The Art of Persuasion

We are finishing up persuasive writing and looking a persuasion in the media. This video give some examples of persuasive techniques used in advertising.

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


Multiplying Fractions with Fraction Strips

This is what we did today – alas, no photos of the students so this video will have to suffice.

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


Multiplying Fractions with Play Dough!?

Yup -that’s what we did yesterday.  I gave the students a recipe for play dough and they had to make 1/2 of the recipe. Seems easy right?  Maybe not so easy but certainly fun! They also had to write and equation for changing the amount of each ingredient. In the end, we discovered how to multiply fractions.  


Leave a comment

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


Algebra – from Simplifying Expressions to Solving Equations

While we were working on measuring circles; circumference, area of circles and volume of cylinders,  I noticed that manipulating the formulas was a mystery for some students.  For example, the formula for the area of a circle is:

most students could find the area when given the radius but if I gave them the area and asked them to find the radius they were stumped.  I could just show them how but I realized that the issue lay in algebra so that is where we have returned.

Algebra is often a huge stumbling block for students.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research that I may post about later but for now I’ll focus on what we are doing in class.

First we revisited that the equal sign means that both sides of the equation are balanced or the same.  Surprisingly, some people don’t really realize that.  To reinforce this idea we used Cuisenaire Rods as models.

The students made a “train” with the yellow and black rod.

They had to find other trains that were equal in length to the yellow and black together and then write down equations to express equality.

This photo shows our progression through simplifying the equation.  The letters represent the colours of the rods.  The rods can also be given numerical values.  The distributive property came out during the discussions!  I was so excited I actually jumped up and down and squealed a little bit!

At this point, I knew I had to be explicit about the commutative property of addition and multiplication and the distributive property of multiplication over addition (which you can see in the photo above).

I struggled with how to present it and luckily Kyle Pearce wrote a post that helped me out (and I attended three online webinars presented by Kyle).  These animations by Kyle really helped me to present the distributive property first with numbers (modeled by Cuisenaire Rods) and then with variables.  We did this on the SMART board with Cuisenaire Rods but, alas, I did not take photos!  I know some of the students did though so I may update this post with their photos.

Next the students practised a few times on their own (we NEED a Cuisenaire Rod App for the iPads!) like this (sorry I can’t embed it):


Then, still following Kyle’s lead we did this:

I did a few more examples using Alge Tiles and then the students proceeded to practice making models and writing down the simplification of the expressions.  Some still needed a fair bit of scaffolding, but they are getting there.  I also had some students who did not like models and just wanted to simplify using the numbers and letters only.  I think it’s important to use the models though so they aren’t simply memorizing procedures.

This went fairly well, but there are still a few students struggling.  We will move forward into solving for the variable by performing the same operation on each side of the equation.  Then we will circle back to formulas for circles and apply what we’ve learned about algebra to measurement concepts.  Most posts to come to show you our path.

Don’t forget, we’ve also learned the origin of the root word circ in English!  It all ties together in room 133!

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 10, 2015 in Math, Patterning & Algebra


Tags: , , , ,

Student Blogging Challenge

We are joining the Student Blogging Challenge.  We’ve been off to a bit of a rocky start with our blogs as our first platform company suddenly decided to charge money so we decided to switch over to Blogger.  Blogger is a better platform anyway though and is part of the whole Google system that we are using in class so it really worked out for the best.  It has just delayed us a bit.


The Challenge is a way for teachers and students from around the world to connect and learn about blogging whilst learning about one another and different cultures.  Blogging gives students a genuine audience for their writing, an audience that can give feedback.  An important part of the challenge is commenting on other blogs thus improving our communication skills.


Every week there are a variety of blogging challenges to choose from.  In the beginning, we write about ourselves, how to leave quality comments and about Copywrite law and proper attribution.  Then we get into deeper issues and ideas.  I am excited about the challenge and we have already connected with a class in New Zealand, Mrs. Hogg’s class which is an International Baccalaureate PYP class.






Posted by on March 23, 2015 in Blogging, Global Citizenship



Love of Wisdom

Yesterday we continued with looking at base words, prefixes and suffixes.  We try to infer their meaning based on a list of words that share the same base and then we look it up to test our theory.  Then, we look for the etymology of the word, from which language did it originate?  Often it’s Greek or Latin but we will see more languages emerging as we progress.

Here is the list of words we started with:

Here is some of the work the class did:

We discovered that we could put some of our root words together.

phil means love of and soph means wisdom so

phil + soph + y is philosophy and means love of wisdom.

We’re making a chart of the base words we know.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 10, 2015 in Word Work


Tags: , , , ,

A study of character

In English we are looking at analyzing characters.  A reader is required to infer in order to understand the charcters (and people in real life) using evidence from the character’s behaviour and the reader’s own schema (background experience).


Our inquiry has involved looking a photographs of people and making inferences about them.  Since photos are static in time, we can’t use clues such as behavioiur and actions, language (what they say), thoughts (like in a narrative), or how they relate to others.  That leaves very few clues to any inividual characteristics yet we makes inference just the same based on physical characteristics and perhaps some action that we can see.  We decided that we use clues about group traits and individual traits to analyze and evaluate people and characters in texts.


Group Traits might include:

Race, sex, class, stereotypes (jock, goth, etc.), profession, age, etc.

Individual traits include:

Courageous, intelligent, kind, rational, proung, arrogant, loyal, etc.


We talked about how we infer these traits based on clues in the text and our schema.  We make assumptions about people and characters based on these inferences.  We read short passages about a variety of characters and watched some episodes of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (the show has exaggerated characters).  The students recorded their observations and inferences about the characters in their thinking books and then we had a class discussion about each of the characters.  It’s pretty interesting that we all came to very similar conclusions based on the evidence and our background knowledge.  Perhaps culture plays a role here?


Our next step was to look at an open answer / short answer type question about a character and analyze it using the Ontario Achiement Chart.  That will be the topic of a future post.


Tags: , , , ,