This week in humanities, students received back their spelling quizzes. On these bi-weekly quizzes students get practice in spelling new words and use the words from the lists in their own sentences. They receive a mark on the quiz itself and on the quality of the sentences they write. Mr. Brewer attached a 1 ~ 4 rubric to the quizzes this week that can be seen in the picture to the left. Over the course of term I, many students have greatly improved on the content and length of the sentences they write. In the beginning, most students faced challenges in remembering to capitalize at the beginnings of sentences or including end-punctuation. While these are still areas of growth for many students, there is a growing awareness of how to self-edit. Many students are becoming far more conscious about such errors in their own work. Typing on Google docs has also had the effect of making students aware of such issues too. Mr. Brewer offers feedback on sentence writing and students always edit and proofread their work. Spelling lists often comprise curricular words (e.g. travois, First Nations, pemmican), sight words (common words that do not always follow orthographic rules e.g.: mountain, because, too) and there is frequently a focus on a particular spelling rule: (e.g. "When two vowels go walking the first does the talking": load, road, toad.") As students practice, they work towards internalizing rules. Interesting discussions result too. On this week's test, many students failed to capitalize First Nations. We talked about how proper nouns: days of the week, place names, personal names etc. are always capitalized. When the emphasis in the list is not on a particular rule it's easy to overlook other important conventions. Many students do benefit from these reminders. The work that students have done over the course of term I will contribute towards my overall assessment of their progress in writing.
Also in this week's class, most students chose a working title for their legendary stories. Students learned through reading "Mistakes of Old Man" and "Nanabosho: How the Turtle Got Its Shell" that legends often have an explanatory value. They explain how something came to be. Many students chose a provisional title for their own story like, "How the Cat Got Its Meow" or "How the Zebra Got Its Stripes." We also learned that in a story we can use common 'red flag' words and phrases to heighten tension and make a story more exciting. Some of these words and phrases are:
Spelling list: 'ow' words + First Nations vocabulary. Students received the list on Mon. Jan. 15 - test to be held on Mon. Jan. 22, 2018.
Homework: The Mistakes of Old Man - Assigned: Fri. Jan. 19. Due: Mon. Jan. 22
This week we began talking about how stories of Aboriginal peoples tell us about their beliefs regarding the relationship between people and the land. In class, Mr. Brewer read from the book: Raven's Greatest Creation by David Bouchard and we also listened to the author narrate the legend. The story tells about the origins of human beings. As a means of introducing this topic, students were shown a very famous piece of Haida sculpture that may be seen in the UBC Museum of Anthropology:
The sculpture was made by Bill Reid whose mother was Haida. The title of this work is: Raven and the First Men.
Also during this week's lessons students learned about a World Heritage site in Southern Alberta called Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump. In this place, people of the Blackfoot First Nation drove herds of buffalo over a steep cliff. By this means they were able to kill many of these animals in order to use their bodies for sustenance. The buffalo was the primary food of the Blackfoot people. In a video we viewed in class, a cultural interpreter at the site explained that the buffalo helped his people to endure the cold winters. Buffalo hides were used for clothing, bedding, teepee covers and saddlebags. Bones were used arrow shafts, needles and saddle horns. The meat was used as food like pemmican which could keep for a long time. In this week's spelling list there are many words related to our current unit such as: teepees, powwows, artifacts, bison and travois.
Homework assigned: Fri. Jan. 12, 2018. Due: Mon. Jan. 15, 2018.
It was a very productive first week of 2018 for 4E and 4F students in Humanities. This week Mr. Brewer completed reading aloud the story Superfudge. Students discussed the story and answered comprehension questions about it. A particular strategy that we have worked on in class is making a mental picture or image in our mind as we listen to a story or while reading it to ourselves. This week students retold events from the story through the medium of drawing it. This strategy allowed students to summarize the events in the story as well as understand the connections among events, characters and settings. In a four-panel cartoon students were encouraged to retell the events in the final chapter in a logical sequence. They also drew a picture of a particularly funny event that happened in chapter 11 of the book. This helped them to demonstrate clear relationships between character and plot in the book.
Using the Internet students began to find out about a particular dinosaur they had chosen to research at the end of last year. Through this ongoing research students have been finding out how paleontologists discovered the presence of dinosaurs in Alberta. Indeed, the weekend homework assignment for Social Studies relates directly to this area covered in the curriculum. Through their research on dinosaurs, students have learned a great deal about when dinosaurs roamed the earth, what they ate and how big they were.
Over the weekend, students are encouraged to work on completing their dinosaur research. Students have been doing this research independently in class. You may log in to Google docs via your CBE student Username and Password. All students chose a dinosaur to research using this link: www.kidsdinos.com/alberta Below is a copy of the checklist we used in class to check that all required elements are in the research paper: