Wednesday, 11 January 2017

January Update

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017. I hope everyone had a restful holiday break.

The students are back and the holiday season is officially over. We are entering a VERY busy time of the school year. First term report cards are around the corner and there are several upcoming projects and events fast approaching.

Beginning this Friday January 13th, all grade 6 classes will begin a project called "Entrepreneurial Adventure". This project will be a collaborative effort by students to create an invention/product and market it and sell it. All proceeds will be going to charity. This project will be a great way for students to work with one another and work through the planning stages involved in such a product. As a part of the initiative, students will also take part in "Griffins Den", identical to the TV show "Dragon's Den". Group members will have to present their idea/product to a panel of teachers in hopes of continuing on their learning journey. This project will run until May, so the students will be kept busy!

So everyone is aware, the next PD day is on MONDAY January 30th.

Friday, 9 December 2016

December Update

It's been awhile since our last update and there has been many activities taken place at St. Gabriel's. With Christmas break near and Advent season among us, the students have been busy and learning many important messages along the way.

1) In late November, the grade 6's took part in a large math workshop called "Mathletics". The grade 6's were designated as the coaches for the day-long event, helping grade 3-5 students to practice, play and learn a large variety of math skills. The gym was full of students and the grade 6's took their roles as leaders very seriously during the event, coaching the younger students throughout the event. Over the course of the 2 day event, students at St. Gabriel's answered over 5000 math questions! It was great to see the Grade 6's working with their younger peers and motivating and cheering them on through the event.

2) Recently, the Grade 6's have attended two guest speakers. The first was a gentleman speaking about the importance of energy conservation. The students learned about various ways to conserve energy along with the importance of conserving energy in today's society. This was a great follow up to our electricity and energy Science unit.

The 2nd guest speaker the students recently attended was Albert Dumont. He is an Algonquin elder who came to school to talk to all the grade 6's about the Aboriginal culture. He told great stories about his personal life and explained many questions the students had about the history of First Nations peoples in Canada.  This tied in perfectly with some of the materials we have been learning about in Language Arts.

This past week, the 2nd News Show of the year also took place. Information on sports team, news around the school and some talents were shared with the students. In addition, a school sing-along to the Advent song took place, led by a grade 1 student.

We are currently in the middle of our Christmas hamper initiative. Each homeroom has been asked to bring in a certain non-perishable food item to contribute to hampers. These hampers will be delivered to families in need in our community to start their holidays off in the right manner. 

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

November Has Come

Halloween has just passed and we are approaching the cold weather. As always, there is a lot going on here at St. Gabriel school and the grade 6 students have been very busy.

The most recent event at the school was the Halloween dance and Haunted House. It took place on Friday night, October 28th. I hope those of you who went had a great time. I know there was a lot of work and preparation put into organizing the event by the Parent council as well as student volunteers.

During the school day on Friday October 28th, the Play 4 Change event also took place at the school. This was an opportunity for the grade 6 students to run a fundraising event that the younger students of the school could take part in. The grade 6 science classes have been working on the construction and final touches of their arcade games for the past 3 weeks and were finally able to showcase them to the school along with their recently acquired knowledge about electricity and circuitry. The games looked great and the feedback from the visitors was excellent. The grade 6's came up with some very creative and entertaining games for everyone to play. It was a long day in the Learning Commons and each class in the school visited the event and tried the games which was nice to see. In addition, the way the grade 6's treated and interacted with the younger students (especially the Kindergarten and Primary grade students) was something very special to see throughout the day. Here is a quick video and some pictures of the games.



In mathematics the grade 6's have been learning about Prime and composite numbers. In order to fully understand the difference between these types of numbers the students have been practicing their multiplying and factoring. They have learned several methods of breaking down numbers into their prime factors with the use of factor trees and the ladder method. In addition, we have been finding common multiples comparing groups of numbers. The final stage of this unit has been solving expressions using Order of Operations. In grade 6 the students use BEDMAS to solve these problems, and all stages of the rule are practiced with the exception of exponents this year. The students have been challenged with various levels of questioning this Unit. See below for an example of a question the students worked on in small groups. With very little teacher direction, the students were able to find a variety of ways to create expressions using just the number 4.

In language arts, the students have been working on several things. We have recently completed reading the book, Iqbal. We have been reading and reflecting on the book since September. The students have been making predictions and inferring as well as comparing the story to the Global Goals initiated by the United Nations. The students seemed to really enjoy the book and learned about a very real issue in the world today; child labour.

As a part of a final writing piece for the book, the students have been writing a summary of the story. The focus of the task is for the students to ignore the events/information that are secondary to the main events of the book. The objective is to be concise, provide an overview of the story as if their audience has never read the story themselves.

Progress Reports will be distributed tomorrow for the first portion of the school year. Parent Teacher Interviews will take place on Thursday November 10th from 3:30-8:30pm.

Our next update will reflect the tasks revolving around Remembrance Day 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

After Thanksgiving Update

Thanksgiving has come and gone and we find ourselves in mid-October. Halloween is fast approaching and it is a very busy time of year at St. Gabriel.

We are currently in the middle of our annual canned food drive and "We Scare Hunger" campaign. Each grade has been asked to donate specific canned foods for the Kanata Food Cupboard. In addition, we are fast approaching another school initiative called "Play for Change". The Grade 6 classes are directly involved with this campaign, specifically science classes, where the students are asked to build cardboard arcade games. The idea comes from a little boy named Caine in Los Angeles, California who created arcade games made of cardboard and placed them in his father's shop. Here is a link to a video: 

St. Gabriel has taken the idea and added a twist; the grade 6's will organize and run a day of arcade fun for the younger students in the school. As a part of their science class, the students have begun creating arcade games in which they will allow younger students to play for pocket change. The money collected goes to some of the fundraising initiatives we do each year at the school. As an added twist, the grade 6 students are to include electricity into their games, demonstrating what they have learned so far this year in science class. Students will be adding sound effects, lights, motors and circuits to their games. There has been some great creativity shown so far during the construction phase of this project. The finished products will be on display on Friday October 29th for the "Play for Change" event at the school. 

In Math we have finished our unit on decimals. We have practiced all types of operations using decimals as well as place value. We completed a math assessment last week that was sent home with the students. I wrote comments one each students' assessment so parent and students are aware of how they are progressing in number sense. We have started our next short unit in which we we will learning abut Prime and composite numbers, multiples and factors as well as learning about order of operations, This unit will bring us into November. It is encouraged that students continue to practice their math skills on Prodigy and/or Khan academy. Below are some sample problems from our recent unit:

In Language the students have been introduced to Writer's Workshop and the 3 stages of the Writing Process: 1) Prewrite/Brainstorm 2) Draft 3) Revise/Edit 4) Publish. The class has been assigned a writing assignment in which they are allowed to choose almost any topic and write abut it. They must choose the form in which they would like to write as well as choose an audience to whom they choose to write to. Each student was to begin the assignment by brainstorming their topic and creating a plan for their writing piece. The students are currently working on their drafts and will practice edit/revising their own work as well as their classmates' before they complete their final copies.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Thanksgiving Update

We are entering the Thanksgiving break after a few busy weeks. Hopefully the long weekend will provide everyone with the first well-deserved break of the school year. Enjoy the time with your families!

Recently the students participated in the annual Terry Fox walk. It was a great event and the students actively participated in the event and showed their support in the fight against cancer.

As a part of one of the number of initiatives at St. Gabriel, the school will be asking for students to donate canned food for the Food Bank. The collection of canned food will begin Tuesday Oct. 11th and continue for the rest of the month. The initiative is called We Scare Hunger and the grade 6's have been asked to bring in rice and tuna as a part of the collection. If you can spare any canned goods that would be much appreciated and will certainly go to good use.

The AM group has had plenty to discuss during the current unit of study. We continue to read the book, Iqbal. The students are enjoying the story but also learning about some of the other World issues that exist in other countries. The issue of child labour is a very real problem in some areas of the world and the students recognize this. They had the chance to collaborate in groups and discuss children's rights and differentiate between the terms "rights" and "wants". In addition, the students have discussed the topic of Global Goals. The class came up with their own list of Global Goals and compared them to the 17 Global Goals created by the United Nations. The novel of Iqbal directly ties into a number of these Global Goals and sends an important message to its readers.



In Math, the group continues to work in the Number Sense and Numeration strand. They have have continued to work with whole numbers as well as decimals. In grade the expectation is for the students to become familiar working with numbers to the thousandths. The class has been rounding decimals as well as adding and subtracting numbers with three digits after the decimal place. 

In Religion the AM group continues to discuss the importance of being God's light. We have also been introduced to the concept of moral conscience and what it means to act as God would.

In the afternoon group, the Science class has there share of hands on time building circuits. They have learned the difference between series and parallel circuits as well how to draw proper circuit diagrams. The students will be quizzed on the first few lessons of the Electricity unit and have started a group assignment on an Renewable/Non-Renewable energy source. In the upcoming weeks the students will have the opportunity to build more circuits as well as other projects before moving onto the next Science unit.


In Art, the PM group has been working on re-creating an animated movie poster. The focus of this project was colour and proportion. Some of the final pieces were truly excellent and show off some great skill we have among the group.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

End of Week 3

It is the end of another week in the Grade 6 class and plenty to share. It was very nice meeting many of the parents who attended the Open House on Thursday night. I hope you had a chance to look around the classroom and see where your children spend time during their day. Hopefully you had a chance to look at some of the work they have completed so far as well.

If you haven't already done so, please sign up for "Remind" notifications. This is the best way to stay up-to-date with any homework your child has and learn about upcoming events. The link to my Remind group is:

Next week, on Friday September 30th, the students will be taking part in the annual Terry Fox run from 9-11am. We are asking that each student contribute $1 or $2 to the cause. In addition, each student is asked to get the permission form that was sent home in homeroom, to be signed and returned by Thursday September 29th. The Terry Fox run will be taking place off of school property (around the Beaver Pond area) so each student needs parental permission to take part. If you wish to donate to the Terry Fox fundraiser, you can also do it through the following link:

This week, the AM group started a book called "Iqbal". The book is based on the true story of Iqbal Massih who was an advocate against child labour in the early 1990's. This Language unit focuses on the students' ability to infer and build upon these important skills while reading/listening to an author's text. They are also practicing predicting upcoming events in the story. The group has been writing in their red notebooks and are filling them up with key vocabulary, character sketches, and answers from the book. So far, the students seem to be really enjoying the story.

In Math, the group continues to work with the place value chart, larger numbers (in the millions) as well as determining multiples and common multiples of numbers. They were quizzed on Friday and will be begin working with numbers on the right side of the decimal next week.

In Religion this past week, we continued discussing the theme of "light". As the symbol of grade 6, the lantern was the focus of discussion and the centerpiece of a visual representation of an important message; "every person can be a light".

The PM group continued to learn about electricity in Science class. We finished off the week learning about static electricity as the students got to be hands on with some balloons and learned about positive and negative electric charges. We also demonstrated how static charge can bend a stream of water!

In visual arts, the group is working on replicating an animated movie- movie poster. We are focusing on proportion and colouring technique. So far, the posters look great. Hopefully there will be some finished posters to post in next week's blog. 

Friday, 16 September 2016

End of week 2

We are at the end of our 2nd week of class and there is much to share about the students' achievements this week.

In Language, the A.M group has focused primarily on the theme of inspirational figures. We have discussed the criteria that makes for an inspirational person and the students have researched various figures who have made a positive impact on the world (Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Louis Braille, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison). The students then created a Google Slideshow of an inspirational person of their choice focusing on important Language skills such as researching, summarizing, oral presentation skills and referencing creditable sites.

In Math, the A.M group has continued their practice with the place value chart. They have been working with larger numbers (millions and even billions) and determining their significance in sequences of numbers. Ordering and comparing large numbers will continue next week as they use these numbers using various operations (+,-,x,/). Once mastered, we will be moving on to decimals, up to the thousandths column.

In Religion, the A.M group continues to discuss the theme of "You are the light of the world". We have read a number of stories and had several discussions with regards to helping others and making a positive difference in others' lives, as Jesus as taught us.

This past week we were lucky enough to have a special guest speaker come into our classes and discuss her role with Robotics. Erin "RobotGrrl" Kennedy, a local inventor and robotics guru, came to speak to our Grade 6 students. She had an important message to share about innovation and the design process that the students were really excited about. She brought in several robots to show off to the students, including, her famous "RobotBrrd" and a newer robot that helps clean up debris along the coastlines. The students were able to test out her robots and had a number of very good questions for Erin. This visit tied in perfectly with the grade 6 science unit on Electricity.

In the P.M group we continue our electricity unit in science. We have discussed important key terms such as charge, energy, battery and conductor/insulator. We have also discussed how often we as a society rely on electricity in our every day lives and compared to how much different life would have been before electricity was readily available.

In art the PM group has been putting their effort in completing their first art assignment. We are focusing on theme and colour in this assignment and so far, the finished pieces look excellent.