Monday, 30 November 2015

Gr. 8 The Outsider in Me

The Outsider in Me

Focus Questions:  What can we learn about ourselves by closely examining characters in different texts?  How are characters developed?  How can I selectively choose evidence to prove a character's personality?

Students are on a journey to understand themselves better through scrutinizing characters!  

We watched a YouTube video to help us think about what it means to be an outsider:

What It’s Like To Be An Outsider

We completed a free write:  Describe a time when you felt like an outsider.  See Mrs. Anderson's writing below.

Next, we read the short story "On the Sidewalk Bleeding" by Evan Hunter.  Students highlighted 3 big events from the beginning, middle and end.  

They also circled any items that contributed to Andy's Outsider status.

We reviewed Plot Diagram using the Pixar Short Film, "Boundin'".  Students defined plot diagram items and used precise evidence from the story to support their choices.

With a partner we provided feedback.  See criteria below:

Students made changes to their diagrams using the feedback from their peers.

Today students began examining how characters are developed using two Pixar Short films.

We watched "Geri's Game" to understand dominant personality traits.  And we discovered that to have a dominant trait it should be easy to prove through WATO (Words, Actions, Thoughts and Opinions of others)

Next, we watched "For the Birds" and identified how we can understand a character's motivations using what we know from our own lives.

Students recorded their observations on the organizer below:

Students decided on this process for Identifying a character's personality traits:

We'll practice a more complex text to ID dominant personality traits, find proof using WATO and think about how and why characters change by examining "Boundin'" again.  

Students use the chart below to record their observations:

Today students identified personality traits for how they see themselves and how the world sees them.  See Mrs. Anderson's example below:

Next, students will tackle a character analysis for Andy.  Mrs. Anderson will model how to identify effective evidence that proves Andy has a dominant personality trait at the beginning of the story.  Students will record their ideas on Andy's split face.

Character analyses for self and Andy are Due Friday, December 11.

On Friday we'll give each other feedback to ensure we are effectively and consistently identifying and describing Andy’s qualities using evidence from the story and our own words.

As a result of all this practice, students will improve their work and then submit it for evaluation.  "The Outsider in Me" Character analysis is available in Google Classroom.

Students practiced identifying plot elements using a Calvin and Hobbes comic, "Spaceman Spiff".  See image below:

Character, Plot, Conflict, Theme Quiz on Wednesday, Dec 9.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Gr. 9 Film Techniques in "UP"

What meaning can we gain from film Techniques?

Student Targets were shared for our Up film study.  Click on the link to access "UP Student Targets"

Students watched "UP" this week.  During their viewing we identified memorable scenes and recorded ideas using the organizer below:

To demonstrate what we already know about film techniques grade 9's used Lucidpress, Canva or a Google Slide to create a bumper sticker.  Monday we will complete a gallery walk of our work then fill in any gaps in our understanding.

Student's named the scene, stated the dominant feeling and listed one or two techniques used in the scene that contributed to the feeling.

On Monday LA classes will go through a Google Slide show to better understand the following techniques:
  • Framing
  • Proxemics & Lighting
  • Film Shots
  • Editing
  • Angles
Students can preview this slide show by clicking on the following Link:  "Film Techniques: What meaning can we gain from film techniques?"

Students will choose a film technique to become an expert in and then teach the rest of their group members their technique.  Graphic Organizers for each Film Technique can be accessed below and in Google Classroom:
We will be working in groups to present 3 examples of our assigned film techniques to the class.  Our presentations will take the form of a Google Slide show.  See image below:

Students will give each other feedback for the content of their presentations using the following Outcome Based Feedback Form on MONDAY, December 7, 2015:

Friday, 16 October 2015

LA 8: Unit 1: Why is poetry important to people?

Why is Poetry Important to People?

Students have began to explore this question by:
See some of our interpretations below:
The student handout is available in Google Classroom

We have been practicing identifying figurative language.  Simile / Metaphor and Personification activities can be found in Google Classroom.

After watching "The Fantastic Flying books of Morris Lessmore" students discussed the symbolism.
See image below:

We also discussed the difference between main idea and theme.  Students defined main idea as what the text is mostly about. And theme as the author's message that is based on the main idea.

We determined that the main idea of the story was "relationships with books".

Students did some free writing to explain what they thought the author was trying to tell people about "relationships with books".  See Mrs. Anderson's example below:

We also helped Mrs. Anderson assess her work based on criteria for this paragraph.  Students took these steps to give feedback:
  1. Read the writing
  2. Think about which level it seems to fit best
  3. Highlight a couple of areas to improve in the text
  4. Not what needs changing for IDEAS and SUPPORT
  5. Share with a partner to see if the feedback make sence
  6. Record specific feedback on rubric 

 See feedback below:

Today we watched a student selected spoken word poem by Shane Koyczan, "Heaven or Whatever" and we discussed why poetry is important to spoken word poets.  Students thought it was mainly to:
  • express feelings
  • figure things out
  • think about life
  • connect with others
We then thought about what connections we could make to this poem.  We realized that there is always a message from the author, even if it's difficult to find.  

We examined Mrs. Anderson's 2nd draft of her theme paragraph from "The Fantastic Flying Books..." to see if the improvements she made followed students advice from the previous day.

See the writing below:

Next, students will examine their own writing and make improvements.  Adding paraphrased examples from the text, explaining how they connect to the theme and relating this back to life.

Today we worked on theme paragraphs and reviewed figurative language using a Youtube Video, "Figurative Language Pop Culture 2014".  Student completed the chart below:

Students also completed the first page of a practice worksheet:

Thursday, 8 October 2015

GRADE 8: Moving from SEEing to THINKing

Moving From SEEing (analysing) to THINKing (interpreting)


Today students used a images to understand the difference between seeing something and thinking about it.  We recognized that we need to look closely at something several times before we begin to understand it.

This the more complicated the text the more purposefully we must examine it before we truly understand the author's intended message.

Grade 8's used an image from the Art Gallery of Hamilton to practice SEEing and THINKing.  Click the link to see the image, "Bruegel-Bosch Bus" by Kim Adams.

Students used their observations to think about what the author's message might be.  See our class ideas below:

Monday, 5 October 2015

GRADE 9: Moving from SEEing to THINKing

Moving From SEEing (analyzing) to THINKing (interpreting)


Today students used images to understand the difference between seeing something and thinking about it.  We recognized that we need to look closely at something several times before we begin to understand it.

This the more complicated the text the more purposefully we must examine it before we truly understand the author's intended message.

Students used the chart below to read images and move from SEEing to THINKing about what items in the image mean.

We used "The Surrender" by Griffith to practice.

We know that we can't truly understand a text until we've "read" it 2 or 3 times.  Then we can begin to understand what the author's claim is or what the message is.

Some of our THINKing is recorded below:

Students wrote a paragraph using their thoughts.  Mrs. Anderson provided a sentence starter for a topic sentence.  We will discuss our ideas next class.

Next, we looked at a poem, "My Education" by James Kenneth Stephen and we clarified and summarized ideas together.  See some of our typed up ideas below:

Our Last step is to write what we think the author's message is.

We need to think about the main idea and then record what the author is trying to tell us about it.

The main idea of this poem is his education.  Specifically learning throughout his life.  So we ask ourselves:  "What is the author trying to tell people about learning throughout life?"

Students write using evidence from the poem to back up their interpretation.  See the incomplete model below:

Next we went back to Suli Breaks poem to improve upon our understanding of the poem.  We will examine it using the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd draft readings of the text.

Sharing our ideas with our group members, we will make sure we fully understand the poem before we present our ideas to the class.

Gr. 8 Self-assessing My Writing

Grade 8 Self-assessing My Writing

Today we identified how powerfully we explained our quotes.  We identified our life experience in our writing and drew symbols to represent our 5 senses.  We practiced with Mrs. Anderson's writing below, then we annotated our own writing:

Vivid description will have LOTS of sense symbols and the writing will be assessed as having EXPERT writing quality:

Students then Identified where there writing level was by.  Highlighting 3 examples of vivid and detailed life experience, recording their best on on their rubric and explaining overall the showing quality of the writing.

See image above.

We also self-assessed the conclusion of our writing by identifying how we thought the quote would influence others.  We decided if our idea about an influence was insightful, thoughtful or predictable.

See the image below:

Grade 8 Writing explaining meaning of a Quote is Due Tuesday, Oct 6.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Gr. 9 Unit 1: Why Learn?

Why Learn?

We started a new unit today and our focus question is:

What would you change about education and the school system to improve your future?

We defined two key terms today; "education" and "school system".  Here's what grade 9's thought:

Education is a personal collection of knowledge acquired through learning, research and life experiences.

A School system is how a group of schools operate under the guidance of the superintendent, principals and teachers using curriculum and schedules to help students graduate from one level to the next.

We used a discussion strategy to generate lists of differences between education and schools.

Here are a few ideas from Grade 9's:

We watched Suli Breaks' video, "Why I love education but hate school" to think about our opinions about school and education.

We have analysed (SEEing) and interpreted (THINKing) this poem in small groups.  Using a 1st, 2nd, 3rd draft reading of the poem.  See the image below:


Next, we'll take our thinking and summaries and represent them by creating powerful newspaper headlines.

Students examined headlines from online newspapers to identify techniques they could imitate in their own headlines.

Some of our observations were:

 Examples of headlines can be found in Google Classroom.

Students will use these Newspaper Headlines to structure their presentations.  See the organizer below:

We have been examining issues in education by discussing articles.

Students brainstormed ideas on assessment and grading practices in school by completing a carousel activity.
  • Students worked in groups to note the positives and negatives for each assessment tool.  
  • Then we presented the top 2 pro's and con's for each.  
  • We also proposed changes to the tool based on the con's.  

See some of their observations below:




Learning Logs



We completed a free write on our school experiences involving assessments.  We thought about what we liked / disliked and what we felt needed changing to these assessment tools.

Today we began setting a purpose for our reading.  As we are forming opinions we decided we would use PNI to help us select items for group discussion.

P - positive (items we agree with)
N - negative (items we disagree with)
I - interesting (items we want to understand or talk about more)

We selected 3 or 4 items for possible discussion and noted our thinking about the item.  WHY it was positive, negative or interesting.

Mrs. Anderson and student volunteers modeled 1st Turn / Last Turn Discussion Strategy and then students discussed the rest of the article in groups of 3.

See process below:

LA 7 Fantastic Fiction: Flashback and "Knife"

Fantastic Fiction What are the elements of fiction? How do I identify conflict and explain how it is developed and resolved? ...