Category Archives: Classroom News

When is the research website due?

The due date will be announced this week.  I am watching to see how well kids take to the website building tool. So far, most have responded superbly and seem to be quickly understanding well how it works.

The due date will be posted on this website after it has been announced in class.


Is there a “2Do” list for the research website?

Of course!  Students are working on this project in class, but they are also expected to work on it every school night, and sometime over the weekend too.

So, what should they do?

1.)  Write a catchy, informative introduction on the homepage of their website.

2.) Add a new, blank webpage for every topic, subject, chapter and/or question that they have on their note taking blogs.

3.) Also make a new blank page entitled “Summary”.  (They should write this page last.  I guide them in class for how to do this.)

4.) Open their KidBlog account in a web browser.  Open a second tab in their browser for their website.  Start copy and pasting content from their blog into the relevant webpage on their website.

5.) Start hand making original informative art, graphics and photos to include on their webpages.

6.) Add media to accompany the text on their webpages.

How to do all of this is being taught in class….

Important Notes:

* Students are allowed to change the “page layouts” on any of their webpages, except for the Home (or Introduction) page.  
* No students should be changing the graphics in the header  of their website.
* Student last names, identifying personal information or photos and videos with student faces must not be included on the website.
* Students may continue  to do research on their research topics and make notes in their blogs.


How will the research websites be marked?

Today our hardworking class was introduced to the Marking Matrix for their Research Websites.  Each student was given a copy on pink paper (unless they were in Track & Field – they will get their copy tomorrow) and we reviewed all of the requirements.

Here is a PDF of the

The class has been working on their blog research notebooks for awhile…

… and now it’s time to take their work to the next level!

Today it was announced that each student will be making a full multi-media website about their research topic!!  Students will populate their individual websites with information and media that they have been posting to their blog research notebooks over the last month or so.  It’s time to turn all of those notes and draft paragraphs into “Research Websites”.

Today, students were introduced to some of the basic tools that are in the website building tool we plan to use for making the websites – Google’s free “Sites” app.  It’s part of the Google apps package that our school is moving towards.  The complete toolkit is called “Google Apps for Education” (GAFE) and it is a district-wide initiative that soon all Victoria schools will have access to.

This afternoon, all of the students were taught how to write a succinct and catchy introduction to their research website. They also worked to organize their research topics and questions into a logical order.  Students with access to an email account (their own or their parent’s) were also individually sent an “invitation” to become editors of their own websites (I had set up these up for them over the weekend). I believed that using the link in the email I sent to them would allow them to access and build their websites.

BTW – No students are to use their last names on the websites, to include personal information, or to post recognizable photos or videos of anyone on their websites.

I discovered today, though, that this particular tool only works with “Gmail” email accounts.  In other words, students with a Gmail email account (or access to an account sponsored by their parent) could begin work right away.  Today these students were able to add their introductions directly into their websites, and to begin building individual webpages for each of their research topics.  The other students wrote their introductions and organized their topics on paper, for now.

If parents are comfortable, it would be helpful if every student  in the class could have their own Gmail account  (or access to an account sponsored by their parent).  This is the easiest, tech-friendly, school district supported way to help students use the “Sites” app to make their research websites.  It (and the other “GAFE” tools) is a tool they will likely be using throughout their whole school career in the Victoria School District.  I would like my class to get started now, and help them become familiar with one of the tools in the GAFE suite!

For this project, however, students are not required to have a Gmail email account  (or access to an account sponsored by their parent).  For those parents who may not yet be comfortable with doing this, I will be able to provide students with some other means for building their websites.

No student will be denied the opportunity to build a website if they do not have a Gmail email account. And, again, no students will be allowed to use their last names on the websites, to include personal information, or to post recognizable photos or videos of anyone on their websites.

PS. Tomorrow I will be posting on this blog
the two page marking matrix for this exciting project.


“Un-Birthday”? What’s an “Un-Birthday”?

Quite some time ago the class voted to celebrate everyone’s birthday – on a day when no one is having a birthday! We’re calling it the “Un-Birthday”. We’re doing this so that everyone in class, even those whose birthdays fall in the summer or on a school holiday, can celebrate their birthday in class.   For some reason the class chose Friday, May 13th as the date for our “Un-Birthday”!

On that day, students are preparing to bring to class deserts that are birthday-like – cupcakes, muffins, cookies, cakes, brownies, etc. Drinks, veggie, fruit and/or cheese plates are welcome too! There is no need for everyone to bring enough for 28 children. A dozen or so items it just fine. And please remember that we try to be a “peanut free” zone.

It’s going to be fun – and a “Happy Un-birthday to You, too! ”




Student-led conferences are this week…

… on Thursday.  The students each have a folder with work and directions.  A letter has been sent home about it today.

It should be fun afternoon, especially since the kids are leading the event! We hope everyone can make it.  It’s an open house, so you and your child can come when it works best for you.

Tomorrow (Friday, Feb, 26) is the school Canada Fair!

In the school gym, from 9:30 to 11:30.

We’ve worked hard on our projects about Canada – we hope you can come!!

Here’s a small taste of what you’ll see from our class:


Curious to see the blog work the class has been doing?

Just visit:

When you get there, ask your daughter or son to sign you…. and enjoy! FYI – The class has now written over  200+ posts!

Remember, this Friday is the EMJS Canada Fair  The school gym will be packed full of displays about Canada from many, many classes and you’re all invited!!  (From 9:30 to 11:30)

Homework: Tuesday, Feb 16

Do more research for our Time Travel Project and add a post to your own note-taking blog.  Be sure to cite where you got your information!

If you are not sure how to cite a reference, see Mr. T’s recent blog post about this on our class note-taking blog. There is even a downloadable info sheet here for you to use.

A Gr 4/5 class time travels 1,000 years back in time!

A few weeks ago, the class was randomly divided into 6 teams before we entered the EMJS library.  As we entered, each group was told that they were actually were not in the school library, they were on BC’s west coast, in the mountains or in the prairies! To their great surprise, the students also heard that the door to the library had been rejigged as a time travel portal, and that they all had traveled 1,000 years into the past.

Unfortunately, the time travel machine had broken down and they were stranded back in time, probably forever.  And all they had to survive were the things they had brought into the library! Each team immediately brainstormed how they could make shelter, find water, gather food, protect themselves from danger and so on.  The students were very imaginative (and excited) as they tried to think of solutions to this survival scenario.

Eventually, over a number of sessions, students began to gather more detailed information about their landscape, flora and fauna.  (They researched used books and iPads.) With their new found knowledge, they were better able to devise ways to survive.  It was quite interesting to watch the teams evolve in understanding and idea creation as they moved from their imaginations to what they learned about the various environments.

The class then realized that there were already people living in these areas, people who had garnered survival wisdom for many thousands of years – indigenous peoples!  This realization led the teams to dive even deeper into their topics and learn about traditional native peoples ways of building shelters, gathering and/or hunting food, making clothing, etc., etc.

By this point, so much information was being discovered, each student needed a blog to record and share what they were learning. This note taking tool provided an advantage over ordinary paper and pencil note taking, as the blogs could include pictures, videos and active links to websites with even more information.   They were also searchable and sharable.  Students were taught some techniques for doing more targeted web searches, and how to cite the sources they were using.

If you are curious to learn more about the student’s note taking blogs, ask your son or daughter to share with you what they have done.  In a little over two weeks, the class has posted over 150 blog posts about our topic!

Now, this week, the teams are working hard to create 3D dioramas of what they learned! Next week each student will write “Learning Cards” about what they have built to attach to their handmade models.

Next Friday, the 26th, all of the French and English grade four and five classes (and some of the grade threes) will be celebrating and sharing all they have learned about Canada with the whole school!!  Our class is presenting our dioramas about some of the historical life of native peoples, while other classes will be sharing posters about all the provinces and territories of Canada, the cities and towns of BC and so much more.  The whole school will be invited to come. It should be a very exciting, and learning-full day!  You and your friends are invited to come to the gym on the day too, from 9:30 to 11:30 to share in the experience…. it should be quite a memorable time!!



There’s a Science test on the human skeleton…

…next Thursday, Jan. 14th.  It’s chapter 6 in the textbook. Basically any of the Q & A in the student’s Science duotang for this chapter could be on the test.

Here is a link to help students to study the material!

Here’s what we accomplished for “Hour of Code”!

Here are thirty-seven of the first time coding projects that the class has posted to the “Showcase” at Tynker!

More to come…

#HourOfCode #TynkerShare