Assignments for the Week: We have three projects going right now (in the midst of the holiday busy-ness), so the only new work will be math problem-solving.
- Language: We will finish “Fatty Legs” this week and students should complete their brochure of literary elements and devices by Friday. Also due at the end of the week are the perspective pieces and portraits (based on a character such as a miner, First Nations child, Indian agent, etc.). Home Reading is still expected. (Just over half of the class completed Home Reading last week.)
- Math: Students will not be doing individual math work for the next couple of weeks–instead they are working collaborative problem-solving. In addition, students will have individual problem-solving assignments.
- Culture: We will spend most of our time this week on the First Nations project, though we will spend some time looking at human rights violations under the Indian Act.
- First Nations Project: We are in the final stretches with the project. At this point, all research and note-taking should be completed and students should be finalizing the writing (paragraphs) for their project boards. (Please note that I will not be making boards available at school; students will need to provide their own. Any size is fine.) This week students should focus on creating and finalizing their visuals and putting together their boards. While the research, ideas and visual presentation should be done on their own, I fully understand that students who choose to word-process the text of their boards may get help from their parents. It is worth reviewing with your child the evaluation sheet that was passed out last week.
Calendar: It is a busy time of year. Please be apprised of all the holiday events coming up.
- Monday, December 9: Start assembling Care Bags/Boxes. Please make sure your child brings the items for their boxes/bags if they wish to make them. As a reminder, this is an optional activity.
- Thursday, December 12: Field trip to “Mixed Nuts”: We will make our annual trip to see Arts Umbrella’s dance company perform their unique version of the Nutcracker. We will leave soon after the bell and return to school at 1:00 at the latest. Students are reminded to bring their Compass Cards (or exact change) for the bus. Thank you to the parents who have volunteered to chaperone.
- Monday, December 16: In-class guest speaker on aboriginal law.
- Monday, December 16: “Release the Rhythm” performance assembly.
- Tuesday, December 17–Celebration of Learning: First Nations Fair: This open-house style event, which includes the other Montessori intermediate classes, will run in the classroom from 1:00 to 3:30. (Students may leave when school ends; they are not expected to stay until 3:30.) Look for an invitation that will be sent home with students this week. As a reminder, this “Celebration of Learning” is one of the 5 times (including goal-setting conferences, student-led conferences, and the two written report cards) when I will be “communicating student learning.”
- Wednesday, December 18 and Thursday, December 19: Secret Santa gift exchange. This is a student-run event. Students picked names last week and are expected to bring a gift (maximum value $15–it can be homemade or re-gifted!) by Monday, December 16.
- Wednesday, December 18: Winter Concert Rehearsal in the afternoon.
- Thursday, December 19: Winter Concert: As you know, there will be an afternoon and evening performance. Attendance of the evening concert is not compulsory but students should let me know if they will not be coming.
- Friday, December 20: The final day of classes of 2019. It is likely that we will watch an (educational!) film and enjoy some potluck snacks.
- Monday, January 6: School begins in 2020.
Collaborative Work: When I watch how naturally and fruitfully students work together in partners and small groups, I often take it for granted. We had a week with so much successful collaboration that I want to remind myself, and you, that the students show (and continue to develop) remarkable skills when it comes to listening, being open-minded, respectfully disagreeing, and building on one another’s ideas. Below are photos from our work with social-emotional learning, math problem-solving and social studies.
Peace Work: We have talked as a class about how learning the stories of residential school survivors is part of the healing process central to reconciliation. Furthermore, it is important that we imagine how the contact between Europeans and First Nations in BC could have been different if we are to hope for a peaceful future.
Social-Emotional Learning: We are beginning part of the health curriculum with what is known as social-emotional learning, starting with identifying the emotions in “Zones”. Students learned this program in primary and we are reviewing it together so we have a common language before moving on to more activities related to managing stress and emotions. You are encouraged to ask your child to identify emotions and how they fit into “zones” (red, yellow, green, and blue).
Birch Bark Biting: We tried something new last week inspired by the practice of birch bark biting common to many First Nations groups. We’ll work on this more next week.