Weekly Update - January 22, 2021

What an exciting week we have had at DMC in Grade 6 Humanities!  Last week the students were introduced to the Municipal Government Election project.  When met Councillor Shane Keating on a virtual meet, he mentioned that a school was very similar to the municipal government.  You have the principal overseeing everything like our Mayor and each classroom is similar to the wards within the community.  Each classroom has a teacher who acts like the councillor for their constituents or students.  With that in mind, the project took shape.

The entire week our students were eager and engaged creating their campaigns for each of the candidates.  Through this process, they evaluated their values and how to meet the needs of their citizens or in this case, their fellow classmates.  Campaign materials were created and the students showed off their artistic abilities, tech skills and overall uniqueness creating a variety of different products to showcase their candidates.  

The project culminated on Friday where each candidate delivered their campaign speech via Google Meet to a different class.  Finally, all seven grade 6 classes met virtually to hear the seven mayoral candidates speak and decide which candidate they would vote for to become the grade 6 mayor!  Results of the election are being carefully counted and will be posted to the Google Classrooms later today.  The students will complete a self-evaluation next week to debrief and reflect on their experiences.

During the campaign preparation, the students gained firsthand knowledge from Member of Parliament from Calgary-Shepard, Tom Kmiec.  Each class was able to ask Tom at least one question relating to his experiences in Ottawa and he also shared some of his favourite tips and tricks to campaigning.  We were very appreciative of his time and knowledge. 

Since the majority of the week was spent preparing for the election on Friday, we are still working through Refugee.  Students have been making insightful connections to the text by connecting the text to self, to other text and to the world.  We are aiming to finish the novel within the next two weeks.  

Weekly Update - January 15, 2021

This week in humanities we dove back into our novel study of Refugee. Normally we don’t take so long with a novel study, but the interest that the students have shown in the book has inspired us to look at the historical significance of the events from the book and apply that to our understanding in social studies and other aspects of English. We continued reading the novel this week and continued to make connections to the characters and their stories.

In social studies the students wrapped up their understanding of the political parties of Alberta. They discussed all of the pros and cons of the parties and their platforms in class and then finished it by casting their vote. Each class was considered a constituency and they voted for the party they thought was best. 3 classes voted UCP, 3 classes voted NDP, and one class was so close that it came down to one vote. The NDP won by a single vote. Ask your children about everything they have learned about politics this week. They could probably tell you lots!

Finally, the students began an election project for grade 6. We have each classroom representing a ward with 4 students in each class running for councilor. We also have a mayoral candidate for each class to be elected mayor of grade 6. We will find out the results of the election next week! We can’t wait!

Weekly Update - January 8, 2021

Welcome back, everyone!  First of all, thank you for your support of your students during this week of online learning.  Students were eager and present for all their assigned meets and we all enjoyed seeing their smiling faces!  

 In Humanities this week, we focused on two main things: Reading assessments and a Voter Card.  The reading assessments are now completed (five total).  This data will help our team understand where our students need support in their reading comprehension.  If your student has not completed all five assessments, you can access them on the Google Classroom.

 The second task students worked on this week was a Student Voter Card.  In this assignment, students were asked to research the four major political parties in Alberta and summarize two to three points about their platform and beliefs.  Once they had gathered this information, they were able to make a decision as to which party aligned with their beliefs the best.  Please ensure this assignment has been completed and turned into their Google Classroom.  Next week, students will have a voting simulation based on their research.  

Weekly Update - December 18, 2020

 We had a very busy week in humanities! The students were were given a couple of reading assessments. These are assessments that they completed last year which will show us their understanding of different reading comprehension skills. We will continue these assessments when the students move online in January. 

 The students also completed a figurative language test this week. Students were tested on their ability to identify figurative language, find it in a paragraph, and use their understanding of the novel Refugee to write their own figurative language examples.

 Students also met with Shane Keating this week! He was nice enough to meet with all of the grade 6 students virtually to answer questions about his job and role as the ward 12 councillor for Calgary. He was able to tell the students about how he was elected and discussed what he does on a daily basis at city hall. 

Weekly Update - December 11, 2020

This past week students have continued to follow the journeys of the characters in Refugee, as they record their understanding of the text using Visual Notetaking. Each class is moving through it at their own pace. 

We also took a look at figurative language in novels this week and explored how it makes an impact on the reader. Students were given the chance to look at finding examples of figurative language in a song Wordplay. Here is a link to the song they listened to:

Finally, students worked very hard on their emails to their MLA, Ric McIver. Students were asked to think about an issue they thought the provincial government could fix based on their understanding of provincial government responsibilities. Students were provided with a template to use and wrote their own email. They were asked to send that email to Ric McIver as well as the Premier, the Cabinet Minister that oversees their particular issue, and the Shadow Minister. Some students sent their emails home this week and others will send it at the beginning of next week. It gave them a chance to understand how they can make an impact as a citizen of the Calgary Hays constituency. If you have a moment this weekend, ask them about what they wrote about. 

Weekly Update - December 4, 2020

Students worked hard this week to complete their blackout poetry.  The focus of this task was to create a mood and a theme that was conveyed through only a few words.  Students were able to add a full colour illustration to compliment their message or simply black out the page and rely on the strength of the text they selected.

We continue to read and sketchnote our grade 6 novel study, “Refugee”.  Next week we will begin to identify and learn about figurative language and find examples of it in action in our novel.  We encourage students to be sharing their predictions and observations about their character with their family.  

We are diving deeper into Levels of Government and focusing on Provincial government.  The students were given a task to put their research skills to the test and find out their representatives from each level of government.  Each class will be moving into researching particular topics or issues and then composing letters to send to representatives  

 Weekly Update - November 27, 2020

This past week students have continued to follow the journeys of the characters in Refugee, as they record their understanding of the text using Visual Notetaking. Each class is moving through it at their own pace. 

The students also took a look at blackout poetry this week by using a page from the novel Refugee to create their own style of blackout poetry. Here is a link to the poet that first started creating this unique type of poetry:

The students also continued with the levels of government by taking a closer look at the municipal responsibilities. We discussed what they thought were some of the responsibilities of the city of Calgary. We also went for a walk around the neighbourhood to look for more specific examples of what the city does for its citizens. Students were encouraged to take pictures with their phones and email them to their humanities teacher for discussion. 

 Weekly Update - November 13, 2020

This past week students have continued to follow the journeys of the characters in Refugee, as they record their understanding of the text using Visual Notetaking. Each class is moving through it at their own pace. 

 We have also been focusing our attention on the Four PIllars of Democracy (Justice, Equity, Representation and Freedoms.) Students searched for images that show a real-life example each of the pillars and are writing an explanation to share their understanding of what each pillar means. Each student is asked to present one of their images and explanations to the class. Most students completed this today, however we still have some who will be presenting on Monday. Students should have their assignments completed by Monday, if they haven’t already.

Tell Me A Story: We also dove into narrative story writing this week. Students were given a scenario, brainstormed and recorded their ideas, and are writing out their story. This story will help us determine a jumping off point for narrative writing. If anyone was away, the writing prompt video, planning sheet and explanation are on Google Classroom.

Lastly, we dedicated time for Remembrance Day. Students wrote cards and letters to soldiers and veterans, as well as created art to accompany them. We had our virtual grade 6 ceremony on Tuesday.

Weekly Update - November 6th, 2020

With a full week of classes, the grade six students were provided with ten curriculum based vocabulary words for the Words of the Week.  The five Humanities words (dictator, turmoil, asylum, omen, refugee) are from our read aloud, “Refugee”.  By selecting vocabulary from our core classes, students are able to see the words in “action” and practice the words seamlessly.  

Each class is moving through “Refugee”.  While listening to the story, the students are following one of the three main characters and sketch noting.  Sketch noting involves creating images, text and structures of the most important information.  This allows students to connect more deeply with the facts and create their own unique way of remembering.  There is a video on the Google Classroom explaining sketch note taking.  Please ask your child if they are following Josef, Isabel or Mahmoud while listening to “Refugee” and what is currently happening to their character.  There is a “material” post on every Google classroom with a PDF version of the book and the notes from class in case your child is absent or if you want to know what is happening in the book!

After completing the “Lost Project”, students were introduced to the idea of democracy and asked to reflect on their own decision making on their islands.  We introduced the Pillars of Democracy; freedoms, representation, equity and justice.  Students are working on an assignment where they must find visual representations of each pillar and be able to explain the pillar in their own words and why they selected the image.  We also are beginning to discuss the importance of sourcing images and information from the Internet.

Every student completed the online survey, “OurSchool” this week.  This survey is facilitated by The Learning Bar and allows anonymous feedback for our school.  Through this survey, teachers and administrators are able to learn more about the experience of our students at Dr Martha Cohen School.  Finally, in preparation for our first ever Remembrance Day virtual ceremony, students created poppy wreaths in a variety of ways and also began writing letters to veterans.  

Weekly Update - October 30, 2020

Well, we’ve reached the end of October and Halloween. This past week in humanities, we brought the Lost projects to a close. The students completed the final tasks and reflected on their experience of working in groups and creating a new community with roles, laws and consequences, leaders, and how it all connects with the idea of democracy. 

We also continued our pre-reading activities for our novel study of , by Alan Gratz. Students had an opportunity to put themselves in someone else's shoes as the completed The Refugee Simulation Activity. They were put into families and guided through a journey that gave them insight into some of the hardships refugees could experience as they travel to find safety. Some classes have also been introduced to the main characters in Refugee and have also started reading. The rest of us will start reading at the beginning of next week. Throughout our novel study, we are asking students to record their understanding of the characters and their experience through the use of visual note taking. Students were introduced to the idea and have begun putting it into practice. 

Students are able to complete our Library Book Request through the school website, as well as their Google Classroom, so if they didn’t have an opportunity to request a new book this week, they can also do it from home.

Weekly Update - October 23, 2020

Hard to believe we are more than halfway through October!  Our classes have been busy this week building background knowledge about the concept of refugees.  The classes read a story, “Stepping Stones- A Refugee Family’s Journey”.  This story took place in Syria, which connects to our first novel study.  The students noted important events from the story and began to empathize what it would be like to have to leave your home unexpectedly, due to violence.  Some of the classes completed a refugee simulation assignment in class to understand what it would be like to be an actual refugee. This will be followed by the Backpack Assignment that was sent home as the homework assignment for this weekend.

The students also continued with their Lost projects this week. We are all still working at different paces, but the end of the project is in sight. We will wrap up our group discussions next week. 

Don’t forget to check Google Classroom regularly for updates that are happening throughout the week and to catch up on any missed assignments or discussions form class. 

Weekly Update - October 16, 2020

This week the students in the grade 6 classes finished their first podcast, “The New Kid”.  Each student entered reflection questions into a Google Form to share their understanding and to demonstrate their ability to make connections between their own life and characters and ideas in oral texts.  Students also began a new assignment to conclude our study of  “The New Kid” called “Insta-event”.  In this task, students are asked to create their own “Instapost” based on an important event from The New Kid.  Students are demonstrating their ability to construct meaning and make connections through listening.  Both of these assignments are available to view on the Google Classroom.

We continued our work in “The Lost Project” and each grade 6 class is at a slightly different place in the tasks.  Most groups are working on their third and fourth tasks, which focus on instituting and creating laws for the island.  Students are learning how challenging it is to make decisions that work for all members of the group.  This project will continue into next week.

Next week we will continue our “Bell Ringers” and will have Words of the Week and a spelling quiz on Friday.  Please ask your child to share the spelling list on Monday to begin reviewing the words throughout the week.  The words will be listed on the Google Classroom as well.

We are very excited to introduce our first novel study to the students next week.  The novel is the New York Times best selling book, “Refugee” by Alan Gratz.  The story takes place in the perspective of three different kids, in three different decades,  with a common mission, to escape.  The three young people go on a harrowing journey in search of refuge.  Students will be bringing home an assignment that will require your participation!  Stay tuned for that!

Please support your child by encouraging them to check the Google Classroom classwork tab frequently.  All the assignments and new material is posted there for them to review.

Weekly Update - October 9, 2020

The students started the week by wrapping up their work on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They wrote their first social studies quiz on Tuesday that examined the different parts of the Charter. Students were successful if they were able to identify the different sections of the Charter and understand how different rights and freedoms fit into each section. They were also able to apply their understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Residential Schools and understand how these groups of people had their rights and freedoms taken away. 

We also started our work on listening to a podcast called “The New Kid.” This is from a podcast series called Stories Podcast. In this task, students were asked to listen to a podcast called “The New Kid.” While listening they were asked to create sketches and jot notes about the plot. They were asked to complete some reflection questions in order to be able to make connections between their own life and characters and ideas in oral texts.

The New Kid Podcast Link

Finally, students started a project called Lost in social studies. This is an in class project that is completed with their group. The idea around the project is to give the students a sense of building a society from scratch. They will understand different forms of governments based on the discussions they have within their groups. This project will lead into further discussions around how our own provincial and municipal governments function.

Weekly Update - October 2, 2020

This week the students focused on Orange Shirt Day. The students were able to look into the history of Orange Shirt Day and the story behind Phyllis Webstad. Students discussed the importance of this day and why it is recognized across Canada every year. As a follow up to that lesson, the students watched the CBC documentary “The Secret Path.” This book and film adaptation is ten poems about the story of Chanie Wenjack, a boy who died in 1966 when he escaped a residential school in Ontario and tried to walk home, over 400 miles away. Students completed a notice, think, and wonder chart as they watched the film. We discussed their observations as a class. 

The students also continued to look at the Charter of Rights and Freedoms this week. We now have a solid understanding of the rights and freedoms that we, as Canadians, experience. The students spent some time looking at connecting the rights to responsibilities that we all share as Canadians. 

There will be a quiz about the Charter on Tuesday, October 6. Students have access to a study guide through their Google Classroom.

Finally, students looked at the structure of newspapers and the different parts of a newspaper article. Students were able to apply this understanding while reading an article about the Black Lives Matter movement. We were able to discuss the 5 Ws (who, what, when, where, why) and the structure of the article as we looked at it as a class. We will continue to focus on current events in the coming weeks as we move towards students writing their own article. 

Weekly Update - September 25, 2020

In the third week of school, the grade six students built on the topics we discussed last week and were able to deepen their understanding and apply it in a variety of ways.  For example, students became experts on different sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and presented their learnings to their classmates.  This week, students were asked to read different “I can” statements and demonstrate their understanding by selecting which part of the Charter the statement came from and justify their responses.  We will continue this work by expanding the conversation around rights and freedoms and the responsibilities of citizens.

We also introduced the importance of setting a purpose for reading and research.  There are a number of reasons we read and knowing WHY we are reading – helps us to focus on important information and to better understand and remember what we read. It also helps us decide HOW we will read the text.  Classes began discussing the Black Lives Matter movement and recognized the purpose was to understand the issue and to gain information.

Classes continued to deepen their understanding of the BLM movement by analyzing a newspaper article.  We reviewed about the 5 parts of a newspaper and the students learned how to summarize and identify each component.  Next, we read the article, "Black Lives Matter".  In classes, students used 7 different colours to highlight the headline, byline and 5Ws.

A reminder to all students and parents to please join your respective Google Classrooms (invites were sent through EduCBE Google Emails).  All assignments, daily updates and information for what is happening in the classroom can be found there.  Next week will be busy and very exciting with the Terry Fox Run, Photo Day (individual) and Orange Shirt day all taking place!

Weekly Update - September 18, 2020

The students have been busy this week in Humanities. We started the week by finishing up our Ball About Me Presentations to the class. These will be displayed in the classroom soon. 

Students were also asked to complete a reading comprehension test this week. This was completed using computers where students needed to fill in a missing word from a sentence. The students needed to select the best word that fit. This will give us an accurate picture of their reading comprehension level. In the coming weeks we will be looking at reading recognition and spelling. 

We also looked at the importance of wearing masks. Students discussed how masks demonstrate empathy when you wear them. They were then given the chance to design their own mask using symbols and words that are important to them. We will finish this activity next week.

Finally, students looked closely at the different sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They discussed their section within their group and then shared the findings with the class. Notes will be posted to their Google classroom.

Weekly Update - September 11, 2020

In our first almost full week of Humanities, the grade six students were introduced to a daily routine called, “Bell Ringers”.  The purpose of this activity is to transition into our learning quickly as well as incorporate many subject areas through vocabulary study and practice our literacy skills.  

Students were introduced to "The Charter of Rights and Freedoms".  We discussed the difference between a right and a freedom and explained that the Charter is a document within the Canadian Constitution.  Students created "A Charter of Me" where they brainstormed rights and freedoms that they have in school.  Examples included "I, (name), have the right to learn without distractions" and "I, (name), have the freedom to take a drink of water when I need".  Our next steps are to use these lists to create our own version for a Classroom Charter.

The grade six students have completed their first assignment on Google Classroom, “A Ball About Me”.  This task incorporated a visual art component as well as an oral presentation.  Most students have completed the first aspect and are planning their presentation for early next week.

A reminder to all students and parents to please join your respective Google Classrooms (invites were sent through EduCBE Google Emails).  All assignments, daily updates and information for what is happening in the classroom can be found there.

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