Monday, 30 May 2011

Assignment #26 - Where Children Eat and Sleep

Hey R8A,

  The year is winding down and I can hardly believe it. We will only have a few blog assignments left and today's relates to Geography. As we spoke about on Monday in class, people around the world live in strikingly different conditions. Your living conditions, however, do not always correlate with happiness. Sometimes, people living in what appear to be the most difficult conditions, are, in fact, the happiest.

  I want you to reflect on the following question as you view the slideshows for this assignment: What does every human being need in order to survive? What does every human being need in order to thrive (be happy and successful)?

  Check out What the World Eats either as a slideshow or on a blog. The slideshow has slightly more information, both the amount of money spent and the favourite foods of each family are included with the slideshow.

  Look at Where Children Sleep, again, either as a slideshow or on a blog. This time,
I strongly recommend the slideshow, as it contains way more information about the child and his or her interests. However, if you want to compare the bedrooms all at once, the blog post allows you to do that. For a little challenge, check out the blog post first and try to guess where each of these children might live before reading the information included in the slideshow.

  Think about what the photos and short descriptions tell us about the quality of life for these families and children. Do certain foods or rooms guarantee or predict how happy people will be?

  Now, for your assignment: create a new post, link back to this one and write a reflection. Describe the ideal home life you would like to create in your fictional country. Think about one family and one child within that family. Think about the crops that would grow in your country and what kind of industries are there. Write about the family's food consumption, national dishes and favourites. Write about one child in that family, give him or her a name and describe him or her in a way similar to the Where Children Sleep slideshow. Describe his or her interests, passions and dreams. The information you include in this post will give you and your readers a good idea about the quality of life in your country.

  Your post should include at least two clearly written paragraphs, as well as at least two photos to accentuate your points.

  I'd love it if you were really creative with this and perhaps wrote from the point of view of one of your fictional citizens (a diary entry, a letter, a blog post!). Be creative!

  Also, if you want, tie this in to our picture book unit. What kinds of books might your family enjoy?

  Enjoy and I look forward to reading your posts.

  When you have written your post, please leave a comment on this post to let me know you are done. Thanks!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Assignment #25: My Childhood Top Ten

Hello R8A,

  Your newest assignment has a lot of purposes:
1. Practicing your fantastic Writers' Workshop skills.
2. Reflecting on your childhood. Always a fun exercise!
3. Preparing you for our upcoming unit in English (I'll leave you to do a little guessing on this one!)
4. Demonstrating your amazing blogging skills.

  For this assignment, you are going to create a Top Ten list of your favourite childhood things. In your list you must include at least FOUR childrens' books (that you enjoyed under the age of 10) and TWO toys/games you liked to play as a little one. You can choose what you write about for the others.

1. Start a new post titled "Assignment #25: _____'s Childhood Top Ten"
2. Write a list of your top ten childhood items/memories (include at least four books and their authors and at least two toys/games).
      -number each item
      -write the title in bold
3. Write one paragraph about each item, what it was, why you love(d) it and if it is still special to you.
4. Add a relevant photo to each item on the list. Make sure you place it in the post with that item.
5. Link to websites about each of the books you chose (amazon, chapters, or another site).
6. Proofread carefully and publish your post.

Marking criteria
-Use of Writers Workshop tools: vivid images, muscular verbs, verb tense
-Structure of blog post
-Handed in on time
-Detail in descriptions
-Links to favourite childhood books

I want to give you time to work on this and be creative, but I'll be sharing my Childhood Top Ten with you as well!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Assignment #24: Canadian Political Parties

Hello R8A,

  All Canadians over the age of 18 have a big responsiblity on Monday, May 2nd. We are heading out to the polls to select our next government. You aren't old enough to head to the polls yet, but it is still important for you to learn what is going on and do some critical thinking.
  Your newest task is to either:
A: create a campaign poster for one of the candidates in next week's election
B: decide who you would be voting for if you were 18 or older and either present three compelling reasons orally or in writing

  Read this article. When you have read the text, click on some of the hyperlinks to learn more about the political parties and candidates.

  Then make a choice of which task (A or B listed above) you would like to complete.

  More information and marking criteria:

Select either task A or B

Task A:
Learn about the political parties of Canada and make a poster for one of the candidates who is running for Prime Minister. Make sure to include at least two important statements that will tell Canadians why they should vote for your candidate (these must be based on facts and in your own words).

Bonus: The five political parties discussed in today’s article use colours in their advertisements to help Canadians identify their messages. Use the chart below to make sure you are using the correct colour for your candidate!
Conservatives – Stephen Harper (Blue)
Liberals – Michael Ignatieff (Red)
NDP – Jack Layton (Orange)
Bloc Quebecois – Gilles Duceppe (Purple)
Green Party – Elizabeth May (Green)

Marking criteria for Task A
-accuracy of information
-at least two statements to support your candidate
-use of your own words
-use of political party's colour
-poster is attention grabbing

Task B: Prepare a short piece that you can either post on your blog or share aloud with the class answering the following questions: If you could vote in the May 2nd election, which party and candidate would you vote for? Why do you think they would do the best job? Use at least three pieces of factual information to support your opinion.

Marking criteria for Task B
-accuracy of information
-ability to support decision with three valid points
-clarity of writing/oral presentation
-argument is compelling (convincing to others)

Monday, 4 April 2011

Check out your "Stats"

Hello grade 8 bloggers,

   Recently, google and blogger have announced that there will be changes made to blogger to make it even easier and more interactive for users (both writers and readers of blogs). Last week we checked out the new views available on blogger. All you have to do is type /view at the end of your blog url, and you have the opportunity to view your blog in five new ways. It's pretty fun to play with. As I played with this, I realized that I want to include more pictures with my blog posts, as some of the views depend on those. This is one of the reasons I love things like this, they show me what I need to continue to work on.

   Also, when I log in to blogger, I have an older user interface than you do. This is because I started my blogger account before recent changes were made. Zak had this issue as well. If you want to be able to use blogger's newest interface, you simply need to change one of your settings. Go to the settings tab, then select "basics", three quarters of the way down the page, you'll have the option to select your post editor, select the most recent one. Tah-dah!

   Finally, I encourage you to check out something I discovered on blogger this weekend. When you are in your editing area of your blog, you will notice tabs like "posting", "comments", "settings" and "design", all of which you are familiar with. There are two other tabs, ignore "monetise" because it adds annoying ads and pop-ups to your blog, but check out "stats". In "Stats", there are several options of how to look at the visitors to your blog. You can see how many people visited each page, based on day, month or all time. You can see where in the world blog visitors have come from. You can see how people found your blog. It's really, really neat.

  Take some time to check these things out once you're all caught up on your assignments.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Assignment #23: Canada and China

Hello R8A Geographers,

Starting tomorrow, we will have two new students in our class. Ziting (Sherry) and Ya-wen (Teresa). They are coming on an exchange from China and are here to learn about Canadian culture and to develop their English language skills. We are very excited to have them joining our class and look forward to warmly welcoming them tomorrow.

I don't know how much you know about China, and based on our Pop Quiz yesterday, we can all learn some more about Canada, so your assignment today will have you comparing the two countries.

Please visit the CIA World Factbook (I have a copy of a book with this information as well). Look up each of Canada and China. You'll see a list of tabs, select "People". Read through the facts and figures about the people of Canada and then read through the facts and figures about the people of China. You can read other categories as well and look at the photos if you wish.

Once you have done some reading, create a new post on your blog comparing and contrasting three pieces of information. For each one, you should list the information and then write one sentence: "say something". In your reflective sentence, write about what this means/why this was of interest to you/a question you have.

You can also add to your post, for bonus marks, by reading other information about these two countries and writing about what is similar and what is different.

Good luck and make sure to leave a comment on this post when you are done and ready for me to mark your work!

Friday, 11 March 2011

DigLitCirc Discussion #6 - the FINAL one - begins!

Hello Ottawa and Oshawa readers,

  You are expected to be done reading your novel by the first week back at school after March Break.

   Friday, March 25th is the last date for posting answers to the questions from section 6. My students will be posting those questions by the end of the day today and I will link to them here.

Jatinder is hosting the discussion for We All Fall Down.
Aaisha and Amrita are hosting the Branded discussion.
Tara is hosting the discussion for Shaken.
Mateen will be hosting the discussion for Wounded.
Thanks to Claire "Nancy Drew", I know that Walid will be hosting the discussion for Black and White. Wave's final discussion will be hosted by Zak.
Sara is hosting the final discussion for Sketches.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Assignment #22 - Faces of the World

Above - "average" faces of women around the world

Hello R8A bloggers,

It's time for your first official Geography blog assignment to begin!

You have already watched the two amazing National Geographic videos about "The Seven Billion". Now, I want you to start working with these ideas.

In the video about the Most Typical Human, National Geographic created the face of the current most typical human, but also mentioned that that face will be changing in your lifetime.

For this assignment, I want you to do some research and analysis about this idea of the changing human face. You are going to make one post to answer the questions below. There will be 5 parts to your post (A, B, C, D and E).

1. Post: Part A: First of all, I want you to look up the word "globalization". Once you've found a good definition, create a new post, link back to the definition(s) you found and then write a definition of globalization IN YOUR OWN WORDS, one that can be understood by your peers.

2. Next, check out "The Face of Tomorrow", an amazing art and geography project that addresses identity and globalization. In big cities around the world, migrants from many different countries gather and the average faces of those cities and countries tell a story. Visit the map page on this site and look at the average faces in different cities. You can click on different locations to see the average male and female faces, or go to the drop down menus at the bottom and compare average faces in up to four locations. Spend some time here playing around.

3. Post: Part B: Add to your post a description of how one would go about making these average faces (link back to any sources you used for information). In real life, how do facial identities change over generations?

4. Post: Part C: What did you notice while playing around with "The Face of Tomorrow"? Add to your post three points (written in full sentences) that you found interesting. (What does "the face of tomorrow" mean? Why do the differences in our faces give us a sense of identity? What surprised you? What did you expect?...)

5. Visit Face Research and play around with the dozens of faces there. You can select as many as you wish, and create an average of their faces. Play around until you create what you believe to be the "face of tomorrow". Once you've found it, save the image (right click and select "Save as", give it an appropriate title and save to your account).

6. Post: Part D: Add to your post the picture you created and write three reasons (in full sentences) why you think this average face best represents "the face of tomorrow". Make sure one of your sentences uses your new knowledge about the term "globalization". I want to see that new vocabulary word in this portion of your post.
Above - a face that I created on Face Research by combining three different women of different ethnic origins.

7. Post: Part E: Think about your own face and the faces of your family members and friends. Do you have a face that represents your nationality, your family and yourself? Write at least two reflective sentences thinking about your own identity that is shown to the world by your face.

8. Final step: leave a comment on this blog post to tell me when you're finished.

BONUS: On the Face Research website, you can even start a free account and upload photos of your face and average it with other faces. I haven't tried this yet, but if you do, please let me know!