Category Archives: Projects

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!!



On Monday we will elect a government…

… both in Canada, and in our classroom!


In our classroom, regular lessons will mostly be cancelled for the day as the students form “political parties”, elect leaders for their parties, create party platforms about student life in our classroom and in Margaret Jenkins School, make things and prepare for the election campaign, run election campaigns, and participate in a classroom election.

After the election, the classroom will be formed into a mock House of Commons where the students will propose, write, debate and vote upon “laws” and a budget proposed by the elected parties.

It should be an amazing, and highly educational, day!!

Some students have been so excited about this that they wanted to begin preparing over the weekend. This is great – but is purely voluntary. Students are not assigned to work on this on the weekend!

Some guidelines for the election campaign were posted and discussed in the classroom on Friday. Here they are.

First of all, students do not have to form or join a classroom political party – they can just be “citizens”. In fact, we need citizens or the election is likely to become skewed.   🙂

Guidelines for the campaign include the option to make all, some or none of these items (for each party, even a party with just one member). No other items are allowed to be included in the campaign:
• 2 election posters, on legal sized paper
• 1 super-sized election poster (paper to be supplied on Monday)
• a campaign song
• a campaign slogan
• a campaign logo
• a banner (made of 11 x 17 paper and only displayed during the debate)
• a 30 second video or slide show (if student faces appear in these, they can only be shown in the classroom, not online or in public)
• up to 20 copies of a handout or brochure (made on regular sized paper. They can be photocopied at school. Remember that we do not have a color photocopier.)
• up to 4 campaign flags (made on regular sized, or smaller, sized paper)
• up to 15 campaign “buttons” (circular, likely made of paper?)
• 1 extra campaign strategy (that does not reward, or appear to reward, someone for agreeing to vote for a particular party)

Each party will be required to appoint someone in their party (not necessarily the leader) to give a 1 minute speech and participate in a campaign debate. Different people can give the speech or join in the debate.

All citizens (including party members!) have the right to vote for whatever party they wish. No rewards are to be offered as an incentive to get citizens to vote for a particular party.

Posters, songs, logo, handouts, brochures, flags and buttons can only be displayed during the time limited campaign period. Posters can only be displayed on the identified bulletin board. Banners can only be displayed during the speeches and the debate. Their will be a set time for showing the videos and slide shows as well. Not adhering to any of these guidelines may result in the removal of the offending political party from the election!

Oh, and let’s have fun!!!!


Once the draft report is handed in, what next?

While the teacher is proofreading all of the reports, the students have many things yet to prepare for the final good copy of the report.  They can: make the cover page, create 3 pages of informative illustrations, write the introduction and summary, and make the bibliography!  This work should be done at school, but also be worked on for homework.

The draft report is due this Wednesday, May 13th.

The good copy is due June 1st.
Please note that 5 points will be deducted from the research report grade for every day a report is handed in late.  15 points = a drop in a letter grade.

When the proofread report is handed back, students should write or type the good copy of their report, following the “Writing Guidelines” that should be in their research report duotangs (This sheet was handed out at the beginning of the project)

Here’s a worksheet on how to organize a simple bibliography.  It was explained and given to the students last week!

How to Organize your Bibliography

If you don’t know where else to look for info on your research topic…

Our librarian, Ms. Maddern, has been assisting the class by teaching research skills, coaching individual students, and providing extra time in the library and computer lab for our class to work on their research reports.  In a recent lesson, she offered a variety of ways for students to find the information they are looking for.  Here’s a summary of her ideas:


As well, on the right sidebar of this blog, under the title of “Research Tools”, I’ve prepared a list of over 15 links to online research sources for students.

Every day the class is given a period or two to do their work.  Their homework last week, over the long Easter weekend, and this week is to take “notes, notes, notes, notes, notes, notes”!

All notes are due next Wednesday, April 22nd!!

Already, some students have handed in their completed notes and started to write their draft reports (or are almost ready to do so)!!!

The excitement is building!!!!

The homework for the next little while is …

… for students to research information on their self selected research report topics, and then to take notes about what they have learned! Students have been coached to organize their notes by writing one topic or question at the top of a lined sheet of paper.  Each note, written in point form, should be added to its corresponding topic or question.  There should be one page for each topic or question the student wants to learn about. The topics or questions can come from their MindMap, WonderTree or even from a student’s own ideas.  Recording notes in this way will lead the report to almost “write itself”.  Setting up this method of note organization was one of the student’s tasks during class on Thursday.

Later, students will be taught how to turn their notes into paragraphs.  For now, students have been guided to use their own words when they write their notes.  One way they have been taught to do this is to read just one paragraph from their research selection. Then they should away from the reading, try to remember what they just read, and then write that down in their own words.  They can go back to the paragraph over and over again to find more information if they need.

Students have been given a block or two every day last week (and today) to work on their notes and/or learn different skills for writing reports.  Daily class time to take notes will continue.  Students have also been told to work every night on their note taking.  As of today most students have 2 or 3 pages of notes.  Some have over 6 pages.

As noted in the timeline that went home weeks ago, notes are due Wednesday, April 22nd.

The WonderFair is tomorrow (Friday)!!!!

All are invited to come & celebrate the amazing Science experiments created by students from 6 EMJS classes – that’s over 125 individual kid-made experiments!

I’m sure your child would be delighted and proud to show you what she or he has achieved.  It’s going to be a great day – see you there!

The WonderFair will in the gym, from 9:30 to 10:20, from 10:45 to 11:50 and from 1:00 to 2:00. Bring everyone you know – all ages are welcome!!


We made cars out of recycled stuff & rolled ’em down a ramp to see how far they’d go. Wanna see ’em?

The culminating activity of our “Forces & Motion” science unit was to use what we learned
to design gravity powered cars out of recycled materials.
Here are photos of all the cars we made!

Need something to over the summer? Idea #3

Make your own custom notepad or sketchbook, in five minutes!

Click the photo to find out how:

Use a paper bag to make it!


Need something new2do over the summer? Idea #2

Make an electronic musical instrument played by creating a human circuit.

Click on the photo to find out how:

The Friendstrument!

The Friendstrument!

Bored? Need something new2do over the summer?

Try building… 


(Hint: It’s a handmade motorized flying drone!)