Claymation workshop at the Library

Hello folks!  I see that it is a full month since I did a blog post!  I am sorry about that.  I’ll confess that my available time has been hugely crunched in November for family reasons.  And there is so much I want to share about all that’s been going on!   I need to find a way to create shorter or faster posts.  The key, I know, is to get the kids doing it, so I’ll work on making that happen over the next week or two.

I will share that our trip to Calvin Park Library yesterday was lovely.  The kids were delighted to get library cards and borrow books on their own, and I was delighted to see that!  (We’ll likely go to the library again, maybe the downtown branch when it opens in the new year).   Sarah, the librarian who presented to us, sent me an email commenting upon how great the kids were.  Also, because Eric asked, she also added information about a workshop that is beginning soon.  It’ll be fun, and it’s free!  Three Tuesdays in December–registration this weekend!


Tuesday, December 4 – December 18, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

kfpl.labs (make – learn – discover) • Children

Calvin Park Branch, CP Community Room

Registration starts on November 24 at 9:00 am

Make animated Claymation movies! Over three weeks, design and create clay figures and sets, and film stop-motion animated movies. Filming will be done in small groups of 2 or 3, with one iPad per group. Bring your story ideas and we will provide the rest! Register for one or both sessions. For kids ages 8 to 13.


That’s it for now.  I’ll do a longer post with pictures soon.

Voters in action!

Quote of the day:

“When I went to mark the little circle on the ballot, my legs were shaking from excitement!”

No point in me saying much more than that.  I am so proud of how maturely and seriously the students approached this whole process this week and today.   A Municipal election is so much more relevant for the kids in some ways, but is also so complicated!   Good for them!

And not only were we voting, we were running the vote for all the classes participating.  So: checking voter lists (“Name please?”) scrutinizing ballots, counting and tallying votes.   Official name tags!

The Student Vote results are published following the release of the official election results.  So we’ll have a look at all of it next week.

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Votes, fractions, pickles and other stuff

O.K., tomorrow is the vote!  I’ve been so impressed with the conversations we’ve had this week, and the maturity and seriousness the students have brought to investigating the various candidates.  Today, in addition to scoping out the candidates for Trustee, we discussed whether kids even should be thinking about this “grown-up” stuff, and why it might or might not be a good idea to participate.

And we did some cool exploring and reasoning and explaining about our representing in mathematics.  The task:  create (at least) six models that showed “half”.   Very interesting for me to see what they see as half and what they are not intuitively seeing as half.  Gives us some places to go (including one quarter and five-eighths), which is good!

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Also, we ate pickles.

I’ll leave it to your children to explain why we ate pickles.  Suffice it to say, it had everything to do with this lovely book, which we are almost finished.   It will be available for borrowing for students who wish to read it on their own or bring it home for family reading.


Student Vote this Friday, October 19th

Every election in Canada, and currently for the municipal elections in Ontario, there is a parallel student vote.  This was begun by people who recognized that voter participation was low, and especially so among young people.  The reasoning is that by engaging kids even earlier than they can officially vote we may create more participation for life!  If you are interested in knowing more, here is a link.

But figuring out who to vote for is complicated! 

So today we began to look at the websites and media interviews for various mayoral candidates.   (Tomorrow we’ll look at councilors and the next day try to make sense of the trustees–it’s a lot!)

Our general questions in forming our own views are:

  • What would you keep the same? 
  • What would you change?
  • What could be improved?
  • What needs to be fixed or built?

We were also on the lookout for the candidates’ opinions about jobs, taxes, housing, roads, environment and development.  Obviously these are pretty grown-up ideas, but hey, we’re growing up!

To give you more chance to discuss this at home–and especially for those who were out of class today for the Fort Henry race or any other reason–here are the links we looked at today.   The very first one may be the easiest, as it has films of each candidate being interviewed.

Mayoral Candidates

All Candidates:

Bryan Paterson:

Vicki Schmolka:




Some artifacts from our week

Rather than me explaining everything, here are some pictures of things that have been a part of the last day or two.  (If you click on them, they should get big).  With your child, have a look at the pictures and see what they can (hopefully) tell you about what the picture represents, what the activity is that connects to the picture, and maybe what understanding or question remains.

As always, your comments are welcome!












What maps are good for…

Cheryl Fischer, a teacher I know who’s on leave, invited me to bring the class to her community garden plot.  Since we are currently discussing “community” and learning about maps, this seemed a good opportunity to combine the two themes and put the kids to work!  After some practice orienting a map, we discussed which routes were possible/preferable to get to our mysterious destination.  I offered up no other information other than the tantalizing clue on the map.

After a short walk, we got to the garden, where I discovered that some (no doubt well-meaning, helpful) person had wiped out the tomato plants that I had checked on only that morning!  Not to worry (much)–there were many, many carrots.  (And yes, also beets, for those that care about those).

As you’ll see below, it was a pretty carrotty afternoon.

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This from Brayden:

Explorations, September 13th

Click on picture to see bigger! All these ideas came from our students!

Hi!  You’re here!  Did you get an email that there was a new post?  I’m curious to know how that works!  Feel free to comment below!

A few pictures of todays explorations in words and in numbers.

Words:  we are establishing ourselves as “Word Scientists” and as such we will be studying Orthography (instead of “spelling”).  All the things on the list at right are things we will do with words.  We will work from the point of view that English spelling is highly ordered and explainable.  You may not believe this is so–indeed you may have been taught the exact opposite, as I was!  If so, challenge us and yourself and me with questions about words.  Together with your child, or on your own:  What do you notice?  What do you wonder?  What doesn’t make sense? (More on this later…much more).

Numbers:  Today we had Courtney Bush, wonderful travelling math teacher, visit to lead an activity.  Students were asked to try and represent their thinking about “how many” using tiles.  We are heading toward a deeper understanding of arrays, skip-counting and multiplication.  (As well as quadrilaterals!)

Also, we went to the woods today and had a lovely time exploring special spots.  I was so impressed with the focus and self-discipline as each child stayed in their spot–looking, listening and recording as they considered What lives in this habitat?  I forgot to bring a camera.

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Scholars, launched

Here is the blog!  Welcome!  Hit the “Follow” button and then you’ll get an email notification whenever we post something new.

What a great first week we had!  On the off chance you had a response of “Nothing” to your question “What did you you do at school today?” that’s partly what this blog thing is about.  Please feel free to comment below so I know it is working and you are getting notifications about posts.  This can be a place for sharing your questions.   I–and eventually the kids, if I can figure out how–will share bits about what we’re up to, and this should spark conversation at home.

Your conversations at home are highly useful to our learning!  Why?  They allow for reflection on and reinforcement of concepts we’ve discussed in class.  They often generate great questions that students bring back to school.  And sometimes they are an opportunity for you to communicate to me when your child is struggling with stuff that I’m not aware of.

This year, we’ll explore Canada’s regions, we’ll explore some local issues through the municipal election, and we’ll go on to look at early civilizations and how they saw their world.  We’ll play ukuleles (we already have, a little).  This term in Science, we’ll explore habitats and adaptation.  We’ll do lots of mathematics and we’ll write and read every day!

We’ve already begun a read-aloud book, Because of Winn Dixie, one of my favourites.  I strongly, strongly encourage you to continue reading with your children.  Whether your child loves or struggles with reading, being read aloud to is a wonderful way to gain a love of language, and it’s a great, non-screen way to go to sleep!  They may seem like “big” kids, but they still love this!

The title of this blog is “Who in the World?”, which comes from a quote from Alice in Wonderland.  (Hey, that would make a good read-aloud!).   Wondering “Who in the world am I?” seems to me such a central question for children at this age who begin to leave the world of childhood and take their first steps into an awareness of the adult realm.

Click on this to read it bigger!

This week, we’re creating a base for building a community of learners, a base that has clearly been established by previous teachers.  We began to explore how difference can be supported and celebrated in our community of learners.    Through math, we saw that a simple question–How many?–will be solved mentally in a variety of ways by different people.  We also did several activities to show how each of us may find different things challenging.  In case your child didn’t bring this home to share, here’s a text we read together to simulate an experience of dyslexia.  Recognizing that our different learning styles and challenges can affect our responses and our needs will allow us to better understand and support each other.   It’s a start.


That’s all for now.  Looking forward to a fine year ahead of “noticing” things, and seeing where that noticing takes us!