Tuesday 30 October 2012

No homework tonight. We’ve begun a writing assignment, and both Grade 4 and 5 are working through some review math questions prior to an upcoming test, but neither were assigned as homework tonight.

Grade 5s have begun to learn the days of the week in French. As has been the case so far, we are not learning the spelling, just the proper pronunciation.



Students are encouraged to bring their costume to school on Wednesday… with some cautions. No weapons are allowed, nor is make-up, even if that is an essential part of the costume. We’ll have a fairly “normal” morning, but will be taking part in a Halloween parade at 1:15, followed by a party in our room. Costumes, which are, of course, optional, won’t be put on until 1:00 pm.

As for the party, if your child would like to bring a little something, that would be appreciated. We do not need snacks for all 28, because if all students did that, we’d be inundated. Aim to provide baking or snacks for perhaps 12 people or so. I will provide plastic glasses and paper plates, and something to drink. We’ll have some Halloween activities, but given how much sugar they’ll be getting later that night, we won’t be going wild with our party.

If you can join us in the gym at 1:15 to witness the whole school in their Halloween parade finery, please do!

By the way, today is a bit unusual in that there were several posts put up today, so please scroll down to read the other information. Thanks!


Parent teacher interviews

Tomorrow (Wednesday 31 October 2012) schedules for parent/teacher interviews will go up in the hallway outside the office. You are encouraged to choose a time to meet with me by claiming a 15-minute slot in person, or you can call the Brooksbank Office (604) 903-3280 and make arrangements that way.

The interviews will be spread over three days next week:

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (November 6, 7, 8).

These interviews are scheduled prior to the formal report card, so letter grades will not be prepared, but it will be an excellent opportunity for us to discuss goals/issues/accomplishments.

Plagerism, copyright, and 9-year olds

It seems odd that students in Gr. 4 or 5 need to know about copyright laws, but since we’ve begun blogging (see the student blogs here), it became an important topic.

Can you just copy/paste “facts” from Wikipedia? No, not without linking back to the page where the ideas exist, and even then only in moderation.

Should you place just any picture you like on your blog? No, not without making sure the picture has been licensed for anyone to use, and you’ve provided a link back to the owner of that image. 

The same applies to text, pictures, video, etc.

Without getting into a Computer Help Desk format, I would like to suggest a few websites where students can easily fulfill the letter of the law. It will require making a couple of bookmarks.

First, I reccommend students and parents visit http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/ . Flickr is one of the largest photo-hosting websites, and Flickr/CreativeCommons is where pictures which are available for free non-commercial use are hosted. There are millions and millions of pictures to search amongst. I recommend this site is bookmarked for future use, so students can easily get back to it.

Second, there is a great little bookmarklet here, called ImageCodr, which you add to your bookmark bar. When a student has found a creative commons image on Flickr, a single click on this bookmarklet and code is instantly created in a box. Students click in the box, select all the code and return to their new post on kidblog.org. Normally you write in what is called “Visual” mode, but students can also select HTML mode, where they can paste the HTML code they just copied. When that is viewed, the picture will appear on the child’s blog with a link to the owner of the image, and the creative commons logo, all neatly compiled for the student’s use on their blog.

Here’s an example of a picture with the proper attribution.


Time for a little Internet larnin’

'keyboard' photo (c) 2007, Timothy Vollmer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Our class started blogging about 3 weeks ago, and already the results are impressive. You can see their blogs here. There is lots of enthusiasm, and some very good writing from our Gr. 4/5 students. But I can tell it’s time we had a little chat about copy/pasting from Wikipedia and also downloading other people’s pictures to add to their blogs.

The copy/paste from Wikipedia should be a simple and straightforward lesson. I think in moderation, and with quoting your source, it is fine. And it’s that last point, attributing ownership, that will bring us to the downloading of people’s pictures.

I can tell we need a little trip over to both Flickr: Creative Commons, and the Search Creative Commons page for a little look-see. We’ll need to talk about ownership, as well as attribution…such as the image above. I use (and pay for) Wylio.com┬áto quickly find/resize/attribute images for my blog.

I don’t think students willfully take other people’s images… they just need to be made aware of the concept. After all, for this generation of up-and-coming digital citizens, the shoe will very soon be on the other foot!

Friday 26 October 2012

Today we were visited by Christine, the “Bear Lady”, as she is affectionately known. This was a timely presentation given how active black bears are at this time of the year, feeding, as Christine says, as much as 20 out of 24 hours to fatten up prior to winter denning up and hibernation.



Practice either the 3x or the 5x tables.


Gr. 5 have a reading assignment (“Smart Cars”) due Monday.


Students should update their blog this weekend if they haven’t done so recently. Generally, I require a new blog post every week, and since this is the second week, students should have at least 2 posts published, and several comments made to other blogs. Our student blogs are located at kidblog.org/WestCoast, but you can just click on the link at the top of this page as well to go there directly. Please feel free to read our blogs and leave comments to encourage the students!