In class G6/7, we have been using minecraft for math. Minecraft is a sandbox style game where everything is made out of – wait for it… – BLOCKS!

There is really a large amount of math in the game though. To make the right buildings you have to calculate the right number of blocks high you want your creations to be. In my experience with minecraft, I have used addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

What about Us?


Grade Seven Students spent the morning discussing why they are the only students at school today and how the Ontario Government and Teacher Union dispute has and is impacting them: Here is a great podcast they created along with links to their blogs:


Anne: Bill 115 – A student’s Point of View

Caius: What about us?

Jimmy: “Silly Teachers”

Jacob: STOP bill 115

Nicola: Has anyone asked the students?

Ethan: Who lies at fault?

Best, Trip, Ever.

Our first trip to the farmers market, was one of the best in my life. Never once was I allowed to go around and buy things at my own comfort and limit. It was so much fun. As well as the project, which was really, REALLY fun. The whole purpose of that trip was to interview one of the stalls in a group(the group was made of my friends, Nicola, Adele and I) and ask them questions concerning the business.


So here are some of the questions we asked our stall, which was Dilly’s the All Organic Stall. We asked Shane, the stall owner if he had lived in countries before Canada. He said no, but said that he visited a lot of countries. We also asked him what inspired him to sell only organic foods. He said that he thought it was really bad to have chemicals on your food and said that he didn’t want people to be eating chemicals. He also said that when he had leftover foods, he brought them to his family to eat, so he didn’t want them to be eating  chemicals either. Then we asked if he has had any kind of special story to share with us. Shane told us some funny stories, and was really nice to us. He gave us a little tour of his stall, showing us all the organic products, and also teaching us what Heirloom means!

We also got to visit the Hamilton Public Library Archives, and discover AWESOME things about our school, Dalewood. Like the original staff list of Dalewood, the first students of Dalewood and a lot of other cool things.

That trip was SUPER fun and I can’t wait until we have our next one.


Here are some pics of the Hamilton Farmers Market and the Central Library.

Nice pics right? Well of course. I love the projects we do, and I can’t wait for the next trip.


Reasons why our class is awesome

Here’s 10 reasons in my opinon of why my class is awesome. Comment with your own!

1. We have an awesome Teacher!!!


3. &4. Laptop and smart board. MORE TECHNO STUFF!!!

5. We can bring in our own devices (Laptops, Ipods, etc) to use in class. Not any class I’ve been in before this one had that!

6. Minecraft server. We have a server for the class! It’s modded too, so yeah…

7. …We are a gifted class! So yeah… um… forgot what I was gonna say…

8. We are one of the smallest classes in the school! Only 18 Peoples! That means… we use up less paper for trip forms…! And stuff…! Yeah!

9. Um… Why IS there a tent in the classroom? Oh right… We have a TENT! And… er… yeah!

10. We use the Grade 8 Textbook, but we’re a Grade 6/7 split Gifted class!

…I think that’s it… There’s more I think…

Gamers Review: Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

     Hello gamers! I’m Graham, here with another game to review. This time, we look into a game of a series that I love. Its called Oblivion. If you are familier with the Elder Scrolls, then you probably know what Oblivion is all about. But, for those who dont know, heres how the game starts, and what the plot is.

Well, to start the game off, you will start in jail. Thats right, jail. you will first have to design your charactor. They’re are many customization options to use when designing your charactor. So go nuts. After your charactor has been designed, a tutorial will start, showing have to move. The tutorial is interactive, meaning that you can do things while the tutorial is playing. After you have learned how to walk and run, move to the jail door. A prisoner across the hall will start mocking you. Just ignore him, he is stuiped.

Anyway, after he is done mocking, he will say “Hey, you hear that? The guards are coming. For you! Hehehaha!” Then, you will start to hear the guards talking. But, with them is, in person, the one, the only, EMPEROR! So, they will walk up to your cell. The female guard says “My job right now is to get you to safety. Whats this prisoner doing here?” Then some more talking will start, but then they open the cell door, and they will walk in. Then, the emperor says he has seen you from his dreams. (Weird I know, but anyway) So, this will put the conversation panel. After this, the female guard will push a brick in the wall, then the wall will colapse, reveiling a passage. That all about the start I will tell you. Your probably getting board, so let me tell you the plot.

Hell is opening gates. Littraly, HELL! Acualy, Oblivion, but it is basicly hell. So, now that you know the plot and story, I guess I’ll let you go play the game now, thanks for reading!

Learning Spaces in a Gifted Classroom

The learning environment is what will help create community. Before anything, students need to feel safe. Not just physically safe, but safe to learn how they learn, safe to think “outside the box”, safe to ask questions, safe to make mistakes, safe to be who they are.  I recently read a post by Jackie Gerstein, a friend and mentor who talks passionately about the importance of community in the classroom (It’s About Connections Not Content). Below, I talk about the learning spaces to honour all learners.  It is my intention to help these students find their passions, their gifts, and their understanding of themselves.

The Circle

Each day, we start off in a large circle. We might play a game, talk about a current event or gather our ideas for upcoming lessons. The circle gives brings the class together as one team, a group of co-learners and a support structure that they will need.

Comfort and Escape

A few years ago, I taught in a brand new school with small classrooms. A quiet “comfy” space was not an option and was strictly forbidden by fire regulations. I yearned to provide my students with an area to go when they needed to unpack and reflect. As we know, this 7 hour day, surrounded by an assortment of individuals can be overwhelming and draining. This classroom (an older school) allows for this space.  Students can use it to work collaboratively using the bulletin board or small table or even the floor as a workspace.  Of course,  reading a book, plugged into a good song is also pretty fantastic for any learner.

It only took about one hour before a student crawled into this “getaway”.  A calming environment that is still in the same room is a true gift for any classroom.


Exercise – Meditative, focus~refocus, transition

I truly love to Hula-Hoop. Not only because it is great for the abdominal muscles, but the repetitive motion is soothing. After a long day, or a long think-session, there is nothing better then grabbing a hula-hoop,  with a little music (or quiet is good too) and finding a place to gather thoughts and re-fuel for the next “thing” to come. Another true gift that this classroom offers – enough space.


There has been much debate about the use of Gaming in the classroom and its integration into core subjects like math, social studies and language. The Kinect offers an incredibly fun way for students to work together in solving problems, debating stories and characters, and thinking through puzzles and math games. Allowing students to move around, challenge one another and discuss the creation and process of the game itself is incredible insightful and meets them in their world. We will be integrating Minecraft in our classroom this year, as a way to plan, think, and discuss through creation and collaborative building.

Apple TV, Reflection, Interaction.

So often, we use the projector and whiteboard to deliver instruction and content. But with the Reflection App or Apple TV, students can broadcast their work and designs on a larger surface. To show the students a quick video, or demonstrate an iPad tool, I can stand anywhere in the room and broadcast quickly and safely. Even better, students can broadcast their work.  Only a few years ago, I found myself stumbling trying to improve my motor skills when using the Smart tablet.

Group Think-Tank and iPad Center

One of my students asked, “Too bad we can’t just write on this table!”. I wonder if “Idea Paint” would work here.  To move away from their desk workspace to a group workspace is valuable. It is also valuable to have an option to go back to ones own individual space. With the use of the HWDSB iPad program and the School iPad purchases, I have about 10 iPads in the classroom. We will start of with interview videos. A favourite app used today was WORLD OF SAND. I highly recommend it. Highly.

Weekly Schedule, Handouts and TEA.

Posting a daily overview is important, but to see it in context within the entire week is essential. Like adults learners, our younger students want to know what is next and why, and especially how it relates to their learning. There is a definite accountability attached to this practice, but it is so worth it. At the end of the week, I brew tea and together we work on the next weekly schedule. It empowers them and gives them voice.

Choices and Voices

This image keeps changing. As students become more comfortable with me – and more confident, they start adding more ideas and information here. It is fascinating to see how many students ask to get away from the brick and mortar. They want field trips, walks, and to learn outside.



Blended learning is not only going to provide more solid communication and on-going information for students and parents, but also more access to content and learning. While it might be surprising to some (ha, ha!), I am not the bearer of all knowledge and information.  Neither is the Internet. A blended learning platform (where students can also learn online) such as EDMODO (something new I’m trying this year) will allow me to facilitate content that is rich and diverse to a group of students that vary greatly in learning needs.  As well, each student will be given a personal blog, and will have access to my daily plans through Google Docs and our classroom blog (another huge accountability risk that is worth the immense outcome).


My favourite learning space – The real world.  This year, I’ve established a partnership with the Hamilton Farmers Market where students will get a chance to learn stories of the lives of real Hamiltonians. Students will learn to shop, cook and share resources.  Most importantly, they will have an opportunity to socialize and interact with citizens and with each other in authentic ways. With some structure and guidance, they will have a chance to apply what they have learned at school to something real.


We have also arrange for several community walks. Our school location is surrounded by hundreds of acres of forests (Royal Botanical Gardens) and wooded trails. The colours, smells, sounds and wildlife are the inspiration I’ll need when teaching poetry and creative writing. Perfect for finding space and time to talk, share and develop a real sense of self.


Ah, Beauty and… Migrane??

Here is the link to the sunrise pic!!         


                                                      Magnificent sun

                                                    Gorgeous above everyone

                                                   Brilliant beauty


                                                   MIddle School

                                                Crazy,hectic, school

                                               Children shouting in the halls 

                                                Migrane acting up 

Evil Hamster…

My Hamster Bibbles, is an evil creature… ( Just kidding, I love You Baby.. ) But seriously, He has been really annoying lately, gnawing at his bars, going on his wheel really loudly, (He knows how to stop the wheel from making noise), and dodging me and meals!! But I still love him… Whenever I get up at 3:00 am, trying to make him be quiet, he looks at me, stops and when I go back to bed, he starts wheeling again!! Even louder.He is a smart little thing, I think I am sleep deprived. But last night it was like he knew I was nervous for my math quiz, so when it was bedtime… It was TOTALLY SILENT!!! He is my special thing, and I love him so, but sometimes I just want to make him go.

This is what my hamster looks like except lighter in colour. He is fat and always eating!!

Welcome to a new School Year!


Welcome to our classroom Blog. Throughout the school year, we will use this blog to communicate with our school community and beyond. We look forward to collaboration from other learners and leaders and hope that our gained knowledge can be shared with others. 

The content in this space is public. Your comments and thoughts should be geared for a public audience. If you need to contact me privately, consider using the contact button.

I look forward to meeting my students and families and can GUARANTEE that we are going to have an INCREDIBLY FUN school year.

To start the year off, I invite you all to a class party on Friday August 31, 2012 at 11:00am.
Visit this link for information!

Mrs Pipe