Hello Grade 5’s and families!
Though our time together has been short, it has definitely been sweet! In our time together, the grade 5’s have been working hard, following our rules and procedures and building a strong community. We start our week with a community circle, which allows students a safe space to share roses, thorns and buds. The grade 5’s have been mature and accepting and even offer their classmates some ways to deal with their thorns. I’ve been really impressed with the positive attitudes and genuine kindness of this group!
I am in the process of updating the blog with our schedule, routines and procedures. Parents/guardians, if you would like to speak with me about your child before parent teacher interviews- I am taking until October to get to know your children better. In early October, I am happy to schedule discussions.
I am very excited about the year ahead with your children and families!
I was lucky enough to participate in all three sessions, and it was incredible to hear how he adjusted the message to fit the age and stage of the group he was speaking to. I want to share my big take-aways, but don’t even know where to start!
There was an overarching theme throughout all three sessions…
We will never go back to a time when technology didn’t exist, so rather than fight it, we need to accept that it’s here and learn how to live with it. When speaking with the parents, Jesse shared a story from when he was a boy in grade 5, taking the bus from his elementary school in Westmount, QC, to McGill University where his parents worked. His parents helped prepare him for this responsibility by equiping him with the tools he would need in case of an emergency….a quarter in case he needed to use a payphone, a plan for what to do if someone unkind spoke to him, who the safe people were to speak to along the way if he needed help…
The online world may be new, but it doesn’t need to be that different. We need to teach our children how to navigate it safely. We need to equip them with the tools and skills to help lead a balanced life. We need to help them understand what is appropriate and what is not…and why!
- Using your computer during class a really fortunate tool to have. Chatting isn’t appropriate because you may miss out on important information, or it can take time away from using your class time appropriately when the teacher is available to help you. Closing tabs or telling your friends you can’t talk is a life skill that will help you BALANCE your responsibilities.
- Playing games and chatting with people online is fun and can help you build relationships, but if it gets inappropriate, there are people you can speak to, without punishment, who can help you. Choosing to be an upstander is a life skill that will help you BALANCE your relationships.
- Sharing some information about yourself online can have value. Documenting your learning is clearly something we value at OJCS. Protecting our identity is also something we value. Being respectful is definteily something we value, both on and offline. Who you choose to be online is important – what are you telling the world about who you are as a person? Teaching our children how to safely share and behave online is a life skill that will help them BALANCE their reputation.
- Just as we set rules and boundaries for when screens can be used and HOW they should be used in school, rules and boundaries can be set in the home as well. If you’re going to allow children to be online, make sure they are “participating with the screen, not isolating with the screen.”
- And finally, we should meet our children where they are. Their interests may not be ours, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn. Jesse gave the analogy of the “hockey mom.” Some mothers (and fathers) never played a game of hockey, or even watched a game of hockey before their child started playing. After going to game after game, many of those same parents are now experts, yelling from the stands as soon as any player is off-side. If your child loves Fortnite or Minecraft…play with them! Learn what it’s all about, see what interests them about it, and learn the rules so that it can become something you share together, not something you don’t undestand and can’t relate to.
If you were part of any of Jesse’s sessions, what were your big take-aways? I’d love to hear your comments and feedback 🙂
Even before COVID-19, we’ve been living in a world where social media plays a large role in the way we communicate – for our children too! With lockdowns, school closures, and the need to physically distance, many of us have increased the amount of time we spend online, as a family and as individuals. With this has also come concerns around the amount of screen time for our children, and how to best support them as they navigate an increasingly online world. Jesse Mille of Mediated Reality, is a national social media awareness expert, and he will be holding a parent information evening on Monday, March 1st at 7:30 pm to address parental fears and minimize stress around screen time, discuss perceptions around technology addiction, and answer all your questions.
This is a workshop that shouldn’t be missed! Mr. Miller will also be speaking to our students (4-8) during the day on March 1st, so the evening is encouraged for parents only.
Please register here for this incredible event, or click the link in the flyer below.
February is Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month (JDAIM), In Grade 5, we spend lots of time throughout the whole year talking about acceptance and inclusion, not just now. However, a reminder is always a good thing.
While we will be spending time doing activities throughout the month in school, one additional innitiative is the Youth Leadership Award Challenge. Students are encouraged to work on their own, with siblings or with friends to come up with an idea for how to create inclusive programs, spaces, or virtual spaces in our community for people of all abilities. We have begun brainstoming in class, but all students are encouraged to participate in this important event. Please see the poster below for all the details.
I came across this article about a school in the Netherlands called Agora. It is a fascinating model where there are no classrooms, no curriculum, and the teachers are more “coaches on the side” than teachers at the front of the class (espcially since there are no classrooms!)
As I was reading it, I kept wondering…what would our parents think of this? What would our students think of this? What would our teachers think of this?
Rather than wonder, I’m here to ask! Let’s start a conversation.
Hey students! Would you want to go to a school like this? Do you think this kind of environment would work for you and your learning style? Do you think you would be productive? If you were completely in charge of your own learning, what would you learn? Does this remind you of anything we do in our school? If we could have elements of this in our school, what would that look like?
Hey parents! Would you choose to send your child to a school like this? What elements appeal to you? What would you find challenging as a parent? As you see in the arlicle, progress is measured in a very different way than we’re used to. How would you respond to that?
Hey teachers! This model sounds like so much of what we strive for in our school…(North Stars alers!) student voice, ruach, a floor but no ceiling… Could you see yourselves giving up the control as the teacher at the front of the room? The students at Agora are at least 12 years old. What would need to be true of your teaching now to prepare our students for a school like this?
Are there any other thoughts you’d like to share? Please comment below and let’s start a conversation!!
Even COVID can’t stop our love for reading and the Scholastic Book Fair! The only thing it will stop is us having the fair in person…and perhaps a few less cat posters and ice cream erasers purchases 😜
This year, our Scholastic Book Fair will be held completely virtually. To access the sale, please click here. You will find hundreds of books to choose from, and we are always happy to help make recommendations for your child.
Every year, students participate in a Blogging Bingo challenge to inspire them to write on their blogfolios more often. Right now, all students posts things to their blogfolios that their teachers ask them to; some students independently write posts of their choosing; and some students want to write more but don’t know what to write.
In an effort to inspire and spark creativity while also building new tech and media literacy skills, we have created this Blogging Bingo Challenge.
Students can work on this challenge throughout the whole year. There are some rules, though….obviously!
- All posts must follow our guidelines of what makes a quality post in order to be counted towards the challenge
- All comments must follow the guidelines of what make a quality comment
- Writing and drawings cannot be rushed just to complete the task
And for added incentive, here are the prizes!
5 posts – free Gotcha!
10 posts – Homework Pass or Teacher for the Period
Whole board – Chapters Gift Card]
Every year since we have launched student blogfolios at OJCS, I look forward to the Student Blogging Challenge. It is such a great way for students to become familiar with their blogs and see the power of connecting with students all over the world (as I blogged here).
Due to COVID-19 creating unpredictable classroom environments for so many, the Blogging Challenge has been put on hold for this year. But that hasn’t stopped us from continue to add new posts to our blogs, showcasing the various things we’ve been working on in class. Some students have even gone above and beyond to blog about their personal interests on their own.
One important aspect of blogging is recognizing that the things you say and share have a global audience. Commenting helps us feel heard and appreciated and adds value to our work. It also helps to hold us accountable for the things we’re posting online, and increases motivation to post something we have edited and are proud to share with the world.
This week, we began to discuss what makes a quality comment. We’d love to share this with you so that you can begin checking in regularly on our student blogfolios and leaving your own quality comments!
We’d also like to remind you of our commenting rules:
- Address the author by their blogging name (that means use their alias if they are using one, even if you know their real name)
- Be polite
- Be appropriate
- Agree or disagree with the blog and tell the author why
- Add an opinion or thought that could help the blogger improve
- Give details and ask questions
- If you are a parent of the blogger, please comment with your first name only to help continue keeping our students’ identity safe.
Feel free to share these blogs with your family and friends. It is so exciting every time someone gets some love and attention on their blog 🙂