Weekly Update - June 18, 2021

This week in Humanities we focused on two specific areas to wrap up for the end of the year: reading and writing. The students completed their last round of CARS reading tests this week, or will finish them sometime next week. We have seen some overall improvement with their reading comprehension skills, specifically in the areas of summarizing and main idea.

 The students also worked on their narrative stories this week. Students used picture prompts to write a narrative story by using a step by step format for completing their stories. Different classes chose to use different techniques for organizing their work before writing, but the end results were the same with the students finishing their stories this week. We will work on a little bit of editing next week.

Weekly Update - June 11, 2021

Please check your child’s Powerschool this week to ensure all assignments are completed and submitted.  

In class this week, the grade six students began to compose their narrative stories based on a picture prompt by Harris Burdick.  Before the students started their stories, we read an example where an author created an entire short story called, “A Strange Day in July” based on a picture.  Ask your student about this hilarious story!  We are currently using our 10 minute storyboards to create our story beginnings and character sketches.  Next week we will continue writing our stories!

We read Part 4 Chapters 10-12 of A Long Walk to Water.  Throughout these chapters, students were identifying actions that the main characters, Nya and Salva, were doing and then creating character traits that would be associated with that action.  For example, Nya joined a group of children who were following the visitors to her village.  This told us that Nya is a curious person.  This ability to recognize actions and identify a character trait will be crucial when our students begin to create their own unique characters in their narrative stories.

Lastly, the students became experts on one of the nine clans from the Iroquois Confederacy.  In small groups, they learned about their clan animal and then, in a jigsaw format, came together with a representative from each clan to share about their own.  They also learned more about the Iroquois Confederacy decision making through the introduction of the longhouse.  Ask your child how the longhouse supported their way of democracy and what consensus means.  Some classes began to plan their Wampum belt designs which are beaded agreements that the Iroquois used to symbolize an important event or agreement.  Each student will create their own message, utilizing the purple and white beads to convey their message and create patterns and symbols.  For this project, if you have any cardboard (about the thickness of an Amazon box) please send them to school with your child next week so we can create our looms for the beading.  

Weekly Update - June 4, 2021

Throughout this week in Humanities and Chimera Time, our focus has been directed towards the sorrowful discovery at the Residential School in Kamloops. We have had discussions, watched videos and the students have made some visuals to show that Every Child Matters.

Each class is ending the week reading a few more chapters of A Long Walk to Water and learning about identifying character traits in the two main characters. This will help them learn about developing their own characters as we continue our learning about narrative writing. 

Weekly Update - May 28, 2021

Missing assignments! There are a large number of students who have not handed in their Ancient Athens Quadarama. This is a significant part of their social studies mark for this term. Please check with your child to make sure they have submitted it to their teacher. 

 During this week the students continued with our novel study, A Long Walk to Water. Students have been continuing to make connections to their understanding of the water crisis in indigenous communities in Canada with similar problems that exist in Southern Sudan. We are continuing with comprehension questions to encourage the students to think big and be able to empathize with the characters. Copies of all of the chapters we have read so far are posted on Google Classroom, so be sure to catch up on what you have missed.

 We have continued with our narrative story writing unit this week as well. Students have been working on different activities in different classes, including understanding story beginnings and what makes an exciting start to a story, storyboarding their ideas based on picture prompts, and starting to think about using elaborative detail in their stories. We will continue to build on these ideas and begin the writing process soon for their own short stories. There is a lot of creativity that has been coming out of these lessons and we can’t wait to read their final products. 

Weekly Update - May 21, 2021

Thank you to all the grade 6 students at DMC for all your hard work over the past two weeks online.  We really appreciate all your enthusiasm and effort during our at-home learning.  We are SO thrilled to be returning to in-person learning on May 25th!

 Over the past week, the students continued learning about sustainability, specifically around water.  Classes are moving at different paces but are reading our new book, “A Long Walk to Water”.  This story has so many connections to our previous novel study, “Refugee” as well as our study into water throughout the year.  After completing sections of the book, students have been completing comprehension questions with a focus on answering the questions using full sentence structure and proper conventions.

 We also introduced the students to narrative writing this week.  Using the well-known movie, “The Lion King” students were introduced to the plot structure of a narrative story.  We took advantage of being online and created a collaborative jamboard where students contributed ideas about “What makes an interesting story?”.  To help with organization, students were taught about 10 minute storyboards.  In small groups, the students practiced identifying the different parts of a narrative story using fairy tales.  The students really enjoyed the breakout spaces where they could connect and complete their tasks with their peers.

 Lastly, we continued to explore the Iroquois Confederacy.  Students were assigned a task to map the five nations as well as other important landmarks.  Some classes read a short picture book to further their understanding of Hiawatha, a crucial person in the history of the Iroquois responsible for peacekeeping and bringing the nations together.

 Students, please remember to check the Google Classroom for outstanding assignments and also remember to bring your Quadrama to school on Tuesday so we can assemble the four sides and teachers can assess them.  Have a wonderful long weekend!

Weekly Update - May 14, 2021

Our first week of online learning got off to an exciting start with our virtual field trip to the Iroquois Museum located in Howes Cave, New York. Our students were introduced to many artifacts from the museum, such as the floor mats and dolls made out of corn husks; moccasins made from deer hides; wampum belt made out of purple and white beads cut from shells; and the tools made from wood and stone. We also learned some of their stories, such as why dolls have no faces--see if your child can explain this. As we delve more into the culture and societal structure of the Haudenosaunee people we will learn about how this society is very different from the Ancient Athenian structure with women being the decision makers.

The students have also started a new read-aloud book titled “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park, based on a true story. This will tie together our study of waterless communities in Canada, along with the concepts about water studied in science to the global issue of the importance of water and sustainability.

Being currently at home for our learning we want students to continue to have the chance to work collaboratively in small groups and we have introduced the technology of online breakout rooms.

(Please remind your child to submit photos of their quadrama for Ancient Athens, due Friday May 14)

Weekly Update - April 30, 2021

The grade 6 students wrapped up the Mars Patel podcast this week! What an exciting ending to the first season. The students were definitely on the edge of their seats. Each class chose to finish with something different to demonstrate their understanding such as a writing assignment or a graphic organizer summarizing their knowledge of the podcast.

We introduced a new project in social studies this week called the Ancient Athens Quadrama. This project will demonstrate their understanding of how ancient Athens functioned as well as their social structure. Students will answer these four questions on each side of their quadrama: 

- To what extent were the ideals of equity and fairness part of the structure of government and society in ancient Athens?

- How did the democratic system of Athens compare with the modern democratic system of Alberta?

- Choose one of the 3 Pillars of Ancient Athens (the Assembly, the Council of 500, or the Court) and display your understanding of the pillar.

- Pick something from Ancient Athens that interests you, and display your understanding of that element (this part will require some independent research). Some ideas might include: Greek mythology stories, the Greek Olympics, stories of epics from Greece, information about city-states, or something else of your choosing.

Next week we will be continuing with the quadrama project, so if there is anything from home that the students want to use as part of their project, we encourage you to do so. 

Weekly Update - April 23, 2021

This week, the grade six students have continued expanding on their knowledge of democracy in Ancient Athens by comparing the pillars of democracy in Ancient Athens to the pillars of democracy of Alberta. Mrs. Allen has shared some photos that she has taken on her travels to Athens for the students to see a person they know standing where democracy developed 2500 years ago! Ask your child how voting happened without paper ballots in Ancient Athens. The classes are finishing off their stories about how their lives would be as a privileged citizen of Athens, a metic or a common slave. Ask your child which role they wrote about. Some classes have finished painting a picture of an Athenian vase while other classes are just starting.

The classes are close to listening to the end of Season 1 of Mars Patel. Students have shown how they can pick out main ideas from one episode as they created a 3 panel representation of episode 7 using the program StoryboardThat. They have also listed some pros and cons of both auditory and visual storytelling.

With Thursday being Earth Day, we enjoyed a presentation from Green Calgary. Did you know that items don’t decompose in the landfill? We saw photos of items like 50-year-old newspapers pulled out of the landfill that you can still read! There were many great ideas about how we can improve our recycling efforts and our use of our green bins. Did you know that you can put extra bags in your recycling bin, but they should be in a clear bag and tied so they don’t damage the equipment? And soiled egg cartons and cardboard toilet paper rolls can join all your food and lawn scraps in your green bin.

Next week, being a short week, there will not be any words of the week. 

Weekly Update - April 16, 2021

This week, the grade six students deepened their understanding of Ancient Athens by building on their knowledge of social structure through the “Day in the Life” perspective writing.  Next, students compared the decision making of Ancient Athens to Alberta.  Through this activity, students learned that Athens had a direct democracy while we have a representative democracy today.  Next week, we will look specifically at the Assembly, Council of 500 and voting in Ancient Athens.  Some classes also began to create ancient Athenian vases today!  

Classes are still listening to Mars Patel.  Following episode 7, students began to work on an assignment comparing visual to audio.  By looking specifically at the events at the Midsummer’s Dance, students are creating a three panel comic strip using the program, Storyboardthat.  We are practicing our ability to find the main idea through this activity.  Please ask your child which three events they thought were the most important to the story!

Thank you for reviewing our words of the week with your child!  We can tell they are spending time outside of school preparing for the spelling test.  

Weekly Update - April 9, 2021

We had a nice week back after our break. In social studies, the students have been looking deeper into the social structure of Ancient Athens. We have look at the different roles including male citizens, male metics, women, children, and slaves. Some classes have started writing stories from the perspective of one of the roles from Ancient Athens. Some classes will wrap up their story writing next week. 

Each class continued listening to Mars Patel. We are all at different episodes, but have been learning similar things about how we listen and increasing our listening comprehension skills. Before each episode the students make a prediction about what they are going to hear. While they are listening to the episode, they make notes about what is happening. They also listen for Notice and Note Signposts during the episode. These reading comprehension strategies can be used for any book they read, so they are great skills to keep in mind. 

Finally, today we had a presentation from Paul Davis! You can find out more about him through his website at Today, Paul spoke to the students about public speaking. He spoke about the first steps to public speaking, how to prepare and be confident, and how it is ok to fail. This was a great presentation, especially for students who find it difficult to stand up and speak in front of others. 

Weekly Update - March 26, 2021

The Humanities classes began this week presenting what they learned about some of the most important city-states in Ancient Athens. The students worked hard in their groups to uncover facts such as the purpose of their city, population size and history. Ask your child if there was any city they would NOT like to live in (I have to admit I wouldn’t want to be from Sparta’s schools--ask your child what they focused on).

We have enjoyed starting to listen to a podcast titled “The Disappearance of Mars Patel”. The students are excited to listen to each cliffhanging episode, and they are sad as each episode ends. Before each episode some new vocabulary is introduced and defined. While listening each student is practicing their listening skills by making notes, and after listening they are summarizing some ideas. Along with this we are introducing “Signposts for reading (and listening)”, concepts that will help students to increase their understanding of what they are reading (and listening to).

On Thursday we had an informative presentation from “The Mustard Seed”, about poverty and homelessness in Calgary and some steps that are being taken to reduce homelessness. The students were very attentive and had many good questions. This presentation tied in with the fundraising that has been ongoing during the month of March raising funds for Avenue 15, an organization working with youth experiencing homelessness. To end our month of fundraising the students each learned how to fold an origami paper crane. The cranes will soon be on display in the school where each crane will represent a dollar raised, and each grade folded cranes in a different color.

Weekly Update - March 19, 2021

We have had a great couple of weeks in grade 6 Humanities. We enjoyed speaking with all of the parents during our parent teacher conferences. It gives us a good direction for the rest of the year and some good insight to how the students have been doing. 

We have finished up writing our newspaper articles about Waterless Communities across the country. Students were tasked with researching using different articles and websites provided to them and answering the question about the progress that has been made towards helping communities who do not have safe drinking water. The students were then asked to put that information together into a newspaper article. Please check with your child to make sure they have completed the assignment.

We have moved on to a new podcast study in English class. We will be listening to Mars Patel. Some of the classes have already started listening while others are going to be starting next week. During this podcast study we will be looking at different ways of listening and using these skills to help us make predictions and summarizing what we have listened to. The students will also be using Notice and Note strategies for a close understanding of what they have heard.

In social studies, the students have been researching different Greek City-States. Each group was assigned a City-State to research and create a Google Slides presentation. Some classes have already presented and others will begin presenting on Monday. Please check with your child to make sure they have completed the assignment with their group and have them tell you all about their City-State.

Weekly Update - March 5, 2021

Another busy week in grade 6 Humanities. The students have continued their work on their newspaper article about the water crisis affecting many First Nation communities in Canada. They spent some time researching the 5W's of the issue, "What progress have we made in waterless communities across Canada since 2015?".  After reviewing the parts of a newspaper article each student has taken their research to craft their own newspaper article. With this being such a large task, several classes have had an extension and their article is now due next week.

We were so busy getting ready to present the content to write the newspaper article that we didn't get to study Black History Month in February, so we started this week with the newly released documentary "John Ware Reclaimed", researched, and directed by Calgarian Cheryl Foggo. The students are very engaged with this film and at times you could hear them gasp as they reacted to parts of the movie. The discussions so far have been wonderful, and we will wrap this up next week . The documentary is posted in Google classroom if you are interested in watching it yourself to continue the discussion. Each class had a long discussion of respectful language and acknowledged the hurtful racism and language that many people faced, stressing how we do not use language like that in school and hopefully not anywhere. Several students have mentioned seeing artifacts of John Ware's at the Glenbow Musuem.

Next week we will continue our introduction of ancient Athens.

Weekly Update - February 26, 2021

What an exciting week in grade 6 it has been!  The students worked hard all week learning about the water crisis in Canada’s First Nations communities.  Each student is researching the question “What progress have we made in waterless communities across Canada since 2015?”  Students were provided with an organizer and prompting questions to guide their research as well as a few sources to get them started.

 During the research process, teachers gave a mini lesson about giving credit to sources.  This is an important skill as students move forward in their school careers.  Last week, we learned about online verification and ensuring the sources we are using are trusted.  The students have been using this skill as we work through our research by checking the claim, picture and source.  Please ask your child what they have learned so far and how they plan to turn their information into a newspaper article next week!

 We have started to learn about Ancient Athens and even incorporated some of the new vocabulary words into the word of the week!  The students shared what they already know about Greece and Ancient Athens and also what they are curious about learning in this unit.  We also discussed the difference between the democracy in Ancient Athens and what we know about democracy today in Canada.  The conversation was rich and clearly demonstrated how strong the students’ understanding is of democracy today.  The students are really interested in this topic and the next few weeks will be really exciting as we learn more about the birthplace of democracy!

Weekly Update - February 19, 2021

We have had a busy couple of weeks in humanities since our last update. The students wrapped up their novel study of Refugee. And completed a one page assignment to demonstrate their understanding of the novel. It was a great way for them to show their learning. We then transitioned into understanding similar problems in our own country of Canada by looking at the water crisis that exists in First Nations communities around Canada. 

This work on the article has developed into our understanding of online research and how we can be better detectives for understanding misinformation on the internet. We will use this knowledge to help us write a research paper about the water crisis across Canada and how it has changed. 

In social studies, we have finished our work on understanding provincial and municipal governments. We wrapped up that unit with a summary project about explaining our chosen level of government to an alien. We have now moved into our historical models of democracy units by starting to look at Ancient Athens. We have started to discuss the influence that the Ancient Greek society had on our own society today. We will continue with this next week. 

Weekly Update - February 5, 2021

First of all, we would like to give a shout out to our “new” students that returned from Hub learning to in person learning.  The students showed resiliency by seamlessly joining their cohorts and learning the routines of the classrooms.  Welcome to all Hub students!  We are so glad to have you!

After the exciting completion of Refugee last week, we concluded the novel study with two activities.  On Monday and Tuesday, we read the factual information about each of the characters and their storylines.  Last week the students also created a Kahoot question about the character they have been following.  The teachers compiled the questions and the students were able to review all three storylines while playing this engaging, interactive quiz game! 

As a conclusion to our study of Refugee by Alan Gratz, the students are working on a project called a “One Pager”.  The purpose of this assignment is to promote thoughtful understanding and appreciation of the novel.  They can act as a terrific review that can inspire others to read the book.  The students are working very hard on their one pagers to add details, be creative, incorporate the themes of the book and quotes that were memorable to the story.  They will be due next week before the break.

We also have started to look at current events, more specifically the water crisis in Canada.  The students brainstormed how they use water in their everyday lives to recognize the importance of clean, drinking water.  We watched a short documentary about the water crisis in the remote First Nations community of Neskantaga in Northern Ontario.  The first documentary was from 2015 and the students were asked to infer or predict what the current state of the community was today.  Unfortunately after watching a news report from December 2020, the students learned the water crisis was still continuing.  To further our understanding, all classes have begun to read an article called, “The Neskantaga Water Crisis - A 25 year struggle for Clean Water”.  The teachers are demonstrating a reading technique called annotating.  This means you are taking notes while you are reading to show you are thinking about and engaging with the text.  The teachers are using document cameras to read and annotate along with the students.  We will continue to read and annotate the article next week before the students start a research project about waterless communities in Canada.

Weekly Update - January 29, 2021

We started this week by revealing the winners of our grade 6 election. Congratulations to our 7 councillors and our new grade 6 mayor! We were able to take some time to analyze the results and draw conclusions about how the students voted. It allowed them to understand the factors that go into an actual election and how citizens might be swayed to vote a certain way. Ask your child about making an informed decision when it comes to voting. They might know more than you now ;) 

 The new grade 6 mayor and council were tasked with coming up with an activity that we could all do together. They have decided that we will take a period next week to do some Art Hub drawings as well as some Just Dance videos to get us all moving. Great idea!

 We also started our summarizing task for provincial and municipal government. Students were tasked with making a summary in a creative way that demonstrates their understanding of government. We have decided to do this instead of having a final test. Students have worked on this during the week and will finish it up on Monday. 

 Finally, we finished reading Refugee! The students were on the edge of their seats as they heard the final pages. Some students told us that it was their favourite book they have ever read in school. Ask them about how the story ended. Next week we will be starting a final project where students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of the content and themes from the novel.

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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