Friday, June 19, 2015

School Year End Post

Reflecting on our year:

This year we welcomed new grade 4's 5's and 6's to our class.  They added new experiences and points of view to our school.  Miss Colby and Miss Hughes spent a lot of time trying to get the class to stay on topic, since all the students in the class are friends and really like to talk. This year, we learned a lot of new information.  We feel like we learned a lot about Math (which some students have not fully appreciated yet) and French.  Many students like French.  This year was more challenging than any of the other years we have been at the JAGLA.  Below are just some of the things we did this year.

Things we organized for the school:

  • Supported the grade 7/8 Food Drive
  • Clothing drive for GoodWill
  • Lemon-aid stand for Because I am a Girl
  • PanAm Games Day

We volunteered and participated in

  • Terry Fox Run
  • Office helpers
  • Kinder helpers
  • Library helpers
  • Winter concert (T'was the Night before Christmas)
  • STEM Fair
  • Parenting centre

We went on trips:

  • We Day
  • Baking with mentors
  • Science Centre field trip
  • Forest Valley
  • Kearny
  • Track and Field
  • Girls in STEM at U of T
  • Taking IT Global
  • Mandarin

Class Projects:

  • Writing portfolios
  • Homeless report
  • Book Museum
  • Science project: Kites, biodiversity, machines...

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Urban Voices

Urban voices

In February, many students submitted poetry to the Urban Voices poetry contest held by the English Language and Literacy Department of the Toronto District School Board.  Only one student, in grade 4, won a spot in the poetry anthology book.  She will be reading her poem, I am a girl, tonight, Thursday June 4th, at the Scarborough Civic Centre.  Her poem is published below. 

I am  a girl
To the girls who are able to read this.

I am a girl.
I am a girl who has a right to education.
Who has a right to freedom.
Who has a voice
I am a girl who will strive to get anything accomplished.

We are girls who will do anything to be who we are.

They are girls
They are girls who don’t have a right to education.
Who have no right to freedom
Who have no voice
They are girls who strive for freedom

They are girls who will do anything to be who they are.


Grade 4

Upcoming Events:
PA Day: No school on Friday June 5th
Track and Field day: June 8th at Birchmount StadiumGrade 6 luncheon: June 16th at the MandarinPanAm Day: June 17thLast day of school: June 25th

Friday, May 29, 2015

Winding Down?

Often people think that June in school means that we are winding down the years activities, but that is not true!  We are still moving full steam ahead.

Here are some of the events we are planning and attending in June:

PanAm School Games: We are planning and hosting the event at Highland Heights Jr. P.S. on June 17th.  We have a lot of ideas and we are already planning what we want to do.  Here is the Padlet we worked on.  (Ms. Smith's 7/8 class also contributed ideas).

Track and Field:  Almost half the class is on the track and field team.  They are training during morning recess and lunch.  The track and field day is on June 8th at Birchmount Stadium.

Parenting Centre: Some students want to take on more responsibility and further develop their leadership skills by volunteering in the Parenting Centre.  We are creating a schedule for students who want to volunteer during morning recess.  Students will volunteer Monday to Thursday until the end of the school year.

We are so excited for June!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Day Outside

Wednesday May 20th

It was a cold and windy morning, but the sun came out, and warmed us up a bit.  We spent almost the whole morning outside participating in our schools' track and field day.  Many students had fun at the Just Dance station; which wasn't a real track and field event, but helps us keep warmed up for the others.  It was hard work and it was difficult to keep warm outside.

In the afternoon it had warmed up quite a bit, but it was still really windy.  This was a challenge because we had Visual Arts outdoors.  Our Art period was inspired by Jackson Pollack, who we have been learning about in our Abstract Art unit.  Some students dripped paint onto their 'canvases' with their hands, while others flung paint onto their work with elastic bands, and paint brushes.  Many used more than one method of getting paint onto their paper.  It was very messy, and the wind made it difficult to keep our art in one place.  Although one student said that her after her painting was flipped over onto the grass it actually improved her artwork.

It was super messy, and we got a lot of paint on the doors, wall, bathrooms, and ourselves as we brought in our work.  Mr V. (our custodian) could have gotten super angry at us, but he chose not to, and was very patient with us.  He helped us clean up our mess, and gave us spray bottles and rags to clean our hand prints off the school, and laughed it off.  He said the important thing was that we had fun.  We are very thankful for Mr. V!

Upcoming events

  • School based Pan Am Games on June 18th
  • Track and Field day (TBA)
  • Class Pot Luck lunch June 25th 
  • EQAO has been postponed
  • 5 weeks left of school
  • Last day of school for students is June 25th

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Busy Month of May

STEM fair and Novel Museum

Some of projects at our Novel Museum
We worked very hard last week to prepare for our STEM fair and Novel Museums.  Two groups from our class are finalist for a STEM fair prize.  Their inquiries were: "Why do people like chocolate?", and "What would happen if there was no gravity?" After the STEM fair we set up our Novel Museum outside of the library for the whole school to see.  Some of our classmates were disappointed that their novel museums were vandalized by other students.  A small number of students from the building took artifacts from the displays; mostly food items, and some of the artifact descriptions.

Science: Kites, Bridges and Toys

A grade 6 student's plans
We are coming to the end of our units on Force.  The grade 6's are designing, building and testing kites.  The grade 5's are going to begin designing bridges today, and will be testing them next week.  The grade 4's are almost ready to begin work on making a wind up toy.  Almost everyone is excited to be building something.

Upcoming Events

  • Sports Day and Pizza lunch May 15th: wear your favourite team/sports gear 
  • Track and Field day May 20th 
  • Taking IT Global presentation May 21st (some students will be participating in sharing our work around child marriage)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Girl Issues: Child Marriage

*Reminder: these posts are written by the class as a shared writing activity.  The words and sentence structures are their own thoughts.  (They impress me all the time.)

Girl Issues

We have been working on a big project for a teacher program called TakingITGlobal.  This project focus' on social justice.  As a class we decided to take action on a problem which is occurring in some parts of the world.  The problem we are addressing is child marriage.  Child marriage is when children, mostly girls, are married at a young age.  As a result girls are being made to drop out of school, and have babies when they are still children themselves.  Many girls die during childbirth or develop health problems such as Fistula. Fistula is a problem with your bladder.  See video below from

We are holding a pink lemon-aid fundraiser; the money raised will go to the Because I Am a Girl organization.  The assembly will inform the school about child marriage, and the fundraiser.  There is a group writing and producing a PSA (public service announcement) about this issue.  They are hoping to show it at our assembly, but are not sure it will be ready in time.  There is a group that has written a pitch for our action to share with teachers to inform them about what our class is doing and how our class is taking initiative.
Picture of our silence sense poetry

On April 16th we participated in the Free the Children Day of Silence.  We wrote sense poetry about silence, and posted them on a wall outside of our classroom.  In the afternoon we watched Girl Rising.  Two chapters in the film were about child marriage.  It really surprised some students how un-affectionate some parents could be to their daughters.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Busy March

We have had a busy March.  It started with a trip to Kearney, and ended with our trip to Forest Valley.  The grade 4/5/6's all finish large and small science projects.  The grade 4's researched and designed a habitat for a Giant Sea Bass.  The grade 5's researched the effects of radiation on the body, and the grade 6's designed and built a waterfront area that meets the needs of the community and promotes biodiversity.

All month we worked on organizing our clothing drive.  We collected 2.5 bins worth of clothes.  We feel a bit disappointed because it did not meet our expectations.  We were hoping that we would get more donations from students and the neighbourhood.  We think that next time we try something like this, we might collect more if we make it a competition.  Although we did not collect as much as we wanted, we are glad that we were able to support Goodwill in a small way.

Upcoming Events:

  • Earth hour Saturday March 28th from 8:30-9:30 pm
  • EQAO Parent Information Night April 1st
  • International Day of Pink Wednesday April 8th
  • 'We are Silent' April 16th 
  • Science and STEM fair in May
  • EQAO is in the end of May
  • PanAm school event in June

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Day Three Kearney

Legs hurting eyes burning.

Today was our all day ski trip. Students were challenged by going up, and down hills on skis. We had a great outdoor lunch, taking turns roasting hot dogs over a camp fire, after enjoying a cup delicious of hot chocolate. The camp fire smoke got in our eyes, but we still had fun.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Day two at Kearney

We have had an awesome time so far. This morning we played predator and prey, and learned. How to cross country ski in the afternoon.  Tonight we learned about wolves in preparation for our wolf howl hike.Starting our first cross country experience.

Staying well hydrated.

Doing a little bird watching.

Friday, February 27, 2015

First Day at Kearney

We left early and arrived safely at Kearney SOES ready for 4 days of fun in the snow. We got our room assignments, extra gear and duty groups settled and spent most of the afternoon outside in the snow.

Students laying in the snow moon gazing.

Heading out to the flagpole to start evening co-op games.

Finishing the night with games in the Moose room.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Clothing Drive Details

These are the Items that you can and cannot donate to our Clothing drive from
March 3rd to March 13th.

What to bring:                                 
  • Jackets
  • Sweaters
  • Shirts
  • Pants
  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Shoes
  • Shorts

What NOT to bring:
  • Blankets
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Undergarments, used socks
  • Pillows
  • Swimwear
Some things about the clothing drive:
  • You can donate from the time 8:00 am to 3:10 pm.
  • Our school is located at 35 Glendower Circuit, Agincourt.
  • Anything that is ripped you’re not allowed to donate.
  • Please bring them in gently used, and pre-loved clothes.  

Goodwill will sell the clothes to people, then use the money to pay for employment training for people who have barriers to employment. Please donate clothes to our clothing drive.  We would really appreciate it, and so will Goodwill.

This post was prepared by the Grade 4 students.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Google Site

Parents!  We have just made a Google site for our class.  It has information about curriculum, links to website students can access at home to practice skills, and other resources.  Please visit and feel free to leave feedback about what content you would like to see added.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Survey Results: Homelessness in Canada

Last week we created a survey about homelessness and sent it out on social media.  We wanted to know what people thought about homelessness, and if some of the opinions relate to the facts we have discovered.  In pairs or alone we created graphs based on the data we gathered.  Depending on the day each person or pair worked on a particular question the data might be different, as the number of people who took our survey changed from day to day.  On the first day, Tuesday February 3rd, we had 23 responses, but by Monday February 9th, we had 40 responses.  

Even though our sample size was small we were able to interpret some of the results, and make some conclusions.  Some of the data and interpretations below are reflective of the day it was collected and may not be the most recent data available.

We met at the carpet as a class and discussed our findings together. Here is our thinking based on the questions we asked:

1. How important do you think the homeless issue is in Canada?
  • On a scale of 1-10, 1 being not important at all and 10 being very important, no one picked 1 or 2 
  • Most people (24/37) picked between 5-10  
  • The two choices picked most often were 4 and 10
We think that this data means that most people think that homelessness is an important issue, but disagree about how just how important it is.

2. How often do you donate/volunteer with organizations that support the homeless?
  • Only 5/33 people say they often support this issue by donating or volunteering.
  • On Wednesday less than one 1/4 of the responders said they occasionally.
Our conclusion is that we are not doing enough to support organizations that work with people who are homeless.

3. Who do you think are most likely to be homeless in Canada?
  • Most people think that people who are 25 years or older are more likely to be homeless.
  • No one thought younger children between 4-11 are likely to be homeless.
Some students thought, based on this data, and the data from question 2, that perhaps the reason people are not helping those who are homeless is because they think the homeless are mostly adults who choose to be homeless, or choose not to get jobs.  

The research we have done tell us a different story.

Some students think the reason that people think adults are more likely to be homeless is because adults are seen more often on the street than youth or children.

4. The municipal government should make more housing available to the homeless.
  • The responses to this statement were very scattered
  • Only slightly more people (20 vs 16) agreed with this statement
We think that there are too many opinions about this statement to make a conclusion, other than to say that this is a controversial topic.

5. Are citizens of Toronto doing enough to end homelessness?
  • 30/40, or 75% of all people who responded, think that we need to do more
We think that it is interesting that so many people think more needs to be done, but so few are donating or volunteering. Some students think people are waiting for others to take action, rather than taking action themselves. Some students think that people may not know how they can help.

Our data has given us a lot to think about.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond!
Sample of some of the graphs made by students.  This student wrote her interpretations on the back of the page.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Homelessness in Toronto

Our class is trying to get as many responses to our survey as possible about homelessness in Canada, specifically Toronto.  We are hoping to take action based on our research because we are learning to be leaders.  Our project relates to our inquiry question which is: Whose voice is heard, and what does it mean to be fair?

Please take a few minutes to answer this short, 8 question, survey: 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The New Arrangement

The class has changed shape.  Miss Colby swapped out the grade 6 tables to desks.

  • the grade 6's like the idea of having their own have own space
  • the grade 6's prefer to clean their own space not others
  • grade 4's and 5's are still in groups but in new location
  • the hope was that separated the grade 6's would be more quiet, but even with desks grade 6 are noisy
  • the grade 6's acknowledge the above as true

The new term is beginning in a couple of weeks.  We are going to start new Social Studies Units, Science units, and we will begin our Dance unit.  In the new term we will also be switching our inquiry question.

For now the grade 4's are excited about their plant habitat.  They have learned a lot about plant habitats through our mistakes and observation.  The grade 5's are learning about how the lungs work by making a model of a lung and are interested to see what they look like when they are done. 

Other news

  • the Kearney trip is quickly approaching!  February 27th to March 7th.  Make sure you have returned your completed forms.
  • Science Centre trip February 3rd
  • Pizza day February 6th
  • Beach Day February 6th
  • The Urban Voices poetry contest is coming up soon! Submissions are due by: February 13th
  • Report cards go home on February 10th
  • Parent teacher interviews are on February 12th and 13th
  • Forest Valley trip March 25th

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy New Year!

What's Happening This Year

Welcome to the new year blog post! This year we are going to a lot of places and doing a lot of new (and old) things:

  • Science Centre trip on February 3rd
  • First term report cards come out in February
  • Kearney trip for the grade 5 and 6's February 27- March 2nd
  • Forest Valley trip in March
  • Science Fair in May
  • Organizing a Pan-Am games day in June

In Other News

Reading logs are due on January 16th!  Make sure you have updated your entries.

Miss Colby says: there is a TDSB poetry contest called Urban Voices.  Poems for the contest are due the first week of February.  I would like to submit some poems written by students in our class.  I would also like to publish some poems on our blog site.  Students, please let me know if I can post some of your poems here.

In Music we are learning about using our body as instruments to make music (body percussion).  We are starting by learning Boom, Snap, Clap, and we are going eventually learn to perform the Extreme Patty Cake song.  There are links below.