Message from the Head of Junior School

It was a week of excitement with baby chicks, bridge building, Shakespeare in the park, guest speakers, Ultimate Frisbee, rugby and International Baccalaureate students from the Senior School working with our students on wind turbines.

Before our eyes, over 25 chicks entered our Junior School community. Students learned about incubators, new life and even death, as some of the eggs did not hatch. Next week, Mrs. Boyd will organize an activity whereby students will each have a chick and learn to care for it. We would like to thank Ms. Smith for organizing the activity and Mrs. Boyd for teaching our young students such key skills, such as patience, empathy and responsibility.

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Also in the POD and science laboratory, our students showed their innovative spirit with the building of bridges in both Grades 5 and 6. Grade 5s tested the true strength of their bridges with weights provided by Mr. Valentine at our Engineering Expo while Grade 6s were on hand to explain their bridges to visitors. Through creative tutorials on Moodle, Mr. Valentine taught Grade 6s how to build hydraulic, swing and lift bridges. Students shared their knowledge of the inner workings of each of these types of bridges. Through the use of pipe cleaners as clamps, Popsicle sticks, pieces of wire hangers, drills and glue guns, students created bridges while following their drawings. What did students learn? To use hot glue instead of ordinary glue; to ensure that dimensions on scale drawings were accurate before building; to line up all pieces before applying glue; and “to measure twice, cut once!”; Mr. V. also taught all of us some pivoting analogies used with the bridges- the wheelbarrow, the arm and the lift. View our young engineers at work, Building Bridges (1), Building Bridges (2) and Building Bridges (3).

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Grade 6s also had the opportunity to meet another guest speaker as a part of their Canadian Communities project. Mr. Nour Harriz, Ms. Harriz’s husband, spoke about his experiences in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. His story was a reminder to all of us about how fortunate we are to live in a country such as Canada. To see his presentation, click here. We thank Ms. Harriz for exposing our students to a wide range of different cultural perspectives in this unit. Our core values of international engagement and community have been fully embraced by our Grade 6 class.

Further to the value of community, local artist, Ms. Vanessa Coplan visited our Grade 4, 5 and 7 Art classes to discuss the I Canada project. Here are some of Ms. Coplan’s comments: “The I, Canada project began as a kind of compulsion to remember and record, in stitched fabric, my nostalgia for teenage summer camp experiences. Then, it evolved into a larger exploration of personal identity and nationhood: How do personal memories and place inform one’s sense of self and belonging? I am of the belief that WHERE we come from and HOW we were raised are critical and determining factors on WHO we become and WHAT we end up doing with our lives. These thoughts have been the most recent preoccupation of my artistic practice and have manifested visually in my most recent work, which I have titled the “I. Canada” project. The “I, Canada Project” is a series of hand sewn fabric patchworks. These irregular shaped patches of recycled wool, felt, and cotton fibers are hand-stitched together to create a blanket-shaped piece (approx. 4×5 feet). Words, images, and designs are stitched into and adhered onto these patchworks, accompanied by images of canoes, paddles, and Canadian sayings or expressions. Also, songs and references to popular Canadian culture and poetry adorn these patchwork creations. Some of these elements are sewn in clusters and others in more spacious arrangements. These deliberate compositions are arranged for their visual appeal and their reference to how things are recalled and remembered, sometimes in masses, other times with exceptional clarity, and others in a distorted haze. “I, Canada” will be exhibited later this year (September-November of 2016) in a group show at the Ottawa City Hall’s Annex Gallery. The following year (June-September of 2017), it will be featured as a solo exhibition at Almonte’s Mississippi Textile Museum, commemorating Canada’s 150th birthday. For more information on Ms. Coplan, please click here. To view our Grade 5 students working on this project, click I Canada (1), I Canada (2) and I Canada (3).

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In English, Grade 5s continued their study of Crow Country and spoke to me about the time slip technique. This practice is used to make the reader aware of the past and its impact on the present. Students explained that it allows the main character to develop an understanding of the world, incorporating what has happened before and how events help the character develop and mature. Students worked in groups discussing the novel and questions related to this technique. The Grade 5s gave a thumbs up to this mystery novel! Also in English, Grade 8s, presented passages from Romeo and Juliet in Rockcliffe park and in our outside amphitheatre. In my interview, students spoke about their favourite scene where Romeo speaks to Juliet from the balcony as well as some of the challenges of rehearsing Shakespeare, such as finding appropriate costumes, projecting one’s voice, understanding early Modern English and making smooth transitions from one scene to the next. Students were pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoyed studying Shakespeare (Interview with Shakespeare characters). Dans la classe de français, les élèves de la 7e année, cours intensif, ont continué avec l’étude de Lancelot. Dans le cours cadre, les élèves ont fini un test d’unité sur jouer à, jouer de, faire de et les adjectifs. Ils ont aussi commencé un projet expliquant comment donner des directions en utilisant GoAnimate. Dans le cours d’immersion, les élèves ont créé des jeux dans PowerPoint, Prezi ou Kahoot basé sur des chapitres dans Les Trois Mousquetaires. In Grade 7 Science, students continued their innovative work on wind turbines. Grade 12 IB students met with the Grade 7s to share their ideas on MaKey MaKey and to give them advice on how to improve their wind turbines (video 1 and video 2). Students discussed criteria, for instance stability (the ability for the wind turbine to remain on the base when a wind force is applied), aesthetics (the professional look of the wind turbine), spin (the ability to spin in the wind) and speed (the blade rotation measured by MaKey MaKey). In Grade 8 Science, students completed their last unit on living things-plants and cells- and studied the different life processes. For some examples, see Science- From Root to Leaves (Charlie Drew) and Water Movement in Plants( Isabella Greenough) . In Grade 4 Math, students learned about fractions and probability. On the SmartBoard, students played a game with Mrs. Boyd determining the probability of the spinner landing on different parts of a coloured pie. Students were asked to draw a spinner with the following outcomes: blue and green are equally likely but yellow is impossible. How will you colour the spinner? What would be the probability of the spinner landing on the colour blue? From the SmartBoard, students then worked in groups and conducted a probability test with a coin toss. To end the week, Grades 4, 5, 6 and participated in a lively Engineering Expo and the Science Club tested the hovercraft they have spent the past few weeks building (Video). From last week, please click here to find a few more photos of the green screen at the MAD concert.

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In Readers’ Corner, we recommend this interesting article about parent and student distraction.

Passez un bon week-end!


Sports this week (Mr. Young)

U14 Ultimate Frisbee

On Tuesday, Ashbury hosted the annual independent schools Ultimate Frisbee tournament. Schools from across Ottawa participated in the event. Ashbury had three teams playing, two of which included students from Elmwood. It was a fantastic day and students enjoyed the competition as well as the warm weather. Special mention goes to Ashbury team 1, who lost in the semi-finals.