Showing posts with label grade 7. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grade 7. Show all posts

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Understanding History Through Artifacts

Providing an authentic learning context for students is one way to deepen student engagement. A recent Grade 7 History class was a good example of this approach to learning. 
By examining artifacts like rebillion boxes, students can gain a deeper understanding of the reasons behind the rebellion.
In Grade 7 History, students learn about the Rebellion of 1837. One of our teachers shared the story about a relative of his wife who marched with the rebels and was imprisoned for taking part in the rebellion. While in prison, the prisoners made small boxes from firewood. As a means of telling their story and maintaining their spirits, the prisoners carved messages into the boxes. Many of these boxes were smuggled out of prison and given to family members, and some still exist, like the one referenced by our teacher.
Students created their own rebellion boxes out of construction paper

With this story as a context for the lesson, the students worked in small groups to identify patterns within a sampling of messages inscribed in the boxes. Doing so helped the students understand the reasons behind the rebellion, as well as the depth of contempt for the Family Compact.
Students looked at examples of rebellion boxes
Using construction paper, students worked individually to create their own rebellion box, which served as a creative and hands-on way to express their understanding of the causes of the Rebellion of 1837.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Integrating Student Learning

Grade 7 Integration Week helps students make vital connections between the different subjects that they learn in school. By creating a challenge for students to respond to that incorporates what they have learned across their courses, from Science, Math, English, and Social Studies students can see the connections between what are often perceived to be separate areas of knowledge.

The theme of Grade 7 Integration Week was “How to Survive a Natural Disaster.” Canadian author Eric Walters, who writes on the theme of survival, spoke to the students about the inspiration behind his stories and what it takes to survive disaster. Being able to hear from an author such as Walters, whose books they have read, was inspiring for students, encouraging them to really think deeply about their work during Integration Week.

For the rest of their activities, students broke into teams to solve problems that would arise in the wake of a natural disaster, taken from the pages of an Eric Walters novel. Each challenge required drawing on concepts they learned in class. For example, students applied their learning about heat, insulation, and distillation from science class to the challenge of how disaster survivors could cook food, keep warm, and purify water.

They designed original prototypes of survival aid devices, strategically selected gear for a survival mission, and wrote journal entries from the perspective of a character in their chosen Eric Walters novel. Each challenge required students to think critically, and encouraged the to create unique solutions.
By approaching one challenge from so many angles, they can also determine the best way to solve multi-disciplinary problems in the future. They can apply the strategies they develop from one subject to solve challenges in another. This will help them be more agile, adaptable learners, skills so crucial for lifelong learning. 

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Disaster DIY

After reading a book about a natural disaster, students teamed up to help their novel's
main character survive his or her ordeal.

Your town has just been devastated by a massive earthquake. The phone lines are dead, there’s no running water and supplies are running out fast. All you have is a few household objects and your ingenuity. How do you make it out alive?

Our Grade 7 classes tackled this tough question through a week-long integration project from March 6-10. After reading one of three books by Canadian YA novelist Eric Walters about a natural disaster - an earthquake, a tsunami or a flood - students teamed up to help their novel’s main character survive his or her ordeal.

To be successful, students had to draw on knowledge from four core subjects:

  • Science: Students invented a survival device that helped the characters purify drinking water, keep warm and dry or signal for help.

  • Math: Students used mathematical reasoning to predict how long the device will help the character survive until assistance arrives. (One group created a giant air bubble and did detailed calculations to determine how long that oxygen would last!)

  • Social Studies: Students needed to understand the specific characteristics of the area where the disaster took place, and to understand how humans acquire, manage and use natural resources based on their environment..

  • English: Students produced an oral or written explanation of how their survival device works, as well as a series of journal entries written from the perspective of their novel’s main character.

Students used a design thinking approach throughout this process: understanding what the end user needs, making sense of their research and resources and generating ideas and prototypes. By using design thinking, students learn that the process of trial and error is a good way to solve problems.

To work collaboratively students need space. Our learning community classrooms are not
only spacious but allow lots of flexibility.

What Did Students Invent?

Students’ creativity shone through in the wonderful use they made of their available resources. Some examples of devices include:

  • A water purifier made from a plastic bottle, coffee filters, curtains, sticks and a plastic bag
  • A giant “Help” sign made from glow sticks
  • A canopied raft made from debris and a tarp

How Did Our Expanded Building Support This Integrated Project?

To work collaboratively students need space: ample room to meet in small groups, spread out their materials and build their prototypes. Our learning community rooms fit the bill perfectly: they’re not only spacious, but their flexible furnishings allowed students to configure the room in the way that worked best for them. Our teachers also had plenty of space to circulate through the room and support teams as needed during work periods.

Our performance theatre also played a key role in the project. Its drop-down screen allowed the Grade 7s to view multimedia materials and go through short lessons as a large group. When it was time to present their projects, the theatre provided an ideal venue for this activity.

When it was time for Grade 7 students to present their finished prototypes, our
performance theatre provided an ideal venue.

Student Feedback

What did students like most about this project? Here’s what a few of them had to say:

“I liked that the whole week was connected to one main idea. I was really proud of our final product, because it worked and we had a clear view to why we made it.”

“I enjoyed using different ideas to help my character and put myself in the character's shoes.”

“I enjoyed going to different rooms and learning about survival if you were caught in an earthquake.”

“I’m proud of the final product because even though we disagreed at the beginning, we came together and worked through it, resulting in an awesome prototype.”

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Apprentice Teacher in Action: Kelly Murphy

As an Apprentice Teacher, Kelly Murphy has many opportunities to work one-on-one
with students during class time.

Greenwood’s year-long Apprentice Teacher fellowship is an induction program for qualified teachers who have recently graduated from a teacher education program. Working alongside an experienced teacher, Apprentice Teachers further develop classroom management skills, strategies that support personalized learning, technology integration and assessment strategies. These teachers also have opportunities to support Greenwood’s mission through coaching in the school’s athletic program and supervising our weekly Service Learning program in Regent Park.

There’s no better way to learn these skills than with hands-on experience. For Apprentice Teacher Kelly Murphy, her experience supporting Christine Joannou’s Grade 7 math classes has already been valuable.

“I get to focus purely on teaching, and on developing relationships with the students,” Kelly says. “I’m also learning a lot of classroom management skills - a big part of my role is understanding how I can help each individual student to get the most out of every class.”

Apprentice Teachers hone many valuable skills during their year-long fellowship,
including classroom management and assessment strategies.

Kelly has many opportunities to work with students one-on-one during class time. “If a student has a question while Christine is teaching, they can quietly ask me on the side without stopping the lesson,” she says. In cases where Christine is away, Kelly leads the class. “It’s wonderful to have opportunities to teach where I’m so familiar with the material,” Kelly says. “It’s also great for the students, because they’re working with a teacher who knows them really well even when Christine can’t be there.”

For Christine, having Kelly in class has been very positive. “Grade 7 is a year where students are building so many of the math skills they’ll need in high school and beyond,” Christine says. “Having Kelly’s support helps ensure that every student develop confidence and a strong foundation.”