Heading towards the end of the school year.

We are currently wrapping up a lot of our work in our units. A lot of things will be coming home and I will be having students cleaning up the classroom bit by bit. My apologies about the lack of updates the last couple of weeks – there have been a number of technical issues.

Language Arts:
We have wrapped up our colour poetry unit. We have looked at various types of poetry and rhyme schemes. The students had fun with their poetry and we have used some of their poems to share with other staff in the building to showcase our work. We are going to be focusing on wrapping up our Book Clubs the next few weeks. If time permits, I’d like to do a viewing activity to compare 2 films to discuss how music, image and speech affect the story being told. We will likely look at examples from the new Annie, Wall-E, and Up

Social Studies:
We are putting the final touches on our coat of arms and recording our explanations of them. Links to the videos will be shared on the blog. Students will begin researching 5 great events that occurred in Canada’s history on Tuesday. They will have the opportunity to then build an artifact using clay and recycled materials.

Math:
Students will continue to work on their problem of the week from last week. The archimedes puzzle is definitely a challenge for the kids and working their perseverance and creativity. Students are also continuing with the Patterns and Equations unit with Mr. Letendre. They will begin their look at simple algebraic equations this week.

Science:
Students are wrapping up their exploration of wetlands. We will be returning to Jubilee park to talk about filtration. Many of the topics covered in this unit were explored in the study of ecosystems during Grade 4 Social Studies (Boreal Forest), Grade 5 Science ( weather and classroom chemistry – filtration and chemical reactions) or will be studied again in Grade 6 Science (Trees and Forests). The Students learned a lot during the field trip to DBG and were able to demonstrate an understand of their knowledge through various activities and reflections.  I will put together a photo slideshow this week and post it to the blog.

French (Field Trip):
We are hoping to be going to Broxton Park to read with Mlle Hawkes’s Grade 2 French Immersion students on Tuesday, June 16. Information letters will be coming home later this week. There is no cost as we will be walking. There will be some snacks provided. We will likely stop for lunch along the way back and have a picnic.

Art:
We are using the Pattern block shapes to work on geometric art. We will be working on with shapes the rest of the year to see how we can use them to create a variety of pieces. We will be doing an Art week  the week of the 15 – 19. Students will be given a challenge each day to complete in a specified time frame.

Classroom Cleanup:
We are going to be doing a major cleaning of the classroom on June 18. The remainder of the cleanup will occur on the morning of June 24. If you have extra reusable shopping bags for the students to put supplies and work in to take home, it would be appreciated if you could send them to school this week. I have exhausted my supply of bags during the last clean up we had done.

Library books:
Library books are due back on Thursday, June 11. Please ensure all books are returned at this time. We will not be going to the library this week so students may want to bring a DEAR book with them.

Innovation Week:
This week’s theme will be “Ethical Citizen – How can I help others?”. All projects must have the goal of helping others. We will not be fundraising money or cooking this week due to logistical challenges. Students will likely be planning their projects this week or early next week. Innovation week will run blocks 3-5 with a time to reflect during block 6.  Students will once again require parental consent to participate. The showcase will be on the Thursday morning.

 

Important dates:

  • June 11 – Library Books Due
  • June 16 – Broxton Park French buddies
  • June 18 – Greystone’s Got Talent
  • June 19 – Try-me Try-Athalon See details here – http://psd70.ab.ca/OurDivision/Wellness/Pages/PSDTriathlon.aspx
  • June 25 – Innovation Week showcase in AM, Celebration of Learning and Grade 9 farewell in PM
  • June 26 – Last day of school, Year end trip (TBA), Report Cards go home

 

This week at school

Hello everyone,

Happy Mother’s Day! Our kids had an amazing week. I was away both Thursday afternoon and Friday. The students were incredible and supportive of the guests in our room.  Here’s where we are heading this week:

Language Arts:

Due to me being away the latter part of the week, we did not start our Colour poetry. This is going to be a priority for us this week. While I was away, students started a writing piece of “My Teacher is Missing”. They will keep working on this as extra writing assignment. I am excited to read their plans. We have been continuing along with our Book Clubs. We are about 1/2 done our books now. The kids are working great through the reading roles and tasks using the habits of a good reader.

Science:

We have built our wind machines. This week we will test them, do our reflection and finish up our final blueprints. Miss Olivia and I were so impressed with the students and their building. We will finish up our unit with looking at the water cycle and recording our own weather broadcasts. As we wrap up, we will begin our Wetlands study. We have a field trip coming up June 1 to the Devonian Gardens. Permission forms will coming homes soon. The cost of the field trip was covered in the school fees.

Here are some photos from our Build day for the wind machine

 

Math:

Students are continuing to work on their Geometry unit with Mr. Letendre. They investigated quadrilaterals and categorized them according to equal sides and parallel sides. The students also completed a Photo Scavenger Hunt to help them better understand terms such as parallel, perpendicular, horizontal, vertical, vertex and  right angle. The kids had fun with the hunt and we will continue to share those photos into next week. The students will also complete a check-in next week to see their understanding of the concepts covered so far in the unit.

We also worked on this Problem of the Week with the students about how we round change without the penny. Seeing how many places like Tim Hortons quote the rounded price many of the students were not familiar with the process some worked on how change is rounded. One of the videos that really helped was CGP Grey’s video called Canada Gets Rid of the Penny since they could see the chart of how the pennies are rounded. This week we will use some change to physically see how the rounding works and finish our journalling.

Social Studies:

We are are finishing up our first critical challenge looking at the impact of Canada’s Greatest Legacies. We have completed Colour Symbol Image sheets about the impact these groups had on Canada and Canada had on them. We will create our Coat of Arms for each of the groups. The Critical Challenge we will be working on is about the Famous Five as it ties in with our Trickster Performance.

Here are a couple of examples of some of the drafts of our CSIs

Health:

We are shifting our focus this week to food consumption and cultural food trends around the world. We will be reading the book What The World Eats and exploring how we gain identity from our food. Students will be sent home with a letter detailing their at-home assignment by Tuesday. This letter can also be found here.

Art:

On Friday students started a piece called the 4 seasons. They are working on representing a Tree’s progression through the 4 seasons. We will continue this piece this week before moving on to our Spring Flowers piece.

 

Other Notes:

This week is a short one with the upcoming long weekend (Monday, May 18, 2015) and PD day (Friday, May 15, 2015). We also have Track and Field Day on Thursday! I am not sure if the letter was sent home with students on Friday. I have posted it here and will send home another copy on Monday. Stay tuned for more information!

Also our Student Vote video can be found here: https://vimeo.com/127008071

 

 

Greystone takes on the polls!

Today students in LC 5 and LC 6 had the opportunity to vote in a mock parallel election called Student Vote. The students loved the experience. We tried to set up the voting similar to as you would see at a polling station, however we went to each class to vote. What an amazing experience for the students. I have heard amazing feedback from all the students about the process. Some of them were a little bit tired we had a lot of prep to do.  Greystone’s results will be announced Wednesday morning after the official election results are in so that students can compare their vote to the official vote. We are in the process of putting together a movie about our experience but here are some photos from our student photographers from our afternoon. Below are some of our tweets from the day.

 

 

Our Wrap Up Video:

Decision Greystone 2015 from Courtney Albrecht on Vimeo.

Student Vote

Student Vote is a parallel election program for students under the voting age that coincides with official election periods.

Students learn about government and the electoral process, and research the issues, parties and local candidates through classroom learning, campaign events and take-home activities. On Student Vote Day, students take on the roles of election officials and cast ballots on the local candidates running in their school’s electoral division. The Student Vote results are shared with media for broadcast and publication following the close of polls.

The program aims to achieve the following objectives among students:

  • Increase knowledge about the electoral process and levels of government
  • Foster a sense of civic responsibility and active citizenship
  • Encourage political dialogue with friends and family
  • Heighten interest about politics and current affairs
  • Practice critical thinking and decision making skills

LC5 and LC6 classes who are participating in the program at Greystone will have the opportunity to vote on May 4, 2015.

In 5A, students have been working on learning about the parties and candidates in the Spruce Grove – St. Albert provincial electoral riding (A list of candidates can be found here for each riding).  We have learned about the electoral process and explored a bit about majority and minority governments. We have also looked at how media influences our choices when we vote.  Students have also discussed a variety of important factors in who they vote for and looked at which parties match the important issues in their own voter profiles.

Parents: If possible, it would be a great experience to bring your children with you to the polls when you vote so they can see the experience first hand.  Please continue having the important discussions you have been having around issues important to you and your family. The students are engaged and excited about the election, and it is an awesome opportunity to connect while helping the students find their own voice.

Thank you for all of your support.

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Our Term 2 Learning Update

Each time that I listen to the students talk about their learning, I am amazed and proud at their growth and their ability to explain their learning using the vocabulary that we use in class. Seamus and Cailynne had the opportunity to speak with Mrs. Cameron about feedback and how it helps us grow in our learning. When Mrs. Cameron told me the story, I was so impressed with their description. They described like climbing a staircase and each feedback loop allowed them to move to the next step. It was phenomenal to hear. I have since used that example to explain to teachers in other districts about the work that we do.

For this video, the students put together their ideas. My job was simply to hold the camera still and put photos and video together in a format we could share.

LC 5A learning for term 2 from Courtney Albrecht on Vimeo.

I am so proud of the students and can’t wait to see what Term 3 brings in our #bestyearever

Where we are headed for March 9 -13

Language Arts

Reading – We have finished reading our Literature Circle books. The students will be working on a Film Trailer about their books with their group. We have also finished reading our Traitor as our read aloud. We will be starting Sideways Stories from Wayside School as part of a collaborative reading project with several other schools. We will begin our Book Clubs before spring break.

Writing – We are starting to write our introductions to our stories this week. The students and I are rewriting Click, Clack, Moo to practice writing each part of writing through the Story Mountain. The kids will be starting their planning for their introduction to their own story this week. After reading a number of stories, the kids have realized that the introduction explains who is in the story – the main character(s), where the story takes place – setting, and the initial problem that sets the story in motion. We will be working through co-creating criteria, feedback loops and edits for our work.

 

Social Studies

The students are compiling their research and jot notes on their expert region into a Google Doc. The students are creating a hand out they can share with other students while they jigsaw with the other groups to find out about their regions. We will then begin some additional research on cost of living, wages and other important information so that we can then rank the regions and decide “where to put the people”.

 

Science

Students have completed their units on Electricity, Mechanisms and Magnetism with a viewing activity and a silent conversation known as a Chalk Talk as their reflection on their learning. The kids have done some amazing work. Once we are done Measurement and Geometry in Math, we will be using our knowledge to build and wire a house suitable to live in one of the regions of Canada.

This week we are starting weather. Students had a task last week to write what they knew about weather. On Thursday, we will have a Josh Classen from CTV News in to present to our students about weather systems, highs and lows, and being a meteorologist.  The weather unit will require students to track the weather, temperature, highs and lows and precipitation.

 

Math

The students and Mr L began our Measurement and Geometry unit in math. The students discussed measuring length by talking about how millimetres, centimetres and metres are related. The students got to estimate measurements outside of the classroom to begin these talks. They also discussed tools to measure, such as metre sticks, tape measures, and rulers. I had the opportunity to teach a lesson to the kids about moving between millimetres and metres using the stairs method. They did great with this and they are quite excited about this unit.  They will be moving on to perimeter and area on Monday.

Health

The students and I have completed the 7 Habits. We will be moving on to looking at the food we eat starting with an inquiry into sources of food and “Is Organic all it is cracked up to be?”. This will require the students to track their eating habits, go grocery shopping with their parents and look at ingredients of some of their favourite foods.

Art

The students have completed their dragon art. We are going to begin an art project called Falling Backwards looking at line, shape, composition and use of water colour. Some of the other classes have started this project and they are looking amazing.

Artist in Residence

During the week of April 13 – 17, Trickster Theatre will be transforming Greystone. We will be looking at global citizenship to support the theme of “Greystone Goes Global”. The kids and I will start exploring the questions of “What does it mean to be a citizen?” and looking at the answers of a few politicians I recently met as well as “What’s wrong in the world?” looking at global issues right now. We will be looking at the website kidsgoglobal.com and looking at twitter, the news and magazines to see what issues the kids feel passionate about. This goes well with our Current Events Wednesdays initiative we will be starting this term. Thank you to those who have volunteered already. If you would like to volunteer, please let me know. I can send home the letter again as well.

Other notes:

– I am away on Monday at a PD session in Edmonton

– Locker clean up: I will be sending home anything not needed at school. I ask that the students not bring anything unrelated to their learning.

– Don’t forget indoor shoes! With the melting slush, you may want to consider keeping spare socks at school as well.

This week at school – End of January Wrap up

This week was an amazing week at school. I have seen some of the best work from our class and we have done some amazing things.  Normally I break this down by subjects and what we have done however, for this week I am going to focus on the big things we’ve done since we just had student led conferences.

We really worked on problem solving strategies and reflecting on our learning in our journals. The first day the students struggled a little bit with the problem and digesting what was going on. They were very focused on solving the question rather than the process of solving the problem and the skills they were using. We slowed it down and broke it down using the problem solving checklist that was created. Once we got past the actual question and figuring out what it was asking us the kids really started to understand what it was that they were doing and how to explain their thinking. AMAZING.

How many ways can you explain the same thing? If you have 20 students, you can explain it 20 ways at least. In Science we looked at our check up we wrote. Instead of marking them we discussed them in table groups and as a whole class. The understanding of the concepts came, not just the facts. They really started to understand that there are different ways to explain things and it is okay.

Feedback is an important part of everything we do in our class. We have peer feedback, teacher feedback, reflections, conversations and more feedback before we even consider a piece of work close to ready for final feedback. I started pulling old assignments and giving them back to the students to rework as well. They started to see that nothing is ever finished and we can always improve. AWESOME. We also worked on giving very specific feedback. Using our summaries, we gave multiple rounds of feedback, each time looking at a different part of the criteria we created together. Here are some examples of the kinds of feedback students are now starting to give:

“Overall your summary was good. I don’t think you missed any details because I could understand what the chapter was about even though am reading a different book.”

“I really like how you used transition words to put the events in order. Maybe try using some of the ones we learned in our Writing unit next time.”

“When talking about the characters, use their names so that people who aren’t reading the book can tell them apart. That would help your summary make more sense”

The summaries that came that block after the students realized the kinds of things they wanted from their peers started to show and reflect the criteria they were even more aware about since they had to use them to give feedback on that specifically.

Student led conferences were an awesome way to hear the students use the language of inquiry, problem solving and feedback. They are doing amazing work and I am very proud of what they are doing. Thank you to all the parents and family who came out. If you could not make it and would like to reschedule, please email me and we can pick a day/time for you to come in with your child for they to share their learn with you.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:

1) If you can drive equipment for our Ski Day in February, that would be appreciated. Please indicate on the field trip form that you are able to do so.

2) Trickster Theatre Artist in Residence in March requires parent volunteers. I sent home a blue letter. Even if you can only come in for a day or a few hours, please do. This is a huge inquiry project for the school and requires as much support as we can get. Thanks.

January on Twitter:

Our Weekly Update for Jan 12 – 17

Math– The students completed a check-up on Wednesday to demonstrate their understanding of estimation of products and multiplying 2-digit by 2-digit numbers. We will be going over this check-up on Monday to see where the kids are at with these concepts and some possible review. After that, we will make our move onto division. Also this week we have continued developing our problem solving skills by revisiting the process involved when solving problems. We reviewed and modeled the process using a POW titled Digits for Dollars and will continue working on the process with the students again next week.

Social-We wrapped up the last of our Who Do you Think You Are? presentations and feedback loops. Early next week we will look at the similarities and differences between family histories among the students in our class. The students and I will focus in on the commonalities and pulled out the major reasons why our families came to Canada. We are then going to be tying in these reasons into our talks about the regions of Canada and the students will  post a reflection on this process and assignment on their blogs. We also started our inquiry into the regions of Canada. As a class, we are exploring “The Interior Plains”. The note taking process is different than the students are used to as we are trying to find the answer to how different elements in the region affect the residents life and identity. Students will have the chance to explore the region on Google Earth as well.

Science-The students did a review of the two types of circuits; series and parallel and have begun to look at switches. The students explored different ways to construct circuits such as a pen with conductive ink instead of wires and a snap together circuit kit. The kids had lots of fun with the kits and building of the circuits. Next week we will review circuits and switches then have a check-up.

LA– The students have now been with their Reading Groups a few times and are well on their way in their novels. As mentioned last week, the students are continuing to develop their reading comprehension strategies in the form of literature circles within these groups. The students and I also revisited our criteria for making effective summaries, connections, predictions and asking good questions. The students are really enjoying the discussions within these groups and I can already see the impact it is having on their comprehension. Mrs. Cameron has also said how much the students are invested into their reading groups when she is in with the students.

We have also started our organization writing trait. I am really proud of the students and the work they put into their book boxes as our introduction to Organization.  I will post some pictures this week.

 

Other News:

SGPL Innovation Lab Tour- Thank you to everyone for returning their Field Trip forms and $2 so quickly. I am quite excited to go on this trip with the kids on Wednesday, February 4 in the afternoon. We will have an early lunch that day so we can leave the school at 12:30.

Forms for Vacation- Thank you to those who returned their forms for their upcoming vacation. I know the office appreciates the early notice so they can complete the form for you. It sounds like there will be a lot of exciting vacations coming up and I cannot wait to see pictures and hear stories from them. I am still trying to find a way to post this form properly for you but I do have copies or you can get one at the office if you need one.

Notes from the guests in our room- I am so proud of the work our students have done lately but I am extremely excited about the community and reputation we have built. Each week, we have Mrs. Cameron in our class for 2 hours as I teach French 7. We also have someone in our class on Friday for a block while we blog during the LC 5 team meeting and lately we have Haley – Mr. Letendre’s practicum student. Everyone has wonderful things to say about our class, the work we do and how we conduct ourselves. This week, I was away for 2 days at District Office and our sub, Miss Sontag, was so impressed with the kids, she would love to come back and work with the kids again. It is hard not to gush about our class and all that we have collaboratively put into becoming the learning community we are.

Welcome back learning update

Welcome back everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas break. From reading the blog posts and listening to the stories, it sounds like everyone was quite busy. Here is what we did this week and where we are headed.

Language Arts – We started out reading groups. Students are reading either Dork on the Run or Doghouse Blues  and will be responsible for a specific role within their group each time they meet. Students will then have a chance to blog about their reading. I will be rotating through the groups and reading with one or two groups each time. Two groups will be recording their reading on the iPads to monitor their fluency. The rest will either read individually or aloud as a group. The students worked well within their groups for their first times. I was quite impressed.

We will begin our Organization writing trait this coming week. Students will end up with 2 major pieces of writing at the end. We will alternate Reading and Writing days.

Math – Mr. Letendre is currently teaching math while I teach 5F Science.  The decision was made to allow consistency between classes for Math and Science and take advantage of the teacher’s areas of expertise. The movement between classes has been good for the students as well. A chance to stretch and move.  Students are continuing to work through our Multiplying and Dividing Whole Numbers unit, and are currently working on developing strategies to multiply 2-digit numbers. The students have been practicing strategies such as lattice method and using base ten blocks to multiply and will continue to do so the beginning of next week. We will then be moving on to division.  Here is what the lattice method looks like  for the question 35 x 52 = 1820.  If your child is using the lattice method, ask them to explain it to you. The best demonstration of understanding is the ability to teach someone else.

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Social Studies -We have all had the chance to present our family history presentations. The students were broken into groups of three and presented to each other. They recoded their presentations on iPads that I watched afterwards. This gave the students a chance to practice, redo or perfect their presentations in a low risk environment. I am beyond impressed with the work that has gone into these presentations and how well the students worked together. I love small group work and feel it has been extremely beneficial to the students. The iPads provided accountability and a unique perspective to myself as a teacher. Students will finish up their peer feedback and personal reflections as I put in my feedback. Each student has a google doc with the criteria in it that the feedback and reflections are entered into. I will be printing these off and sending them home with the students by the end of the month.

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We are moving into our study of the geographical regions of Canada. I have created a passport that is broken into each of the regions. The first region, I will model highlight key information from the textbook, creating jot notes and sketch notes in response to the guiding questions for the region. In groups, students will be assigned a region that they will become the experts in. Once they have completed their regions, we will Jigsaw with the other groups to learn about the other regions. Once we have each of the regions filled out, we will rank them as to livability based on selected criteria and collaborate with the other classes to host socratic circles as we discuss and debate which of the regions is the best to live in.

Science – The students are well into their study of Electricity and Magnetism. So far, the students have begun to explore different types of circuits. This coming week, the students will look at simple circuits, bulbs in series, bulbs in parallel as well as batteries in series and parallel. The key is for students to learn from exploring, trial and error. We will look at switches by the end of the week or early next week, which will lead to a review and a short check-up next week.

Other news and updates:

  • With the extreme windchill and cold this past week, we have had a lot of indoor breaks. The students have been awesome about this. We will continue to monitor the weather. Students are given a choice of where to be during the cold weather but it is expected that they do go outside if the weather is appropriate. Please ensure that students are sent with warm clothes for outside each day.
  • Field Trip – We have been invited to go to the Spruce Grove library to be one of the first sets of students through their new innovation space. We will be going Wednesday, February 4, 2015 in the afternoon.  If you would like to come on this field trip, please let me know. I would appreciate 1-2 volunteers, however it is not needed.  The cost to cover transportation is $2. Please return the form and payment by Wednesday, January 14, 2015. Thank you! The form went home yesterday. If you need another copy, I will be scanning and posting one this week.
  • We are fortunate to welcome Haley into our classroom. She is an EA practicum student from Grant MacEwan University. She will be working with us a few hours on Wednesdays and Fridays until April. Mr. Letendre is her supervising teacher, however, she will be working with us in Science to help with our exploration of Electricity. She is a former Greystone student herself and is excited to be back and start working with the students.
  • If you are going on vacation. There is a form that you do need to fill out and it needs to be submitted to the office prior to your vacation. I have copies of the form or they can be picked up at the office. Also, if you can send me an email as an FYI, that would be appreciated. I rarely send any work with students for their vacations besides a journal or a photo scavenger hunt but it allows me to plan for how we will catch up for their return.  I will be scanning and posting the form this week as well.
  • Innovation Week 5 made international headlines…sort of.  Emma L. and Cailynne W.’s research for the latest instalment of Innovation Week lead them to the company called Tile based out of San Mateo, California.  Their company liked the girls so much, they were featured on Tile’s blog.   Pretty Cool to see an innovative company such as Tile see the value of what we do in Innovation Week .

What’s coming up for the new year

Language Arts – We will begin looking at the Organization Writing Trait.  Students will read several pieces of writing and complete responses with the focus being on the organization of their ideas.  Students will also be starting our leveled reading groups using the Literature Circle roles. I also hope to wrap up our read aloud of the novel “Traitor” as well this week.

Math – We will review the strategies for multiplication that we worked on before Christmas and we will then move on to Division strategies.  Mr. Letendre will be continuing to teach the students Math and I will be teaching 5F Science during that time.

Science – We are continuing with our Electricity Unit.  This week we will look at the various types of circuits and complete some hands-on activities exploring the various circuits answering the question “how does electricity move?”

Social Studies – This week we will start our presentations for our Who Do You Think You Are project. I am hoping to have these done by the end of the week. If all goes to plan, next week they will finish up their comparison and then the students will begin exploring the various regions of Canada.  The first step in the process will be to investigate pictures taken in the various regions.

Health – We will be looking at Gratitude this week. Over Christmas, students were to keep a list of kind things other do for them. They will be filling out gratitude cards for these.  We will also be working on the “Be Proactive” habit.

Art –  We are going to be working on Composition looking at what composition means and starting a “Through the keyhole” project to do with Winter landscapes.

French – We have finished the research piece of our inquiry as to “where is the best place to learn French?” and now we will be ranking each of them based on criteria the students will be generating as a class. The following step will then be to create a short presentation, visual or digital piece explaining why they chose the place they did as to where to learn french.