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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Life After EQAO - End of Days

It seems as though the year has flown by; most likely because we were moving at break-neck speed to learn the entire Grade Six curriculum before EQAO.

So what does a teacher do with students when EQAO is over and the curriculum has been taught?  We have fun! We have been spending June making movies and having Art lessons.  For Social Studies, the students worked in groups to research a Canadian Explorer, they then wrote scripts to bring their Explorer to "life".  After completing their scripts, they used the iPads to film their movies.  It was so much fun watching them create their costumes and make their props.  Who knew that you could make a ship out of four desks and a blanket?  Or that meter sticks could be your oars?  Next, they worked with iMovie to edit and publish their movies.  Lastly, we watched the movies - this was highly entertaining, especially the "bloopers" they all felt should be included.
Practising Our Filming Techniques
(Here are some pics - I've coloured over their faces for privacy reasons).

A Sailor Spots Land!

William Baffin begging for funding.

In Art, we studied positive and negative space via print-making by watching Youtube videos.  This was one of our favourites:

We simplified this technique somewhat because I didn't want the students working with the Exacto knife.  I purchased inexpensive foam sheets from Michael's Craft store.

Then, we reviewed a simplified "Writing Process":
1. Brainstorm
2. Rough Draft
3. Revise and Edit
4. Publish
I explained that we could actually rename this the "Creative Process" because it is the same whenever we create something, including a piece of artwork.

The students then brainstormed and began creating rough drafts of potential subjects.  This actually took up the bulk of our lesson.  Here are some sample drafts.

 In some cases, the final product changed a great deal from the original drafts.  Some students wanted to draw an image, some wanted to do something more abstract.

Once students were happy with their final draft they copied it onto their piece of foam using a pen to gouge the image into the foam.  Some students opted to cut out sections using scissors similar to the video above.
We used an ink roller and water-based block printing ink/paint that I also found at the craft store and a roller to cover our foam.

Here are some of the results:

This student started off drawing a mustache.  She ended up putting her mustache into the "Big Apple" and decided she should put New York City inside. 

This student wanted to create an image resembling the Artwork we had studied by Aboriginal artists.  He made several prints exploring colour and adjoining the same print over and over again to make different patterns. 

I love having the whole day to do Art.  One or two 40 minute periods is never enough time to really DIG into  artwork - it is just too messy and consuming.  Today, we learned all about charcoal and pencil sketches.  Everyone was engaged, on-task, and learning.  One of my students actually held up a first draft and a final piece and said "look how much I improved from when I started this morning until now".


  1. I love this post of yours! Just last night, we got into a huge conversation on Twitter about what we do in class now that the year is coming to an end. This conversation seems to happen even earlier in Grades 3 and 6 because of EQAO.

    I love how you've combined meaningful work with fun, and explored things that you maybe did not have a chance to explore earlier in the year. What a fantastic way to end the year!

    Thank you for giving me so much to think about!

  2. Hi Aviva,
    Thank you for your kind words.
    There was one last thing that I did with my students that they were really excited about.
    Every year, teachers ask students to write letters to the students who will be new to the grade. I decided to do something similar, but perhaps more meaningful. I asked my students to write a letter to their "Grade Seven Self". In the letter, I asked them to include what was their favourite part of Grade Six, what they learned, and what were their goals for themselves in Grade Seven. I can't believe how excited my students were by this task! They wanted me to read their letters, but I told them they were for THEM, not for me.
    I have kept all of these letters, and in September, I will mail them to my (former) students so they will start off their Grade Seven year with their learning goals fresh in their minds.


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