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Growing Awareness-

Mr. Milloy's Class

We are an intermediate classroom in an elementary school in British Columbia, Canada. We use our blogs as a place to practise expressing our ideas in writing (and maybe even sound, pictures & video when we're ready). We try to leave thoughtful comments for classmates & other bloggers we visit. Click "comment" to leave your thoughts on any particular article. Comments will be published after I have had a chance to read them.

by Derek Milloy
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Article posted February 12, 2015 at 04:17 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 10577





You might know some/most/all of your times tables, and you might know about lining up columns to multiply a 2-digit number by a 3-digit number. But can you describe (or draw) what multiplication IS? Use the voicethread above to show how you think of multiplication. Understanding what it is and having a few ways to think about it will help us understand it better, get better at using it, and make better decisions about how & when to use it.

Article posted February 12, 2015 at 04:17 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 10577



Article posted January 21, 2015 at 06:14 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 1746

We've been talking a lot about the many reasons we don't like Cole Matthews much in Touching Spirit Bear so far. We've talked about the qualities he has and our reasons for not liking him nor much of what he does. That led us to discuss some of the other characters, their qualities (both positive & negative), and evidence from the story to support our opinions. The papers we used in class gave us a place to start recording our thoughts, but our online tools give us more chances to share our ideas, so I thought I'd share our wall of notes here and hope you'll return to see our ideas grow.



Article posted January 21, 2015 at 06:14 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 1746



Article posted January 14, 2015 at 12:57 AM GMT0 • comment (13) • Reads 1140

The saying, "You are what you eat," may help us remember that our food gives our bodies the building material to grow new cells. But it's also interesting (and important) to remember that what we say and do affects not only how others see us but also the kind of person each of us will become.



A few chapters (3) into our novel, Touching Spirit Bear, we have all started to form opinions about what kind of person Cole Matthews is. Some say that it doesn't matter what other people think about you, but it sure seems like what other people think is going to play a part in what happens to Cole (like whether he goes to jail). And what people in the story and in our class think about Cole definitely comes from what he says and does. (And isn't that also true for all of us!)



In class, we started talking about what words we'd use to describe or characterise Cole and why. It seems a shame to limit those thoughts & words to a particular room at a particular time, so I've invited the class to comment here to share 1) a word that describes Cole 2) and example of words or actions from the story that fit that word 3) what do you think should happen to or be done with Cole. It will be interesting to see our ideas all in one place (and to look back on them later in our reading).

Article posted January 14, 2015 at 12:57 AM GMT0 • comment (13) • Reads 1140



Article posted January 13, 2015 at 03:59 PM GMT0 • comment (5) • Reads 130

The question, "How can a black bear be white?" was among the most frequently asked by students in our class after we read the first chapter of one of my favourite novels for young people: Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen. I like the story's themes, the advice, the invitation to question and think about what justice is and how we bring it about (or don't). It is interesting for me that the two settings in the story happen to be my former home and near my current home. Although I share the hesitation some other educators have expressed about the representation of First Nations, the story has been a catalyst for powerful thought & discussion each time I've used it.



I was initially surprised to see the question about the bear's colour asked so many times by a group of children who had already learned about the Kermode bear from the story of Simon Jackson and the Sprit Bear Youth Coalition. But any momentary fear I might have felt about our thinking staying in the shallow end was quickly abated as the number, variety, and nature of readers' questions expanded. (Have a look; even add your own.)



Backing up to look on that first question about colour, maybe the dichotomy reveals and provokes the most interesting, most powerful and most difficult ideas. Black or white? Good or bad? Right or wrong? True or not? It will be interesting to see what path we take as we follow Cole's.

Article posted January 13, 2015 at 03:59 PM GMT0 • comment (5) • Reads 130



Article posted January 5, 2015 at 06:27 PM GMT0 • comment (16) • Reads 1135

While it might seem like we've taken a long, long break here, we have been working away all this time (just not writing on our blogs). We are just back from a healthy winter break and have returned to start the new year, ready or not!



A large part of my break was spent visiting family. Something I look forward to when I spend time at my mother's is getting to peruse my father's collection of old books in their glass-covered bookcases. I used to enjoy looking over these classic volumes as a kid, even before I was able to read any of them. Now, they are part of a trip back in time to visit old friends. I have my own copies of some of them. Others I do not yet have and have yet to read. But it is a comforting thing to read beside and among those shelves full of good books.



Now that I am back amid my own books at hom