What’s up this Week (September 30-October 4)

Happy October everyone! I was away from class on Friday and Monday so am looking forward to jumping back into the learning with my 7-11 family!

Lots of events happening this week including the Terry Fox run this Friday.
Please note the following important dates:

  • September 30 = Orange Shirt Day
  • October 1 = Opening Liturgies
  • October 1 = GRA Launch!!! (English)
  • October 2 = SWYK: Powers and Roots (Math)
  • October 4 = 100WC #3 DUE (English)
  • October 4 = Terry Fox Run
  • October 9 = Concept Check: Ecosystems (Science)
  • October 10 = SWYK: Order of Operations (Math)
  • October 11 = PD Day (no classes)
  • October 14 = Thanksgiving Monday (no classes)
  • October 15-17 = Immunizations
  • October 17 = Early Dismissal (1:20 pm)
  • October 23 = Photo Retake Day
  • November 1 = Progress Reports Distributed

Academics

Math
Students will be writing a SWYK (assessment) this Wednesday on Powers and Roots. This covers the content for Goal #3 and #4 in the student workspace. We will be reviewing these concepts a final time during class on Tuesday. On Thursday, we will be launching into our final topic in the first unit: Order of Operations.

English
Today, students started their third 100WC post using the prompt “…it looked just like a glass of water…”. They will have until Friday to publish their post on KidBlog. Parents are encouraged to go and check out their child’s post for the past 100WC and leave a comment. 

This week is the launch of the GRA. For those that have never heard of it, the GRA (or Global Read Aloud) is an international project that began in 2010. Classes from around the world read the same book using the same timelines and connect to share their thoughts and ideas related to the book. Our class will be reading “The Bridge Home” (by Padma Venkatraman) and are hoping to connect with a grade 8 class from Brazil. We will be introducing ourselves on FlipGrid tomorrow and completing a few pre-reading discussions. This week, we will read chapters 1-7. Here is a summary of the book (from Penguin Random House):

Science
On Wednesday, students groups will be designing experiments to test the effect of one variable (amount of Sunlight, water, contamination, etc…) on mold growth. Students will be creating the question, hypothesis, and defining the variables they will be using (as well as completing their tests). We will be tracking the mold growth over the next month to measure the effect of their variable.

We are also getting close to our first concept check in science. Tentatively the date for this assessment is Wednesday, October 9. There will be more information to follow.

 

For school-wide announcements (including information regarding the Yearbook), check out the Trinity weekly newsletter HERE.

What’s up this Week (September 23-27)

We are coming to an end of our first month already (yikes, time is flying)! This Friday is the Grade 7 Welcome Wagon Day and I’m banking on 7-11 to take home the trophy!

Today, the Terry Fox forms have been sent home and students are encouraged to start collecting pledges. Ask your child some of the incentives that Mr. Ferguson has put forth!

Here are a list of some upcoming events and deadlines:

  • September 25 = Check In: Squares and Roots (math)
  • September 26 = Check In: Ecology Terminology (science)
  • September 27 = Final Copy of Recount DUE (English)
  • September 27 = Grade 7 Welcome Wagon Day
  • September 30 = Orange Shirt Day
  • October 4 = Terry Fox Run
  • October 11 = PD Day (no classes)
  • October 14 = Thanksgiving Monday (no classes)

Academics

Math
The SWYK that students wrote last week has been marked and distributed to those students who were in class on Friday. I have also shared the online assessment tracker with students and parents so they can track the progress in math throughout the year. Please make sure to read THIS POST for more information and check out THIS VIDEO for more information on the assessment tracker, filing for reassessments, and how these tools can be used to maximize math understanding.

This week, we will be moving onto the third and fourth concepts under Goal #1, namely squares and roots and exponential notation. Students who are looking for clarification for what we did in class or who were absent are encouraged to check out the resources listed under Stage #3 in the student workspace.

English
Today, we discussed the difference between a “telling” sentence and a “showing” sentence. “Telling” sentences tell the reader what is happening – they are passive (and boring).

EXAMPLE: The wind was cold.

A “show” sentence, describes what is happening and includes details related to the characters’ reactions, feelings, and emotions.

EXAMPLE: The icy wind whipped across my skin, making goose bumps appear.

Students were to return to their 100WC posts and their recounts that they completed last week, and improve them by changing any “telling” sentences to “showing” sentences.

This week, we will continue to revise our recounts through peer editing and additional mini-lessons. The final draft of the recount (to be evaluated) is due at the end of the day on Friday. Parents are encouraged to read their child’s recount and have their child point out which sentences they fixed up.

We will also be providing feedback comments on the 100WC posts.

Religion

We will continue to discuss community and being good neighbours both on and offline. The focus of this week’s discussion is on our digital footprint. Is our online reputation/footprint a positive or negative one? We will also be finalize the details surrounding our first social justice project: Sandwiches for Shepherds.

Science

This week, we will be continue to discuss abiotic and biotic factors in ecosystems as well as the hierarchy of how ecosystems are organized. On Wednesday, we will be completing a lab entitled “Is Yeast Alive?” as well as starting our bread mold labs. Finally, on Thursday, students will be completing a short check in on the terminology covered so far. Students should be well versed in the concepts listed under Goal #1 in the student workspace.

For school-wide announcements, check out the Trinity weekly newsletter HERE.

Math Assessment FAQ

What is competency-based assessment?

In our math class, we are adopting a competency/skill based approach. In this approach we have divided each curricular strand into a series of goals and related skills. As we progress through the material, students will be assessed on their ability to demonstrate the math concept or skill. For some students, they may only reach competency after the formal unit has been completed… and that’s okay! Just like learning to walk, different kids learn at different times. For more information on this philosophy, please read my “Math Assessment Philosophy” page HERE.

What homework will be assigned and is homework assessed?

There will be three types of math homework:

To Finish Work that they already started in class (this will usually be in the form of a paper-and-pencil worksheet) – for each of these tasks, either a picture or video of the answers will be posted on the class twitter feed. Students are expected to complete the work, then check their answers online. I will NOT be collecting this type of homework but rather taking up any question that students still do not understand after looking at the answer key.

To Complete Weekly “Mathspace” tasks. Each week I will post 1-2 tasks on Mathspace. The topics of these tasks will pertain to the topics we will be covering during the week. Students will be responsible for completing these tasks at some point throughout the week. I am able to view who completed the tasks, which questions required hints and videos, and the total amount of questions completed correctly.

To Work on a Previously Assessed Topic. At any time throughout the term, students are encouraged to review their online assessment tracker and identify those areas with which they demonstrated an understand of “Not Yet”, “Getting There” or “Has It” on a summative task (SWYK or project). If students would like to improve their grade, they must attend extra help sessions, complete some extra practice at home, try some online resources from Mathspace or the class website and/or work with a parent or tutor and then submit a request for reassessment.

Homework will not be formally assessed; however, the homework is important practice which will help students to reinforce the concepts in class. Students not completing homework will get “fined” (see the class economic program for details) and homework completion will make up a portion of the “responsibility” learning skill on the report card.

How do I use/navigate the online assessment tracker?

An online assessment tracker has been shared with each student (and his/her parents). This tool will be tracking the achievement of the student in each competency throughout the year. Check out the video below for more information:

I’m still confused about how to book a re-assessment?

Not all students will fully understand a concept by time the summative assessment rolls around. Saying that, I am a big believer in giving students additional time and resources in order to develop a solid understanding.

If a student has an assessment of “not yet”, “getting there” or “has it” on a particular competency, they are encouraged to continue to seek help on that topic (even if it is no longer our focus in class). They can use the resources in the student workspace, come for extra help at lunch, and use the MathSpace e-textbook to clarify their understanding.

When they believe they are ready to be re-assessed on the topic, they can submit a re-assessment request form. Once the form is submitted, the student must then come to room N205 (our classroom) at the beginning of lunch on the following Thursday. Failure to show up to this re-assessment day will result in their request being cancelled.

I was away on a test day, what happens now?

If you miss a test day, I will try my best to have to write it during class on the day you return to class. If time is not available for this to happen, all missed tests are written at lunch on Thursday in room N205 (as per the “Missed Test” policy outlined HERE).

I can’t get my assignment done on time, what do I do?

If an assignment is due and you will not be able to complete it on time, email your teacher and let them know as soon as possible. Let them know why it won’t be done and a date in which it will be completed.

If you do not email your teacher then the steps outlined on the policy document for missed assignments will be followed. Read the whole policy HERE.

What’s up this Week (September 16-20)

This past week, student completed their first assessment in math, created three writing posts, started into novels for independent reading, discussed what it means to be good citizen, and submitted their first formal lab report. There are a few students who have not yet completed the two mathspace tasks yet, so this will be assigned for them this weekend.

I enjoyed chatting with those parents that we able to make it to the Meet the Teacher night last Thursday. For those that couldn’t make it, please find a copy of my presentation HERE.

There are LOTS of important dates coming up including:

  • September 19 = SWYK: Multiples and Factors (Math)
  • September 19 = School Photo Day
  • September 20 = 100WC#2 Post DUE (English)
  • September 20 = Recount Draft DUE (English)
  • September 20 = Hangout with Dr. Jennifer Lavers (Science)
  • September 27 = Grade 7 Welcome Wagon Day
  • September 30 = Orange Shirt Day
  • October 4 = Terry Fox Run
  • October 11 = PD Day (no classes)
  • October 14 = Thanksgiving Monday (no classes)

Academics

Math
This week, we will be continue to work with multiples, factors and divisibility rules in preparation for our first summative assessment. We will also be discussion prime and composite numbers. The SWYK (Show What You Know) on Multiples and Factors will be on Thursday. Students looking to review these concepts are encouraged to check out the links in Stage #1 and Stage #2 of the student workspace. They should also ensure that they have completed the three tasks in MathSpace.

English

Thanks in advance to those parents who made accounts and visited our KidBlog portfolios. It is great to see the feedback! I sent an email last week to parents with instructions on how to access the portfolio (if you did not receive the email, please reach out).

This week, our focus will be on recount writing. Through the use of organizers and mini-lessons, students should have completed a short recount by the end of the week. Inspired by the podcast The Moth, students will be honing their story-telling skills as they prepare to tell their recounts to each other (next week).

We will also be launching another 100WC which will be available online by the end of the week (and of course continue to read, read, read!)

Religion

As we further our discussions about being good digital Samaritans, this week’s focus turns to posting videos and images of others. In what case is it okay? When is it not okay? We will also be determining which social justice projects we plan to start implementing.

Science

This is a busy week for science as we will be starting our first unit (Interactions within Ecosystems) and preparing for our Google Hangout with Dr. Jennifer Lavers on Friday. We will be discussing concepts and terminology related to ecosystems and the requirements for these ecosystems to be healthy and balanced. Students are encouraged to check out Goal #1 of the student workspace for the unit to find online resources, links to the textbook and online simulations and games.

For school-wide announcements, check out the Trinity weekly newsletter HERE.

What’s up this Week (Sept 9-15)

I hope everyone had a restful weekend after our first week back to school. After meeting all of my students, I am so excited to spend the year learning with them.

Every week, I will be posting a “What’s up this week” post which will outline the academic topics we plan to cover and any special dates (tests, deadlines).

The most important “school event” this week is Meet the Teacher which will be held on Thursday, September 13 from 5:30-7:00 pm. There will be a schedule released shortly (I will share it out as soon as it is posted) which outlines the rooms and times that you will be able to find each teacher.

Here are some other upcoming dates:

  • September 9 = Check In: Multiples and LCM (math)
  • September 11 = 100WC Post DUE (english)
  • September 12 = Meet the Teacher (5:30-7:00 pm)
  • September 12 = Paper Towel Lab DUE (science)
  • September 19 = School Photo Day
  • September 27 = Grade 7 Welcome Wagon Day
  • September 30 = Orange Shirt Day
  • October 4 = Terry Fox Run
  • October 11 = PD Day (no classes)
  • October 14 = Thanksgiving Monday (no classes)

Academics

Math
Last week, we began began our first unit: Number Theory. Last week our focus was on multiples and LCM (lowest common multiple). Students began (and have been asked to complete at home) a worksheet on these topics (several students actually completed this in class on Friday). Students who have misplaced their copy can download a new one HERE. If students have any problems with the homework (or want some reinforcement), they are encouraged to check out the video answer key below:

Students looking for some additional resources on these topics are encouraged to check out the following online resources in Stage #1 of their student workspace (students will need to log in using their school email accounts in order to access the content).

On Monday, students will be writing a short “Check In” assessment on multiples and LCM.

For the remainder of the week, we will be exploring divisibility and factors (resources for these topics will also be added to Stage #2 of the student workspace).

Religion

Our focus in religion for September is community and belonging. On Monday, students will begin their class jobs and start earning a salary (and paying rent) in our class community. We will also be using a parable of the Good Samaritan and linking this story to our own experiences, especially those online. We will be discusses ways in which we can stand up for each other in both online and offline environments.

English

Last week, students got their KidBlogs up and running with a “Welcome Post” as well as their first “Awesome” post. The technique of “exploding the moment” was also introduced in our first writers’ workshop (parents, ask your child what “exploding the moment” means).

This week, we will be continuing with two writing projects (outlined below). Both of these projects will continue throughout the year.

The Awesome Project

This year we are focusing on appreciating the smaller things in life. The “Book of Awesome” is a book that celebrates those everyday occurrences that make us smile. Whether it is a high-five, a snow day, or the other side of the pillow, there are certain things that just make us say “awesome”. In our awesome project, students will be asked to post periodically (1-2 times per month) about something they consider an everyday awesome. Each post should identify the “awesome” thing and include a short anecdote (a short and amusing or interesting story) explaining why it is awesome.

The 100 Word Challenge

In order to get kids writing on a consistent basis, I am introducing the 100 word challenge (100WC). Every two weeks a new writing prompt will be introduced and students will be asked to write 100 words based on the prompt. We will start this Monday!

Also this week, as we connect to our discussions in religion, we will start commenting on each others’ posts by providing thoughtful feedback which drives productive online conversations.

Science
This week, we will continue our discussions about the scientific method and experimentation. Student groups will be designing their own tests for an inquiry entitled “Which Paper Towel is the Best Value”. Students will have to decide what “value” means and then design experiments to test the strength and absorbency of four different brands of paper towel. This is a student-led activity, so students will be responsible for designing and implementing the tests as well as analysing their results.

Sports and Clubs

Drama Club

7&8 Drama Club Information Meeting will be during lunch on Wednesday, September 11 in N213.  Bring your lunch and your questions and learn how you can be involved onstage and behind the scenes!

7/8 Athletics

Many 7/8 Sports teams are beginning next week (Sept. 9-13): Golf, Boys Soccer, Girls Soccer, Co-ed Ultimate, Girls Flag Rugby, Boys Flag Rugby, and Cross Country Running. All of these sports will have 1-2 tryouts, a few practices, and culminate with a 1 day tournament away from school. Please listen to the morning announcements AND check the 7/8 tryout board in Tornado Alley for details.

Cross Country Running

Grade 7 & 8 Cross Country Running starts next week (the week of Sept. 9-13).  There will be an information session Monday at lunch in Room 312. Bring your lunch.  First practise will be Wednesday after school from 2:30-3:15 p.m. Please arrange transportation home.

 

For school-wide announcements, check out the Trinity weekly newsletter HERE.

Have a wonderful week and I hope to see you this Thursday at Meet the Teacher!

What’s up this Week (Sept 3 to Sept 6)

Welcome to the first week of Grade 7 at Holy Trinity! I am so excited to start learning together.

If you missed the information about the first day including the materials students need, check out this post.

This week we will be welcoming Mr. Will O’Neill, who is a student-teacher from Nipissing University. Mr. O’Neill will be helping in our classroom periodically throughout the year.

As an aid to students and parents, this class blog has been created. The blog will chronicle our learning throughout the year. I hope to share pictures, videos, and information to help keep parents in the loop about what is happening in our class. This blog can also be used by parents to help their child with time management and assignment completion as well as providing links to extra practice.

As Holy Trinity is striving to reduce its paper usage, I will not be sending monthly newsletters home but rather will be posting announcements online. Upcoming school and class events will be posted on the calendar and more detailed weekly school announcements can be found by clicking on the “Weekly Announcements” pic on the sidebar.

I will also be sending out weekly “What’s up this week” emails each weekend so that you can get a sense of what is coming up in the following week. For those who have twitter, you can follow our class twitter account for more daily pics and posts from our class and the school.

UPCOMING DATES:

  • September 12 = Meet the Teacher Night
  • September 19 = School Picture Day
  • September 27 = Grade 7 Welcome Wagon Day
  • September 30 = Orange Shirt Day
  • October 4 = Terry Fox Run and BBQ
  • October 11 = PD Day (no classes)
  • October 14 = Thanksgiving Monday (no school)
  • October 23 = Photo Retake Day
  • November 1 = Progress Reports distributed

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to email me. I look forward to meeting all of the students and parents as we begin our year.

Thanks!
Ian Fischer