December 20

How We Do at OJCS

Let me set the scene for you.

The forecast predicted -17 degrees. We woke up to -20, even colder with the windchill.
The news reported that just 20 minutes outside could cause frostbite to exposed skin.

So we did what every Canadian would do…

We loaded 30 students onto a bus and made our way to MacSkimming for a full day outdoors….and we had a great time!

Wishing you all a Happy Hanukkah, a happy and healthy New Year and a relaxing, rejuvenating break! Can’t wait to see you in 2020!

December 18

Senator Marc Gold

Today we welcomed Senator Marc Gold into our Grade 5 classroom, where he delivered a bilingual presentation sharing his experience in the Senate of Canada and answering our questions.

The students were so engaged, and their interest was seen through the thoughtful and insightful questions they asked. There were so many incredible lessons that Senator Gold shared with us that I hope we will all remember for a long time.

What stood out for me, is how much Senator Gold relies on his Jewish values in the decisions he makes, the path he has followed in his life, and the way he considers his responsibilities within the Senate. Growing up in a Jewish home, he remembers his mother giving food to strangers who would knock at the door. From that upbringing, he always felt a strong responsibility to take care of the most vulnerable, and do his small, but important role, of making the world a better place. Tikkun Olam is what guides him on a daily basis, and says that even his non-Jewish colleagues believe in this important Jewish value.

Working as a senator is an important job, one that Senator Gold does not take lightly. He has had to make difficult decisions, as his commitment to his province, his belief in the constitution, and his own personal opinions can sometimes conflict with each other. Again, he makes connections to Judaism when facing these challenges. Our tradition teaches us to confront challenges (own our own learning), to look at multiple points of view, expose ourselves to as many points of view as we can (we learn better together), and rely on others to teach you (each person is responsible for the other), as this is how we learn the best. He even referenced the Talmud, where multiple commentary are included, not just the commentary of the “winner”. These opinions are important to document and share, as their thoughts may be important at some point in history. Therefore, even if his opinions are not the most popular, Senator Gold sees it as his responsibility to share and document them, as their value may not yet be seen.

Finally, he showed us that diversity is important. Before becoming a lawyer and a senator, he always loved music, and continues to play in a band, even today. He loves to walk, spend time with his family, read, and my favourite, daydream.

In our class we know that, “No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.”

At OJCS, we embrace our differences, encourage hard work, and help to guide each other on our own unique Jewish journeys. Today was an incredible example of how these values will continue to serve us, even after we leave the welcoming walls of OJCS.

 

November 21

Live Blogging – The Château Laurier Debate

In Social Studies we are thinking about the role of stakeholders in decisions that get made in a city. We first worked on identifying who potential stakeholders may be, and students are now preparing their debates. The issue: the Château Laurier expansion.

The groups made their opening statements. Here are the jot notes from the first round:

The are now working hard on their rebuttals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s hear what they came up with:

 

Want to learn more about this issue? We had a look at this article to help us understand it better. We’d love to hear your thoughts! What do you think about the expansion design? Which stakeholder’s perspective do you agree with? Do you have any other thoughts or opinions to share?

 

October 18

Student Vote 2019

We had a great turnout for our Student Vote yesterday! The grade 5 students prepared and delivered! It was a long morning, where lots of patience was needed, but they stepped up to the challenge and were true model students and citizens.

We started the morning learning how to fold and initial the ballots to ensure they were all “kosher” and hadn’t been tampered with. They also witnessed and confirmed that the ballot boxes were empty before they were sealed.

And then the fun began! We welcomed all the classes from grades 3 to 8 into our room, presented important information on the main party platforms, and then worked as Poll Clerks and Deputy Returning Officers to guide voters through the voting process.

 


We can’t wait to share the results with you, after the polls close for the rest of the country, on Monday evening. We will be counting the votes on Wednesday so stay tuned!

October 11

It’s Voting Season!

Last week our middle school students ran for various positions on our Knesset (student council). We listened to their speeches and then went through the private voting process.

Today, it was our turn to run! Five well-deserving candidates gave speeches to their peers for the position of Class Representative. It’s not always easy to speak in front of the class, and they all did a great job! Although there had to be one winner, I was so impressed with the support and camaraderie all the students showed each other.


Next week, as the Canadian population prepares to vote, our students will also have the opportunity to have their voice heard. With grade 5 students at the lead, they have been researching the various parties, their leaders, MP candidates, and platform highlights. They will share this information with students in grades 3-8 on Thursday, October 17th, as the OJCS participates in the Student Vote Canada 2019. 

We’ll definitely keep you posted on the results. It will be interesting to see how our students feel compared to the rest of Canada!

 

September 18

How We BYOD

I can’t believe we’re already into our third week of school and this is my first post. I take it as a good sign that we’re so busy and engaged in class that there hasn’t been any time for an update!

But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been documenting our learning!

One new addition to our school policy this year is the soft launch of our Bring Your Own Device initiative for grades 4-8. Understandably so, there has been lots of conversation about what this means in terms of screen time for our students. I thought a good first step would be to show you how we’ve been using the devices in grade 5 to help enhance our learning. Technology is being integrated in meaningful ways, not simply for the sake of using a device. While we may have these devices in our classrooms, they are by no means being used ALL the time, and we are pretty deliberate about what they are used for.

First, we’ve made a few additions to our weekly classroom jobs. This summer I read, Who Owns the Learning by Alan November. In this book, he talks about the Digital Learning Farm, and how by giving student’s jobs within the classroom that are integral to the learning, they will take more ownership of their learning and become meaningful contributors to the class culture. This fit in perfectly with the work I, and a cohort of OJCS teachers did, last year with Silvia Tolisano. This matches our own OJCS North Star that We own our own learningTherefore, three new jobs in our classroom are the researcher, the documenter, and the habit finder. The researcher helps answer our questions in the moment when they come up. I am the first to admit that there is A LOT I don’t know. In our classroom, students are curious and if questions come up we don’t know the answer to…the researcher will find it for us! The documenter captures the learning happening in the room and in the school. They take pictures and videos of important learning. This is great practice for when we launch out Student Blogs (grade 5 students did this last year, if you’d like to read more about it. The habit finder pays special attention to how we are following the 7 habits in our classroom, captures these moments and documents it for us. These will be great examples to share with the whole school at our monthly Rosh Chodesh assemblies.

 

Let’s see what some of our documenters have captured so far!

 

We were introduced to EdPuzzle, a place where we can watch videos and answer questions to check for understanding. These “flipped lessons” will most often be watched at home, but we did a quick lesson in class to make sure everyone knew what to do.

 

 

We also spent some time practicing our Math critical thinking skills by choosing a question to answer, solving it with our partner, and then documenting our thinking process on Flipgrid. We used the video feature and also the new whiteboard feature to create tutorials. By focusing on what we learned and what we found challenging, we’ll be able to use that learning for next time!

 

 

 

 

We also started reading our first class novel, Wonder, by R.J Palacio. We’ve already had some great discussions about friendship, acceptance and kindness. Even though some of us have already read this book before, we know that books are like gifts (simile alert! We also started talking about literary devices 😉). You can find something new each time you open it!

Finally, today students started watching video feedback from me on their first paragraphs. Using Screencastify, I was able to record myself editing the students’ work, offering tips and suggestions for improvements they could make. This personalized feedback allowed students to focus on the specific skills they are working towards, and make any necessary changes at their own pace. Afterward, one student said she couldn’t believe how helpful it was to be able to have the video open in the corner of the screen, while her document was open as well. She was able to pause the video at appropriate times and edit her work as necessary.

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg! It’s so exciting to see how much we’ve accomplished in such a short period of time. It’s clear that this is going to be a great year!

October 16

Traveling Across the Country

Who says you need to get on an airplane to travel across the country? Thanks to Canadian Geographic Education, we got to experience the map of Canada like never before.

And what was even better (in my opinion) was that students were able to identify how this activity would benefit a visual and kinesthetic learner! Love how this is becoming more and more a part of their vocabulary and how they are starting to make choices for themselves to use the tools they need to be their best.

 

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