To coincide with Earth Day, April 19th was the 3rd annual Tim Hortons Community Clean Up on Vancouver Island and with over 10 000 students participating from Comox to Victoria, our Island home is a little cleaner. There were several schools within our district taking part and a number of classes within our school that joined us in our effort. The primary students kept close to the school, but we took the opportunity to walk to a nearby park to pitch in there. Along the way, we picked up what we could, but there really wasn’t a lot of litter to be found. Once in the park, we combed the wooded areas and eventually took the back trails that edged the nearby subdivisions. It ended up being quite the adventure – more than we bargained for – and our 45 minute walk soon turned into an hour and a half. It was well worth it, though. and it opened our eyes to our neighbourhood home just a little bit more.
We’d like to thank Tim Hortons for sponsoring this event and providing the yummy timbits, BFI for picking up our school’s collection of garbage and recyclable materials that were found, and the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) for waiving the tipping fees at our local landfill where it all eventually ended up. After this experience, it’s clear we need to head out into our community a little more often to do what we can to keep our neighbourhood clean and beautiful.
Division 1, what surprised you most on our walk? After commenting here, your task this week is to write about your impressions of our clean up adventure and what you think some of our next actions could be to address this.
If you or your class has ever participated in anything similar, we’d love to hear about it!
image: Earth Day 2012 by Bioversity International released under a CC Attribution – Noncommercial – No Derivative Works license
Today, it’s Thanksgiving in Canada. Schools are closed – so are many of the businesses in town. It is a day set aside each year on the second Monday of October to recognize all that we are grateful for. Sometimes we can get caught up in thinking about all we do not have, but as Division 1 is learning there are people all over this world who dream of having a life like ours. We need to remember that.
Although I hope we are thankful every day for all we have, since it’s Thanksgiving please take a moment and share your reasons for gratitude. We’d love to hear them.
One last suggestion from the Gratidudes … take some time out of your day to do the gratitude dance – it’s a pretty great feeling. Don’t know what this is? Watch the video below and find out!
image: Turkey Lurkey! by Sugar Daze (f/k/a LittleMissCupcakeParis)released under a CC Attributions – No Derivative Works license
September is here once again and we are off to a wild start! No, I don’t mean my new crew of Ripplers is wild ….. well, maybe they’re a little on the rowdy side right now, but we’ll work on that … I mean September’s been wild. It’s the weather. It’s almost like Mother Nature is letting us sample all she has to offer.
For the first few days of school, we started out with July-like weather – warm, sunny, a mild breeze – which is a pretty comfortable temperature because it’s not too hot, not to cool. Then, it quickly changed to what we expect in October, which is cloudy, a little rain, cool temperatures – not really shorts weather. We all thought Fall must be here. But then, after a few days of that it became really warm again. I mean really warm. The classrooms were heating up, there wasn’t any breeze, and it was too warm, even in the shade – bring out the shorts again. But then after about another week, it slowly became colder again. The rain came back and one day, we even thought it might be hailing outside, so we put the shorts away one more time.
Trying to predict what type of weather we’re in for each day has been a challenge and don’t even get me started on the days that start out warm and sunny only to end up cold and rainy or vice versa. Then, as if we haven’t had enough variety, a storm pulled in a few days back bringing with it sideways rain as well as wind gusts that rattled houses and broke fences and branches – all of which led to the usual power outages around town. Aside from it not yet being cold enough to snow … is there any weather we haven’t seen yet? Maybe I shouldn’t say that just yet ….
Seeing as we’re getting used to a little bit of everything this Fall, and our sporadic weather isn’t likely to change, I’m curious to know which types of weather you like best. Ripplers … what are you hoping the rest of Fall will be like? What weather makes the top of your list and why? If you’re visiting this post from somewhere else in the world, please tell us what your September has been like where you live.
image: Orangutan by kh 1234567890 released under a CC Attribution – Noncommercial – No Derivative Works license
Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.
~ Ryunosuke Satoro
Welcome back for another school year! We’ve been off for a couple of months, but it’s time to get things moving again. What do we have in store for all of you? You’ll just have to wait and see!
This year, we’re lucky to have a few returning Ripplers leading the way again and they are joined by a great group of students who are destined to make their own magnificent ripples. There has been one minor change to our class - we’ve migrated from Division 2 to Division 1 as our classroom is teaming with Grade 7′s only! Whatever is Mrs. Braidwood going to do?
We’re just getting settled into our new routines and learning how we will learn best with each other. We’ll be letting you know how that’s going very soon.
In the meantime, Division 1 is going to let everyone know in their first comments of the year, what they are looking forward to now that they know they are part and parcel of The Ripple Effect. We hope everyone’s year is off to a great start!
image: Water drop no. 1 by mlaudisa released under a CC Attribution – Noncommercial – Share Alike license
Sounds a little crazy doesn’t it? Maybe, but that’s exactly what we did. In one school day, the Ripplers learned and recorded tracks to a song, mixed the tracks, created and practices scenarios to be filmed, and finally shot all the video footage using an iPhone. Then, because we were running out of time, I (Mrs. Braidwood) did my best to edit it all later that night.
Why the rush? Why did we only have one day? Our class was going to put together a quick video for our Earth Day assembly on Thursday, April 21st. Originally, it was set to be a series of photographs of Earth-friendly activities, but then late Tuesday night, I had the best idea ever … and from there it all exploded into an action-packed fun-filled day of adventure and singing.
After putting new meaning into Rebecca Black’s song “Friday” … OK, OK … I made it substantially more meaningful (sorry Rebecca Black fans). I brought it to school the next day and pitched it to the class. We also invited the other 2 Grade 6/7 classes to join in the video making process and Voilà! Here is what we ended up creating …
We know it’s not perfect, but considering it was primarily created within a 6 hour time-frame and without any high-tech equipment, we’re pretty happy with the result. It also showed us what we were capable of doing in a short amount of time and will surely inspire us to dabble in the production of a music video again. Who knows what we are capable of if we had a week or two to dedicate to this process.
We hope our video left you smiling and with an Earth Day message you might sing from time to time yourself. Please feel free to comment. We’d love to hear what you or your class did on Earth Day as well.
image: LEGO Rock Band Singer (1) by Dunechaser released under a CC Attribution – Noncommercial – Share Alike license
Trev is on his way again! While we’re a little sad to see him go, we know he has big adventures still waiting for him and we’re looking forward to seeing and reading all about it on Trev’s blog.
He’s headed north from us, up island a ways and then a bit east to a smaller island called Sointula [soy-n-too-la] where Ms. Watson‘s class has been patiently waiting for him.
We had hoped to ship him off a bit sooner, but we noticed that Trev was in need of some minor surgery, so we decided to make sure we sent him on his way good as new after Celina‘s mom patched him up. Thank goodness she came to his rescue, too because if I was his last resort he may have ended up with a wing sewn to his head accidentally.
While we were waiting for him to return to us, we prepared a few new items for his next travels. After we added a few pages to his scrapbook to document his visit, we started thinking he might run out of room after a few more visits. We didn’t want him to worry about that, so we’ve created a Part 2 scrapbook that can be used once the other one’s last page has been used up.
The Super 7 Scoopers will also notice we’ve added a Comox Valley pin to his bandana. He came to us with a New Zealand pin already attached, so we thought we’d help him start a collection that he could eventually bring back home as souvenirs of his travels.
Maddie also wanted him to leave with something distinctly Canadian as well so she has given Trev a new bandana to wear on any days that he is feeling a little nostalgic for us on this side of the world.
So we think we’ve sent him off well prepared for the next leg of his adventures! Good luck Trev! In the next couple of days, we hope to hear you’ve landed safe and sound at your destination. Please keep us posted on all the trouble you get up to.
My class is awesome! Absolutely awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I need to shout it out to the world,
We had such a fun time Friday afternoon at our school-wide dance celebration. There were so many great performances to watch within an atmosphere that oozed positivity and encouragement. It was an amazing afternoon – one that will stick out in our minds for a long time. We were the last student act of the day, and we were pumped to perform ….. because we had a little trick up our sleeve. I’ve decided to post the complete video here because truthfully, I could relive those 4 minutes a number of times over and over and I’d still be smiling ear to ear.
Now, unfortunately, the quality of video doesn’t quite do it complete justice, but I can assure you it was truly epic, and you know it’s been a great event when all you hear afterward is:
In fact, when it was over, a retired teacher in the audience approached our principal to say it was the best school dance event he’d seen in all his 35 years teaching. I’d have to agree. What made our contribution really special to me was the fact that the best parts of our dance were choreographed by the students and it was their idea to add the glow-sticks and turn out the lights. I’m so glad I listened to them. They were absolutely right.
This afternoon our entire school is involved in a Dance Celebration. Our contribution is based on the official “We Day Dance” that was promoted as part of the We Day Celebrations across Canada earlier this year. We Day is part of the Me to We campaign sponsored by Free the Children, a Canadian-based organization dedicated to improving the conditions that children around the world live and work under, largely due to poverty, lack of education, inadequate health care, and lack of local clean water. Their work has increased awareness around children’s rights as they diligently work to combat child labour practices, exploitation, and inaccessible education. Considering the work we are continuing to do around human rights and the impact of dominant culture on indigenous culture, we thought the dance would fit us perfectly!
The dance consists of 8 repeated motions that last 8 beats each. Once a full pattern is complete, you start again. To jazz it up a bit, students have also choreographed the opening sequence and 6 8-count dance patterns in the middle of the song. I have to say, they’ve made it look even better. Here’s a sneak peak at it. We’re the last act of the afternoon and we plan on knocking everyone’s socks off!
image: Dancing With The Stars (148/365) by Rafael Peñaloza released under a CC Attribution – Noncommercial – Share alike license
There are actually 20 in the school, but we only have 10 of them because there are actually two initiatives in place. The other 10 are being used by a group of intermediate teachers who are investigating the use of apps to enhance learning as well as provide adaptations. With our 10, we are looking at apps as well, but more specifically we are exploring how they can be effectively embedded into our learning experiences so they become a bigger part of the process.
We are planning to use the video and audio recording potential of the iPods in our upcoming movie-making process – we only had 1 Flip camera last year for the whole class to juggle so 10 video recorders is a dream come true – but what we are really excited about is our upcoming adventures in backchannelling.
You may be wondering what backchannelling is. We know we’ve gotten a few strange looks when we mention it. Backchannelling is when networked devices are used to create a real-time online conversation alongside a live learning opportunity. Twitter is famous for its backchannelling potential.
So why has backchannelling grabbed our attention? Well, when you look at the skills that are involved in it, this is where it gets really interesting. Good backchannelling requires the application of a variety of comprehension strategies. These include:
Traditionally, these have been primarily promoted as reading strategies, but these are not just for reading novels! Or for that matter, not just for reading. These strategies can be used to extend our understanding when we process information from a variety of sources: what we read, what we hear, what we watch.
So this has become our focus – backchannelling in the classroom while we focus on using these literacy skills. Our 10 iPods are rotated around the classroom each day so students get their opportunity to practice these. We’ve started with Determining Importance and Asking Questions and as students grow more confident with using these skills, we’ll add more to our repertoire. We’re hoping that our tweets going out to our world-wide audience will not only enrich the learning experience in our classroom, but hopefully they will have a positive impact on our larger global community as well.
You can see our Twitter feed in the left sidebar right here on our blog. It’s a pretty neat window into our classroom activities. From a teacher’s perspective, I really like how this is evolving for us in the classroom. Hopefully, the Ripplers will provide some feedback here to let us know what they think so far about our backchannelling experiences.
If you’d like to follow us on Twitter, you can click on the feed or use the Twitter bird icon in the left sidebar which will take you directly to the site.
Wherever Trev goes, he brings all sorts of positive energy with him. You can’t help but have fun around him. During the last few weeks, he has kept us hopping wanting to go here … do that … learn this … but we really haven’t minded.
He picked a perfect time to be here. It’s the middle of Winter here in Canada right now. Our country is often pictured as having really cold snow-covered winters here, but in the southwest corner of British Columbia that really isn’t the case. We live in a temperate rain forest and it doesn’t stay cold enough for snow to last very long. We usually get a couple weeks in total by the end of the season, but in some cases like last winter, we didn’t get any snow at all!
We’ve had a couple of short snowfalls so far, but the best one happened while Trev has been here and he couldn’t wait to get out in it … well, neither could the Ripplers since we don’t get snow that often. Overall, Trev has tagged along during a number of activities and we thought the best way to show you was to create a movie about it. OK … OK … it was Trev’s idea … but we thought it was a great one and we were able to use some of our tech skills to help him out on that one. Have fun watching!