What’s Happening? #ALC1O #ENG2D #AVI3O

It’s Mid-October already! The first progress report was provided to students last week. The intention is to have students bring these home to discuss progress in each class. The reports vary from teacher-to-teacher but most emphasize work habits, (e.g. use of time, participation, and any missing work) over marks – as it’s still a bit early in the semester to provide accurate marks.

Students should be scheduling Parent-Teacher interviews this week. The interviews will take place on October 24 from 6:30pm-8:30pm. Meanwhile, here’s an update on what’s going on in class:

ALC1O – Grade 9 Art: Students have been very busy working on explorations with line and colour. We then transitioned to studying two-point perspective. Students are now creating drawings that show their knowledge and thinking about perspective. Students are choosing to create an original design that allows them to express their own ideas and interests. Many are doing city blocks, (which is awesome) while others are doing some more abstract creations. I’ll share some pictures!

ENG2D – Grade 10 English: We are in the midst of our To Kill a Mockingbird unit. Our timing works well as the novel has been in the news recently, the subject of book bans, censorship, and the importance of learning about racial inequality and social injustice. My goal is to move these students toward guiding their own learning. I’m working on helping them develop their own questions, organized in a Google Sheet:

I would like to see more participation from students when we talk about the questions – and their thoughts/responses to the questions – as some students are starting to fall behind.

We’ve also been spending time developing/refreshing/improving grammar skills using the excellent iXL platform, a tool that focuses on writing and math. It’s something these students used last year and it’s been working well. I encourage students to practice at home, too.

I will be calling parents/guardians this week to discuss work habit issues as a few students have not been keeping up with academic-level expectations. This includes not doing the assigned work and not participating in class. It is vitally important that these areas get addressed well before the midterm report card.

AVI3O – Grade 11 Art: It’s been a really, really awesome week in Grade 11 art. I was thinking about a way to explore colour, the Creative Process, and acrylic painting so I found an assignment I created a few years back:

This assignment has students take a photograph, transform it using graphic arts software, create a line drawing of the photograph, and then paint it on a surface of their choosing. Students have really been getting into this assignment and I’m so pumped with the work that’s being done. Here are a few examples:

Looking forward to being able to share some final products. Students will follow up this assignment with artistic statements and reflections on their work. We’ll also have some discussion about what worked/didn’t work with this assignment. That’ll lead us into the next project, which will be something the students are in charge of creating!

Have a great week, everyone!

Happy October! #ALC1O #ENG2D #AVI3O

I was talking to Grade 9 students last week as they were preparing to head to a college information session. I explained to them that they idea of going to college might be a crazy concept; these students are only in grade nine! However, seeing that the first month of the school year is already behind us, they are beginning to understand how quickly time moves in high school. Students in all classes have been dealing with the same rapid pace and some are starting to fall behind with assignments. The first progress report will be out after the Thanksgiving long weekend so this week will provide those students with opportunities to catch up. Meanwhile, here’s an update for each class:

ALC1O – Grade 9 Visual Art:
Students did an amazing job with their plaster masks. I will be displaying these in the school this week. We then spent some time talking about colour theory and will talk about value for a few days. Combined with line, students will have some good knowledge of some of the elements of art. We will use that knowledge when we introduce a new art medium: watercolour painting. Students will use watercolour paints to show their knowledge of colour, value, and line by creating something awesome. All of this will take us through this week and next. I’m pumped.

ENG2D – Grade 10 Academic English:
Students have their first major academic essay due this week. I have spent considerable time working with each student individually conferencing and editing essays. Unfortunately, many students in this class are not where I expected them to be with regards to writing. Students who handed in draft copies on time have been provided with detailed descriptive feedback to guide them towards improved final draft essays. My hope is that students use the numerous resources provided to make their essays rock.

This week marks the full start of our To Kill a Mockingbird novel study. This is one of my favourite novels to teach and, given the political climate that currently exists (and occupies so much of the news), there is an important relevance to what we will be covering. Last week, we discussed how society influences individuals as a transition into the unit. I’m looking forward to examining that question through the novel as we move forward.

AVI3O – Grade 11 Visual Art:
Last week we devoted our time to drawing. There are a number of students who have not finished the three drawing assignments so we will wrap them up early this week. Then, we will spend some time working with colour theory before moving on to a new studio project. There are a number of students who need to make better use of class time. I would like to pick up the pace to allow us to experiment with many more art forms, styles, and topics.

Once again, progress reports will be out in a few short weeks. It’s vitally important that students see me if they need extra help or extra time to work on assignments, (such as during the daily Activity Period.) Have a great week!

The End of September in #ALC1O #ENG2D #AVI3O

It’s already (almost) the end of September. There are about 18 weeks in a semester and we’re wrapping up the fourth week. Time continues to move incredibly fast. My job is to ensure that despite this rapid pacing, students have opportunities to be successful. I’ve been actively conferencing, reminding, opening up doors for, and working with students to help them get to where they should be — but students need to be accountable for their work, too. As we approach the first Progress Report I’m already seeing some work habits that need attention. In the next two weeks I will be endeavouring to touch base with parents and guardians to help me help the students.

In the meantime, here’s an update of where we are and where we are going in each class:

ALC1O – Grade 9 Visual Art: This class has been absolutely amazing. We completed the introductory designs, (which turned out really, really well!) and then moved on to plaster mask-making. I’ll let these pictures speak for the work being done:

A variety of painting styles makes each mask unique
Some students, like Aysia N., went above-and-beyond with their masks, producing creative sculptures
I can’t wait to share images of more masks from this group of creative artists. The masks will soon be displayed in GCHS.

Next, we’ll be working with some colour theory and then we move on to watercolour painting!

ENG2D – Grade 10 Academic English: Students have been taking time really working to develop critical writing skills with argumentative essays. We have all spent time conferencing and discussing various parts of essays and how to explain/support/connect points. In some cases this process has been pretty stressful, (where I imagined many students to be is not where many of them are, so the planning and tempo had to change) but the rough copy is due tomorrow and this will allow me to produce very descriptive and specific feedback for students.

We are transitioning into the To Kill a Mockingbird unit. To begin, we began discussing a critical question related to the novel:

We connected the idea of influence with current events, including the current debate of athletes not standing for the national anthem. We talked about respect, unity, pressure to do what others do, injustices, and the world around us — ultimately linked back to how the novel approaches similar themes. Tomorrow we will have some discussions about themes in the novel by using Anticipation Guide statements. I will be evaluating the participation of each student, but also their ability to make and support points.

Finally, AVI3O – Grade 11 Visual Art: Students are currently working on three drawing styles: gesture, contour, and blind contour. Each style involves practicing in sketchbooks and collaborating with others, (we needed body and face models. The students delivered.) Students will receive an assignment today that focuses on demonstrated knowledge and understanding of both the three drawing types and the artist’s ability to reflect on the steps involved in producing art, (called the Creative Process.) There are some skilled artists in the room. Here’s a sample portrait, drawn using the blind contour style:

Again, with the first progress report rapidly approaching, it will be my job to continuously connect with students to try and keep them on track. If you’re a parent/guardian, it would be helpful to have a conversation about what’s happening in class with your child. Otherwise, look for a progress report soon.

Thanks again and enjoy the rest of this SHORT! week.