouldn't let others bully him.  Everyone deserves to feel safe and welcomed at school. 

This book is a fictional book, but we discovered at the end that R.J. Palacio wrote this book from inspiration of other children who have a disability.  We loved this book because it made us laugh, happy, cry and it opened our eyes to the differences in people... We understand more about treating everyone fairly. We recommend this book for family or classroom read alouds for ages 9 and up. 

 Treat others the way you would want to be treated. 

Our favorite book!

Written as shared writing by the students of room 16 and Ms Blacker

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Digital Storytelling with Discovery Education and iMovie

Usually I like to blog with my students, I value their input, care about what they have to say and feel that it is important to share their story with others.  For a while now though I've really wanted to share with our audience how valuable Discovery Education has been as a teaching tool in my class and I wasn't sure how to do that with my students.  So I guess I need to take the plunge and do a solo post!  

Last spring, our division offered a Discovery information session where teachers could gather and share how they were using Discovery in their classes.  Most of us, new to Discovery, were simply showing videos.  Then, Joan Badger (curriculum coordinator), said that videos can be downloaded and this opened a whole new world of possibilities for me!  It was like a light went off for Joan and I as to what we could do with downloaded videos! 

Joan and I paired up at the end of last year to complete one more (big) project before school ended!  My class was learning about Habitats in Science, with Joan's guidance, I downloaded videos from Discovery Education that related to various habitats and from there we started a project called "Narrating Documentaries With iMovie". For this project my students:
  •  watched the video several times and learned from it
  •  they paraphrased their learning in a script
  •  they imported the Discovery Education video into iMovie and split the clips into shorter segments in their video project
  •  they detached the original audio from the video clips and deleted it
  •  they added transitions between clips
  •  they recorded their own audio scripts to match the video segments they selected
  •  they found and added creative commons music on 
  •  they recorded a video introduction and conclusion of themselves using green screen technology and put themselves right into the movie
A day or two into this project I was a bit panicked that we had taken on too much with so little time left in the school year.  My students determination, willingness to learn and enthusiasm for this inquiry based project overshadowed my doubts.  We continued along and in no time at all EVERYONE in my class had a completed video project.  

I think that's the most important part about this type of project is that everyone was capable of completing it.  When the project was completed we had a video screening and my students were excited to learn about different habitats from their peers and even more so, they were thrilled to have the opportunity to be teachers!  Isn't that the way it should be?  Students should be learning from each other, they should be given the opportunity to be the expert and to share their knowledge.  My role changed to that of facilitator.  I loved the shift in responsibility because as a class we are a team and that team has to work together! 

So, how has this project changed me?  Well it's taught me to believe in my students ability to complete something that might seem a bit far fetched and it's proven to me again that technology has the power to break down barriers that may have originally impeded someone in the group.  My dynamic group of learners were successful and we celebrated that joy!  As a result, I continue to create digital storytelling projects with my class this year and they still love it!  This project has also sparked a new fire in me because I realized how easy it was to use iMovie and green screen technology.  This is my new technology passion! 

So far this year... my technology group have created narrated documentaries on Weather.  My grade fours are currently creating narrated documentaries about the Arctic.  Many of my students have asked if they can make a video for their project fair.  I love that they love using Discovery clips and iMovie to further their learning! 

Friday, 11 January 2013

Blizzard on the Prairies!

Let's talk about the weather... kind of a perfect day to talk about the weather in Winnipeg!  We are currently experiencing a winter blizzard in our beautiful city.  This type of extreme/severe weather is interesting to us because we have been learning about weather in Theme Studies for the last little while.  

Yesterday we heard a weather lore "Pink sky at night, Sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, Sailors take warning."  This means that if there is a beautiful sunset, the next day will be a nice and clear day.  If there is a beautiful sunrise this means that a storm is on it's way.  Yesterday morning, we had an absolutely beautiful sunrise, the entire sky was red, orange and pink.  We also heard weather forecasts that there was a blizzard on the way.  SO, the sunrise and the blizzard made the weather lore accurate for today's forecast.

Sunrise over Brooklands

The past few days has been mild, warmer weather.  Now a cold air mass is moving in from the west.  A cold air mass means that cold air is pushing the warm air up.  As the warm air rises, this will create cloudy, stormy skies.  We can expect precipitation in the form of SNOW!  We will probably get LOTS of snow.  When a blizzard hits we can expect a drop in temperatures - it's going to be cold!  The wind is going to increase and we can expect to hear the wind howling!  The strong winds will be blowing snow and cause it to be harder to see.  This will make driving difficult. 

When the weather is like this we want to stay inside!  As a result we are having indoor recess.  We are going to stay cozy throughout the day.  Hopefully everyone gets home safely and has a cozy evening.  On the Prairies, we can expect blizzards from time to time BUT we NEVER get a snow day in the city!!!  This kind of severe weather is just normal to Canadians! 

Written as shared writing by Room 16 and Ms Blacker