Having fun With Digital Art and Music in Commtech

 

During these unusual times it’s necessary to take a step back and do something fun. In the communications technology course we took some time creating fun album covers for made-up bands. This involved using open source software, giving students the ability to continue to do photo editing outside of a traditional classroom setting. It also introduced the concept of alternatives to big name software and problem solving using technologies similar, but not identical to, programs such as Photoshop.

After the album covers were created, students got a chance to experiment with making sound files to attempt to mimic music that would be found on a music album with the cover they had created.

Grade 9 Science Unit 4 – Electricity and Its Applications

 

Our second online learning unit was physics, where we focused on electricity and its applications. After briefly discussing the different sources of energy to start the unit, we spent an entire class learning about the ins and outs of static electricity where students once and for all understood the mechanics of how those pesky static shocks work when we grab a doorknob, especially in the winter months. We finished off our discussion on static electricity by discussing the different ways to create and dissipate it.

The rest of the unit was all about current electricity and the different ways we produce it. We first learned about the two types of current electricity, alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC), focusing on the latter. We then moved on to the major components of electric circuits, electrical quantities (current, voltage, resistance) and looked at how each of them behave in series and parallel circuits. Students observed these quantities via online circuit simulators and recorded what they saw and discussed their observations. We ended the unit by looking at the different sources of electricity (solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, fossil fuel) and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Coronavirus Inspired Art

Throughout Visual Arts, we have discussed how creating art is one of the greatest forms of self-expression. We can create art about anything to show what we feel, how we feel and why we feel it. We create art to communicate. There is no right or wrong way to make it. Coronavirus, a pandemic and online school is not anything we saw coming. Lots of questions and emotions can arise from situations like this.

Before the break, the class was in the middle of learning about Colour Theory. Our initial classes online focused on the psychology of colour and the idea that colours can be used to express specific emotions.
What these Academy Art students did was create art inspired by how they were feeling in the initial weeks of the pandemic, with a focus on colours and what they associate with those colours.

The results were all so different! Students had to get resourceful and use whatever materials they had access to at home. Some painted, some drew with pencil crayons and some made digital art or a collage. It was so interesting and inspiring to read each student’s reflection expressing how they feel and what their art signified.

Academy students create COVID-19 inspired art
The thing that inspired me was the way I was feeling. I was sad and lonely and found myself craving socializing…The way I thought of describing it was by a roll of toilet paper and it felt right to do so considering what’s going on. It’s related to the problem going on with the world right now and the roll will unwind and tell more of a story the more it unrolls more and includes how I am feeling via pictures. It is important [to create art] because it helps you express yourself in pictures and let people know how you are feeling as well as let you get some of that weight off of your chest. – SE
Academy students create COVID-19 inspired art
I have been having a lot of FOMO when I was quarantined, after seeing photos and snapchat stories, but in reality there is not much happening out there….My mom is in the right corner not looking very happy. I am in the top left corner crying. I don’t know why I put myself crying but it’s just there. My cat is in the middle between my mom and I. He is having a really good time and is loving the quarantine. I am in the middle thinking there is nothing going on in my house. I think there is all the colour in life, which is supposed to be people and being outside and fun just outside me. I’m not in there, because I’m in the black, But in reality, it’s all black anyways. – AF
Academy students create COVID-19 inspired art
I used black because it sort represents being sad and the red represents people being sick. what i was thinking when i did my art i was thinking about being protected against the virus the red symbolizes the danger because i cant go out -FL
Academy students create COVID-19 inspired art
I used blue to represent how hot the flame is in hell to kill the virus. I also used blue for the splatters to show how calm I feel about this whole situation. The reason why I chose black for the background is that I feel this shows respect for the people who have died; black is the colour of mourning. White is in this piece because for me, white means life, which contrasts the black for mourning. The white represents the people who have survived after they’ve had the virus…Art is a way to express your feelings and deep, inner thoughts. It’s a good outlet for feelings like fear or anger. Instead of letting these feelings build up, you can express them through art. My art conveys the fact that I strongly dislike the Coronavirus. If other people feel the same way, then when they see my art, it might connect with them (and me).- NP
Academy students create COVID-19 inspired art
I chose blue and green because the average colour for a safety mask is blue and if i think of the coronavirus i see green…It’s important to create art in difficult times because art helps express how you feel…I feel like the message to viewers is that people are trying to fight the virus and there is maybe hope. -OS
Academy students create COVID-19 inspired art
I used dark blue, dark purple and orange and brown. I also used a very dark green because they remind me of how I fell during this time and my emotions. Art can help with your emotions and feelings and it is very relaxing for some people that have a hard time explaining themself. – CK
I am inspired by my artwork because I am sad and worried about other people and inspicaly poor people because they can be affected by coronavirus. The colours I chose are beige, blue, gray and white. I chose these colours to make me feel sad about coronavirus. – AE

Gr. 9 Science – All About the Body

 

The Grade 9 Locally Developed Science class has been learning all about body systems in their unit “Biology: Staying Alive. Usually this unit involves a lot of hands-on activities as students discover how their organs work together to complete life sustaining processing. With our move to distance learning some activities have been adapted to engage students while they learn online.

To learn about the digestive system students started with an online interactive simulation. They had to put the organs in the correct order and then watch as the food moved through the system. To make the content more engaging, we simulated the digestive system using household items. Starting with a piece of bread that moved from a bowl, through a toilet roll, into a ziplock bag, and through a nylon, the class groaned as “poop” was made in front of their very eyes. While many thought it was disgusting, they were reminded that this process was happening inside all of them at that very moment.

Students also learned about the respiratory system with slide presentations and fun and informative videos. They each researched how the respiratory system differs among various types of animals and presented their findings to the class. Presenting online means that students don’t have to physically get up in front of the class, which can ease some students’ nerves.

To bring together the digestive and respiratory systems we went through a virtual frog dissection. Virtual dissections are very beneficial as they offer an ethical means to study anatomy, which can be tailored to suit students’ needs. The class was able to make connections between what they had learned in their lessons and the anatomy of the frog and most found it quite interesting.

Students are now working on an animal research project to present to the class and we look forward to learning about how different animals are suited to their environments.

It has been fun learning about body systems, but understanding how the human body works is actually quite important for leading a healthy life. So, keep learning and stay safe everyone!

Grade 11 Law – Sharing and Presenting Online

 

Sharing and Presenting Learning Online: A Website from the Canadian Law Class

As we settle further into emergency remote learning, one of the many things we miss is students sharing their learning with peers — and with the school community as a whole. Posters on the walls, class presentations (and sometimes presentations to other classes), and project fairs not only give students a chance to show what they have learned, but also allow for the sharing of knowledge and ideas with peers, teachers, and even parents. In our new environment, however, we have to find alternatives. And so, the Grade 11 Canadian Law class has created a website to put their knowledge and thinking on display, and hopefully to pass on some of what they have learned.

For a few weeks, students learned about how their rights and freedoms are protected in Canada and about how the law tries to balance competing needs and concerns. We focused in particular on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, learning about some notable cases and examples, and looking at whether, in real life, everyone seems to benefit equitably from these protections. The class also studied when and how different rights might be justifiably limited, a topic that found particular relevance in our present circumstances as we take unprecedented measures to keep people healthy and save lives.

For a summative assignment, each student demonstrated their learning by creating a web page for one section of the Charter, or alternatively, by identifying a section that does not exist but perhaps should. You can view the site that the class has created together (but apart) here!