It appears that Spring may finally be settling in. Let’s hope for no more snow! After returning from the Easter break, the students were excited and eager to be back at school. We did a lot!
In literacy we have been learning about and working on narrative writing. We have completed some shared-writing pieces and will soon begin on our own creative work. The students have been working on writing 5 complete sentences with proper conventions. By the end of the year we will be proficient in using our “Good Writer’s Checklist!” We will also be starting a brand-new unit on Tuesday that will incorporate maps, globes, atlases, etc! Stay tuned…
We practiced and had our final performances for our Reader’s Theater groups on Thursday! I am so proud of all of the students. They worked very hard and demonstrated skills such as fluency, expression, and enunciation. After each group presented the audience gave the presenters three stars (three things they did well) and when we were finished we had juice and cookies on the playground to celebrate!
In numeracy we have been engaged in activities to strengthen our numbers to 100 skills. We continue to practice grouping large numbers of objects into groups of 2s, 5s, and 10s (with some left over) to help count the objects quickly.
In arts ed. we have started to learn about pointillism. We looked at several examples of famous art work by Seurat and Signat and have completed outlines for our pictures. The students were very excited to do their own pieces! We will fill in the outlines with paint this week!
In inquiry we have finished exploring our five senses. This week, we engaged in activities that explored the senses of hearing and taste! Students listened to sounds and wrote down what they think they heard. We also paired up and one partner closed their eyes so that they could experience what it would be like to be blind, and the other partner used their voice to carefully direct their partner around the classroom! On Thursday I brought some foods for students to taste. We learned about tastebuds and how tastebuds located on different parts of the tongue help us to taste different flavours. We tasted different foods and classified them under sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. It was a delicious experiment!
Finally, we learned more about the initial contact and resulting relationship between the First Nations peoples and the European explorers. To demonstrate the signing of treaties and the broken promises that resulted, I decided to do a simulation with the students. I had a representative from the class sign a contract with me. I said I would give the students popcorn at the end of the lesson as long as they listened and participated really well. Next, I told the students that the grade 8s have grown so big and there is no more room in their classroom. They need an extra classroom and they have decided to take our classroom for themselves. The students were shocked! They couldn’t believe it. I informed them that we can stay in the classroom as long as we follow their rules. Then, we decided to make a list of conditions to give to the grade 8s. We wanted to keep our desks, chairs, lockers, pencil cases, etc. and we wanted to share the room. I then showed them an illegible document and informed them that I had already spoken with the grade 8s and they made up a contract/treaty with our conditions in it. I asked the students if we should sign it, and the resulting conversation was interesting! Half of the class said that they trusted the grade 8s and that they thought they would take our conditions into consideration while the other half did not think we should sign it. A student called out, “I’m not signing that because I can’t read it!!!” We discussed how Europeans wrote up treaties for First Nations people to sign and most of the time the First Nations people could not read it–they had an oral tradition. Many times, the Europeans changed or left out conditions that they First Nations people had discussed initially with the Europeans. In essence, they were tricked. After the lesson and our deep conversations I said that the students had held up their end of the contract (listened and participated well) and so I must hold up mine. I began passing out one popcorn kernel to each student. There was confusion and a few students called out, “That’s not fair!” I stopped and pointed out in the contract that I did not specify how MUCH popcorn I would give them. I asked how this made them feel, to which they responded, “mad,” “sad,” “confused.” I then told the students that this is how the First Nations felt after signing treaties. Often they did not receive what they were promised in terms of food, housing, and education. They had certain expectations that were not met. It was a very engaging and meaningful exercise.
We will continue to learn about the importance of the buffalo to the plains First Nations peoples as well as the symbolic meaning of the circle in their culture.
I look forward to another great week!