This week the students finished decoding the song, "Follow the Drinking Gourd". After they had finished this, they read over the musical on this topic that they will be putting on for our school community. The students signed up to play actors, set designers, costume designers and chorus members. They were all so pleased to find out which part they received.
This month is African Heritage Month in Canada. To explore this theme, the students started studying the Underground Railroad. Through our inquiry, we learned that slavery was illegal in Canada in 1833 but it was not outlawed in the United States until 1865. As a result of this, many slaves escaped on the Underground Railroad to Canada to find freedom. The students studied the song "Follow the Drinking Gourd." This song was written by a man called Peg-Leg Joe. It held a secret message that would lead the slaves to freedom. Together, we used information from our schema (our background knowledge) and clues in the book we were reading to uncover the secret map to freedom in the song.
This week the students participated in a series of performances and presentations. During Learning Buddies with our Kindergarten friends the students watched the Stop Motion videos they had created with Barry during our weekly Switcheroo. During Writing Centres time students also worked on creating stories and using the computer to edit them. When they were finished they presented these stories to our class and then Kelly's grade 1/2 class. Another activity we brought out during Writing Centres was creating ribbon dances (having indoor recess so much this week we needed a way to get our wiggles out!) and recording these dances using procedural writing. The students presented these dances in front of the class.
This week the students in room 101 had the opportunity to visit Crawford Lake and see how the Wendat First Nations People would have lived 600 years ago. The students actively chose this trip while completing their research projects on the First Nations People of Canada. Consolidating what they had learned through their research made this trip very meaningful to the students and they voted it the "Best Trip Ever!!!".
On our hike through the forest, students learned how the First Nations people helped the early settlers survive in the late 1600s-1700s. The First Nations people showed settlers how they could use cedar tea to cure scurvy, and use hemlock and juniper as medicine. They showed them how to use snowshoes in the winter, and keep warm by making clothing of animal furs.
Our leader Mandy, showed us how the Wendat people of this area set up their longhouses. These longhouses would have to be rebuilt every 15 years. She showed us how the Wendat built platforms along the side of the longhouses which were used for the storage of food and for sleeping. As fire pits were used in the inner walkway of the longhouses the Wendat people slept on the lower bunks as the rising smoke would be worse on the upper levels. Mandy showed us how the Wendat made mattresses from cedar leaves and animal furs to sleep on. The natural oils of the cedar would ward off mosquitos.
This week during Writing Centres, students were able to use the chrome books to work on creating, editing and publishing their original stories. Students learned how to use the spell-check button to fix misspelled words, the microphone to use voice to text assistance and insert pictures in their stories using google.
This week the students in room 101 presented their research projects at our Research Symposium on the Anishinabe and Haudenosaune First Nations people who inhabited the High Park area until the 1760s. To accompany their oral presentations, students made models or brought in baked goods to share with the other students and parents who attended.
This week we read the book A River Ran Wild. This book tells the story of the First Nations People who settled by the Nashua River.
As we read the first few pages of the book the students were asked the following questions:
*How did the First Nations People live in balance with nature?
*Does the community work in a balanced way? Does everyone have an important role?
Students then listened to the customs, traditions and roles of the Nashua people through the different seasons. Moving into drama, the students made tableaux to show the daily activities of the Nashua people through the different seasons.
Here are some photos of the student making tableaux of the winter scene. During winter the Nashua people would take shelter around the fire at centre of wigwam or tipi and wrap themselves in animal furs. To go hunting the Nashua people would wear heavy hides to keep warm; put on snowshoes and pull a toboggan. They would also hunt rabbits, birds, deer and other animals using snares, bow and arrow, or spears.
After the students had finished their tableaux they came back to the carpet to read on in the book. In the next page it showed how a traveller came bringing wears such as money, mirrors, beads and weapons such as guns. This traveller wanted to bring more people and share the land with the First Nations People. Next, I went into role, as the settler, and informed the students that they were the Nashua people. I told them how I lived and what I wanted to do with this land. I told them there were many others from where I came from that also wanted to share the land. I asked the students to come up with a Treaty so they felt there were laws in place so we could all have what we needed.
Each week in room 101, the students have the opportunity to write a series of different styles of writing during our writing centres. Different types of writing include stories, songs, recipes, jokes, "Would You Rather?" questions, comics and more. This week, we started recording the students presenting their published work in front of the class. We also started making videos of read alouds of our favourite classroom stories. We will be publishing these videos on a secure site for students and parents to view. Please stay tuned for your login information!
This week our class had the opportunity to participate in a series of community building activities in our school setting and downtown Toronto.
All Mountview students had the pleasure of attending the Young People's Theater production of Mary Poppins. After the show was over, our class explored St. Lawrence Market and enjoyed our lunch there. When we had filled our bellies the students of room 101 hiked to Queen Street so we could look at the Christmas windows on display. To return to school we joined Roberto's class on the subway. The students demonstrated respect as passengers on the train. Without being reminded, two students asked an elderly person if they would like to sit down.
On Thursday this week the students also had the chance to build community within the school during our Friendship Assembly. At this assembly, wonderful parent volunteers came in a ran a series of team building activities with all Mountview students. Students were in mixed grade level groups so they had a chance to work with school mates not as familiar to them. The students made cards for a local retirement home, sang winter songs, decorated gingerbread houses and worked on Tribes activities. The afternoon was a great success because of the enthusiasm of the students and parent volunteers.