Two Cool Events this Weekend!

Hello!  Busy time of year (to say the least).  But there are two things happening this weekend that are directly related to our class, so I am sharing them for your consideration!

Bioblitz 2:  The Fossil Edition

This Saturday, June 15th, there is a Bioblitz at the site of the Lennox Generating Station, out near Bath.  Students who enjoyed our time at Wintergreen two weeks ago may enjoy another opportunity to pond dip or learn about bugs, bats and other critters.

But the main reason I know about this is because of fossils!   When we went to Miller Museum a few weeks back, I met with Professor Noel James,head of the Geology Department.  I’d been asking him where we might go for a rock field trip and he said, “There’s this great fossil site at the generating station we take the Queen’s students.”  He kindly helped connect me with folks there, but in the end it was going to be complicated and expensive to do it.

But Professor James will be at Bioblitz!  He’ll do a guided walk to check out this particularly awesome fossil site, normally closed off to the public!   Noel’s walk/talk starts at 9:00 a.m. but there is a whole day of nature stuff!  Here is a link to the full schedule.

The Lennox Generating Station is here:,-76.865716,14z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x89d7dd9542eb3355:0x9c623529c91d978f!8m2!3d44.1442375!4d-76.8482065


Saturday afternoon and evening:  “Mine” at the Isabel Bader

And our own Wylder is in a show!  A rather special show, based upon the relationship between a parent and a child who plays Minecraft.  This has come up very quickly–he only auditioned in the last few weeks and rehearsals start tonight!  Check it out: the Friday show is sold out but as of this morning there were tickets for both Saturday shows.  They are going fast!



Sharing Our Music and Our Learning

Hello folks!  Not much to say about these videos.  They don’t compare to being there live, but they will give a taste of what these awesome kids have achieved over the last while.

Our Uke Concert was completely sweet.  I am hesitant to share the video, with it’s not very good sound and non-thrilling filming angle, because my main interest is in the students’ having enjoyed the learning process and the experience of sharing music.  But here it is for your enjoyment.  I was totally proud of them.



And proud?!  Oh my goodness, these projects were/are fantastic!  Thanks so much to all those who were able to make it in for our Open House.  Again, here’s a taste of the Symposium that hopefully captures how seriously the kids took it all, how proud they are of themselves.  And, by the way, how much they learned!



P.S.  Turns out these two events are orthographically linked:  we figured out last week that <music> and <museum> have the same roots!

Field Trip Photo Blast from the Past

Thanks to Melissa Hudson for accompanying so many trips this year and recording with photos!  I have been slow to get these on the blog because, frankly, it’s been a time-consuming task.  Melissa suggested this new approach in which she just puts the photos in Google Drive files and I provide the links.  You may have to cut and paste the links.  Please let me know how this works for you.

I loved looking back at all the things we’ve done this year–from way back in September to last Friday!

Little Cat Conservation Area: 

Bowling (December):

Gould Lake (January):

Miller Museum (May):

Wintergreen (May): 

Led Zep at LC

Here we are soaking up the Led Zep at LCVI yesterday.  Why did we do this?  Because two weeks ago I went to the LCVI Evening of the Arts and there were three of my former students onstage playing with the Beginner Music Class!  I was so inspired, and wanted our younger students who are likely headed that direction to know that this could be in their future.  Afterwards, I spoke to Mr. McCann, LCVI’s amazing music teacher, and he said, c’mon up!

Following this visit, we practised for our own Uke concert, and the kids sounded so great!  Hope to see you at the assembly today!


BioBlitz this Friday!

BioBlitz is this Friday!  

The weather forecast is good!  It will help everyone’s day if everyone is well-prepared for the adventure.  Here is the information sent from Wintergreen:

Bearing in mind that Wintergreen Studios is in the heart of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, you should prepare yourself with anything you deem necessary for time spent outdoors. Below are our recommendations:

  • Clothing: long pants (light-colour is best), long socks to tuck pants into (+ extra pair), layers (t-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, warm sweater/pullover), raincoat, hiking shoes/boots (+ extra pair), hat (**NO SHORTS PLEASE!)
  • Sunscreen, insect repellent, tick repellent (we suggest using natural products, such as rose geranium or tea tree oils, and ask that you avoid using products with DEET)
  • Reusable water bottle (there will be water available at all times for refills)
  • Food all participants are expected to bring a packed lunch and follow boomerang lunch etiquette. (We encourage you to follow the zero-waste initiative, to reduce waste generated by disposable, non-renewable packaging.)
  • Please leave all valuables at home/school.

May 24th Check-in

Click on this to see it big!

Well, hello!  Happy Queen Victoria’s Birthday!

We continue to rock!  Above, the first in our collection of Rock Art mosaics, in which students were invited to invent their own rocks, labelled either igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic.  (Were you to ask them, they should have some good sense of the differences; their art clearly demonstrates that understanding).

In Math right now, we’re looking at how to read analog (face) clocks and how to caluculate elapsed time.  I highly recommend practising this at home.

In Orthography, we’ve been discussing the concept of “twin bases”, which typically come from Latin roots.  The bases of <produce> and <product> are examples.  Keep your eyes open for others; discuss.

Here are some Important Things to be aware of:

Early Civilization Projects

The students have been doing a great job turning their research into paragraphs.  Next week will be a wrap-up week in which all students can put the finishing touches on their written work.  Some are already just about done; they’ll have other work next week.  At this point, I am not anticipating that anyone should need to do any of the writing at home.  My target deadline for the kids’ writing is next Thursday, the 30th.

I know that many artifacts are in production, some are done, while others are about to happen.  I have tried to check in with every student to ensure they are on track and feel that they have what they need to do this at home.  Where needed, I have helped to find materials or time here at school.  Please get in touch early next week if you have any concerns.

We will have our Early Civilizations Museum Open House on June 5th in the middle block of our day, from 12:00 to 1:00.  We will leave artifacts and reports on display until the next day, so if there is anyone who can’t make it earlier but would like to come by after school, this will be easily possible.

Field Trips

What can I say?  I like field trips.

  • LCVI:  Wednesday, May 29th.  We’ve been invited to sit in on the band practice at LCVI next week.  They are preparing for a peformance and could use the audience.  This came up because I was at LC last week and was thrilled to see the Grade 9 Beginner Music class perform, featuring three of my former students, two of whom are siblings of current students.  They were so great.  I did not know that this was an opportunity available (I hope it remains so in the future after all the current cuts) and want our kids to see it in their possible future.  Saxophone!  Trombone!  I spoke to Mr. McCann, the wonderful LC music teacher about this and he said, come on up!  We’ll walk up for 11:10 after an early lunch and return about 11:50.
  • BioBlitz:  Friday, May 31st.   You should have already seen the permission form.  Heed the tick warnings, but don’t panic.  Dress your child with long pants, maybe that they can tuck into their socks, and check them afterward.  Other than that, the day will be awesome and fun.  It’s a beautiful place.

I won’t give details just yet, but be assured I am cooking up at least one more off-site adventure this year.  June is going to need it!

Early Civilization Projects: home stretch

Hello Folks at Home:

I really, really, really hope you know about the Early Civilization Project we’ve been working on.  The students have been doing great on their research and writing.  I sent home a detailed description a month ago, but here is a reminder about the timeline.  Thank you to the many people who indicated they’d seen it.

I am hoping to create a “Museum” Open House in our class one day in the first week of June.  I’ll let you know the date this week and update this post.  That gives two more weekends to work on artifacts.  I’ve tried to check in with all the kids this week to be sure they are on track and have the materials they need.  But please get in touch if you have any concerns or questions.  The idea is simply to have something visual and tactile to go with their project.  It does not need to be a big deal.

The class rocks!


Click on this and it will get bigger!

Well, we had a few kids away today, but I wanted to share two things.

First, we got to this part in Fish in a Tree where there is a puzzle.  The kids walked out today pondering it, and I invite you to do so with them.  It’s a classic, you may know it.  We’ll discuss tomorrow.

Studying rocks and early civilizations at the same time, it seemed like we needed some understanding of relative time.  What’s really old?  Last week, after an afternoon of looking at fossils I found just outside Kingston the weekend before, we traveled back 4.6 billion years along a timeline to the beginning of the Earth and then noted a number of events as we made our way back to the present.  Oldest rocks, first life, cockroaches, ice ages, continental drift, oceans covering North America, that sort of thing.  And also dinosaurs.  Oh, and eventually humans.  Some of the comments:

It surprised me that when dinosaurs came it did not seem very long ago. We were close to today and that’s when dinosaurs appeared it was cool and surprising.

What surprised me was that the dinosaurs were so close to human civilization, because when we think of dinos we think of them being so long ago. It also surprised me that there were no life forms for so long.   

 I think why we did this activity is so we could see where we live now what it used to be. And seeing that it went through so many different stages.   I really liked it. We got to be outside while learning. I never thought about the very start of the earth really before. I learned a lot today about our earth.

If 4.6 billion years was 12 hours ago humans would only be around for half a second.  You think the ancient Egyptians were alive a long time ago, but when you think about it it would be really close to today.

This past weekend, I found out that our local fossils are even older than I had thought: about 470 million years.  (Like, way older than dinosaurs).  Ms. Kirk shared this cool tool for getting a feel for how ocean fossils ended up in our town and schoolyard.  We spent some time at it today.  Check it out!

Field trip to Miller Museum of Geology this Wednesday!  Rain or shine–dress for waiting for the bus outside!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.