Announcements 2017-2018

Non-Fiction Text Feature Scavenger Hunt

posted Nov 16, 2017, 12:45 PM by Patrick Johnson

This week, students browsed through non-fiction books in search of text features (for examples table of contents, glossaries, graphs, maps, comparison charts, etc.). Afterwards, they presented one of the text features they found to the rest of the class and explained how it helped them understand what they were reading.


Together, we compared text features of non-fiction and fiction books.

Afterwards, students compared non-fiction and fiction books side by side.


Finally, students went on a scavenger hunt to try and locate as many non-fiction text features as possible!


Hammerhead Sharks- Researching Using Key Words & Paraphrasing

posted Nov 14, 2017, 1:50 PM by Patrick Johnson   [ updated Nov 14, 2017, 1:56 PM ]

Today we made a class book. First we read information about hammerhead sharks and students identified the key facts. Then students narrowed down that key fact to one or two key words. Next students paraphrased their idea out loud and added a detail make it more interesting. Finally, our entire class collaborated (simultaneously) on one Google Slide document to create our digital class book!

Sphero Obstacle Course

posted Nov 9, 2017, 5:54 PM by Patrick Johnson

Last week, students navigated the Sphero robot through an obstacle course! 

Afterwards, we discussed:
How were speed and direction important for navigating the tunnel obstacle?
What forces were involved with Sphero trying to get up the ramp?
What forces were acting on Sphero when it was trying to cross the popsicle sticks? What were the strategies for not getting Sphero stuck?
How did Sphero get through the CD cases? What forces were involved?

Finally, students graphed the 10 fastest times and chose an appropriate scale for their graphs.






What Might this Unlabeled Graph be About?

posted Nov 6, 2017, 11:16 AM by Patrick Johnson

Students have been learning to construct and interpret bar graphs.Today, students were given a bar graph that had no labels or scale. Their task was to determine what the graph might be about and explain what each bar could represent. Students came up with a wide variety of answers.


We also made a graph with our graphs! This graph was made according to the scales students chose for their graphs (from left to right: Scale of 1,2 3,10). The scale of 10 was the most popular choice although it was pretty close.




Visualizing Willy Wonka

posted Nov 5, 2017, 4:07 PM by Patrick Johnson

Last week we continued to work on our reading comprehension strategy: The Power to Visualize. We focused on visualizing characters from a chapter book. I read a couple of pages from Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Specifically, the pages that describe Willy Wonka:

And what an extraordinary little man he was! He had a black top hat on his head. He wore a tail coat made of a beautiful plum-coloured velvet. His trousers were bottle green. His gloves were pearly gray. And in one hand he carried a fine gold-topped walking cane.... (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Puffin Books 1964)

Students visualized what Willy Wonka looked like (I didn't tell them the title of the book that I was reading the description from) and drew the character. Afterwards, students shared their drawings (and their visualizations of Willy Wonka) and we discussed the picture words the writer used in the book. Students then drew their own characters.

Coding Dash to Play Music

posted Oct 30, 2017, 5:06 PM by Patrick Johnson

Our latest STEAM project had students coding Dash to play the xylophone. Dash is a programmable robot.

First students were shown this video for inspiration. It is a xylophone version of Flight of the Bumble Bee.

Next students were introduced to Dash the robot and its xylophone attachment. Students were also shown the  Xylo iPad App where they could program Dash to play the xylophone as well as perform movements.

Then students were given the STEAM task:

Students were grouped into partners and they started their coding in the Xylo iPad App. Students were instructed that they must have the same amount of notes in each bar and their song could be no longer than 7 bars. When students were satisfied with their code, they transposed their musical score to paper. At the bottom of their scor,e it challenged them to figure out the total number of notes they used in their song.


Finally students connected to Dash with their iPads to test their code.

After everyone had tested their code, we consolidated the lesson by examining the variety of strategies students used to calculate the number of notes in their songs. We created a bar graph out of the strategies.

The strategies were:
  • making friendly numbers
  • repeated addition
  • using doubles
  • multiplication


The Power to Visualize

posted Oct 24, 2017, 11:48 AM by Patrick Johnson   [ updated Oct 30, 2017, 4:56 PM ]



Today I introduced the second reading power to help with comprehension: The Power to Visualize  (the first was the Power to Connect). Students practiced visualizing different objects in their head such as rainbows, dogs and ice cream cones. We called these picture words since they were a lot easier to picture then say a word like at.

Afterwards I read them the following story:

I want you to visualize a lollipop. This lollipop is on a white stick and it has a

wrapper on it. Visualize yourself holding this lollipop. I want you to notice the

color and shape and size of this lollipop. Some lollipops are big, and some are

small, some are round and some are flat —what does yours look like? Now I want

you to visualize yourself taking off the wrapper. Listen to the sound as you take

the wrapper off. Put the wrapper in the garbage. Now I would like you to visualize

yourself taking a lick of the lollipop. What flavor is your lollipop? Take another

lick. Now put the lollipop, if it’s not too big, in your mouth. Suck on it for a while.

Listen to the sound it makes when it hits your teeth. Now take a bite. Listen to the

sound the bite makes. Now crunch your lollipop and really get the flavor in your

mouth. Some of the candy sticks in your teeth. Now visualize yourself as you take

the lollipop out of your mouth. Look at what is left on your stick. Open your eyes.

Students then discussed the following questions about their lollipop with a partner:

1. What colour was your lollipop?

2. What size?

3. What shape?

4. What flavour?

5. After you took a bite, what did

   your lollipop look like?

We concluded the lesson by discussing that people's lollipops are all different because they have different experiences.

All About Me- Using Keynote

posted Oct 23, 2017, 2:06 PM by Patrick Johnson

Today students used the Keynote app on the iPad to create All About Me Silhouettes. 

First students were given the opportunity to explore Keynote. Students were already familiar with using Google Slides so they discovered that many of their skills translated well to using Keynote.

Next students downloaded a template from Google Classroom and imported the file into Keynote on the iPad. Then they chose a silhouette that best represented themselves.

Finally, students personalized their silhouette by filling in the space with shapes that reflected their interests and hobbies (Keynote has over 500 shapes to choose from). Some students also chose to include animation in their slide. 


The Wednesday Surprise

posted Oct 23, 2017, 11:05 AM by Patrick Johnson   [ updated Oct 23, 2017, 11:05 AM ]

This week we read The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting

Our big thinking questions for the story were: What was the Wednesday Surprise? What clues did the author give as to what the surprise was? What traits do you admire about the main characters Anna and her Grandmother? Why?

After we read the story, we discussed:
Why did Anna's Grandmother never learn to read as a child?
-students inferred she might have grown up in a rural area and was not near (or did not have transportation) to a school
-they thought that she might not have learned to read because she was needed to help out at home (or work a farm)

Stop Motion Monster Sorting

posted Oct 22, 2017, 5:48 PM by Patrick Johnson


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