January 11

Mission: Possible

On Wednesday we had our second session with Mrs. Bertrand and Ms. Levalley to work on our social skills and cooperative engagement with our peers.

First we looked at “blame shifting” and how taking responsibility for our actions is an important step in resolving conflict quickly and maturely.

Ms. Levalley introduced us to the amazing power of “mindsight” where you can look inside your own brain to examine how you’re feeling, and also look into the brains of others to try to empathize with them. By doing this, followed by a final self-reflection, you can ensure that the ways you handle and approach conflict are done with a focus on finding a resolution.

We then put these skills to the test with Mission:Impossible –> Can you get all your teams members across the gym using only a mat and a scooter…without ever touching the floor?

I have to admit, I had NO IDEA how the students would pull this off. However, through perseverance, cooperation, productive listening and team work, all teams successfully made it to the other side!


In grade 5, nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m Possible.


December 21

“Chez Thompson”

On Wednesday, we had our very first Book Tasting (thanks to Joanne Miller for the great resource!)

Chef Thompson welcomed everyone in based on their reservation and showed them to their table. Students got to taste 5 different genres or types of books: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction/Novels, Fantasy, and Graphic Novels. As any good critic would do, they wrote down their first impressions and initial thoughts after their first bites. They then gave each book a rating on a scale from 1-10. Finally, any books worth revisiting were written down on a bookmark so they could remember their top picks.



Students realized that some books that they may not have been attracted to at first were in fact appealing. Others discovered genres they never knew they were interested in. I get asked so often for book suggestions, and so I also introduced the students to two different resources. This is a book list with some suggestions for age-appropriate books, organized by category.

Another option, with many more titles, is to use the Accelerated Reading Bookfinder site.  Using the advanced search option, you can select the interest level (I recommend Middle Grades for grade 5), the ZPD range as recommended by Star Reading (which I will email privately to each family) and any specific genre or topic, fiction or non-fiction. Here’s a quick ‘how to’ video walking you through the process.

It is recommended that students read for AT LEAST 30 minutes each day, and they should keep track of the books they read for our OJCS Reading Challenge. They can always add their book reviews to our Flipgrid or to the Library Website.

Wishing you all a restful, rejuvenating break and a Happy New Year. See you in 2019!



November 27

OJCS Reading Challenge

There is an incredible initiative that has been started by Brigitte, our creative librarian, to challenge all classes to set reading goals and work towards achieving them. In order to set realistic goals for ourselves, grade 5 has decided to set monthly goals and then reassess after each month to see if our goal was reasonable. We may need to adjust up or down as we go along. With a bit of a head start, our goal for December is to read 30 books as a class…and we’re well on our way!

These books can be in any language, on any topic. Brigitte has even created a categories list in case you need some inspiration for choosing a book.


Once you’ve read a book, there are a few things you can to do.

1. Let Mrs. Thompson know so we can add to our “data window.”

2. Fill out a review of the book on the library web page

3. Add a video review to our class flipgrid (you need to be signed in to your @ojcs.ca email)

4. Complete an Accelerated Reading Quiz.


Stay tuned for the last week of December to see how we did. You never know, there may also be some “tasty treats” up my sleeve for then…

November 20

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick

One of my favourite writing activities involves the images from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg. The images alone spark the imagination and lend themselves to an unlimited amount of stories that can be told.

Over the next few weeks, students will be writing their own short stories to go along with one of the pictures. We’ve started with a graphic organizer and students will be assessed using a single point rubric. I learned about this type of rubric from Jennifer Gonzales of Cult of Pedagogy. I’m excited to see what the students come up with and how this tool will work with our group.


October 28

Genius Hour

Last week the students were introduced to Genius Hour. We started by watching two short videos (1 and 2) and this week we will be moving on to narrowing down our project choice, pitching it to the class, and then getting started. I am so excited to be doing this project with the students, and I think they are too! This project is completely passion driven and gives students the opportunity to learn about something they’ve always wanted to learn.

Here are some websites to help you brainstorm project ideas. The possibilities are really endless…all you need to think about is, “What interests me?” However seeing what other people have done in the past can be helpful in getting your brain turning. Sometimes, it’s also helpful to write down as many ideas that come to mind and slowly eliminate options until you are left with the best one! (If using the linked document, make sure to make a copy so you can edit)

If you come across any other useful links, please post them in the comments! Maybe parents can share their own passions and things they wish they had the time to explore to help us as we decide on our topics.

Grade 5 Project examples

One student’s project mixing two passions (candy and website building)

Scroll to the bottom of this page for ideas


October 19

A Class of Leaders

Today we held our class representative elections. We had a whopping 6 students running this year (and I know that at least 4 more people considered running at some point)! What I learned from this is that we have a class full of students who are ready to up their leadership game! Stay tuned, as we are going to find many other opportunities for grade 5 students to get involved in the school.

Congratulations to our co-class reps for this year!


October 15

Calling all Class Representatives!

Photo by Parker Johnson on Unsplash

Have you ever had an idea or heard your classmates talk about something and say, “I wish there was something I could do about this.”? Do you ever participate in the amazing activities our Knesset puts on and think, “I want to be part of THAT!”?

Well, your opportunity is here! This week, you can run for the grade 5 Class Representative. Here’s what you need to know to decide if you think you’re up for the job:

  • Class representatives are expected to attend 1-2 meetings a month at lunch and recess time
  • Class representatives must be good listeners who listen to the ideas of their classmates
  • Class representatives must be comfortable talking in front of groups and sharing ideas with the rest of the Knesset
  • Class representatives share Knesset updates with their classmates
  • Class representatives help organize Knesset activities (which means you sometimes don’t get to participate in the same way your classmates do)
  • Class representatives promote ruach in the school
  • Class representatives are positive role models

Do I still have your attention? If you’re interested in running for class rep, you can create posters to hang in our classroom (must be approved by Mrs. Thompson first) You will also need to write a 60-90 second speech about why you want to be the class representative (must be shown to Mrs. Thompson by Thursday Oct. 18) All speeches will be done in class on Friday, October 19th, after which we will vote!


Looking forward to a great election!


September 28

Homework September 28

  1. Problem of the Week – due Friday Oct. 5 (please keep self-evaluating. It’s helpful for me to get your problems just right for you!)
  2. Writer’s Workshop Wednesday – Due Wednesday Oct. 3 (topic: tell your Ottawa Tornado story)
  3. Social Studies quiz on the provinces and territories – Thursday Oct. 4 MAKE SURE YOU COMMENT ON THE BLOG POST HOW YOU WILL BE STUDYING AND WHAT YOUR QUIZ WILL LOOK LIKE

Shabbat Shalom!

Mrs. Thompson

September 17

Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic Learner…Which one are you?

Last Friday, we had our first session with Mrs. Reichstein. We filled out a survey in order to help in identifying which type of learner we are. It was fascinating to see students identify with the results. What was interesting is that not one person was completely dominant in one area. This is important in realizing that different strategies will work for each of us at different times and in different subjects. The important thing is to begin recognizing what works best for us as individuals most of the time.

Today, Mrs. Reichstein was back in the class, with three different stations. The goal was to now show students (and me) how the same task could be completed in different ways, depending on the type of learner you are. For example, when learning about the human body, a visual learner may benefit from looking at labelled diagrams of a skeleton or watching a movie about bones. An auditory learner may benefit from saying the names of the bones out loud and making connections to previous knowledge (“My patella is my kneecap.”) A kinesthetic learner may benefit from an interactive skeleton, where bones can be removed and replaced in the correct place.

We can apply this thinking to every task we do in every subject. As I mentioned, it is my goal to think of these various options ahead of time and offer multiple ways of achieving a goal. However, the ultimate goal will be for students to identify what strategy will work best for them and implement them for themselves whenever possible.

If you are interested in taking the survey yourself, here is a copy. Please comment below letting us know what you found out about yourself and how you see this helping you in your own life!

G’mar Chatima Tova

Mrs. Thompson

September 5

Building our Learning Community

Day two has come and gone, and it was just as successful as day one! We’re still learning our routines and new procedures, but who says we can’t have fun at the same time?

Group work is never easy, but today we spent lots of time discovering the importance of listening to others, working together, and finding similarities and differences that can be used to our advantage. We also did a fun, albeit messy, activity involving toothpaste and toothpicks. Want to know more? Check out the pictures below and ask your child what they learned? This discussion will no doubt be helpful to them as they write their reflection on this activity (due Friday). This is the first opportunity the students have to show me what their writing looks like. My message to them: take your time, be thoughtful, longer is not always better but you should include all your thoughts completely, and EDIT!) You also need to look through the Grade 5 Contract (which can be found in the Procedures and Expectations) and sign the back page, to be returned to school tomorrow.

See you tomorrow!

Mrs. Thompson