Sunday, 27 November 2016

Exploring 'Main Idea' in Art & Beyond

We have been looking at the concept of 'main idea' (aka THEME) primarily within the context of our narrative study. It is, for example, one of the questions on the reading comprehension assessment, the CASI.

But we have broadened our study of 'main idea' to include different narrative forms: yes, it is in written narratives. It is also in media narratives (like short films) and musicals (like the Little Mermaid production we went to see).

It is also in Art.

So far in visual arts, we have examined (most) of the elements of design: line, shape/form, texture, value/colour, and (soon) shape.

We have looked at how different aspects of these elements convey different feelings, moods and ideas.

We have also started to look at how those elements communicate in a 'silent language'. They are used by artists to communicate a 'main idea'/theme.

We have just started this examination! We are examining artistic works to see how those elements are used to convey an overall message. This will eventually result in an art analysis paragraph.

We are also, as artists ourselves, exploring how we can use elements to convey an overall message.

In our geography curriculum, both Gr. 7 and 8 look at the preservation of natural resources and the issue of sustainability.

To practice creating a 'main idea' via artistic elements, I asked students to write their main idea on a stickee...and then try to match that main idea visually, in a drawing. Here are some of what the students created. (Take particular note of their choice/use of the art elements (especially line, shape/form, colour) to communicate their idea!)

In another instance, I invited The Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition in to give a talk about water and how human activities/choices impact this natural resource.

I then asked students to convey the main idea, or gist, of the presentation in a composed photograph, using found objects in the classroom/school. This was indeed a bit of a challenge!

Again, the results were very interesting! Make sure you read what they posted, as that is the message they were trying to convey visually.

You can see how creating art in this context pushes students to the highest levels of Bloom's Taxonomy.

We will continue to explore this interesting intersection of creativity, visual communication, and theme/message/main idea, across additional curriculum... all of which aids us in our ability to not just creators of messages but also critical and aware 'decoders' of messages.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Drawing at School and Home!

In class we have been using sketch books to practice drawing. Sometimes we work on 'observational drawing' skills (noticing and replicating) and other times students are just drawing creatively (sort of like Free Write, but instead Free Draw).

A great way to get ideas about what to creatively draw is to use a site like Art Prompts.

So students if you are at home and want to draw, there are two things you could do:

1. Find any object, put it in front of you, and use observational drawing to notice and replicate OR
2. Use the prompt site to let your imagination and drawing skills roam free!

As with any skill, the more you draw, the better you get at it! PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE

Monday, 14 November 2016

Little Mermaid

Mrs Czarnota would like me to remind you to please return your forms and money for Little Mermaid! Due tomorrow!

Math Review: FRACTIONS BOOT CAMP! Exercising our equivalent fraction math muscles!

Currently, we are looking at fractions in the numeracy unit.

We are in the midst of a rather thorough review. Fraction Bootcamp! The Fraction Reunion Tour!

We are exercising those MATH MUSCLES!

Math is very much like a house of cards. You need to have solid foundations in order to move up.

One key concept is the basic definition of what a fractions is: equal parts of a whole.

The denominator tells you how many equal pieces the whole has been cut up into. The numerator tells you how many pieces out of that you have.

The other key concept is the idea of equivalent fractions. The same amount is there, it has just been cut up differently.

The concept of equivalent fractions  impacts everything such as

  • converting improper to mixed number and back again
  • finding the simplest/simplified form
  • decimals conversions
  • adding/subtracting fractions with uncommon denominators
  • ordering and sorting fractions
  • determining greater than/less than

And so on.

It is such a key concept that I am spending a considerable amount of time on it, building in complexity. Building those MATH MUSCLES.

For instance, what is an equivalent fractions for 34/58?

Please feel free to follow along in our math task slide show and to use the math blog for resources as needed.

Friday, 11 November 2016

A Letter of Thanks

Students, this was an email I received after our Remembrance Day ceremony. 

Grade 7/8 students;

I wanted to send you a short note to commend you on the excellent Remembrance Day service that you lead today.  It was quite evident that you put a lot of thought and preparation into today's ceremony. It was great that you took time to recognize the wide variety veterans which we have in Canada as well as both the physical and psychological injuries which members of the Canadian Armed Forces have suffered.

I'm behalf of all Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen and women thank you!

Major Ryan

Monday, 7 November 2016

Remembrance Day Assembly: Additional Materials

In planning the assembly, we used the website from the Ministry of Veterans Affairs.

This website has considerable resources and we highly recommend spending some time on it!

The Guide to Commemorative Services helped us understand the traditional format for an assembly. It included links to digital music.

Besides giving a ceremony, there are numerous Ways To Remember. These could be done as an individual or as a classroom.

Educators, there are so many excellent resources to be found on the Veterans Affairs site. You can find a list of ideas here.

You might also find the Remembrance Timeline and History pages useful.

In our assembly, we wanted to show the impact of war on those who survive. The Veterans Affairs site has a vast collection of interviews (the 'Heros Remember Archive') with those who have served. Titles such as Were You Scared? and Like Losing a Family Member, among others, help us to understand the impact of war on those veterans who live through it.

We included Eva Olsson in our Remembrance Day Assembly because her experience during the war as a civilian touched us deeply.

Here is the link to our media piece on Eva Olsson.

And here is her website.

These are considered powerful music/media pieces to show and discuss.
Highway of Heros
Pittance of Time

From our Assembly: Our google doc with embedded links

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Remembrance Day Assembly!

Our class is hosting this year's Remembrance Day Assembly.

We were very fortunate to have Major Ryan from Base Borden come into our class and share key resources and ideas with us and speak to us about Remembrance Day.

If you'd like to know more about our assembly, please click HERE.