Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Learning from a Soon-To-Be Teacher

For the past 5 weeks, our Grade 5 classroom has had an extra adult, Ms. Dawson, with us on a daily basis. Ms. Dawson is a teacher-candidate in the Lakehead University education program and will soon graduate, becoming a fully qualified teacher.

As teachers, we always welcome an extra set of hands in the classroom, but the value of having a teacher-candidate in our room goes far beyond additional physical support. Teacher-candidates bring fresh enthusiasm and individual strengths to our school. Ms. Dawson has shared her passion for the arts with our students, starting a music club and inspiring us with her love of poetry.

Ms. Dawson expresses her thoughts on the experience in this way:  
The opportunity to be a teacher candidate is extraordinary! A teacher candidate is exposed to the expertise of teachers and practical experience of working with students, while developing and shaping their own teaching style and philosophy. I had the privilege of having not only one, but two teachers to learn from, and 51 students to learn with, during my time at Terry Fox!

Working with Mrs. Kuikman and Mrs. Starr's class for five weeks has been such a rewarding experience. Over the past five weeks we have learned together about poetry, energy, the xylophone, and fractions! I especially enjoyed creating ostinato music/poem creations, the class poetry cafĂ©, and learning the song, "Can't Stop the Feeling" in the 'Music Club' that we created together. Getting to build relationships and learn about the beautiful personalities of each person in the class is something that I will treasure forever. Thank you for sharing your gifts, ideas, and time with me! 

I hope to work with each of you again in the future! J.D.

As we say goodbye to Ms. Dawson, here are some of the students' thoughts about her impact on our classroom.

Having Ms. Dawson here in room 137 & 135 has changed this classroom (in a good way). She has inspired everyone to reach for your dreams and believe in yourself. I love writing stories and poems. Ms. Dawson showed me that if I work really hard, then one day I could maybe publish some of my writing. She told me that I should keep writing and to not give that up. I have always wanted to publish something and Ms. Dawson showed me that it is possible.  We will all miss you. We hope you can come back to Terry Fox and see us again.  K.D.

Ms. Dawson is one of our teachers. We'll miss her forever. She makes us all try our hardest to do our best that we can. She teaches us poetry and taught us to rhyme and so many other things that I don't have time to name. She taught me that dreams aren't hard to reach.  W.B.

Ms. Dawson has changed me since she came. She showed me to have courage. Without her, I wouldn't have enough courage to be in the talent show. Thank you for everything! I hope you have a fun time being a teacher.  A.S.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Are Field Trips Important?

February was a month of activity for the Grade 5 classes here at Terry Fox.  On two separate occasions, we had the opportunity to leave the school to learn in the outdoors-- first at Springwater Park and then at Wasaga Nordic.  In the past, you may have heard from educators how field trips play a vital role in learning and allow students to explore and develop in a hands-on, natural environment. However, we thought that for this blog, we would let the students tell you why these types of experiences are valuable.

I love Springwater Park because it was nice to be outside and bond with new people. It was cool to learn some new things that are outside. I made smoke. I made a shelter with so many nice people that did not argue about what goes there and there. It was such a fun experience and now I want to be outside more often and see new things.   L.L.

The workers at SWP were really nice. I'm so happy that I went there and I hope everyone felt like this. The most fun part about our trip was we all did it together and when in our teams we made shelter together as a team.  S.A.

I think it is better that we go outside to Wasaga Nordic and Springwater so we get to have more time outside so we could actually get to see the real sun instead of lights.  I.R.

I think that field trips are important because you get to learn new things like when we went to Springwater Park I learned how to live a night or two in the woods. So basically survival and it was important to me because it taught me a whole new thing for my brain and it was really fun. A.M.

I loved cross country skiing at Wasaga Nordic because learning a new outdoor sport is always great, and I love to be outside having fun with my friends. Spending the whole day outside was amazing and waaaay better than being in our classroom because technology is becoming more advanced and less and less people are going to be doing things like cross country skiing so it's great to have time being active. A.B.

I loved the skiing trip because I got to try something I never thought I'd do.....I also loved how some of us never gave up. We all were never alone. First we had to get the shoes and then, skis. After we put the skis on (it was hard) and last we practice. Then we started to ski. I fell down as soon as we got on the track but I got back up. By the end I wasn't falling at all. M.O.

I loved the experience of cross country skiing because I needed grit and resilience to get up the hill and putting the skis on and off. I think our trips always bring out the best of us no matter what. I had a lot of fun skiing with my friends and I think we should do it again because it teaches us grit, cooperation, leadership and more. They prepare us for when we are older. That is why I think field trips are very important for us. A.K.

Field trips are important for your fitness and for your brain. They challenge you to use a different part of your brain. Overall, field trips are something every kid should have a chance to do. W.B.

We couldn't have said it better ourselves!
LS and NK

Monday, 21 November 2016


If you had the opportunity to visit our school library during the book fair, you may have noticed one corner of the library that has a non-traditional look. Rather than shelves filled with books, this space is filled with the latest technology, a green screen, special computers and a wide array of materials with which to build. This area is the designated MAKERSPACE.

So what exactly is a Makerspace? It is a learning space where students can gather to create and invent. We as educators provide the materials and time, while the students provide the ingenuity. It's a modern learning space for modern learners and supports the growing emphasis on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). Students take on problems that blend subject areas and rely on skills from across the curriculum. 

Recently students from Grade 5 have begun to spend time in the Terry Fox Makerspace. Here are some of the comments from students about what they have learned and enjoyed about this experience.

I thought it was really fun building with Lego and messing up while building, then trying again. It was also really fun when you have the Lego in your hands, it feels like you have so much power. It was really fun.-U.Q

It was really fun building Lego with friends.  I thought it was cool because you could build Lego with mechanical machines to power your car or whatever your doing. IT WAS AWESOME!!!! CV

I really loved it. I got to explore new things and I got to spend more time learning new things. We got a chance to learn new things. We finished our Lego right on time. It was AMAZING! Trust me you'll love it! AP

It was really fun, and the stuff is very cool. The cubelets were very cool and we had a lot fun playing with it. We also added lego to the cubelets. We all loved it. IT WAS VERY FUN. AL

I thought makerspace was really fun. Every time we figured out something new to do with the cubelets. I thought it was very cool. I would love to go again.G.F

It was fun .We played with cubelets. There so many different cubes but they are so expensive. We made a vehicle that had a flashlight and when you put you hand in front of it, it would move faster and the flashlight activated. SC

These videos show the creativity and ingenuity of the Grade 5 students-- future engineers, leaders and problem solvers extraordinaire!



As the year progresses, each student will have opportunities to take advantage of this amazing learning space in our school. We look forward to seeing what they create.
LS and NK

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

So What Do Teachers Do On a PA Day???

Professional Activities Days are an opportunity for teachers to extend their own professional learning and this past Friday, our focus was on MATH!  As 21st century learners, today's students face a quickly changing world and their learning should reflect the skills and competencies that will be essential in the future. We need to teach them how to THINK and be PROBLEM SOLVERS, not just be rote learners. We as teachers have an important role in giving students the opportunities needed to become patient problem solvers. However, math class will look very different if this is our focus-- it will need a makeover.

The Ontario Ministry of Education has developed a renewed math strategy. If you are interested in learning more about the strategies and focus, please follow the link at the bottom of the page.  SCDSB has created a Math Action Plan to complement this initiative. 
As part of this Math Action Plan, the Board has established the following teaching and learning goal:
If we, as a community of learners, have daily opportunities to solve problems, supported by technology en​​abled learning environments, essential practices and learning skills, then we will demonstrate creativity, critical thinking and conceptual understanding in learning and life.

As teachers, we discussed this goal, what the implications are for our classrooms and participated in a variety of math activities which model the creativity and critical thinking that we hope to develop in our students. The activity below is an example of a problem solving activity that challenged us to solve a problem, demonstrating creativity and critical thinking skills.

Paper Folding Activity
For each part of the problem, start with a square sheet of paper (or a square sticky note) and make folds to construct a new shape.
  1. Construct a square with exactly ¼ the area of the original square. Convince yourself that it is a square and has ¼ of the area.
  2. Construct a triangle with exactly ¼ the area of the original square. Convince yourself that it has ¼ of the area.
  3. Construct another triangle, also with ¼ the area, that is not congruent to the first one you constructed. Convince yourself that it has ¼ of the area.
  4. Construct a square with exactly ½ the area of the original square. Convince yourself that it is a square and has ½ of the area.
  5. Construct another square, also with ½ the area, that is oriented differently from the one you constructed in 4. Convince yourself that it has ½ of the area.
As our year in Grade 5 progresses, we hope that your child will not only come home excited about what he/she is learning, but also about how he/she is learning it!