Innovation Week, Blogging and Swimming

Innovation Week
Next week is innovation week. Thank you to everyone who is supporting the students and their learning by signing their proposals and helping the students with materials.

We formally invite you to our showcase on Friday, December 19, 2014 from 11:00 am to 12:15 pm. The school will have their projects on display for you to see, ask questions about and even possibly try out. The students are very excited to open our doors to the friends, family and the community.

Students will be updating their blogs regularly through out the week so please check out their posts, leave comments and ask questions. The links for the the blogs of students in 5A are on the right hand side.

Each week I try to find time for the students to update you on their learning. You will likely notice that there are spelling mistakes and it may seem rough, however this is a place for students to write freely and express themselves. They receive feedback and corrections on everything else they do so this is about them and their thoughts.  I help them guide the topics and encourage them to write more, however, this is about them and their learning. Please comment on their blogs.


Students all completed their Swim at School program and their progress reports were sent home from them. I joined one of the classes on Friday afternoon to see what they were learning. It was definitely a challenge – I might need to take some lessons to keep up with them. The students learned many valuable skills through out the week and enjoyed the fun activities in the latter half of their final lesson. I am very proud of how much effort the students put in. They all received positive comments and praise from their instructors.


Innovation Week at GCMS

There have been many questions regarding innovation week. One of our LC 5 teachers, Ms. Ariss wrote an excellent explanation on her blog had allowed us to repost it. You can find the original post here.

Innovation Week at GCMS kicks off tomorrow morning for all students interested in inquiry, project-based, problem-solving and the innovative creation process. We have a unique opportunity at GCMS to implement this incredible week-long program that challenges students to question, investigate, process, create and share in teams on areas of deep interest.

Here is a video from previous Innovation Weeks held at GCMS:

The theme for Innovation Week 5 is “How Do I Learn?” and students will be reflecting on this theme daily via their blogs.  This allows for the students to take away a greater understanding of themselves as learners and how sharing their learning while being open to receiving and providing feedback will allow for growth.

Tomorrow morning all interested students will be brought together to submit a proposal based on the following criteria:

  • What is your guiding question?
  • What is your plan for the project?
  • What will you do to prepare for your project? What research or preparation will you need to do? What resources will you access?
  • Will you connect with an outside expert? If yes, who will your expert be? How will your expert assist you? How and when will you connect with your expert?
  • What will you need to move from the preparation to the action phase for your project? How will you move from research to actually creating your project?
  • Materials you will provide
  • What will you create as a final product?
  • Who is your audience and how will you present your learning?

Following the completion of their proposal, students will be guided by teachers through the Ideation and Prototyping stages. They will use their guiding question that they developed and come up with 100 ideas to help answer that guiding question in a constrained set of time. Students will also need to produce a drawing of their prototype.

Students will have to submit their group proposal based on the above criteria however their projects can centre around any topic, idea or passion they have and would like to explore. Innovation week ties directly with Alberta’s Cross Curricular Competencies. Innovation Week provides our students with opportunities to experience one or more of the following competencies:

  • Know how to learn
  • Think critically
  • Identify and solve complex problems
  • Manage information
  • Innovate
  • Create opportunities
  • Demonstrate good communication skills and the ability to work cooperatively with others

Innovation week officially begins the last week before our holiday break from Dec. 15-19th. All participating students will spend that entire week working in teams with teacher and expert guides on their projects. On Friday Dec. 19th, we will host an open Gallery Walk to showcase their projects from 11:00 am – 12:15 pm. We hope to see you there!

Students who will not be participating will continue with alternate learning activities.

If you’d like more information or want to see previous student projects and learning from Innovation Week, please visit Mr. Mclean’s Blog:

This Week At School

Math: We are looking at Strategies for multiplication. Some common favorites are Doubling and Arrays.

Science: We did a Chalk Talk about our things we wonder, things we know, things we want to know, and questions we had about our new topic in Science – ELECTRICITY. The kids are quite excited to get started on this unit.

Language Arts: We are working on our Descriptive writing. We are using planners and organizers to generate ideas on how to describe our Monsters. The kids are working on the idea of “Showing not Telling” their descriptions. Instead of listing facts, they are narrating the description so that it paints a vivid picture in the reader’s head.

Social Studies: The kids are working on their presentations for “Who Do You Think You Are?”. They are making sure they can answer the the first 3 of the 4 driving questions we have.
1. Why did your family come to Canada
2. Where did they settle? (or where did they originally live if they have always lived in Canada?)
3. Why did they choose to settle there? (or why did they choose to leave where they originally were? How did they end up in Spruce Grove?)
4. How did where they settle shape their identity

The fourth question is likely to be answered as we learn the geographical regions of Canada.

Our November

Where did the month go? We have been very busy in our classroom.

Here’s a look at our month in review from Twitter.

The kids have had a chance to look at their report cards and ask questions. There really shouldn’t have been any surprises as Feedback is a big thing in our class. If there were surprises, we looked at their work and it made sense to the students. A few students were positively surprised, they had not pieced together how much growth has made. Make sure you read the curriculum letter about what we have done in Term 1 and where we are going in Term 2.

Jr. Achievement

Today we had a guest in the classroom from Jr. Achievement talking to us about Business in Our World. We learned how to apply for a job, good interview skills, and various parts of a business.

We really enjoyed applying for a job. Ms. A helped us understand some good habits by letting us ask her about what it was like to apply for her job at Greystone. We also learned about how to ask people about being a reference for us and how to pick good references.


Mixtures vs Reactions

Today in Science we learned about mixtures and reactions. Students were given 2 different substances to add together in their groups and were to decide if they caused a reaction or a mixture. They needed to explain what they saw in order to justify their classification.

Ms. Albrecht then showed the class what happens when you mix Vinegar and Milk. To the surprise of many, the milk curdled – creating a plastic-like substance (also know as a precipitate). We expected it to smell kind of funny – It was like a hot summer day on the farm according to Ms. A. We also noticed a colour change and bubbles (caused by a gas that was created). This checked off almost all the possible visual and olfactory clues that it was a reaction and not just a mixture.

A big thank you to the student volunteer for cleaning out the bowl from the experiment. That one was a mix of “Yuck” and “Cool” all at the same time. Here’s a picture of it on the projector for you to see, if you dare!

Milk and Vinegar

Milk and Vinegar = a Reaction

Goal Setting Conferences

Thank you parents for coming out to our goal setting conferences.

As a class, we worked hard to set our goals. We even came up with criteria for setting out goals. We were all proud to share these goals with our parents the last couple of nights. These goals will help direct our Best Year Ever here at Greystone.


We feel that goals should be

  • Reasonable
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Challenging
  • Appropriate
  • Personal


A big thank you for those who added to our board of questions from the statement “A World Without Canada”. There are some amazing questions on there.

Our September

We had a very busy September in LC 5A. We are still waiting to hear about the portables – but we are starting to get excited. More details to come.

In Science, we are working on our classroom chemistry unit. We’ve made slime rocks and are about to make ice cream in the next week. We know the difference between reversible and irreversible changes and we know where we can find them.

In Math we are working on Estimation and Benchmarking in our Whole Numbers unit. We played a card game for estimating sums and looking at the 3 estimation strategies.

In Language Arts, we have learned the proper format for writing a letter. We also looked at self evaluation and working with feedback in Google Docs.  We wrote a letter to our teacher telling us about what makes us the person we are. We also have worked on how to pick a good book to read, when to abandon a book, and how to buzz about the books we are reading.

In French we have worked on Months, Days, Time, Numbers, and Classroom vocabulary. We are currently designing our dream classroom.

In Social Studies we are worked on creating our own resource in Google Maps. We are going to be starting our inquiry project in the coming week. We started looking at what makes a powerful question and we have worked on our research skills. We are also working on interviewing people as we have found out that everyone has their own story of how they got to where they are.

We are continuing finding out what good digital citizenship is and how we can be good digital citizens. Our conversation with Cst. Lucas really helped!

Below is our Storify with out tweets and pictures.


Connecting our learning to our lives

Today we had a number of guests in our class.

This morning we had a FaceTime call (kind of like a skype call) with Cst. Lucas from the Edmonton Police Service. We talked about digital citizenship.

After, we reflected on how we can add the things we learned to our plan to be a good digital citizen.

This afternoon we worked through the inquiry model with Mrs. Rogal. We also talked about “what do good problem solvers do?” and problem solving strategies




Some students noticed that being a good problem solver is similar to being a good scientist and the inquiry model is similar to the scientific method.

This morning we also had a chance to explore Canada using Google Maps Engine. This gave us a good idea of the sizes of the capital cities. We will continue to build our maps as we learn about our country!

Mr. Letendre also led us in a discussion about how to pick a good book. We get to go to the library tomorrow so this will hopefully help us in picking a good book!