This is a transcript typed by Mrs. Sharpe, our STEAM coordinator, while the discussion was happening. I find these philosophical debates so interesting, that I think I am going to start recording them!
Today, we let our guest select a question from the box; Mrs. Sharpe picked, "How do you know something is real?"
Terra – "If, like, you can touch it and it is on earth, it's real."
Erica – "...am I allowed to disagree?...ok, good. I disagree because if something is real and you can only touch it, there are real friendships, and how can you touch them? Even if you can’t touch it can still be real."
(Emily, Kayla, Becka - "pick us, pick us, we got this, we know the answer" -- Mrs. J: "Remember that there are no right answers, girls! Be patient, the talking stick is coming around your way")
"...Kennedy and I also disagree with Terra because things that come off of the Earth, that are not on the Earth, are real, like the Moon and the Sun."
Mandy - "I think what is real is something that you know could actually -- like, say you are reading a book then, the book is real but what is written is not. Like the object is real, but not the stuff it does."
Emily, Kayla, Becka – "Ok. What if we are not actually real, like there are aliens and they are controlling us and we are in a virtual role playing, doing what they make us do?"
Kayla – "You know, when you, like, forget something, that means someone is controlling you and they press delete...?"
Jane - "Back on tara, I agree but I can add on, we are real but there can be a real person, or object, or feelings or friends. It can be an object or something you feel inside, or something you know. Knowledge can be real."
Miss J. - "How do you know what you know is real? Would something that is real become not real?"
Angela- "If you believe in something then it can be real to you."
Pippa – "I agree with Angela, some other people may not agree with you, it depends. If you think something is real, someone else might not."
Jane - "Some people believe in god and believe in Christmas and other people do not."
Miss J. - "So, reality is based on...?"
Kayla- "What you believe and think is still real."
Tiffany – "Sometimes when you are dreaming... you think it is actually real, you do not know you are dreaming until you wake up."
Angela- "We were talking about that at our table!!!"
Kayla – "I disagree with Tiffany because in a dream, sometimes what can happen can be real... like, if something happened in the day and then you dream about it."
Jane - "I sorta agree with Kayla but sorta disagree because a dream can be real... because you are dreaming about it. Some people have fortune telling dreams, so something is not real but becomes real."
Emmet – "If something has been seen or believed in something, that is real."
Ella – "I don’t know, going back to, I don’t know, so I think... like, my brothers, because they are only 5 and 7, believe in Santa, but I personally don’t. So they think he is real but I don’t. Also I think the dreams can consist of real things but I don’t think they are real. They are not actually happening."
Lauren – "So, if you believe something, but you have real belief in something, then it's real; but then you go back to things later and realize they are not real."
Taryn – "Going back to what Kayla said, sometimes you dream something and then it happens the next day.. so sometimes it can be real."
Mrs. J. "Who has ever had a dream that came true after?" (raises hand -- more than half the class raised their hands as well) "So, yes, interesting phenomena!"
Ellie – "People have sorta combined all my ideas so I don't know what to say."
Mrs. J. "That's OK, honey,! If you think of something we'll get back to you."
Chloe – "Like what Ella said, my sister and a bunch of my cousins believe in the tooth fairy- some people believe in things and some people don’t."
Claire- "I believe that somethings are real and some things are not."
Dylan- "Ok. Who has seen the movie click, you fall asleep and the whole movie you think is real, but then it was all a dream so it was not real. And, like, also something that has happen a long time ago ist is like dreams and I am not sure if it happened in real life or not. I sometimes ask my mom, remember when this happened? And she says it never happened."
Jane - "So I think that is the belief thing, ya everyone has their own beliefs but it depends on who you are to know what is real and what is not real. Like kids think that they have an imaginary friend, but on the outside there is not an imaginary friend."
Mandy – "We all could be dreaming right now and we could be waking up and our dreams could be reality. And this could be a sleep world."
Erica - "What is we were all in a mirror – you always see the same things but its flipped, what is we are in a mirror, but there are other people on the other side of the mirrors."
Mrs. Sharpe: "What about things you see or hear online? People saying how wonderful their lives are, and all those wonderful photos, do you think that is real?"
Mrs. J. "That is agreat point. With all the photoshop, too, how do we know even their photos are real?"
Dillon – "That is why people are having a Instagram account and then a real account, for friends, to show reality – so on Instagram you make your life look nice and pretty, and on your real account, you show yourself waking up and all messy."
Jane- "You have to, you don’t have to, but if you believe it its real. Like my sister believes in Santa then its real but we don’t believe it anymore so it is real to her."
**The girls started melting into the floor and each other, signifying the melting of their combined brains after our lively discussion. Can't wait for next Thursday!**
Today was another lovely day with the girls! We started off by going outside and walking all around the school, collecting some samples from the garden for observation drawings. We continued our morning doing some lovely art; they experienced their very first gesture drawing session, a series of fast-paced, overlapping (and messy) charcoal drawings.
The girls had fun exploring this new medium. At first, they were concerned about crushing the charcoal, but I soon dissuaded their fears by showing them how fun it is to crush the charcoal and smear with our fingers! Charcoal is one of my very favourites, and I think the girls started warming up to it on our second drawing. This portion of the lesson focused on our first element of arts -- space! They learned about negative and positive space, and how looking at the negative space is so useful when drawing the positive space. They were encouraged to draw big, and fill the page with their charcoal. Our two blocks of art flew by!
During our Language Arts block, I exposed them to better presentation techniques -- less words on the slide, more pictures, and knowing your material through memorization, in order to give a more confident presentation. My sample presentation was on a nomadic people called Banjara, who originated from Romania and now have spread out throughout the whole Indian subcontinent.
The way they adapt and change, evolving depending on the place they occupy, makes them a very global people, which ties in well with our focus on exploring, accepting and appreciating world differences this year. I brought some authentic Banjara trinkets and played a dance video, which the girls enjoyed greatly. Some of the girls were eager to try on the jewelry, so I took photos of them.
Finally, we moved forward from input and output machines and straight into grid coordinates... in a very unusual way! Unfortunately I did not take any pictures (I was too engaged!!!), but you should ask the girls about our string exercise (ha ha, not really string theory, but it was "theory" and it used "strings"!!!)
Following our fun string exercise, the girls had a better understanding of coordinates, laying a reasonably strong foundation to build upon.
We started the week yesterday exploring some math exercises involving decoding messages. These are really fun to do, but they also serve as a precursor to our study on patterns and more advanced concepts in mathematics. The girls had a lot of fun creating messages for me to decode, and I'm not even done with half of them!
We also spent some time setting goals for the year, as well as figuring out our groups for the camp cabins.
My favourite part of class yesterday, however, was exploring the song "I'm just a girl" with the group, and seeing them try to understand the concepts hidden within the song: first on their own, then debating within their groups, researching things they didn't understand, and finally, debating together as a class. It was a wonderful tie-in to the code-breaking we were doing in Math, as many of the words in the song had hidden meanings, and much of what was said had to be guessed. This was very challenging for the girls, but also exciting.
Many topics were raised by some of the girls which were not common knowledge for all the girls, such as the pink tax, the salary gap, violence against women, contraception, and all sorts of surprising twists and turns. It was very engaging for me to watch them take the conversation in all sorts of angles, and become passionate and vocal regarding women's issues in Canada and the world.
We finished the exercise in a high note, singing a few songs which have a similar sentiment as No Doubt's song. This was a very fun day, and a great precursor to a future exercise coming up, involving Language Arts, Arts and Social Studies!
Today, we continued our Math deciphering explorations with another set of coded messages. Afterwards, we watched the video based on the wonderful book "If the World were a Village", and started our Social Studies project on a country around the world, which will get us started on becoming a Global Citizen by exploring other cultures and differences when comparing to Canadian culture. We also had fun outside, doing a few theater games!
I feel like I am getting to know the girls more and more, and that they are getting to know me more; we are getting into a very good groove, and preparing well for a year of learning together.
Another busy day for my bunnies!!!
Today, we looked through some amazing multicultural artifacts brought by the girls from home, and were able to see the different ways cultures address colours, patterns and shape.
We continued defining our community of Learners and Explorers; we defined what being a part of such a community would sound like, feel like and look like. This was a harder exercise for the girls, as the concepts were more abstract, but once they got the hang of it, they went far and explored all the angles of the community, including times when things would not necessarily go well. I really liked how they brought up that sometimes they will feel frustrated, because trying new things often bring frustration; but they also mentioned how even when you fail, you learn new things. What a mature group of girls!!!
We also decided together on what sections our board will have, since right now there are no words on it. I wanted a little help from them to generate these important sections, as we will be using them throughout the year. They came up with:
They also wanted a schedule for class pet, but I am thinking that maybe we should focus on things that are concrete at this point. Let's see if we can actually get a class pet first...
I'd settle for a hamster. I find them adorable.
Besides working on our community building, we also participated on a wonderful marshmallow challenge, which was super fun and exciting. Check out some photos below!
I thought some of the solutions the girls came up with were extremely creative. I love the way they used the string, and how well they worked together. I am really looking forward to getting to know them better! I am hoping that on Monday we can define what goals they have for the year, as well as discover what are their passions and what things they are curious about. I have separated a block every week to work on science with them, because I love science!
Let's see what they are excited to learn, and go from there!
I had an amazing day today with the girls, and I just can't believe how much fun Middle School actually is. The girls were engaged, interested and active, and everything seemed so alive! Throughout the craziness and chaos, they were creative, insightful and amazingly considerate of each other.
We started off the day with a fun activity: we sat on the ground, and I passed around some stickers, saying they could get as many as they wanted from the sheet -- but there would be a penalty for getting too many! Most of the girls got one or two, but some girls got more... one brave soul got more than 20 stickers.
Well... as it turns out, they had to share one fact about themselves per sticker picked. To make it even more interesting, they also had to do a dance once for every five stickers while I played one of my drums. This is where I was so pleasantly surprised... everyone was willing to interact and share, and the girls put their whole hearts into their little skit dances. It is so wonderful to see youth with such confidence and embracing fun and learning!
I shared some things about me, and then it was time for French. After French, the girls came in, grabbed a red velvet cupcake and went to recess, and we had our first assembly of the year, where we discussed the Terry Fox run, some sports and clubs, and a little presentation about respect. The science blocks were right after this, and then it was already time for lunch. When the girls returned, I gave the girls some time to decorate their lockers (they look fabulous! Photos coming soon) and it was time to start our Math Feelings activity: the girls wrote down their feelings about math, so we could seal these and read them next year. They had to make it at least a paragraph so it would be fun to read after all this time. They gave it a good shot, and we sealed it in a box with yellow duct tape.
We had fun trying to figure out what type of day it was today. This is a pattern-making, creativity-enhancing way of looking at numbers. Some of the girls aren't quite convinced by this activity, but since we will be making this all year long, they will come around. :)
Our final activity for the day was the first half of our development of a community of learners and explorers. This will probably be a three-part experience, but the first part went really well... in fact, they defined their community in a very insightful way:
I got their amazing ideas and transformed them into three posters defining our goals as a classroom.
Tomorrow, we will hopefully complete this exercise. I have a couple fun things planned to help them bond as groups and classmates. Our community will grow strong in no time!