This week students finished two assignments they had on the go. On Monday, they worked on finishing writing their "I am" poem in their creative journals and illustrating the poem with images or a picture. That assignment was due on Wednesday, April 11. Rubrics will go home today. Students also had 4 periods to type up their value wheel writing related to the Metis and their values that we were learning about just before Spring Break. These paragraphs were due today, Friday, April 13.
Ms. Reynolds also taught about the British influence in Alberta as both the French and British were very influential in developing our country and provinces. She mentioned how the British set up the protestant or public schools as well as their role in government, the lieutenant governor, and keeping the peace.
Next week we will be looking at some mavericks of Alberta.
On Tuesday, students shared something with the class about their Spring Break and we focused on asking others questions. Good questions show that you are interested, engaged and that you are listening to the person who is speaking. We talked about what makes a good question, trying to get information that wasn't given and that relates to the main thing they told. Next, students wrote in their journals about their break. Our goal for writing is 12-15 sentences in 45 minutes or less.
Ms. Reynolds, our student teacher, taught about the French influence in Alberta and how francophone settlers, like the grey nuns and missionaries, created schools and hospitals. She even talked about some French settlements like St. Albert, where I am from, and some influential French people like Father Lacombe. On Thursday, students wrote poems about themselves focusing on where they are from and who they are that they will continue next week.
We had lots going on in Humanities this week! Students were studying for their People of Alberta quiz on Wednesday. I hope to have them marked so I can hand them back at Parent Teacher Interviews, but we will see! On Wednesday, students also needed to hand in their creative journals so I could mark their creature assignment based off the First Mosquito story we read.
Earlier in the week, students were working on the art portion of their personal values assignment that we began last week. They are creating their own "value wheel" to represent the things most important in their life. Using pointillism, they are creating unique symbols to represent their values. After Spring Break, students will finish their value wheels and type up their writing!
We continued to discuss the culture of the Métis people this week. On Monday, we read 2 books that had information on their language, history, food, shelter, clothing and art. We also learned about the very important Métis sash that was used for many different purposes like a rope, to hold first aid items, a wash cloth and belt. The sash is a predominate symbol of Métis culture. On Tuesday, we learned about Louis Riel, a Métis Canadian hero who sacrificed his life for equal rights for the Métis people. We also looked at how Canada's provinces have changed since 1867, listened to a song in Michif (the Métis language) and watched a red river jig,
On Wednesday we read the Métis version of "The Giving Tree." This is a story about Métis values and an old tree with a large hollow in it. Families would stop at the tree when traveling between villages and if they needed anything, they could look in the tree to see if it was there. If you took something from the tree, you always had to offer something back. This story highlighted the Métis values of honesty, kindness, love and sharing. We went on to learn about many other values the Metis highly regard in their daily lives including tolerance, Mother Earth, patience, strength, courage and the most important and center of their values is The Creator.
Students started working on a written piece about their values. Their writing should be in complete sentences, paragraph format and must answer all of the following questions:
- What is a value? What is a value wheel?
- What values are important to you (choose a minimum of 4). Explain each value.
- How do you show/demonstrate each value in your life (give specific examples of what you do)
- What do the Métis value? Explain.
- How are your values similar and different from the Metis values?(Explain, don't just list)
- Why do we teach values?
- What would happen if no one valued anything?
Students worked on this writing on Wednesday and Thursday and the rough copy is due Monday. On Monday, students will begin creating their own art piece of a value wheel.
All students received a study guide on Tuesday for their People of Alberta quiz that will be Wednesday, March 21. There is no school on Thursday, March 22 or Friday, March 23 due to Parent Teacher Interviews.
On Monday and Tuesday, students learned about the voyageurs. The voyageurs were an important group of French men who made relations with the First Nations and explored Canadian river systems while assisting in the fur trade. Students learned how hard life as a voyageur was from watching a video produced by The National Film Board of Canada. We also looked at an educational website created by The Hudson's Bay Company who employed many voyageurs during the fur trade. We discussed many different aspects of voyageur life including their diet, clothing, job description and physical requirements. Students then wrote a diary entry as if they were a voyageur, signed at the bottom with a male, French name!
Over the next couple of days, students will be working on a creative writing assignment that builds on their story writing from the past few weeks. We will be reading a book called "The First Mosquito" and students will create a creature inspired by the types in the book. They will write a brief description of the creature, its powers and include a short story about it. They will draw out their creature using the style of the artist in the book. The illustrations are based off the art and legends of the First Nations groups in the Pacific Northwest. Once students have completed these elements in their journal, they will make a good copy of their creature in their visual journals.
All week students worked on finishing off their creation stories. Groups were working on varying parts throughout the week. Many groups had trouble managing their time and work and had to rush to complete their assignment. Students had many components and check-ins for this project including: a story outline, a rough copy, a typed up and printed out good copy of their story, a rough copy of the symbols/pictures they would be using and finally a completed story robe with the images outlined in colour! On Friday, Grade 4's shared their story robes and stories with the Grade 8 class that shared their Aztec stories with us last week!
Students finished off their outlines and began writing the rough copies of their creation story. We talked lots about working with their partner to come up with all ideas together and that I should be able to see each person's writing in the journal so all group members are contributing. Students were taught ow to use quotation marks in case they wanted to add dialogue to their stories, which they all did! we discussed the difference between writing a story and writing a script and that stories still need lots of description and detail of what is happening. Some groups also typed up their stories on the computer and began working on the final part of this project.
As we know, Aboriginal people did not use a traditional written language but instead transmitted knowledge orally. They also used pictographs and symbols that were written on stone like seen in Writing On Stone Provincial Park, and on buffalo hides called story robes. We looked at a sort robe in the Glenbow Archives called "Warriors: A Journey Through Five Centuries," to show how pictures can be used to tell a story. Students will be creating their own story robe to tell their story once they have finished the typing portion.
Below are 4 examples of student story robes from previous years.
Over the next several weeks, students will be creating their own creation story based off Aboriginal oral traditions. We had a big literacy focus this week! We listened to three creation stories this week: How the Turtle Got its Shell, How the Fox Got Crossed Legs and How the Loon Got Its Necklace which demonstrated what a creation story is. Students also completed a reading comprehension entitled "Mistakes of Old Man" that was also an example of a creation story. We listened and read a few other Aboriginal stories and continued to talk about Aboriginal culture and traditions. Next week is only a 3 day week due to Teacher's Convention, but students will continue to work on their stories.
Due to so many students being away on Thursday because of the huge amount of snow we got, we combined 4B and 4D and worked together as a class on some snow related activities. We learned about Wilson Bentley, whose birthday was today in 1865, who devoted his life to photographing single snowflakes. We learned about his life and then students made their own snowflakes out of coffee filters. They also did a snow themed math problem and a science design challenge.
On Friday, the whole school participated in a design challenge. Each grade had their own unique challenge created by that grade's teachers, but all students in the grade did the same challenge. The Grade 4 challenge was to create a device to move a person who broke their leg, in a hot air balloon accident, 2km down a mountain. They were given a variety of materials to create a device. Using their science knowledge of wheels and axles, many were able to come up with something that would successfully transport a person to safety!
Last week students had six periods to work on researching 6 Aboriginal tribes found in Alberta. These tribes were the: Blackfoot, Cree, Dene Suline, Dunne za, Tsuu T'ina and Nakoda. This week we talked about symbols and what the purpose of a symbol is. Students were then asked to create a symbol they thought represented each group based on their research. They needed to provide an explanation of what symbol they made and why they chose it. Making a two page spread in their creative journals, they drew and coloured everything and included all facts they had found. Students will receive their rubrics early next week for this assignment.
We also started a new read aloud on Monday called: A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle. On Friday, we created a web of all the things we know thus far about the main character Meg Murray and each student drew a picture of what they think she looks like in their creative journal.
On Monday Grade 4's had their quiz on fossils. All quizzes have been marked and returned for you to take a look at. On Tuesday, we began discussions around the indigenous population that lives in Alberta and the things that students already know about these people. We talked about the special tradition of storytelling and how Aboriginal people use oral stories to tell about their culture, values, beliefs and history. We listened to a story called "Nokum is my Teacher" by the famous Aboriginal author, David Bouchard and students wrote about different ways information and stories can be passed on. Students were able to come up with 10 different ways stories can be told including: singing, drumming, dancing, through books and orally! On Friday, Grade 4's learned about the famous artist, Norval Morisseau and created a drawing in his style. All students have been asked to find out about their family history over the weekend and share a story orally with the class. The letter that was sent home on Wednesday is in the link below. I am excited to hear students' stories on Monday!
Next week, I will be away at a teaching conference starting on Tuesday so the blog will not be updated next week. Students will be working on a research project about the 6 Aboriginal groups that live in the 6 regions of Alberta and have made their homes here. They will be asked to find out where in Alberta each group lives, the language they speak and some facts about each group. Students will then be using the information to create a symbol to represent each group that they will display in their creative journals.