Sunday, 31 January 2016

REMINDERS! What's coming up! Speeches. Etc.

On Monday, we start our fan film creations. Please check out the new page tab above entitled GRADE 7/8 DRAMA TASK: FAN FILM which has details and criteria. We will be spending the last block tomorrow getting our ideas in order and generally planning and getting started.

We have started our new unit on using algebraic equations to represent and predict linear patterns. Students will demonstrate their knowledge in a math video that includes a representation of a linear pattern using manipulatives of their choice, the equation, the use of the equation to predict a term of their choice in the pattern, and a graphical representations. There will be ample class time for this.

There are also media requirements. These are posted in class.

Students can work with a partner if they choose. Videos are due end of day FRIDAY.

Skating is TUESDAY afternoon! Bring your gear!


Speeches are fast approaching! Students should have given me their topic this past Thursday (if you haven't, please do so ASAP) and a first draft is due this coming THURSDAY!

There will be minimal class time, so consider this an AT HOME project.

Speeches can be any type: persuasive, informational, autobiographical, etc. Consider it first and foremost a piece of writing that needs to follow the writing traits we have been discussing: logically organized, strong, unique voice, deliberate word choice, various sentence types, etc.

They are required to be 3-5 minutes long. 

Speeches can be performed in various ways according to student choice: present to a friend, a small group or the whole class.

Our official presentation day in class is FEB 8th (next Monday).

Coming up in the next few months: other opportunities to practice those oral language skills, either by analyzing oral texts (such as Ted Talks and podcasts) or by debating ideas.

Study notes are online. See tab above entitled  JANUARY HEALTH MATERIAL for details.

(if not done already). See Monday above for deets!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

OAME CLIPS: Bookmark this page for HIGH SCHOOL!

We are about to start our algebra unit and we will be using the awesome OAME CLIPS math site.

This site will also be a great reference for students in high school for either review of concepts or also to support learning of high school math topics.

As you can see, it goes up to grade 12.

The mini lessons build on each other so I wouldn't skip them. They are short but when taken together, very effective.

I highly recommend them!

Bookmark them for future reference as a means of math home support!

Here is the site:


Tuesday, 26 January 2016


Next STEAM design project is tentatively set for MONDAY FEBRUARY 22!

We will need paper tubes of all sizes! 

If you've got any around the house, grab em and bring em in! 

Many thanks,
Mrs. J

STEAM Design Project: Inflatable Air Creatures

After the success of our STEAM building project in December (the results of which can be found on our youtube page), I decided to aim for one STEAM project a month.

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.

Typically, students are given a 'making' task. In the previous STEAM activity, students had to create a Rube Goldberg machine...that worked.

I've been trying to incorporate 'found' items into the projects. The previous project involved wood blocks, race tracks, cars, marbles, golf balls.

Yesterday's task asked students to make an 'inflatable air creature' using a fan and plastic bags. Again, 'regular' found items. There was also an environmental message: raising awareness that plastic bags are STILL TOO common place and easy to find.

It was inspired by this street artist:

Similar to last time, the task requires significant trial and error: coming up with a plan, trying something new if it doesn't work, etc. It also involved a fair bit of communication and collaboration: sharing ideas with their partners, dividing up roles, deciding who will get or do what, etc.

The results (again) were very impressive!

Not just in terms of the various different creations (everyone chose a different and unique inflatable air creature)...but also with regards to the reflection process that such a design project naturally creates.

Students end up wondering what could have gone better, what worked well and what didn't, what part was fun and what part was pure frustration...and of course displaying the necessary fortitude when things get tough...

Reflection vids can be found on our youtube page!

Here are photos of the finished results!

***With thanks to the SCDSB Innovation Team for the ideas! 

Next STEAM project tentatively set for MONDAY FEBRUARY 22!

WANTED FOR THE NEXT STEAM PROJECT: paper tubes of all sizes!

Totally Random: Michael

In which I pull a name at random and ask: what do you want on the blog?
Michael wants you to enjoy this football gif!

Totally Random: Maya

In which I pull a name at random and ask: what do you want on the blog?
Maya wants you to enjoy !D's discomfort at having to play Tattoo Roulette!
(Also, consider the math aspect: probability! 
Also also: a good discussion point re: media/publicity stunts! Mrs. J)

Friday, 22 January 2016

Homework for those who did not finish in class!

For those who did not finish in time today please make sure you are done these tasks by Monday.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Totally Random: Hunter

In which I pull a name at random and ask: what do you want on the blog?
Hunter wants to remind you of the awesomeness that is Grey's Anatomy!

Indiana Jones Field Trip to the Barrie Film Festival

Yesterday, we went into Barrie to see the fan adaptation of The Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Over the previous two weeks, we had viewed the original. I broke the movie down into 10 sections and we viewed each section and then discussed it.

There was some awesome discussion points!

Here are few that stood out:

At Marion's place in Nepal, how does the use of shadows contribute to the scene?
-to add a feeling of excitement
-to make the people look more threatening
-to make mystery, to keep viewers intrigued
-it makes you guess who it is
-to make Indiana look stronger, bigger and more heroic

Why is the scene in the map room so long? Why does it show every step he has to take to find the Ark's location?
-to show how meticulous he has to be
-to make you wonder
-so you know all the things that could go wrong
-so the viewers can also put the pieces together
-because it makes us feel like we are Indiana Jones

Belloq tell the Nazi officers: You'd use a bulldozer to find a tea cup. What does he mean?
-you use more than you need
-you are too destructive
-you are too rough with things
-you over do it
-you would do anything
-you are impatient
-you are reckless

What is the purpose of the extended chase scene on the truck, why Indy tries to steal back the ark?
-to build tension
-to make Jones more triumphant in the end
-to make the victory harder
-to show the struggle of the protagonist
-to show Indy's dedication

I think viewing the original in such detail made many of the scenes in the adaptation stand out.

After viewing the adaptation, we compared the two, and assessed how effectively the fan film recreated the experience of the original (talking about sound, special effects, acting, costuming, props, settings, etc). Overall, the students put the reproduction in the B range.

Next up: students will get the chance to recreate their own scene from a film or TV show.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016


It has come to my attention that on the history assignment I mistakenly listed:

The Gold Rush in British Columbia

When instead it should say:

The Gold Rush in the Yukon (aka The Klondike Gold Rush)

There was indeed a gold rush in BC but that BEFORE our intended historical time frame of 1890-1914.

The Klondike gold rush in the Yukon took place in the 1890's and that is the one you need to be looking at.


If this is going to impact your research/completion of the assignment, there is no problem getting an extension. Please come see me asap.

Mrs. J

New on the Blog: MONTHLY CALENDAR!

Finally! Given all the due dates and the snow days messing around with said due dates I figured it was about time I put a MONTHLY CALENDAR on the blog!

If you click on the above page tab WEEKLY SCHEDULE AND MONTHLY CALENDAR you will see the google calendar I have created to keep track of due dates.

I intend to update this on a regular basis! So check in regularly!

Dates will also be listed on the sidebar!

Mrs. J

Monday, 18 January 2016

Another Snow Day: Here's Some Suggestions for the Missed Day!

So it is another snow day! That obviously will impact our plans this week.

The math quiz will need to be bumped again so that we have time to adequately cover the material needed in class. MATH QUIZ MOVED FROM THURSDAY TO MONDAY JANUARY 25.


So, to recap, these are the (tentatively planned) events of the next two weeks (assuming there are no more snow days!):

  • WEDS 20: health quiz study notes introduced (quiz to take place a week Thurs), math review then field trip to fan film at the Barrie Film Festival
  • THURSDAY 21: Math review, Pizza Party, Tech Buddies
  • FRIDAY 22: History Project is due! Official CASI. Math math and more math! Health study notes reviewed.
  • MONDAY 25: Math Quiz in the am, STEAM project in the pm
  • WEDS 27: Start new math: algebra. Pick speech topic and get started! Skating 1-2
  • THURSDAY 28: Health Quiz, Tech Buddies in the pm (Buddies media project due end of day)

Here are some things you can do on your snow day to help prepare you for the next two weeks!

  • Review the measurement math material on the math blog HERE.
  • Complete your history project, details HERE
  • Take a sneak peek at the health study notes HERE
  • Are you ready for TECH BUDDIES? Remember what you need to have prepared by checking it out HERE
  • Think about what your speech topic might be. It must be 3-5 mins. We will discuss in more detail next week.
If you'd like to know more about the film we are seeing on Weds, check out The Raider Guys HERE

Have a great snow day!
Mrs. J

Friday, 15 January 2016

Bump It UP!

Students have received numerous assignments back, ranging from math to literacy.

After the assessment of their work, I've offered students the chance to take the specific feedback I've provided and BUMP IT UP.

In other words, use the feedback to make changes in their work and improve it. Here's the chance to make it better!

Several students have already taken advantage of this opportunity and handed in improved work. It is entirely up to the students if they want to take the time to move beyond their initial assessment.

Student Blog Alert! New student blog created!

One of our students has created a blog outside of school. I thought others might like to read it too and follow along! It is about game reviews.

Here is Matthew's blog "The Review Dragon"

Guest Blogger: Nicole

As an extension to learning, each student will have a chance to write a short blog post for this class blog! Here is Nicole's contribution!

Taylor Swift is a 26 year old singer/song writer from Nashville. She has 5 albums. (Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red and 1989). Her first 4 albums were country and then on her fifth album she changed to pop music.

Taylor was born on December 13th 1989 in Pennsylvania but then moved to Nashville when she was 14 because she begged her parents for a year to move so she could pursue her music career. She would go to record companies giving them a CD of her so maybe they would sign her but none did then one day she was singing in the bluebird cafe and Scott Brochetta from Big Machine Records heard her and wanted to sign her.

Taylor has won 240 awards in her music career including 7 Grammys, 22 Billboard Music Awards, 19 American Music Awards, 5 Guinness World Records and 10 Teen Choice Awards. Taylor has 2 Videos on YouTube with over 1 Billion views, (Shake It Off and Blank Space). Her video Blank Space is the fastest video to reach 1 billion views. Taylor is also the most followed person on Instagram with 62.3 million followers.

She has toured all over the world and just finished her 1989 tour and is now taking a break for 3 years. She is taking a break so she can have sometime to herself and with her friends and of course her cats.

Digital Citizenship

Yesterday we had Officer Knox from the OPP in to give a presentation on digital citizenship and safe online behaviour.

The main takeaway is that everything you put on line, be it via text, email, app, internet, etc is NEVER private and it NEVER goes away.

So please consider what you post about yourself. You are responsible for your online identity and the 'digital footprint' you create.

You never know who might see it or when they might see it.

Today I showed the class a tweet of mine that was seen and favourited by someone just this week. It was a tweet about a recipe...and I tweeted it out in August of...2010! So a tweet of mine from over five years ago is still out there for someone to view in January of 2016.

That stuff sticks around!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Another Snow Day! Here's how it impacts our class.

The field trip to the film festival is cancelled due to bus cancellation.

However, it is rebooked for next week, same day (weds) same time (we leave at 12 noon).

Also, we haven't been able to address our math content due to the snow days. So we will likely move our math test to next THURSDAY.

We will likely also move our official CASI from Next Monday to another date next week (probably Thursday as well)

Here are some things you can do while away if you feel you are needing to refresh yourself with the content! And also maybe make some headway with future projects and due dates:
  • Study for your history test this Friday. Study notes are on the blog. We will not be needing any more class time to review.
  • Work on your at home history project! Details are here on the blog.
  • Review math content for our measurement unit. Everything we will be talking about is in my math blog, easily accessible through this blog!
SEE PAGE TABS ABOVE to find the content you need.

Lastly, if you missed Indiana Jones day, if it is at all possible, please catch up by watching the movie at home! (And some of you still need to bring in your forms...bring it ASAP!)

As a class we have 25 mins left of the film and we will finish that portion, and the corresponding questions, on Friday, last block.

As always, If you have any questions, please email me

Monday, 11 January 2016



Field trip forms due ASAP! The field trip is Weds. Please return your form/money ASAP!

Also, we only have 25 mins left of Raiders of the Lost Ark and we will watch it on Weds before we go to the Barrie Film Festival.


Due to snow day on Monday, and the field trip on Weds, we will need more class time to cover the math content. So we will postpone our math quiz, scheduled for this Friday Jan 15, to Monday January 18th (tentative date). 

Thursday, 7 January 2016



Have you seen these anywhere around your home? 

If so, please consider bringing them into class ASAP BEFORE January 25 as we will be using them in our next design project!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Mario Kart Data Management Assignment

For those who would like to revisit this task from before the holiday...

Data from playing Mario Kart, 4 players over 11 games.

Please find the mean, median, mode and range of the whole data set.(Show your work!)

Reminders of what mean, median, mode and range are can be found on the math blog. 

Please analyze and interpret the data results. What does it tell you?

Kevin McGill: Author Skype

Kevin writes YA fiction and has been a popular guest speaker in my class in previous years. (See this previous blog post for more information and to see his video when he sent his book into space).

Today, students will interview Kevin. They have created interview questions: one of the pair will ask the question, the other student will write down the answer.

After the interview, students will cooperatively write a summary of our interview using this google doc HERE

This is a synopsis of Kevin's book: Nikolas and Co. available on Amazon.

In the near future the world is coming to an end. What’s fourteen-year-old Nick and his friends to do? Escape through time to a fantastic moon populated by Merfolk of course. 

When Nick finds wealthy shoppers stepping over the body of his dying refugee friend, Jermaine, on the way to their next shoe sale, he decides that it’s time to leave Earth, and his friends are going with him. Nick’s grandfather, Grand, offers a way to realize this dream by taking him to the moon, but there’s a catch. Grand’s moon is in the past; it's teeming with magical creatures, and its merfolk believe that Nick will save them from the thousand-eyed monsters haunting their fortresses. 

To save his refugee friends, Nick must choose the better world: A future Earth filled with genetic viruses and malicious nannydrones, or a fantastic moon in the past inhabited by blood thirsty gorgons, man-eating pirate ships, and fire-breathing winged lions. The future or the fantastic? Their lives are in Nick's hands. 

Nikolas and Company: The Merman and The Moon Forgotten, follows Nick’s boisterous and heart-felt journey as he seeks to save his friends. If "The Doctor" took The Goonies on an adventure to a fantastic version of the moon, you'd get Nikolas and Company. 

Monday, 4 January 2016

Totally Random: Sulli

In which I pull a name at random and ask: what do you want on the blog?
Sulli wants to remind you that it is hockey season and hockey is awesome! 

Sunday, 3 January 2016

For Those Who Might Be Wondering...

For those who might be wondering, yes I saw the new Star Wars movie!

I also caught up on my Dr. Who and have finished all of Season 9 (excluding the Christmas special)

A reminder please that our classroom is a #spoilerfreezone. But we can certainly figure out a way to chat about these two awesome narratives in a way that doesn't ruin it for others.

See you Monday!

Highschool Prep & Feedback

As we begin 2016, high-school comes very much to mind. By September of this year, students will be there!

So, students, is there anything you feel you need to help you prepare?

If so, please take this survey and share your ideas about high-school prep!  I'll keep it open until this Saturday, January 9 and then see/share what the results are.

There is a separate survey for your parents. Please show them this link on the website.  I'd love to hear their feedback as regards the high-school and the year in general!

Also, please see the picture on the side bar listing important upcoming dates from Eastview.

Keep in mind that we will be doing/have been doing a little bit of 'high-school' simulation here in class. (Also, keeping in mind the age appropriateness of tasks/skills! We are still in grade 8, after all!)

Here's some examples:

Our upcoming class read aloud, Animal Farm, lends itself nicely to a deeper form of literary analysis. This is definitely a text we can dive deep into. It is suitable for 13 years olds, but it also read in high-school (and even university). It has many layers!

The CASI reading comprehension assessments that we do in class also do a nice job of preparing students for in depth text analysis and emphasizes skills like providing proof to support arguments...which dove tails nicely into academic style essay writing and persuasive texts.

The math program for Grade 8 is specifically designed to offer a comprehensive review of skills. It is very much a 'consolidation of math knowledge' year.

We will also be addressing other good habits, like note taking and how to study, homework completion (home projects will increase this term), and meeting due dates, etc. On top of our usual push for communication skills, creativity, and, problem solving skills!

And, as always, I'll will be encouraging students to take ownership over your own learning. As usual I will be asking students to ask themselves:

What do I need to succeed? and Where can I go to get what I need?

Lastly, lets talk about organization and time management skills!

I model a number of these methods in class (think of how I  break large tasks into smaller tasks and track their completion such as with the writing process wall, or of how I use the timer to track work completion or how I use lists to organize my day).

And students, if you have not already harnessed the organizational power of your personal device, please do so by copying all the relevant due dates listed in the side bar into your device's calendar! (If you do not have a device, consider investing in either a paper calendar like the one we post in class or using your provided paper agenda).

Welcome Back Pep Talk & Goal Setting

Sorry, guys! Holidays are over!

The school year can loosely be divided into three blocks.

We recently finished the first section. Now we are into the second.

It's like the second act of a three act play. Or the second period in a hockey game.

Or, if this were a movie/book trilogy, this section we are in would be like:



As you can see from the above examples, the second act typically requires the hero/heroine/hockey player to display a steady focus in the face of challenges.

The beginning of our quest is long behind us. The end of our quest is still far ahead.

This is my fancy way of reminding you that the holidays are over and now that we are back, we are going to hit the ground running!

Prepare to be challenged! Prepare to 'level up' your skill set!

Stay focused and on track! So switch off holiday mode and activate school mode, please!

To help with that, please submit this student survey. It gives you the chance to reflect on the year so far and set goals for the rest of the year ahead. (We will be doing this in class on Monday.)