All about the textiles

Thanks to the hard work of our students our survival fair was a huge success! We spent 2 days selling inventions to other classes and to visiting parents. Students experienced what it was like to be a sales person as well as being responsible for money and mental math during the calculation of change.  Balancing their floats seemed the trickiest part as groups seemed to be anywhere from $300 to $2000 off.  We troubleshooted and have reflected on the process, much was learned and it was been great seeing new friendships and working partnerships come out of it. 

 

We have been working on our blankets inspired by the indigenous button blankets.  Students have chosen an animal who has characteristics that they see in themselves and we have talked about how we will not  be using traditional crests as they belong to specific families and are used in ceremonial and sacred cultural practices.  Students are practising their hand sewing skills as they add buttons onto their own creations, each button they add representing someone important in their life. 

 

Continuing on the textile track we have been exploring the idea and consequences of fast fashion.  With this CBC marketplace series as inspiration

 http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/episodes/2015-2016/clothing-waste-fashions-dirty-secret

We are investigating the environmental impact of fast fashion and looking for ways that we can make a difference on a small scale.  We have undertaken a Functional Art and Design district challenge and students are working alone or with a group to come up with a way to re-purpose/ recycle textiles that would otherwise end up in a landfill or burned. 

 

*REQUEST* With that being said we will require some textiles to work with… If you have old clothes or fabric/ sheets/ towels that you no longer need please send them to school so we can transform them into something new! 

Also I will be looking for some parent helpers who have sewing experience and are willing to bring in a sewing machine ideally. If that is you please email me and let’s chat about how we can bring their ideas to life. I hope  you had a lovely Family Day 🙂 

 

Cheers

Ms. Geddes

Crepes, Construction and Creativity

Apologies on the delay, the raging flu that has been going around hit me hard last week and sleep was hard to come by. It really drove home for me the importance of caring for ourselves and keeping our immune systems healthy and ready to fight off any incoming threat! 

Today we made crepes! Students were fantastic at measuring and mixing ingredients and got a chance to practice their French at the same time with our professional French chef who showed us how it was done. They zested lemons and sprinkled sugar and have all agreed to make crepes for their parents in the near future.  

Students are well on their way with our survival fair. They have learned about their environments, created inventions to help chickens survive in them, practised their persuasive paragraph writing and are now busy building prototypes! Before the fair we will be talking about advertising and marketing techniques as well as linking fractions and percentages to talk about sales. 

All parents are invited to join us at the Survival Equipment Fair this coming Friday after lunch, students will open their stores and chickens (parents and students from other classes) will be roaming looking for how best to invest their funds.  Our financial literacy will be tested as students track their sales, manage a float and provide change to eager customers. 

We have also been developing student’s Applied Skills and Design knowledge by learning how to use a sewing machine and each students now has their very own draw string pencil case. Some students even carried this skill over to their inventions and have incorporated sewing into their work.

I hope you can make it on Friday and if not stay posted on our class instagram for exciting updates! @maccpack

Some students have been taking on independent math projects and have been presenting them for the class, links to the videos that inspired their learning are in the link section below. 

 

Ms. G

Survival

Happy New year! We are off on our new adventure in term 2 and the theme of this term will be survival.  Before I get into that I would like to welcome our new student to the class! Brenden is new to our community and is getting to know our crazy class more and more each day. 

We are starting our survival unit with a project on environments and inventions.  We received a letter from Clucky McCluck asking the class to help him and his flock go on vacation to some pretty extreme environments.  Students are working in groups to explore the Arctic, Pacific Ocean and Gobi desert and after deepening their background knowledge they will begin the task of inventing survival equipment that would help a chicken like Clucky live in those specific locations. The final step of the project will be a Survival Equipment Fair where ‘the flock’ will come to our class and get to purchase survival items.  Parents would you like to come in? 

To compliment our theme we are reading “The Skeleton Tree” by Ian Lawrence about two young boys surviving in Alaska after a shipwreck.  I am reading this book aloud to the class and we will be looking into descriptive and symbolic language as well as character development and how to have conversations around literature. 

Other exciting events coming up include crepe making on January 29th to enhance our French unit, a sewing activity or two and the final winter concert next Monday night! 

I hope you had a relaxing holiday as it is back to work now and the days are flying by.

Ms. G

End of 2017

Thank you students and families for a tremendous year.  It has been a pleasure working and learning with you and I would like to congratulate all my students on a successful first term.  We have forged a strong community and that is one of the reasons the next part of this message is so hard.  In January we will be losing one of our community members as they go back to their previous school. We wish him all the best in the new adventures that await and we will cherish all the fun memories that we have with him from first term. 

January will bring a new student into our world and it will be our job to make him feel welcome and accepted.  What is lost will never be replaced and what is new will bring a different kind of awesome to our room. I hope you all have a restful holiday and that students are ready to jump right back into school in the new year! 

Take care

Ms. G

 

A Note About Report Cards

We are heading towards the end of our first term and I am so proud of the kind group of humans that I have the privilege of teaching this year.  While this should be a time for celebrating our community and the paths we have walked together, the anxiety is building.  With the current reporting system used in our district, grade 4 and 5 are the first years that students receive letter grades.  This can be a comfort in that you get a standardized snapshot of how your child is doing in school, however, I would argue that it comes with added pressure and is only a partial picture of your child’s learning.  

“My parents just want me to get straight A’s”

“If I get straight A’s I’ll get ______________” 

“As long as I get all A’s and B’s I won’t be in trouble”

All statements I have heard in the past week and they bother me for several reasons. First of all when students use the verb to get it removes their work and agency from the equation.We are trying to use the language “I earned” about their marks in class it implies that there is a lot of effort and work that went into it. 

Another problematic aspect is the idea that a B is not a good mark, please refer to the letter grade definitions below and they are shown in relation to the primary grading matrix. 

A Excellent or outstanding performance Exceeding expectations
B Very good performance Meeting Expectations
C+ Good performance Meeting Expectations
C Satisfactory performance Approaching Expectations
C- Minimal acceptable performance Approaching Expectations
I In progress or incomplete (a collaborative plan is being made) Not Yet Meeting Expectations

If a student is fully meeting all expectations in class they will have earned a B. In my experience a fixation on earning specific letter grades in grade 4/5 can be detrimental to a student’s long term self esteem, and can heighten anxiety in unnecessary ways.   

The entire concept of letter grades, especially in younger grades is being called into question, educators are looking for ways to communicate children’s learning  that provides more meaningful conversations than just “how do I get an A?”  In my graduate program I am learning about other forms of documentation that value the process over product.  I explain this to students in that the effort marks they earn are more important to me than the letter grades.  Building strong work habits, motivation and perseverance are skills that will stay with them much longer than the specifics of any particular project. 

If any of this has given you pause and you would like to talk further about it, please feel free to email me and set up a meeting.  You have raised some inspiring, caring and joyful humans and I want to make sure we are celebrating all that they bring to this world and not just the letters on a piece of paper. 

Students took home a self reflective report card this weekend and we will be conferencing and finalizing their report together over the next couple days.  I hope you have a lovely week, wish us luck! 10 school day countdown begins…

 

Ms. G

Moving Towards Understanding

After finishing our book ‘My name is Seepeetza’ and after many conversations and activities as a class, students are now demonstrating a depth of knowledge about residential schools that far surpasses my own understanding at their age.  I see this as a part of reconciliation, the act of acknowledging the past so as to be able to make informed decisions and better understand the diverse humans that we live with on this large sphere hurtling though space.

I think it is important for students to know that they are one of the first generations growing up in a time of reconciliation and that the knowledge and perspective that they are learning about is valuable and worth sharing with family and friends at home. We talked a lot about how to make up for something that you have done that hurt someone else, in the context of school friends, siblings, parents and it was incredibly moving to hear one student say “I don’t think it is possible for the government to make it up to the First Nations people who lost their culture and childhood, but just  because you can’t give things back doesn’t mean you should forget it ever happened.” Another student chimed in later that, “We could look into the way they did things and how they thought about the world to try and put ourselves in their shoes to better understand how they feel now.”  

To compliment this deeper historical line of thinking students have been reflecting on their own values and what is important to them.  Some students picked more direct close to home values such as family and books while others where quite philosophical about it and chose time or love. Moving forward we will look at how our values motivate us and how our actions reflect our values on an individual and group basis.

We have a class of amazing human rights champions who can recognise inequality and are motivated to make this world we share a better more inclusive and respectful place. I am proud of them. 

Basketball Shenanigans

I have lost my voice and possibly my hearing but worth it for a tremendous afternoon up at SFU cheering on their NCAA women’s basketball team against Hawaii State University… too bad it wasn’t an away game. It was a close game and our students represented Cap Hill honourably with their respect and energy.  Some students even walked away with free tshirts and other swag! A huge thank you to parent volunteers without which it would not have happened. 

There is talk of a December game and all the grade 4/5 classes at the school attending! I’ll keep you posted. 

 

This week we had our fist grade 5 student French presentations as well as the final Human Body Corporation statements. I am impressed with the willingness to try out a new language and with the level of understanding of different body systems that many students showed.  They will find out next week who will be fired from the corporation. 

 

We have also begun examining students personal values and will be working with them to explore legends and how cultural and community values are conveyed though oral histories. We even had the suggestion of a special edition “Legends of the uncharted classroom” that we might decide to publish later on. 

Updates for next week: 

  • Moustache Monday, first school wide theme day
  • Cupcake sale Wednesday, supporting gr. 7 camp fundraising
  • Pro D Friday

Hope all is well with our community of families

 

Ms. G

 

 

We are officially published

Clearly we are having too much fun as I forgot to post last week! Probably because it was a blur… We started the week with a visit from Mr. McKillop, the district ADST (applied design skills and technology) teacher.  He guided us though an exploration of angles, variables, charts, graphing slope as well as a whole day of simple machines, teamwork and collaboration.  Students were able to follow the design process to solve a problem and identify different simple machines as well as how to best utilise them in their individual machines.  After lunch we combined all the machines together into one giant Rube Goldberg machine and although we never did get a perfect run through, the yells and woops of excitement after our last run showed that much was gained from the experience.

We also survived Halloween! Most students came in costume and we had fun connecting our costumes to different peoples LiD topics in the class and forming a giant spider web.

Top Picks is becoming a successful class initiative where students can review a novel and recommend it to the class. In our class meeting today several students took the time to acknowledge and thank others for the recommendations.  We are absolutely working towards a culture of avid readers in our room. 

Grade 5s are in the process of creating their own mini French lessons for the rest of the class.  They are practising public speaking and leadership while taking ownership for their own acquisition of a new language. Many grade 4s have been joining in when finished other work and their passion and curiosity is contagious. 

We have officially released our first class publication! First editions of  Tales from the Uncharted Classroom all went home today. Please take some time to browse though it, we have some amazing emerging writers in our class and they deserved to be celebrated.  Also keep in mind that we are all in different stages of writing development and this book is not meant as a comparison but as a way to honour the effort that students have been putting into their work. 

Before heading into this long weekend we dove into disease transmission and herd immunity. This may lead to more questions at home and possibly a more hygiene conscious child (or not).  It was fun watching students simulate the outbreak of the flu virus with immunised and non immunised individuals being pelted with foam spherical objects.  

Next week: 

  • school closed on Monday
  • PJ and hot coco day Tuesday 
  • Womens basketball at SFU Thursday 
  • Starting a project on First Nations Legends

Have a lovely long weekend! 

Ms. G

Tourist Fair a Glorious Success!

Highlights from this week: 

  • Sun! Finally some outside time
  • Tourism Fair
  • Started Volleyball
  • Nature art 
  • Start of our class publication

It was lovely being able to open the blinds in our class and have the natural light streaming through. It also provided us with the opportunity to get outside to do some math and art activities. We were inspired by Andy Goldsworthy to get outside and find the resources for our creations in the world around us.  This activity not only involves design, planning, communication and patience but also requires a keen sense of observation. Definitely google him to see some inspirational work and check out our Instagram page to see student examples. (email me if you need the username). 

We also started our volleyball unit and have some naturals in the class! Students may have sore hands/arms but progress was good.  On the physical activity theme we have been offered a chance to watch the SFU NCAA women’s basketball team in action against the Hawaii state team, notice coming home tomorrow and we will be looking for drivers for the 16th of November.

Students have worked so hard on their French projects and their efforts paid off with much praise and investment! We set up the class like a international tourism fair with booths that people could visit and then invited other classes in (each visiting ‘diplomat’ received $500 to invest in foreign tourism).  The reception from other teachers and students was so positive and I am sure that many people now have new French speaking destinations they might want to visit one day, personally Vanuatu is now high on my list.  

We also started editing our writing from these first 2 months of school in order to put together our first publication! The class voted and came up with the title Tales from the Uncharted Classroom Vol 1 and that will be heading out to the public in just over a weeks time.  I am blown away by their writing and I hope parents and friends delight in reading their stories as much as I do.  

 

That’s all for this week, more adventures to come! 

Ms. G.

 

Dancing Cells

The highlight of last week was definitely the hip hop show on Friday! Students worked so hard on their routines and it came together in an amazing way.  While filling out some self evaluations many students wrote that they enjoyed doing the 70+ person synchronised wave as well as the theme of avengers and the kind teachers.  We are so fortunate to have been able to have those talented dance instructors with us for the two weeks.  Some students also wrote that they would have liked to see the teachers dancing as well and they got their wish as a few of us did a surprise routine at the end. 

Also last week we began working on the core competency of communication. Students reflected on their communication style and are testing their skills on a series of mini communication challenges.  After one challenge student were able to identify things they had done to demonstrate good communication such as  “when I had an idea I waited until I had my group’s attention then shared it” and “someone had an idea that I was sure wouldn’t work but I listened and gave it a try and to my surprise, it actually did!” These are essential life skills and I am so proud of their willingness to be open to one another. 

We have continued to work on the circulatory system as a class and have dived into the specifics of blood, Erythrocytes and Leukocytes, blood types and transfusions.  Their questions are amazing, here are a few from today: 

  • How strong is a red blood cell wall? 
  • How come humans can’t get oxygen directly though their skin? 
  • How do white blood cells know to go after old red blood cells and not new ones? 
  • If there is a virus in your blood how does a white blood cell know to kill it? 
  • Do humans and animals both produce red blood cells in their bone marrow? 

And the list goes on… Many are inspired to integrate our science unit into their LiD research and find connections to blood and cells as well which is awesome! 

Now we are off to another week! 

Take care

Ms. G