Bridge Engineering

Hello, division 4 families!

In Science, Social Studies and ADST, our class has been enjoying a bridges inquiry as a side-quest during our larger “Landmarks Inquiry”.

Through reading, viewing, and hands-on exploration, students have been learning about the engineering, aesthetic, historical, and cultural aspects of bridges around the world.

They learned about the differences between suspension, beam and arch bridges and added new vocabulary related to the mechanics of bridges.

During our construction bridge design challenge with a set quality of materials, students have been testing their own theories about what shapes and structures and will lend more strength. They are building their own model bridges to support as much weight as possible without collapsing or buckling when various toy cars are placed on top.

This video captured students’ imaginations and sparked new questions about bridge design.

Students also made their own creative metaphorical connections between humans and bridges in our creative dialogue during Language Arts.

How are people like bridges?
How are bridges like people?

Here are two other videos we watched excerpts of for information and inspiration:

Here is another bridge documentary that students requested we watch; however we didn’t view it since I hadn’t had the chance to preview it, and it is long. However, here is the link in case families wanted to watch it.

Time Machine, Totem Celebration, Ethical Decisions, Drama, etc.

Hello, division 4 families!

We’ve wrapped up another sunny week of new learning with lots to share with you. Students have worked together on the fun “build a time machine” collaborative challenge, and we have been using it to spark creative discussion, new writing, and dramatic play.

In S.S., students tapped into their imaginations and recent historical research in preparation to showcase their growth in paragraph writing with the “If I Had a Time Machine” assignment.

On Thursday, it was a special time of reflection to celebrate the anniversary of the creation of our school’s totem and it’s meaning. The whole school joined in a singing and drumming session of celebration.

In Physical and Health Education and Social Studies, we have been talking about making healthy, kind, and safe choices, and students have put on their own skits to model appropriate ways to handle challenging situations such as bullying, and social pressure to steal, cheat, or use harmful substances. It is so encouraging and heartwarming to see the goodness of our classmates’ characters on display. We all grow from reflecting, talking and listening together in preparation for life’s challenges and opportunities. These smart and kind kids are going to inspire and change the world!

To Our Oaklands Track Participants:

We are so proud of you for taking on this challenge and representing our school so well. We are cheering for you, and hope you have a great event day on Monday! We celebrate you now for already being winners for your great courage and effort!

Canadian Inventions, Landmarks Inquiry

Hello, division 4 families!

Today was a big Social Studies day! Core questions explored included:

What is the history of invention in Canada? What is the mindset of a successful inventor?

What is a landmark? What is the criteria that must be met for place to be considered a landmark? What world landmarks most interest you?

We started our day with a wonderful “Artstarts” theatrical presentation in the gym that taught students about the fascinating history of Canadian Inventions, such as zippers, biodegradable plastic, the Robertson screwdriver, snow shoes, basketball and WD40, and 5-pin bowling!

Today we began a new Social Studies inquiry about “landmarks”. We initiated the topic through philosophical dialogue using the P4C (philosophy for children) practice. I showed the students some figurines of world landmarks and asked them “what questions do these objects inspire for you?”

Students are learning how to form and answer their own questions and to participate in respectful, generative and critical discussion with their peers. They are learning to express themselves with clarity and to support their claims with good evidence and logical reasons.

Our process was to first consider what we mean by the word “landmark”. We looked up definitions and shared our own meanings. We looked at some videos, photos, and figurine examples of landmarks. Then students brainstormed and discussed their own questions related to landmarks. Students discussed their ideas and presented examples and logical arguments towards the goal of clarifying their own understanding. We compared natural with human-made landmarks.

I played a video of a group of my former grade 5/6 students in dialogue about landmarks to model what philosophical dialogue can sound like.

Students then enjoyed some Chromebook research time to independently learn more about the various landmarks that most intrigued them.

The Totem at Oaklands, a meaningful landmark for our school community.

HOMEWORK TO EXPLORE IN YOUR OWN TIME AND IN YOUR OWN WAY (OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS): Keep learning about and thinking about world landmarks. Choose one landmark that most interests you and research it with print and digital sources. Prepare to be an “expert” on your chosen landmark and teach others about it. What is the significance of this place? What is its history? Why does it deserve landmark status? Does this landmark have controversy surrounding it? Why are you intrigued by this landmark?

Designing an Ideal Playground, Buddies & Math

Yesterday and today our division 4 students presented their cardboard models of their ideal playgrounds and shared them with other students in the school.

This project inspired students to use their creativity and imagination to come up with unique designs, while also working within the constraints the cardboard posed. Students were also challenged to think through how to effectively communicate the features of their ideal playground to others and then practice their public speaking skills.

Today we also enjoyed some “Little Buddies” time. The students worked collaboratively to do a challenge moving and stacking cups using string and an elastic band. Amazing teamwork!

And here is a look at the math from today…

Cycling & Story Editing (Past vs. Present Tense)

Hello, division 4 families!

Today was beautiful day for learning! We enjoyed our first of three bonus Physical education sessions this week riding around with the Cycling BC program!

In Math we continued working with decimals. Then we had more research and hands-on creation time for our playground design projects and time travelling board games.

In Language Arts we had a lesson to learn to identify the difference between text that is written in past tense versus the present tense.

A common tendency for young writers is to unknowingly flip back and forth between past and present tense when writing stories, which leads to confusion for the reader. We worked together to edit a piece of text to ensure consistency as a past tense story.

Career Day, Chess & Transferable Life Skills

Hello, division 4 families!

On Friday our students enjoyed a dynamic “Career Day” event in the gym. We had four mystery professionals take the stage and students had the opportunity to ask “Yes/No” questions about the nature of their work until they amassed enough information to make good guesses about what each presenter’s job is. Then students got up close to the presentation booths of each profession to ask more questions and see the tools of their trades.

Today we had a wonderful first session with Mr. Churchill, an amazing Chess coach who led our class though our powerful first strategy and tactics session. We will now have the privilege of spending every Monday from 9am-10am in these chess lessons, which help students to sharpen their logical-reasoning skills and learn many transferable life skills.

Eagles, Decimals, Polygons, SEL & Cardboard Creativity…

Hello, division 4 families!

It was wonderful to see so many folks enjoying our classroom and celebrating our students learning yesterday in Student-Led Conferences! Thank you for sharing this time with us!

Today became extra special when FOUR EAGLES spent several minutes swooping low over our school! Everyone was thrilled!

Here are some more highlights of our recent learning…

In Math, students have continued to explore identifying, comparing, sorting, adding and subtracting decimals. We try to do this in hands-on ways where possible—students have enjoyed our “Decimal Boxing Match” game lately.

We have also started working with polygons: identifying and classifying.

In Language Arts, we continue to edit and polish the time travelling cat stories. As well, we returned to our learning of “parts of speech” by having silly fun with “Mad Libs”. Lots of laughs!

As well, our room is brimming with cardboard projects and creativity since we have students doing their playground design inquiry, board game design project, and “Time Machine” building!

We have also continued our “SEL” (Social Emotional Learning) lessons with Mrs. Ritchie to explore our emotions, self-regulation strategies, and communication skills.

Maker Challenge: Design & Build a Playground

HOMEWORK: Please re-watch this video with a family member. Then discuss your own ideas for a playground design and the steps you could take to research, create plans, and build a model to communicate your ideas to others.

Hello, division 4 families!

In the week of May 15-18th, our whole school will engage in a fun “Maker Challenge” where students can work together in partners or small group to design a playground, and build a model of it using cardboard, recyclable materials, paints, tape, glue etc.

This fun creative exploration will tap into grade 4/ 5 curriculum in ADST (design process), Science (Simple Machines), Math (Measurement, Money), Art (3D Sculpture), and Social Studies (Research Skills, Ethical Decision-Making), and Language Arts (Oral Language Skill used during presentations).

The students in our class have already been exploring strategies for building with cardboard in our ADST program through making pieces to contribute to our class “time machine”. As well, they are making “time travel”-themed board games in Social Studies using many of these same techniques.

Our hope with these explorations and our “Maker Challenge” is to empower students with the skills, techniques and inspiration to take on their own creative projects, and get a glimpse of where true creative inquiry can lead.

I created the video above to illustrate for students a vision for how they could continue a playground design inquiry on their own, if they so desired—perhaps as an enrichment project or something fun to focus on during the summer.

Disclaimer: The video is an example of IN DEPTH inquiry (i.e. I don’t expect students to go to this level this school year—yet I still wanted to show them the path forward for how they could take what I’ve taught them to build upon their skills on their own in a “Personal Interest Project” format.).

HOMEWORK: Please re-watch the above video as a way to provoke discussion on the following questions: What ideas do you have for your own playground design project? The boy in the video, Marcus, did a personal interest project about designing playgrounds—if you could do your own personal interest project, what topic might you like to explore?

Student-Led Conferences: Wed., May 3rd

Hello, division 4 families!

We hope this blog has been a helpful way for you to feel informed and connected to your child’s learning this school year. Yet, here is another fun opportunity…

We are excited to open our classroom to you and your child this Wednesday, May 3rd from 2:50pm to 6:00pm for STUDENT-LED CONFERENCES. This is an “Open House”-style event with no set appointment times.

These conferences are led by students, and I will be in the room to welcome you, smile, and join you in feeling proud of your child! (For confidentiality reasons, I will not be able to use this time to discuss your child’s performance or needs since the room will be busy. However, please feel free to email to request an individual appointment if needed.)

Arrive when you can, but please note the classroom will be especially busy between 5-6pm. The event ends at 6pm sharp. (However, please feel free to visit our class another time if that works better with your schedule, and/or ask your child to bring home their work to do a “student led conference” at home if you like.)

Using the checklist below, students have practiced being a conference host by role-playing with their classmates. Below is a sneak peek at the plan for the conferences…

Cardboard Challenge, Decimals, Circulatory System & Story Editing

Today we had a blast with our ADST cardboard challenge that our librarian, Ms. Mueller, facilitated. Thank you so much for bringing in cardboard! The challenge was to use the design process to come up with an idea for a “robot” that could solve a problem. Students used cardboard and special “safety cutters”, bread clips, twist ties, elastics, and creativity to make model robots.

In Math, we are continuing to learn about fractions, while also exploring the topics of decimals and money. We have been using peer support activities, discussion, games, colourful manipulatives, and a variety of videos to help us understand the concepts.

In Science, we just wrapped up a unit on the Circulatory System.

In Language Arts, we have been continuing with our class novel study of “Time Cat”, by Lloyd Alexander. Taking inspiration from that story, students have invested lots of creativity and time into writing their own stories about time travelling cats. We are emphasizing a thorough and facilitated proofreading process that involves passing story drafts by multiple editing partners for specific feedback. We have discussed how all writers need editing support and that this is an important learning process itself—not just for the purpose of perfecting a story.

This is a SAMPLE of a peer editing sheet.